“I don’t see anything criminal about this.” – Bet-hedger Vladimir Putin, on Hunter Biden’s business ties
Rounding The Coroner
With eight days of the election remaining, the Trump administration got caught covering up another White House coronavirus outbreak, continued actively spreading the virus around the country, and issued an official statement of surrender. Consider the pro-death vote locked up.
Five aides to Vice President Mike Pence, including his chief of staff and senior political advisor, have tested positive for the ‘rona. At least one of those aides was known to be infected several days ago, and White House Chief of Staff/Slow Learner Mark Meadows reportedly tried to stop the outbreak from becoming public. Pence, the head of the coronavirus task force, said he would skip quarantine (in defiance of CDC guidelines) and stick to his campaign travel schedule, which included a rally in North Carolina on Sunday evening.
At least everybody’s on the same page about explicitly giving up. Here’s Meadows on Sunday: “We are not going to control the pandemic.” (Sure, other countries have done it, but if every other country refused to jump off a bridge, would we just do that too?) Trump once again claimed that the U.S. is “absolutely rounding the corner” on Monday, after the country set a single-day record with 83,010 confirmed new cases on Friday, and reached an all-time high seven-day average. If we’re rounding any corner, it’s this one.
Lest anyone forget the president is a full-blown sociopath, this was his response to news reports about the third surge that’s already overwhelming hospitals in multiple states: “The Fake News Media is riding COVID, COVID, COVID, all the way to the Election. Losers!” Funny he should mention riding COVID to the election—Trump’s superspreading campaign rallies appear to have accelerated coronavirus outbreaks in at least five counties. Together, those counties reported 1,500 more new cases in the two weeks after Trump’s rallies than the two weeks before. The earliest post-rally spikes happened while the country’s overall coronavirus case numbers were in decline.
In a particularly spectacular show of recklessness, the White House will host a second Amy Coney Barrett corona-thon.
Senate Republicans are poised to confirm Barrett to the Supreme Court this evening, cementing a disastrous 6-3 conservative majority on the Court after 60 million Americans have already cast their votes for the next president. The White House will hold another outdoor party following the vote, since that went so well the first time. Meanwhile, GOP senators are doing their part to endanger their colleagues and set a terrible example: Two staffers for Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) have tested positive, but Loeffler headed on down to the Senate floor to vote for Barrett’s confirmation anyway.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) announced she would vote for Barrett, too, leaving Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) as the only Republican expected to vote against her confirmation. After Barrett is sworn in tonight, she could be at work on the bench as early as Tuesday. If any Democrats were still feeling squeamish about court reform, they should take a good long look at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s gleeful admission that Barrett’s rushed confirmation was about securing minority rule: “A lot of what we’ve done over the last four years will be undone sooner or later by the next election. They won’t be able to do much about this for a long time to come.”
Here’s the unfair thing about being a decent person: Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell may never feel a shred of regret for causing tens of thousands of deaths or hollowing out American democracy, but no matter how this election ends, you’ll remember what you did or didn’t do over the next eight days for the rest of your life. What happens next is still up to us, and it’s now or never.
Look No Further Than The Crooked Media
In case you missed it: Joe Biden stopped by Pod Save America to talk about what’s stake for our democracy in the 2020 election, his final debate with Trump, the climate crisis, Vote Early Day, and what we can do in the final days of the campaign. It’s a great interview, so give it a listen on the Pod Save America feed and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts →
Under The Radar
The Department of Health and Human Services has suspended a taxpayer-funded $250 million propaganda campaign about how the Coronavirus Response is Going Great, along with a planned Santa collaboration. HHS official Michael Caputo, who’s out on medical leave, worked out a deal with the chairman of (we did not make this up) the Fraternal Order of Real Bearded Santas: Santa performers would extoll the benefits of a coronavirus vaccine, in exchange for early vaccine access. (It’s unclear how Melania “Fuck Christmas” Trump felt about this.) That plan fell apart because, as every expert predicted, there is no vaccine yet. The agency may have less whimsical problems ahead: HHS political appointees are reportedly prepared to leave en masse if President Trump loses the election, leaving behind a hobbled health department in the middle of this winter’s coronavirus surge. At least 27 political appointees have already left HHS since the pandemic began.
A White House lawyer was involved in the scheme to smear Hunter Biden in the Wall Street Journal. Your tax dollars at work!
El Paso, TX, residents have been told to stay home for two weeks, as coronavirus cases overwhelm the area’s hospitals. Alexa, play Donald Trump At Last Week’s Debate: “There was a very big spike in Texas, it’s now gone.”
Some Michigan sheriffs have said they won’t enforce a ban on openly carrying guns near polling places on Election Day. Not the greatest.
Trump plans to win Pennsylvania by…promising revenge on Pennsylvania for making it hard for him to hold a superspreading rally. Your move, Pennsylvania.
Jared Kushner asserted today that Black people are complainers who simply don’t want to be successful, then went back to failing at the job he got by marrying a rich guy’s daughter.
Trump appointee Ronald Sanders has resigned over an executive order meant to strip away job protections for tens of thousands of civil servants: “I simply cannot be part of an Administration that seeks…to replace apolitical expertise with political obeisance.”
The president of Fox News and several top anchors have been told to quarantine after they were exposed to an infected person on a private flight. Fox News told employees in an internal memo that there are “a few positive COVID-19 cases” at the company. Alexa, play Fox News Hosts Downplaying Coronavirus For Months.
Sunday night’s 60 Minutes episode featuring interviews with both candidates, which Trump tried to undermine by releasing footage ahead of the broadcast, scored the show’s highest ratings since Stormy Daniels stopped by in 2018.
Watch your step, the Moon’s wet.
President Trump has fueled a rise in “Patriot Churches,” a network of congregations that are as political as they are religious. The churches are part of what religion experts describe as a Christian nationalist movement which has thrived under Trump, as Trump brought evangelicals and “fringe” Christians into the mainstream. The congregations share the common belief that America always has been and should remain a Christian nation, and that American Christianity is under attack. Here’s one pastor outside of Knoxville, TN: “Black Lives Matter isn’t being powered by the Holy Spirit. Antifa isn’t being powered by the Holy Spirit. They can’t save this land. There’s only one organization that has a shot at saving America, and that’s the church of Jesus Christ.” Trump’s personal contempt for conservative Christians doesn’t seem to pose a problem.
What A Sponsor
Today, as cities contemplate reopening and rebuilding their local economies, Lyft has expanded its Jobs Access Program to provide access to rides and additional job search support through Goodwill and United Way in 20 major cities. A ride — whether it’s on a Lyft bike, scooter, or rideshare — can go a long way towards supporting an individual’s economic mobility and recovery. In the first year of the Jobs Access Program, Lyft provided nearly 20,000 rides through its partners.
The program focuses on three key interventions in the employment pipeline that are critical to individual success, and where transportation can play a major role:
Rides to/from job training programs
Rides to/from job interviews
Rides to/from the first three weeks of employment, until individuals receive their first paycheck and begin to pay for their own transportation
Whether you’re in need of a ride or you want to donate and support others, the Jobs Access Hub makes it easy to take action. Qualifying individuals can use the Hub to see if a ride is available, and if so, Goodwill or United Way will distribute the ride credits.
LyftUp is Lyft’s comprehensive effort to expand transportation access to those who need it most. Through LyftUp, Lyft partners with leading nonprofits to help provide access to free and discounted rides to individuals and families who lack affordable, reliable transportation.
Is That Hope I Feel?
Georgia voter suppression appears to have backfired big-time.
Young people in Texas are voting early in astounding numbers; 66 percent of the 748,973 voters under 30 who had cast ballots as of Sunday didn’t vote in 2016. In part thanks to them, Democrats have real hope of flipping the Texas House.
A federal judge has blocked the Department of Housing and Urban Development from implementing a rule that would make it harder to bring discrimination claims under the Fair Housing Act, while a legal challenge plays out.
The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine candidate has been shown to produce an immune response in both young and old adults, according to an AstraZeneca spokesman.
Gremliny Nussboo on Twitter: “I had no idea that was the plural for a group of Pence aides.“