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Mike Pence and Trump officials in line to get raises up to $13K tomorrow as federal workers go without pay: report

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Absent intervention by Congress to cancel or postpone them, senior staff members in President Donald Trump’s administration can expect raises of up to $10,000 starting on January 5, reports the Washington Post.

While as many as 800,000 federal workers have gone without pay for two weeks — and counting — Vice President Mike Pence and other officials can expect to see a boost to their income in their next paycheck.

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According to the report, “The pay raises for cabinet secretaries, deputy secretaries, top administrators and even Vice President Mike Pence are scheduled to go into effect … documents issued by the Office of Personnel Management and experts in federal pay,” state.

The Post notes that it was known before President Trump shut down the government in order to fund his wall, the pay increases would go forward without interruption due to a quirk in the law.

“When lawmakers failed to pass bills on Dec. 21 to fund multiple federal agencies, they allowed an existing pay freeze to lapse,” the report explains. “Congress enacted a law capping pay for top federal executives in 2013 and renewed it each year. The raises will occur because that cap will expire without legislative action by Saturday, allowing raises that have accumulated over those years but never took effect to kick in, starting with paychecks issued next week.”

Cabinet secretaries making $199,700 per year will see their pay jump to $210,700 annually; deputy secretaries will see an increase from $179,700 to $189,600.

Vice President Pence is in line for a raise of almost $13,000 — leaping from $230,700 to $243,500.

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Meanwhile, nearly 800,000 federal employees are in unpaid limbo, about 380,000 of them having been furloughed, as others continue to work without pay.

“I suspect the president isn’t aware of the disparity – that political appointees will get a pay raise and no one else will,” explained John Palguta, a former executive in the federal government specializing in human resources remarked, before adding, “It’s going to be seen as terribly unfair.”

You can read more here.

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Donald Trumps needs a coronavirus scapegoat — and right now it’s China

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"If we are at war, who is the enemy?" asks Fred Hiatt, editorial page editor for The Washington Post in a smart piece that examines the question of who constitutes a target for a self-declared "wartime president."

While it is obvious that the enemy, in this case, is a tiny, sticky, invisible microbe that stubbornly gloms onto surfaces or leaps through the air to weaponize subway cars or shared gym equipment or a touch to the face.

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Some Trump supporters ‘delight’ in defying pandemic protocols to stick it to liberals: report

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A new report from The Atlantic's McKay Coppins reveals that some conservative Trump supporters are intentionally defying recommended social distancing protocols as a way to stick it to their political foes.

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Alternet 2020

Pandemic modelers warn that Trump’s lies may increase the spread of COVID-19

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Welcome to another edition of What Fresh Hell?, Raw Story’s roundup of news items that might have become controversies under another regime, but got buried – or were at least under-appreciated – due to the daily firehose of political pratfalls, unhinged tweet storms and other sundry embarrassments coming out of the current White House.

Epidemiologists model how an infectious disease outbreak may spread within and between communities. The computer models are based on research into past epidemics, the virulence of a pathogen,the  severity of the illness it causes and various other factors. But these scientists assume that leaders will offer a coherent response to the crisis, and that people will modify their behavior appropriately. Trump, the conservative press and the Republican base are upending those assumptions.

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