From Robert A. Cohen, Esq. and Laura Ahearn
Source: Washington Post
The Capitol building symbolizes the heart of our democracy; it is the place where the people’s will — the certification of the next duly elected president of the United States — is carried out.
After hours of chaos and sickening violence erupted on Wednesday — the horrors perpetrated by the lawless mob that laid siege to the Capitol, lawmakers barricaded in offices fearing for their lives, countless attacks, and five dead — the desecration of the symbols of our democracy ended, but the legislative assaults were just beginning.
As Congress reconvened to do their sworn duty, our congressman, Lee Zeldin, in direct violation of the oath of office he took to uphold the Constitution, voted to reject the state-certified election results of Arizona and Pennsylvania. Think about that. He sought to throw out millions of lawfully cast ballots, all the while knowing full well that the results had been legally challenged multiple times and were irrefutably legitimate.
The mob may have physically trashed the People’s House, but it was Zeldin and 146 fellow Republicans who drove a rhetorical stake through the heart of our democracy, attempting a legislative coup. He should never be allowed to walk the hallowed halls of the Capitol again.
Letter to the Editor printed in The East Hampton Star, January 14
I tried to leave a message for Zeldin at the Patchogue office but the answering machine instructed constituents to email his office with a comment. I share the comments I emailed to Zeldin with you. I hope many take advantage of the opportunity to express our serious reservations of Zeldin’s positions. Steve Ludsin
Dear Congressman Zeldin,
I must protest your vote to challenge the electoral college and then send an email dated January 9, 2021 where you stated that you returned home from our nation’s Capitol after witnessing firsthand from inside the House chamber on Wednesday the best of America clash with some of the worst of it in a moment of your life you will never forget. I agree with your view that the vandalism and loss of life at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday was totally unacceptable and there must be ZERO tolerance for violence in any form.
Sadly your constant support of the electoral college challenge due to an alleged rigged election encourages the very violence you condemn. You need to rethink your position.
Thank you for considering a constituent’s viewpoint. We both served on the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council at different times. The attack on the Capitol was similar to Kristallnacht and we know what the results of that attack became.
The Trump administration raised hopes of a speedy process for nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Patience is wearing thin.
By Rebecca Robbins
In mid-December, a top Trump administration official floated an enticing possibility: All nursing home residents in the United States could be vaccinated against the coronavirus by Christmas. “It’s really a remarkable, remarkable prospect,” Alex M. Azar II, the secretary of health and human services, declared.
It turned out to be a fantasy.
A month later, vaccinations of some of the country’s most vulnerable citizens are going more slowly than many state officials, industry executives and families expected. Their hopes had been buoyed when government officials said long-term care facilities would be at the front of the line for vaccines.
CVS and Walgreens, which are largely responsible for vaccinating residents and workers in long-term care facilities, are on track to make at least initial vaccination visits to nearly all nursing homes they are working with by Jan. 25. The two pharmacy chains have already given out more than 1.7 million vaccine doses at long-term care facilities.
But the progress is uneven across the country and not nearly as comprehensive for different types of long-term care. For example, thousands of assisted living facilities — for older people who need less care than those in nursing homes — do not yet even have an appointment for their first visit from the pharmacy teams, in large part because states have given such facilities lower priority in their vaccine-distribution plans.
“I’ve had facilities call me, and I’ve had people cry, I’ve had people curse, because this was the first sign of hope that they’ve had in many, many months,” said Betsy Johnson, who leads a group that represents Kentucky’s nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
“It’s just human nature to think, ‘OK, but I was supposed to be first — and I don’t even know when my clinic is going to happen,’” Ms. Johnson said.
In Pennsylvania, teams from CVS or Walgreens are not scheduled to visit some nursing homes until February, and the vast majority of the state’s assisted living facilities have not yet been scheduled for a first visit, said Zach Shamberg, president of the Pennsylvania Health Care Association.
“There’s a great deal of frustration, there’s a great deal of apprehension, as to when or if this vaccine will come,” Mr. Shamberg said.
The pace of the vaccination program has taken on greater urgency as the rapidly spreading virus continues to decimate nursing homes and similar facilities. The virus’s surge since November has killed about 30,000 long-term care staff and residents, raising the total of virus-related deaths in these facilities to at least 136,000, according to a New York Times tracker. Since the pandemic began, long-term care facilities have accounted for just 5 percent of coronavirus cases but 36 percent of virus-related deaths.
Even as the vaccination campaign accelerates, the suffering is unlikely to wane. The coming months could be “the deadliest of the pandemic” for people living and working in long-term care, according to an analysis released on Thursday by the Kaiser Family Foundation.
The Trump administration announced in October that it had teamed up with CVS and Walgreens to lead a federal effort to vaccinate residents and workers at long-term care facilities, among the first eligible groups.
On Friday, CVS said it had given out just over one million doses in more than 12,000 initial visits to long-term care facilities. Nearly 8,000 visits are scheduled for the coming week. Walgreens said it had given out nearly 750,000 doses in nearly 9,000 visits to facilities, mostly nursing homes. The number of visits that Walgreens has scheduled with assisted living facilities “continues to accelerate,” a company spokeswoman, Rebekah Pajak, said.
The vaccinations by CVS and Walgreens were always expected to take several months because of the need to visit tens of thousands of facilities three times. The first two visits are for most residents and staff to get the two doses of the vaccine, with the third visit as a backup for people who missed the first clinic.
The idea that all nursing home residents could get their first doses by Christmas was not a realistic prospect even when Mr. Azar, the health secretary, floated it 12 days before the holiday. By that point, some states had told the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that they would not activate the federal program to vaccinate their nursing homes until Dec. 28. The logistics would have been challenging even if states had put a priority on getting their first doses to nursing homes.
Michael Pratt, a spokesman for the Health and Human Services Department, said Mr. Azar had been speaking only aspirationally about what states were capable of doing, since they had enough vaccine doses to cover all nursing home residents by Christmas. But that would have required that states place less of a priority on vaccinating high-risk groups like heath care workers.
T.J. Crawford, a spokesman for CVS, said the chain was making first visits to all facilities within four weeks of each state’s activating its vaccination program for nursing homes or assisted living facilities.
“This isn’t a drive-through or stadium vaccination effort,” Mr. Crawford said. “We’re visiting more than 40,000 facilities with an average of less than 100 residents, in some cases going room to room.” He said CVS was “on track and delivering on goals established and communicated early in the process.”
But a growing number of governors and state health officials have voiced frustration with CVS’s and Walgreens’ speed.
In Mississippi, some long-term facilities won’t get their first visit until Feb. 11, the state health officer, Dr. Thomas Dobbs, said this month. “We’re clearly disappointed with the progress in the long-term care program,” he said.
Some states and cities are exploring ways to hasten the inoculations.
Seattle is using its Fire Department to vaccinate nearly 1,000 residents and staff at adult family homes, a type of long-term care, by the end of January. Florida hired an emergency services company, CDR Maguire, to give out doses at 1,900 assisted living facilities that had not been scheduled for visits by CVS and Walgreens teams before Jan. 24.
In Michigan, officials have asked the federal government to let them work with other pharmacies, such as the supermarket chains Meijer and Kroger, to speed up the vaccination effort in long-term care facilities, said Bobby Leddy, a spokesman for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
West Virginia is the only state that has not activated the federal program involving CVS and Walgreens, though Walgreens is separately working with West Virginia to vaccinate 32 of its long-term care facilities. Relying mostly on local independent pharmacies, the state said on Dec. 30 that it had wrapped up the first round at its 214 long-term care facilities.
Some of the initially feared problems that could slow down the vaccine rollout in nursing homes have not emerged as serious obstacles, at least so far, according to facility operators and industry researchers.
Despite widespread worries that the vaccines’ side effects — which can include fevers, chills and fatigue — would cause staff to miss work and residents to need more care, that has not happened to any significant degree. And while there was early confusion about how nursing homes should get consent from residents or their families, that process has largely gone smoothly.
But other things are slowing the campaign. A significant number of long-term care workers have balked at receiving the vaccine. The virus’s spread is also delaying the process. People should not be vaccinated while they still have Covid-19 symptoms or are isolating, according to the C.D.C.
Outbreaks and cases of Covid-19 in some long-term care communities have led Walgreens to delay scheduling initial visits or to reschedule them, said Rick Gates, an executive leading the company’s long-term care vaccinations.
CVS has encountered the same issue, though it has not been widespread. The company has left the decision about whether to proceed with visits in such cases to local clinic team leaders and officials at the facilities, Mr. Crawford said.
Another factor is that some states did not quickly activate their programs to vaccinate people at assisted living facilities and similar communities. In some cases, they waited until weeks after they began vaccinations at nursing homes.
But many long-term care facilities include both nursing homes and assisted living. In those cases, pharmacy teams have been able to vaccinate only a subset of residents.
In Prairie du Chien, Wis., for example, a team from Walgreens on Thursday made its first visit to the local nursing home, Prairie Maison, to inject nearly all of its roughly 50 residents with the Moderna vaccine.
But Prairie Maison is part of a larger senior community, which includes about 50 assisted living residents. Because Wisconsin did not activate its vaccination program for assisted living until Friday, those residents weren’t offered the vaccine — even though they are in the same building as the nursing home residents.
“Vaccinating one group and not the other doesn’t make a lot of sense,” said Dr. Mark Grunwald, the chairman of Prairie Maison’s board.
From Kristin Stephens
Assistant Vice President, Media Relations and Public Affairs, GREATER NEW YORK HOSPITAL ASSOCIATION
See prior blog posts relevant to Peconic Landing:
America’s 220-year history of a peaceful transfer of power — the cornerstone of our democracy — was shattered in one horrifying afternoon. On January 6, a frenzied mob incited by President Donald Trump laid siege to the Capitol, vandalizing the most potent symbols of our democracy and committing countless acts of sickening violence.
Hours later, after order had been restored and Congress resumed its constitutionally mandated duty, our congressman, Lee Zeldin, continued the assault on our democracy, legislatively, by objecting to the state-certified election results of Arizona, all the while knowing full well that the results had been legally challenged multiple times and had been shown irrefutably to be legitimate.
That 146 other Republicans also voted to deny certification in Arizona or Pennsylvania, or both, only throws the death spiral of the Republican Party into sharper relief.
When faced with a choice between truth and lies, democracy and fascism, some Republicans, like Mitt Romney, held their moral ground. Others, like Mr. Zeldin, violated their oaths to uphold the Constitution and betrayed their country.
How will we hold him accountable?
Letter printed in The Southampton Press, January 13, 2021
By James Ewing
On Wednesday Jan 6, 121 members of the US House of representatives rejected the election results from Arizona, Georgia, Michigan and Nevada.
138 House members rejected the results from Pennsylvania.
Authorities have called this election the most secure in our history. No results, none, were challenged within states themselves. No meaningful fraud was detected anywhere, by any judiciary, all the way up to the Supreme Court.
And yet these elected GOP officials, “leaders” as they are called, chose to oppose the results anyway.
Our representative Lee Zeldin, was among those opposing the results of all contested states.
I have no doubt that the majority, if not all of these representatives, knew the election results were accurate. I assume their objections were based upon narrow ambitious calculations tying their fortunes to the deranged, personality cult of one very damaged man, Donald Trump.
We generally presume that our elected leaders have reliable information and act reasonably on what they know. We depend on our leaders to keep us informed, help us understand what is going on in their respective realms of authority. Leadership is defined as “an act or instance of leading; guidance; direction, the position or function of a leader, a person who guides or directs a group”.
Ideally, If we are to be governed wisely and well our leaders must tell us the truth, speak truth to lies, without posturing with what they think we want to hear. In 1868, a New York Democrat declared “if a man is ignorant, he needs the ballot for his protection all the more”. For our protection we need our leaders to be truthful. Rather than leading with truth, Lee Zeldin, along with his nefarious GOP congressional cohorts, have spoken lies to truth. By endorsing the lies of election fraud and thereby telling supporters that they actually had a chance to overturn this past election, Zeldin has utterly failed his leadership responsibilities. He has inflamed inane conspiracy theories and false accusations. And finally, last week, by thoughtless, senseless opposition to these many valid state election results, he almost certainly encouraged an actual insurrection with deadly violence done to our precious, fragile, and now stunned constitutional representative democracy.
Lee Zeldin can no longer claim to legitimately represent our constitutional democracy nor serve the good people of our CD1 district. He has lost the credibility, respect, and basic trust a real leader deserves. He should resign immediately from his position.
He and his various colleagues in opposition are now probably even liable for the federal crime of sedition—“conduct or language inciting rebellion against the authority of a state; incitement of discontent or rebellion against a government”.
Reprinted from The Times of Israel
By Karl Grossman
About the Author Karl Grossman is a professor of journalism at the State University of New York/College at Old Westbury who has specialized in investigative reporting for 45 years. He is the host of the TV program “Enviro Close-Up,” the writer and presenter of numerous TV documentaries and the author of six books.
The impeachment of Donald Trump — the first president of the United States to be impeached twice — is fitting for the worst president in the history of the U.S.
The attack by his supporters on the Capitol in Washington, D.C. — lawless, an attack on democracy, a U.S. counterpart of the rise of Nazism in Germany in the 1930s.
It was a horror representative of his tenure.
As stated in the resolution titled “Impeaching Donald John Trump, President of the United States, for high crimes and misdemeanors,” he “incited violence” against the government of the United States.” It noted that at a rally of Trump supporters before the insurrection, “he reiterated false claims that ‘we won this election, and we won it in a landslide,’” and “encouraged …lawless action at the Capitol.” And this “followed his prior efforts to subvert and obstruct the certification of the 2020 Presidential election. Those prior efforts included a phone call…during which…Trump urged the secretary of state of Georgia, Brad Raffenberger, to ‘find’ enough votes to overturn the Georgia Presidential election results and threatened Secretary Raffenberger if he failed to do so.”
“In all this,” the resolution continued, Trump “threatened the integrity of the democratic system, interfered with the peaceful transition of power…”
Trump, “by such conduct, has demonstrated that he will remain a threat to national security, democracy, and the Constitution if allowed to remain in office, and has acted in a manner grossly incompatible with self-governance and the rule of law.”
David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker, among the most respected publications in the U.S., wrote immediately after the election of 2016 in a piece entitled “An American Tragedy” — “The election of Donald Trump to the Presidency is nothing less than a tragedy for the American republic, a tragedy for the Constitution, and a triumph for the forces, at home and abroad, of nativism, authoritarianism, misogyny, and racism.”
Peter Baker, the chief White House correspondent for The New York Times wrote a front-page piece last month about how the “final days of the Trump presidency has taken on the stormy elements of a drama more common in history or literature than a modern White House. ….At times, Mr. Trump’s railing-against-his-fate outbursts seem like a story straight out of William Shakespeare, part tragedy, part farce, full of sound and fury.” And he quoted a Shakespearian scholar at Harvard University, Jeffrey R. Wilson, author of the book Shakespeare and Trump, saying: “We’re approaching the end of the play here and that’s where catastrophe always comes.”
It came on January 6 in the assault on the Capitol.
“If inciting an insurrection is not enough to get a president impeached, what is?” asked Representative Joaquin Castro of Texas before the House vote for impeachment.
Trump had tweeted is followers on December 20th — “Big protest in DC on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!”
It was wild, and deadly.
In a speech in front of the White House on January 6th, addressing his backers who had arrived, he declared: “We’re going to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue…and we’re going to the Capitol.” He added: “You have to be strong.”
Trump’s call was preceded by his lawyer, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani proclaiming “let’s have trial by combat.”
Giuliani took an oath to be an attorney to adhere to rule of law and represented Trump in many court challenges to Trump’s election defeat with claims that judges found totally untrue. But Giuliani opted instead, in violation of that oath, for “trial by combat.” The New York State Bar Association this week announced it was launching an inquiry into whether to remove Giuliani from its ranks for his comments at the Trump rally.
Trump tapped into a vein of racism and other poisons in the United States.
As a Jew with all members of the families of both my paternal and maternal grandparents who did not get out of Hungary and Poland in time murdered in the Holocaust, my heart stopped seeing one of the Trump supporters rioting at the Capitol sporting a shirt saying “Camp Auschwitz” and below that arbeit macht frei.
I’ve been amazed that some Jews in the United States and Israel have been big supporters of Trump. His throwing the Kurds under the proverbial bus — his conferring with Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s Israel-hating president, which was followed promptly by the attack on the Kurds by the Turkish military —demonstrated for Israel that Trump cannot be trusted.
Trump will turn on a dime.
I grew up in Queens in New York City, not far from Jamaica where Trump was raised. There are lots of Jews in Queens, of course. And Trump learned to “play” with them.
But should any Jew — indeed could anybody — trust him? Ask that of his former longtime personal attorney whom he abandoned, Michael Cohen, the son of a Holocaust survivor, who has been full of disclosures since. Trump, he has emphasized, is a bigot. And says Cohen of the “Trump I know in a nutshell…he projects his own sins and crimes onto others, partly to distract and confuse but mostly because he thinks everyone is as corrupt and shameless and ruthless as he is; a poisonous mindset I know all too well.”
Good for the Jews, good for anybody for any length of time? No.
Carl Bernstein, the U.S. journalist of Watergate fame, says Trump “will be in our history books as a dark, dark stain unlike any president of the United States.” And Bernstein investigated U.S. President Richard Nixon, forced to resign because of the Watergate scandal.
My rabbi, Dan Geffen, wrote to congregants after the Trump-incited attack on the Capitol about the Rabbinic sage Aytalyon saying: “Sages, be careful with your words! So as not to warrant the punishment of exile and be exiled to a land of ‘evil waters’ and the disciples who follow you drink and die, and thus the name of heaven becomes profaned.”
Said Rabbi Geffen: “There are numerous times in our tradition when the rabbis instruct us to guard our words carefully. Just as Creation begins with words, so too can destruction. Just as words of Torah are like mayim chayim (life-giving waters); words of hatred, selfishness and division are like a poisoned well. What we witnessed yesterday in Washington was a sad and painful reminder of the prescience of Avtalyon’s warning and the danger that is posed to all when words are perverted and weaponized. So let us not waste our breath on equivocations and calming platitudes. What happened yesterday was a disgrace — a stain on this country and its most fundamental principles, values and ethics. Every single one of us must feel the pain and shame of this moment, because it is now a part of our shared history.”
“The future of our country and our community will be defined by how we choose to respond to the stoked barbarism on display in the Capitol yesterday. And in this simple fact, I am filled not with despair, but with hope….These are indeed fraught times. Times filled with anger, pain, grief and a loss of hope. And it would be irresponsible to suggest that the problems and challenges we face as a country are easily addressed. Nevertheless, just as words of division can be used to poison the proverbial well; words of unity, hope and purpose can help clear and purify the miasma. There is much to be done to repair the fabric of our society, and we all have an important role to play in its repair. So let each of us do everything in our power to use the ignoble events of January 6, 2021 as motivation to inspire us to work together to return our beloved country to a land truly flowing with the life-giving waters of liberty, justice and equity for all!”
Trump has been a nightmare for the United States of America.
Thank heaven and a lot of hard political work that he will soon be gone, his final days concluding with a despicable, awful, violent attack on democracy.
Letter to the East Hampton Star:
Hours after Trump’s zealots stormed and ransacked the Capitol, Lee Zeldin voted “yes,” objecting to the electoral vote count that certified Joe Biden’s Presidential win.
Preventing that certification was precisely the goal of the violent mob. Knowing that the attempt was doomed to fail in any case, a refusal to join in that goal would have been the morally right thing to do.
To justify his vote, Zeldin claimed that “many of my constituents have been outraged and demanding that I voiced their objections.” While it’s true that the majority of CD1 voters supported Trump, no evidence suggests that more than a minority of these disappointed voters believe the thoroughly discredited assertions that, to quote Zeldin, “rogue election officials, secretaries of state and courts circumvented state election laws.”
My husband and I worked for 17 hours at an East End polling place on Election Day, witnessing first-hand a scrupulous, bi-partisan adherence to procedure.
We are also Mr. Zeldin’s constituents, and we are outraged at his pious calls for unity after having cast his vote to support the entirely partisan effort to undermine American’s faith in the very electoral process that keeps him in office.
FROM:Stephen Ring, Hampton Bays
Over the past almost eight years, I have written many “Letters To The Editor” (Southampton Press) and even more emails and blogs attacking Lee Zeldin for his connection to the Ultra Right Neo Nazi Teabaggers. I am sure there were those who shrugged their shoulders and said … Oh Yeah, Right Steve ! Today, I received an email from “The Daily Kos” which contained a tweet and two pictures from award winning Presidential Historian Michael Beschloss. These pictures say it ALL !
An additional note: We, on the East End of Long Island are fortunate to have, one of the best local newspapers in the country, The Southampton Press. This week, Phil Keith, a True Republican, in his column “Mostly Right”, has a great article “A Conspiracy of Dunces” – A MUST READ.
Congressman Lee Zeldin, along with his Republican colleagues – Reps. Chris Jacobs, Nicole Malliotakis, and Elise Stefanik – by their actions, endorsed the acts of terror and insurrection we saw on Wednesday. Many Republican Senators and Congresspeople stood up for our democracy while Zeldin and his extremist allies trashed it and demonstrated his complete contempt for the people of the United States. They must resign and they must resign now!
From Jay S. Jacobs:
Earlier today, I called on Republican Representatives Chris Jacobs (NY-27), Nicole Malliotakis (NY-11), Elise Stefanik (NY-21), and Lee Zeldin (NY-01) to resign for their complicity in yesterday’s deadly insurrection on the US Capitol.
Representatives Lee Zeldin, Nicole Malliotakis, Elise Stefanik and Chris Jacobs have not only violated their oath of office, they have disgraced the districts and state that they represent. These four have spent weeks and months delegitimizing our electoral process thereby undermining our faith in our democratic institutions. Yesterday, we saw the grave consequences of supporting such divisive and false claims.
These Elected Officials do not deserve to hold office and represent New York. If you agree, please sign this petition demanding their resignation.
After supporting these lies against our democracy by a narcissistic authoritarian in the White House who wanted to cling to power, they must resign. I hope you can join me in calling for their resignation.
Jay S. Jacobs
P.S. In case you missed it, click here to watch Chairman Jacobs’ interview with News 12 Long Island last night!
From Stephen Ring (Hampton Bays):
I am sure, like me, you are disgusted by the attempted coup yesterday in Washington DC. While one usually feels powerless, at these times, I am hoping, with your help, we can achieve something positive.
With your help and possible contacts, I would like to start three petitions against Lee Zeldin.
1. Petition to Nancy Pelosi asking her not to seat Lee Zeldin as he betrayed his oath to defend the United States Constitution. This is within her powers to do so. https://vote.nydems.org/demand-their-resignation
another petition: https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/resign-these-politicians-have-failed-new-york/?link_id=1&can_id=2941fab48821fe5b3399a026f1ea22b8&source=email-theyve-failed-new-york&email_referrer=email_1038475&email_subject=new-york-these-lawmakers-must-resign
and this petition from Vote Vets: https://secure.everyaction.com/4HpdVY3bdUic4-UkiHKmvA2?refcode=em210108&emci=d4da0995-d051-eb11-a607-00155d43c992&emdi=8a47eb59-db51-eb11-a607-00155d43c992&ceid=1202487
2. Petition to Secretary of Army to have Lee Zeldin Court Marshaled for betraying his oath, participating in an attempted coup, and bringing dishonor to the United States Army.
3. Petition to the New York State Bar to have Lee Zeldin Disbarred for all of the above reasons.
I hope we can do something to save our Country and this experiment of ours, known as democracy.
Stephen Ring, Hampton Bays
From: JoAnne Young ten Doesschate
Superb video on the “never forget their names seditionists” in Congres, including Zeldin, who enabled Trump. https://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2021/01/08/election-accountability-reality-check-avlon-sot-newday-vpx.cnn
Mr. Zeldin, your name is shame.
You are either with our constitutional system of government, or you are not. And then you are for mob rule. Which is it?
Are you a leader? – def. “a leader is someone who rallies people to move toward a better vision.”
Are you continuing to promote sedition? – def. “conduct or speech inciting people to rebel against the authority of the state.”
Are you a Conspiracy Theorist? – def. “promoting a theory that explains an event or set of circumstances as the result of a secret plot by usually powerful conspirators.”
Our American Constitution is a better vision, a superb vision for mankind. Why are you inciting rebellion against it? Why are you continuing to lie to us about the circumstances of the 2020 election? Why are you confusing people about the election and spreading lies? Did you not take an oath to uphold the Constitution?
We Americans want our American Democracy to work. Impeach Trump Now and get to work for a better vision for us all, or Resign.
A daughter of America, daughter of a family who has served to form and preserve our country from the Revolution through the Civil War, WWI, WWII and Viet Nam.
Facts still matter. That’s why Donald Trump and his minions try so hard to obscure them in a flood of lies and conspiracy theories. But the facts remain — Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election by more than seven million votes, and two months later Donald Trump still can’t face losing. After weeks of relentless, baseless attacks on the legitimacy of the election, Trump called the Georgia secretary of state, demanding that the election official “recalculate” and “find” him votes, and threatened criminal charges when his demand was rebuffed.
There are no two sides to this story; there is no middle ground. You are either on the side of democracy, or you’re on the side of a desperate mob boss president who is willing to do whatever it takes to stay in power. Lee Zeldin has made very clear which side he is on. It is shameful that he represents C.D. 1.
Published in The East Hampton Star, January 7, Letter to the Editor
Get Ready to Make a New Year’s Climate Pledge
Looking for some good news on climate? Get ready to set some priorities and make some 2021 New Year’s Climate Resolutions.
Recently @GlobalEcoGuy Dr. Jon Foley reminded me (and 60k followers) about the big picture. Our actions, consumer choices, and habits matter.
I find clarity in Jon’s blogs about climate. I’m inspired by his prioritizing solutions including a Personal Action Guide. And I trust his science. It is Drawdown science, and Jon is their executive director.
Jon has clearly stated that to reach drawdown, where greenhouse gas emissions stop climbing and start to draw down, we have to do two things:
“It” being human-generated greenhouse gas emissions.
Look, maybe alot of us don’t know where to focus our efforts, he says, because we literally cannot see what we’re talking about. And then he give us a graph, three actually, in his Three Most Important Graphs in Climate Change
That’s my cue. That’s how I’m going to prioritize my actions and efforts — by using his graph, starting at the top, with a laser focus on the big first two, they are half the problem. So first Electricity Generation, then Food/Land Use. Third, fourth and fifth for me will be Industry, Transportation, and Buildings.
And, from the news I’ve been reading this year, it looks like entrepreneurs and governments are jumping into action finally, finally, in ways that will redirect us all from an irreversible, irreparable, climate, wildlife and human life catastrophe.
Electricity Generation – good news
Food/Land Use – good news
Why are we letting our food choices have such a big impact on the planet? Emitting 24% of greenhouse gases? The US is one of the most polluting countries due to lifestyle and food choices. These are our choices.
The solution-by-solution path to reversing global warming, outlined in the book Drawdown, lists food solutions as #3 and #4 out of 80. #3 is reducing food waste, with 1/3 wasted from farm to sale and 70% wasted by households at a cost of $1500 per family a year. If Americans reduced our food waste by 50% we would achieve Drawdown’s goals in the food sector. Hey, it saves money. Next is #4 — eating a plant-rich diet and keeping our CAFO red meat to once a week. Hey, it’s much healthier. Much.
Good to see this trend is happening — products and markets want in on reducing food waste.
Transportation – good news
With electric vehicles we’re starting to make some headway and when EV’s become cheaper than gas in 2 years! the transportation sector is going to make a dramatic shift.
Industry – good news
There are good news trends in the fashion industry. They have noticed that we have all noticed — they produce 10% of humanity’s carbon emissions, are the second-largest consumer of the world’s water supply, and pollute the oceans with microplastics. The equivalent of one garbage truck full of clothes is burned or dumped in a landfill every second.
And I’ve saved the best of 2020 for last….
Bee populations are rebounding, up 72% in Maine and that matters to me, besides loving bees in my garden, they pollinate over 100 foods we eat, and have medicinal properties. New research is finding finding Honeybee venom kills aggressive breast cancer cells.
Two newborn whales were spotted off the Florida coast, giving a lift to the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale population, and while you may not be a whale-hugger like some of us, whales boost phytoplankton populations which store 40% of the world’s CO2 and contribute 50% of our oxygen. We need to triple our whale populations!
More on oceans and the arctic: Ocean Cleanup’s efforts to remove plastic from the seas launched this year and Garbage has never looked as cool as these Pacific Garbage Patch sunglasses designed by Yves Behar. One of many new products being designed from recycled plastic. Bank of America promises it won’t fund arctic drilling, joining 5 other major US banks and nearly 30 major banks around the world making it official policy to refrain from financing drilling in the arctic.
And after 12 years of effort, we’ve saved our environmental treasure Plum Island — historically Algonquin territory with 227 bird species counted, coastal waters of rare seagrass meadows/fish nurseries and host to grey and harbor seals. Another step toward reversing our climate and wildlife catastrophe. East End take a bow.
May this inspire us all to start good climate lifestyle habits. What’s your Climate New Year’s Resolution?
Democracy has taken a beating during the past four years. From the day Trump was sworn in, the moral yardstick we use to measure presidents by morphed into a moral slide rule, constantly adjusted by obsequious Republicans anxious to cover for the lies Trump spewed nearly every time he opened his mouth. We’ve been inching our way toward this crisis ever since.
And now, when Americans handed Donald Trump a resounding seven-million-vote defeat, Trump is doing what he has done his entire life — threatening friends and enemies alike to do his bidding and flooding the courts with frivolous cases. The lawsuit filed by Texas, a mixed salad of lies, debunked claims, and crackpot conspiracy theories that had already been rejected by state and local courts, was a frightening attempt to have the Supreme Court throw out the legal votes of 20 million people in four states.
Lee Zeldin joined in on the assault on America, signing a brief backing the lawsuit, along with 125 of his fellow House Republicans. That so many in the Republican Party have revealed themselves to be willing to steal a presidential election is a warning to us all: American democracy may still be standing, but it is on very shaky ground.
Printed as Letter to the Editor, The East Hampton Star, December 17
Even though Trump has lost the election, his followers, the “Trumpers”, are here to stay. What might this mean for the future?
A group calling themselves the “Huntington – Northport Patriots” has plans for yet another MAGA Trump 2020 Truck parade on Dec 12th:
12/12/20 MAGA Trump 2020 Truck/Car Parade 10AM Sunday
Huntington – Northport patriots Would like to Announce
We are doing a Toy / Clothing and Food Drive for Helping Hands Pantry and St Patrick’s Church of Huntington. … Decorate your cars with Trump Christmas attire, fly your Trump, American and Christmas Flags and show the world we will Not back down, until all Legal votes are counted and all fraud is addressed.
Trump Won, and the Marxist democrats are trying to Steal America and destroy our country.
We must be involved now, more than ever before. United, we will live to see another day and save the Constitution of The United States of America!
Bring your flags,
Bring your signs,
Support Our President.
Further relevant news tid bits:
Fire Department (FD) elections are coming up. It is good to remember that FD volunteers enjoy certain perks, such as a significant rebate on real estate taxes!
Here is the inside scoop for FD elections in Brookhaven. JoAnne Young ten Doesschate from Brookhaven writes:
Fire departments in Suffolk have traditionally been Republican and all politicians court them because they get their members to vote. But just as traditionally, they have rarely gotten overtly involved in political races. Perry campaigned at every fire department event with no problems. Trump has changed all that.
In Setauket, a local group headed by Trumpers (members of the Setauket Patriots who led the local Trump Caravans) did GOTV against Steve Englebright. Now they are running someone for Commissioner who has been in the FD for less than 1 year against a woman who has been involved for the past 20 years. And they’re putting big money into this – there are lawn signs everywhere and even 4×4’s at major intersections.
In Stony Brook, the Trumper they are running has never been involved in the FD, though his sons are, against someone who has been heavily involved for many years. In 2016 the Trumper had a huge banner on his roof, in 2020 flags in his front yard, and he was also part of the Setauket Patriots caravans in his Jeep flying Trump flags.
Although I don’t know the details, the same thing is happening in Bellport. The head of the Bellport Ambulance Corps was used in a Zeldin ad, in the fire house, in uniform. As you can see by their Facebook cover photo, they don’t hide it and Zeldin gets away with it because he is in office and used procuring PPE as his claim to fame during the first wave of the pandemic. https://www.facebook.com/SouthCountryAmbulanceCo/
Supposedly this is happening in a number of fire districts throughout Suffolk. Jane Corrarino said it well – “In the current political climate, they will most likely also be used for launching a ‘back bench’ in the broader political arena.”
We talk about how important local politics is and this is a perfect example. While we are lucky in NY state, we have watched across the country how Republicans have gerrymandered and suppressed votes and now control the majority of state governments. Fire departments have well paid patronage jobs and the positions can be used as stepping stones for higher office. While Trump barely won in Suffolk, he did win, and he won big in NY1.
And they will use their control to the exclusion of Dems who want to be involved. In one Brookhaven village, I was told of a young man who is afraid to let them know he is a Dem because he fears losing his job. (One more reason why people register as independents!) Young people for whom volunteering as EMT’s is one of the best things they can have on their applications for nursing or med school may not even know that they won’t be chosen because of their political affiliation….
By state election law, ALL fire departments have their elections this coming Tuesday, Dec. 8. When the polls open varies from village to village and only one station in each village is used for voting. Voters must also be registered to vote in Suffolk County; they use BOE election lists to prove residency. Some require you to show your license.
From Jon Kornreich (running to replace Valerie Cartright on the Brookhaven town council):
The sudden partisan intrusion of the Patriot group has turned what should be a non-partisan civic election into something much more dangerous. Institutions such as the fire district, the school district, and the library, as well as other organizations such as the Civic Association, the Trust and numerous others have carried on their work for many years in a spirit of community service, not as political battlegrounds. Historically, people like Sue Meyers who support and join these organizations have done so because of their real interest in the organization’s mission.
SETAUKET Vote for Sue Meyers for Fire Commissioner
The Trumper is Griffin.
STONY BROOK Vote for Thad Holsberg for Fire Commissioner
The Trumper is Joe Saggio.
Dear Friend of the Shellfish Farmer,
If you are a friend of clean water, biodiversity, climate-friendly regenerative businesses, coastline protection, Earth and her oceans read on…..
Join us in support of our shellfish farmers, and support the inclusion of commercial seaweed (kelp) cultivation. A deadline is upon us for public comments on the Suffolk County Shellfish Aquaculture Lease Program — December 15, 2020.
Here’s information on the December 15th public meeting, and ways to comment via email or in writing.
There is currently a 10-year review panel of the Suffolk County Aquaculture Lease Program (SCALP) being overseen by the SC Legislature’s Environment, Parks and Agriculture (EPA) committee, chaired by Legislator Kara Hahn with Legislator Al Krupski, Vice Chair.
The 10-year review process has been going on for many months, with several meetings involving different stakeholder groups including the lease-holders, commercial fisherman, yacht clubs etc., and that process has come to an end.
December 2020 Meetings Scheduled
The legislation incorporating the changes to the SCALP law that were the result of the 10-year review are expected, not guaranteed, to be introduced at the next General Meeting of the Legislature on 12/1/20. If it is introduced on that date, it will not be discussed or considered at the meeting, just introduced or what we refer to as “laid on the table” or LOT.
It will then be assigned to a committee, presumably EPA, where at their meeting on 12/7, it will be tabled for a public hearing at the next General Meeting on 12/15 – this is where you can offer public comments via ZOOM, via email or in writing.
Here is the link to the SCALP program – on the left sidebar is a link to the Ten Year Review Project under Sections: https://www.suffolkcountyny.gov/Departments/Economic-Development-and-Planning/Planning-and-Environment/Environmental-Planning-and-Aquaculture/Shellfish-Aquaculture-Lease-Program
Find agendas for meetings, reports, maps and public comments at https://www.scnylegislature.us/149/Meeting-Information
General letter in support of the Aquaculture Lease Program – send either to Legislator Kara Hahn, Chair: Kara.Hahn@suffolkcountyny.gov and Legislator Al Krupski, Vice Chair: al.Krupski@suffolkcountyny.gov Suffolk County Environment, Parks and Agriculture (EPA) committee or the Legislative Clerk at Clerk.Legislature@suffolkcountyny.gov with the request that it be distributed to all the legislators.
You can also sign and comment on this petition from the Long Island Oyster Growers Association, which highlights key facts:
We support oyster and kelp farming
In sum, we support Suffolk County continuing the lease program for shellfish farming operations and we emphatically support the inclusion of commercial seaweed (kelp) cultivation.
Why include kelp?
-it’s a carbon sink, storing 20x more CO2 per acre than land forests.
–a super-faster grower, reducing excess nitrogen, and providing habit for hundreds marine species.
–a coastline safeguard, protecting coastlines from storm surges.
-a super-food, with fast-growing new market, being used for food. medicine, cosmetics, animal feed, biofuel, and even a new bio-plastic. You can buy from Atlantic Sea Farms, working with 2 dozen Maine lobstermen and fishermen.
-a valuable fertilizer, used on farms and in home gardens. Check out Soil and Seaweed: Farming Our Way to a Climate Solution.
-a big win-win-win for the East End — Stony Brook has done the research finding sugar kelp (Saccharina latissma) is able to grow using “commercial-style” techniques in all three of our estuaries. This is climate-friendly regenerative businesses generating $9.3 million in economic activity to Suffolk County.
There is alot of interest in kelp as a second crop among Long Island’s three dozen oyster farmers. Right now other states permit commercial growing and New York only allows kelp growing for experimental use. And a local market cannot start to develop as sugar kelp is presently not permitted for human consumption in our state.
Won’t you join us in support of our shellfish farmers, and support the inclusion of commercial seaweed (kelp) cultivation.
Mary Morgan and Diane Shapiro
Oceans + Coastal Sinks Team
Drawdown East End
Local Solutions to Reverse Global Warming
Heidi Fiske <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, Dec 1, 2020 at 7:07 AM
Subject: ✳️Heidi endgame alert #3: President Biden can’t be effective unless we do this NOW
Dear savvy liberal,
You hoped your political work would be done November 3rd but
the most game-changing actions you take this election cycle may be what you do NOW.See how, where to help below.
If Biden is to be effective we need to control the Senate, and that won’t happen unless Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock win their runoff Senate races in Georgia January 5th. If they lose, Republicans control the Senate 52-48. If they win, it is 50-50 and VP Harris can break any tie.
Don’t send money to the campaigns now ...
One of the wisest political activists I know states: “My advice is to wait. There is so much money pouring into GA that it is almost impossible to know who can use the funds effectively.” And a few very large donations are expected within a week.
It may be a somewhat different story for groups seeking to register voters (ends December 7) and to get out the vote, especially in particular communities, — actions that both Republicans and Democrats agree are key to winning these races (as opposed to persuading people to change their vote). If you give to any such group, be sure it is one with an ongoing presence, so that if the money isn’t used in these races, it will work in 2021-22.
… but do volunteer. A few caveats
Georgians can be downright rude about out-of-staters “parachuting in, telling us what to do as if they know more than we do,” says SE Georgia organizer Amanda Hollowell. And their frankness is a good thing, because they’re telling you how to be effective. Here’s some of what they say:
Groups to work with
Well over 40 highly credible progressive organizations are fighting this fight in Georgia. The few listed below match one or all of the following criteria: They use out of state volunteers; were recommended by several reliable sources; and/or reach special cohorts. Shown in alphabetical order.
America Votes americavotes.orgAV assembles national and state-based coalitions to advance progressive policies and increase voter turnout for Democratic candidates. In Georgia it coordinates the activities of a dozen or more local and national groups so that all bases are covered and none are duplicated.volunteer page https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdfKPID0RoAGR2KUsg1sWHioMFVKfk0lTSUzQ-xVWElv1pjOg/viewform?gxids=7757volunteer opportunities You can check off any of 13 organizations for which to volunteer (including several listed separately here), or choose among these activities: phone banking, texting, canvassing, writing postcards.
Asian American Advocacy Fund AAAF advocates for national, state and local policies that will improve the lives of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders and all immigrant populations in Georgia. Though this cohort is small, in a race that may well be won at the margins these energized voters could play an important role. (As noted, they increased their votes more than 91% between 2016 and 2020.).volunteer pagehttps://www.asianamericanadvocacyfund.org/volunteervolunteer opportunities phone banking, text banking, postcards
Black Voters Matterhttps://blackvotersmatterfund.org/“At BVM, we … are NOT an electoral organization. We are, first and foremost, a power building organization.” BVM works year-round in many communities to make sure that the issues that matter to black communities have political heft.volunteer page https://survey123.arcgis.com/share/d448cd331da240798d118262a8b2f824volunteer opportunities texting, phone banking, postcard writing, social media campaigning, Fair Fight https://fairfight.com/Fair Fight is a national voting rights organization founded in Georgia by Stacey Abrams. It is the leading voting rights groups in Georgia. Count on them to know the landscape everywhere and to offer fine training.volunteer page https://fairfight.com/join-our-fight/volunteer opportunities poll worker, “line warming,” calling voters, texting voters. Can always use lawyers
Flip the West https://www.flipthewest.com/“Harnessing grassroots power to take back the Senate. Current target: Georgia.”volunteer pages (phone banking) https://www.mobilize.us/flipthewest/event/362350/(post card writing) https://www.mobilize.us/flipthewest/event/362341/volunteer opportunities phone banking and postcard writing
MomsRising https://www.momsrising.orgMillion-member organization targeting voting blocs that turned significantly more progressive between 2016 and 2020: suburban white mothers; unmarried white mothers; and low propensity voters of color. Helping to get out the vote in Georgia now.volunteer page:https://action.momsrising.org/survey/MRAdvocacy_2020/?source=actionvolunteer opportunities: call leaders, write postcards, text, share MomsRising social media with your networksPoder Latinx https://poderlatinx.org/“Votar es poder.” Presently seeking bilingual volunteers for Georgiavolunteer pagehttps://poderlatinx.org/contactvolunteer opportunities register voters and get out the vote
Postcards to Votershttps://postcardstovoters.org/This is the original postcard program, founded, in Georgia, by “TonytheDemocrat.”volunteer pagehttps://postcardstovoters.org/volunteer/
Voto Latino https://votolatino.org/national organization devoted to uniting and empowering the Latinx community. Now very active in Georgiavolunteer page https://votolatino.org/article/volunteer-with-voto-latino/volunteer opportunities text banking, trainings and webinars, general advocacy and call to action alerts
Volunteer with each campaignthe Ossoff campaign http://tinyurl.com/OssoffVolunteerthe Warnock campaign https://secure.warnockforgeorgia.com/page/s/website_vol
inspire everyone you know in Georgia …… to vote for these two candidates, and to get all their friends out to do so. Check your contact list for “GA” “Georgia” and zip codes beginning “300.” Revel in your old yearbooks as you look for forgotten classmates. After the wearying fights in 2020, it will be difficult to get people to the polls December 14 to January 5, so every vote will matter!
Organizations that can train you to leverage your Georgia contacts:
Galvanize your Republican friends
Use the take-no-prisoners arguments and ads of the Lincoln Project, founded by Republican strategists determined to defeat Trump. One might have expected them to support a Republican-controlled Senate to offset a Democratic President. But to their great credit, they also are fighting as hard as we are to have a Democrat-controlled Senate, because they want to defeat Trumpism. https://lincolnproject.us/
Excellent, non-partisan guides to all the candidates’ positions. These are also available in Spanish from campuselect.org :
Thanks to …
Especially helpful in compiling this memo were the following, whose work you might value on a continuing basis. With their permission here are their contacts: Evan Kost, (AV coordinates GOTV groups nationwide and in select states) https://americavotes.org; Jane Whitney (wise readable commentary): www.conversationsonthegreen.com; Deepak Puri, founder of the DemLabs (free/affordable apps for political work): https://thedemlabs.org/
Thanks also to Richard O, Craig K, Ellen BN, Victor K, Trey B, Chris B, Daniel S, Sally M, Larry H, Paul LHeidiHeidi Fiskeheidifiske@hfiske.com
It seems like the right time to reassess. The R&R blog has enjoyed increased attention and readership in 2020. Here is a yearly count of clicks (views). Note that 2020 is not yet quite over.
Here are the leading posts, namely those with the highest numbers of views:
1. 836 views. Voter Outreach 2020 – Postcards To Voters Posted on July 24, 2020 by bwfloyd
2. 742 views. If Stephen Hawking is right about Earth’s end, keep an eye on the deer. Posted on May 9, 2017 by bcolbath42
3. 409 views. Advice from a New York City ICU Doc Posted on March 30, 2020 by D. Posnett MD
4. 344 views Vote NO on Proposal #2. Posted on October 10, 2020 by D. Posnett MD
5. 341 views Where Were You Lee Zeldin? Posted on March 27, 2020 by D. Posnett MD
6. 224 views Lowe’s or Home Depot? Your call. Posted on June 10, 2020 by D. Posnett MD
7. 218 views Why is COVID-19 Testing Important? Posted on March 29, 2020 by D. Posnett MD
8. 200 views. Prop #1: Yes or No? Posted on October 20, 2020 by D. Posnett MD
9. 187 views. Exposing Lee Zeldin’s Record on Healthcare Posted on March 5, 2020 by D. Posnett MD
10. 158 views. The Psychology of Trump Supporters. Posted on July 10, 2019 by D. Posnett MD
In total 845 posts have been published on this blog. 170 were posted since January 2020:
From Diane Saatchi:
Did you know there are 23,000 young people in Georgia who were not old enough to vote in the November 3rd election but will be for the January 5th runoff? It’s true! We need to get those young people registered to vote! I encourage you to donate to and/or volunteer with the following Georgia organizations who focus on voter registration:
SIGN UP TO VOLUNTEER
Sign up with Warnock’s campaign HERE
Find an Ossoff volunteer event HERE
Sign up to volunteer with Georgia Victory HERE (You can pick from options such as texting, phone banking, literature drops, share their message online, or become a community leader)
Sign up to volunteer with Fair Fight HERE — they provide some training! (Choose between being a poll worker, line warmer, phone banker, or text banker.)
Postcards to Voters is gearing up for a GA campaign. Check back HERE
Postcards to Swing States will be starting a GA campaign soon. Check back HERE
Vote Forward will start a GA letter writing campaign soon. Sign up HERE
The Georgia Postcard Project is a grassroots initiative where you can write postcards they supply to register Democrats in Georgia about the importance of the runoff races, as well as share information about early and mail-in voting. Learn about it HERE
TEXT OR PHONE BANKING
Fair Fight text or phone banking HERE
Reclaim Our Vote text or phone banking HERE
Flip the West phone banking HERE
Warnock campaign phone bank HERE
Ossoff campaign phone bank HERE
SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS TO FOLLOW & SHARE
And of course….
Funding the candidates directly as well as the amazing grassroots organizations who flipped the state blue for Biden is of the upmost importance. If you can give, please give. If you can’t, consider sharing these links on your social media accounts.
Donate to Warnock & Ossoff’s campaigns HERE
Donate to Warnock, Ossoff, and Stacey Abrams’ Fair Fight HERE
Win Both Seats – Donate HERE with one click to donate directly to 16 POC-led, grassroots organizations in Georgia.
HERE is an amazing list of 40 voting/election related organizations in Georgia. It includes their website, the link to donate, plus links to their social media accounts.
Latino Community Fund of Georgia is included in the list linked above but shown HERE to highlight the need for both donations and volunteers.
Also, there is an online fundraising event for Warnock and Ossoff being held on November 17th with special guest Stacey Abrams. You can get tickets for as low as $54. Once you donate, you’ll get the Zoom link in your confirmation email. Sign up HERE
According to WSBTV.com News Staff. Updated November 9, 2020 – 4:55 PM
Vice President-Elect Joe Biden holds a lead of 10,195 votes over President Donald Trump in Georgia as ballots continue to trickle in.
There are insufficient outstanding votes to overturn these results and a recount is unlikely to do so either.
All eyes are now on Georgia as the state prepares for two crucial Senate races that could determine the balance of power in Washington.
Kelly Loeffler is slated for a runoff with Raphael Warnock and David Perdue will face Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff on January 5.
Below is information included in today’s Hubbell newsletter about ways to work for the democratic candidates in the senate runoff elections in Georgia in January.
The Georgia Senate Races. Per an interview with Stacy Abrams, you can contribute to Fair Fight, where you can split your contribution with Jon Ossoff, Rev. Raphael Warnock, and Fair Fight (to help with voter protection efforts). You can also sign up for phonebanking opportunities at Fair Fight. If you live in Georgia, you can request an absentee ballot here: “Georgia Absentee Voters / January 5, 2021 Runoff.” If you would like to help turnout by calling voters in Georgia, see SwingLeft / Georgia. If you are a postcard writer, check out Flip the West / Postcards to Georgia Voters for U.S. Senate Runoff Race! Both Ossoff and Warnock’s campaigns have volunteer opportunities outside of phone banking, including hosting a grassroots fundraiser and attending virtual events: Jon Ossoff for U.S. Senate and Rev. Raphael Warnock for U.S. Senate.
Added on Nov 13th:
1. Make sure everyone who voted for Ossoff & Warnock on 11/3 is aware of the runoff elections. Canvass, phone, text bank and/or write letters.
Volunteer for Jon Ossoff:https://www.mobilize.us/election/
Volunteer for Raphael Warnock:https://warnockforgeorgia.com/take-action/
Phone bank for both Ossoff & Warnock:https://togetherfor2020.org/…/phone-bank-for…/all/
Write letters for both Ossoff & Warnock: https://votefwd.org/
2. Register as many new voters as possible in the next few weeks. Donate to the following groups working to register voters in Georgia. Let’s make sure these community groups have the resources they need to do everything possible to GOTV. Time is of the essence. Georgians who were not registered to vote in the 2020 Election can still register by 12/7 to vote in the Runoff Election
Org started by Stacy Abrams:
Dates and Deadlines:
This story is of some concern…
Since June 2020, 214 human cases of COVID-19 have been identified in Denmark with SARS-CoV-2 variants associated with farmed minks, including 12 cases with a unique variant, reported on 5 November. All 12 cases were identified in September 2020 in North Jutland, Denmark. The cases ranged in age from 7 to 79 years, and eight had a link to the mink farming industry. Four cases were from the local community.
Initial observations suggest that the clinical presentation, severity and transmission among those infected are similar to that of other circulating SARS-CoV-2 viruses. However, this variant, referred to as the “cluster 5” variant, had a combination of mutations, or changes that have not been previously observed. The implications of the identified changes in this variant are not yet well understood. Preliminary findings indicate that this particular mink-associated variant identified in both minks and the 12 human cases has moderately decreased sensitivity to neutralizing antibodies. Further scientific and laboratory-based studies are required to verify preliminary findings reported and to understand any potential implications of this finding in terms of diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines in development. In the meantime, actions are being taken by Danish authorities to limit the further spread of this variant of the virus among mink and human populations.
SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes COVID-19, was first identified in humans in December 2019. As of 6 November, it has affected more than 48 million people causing over 1.2 million deaths worldwide. Although the virus is believed to be ancestrally linked to bats, the virus origin and intermediate host(s) of SARS-CoV-2 have not yet been identified.
Available evidence suggests that the virus is predominantly transmitted between people through respiratory droplets and close contact, but there are also examples of transmission between humans and animals. Several animals that have been in contact with infected humans, such as minks, dogs, domestic cats, lions and tigers, have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2.
Minks were infected following exposure from infected humans. Minks can act as a reservoir of SARS-CoV-2, passing the virus between them, and pose a risk for virus spill-over from mink to humans. People can then transmit this virus within the human population. Additionally, spill-back (human to mink transmission) can occur. It remains a concern when any animal virus spills in to the human population, or when an animal population could contribute to amplifying and spreading a virus affecting humans. As viruses move between human and animal populations, genetic modifications in the virus can occur. These changes can be identified through whole genome sequencing, and when found, experiments can study the possible implications of these changes on the disease in humans.
To date, six countries, namely Denmark, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Italy and the United States of America have reported SARS-CoV-2 in farmed minks to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).
Danish authorities have announced the following planned or ongoing public health actions:
All viruses, including SARS-CoV-2, change over time. SARS-CoV-2 strains infecting minks, which are subsequently transmitted to humans, may have acquired unique combinations of mutations. In order to fully understand the impact of specific mutations, advanced laboratory studies are required. These investigations take time and are done in close collaboration between different research groups.
The recent findings reported by the Danish Public Health Authority (Statens Serum Institut) in Denmark related to the novel variant of SARS-CoV-2 identified in humans need to be confirmed and further evaluated to better understand any potential implications in terms of transmission, clinical presentation, diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccine development.
Furthermore, detailed analyses and scientific studies are needed to better understand the reported mutations. The sharing of full genome sequences of human and animal strains will continue to facilitate detailed analyses by partners. Members of the WHO SARS-CoV-2 Virus Evolution Working Group are working with Danish scientists to better understand the available results and collaborate on further studies. Further scientific and laboratory-based studies will be undertaken to understand the implications of these viruses in terms of available SARS-CoV-2 diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines in development.
Actions taken by the Danish authorities will limit continued spread of mink-associated variants of SARS-CoV-2 in Denmark, and in particular have been implemented to contain the unique variant reported to WHO. These actions include restricting movement of people, culling animals, widespread testing of people living in affected areas and increased genomic sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 viruses across the country.
This event highlights the important role that farmed mink populations can play in the ongoing transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and the critical role of strong surveillance, sampling and sequencing SARS-CoV-2, especially around areas where such animal reservoirs are identified.
The preliminary findings by Denmark are globally relevant and WHO recognises the importance of sharing epidemiological, virological and full genome sequence information with other countries and research teams, including through open-source platforms.
WHO advises further virological studies should be conducted to understand the specific mutations described by Denmark and to further investigate any epidemiological changes in function of the virus in terms of its transmissibility and the severity of disease it causes. WHO advises all countries to increase the sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 viruses where possible and sharing the sequence data internationally.
WHO advises all countries to enhance surveillance for COVID-19 at the animal-human interface where susceptible animal reservoirs are identified, including mink farms.
WHO also reminds countries to strengthen farming biosafety and biosecurity measures around known animal reservoirs in order to limit the risk of zoonotic events associated with SARS-CoV-2. This includes infection prevention and control measures for animal workers, farm visitors and those who may be involved in animal husbandry or culling.
The basic principles to reduce the general risk of transmission of acute respiratory infections are as follows:
WHO has issued guidance for Public health considerations while resuming international travel, recommending a thorough risk assessment, taking into account country context, the local epidemiology and transmission patterns, the national health and social measures to control the outbreak, and the capacities of health systems in both departure and destination countries, including at points of entry. In case of symptoms suggestive of acute respiratory illness either during or after travel, the travellers are encouraged to seek medical attention and share their travel history with their health care provider. Health authorities should work with travel, transport and tourism sectors to provide travellers with information to reduce the general risk of acute respiratory infections via travel health clinics, travel agencies, conveyance operators, and at points of entry.
(2) And what about in the US?
Laura Schulte Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Two Taylor County mink farms under quarantine after more than 5,000 animals died from COVID-19.
Two mink farms in Taylor County are under quarantine after animals in the facilities tested positive for ARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 in humans.
Between the two farms, more than 5,400 mink have died, said Kevin Hoffman, the public information officer for the state Division of Animal Health.
The virus was confirmed at the first farm in early October when a dead mink tested positive for the disease. The farm was quarantined at that point, meaning no animals or animal parts could leave the premises. It’s believed the virus jumped from a human to the animals, Hoffman said, but an investigation into the transfer is still underway.
The outbreak at the second farm was found more recently, Hoffman said. It is not believed that the virus jumped from the first farm to the second.
Mink are members of the Mustelidae family that also includes weasels, badgers, otters, marten and wolverines. Wisconsin is one of the top producers of mink pelts in the U.S., Hoffman said. State officials are worried about the outbreaks and are regularly communicating with the state’s 19 mink farms.
“It’s certainly concerning that (mink) are so susceptible,” Hoffman said.
Valerie Zimbal, who owns Zimbal Mink Farm in Sheboygan Falls, said their mink population is being closely monitored for any signs of disease. They’ve also been implementing biosecurity measures since the pandemic started, like showering in and out, wearing masks, doing temperature checks and limiting visitors to the farm. If any employee feels sick, they are asked to stay at home.
Zimbal said the mink industry has been hit by the pandemic because mink coats and other fur clothing aren’t being bought as often since people are not out shopping as usual.
Wisconsin was the second state to have a confirmed case of COVID-19 in mink, after Utah, which confirmed its first case in August, according to the department.
The U.S. is not the only country facing outbreaks on mink farms. According to a Nov. 4 New York Times report, Denmark will kill all farmed mink due to concerns that mutation in the virus in mink could interfere with the effectiveness of a vaccine for humans.
Denmark ordered a lockdown in the northern portion of the country due to the mink outbreak, according to the Associated Press. So far, 12 people have been infected with the coronavirus mutation found in mink, which has shown a weak reaction to antibodies.
Animal welfare groups in the United States are hoping to avoid that outcome, and are calling for the government to shutter all farms to avoid the spread of the disease among the animals.
Animal Wellness Action, the Animal Wellness Foundation and the Center for a Humane Economy on Friday asked that governments in Oregon, Utah and Wisconsin to shut down their farms, and asked that the government establish a buy-out program for the farms.
So far, Hoffman said, no actions to close down mink farms in the U.S. have been recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but the agency is monitoring the situation closely.
Minks are more susceptible to the virus because of a protein in their lungs, which is similar to humans, Hoffman said. For that reason, there aren’t concerns over other types of animals, although two dogs in Wisconsin are known to have fallen ill due to the virus.
Hoffman encouraged pet owners with COVID-19 to take precautions, though, to keep their furry companions safe. He recommended wearing a mask while around your pet and keeping a six-foot distance between any ill housemates and pets.
“I know that can be really hard, but it’s the best thing you can do,” he said.
Grace Connatser of the Wisconsin State Farmer contributed.
Laura Schulte can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and twitter.com/SchulteLaura.
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