Sunday, August 2, 2020

Last Call For Biden, His Time

We won't find out who Joe Biden's running mate will be until next week, with the short list appearing to be Sen. Kamala Harris, Rep. Karen Bass, former Obama National Security Adviser Susan Rice, and Sen, Tammy Duckworth, but Biden is starting to pull away in swing states like Pennsylvania ahead of Trump as people realize that hating the Democrat won't help them in 2020.

Senior citizens and suburban voters are sinking President Donald Trump’s campaign across the country.

But here in Pennsylvania — home to one of the largest populations of residents age 65 or older and where suburbanites comprise more than half of the electorate — their defection to Joe Biden is hurting Trump even more acutely.

It’s a very big problem in a swing state that’s central to his Rust Belt path to victory. Four years ago, Trump became the first Republican presidential candidate since 1988 to carry Pennsylvania, in part by winning older and suburban voters, as well as blue-collar white workers in ancestrally Democratic areas. Now, with less than 100 days till Election Day, surveys show those voters are eyeing something different yet again.

Joe Biden has an overall early lead in the state of 6 percentage points, according to RealClearPolitics’ polling average, and has led Trump in all 12 public polls released since the beginning of June.

“Joe Biden — his party is not in power — so just by definition, he’s the candidate of change. That’s a huge advantage,” said Democratic Sen. Bob Casey. “No matter what Hillary Clinton did with her campaign schedule, she was running after eight years of a Democratic president. So when you’re running after eight years of your party, you are not the change candidate.”
Democratic elected officials, party leaders and strategists in Pennsylvania said that Biden is ahead because of Trump’s mishandling of Covid-19 — which is particularly risky to seniors — as well as his broken campaign promises to workers about spending big on infrastructure and rewriting trade deals to benefit them. They believe voters like Biden because he is known as someone who can work across the aisle to solve the nation’s problems.

They argued Biden is also being buoyed by the fact that he is a Scranton native and former Delaware senator who was covered by the Philadelphia media network for years. And they said that Biden doesn’t anger GOP or swing voters like Clinton — instead, he’s a moderate white man who rarely makes waves in a state that has elected more than its fair share of milquetoast white male politicians.

“Hating Joe Biden doesn’t juice up their base and their Fox News viewers the way going after Hillary and Nancy Pelosi and AOC do,” said Rep. Brendan Boyle, who endorsed Biden the day he launched his 2020 campaign. “You can make certain assumptions and wonder why that is. Is gender a factor? Is race a factor? I don’t know. I have certain suspicions.”

The starkly cynical, overly pragmatic side of me says the moment Biden names his woman VP pick, we'll go back to Geraldine Ferraro and hourly attacks on "If anything happens to OLD, INFIRM, SENILE Joe Biden, we'll have A VAGINA for President" and it will start hurting the Democrats.

Will it be enough to reduce Biden's lead?  I think with the adjustment in polls to likely voter models, GOP voter suppression efforts, and COVID-19, I think Biden and his team can't count on that lead at all.

I think things are going to be a lot closer come October.

If you can vote early, do it.

Tales Of The Trump Depression, Con't

August 2.  Rent's due.

And the checks have stopped coming because of Mitch and the Senate GOP.

People have nowhere to go, no money, no job, no hope, and thousands of residents of Washington DC are facing life on the street in a pandemic, where COVID-19 awaits.

He had five days to move out of the house in Brightwood Park, and now Daniel Vought stood looking at the plastic crates stacked in the living room holding his things. T-shirts. Power cords. Pok√©mon cards and stuffed animals. His beloved guitar — a Gibson Explorer electric — still hung on the wall. He figured it would be safer staying behind.

A new housemate was coming, one who could actually pay $800 a month for the room Vought, 30, had lived in rent-free since the coronavirus pandemic shut down the Georgetown bar where he worked.

For four months, his unemployment benefits application had been snared in red tape at the D.C. Department of Employment Services, a black hole of unanswered emails, phone holds and automated voice messages offering delays instead of answers.

Hundreds, if not thousands, of people in the nation’s capital have been sucked down the same confusing abyss. Through July 29, the employment office has fielded more than 133,000 claims, nearly five times the number processed in all of 2019.

The pileup has led to delays for applicants knocked from their economic perch, many of them reaching for government help for the first time. Although the D.C. Council recently approved a major modernization of the system, implementing it will take years.

In the meantime, the end of July meant the end of the initial round of federal emergency pandemic assistance. Republicans and Democrats in Congress are deadlocked over the scope of a second wave of federal help. No matter what that future assistance looks like, for people like Vought, still waiting for benefits from the spring and living without a financial cushion, the damage has been done.

People pushed into poverty by the coronavirus pandemic could face years of increased dependence on government help, experts say, and greater housing insecurity and homelessness. A single mother with another baby due this summer found herself choosing between buying food or paying the rent. A former D.C. police officer spent months on a relative’s sofa, unable to find work or collect unemployment so he could find his own housing.

Their desperation morphed at times into isolation and anger, feelings Vought confronted as his cracked iPhone rang that Friday in late June. It was an aide from the office of D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) who had responded to his earlier messages and complaints.

“I understand your frustration,” the aide said. But she didn’t have any news.

“Can you do me a solid and just bug them once a day for me?” Vought begged her. “I don’t know if they’re forgetting me. I don’t know if somebody is skipping me in the line. I don’t know if this is just the worst time to have a last name that starts with ‘V.’ ”

“I think it’s just an overwhelming amount of people,” the aide answered, promising to follow up. “Have a good weekend.”

Vought stared into the living room, where stray sunlight from the drawn blinds fell on the crates he would have to store or haul or trash by Wednesday. His bank account was overdrawn. He had $10 in his wallet. A week from now, he could be homeless.

“Oh,” he mumbled. “I’m going to have a great weekend.”

This story is being played out a million times in a million places all over the US this weekend.   Republicans at the local, state, and national level have all made sure that the safety net protecting Americans has frayed to the point of collapse. The Trump Depression is like dropping an anvil on a spider's web, overwhelming state unemployment systems and rendering them useless, flooding them with the broken wreckage of Trump's failure to contain a deadly virus ravaging 80% of the nation's population and showing no sign of rolling back as we get ready to send kids to schools, creating all-new outbreaks.

Something has got to give in the next couple of months, if not in the next few weeks. I hope it will be Republicans giving up in order to try to save any hope they may have of keeping the Senate. I dread it will be Mitch or Trump demanding trillions more for the wealthy at the expense of the rest of us, and an August recess that breaks the country by the time Labor Day rolls around.

Millions will be evicted by then.  It will be a cataclysm.

We have one week.


Sunday Long Read: Jared Went Viral

If you're wondering whatever happened to Jared Kushner's super top secret national testing strategy, it was delivered stillborn at the White House, according to Vanity Fair's Catherine Eban. The bottom line is that the Trump regime believed from the start that COVID-19 would be relegated purely to blue states: New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, California, Oregon and Washington state, and nobody pushed that vile lie harder than Trump himself.

Countries that have successfully contained their outbreaks have empowered scientists to lead the response. But when Jared Kushner set out in March to solve the diagnostic-testing crisis, his efforts began not with public health experts but with bankers and billionaires. They saw themselves as the “A-team of people who get shit done,” as one participant proclaimed in a March Politico article. 
Kushner’s brain trust included Adam Boehler, his summer college roommate who now serves as chief executive officer of the newly created U.S. International Development Finance Corporation, a government development bank that makes loans overseas. Other group members included Nat Turner, the cofounder and CEO of Flatiron Health, which works to improve cancer treatment and research. 
A Morgan Stanley banker with no notable health care experience, Jason Yeung took a leave of absence to join the task force. Along the way, the group reached out for advice to billionaires, such as Silicon Valley investor Marc Andreessen. 
The group’s collective lack of relevant experience was far from the only challenge it faced. The obstacles arrayed against any effective national testing effort included: limited laboratory capacity, supply shortages, huge discrepancies in employers’ abilities to cover testing costs for their employees, an enormous number of uninsured Americans, and a fragmented diagnostic-testing marketplace. 
According to one participant, the group did not coordinate its work with a diagnostic-testing team at Health and Human Services, working under Admiral Brett Giroir, who was appointed as the nation’s “testing czar” on March 12. Kushner’s group was “in their own bubble,” said the participant. “Other agencies were in their own bubbles. The circles never overlapped.” 
As it evolved, Kushner’s group called on the help of several top diagnostic-testing experts. Together, they worked around the clock, and through a forest of WhatsApp messages. The effort of the White House team was “apolitical,” said the participant, and undertaken “with the nation’s best interests in mind.”

Kushner’s team hammered out a detailed plan, which Vanity Fair obtained. It stated, “Current challenges that need to be resolved include uneven testing capacity and supplies throughout the US, both between and within regions, significant delays in reporting results (4-11 days), and national supply chain constraints, such as PPE, swabs, and certain testing reagents.”

The plan called for the federal government to coordinate distribution of test kits, so they could be surged to heavily affected areas, and oversee a national contact-tracing infrastructure. It also proposed lifting contract restrictions on where doctors and hospitals send tests, allowing any laboratory with capacity to test any sample. It proposed a massive scale-up of antibody testing to facilitate a return to work. It called for mandating that all COVID-19 test results from any kind of testing, taken anywhere, be reported to a national repository as well as to state and local health departments. 
And it proposed establishing “a national Sentinel Surveillance System” with “real-time intelligence capabilities to understand leading indicators where hot spots are arising and where the risks are high vs. where people can get back to work.” 
By early April, some who worked on the plan were given the strong impression that it would soon be shared with President Trump and announced by the White House. The plan, though imperfect, was a starting point. Simply working together as a nation on it “would have put us in a fundamentally different place,” said the participant.
But the effort ran headlong into shifting sentiment at the White House. Trusting his vaunted political instincts, President Trump had been downplaying concerns about the virus and spreading misinformation about it—efforts that were soon amplified by Republican elected officials and right-wing media figures. Worried about the stock market and his reelection prospects, Trump also feared that more testing would only lead to higher case counts and more bad publicity. Meanwhile, Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House’s coronavirus response coordinator, was reportedly sharing models with senior staff that optimistically—and erroneously, it would turn out—predicted the virus would soon fade away. 
Against that background, the prospect of launching a large-scale national plan was losing favor, said one public health expert in frequent contact with the White House’s official coronavirus task force. 
Most troubling of all, perhaps, was a sentiment the expert said a member of Kushner’s team expressed: that because the virus had hit blue states hardest, a national plan was unnecessary and would not make sense politically. “The political folks believed that because it was going to be relegated to Democratic states, that they could blame those governors, and that would be an effective political strategy,” said the expert. 
That logic may have swayed Kushner. “It was very clear that Jared was ultimately the decision maker as to what [plan] was going to come out,” the expert said.

They thought it would kill blue state voters and turn them against Biden and the governors like Gavin Newsom and Andrew Cuomo, so Trump let the virus kill people, and that by June it would be all over and he would look like a hero for protecting "the rest of America". They though tens of thousands of dead New Yorkers and Californians would help them win, so they let people get sick and die.

And then it got into red states like Texas, Georgia, Florida and Arizona, which anyone with an eighth of a brain could have told you was going to happen.

Now the entire country is suffering.  It's uncontrolled. 150,000 are dead and thousands more will die every day. 200,000 dead by Labor Day isn't out of the question.

Donald Trump is a monster.  We have to remove him from power.
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