Tuesday ReadsPosted: October 13, 2020 Filed under: just because | Tags: Amy Coney Barrett, Amy Klobuchar, coronavirus, Donald Trump, SCOTUS, Suzanne Valadon 26 Comments
NOTE: The paintings in today’s post are by Suzanne Valadon, artists’ muse, self-taught painter, and mother of another famed artist.
I’m grateful to Dakinikat for covering the Senate hearing on Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to SCOTUS. I’m not going to spend much time on it today, because her confirmation is pretty much a forgone conclusion. It’s horrible, but we are just going to have to deal with it somehow.
Axios: Klobuchar: There’s no “secret, clever, procedural way to stop” Barrett confirmation.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) acknowledged on Monday that Democrats do not have “some secret, clever, procedural way to stop” the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, arguing that the only way for Americans to “change the trajectory of this nomination” is by voting.
The big picture: Klobuchar and other Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee used day one of Barrett’s confirmation hearings to criticize the process of rushing through a nomination after voting in the 2020 election has already begun, attacking it as a “sham” and “illegitimate.”
— They also painted Barrett’s confirmation as a proxy fight for health care, with a number of Democratic senators displaying posters of constituents who have benefited from protections under the Affordable Care Act.
— The Supreme Court is set to hear a case seeking to invalidate the ACA on Nov. 10. Klobuchar argued that “you don’t have to be a lawyer or a senator to figure out” that Barrett was nominated to help President Trump overturn the Affordable Care Act.
What they’re saying: “My point today is, you cannot divorce this nominee from the moment we’re in, in time. And that we do not have some secret, clever, procedural way to stop this sham. Let’s be honest,” Klobuchar told reporters after Monday’s hearing.
— “And as good as we are, it’s probably not going to be some brilliant cross-examination that is going to change the trajectory of this nomination, but there is one thing that will. And that is the people of this country, that is them voting, that is them understanding exactly what the Republican Party and this administration are doing right now and how it’s going to affect their lives.”
— “Because this is not Donald Trump’s country. This is your country, America’s country, and this should not be Donald Trump’s judge. It should be your judge.”
So what are the likely consequences of Barrett being elevated to SCOTUS?
At Vox, Anna North writes about the future without Roe v. Wade: This is the future of abortion in a post-Roe America.
Some have predicteda Handmaid’s Tale-esquefuturein which women are forced to bear children. Meanwhile, anti-abortion groups have begun quietly preparing for a baby boom once all Americans are forced to carry their pregnancies to term.
But the reality is that overturning Roe won’t end abortion in America. What it will end, across much of America, is legal abortion.
That will have devastating consequences for many people, especially low-income Americans and people of color in red states where the fall of Roe would likely shut down the few remaining clinics. “This is already an abortion desert,” Laurie Bertram Roberts, the executive director of the Mississippi Reproductive Freedom Fund, told Vox. If Roe falls, “you’re just talking about an abortion wasteland.”
But that doesn’t mean people who want to end a pregnancy would be completely without options. Abortion funds around the country would continue their work, in some cases helping patients travel to blue states to get the procedure. Community-based providers, who perform abortions outside the official medical system, would likely continue to operate. And self-managed abortion, in which people perform their own abortions with pills, would take a bigger role.
Preparing for that reality will require a lot from advocates and providers, from raising money to campaigning against laws that can send people to jail for self-managing an abortion. But people have been ending their pregnancies in America since long before Roe v. Wade or even abortion clinics existed, and a court decision isn’t going to stop them. It’s just going to change what their options — and the risks involved — look like.
At The Washington Post, Ruth Marcus claims that the Affordable Care Act will survive, but we have a lot more to worry about: There are many reasons to fear Barrett’s confirmation. The Affordable Care Act isn’t one of them.
In the midst of a pandemic, on the eve of an election, with yet another challenge to the Affordable Care Act coming before the Supreme Court next month, it’s no surprise that Democrats decided to focus on the future of the health-care law at the confirmation hearings for nominee Amy Coney Barrett.
As a matter of substance, not so much. Barrett’s nomination is about so much more than a law that has already survived two challenges and is likely, even with a Justice Barrett on the court, to survive this one.
Read Marcus’ detailed argument at the WaPo.
In other news, Trump held a superspreader rally in Florida last night, even though he could still be contagious.
The Washington Post: Trump returns to campaign trail after bout with covid-19, amid criticism he is still not taking pandemic seriously.
Though Trump has declared himself now “immune” to the virus — which has killed more than 214,000 Americans and infiltrated the White House — he and his team have not clarified for the public the last time he tested negative before his covid-19 diagnosis was announced Oct. 2. This has raised questions about whom Trump may have infected before isolating himself at the White House and then at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
On Monday afternoon, however, Trump’s doctor, Sean P. Conley, said in a memo released by the White House that the president had tested negative for the virus “on consecutive days,” using the Abbott rapid testing machine, and was no longer contagious.
The Abbott antigen test produces quick results but has a greater chance of false negatives than the more reliable polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, test. Conley said other diagnostic factors were considered when determining that the president did not pose a threat to others.
Either Trump is afraid to take the more accurate PCR test, or he tested positive on it and the White House is covering it up.
Some of Trump’s aides and associates initially hoped that his coronavirus diagnosis would help focus him on the pandemic, allowing him to emerge as a sympathetic figure with a newfound sense of seriousness and empathy.
That, so far, has not happened.
“The cure cannot be worse than the problem itself can. The cure cannot be worse,” Trump told the Sanford crowd — many of whom were not wearing masks — referring to public health restrictions in many states. “But if you don’t feel good about, if you want to stay, stay relaxed, stay. But if you want to get out there, get out. One thing with me, the nice part, I went through it. Now they say I’m immune . . . I feel so powerful.”
Since contracting the virus, Trump has remained dismissive of the threat posed by the pandemic, reappearing in public seemingly invigorated by his survival. He has doubled down on his push for reopening the country while continuing to discount social distancing and other public health practices.
In the real world, we’re still living through a global pandemic, and the U.S. still leads world in cases and deaths. Coronavirus news:
Stat: Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine study paused due to unexplained illness in participant.
The study of Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine has been paused due to an unexplained illness in a study participant.
A document sent to outside researchers running the 60,000-patient clinical trial states that a “pausing rule” has been met, that the online system used to enroll patients in the study has been closed, and that the data and safety monitoring board — an independent committee that watches over the safety of patients in the clinical trial — would be convened. The document was obtained by STAT.
Contacted by STAT, J&J confirmed the study pause, saying it was due to “an unexplained illness in a study participant.” The company declined to provide further details….
J&J emphasized that so-called adverse events — illnesses, accidents, and other bad medical outcomes — are an expected part of a clinical study, and also emphasized the difference between a study pause and a clinical hold, which is a formal regulatory action that can last much longer. The vaccine study is not currently under a clinical hold. J&J said that while it normally communicates clinical holds to the public, it does not usually inform the public of study pauses.
Read more at the link.
David Wallace-Wells at New York Magazine: The Third Wave of the Pandemic Is Here.
When Donald Trump checked into Walter Reed medical center more than a week ago, it appeared likely to have marked the beginning of the end stage of his presidency. But it was also a milestone for the pandemic, and not just because COVID-19 had infected its most prolific and prominent skeptic and dissembler. In recent weeks, a third wave of the coronavirus has come to the U.S. at almost precisely the time of year scientists warned us about in the spring. But the country has hardly noticed, so paralyzed and preoccupied by the spectacle of the presidential campaign it could barely acknowledge any new cases but Trump’s. There were nearly 50,000 new U.S. infections reported on the day the president was hospitalized, along with 835 new deaths. That’s two 747 crashes’ worth.
When the country passed 100,000 deaths, a spectacularly bleak edition of the New York Times marked the occasion with a six-column headline for a flood of obituaries that ran the full length of the front page (and onto several additional pages). When the toll passed 200,000, it did not even mark the tragic landmark on A1. They are running out of hospital beds in Wisconsin — which used to qualify as a battleground state, incidentally — and in North Dakota, which hasn’t imposed a mask mandate, they are down to 39 open ICU spots. But while the pandemic does indeed appear to be getting worse almost everywhere in the country, it also seems unlikely to return to the center stage of America’s attention until after Election Day — at which point perhaps 25,000 more Americans might have died.
But things won’t really change immediately after November 3, either. The apparent collapse of last-minute stimulus negotiations means that our sclerotic Congress won’t likely extrude any meaningful pandemic relief until January 20. There also won’t be a national testing program erected, or a federal contact-tracing system belatedly instituted, or, probably, a vaccine or novel therapeutics in wide distribution before the next presidential inauguration, either. At which point there might be 100,000 more American deaths than there are today, each a tragedy unfolding amid a considerably uglier humanitarian catastro phe — poverty and hunger, evictions and loss of health insurance, mass joblessness without commensurate federal support — than the pandemic has produced to this point. In other words, the third wave will likely be worse, nationally, than the first; much less buffered by political action and support, at least on the federal level; and, as long as the election eclipses the full attention of the news media, many times less salient. We’ve already tuned it out, and nothing is likely to help anytime soon.
More stories to check out today:
Variety: ‘Simpsons’ Lists 50 Reasons Why Re-Electing Trump Is Terrifying in Exclusive ‘Treehouse of Horror’ Clip.
Paul Krugman: Mitch McConnell’s Mission of Misery.
The Daily Beast: Dr. Fauci: The Trump Campaign Is ‘In Effect, Harassing Me.’
Politico: Top general did not give his consent to be used in Trump political ad.
Mary McNamara at The Los Angeles Times: Column: Make way for Slayer Pete. Buttigieg is the Biden campaign’s ruthless secret weapon.
AP: Trump intensifies focus on Harris in final weeks of campaign.
The New York Times: California Republican Party Admits It Placed Misleading Ballot Boxes Around State.
The New York Times: As Trump Flouts Safety Protocols, News Outlets Balk at Close Coverage.
Joshua Holland at Alternet: Here’s the truth behind the Republicans’ big lie about ‘court-packing.’
Hang in there Sky Dancers. Only 20 more days until the election. Take care, and please check in with us today if you have the time and inclination.
From that NYT article:
Trump doesn’t care about others’ lives, as we’ve long known.
Yuuuuuu! That’s gross!
Amazing. Amazing that he still has “followers”.
Four years of having to watch and listen to this jackass braying and crowing while doing so much damage at the same time should be enough proof to hand him his walking papers and call it a day.
But there they are, cheering and applauding a madman. This hateful, ignorant fool has brought nothing but shame to the office and there are those still lining up, risking their lives, to attend another ridiculous rally created to soothe his ego.
They are like cult members, who love him with a religious fervor. If he told them it was safe, they would drink down the Flavor Aid. (A lot of the Jim Jones followers did not die willingly, but I would not put it past the more extreme Trump supporters.)
For the President, their adoration is truly like a drug. And he is irrevocably addicted.
We have a long way to go to get back to a new normal. I suspect that if VP Biden wins, Trump will run again in 2024 and will likely once again be the GOP party candidate, if he is still breathing. I wonder if they will re-brand as the Trump party? In the meantime, he will try to further divide the country.
Awwww! That’s so cute.
I never knew that a turtle could be playful, but that adorable puppy could entice anyone.
Me either! If I’m not mistaken, play behavior is one of the markers of animal intelligence. Why play unless it makes you happy? Awesome to know turtles play.
I agree that the Johnson & Johnson trial of a covid-19 vaccine, with 60,000 participants, could easily have 1 or more participants experience a severe medical incident that wasn’t due to the vaccine at all. I’ve worked on clinical trials, and am involved in one now. Incidents are tracked, categorized, compared with the placebo group, and compared with the frequency of that condition in the general population. If any ‘signal’ of an incident which could be caused by the intervention being studied, based on its mechanism of action, or any incidents which are more frequent than those in the placebo group or general population, are looked at very closely. A trial will be paused if there is suspicion. Such pauses mean that safeguards are in place. If serious enough, the trial will be held or even ended, which is not the case here. They’re probably still gathering and analyzing evidence and then will decide to continue, continue with changes such as checking labs more often, or end the trial (though w/only 1 person, it’s doubtful they’d end the whole trial).
Read something about that. Such a coiiiiiiiinnnnncidence. “Accidentally cut” my ass.
They’re already preparing for a post Roe V Wade World here. Making all abortion illegal is on our ballot here. I can’t say enough bad words about how I feel that the lives of individual women are up for every else to vote on. Does she live or die from a forced birth?
I remember Kamala Harris grilling Kavanaugh on if he could think of any law which restricts men’s bodily autonomy. He couldn’t understand why she was asking such a question.
Yeah. I remember that. The befuddled look on his smarmy blotchy face while he tried to think of an answer that would work for a question he’d never dreamed of.
Taking away the foundational right to be secure in your own body (I mean, fergawdsake, it’s why you can *kill* someone in self-defense) is the worst thing these pro-slavery fascists are trying to achieve. But in the short term, she could have an even worse effect by being the vote that lets the Orange Garbage Pile steal the election.
I’m convinced that’s the Dump’s only real interest in her. The plan is to litigate the life out of this election until it gets to the illegitimate Supremes who then install him back in the White House where he’s safe from jail for another few years.
Agree – agenda item number 1 for Dump is the election. He’s even stated that out loud.
To me, that’s the most amazing thing about this con man. I’d always understood the first step was to keep your motives *hidden* from the mark. Not the Dump.
Possibly because his real audience is people who think grabbing everything in sight is a fine way to get what you want.
She worked on the Bush side in Bush v Gore. Her answer to whether she would recuse herself from an election question was disingenuous. Her mentor would never recuse himself from case with an actual conflict of interest, never mind the appearance of one.
It’s all such an intelligence-insulting charade. I think that’s what bothers me more than anything. If the Repubs stood up and said, “Yeah. We just want to be sure we can steal this election. Whatcha gonna do about it, loooooser?” I could at least give them a tenth of a point for honesty.
Still, as somebody said on the electric twitter machine, she’s a step up from the last nominee. Nobody has pointed out that in private life she’s a drunken rapist.
It’s on the ballot in CO as Proposition 115. No exceptions for rape or incest.
The contiguous Left Coast has “strongly protected access” per NARAL rating. Here’s a graphic on their site showing all the states by type of regs.
I wouldn’t absolve her of the “machinations” part so easily.
It just struck me she is very like a former boss I had. Very accomplished but the most anal-retentive person I’ve ever met. She was rigid in the extreme, a Catholic look-alike even down to the hair and church lady outfits. My boss was so anal she wouldn’t trim her nails and they would get absurdly long and uneven which clashed with her demure business persona. It was so freaky upper management finally asked her to trim them. She was so anal her voice was repressed and nasal like Barrett’s (who sounds like a young girl). She also had horrible breath which I took to be her inability to exhale properly.
Poor Donald is disappointed.
The Rethug restriction had been put on hold, but voter suppression wins out.
WaPo — Appeals panel upholds Texas governor’s order for just one ballot drop box per county