Amazon, Jeff Bezos, aggressive competition, antitrust probe
The author writes, “Aggressive competition — including wresting market share from rivals — is often a hallmark of a successful business. It’s also why the tech-and-retail giant [Amazon] is the target of rivals, regulators and politicians who say its tactics are unfair for a company its size, and potentially illegal. ... Executives behind the scenes have methodically waged targeted campaigns against rivals and partners alike.” Photo credit: Scott Lewis / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Man Registered Dead Relatives to Vote ; COVID-19 and the Failure of Swedish Exceptionalism ; and More Picks 12/23

‘I’m Haunted by What I did’ as a Lawyer in the Trump Administration (Russ)

The author writes, “I was an attorney at the Justice Department when Donald Trump was elected president. I worked in the Office of Legal Counsel, which is where presidents turn for permission slips that say their executive orders and other contemplated actions are lawful. … I never harbored delusions about a Trump presidency. Mr. Trump readily volunteered that his agenda was to disassemble our democracy, but I made a choice to stay at the Justice Department — home to some of the country’s finest lawyers — for as long as I could bear it. I believed that I could better serve our country by pushing back from within than by keeping my hands clean. But I have come to reconsider that decision.”

Delaware County Man Registered Dead Relatives to Vote in Presidential Election (Reader Steve)

From the Philadelphia Inquirer: “In the weeks leading up to the presidential election, Elizabeth Bartman and Elizabeth Weihman registered to vote as Republicans in Nether Providence Township, Delaware County [PA], officials said Monday. There was one problem: Both women had been dead for several years. The man behind those applications, Bruce Bartman, now faces two felony counts of perjury, as well as one count of unlawful voting for successfully casting an absentee ballot for President Donald Trump in the name of Elizabeth Bartman, his long-dead mother.”

Iowa Democrat Asks House to Review 6-Vote Race, Cites Errors (DonkeyHotey)

The author writes, “Democrat Rita Hart asked the U.S. House on Tuesday to investigate and overturn the race that Iowa says she lost by six votes, arguing that 22 ballots were wrongly excluded and others weren’t examined during the recount. In a notice of contest, Hart argued that she would have netted 15 votes and defeated Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks had the 22 ballots been tallied in Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District.”

The US Child-Care Crisis Is Torturing Parents and the Economy (Dana)

The author writes, “From February to November, 2.2 million women left the labor force, compared with 1.8 million men. The gender divergence was especially visible in September, when more than half of U.S. children started the school year remotely. That month, 865,000 women disappeared from the workforce. Of course, men haven’t been immune to the Covid-19 recession, but they’re not hurting nearly as badly. … The pandemic has shined a harsh light on what has been a long-festering problem. The world’s largest economy notoriously lags other industrialized countries in investing in child care and early education: The U.S. spends less than 1% of gross domestic product, putting it ahead of only Turkey and Ireland among the member nations of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.” 

COVID-19 and the Failure of Swedish Exceptionalism (Dana)

From the Dispatch: “Since the early days of the pandemic, my home country of Sweden has distinguished itself for its contrarian approach. While Swedish leaders never established an official policy of quickly reaching herd immunity, there have been no lockdowns. Schools, restaurants, night clubs, and non-essential shops have all stayed open. Not only have there been no mandates regarding facemasks, health authorities have downplayed their efficacy. … While Sweden’s death numbers compare favorably to the U.S., they stand in stark negative contrast to our Scandinavian neighbors who introduced lockdown measures: Per capita, we have nearly five times as many deaths as Denmark, nine times as many as Finland, and more than ten times as many as Norway.”

2020 Has Been a Hectic Year for Magpie Attacks (Mili)

From Vice: “More than 4,600 people have been attacked by magpies in Australia this year to date. Nearly 70 percent of those were cyclists; five percent were runners; two percent were out walking the dog; and 0.2 percent were delivering the post. This is not uncommon: the onset of the Australian spring is always accompanied by the distinctive beating of magpie wings, as the territorial breeding birds swoop down on anyone within a stone’s throw of their nests. … But things seem to be particularly bad this year — and while most of the incidents recorded over the past 11 months (about 87 percent) have been harmless, at least 600 have resulted in some kind of injury.”

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