Dispatches from our mid-pandemic stupid coup

More than 130 Secret Service officers who help protect the White House and the president when he travels have recently been ordered to isolate or quarantine because they tested positive for the coronavirus or had close contact with infected co-workers, according to three people familiar with agency staffing.”

“A lot of times before they’re intubated — which means put on a ventilator because they can’t breathe on their own — when they’re still struggling to breathe, and they’re saying, ‘Well, I didn’t know COVID was real, and I wish I’d worn a mask.’ And then it’s already too late,” she tells NPR’s All Things Considered. “You can see the regret, as they’re struggling to breathe and it’s finally hitting them that this is real.”

“…about five people have attempted to get inside [Utah Valley Hospital] because they question whether the ICU is as full as some say. […] So far, it seems no one has been successful getting in. However, Hansen said what the conspiracy theorists did has forced the hospital to take extra precautions when it comes to visitors and people being admitted.”

“Roughly 80 percent of Texas county jail inmates who have died after contracting COVID-19 were in pre-trial detention and had not been convicted of any crimes.”

…his administration has refused to launch the formal transition, depriving President-elect Joe Biden’s team of access to national security information. […]The staffers recognize that Biden will be the next president, but they are ‘not allowed to act like that will happen,’ said the former official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because his current job did not permit him to speak publicly. Meantime, national security actions and requests for briefings from the president are drying up.” (So, basically…US national security briefings are going to nobody right now.)

“Since 2000, I have participated in three presidential transitions from the vantage points of both the departing and the incoming administration. […] In the week since Joe Biden’s victory became clear, President Trump and his administration have taken no steps toward starting the process of transition. The risks to our national security are mounting.” Susan Rice gives a summary of the broader problem going on here.

Senate Republicans are racing ahead with post-election judicial confirmations, breaking a 123-year tradition against voting on judicial nominees of an outgoing president of the defeated party during a lame duck session.” This is my shocked face.

One bit of good news: “Postal workers doing final sweeps of their systems have found just a few ballots — in most cases, they number in the double digits — that were lost or left behind. […] What made the difference, experts say, was enormous public pressure, multiple lawsuits, scrutiny from the courts, urgent efforts to urge voters to mail their ballots as early as possible, and extraordinary measures taken by the agency itself and its legions of dedicated postal workers.”

Back to the bad, a warning to us from Sri Lanka: “The coup was a farce at the time but how soon it turned to tragedy. They called it a constitutional crisis, but how soon it became a real one. Right now, the same thing is happening to you. I’m trying to warn you America. It seems stupid now, but the consequences are not.”

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