Georgia isn’t delaying its May 19 primary at this time, but the secretary of state’s office is mailing out absentee ballot applications to every one of the state’s 6.9 million registered voters. That has some Republican lawmakers very unhappy.
State House Speaker David Ralston was absolutely blunt about his objection. “This will be extremely devastating to Republicans and conservatives in Georgia,” he said in an interview. “Every registered voter is going to get one of these. … This will certainly drive up turnout.”
Saying "we need transparency and accountability," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Thursday that she is creating a special House committee, overseen by Rep. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, "to examine all aspects of the federal response to the coronavirus and ensure the taxpayers dollars are being wisely and efficiently spent." The committee “will root out waste, fraud and abuse; it will protect against price-gauging, profiteering and political favoritism," Pelosi told reporters during a press call.
That's in direct response to Trump’s signing statement on the latest coronavirus stimulus bill in which he declared his intent to override the safeguards Congress put in to prevent, well, "price-gauging, profiteering and political favoritism" from the administration. But there's also the question of the sheer incompetence of Trump and his whole team to consider. It's a humongous job getting $2 trillion (and counting) in programs implemented quickly and efficiently, even if the administration doing it is a normal one that actually cares about governing. This one is not normal.
People are just shaking their heads today at what Georgia's Governor Brian Kemp said yesterday, that he only recently found out that COVID-19 could be spread by asymptomatic people, and that was why he was issuing a stay-at-home order, finally.
Mika Brezinksi asked "Is this a joke?", while her partner Joe Scarborough just rolled his eyes and called Kemp's "revelation" just embarrassing.
Source: Washington Post
After resisting a statewide stay-at-home order for days, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) succumbed to the pressure and issued one on Wednesday. Part of the reason, he said, was that he had just learned some new information.
Kemp said he was “finding out that this virus is now transmitting before people see signs.”
“Those individuals could have been infecting people before they ever felt bad, but we didn’t know that until the last 24 hours,” he said. He added that the state’s top doctor told him that “this is a game-changer.”
It may have been a game-changer, but it was a game-changer weeks or even months ago. That’s when health officials started emphasizing that asymptomatic people are transmitting the coronavirus. The idea that Kemp didn’t know this is striking. But he’s merely the latest top politician to indicate that he’s unfamiliar with the science even as he’s making life-or-death decisions for his constituents.
Rapid response efforts to quell the spread of the novel coronavirus are revealing deeply embedded structural inefficiencies within countless institutions in American society—the criminal legal system being no different.
Earlier this month, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that the state’s new hand sanitizer would be manufactured by incarcerated laborers at New York’s Great Meadow Correctional Facility. The announcement made visible just one of the ways prison labor is typically used to address the needs of the public, and drew outrage both within New York and nationally. More often, though, labor performed by incarcerated laborers goes unnoticed and unreported, even as it supplies goods and services critical to the operation of our society, from license plates to laundry.
Fox News consumers were treated to a rare moment of truth Wednesday evening when Dr. Rishi Desai, chief medical officer at Osmosis, came on the air. Dr. Desai ostensibly was on to discuss the potential merits of a nationwide shutdown of activities in order to curb the spread of COVID-19, aka the coronavirus. Host Martha MacCallum introduced him to her Fox viewership as an infectious disease specialist with years of service at the Centers for Disease Control, and as someone who researched outbreaks to protect Americans from—outbreaks like, say, COVID-19.
Dr. Desai supports a much more enforced stay-at-home national quarantine, and when asked about our wobbly economy, explained that he thought Fox News viewers could draw some inspiration from the reality that if the entire country stayed in their homes for the next two weeks, we would most likely begin to see the number of new cases of COVID-19 begin to fall. The level of relief the collective American psyche would feel from this might very well help to stabilize the panicked markets the president is so much more worried about.
The conversation then turned to the next incredibly important tool needed to contain the outbreak in our country: testing.
Health experts say they now believe nearly one in three patients who are infected are nevertheless getting a negative test result. They caution that only limited data is available, and their estimates are based on their own experience in the absence of hard science.
That picture is troubling, many doctors say, as it casts doubt on the reliability of a wave of new tests developed by manufacturers, lab companies and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Most of these are operating with minimal regulatory oversight and little time to do robust studies amid a desperate call for wider testing.
WTF is going on? Our test is still inaccurate. The WHO test is apparently very accurate, but it’s available only to low-income countries. The Chinese test is questionable. The German test is . . . who knows?
This is insane. How long will it take the richest country in the world to develop a coronavirus test that’s (a) accurate and (b) can be produced in the millions?
And what’s up with the WHO test, anyway? Maybe they focus on providing test kits to poor countries, but that doesn’t mean they can’t give rich countries the specifications for their test and then let them manufacture it. Why not do that?
Every time this comes up, it seems like “we’re really close” and there’s no need for the WHO test. How about if this time we just go ahead and set up a track to manufacture it? Worst case, we don’t need it and it’s a tiny bit of wasted effort. Best case, it saves our skins. That’s a pretty easy tradeoff.
The Hill is now reporting that in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Democratic National Convention originally scheduled to take place in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in mid-July will now be moved to Aug. 17, and that front-running presidential candidate Joe Biden "pushed" for the move.
The Lincoln project just released a new video ad that bashes the entire cast of Fox News hosts and guests who've been passing misinformation, lies, and Trump propaganda about the coronavirus.
Co-founder Jennifer Horn writes:
From Sean Hannity calling the coronavirus a ‘hoax’ to Ainsley Earhardt calling this the ‘safest time to fly’ to Laura Ingraham accusing those trying to sound the alarm of trying to gain ‘cheap political points,’ FOX News has become nothing more than a propaganda outlet for Donald Trump,” said Jennifer Horn, co-founder of The Lincoln Project.
The network consistently reports lies and unverified information as fact. Their “coverage” of the coronavirus pandemic has revealed just how low they are willing to go to remain in Trump’s good graces. By repeating the ignorant statements made by Trump and parroting his dangerously incorrect ramblings about the deadly virus, they have placed their audience at grave risk.
Here at CrooksandLiars.com we've been meticulously documenting many of the misstatements, bizarre conspiracy theories, exaggerations, lies and narcissistic praise of Trump by Donald and his media minions.
They do so in an effort to downplay and normalize Trump's horrific reactions in response to the outbreak of the coronavirus and the five weeks before he decided to listen to his medical professionals.
Having fulfilled his previous goal of bringing peace to the Middle East (that happened, right?), Jared Kushner is now Mr. Coronavirus, and Politico is On It with the requisite puff piece. The thing about yet another Jared Kushner puff piece, though, is that we’ve learned to read between the lines.
Kushner is Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, and his overarching plan is to privatize the federal coronavirus response as much as possible. So he’s assembled “a kitchen cabinet of outside experts including his former roommate and a suite of McKinsey consultants.” In other words: people who think that they’re the smartest people in the room, so their lack of expertise is meaningless.
Another day, another report on a recent pandemic warning ignored by the Trump administration. In 2018, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention held a day-long conference to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Spanish flu pandemic, with sessions like “Innovations for pandemic countermeasures.”
“Are we ready to respond to a pandemic?” asked one of the doctors at the conference. “I fear the answer is no.” In one of many details that would seem over the top if this was all fictional, that doctor, Luciana Borio, was part of the National Security Council global health section that Donald Trump dismantled soon after the conference, making the U.S. even less ready to respond to a pandemic.
One of the pandemic conference’s organizers, Dr. Daniel Jernigan, subsequently did a webinar entitled “100 years since 1918: Are we ready for the next pandemic?” That webinar was cohosted by Dr. Nancy Messonnier, who was sidelined by Trump after making public remarks saying that, yes, the novel coronavirus was going to be a serious problem for the U.S.
By now you may have heard that the legal suits at Fox News are nervous that all the denialism over Coronavirus at the network might have some, I think they call them "legal ramifications."
Sean Hannity responds as he usually does, with loud! projection! Transcript via Media Matters:SEAN HANNITY: SEAN HANNITY (HOST): Sadly, you won't likely find any hopeful message among the deranged individuals that are known -- I call them the media mob. Why? Because they are too busy doing what they always do, looking for ways, oh, to bludgeon President Trump politically.
You have got one far-left media mob maniac over at The New York Times using the virus to attack her least favorite network, oh, and yours truly. Accusing Fox News of putting her mother and the elderly people at risk. Now, if she actually watched our coverage and cared about truth, actually she should put a correction in her newspaper. We would know that we've reported without fear from the very beginning -- we have our own little timeline on Hannity.com.
In order to help the media mob out, we put it all together for them, so they can't plead ignorance when I think about suing them.
During the months of January, February, and into March, President Donald Trump spent many of his weekends golfing at his favorite golf clubs, all of which he happens to own. Even on March 7, as COVID-19 was beginning to sweep through New York City’s metro area with a population of more than 18,000,000 residents, and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was issuing a state of emergency, Donald Trump was still golfing. Even worse, he was attending a 51st birthday party for his son’s girlfriend alongside his bestie, Lindsey Graham. The party took place at Mar-a-Lago and the $50,000 tab for the party was reportedly paid for by Trump campaign donors. The grift never ends.
Now we know Donald Trump had been briefed for weeks or even months on the projected loss of life in the U.S. due to COVID-19. Top Army brass warned the White House on Feb. 3 that their analysis showed a loss of life between 80,000 to 150,000. And Donald Trump still golfed.
This headline is not a joke. Here’s the chart showing initial unemployment claims through this week:
The Washington Post says this is a “stunning sign of an economic collapse.” EPI calls it a “portrait of disaster.” That’s nonsense. It’s a deliberately engineered temporary freeze. And one of the reasons we should be able to get through it without permanent damage is that we passed a rescue bill that vastly increases unemployment benefits. We want lots of people to apply for benefits. The more the better.
So yes, this is good news. It means that laid-off workers are applying for benefits, and nearly all of them will see no reduction in their income. In fact, many will see an increase.
Now, having said that, I’ll backtrack on my suggestion that states shouldn’t have too much trouble handling the volume of applications. I figured they could probably muddle through 3 million applications, but now we’re up to 10 million. That’s going to be a mess. Still, just knowing that help is on the way should be a huge relief for workers who have lost their jobs for the duration.
POSTSCRIPT: I will add one thing to this. The rescue bill may replace income, but it doesn’t replace lost health insurance. This is obviously a big deal, but I don’t know how big. It depends on how many laid-off workers had health coverage in the first place. It depends on how long their coverage stays in place after a layoff. It depends on how accessible COBRA is. It depends on whether you qualify for subsidies under Obamacare. There are a lot of variables here and I don’t know how they’ll all play out.
Senate Democrats call for provision barring DHS from using funds to detain DACA or TPS beneficiaries
Nearly 20 senators led by Dick Durbin of Illinois and Jacky Rosen of Nevada are calling on top Senate committees to pass language that would block the Department of Homeland Security from using federal funds to detain and deport roughly 1 million immigrants that are protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and Temporary Protected Status programs, both of which have been relentlessly attacked by the Trump administration.
“DACA and TPS recipients have built their lives in the United States, some for more than two decades, and they do not deserve to be forced to live in fear of detention and deportation,” the 19 senators tell the Senate Committee on Appropriations and Subcommittee on Homeland Security. “In light of the clear evidence that the Trump administration is preparing to deport Dreamers and TPS recipients, we request that you include an unequivocal prohibition on any appropriated funds being used to deport them.”
What happens when you begin to research a story about how not-so-black market retailers are selling masks, gloves, and other protective gear at exorbitant prices during an unprecedented crisis? You get a browser filled with ads for masks, gloves, and other protective gear, available to anyone willing to pay exorbitant prices … because God forbid Google and Facebook don’t get a cut of the action.
Not only are pandemic profiteers setting 50 states and the federal government bidding against each other in a process that is costing billions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of lives—they’re doing it openly. This isn’t secret. This isn’t idiots in a truck, scouring a state for hand sanitizer. This is major suppliers, including manufacturers, raking in profits and shipping away the products that health care workers need to do their jobs. These are actions that the federal government could stop … but hasn’t.
Here’s the coronavirus growth rate through April 1. First, though, some good news:
It looks very much like Italy has just about hit its peak, which means that its daily death rate should start declining soon. And the bad news? The rest of us aren’t close. We still have weeks to go before we peak and start to decline.
One thing to note: with the exception of Spain and Britain, it’s now looking as if every country is at least slightly below the Italian trendline. It’s hard to know if this means we’ll have fewer deaths than Italy or if we’ve just flattened the curve a bit and spread things out. We’ll have to wait and see.
How to read the charts: Let’s use France as an example. For them, Day 0 was March 5, when they surpassed one death per 10 million by recording their sixth death. They are currently at Day 27; total deaths are at 673x their initial level; and they have recorded a total of 60.3 deaths per million so far. As the chart shows, this is below where Italy was on their Day 27.
The raw data from Johns Hopkins is here.
"She needs to stand down on the notion that we're going to go along with taking advantage of the crisis to do things that are unrelated to the crisis." If that has echoes of "nevertheless, she persisted" for you, it should. It's Sen. Mitch McConnell talking about another powerful woman he thinks is getting uppity—this time it’s not Sen. Elizabeth Warren but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. That's what he told The Washington Post in an interview on Wednesday, saying Pelosi's call for a fourth round of virus-related legislation "premature." His focus is going to be, as always, judges. "They will continue apace," he told the Post. "The Senate is going to be able to do its business."
That business, Pelosi retorted, should be people. Right now. "The victims of the coronavirus pandemic cannot wait," she said. "It is moving faster than the leader may have suspected, and even he has said that some things should wait for the next bill." She added, "I hope that we can work in a four corners manner for the common good." The "four corners" refers to bipartisan leadership in the House and Senate.
The failure to test for COVID-19 gave the virus a head start in the United States, and while things are improving slowly, it’s still basically a big flaming mess. One of the glimmers of hope comes from the new rapid tests from Abbott Laboratories—but now there’s the question of where those tests will go. And since we’re talking about the Trump administration, there’s no reason for faith that the tests will go where they are most needed.
Will the rapid tests go to places already hard hit by the virus, so that first responders and health care workers can come out of quarantine and get back on the job if they test negative? Or will they go to rural and southern states? That’s the direction the Trump administration is headed, and there is one potentially legitimate reason—to, as a source “familiar with the matter” told The Washington Post, “figure out the spread in places where we don’t quite understand it now.” But again, we’re talking about the Trump administration, which means that the real reason to prioritize rural and southern states would likely be rewarding Trump allies and supporters—just as states headed by Trump allies have gotten more protective equipment.
New York Magazine's Eric Levitz is not an easy sell, so if he's pleased with this, we should all be. Via New York Magazine:
According to Levitz, the SBA and the Treasury Department worked to resolve problems with the small business bailout package and they have been successful. And in this CNBC interview, Mnuchin indicated that Congress is already agreed that they will raise the cap on the program when needed. Levitz summarizes:
New Day's John Berman noted the top line number on unemployment claims is "double what it was last week. I think higher than the worst we even expected for this week."
"Yeah, it really is a job shock here. You got 10 million layoffs or furloughs, that means just the past couple of weeks, 10 million. It is pointless for me to make a chart of it for you, John. It just looks like a geyser going straight up," Christine Romans said.
"I'm surprised the state employment offices were able to handle this kind of volume. Last week, we know there were so many people filing for unemployment benefits, they weren't able to get all of them. Another notable thing about these numbers, the numbers doubled and it has spread from hospitality and restaurants into just about every corner of the economy, including healthcare."
"It is everywhere in just about everything, Julia, which means that, you know, it is affecting everybody. You are either unemployed now or know someone who is, people are struggling," Berman said.
"These are devastating numbers. And to Christine's point there, I think, what we also heard in the past week is governors of Ohio, Kentucky, New York saying our systems simply can't deal even now with the volumes that we're seeing," Julia Chatterley said.