Look out below! It’s a pigeon, not a partridge, in a pear tree (update #4)

Updates

  1. Originally published, December 20, 2020, at 10:44 pm.
  2. December 21, 2020, 7:34 am:
    • It is much too early to be certain of much, but a new variant of COVID-19 has appeared in England that seems to be significantly more transmissable and that the new vaccines might not be effective against. It does not appear to be more deadly for those who catch it,[17] but of course, the more people who catch COVID-19, the more will die. Accordingly, a number of countries are now blocking travel from the United Kingdom.[18]
    • Donald Trump is still at it, moving to sue again over Pennsylvania’s election rules—the Supreme Court has so far refused to hear the matter—and to challenge the electoral college tally in Congress. Still on the table is an effort to invoke the Insurrection Act to have the military re-run the election in contested states although several senior military officials affirmed that their oath is to the Constitution, not the president, and that they have no role in determining election results.[19] There is a weakness in the claim about that oath in that hardline Trumpsters continue to allege that the election has violated the Constitution even as these claims have gotten nowhere in court[20] and even Trump’s attorney general has denied that there was sufficient fraud to affect the result.[21] That doesn’t obviously provide a rationale for the military to legally intervene but I guess it’s enough to keep Trumpsters’ hope alive. And yesterday’s caution[22] remains.
  3. December 21, 2020, 12:55 pm:
  4. December 21, 2020, 9:51 pm:
    • I would not take it as consolation that the crazy, such as Rudy Giuliani, in Donald Trump’s orbit are turning on the crazier, such as Michael Flynn and Sidney Powell. But if Trump appoints the conspiracy theorist Powell as special prosecutor to investigate election fraud,[24] take it as a sign that the crazier are prevailing. Trump is desperate,[25] so it just might happen (but probably not by outgoing Attorney General Bill Barr’s hand[26]), in which case, the prospect of an attempt to invoke the Insurrection Act might become very real.[27]

Gig economy

Steven Hill, “The broken business model of Uber and Lyft is taking a heavy toll on society,” Fortune, December 19, 2020, https://fortune.com/2020/12/19/uber-lyft-business-model-proposition-22-worker-benefits/


Depression

Congressional leaders announced a new stimulus package which is supposed to help relieve economic pain from the pandemic. Stimulus checks will be for up to $600.[28] The eviction moratorium that isn’t an eviction moratorium[29] will be extended through the end of January, though Joe Biden may be able to extend it further.[30] Millions of people, who have been unemployed for months, are an average of over $5,000 behind on rent,[31] and millions have sunk into poverty.[32] So it’s hard to see what good, really, $600 will do.

Jeff Stein, and Mike DeBonis, “Senate majority leader announces approximately $900 billion deal on emergency relief package,” Washington Post, December 20, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/us-policy/2020/12/20/stimulus-congress/


Pandemic

Natalie Grover, “What do we know about the fast-spreading Covid variant in UK?” Guardian, December 20, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/dec/20/fast-spreading-covid-variant-in-england-uk

Jon Henley et al., “EU to hold crisis talks as countries block travel from UK over new Covid strain,” Guardian, December 20, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/dec/20/belgium-italy-and-netherlands-ban-flights-from-uk-over-new-covid-strain


Donald Trump

Jonathan Chait, “Trump Floats Coup Plan That’s So Wild Even Rudy Giuliani Is Terrified,” New York, December 19, 2020, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/12/trump-coup-sidney-powell-martial-law-michael-flynn-meltdown.html

Michael Kruse, “Is Trump Cracking Under the Weight of Losing?” Politico, December 20, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/12/20/trump-white-house-losing-448903

Matt Zapotosky, “Undercutting Trump, Barr says there’s no basis for seizing voting machines, using special counsels for election fraud, Hunter Biden,” Washington Post, December 21, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/barr-trump-special-counsel-voter-fraud-hunter-biden/2020/12/21/4d85f060-439c-11eb-b0e4-0f182923a025_story.html


  1. [17]Natalie Grover, “What do we know about the fast-spreading Covid variant in UK?” Guardian, December 20, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/dec/20/fast-spreading-covid-variant-in-england-uk
  2. [18]Jon Henley et al., “EU to hold crisis talks as countries block travel from UK over new Covid strain,” Guardian, December 20, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/dec/20/belgium-italy-and-netherlands-ban-flights-from-uk-over-new-covid-strain
  3. [19]Felicia Sonmez et al., “A frustrated Trump redoubles efforts to challenge election result,” Washington Post, December 20, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/tuberville-electoral-challenge-trump-conversation/2020/12/20/1658573e-42db-11eb-b0e4-0f182923a025_story.html
  4. [20]Robert Barnes, “Supreme Court denies Trump allies’ bid to overturn Pennsylvania election results,” Washington Post, December 8, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/supreme-court-trump-pennsylvania-election-results/2020/12/08/4d39e16c-397d-11eb-98c4-25dc9f4987e8_story.html; Robert Barnes, “Supreme Court dismisses bid led by Texas attorney general to overturn the presidential election results, blocking Trump’s legal path to a reversal of his loss,” Washington Post, December 11, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/supreme-court-texas-election-trump/2020/12/11/bf462f22-3bc6-11eb-bc68-96af0daae728_story.html; Pam Fessler, “Led By Giuliani, Trump Campaign Effort To Stop Certification Falters In Pennsylvania,” National Public Radio, November 17, 2020, https://www.npr.org/2020/11/17/936027693/led-by-giuliani-trump-campaign-effort-to-stop-certification-falters-in-pennsylva; Josh Gerstein, “Trump campaign revises Pennsylvania suit, again,” Politico, November 18, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/2020/11/18/trump-pennsylvania-election-lawsuit-437996; Jon Swaine, “In scathing opinion, federal judge dismisses Trump campaign lawsuit in Pennsylvania,” Washington Post, November 21, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/us-judge-dismisses-trump-campaign-lawsuit-in-pa/2020/11/21/cc097fbe-2c50-11eb-9b14-ad872157ebc9_story.html; Elise Viebeck, “Pennsylvania Supreme Court dismisses lawsuit against mail ballots with prejudice in another defeat for Trump,” Washington Post, November 28, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/pennsylvania-supreme-court-dismisses-lawsuit-against-mail-ballots-with-prejudice-in-another-defeat-for-trump/2020/11/28/d1d50ef4-31d2-11eb-96c2-aac3f162215d_story.html
  5. [21]Sadie Gurman and Jacob Gershman, “Barr Says No Evidence Voter Fraud Changed Election Outcome,” Wall Street Journal, December 1, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-campaign-files-more-election-challenges-in-wisconsin-michigan-11606849219
  6. [22]David Benfell, “When it’s over but it isn’t,” Not Housebroken, December 20, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/11/27/when-its-over-but-it-isnt/
  7. [23]Michael Kruse, “Is Trump Cracking Under the Weight of Losing?” Politico, December 20, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/12/20/trump-white-house-losing-448903
  8. [24]Jonathan Chait, “Trump Floats Coup Plan That’s So Wild Even Rudy Giuliani Is Terrified,” New York, December 19, 2020, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/12/trump-coup-sidney-powell-martial-law-michael-flynn-meltdown.html
  9. [25]Michael Kruse, “Is Trump Cracking Under the Weight of Losing?” Politico, December 20, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/12/20/trump-white-house-losing-448903
  10. [26]Matt Zapotosky, “Undercutting Trump, Barr says there’s no basis for seizing voting machines, using special counsels for election fraud, Hunter Biden,” Washington Post, December 21, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/barr-trump-special-counsel-voter-fraud-hunter-biden/2020/12/21/4d85f060-439c-11eb-b0e4-0f182923a025_story.html
  11. [27]Tina Nguyen, “MAGA leaders call for the troops to keep Trump in office,” Politico, December 18, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/2020/12/18/trump-insurrection-act-presidency-447986; Felicia Sonmez et al., “A frustrated Trump redoubles efforts to challenge election result,” Washington Post, December 20, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/tuberville-electoral-challenge-trump-conversation/2020/12/20/1658573e-42db-11eb-b0e4-0f182923a025_story.html; Felicia Sonmez et al., “A frustrated Trump redoubles efforts to challenge election result,” Washington Post, December 20, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/tuberville-electoral-challenge-trump-conversation/2020/12/20/1658573e-42db-11eb-b0e4-0f182923a025_story.html
  12. [28]Jeff Stein, and Mike DeBonis, “Senate majority leader announces approximately $900 billion deal on emergency relief package,” Washington Post, December 20, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/us-policy/2020/12/20/stimulus-congress/
  13. [29]Kriston Capps, “Landlords Challenge U.S. Eviction Ban and Continue to Oust Renters,” CityLab, October 22, 2020, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-10-22/landlords-launch-legal-attack-on-cdc-eviction-ban; Gretchen Morgenson, “Large corporate landlords have filed 10,000 eviction actions in five states since September,” NBC News, October 26, 2020, https://www.nbcnews.com/business/personal-finance/large-corporate-landlords-have-filed-10-000-eviction-actions-five-n1244711; Kyle Swenson, “Renters thought a CDC order protected them from eviction. Then landlords found loopholes,” Washington Post, October 27, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/dc-md-va/2020/10/27/trump-cdc-eviction-moratorium-loopholes/
  14. [30]Jeff Stein, and Mike DeBonis, “Senate majority leader announces approximately $900 billion deal on emergency relief package,” Washington Post, December 20, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/us-policy/2020/12/20/stimulus-congress/
  15. [31]Heather Long, “Millions of Americans are heading into the holidays unemployed and over $5,000 behind on rent,” Washington Post, December 7, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/12/07/unemployed-debt-rent-utilities/
  16. [32]Heather Long, “Nearly 8 million Americans have fallen into poverty since the summer,” Washington Post, December 16, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/12/16/poverty-rising/

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