President Donald Trump and former Vice President are set to take each other on face-to-face one last time before Election Day at 9 p.m. ET. You can watch the entire debate live right here AND follow the Blaze Team’s live chat below, where you’ll get our take on everything going on during the event — from candidates’ claims to background info on important issues to media reaction to any insects that might happen to land on either candidate.
A massive Taiwanese electronics company promised to build a huge factory in Wisconsin and provide 13,000 new jobs in exchange for tax breaks and other incentives.
The company built the facility, but officials are asking: Where are the jobs, and what is being produced?
A new report reveals that the new factory is a fake.
What’s the background?
Back in 2017, Taiwan’s electronics giant Foxconn vowed to build what the company said would be a $10 billion factory in Wisconsin that would employ 13,000 people building LCD TV screens. In exchange, the state government offered the company more than $4 billion in incentives, including $3 billion in refundable tax credits.
In June 2018, President Donald Trump, Foxconn CEO Terry Gou, and former Wisconsin officials ceremonially broke ground on what was supposed to be the site of a 20-million-square-foot complex.
But on March 30, 2019, the company suddenly announced it would not be building the plant after all.
President Trump then stepped in to make phone calls to Gou and reportedly got the company to agree two days later to go forward with the planned factory.
Great news on Foxconn in Wisconsin after my conversation with Terry Gou! https://t.co/2wtuCdl7TX
Well, Foxconn has built a factory in Wisconsin, but it appears that’s about the extent of it.
In a story posted Wednesday evening, the Verge revealed that the factory is essentially a fake.
Citing a report from the Wisconsin Division of Executive Budget and Finance, the Verge said Foxconn did not build the giant Gen 10.5 LCD facility for building TV screens it had promised. Instead, the electronics outfit built a “smaller Gen 6 LCD factory” that “shows no signs of manufacturing LCDs in the foreseeable future and ‘may be better suited for demonstration purposes.'”
The building is reportedly 1/20th the size originally promised — and now is not even being used for anything close to its stated purpose.
According to the Verge, Foxconn got a permit to “change its intended use from manufacturing to storage.” Also, the company has yet to order the equipment necessary to make LCDs.
And those promised 13,000 jobs? Turns out that the company hired only 281 people by the end of 2019 who qualified to meet the terms of the deal with the state. Many of those employees have already been laid off, the Verge said. And the job numbers continue to go in the wrong direction.
Has the state responded?
Now the state is striking back, saying that the Foxconn project does not warrant the massive subsidy package pushed and approved by then-Gov. Scott Walker (R), which included at least $400 million in state and local government spending on land and infrastructure the company will now probably never use.
The state report cited by the Verge said, “Taxpayers fully performed their side of the agreement to date, while the Recipients have not,” adding that “state taxpayers have spent as much if not more than” Foxconn has its campus.
The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, which has been tasked with overseeing the Foxconn deal, elected last week to deny the company its first installment of $3 billion in refundable tax credits, the Verge reported.
According to the WEDC, Foxconn has refused to come to the table to negotiate a revision of the company’s contract, despite multiple warnings the state has issued that the current project is in violation of the state’s agreement and therefore ineligible for subsidies.
In a message responding to the Verge’s report, Foxconn said it was seeing “progress in Wisconsin” in spite of the many “growing pains,” including the “need to explore new business opportunities, adjust to changes in global customer requirements, and a constantly evolving global technology industry.” The company reportedly told the outlet that it is committed to making things work in Wisconsin but noted that the state’s decision to deny some subsidies “threatens the good faith negotiations” over a new contract.
Gou responded more bluntly:
A statement the same day from Foxconn founder Terry Gou, however, struck a more ominous tone, linking the future of the project to continued state support and, implicitly, to President Donald Trump’s reelection. “Foxconn will work as a partner with those who treat the company as a partner,” Gou wrote. “Foxconn will remain committed to the completion and continued expansion of our project and investment in Wisconsin as long as policymakers at the federal, state, and local levels remain committed to Foxconn and the very important technology development goals driving the company’s investments, as President Trump has done.”
Since the beginning of the pandemic, government officials have sought to prevent tenants who cannot pay their rent from being evicted during the crisis that saw millions of people land in unemployment lines.
President Donald Trump sought authority in the spring to ban evictions and foreclosures and authorized various federal agencies from the Department of Housing and Urban Development to the Centers for Disease Control to seek to enact policies protecting renters who were unable to make payments. And governors in various states have made similar moves.
But some important issues kept rearing their heads — only to be largely ignored.
What do we do about landlords who could lose their properties if tenants are no longer required to make rent payments?
What about tenants who were in arrears before the pandemic?
Now some small landlords in Illinois are begging their Democratic governor to stop giving a pass to freeloaders who are taking advantage of the pandemic, Chicago’s WBBM-TV reported.
What are the landlords saying?
Over the weekend, Gov. JB Pritzker extended Illinois’ eviction moratorium for another 30 days — and did so without offering any sort of relief to landlords, WBBM said Monday. The governor has repeatedly extended the moratorium since the spring.
Naturally, this did not sit well with several landlords who rely on rental income for their livelihoods and to cover the costs of the property they own that’s being rented.
Property owners told WBBM they want to know why Pritzker is letting longtime deadbeat tenants to continue living in their apartments rent-free.
And they want the governor to let them evict tenants who were scheduled to be tossed before the pandemic.
One landlord, Linda Villareal, told WBBM she has tenants who have not paid rent since last fall.
“And then the pandemic hit,” she said, “and then nothing’s happened.”
Image source: WBBM-TV video screenshot
Villareal pointed out that the government has protected renters’ financial well-being due to job losses from the coronavirus outbreak but has done essentially nothing to protect her and her fellow landlords’ wallets, WBBM said.
“Now they think they can live there for free forever,” she told the outlet. “I feel like I’m being taken advantage of.”
According to Villareal, her tenants have jobs, have purchased a pool and a trampoline, but have refused to pay rent — and now she worries that she could face foreclosure on her rental property.
Paul Arena of the Illinois Rental Property Owners Association told WBBM that stories like Villareal’s have become common among the 15,000 small businesses he represents.
Arena’s group has asked the governor for an exceptions for renters who were not paying before the pandemic, but he has yet to get an answer from the governor one way or the other.
WBBM said it also reached out to the governor’s office but has received only radio silence.
New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio have been on the receiving end of serious pushback for their perceived targeting of Orthodox Jewish communities with their COVID-19 policies and rhetoric.
They had an ally, however, in Orthodox Rabbi R’Mayer Zelig Rispler, who repeatedly urged Jewish communities to follow safety measures impose by city officials.
In April, after de Blasio had issued multiple threats to the Jewish community to follow his coronavirus rules or else, Rispler was one of the leading Orthodox voices calling on the Hasidic community to follow the COVID-19 commands, the New York Post reported.
“We do not condone any behavior that puts people at risk and pledge to keep working alongside the brave men and women of the NYPD in addressing and eliminating any such occurrences,” he wrote, according to the Times of Israel.
According to the Post, the rabbi fell ill last month.
Rispler, 70, died of COVID-19 last week, the Times reported, and was buried Friday.
De Blasio and Cuomo have a history of targeting Jews
Cuomo and de Blasio have repeatedly come under fire for their coronavirus policies and statements that have been seen as especially unfair to the Orthodox Jewish community.
? In March, law enforcement was sent to crack down on a large Jewish prayer meeting in Brooklyn for violating the city’s social distancing rules.
? Also in March, de Blasio threatened to shut down synagogues for violating his order to stop gathering during the pandemic. He issued the threat on a Friday afternoon just hours before the Jewish community was set to meet for weekly Shabbat gatherings.
? In April, the mayor, shortly after closing synagogues for Passover, announced that the city would be providing 500,000 Halal meals for Muslims during Ramadan.
? Later in April, Hizzoner singled out the Jewish community for arrest for violating social distancing guidelines, tweeting, “”My message to the Jewish community, and all communities, is this simple: the time for warnings has passed. I have instructed the NYPD to proceed immediately to summons or even arrest those who gather in large groups. This is about stopping this disease and saving lives. Period.” (He was later forced to apologize.)
? Just days later, NYC cops were sent to break up an outdoor Jewish funeral procession.
? In June, the mayor booted Hasidic Jewish kids from a park in Brooklyn because of social distancing while de Blasio himself endorsed massive BLM protests. He even went so far as to say that the BLM protests trumped religious services.
? Also in October, Cuomo issued new “draconian” coronavirus measures during Jewish holiday celebrations and had police sent in to enforce the new rules, which resulted in the community coming together to burn face masks in the streets and holding a festive Trump rally.
TheBlaze reported earlier this week that more than 83% of Facebook’s political donations for the 2020 election cycle went to Democrats — a fact that is confirmed in the Federal Election Commission data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics on its site, Opensecrets.org.
Everyone who thought Facebook’s political giving bias was really something should hold on to their hats, because it turns out that Twitter’s giving is even more slanted to Democrats.
According to CRP’s collection of the most recent FEC data, 98.87% of donations from Twitter-affiliated PACs and individuals (organizations themselves cannot contribute to candidates and party committees) to federal candidates have gone to Democrats during the 2020 election cycle.
Yes, just 1.13% of Twitter donations have gone to Republicans.
In 2018, 96% of Twitter donations went to Democrats, and in 2016, 69% went to Democrats.
Who got the most Twitter money?
Just like with Facebook, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden was easily the top recipient of Twitter donations in the 2020 election cycle.
Of the top 25 recipients of Twitter money for 2020, 24 were Democrats.
No. 1: Joe Biden — DEMOCRAT — $66,929
No. 2: Sen. Elizabeth Warren — DEMOCRAT — $45,792
No. 3: Sen. Bernie Sanders — DEMOCRAT — $31,916
No. 4: Businessman Andrew Yang — DEMOCRAT — $14,327
No. 5: Sen. Kamala Harris — DEMOCRAT — $12,929
No. 6: Arizona Senate candidate Mark Kelly — DEMOCRAT — $11,216
No. 7: Former Mayor of South Bend Pete Buttigieg — DEMOCRAT — $10,451
Republicans have long accused Facebook of having an anti-conservative, pro-Democrat bias. Those cries got markedly louder Wednesday when the social media giant chose to suppress the New York Post’s bombshell report on Hunter Biden and an alleged meeting between Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and a Burisma executive when Biden was vice president.
So the fact that more than 80% of Facebook political donations have gone to Democrats during the 2020 election cycle will likely not come as a shock to many on the right.
What’s that now?
According the Center for Responsive Politics’ compilation of the most recent Federal Election Commission data, 83.49% of donations from Facebook-affiliated PACs and individuals (organizations themselves cannot contribute to candidates and party committees) to federal candidates have gone to Democrats during the 2020 election cycle.
Just 16.51% has gone to Republicans, the CRP reported.
In 2018, 76.03% of Facebook donations went to Democrats, and in 2016, 68.54% went to Democrats, according to the CRP.
Who has received the most Facebook money?
It will probably come as no surprise that the top recipient of Facebook-affiliated money during the 2020 cycle is Joe Biden.
No. 25: Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke — DEMOCRAT — $16,944
Facebook likes to lobby, too
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Facebook spent $16.7 million in 2019 (the most recent data available) on lobbying.
Of the 72 registered Facebook Inc. lobbyists in 2019, 68 have previously held government jobs.
Interestingly, the man whose tweet about the Facebook move to censor the Post article set the internet ablaze Wednesday, Facebook policy communications manager Andy Stone, was once a press secretary for former California Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer and the communications director for the Democratic House Majority PAC.
Though not usually considered the sexiest of topics, national tax polices impact the daily lives of billions of people a year. For that reason, the Tax Foundation, a tax policy nonprofit, issues an annual International Tax Competitiveness Index.
The organization posted its 2020 index Wednesday, and the news isn’t great for the U.S., which ranked No. 21 in the report.
What is this report?
It’s important to understand countries’ tax policies to have an idea of how those countries’ economies might fare.
As the Tax Foundation noted in its report Wednesday:
The structure of a country’s tax code is an important determinant of its economic performance. A well-structured tax code is easy for taxpayers to comply with and can promote economic development while raising sufficient revenue for a government’s priorities. In contrast, poorly structured tax systems can be costly, distort economic decision-making, and harm domestic economies.
The index is designed to offers a look at Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development member nations’ tax systems and how closely they stick to the important aspects of competitiveness and neutrality. From the report:
A competitive tax code is one that keeps marginal tax rates low. In today’s globalized world, capital is highly mobile. Businesses can choose to invest in any number of countries throughout the world to find the highest rate of return. This means that businesses will look for countries with lower tax rates on investment to maximize their after-tax rate of return. If a country’s tax rate is too high, it will drive investment elsewhere, leading to slower economic growth. In addition, high marginal tax rates can lead to tax avoidance.
According to research from the OECD, corporate taxes are most harmful for economic growth, with personal income taxes and consumption taxes being less harmful. Taxes on immovable property have the smallest impact on growth.
Separately, a neutral tax code is simply one that seeks to raise the most revenue with the fewest economic distortions. This means that it doesn’t favor consumption over saving, as happens with investment taxes and wealth taxes. This also means few or no targeted tax breaks for specific activities carried out by businesses or individuals. […]
A tax code that is competitive and neutral promotes sustainable economic growth and investment while raising sufficient revenue for government priorities.
The index scores OECD nations on their corporate, individual, consumption, and property taxes, as well as their international tax rules. The combination of those scores is used to create an overall score.
The United States came in 21st in the 2020 ranking, dropping from 20th place in the 2018 and 2019 rankings.
Below are the 25 OECD member nations with the most competitive tax codes, according to the index, along with their overall scores in the 2020 report and their 2018 and 2019 rankings.
Top 25 countries with most competitive tax codes in 2020
The third day of Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court are set to begin at 9 a.m. ET Wednesday.
The first day of hearings on Monday saw only opening statements from committee members and the nominee.
Senators spent all day Tuesday giving speeches, advancing conspiracy theories, and peppering Barrett with questions about judicial philosophy, her family, her personal beliefs, the Constitution — and whether she has ever committed sexual assault.
During the Tuesday meeting, Barrett faced several questions from Democratic senators on how she might rule on potential cases at the high court. Each time, she responded by invoking the so-called “Ginsburg Rule,” noting it would be inappropriate to give her opinion about specific cases.
Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) — who relentlessly attacked and accused Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearings of committing sexual assault — asked Barrett if she has ever committed sexual assault.
“Since you became a legal adult, have you ever made unwanted requests for sexual favors, or committed any physical or verbal harassment or assault of a sexual nature?” Hirono asked.
Barrett answered “No, Sen. Hirono.”
“Have you ever faced discipline or entered into a settlement related to this kind of conduct?” the senator asked..
What’s more important, protecting Americans’ feelings or protecting Americans’ ability to speak freely?
The ability to speak one’s mind has come under attack in everyday life — from social media companies’ attempts to keep controversial content off their sites to college campuses’ efforts to create safe spaces and squash offensive speech.
Americans have grown more intolerant when it comes to speech — particularly speech they say hurts their feelings.
For example, there has been a concerning movement on college campuses to stifle speech that some students find offensive. Some students, Campus Reform revealed, say they’re willing to give up free speech so others can “feel comfortable.” And a FIRE survey shared this month showed that nearly one-fifth of college students say its OK to use violent means to shut down speech they deem offensive.
Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube have long been criticized for reportedly censoring conservative voices that some people find offensive. For example, just last week, Blaze Media’s Mark Levin went after Facebook for throttling the reach of his media page, accusing the company of trying to influence the election.
With current attitudes of some Americans and the actions of social media and online video companies in mind, it probably will not surprise most readers to hear that a majority of Americans believe people’s feelings are more important than being able to speak one’s mind online.
According to Pew, 53% of U.S. adults say “being able to feel welcome and safe online” is more important than “people being able to speak their minds freely online.”
Democrats were more likely than Republicans to feel that way — but many free speech advocates are likely not thrilled with the share of GOPers who also backed feelings over free expression: 60% of Democrats and 45% of Republicans said feeling safe is more important than free expression.
These results are a six-point jump for Democrats and a six-point drop for Republicans since 2017.
Broken down by party and gender, it’s clear that within parties, women are more likely than men to put concern over feelings ahead of freedom of expression.
A majority of GOP women (54%), Democratic women (64%), and Democratic men (55%) ranking feelings ahead of freedom in this survey. Only among GOP men does a minority (36%) believe feeling safe is more important than speaking freely.
The most talked about topic from Wednesday night’s vice presidential debate between Vice President Mike Pence and California Sen. Kamala Harris was not taxes or the economy or energy.
It wasn’t the Green New Deal or the coronavirus.
Or packing the Supreme Court.
Or Russia collusion.
It was a fly — specifically the fly that landed on Pence’s head and sat there for minutes.
So naturally anti-Trump political strategist Steve Schmidt took to MSNBC to connect Pence to Satan.
Wait. What? Satan?
Schmidt, who is most famous for leading John McCain’s failed 2008 presidential run against Barack Obama, renounced the GOP in 2018, calling it a party of “feckless cowards” because of its support for President Donald Trump. He went on to say he would push for Democratic majorities in Congress.
His hatred for the entire Trump administration is unquestioned and led him to co-found the Lincoln Project, a Super PAC created by former Republicans determined to take down Trump in 2020.
Schmidt appeared on MSNBC Wednesday night following the debate to blast Pence’s performance as “blustering” and “weird.”
“If this was a normal debate, his behavior would have been scored very, very poorly,” Schmidt said. “It would have been on the higher end of weird behavior.”
“I don’t think it’s ever a good sign when a fly lands on your head for two minutes. That’s a sign all through history of sin,” Schmidt continued.
“He who commands the flies has always been seen historically as the mark of the devil,” he said.
The host asked if Schmidt was joking and noted that the fly could have landed on anyone.
“But it didn’t. It landed on Mike Pence, and it says something … karmic about the status of the campaign” the anti-Trumper continued, noting that the Trump-Pence ticket was “imploding” and “cratering.”
The Lincoln Project’s Steve Schmidt says the fly that landed on Mike Pence during the debate last night is a “sign… https://t.co/bdBeoP6dEA
Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris will take each on in the year’s only vice presidential debate tonight at 9 p.m. ET. You can watch the whole debate live right here AND follow TheBlaze team’s live chat below where you’ll get our take on everything from the moderator’s questions and the candidates’ claims to fact checks and media spin to plexiglass separators and COVID testing to social media reactions.
If you consume only the mainstream media and follow only the social media posts Facebook and Twitter let you see, you probably think the sole issue impacting the 2020 presidential election is the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The networks, CNN, MSNBC, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and nearly every other liberal-leaning outlet want Americans to believe that the only things that matter this election are that President Donald Trump refuses to wear a mask, Vice President Mike Pence failed in his leadership of the White House Coronavirus Task Force (not to mention his reported opposition to having plexiglass at the vice presidential debate Wednesday night), and the White House is a COVID cesspool.
But it turns out the issues American voters consider most important in the election are the issues they’ve long considered the most important, a new Gallup poll revealed. And the No. 1 issue for voters hasn’t changed: “It’s the economy, stupid.”
That’s not to say the coronavirus response isn’t important to voters — it is — but it sure doesn’t rank where one might expect considering the level of coverage it has received.
What are the top 5 issues?
Of 16 issues Americans said were either “extremely important” or “very important” to their vote for president, the economy came in as the clear top issue at 89% (44% “extremely”; 45% “very). It was followed by terrorism and national security (83%), education (82%), health care (80%), and crime (79%).
Top 5 most important issues for 2020 election
No. 1: Economy — 89% No. 2: Terrorism and National Security — 83% No. 3: Education — 82% No. 4: Health Care — 80% No. 5: Crime — 79%
Where did the COVID response rank?
Don’t let the fact that the coronavirus response’s ranking is seemingly incongruous with the media coverage it has received fool you.
The fact that other topics were considered more important does not mean the coronavirus is not a concern for voters. In fact, more than three-quarters of Americans say it’s an issue important to their vote.
The response to the coronavirus came in sixth place on the most-important-issues ranking (77%), followed closely by race relations (76%).
As per @Gallup survey, top of voters’ lists in terms of importance for election is economy; but terrorism/national… https://t.co/C2FP7Qft5a
If you’re a voter in Massachusetts who went through the effort to vote early this year but then you died before Election Day, don’t worry: The state is still going to count your vote thanks to a new law passed by the state legislature this year.
Never mind that counting the votes of the dead could lead to problems: This is just a “temporary law,” WBZ-TV reported.
Why do it? COVID-19, of course.
Wait. What’s this now?
Massachusetts Secretary of State Bill Galvin announced Monday that, because of the coronavirus pandemic, anyone who voted early but dies before Election Day (Nov. 3) this year will still have their vote counted. Also, the window for early voting has been expanded.
“It’s pandemic-era time,” Galvin said at a news conference, WBZ reported. “So we had to expand the time for voting.”
Before now, early voting in the Bay State was 10 days before an election, and if a person voted early and was discovered to have died prior to Election Day, that voter’s ballot would not be counted.
“These are people who are alive and competent when they voted, but they may have died unexpectedly after they voted,” the attorney general said. “In past times, if the local officials knew they were dead — had died — even though they had legally voted when they cast the ballot, they would have discarded the ballot, not counted it.”
But apparently that did not sit well with the state’s leaders.
According to the Boston Globe, the “temporary pandemic-era law passed this summer” by the legislature is a notable shift in the state’s voting rules.
This year early voting in Massachusetts has been extended by an additional 20 days, giving voters essentially a month to cast their votes.
And not only has the window expended, apparently the definition of what constitutes a legitimate vote has been changed, too.
Now Massachusetts voters who die after casting their early ballot but before Election Day will have their ballots included in the final tally.
The new provision that allows the votes of the dead to suddenly count comes thanks to language slipped into the state’s early voting expansion bill. The law bars election officials from rejecting an early or absentee ballot this year “solely because the voter became ineligible to vote by reason by death after casting the ballot,” the Globe reported.
How many votes will that impact? Galvin guessed not many, calling it “extremely rare” and saying, “It’s not a significant number of ballots.”
“It’s certainly not going to affect the outcome of the election,” he added. “And if it were to — I speculate here — but if it were to, obviously there’d probably be some followup litigation. But since I’m already reaching my quota of being sued this year, I’m not going to go there.”
Massachusetts is not the first state to have such a provision. The Globe said at least 11 states have similar laws, including Florida and Hawaii.
As of two years ago, at least 17 state states had explicitly rejected counting ballots of people who died before the election, the Globe noted.
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Monday used President Donald Trump’s stay at Walter Reed Medical Center to renew his calls for the president to institute a nationwide mask mandate, beginning with interstate travel and federal facilities.
What did he say?
President Trump posted messages and videos during his stay at Walter Reed over the weekend while being treated for the coronavirus.
Early Monday, he began tweeting campaign messages on taxes, guns, law and order, the economy, the military, religious liberty, abortion, health care, and more. He also reminded supporters to register to vote and volunteer for the campaign.
While the president was continuing to recover at Walter Reed, Biden used a campaign stop in Miami Monday to renew his call for a nationwide mask mandate.
Back in August, Biden announced his support for the mandate, declaring, “Every American should be wearing a mask when they’re outside for the next three months at a minimum,” and calling for the government to institute a nationwide mask mandate, which, he claimed, would “save over 40,000 live in the next three months.” He reiterated support for that plan during his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention.
Asked about a mask mandate during an interview on “Politics Unplugged,” Biden said, “Here’s the deal, the federal government … there’s a constitutional issue whether the federal government could issue such a mandate, I don’t think constitutionally they could, so I wouldn’t issue a mandate.”
Fast-forward a month and the Biden campaign is using the president’s coronavirus diagnosis to once again call for the federal government to force a nationwide mask mandate.
“Now that he’s busy tweeting campaign messages, I would ask him to do this: Listen to the scientists, support masks, support a mask mandate nationwide,” Biden said to applause before a live audience in Little Havana.
“Require masks in every federal building and facility and interstate travel,” he continued.
“Urge every governor in America to do the same,” Biden added. “We know it saves lives.”
“Experts say that universal masking could save, between now and January, 100,000 lives,” he stated. “You know, I backed that mandate months ago. He should back it now.”
The former vice president did not bother to add his subsequent admission that such a mandate would be unconstitutional.
LIVE: Biden Delivers Remarks in Little Havana in Miami, Florida
Biden also said the Trump administration on Friday rejected a mask mandate for public transportation.
He was referring to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s rejection of a petition — not a government-created policy plan — from a labor union connected to the AFL-CIO asking for a department-wide policy requiring, as The Hill reported, every passenger on a DOT-approved vehicle to wear a mask.
NBC News did something this week that a lot of mainstream media outlets have not: Reported on Sweden’s controversial response to the coronavirus pandemic while simultaneously noting that the country lately has been faring better than many of its European neighbors.
The outlet even went so far as to ask if there are lessons the United States can take from Sweden’s experience.
What NBC News say about Sweden?
The Nordic country has been under fire from much of the world for its refusal to lock down during the global pandemic. But life there appears to be back to normal, Bill Neely reported on Thursday for NBC’s “Today.”
Image source: YouTube/Today screenshot
“It looks like the world we lost,” Neely said. “Cafes and restaurants full. People relaxed. No face masks. No panic.”
The Swedes had very few rules and restrictions on their daily lives, keeping most schools and businesses open while asking people to socially distance. It did, however, ban large gatherings — though that’s one of the very few restorations it imposed.
Image source: YouTube/Today screenshot
And the people there — including some Americans — seem to be good with it. In fact, NBC News wondered if there was a lesson in it for the United States.
Indeed, as the show’s chyron posed the question, “Pandemic roadmap for U.S.?” Neely spoke to Americans currently living in Sweden and gathered some positive takes on how the country is faring compared to the U.S.
Elizabeth Dacey, an American living in Sweden, told NBC she feels safer there than back home.
“I have to say, honestly, I’m glad I’m here in comparison to what I’m watching my family go through in the U.S.,” Dacey said.
Jim Ferulla of New York runs a deli in Sweden and told NBC that he also feels safer in Sweden than if he were back in the U.S.
“I would say they’re pretty much hands-off here in Sweden, as opposed to hands-on,” he said to Neely.
He added that he “definitely” feels safer in Sweden than he would in the U.S., and added, “I’m kind of proud about the way we handled it.”
And what about face masks? Those appear to be few and far between — including in close quarters on public transportation.
Standing aboard a train, Neely noted, “Not a face mask in sight. The government doesn’t recommend them.”
Image source: YouTube/Today screenshot
“Why aren’t they listening to the experts?” some observers might ask.
According to NBC, Swedes do listen to the experts — and their experts are on the same page.
Amina Manzoor, a Swedish pandemic expert, told NBC that in Sweden the government and the experts have been “unified in their message — you haven’t had that in the U.S.”
It seems to be working out for the Swedes now, following the spate of deaths the country saw last spring.
“When the world locked down, Sweden stayed open,” Neely said. “Now some of the countries who had the toughest lockdowns, like Spain, are having a deadly second wave.”
“Sweden is not,” he added.
He went on to point out that the ICU in the nation’s largest hospital, which was overwhelmed in the spring, is now “deserted.”
Image source: YouTube/Today screenshot
And beginning Thursday, nursing homes were opening for visitors for the first time in months.
According to Neely, Sweden’s number of COVID-19 cases is “creeping up,” but the people are not worried.
“Most Swedes are confident their way works,” Neely said.
How Sweden Dealt With Coronavirus: Are There Lessons For US? | TODAY
The distrust the American people have for the national media to provide fair and accurate reporting is continuing unabated, Gallup revealed this week.
And it is not just Republicans — who have long had problems with the the nation’s TV and newspaper outlets — keeping the media’s numbers low. Independents have trust issues with the media — as do a fair share of the country’s Democrats.
What’s going on?
A new Gallup poll published Wednesday reveals that a majority of Americans do not trust the mass media to tell the full story.
According to Gallup, only 40% of U.S. adults admit to having “a great deal” or “a fair amount” of trust and confidence in the media to report the news “fully, accurately, and fairly.” And 60% of adults say they have “not very much” trust or “none at all.”
Of the four options on level of trust — “a great deal,” “a fair amount,” “not very much,” and “none at all” — a plurality of respondents (33%) chose “none at all.”
The overall trust in media (40%) is the lowest it has been since 2016, when it dropped to 32%. And it hasn’t been above 50% since 2003.
Four in 10 U.S. adults say they have “a great deal” or “a fair amount” of trust and confidence in the media, while… https://t.co/5NBZvHfUAn
Broken down by political affiliation, the data is not encouraging for the media.
Naturally, Republicans are unwilling to say they trust TV, newspapers, and radio to report the news accurately. This has been a decades-long fight for the GOP. And today, only 10% of Republicans are willing to say they trust the media. Some 58% of GOPers told Gallup they have no trust at all in the media.
But the news is not good among independents, either. Just over one-third (36%) of voters who identify as independent said they trust the media.
Even the party seen by many Americans as in bed with the liberal media is showing that it has some trust issues. Not even three-quarters (73%) of Democrats are willing to say they trust the media. Gallup noted that the share of Democrats who said they trust the media “a great deal” dropped from 24% to 16%.
The left’s call for packing the Supreme Court by expanding its size so that a Democratic president could fill the new seats with liberal jurists gained a lot of steam following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg last month.
But Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has repeatedly refused to say whether he would support such a move — most recently during the Tuesday night presidential debate with President Donald Trump.
Apparently a directive to not give a straight answer on the question went out to his entire campaign, because following the debate, Biden’s running mate, California Sen. Kamala Harris, refused to answer CNN’s question about whether a Biden administration would seek to pack the high court.
What’s this now?
When President Donald Trump said he would nominate a judge to fill the Ginsburg seat and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced the Senate would hold hearings and a vote on the nominee, Democrats vowed retribution — from killing the filibuster to court packing.
Democratic senators like Ed Markey of Massachusetts and Mazie Hirono of Hawaii immediately came out and declared it was time for the Democratic Party to get behind a move to expand and fill the high court.
And many members of the media had their backs. Most notable was CNN’s Don Lemon and his rant that it was time to “blow up the entire system” and “stack the courts.”
Never mind that moderate Democrats like Sens. Joe Manchin (W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) have made clear their opposition to packing the court.
And Ginsburg herself was on record opposing the move.
Still, the cries on the far left grew louder as they watched the threat to their liberal majority on the Supreme Court continue to grow — especially with Trump’s nomination of Amy Coney Barrett.
So it was a logical topic of discussion during Tuesday’s presidential debate. But it was one Biden didn’t want to discuss.
During a back-and-forth about the Barrett nomination, the president repeatedly asked Biden, “Are you going to pack the court?”
The former vice president refused to answer, admitting that his answer would become a distraction during the election.
What did Harris say?
Knowing the notion of packing the court plays well the Democratic Party’s liberal base but not so well with moderates, Harris held the Biden line following the debate during a Tuesday night interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper.
Tapper noted that there were many Democrats who were advocating court packing, yet the Biden-Harris campaign refused to “give us a straight answer” about the topic.
“Neither you nor Joe Biden are willing to give us a straight answer as to whether or not you are willing to entertain that idea,” Tapper said. “But it’s not some fringe idea. Democrats in Washington are talking about it. Chuck Schumer, the Democratic leader in the Senate, has said that he’s not taking anything off the table. Is that an idea that you are willing to think about?”
Harris responded by dodging the question.
She, like Biden, doesn’t want court packing to be the focus.
“Joe has been really clear,” Harris said. “Let’s focus on what is happening right now. Deal with later later. Focus on what is happening right now, which is the American people are voting and they should be the ones to decide who will have the next lifetime appointment to the United States Supreme Court.”
“Let’s not get distracted,” she stated, avoiding a topic that makes many centrist Democrats nervous.
Tapper closed the interview by calling Harris out for not answering the question.
“I will respectfully note that you also declined to answer that question with me,” he said.
CNN calls out Kamala Harris for dodging on court-packing
A bemused Tapper then turned to his CNN colleague Abby Phillip and said, “I don’t really understand, Abby, why they won’t answer that question.”
Phillip made it clear why they won’t answer the question: “They don’t that answer that question because this is sort of like the Medicare for All of the general election, which is that there is an idea that is being talked about on the left of their party and they want to stay in the middle. That is why they won’t answer the question.”
President Donald Trump and former Vice President Job Biden go toe-to-toe tonight at 9 p.m. ET. You can catch the whole thing live right here AND follow the Blaze Team’s live chat below, where you can get our initial take of the goings on — from campaign promises and outrageous claims to fact checks and smackdowns to media bias and spin-masters’ takes.
A majority of Americans now believe the government should do more to solve the nation’s problems — a record high, according to Gallup.
The increased push for greater government involvement is coming from Democrats and independents, while Republicans’ view on government intervention in our problems has remained flat.
What’s the data?
With the coronavirus creating health concerns, the pandemic’s impacts on the economy, racial unrest, and growing concerns about the integrity of the next election, people are looking to the government for solutions more every day.
For the first time in Gallup’s polling history on the topic, more than half (54%) of Americans want the government to do more to solve the country’s problems. Just 41% of those surveyed said the government is doing too much, the polling outfit reported Monday.
The recent uptick — from 47% in 2019 to 54% today — is also the first time those supporting increased government intervention outnumbered those opposing it since 2001 after the 9/11 terror attacks.
Broken down by party, it’s clear that Democrats and independents are responsible for the massive growth in the call for increased government involvement in our lives: 83% of Democrats (up from 70% in 2019) and 56% of independents (up from 46% in 2019) support the bigger-government position. Just 22% of Republicans (down from 24% in 2019) hold that same view.
Gallup’s Monday report also showed that while the public’s desire for government involvement in solving problems has grown, backing for the government promoting traditional values has remained basically flat.
Just 47% of Americans said the U.S. government should promote traditional values, while 50% said the government should not favor any values.
From @GallupNews: “Roughly equal percentages favor the government promoting traditional values (47%) and not promot… https://t.co/D2R0ffLJXV
The partisan breakdown shows that while Republicans’ calls for more government promotion of traditional values have grown since last year, that increase has been countered by a drop among independents and Democrats.
In 2019, 69% of Republicans wanted the government to push traditional values. Today, 74% of Republicans feel that way. For independents, the share dropped from 49% in 2019 to 42% today. And among Democrats, the number dropped from 31% last year to 29%.
From @GallupNews: “74% of Reps, 29% of Dems and 42% of inds favor the govt promoting traditional values. Dems are s… https://t.co/Yhci9IRsNT
A group of black pastors slammed Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris (Calif.) on Friday for praising the so-called “brilliance” of the Black Lives Matter founders, the Christian Post reported.
During an interview with CNN commentator Angela Rye for the NAACP’s Fall Leadership Conference, Harris lauded the “brilliance” of Black Lives Matter co-founders Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza, and Opal Tometi, the Post said.
Praising the co-founders’ “brilliance in conceiving [BLM],” Harris told Rye that one day people would see BLM as “an inflection point in the ongoing fight for justice … and to reform the criminal justice system.”
“I actually believe as a former prosecutor that Black Lives Matter has been the most significant agent for change within the criminal justice system,” Harris said, “because it has been a counterforce to the force within the system that is so grounded in status quo and in its own traditions, many of which have been harmful and have been discriminatory in the way that they have been enforced.”
She went on to describe the BLM protests — many of which have become violent — “as an essential component of evolution in our country” and “as essential component or mark of a real democracy” and “as necessary — the people’s voices must be heard.”
Why? Because “nothing that we have achieved that has been about progress in our country has come without a fight,” she said.
The Conservative Clergy of Color, a group of black pastors, took serious issue with Harris’ praise for the Black Lives Matter movement and its founders.
What did the coalition say?
In a statement to the Post, the coalition’s co-founder Bishop Aubrey Shines said BLM is not an organization Harris should be commending in any way.
“It’s extremely disheartening to see a U.S. Senator and a candidate for vice president give such high praise to a group that is trying to destroy our country,” Shines told the Post.
“Does Sen. Harris not watch the news? Has she not seen the businesses burning, the livelihoods that have been wrecked by this organization?” the pastor asked. “People are terrified, but we have to praise the organizers because it’s the cool thing to do.”
Shines went on to point out that BLM has recently tried to scrub much of its more insidious agenda from its public face. As TheBlaze reported last week, the group was caught removing anti-nuclear family and “cisgender privilege” content from is statement of beliefs.
“Until recently these people made no secret about their agenda. They were loud and proud about their anti-American goals until the violence they’ve instigated started affecting their favorability,” Shines continued in the statement to the Post. “The only ‘brilliant’ thing I can see is how quickly BLM’s website operators scrubbed their agenda to be more appealing. This is not a group that needs to be praised. More Americans are beginning to see that, and I hope Sen. Harris will too.”
Blumenthal’s Twitter thread rant concluded with the senator saying he would refuse to meet with the nominee — despite decades of Senate tradition of senators of both parties meeting with nominees to the high court — and that he would not “treat the process as legitimate.”
I will refuse to treat this process as legitimate & will not meet with Judge Amy Coney Barrett.
Later Saturday, Blumenthal was interviewed on CNN by Wolf Blitzer and was actually confronted over his comments and asked to explain how the nomination was “illegal or illegitimate.”
He couldn’t give a straight answer.
CNN asked hard questions?
During his CNN interview, Blumenthal repeatedly returned to his claim that the nomination is “illegitimate” and a “sham.”
Following Blumenthal’s opening diatribe, Blitzer repeatedly asked the senator to explain exactly how the nomination is “illegal or illegitimate,” but the lawmaker had no straight answer.
“What are the Republicans doing that is illegal or illegitimate?” Blitzer asked, adding a note that the Constitution delineates exactly how nominations to the court are supposed to go down.
“The Constitution says the president has to nominate Supreme Court justices; the Senate has to advise and consent and confirm,” Blitzer continued. “So what what is illegal about what the president and the Republicans are doing? You say it’s illegitimate.”
Blumenthal danced around the question and claimed it is illegitimate because of the timing of the nomination, noting that “the vote on this nominee will occur literally at the end of October, a handful of days before an election.”
Blitzer wasn’t satisfied with the senator’s answer and pressed again.
“Where does it say that’s illegitimate in the U.S. Constitution or in the law?” the newsman asked. “Where does it say that what they’re doing … is illegal?”
Blumenthal was forced to admit that nothing the Republicans were doing was “illegal” or “illegitimate” under the Constitution.
But never mind that — the Republicans, he claimed, were violating the “unwritten rules.”
“Illegal it may be not under the Constitution,” the Connecticut senator stated. “Under the norms and traditions and unwritten rules of the Senate, it is illegitimate.”
Blitzer eventually forced Blumenthal to concede that, indeed, there’s nothing illegal or actually illegitimate about the Barrett nomination.
“What I hear you saying, Sen. Blumenthal, it may be inappropriate, it may be wrong — especially so close to an election — but you agree that there’s nothing illegal or totally illegitimate as to what they’re doing,” Blitzer said.
“It may not violate the letter of the Constitution,” Blumenthal admitted. “It violates the spirit of the Constitution.”
Singer-songwriter John Legend has repeatedly made it clear that he is not a fan of President Donald Trump.
In an interview with Cosmopolitan UK posted Friday, Legend revealed that he and his wife, model Chrissy Teigen, have considered leaving the country over embarrassment that Trump is president.
He went on to say that leaving the country is something more and more Americans might need to start thinking about should the president prove victorious on Nov. 3.
Legend’s spat with Trump has been going on for some time.
Most famously, the president ripped Legend as “boring” and Teigen as the artist’s “filthy mouthed wife” after the couple refused to give him credit for pushing for and signing criminal justice reform in September 2019 — despite the fact that the duo had praised it and other liberal black commentators and celebrities had noted Trump’s efforts.
In response to those comments, Legend told the Evening Standard that President Trump is “sad and petty and narcissistic and immature.”
The hard feelings, it appears, have not subsided.
In the Cosmo UK interview, Legend related that he and Teigen thought about leaving the country during the president’s first term and said Trump was “trying to destroy democracy.”
“Every once in a while you think about it. We were born and raised here, all of our families are here. It would be hard to leave,” he told the magazine. “But I don’t know what one’s supposed to do when you have a leader who is trying to destroy democracy.”
Legend added that if the country votes to re-elect Trump and he’s successful in his effort to take down America’s democracy, then it might be time for Americans to consider moving to another country.
“At some point, if that project [to destroy democracy] was to be in any way successful, you’d have to think about going somewhere that is a true democracy, that has respect for the rule of law and human rights,” he said. “If America chooses to be that place then people will have to start thinking about going somewhere else. It is truly disturbing and concerning.”
He wasn’t done there. He went on to claim that that somehow President Trump is responsible for the loss of life when it comes to COVID-19, so Americans should vote “like our lives depend on it” because we might not be a democracy after four more years with Trump in the White House.
“I think his handling of the [COVID-19] pandemic has been embarrassing to the entire nation and has caused so much loss of life, that was preventable,” he said. “We can’t bear another four years of this. As Michelle Obama said, we have to vote like our lives depend on it. I honestly think the American people will do it. I truly don’t know if we would be a democracy when we were done if we went another four years.”
This stunt by Legend is nothing new. Celebrities were all over themselves in 2016 threatening to leave if Trump was elected. The Hollywood Reporter dug up 20 stars who vowed four years ago to flee if Trump became president: