Wednesday, December 16, 2020

-Ilhan Omar, thinking Mitch should leave

Senate Republicans appear to have forced a coronavirus-relief agreement that provides as little help as possible to struggling Americans, after their counterparts in the White House sought to deliberately seed the uncontrolled outbreaks that are now crippling the economy. Teamwork makes the scream work, as they say.

  • Congressional leaders seemed to be near a deal on a $900-billion relief package on Wednesday. The package as it stands does not include liability protections for corporations or direct aid for state and local governments; it does look likely to include another round of stimulus checks, but it’s unclear how large they’ll be—Sen. John Thune (R-SD) predicted somewhere around $600 or $700. On the other hand, Republicans are demanding that the duration of unemployment benefits be slashed by a full month. We’re about six weeks away from the GOP proposing sending out sacks of Monopoly money, and, as a compromise, not taxing it. 
  • Senate Humanitarian Leader Mitch McConnell came around to the idea of including stimulus checks after witnessing the plight of America’s most vulnerable population: Wealthy Republican senators from Georgia. McConnell explicitly linked the direct payments to the Georgia runoffs on a call with GOP senators, remarking, “Kelly and David are getting hammered.” The hearts of millions of hungry Americans go out to Kelly and David, both of whom fought against direct payments for months after personally profiting off of the pandemic, and have suffered the cruel indignity of Democrats pointing that out
  • It was an historic day in the annals of Republicans Telling Americans to Go Die: Politico reported that a top Trump appointee at HHS repeatedly demanded health officials adopt a herd-immunity strategy, which is to say: purposely let a deadly virus spread to millions of people. In a July 4 email to Michael Caputo and other senior officials, then-science adviser Paul Alexander wrote, “There is no other way, we need to establish herd, and it only comes about allowing the non-high risk groups expose themselves to the virus. PERIOD…we want them infected.” There aren’t two ways to read that: The Trump administration actively pursued policies to make more people sick.

Part of that strategy involved silencing CDC scientists who were laboring under the  misapprehension that their job was to help keep people alive.

  • Two former Trump appointees at the CDC described how the White House slowly stifled the agency’s independent voice, redirected its budget, and took control over its work, with constant meddling in reports and guidance that contradicted President Trump or had unappealing economic implications. Kyle McGowan, a former chief of staff at the CDC, put it bluntly: “Every time that the science clashed with the messaging, messaging won.”
  • Meanwhile, in the Trump administration’s pursuit of internal herd immunity, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is now in quarantine following his exposure to a COVID-positive individual, the day after he hosted an indoor State Department holiday superspreader to which more than 900 guests were invited, but which fewer than 70 people attended. (In coronavirus’s defense, that RSVP ratio feels like something that would happen to Pompeo in the best of times.) Pompeo has canceled his final holiday party, presumably out of concern that not enough people would show up to get infected.

That Republicans in Congress are pretending crumbs are all the federal government can afford to dole out in the tenth month of a preventable, intentionally exacerbated crisis is unforgivable. Unless Democrats take control of the Senate, it’s also certain to continue. Stay in the fight → 

Hey WAD Squad. It’s been a long year. You deserve to treat yourself. Pamper yourself with a What A Day candle to add the smell of daily news (which smells suspiciously like jasmine) to your self care time. Or, cop a What a Day Desk Calendar to get a head start on your New Year-New You plans. Or, grab a What a Day Holiday Sweater (being informed never goes out of style). Get all three and win a prize! (The prize is having all three.) Head to to start your new year off right 

A Kansas mayor has resigned because of threats she’s received over her public support of a mask mandate. Dodge City Mayor Joyce Warshaw was quoted in a USA Today article on Friday voicing her support for a mask mandate enacted by the city commission, and the stream of anonymous emails and voicemails she’d been receiving since the mandate was passed last month immediately grew more violent. In her resignation letter, Warshaw wrote, “I do not feel safe in this position anymore and am hopeful in removing myself this anger, accusations and abuse will not fall on anyone else and will calm down.” Your periodic reminder that this insane animus towards officials who back basic public-health measures has been fueled by the top brass of the GOP, and every day they choose not to walk it back.

A study of fiscal policies in 18 countries over 50 years found that tax cuts for the rich do not, in fact, trickle down. David Hope of the London School of Economics found that those measures benefit the people who are directly affected, and pretty much no one else; they don’t do much to stimulate jobs or growth. (In related failures, take a gander at the largest corporations in the country, which have mostly turned a profit during the pandemic, but continued to lay off workers to increase the wealth of shareholders.) The upshot is there’s no economic risk to raising taxes on the rich to fund the pandemic recovery, like the one-off five-percent tax on wealth that the U.K.’s Wealth Tax Commission suggested for Britain last week.

This year, immunity is on everyone’s wishlist. With winter—and the holidays—coming, we’re all doubling down on better ways to feel better.

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The FDA has confirmed pharmacists’ discovery that Pfizer’s vaccine vials contain more doses than expected. Three things: a) WHAT, b) this significantly increases the available vaccine doses in the U.S., and c) WHAT?

Joe Biden has selected former EPA head Gina McCarthy to serve as the country’s first White House climate czar. 

The Dippin’ Dots cold chain (and the company’s actual freezers) may help medical providers distribute the Pfizer vaccine. Only ‘90s Kids Will Remember that time Dippin’ Dots saved humanity. 

Hayley Orlinsky, a seven-year-old from Chicago, has raised more than $22,000 for coronavirus equipment at the children’s hospital where she was treated as an infant, by selling friendship bracelets. 

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