Thursday, November 05, 2020

Biden leads as Trump lies

Democrat Joe Biden has edged narrowly ahead in a raft of key swing states, as the incumbent Donald Trump continues to baselessly claim the US presidency is being stolen from him in election counting. As forecast prior to the election, much of Biden’s support has come through mailed ballots counted after votes lodged in person on election day, seeing the Democrat candidate surpass Trump as results come in. Trump, whose Republican party campaign will formally challenge Biden’s leads in Wisconsin and Michigan, has tweeted allegations of mail-in voter fraud, which were quickly flagged by Twitter as election disinformation. The Associated Press has called Arizona for Biden, and he is also hanging on to a razor-thin margin in the neighbouring state of Nevada. Trump’s lead in Pennsylvania and Georgia is being whittled down as pre-poll ballots continue to be counted. Trump remains in front in North Carolina. Either candidate can still win, although analysts say Trump’s path to victory is narrowing. Whoever wins the presidency is unlikely to enjoy the support of both chambers of Congress, with the Democrats to retain the House and Republicans on track to retain the Senate.   

The United States has formally withdrawn from the Paris climate agreement, the first nation in the world to do so. Although Trump announced the move in 2017, UN regulations meant that the world’s second highest emitter of greenhouse gases only exits the agreement today. Biden has pledged to rejoin if he secures the presidency, which he can do with a 30-day notice period. He has also proposed a $5 trillion plan to combat climate change. If Trump wins, he is set to continue rollbacks to emissions regulations and the appointment of climate denialists in key government posts.  

Prime Minister Scott Morrison will today announce another two Covid-19 vaccine deals, this time for Novavax to supply 40 million doses and Pfizer-BioNTech for 10 million doses to Australia. The Pfizer-BioNTech is a messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) type vaccine and the Novovax vaccine is a protein-type vaccine. Access to the vaccines is subject to clinical trial outcomes on the safety and effectiveness of each candidate, and approval by the Therapeutic Goods Administration. Both are expected to arrive in early 2021. The agreement comes after earlier supplly agreements with University of Queensland-CSL and Oxford-AstraZeneca.

Queensland has come from behind to win the first State of Origin rugby league clash held at the Adelaide Oval, after New South Wales led the game 10-0 at half time. The Blues dominated the first half but could only manage two tries against the young Maroons team. Queensland rookies A.J. Brimson and Xavier Coates scored two tries in as many minutes to surge in front in the second half, then Cameron Munster sealed the result by kicking on a loose ball and chasing it through to make it 18-10. The Maroons then hung on to secure a famous 18-14 victory.

Election 2020: Trumpism is here to stay
The outcome of the US Presidential election still remains in doubt, with Donald Trump holding on to key states that delivered him victory in 2016. Today, Oscar Schwartz on what drove voters to each candidate, and what the results mean for a nation already exhausted by division.

“A government database comprising all Covid-19 cases among workers, exclusively obtained by The Saturday Paper, confirms workplaces were a key vector of transmission during the three-month lockdown, something the Andrews government has sought to address through a program of ‘surveillance testing’ announced in October. The program will require relevant employers to test 25 per cent of their workforce each week, with a goal of every worker being tested over a four-week period.”

“Washington wishes Beijing to see these ostentatious manifestations of American military force and accept the security order at the western end of the Pacific as this has been for the past seven decades. It wishes the rest of East Asia and the good people of Australia and New Zealand to be comforted: yes, the Yanks are still here. Do not miss the nostalgia in America’s ever-unaltered wishes. I have long taken nostalgia to be a form of depression, an inability or refusal to address things as they are. This is America’s fundamental affliction in the twenty-first century.”

“‘I can tell our stories. I can bear witness. But I have to be honest. Some days bearing witness doesn’t seem like enough.’ That’s novelist and editor Sophie Cunningham in the essay collection Living with the Anthropocene. Her unease highlights a dilemma haunting the entire book: Why write when the world’s ending – or, at least, changing in extraordinary ways? What can authors offer in the Anthropocene?”

“Senate powerbroker Jacqui Lambie is threatening to vote against all government legislation if it persists with a ‘toothless’ integrity commission. Senator Lambie has reaffirmed an earlier warning to tell the coalition ‘where to stick their bills’ unless they establish a powerful anti-corruption watchdog. ‘It had better get a hell of a lot better than what it is right now,’ she told ABC radio on Wednesday. Senator Lambie has previously demanded a federal integrity commission with more teeth than Jaws, describing the government's proposed model as a ‘lap dog with dentures’.”

“While Australians were distracted last week by Melbourne’s lockdown ending and the final days of the Queensland and United States elections, both major parties joined forces in federal parliament to weaken political donations laws. This will make it easier for federal politicians to accept secret donations from property developers.”

“The brushing aside of inconvenient facts has the potential to do much greater harm in Forrest’s approach to Indigenous advancement. Income management, which Forrest has been ardently recommending for years, has been tried several times in Australia’s recent policy history with disastrous results.”

“Self-proclaimed ‘emotional support Canadians’ are reaching out on social media to help Americans stressed by the U.S. election as the polls tighten. The offer appears to be have been started by Twitter user ‘Canadian Fletchy,’ who said if voters ‘have not yet received your Emotional Support Canadian, one will be assigned to you shortly’ … Twitter user Mark Piper said he was available to Americans, but that he ‘had a couple edibles’ and was drinking rye and water. ‘Just know I’m here for you,’ he said.”

Max Opray is Schwartz Media’s morning editor and a freelance writer.