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Biden predicts the F.D.A. will give final approval to a Covid vaccine by the fall.

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President Biden told a town hall audience in Ohio on Wednesday evening that he expected the Food and Drug Administration would give final approval “quickly” for Covid-19 vaccines, as he pressed for skeptical Americans to get vaccinated and stop another surge of the pandemic.

Mr. Biden said he was not intervening in the decision of government scientists, but pointed toward a potential decision soon from the F.D.A. to give final approval for the vaccines, which are currently authorized for emergency use. Many medical professionals have pushed for the final approval, saying it could help increase uptake of the vaccines.

“My expectation talking to the group of scientists we put together, over 20 of them plus others in the field, is that sometime maybe in the beginning of the school year, at the end of August, beginning of September, October, they’ll get a final approval” for the vaccines at the F.D.A., Mr. Biden said.

The president also said he expected children under the age of 12, who are not currently eligible to receive the vaccine, would be approved to get it on an emergency basis “soon, I believe.”

The president’s comments at the town hall came as the spread of the Delta variant has led to a national rise in coronavirus cases. Over the past week, an average of roughly 41,300 cases has been reported each day across the country, an increase of 171 percent from two weeks ago. The number of new deaths reported is up by 42 percent, to an average of 249 deaths per day for the past week.

In some states, such as Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana and Florida, new infections have increased sharply, also driving an increase in hospitalizations. Cases are increasing more rapidly in states where vaccination rates are low.

In Ohio, where Mr. Biden traveled on Wednesday to talk up what he pitched as the good-paying union jobs that his infrastructure plan would create, the president found him fielding questions from audience members concerned about low vaccination rates in their communities.

“This is simple, basic proposition,” he said. “If you’re vaccinated, you’re not going to be hospitalized. You’re not going to be in an I.C.U. unit. And you are not going to die.”

Later, Mr. Biden exaggerated the efficacy of the vaccine, even as some vaccinated staffers in the West Wing have recently tested positive for the coronavirus. “You’re not going to get Covid if you have these vaccinations,” he said.

In response to a move by Speaker Nancy Pelosi earlier Wednesday to bar two of former President Donald J. Trump’s most vociferous Republican defenders in Congress from joining a select committee to investigate the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol, Mr. Biden was unequivocal about what happened that day.

“I don’t care if you think I’m Satan reincarnated, the fact is you can’t look at that television and say nothing happened on the 6th,” he said. “You can’t listen to people who say this was a peaceful march.”

But speaking in a red state that Mr. Trump won in the 2020 election, as he tries to build support for his infrastructure plans, Mr. Biden kept his criticism to some of the lawmakers elected to office, rather than Republican voters who got them there.

“I have faith in the American people, I do, to ultimately get to the right place,” he said. “Many times Republicans are in the right place.”

Jesus Jiménez contributed reporting.

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Matt Gaetz is poised to marry her sister, but Roxanne Luckey wants the world to know he’s ‘a creep’

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In some of the videos, Luckey even poses in front of The New York Times article that focuses on Gaetz’s investigation for alleged sex crimes, including trafficking a minor.

“When a creepy old man tries to hit on you at the bar, but your sister is engaged to a literal pedophile,” she said in the video’s onscreen text.

Luckey later apologized for using the term “pedophile” and instead switched to “ephebophile,” but her feelings for Gaetz are loud and clear.

According to Luckey, when she and her mother confronted Gaetz about his inappropriate behavior of attempting to set her up with an older man, “[h]e just immediately got so defensive and started yelling at me and my mom.”

“He called me a narcissist, just was a thousand percent gaslighting me—went full lawyer, ‘I don’t have to listen to you, I don’t have to answer your questions,'” she said. She added that while Gaetz never apologized, the friend later did and claimed that he only asked her out “to get Matt off my back.”

She added that her opinions of him go deeper than her own experiences. She claimed that during her time at the White House, Gaetz “had a reputation of prowling after college girls when he’s a grown man, and to me that’s just kind of weird.”

“There is so much more to the story and about what I know about Matt Gaetz,” she added. “It is definitely a serious situation,” Luckey noted that her opinion was partially based on hearsay from the “grapevine.”

Luckey explained the purpose of her sharing the stories in a video shared Monday: “While that little video I made was such a minuscule thing and I know does not properly bring to light the whole situation, if I can just bring some attention to it so people are aware of what is going on and people can be held accountable, that’s my goal.”

While the FBI and Department of Justice have not confirmed a probe into Gaetz, the congressman himself confirmed he was being investigated in April on allegations of trafficking a minor for sex. 

Lawyers familiar with the case shared that investigations are ongoing and whether or not the case will go to trial is still pending.

“The federal government doesn’t like to try out novel legal theories in court, especially against sitting members of Congress because it usually doesn’t work,” the lawyers told Politico. “Yes, there’s strict liability for someone who has sex with a 17-year-old even if she’s only a few months away from turning 18 and even if she becomes a hardcore porn star. But prosecuting a case like this would be highly unusual if there’s no hard evidence showing Gaetz has done this and the case rests on an admitted liar like Greenberg and the word of a hardcore porn star.”

Despite this and his former associate, ex-Seminole County tax collector Joel Greenberg, pleading guilty in May to six federal charges including soliciting a minor for sex, Gaetz has refused to resign. 

In response to the comments made by her sister, Ginger Luckey defended her fiancé and said that her “estranged sister is mentally unwell.”

“Matt and I are enjoying our engagement and are deeply in love. My estranged sister is mentally unwell,” Ginger Luckey told The Daily Beast. “She has been in therapy for years and our family hopes that after receiving in-patient mental health treatment, she will overcome the tendency she has repeatedly shown to engage in destructive behavior.”

Watch the video series for yourself below:


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26 million workers have gotten a raise thanks to the Fight for $15, this week in the war on workers

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The Fight for $15 kicked off in November 2012, with a relatively small—yet also historically large—group of New York City fast food workers making what seemed an audacious demand: $15 an hour minimum pay and a union. The latter goal hasn’t advanced much since then, but $15? That has become solidly mainstream, and has brought big wins. A new report from the National Employment Law Project quantifies just how big.

The federal minimum wage remains just $7.25 an hour, the same as it was not just in 2012 but in 2009. But between state and local minimum wage increases, and executive action raising the minimum wage for federal contract workers, NELP estimates that 26 million workers have gotten a raise. Nearly 12 million of those workers are Black, Latino, or Asian American. The added pay they’ve gotten amounts to $150 billion, with $76 billion going to Black, Latino, and Asian American workers.

Organizing works.


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Connect! Unite! Act! Let’s make plans for ‘Activism August’ in Washington, D.C., and across the U.S.

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MONDAY, AUGUST 2:  National Moral Monday rally in Washington, D.C.

This weekend in Texas, The Poor People’s Campaign finished their latest March for Democracy. Thousands of people participated in a 27-mile march from Georgetown to Austin, gathering in shifts of 125 to comply with recommended COVID-19 restrictions. You can find footage of speeches along the way by Bishop William Barber, former congressman and presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke, the Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis and many other national and regional voting rights activists.

This Monday, August 2, the Poor People’s Campaign will host a National Moral Monday rally at Union Station in Washington. This nonviolent moral direct action will be led by poor people, low-wage workers, progressive faith leaders and other inclusive justice activists. In celebration of the 56th anniversary of President Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965, speakers will enthusiastically make the case for ending the filibuster in order to pass the For The People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. This and other proposed federal legislation puts more political power in the hands of the people, increases election security, and protects the right to vote. Right now is the time to stand up for our future as a democracy!

The rally begins outside Union Station at 10:45 a.m. EDT, and will also be available via livestream. If you can attend Monday’s rally in person, sign up here. Event organizers can answer your questions and let you know if group travel options are available from your state.

FRIDAY, AUGUST 6:  USPS Board of Governors open session and public comments

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy caused massive disruption throughout the United States Postal Service during the 2020 election. Despite widespread frustration and anger about many of his actions in office, he is still Postmaster General because the USPS Board of Governors is the only entity with the authority to remove him from his position.

Louis DeJoy feels very secure in his job, for now

When President Joe Biden took office, Republicans held the majority of seats on the board, preventing DeJoy from being ousted. Since then, empty seats on the board have been filled by Biden to give Democrats the majority, but one Trump-appointed Democrat, Ron A. Bloom,  the board’s chair, supports DeJoy and is not likely to vote to fire him.

On Friday, August 6, the USPS Board of Governors will have an open session at the Postal Service Headquarters in Washington, and members of the public are allowed to observe.

Immediately after the open session there will be a one-hour public comment period—a rare opportunity to express dissatisfaction with DeJoy directly to the people who have the power to fire him. The meeting begins at 9:00 a.m. EDT at 475 L’Enfant Plaza, SW, on the 11th floor Benjamin Franklin Room. Use this form to request a three-minute speaking slot during the public comment period.

There is no easily accessible way to send comments to the USPS Board of Governors via email or fax, however, snail mail can be sent to Chairman Bloom or any other member of the Board using this address:

Mr. Ron A. Bloom
Office of the Board of Governors
United States Postal Service
475 L’Enfant Plaza, SW
Washington, DC 20260-1000

INDIVISIBLE is hosting many local actions during the August congressional recess

Indivisible is a grassroots political advocacy movement, with organizing presence in every single congressional district. No matter where you live, they can put you in touch with other activists in your area. During the August congressional recess, folks will be especially hard at work organizing local and regional demonstrations, town halls, and other visibility events all over the country. The long summer recess is a time when members of Congress are expected to spend time at their district offices, responding to constituent concerns. That makes August a perfect time to thank elected officials who are fighting the good fight, and confront elected officials who are on the wrong side of history.

Some events are already scheduled and can be found here. Right now there is doubt as to whether the recess will happen, or how long it will be, but once that has been decided, other Indivisible events will quickly follow and the list will fill up. In this critical year for the future of our country, members of Congress will be meeting with constituents and holding town halls, or they will be forced to explain to the press why they are not available and why they are hiding.

One voice can change a room. If there is no action planned near you, then YOU can plan an action. That could look like ou on a street corner with a handful of friends, or even all by yourself with one handmade sign; either might light a spark that encourages others in your community to step up and step out.

TOPSHOT - Swedish environment activist Greta Thunberg speaks at a climate protest outside the White House in Washington, DC on September 13, 2019. - Thunberg, 16, has spurred teenagers and students around the world to strike from school every Friday under the rallying cry "Fridays for future" to call on adults to act now to save the planet. (Photo by Nicholas Kamm / AFP)        (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images)
Remember, Greta Thunberg started out as one girl with a sign in 2018.

Remember how much coverage was given to the relatively small tea party events when they first started? Democrats can use the same tactics to draw attention to progressive issues such as voting rights, civil rights, climate change, and economic justice. Remember those big events in 2017 to save the Affordable Care Act? Members of Indivisible were the driving force behind a lot of those.

Indivisible has tools to help you plan a visibility event, spread the word, get local media coverage and make a real difference. If you are fired up and ready to go raise awareness for a specific justice issue, and no one else is drawing attention to it, maybe that is an opportunity for you to show—and learn—just what you can accomplish.

No matter what you do during Activism August, make sure to come to Daily Kos and write a story about it, so your experience can be applauded by this community and shared as an example of how we advance our political interests and goals.

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Our Connect! Unite! Act! team is here to provide support and guidance to new and existing volunteer leaders of each regional and state group, helping them with recruiting, organizing, and executing social and action events. We invite you to join in this effort to build our community. There are many ways to pitch in. If there isn’t a group to join near you, please start one.

What are you working on in your local area to move our progressive agenda along? Sound off in the comments, and inspire others!


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