The Monday Politics Thread Wants its 11,780 Votes

Paul Ryan excoriates planned GOP effort to challenge Biden’s Electoral College win as ‘anti-democratic and anti-conservative’

Former House Speaker Paul Ryan excoriated fellow Republicans Sunday in a rare statement that called planned GOP efforts to challenge President-elect Joe Biden’s win “anti-democratic and anti-conservative.” 

Ryan, a Republican from Wisconsin who served as House Speaker from 2015 to 2019, has seldom weighed in on events since leaving office, but issued a lengthy statement decrying Republican plans to object to certifying the Electoral College results in a joint session of Congress on Wednesday. Twelve incoming and sitting Republican senators and dozens of GOP House members plan to object to the count over President Donald Trump’s baseless claims of widespread voter fraud. 

“Efforts to reject the votes of the Electoral College and sow doubt about Joe Biden’s victory strike at the foundation of our republic,” Ryan said in a statement. “It is difficult to conceive of a more anti-democratic and anti-conservative act than a federal intervention to overturn the results of state-certified elections and disenfranchise millions of Americans. The fact that this effort will fail does not mean it will not do significant damage to American democracy.”

Ryan asked fellow conservatives to think about the “precedent that it would set” and noted the Trump campaign’s failed efforts in the court to challenge election results in a number of states. 

USA Today

I hope he doesn’t expect applause for actually going against the seditious bastards in his own party.

All 10 living former defense secretaries declare election is over in forceful public letter

All 10 living former US defense secretaries declared that the US presidential election is over in a forceful public letter published in The Washington Post on Sunday as President Donald Trump continues to deny his election loss to Joe Biden.The letter — signed by Dick Cheney, James Mattis, Mark Esper, Leon Panetta, Donald Rumsfeld, William Cohen, Chuck Hagel, Robert Gates, William Perry and Ashton Carter — amounts to a remarkable show of force against Trump’s subversion efforts just days before Congress is set to count Electoral College votes.”Our elections have occurred. Recounts and audits have been conducted. Appropriate challenges have been addressed by the courts. Governors have certified the results. And the electoral college has voted. The time for questioning the results has passed; the time for the formal counting of the electoral college votes, as prescribed in the Constitution and statute, has arrived,” the group wrote. Since Election Day, Trump has falsely claimed that a second term is being stolen, even as there have been no credible allegations of widespread voting issues as affirmed by dozens of judges, governors, and election officials, the Electoral College, the Justice Department, the Department of Homeland Security, and the US Supreme Court.Still, a wide swath of congressional Republicans are siding with the President and plan to object to Biden’s win during Electoral College counting on Wednesday — even though their efforts will only delay the inevitable affirmation of Biden’s win.


Americans have been escaping to Mexico to avoid COVID-19 restrictions back home. Now, Mexico is seeing a surge in coronavirus cases.

In a bid to avoid COVID-19 restrictions back home, a considerable number of Americans have traveled to Mexico for a vacation or — in some instances — to settle down there.

“A lot of people are either coming down here and visiting to test it out or have just full-on relocated,” a former New Yorker who has lived in Mexico City for two years told The New York Times.

According to The Times, the number of US visitors entering Mexico doubled between June and August 2020, and in November, more than half a million American traveled to Mexico.

While the American arrivals have been a boon to the Mexican tourism industry, there have been consequences.

There is currently a surge in coronavirus across the country, with authorities recording new peaks in November and December.

Business Insider

Squatters issue death threats to archaeologist who discovered oldest city in the Americas

Illegal squatters have invaded the ruins of the oldest city in the Americas, and made death threats against Ruth Shady, the celebrated Peruvian archaeologist who discovered the 5,000 year-old civilization.

The threats came via telephone calls and messages to various workers at the archeological site at the height of Peru’s Covid-19 pandemic. They followed reports to the police and prosecutors about the invasions of the ancient ruins of Caral.

“They called the site’s lawyer and said if he continued to protect me they would kill him, along with me, and bury us five metres below the ground,” said Shady, 73.

“Then they killed our dog as a warning. They poisoned her, as if to say, look at what will happen to you,” she said.

It is not the first time Shady has been threatened or attacked. In 2003, she was shot in the chest during an assault on the 626-hectare (1,546-acre) archaeological complex which was declared a Unesco world heritage site in 2009.

After nine invasions of the sacred city during the pandemic period, Shady and her team repeatedly asked the authorities to intervene.

“There is a feeling that there is no authority dedicated to the protection and defence of our heritage. It’s a huge worry,” she said.

The Guardian

Paralyzed by Covid-19, Israel bids to be first country to vaccinate its way to safety

Israel is bidding to be the first nation to emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic by vaccinating the majority of its population in an attempt to return to normality.

The country is currently leading the worldwide inoculation charge: It has administered a vaccination dose to more than 10 percent of its 9 million citizens in two weeks.

That represents a significantly higher proportion than any other nation, according to Our World in Data, a collaboration between researchers at the University of Oxford and the nonprofit Global Change Data Lab.

Israel vaccinated more than 150,000 people on three consecutive days last week, and on Friday, the millionth person was injected with a Pfizer-BioNTech dose. The country has now vaccinated over half of the 2 million at-risk people it considers a high protection priority.

NBC News

Palestinians excluded from Israeli Covid vaccine rollout as jabs go to settlers

Israel is celebrating an impressive, record-setting vaccination drive, having given initial jabs of coronavirus shots to more than a 10th of the population. But Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza can only watch and wait.

As the world ramps up what is already on track to become a highly unequal vaccination push – with people in richer nations first to be inoculated – the situation in Israel and the Palestinian territories provides a stark example of the divide.

Israel transports batches of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine deep inside the West Bank. But they are only distributed to Jewish settlers, and not the roughly 2.7 million Palestinians living around them who may have to wait for weeks or months.

“I don’t know how, but there must be a way to make us a priority, too?” said Mahmoud Kilani, a 31-year-old sports coach from the Palestinian city of Nablus. “Who cares about us? I don’t think anybody is stuck on that question.”

Two weeks into its vaccination campaign, Israel is administering more than 150,000 doses a day, amounting to initial jabs for more than 1 million of its 9 million citizens – a higher proportion of the population than anywhere else.

Vaccine centres have been set up in sports stadiums and central squares. People over 60, healthcare workers, carers and high-risk populations have priority, while young, healthier people who walk into clinics are sometimes rewarded with surplus stock to avoid the waste of unused vials.

The prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has told Israelis that the country could be the first to emerge from the pandemic. As well as a highly advanced healthcare system, part of the reason for the speed could be economics. A health ministry official said the country had paid $62 a dose, compared with the $19.50 the US is paying.

Meanwhile, the cash-strapped Palestinian Authority, which maintains limited self-rule in the territories, is rushing to get vaccines. One official suggested, perhaps optimistically, that shots could arrive within the next two weeks.

The Guardian

Dolal Idd the First Person Killed By Minneapolis Police Since George Floyd, City Releases Body Cam Footage of Shooting

Before the close of last year, Minneapolis police recorded the fatal police shooting of a Black man named Dolal Idd. Idd was the first person killed by cops in the city since George Floyd in May of 2020.

Idd, a 23-year-old Somali-American according to MPR News, was shot and killed by officers from the Minneapolis Police Department during an altercation on December 30.

Officers were conducting a “probable cause” weapons investigation when they stopped Idd’s car, MPD Chief Medaria Arradondo said at a press conference this week about the incident.

Protestors had begun gathering at the scene of the killing in the hours after it took place, after which the city publicly released body camera footage of the incident in the interest of truth, honesty, and “rapid transparency,” according to Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey.

The Root

Report shows that LGBTQ voters and allies key to Biden’s victory

Findings from a Human Rights Campaign (HRC) report published Dec. 22 show LGBTQ people and equality voters in swing states overwhelmingly supported President-Elect Joe Biden at the polls.

HRC and Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, a Democratic polling firm, conducted a survey of 1,400 voters from across the US — with an oversample of voters from Sun Belt states of Florida, Texas, Arizona, and Georgia. The results reveal that the LGBTQ community and equality voters — people who value LGBTQ issues at the polls — played a significant role in Biden’s victory, helping him secure 81 million votes.