Monday News: Two thousand, eight hundred ninety


NC HOSPITALIZATIONS DUE TO COVID 19 ARE DOWN TO 830: At least 176,901 people in North Carolina have tested positive for the coronavirus and 2,890 have died, NC DHHS reported. The number of completed COVID-19 tests increased by 32,079 Sunday to 2,442,950. About 6% of the tests were positive as of Saturday, the latest date available. The number of those in the state hospitalized for COVID-19 decreased by one on Sunday to 830, according to DHHS. The last time the COVID-19 hospitalization numbers were so low was on June 16, when 829 people were hospitalized. Hospitalizations continued to increase thereafter and peaked at 1,236 on July 29.

NC AG CALLS FOR INVESTIGATION OF LOUIS DEJOY FOR USING "STRAW" DONORS: In a tweet today Attorney General Josh Stein said, "It is against the law to directly or indirectly reimburse someone for a political contribution. Any credible allegations of such actions merit investigation by the appropriate state and federal authorities." On Sunday, the Washington Post published a story alleging that US Postmaster Louis DeJoy had previously reimbursed private-sector employees for making political contributions. Karen Hobert Flynn, President of Common Cause, said, "It’s illegal for any person to reimburse another person for political contributions. Such 'straw donor' schemes demonstrate contempt for our nation's campaign finance laws, subverting contribution limits, donor intent and transparency laws, among others. By disguising the true source of campaign funding, straw donor schemes perpetrate a fraud on the voting public." Common Cause is exploring the possibility of filing legal complaints to hold DeJoy accountable for these alleged campaign finance violations.

NURSES AT ASHEVILLE'S MISSION HOSPITAL ARE VOTING TO UNIONIZE: Politicians, labor experts, and advocates say the votes of 1,600 nurses in Western North Carolina have broader significant political and financial implications. HCA Healthcare, which owns 178 hospitals across the country, including Mission, stands to lose millions if the union succeeds. National Nurses United, the largest nurses’ union in the United States, stands to gain hundreds of dues-paying members in what would be the NNU’s largest union at an HCA-affiliated facility. Pro- and anti-union advocates say a labor victory at Mission would open the door for more aggressive organizing efforts in North Carolina, one of the nation’s least unionized states. Even presidential candidates have commented on Mission nurses’ efforts. Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden issued a statement Aug. 25 congratulating nurses at the Asheville hospital for seeking to form a union. “I’m proud to stand by the Mission RNs in their collective bid for a better, safer, and more equitable workplace -- an impressive show of solidarity not just for themselves, but for the health of their entire community,” he said.

TRUMP HAS A LONG HISTORY OF DISPARAGING THOSE WHO SERVE IN THE MILITARY: The roots of Trump’s view of the military were formed at an early age, according to friends and family. Growing up in a mansion in Jamaica Estates in Queens, Trump heard the family criticize those who joined the military instead of going into business. Trump and his father, Fred Trump Sr., were especially harsh in criticizing the decision by Donald’s older brother, Fred Jr., to join the U.S. Air National Guard, according to Fred Jr.’s daughter, Mary L. Trump. By the time Trump graduated in 1964, some of his peers were volunteering for service in Vietnam, but Trump used a series of deferments to attend college. Upon graduation from the University of Pennsylvania in 1968, Trump faced the prospect of being subject to the draft lottery, which began in 1969. Trump then received a medical deferment for what his campaign called “bone spurs on both heels of his feet.” The daughters of the podiatrist who determined that Trump had bone spurs told the New York Times that the diagnosis was made as a favor to Trump’s father, Fred Sr., who was the doctor’s landlord. Shortly after that, Trump entered the draft lottery, in which he received a high number that ensured he wouldn’t be called to serve. Trump’s aversion to service reportedly filtered into his own family. In her book, Mary L. Trump wrote that when Trump’s son, Don Jr., said he might join the military, Trump and his then-wife Ivana, “told him if he did, they’d disown him in a second.”

MICHAEL COHEN TELL-ALL BOOK DESCRIBES TRUMP AS VIRULENTLY RACIST: President Trump routinely referred to Black leaders of foreign nations with racist insults. He had an abiding admiration for President Vladimir V. Putin’s willingness to treat Russia like a personal business. And he was consumed with hatred for President Barack Obama. “As a rule, Trump expressed low opinions of all Black folks, from music to culture and politics,” Mr. Cohen writes in the book, to be released Tuesday. He describes Mr. Trump calling Nelson Mandela, who led the emancipation of South Africa from white minority rule, “no leader.” “Tell me one country run by a Black person that isn’t a shithole,” Mr. Cohen quotes Mr. Trump as saying. He also alleges that Mr. Trump called Kwame Jackson, a Black contestant on his reality TV show “The Apprentice,” a homophobic slur, and that he had deep disgust with Black leaders in addition to celebrities and sports figures. Mr. Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018 to a handful of financial crimes and a campaign finance violation related to the payments to the former adult-film actress, Stephanie Clifford, who went by the stage name Stormy Daniels. Mr. Cohen is defiant about those actions in the book, maintaining that he is innocent of some of the crimes he pleaded guilty to and that he was a victim of “the conviction machine” of the U.S. government, which also threatened his wife. He writes in detail about how he was released from a minimum security prison in Otisville, N.Y., to serve the rest of his sentence at home, only to be thrown back in prison because he would not initially sign a document prohibiting him from publishing the book. A judge later ruled that the move by the government was retaliatory, and Mr. Cohen was released to home confinement for the remainder of his sentence.