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Supreme Court Washington DC

Amy Coney Barrett Confirmed As Supreme Court Justice, One Week Before Election Day 

Justice Amy Coney Barrett could easily spend three decades sitting on the Supreme Court, however, the way in which she got to her position of power will not soon be forgotten by the American people who have had quite the year watching their current administration mishandle a global pandemic and further dividing the country politically. 

Barrett will begin her tenure one week before Election Day in what’s being referred to as one of the most rushed Supreme Court appointments in history. Barrett has received a wave of critiques from Americans and politicians who believe Trump pushed for Barrett to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg as a means of maintaining a Republican-controlled Senate, and now, her presence in the 6-3 conservative-liberal bench could transform the law in America for generations. 

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Barrett won the Senate vote 52-48; one of the closest Justice votes in history. Trump made it clear, however, that this was a divisive move as he knew putting Barrett in quickly would allow the high court to make crucial case decisions that would affect the outcome of the election between him and Joe Biden. Several challenges to voting rules in the key states of Pennsylvania and North Carolina are pending, just one week before Election Day. 

“The oath that I have solemnly taken tonight means at its core that I will do my job without any fear or favor and that I will do so independently of both the political branches and of my own preferences.”

Americans aren’t convinced of Barrett’s oath, however, as they know she has extremely conservative values when it comes to things like abortion and religious rights, LGBTQ+ protections, and federal funding for things like the environment or workplace protections. The other discrepancy citizens are having with this nomination is the fact that Justice Barrett has little to no experience being a court justice especially when compared to the seven other individuals sitting on the bench with her.

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Beyond that, the fact that Trump has now been able to appoint three Supreme Court Justices, making the bench predominantly conservative, has Americans fearing that his right-winged policies will survive for years and years, regardless of who’s in the White House. 

In traditional circumstances new Justices’ are sworn in at the Supreme Court, and in recent decades most of the new Justices’ struggle with how to respond to presidential invitations. Supreme Court Justices are meant to hold power in their own right, and should loath being seen as a prop for the president, as their judicial power is meant to rise above any one political ideal and instead abide by the law itself. 

Barrett and Trump’s “collaborative” type relationship, and Trump’s presence at her swearing in, could be fraught on by voters and the electoral college come Election Day. Chief Justice John Roberts is scheduled to administer the judicial oath to Barrett in a private event held at the Supreme Court this Tuesday, after which she will be able to assume her duties on the Court. 

For the newest justice, however, Covid-19 will likely postpone any other rituals or personal gestures that are typically offered to new Justices. These rituals normally involve a welcome dinner for the newest member which is a black-tie affair, and while the postponement of a party may not seem like a huge deal, the breaking of traditions surrounding this entire judicial process is staggering in terms of American history. 

US Presidental Debate

Biggest Takeaways From The Final Trump-Biden Debate 

The second and final debate between President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden took place Thursday night in what experts are calling a “more normal” debate when compared to the original showdown between the two candidates. 

Trump entered the debate and maintained a relatively calm presence, under the advice of his administration who pleaded with the president to cool down this round. The basis of his arguments remained the same as the previous debate: he downplayed the coronavirus pandemic and took no personal responsibility for America’s failings in handling it, threw personal attacks at Biden, and lacked an overall sense of substance in his answers. For example when asked about a health care agenda for his second term, Trump avoided the question and yet again made it through the night without mentioning a plan.

Additionally, the first question Trump was asked regarded how he would lead during the next stage of the coronavirus pandemic, to which the president reflected on the “success” he’s already had within the past year. The centerpiece of Trump’s arguments focused on the mentality that “it could be worse,” despite the fact that more than 220,000 Americans have now died. 

“It will go away and as I say, we’re rounding the turn, we’re rounding the corner. It’s going away.”

Trump made the above claim while avoiding discussing the multiple surges in cases occurring all across the nation currently. He did optimistically claim that a vaccine would be arriving “within weeks,” despite having no real evidence that that’s true. In a later portion of the debate he backtracked and mentioned that there was no “guarantee” one would be ready but he’s hopeful one will be ready by the end of the year. 

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Biden then offered a much darker, more realistic, painting of America’s handling of this virus, claiming we’re heading toward a very “dark winter” due to the action’s of Trump. Biden accused Trump of denying responsibility for Covid’s spreading in the US and downplaying the virus for months despite the piles of evidence being presented to him. 

“Anyone who’s responsible for that many deaths [over 200,000] should not remain as President of the United States of America.”

When discussing how he would handle the virus, Biden was able to list out some more specifics in terms of a concrete plan of action. He said he would establish a national standard for the reopening of schools and businesses and stimulus payments to get the nation as a whole back on track. He also projected that a vaccine wouldn’t realistically be available in America until at least the middle of next year, which is more on par with what public health experts are claiming, so instead he knows the biggest concern will be minimizing the spread. 

Trump, however, already has 50 million votes cast for him, and as he nears the same position he was in four years ago when he was going up against Hilary Clinton, he’s decided to resort to the same tactics he used back then to hopefully secure him another win. He tried to paint Biden to be a typical politician, like he did with Clinton, and pointed out that he’s been in office for nearly 50 years and America still has the same issues it did 50 years ago, like systemic racism. Trump continued to try to place every systemic issue America has experienced within the past five decades on Biden, which only gave Biden an opening to discuss all the successes that occurred under the Obama administration. 

Trump then continued to attack Biden and brought up the allegations made against his son Hunter and his involvement with the Ukraine, to which Biden just turned it back around and mentioned that “the guy who got in trouble in Ukraine was this guy,” pointing to Trump, “trying to bribe the Ukrainian government to say something negative about me, which they would not do.” Remember, it was Trump’s actions in the Ukraine that led to his impeachment. 

Biden then fully flipped the attack on Trump by going down the list of all his failings, specifically in terms of his administration’s economic, health care, and immigration policies. This was the moment in the debate that viewers really saw the difference between their two candidates. One answered every policy related question with a series of detailed proposals that explained how each would impact the average American household while the other kept the statements short, general and in high praise of the current administration. 

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Biden continued to assert his position byt slamming Trump for trying to have the Supreme Court undo the Affordable Care Act and all of its protections for those with pre-existing medical conditions; a pool of people that Biden mentioned will soon include those who suffered from Covid-19. Trump has long promised a new health care plan that would protect all Americans regardless of their current health status, but hasn’t even mentioned the specifics of a new plan once within the past four years. 

Biden, on the other hand, detailed his already existing proposal that would allow Americans to buy into a public health insurance program, he called the proposal “Bidencare.” He also asserted that minimum wage should be nationally raised to $15 an hour while Trump said the matter was up to the states. 

Then, more importantly, the issue of immigration was brought up, to which Biden immediately mentioned the 545 children that were separated from their parents at the border this week, to which Trump responded that they were being “very well taken care of,” despite the fact that some haven’t seen their families in months, which made Biden very upset. 

“They got separated from their parents, and it makes us a laughingstock and violates every notion of who we are as a nation.”

The issue of race and systemic racism was then raised, to which Trump claimed he’s done more for African Americans than any previous president since Abraham Lincoln, claiming to be the “least racist person in the room.” Biden then cast Trump and his entire administration as one that has consistently sought out to divide the country racially. 

“Abraham Lincoln here is one of the most racist presidents we’ve had in modern history. This guy has a dog whistle as big as a fog horn.” The night then ended with Biden claiming he would transition the country away from the oil industry because of how much it pollutes the earth. As of right now the race is stagnant, so the most important thing to remember is to get out and vote!! 

For all questions/information regarding voting in the upcoming presidential election, click here.

United States Covid Cases

US Covid-19 Cases Surging As Indoor Gatherings And Travel Increases Throughout Country

Small gatherings and interstate travel is leading to a massive surge in Covid-19 cases in the US as 36 states are now reporting increases in hospitalizations and deaths nationwide.

Coronavirus Test Positive

Stephen Miller, Trump’s Top Adviser, Tests Positive For Covid-19 

Stephen Miller is one of the president’s top advisers, and has recently tested positive for the coronavirus as a part of a growing number of individuals close to the president who are falling ill to the virus that has now killed over 200,000 Americans. 

“Over the last 5 days I have been working remotely and self-isolating, testing negative every day through yesterday. Today, I tested positive for Covid-19 and am in quarantine.”

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At this point over a dozen White House officials and other individuals within the president’s inner circle have tested positive for Covid-19; including first lady Melania Trump, and Miller’s Wife, Katie Miller, who is also press secretary to Vice President Pence. 

Miller has been one of the most loyal policy advisers and speech writers for the president. He’s also one of the biggest supporters of the policy that has been separating children from their parents at the border. In the public eye, Miller is viewed as a racist with white supremacist ideals who only further fuels that fire in the president. He’s gone on record claiming that migration and amnesty for immigrants would “decimate the US,” and he also played a key role in getting the president to sign a zero tolerance immigration policy that led to over 5,400 children being separated from their parents. 

Miller was seen boarding Marine One, the president’s helicopter, less than two days after Trump revealed that he had tested positive for the virus. He boarded the helicopter with other top advisers Hope Hicks, Dan Scovino and Jared Kushner. Hicks tested positive for the virus last week, an announcement that was made hours before the president’s diagnosis was released. 

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Just like the rest of the country, White House staffers didn’t receive any clear guidance on new health and safety measures being implemented to protect them until this past weekend. Mask-wearing has previously been seen as a personal choice when working in the White House, however, yesterday workers were seen in full hazmat suits disinfecting a majority of the building consistently. 

Every individual within Trump’s circle who has contracted the virus has defended their irresponsibility in terms of this virus as a means of keeping Trump’s name in good grace among his supporters. With an election less than a month away, the last thing the president needs is his entire staff contracting a virus he just spent 8 months downplaying. 

Ron Johnson, a senior republican senator who also is battling the virus currently, recently released a statement that claimed he would be “in a moon suit” if that’s what it takes to cast his vote to confirm Barrett for the supreme court. Trump has already been tweeting his eagerness to get back on the campaign trail, stating that when it comes to next week’s debate against Biden, “It will be great!”

Biden, however, has claimed if the current president is still testing positive for the virus by next week, the debate should be cancelled over obvious safety concerns. Biden has continuously tested negative for the virus himself, despite having interactions with Trump last week for the first round of debates. 

The CDC is currently still recommending that anyone who has had close contact with a Covid-19 positive individual needs to quarantine for two weeks and get tested themselves.

White House in DC

Trump Returns To A Coronavirus-Filled White House Despite Expert Concern

President Donald Trump eagerly returned to the White House this Monday after spending three nights in the Walter Reed Medical Center fighting Covid-19.

The Latest On Donald Trump’s Covid-19 Diagnosis

***Last Updated 10/5/2020 at 11:00 a.m.***

This past Friday President Donald Trump was hospitalized at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland after announcing that he had tested positive for Covid-19. Dr. Brian Garibaldi is a leader on Trump’s medical team who recently updated media outlets claiming that the president could be discharged from the medical center as early as Monday afternoon. 

On Saturday, Garibaldi claimed that Trump completed his second dose of redesivir and was feeling better by Sunday. Now, Trump is hoping to be discharged to complete his treatment in the White House. White House Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, recently claimed that the president could be released from the medical center after he consults with his doctors later Monday afternoon; which is also when his discharge decision will be made public. 

Trump received scrutiny on Sunday, however, after leaving the medical center with his security team so he could ride in an SUV past his supporters who were cheering him on outside the hospital. 

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The White House claims all “appropriate precautions” were taken before Trump went on the SUV ride, however Dr. James Phillips, an attending physician at Walter Reed, criticized the decision as something that could further endanger the lives of the Secret Service agents who accompanied the president, claiming that his “irresponsibility is astounding.”

On Sunday it was reported that the president’s oxygen levels had dropped for a second time since his diagnosis last Friday. Trump had also been receiving supplemental oxygen due to these dips, and was also given the corticosteroid drug dexamethasone. Dexamethasone is a widely available steroid that’s been used throughout this pandemic for patients on supplemental oxygen/ventilated individuals. 

When it comes to the president’s official release from the hospital, Rudy Giuliana claims that he will be waiting until his doctors actually give him the stamp of approval to do so. 

“He wants to get out. He sounds perfect. I just cautioned him to listen to his doctors. I said I hope that’s not your decision, it’s the doctors, He said ‘no no, these guys are great. I’ll do what they tell me.’”

After Trump’s brief trip out of the hospital to greet supporters, Giuliani admitted that the Secret Service would be at a greater risk protecting the president in the coming weeks, however, he also supported the decision on the basis that all parties involved were wearing masks at the time. 

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First lady Melania Trump also contracted the virus but has no plans of leaving the White House to continue out her treatments. Since her diagnosis Melania has quarantined in the Executive Residence in the White House and will be remaining there until it’s deemed safe for her to be around others again. The first lady has been relatively precautious when it comes to following Covid-19 procedures and has already cut back on all of her traveling plans/public appearances. 

When it comes to the pandemic in general, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, claims that there has never been a global health crisis to this degree before; for reference Fauci has worked on a number of other viral outbreaks in the past such as the HIV/AIDS epidemic, Ebola, and Zika virus. 

“We’re living in such a very divisive society right now that’s very charged politically. You always have a degree of that when you have outbreaks as we’ve been in the past but nothing to the intensity that we’re experiencing now with Covid-19.”

With one month left before the 2020 election, Trump and his team are also scrambling to manage catching up to Biden in the polls and maintaining a strong media presence despite the president’s now lack of ability to be around others. Ballots are currently already out in 35 states and with voting beginning in the swing states next week, there’s no way the president’s diagnosis mixed with his downplaying of the virus that has killed over 200,000 Americans won’t have an impact on voters. 

Since the announcement of Trump’s diagnosis Mike Pence and Joe Biden have both tested negative for the virus, however, both will have to continue to be tested daily along with a whole slew of other US political leaders who have been working with/around Trump and his team within the past few weeks. As of right now at least 10 people within Trump’s family, the US Government, and Trump’s circle of advisors have tested positive while 23 others within his inner circle have continued to test negative.

America Coronavirus

President Donald Trump And First Lady Melania Have Tested Positive For Covid-19

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania have tested positive for the coronavirus. A staggering announcement after Trump and his administration spent the past six months downplaying the severity of the pandemic that has now claimed the lives of over 200,000 Americans. Trump just recently poked fun at Joe Biden during the first presidential debate for always wearing a mask, days before announcing his diagnosis. 

Trump has adamantly and publicly shared his beliefs that the coronavirus “would disappear and die out,” despite the fact that it continues to infect millions of individuals worldwide.  Trump and Melania both took to Twitter on Monday to share the news with the world.

“Tonight,@FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!”

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Sean Conley, the physician to the president, recently released a memo claiming that the president and first lady are both still doing well at this time, and the White House medical team will be “maintaining a vigilant watch” on the two as the president continues to carry out his duties in office. 

Trump has since cancelled his busy schedule of in-person events that were geared to begin this Friday, which included a roundtable discussion with a group of his supporters at the Trump hotel in DC. According to guidelines from the US’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Trump is at a higher risk of becoming seriously ill from the virus due to his age, 74, and the fact that he’s medically overweight. A majority of the individuals who have died due to the virus in the US have been over the age of 50.

Should something happen to the president in the coming weeks, the Constitution’s 25th amendment states that the vice president, Mike Pence, would take over his responsibilities as “acting president.” Pence himself has been getting tested for Covid daily, and as of Friday October 2nd, he remains negative. 

Many were quick to take to social media to express their lack of sympathy for the president’s diagnosis, especially considering he’s been holding massive indoor campaign rallies despite his own administration’s policies against them. Those rallies led to spikes in case numbers in their given areas to no one’s surprise after images from the events showed little to no social distancing occurring and barely any facial coverings in the crowd. Joe Biden took to Twitter on Friday morning to wish Trump well on his recovery:

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“Jill and I send our thoughts to President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump for a swift recovery. We will continue to pray for the health and safety of the president and his family.”

Trump has also been getting tested regularly since the pandemic first began impacting the US in March. It was that same month that Trump played down the threat of the virus, despite almost every other country in the world completely shutting down in response to its initial spread. In an interview published by Bob Woodward this month, it was revealed that Trump knew what he was doing in terms of downplaying the virus’ threat, claiming that he “wanted to always play it down because [he] didn’t want to create a panic.”

Daily Covid-19 briefings occurred from March to April but then ended abruptly after Trump became fixated on using chemical disinfectants and ultraviolet light as a treatment for humans. His focus also remained solely on reopening the economy, hence the multitude of businesses and events that have remained open and occurring all summer despite the massive amounts of healthcare workers urging Americans to just stay home and wear a mask. He insisted that the rising number in Covid cases in the US was due to an increase in testing, and claimed that if we stopped testing people as often as we were, the case numbers would go down. 

Trump also was adamant about making sure all schools and universities reopened for the fall semester, despite the fact that his administration shut down all schooling in March after only a couple thousand cases appeared. If anything, the president’s diagnosis should be a massive wake up call to all Americans that this pandemic is no where close to over, and with an election coming up in November, it’s essential to think about the people you want making policies on all levels of government (local, state, federal).

Colorful Music

Bob Mould Criticizes America With Comeback Album ‘Blue Hearts’

Bob Mould has been spending the past few weeks quarantined in his sealed San Francisco home as toxic smoke fills the California air, which is just one of the many thematic elements that makes up his new album, Blue Hearts.

Tiktok Logos

TikTok’s Future Remains Unclear After Walmart And Oracle Win Bid For Partial Ownership

President Donald Trump has been battling with video-sharing social networking platform TikTok for months now. Trump has claimed that the Chinese-owned app, run by company ByteDance, is giving personal user information to the Chinese government upon request; a claim that ByteDance and TikTok has denied multiple times on claims that the US branch of TikTok is run in the US and barely connected to the offices in China. 

Recently, the president demanded for a full sale of TikTok to an American owner, and in August he gave ByteDance 90  days to sell or they would face a countrywide shutdown. He then issued twin executive orders that would ban transactions from the US with ByteDance, but in late August the company announced a potential sale of the app.

The tentative deal from ByteDance was made over this past weekend after the Trump administration announced that if an acceptable deal was not met, TikTok would be removed from the app store starting this weekend and lasting until November when the app would be fully banned.

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ByteDance announced they would create a US subsidiary called TikTok Global which would be part-owned by the US entities of Walmart and Oracle. Four of the company’s five main board members would be American and the fifth would likely be the ByteDance founder himself. After this announcement Trump delayed the app store ban by a week. 

The proposed structure of this agreement is still unclear, as it seems ByteDance announced this deal as a means of getting Trump to ease up on his pressures to ban the app. Oracle and Walmart have stated that they would own 20% of the company while ByteDance would own 80%, however, Oracle’s vice president recently made a statement regarding the deal. 

“Upon creation of TikTok Global, Oracle/Walmart will make their investment and the TikTok Global shares will be distributed to their owners, Americans will be the majority and ByteDance will have no ownership in TikTok Global.”

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The competing claims are leaving the public unsure of what the reality of this deal actually is. It does seem as though the Trump administration is in support of the Oracle Walmart bid for partial ownership of the app, however, the claims from ByteDance that they still would hold a majority stake in the company is concerning for business leaders. 

Professor Paul Haskell-Dowland is an associate dean of Computing and Security at Edith Cowan University in Australia who recently spoke with the press about this confusing deal and what it actually means for the future of TikTok in America. 

“There are competing claims [about ownership] because no one is really telling the full story. The deal seems to be changing by the hour.”

Haskell-Dowland went on to explain that the US and China will likely engage in more back-and-forth in regards to this deal and security updates that will come with the apps new ownership. In the end, he believes that it’s more of a political fight between two nations and has nothing “to do with national security or intellectual property.” Only time will tell what the final deal actually looks like and until then, users will just have to enjoy TikTok as it is before it potentially changes forever.

American Flag Waving (1)

Trump Defies His Administration’s Health And Safety Procedures With Indoor Campaign Rally  

President Donald Trump spoke to thousands of his supporters in an indoor Nevada venue this Sunday, despite the Governor and his own administration’s numerous health and safety procedures put in place to avoid gatherings of this size. Trump has been hosting a series of outdoor rallies within the past few months in order to keep his campaign going in the midst of a global health crisis, however, this weekend’s most recent event showed just how seriously Trump and his administration are actually handling this pandemic. 

The event was in Henderson, Nevada, inside a facility of Xtreme Manufacturing, and as it was being planned government officials predicted it would be violating the state’s restriction on gatherings of more than 50 people. Trump has already received major backlash for his administration’s mishandling of the pandemic, and as the death toll in the US hits nearly 200,000, an indoor rally of more than 6,000 individuals shows that Trump isn’t exactly listening to his country’s thousands of healthcare providers. 

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This also isn’t the first indoor rally that Trump has hosted during the pandemic that’s led to some major controversy, and even worse, and increase in case numbers. Back in June Trump hosted a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, which made headlines for its underwhelming attendance. However, two weeks after that rally the city of Tulsa saw a massive spike in coronavirus cases. The cases were able to be directly linked to the rally after multiple campaign staffers and Secret Service agents tested positive as well. 

About 6,200 individuals attended the rally this past Sunday, and while that number may seem staggering to those of us who have been quarantine, the attendance was actually projected to be much larger; Trump blamed the “low” number of supporters on “radical protesters and intense backlash from the media,” regarding hosting a large gathering in the middle of a pandemic. 

The City of Henderson warned the Xtreme Manufacturing venue ahead of the rally that they would be violating numerous state and nationwide regulations if they chose to host the event. Spokesperson Kathleen Richards recently spoke with the media about the preliminary warnings they tried to issue to get the event cancelled. 

“The City of Henderson has issued a compliance letter and verbal warning to the event organizer that the event planned would be in direct violation of the state’s Covid-19 emergency directives.”

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Large live events must also now be pre-approved by the Nevada Department of Business and Industry, however, the city never received notice that this rally was approved prior to it occuring. This could potentially lead to Xtreme Manufacturing losing their business license. When questioned about this rally before its occurrence, the Trump administration remained relatively general with all their answers. 

They claimed that every attendee would get their temperature checked and would be provided a mask that they would only be encouraged to wear. However, when one checks Xtreme Manufacturing’s website, their Covid-19 restrictions seem even stricter than the state’s: “We have restricted meetings and gatherings to no more than 10 people in large areas, and when possible, to attend meetings by telephone or video conferencing.”

No spokesperson working for the company/venue has offered any sort of explanation regarding the rally yet. However, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolat took to Twitter to blast the president for his irresponsibility regarding this event. 

“Trump’s reckless and selfish actions are putting countless lives in danger here in Nevada. The rally is an insult to every Nevadan who has followed the directives, made sacrifices, and put their neighbors before themselves.”

Other members of Joe Biden’s administration also called out Trump for his lack of plan to fix the pandemic, and lack of acknowledgement that it’s actually as serious as it is. Other locations that previously were planning on hosting Trump rallies in the future have since cancelled due to state limitations on crowd sizes.