Trump Administration, Week 201: Friday, 20 November – Thursday, 26 November 2020 (Days 1,400-1,406

This is an ongoing project, and I update the site frequently during the day. Because I try to stay focused on what has actually happened, I usually let the news ‘settle’ for a day or so before posting. I hope readers will peruse the articles in full for a better understanding of the issues and their context; our democracy and our future depend on citizens who can distinguish between facts and falsehoods and who are engaged in the political process. Passages in bold in the body of the texts below are usually my emphasis, though not always.

 

For independent global news, visit Democracy Now!

 

For a newsletter about the history behind today’s politics, subscribe to Heather Cox Richardson’s newsletter, Letters from an American.

 

Friday, 20 November 2020, Day 1,400:

 

Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Friday, 20 November 2020: U.S. Passes 12 Million Covid-19 Cases. The country has also set a hospitalization record. Pfizer asked the F.D.A. for emergency approval of its vaccine, which might start being deployed by mid-December. The New York Times, Friday, 20 November 2020:

  • U.S. records 12 millionth case as virus surge gathers speed.

  • As curfews multiply, the U.S. breaks more records for new cases and hospitalizations.

  • Pfizer applies for emergency authorization of its vaccine.

  • Two Chinese port cities mobilize after finding a handful of cases.

  • Donald Trump Jr. tests positive for coronavirus. He has been isolating since Monday.

  • Andrew Giuliani, a White House official, tests positive after attending a news conference with his father and other Trump lawyers.

  • Senator Rick Scott of Florida is the latest member of Congress to test positive.

  • As the U.S. outbreak grows with alarming speed, political conflict hampers the response.

  • Health care systems struggle as newly detected cases approach 200,000 a day in the U.S.

  • Iran shuts businesses in 160 cities and adds restrictions to 200 more as cases rise.

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic on Friday, 20 November 2020: Pfizer applies for emergency vaccine approval as U.S. cases reach new high, The Washington Post, Hannah Knowles, Carolyn Y. Johnson, Darren Sands, Derek Hawkins, Antonia Noori Farzan, Hamza Shaban, Ruby Mellen, Marisa Iati, and Jacqueline Dupree, Friday, 20 November 2020: “Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech on Friday became the first companies to seek emergency authorization for a coronavirus vaccine in the United States, a landmark moment and a signal that a powerful tool to help control the pandemic could begin to be available by late December. Conditions around the country remain dire: The United States reported a record high of more than 196,000 new coronavirus cases on Friday and is likely to cross 12 million cases nationwide on Saturday, six days after surpassing 11 million.

Here are a few of the significant developments included in this article.

  • The Food and Drug Administration’s vaccine advisory committee will meet Dec. 10 to consider the Pfizer-BioNTech request, the agency said late Friday.
  • Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son, has tested positive for the coronavirus, according to a spokesman.
  • President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team condemned the Trump administration’s decision to end several emergency lending programs.
  • Infection rates dropped in Kansas counties that adopted mask mandates over the summer, while rising sharply in counties that didn’t, according to new research.
  • More than a quarter-million people in the United States have died of covid-19.

Pfizer Applies for Emergency Food and Drug Administration (F.D.A.) Approval for Covid-19 Vaccine, The New York Times, Noah Weiland and Katie Thomas, Friday, 20 November 2020: “The drug maker Pfizer said on Friday that it had submitted an application to the Food and Drug Administration to authorize its coronavirus vaccine for emergency use, setting in motion an accelerated regulatory process that could allow the first Americans to get a vaccine by the middle of December. Pfizer and its German partner, BioNTech, announced Wednesday that the vaccine was safe and 95 percent effective, and that it also worked well in older people and in preventing severe Covid-19. Another front-runner, Moderna, said on Monday that its vaccine, which uses similar technology, was 94.5 percent effective and that the company also expected to apply soon for emergency authorization. The two vaccines use a synthetic version of coronavirus genetic material, called mRNA, to program a person’s cells to churn out many copies of a fragment of the virus. An emergency authorization would allow limited groups of Americans to get the vaccines before the F.D.A. has completed the typical monthslong approval process, but agency officials have made clear through new guidelines that their bar for emergency authorization will be high.”

Continue reading Week 201, Friday, 20 November  – Thursday, 26 November 2020 (Days 1,400-1,406)

Continue reading…

Trump Administration, Week 200, Friday, 13 November – 19 November 2020 (Days 1,393-1,399)

 

This is an ongoing project, and I update the site frequently during the day. Because I try to stay focused on what has actually happened, I usually let the news ‘settle’ for a day or so before posting. I hope readers will peruse the articles in full for a better understanding of the issues and their context; our democracy and our future depend on citizens who can distinguish between facts and falsehoods and who are engaged in the political process. Passages in bold in the body of the texts below are usually my emphasis, though not always.

 

For independent global news, visit Democracy Now!

 

For a newsletter about the history behind today’s politics, subscribe to Heather Cox Richardson’s newsletter, Letters from an American.

 

Friday, 13 November 2020, Day 1,393:

 

Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Friday, 13 November 2020: Lockdowns Return, and North Dakota Issues Mask Mandate. As coronavirus cases trend upward in 49 states, President Trump makes no mention of the surge at a Rose Garden event. New Mexico and Oregon announce lockdowns. The New York Times, Friday, 13 November 2020:

  • More than 1 in 400 Americans test positive in a week, pushing New Jersey to a record and prompting restrictions in North Dakota.

  • Trump projects a rosy view on vaccines, while Biden blasts the federal coronavirus response.

  • Several states add restrictions across the country, including lockdowns in New Mexico and Oregon.

  • N.Y.C.’s mayor warns that public schools could close as early as Monday if positivity rate hits 3 percent.

  • At least 30 Secret Service officers test positive for the virus as others are asked to isolate.

  • Fauci weighs in on celebrating Thanksgiving as the virus rages through the United States.

  • These are the restrictions and mask mandates for all 50 states.

  • Russian and North Korean operatives are trying to hack coronavirus research firms, Microsoft said.

Other significant developments are included in this article.

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic for Friday, 13 November 2020: New Mexico is at ‘breaking point’ as U.S. shatters coronavirus case record again with 177,000 new cases, The Washington Post, Hannah Knowles, William Wan, Jacqueline Dupree, Brittany Shammas, Hamza Shaban, Miriam Berger, and Kim Bellware, Friday, 13 November 2020: “New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) said the state is at a ‘breaking point’ and reinstated the country’s most restrictive statewide measures since the fall surge began, while Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) announced a two-week statewide ‘freeze’ on Friday, which included curbing gatherings ahead of Thanksgiving.Other states are trying to avoid full-blown shutdowns by enacting almost every other kind of restriction, as the United States reported more than 177,000 new coronavirus cases, a record high for the third straight day.

Here are a few of the significant developments included in this article.

More than 130 Secret Service officers are said to be infected with coronavirus or quarantining in wake of Trump’s campaign travel, The Washington Post, Carol D. Leonnig and Josh Dawsey, Friday, 13 November 2020: “More than 130 Secret Service officers who help protect the White House and the president when he travels have recently been ordered to isolate or quarantine because they tested positive for the coronavirus or had close contact with infected co-workers, according to three people familiar with agency staffing. The spread of the coronavirus — which has sidelined roughly 10 percent of the agency’s core security team — is believed to be partly linked to campaign rallies that President Trump held in the weeks before the Nov. 3 election, according to the people who, like others interviewed for this report, spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the situation. In all, roughly 300 Secret Service officers and agents have had to isolate or quarantine since March because they were infected or exposed to infected colleagues, according to two people with knowledge of the figures.”

Continue reading Week 200, Friday, 13 November  – Thursday, 19 November 2020 (Days 1,393-1,399)

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Trump Administration, Week 199: Friday, 6 November – Thursday, 12 November 2020 (Days 1,386-1,392)

 

            Biden Beats Trump

  Kamala Harris Is First Woman             Elected Vice President

 

 

 

This is an ongoing project, and I update the site frequently during the day. Because I try to stay focused on what has actually happened, I usually let the news ‘settle’ for a day or so before posting. I hope readers will peruse the articles in full for a better understanding of the issues and their context; our democracy and our future depend on citizens who can distinguish between facts and falsehoods and who are engaged in the political process. Passages in bold in the body of the texts below are usually my emphasis, though not always.

 

For independent global news, visit Democracy Now!

 

For a newsletter about the history behind today’s politics, subscribe to Heather Cox Richardson’s newsletter, Letters from an American.

 

Friday, 6 November 2020, Day 1,386:

 

Latest Election Results: Biden’s Lead Grows Slowly but Steadily. Joe Biden pulled ahead of President Trump by more than 28,000 votes in Pennsylvania, where a victory would give Mr. Biden the electoral votes he needs to win the presidency. He also widened his leads in Nevada and Georgia. The New York Times, Friday, 6 November 2020:

  • Victory appears within Biden’s grasp as his lead widens in crucial battlegrounds.

  • The vote counting has slowed to a crawl across three critical states.

  • Perdue re-election race goes to runoff in Georgia, leaving Senate majority in limbo.

  • In Detroit, Republican poll watchers are accused of using baseless challenges to delay ballot count.

  • Biden, leading in Pennsylvania, nears victory in the state and the election.

  • Biden’s lead grows in Nevada, putting him near victory there.

  • As Biden takes the lead in Georgia, state officials say a recount is inevitable.

Other significant developments are included in this article.

Election 2020 live updates and results: Biden expresses confidence that he’ll win as states keep tallying votes, The Washington Post, Amy B Wang, Colby Itkowitz, John Wagner, Michelle Ye Hee Lee, Brittany Shamas, Derek Hawkins, Elise Viebeck, and Josh Dawsey, Friday, 6 November 2020: “White House chief of staff Mark Meadows has tested positive for coronavirus, according to an administration official with knowledge of the diagnosis. This comes a little more than a month after President Trump and other members of his family and inner circle tested positive. The White House declined to comment Friday. Also Friday, former vice president Joe Biden addressed the public, acknowledging that votes were still being tabulated but expressing confidence he would soon be able to claim a win. ‘My fellow Americans, we don’t have a final declaration of victory yet, but the numbers … tell us a clear and convincing story. We’re going to win this race,’ Biden said from Delaware.

Here are a few of the significant developments included in this article.

  • Pennsylvania: Biden leads by close to 29,000 votes in the count.
  • Georgia: Biden leads in the count by about 4,400 votes. Counties have finished counting early and absentee ballots and are focused on provisional ballots.
  • Nevada: Biden leads in the count by more than 22,000 votes. More vote counts are expected at noon Eastern time on Saturday.
  • Arizona: Biden’s lead in the vote count is just under 30,000 votes. Maricopa County, the state’s largest, has about 72,000 early ballots left to process and count, 5,000 early ballots to verify and 15,000 provisional ballots to process as of 9 p.m. Eastern on Friday, according to its elections department.

Trump has told people he has no plans to concede even if his path to victory is blocked, CNN Politics, Kevin Liptak and Kaitlan Collins, Friday, 6 November 2020: “Facing a disappearing pathway to victoryPresident Donald Trump offered little indication on Friday he was prepared to concede defeat, leading those around him to wonder who might be able to reckon with a leader who has given virtually no thought to leaving the White House. Even as vote totals now show him trailing former Vice President Joe Biden in key battlegrounds, Trump has not prepared a concession speech and in conversations with allies in recent days has said he has no intention of conceding the election, people familiar with the matter said. So far he has been bolstered in his stance by those closest to him, including his senior advisers and his adult sons, who have mounted an aggressive effort in the courts to challenge the results and have pressured other Republicans into defending him. Top aides, including his chief of staff Mark Meadows, have not attempted to come to terms with the President about the reality of what is happening. Instead, they have fed his baseless claim that the election is being stolen from underneath him. That has led to some annoyance among staff, who believe Meadows is feeding the President’s baseless claim that the election is illegitimate.”

Continue reading Week 199, Friday, 6 November  – Thursday, 12 November 2020 (Days 1,386-1,392)

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Trump Administration, Week 198, Friday, 30 October – Thursday, 5 November 2020 (Days 1,379-1,385)

 

Passages in bold in the body of the texts below are usually my emphasis, though not always. This is an ongoing project, and I update the site frequently during the day. Because I try to stay focused on what has actually happened, I usually let the news ‘settle’ for a day or so before posting. I hope readers will peruse the articles in full for a better understanding of the issues and their context; our democracy and our future depend on citizens who can distinguish between facts and falsehoods and who are engaged in the political process.

 

For independent global news, visit Democracy Now!

 

For a newsletter about the history behind today’s politics, subscribe to Heather Cox Richardson’s newsletter, Letters from an American.

 

Friday, 30 October 2020, Day 1,379:

 

Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Friday, 30 October 2020: U.S. Breaks Daily Record With Over 99,000 New Cases as Coronavirus Surge Quickens. Nearly two dozen states are reporting their worst weeks ever for new cases. The S&P 500 had its worst week since March. The New York Times, Friday, 30 October 2020:

  • New C.D.C. report shows how quickly the virus can spread within households, even when the first case is a child.

  • Big Tech meltdown and rising virus cases lead S&P 500 to worst week since March.

  • Regeneron says it will stop enrolling seriously ill Covid-19 patients in its antibody trials.

  • C.D.C. advisers consider measures that would provide early vaccine access to many people of color.

  • New York has a plan to allow schools in hardest-hit areas to reopen.

  • Belgium locks down in a ‘last chance’ bid to keep its hospitals from collapse, and other news from around the world.

  • College health officers are putting plans into place ahead of Thanksgiving break.

  • Outbreaks in swing states could have election consequences.

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic on Friday, 30 October 2020: U.S. reports nearly 100,000 new cases in one day as infections surge in battleground states, The Washington Post, Antonia Noori Farzan, Rick Noack, Kim Bellware, Paulina Villegas, Miriam Berger, Taylor Telford, Hannah Knowles, and Darren Sands, Friday, 30 October 2020: “The United States reported nearly 100,000 new coronavirus cases in a day on Friday, setting a record as a fall wave of infections surge in every swing state that will be crucial to next week’s presidential election. The number of infections nationwide surpassed 9 million reported infections on Friday, just 15 days after the tally hit 8 million. At least 229,000 deaths have been linked to the coronavirus.

Here are a few of the significant developments included in this article.

  • Belgian authorities on Friday announced a six-week closure of nonessential businesses and tight limits on social contacts as the country tries to stave off caseloads that could fill hospitals to capacity within a week.
  • A growing number of government scientists and physicians are pushing back against the president’s political agenda when it comes to the pandemic.
  • State health officials say they do not have enough money to distribute a coronavirus vaccine once it is approved.
  • U.S. household spending, the primary engine of the economy, soared in September before coronavirus infections started increasing across the country, fresh economic data shows.

Trump rolled back more than 125 environmental safeguards. Here’s how. The Washington Post, Juliet Eilperin, Brady Dennis, and John Muyskens, Friday, 30 October 2020: “[O]ver the course of nearly four years, [the Trump] administration has steadily loosened oversight of polluting industries, eroded protections for endangered wildlife and stymied Obama-era efforts to address the globe’s most daunting environmental threat: climate change. A Washington Post analysis has found that as Trump’s first term winds to a close, he has weakened or wiped out more than 125 rules and policies aimed at protecting the nation’s air, water and land, with 40 more rollbacks underway. The administration has accelerated its push to deregulate in the weeks before the election, to ease requirements on power plants that leak waste into waterways, weaken efficiency standards for dishwashers, scale back oversight of mine safety and approve seismic drilling in an Alaska wildlife refuge.”

Continue reading Week 198, Friday, 30 October  – Thursday, 5 November 2020 (Days 1,379-1,385)

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Trump Administration, Week 197: Friday, 23 October – Thursday, 29 October 2020 (Days 1,372-1,378)

 

Passages in bold in the body of the texts below are usually my emphasis, though not always. This is an ongoing project, and I update the site frequently during the day. Because I try to stay focused on what has actually happened, I usually let the news ‘settle’ for a day or so before posting. I hope readers will peruse the articles in full for a better understanding of the issues and their context; our democracy and our future depend on citizens who can distinguish between facts and falsehoods and who are engaged in the political process.

 

For independent global news, visit Democracy Now!

 

For a newsletter about the history behind today’s politics, subscribe to Heather Cox Richardson’s newsletter, Letters from an American.

 

Friday, 23 October 2020, Day 1,372:

 

Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Friday, 23 October 2020: Resurgent Coronavirus Rages Across the American Heartland.  The U.S. set a daily record of over 85,000 new cases on Friday. Hospitalizations are up 40 percent and deaths are creeping up in several states. New York Times, Friday, 23 October 2020:

  • A resurgent virus attacks the heartland, just before the election.

  • Hospitals on the brink of capacity as the virus continues its surge across the U.S.

  • A soaring number of Covid-19 cases brings back ragged memories of mid-July.

  • On college campuses, virus cases keep climbing.

  • After pausing for safety concerns, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson have resumed their U.S. vaccine trials.

  • The Trump administration shut down a vaccine safety office last year. Now what?

  • Poland comes close to a national lockdown with additional restrictions.

  • A coronavirus revolt in England, and other news from around the world.

  • Nepal suspends access to Mount Everest after a local virus case is detected.

Other significant developments are included in this article.

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic for Friday, 23 October 2020: U.S. hits all-time high in daily new coronavirus cases, exceeding 80,000 in a day for the first time, The Washington Post, Antonia Noori Farzan, Rick Noack, Adam Taylor, Paulina Villegas, Kim Bellware, Jacqueline Dupree, Hamza Shaban, Hannah Knowles, and Darren Sands, Friday, 23 October 2020: “The United States hit an all-time high Friday in daily new coronavirus cases, surpassing the previous record set during a summer surge of cases across the Sun Belt. Friday’s tally — the first above 80,000 — comes as many states break their records for new infections. The average number of covid-19 hospitalizations has jumped in at least 38 states over the past week, a trend that cannot be explained by more widespread testing, according to data tracked by The Washington Post. Fourteen states have also reported new highs in hospitalized covid-19 patients in the past seven days: Kentucky, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Iowa, Utah, Montana, West Virginia, Missouri and Kansas. Health experts say the current wave is setting the stage for an even greater surge heading into colder months.

Here are a few of the significant developments included in this article.

  • The Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine trial, paused because of a participant’s unexplained illness, will resume soon, and a vaccine candidate from AstraZeneca and Oxford University has been cleared to restart trials in the United States.
  • Data from a project tracking real-time coronavirus statistics yields a particularly vivid illustration of how mask usage influences the prevalence of covid-19 symptoms in a given area. See it here.
  • Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin delivered a downbeat assessment Friday about his economic stimulus talks with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), saying ‘significant differences’ remain.
  • The governor of Italy’s third-most-populous region said Friday that he is enacting a strict lockdown, reimposing the rules of March and April that brought life to a standstill.
  • The Trump administration has been pressuring health experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to endorse the use of border hotels to hold migrant children before deporting them, according to federal health officials.
  • A travel group report says flying is safe. The doctor whose research it cited says not so fast.

Herding People to Slaughter: The Dangerous Fringe Theory behind the Great Barrington Declaration and Push toward Herd Immunity, Union of Concerned Scientists, Derrick Z. Jackson, Friday, 23 October 2020: “Officials at the highest levels are discussing the possibility of caving in on controlling the coronavirus and instead letting it run rampant throughout the United States until we reach ‘herd immunity,’ the point where the virus effectively runs out of people to infect. More than 6,200 scientists, health professionals, and research organizations say this is inhumane and have signed a memorandum rejecting herd immunity as a legitimate strategy. Published last week in the The Lancet, the document is named for John Snow, considered the father of modern epidemiology for mapping out the 1854 London cholera epidemic to pinpoint its source and cause, deadly water contaminated by sewage that was managed by a particular water company. The John Snow Memorandum, signed by the Union of Concerned Scientists (and individually by my wife, a physician and epidemiologist at the Harvard School of Public Health), warns that many factors render herd immunity a ‘dangerous fallacy unsupported by scientific evidence.’ Chief among them are that the coronavirus is much deadlier than the seasonal flu, and it remains unclear how long any immunity lasts after one recovers from an infection. That makes it likely that a herd immunity strategy, according to the memo, will surely cause a huge number of preventable deaths, run the risk of triggering recurrent epidemics, and potentially ‘overwhelm the ability of healthcare systems to provide acute and routine care.'”

Election 2020 Updates: With the Debates Over, Biden Assails Trump’s Coronavirus Response.More than 50 million Americans have already voted. The president returned to form on the campaign trail in Florida. Joe Biden’s vow to ‘transition away from the oil industry’ made waves. The New York Times, Friday, 23 October 2020:

  • A day after a disciplined debate performance, Trump returns to form in Florida.

  • An order allowing multiple drop boxes per county in Texas is upheld, but an appeal is likely.

  • In a blow to the Trump campaign, a Pennsylvania court makes it harder to reject mail-in ballots.

  • As their governor resists a mask mandate, Iowans sour on the G.O.P.

  • Biden’s vow to ‘transition away from the oil industry’ is a double-edged political sword.

  • TV ratings for the final Trump-Biden debate fell short of the first.

  • New York City billboards featuring Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner draw a threatening letter.

  • The C.D.C. offers tips for voting safely during a pandemic.

Continue reading Week 197, Friday, 23 October  – Thursday, 29 October 2020 (Days 1,372-1,378)

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Trump Administration, Week 196: Friday, 16 October – Thursday, 22 October 2020 (Days 1,365-1,371)

 

Passages in bold in the body of the texts below are usually my emphasis, though not always. This is an ongoing project, and I update the site frequently during the day. Because I try to stay focused on what has actually happened, I usually let the news ‘settle’ for a day or so before posting. I hope readers will peruse the articles in full for a better understanding of the issues and their context; our democracy and our future depend on citizens who can distinguish between facts and falsehoods and who are engaged in the political process.

 

For independent global news, visit Democracy Now!

 

For a newsletter about the history behind today’s politics, subscribe to Heather Cox Richardson’s newsletter, Letters from an American.

 

Friday, 16 October 2020, Day 1,365:

 

Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Friday, 16 October 2020: White House Coronavirus Adviser Scott Atlas Prefers ‘Herd Immunity’ Over Testing, The New York Times, Friday, 16 October 2020:

  • False positive rapid tests briefly threw the N.F.L.’s Colts into disarray.

  • A top White House coronavirus adviser has resisted widespread testing, pushing for a form of herd immunity instead.

  • The spread through rural America has created problems in small towns that lack key resources.

  • The first U.S. distribution plan for vaccines uses CVS and Walgreens to get any approved to those in long-term care.

  • Latino and Black Americans are still dying in disproportionately high numbers, the C.D.C. says.

  • Belgium shuts bars and restaurants and imposes a curfew to halt a spike in cases.

  • ‘We are headed in the wrong direction’: The U.S. records its highest tallies since July.

  • Judge upholds Cuomo’s restrictions on religious services in hot spots.

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic on Friday, 16 October 2020: U.S. surpasses 64,000 new coronavirus infections two days in a row for first time since late July, The Washington Post, Antinia Noori Farzan, Jennifer Hassan, Rick Noack, Marisa Iati, Adam Taylor, Paulina Villegas, Kim Bellware, Hannah Denham, Darren Sands, and Meryl Kornfield, Friday, 16 October 2020: “For the first time since late July, the tally of newly reported coronavirus cases in the United States surpassed 64,000 on Thursday and Friday. In 44 states and the District of Columbia, caseloads are higher than they were one month ago, and many of the new infections are being reported in rural areas with limited hospital capacity. More than 8,000,000 cases have been reported nationwide since February, and at least 216,000 people in the United States have died of covid-19, the disease caused by the virus.

Here are a few of the significant developments included in this article.

  • Pfizer will not apply for emergency use authorization for a coronavirus vaccine until late November, backtracking on earlier assertions that the pharmaceutical company would have it ready this month.
  • A person would need to sit next to an infectious passenger in a commercial flight for at least 54 hours to get infected, a Defense Department study found.
  • Health-workers across the Midwest are issuing dire warnings that hospitals and health-care facilities are ‘bursting at the seams’ amid a surge in coronavirus cases. Eight hospitals in the Kansas City area in Missouri had to temporarily stop accepting ambulances Wednesday night.
  • After President Trump announced he would send $200 each to older Americans to help pay for medicine, aides and Medicare officials scrambled to draft a plan. But the president’s promise has raised questions over whether such discount cards are legal, or even possible.
  • Europe set a record this week for new coronavirus infections, overtaking the United States in cases per capita, and a top World Health Organization official warned Thursday that death rates on the continent this winter could be five times worse than the April peak if people are not strict about masks and social distancing.

Election 2020 Updates: Trump Holds Rallies in the South as Republicans Begin to Edge Away From Him, The New York Times, Friday, 16 October 2020:

  • Senate Republicans are beginning to publicly put distance between themselves and the president.

  • If he loses the election, Trump mused Friday, ‘Maybe I’ll have to leave the country.’

  • Biden beat Trump in the ratings battle after the two appeared on rival network town halls.

  • Senator David Perdue mockingly mispronounces Kamala Harris’s name at a rally.

  • She might like Trump’s smile, but he doesn’t have her vote.

  • Biden, in Michigan, vows: ‘I’ll take care of your health coverage.’

  • At a rally in Florida, Trump appears to confuse a G.O.P. congressman with a former aide.

  • 80 percent of election rulings by G.O.P.-appointed judges this year made voting harder, study says.

  • Republicans still lead in Alaska, but it’s getting more competitive, a Times/Siena poll finds.

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Continue reading...

Trump Administration, Week 195: Friday, 9 October – Thursday, 15 October 2020 (Days 1,358-1,364)

Passages in bold in the body of the texts below are usually my emphasis, though not always. This is an ongoing project, and I update the site frequently during the day. Because I try to stay focused on what has actually happened, I usually let the news ‘settle’ for a day or so before posting. I hope readers will peruse the articles in full for a better understanding of the issues and their context; our democracy and our future depend on citizens who can distinguish between facts and falsehoods and who are engaged in the political process.

 

For independent global news, visit Democracy Now!

 

For a newsletter about the history behind today’s politics, subscribe to Heather Cox Richardson’s newsletter, Letters from an American.

 

Friday, 9 October 2020, Day 1,358:

 

Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Friday, 9 October 2020: White House Blocked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (C.D.C.) From Mandating Masks on Public Transit, The New York Times, Friday, 9 October 2020:

  • The White House blocked the C.D.C. from requiring masks on public transit.

  • A Brooklyn judge declined a request to block Cuomo’s restrictions on houses of worship.

  • Trump plans an in-person event on Saturday at the White House, against medical advice.

  • Fauci says the White House hosted a ‘super spreader event.’

  • ‘Pandemic fatigue’ presents a challenge in areas scrambling to avert a second wave.

  • At a school attended by some of Amy Coney Barrett’s children, one teacher and two students have tested positive.

  • The White House raises its stimulus offer in scramble to revive talks.

  • The nation’s head of coronavirus testing says Nevada could face ‘penalties’ for discontinuing government-issued rapid tests at nursing homes.

  • Curbside pickup has lent a much-needed jolt to traditional retail.

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic for Friday, 9 October 2020: Dr. Anthony Fauci says White House had a superspreader event as Trump resumes public events, The Washington Post, Siobhán O’Grady, Marisa Iati, Lateshia Beachum, Paulina Villegas, Hannah Denham, Hannah Knowles, and Colby Itkowitz, Friday, 9 October 2020: “The White House had a superspreader event, Anthony S. Fauci — the nation’s top infectious-disease expert — said Friday, as the circle of infections in President Trump’s orbit widens, with many cases identified among attendees at a largely mask-free event in the Rose Garden late last month. Fauci’s comments came on the same day that an administration official said Trump will resume public events this weekend, beginning with an outdoor speech at the White House.

Here are a few of the significant developments included in this article.

  • Trump said in a television interview broadcast Friday night that he had been retested for the coronavirus but offered only a vague summary of the result.
  • The Commission on Presidential Debates said the second debate between Biden and Trump, scheduled for Thursday in Miami, has been canceled, citing the fact that both Trump and Biden have made other plans for that evening.
  • The World Health Organization reported its highest daily tally of new coronavirus cases to date — 350,766 — as infections accelerate even while death rates decline in viral hot spots.
  • Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin made a $1.8 trillion offer to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) Friday in a renewed search for an economic relief deal, but agreement remained elusive as Pelosi said her terms still weren’t met.
  • The United States on Friday reported more than 57,000 new coronavirus cases, its highest single-day tally since early August, according to data tracked by The Washington Post.
  • Iranian hospitals will no longer accept non-emergency patients, as the country’s coronavirus outbreak continues to overwhelm its health resources.
  • The World Food Program was awarded the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday, a recognition of the critical work the United Nations agency does to prevent hunger around the world, especially during the pandemic.

White House Blocked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (C.D.C.) From Requiring Masks on Public Transportation, The New York Times, Sheila Kaplan, Friday, 9 October 2020: “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention drafted a sweeping order last month requiring all passengers and employees to wear masks on all forms of public and commercial transportation in the United States, but it was blocked by the White House, according to two federal health officials. The order would have been the toughest federal mandate to date aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus, which continues to infect more than 40,000 Americans a day. The officials said that it was drafted under the agency’s ‘quarantine powers’ and that it had the support of the secretary of health and human services, Alex M. Azar II, but the White House Coronavirus Task Force, led by Vice President Mike Pence, declined to even discuss it. The two officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to comment, said the order would have required face coverings on airplanes, trains, buses and subways, and in transit hubs such as airports, train stations and bus depots. A task force official said the decision to require masks should be left up to states and localities. The administration requires the task force to sign off on coronavirus-related policies.”

Election 2020 Updates: Saying ‘I Feel Strong,’ Trump Plans Rallies at White House and in Florida, The New York Times, Friday, 9 October 2020:

  • Trump says he is ‘medication free’ in an interview with Fox News.

  • Trump plans to hold a rally for thousands on the White House lawn Saturday, raising new concerns over possible virus spread.

  • Next week’s presidential debate has officially been canceled.

  • A federal judge blocks the Texas governor’s move to limit ballot drop-offs.

  • A legal group sues the Justice Department to obtain documents on voter fraud investigations.

  • In Minnesota, a mysterious ad for poll security guards alarms officials.

  • In an attempted replay of 2016, Trump pushes for a release of Hillary Clinton’s emails — and Pompeo accedes.

  • South Carolina Senate debate scuttled after Lindsey Graham refused to take a coronavirus test.

  • Biden’s standing among voters is rising despite Trump’s attacks. That is a big deal.

Continue reading Week 195, Friday, 9 October  – Thursday, 15 October 2020 (Days 1,358-1,364)

Continue reading...

Trump Administration, Week 194: Friday, 2 October – Thursday, 8 October 2020 (Days 1,351-1,357)

Passages in bold in the body of the texts below are usually my emphasis, though not always. This is an ongoing project, and I update the site frequently during the day. Because I try to stay focused on what has actually happened, I usually let the news ‘settle’ for a day or so before posting. I hope readers will peruse the articles in full for a better understanding of the issues and their context; our democracy and our future depend on citizens who can distinguish between facts and falsehoods and who are engaged in the political process.

 

For independent global news, visit Democracy Now!

 

For a newsletter about the history behind today’s politics, subscribe to Heather Cox Richardson’s newsletter, Letters from an American.

 

Friday, 2 October 2020, Day 1,351:

 

Trump Tests Positive for the Coronavirus, The New York Times, Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman, Friday, 2 October 2020: “President Trump revealed early Friday morning that he and the first lady, Melania Trump, had tested positive for the coronavirus, throwing the nation’s leadership into uncertainty and escalating the crisis posed by a pandemic that has already killed more than 207,000 Americans and devastated the economy. Mr. Trump, who for months has played down the seriousness of the virus and hours earlier on Thursday night told an audience that ‘the end of the pandemic is in sight,’ will quarantine in the White House for an unspecified period of time, forcing him to withdraw at least temporarily from the campaign trail only 32 days before the election on Nov. 3. The dramatic disclosure came in a Twitter message just before 1 a.m. after a suspenseful evening following reports that Mr. Trump’s close adviser Hope Hicks had tested positive. In her own tweet about 30 minutes later, Mrs. Trump wrote that the first couple were ‘feeling good,’ but the White House did not say whether they were experiencing symptoms. The president’s physician said he could carry out his duties ‘without disruption’ from the Executive Mansion. ‘Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19,’ Mr. Trump tweeted. ‘We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!’ Mr. Trump’s positive test result posed immediate challenges for the future of his campaign against former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Democratic nominee, with barely a month until Election Day. Even if Mr. Trump, 74, remains asymptomatic, he will lose much of his remaining time on the campaign trail. If he becomes sick, it could raise questions about whether he should remain on the ballot at all…. During late-night conversations, aides to Mr. Trump were discussing whether he should give an address to the nation on Friday from the White House or find some other way for him to reassure the public. But the aides were still in a state of shock as they absorbed the news, and there was no immediate word on how far the infection may have spread among senior White House officials, who generally do not wear masks in deference to the president’s disdain for them.” See also, Invincibility punctured by infection: How the coronavirus spread in Trump’s White House, The Washington Post, Philip Rucker, Josh Dawsey, Ashley Parker, and Robert Costa, Friday, 2 October 2020: “The ceremony in the White House Rose Garden last Saturday was a triumphal flashback to the Before Times — before public health guidelines restricted mass gatherings, before people were urged to wear masks and socially distance. President Trump and first lady Melania Trump welcomed more than 150 guests as the president formally introduced Judge Amy Coney Barrett, his nominee for the Supreme Court. A handful of Republican senators were there, including Mike Lee of Utah, who hugged and mingled with guests. So was Kellyanne Conway, the recently departed senior counselor to the president, as well as the Rev. John I. Jenkins, the president of the University of Notre Dame, who left his Indiana campus where a coronavirus outbreak had recently occurred to celebrate an alumna’s nomination. Spirits were high. Finally, Trump was steering the national discussion away from the coronavirus pandemic — which had already killed more than 200,000 people in the United States and was still raging — to more favorable terrain, a possible conservative realignment of the Supreme Court. Attendees were so confident that the contagion would not invade their seemingly safe space at the White House that, according to Jenkins, after guests tested negative that day they were instructed they no longer needed to cover their faces. The no-mask mantra applied indoors as well. Cabinet members, senators, Barrett family members and others mixed unencumbered at tightly packed, indoor receptions in the White House’s Diplomatic Room and Cabinet Room. Five days later, that feeling of invincibility was cruelly punctured. On Thursday, counselor to the president Hope Hicks, who reported feeling symptoms during a trip with the president to Minnesota on Wednesday, tested positive for the virus. Early Friday morning, Trump announced that he and the first lady also had tested positive and had begun isolating inside the White House residence. On Friday, Lee, Conway and Jenkins announced that they, too, had tested positive, as did Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), who was at the ceremony, and Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, who had recently spent time with the president, including at an indoor fundraiser last week. At least three journalists who had been at White House events in the past week also reported testing positive on Friday. And White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said he was bracing for additional infections among administration officials.” See also, Trump goes to Walter Reed hospital for coronavirus treatment, The Washington Post, Josh Dawsey, Ashley Parker, Colby Itkowitz, and Toluse Olorunnipa, published on Saturday, 3 October 2020: “President Trump was taken to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Friday for a stay that was expected to last several days, a move the White House said was made out of an abundance of caution after he tested positive for the deadly coronavirus and experienced symptoms…. Trump, who is 74, began taking a cocktail of drugs as a ‘precautionary measure,’ according to doctor Sean Conley, who provided only limited information about Trump’s condition or the reasons for his extended stay at Walter Reed. ‘In addition to the polyclonal antibodies, the President has been taking zinc, vitamin D, famotidine, melatonin and a daily aspirin,’ Conley said in a White House memo Friday afternoon, describing Trump as ‘fatigued but in good spirits.’ Conley said Trump received an 8-gram dose of Regeneron’s polyclonal antibody cocktail via ‘infusion without incident.’ A few hours later, Trump walked to Marine One wearing a mask, then was transported to Walter Reed.” See also, Trump Tests Positive for Covid, Roiling Campaign and White House, Bloomberg, Jordan Fabian and Jennifer Jacobs, Friday, 2 October 2020: “U.S. President Donald Trump said early Friday that he has tested positive for coronavirus along with his wife and one of his closest aides, throwing an already volatile campaign into deeper disarray just one month before the election. Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen, underwent their routine daily Covid-19 check and tested negative, his press secretary Devin O’Malley tweeted early Friday. The election campaign of Democrat Joe Biden has focused heavily on Trump’s handling of the coronavirus, which has already killed more than 200,000 Americans and deepened inequalities. Biden and others have criticized Trump’s response as slow and ineffective.” See also, Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump test positive for Covid-19, CNN Politics, Kevin Liptak, Kaitlan Collins, Betsy Klein, Jim Acosta, and Paul LeBlanc, Friday, 2 October 2020: “Donald Trump announced early Friday that he and his wife both tested positive for the coronavirus, an extraordinary development coming months into a global pandemic and in the final stretch of his reelection campaign in which he has flouted experts’ guidance on preventing the disease’s spread.” See also, Trump and first lady Melania test positive for coronavirus, The Guardian, Maanvi Singh and Peter Beaumont, Friday, 2 October 2020: “The US presidential election has been plunged into disarray after Donald Trump and his wife, Melania, tested positive for coronavirus following weeks in which the US president sought to suggest that the worst of the pandemic was over.” See also, Trump Tests Positive for the Coronavirus, and a Nation Anticipates Chaos, The New Yorker, David Remnick, Friday, 2 October 2020:  “Donald Trump and his wife, Melania, have tested positive for the coronavirus, an announcement which is bound to throw the Presidential race into a state of grave uncertainty, if not chaos. The novel coronavirus pandemic has killed more than two hundred thousand Americans and more than a million people worldwide. From the very beginning of the pandemic, Trump has denied or diminished the seriousness of covid-19, from its initial outbreak in China to its spread to Europe and beyond. In interviews with Bob Woodward, for the journalist’s book ‘Rage,’ Trump admitted that he well understood from advisers how lethal and fast-spreading the disease could be, but in public statements he downplayed the danger, saying repeatedly that the virus would disappear with the summer’s warm weather and that there was little to worry about. To the despair of the scientific and medical communities, which have uniformly said that the disease can be best contained if people wear protective masks and maintain a social distance, Trump has repeatedly flouted their advice and touted disreputable treatments. As recently as Tuesday’s Presidential debate, in Cleveland, Trump mocked his opponent, Joe Biden, for wearing masks and practicing social distancing. ” See also, ‘This was avoidable’: Trump had been downplaying the virus from the start. In recent weeks, Trump has put himself and others at risk by holding mass gatherings, some indoors, and shunning mask use while claiming the end of the virus was just around the corner. NBC News, Shannon Pettypiece, Friday, 2 October 2020: “After months of publicly rejecting the advice of his own medical experts, President Donald Trump has fallen victim to his own false narrative around the risks of the coronavirus and how to avoid getting infected. The news early Friday that the president and first lady Melania Trump had tested positive for Covid-19 came as a jolt — but medical experts said it shouldn’t have. In recent weeks, Trump, 74, has put his health and the health of his staff at risk by holding mass gatherings, some indoors, and shunning mask use while claiming that the end of the virus was just around the corner. In turn, his staff, his family members and his supporters have followed his lead. He may have been infected by one of his top aides, Hope Hicks, who works in a White House that has disregarded every workplace recommendation for social distancing, with few people wearing masks, no efforts made to spread out desks and staff members’ cramming into meeting rooms. His campaign has routinely packed thousands of supporters into rallies where masks are booed by the crowd. ‘This was avoidable. This did not have to happen if they were practicing the proper procedures and not going to these rallies and having these chaotic events, where, of course, airborne exposure was going to happen despite it being in an outdoor setting,’ said NBC News contributor Dr. Vin Gupta, a lung specialist at the University of Washington. ‘No masking, no distancing — what did they expect was going to happen?'” See also, The Busy Week When Trump Met the Coronavirus. He disparaged masks, encouraged big campaign crowds and employed an often-unreliable test to keep him safe. All the while it turned out the virus was nearby. The New York Times, Michael D. Shear, Maggie Haberman, and Kenneth P. Vogel, Friday, 2 October 2020.

Trump Kept Regular Schedule After Learning Close Aide Hope Hicks Had Covid-19, Bloomberg, Jennifer Jacobs and Josh Wingrove, Friday, 2 October 2020: “President Donald Trump learned on Thursday morning that his aide Hope Hicks tested positive for coronavirus, yet continued on with a full schedule of events, including a fundraiser at his New Jersey resort that raised $5 million, according to people familiar with the situation. Trump’s movements are being closely scrutinized since he later tested positive for coronavirus, announcing the news shortly before 1 a.m. Friday, Washington time. The White House has not said when Trump first tested positive for the virus, but Trump said late Thursday he was awaiting results. In between learning the news of Hicks’ infection Thursday morning and announcing his own early Friday, Trump stuck to his prepared schedule. That decision would appear to contradict the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance on COVID, which reads: ‘Even if you test negative for COVID-19 or feel healthy, you should stay home (quarantine) since symptoms may appear 2 to 14 days after exposure to the virus.'”

Joe Biden calls Trump’s positive test a ‘bracing reminder’ of the seriousness of the coronavirus pandemic, CNN Politics, Eric Bradner, Sarah Mucha, and Kate Sullivan, Friday, 2 October 2020: “Joe Biden said President Donald Trump‘s positive test for coronavirus is a ‘bracing reminder’ of the seriousness of the pandemic. ‘We have to take this virus seriously. It’s not going away automatically,’ the former vice president said Friday in a speech during a pared-back trip to Michigan that followed Biden testing negative for the virus in the morning. ‘We have to do our part to be responsible. It means following the science, listening to the experts, washing our hands, social distancing. It means wearing a mask in public. It means encouraging others to do so as well.’ Wearing a mask and standing in front of an American flag in the parking lot of a union hall in Grand Rapids, the Democratic nominee said he and his wife, Jill Biden, send their ‘prayers for the health and safety’ of Trump and first lady Melania Trump, who also tested positive. He also implored Americans to wear masks — a message he has delivered for months, but with political implications that were difficult to miss after Trump’s entourage had ignored the Cleveland Clinic’s rules requiring masks at Tuesday night’s debate, while Biden’s guests wore masks. ‘Be patriotic,’ Biden said. ‘It’s not about being a tough guy. It’s about doing your part. Wearing a mask is not only going to protect you, but it also protects those around you. Your mom, your dad, your brother, your sister, husband, wife, neighbor, co-worker. Don’t just do it for yourself. Do it for the people you love, the people you work with.'”

Continue reading Week 194, Friday, 2 October – Thursday, 8 October 2020 (Days 1,351-1,357)

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Trump Administration, Week 193: Friday, 25 September – Thursday, 1 October 2020 (Days 1,344-1,350)

Passages in bold in the body of the texts below are usually my emphasis, though not always. This is an ongoing project, and I update the site frequently during the day. Because I try to stay focused on what has actually happened, I usually let the news ‘settle’ for a day or so before posting. I hope readers will peruse the articles in full for a better understanding of the issues and their context; our democracy and our future depend on citizens who can distinguish between facts and falsehoods and who are engaged in the political process.

 

For independent global news, visit Democracy Now!

 

For a newsletter about the history behind today’s politics, subscribe to Heather Cox Richardson’s newsletter, Letters from an American.

 

Friday, 25 September 2020, Day 1,344:

 

Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Friday, 25 September 2020: Under 10 Percent of Americans Have Covid-19 Antibodies, Study Finds, The New York Times, Friday, 25 September 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic for Friday, 25 September 2020: World Health Organization (WHO) warns 2 million deaths ‘not impossible’ as global fatalities approach 1 million, The Washington Post, Miriam Berger, Meryl Kornfield, Paulina Villegas, Brittany Shammas, Hannah Denham, Hannah Knowles, and Darren Sands, Friday, 25 September 2020: “With the world fast approaching 1 million deaths officially related to covid-19, a doubling of that number is ‘certainly unimaginable, but it’s not impossible,’ World Health Organization expert Mike Ryan said Friday at a news briefing. ‘If we look at losing 1 million people in nine months and then we just look at the realities of getting vaccines out there in the next nine months, it’s a big task for everyone involved,’ Ryan, the executive director of WHO’s health emergencies program, said.

Here are some of the significant developments included in this article:

Trump and the White House demand the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) justify tough standards for coronavirus vaccine, raising concerns of political interference, The Washington Post, Laurie McGinley, Yasmeen Abutaleb, and Josh Dawsey, Friday, 25 September 2020: “On the same day President Trump blasted the Food and Drug Administration’s plan for tougher standards for a coronavirus vaccine as a ‘political move,’ a top White House aide demanded detailed justifications from the agency in what some fear is an attempt to thwart or block the standards designed to boost public trust in a vaccine. The White House’s involvement appears to go beyond the perfunctory review that agency officials had expected, and is likely to reinforce public concerns that a vaccine may be rushed to benefit the president’s reelection campaign. Polls show that the number of people who say they’re willing to take a coronavirus vaccine if it were available today has nosedived from 72 percent in May to 50 percent as of early this month, according to Pew Research Center, largely because of concerns that politics, rather than science, is driving the process.”

Continue reading Week 193, Friday, 25 September – Thursday, 1 October 2020 (Days 1,344-1,350)

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Trump Administration, Week 192: Friday, 18 September – Thursday, 24 September 2020 (Days 1,337-1,343)

Passages in bold in the body of the texts below are usually my emphasis, though not always. This is an ongoing project, and I update the site frequently during the day. Because I try to stay focused on what has actually happened, I usually let the news ‘settle’ for a day or so before posting. I hope readers will peruse the articles in full for a better understanding of the issues and their context; our democracy and our future depend on citizens who can distinguish between facts and falsehoods and who are engaged in the political process.

 

For independent global news, visit Democracy Now!

 

For a newsletter about the history behind today’s politics, subscribe to Heather Cox Richardson’s newsletter, Letters from an American.

 

Friday, 18 September 2020, Day 1,337:

 

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Champion of Gender Equality, Dies at 87, NPR, Nina Totenberg, Friday, 18 September 2020: “Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the demure firebrand who in her 80s became a legal, cultural and feminist icon, died Friday. The Supreme Court announced her death, saying the cause was complications from metastatic cancer of the pancreas. The court, in a statement, said Ginsburg died at her home in Washington, D.C., surrounded by family. She was 87. ‘Our nation has lost a justice of historic stature,’ Chief Justice John Roberts said. ‘We at the Supreme Court have lost a cherished colleague. Today we mourn but with confidence that future generations will remember Ruth Bader Ginsburg as we knew her, a tireless and resolute champion of justice.’ Architect of the legal fight for women’s rights in the 1970s, Ginsburg subsequently served 27 years on the nation’s highest court, becoming its most prominent member. Her death will inevitably set in motion what promises to be a nasty and tumultuous political battle over who will succeed her, and it thrusts the Supreme Court vacancy into the spotlight of the presidential campaign. Just days before her death, as her strength waned, Ginsburg dictated this statement to her granddaughter Clara Spera: ‘My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.'” See also, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Supreme Court’s Feminist Icon, Is Dead at 87, The New York Times, Linda Greenhouse, Friday, 18 September 2020: “Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the second woman to serve on the Supreme Court and a pioneering advocate for women’s rights, who in her ninth decade became a much younger generation’s unlikely cultural icon, died on Friday at her home in Washington. She was 87. The cause was complications of metastatic pancreatic cancer, the Supreme Court said. By the time two small tumors were found in one of her lungs in December 2018, during a follow-up scan for broken ribs suffered in a recent fall, Justice Ginsburg had beaten colon cancer in 1999 and early-stage pancreatic cancer 10 years later. She received a coronary stent to clear a blocked artery in 2014.” See also, Justice Ginsburg’s Judicial Legacy of Striking Dissents. She was part of the Supreme Court’s 4-member liberal wing throughout her 27-year tenure and led it in her last decade. The New York Times, Adam Liptak, Friday, 18 September 2020: “There was a framed copy of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 on the wall of the chambers of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died on Friday. She counted the law among her proudest achievements, even as it illustrated her limited power. As part of the Supreme Court’s four-member liberal wing, she did her most memorable work in dissent. The law was a reaction to her minority opinion in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, the 2007 ruling that said Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 imposed strict time limits for bringing workplace discrimination suits. She called on Congress to overturn the decision, and it did. On the court, however, her notable victories were few. As she put it in a 2013 interview in her chambers, she was fully engaged in her work as the leader of the liberal opposition on what she called ‘one of the most activist courts in history.’ There were exceptions, of course. One of her favorite majority opinions, she often said, ruled that the Virginia Military Institute’s male-only admissions policy violated the Equal Protection clause.” See also, ‘A Titan of Justice’: Leaders React to Justice Ginsburg’s Death, The New York Times, Christopher Mele, Friday, 18 September 2020: Political leaders from both sides of the aisle and the chief justice of the United States offered tributes to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died on Friday, remembering her as a trailblazer and a warrior for justice. But their comments also reflected what is expected to be a bruising fight over her replacement.” See also, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Supreme Court justice and legal pioneer for gender equality, dies at 87, The Washington Post, Robert Barnes and Michael A. Fletcher, Friday, 18 September 2020: “Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the second woman to serve on the high court and a legal pioneer for gender equality whose fierce opinions as a justice made her a hero to the left, died Sept. 18 at her home in Washington. She was 87. The death was announced in a statement by the U.S. Supreme Court. She had recently been treated for pancreatic cancer. Born in Depression-era Brooklyn, Justice Ginsburg excelled academically and went to the top of her law school class at a time when women were still called upon to justify taking a man’s place. She earned a reputation as the legal embodiment of the women’s liberation movement and as a widely admired role model for generations of female lawyers. Working in the 1970s with the American Civil Liberties Union, Justice Ginsburg successfully argued a series of cases before the high court that strategically chipped away at the legal wall of gender discrimination, eventually causing it to topple. Later, as a member of the court’s liberal bloc, she was a reliable vote to enhance the rights of women, protect affirmative action and minority voting rights and defend a woman’s right to choose an abortion.” See also, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Great Equalizer. How a scholar, advocate, and judge upended the entirety of U.S. political thought. The New Yorker, Jill Lepore, Friday, 18 September 2020: ” See also, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Vows Vote on Ginsburg Replacement as Her Death Upends the 2020 Race, The New York Times, Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman, Friday, 18 September 2020: “The death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Friday instantly upended the nation’s politics in the middle of an already bitter campaign, giving President Trump an opportunity to try to install a third member of the Supreme Court with just weeks before an election that polls show he is currently losing. The White House had already made quiet preparations in the days before Justice Ginsburg’s death to advance a nominee without waiting for voters to decide whether to give Mr. Trump another four years. Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, vowed Friday night to hold a vote on a Trump nominee but would not say whether he would try to rush it through before the vote on Nov. 3 in what would surely be a titanic partisan battle. The sudden vacancy on the court abruptly transformed the presidential campaign and underscored the stakes of the contest between Mr. Trump and former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., his Democratic challenger. It also bolstered Mr. Trump’s effort to shift the subject away from his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and remind Republicans why it matters whether he wins or not, while also potentially galvanizing Democrats who fear a change in the balance of power on the Supreme Court.” See also, McConnell vows Trump’s Supreme Court Nominee will get a Senate vote, The Washington Post, Seung Min Kim, Friday, 18 September 2020: “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has made judicial confirmations a hallmark of his legacy, is now confronting an extremely fraught Supreme Court fight that will challenge his pledge to leave no vacancy behind amid charges of hypocrisy and as his party’s control of the Senate hangs in the balance. McConnell (R-Ky.), who blocked President Barack Obama’s final nominee to the Supreme Court for the near entirety of 2016, said Friday that President Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court will get a vote on the floor of the Senate, although he did not say when that vote would be held.” See also, Ginsburg’s death jolts chaotic presidential race as both sides prepare for Supreme Court battle, The Washington Post, Philip Rucker, Matt Viser, Sean Sullivan, and Robert Costa, Friday, 18 September 2020: “An already chaotic and corrosive presidential campaign was jolted anew Friday night by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, as a sudden vacancy on the Supreme Court just 46 days before the election immediately galvanized both political parties. The impending fight for the Supreme Court thrusts issues of civil rights, abortion rights and health care to the forefront of a campaign that had been centered on the coronavirus pandemic, the economy and race relations, and it could boost voter enthusiasm and turnout numbers. Democratic and Republican leaders assembled for all-out political war. Despite Ginsburg’s dying wish that her successor not be determined until after the election, White House officials said President Trump is preparing to nominate a replacement in the coming days. And Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said that nominee would receive a vote in the Republican-controlled Senate — a departure from McConnell’s refusal to consider a nominee chosen by President Barack Obama before the 2016 election. ‘President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate,’ McConnell said in a statement. Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden warned the Senate not to hold an election-year confirmation vote to fill Ginsburg’s seat. ‘Tonight and in the coming days we should focus on the loss of the justice and her enduring legacy. But there is no doubt — let me be clear — that the voters should pick the president and the president should pick the justice for the Senate to consider,’ he told reporters in a hastily arranged appearance late Friday. Previewing the path ahead, Democratic vice-presidential nominee Kamala D. Harris said in a statement Friday: ‘Tonight we mourn, we honor, and we pray for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her family. Tomorrow we fight for her legacy.'”

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Great Equalizer. How a scholar, advocate, and judge upended the entirety of U.S. political thought. The New Yorker, Jill Lepore, Friday, 18 September 2020: “The change [Ruth Bader] Ginsburg ushered into American politics began a half century ago, and reckoning with its magnitude requires measuring the distance between now and then. At the time, only three in a hundred legal professionals and fewer than two hundred of the nation’s ten thousand judges were women. In 1971, as Richard Nixon prepared to make two appointments to the Supreme Court, he faced a dilemma. Yet another Southerner he’d tapped had been nixed for an opposition to desegregation, so Nixon decided to look for someone who was, preferably, not a racist. He considered naming a woman. ‘I’m not for women, frankly, in any job,’ he told his aides, in a little fit of hysterics. ‘Thank God we don’t have any in the Cabinet.’ He didn’t think women should be educated, or ‘ever be allowed to vote, even.’ But, given the momentum of the women’s-rights movement, he conceded the political necessity of naming a woman to the bench: it might gain him a small but crucial number of votes in the upcoming election. ‘It’s like the Negro vote,’ he said. ‘It’s a hell of a thing.’ Then Chief Justice Warren Burger, in a similar huff, told Nixon that, if he were to nominate a woman, he’d resign. In the end, Nixon named Lewis Powell. While all these men were dithering, Ruth Bader Ginsburg was working for the A.C.L.U., writing the brief for a case set to go before the Court, Reed v. Reed. Decided on November 22, 1971, weeks after Powell’s confirmation hearings, Reed v. Reed upended a century of American jurisprudence and the entirety of political thought going back to the beginning of the Republic. Before 1971, as Ginsburg would later write, ‘Neither legislators nor judges regarded gender lines as “back of the bus” regulations. Rather, these rules were said to place women on a pedestal.’ Thomas Jefferson had taken the trouble to explain that women had no part in the Framers’ understanding of the government devised by the Constitution. ‘Were our state a pure democracy,’ he wrote, ‘there would yet be excluded from their deliberations . . . women; who, to prevent deprivation of morals, and ambiguity of issues, could not mix promiscuously in the public gatherings of men.’ Women were to be excluded for their own protection. The early women’s-rights movement, in the middle decades of the nineteenth century, had not defeated that argument, and the Fourteenth Amendment, ratified in 1868, did not explicitly—or implicitly, according to the Court—bar discrimination on the basis of sex. In 1873, ruling on a case in which Myra Bradwell had sued the state of Illinois for denying her the right to practice law, one Supreme Court Justice explained his logic this way: ‘The natural and proper timidity and delicacy which belongs to the female sex evidently unfits it for many of the occupations of civil life.’ That, as Ginsburg liked to say, was a cage, pretending to be a pedestal. Reed v. Reed, in 1971, involved an Idaho statute that gave preference to men—’males must be preferred to females’—in executing estates. The Court, following Ginsburg’s brief, ruled for the first time that discrimination on the basis of sex violated the equal-protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Writing for the majority, Burger used language that had been introduced by Ginsburg: ‘To give a mandatory preference to members of either sex over members of the other, merely to accomplish the elimination of hearings on the merits, is to make the very kind of arbitrary legislative choice forbidden by the equal-protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment; and whatever may be said as to the positive values of avoiding intrafamily controversy, the choice in this context may not lawfully be mandated solely on the basis of sex.’ Just a few years later, Ginsburg was arguing her own cases before the Court, and the Chief Justice was stumbling over how to address her. ‘Mrs. Bader? Mrs. Ginsburg?'”

Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Friday, 18 September 2020: After Criticism, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Reverses Covid-19 Guidelines on Testing People Who Were Exposed, The New York Times, Friday, 18 September 2020:

Other significant developments are included in this article.

Continue reading Week 192, Friday, 18 September – Thursday, 24 September 2020 (Days 1,337-1,343)

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