It has been a long, torturous year; thank goodness it’s almost over. In 20 days, Trump will be gone and we’ll have a normal president again. Unfortunately, tens of thousands of Americans will die as long as an irresponsible, uncaring narcissistic madman remains in control of the U.S. government.
Zachary B. Wolf at CNN: Trump absent as vaccine distribution lags and thousands continue to die.
A closing indignity on the final day of this horrendous year is that nobody actually seems to expect Donald Trump, who is still the President, to be paying much or any attention to the actual nightmare underway in the country he still leads.
At 341,000 and growing, more people have died from Covid-19 in the US this year than died in battle in World War II and Vietnam combined, according to data on casualties in those wars from the Department of Veterans Affairs. There were many more noncombat deaths in those conflicts. But the point here is the country is at war with a global pandemic and the President spent the week on the golf course and tweeting about his election loss instead of trying to save Americans.
It’s worth mentioning, in case nobody has told him, that more than 3,700 US Covid deaths were reported Tuesday, a frightening new record that will soon be eclipsed since the country notched a record number of new hospitalizations on the same day, which was soon broken on Wednesday.
The 3,700 deaths in one day, for context, is more than half the US casualties on D-Day and more than the entire Tet Offensive in Vietnam.
Many people have pointed out the US is suffering a 9/11 every day. But the sad truth of that comparison has worn off as the Covid-19 numbers have grown more unfathomable. And while 9/11 was a single attack that changed the way Americans live, this war with coronavirus is still surging….
The vaccine program — Operation Warp Speed — which Trump put in place, has deployed millions of doses of vaccines for the disease, but that’s falling further and further behind schedule, which means it could take years at the current rate to vaccinate enough Americans to halt the pandemic.
More than 80,000 Americans could die of Covid-19 over the next three weeks, a new US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ensemble forecast projects — offering a stark reminder the nation is still facing challenging times.
The new prediction comes amid ongoing vaccine distributions — a rolloutexperts say has been slower than they’d hoped. Vaccines will only make any meaningful impact once they’re widely available to the public, possibly not until summertime, experts have said.
In the meantime, Covid-19 hospitalizations are soaring. The US set a record Wednesday for number of Covid-19 patients in hospitals on a given day, at 125,200, according to the COVID Tracking Project….
California’s Los Angeles County hit a grim milestone Wednesday, surpassing 10,000totalCovid-19 deaths, and one health official there said any progress made over the summer had “completely evaporated.” Texas reported a record number of hospitalizations for the third day in a row. Mississippi and Louisiana saw their highest single-day casecountsNew Orleans officials urged “extreme caution” during New Year’s Eve, announcing bars, breweries, and live adult entertainment venues must close indoor facilities starting at 11 p.m. Wednesday….
In Nevada, a similar message: Gov. Steve Sisolak urged residents to avoid high-risk activities to slow the spread of the virus in the state….
Celebratory gatherings and travel could help drive another surge of infections — followed by hospitalizations and deaths — health officials have warned. But millions have opted to spend the holidays away from home. More than a million people passed through airport security checks Tuesday, for the fourth straight day after the Christmas holiday.
Here in Massachusetts, I just got a text and a recorded phone call from the state asking me to stay home. That’s no problem for me, of course. Even if there weren’t a pandemic, I wouldn’t be out celebrating on “amateur night.” I’ve been happily sober for 38 years.
Trump is still hoping someone will help him stage a coup, and Sen. John Hawley has volunteered. The Charlotte Observer:
Missouri Republican Sen. Josh Hawley became the first senator to say he’ll object to the certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory when Congress meets on Jan. 6 to accept the results of the presidential election.
Several House Republicans have previously signaled their intention to do the same. With members of both the House and Senate bringing objections, it’ll set off a dramatic scenario requiring a roll call vote in both chambers.
The January votes are unlikely to change the outcome of the election, but they will cap off a prolonged effort by President Donald Trump’s allies seeking to overturn the president’s defeat and hinder Biden’s transition.
Great! This will force Republican lawmakers to go on the record supporting or opposing sedition. Ruth Marcus at The Washington Post: Let Josh Hawley put Republicans to the uncomfortable test.
Trump apparently still thinks he has a shot, so he’s cutting short his two-week golf vacation and coming back to DC to watch the show.
Kailin Collins and Kevin Liptak at CNN: Trump to return to Washington early ahead of Republican plan to disrupt certification of Biden’s win.
Trump is now slated to leave Palm Beach before his annual New Year’s Eve party, even though guests had already gathered at his south Florida club and were told Trump would be in attendance, according to three people familiar with the matter. The President typically relishes appearing on the red carpet in front of the press and his friends, but is skipping the event altogether this year in what will be an unusual move.
In the President’s daily public schedule for Thursday, the White House stated the President and first lady Melania Trump will leave Florida at 11 a.m. ET to return to the White House.
Over the course of his stay in Florida, Trump has been single-mindedly focused on the election results and the upcoming certification process in Congress, set for January 6. After losing dozens of court cases and having his appeal rejected by the Supreme Court, Trump has viewed the January 6 event as his best opportunity to overturn the election he lost.
He has been in an irritated mood during most of the trip and fumed about everything from the election outcome to first lady Melania Trump’s renovations to his private quarters, according to multiple people who spoke with him.
At one point, Trump also said he was concerned Iran could retaliate in the coming days for the US drone strike that killed Iran’s top general, Qasem Soleimani, one year ago. A person speculated that could be a contributing factor in his early departure. Trump was at Mar-a-Lago when he ordered the Soleimani strike on January 3, 2020.
Before leaving for Palm Beach, he learned of Vice President Mike Pence’s role in the certification proceedings on Capitol Hill, which is mostly ceremonial. As he was flying to Florida for his vacation, Trump retweeted a call from one of his supporters for Pence to refuse to ratify the Electoral College count on January 6.
While in Florida, Trump has repeatedly raised the January 6 date with members of Congress and other associates, according to people familiar with the conversations. He lobbied senators on whether they would go along with House conservatives in objecting to the results.
GOP Senators may be failing another test after Mitch McConnell block Democrats’ effort to increase Covid relief payments from $600 to $2,000. Eric Levitz at New York Magazine: The GOP Just Let Democrats Have Their Stimulus and Campaign On It Too.
Next week, voters in Georgia will determine which party controls the U.S. Senate in 2021 — and thus, quite plausibly, the future of macroeconomic, climate, and health-care policy in the United States….
If Perdue and Loeffler prevail, Biden will likely struggle to so much as get his own Cabinet nominees confirmed, let alone judicial appointees. Meanwhile, his capacity to legislate will be contingent upon the good-faith cooperation of Mitch McConnell, which is about as dependable a resource as the empathic self-restraint of Donald Trump, or the commitment to ethical consumption of Jeffrey Dahmer.
The stakes are high, is what I’m saying. And earlier this month, it looked like the GOP was intent on gifting Democratic candidates Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock a potent message for the Georgia runoffs: Our races are referenda on a second large stimulus package. As of a few weeks ago, Republicans were insisting on a $500 billion stimulus bill that was bereft of cash assistance or long-term federal unemployment benefits. Democrats, for their part, were backing a $2.2 trillion stimulus that included a $600 a week federal unemployment benefit, another round of $1,200 relief checks, funding for states and cities, housing assistance, small business aid, and a variety of other social supports. All available polling indicated that the voting public favored the Democratic position.
But Trump upset the applecart by calling for $2,000 cash payments. Seeing that the $2,000 payments could help them in the run-off elections, Purdue and Loeffler announced support for them. But McConnell chose to block Trump’s proposal. In the end, the Senate would only support $600 direct payments and a $300 unemployment supplement.
So the Senate Majority Leader blocked an up-or-down vote on $2,000 checks, opting instead to wed the proposal to two of Donald Trump’s other demands — the repeal of the law that insulates social-media platforms from being sued for libel on the basis of statements their users post, and the formation of a commission to investigate voter fraud in the 2020 election. It is far from clear that most Republicans actually wish to repeal the former law, which would have a wide variety of chaotic consequences, many of which seem contrary to the interests of a political movement whose media has thrived on unmoderated social-media platforms. The point of rolling these demands together isn’t to ensure that they all pass, but rather, that they all fail — because Democrats blocked them.
This gambit is clever but flawed. For one thing, Trump is still refusing to play his part. Instead of insisting that his three demands are inseparable, the president called for the immediate passage of $2,000 checks alone on Wednesday morning.
It’s very possible that McConnell’s game-playing could help Democrats win in Georgia.
…polling suggests these races are going to be very close. Which means flipping even a tiny fraction of voters could be decisive. And there is some evidence that Democrats can win over skeptical voters by communicating the fact that they are the party more supportive of $2,000 relief payments: A new national Data For Progress poll, shared exclusively with Intelligencer, found that Independent voters initially said they preferred the Republicans to prevail in Georgia by a margin of 41 to 38 percent — but when told that the Democratic candidates would pass another round of stimulus checks if elected, while the Republicans would not, these voters shifted their allegiance, favoring Ossoff and Warnock over Perdue and Loeffler by 52 to 37 percent.
There’s much more analysis at the New York Magazi ne link.
That’s all I have for you on this last day of a nightmarish year. Here’s hoping 2021 will be better. At least we’ll be rid of Trump. Have a Happy New Year, however you choose to celebrate tonight.
Aren’t we all getting physically ill lately over the tRumpian attempts to overthrow the election results. I’m so sick of hearing the word “overturn” in the news media…you know, call it what it is, a fucking coup. Repeated attempted coups…to overthrow the country’s election.
I’ve got some news to share:
tRump only got 18% of the vote but…damn this is not the kind of support you want to see when there are other articles at Politco discussing things like this:
In other news:
This little incident made the local news…. but even in my own town, the lack of mask wearing is so blatant. It is disgusting.
A girlfriend of the man who the authorities say set off a bomb in downtown Nashville on Christmas had called police officers to his home last year, claiming that he had been making bombs in the R.V. parked there, according to a police incident report.
A lawyer for the girlfriend, according to the document filed with the Metro Nashville Police Department, told police officers that her boyfriend, Anthony Warner, “frequently talks about the military and bomb making.” The call to the police was reported on Tuesday by The Tennessean and WTVF-TV, a Nashville station.
The girlfriend met with the officers at her home on Aug. 21, 2019, according to the report and a later statement from the police. Officers then went to Mr. Warner’s home, a two-bedroom duplex in the Antioch area of Nashville.
According to the article, the FBI was also involved…I think there is more to this than what is being released. A terrorist doesn’t build a bomb to blow up a city block in a vacuum.
In the aftermath, The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said Warner was “not on our radar”prior to the bombing. But a Metro Nashville Police Department report from August 2019 shows that local and federal authorities were aware of alleged threats he had made.
No actions appear to have been taken to stop Warner, a slender 5-foot-8, 135-pound man who died in the explosion, which injured three others.
On Aug. 21, 2019, the girlfriend told Nashville police that Warner “was building bombs in the RV trailer at his residence,” the MNPD report states. Nashville police then forwarded the information to the FBI.
[…] Throckmorton, who served as the woman’s attorney, told officers Warner “frequently talks about the military and bomb making,” the document said.
Warner “knows what he is doing and is capable of making a bomb,” the attorney said to the officers, according to the report.
The attorney urged police to look into her claim, saying he feared for her safety. Police did go to Warner’s home, but he didn’t answer the door after they knocked.
He was making threats to his girlfriend, he was reportedly making bombs — and they let it go after he didn’t answer the door.
Now, just imagine his name was Breonna Taylor.
Now for some cartoons:
Here’s to 2021… stay safe, and wear your fucking masks!
Just 22 more days until Biden’s inauguration, and one more week until Congress counts the electoral votes on January 6. There’s still plenty of time for Trump to throw tantrums and pardon more war criminals, but his time in the White House is almost over. Unfortunately, it looks like January will be nightmarish.
Justin Hendrix at Substack: January will be one of the worst months in American history.
Simply put, the COVID-19 pandemic is raging across the country, and the record number of new cases since Thanksgiving is about to produce tens of thousands of additional hospitalizations, pushing health systems beyond the limit and likely driving daily death counts well beyond where they are today. Consider just a few data points:
- The IHME model now predicts more than 100,000 Americans will die in January alone, taking the total known pandemic death toll over 450,000.
- Hospitalizations, now at record highs, will likely explode. Last night the Covid Tracking Project reported a record number of hospitalized Americans, at 118,720, despite a number of states not reporting new figures due to the holiday. If that number seems enormous, consider that California’s model suggests that the state, which just crested 20,000 current hospitalizations, may itself reach 100,000 in January.
- The vaccination rollout is not going to plan. While it may improve in the coming days, official promises that 20 million Americans would receive the vaccine by the end of the year have fallen far short of the goal. As of December 26th, the CDC tracks less than 2 million first doses administered.
Imagine- nearly double the American death toll of the Vietnam War- across its nine years- in a single month. A quarter the number of all American losses in the roughly four years it fought in World War II- in a single month. In the face of this mounting disaster, the President is golfing in Florida. The Vice President and Head of the White House Coronavirus Task Force is vacationing in Vail, Colorado. The nation is effectively without leadership as we approach an event horizon of a black hole of death and anguish more acute than anything we’ve seen for generations.
Click the link to read the whole thing.
December was already bad enough. Eyewitness News Los Angeles: December deadliest month in US since COVID-19 pandemic began; January projections ‘nightmarish,’ expert says.
December has been the nation’s deadliest month since the COVID-19 pandemic’s start — with more than 63,000 Americans lost to the virus in the past 26 days.
In comparison, the entire month of November saw about 36,964 deaths, CNN reported.
The grim death toll comes on the heels of several brutal months for the US, with COVID-19 ravaging communities from coast to coast, crippling hospital systems and prompting new widespread restrictions.
The authorization of two COVID-19 vaccines earlier in December offered some hope of a light at the end of the tunnel. But experts continue to warn that while the end is in sight, the pandemic is not over and another surge stemming from the Christmas holiday could be on its way.
“We very well might see a post-seasonal — in the sense of Christmas, New Years — surge,” Dr. Anthony Fauci said on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday morning, pointing to holiday travel and private gatherings taking place despite the advice of health experts.
The nation’s top infectious disease expert described the potential rise in cases as a “surge upon a surge,” telling CNN’s Dana Bash, “If you look at the slope, the incline of cases that we’ve experienced as we’ve gone into the late fall and soon to be early winter, it is really quite troubling.”
Despite the rollout of two new vaccines, the pandemic is accelerating and the United States should brace itself for “one of the worst months in this nation’s history in January,” one of President-elect Joe Biden’s top Covid-19 advisers warned Monday.
“There is no doubt about that,” the expert, Dr. Celine Gounder, said on CNBC. “That cake is in the oven already, with the travel that has happened over the holidays.”
That dire warning came as the number of Covid-19 infections rose past 19.2 million after Christmas and the number of deaths from coronavirus neared 334,000, the latest NBC News data showed.
Gounder, a member of the Biden’s Covid-19 advisory board, described a nightmarish scenario in which local health officials are forced to erect field hospitals because hallways and even some parking lots are already packed with sick patients.
And an even bigger crisis, Gounder said, will be finding enough doctors and nurses to treat everybody.
“You can’t stand up new doctors and nurses the way you can field hospitals,” Gounder said. “You can’t just create them out of thin air.”
Yesterday the House voted to increase the stimulus checks from $600 to $2,000, as Trump demanded. The Washington Post reports: House votes to boost stimulus checks to $2,000 with bipartisan support.
Good Day Sky Dancers!
The nightmarish 4 plus years of watching a Malignant Narcissist torment the world are just about over. In peak form, we got a self-serving presidential memo that doesn’t recognize the havoc he created by letting a bill that maintains the current unemployment insurance sit unattended while he golfed at his club with all the tabs being picked up by the tax payer. People will have to do job searches and states will have to recertify their status because he waited. All this while the pandemic gains steam across the nation.
How are we going to make it through these final days? Jill Lawrence–writing for USA Today— has some suggestions. “Waiting for Joe Biden: How to make it through the final, awful days of Donald Trump. Marie Antoinette had nothing on Trump, who flew to Florida and hit the links after pardoning cronies and upending a desperately needed COVID relief deal”
It should never be shrugged off when a commander in chief offers pardons and clemency to convicted war criminals and white-collar criminals, cronies and allies and crooks with friends in high places. Especially when so many people are in prison due to old laws and requirements that have been overtaken by advances in brain science or new thinking on drug offenses, and that in some cases have been changed by states but not made retroactive. Especially when so many of those in prison are people of color.
It should never be shrugged off when a president flies to his luxury Florida golf club to hit the links after single-handedly upending months of painful negotiations for COVID-19 relief. Marie Antoinette had nothing on Trump. Don’t be fooled by his post-game insistence on $2,000 checks in every pot. He had months to make that demand and convince Republicans it was nonnegotiable. Instead, he made his move in a video three days before Christmas and two days after Congress finally agreed on a deal. This holiday season is now a time of fear and desperation for millions who are facing hunger, eviction and the end of unemployment benefits.
It should never be shrugged off when the leader of a great nation abandons his people in a pandemic, leaving them to disease and death and turning his brilliant, wealthy country into a global role model for failure. From testing, contact tracing and identifying mutations of the coronavirus, to shortages of personal protective equipment and inadequate, belated and sometimes nonexistent economic aid, the U.S. response has been a rolling tragedy of mistakes, inaction, confusion, false starts, false information, propaganda, lies and disrespect for science.
It should never be shrugged off when an entire political party betrays an entire country. Republicans elected and then kept in office a president they knew from the start was incapable of handling an emergency, protecting the general welfare of his fellow citizens, using his vast powers judiciously and nobly, or simply meeting a bare minimum standard of ethical behavior.
How it happened: Over many days, Mnuchin and McCarthy — aided by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who golfed with Trump in West Palm Beach on Friday — indulged the president’s rants, told him there was great stuff in the bill, and gave him “wins” he could announce, even though they didn’t change the bill.
- Playing to his vanity, they invoked his legacy,and reminded him he didn’t want to hurt people.
- They convinced the author of “The Art of the Deal” that he had shown himself to be a fighter, and that he had gotten all there was to get.
Trump’s sweeteners, from his 8:15 p.m. statement: “[T]he House and Senate have agreed to focus strongly on the very substantial voter fraud which took place in the November 3 Presidential election.”
- “The Senate will start the process for a vote that increases checks to $2,000, repeals Section 230, and starts an investigation into voter fraud. Big Tech must not get protections of Section 230! Voter Fraud must be fixed! Much more money is coming. I will never give up my fight for the American people!”
Reality check … Republican pollster Frank Luntz, who worked hard to understand Trump, told me: “It may be too late. Too late for him, too late for the economy, too late for Covid, and too late for the Georgia senators.”
This analysis is from Aaron Blake writing for WAPO.
With less than a month to go in his presidency, Trump put a significant ding in whatever exists of that portion of his legacy.
Trump decided over the Christmas holiday to threaten not to sign a combination coronavirus relief package and spending bill. Trump’s chief complaints: The deal delivered only $600 payments to the American people, rather than his desired $2,000, and he didn’t like the so-called pork — and especially foreign funding — in the legislation.
The exercise was bizarre from the jump for a number of reasons. First was that this was a deal forged by his own administration, with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin serving as lead negotiator and hailing it shortly before Trump decided to call it “a disgrace.” Second was that Trump raised virtually none of these concerns beforethe bill’s passage, instead waiting until after the hard work had (apparently) been done to hijack the process. And third was that the pork that Trump and his media allies criticized not only wasn’t in the coronavirus relief bill but was rather in an accompanying omnibus spending bill — actually by and large money that Trump himself had requested in his own proposed budget.
GOP Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (Ohio) summed it up best last week:
The whole gambit has now fallen apart in a spectacular but utterly predictable way, with Trump relenting and signing the bill Sunday night. Trump dubiously claimed nonspecific concessions from Congress in voter fraud. He also said he will send lawmakers a “redlined” version of the bill “insisting that those funds be removed” from it. But Trump can insist all he wants; Congress has no duty to actually follow through on his demand to that.
This basically means that the screeching in the presidential memo that linked to up top but refuse to print here is just that. A huge long wail for attention and an attempt to get us to think he cares about us. Breaking News: We don’t care about him. I don’t want to see him or hear him or even hear any one talk about him for any reason other than a court appearance or a jail sentence. I want him ignored like any rando internet troll.
Eric Levitz of New York Magazine argues that Trump may have accidently been a transitional president. Just that statement alone made me go read the article. The I was kinda sorry I did because all of this stimulus that is mostly due to pressure from the Democratic Congress did not add up to the level of stimulus necessary to get us through this economy or pandemic. The only thing I see between the Obama stimulus package and this one is that Republicans never want any economic policy but tax cuts to the wealthy and to huge corporations and they just basically try to get rid of spending on everything else. But, oh, well … I went there so now I have to quote it.
Of course, there are several other, massive distinctions between this year’s recession and 2009’s. Three thousand Americans weren’t dying each day from a pandemic disease 11 years ago. The world-historic scale of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the way it sidelined entire economic sectors, make it a categorically different emergency from the Great Financial Crisis. This reality — combined with the fact that the COVID crisis happened to arrive in a year when a Republican president was up for reelection — might seem sufficient to explain why a GOP Congress was willing to condone the CARES Act’s generous fiscal provisions.
But I think there’s more to it than that. For one thing, by injecting another $900 billion into the economy now— at a time when average disposable income in the U.S. is exceptionally high — Senate Republicans effectively set Joe Biden up to preside over a robust recovery when (and if) the U.S. achieves herd immunity through vaccination.
The fact that the typical American worker — who did not lose her job during the pandemic but did receive an unexpected $1,200 from the government — is actually in solid financial shape should not blind anyone to the utter financial devastation that is being needlessly visited upon tens of millions of less fortunate Americans. Nor should it obscure the holes that the pandemic has left in many state and city budgets and the implications that will have for social services and public transit absent further federal aid. The $900 billion stimulus is criminally insufficient to the scale of our nation’s mass suffering and fiscal woes. But in strictly macroeconomic terms — which is to say, in terms of whether there will be enough demand in the economy to fuel strong (if grossly inequitable) growth next year — the stimulus may be larger than necessary: The GOP donor class did not need U.S. households to get another $600 from the government in order to see their portfolios appreciate in 2021.
The fact that congressional Republicans supported stimulus anyway likely reflects the financial desperation of small-business owners, a powerful constituency within their coalition, as well as a calculation that failure to pass stimulus will undermine their incumbent senators in the Georgia runoff elections. But I believe that it is also indicative of deficit hawks’ declining ideological power — which the first three years of the Trump presidency did much to erode.
I really do not understand how you can argue declining power of deficit hawks in this scenario. It seems bizarre. There are never any Republican deficit hawks when we blow through a budget and a create huge deficits due to tax cuts. That argument only comes up when taxpayer money returns to the middle class which it really didn’t in this latest package. Anyway, go read this astoundingly crazy analysis and shake your head along with me if you dare.
So, here are some other articles I highly suggest you read.
And that’s enough from me today! We sure wont’ be out of this mess any time soon but at least we won’t have to deal with that horrid man any more.
What’s on your reading and blogging list ?
Just something light today…
Have a safe Sunday….
I thought this was an interesting commentary:
As usual it is an open thread.