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January 1, COVID-19 New Briefings or MAGA Rallies?



This Day in History | 1865

John Wilkes Booth shoots President Abraham Lincoln at Ford’s Theater in Washington D.C.. Booth, a southern sympathizer, shouts “Sic semper tyrannis!” (Ever thus to tyrants!) The South is avenged,” as he jumped onto the stage and fled on horseback. Lincoln died the next morning.

Good Morning Middle Americans!

Wow, that was really something. Did you catch President Trump’s COVID-19 press briefing yesterday? It was at once, fantastic, informative, combative and SAD!. The president managed to put to bed (at least for now) the rumors that he wants to fire Dr. Anthony Fauci a.k.a – the nation’s top infectious disease expert. He also managed to put to bed, any doubt that he’s using these daily press briefings as campaign rallies. Yesterday he played a video that looked a lot like a campaign ad.  That’s not a judgment on whether he’s right or wrong for making that play. But one has to wonder – if these briefings weren’t effective as campaign rallies – do you think we’d hear the Democrats and big media crying so loud about them? 

President Trump has announced his committee to restart the economy. Our question – where are Kim and Kanye? Where’s Don Jr., and Eric? What about Baron and Gary Busey? And that other guy who won the first season of the Apprentice who married that lady from the red carpet preview shows? But seriously – where are the business leaders from the private sector, where are the state governors who have praised President Trump for his response? We have an op-ed from Red State below that’s asking those important questions. 

Bernie Sanders broke a lot of hearts yesterday with his endorsement of Joe Biden. The endorsement from Sanders gives Biden something Hillary never had, plenty of time to unify the party.  But here’s something Biden and Hillary have in common – Biden like Clinton, will have to deal with sexual misconduct accusations from the past. One of Biden’s accusers filed a police report this week on a years old incident. Will the Democratic party care about Biden’s accusers, the same way they cared about Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanuagh’s?

A pair of Democratic senators introduce legislation that would release most ICE detainees – because of health concerns over the coronavirus. Is it just us, or are some lawmakers using the pandemic, to try fulfill their wish lists. 

Also – a couple of stories from the world of sports and entertainment in the age of COVID-19. Florida’s Governor Ron De Santis has declared the WWE and essential business. So that means professional wrestling is about taping again for television. Also a NASCAR star’s career hits the skids after he drops a racial slur during a live e-racing event on the popular live-stream gaming site Twtich. 

Read all about it. 

-Fraser Dixon 

Trump Uses Coronavirus Briefing to Play ‘Campaign Ad’ Attacking Press

(The Daily Beast) – President Donald Trump took over Monday’s White House task force briefing to lash out at critics and the press with a bizarre video that amounted to a campaign ad, before later declaring his authority is “total” if governors disagree with him during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Monday’s unprecedented press briefing began to go off the rails with the video, but before the end, the president was falsely trumpeting definitive authority during the health-care crisis that has already led to the deaths of more than 23,000 Americans.

The briefing almost immediately devolved into the president airing widespread grievances against his critics, from his likely 2020 general election opponent Joe Biden to governors and reporters who have dared to call his virus response into question over the last few weeks as American life has ground to a halt during the pandemic.

See more here

The ‘Major’ Problem with Trump’s Committee to Restart the Economy 

(Red State) –  What is disappointing about this is that Trump’s biggest triumph in the COVID-19 fight has been his regional and hands-off approach to shutdowns. He has provided assistance to states where it was needed when they asked, and supported their shutdowns. His administration has also worked very closely with private companies to get supplies out to the front lines in the fight against the virus.

No governors or delegates from hard-hit states, no representatives from private companies, no one outside of his administration. This is a big mistake. His biggest victory in this fight is one he wants to completely ignore, and that is not good.

Read more here 

Bernie Endorses Biden

(The Hill) – Bernie Sander’s endorsement of Joe Biden on Monday gave the former vice president something Hillary Clinton never had when it came to unifying the Democratic Party: Plenty of time. 

Democrats have fretted since their race began with two dozen candidates that they would have a hard time unifying around a single nominee, and that a divisive primary would hurt their eventual standard-bearer.

Their nightmare since the beginning of the race has been that a splintered Democratic Party would end up costing them another election to President Trump. 

Find out more here

Former Senate Staffer Accuses Joe Biden of Sexual Assault

(AP) — A former aide to Joe Biden is accusing the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee of sexually assaulting her during the early 1990s when he was a senator. Biden’s campaign denies the charges.

In two recent interviews with The Associated Press, Tara Reade alleged the assault occurred in the basement of a Capitol Hill office building in the spring of 1993. She filed a police report in Washington on Thursday saying she was the victim of a sexual assault by an unnamed person in 1993, a copy of which was obtained by the AP.

It’s not the first time Reade has made an accusation against the former vice president. Last year, Reade publicly accused Biden of inappropriate touching, but did not allege sexual assault.

See the full report here

Legislation from Sen. Cory Booker Would Force ICE to Release Most Detained Immigrants

(The Star-Ledger) – U.S. Sen. Cory Booker on Monday proposed legislation to speed up the release of many immigrants now being held by the Trump administration, saying the facilities pose “a direct threat to the communities” they’re located in due to the spread of the coronavirus.

The bill sponsored by Booker, D-N.J., and Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., quickly would require detainees under 21 and over 50 to be released and order U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to release others that do not threaten public safety.

Booker said there were other ways to track unauthorized immigrants than to keep them in custody.

“This is a virus that we see knows no border, knows no boundaries,” Booker said at a tele-press conference with Jayapal. “We don’t allow people to congregate at basketball games in New Jersey. Why would be doing that in immigrant facilities when we know there are ways to reduce density with no threat to public safety.”

U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., earlier called on ICE to release nonviolent detainees from custody due to the coronavirus, but the Booker bill would go further than that.

Learn more here

WWE to Resume Live TV Tapings After Being Deemed ‘Essential Business’ by Florida Governor’s Office

(CBS Sports) – WWE will resume live television matches starting on Monday, bringing an end to a stretch of pre-taped programming over the past several weeks — which included WrestleMania 36 earlier this month — that was necessitated by the coronavirus pandemic. “Monday Night Raw” will kick off its live return at WWE’s training facility in Orlando, Florida.

Also airing at the Orlando training facility will be SmackDown on Friday, while NXT will air on Wednesday from Full Sail University, as per usual, in Winter Park, Florida. All of these live events will continue to take place without fans in attendance.

“We believe it is now more important than ever to provide people with a diversion from these hard times,” WWE said in a statement to ESPN. “We are producing content on a closed set with only essential personnel in attendance following appropriate guidelines while taking additional precautions to ensure the health and wellness of our performers and staff. As a brand that has been woven into the fabric of society, WWE and its Superstars bring families together and deliver a sense of hope, determination and perseverance.”

Learn more here

Cops Charge Chicago Man Who Shoved Marine Veteran Into Oncoming Train with Murder

(CNN) – Ryan Munn, 18, was charged with first degree murder after he “punched and pushed” Mamadou Balde, 29, into a passing train, according to the Chicago Police Department.

The incident, which began as a confrontation between Munn, another man, and Balde, occurred last Tuesday.

Balde, a Marine veteran who served two tours in Afghanistan, suffered multiple blunt force injuries and was pronounced dead on the scene.

“The investigation remains ongoing as detectives are continuing to seek additional persons of interest involved in the incident,” a spokesperson for Chicago Police told CNN.

Find out more here

NASCAR Star Kyle Larson Suspended for Using N-word During Virtual Race

(TMZ) – Two major sponsors have just cut ties with Larson … with McDonald’s and Credit One Bank blasting the driver for his actions while terminating their deals with him.

“We were extremely disappointed and appalled to hear about this incident,” McDonald’s announced Monday. “The comments made by Kyle Larson are insensitive, offensive and not reflective of our inclusive values and will not be tolerated. McDonald’s is taking immediate action to terminate the relationship with Larson.”

Added Credit One, “Credit One Bank denounces the highly offensive language used by Kyle Larson during Sunday’s iRacing event. In addition to the quick actions taken by NASCAR and Chip Ganassi Racing, Credit One Bank is terminating its sponsorship of Kyle Larson.”

Larson just issued a video apology — saying, “I just want to say I’m sorry.”

“Last night I made a mistake and said the word that should never ever be said and there’s no excuse for that.”

“I wasn’t raised that way and it’s just an awful thing to say. I feel very sorry for my family, my friends, my partners, the NASCAR community and especially the African-American community.”

“I understand the damage is probably unrepairable and I own up to that. I just want to let you all know how sorry I am and I hope everybody is staying safe during these crazy times.”
Get the latest here

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