Sunday, January 3, 2021

Orange Meltdown, Con't

As the clock ticks away and Donald Trump's regime comes closer to its endgame, we're now seeing Trump openly pushing his GOP enablers to produce a "win" for him, or they will be crucified by his brownshirts.

President Trump urged fellow Republican Brad Raffensperger, the Georgia secretary of state, to “find” enough votes to overturn his defeat in an extraordinary one-hour phone call Saturday that election experts said raised legal questions.

The Washington Post obtained a recording of the conversation in which Trump alternately berated Raffensperger, tried to flatter him, begged him to act and threatened him with vague criminal consequences if the secretary of state refused to pursue his false claims, at one point warning that Raffensperger was taking “a big risk.”

Throughout the call, Raffensperger and his office’s general counsel rejected his assertions, explaining that Trump is relying on debunked conspiracy theories and that President-elect Joe Biden’s 12,779-vote victory in Georgia was fair and accurate.

Trump dismissed their arguments.

“The people of Georgia are angry, the people in the country are angry,” he said. “And there’s nothing wrong with saying, you know, um, that you’ve recalculated.”

Raffensperger responded: “Well, Mr. President, the challenge that you have is, the data you have is wrong.”

At another point, Trump said: “So look. All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have. Because we won the state.”

The rambling, at times incoherent conversation, offered a remarkable glimpse of how consumed and desperate the president remains about his loss, unwilling or unable to let the matter go and still believing he can reverse the results in enough battleground states to remain in office.

“There’s no way I lost Georgia,” Trump said, a phrase he repeated again and again on the call. “There’s no way. We won by hundreds of thousands of votes.”

Several of his allies were on the line as he spoke, including White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and conservative lawyer Cleta Mitchell, a prominent GOP lawyer whose involvement with Trump’s efforts had not been previously known.

In a statement, Mitchell said that Raffensperger’s office “has made many statements over the past two months that are simply not correct and everyone involved with the efforts on behalf of the President’s election challenge has said the same thing: show us your records on which you rely to make these statements that our numbers are wrong.” 
The White House, the Trump campaign and Meadows did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Raffensperger’s office declined to comment.


This isn't the first time Trump has gone after state officials demanding they "find" more votes for him. Hell, this isn't even the first time Trump has personally leaned on Brad Raffensperger of Georgia demanding that he steal the election for him.
And yes, Trump made it crystal clear what the consequences will be if Raffensperger doesn't deliver, saying in the call that Raffensperger would "certainly never be elected again".
Again, the Washington Post has audio of the entire conference call. At one point Trump suggested that nobody would question Raffensperger if he simply told the world that he just had to "recalculate" the vote totals.

We've got Trump on tape, cold, actually trying to blackmail the Secretary of State in Georgia to steal the election for him. This should be the end of him, 25th Amendment, Mike Pence and the cabinet remove Trump. But it won't be, because every single Republican still remaining in Trump's corner is just as fascist and corrupt as he is, and the ones that haven't left the party yet are just waiting for a more competent white supremacist fascist to follow into a new era of Jim Crow.

And very soon, we'll get that person.

Sunday Long Read: Pandemic, The Sequel

The Atlantic's Ed Yong takes us through the a preview of COVID-19 as the Biden years open, and the short version is that we still have several months of hell ahead of us, and a death toll in 2021 that I've already predicted will greatly surpass 2020's 330,000 dead, if not easily triple it.

The influenza pandemic that began in 1918 killed as many as 100 million people over two years. It was one of the deadliest disasters in history, and the one all subsequent pandemics are now compared with.

At the time, The Atlantic did not cover it. In the immediate aftermath, “it really disappeared from the public consciousness,” says Scott Knowles, a disaster historian at Drexel University. “It was swamped by World War I and then the Great Depression. All of that got crushed into one era.” An immense crisis can be lost amid the rush of history, and Knowles wonders if the fracturing of democratic norms or the economic woes that COVID-19 set off might not subsume the current pandemic. “I think we’re in this liminal moment of collectively deciding what we’re going to remember and what we’re going to forget,” says Martha Lincoln, a medical anthropologist at San Francisco State University.

The coronavirus pandemic ignited at the end of 2019 and blazed across 2020. Many countries repeatedly contained it. The United States did not. At least 19 million Americans have been infected. At least 326,000 have died. The first two surges, in the spring and summer, plateaued but never significantly subsided. The third and worst is still ongoing. In December, an average of 2,379 Americans have died every day of COVID-19—comparable to the 2,403 who died in Pearl Harbor and the 2,977 who died in the 9/11 attacks. The virus now has so much momentum that more infection and death are inevitable as the second full year of the pandemic begins. “There will be a whole lot of pain in the first quarter” of 2021, Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told me.

But that pain could soon start to recede. Two vaccines have been developed and approved in less time than many experts predicted, and are more effective than they dared hope. Joe Biden, the incoming president, has promised to push for measures that health specialists have championed in vain for months. He has filled his administration and COVID-19 task force with seasoned scientists and medics. His chief of staff, Ron Klain, coordinated America’s response to the Ebola outbreak of 2014. His pick for CDC director, Rochelle Walensky, is a widely respected infectious-disease doctor and skilled communicator. The winter months will still be abyssally dark, but every day promises to bring a little more light.

On the Fourth of July, Ashish Jha wants to host a barbecue at his house in Newton, Massachusetts. By then, the state expects to have rolled out COVID-19 vaccines to anyone who wants one. The process will be bumpy, but Jha is hopeful. He thinks that the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus will still be spreading within the U.S., but at a simmer rather than this winter’s calamitous boil. He expects to keep all his guests outside, where the risk of transmission is substantially lower. If it starts raining, they could come indoors after putting on masks. “It won’t be normal, but it won’t be like Fourth of July 2020,” says Jha, the dean of the Brown University School of Public Health. “I think that’s when it’ll start to feel like we’re no longer in a pandemic.”

Many of the 30 epidemiologists, physicians, immunologists, sociologists, and historians whom I interviewed for this piece are cautiously optimistic that the U.S. is headed for a better summer. But they emphasized that such a world, though plausible, is not inevitable. Its realization hinges on successfully executing the most complicated vaccination program in U.S. history, on persuading a frayed and fractured nation to continue using masks and avoiding indoor crowds, on countering the growing quagmire of misinformation, and on successfully monitoring and countering changes in the virus itself. “Think about next summer as a marker for when we might be able to breathe again,” said Loyce Pace, the executive director of a nonprofit called the Global Health Council and a member of Biden’s COVID-19 task force. “But there’s almost a year’s worth of work that needs to happen in those six months.”

The pandemic will end not with a declaration, but with a long, protracted exhalation. Even if everything goes according to plan, which is a significant if, the horrors of 2020 will leave lasting legacies. A pummeled health-care system will be reeling, short-staffed, and facing new surges of people with long-haul symptoms or mental-health problems. Social gaps that were widened will be further torn apart. Grief will turn into trauma. And a nation that has begun to return to normal will have to decide whether to remember that normal led to this. “We’re trying to get through this with a vaccine without truly exploring our soul,” said Mike Osterholm, an epidemiologist at the University of Minnesota.


The damage from the Trump regime is so great that it will take us months just to dig out of the hole they left us in, and we'll be replacing the space in that hole with hundreds of thousands of American dead.

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