America’s doctor offered an inspiring bedside message of hope as the nation faces the deadliest days and weeks of the coronavirus pandemic.Dr. Anthony Fauci calmly told Americans on Tuesday that we can “get over this” if we continue to observe strict shutdowns and social distancing.“We really have to hang in there,” Fauci told CNN. “So let’s all hang in there together. We will get over this and this will end.”Even as he suggested that the Centers for Disease Control may order all Americans to wear masks outside, Fauci said the strategy so far is working as well as could be expected.“We do beli...
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Putin is 'out of options' and Russian military realizes it 'picked up a fight with NATO in the wrong place': expert
In an interview with The New Yorker published this Wednesday, Russian investigative journalist Andrei Soldatov discussed Russia's setbacks in its invasion of Ukraine, saying that it's clear that the Russian government "now understands that it’s going to be a long, conventional war, not the small military operation they pretended it would be."
According to Soldatov, Russian President Vladimir Putin is "out of options."
"He’s quite limited. He got himself in a big war, and right now the military is finally quite convinced that they are fighting a really big war, not just some limited conflict," Soldatov said. "So what’s he going to do? He needs to vow to keep going in Ukraine. And he understands that he’s fighting a conventional army, not some group of Nazis."
Soldatov went on to say that the Russian army is "on the losing end, because the Ukrainian Army is a completely mobilized army that actually claims it can call on hundreds of thousands more in reserves." There is also a realization within the Russian military that it "picked up a fight with NATO in the wrong place."
At this point, the most interesting thing about Russia's invasion is that no one really knows what Putin's goals are, Soldatov says.
"The thinking is that, look, we are sustaining heavy casualties and suffering a lot, so the goal of occupying the Donbas cannot be the objective of such a war. We need something a bit more ambitious, and some pro-military channels on Telegram have just conducted polls and asked their subscribers, 'What do you think? When will the objective for this war be achieved?' And only six per cent of people said that it would be achieved with the 'liberation' of the Donbas, while thirty-three per cent said it would be when the whole of Ukraine capitulates unconditionally. People in the military and people close to the military want something much more ambitious than what Putin is saying."
Read the full interview at The New Yorker.
Tuesday night was a disappointment for most of former President Donald Trump’s endorsed Republican candidates in Georgia’s statewide races.
Herschel Walker, a former UGA football star and Trump surrogate in Georgia, ran away with a primary win and is set for general election fight against Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock. But Gov. Brian Kemp, the former president’s best frenemy, easily defeated former Sen. David Perdue for the Republican’s right to a rematch with Democrat Stacey Abrams this fall.
Trump is credited with propelling Kemp past then-Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle to secure the Republican nomination in 2018. But Kemp became one of Trump’s favorite targets after he refused to help overturn the 2020 election results.
Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, another major target of Trump ire following the election, dodged a runoff against Trump-backed Jody Hice, a former Republican Congressman who ran on a platform of election conspiracy theories.
Raffensperger, who refused Trump’s request to find additional votes in a now-famous phone call, reportedly received death threats in the aftermath of the 2020 vote, but he is now clear to seek another term against a Democratic challenger who still must survive a runoff.
Attorney General Chris Carr easily fended off a late bid from Trump-backed challenger John Gordon, an attorney involved with Trump’s legal attempts to overturn the 2020 election Joe Biden won. With about 95% of the vote counted, Carr won nearly 75% of the vote and is poised to face Democratic nominee Jen Jordan, an attorney and state senator from Atlanta.
In an exceedingly rare move for a former president, Trump made an endorsement for the state insurance commissioner, backing attorney Patrick Witt against incumbent John King, but King appeared to manage an easy win with more than 70% of votes.
A few hand-picked candidates Trump fared better.
As of early Wednesday, Trump’s favorite for lieutenant governor, state Sen. Burt Jones led fellow Republican state Sen. Butch Miller with 50.1% of the vote to Miller’s 31.1%, but votes were still being counted.
Two Trump favorites for Congress with little political experience face uphill runoffs.
In Congressional District 6, which was newly drawn to favor a Republican candidate, Jake Evans, the son of Trump’s former ambassador to Luxembourg, is set to go to a runoff with former Congressman Rich McCormick, according to the Associated Press. As of midnight, McCormick had about 44.5% of the vote to Evans’ 23%, with half of districts reporting.
Former Democratic state Rep. Vernon Jones, Trump’s pick for east Georgia’s District 10, appears to be in a similar boat. As of midnight, he trailed Mike Collins, the owner of a trucking company, with 89% of precincts reporting, Collins had 25.59% of the vote to Jones’ 21.57%.
Jones originally was a candidate for governor, but decided to run for Congress, reportedly at Trump’s request to make room for Perdue to run for governor against Kemp.
Republican voters at Georgia’s polling places had mixed feelings about the former president.
Rural Gordon County is the type of place where Republican candidates hope to have a solid base of support – it’s represented by conservative stalwart Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene and gave Trump more than 80% of the vote in 2020.
But voters at the Soronaville Community Center outside Calhoun said Trump’s endorsement isn’t everything.
Keith Cochran, who works in city government, said he voted for Kemp because he likes the way he’s run the state over the last four years, citing the recent fuel tax cut and school COVID-19 policies. He’s also a dyed-in-the-wool fan of Greene.
“Oh, I just love her. I wish she’d run for president,” he said. “She’s honest. And she’s for the people.”
Trump’s endorsement matters, but not more than what he’s seen with his own eyes.
“(Trump) is a nut, but I think he’s for the people also,” he said. “On the other hand, Biden, he’s giving money away, so we like that, but somebody’s got to pay the price.”
“I take what he says with a grain of salt,” he added.
Others said they have grown disillusioned with Trump following his presidency.
“His endorsement don’t mean nothing to me,” said truck driver Greg Hendrix. “I mean, Trump done good while he was president, but from the election on, he showed us what type of person he was, and I don’t need nobody like that representing our country.”
Hendrix also cast his ballot for Raffensperger, who he credited with standing up to Trump’s “bullying” after the election, and for Herschel Walker, albeit reluctantly. He said Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black would have been his first choice, but he felt Walker’s star power gives him a better shot at beating Sen. Raphael Warnock.
Terry Trivette, an insurance salesman and pastor, acknowledged he is in the minority in his community, but said he is fed up with the Trump wing of his party, adding that he would “write in Mary Poppins” before voting for Greene.
“I’m a conservative,” he said. “I’m a libertarian in a lot of ways, but I’m a conservative when it comes to policy, I’m conservative, I’m just not what this is. This is not conservatism. This is populism, and I don’t like it. It’s brainwashing. So I went with Miss (Jennifer) Strahan, who I think is a sensible candidate, but I don’t know. This woman’s got a stronghold on us too.”
“If you said God and guns enough,” he added with a shrug.
About 80 miles to the southeast, some Gwinnett Republicans expressed similar concerns.
Loganville resident Doug Hall says he was a reliable GOP voter before the 2020 election, when he cast his ballot for President Joe Biden. But he pulled a Republican ballot Tuesday and sought out the candidates who had not received Trump’s blessing, including Black.
Hall said he hopes Georgia voters send a message during a primary that has been closely watched as a referendum on Trump’s lingering power over the national GOP.
“He is not the Republican Party that I want to be affiliated with – at all,” Hall said after voting at the South Gwinnett Baptist Church. “He’s eroded our sense of democracy.”
“I’m not happy with what (Biden’s) done, but we couldn’t keep going down that road (with Trump),” Hall said. “We just couldn’t, so now I’m back to the Republican Party and trying to weed this cancer out of it. Because that’s what it is to me.”
Another Loganville resident who typically votes Republican, Holly Eck, also said she mostly steered clear of Trump-endorsed candidates like Jones.
“I just think he’s an idiot, to say it plainly,” Eck said of Trump.
Looking to November
A voter’s personal opinion appears to be more important than the Trump seal of approval in Georgia, said University of Georgia political science professor Charles Bullock.
“What it suggests is that Trump’s influence is going to be muted by a person who has a record,” Bullock said. “And Kemp, with his four years as governor and everything that has been passed by his administration, that counts for something, whereas an open seat, which Kemp was running for four years ago, the Trump endorsement did make a lot of impact there.”
Trump also issued several endorsements for incumbent Republicans including Greene who were nearly certainly set to win regardless, including some who had no primary opponents.
“Of course, he’ll take full credit for it and brag about it,” Bullock said. “But in reality, what we’re seeing, at least in Georgia, is that simply because Trump smiles at you and gives you his backing, it’s not the be-all-end-all.”
In his concession speech, Perdue pledged to give Kemp his full support against Abrams, but whether Trump does the same is another question. Many blame Trump and his claims of election fraud for depressing Republican turnout in the January 2021 runoffs that sent Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff to the Senate, tipping the balance of power to their party.
“I think Trump may well do that, because Trump is not really interested in building the Republican Party, he’s interested in building a Trump party,” Bullock said. “Therefore, I’m not sure he’ll ever get behind Kemp. If Trump follows that pattern it could cost Kemp, and cost him dearly, potentially, in that it might induce enough Republicans to – not that they would vote for Stacey Abrams – but to skip over Kemp, in which case, you might see a replay of that January 2021 federal election, where I think Trump probably went a long way toward costing Republicans those two senate seats.”
Georgia Recorder Deputy Editor contributed to this report.
Georgia Recorder is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Georgia Recorder maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor John McCosh for questions: email@example.com. Follow Georgia Recorder on Facebook and Twitter.
President Biden is right. “For God’s Sake,” and our children’s sake, we must do something about gun violence in America. And we must do it now.
Back in 1996, after a few years of mass shootings, Australia experienced a mass slaughter on a scale like we saw yesterday in Texas. Their Supreme Court hadn’t ruled that Australian politicians could be owned by industries, so they passed extensive gun control and a nationwide gun buyback program. It was a turning point, and the mass shootings have since largely stopped.
Over at Daily Kos, Walter Einenkel has summarized how many millions of dollars the top Republicans in Congress have taken from the weapons industry: it’s a grim toll, starting with Mitt Romney taking over $13 million and Richard Burr over $6 million.
We’ve been at this point over and over again in America: will this be the one that punches through the wall of money the NRA and the weapons industry it fronts for wraps around Republicans?
Over on Fox News, one brilliant idea to deal with the slaughter of our children in our schools is to issue “Ballistic Blankets” to every school. This is how sick and twisted the Republicans taking money from the gun industry and their allies have become.
Twenty years ago, car accidents were the leading killer of children and youth: today it’s guns.
At the turn of the 21st century, there were about 14 car-crash deaths among young people (aged 1-24) per 100,000 young Americans, and only a bit over 7 gun deaths per 100,000. This year, almost 11 out of 100,000 children died from guns while only 8 per 100K died from car crashes.
And most all of those child gun deaths, mass shootings, and school shootings, which don’t happen in any other developed country in the world, are entirely preventable.
The GOP gifted gun manufacturers with near-absolute immunity against product liability lawsuits, so manufacturers have zero incentive to sell safer weapons or dial back their lobbying and marketing.
Their immunity from lawsuits is so extreme that the only way the parents of the kids murdered at Sandy Hook could hold Remington responsible was to instead go after their marketing: they had to point out how the company was “selling masculinity” to get guns into the hands of insecure boys.
The danger of an AR15 weapon-of-war in an elementary school couldn’t even be discussed.
America must “regulate” — a word found in the Second Amendment, it’s only appearance in the entire Constitution — guns.
A starting point is bringing back the assault weapons ban that Bill Clinton got passed in 1996 and George W. Bush let expire in 2006.
There are other commonsense solutions, like universal background checks, we could also put into law.
For example, back in the early years of the 20th century when cars had become so common they were regularly killing people in auto accidents, states hit on a simple formula to encourage safe driving and maintain clear lines of responsibility when things went wrong.
*Every car was required to be registered every year with the state; if it was found out in public without registration it could be confiscated.
*Every driver was required to prove knowledge of how to safely drive, with both a written and a real-life driving test.
*And every driver was required to carry liability insurance, so if there was an accident the victims were covered, regardless of who was at fault.
For about 100 years drivers have lived with these three simple requirements, and they’ve worked. The liability insurance is particularly effective: as a “free market solution,” insurance companies now compile information on drivers’ safety records, including their history of violence, and set their rates accordingly.
Think about it: if Adam Lanza had murdered those kids at Sandy Hook by mowing them down in the street with his mom’s SUV, their families would have gotten $1 million each from Geico (for example). But because he killed them with a gun, they got nothing; even survivors of mass shootings and “accidents” get nothing for medical bills.
The only city in America who’s taken a cue from that century of insurance experience is San Jose, California which in 2021 put a liability insurance requirement into place for all gun owners in the city.
If you’ve committed gun-related crimes or your guns have killed people in the past, the “free market” for insurance will make it very expensive to own a gun; if you’re a gun owner who keeps your weapons in a gun safe and uses trigger guards, your rates will be nominal.
One of the main reasons fewer children are dying in car accidents now than a decade or two ago is that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has been compiling statistics for decades and has repeatedly identified safety flaws in particular vehicles or the way they’re used.
Gun safety advocates have, for years, called for a federal agency to compile gun injury and death statistics, but a bought-off member of Congress, Arkansas Republican Jay Dickey, attached the notorious “Dickey Amendment” to a must-pass omnibus spending bill in 1996.
In response to a growing number of research papers in the 1980s and early 1990s calling gun deaths a national health crisis and demanding federally funded science on the issue, his NRA-sponsored amendment banned any federal dollars from being used to research gun injuries or deaths in the US.
As The New England Journal of Medicine noted:
“Although substantial federal funding has been devoted to research on motor vehicle crashes, the firearm industry and gun-rights organizations, led by the National Rifle Association (NRA), have been effective at keeping federal dollars from financing firearm-related research.”
Republicans in Congress continue to attach the Dickey Amendment to every major omnibus spending bill and refuse to vote for any that doesn’t contain it. If anybody is “grooming” children toward dangerous behavior, it’s Republicans proudly grooming their own kids to be future school shooters by sending out Christmas cards featuring semiautomatic weapons.
There’s also the problem of the simple proliferation of guns, and the fact that more and more of them are semi-automatic weapons of war rather than simple revolvers or sport-shooting guns and rifles.
In 2010, a bit fewer than 10 million guns were sold in the US. Just the one year of 2020 saw that number more than double to nearly 22 million guns sold in just a 12-month period; 2021 added another 19 million guns to America’s homes.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that the more guns there are — particularly lacking any incentives to secure them safely — the more gun deaths (accidental, homicide, suicide) there will be.
There are now more guns in America than there are people, a bizarre situation that no other developed country in the world experiences. Literally none.
The average of all countries in the world is 9.86 guns per 100 civilians. The United States is highest in the world at 120.5 guns per 100 people. Yemen, which is in the middle of a war with Saudi Arabia and dealing with an internal insurgency, comes in second at 52.8. No other nation is even close; even Afghanistan and Iraq average around 20 deadly weapons in the hands of every hundred people.
While President Biden has signed an executive order banning the scourge of untraceable “ghost guns” and put gun safety in his last State of the Union speech, there is so much more to do.
Earlier this year a group of young activists including mass shooting survivor and March For Our Lives leader David Hogg covered the front of Senator Chuck Schumer’s office with body bags because of his unwillingness to bring gun control legislation to the floor of the Senate during this election year.
Meanwhile, the NRA, still flush with an infusion of cash from Russia, has succeeded in lobbying 25 states to allow anybody to carry a concealed gun with no background checks, no training, and no permit, regardless of their criminal or violent history.
America is neither poor nor stupid. We figured out how cars were killing people and put an end to most avoidable automobile deaths using a combination of commonsense laws (like mandatory licensure and insurance) and safety measures (seatbelts, carseats, padded dashes, anti-lock brakes, etc.).
The problem is that the GOP, their newfound concern for “the children” notwithstanding, does everything they can to block any reasonable solutions to the problem of gun violence and deaths in America, particularly among our kids.
We have both the technology and the resources to stop mass shootings and deal with childhood injuries and deaths from the only product sold in America that is specifically designed to kill human beings.
We must vote out the Republicans taking money from and embracing this death-dealing industry so America can put these reasonable steps — that have worked so well in other development nations — into place here.