CHICAGO — A record number of Illinois nursing home residents with COVID-19 died in the past week, as people in long-term care try to hold out until they can get vaccinated against the virus. An unprecedented 605 resident deaths were attributed to COVID-19 in the past seven days, state figures showed Friday — far more than the previous high of 480 two weeks ago. The number of recorded new infections in the state’s long-term care facilities also set a record with 5,063 new cases, surpassing the previous high of 4,536 from two weeks earlier. This second surge of the virus again exceeds the worst ...
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Buffalo killer's worldview has become 'increasingly central to the identity of the Republican Party': NYT editorial
The twisted view of the world that spurred the 18-year-old gunman to seek out and murder Black people in a Buffalo supermarket increasingly is at the core of the Republican party's identity, argued a scathing New York Times editorial on Tuesday.
The New York Times editorial board is calling out GOP politicians, especially those in leadership positions, for amplifying the false white supremacist conspiracy theory that there is an orchestrated effort is underway to displace white Americans.
The newspaper points out that a recently published poll revealed that almost half of all Republicans believe there is a concerted effort by a group of powerful people in this country who are trying to permanently alter the culture and voting strength of native-born Americans by bringing in large groups of immigrants.
Just like Payton Gendron, those who committed mass killings in recent years in El Paso, TX, Charleston, SC, Pittsburgh and elsewhere all shared the same racist worldview, the newspaper notes.
"American life is punctuated by mass shootings that are routinely described as idiosyncratic," the editors write. "But these attacks are not random acts; they are part of the long American history of political violence perpetrated by white supremacists against Black people and other minority groups. Politicians who have employed some of the vocabulary of replacement theory generally do not make explicit calls for violence. The office of one of those politicians, Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York, said in a statement that the Buffalo attack was an 'act of evil' and that she 'has never advocated for any racist position.'"
But as the Times points out, in September, Stefanik’s re-election campaign "paid for a Facebook ad that combined imagery of immigrants with the accusation that 'Radical Democrats are planning their most aggressive move yet: a PERMANENT ELECTION INSURRECTION.' Ms. Stefanik’s ad continued, 'Their plan to grant amnesty to 11 MILLION illegal immigrants will overthrow our current electorate and create a permanent liberal majority in Washington.'”
The Times editorial underscores what Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, who was kicked out of a GOP leadership role after denouncing former President Donald Trump and the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection, tweeted on Monday: "The House GOP leadership has enabled white nationalism, white supremacy, and anti-semitism. History has taught us that what begins with words ends in far worse. @GOP leaders must renounce and reject these views and those who hold them."
'McConnell's worst nightmare': Morning Joe says Trump's 'bonkers' base is pushing for unelectable candidates
MSNBC's Joe Scarborough and John Heilemann on Tuesday discussed how Donald Trump's preferred candidates would put Republican chances in jeopardy for taking back the U.S. Senate majority.
The former president has endorsed loyalists -- including J.D. Vance in Ohio, Herschel Walker in Georgia and Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania -- in races around the country, and the "Morning Joe" host said they're unlikely to win Democratic votes and might not excite enough Republican voters.
"In a year where the Democrats seem to be handing it to Republicans, going, 'Please take the majority in the House, we don't want it anymore -- take the majority,' this should be so easy for Republicans," Scarborough said. "Yet, you look in Georgia, he endorses Herschel Walker -- wrong on so many levels, I don't even know where to begin. Georgia Republicans, again, quietly freaking out, going, 'My God, he did this to us in 2020, he is doing it to us again.' You look at Pennsylvania. Dr. Oz? I mean, it is going to be so easy to turn that guy around in circles. He's changed positions as quickly as J.D. Vance, maybe even more quickly than J.D. Vance -- total total hypocrites and total liars."
"The Republican Party in Arizona has never been crazier than it's been," Scarborough added. "You look at the people leading in the gubernatorial race. You look at the people that are leading in the Senate race, absolutely outrageous. Of course, you have Wisconsin and Ron Johnson, that speaks for itself. I mean, in all of these swing states that [President Joe] Biden won -- Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Arizona, what am I missing? Georgia, yeah. Joe Biden has low approval ratings, but Republicans aren't taking advantage of it."
Heilemann agreed these Trump-backed candidates, if they advance past the Republican primaries like Vance already has, would face a steep challenge in a general election.
"You know, this is Mitch McConnell's worst nightmare," Heilemann said. "The Pennsylvania race, again, the litany you laid out, Joe, is potent and compelling. I think that Donald Trump -- I would go back to Kathy Barnette. Kathy Barnette is right in a lot of ways. Donald Trump is giving Democrats a gift in a lot of those places by getting involved in races where he is going to end up with people who are, by far, the weaker candidates to run in states where a strong mainstream, what used to be a mainstream Republican candidate ... the mainstream of the Republican Party is now the extreme, but what we used to think of as mainstream conservative candidates would have a strong shot at winning gubernatorial races and Senate races."
Trump remains the GOP's leader, but Heilemann said he's throwing away his political capital on losers.
"In some cases, his clout is going to stick the Republican Party with the wrong candidate, making it hard to win the general election, or the candidates he endorsed are going to lose, like the [Georgia Gov. Brian] Kemp race," Heilemann said. "That the base is now dragging Donald Trump as much as Donald Trump is leading the base. You can't overemphasize the notion of what has happened in the transformation of the party into a Trumpist party, is Trump's power is real with the Republican base, but the Republican base itself has a mind of its own."
"So in some of these states, like Arizona and other places, the genie is out of the bottle," Heilemann added. "In some ways, Trump is racing to keep up with the base rather than the other way around. I think that is the deeper problem that Republicans have in a lot of these states going forward. The party has gone bonkers."
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The number of people reported missing in violence-wracked Mexico has exceeded 100,000, according to official data, with rights groups calling for "immediate" action from the government to locate the disappeared.
The country's National Registry of Missing Persons -- which has been tracking disappearances since 1964 -- said that as of Monday, the whereabouts of 100,012 people are unknown. About 75 percent are men.
Disappearances have skyrocketed in the wake of mounting drug violence that has rocked the country for 16 years.
The Movement for Our Disappeared warned Monday that the figure was "certainly well below the number" of cases that are reported daily, calling for the government to "deal with this crisis in a comprehensive and immediate manner."
Last April, the UN Committee against Enforced Disappearances warned that Mexico was facing an "alarming upward trend" in missing people cases.
Organized crime groups were mainly responsible for these disappearances, the UN body said, with "varying degrees of acquiescence or omission" on the part of public officials.
The lack of official help in investigating the cases has led families of the disappeared, especially mothers, to form groups that search for clandestine graves in the hope of finding their relatives.
The Mexican government has reported that around 37,000 unidentified bodies are being held in forensic services, though civil organizations warn the number could be much higher.
Authorities are working to consolidate a database of the disappeared with genetic samples, though many corpses have been buried without being identified due to the country's overflowing morgues.
The UN's top human rights body said the disappearances represented a "human tragedy of enormous proportions."
"No effort should be spared to put an end to these human rights violations and abuses of extraordinary breadth, and to vindicate victims' rights to truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-repetition," said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet.
The first reported disappearances in Mexico date back to the authorities' so-called "dirty war" against leftist movements from the 1960s-1980s.
Mexico has also registered over 340,000 deaths -- mostly attributed to organized crime groups -- since 2006, when a major anti-drug military offensive was launched.
© 2022 AFP