Comments

  1. says

    Thanks, PZ, for giving the Political Madness thread a new lease on life, (this long-running thread periodically exceeds the time limit allowed by FreeThought Blogs and has to be manually resuscitated by PZ.)

    For the convenience of readers, here are a few links back to the previous chapter of this thread.

    From blf, comment 161, “A hilarious snippet from the Grauniad’s Covid-19 superspreaders losers & suckers current live blog “
    https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2020/06/27/discuss-political-madness-all-the-time-15/comment-page-9/#comment-2061814

    Comment 160, “‘I can be silent no longer’: former intel official denounces Trump”
    https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2020/06/27/discuss-political-madness-all-the-time-15/comment-page-9/#comment-2061811

    Comment 156: “Another defeat in the courts for Trump: “Trump admin again loses on census, ordered by court to continue count through end of October.”
    https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2020/06/27/discuss-political-madness-all-the-time-15/comment-page-9/#comment-2061800

    Comment 152: “Report: Pentagon Brass Privately Discussing What To Do If Trump Invokes Insurrection Act”
    https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2020/06/27/discuss-political-madness-all-the-time-15/comment-page-9/#comment-2061795

  2. says

    Update on COVID-19 in the USA:

    New daily confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S.
    7,004,670 total cases

    The United States has surpassed 200,000 coronavirus deaths, meaning the pandemic has claimed nearly twice as many American lives as those lost in every U.S-involved conflict since World War II combined. And the toughest roads could be ahead.

    Parts of the nation may be witnessing the first days of an autumn surge, as the seven-day average for new coronavirus cases has been steadily rising above 34,000 since September 13. Tallies are high and rising in 15 states—mainly in the Midwest, where the virus is spreading uncontrollably. Nationwide, deaths are still hovering around 900 to 1,000 per day.

    […] And as autumn approaches and people move indoors, where the virus is more likely to spread, concerns are rising of a resurgence in the U.S. akin to what is already occurring in some parts of Europe. These worries are buttressed by a continuous flow of micro-surges at grade schools and colleges. colleges. The New York Times has identified 88,000 coronavirus cases at nearly 1,200 colleges across the U.S. […]

    National Geographic link

  3. says

    Another court ruling that went against Trump:

    A federal judge has stopped the 2020 census from finishing at the end of September and ordered the once-a-decade head count of every U.S. resident to continue for another month through the end of October, saying a shortened schedule likely would produce inaccurate results. […]

    NBC News link

  4. says

    Yet another anti-immigrant move by the Trump administration:

    The Trump administration is proposing a new rule to limit student visas to two years for citizens of 59 countries, potentially complicating the path to an American college degree for tens of thousands of foreign students […]

    Link

    More details at the link.

  5. says

    Trump Intends To Nominate Amy Coney Barrett To Supreme Court

    […] CNN and CBS News reported Friday evening that Trump will tap Barrett for the high court. The President is expected to make a formal announcement Saturday afternoon at the White House, and the Republican-controlled Senate is expected to move swiftly on Trump’s nomination. If confirmed, Trump will have successfully placed three judges on the Supreme Court, likely cementing a conservative majority for decades to come.

    Barrett had appeared to be the frontrunner all week, after she met with Trump at the White House on Monday. McConnell also reportedly favored Barrett, who currently serves on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. Trump nominated Barrett, 48, to that post in 2017. She was also previously on Trump’s list of potential Supreme Court nominees.

    Barrett’s confirmation could have major implications for Americans’ health care. The Supreme Court is expected to hear a case challenging the Affordable Care Act just a week after Election Day.

    From comments posted by readers of the article:

    Horrible. Welcome to the “Handmaids Tale”.
    ——————–
    I find Religious loons much more dangerous than drunks. Explainer: Amy Coney Barrett’s relationship with People of Praise, “Some of their practices appear to have more in common with Pentecostal communities than with traditional Catholicism, such as speaking in tongues, healing services and prophecy.”
    ———————-
    there are a host of Civil Rights this candidate is on record opposing and deserve scrutiny, challenges.

    Adoption by same-sex parents
    Marriage equality
    LGBTQ rights
    Equal employment / Workplace protection
    —————–
    Worst possible person. Every . Time.
    ——————–
    I am not expecting there to be a hearing. So nobody will question this nutty extremist.

  6. says

    New Trump ‘Plan’ Equates KKK And ‘Antifa’

    What do the Ku Klux Klan and “antifa” have in common?

    “Nothing,” you might think. One group has terrorized Black Americans for generations and the other is not really a group at all, just a term for “anti-fascist.” […]

    Both will be officially designated “terrorist organizations,” according to a Republican Party press release on President Donald Trump’s “Platinum Plan for Black Americans.”

    What does designating antifa a terrorist organization have to do with the Black community? It’s difficult to say. But the press release, which previewed a speech Trump delivered in Atlanta on Friday, outlined a six-point plan to help African-Americans, including “Designating the KKK and ANTIFA as terrorist organizations.”

    Trump has said he’ll designate antifa a terrorist group before, earlier this year. But the United States only really has a list of foreign terrorist organizations, not domestic ones. And besides, antifa is not really an “organization” so much as many local, loose-knit groups subscribing to a particular ideology. […]

    The rest of the Platinum Plan includes a list of action items without any explanation of how Trump will achieve them. The plan underlined Trump’s attempts to win over more Black voters than he did in 2016, when he performed in single digits among African American voters. […]

  7. says

    Trump’s big health care plan is just a taxpayer-funded bribe to senior voters.

    The “health care plan” unveiled Thursday at a Trump rally billed as a presidential address is actually worth even less than the paper he signed to “enact” it. Nothing Trump puts forward in the orders has the force of law. You can’t hand your insurance company an executive order to make them cover your kid’s asthma. The administration knows all that, and admits as much, in the order itself. This is about Trump having a lot of fanfare in saying he’s doing something about preexisting conditions and drug prices, while in actuality he’s making it all much worse. Given that the administration knows this, what was all the hoopla about? The bribe he announced for seniors.

    Out of nowhere, Trump announced that every senior on Medicare was going to be getting a $200 card, a “Trump Card” to use to pay their part of prescription drug co-pays. This all started with an idea by chief of staff Mark Meadows during drug pricing negotiations with the industry. The talks fell apart when Meadows insisted that the drug makers fund a scheme consisting of $100 cash cards to Medicare enrollees to be mailed out before the election. With that failure, the Trump team decided to go bigger—$200 and make taxpayers fund it by stealing from Medicare […] The Wall Street Journal reports that the money—$6.6 billion—will come from savings from a Medicare waiver program that is definitely not intended to fund a program like this, and offset by a drug-pricing program that doesn’t exist yet. So, yes, it’s taxpayer funding for Trump’s bribes as of now.

    […] it’s a brazen political bribe to voters, and not a single Republican lawmaker is making a peep.

    […] Sen. Ron Wyden, a Democrat from Oregon who is the ranking member on the Senate Finance Committee, calls it a “taxpayer-funded bribe.” Which it is, because the money the administration says it will use to offset the funds it’s raiding from Medicare will be replenished by a program that doesn’t even exist yet. It is supposed to come from a “most favored nations” drug pricing proposal, which has not been implemented and might never be. Trump has signed an order directing it, but the regulations haven’t been written and the pharmaceutical industry is threatening legal action if the administration tries to enforce it.

    […] this is what they’ve got: bribes to seniors with cash cards that might cover a month’s worth of prescriptions.

    Link

  8. says

    Yikes. Trouble is brewing in Portland.

    Proud Boys plan to invade Portland this weekend amid vows of revenge.

    The radical right’s long-festering strategy of organizing gangs of armed street brawlers from out of town to invade urban liberal centers with the intent of provoking violence may reach its nadir this weekend when Proud Boys and their far-right “Patriot” cohorts gather in Portland. They are expected to draw hundreds of participants—and likely thousands of counterprotesters, though they will be gathering at separate venues miles apart.

    The Saturday rally, again under the rubric of a popular right-wing talking point (organizers say the theme is “End Domestic Terrorism”) has become the focus of concern from government officials and civic leaders in Oregon. Gov. Kate Brown on Friday declared an emergency in Portland over the weekend: “The First Amendment does not give anyone license to hurt or kill someone because of opposing political views,” Brown said. “And when free expression is fueled by hate and coupled with an intent to incite violence, then I need to do everything I can as governor to ensure the safety of Oregonians.” […]

    Link

    More details at the link.

  9. blf says

    GOP House Judiciary Members Call QAnon Supporter to Testify on Diversity in Media:

    Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee, led by ranking member Rep Jim Jordan of Ohio, are scheduled to host recording artist and QAnon supporter Joy Villa for Thursday’s hearing on diversity in media.

    […]

    Villa has used posted about QAnon on social media and appeared at the 2020 Conservative Political Action Conference wearing QAnon-styled earrings. Last year, Villa was scheduled to speak at a QAnon conference alongside leading proponents of the conspiracy theory.

    […]

    No other details (not presumably already known to readers of this series of threads) per se.

    From Ye Pffft! of All Knowledge:

    In 2019, during a debate against a Black Lives Matter activist, Joy Villa referred to Black Lives Matter as a terrorist organization. She also claimed that the movement does not address Black-on-Black crime and that most people who have been killed by the police are criminals.

  10. blf says

    The Onion:

    ● Reporter Presses Biden On Lack Of Own Plan To Trigger Widespread Violence (quoted in full):

    Questioning the former vice president’s preparedness for the nation’s highest office, CNN reporter Jim Acosta pressed presidential candidate Joe Biden Friday on his lack of a plan to trigger widespread violence across the US “Sir, we are weeks away from the election and yet you still haven’t offered your own comprehensive policies to ensure that Americans continue to be killed and brutalized in the streets,” said Acosta, urging the Democratic nominee to highlight the concrete steps he would take as president to provoke bloodshed on a massive scale. “What message does it send to voters when you criticize President Trump’s actions without offering a contrasting vision for terrorizing vulnerable citizens to the point that fear of bodily harm becomes a fact of daily life?” Acosta went on to critique Biden for never publicly disavowing the hordes of immigrants illegally casting ballots for him.

    ● Fox News Slams Democrats For Repeatedly Attempting To Undermine Confidence In Autocratic System:

    Declaring that the party’s rhetoric around the upcoming election was way out of line, Fox News pundits slammed Democrats Friday for repeatedly attempting to undermine confidence in the nation’s autocratic system. “Anyone questioning what President Trump will do on election night or afterwards is participating in a very dangerous effort to get Americans to mistrust the basic tenets of this country’s autocracy,” said Sean Hannity on his broadcast, sharply criticizing Senate majority leader[] Chuck Schumer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and other Democratic leaders for inferring that their party would attempt to subvert bedrocks of American autocracy like the supreme executive leader and the peaceful consolidation of power. […] .” At press time, the Democrats responded that they refused to let Trump and the Republicans try to ruin the future of the nation’s plutocracy.

      † Senator Schumer is the Senate minority leader. I’m unsure if calling him the “majority leader” is an error by the Onion, or a sly dig at the uselessness of the dummies (in the Senate).

    ● New Patriotic 1776 Commission Struggling To Find Ways To Improve Upon Education System’s Existing Propaganda:

    Frantically scouring textbooks to find sections in need of revision, members of President Donald Trump’s new patriotic 1776 Commission struggled Wednesday to find ways to improve upon the education system’s existing propaganda. “We cut out every mention of Native Americans, but I’m not sure how else we could improve the misleading information,” said Princeton historian Sean Wilentz, detailing the commission’s incremental changes to curricula, such as omitting the fact that John Adams, Samuel Adams, and Thomas Paine were the only Founding Fathers who didn’t own slaves. […] At press time, the 1776 Commission was editing a section on Abraham Lincoln to clarify that “he had a gun on him” at the time of his assassination.

  11. blf says

    From the Grauniad’s lying losers & bone spur suckers current live blog:

    […]
    James D Herbert, a current assistant US attorney for the district of Massachusetts, has written a letter to the editor publicly criticizing Trump’s attorney general, Bill Barr:

    While I am a federal prosecutor, I am writing to express my own views, clearly not those of the department, on a matter that should concern all citizens: the unprecedented politicization of the office of the attorney general. The attorney general acts as though his job is to serve only the political interests of Donald J Trump. This is a dangerous abuse of power.

    The letter appeared in the Boston Globe yesterday, but a reporter for ABC News has now confirmed it is authentic and that Herbert currently remains employed at the US attorney’s office:

    Sources familiar confirm to @ABC the authenticity of this letter from current AUSA James Herbert publicly speaking out against AG Barr. “The current attorney general has brought shame on the department he purports to lead.”

  12. blf says

    But of course, US landlords sue over COVID-19 eviction ban as tenants struggle:

    […]
    As millions of people in the United States struggle to pay their rent during the coronavirus pandemic, landlords are going to courts, claiming that the national eviction moratorium unfairly strains their finances and violates their property rights.

    At least 26 such lawsuits have been filed by property owners this year, including several federal challenges of US President Donald Trump’s directive, delivered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), that broadly prevents evictions through the end of 2020.

    In Memphis, Tennessee, seven landlords who together manage or own more than 5,000 rental units filed lawsuits this month, accusing Trump and other federal officials of unconstitutionally violating their due process protections and wrongly pre-empting state laws. The National Apartment Association joined a separate federal lawsuit this month in Georgia against the CDC. Another legal battle has been initiated in Ohio.

    All plaintiffs have tenants in units who are delinquent in the payment of rent and who would be otherwise lawfully evicted from the units … but for the halt order, the complaint in Memphis says. These landlords are required by law to spend money on repairs and upkeep of the rental homes, but are not getting federal help under the ban, it says.

    Housing advocates worry that overturning these bans could cause homelessness to spike, forcing people to crowd into indoor spaces and shelters and worsening the spread of infection.

    The CDC’s directive, which took effect on September 4, is based on the agency’s broad powers to protect public health. The agency put it in the context of other historic, unprecedented and exceedingly rare government responses to the pandemic, and said stopping evictions is an effective way of preventing the spread of the coronavirus.

    [… H]ousing advocates have offered only tepid support of the moratorium, warning that without more federal help for people who are unemployed and behind on their rent in the pandemic, it only delays a pending eviction wave.

    […]

    All but one of the seven landlords in the Memphis case are limited liability companies, which are typically designed to shield their true owners from responsibility for debts or liabilities. One is registered in Tennessee but based in California. Two others are based in Utah and New Jersey.

    Before civil court proceedings were suspended due to the pandemic, about one in five Memphis renters had an eviction notice filed against them between 2016 and 2019, according to housing researcher Austin Harrison. In some neighbourhoods, the rate was as high as one in three.

    Landlords have filed at least 23 legal challenges against eviction moratoriums around the country in state and local courts, none successful thus far, said Edmund Witter, senior managing attorney at the Housing Justice Project of the Seattle-based King County Bar Association.

    It is telling, Witter said, that in the 13 cases where judges have been asked to weigh in on the merits, all declined to temporarily stop eviction bans while the lawsuits are pending.

    Most recently, the libertarian [figures… loonytarians! –blf] Pacific Legal Foundation sought to resume evictions in Washington state and the city of Seattle, where the governor’s eight-month moratorium is set to expire on October 15. The foundation’s lawyers said landlords need quick relief because it is unclear how long an eviction ban will remain in place otherwise.

    […]

    As the article points out, evicting people who won’t necessarily have anyplace to go is a tailor-made recipe for crowding in shelters and increasing Covid-19 infections.

  13. says

    Hospitals in Idaho say that they are on the “razors edge” of not being able to cope with the increase in COVID-19 patients; and with patients who are seriously ill with other diseases. They also don’t have enough PPE.

    Link

    The chief medical officers of both Portneuf Medical Center and Bingham Memorial Hospital recently warned public health officials that their facilities are on the “razor’s edge” of being overwhelmed by COVID-19.

    Dr. Daniel Snell of PMC and Dr. Ken Newhouse of Bingham Memorial said they’ve seen a jump in beds occupied by COVID-19 patients in recent weeks, and they fear what will happen if another jump occurs in the near future. Complicating matters, both facilities are now being inundated with patients who have been forced by the pandemic to put off treatments for unrelated health ailments, which have consequently become more serious.

    The doctors told the Southeastern Idaho Public Health Board of Directors during a recent meeting that they’re now using COVID-19 tests and personal protective equipment at an unsustainable rate.

    “We are on a razor’s edge where with exponential growth and with continued people doing things in the community we could have a sudden uptick that could happen very, very quickly,” Newhouse said. “We could go into overload mode pretty quickly here.”

    […] Newhouse said Bingham’s daily census has hovered near 25 patients throughout the past six weeks, which is about the maximum number of patients that the staff can accommodate.

    “It’s not just COVID patients. It’s trauma patients and other things,” Newhouse said. “Because our communities have been shut down, a lot of people have been letting other health care issues go like heart disease and diabetes and things like that. We are now seeing the ravages of that in our hospital.”

    Newhouse said Bingham has set up three negative pressure rooms for treating coronavirus, in which the air is sucked inward to prevent COVID-19 from becoming airborne. All three rooms have been filled continually throughout the past week and a half. Bingham could set up more negative pressure rooms in a pinch, but that would be an emergency protocol, Newhouse said.

    Furthermore, he said Bingham must administer about 120 COVID-19 tests per week to people entering its skilled nursing facility, and the hospital has started burning through tests faster than the supply is being replenished. He explained if the hospital runs out of tests, it would have to assume that any incoming acutely ill patient is positive for the virus and house that patient in one of the few available negative pressure rooms.

    “As we head into flu season we could see other things that could swamp the system,” Newhouse said. […]

    school started and we saw a significant jump […]

    More details at the link.

    No, less densely populated states do not escape the coronavirus epidemic.

    Why did all the schools reopen? Why is Idaho no longer in lockdown mode?

  14. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Just saw a segment on Rachel Maddow where in large cities, a large number of young people were volunteering to be election judges instead of old farts like myself who are worried about Covid. Which would allow the cities to keep more polling places open during the election. Link if available in the morning.

  15. tomh says

    WaPo:
    Kentucky’s only Black female legislator arrested on felony rioting charge at Breonna Taylor protest
    By Jaclyn Peiser September 25, 2020

    As the only Black female representative in the Kentucky Capitol, state Rep. Attica Scott (D) took action after the death of Breonna Taylor, who was fatally shot by police raiding her home in March. In August, Scott proposed Breonna’s Law, a bill that would end no-knock warrants statewide. And when a grand jury decided not to indict the officers in Taylor’s death, Scott joined hundreds of protesters in the streets of Louisville.

    On Thursday night, Louisville police arrested Scott along with a handful of other protesters near First Unitarian Church and the Louisville Free Public Library, which had allegedly been set on fire, according to a police report reviewed by WAVE. The state representative received a felony charge of first-degree rioting and two misdemeanors for failure to disperse and unlawful assembly, the Louisville Courier-Journal reported. The paper reported Scott was released from jail Friday morning.

    Louisville police arrested at least 24 people Thursday night, the department said in a Facebook post. In a news conference on Thursday, interim police chief Robert Schroeder said authorities arrested 127 people on Wednesday night.
    […]

    Scott has been among the loudest political voices in Kentucky calling for police accountability. In an interview with NPR this week, she said that justice “is hardly ever served when it’s police officers murdering Black people.”

    “Our call to action is to continue to make sure that the city of Louisville understands that we will not go away, that we will continue to demand the defunding of police and the dismantling of this police department because it’s corrupt from the inside out, from the bottom to the top,” Scott added. “And it cannot continue to function in the way that it does.”
    […]

  16. tomh says

    Where Amy Coney Barrett stands on the biggest issues
    Sam Baker

    Judge Amy Coney Barrett — expected to be named by President Trump today to succeed Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg — would give conservatives a 6-3 majority on the Supreme Court, and an edge on issues from abortion to the limits of presidential power.

    The big picture: Republicans love the federal appeals court judge’s age — she is only 48 — and her record as a steadfast social conservative.

    Where she stands: In her academic writings, public appearances and decisions as a judge on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals (based in Chicago; she lives in Indiana), Barrett has staked out conservative positions on a host of huge issues:

    Health care: She wrote in 2017 that Chief Justice John Roberts betrayed the tenets of conservative legal analysis when he upheld the Affordable Care Act. The law will be back before the court in November.
    Guns: She said in a dissenting opinion in 2019 that she would have struck down the federal law that bars all felons, including non-violent felons, from owning guns.
    Immigration: In another dissenting opinion, Barrett voted to let the Trump administration implement rules making it harder for immigrants to get green cards if they’re likely to rely on public programs like Medicaid or food stamps.
    Abortion rights are a massive issue in any Supreme Court confirmation. While Barrett has not ruled directly on abortion, abortion-rights opponents have plenty of good reasons to believe she’s on their side:

    She said all the things nominees always say about honoring precedent during her 7th Circuit confirmation hearings in 2017, and will surely do so again in her Supreme Court confirmation.
    Barrett, a devout Catholic, has signed public letters describing the “value of human life from conception to natural death” and sharply criticizing the way the Obama administration handled the ACA’s contraception mandate.
    She cast procedural votes on the 7th Circuit that suggested she might have upheld abortion laws that court ultimately struck down.
    The bottom line: Barrett’s confirmation will quickly and aggressively move the court to the right.

  17. raven says

    Lynna:

    Hospitals in Idaho say that they are on the “razors edge” of not being able to cope with the increase in COVID-19 patients; and with patients who are seriously ill with other diseases. They also don’t have enough PPE.

    It’s about time for that new feature of our American life thanks to Trump and the GOP.
    The refrigerated truck.
    To hold all the dead bodies when they are dying faster than they can be processed.

    This is happening everywhere now including California and Oregon. Part of it probably has to do with the massive wild fires which forced a lot of evacuations and changed a lot of people’s routines.

    California virus hospitalizations could surge in next month
    Sep. 25, 2020 SFGate

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California has begun to see concerning upticks in coronavirus data after a sustained period of decline, the state’s top health official said Friday, urging people to renew efforts to prevent spread.

    The increases include the rate of cases per capita, hospital emergency department visits for COVID-19 and new hospitalizations for confirmed or suspected cases, California Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr. Mark Ghaly said.

  18. raven says

    The Judicial Apocalypse is here.
    No matter how horrible you think Amy Coney Barrett is, you are going to be wrong.
    She is going to be worse than you can imagine.
    In her rulings from the 7th Circuit Court, she always takes the side of the powerful against the powerless.

    slate.com

    By contrast, Barrett’s view of the law is fundamentally cruel.
    During her three years on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, Barrett has either written or joined a remarkable number of opinions that harm […] powerless individuals who rely on the judiciary to safeguard their rights.

    Faced with two plausible readings of a law, fact, or precedent, Barrett always seems to choose the harsher, stingier interpretation. Can job applicants sue employers whose policies have a disproportionately deleterious impact on older people? Barrett said no. Should courts halt the deportation of an immigrant who faced torture at home? Barrett said no. Should they protect refugees denied asylum on the basis of xenophobic prejudice? Barrett said no. Should they shield prisoners from unjustified violence by correctional officers? Barrett said no. Should minors be allowed to terminate a pregnancy without telling their parents if a judge has found that they’re mature enough to make the decision? Barrett said no. Should women be permitted to obtain an abortion upon discovering a severe fetal abnormality? Barrett said no.

  19. says

    A short twitter thread:

    On 11/9/2016 a young woman I considered a friend, told me she had voted for Jill Stein, because “she couldn’t vote for the lesser of two evils”. I hung up the phone and blocked her number. I just saw her crying on social media over Trump’s latest SCOTUS pick. 1/

  20. says

    Trump spoke about the pandemic again: He said, “The only thing” his administration has done poorly Is public relations.

    […] Trump on Friday patted himself on the back for his administration’s bungled effort at curbing the coronavirus which has now killed more than 204,000 people in the United States.

    “I’d give us an A to an A+,” the President said at a campaign rally in Newport News, Virginia, maintaining that when the first coronavirus cases appeared in the United States his administration “launched the largest national mobilization since WWII.”

    “You look at the ventilators — you look at all we’ve done.” Trump said.

    The President has repeatedly touted ventilators when he speaks about how he’s handled the pandemic. A recent ProPublica report prompted congressional investigation that in August found “evidence of fraud, waste and abuse” in the government’s acquisition of Philips ventilators.

    Trump insisted on Friday that the White House has worked hard to support governors in securing the equipment they need. [Opposite of true.]

    […] Last month, during the Republican National Convention, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow, described the COVID-19 pandemic in the past tense.

    Earlier this month, Trump suggested that the nation had “rounded the final turn” of the health crisis. Meanwhile, top health experts like the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases director, Dr. Anthony Fauci have countered those claims, warning in recent weeks, that COVID-19 data was “disturbing” and that Americans needed to “hunker down” in the colder months amid new cases that were plateauing at an unsatisfactorily high rate.

    […] On Wednesday, […] Trump intensified pressure to politicize the vaccine by suggesting that he wouldn’t approve stricter FDA guidelines for a coronavirus vaccine

    “That has to be approved by the White House,” Trump said of the FDA standards […]

    The following day, Trump offered a vague and unsupported theory suggesting that unnamed officials were conspiring to slow the development of a COVID-19 vaccine, with the explicit intention of hurting his reelection bid.

    “The only thing we did badly on was public relations, because we were working so hard,” Trump insisted on Friday to a tightly packed crowd — a majority in attendance did not wear masks.

    […]A former top aide to Vice President Mike Pence, Olivia Troye, who was involved in the White House’s task force on the coronavirus before leaving the administration in August, told NBC News earlier this week that the President was frequently more concerned about his “public image” than he was with protecting Americans.

    “He was really focused on public image, messaging,” Troye said, adding that for Trump, it was more about his “personal agenda” than the agenda identified by the task force which was “how are we going to save and protect Americans.”

    Link

  21. says

    Food insecurity and housing struggles are rampant as COVID-19 continues to devastate the economy

    Tens of millions of people are going hungry in the United States as Senate Republicans refuse to pass a new coronavirus stimulus bill. According to new data from the Census Bureau, 23 million adults live in households that had sometimes or often had “not enough to eat” over the previous seven days—a huge increase over 2019. And though adults in most families will go without food before letting their children go hungry, 9% to 14% of adults with children said those children sometimes or often didn’t have enough to eat.

    Another survey, from NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, found that one in six households is delaying payment on or missing major bills to buy food. Nearly half of people told the pollster that they were experiencing “serious financial problems,” with nearly one in three having spent most or all of their savings.

    The census data showed massive racial disparities on food insecurity, with Black and Latino respondents more than twice as likely as white respondents to say their households were short of food.

    About 13 million people are behind on rent, and the racial disparities are serious there, too, with 25% of Black renters, 24% of Asian renters, 22% of Latino renters, and just 12% of white renters having fallen behind. There, too, households with children were struggling—those with children were twice as likely to be behind on rent as those without. The NPR poll also found Black and Latino families to be twice as likely as white families to have fallen behind on rent or the mortgage.

    “For every dollar of wealth white households have, African American households have 10 pennies and Latino households have 12 pennies,” David Williams, a sociologist and public health professor at Harvard, told NPR. “So it’s really not surprising that they are really being hurt badly in the context of the pandemic.”

    It’s also not surprising that, given such stark racial disparities, Senate Republicans are less worried than you’d think lawmakers would be, looking at their constituents and seeing one in 10 households, overall, going hungry.

  22. tomh says

    This drum beat will get louder and louder as the election approaches. From last night’s rally.

    Trump says the ‘only way’ he will lose is if Democrats cheat
    By Colby Itkowitz

    Trump held his first campaign rally in Virginia this year on Friday night, telling his supporters there he’d make a “heavy play” for the state he lost in 2016…

    “I was told not to go for Virginia. We did really well last time and I never came and never did anything, and we did really well,” Trump said.

    Trump actually held three campaign rallies in Virginia during the 2016 general election, including one two days before the election.

    “I said, ‘Why didn’t I go for Virginia?’ But it’s traditionally not a Republican state over the last number of decades, and I said, ‘Why not? You have a crazy governor, and every time I see it, every two weeks he’s trying to take your guns away, right?” Trump said, referring to Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam.

    Trump also revisited his refusal to say whether he would support a peaceful transfer of power if he loses. The president claimed that the “only way” he loses is if the Democrats cheat and said he’s not going to support a transition if there was cheating…

    “The only way we’re going to lose is if there’s mischief, and it’ll have to be on a big scale, so be careful,” Trump said. “We do want a very friendly transition, but we don’t want to be cheated and be stupid and say, ‘Oh, let’s, we’ll go and we’ll do a transition,’ and we know that there were thousands and thousands of ballots that made the difference through cheating. We’re not going to stand for it.”

    [And more of the same]

  23. says

    Follow-up to comment 22.

    In line with Trump’s concern about public relations, he ordered HHS to spend a lot of money and time on an ad blitz.

    “Staffed in part by associates of a longtime GOP operative, the ad campaign includes CeCe Winans, Dennis Quaid and others pushing an optimistic line about coronavirus.”

    The health department is moving quickly on a highly unusual advertising campaign to “defeat despair” about the coronavirus, a $300 million-plus effort that was shaped by a political appointee close to […] Trump and executed in part by close allies of the official, using taxpayer funds.

    The ad blitz, described in some budget documents as the “Covid-19 immediate surge public advertising and awareness campaign,” is expected to lean heavily on video interviews between administration officials and celebrities, who will discuss aspects of the coronavirus outbreak and address the Trump administration’s response to the crisis […]

    Senior administration officials have already recorded interviews with celebrities like actor Dennis Quaid and singer CeCe Winans, and the Health and Human Services Department also has pursued television host Dr. Mehmet Oz and musician Garth Brooks for roles in the campaign.

    OMG. Mehmet Oz!? OZ praised and pushed hydroxychoroquine on TV.

    The public awareness campaign, which HHS is seeking to start airing before Election Day on Nov. 3, was largely conceived and organized by Michael Caputo, the health department’s top spokesperson who took medical leave last week and announced on Thursday that he had been diagnosed with cancer. Caputo, who has no medical or scientific background, claimed in a Facebook video on Sept. 13 that the campaign was “demanded of me by the president of the United States. Personally.”

    “The Democrats — and, by the way, their conjugal media and the leftist scientists that are working for the government — are dead set against it,” Caputo told his Facebook followers in the Sept. 13 video. “They cannot afford for us to have any good news before November because they’re already losing. … They’re going to come after me because I’m going to be putting $250 million worth of ads on the air.”

    The campaign is indeed under investigation by Democrats, who have charged that the massive ad blitz is an attempt to boost Trump’s standing on Covid-19 before the election and have unsuccessfully called on HHS to halt the contract. […]

    […] 10 current and former health officials told POLITICO that they have concerns about the campaign’s scope, goals and even how it has been funded — by pulling money out of health agencies like the Centers for Disease Control that are in the midst of fighting the pandemic, rather than working with lawmakers to set up a brand-new advertising effort with congressional oversight, or drawing on substantial internal resources and expertise in running health-related public service campaigns.

    “CDC hasn’t yet done an awareness campaign about Covid guidelines — but they are going to pay for a campaign about how to get rid of our despair? Run by political appointees in the press shop? Right before an election?” said Josh Peck, a former HHS official who oversaw the Obama administration’s advertising campaign for HealthCare.gov.

    “It’s like every red flag I could dream of,” Peck added.

    […] “He was almost like his own cinematographer,” said one official who spoke with Caputo around that time, adding that the spokesperson laid out a vivid picture of an ad campaign that re-energized Americans. “He had a very deliberate vision of what he wanted this to be. “[…]

    Some of Caputo’s frustrations about the way the pandemic has hurt Trump spilled into public view, particularly after the spokesman launched a new taxpayer-funded podcast at HHS in May.

    “President Trump built the strongest economy in American history, and I think he’ll do it again,” Caputo said in the inaugural May 22 episode of the podcast. “They’ll defeat the virus, they’ll reopen the economy but who’s going to defeat the despair?”

    […] Caputo’s team in June requisitioned $300 million that Congress had previously appropriated to the CDC. According to three people with knowledge of the deliberations, the request was abrupt and HHS offered minimal detail to CDC officials on how the money would be spent for the upcoming campaign.

    […] The unusual arrangement has alarmed some department staff, who have questioned why Caputo’s team is so closely coordinating the project while excluding the professional messaging staff at CDC.

    […] Caputo’s team used the Food and Drug Administration to fund a separate $15 million contract that quickly moved forward last month while the larger $250 million contract was still being hammered out. […]

    Link

    More at the link, including details that reveal Caputo’s award of the first $15 million contract to a close associate of his. Caputo selected his allies as subcontractors.

  24. says

    Update on COVID-19 in New York:

    More than 1,000 people tested positive for the coronavirus in New York on Friday, marking the first time since early June the state has seen a daily number of cases rise above that mark.

    Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced Saturday that of 99,953 tests reported the previous day, 1,005 were positive, a positivity rate of about 1 percent. Four other people died, and 527 people in total are hospitalized.

    […] could possibly be tied to the rise in business and school reopenings. The number of new cases stalled in the mid to high-500s in early September but have hit the 800 and 900-range in recent weeks, according to the COVID Tracking Project. […]

    “New Yorkers should continue the basic behaviors in the fight against COVID-19, wearing masks, socially distancing and washing hands, as we move into the fall and flu season,” Cuomo said on his website.

    Still, New York is faring notably better in grappling with the pandemic within its borders than a number of other states that have seen more significant recent spikes in positive tests. The Empire State was one of the hardest hit early on in the pandemic, often topping over 9,000 positive tests a day in April but has since worked to get its transmission rate to one of the lowest in the country.

    Link

    One of my friends who lives in Manhattan says that she sees everyone wearing masks wherever she goes. Everyone.

  25. tomh says

    Judge removes Trump public lands boss for serving unlawfully
    Bureau of Land Management acting director William Perry Pendley served unlawfully for 424 days without being confirmed by the Senate as required under the Constitution, the judge ruled.
    Sept. 25, 2020
    By The Associated Press

    BILLINGS, Mont. — A federal judge ruled Friday that President Donald Trump’s leading steward of public lands has been serving unlawfully, blocking him from continuing in the position in the latest pushback against the administration’s practice of filling key positions without U.S. Senate approval.

    U.S. Interior Department Bureau of Land Management acting director William Perry Pendley served unlawfully for 424 days without being confirmed to the post by the Senate as required under the Constitution, U.S. District Judge Brian Morris determined.

    The ruling came after Montana’s Democratic governor in July sued to remove Pendley, saying the former oil industry attorney was illegally overseeing an agency that manages almost a quarter-billion acres of land, primarily in the U.S. West…

    Trump said he was nominating Pendley in June. But the nomination was withdrawn earlier this month after the confirmation process threatened to become contentious, potentially disrupting key U.S. senate races in Colorado and Montana, where Bullock is seeking to unseat incumbent Republican Steve Daines.

    But Pendley continued to hang on to the post, under an arrangement that Pendley himself set up months ago. In a May 22 order, Pendley made his own position, deputy director, the bureau’s top post while the director’s office is vacant.

    After establishing that succession order, Pendley actions included approval of two sweeping land resource management plans in Montana that would open 95% of federal land in the state to oil and gas development, attorneys for Bullock contended in court filings.

  26. says

    I see some rightwing commentators saying that the topics chosen for the upcoming presidential debate favor Biden over Trump. (The debate will be held Tuesday.)

    This makes me wonder, what topics would favor Trump?

    In case you didn’t already see this, here are the debate topics chosen by moderator Chris Wallace:
    Supreme Court
    Coronavirus pandemic
    Race relations and urban violence
    Election integrity
    The economy
    Past record of each candidate

    Why are right-wingers claiming that the focus on the pandemic is “an especially unjust jab at the Trump administration”?

    Rightwing pundits want Chris Wallace to question Biden about his relationship with China. In other words, they want Wallace to bring up all of their favorite conspiracy theories.

  27. says

    Another way to funnel money to Trump: Qatar is paying the Trump Organization for what appears to be a fake office.

    […] The “best” part of the story is that the office the Qataris rent from Trump in San Francisco appears to be empty. No one works there. Alexander found this out by way of a classic gumshoe ruse: He rented a desk in a co-working space on the 49th floor of the building, which is accessed from the same elevator as the QIA space on the 43rd floor. Then he went to the office, and it was empty. There was a plant there, but it was dead.

    There was a marble welcome desk but no one to welcome visitors. On top of the counter sat a plant that looked like it had been dead for months.

    I rapped my knuckles on the glass doors. No one answered, even though it was the middle of the afternoon. The next day, in the morning, I returned. Again I knocked. And again no one answered.

    According to Alexander, the QIA office isn’t listed on a directory in the building’s lobby nor on the QIA’s website, which does list another office in New York City.

    Hmm.

    The White House, Trump Organization, and Qatar Investment Authority did not respond to Alexander’s requests to explain why Qatar appears to be paying Trump for an empty office.

    Link

  28. says

    People are sitting shoulder-to-shoulder in the White House Rose Garden, most of them not wearing masks, to hear Hair Furor announce his Supreme Court Nomination.

  29. says

    Olivia Troye delivers some warnings and she corrects some lies:

    Olivia Troye says she and other staffers discussed what would happen if Donald Trump refuses to leave office: In a CNN interview with Wolf Blitzer Friday, Troye, who worked on the coronavirus task force and says she is a lifelong Republican, left the administration, claiming in an scathing ad last week that Trump cares more about getting re-elected than about protecting people from getting Covid-19, which has killed well over 200,000 Americans. In discussion before she left her post, Troye told her colleagues to take seriously Trump’s comments about staying in office no matter the election outcome.

    “The president when he’s joking, if he says that he’s joking, he’s telling you a half truth,” Troye told Blitzer. “And in there is something fairly frightening and scary. What you see is what you get. You should trust that. He doesn’t hide it.”

    Troye also challenged statements by her former boss, retired Gen. Keith Kellogg, who said Tuesday during a press conference that Troye had been fired and he personally had escorted her out of the office. She said she hadn’t been fired but had resigned, and several colleagues had asked her to reconsider. “I’d love to see the video footage of this video tape where he supposedly escorted me out,” Troye told Blitzer. “I know a lot of the Secret Service people on the campus, and I would love to see that footage.”

  30. says

    Another anti-environmental regulation move from the Trump administration:

    Trump regime makes its move to muck up the Tongass National Forest:

    For decades, environmental groups have pushed to ensure that the virtually untouched old growth temperate rainforest of the Tongass in southeast Alaska remains protected from logging and road building. The forest annually absorbs the carbon equivalent of taking 650,000 automobiles off the road, more than any other national forest, and is home to a broad range of wildlife. Native peoples in the region have been in the forefront of keeping “civilization” at bay.

    Friday, after some two years of input and consultation and decades of arguing, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released its final environmental impact statement, one of the final steps in the process of exempting from the “Roadless Rule” issued in 2001 by President Bill Clinton to prevent commercial logging and other development in the 9.2 million acres of the Tongass.

    Alaska’s two senators and sole member of Congress, Republicans all, cheered the Trump move. But Andy Moderow, Alaska director of the Alaska Wilderness League, said in a statement: “Why, with our climate in crisis and Alaska experiencing climate impacts more acutely than most, are we even discussing chopping down a natural climate solution and a regional economic powerhouse just to ship [timber] overseas? The timber industry is a relic of the past, and today, we should be focused on what kind of world we leave to our kids.”

    After 30 days, the USDA will publish the record of decision after which a lawsuit can be expected to be filed by Earthjustice, which has long defended the Tongass.

    Link

  31. says

    See https://twitter.com/atrupar for some current coverage of Trump nominating Amy Coney Barrett as his nominee to replace RBG.

    Video snippets are available at the link.

    Trump is reading from the teleprompter. He is reading more badly than usual, which is quite badly indeed. He sounds tired. He sounds like he doesn’t really understand what he is reading.

    Trump made noises about “an independent judiciary.” Liar.

  32. says

    From Joe Biden:

    I’m not sure anybody that hadn’t already made up their mind they’re for Trump will believe it, [believe Trump’s claim that Biden is pushing a socialist agenda], but who knows. Trump is sort of like Goebbels. You say the lie long enough — keep repeating it, repeating it, repeating it — it becomes common knowledge.

    That’s an accurate description of Trump.

  33. says

    Follow-up to comment 38.

    From comments posted by readers of Joe Biden’s comparison of Trump to Goebbels:

    This is totally unfair.

    Goebbels was wicked smart – horrifically evil, but a genius; Trump couldn’t even manage the SAT.
    ———————-
    A better comment – and one more worth quoting IMO – from the same interview:

    Joe Biden insists Donald Trump is ‘not that smart and doesn’t know many facts’ ahead of Tuesday’s first debate and says the president will ‘resort to personal attacks’ because it’s the ‘only thing he knows’

  34. says

    From Jeffrey Toobin, writing for The New Yorker:

    […] Barrett made an appealing first impression in 2017, during her confirmation hearings to the federal bench. She and her husband are the parents of seven children. For many years, she was a popular professor at Notre Dame Law School, which she also attended and from which she graduated summa cum laude. She clerked on the Supreme Court for Justice Scalia. As a judge on the Seventh Circuit, she has been a reliable conservative voice. Even liberal peers in the academy find her personable. She will probably do well in providing the artful non-answers that are the currency of Supreme Court confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee, just as she did in 2017.

    But there should be no doubt about why Barrett has been chosen. Much of the commentary about her selection will focus on the issue of abortion, and her likely role in overturning Roe v. Wade. During the 2016 campaign, Trump repeatedly promised to appoint Justices who would vote to overrule that landmark, and with his three selections, including Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, he appears to have delivered. Barrett is not only a member of a conservative organization within the Catholic Church; her legal writings, and the views of some who know her, suggest that she would overturn Roe.

    Still, it’s worth remembering the real priorities of Trump and Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader, in this nomination. They’re happy to accommodate the anti-abortion base of the Republican Party, but an animating passion of McConnell’s career has been the deregulation of political campaigns. The Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision brought the issue to wide public attention, but McConnell has been crusading about it for decades. He wants the money spigot kept open, so that he can protect his Senate majority and the causes for which it stands.

    This, too, is why the Federalist Society has been so lavishly funded over the years, and why it has expanded from a mere campus organization into a national behemoth for lawyers and students. Under Republican Presidents, Federalist Society events have come to operate as auditions for judicial appointments. The corporate interests funding the growth of the Federalist Society probably weren’t especially interested in abortion, but they were almost certainly committed to crippling the regulatory state.

    Barrett is a product of this movement, and not just because she clerked for Scalia. Her writings and early rulings reflect it. Her financial-disclosure form shows that, in recent years, she has received about seven thousand dollars in honoraria from the Federalist Society and went on ten trips funded by it. But it’s not as if Barrett was bought; she was already sold. The judge has described herself as a “textualist” and an “originalist”—the same words of legal jargon that were associated with Scalia. […]

    It should go without saying that the nomination and the expected confirmation of Barrett in the final days before a Presidential election represent a paramount act of hypocrisy for McConnell and the other Republicans who denied even a hearing to Merrick Garland, President Barack Obama’s choice for the Supreme Court, in 2016. But the fact that these Republicans are willing to risk that charge shows how important the Supreme Court is to them. Far more than a senator, a Supreme Court Justice can deliver on the agenda. The war on abortion is just the start.

    New Yorker link

  35. says

    From Mark Sumner:

    It’s not exactly a surprise. Ultra-conservative judge Amy Coney Barrett was at the top of almost every list of Donald Trump’s expected nominees for the Supreme Court—including mine. There is absolutely no doubt that Barrett represents a threat to quickly rip apart the work that Justice Ginsburg did over the years protecting and extending the rights of every America. Which is, of course, exactly why the far right is so excited to see her name put forward. Barrett is a religious extremist, a member of a small sect that takes the inherent misogyny of traditional Catholicism and adds to it the by doubling down with … more misogyny. She’s a originalist extremist, holding onto a view of Constitutional interpretation so strict, she’s ready to toss out the 14th Amendment. And, of course, she’s a hypocrite, conveniently ignoring her own 2016 statement that seating a new justice should wait until after the election. But then … “hypocrite” is just an alternative title for “Republican.”

    […] The odds of Barrett joining with the four most conservative justices to strike down Obamacare seem extremely high since she has already written a legal article saying that Chief Justice John Roberts overreached when saving the plan, and that it should have lost.

    For those that love guns, Barrett is likely to use upcoming cases to continue bloating the Second Amendment. Despite saying that her idea of law requires that a jurist hold to the public meaning of the law at the time it was written, she somehow doesn’t seem to believe the Second Amendment means that people should be restricted to carrying muskets. Instead, she is likely to be the fifth vote toward removing most all limits on weapons.

    At 48, Barrett will be the youngest justice if her nomination survives the Senate. This would position her to reshape the court for decades.

    Link

  36. lumipuna says

    Lynna 29:

    I see some rightwing commentators saying that the topics chosen for the upcoming presidential debate favor Biden over Trump. (The debate will be held Tuesday.)

    This makes me wonder, what topics would favor Trump?

    In case you didn’t already see this, here are the debate topics chosen by moderator Chris Wallace:
    Supreme Court
    Coronavirus pandemic
    Race relations and urban violence
    Election integrity
    The economy
    Past record of each candidate

    Why are right-wingers claiming that the focus on the pandemic is “an especially unjust jab at the Trump administration”?

    Rightwing pundits want Chris Wallace to question Biden about his relationship with China. In other words, they want Wallace to bring up all of their favorite conspiracy theories.

    I just saw (on Finnish news) an interview of a rare Trump-supporting US expat here in Finland. He opined that the race relations/urban violence thing and abortion (ie. Supreme Court) are “smokescreen issues”. I took it to mean that Democrats are tactically focusing on issues where Trump doesn’t have majority support. He (the expat guy) thought Trump’s strongest points are the economy and foreign policy (ie. his supposed peace dealing).

    He was also dismissive of the Covid-19 threat, but apparently didn’t dare call it a “smokescreen issue”. OTOH, he thought Trump’s biggest failing is simply that he’s tactless and spends too much time on Twitter.

  37. raven says

    Louise Knott Ahern

    Ruth Bader Ginsburg is going to be replaced by a woman who walked through every door she opened that Ginsburg opened for her so she can promptly use her position to shut them all for others behind her.

    Says it all.
    Amy Barrett benefited greatly from a huge number of people, mostly women, who spent decades pushing for equal rights for women. They experienced opposition, insults, and setbacks every step of the way from winning the right to vote to today.

    She has since used her position to punch down on the very people who set up the conditions that let her get that position.

  38. says

    raven @46 is right, Amy Barrett punches down. That’s as good a description of her as any.

    From Josh Marshall:

    I don’t know a lot about Amy Coney Barrett. But I know she’s accepting nomination from a President actively trying to subvert a national election and threatening to hold on to power by force, an attack on the constitution unparalleled in American history. Do I need to know more?

    Also from Josh Marshall:

    […] Trump has now, unsurprisingly, chosen to nominate the far right Amy Coney Barrett to succeed Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court. The only sensible approach is for Senate Democrats neither to meet with Barrett nor participate in the confirmation process. Even to do so in a critical posture is to add legitimacy to a process that is illegitimate.

    As bad as she may be as a judge or for the future of equal justice in the United States she can never be as bad as the corruption of the process itself. It is that corruption – the court-packing scheme Republicans pushed into overdrive starting in early 2016 – that justifies, indeed requires Democrats to add seats to the Court in 2021. Distracting from that reality with a gauzy-lensed look at Barrett’s personal story and judicial merits is madness. Pure madness.

    Here too politics lines up neatly with principle. This will be a high profile spectacle that will dominate the final weeks of the election and be 100% under the control of the GOP and the White House. It is literally stage managed by the GOP. All the initiative is in their hands. […]

    Trump is the issue in the election. It is his defeat which will allow Democrats to undo the damage of this corrupt process in 2021. No matter how bad Barrett comes off in hearings – and remember, it’s a process 100% controlled by the President and Senate Republicans – she certainly will not come off worse than Donald Trump. Why allow that? Why participate? Why feed the false claim of legitimacy?

    Republicans have already told us that Barrett herself is irrelevant to this process. Almost every Senate Republican agreed to vote to confirm her before they knew who Trump would nominate. They could not have made this more clear. She is irrelevant. Is she hard right? Of course. Just like the other possible choices.

    […]. In this context, participation amounts to begging. Begging is weak. Democrats need to make clear that the only answer to Republican court-packing which will toss millions off health care, cripple voting rights, further limit reproductive rights and more important than anything be a decades-long veto over all progressive legislation is to elect Democrats and repair the damage in 2021.

    Don’t participate. It’s madness.

    https://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/dont-participate-in-a-sham-process

  39. says

    Oh, FFS.

    Tom Cotton Predicts There Will Be A Peaceful Transfer Of Power … In 2025

    Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) on Sunday appeared undisturbed by […] Trump’s refusal to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses the November presidential election to Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, because he’s confident that Trump will win re-election.

    During a press conference at the White House on Wednesday, Trump offered a noncommittal reply when asked whether he can guarantee a peaceful transfer of power if he loses the November presidential election.

    “Well, we’re going to have to see what happens,” Trump said, before going on to wage his ongoing crusade against states expanding access to mail-in voting amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which he baselessly claims will lead to voter fraud. […]

    When pressed during an interview on CNN regarding Trump’s incendiary remarks — which drew criticism even from quite a few Republicans, including House Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney (R-WY) who called the peaceful transfer of power “fundamental to the survivor of our Republicans” — Cotton said that he agrees with Cheney before predicting that a peaceful transfer of power will “happen again in 2025” after the President’s supposed second term.

    “We’ve been transferring the office of the presidency from one person to the next since 1796,” Cotton said. “I’m confident it’s going to happen again in 2025 after President Trump finishes his second term.”

    Asked whether he’s at all disturbed by Trump’s refusal to commit to a peaceful transfer of power, Cotton argued that the President was saying that “he is not going to concede in advance” as many states expand access to mail-in voting “at the very last minute.”

    “He’s since said that if there’s a clear winner, if the courts settle a contested election then of course he will,” Cotton said.

    Cotton — who faced backlash for his “Send in the troops” op-ed published in the New York Times in June as protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death roiled the country — then appeared to take issue with CNN’s Jake Tapper for posing a question that he views as suggesting that Trump will lose in the November presidential election.

    “I don’t think the President is going to lose. The President is going to win,” Cotton said. “This is just another case where the Democrats are projecting some of their own intentions onto Donald Trump.”

    Cotton then went off on a tangent railing against Biden, former President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, before arguing that “Democrats are the ones who should be pressed on whether or not they will accept a loss in November” because he believes “it doesn’t sound to me like they will.”

    Tapper concluded the interview by telling Cotton “there’s a lot to fact-check in what you just said.”

    Tom Cotton also did a lot smirking in that interview. Video is available at the link.

  40. says

    Mike Pompeo is now brazenly campaigning for Trump using his federal post

    […] Using government resources to campaign is illegal; turning the top diplomatic job in the country into a tool of partisanship damages U.S. credibility abroad by signaling, to world counterparts, that the U.S. diplomat is In This For Themselves.

    […] Mike Pompeo is a poster child for this. He continues to assist Trump in the cover-up of a criminal Ukrainian extortion scheme—one timed to allow Russian incursions into that country to proceed and be solidified while much needed U.S. aid was used to pressure for Trump reelection favors. He continues to abet Trump’s incompetent dismantling of U.S. foreign policy infrastructure.

    And, of course, Pompeo is using his State Department role to campaign aggressively for Trump and Republicans throughout the country. […] The reality is that Pompeo is touring the country giving campaign speeches to, as the AP reports, a white evangelical church in Plano, Texas; the hard-right Value Voters Summit; and other appearances in Wisconsin, Florida, Tennessee, Kentucky, and of course his home state of Kansas. Pompeo has famously been eyeing higher office himself—a plan that briefly looked scuttled when Pompeo was implicated in impeachable crimes, but one Pompeo appears to be inching back to with hopes that voters no longer remember or resent him for that now that the Trump administration has delivered at least a half-dozen other scandals and death-dealing clusterfucks for them to chew on instead.

    The important thing to remember here is that Pompeo is crooked. He is crooked in the William Barr way, and fairly precisely: He has been caught directly assisting in Trump’s impeached-for acts; he has been caught in a campaign to cover up those acts and his involvement for Trump’s benefit and his own; he has done each of these things in service of elevating Republican power regardless of legality or institutional norms; and he makes no particular effort to hide the use of his office as explicitly partisan, to be used for shoring up allies and punishing enemies. […]

    Pompeo weaves through the country on a heavy campaign schedule to tell conservative audiences that they should “go to the polling place and express your preference” for his hard-right claims and declarations […]

    […] Mike Pompeo using his government perch to address the Republican National Convention—from Israel, no less—was such a grotesque insult to supposed diplomatic nonpartisanship that it would have likely ended with Pompeo’s removal from his post during any of the last half-century’s worth of presidencies. […]

    We are now at a point where Trump and Barr are openly crafting plans to eliminate votes if the November elections do not go his way, and continue eliminating votes for as long as it takes until the Republican Party can claim a crooked victory.

    The reasons are not just to retain power, though; Trump’s team and Trump’s allies need a victory for more personal reasons. There has been a mountain of criminal acts, cover-ups, ethical violations, and rank corruption from Barr, from Pompeo, from Trump himself, and other Trump cabinet members past and present. The moment they lose power, there is a danger that the remaining shards of true, neutral law enforcement will come for them—and those ex-officials will no longer have means to block those investigations.

    Every investigation currently being blocked and corrupted can only be blocked or corrupted so long as the corrupters remain in power. Republicans like Pompeo, still identified as having played a role in international extortion whether his Republican Senate allies are supportive or are not, has no time to worry about laws or norms as he scurries around the country to protect himself from the consequences of his own corruption.

  41. says

    Amy Coney Barrett Isn’t Even Confirmed Yet and Trump is Cheering the End of Obamacare

    “Would be a big WIN For the USA!”

    […] Trump kicked off his Sunday by tweeting out a call for Joe Biden to take a drug test before their debate next week, adding that he’d take one too. But that wasn’t his dumbest tweet of the morning.

    Trump also celebrated the prospect that the Supreme Court will throw out the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare.

    Obamacare will be replaced with a MUCH better, and FAR cheaper, alternative if it is terminated in the Supreme Court. Would be a big WIN for the USA!

    The Trump administration is enthusiastically supporting a lawsuit filed by Republican attorneys general that would throw out the entire ACA. If it succeeds, more than 20 million people could lose their health insurance and protections for the more than 130 million Americans with preexisting conditions could disappear—in the midst of a pandemic.

    The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the case just after the election in November. If the Republican-run Senate can get Amy Coney Barrett confirmed to take Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat by Election Day, she may be seated in time to hear the case.

    In his tweet, Trump once again promised to replace Obamacare with something bigger and better. He has yet to produce this unseen plan for replacing the Affordable Care Act. He has asserted that he wants to maintain protections for people with preexisting conditions, but beyond issuing legally meaningless executive orders that reiterate that view, he has offered no specific proposal to keep those people from being kicked off their health plans.

    Trump’s tweet plays into Democrats’ criticisms of Barrett‘s record on health care. In 2012, she ripped the Supreme Court for upholding Obamacare in a 2012 ruling, calling the decision “illegitimate.” Democrats also want to use the fight over Ginsburg’s seat to highlight the threat that Trump’s reelection would pose to Obamacare. Polls consistently show Democrats enjoy a decisive advantage on this issue. A new New York Times poll finds that 57 percent of Americans support the ACA. […]

  42. says

    “Lasting damage to the economy.”

    Americans feeling the economic weight of the coronavirus are about to enter their third month without crucial government aid that helped keep millions of households afloat during the recession.

    Two months have passed since Congress and the White House allowed emergency COVID-19 protections and safety net programs to expire. Those provisions, enacted in late March under the CARES Act, were credited with preventing an even worse economic downturn.

    Now, families are struggling to get by without supplemental unemployment funding, and many small businesses are reaching the end of financial lifelines that were extended by the federal government in the spring and summer.

    The lapse of emergency measures is expected to create lasting damage to the economy, making it even harder to return to pre-pandemic levels of growth and unemployment.

    […] One of the biggest losses is the $600 in additional weekly benefits that Congress approved in the CARES Act. Economists across the political spectrum credit that provision with keeping consumer spending from cratering during one of the sharpest and most destructive downturns in the nation’s history.

    That benefit expired at the end of July, leaving some 30 million recipients with only state-level benefits, which on average cover about a third of pre-unemployment income. […]

    Polls have indicated that the percentage of families able to make ends meet with unemployment insurance fell from 80 percent early on in the pandemic to about 50 percent more recently. […]

    another key provision that expired at the end of July was the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which offered forgivable loans to small businesses to cover wages and other fixed expenses during the pandemic.

    “The longer Congress takes to pass and allow for a second PPP program, the more likely it will be that small business owners will have to make the tough decision of closing their doors. And that’s what we’re trying to avoid,” said Holly Wade, who directs research for the National Federation of Independent Business, a right-leaning group.

    […] entire industries, she added, are expected to remain in limbo until a vaccine is widely distributed.

    “We’re seeing that about a fifth of small businesses now are really still struggling to get through this pandemic, and are really in need of financial assistance. And these are businesses that would be healthy otherwise,” she said. […]

    Link

  43. says

    Follow-up to comment 51.

    Half of Americans who lost their job during the pandemic still don’t have one

    The finding comes in a new Pew study that also found many Americans struggling to pay bills.

    Roughly six months after the coronavirus outbreak began to wreak havoc on the US economy, about half of those who lost their job say they are still without one. […]

    limited recovery has not been one shared equally by workers at different income levels: According to Pew, while 58 percent of upper- and middle-income adults who lost a job due to to coronavirus have returned to their old job or gotten a new one, only 43 percent of lower-income adults have been able to the same.

    The study’s findings also include a number of other indicators of ongoing economic hardship.

    “One-in-four adults have had trouble paying their bills since the coronavirus outbreak started, a third have dipped into savings or retirement accounts to make ends meet, and about one-in-six have borrowed money from friends or family or gotten food from a food bank,” the report reads.

    Pew’s findings track roughly with government data and other economic analyses of the labor market. Less than half of the 22 million jobs lost during the early stages of the pandemic have been recovered, according to the New York Times. […]

    The Trump virus. The Trump economy.

  44. says

    From Wonkette: Kyle Rittenhouse, Conservative America’s Teen Dream Killing Machine

    What is there to say about people who think it was acceptable for cops to shoot up Breonna Taylor in her own home (damaging precious dry wall in the process) but that Kyle Rittenhouse, who broke actual laws, is an American hero? They are obviously racists obsessed with white innocence. […]

    Last Thursday, Rittenhouse’s mother, Wendy, and his lawyer, John Pierce, attended a Wisconsin Republican event in Waukesha County. Perpetual rage machine, Michelle Malkin, brought Wendy Rittenhouse on stage where the audience gave her a standing ovation for raising a child who murdered two people and gravely injured a third. […] these people claim to follow the teachings of […] Jesus Christ.

    Malkin shared a photo on Twitter of herself with Wendy Rittenhouse and her son’s homicide attorney. She boasted that she’d spoken to Kyle Rittenhouse on the phone and “thanked him for his courage.” […] [Photos and tweets can be seen at the link]

    It doesn’t seem like anyone was wearing masks or socially distancing at this event. […] The smile on Wendy Rittenhouse’s face is very different from the anguish you see from the mothers of Breonna Taylor, Jacob Blake, Ahmaud Arbery, Tamir Rice, and Trayvon Martin. She looks confident that the system is going to work out in her son’s favor […]

    This is the same week that the man who killed Taylor was charged with felony wall defacement, so you can understand why we might think Kyle Rittenhouse might never see a day in prison. His “innocence” was openly proclaimed by future QAnon congresswoman, Majorie Taylor Greene. [Tweet available at the link.]

    Wisconsin prosecutors have charged Rittenhouse with a crime, but conservatives like Greene have no problem publicly disagreeing with that decision […]

    Rittenhouse was a vigilante who placed himself in a dangerous situation after illegally obtaining an assault rifle. You can’t claim “self-defense” for a violent altercation you personally initiate. […]

    Greene responded to a tweet from Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, and declared that she’d oppose ALL gun control legislation and will “defend our GREAT Second Amendment always.” Yeah, guns are so awesome, two people are dead and another person permanently disabled. […] Guns make everything worse. But Greene thinks this was a positive outcome. […]

    Former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi also defended Rittenhouse last week. She told Sean Hannity that Young Goodman Rittenhouse was a “little boy” trying to “protect his community,” which was in a different state where he committed his murders. […]

    Bondi is used to lying — she defended Trump during his impeachment sham trial — but this one is a king-sized Double Whopper. She also kept mentioning that Rittenhouse was only a child of 17, which I suppose was intended to make him seem innocent, but it just reinforces that he was guilty of openly carrying an assault rifle.

    Gun rights advocates who adore Rittenhouse have tried to claim he falls under the “just out hunting” exception. However, human beings — even so-called looters and rioters — are never in season. […]

    Link

  45. says

    Florida education commissioner orders Miami to open schools earlier than planned.

    Washington Post link

    Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran has ordered Miami-Dade County Public Schools to fully open its buildings five days a week by Oct. 5. That’s more than two weeks earlier than the system, the fourth largest in the country, had decided to do […]

    In a letter sent to Perla Tabares Hantman, the school board president, and Superintendent Alberto Carvalho, Corcoran said he had “grave concerns” about the system’s decision to postpone the planned Oct. 5 opening of school buildings. The board voted Sept. 22 to open schools for some students on Oct. 14, with all students who opted to return to classrooms to be there by Oct. 21, giving the district time to put in place sufficient safety measures to prevent coronavirus outbreaks. […]

    Miami-Dade is one of a few districts that started the 2020-21 school year with all-remote learning after winning permission from the administration of Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) because of exceptionally high coronavirus rates.

    Corcoran’s letter came as a surprise to Miami-Dade officials. The Miami Herald quoted Hantman as saying, “It’s just very strange to me and I think it took everyone by surprise. I’m very much in favor of opening schools but when it’s safe.” […]

    DeSantis, a strong ally of President Trump, and Corcoran had set a deadline of Aug. 31 for all schools in the state to open five days a week for students who wanted to return and threatened to withhold millions of dollars in federal funding to districts that did not. Broward and Palm Beach counties in South Florida also were given permission to open remotely because of high coronavirus rates. […]

  46. tomh says

    WaPo:
    Appeals court halts injunction that gave extra time for mail ballot counting in Wisconsin
    By Elise Viebeck and Hannah Knowles

    A federal appeals court on Sunday stayed a lower court’s injunction that would have allowed mail ballots in Wisconsin to count if postmarked by Election Day and received up to six days later…

    The injunction, a victory for Democrats in a closely watched swing state, is on hold pending further review, according to the order issued Sunday afternoon by the Seventh Circuit. District Judge William Conley, who issued the injunction last week, had expressed fears that tens of thousands of voters could be disenfranchised.

    “Election workers’ and voters’ experiences during Wisconsin’s primary election in April, which took place at the outset of the COVID-19 crisis, have convinced the court that some, limited relief from statutory deadlines for mail-in registration and absentee voting is again necessary to avoid an untenable impingement on Wisconsin citizens’ right to vote,” Conley wrote in a 69-page opinion.

    The Seventh Circuit’s judges include Amy Coney Barrett, President Trump’s nominee to fill the Supreme Court vacancy…

  47. tomh says

    WaPo:
    N.Y. Times: Trump paid $750 in U.S. income taxes in 2016, 2017
    By Associated Press
    September 27, 2020 at 2:44 p.m. PDT

    President Donald Trump paid no federal income taxes in 10 of the past 15 years, according to a report Sunday in The New York Times.

    Trump, who has fiercely guarded his tax filings and is the only president in modern times not to make them public, paid $750 in taxes to the federal government the year he was elected, 2016, and $750 again his first year in office.

    Speaking at a news conference at the White House, Trump dismissed the report as “fake news” and said he has paid taxes, though he gave no specifics.

    The disclosure, which the Times said comes from tax return data it obtained extending over two decades, comes at a pivotal moment ahead of the first presidential debate Tuesday, and weeks before a divisive election.

    A lawyer for the Trump Organization, Alan Garten, and a spokesperson for the Trump Organization did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Associated Press on the report.

    Garten told the Times that “most, if not all, of the facts appear to be inaccurate.”

    He said in a statement to the news organization that the president “has paid tens of millions of dollars in personal taxes to the federal government, including paying millions in personal taxes since announcing his candidacy in 2015.”

    Well, the story would be easy enough to disprove and make the Times look foolish in the process. Makes you wonder why they wouldn’t.

  48. tomh says

    Re #56:
    The NYT story is long and detailed, far too much to excerpt. But,

    The Times obtained Donald Trump’s tax information extending over more than two decades, revealing struggling properties, vast write-offs, an audit battle and hundreds of millions in debt coming due…

    The tax returns that Mr. Trump has long fought to keep private tell a story fundamentally different from the one he has sold to the American public. His reports to the I.R.S. portray a businessman who takes in hundreds of millions of dollars a year yet racks up chronic losses that he aggressively employs to avoid paying taxes. Now, with his financial challenges mounting, the records show that he depends more and more on making money from businesses that put him in potential and often direct conflict of interest with his job as president…

    The New York Times has obtained tax-return data extending over more than two decades for Mr. Trump and the hundreds of companies that make up his business organization, including detailed information from his first two years in office. It does not include his personal returns for 2018 or 2019. This article offers an overview of The Times’s findings; additional articles will be published in the coming weeks…

    The Times examined and analyzed the data from thousands of individual and business tax returns for 2000 through 2017, along with additional tax information from other years. The trove included years of employee compensation information and records of cash payments between the president and his businesses, as well as information about ongoing federal audits of his taxes…

    This should be fun.

  49. says

    David Rothkopf: “It is impossible to read this exceptional @NYTimes story on Trump’s taxes & not conclude he is a crook, his kids are crooks, his companies are badly mismanaged & his financial future is precarious. His creditors own him. We need to know who they are.”

  50. says

    Uh oh, NY Times got Trump’s taxes, and it’s even worse than anyone could’ve imagined

    So the assumption was always that impeached soon-to-be-outgoing president Donald Trump hid his taxes for a couple of reasons: he wasn’t as rich as he claimed, and it might provide clues to financial crimes. But mostly, because he wasn’t as rich as he claimed.

    Now that The New York Times has 15 years of his taxes, it’s all that and even more—he’s also a tax cheat.

    There is way too much to unpack, and it will take a while to dig through it all (not to mention the follow-up stories sure to follow). But for starters:

    Donald J. Trump paid $750 in federal income taxes the year he won the presidency. In his first year in the White House, he paid another $750.

    He had paid no income taxes at all in 10 of the previous 15 years — largely because he reported losing much more money than he made.

    Pretty much all of you reading this paid more taxes than supposed “billionaire” Donald Trump.

    And then there’s the grift.

    In 2012, he took out a $100 million mortgage on the commercial space in Trump Tower. He took nearly the entire amount as a payout, his tax records show. His company has paid more than $15 million in interest on the loan, but nothing on the principal. The full $100 million comes due in 2022 […]

    The balances on those loans had not been paid down by the end of 2018. And the businesses carrying the bulk of the debt — the Doral golf resort ($125 million) and the Washington hotel ($160 million) — are struggling, which could make it difficult to find a lender willing to refinance it.

    Trump’s response is laughably stupid (as usual): “It’s fake news … actually I paid tax … it’s under audit” — Trump denies a New York Times report that he only paid $750 in federal income taxes in 2016 and ’17, but doesn’t present any evidence to the contrary. […]

    Link

  51. says

    Uh…Sun-Sentinel – “Former Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale hospitalized after he was armed and threatening to harm himself, Fort Lauderdale police say”:

    A tense situation unfolded at a home owned by Brad Parscale, the former campaign manager for President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign, after his wife called police to say that Parscale had guns and was threatening to harm himself, Fort Lauderdale police said Sunday night.

    Police were called to a home in the 2300 block of Desota Drive in the Seven Isles community of Fort Lauderdale on Sunday afternoon. Records show that the home is owned by Bradley and Candice Parscale.

    Fort Lauderdale Police Chief Karen Dietrich said the encounter at Brad Parscale’s home was brief.

    “We went out and it was very short. We went and got him help.”

    Dietrich said he didn’t threaten police and he went willingly under Florida’s Baker Act, which allows police to detain a person who is potentially a threat to himself or others. He was taken to a hospital, she said.

    His wife contacted police, worried that he was suicidal and had firearms.

    Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis said he received a text message saying that there was a SWAT team standoff at Parscale’s home.

    “It was indicated to me that he had weapons,” Trantalis said.

    Trantalis could not confirm it was the same Parscale associated with Trump but said he knows Trump’s former campaign manager does have a home in Fort Lauderdale.

    “Politics aside, this fellow obviously suffers from emotional distress,” said Trantalis, a Democrat. ” … I’m glad he didn’t do any harm to himself or others I commend our SWAT team for being able to negotiate a peaceful ending to this.”

    This is a breaking news story. Check back for further information.

  52. says

    AOC:

    Last year Republicans blasted a firehose of hatred + vitriol my way because I treated myself to a $250 cut & lowlights on my birthday.

    Where’s the criticism of their idol spending $70k on hairstyling?

    Oh, it’s nowhere because they’re spineless, misogynistic hypocrites? Got it.

  53. says

    AOC:

    In 2016 & ‘17, I paid thousands of dollars a year in taxes *as a bartender.*

    Trump paid $750.

    He contributed less to funding our communities than waitresses & undocumented immigrants.

    Donald Trump has never cared for our country more than he cares for himself. A walking scam.

  54. birgerjohansson says

    The Young Turks have a story about someone high up in the Trump campaign threatening to shoot himself, and having to ve talked down by the police.

  55. blf says

    I’m having something of an emergency here at the lair (penguin feathers are not in evidence (neither is she)), so just a few very quick comments as I impatiently wait for people to return my calls, SMS, and e-mails. (And apologies for lack of references, etc.!)

    On hair furor’s taxes: Four-ish years ago, the NYT obtained the first page of one year’s IRS filing. That showed a massive loss, and tax experts said it suggested hair furor could have then written-off (paid nothing) for about the next ten years. That could have been the case, as he apparently did not pay taxes for 10 out of 15 years.

    Here in France, the village in which I live has obtained an exemption from the “bars and restaurants must close” order which applies to the general Marseille and Aix-en-Provence area. This is not only personally convenient, but also (due to before-mentioned emergency), useful. And possibly not-too-crazy, since (as far as I know), there are still very very few cases locally… albeit I don’t know precise numbers or trends (a longstanding complaint).

    Congrats to the Florida police (SWAT?) who managed to deescalate the situation with Brad Parscale and take him to see appropriate specialists. However, had he been guilty of being Black, those “specialists” would have been at the morgue.

    A post-lockdown cruise has resulted in the predictable: A ship full of infections.

    CDC director Robert Redfield was overheard criticizing Scott Atlas: “Everything he says is false.” Redfield has confirmed the conversation. Atlas is hair furor’s hand-picked Covid-19 advisor, despite having no qualifications.

  56. says

    A couple recommendations:

    Recent episode of the Reply All podcast – “Country of Liars”: “This week, PJ looks into a theory circling the internet about who might be behind QAnon. The investigation takes him back to the beginning of the QAnon scam, and to the message board trolls who started it.”

    Netflix – “The Social Dilemma”: “We tweet, we like, and we share— but what are the consequences of our growing dependence on social media? As digital platforms increasingly become a lifeline to stay connected, Silicon Valley insiders reveal how social media is reprogramming civilization by exposing what’s hiding on the other side of your screen.”

  57. says

    WBZ4 Boston – “NH White Nationalist Christopher Cantwell Found Guilty Of Rape Threat”:

    A federal jury on Monday found a self-proclaimed white nationalist who rose to prominence during a deadly 2017 rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, guilty of threatening to rape the wife of a man who was part of a racist group he felt was harassing and bullying him.

    Christopher Cantwell, a New Hampshire resident and radio host, was arrested in January on federal charges of extortion, making threats and cyberstalking. He had pleaded not guilty.

    The jury found Cantwell guilty of extortion and threatening to injure property or reputation [?], but not guilty of cyberstalking. He faces up to 22 years in prison.

    Cantwell previously pleaded guilty to assault in 2018 after he was accused of using pepper spray during a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville in 2017. He didn’t serve additional jail time but was barred from Virginia for five years.

    Cantwell also has a history of posting threatening messages over social media.

    Last year, attorneys who filed a federal civil rights lawsuit in connection with the Charlottesville rally asked a judge to order Cantwell to stop making “unlawful threats” against the plaintiffs and their lead attorney.

    More atl. Very fine people.

  58. says

    Crooked Media – “The McConnell Majority Is More Endangered Than You Think”:

    Since 2007, Mitch McConnell has led the Republican conference in the United States Senate. In 2014, after a disastrous midterm election for Democrats, McConnell became majority leader of the “world’s most deliberative body” but has used that power ever since to bring the country to its knees. By failing to hold the Trump administration accountable, the GOP Senate majority has allowed poor leadership to cripple our economy, sow division among Americans, and trample on the hard-earned liberties we hold dear.

    In 2019, McConnell took pride in calling himself the “Grim Reaper,” which prompted Democrats to decry his “legislative graveyard.” These political labels have tragic salience now that over 200,000 Americans have died of COVID-19. Meanwhile, the House passed a relief bill in May that would have fed struggling Americans and supported frontline workers, but Senate Republicans didn’t introduce a counterproposal until late July and have failed to pass it or anything else through their chamber in the months since.

    In 2020, the senators who brought McConnell to power are up for election, and many are in danger of losing. Republicans must defend 23 Senate seats while only 12 Democrats are up for re-election. The map places them on defense in many races, while an extremely unpopular president sits atop the ticket. McConnell himself is also widely disliked.

    For much of the 2020 election cycle, strategists and forecasters looked at a narrow list of vulnerable incumbents in Arizona, Maine, Colorado, and North Carolina. Over the past six months, it has become clear that the party’s majority is far more vulnerable than that. GOP senators in Iowa, Montana, and Georgia are endangered, too, and Democrats are in a strong position to win all of those races. However, during the past month it has become clear that an even wider map of GOP Senators may be vulnerable thanks to great Democratic candidates in places like Alaska, Kansas, South Carolina, and even Texas.

    Last weekend, millions of Americans mourned the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Hundreds of thousands of people also responded by donating money to the opponents of McConnell’s frontline members. The Get Mitch or Die Trying Fund has raised over $20 million in a week to directly support 13 Democratic Senate candidates.

    At Indivisible, our local grassroots chapters have been organizing for years in parts of the country the Washington political establishment has written off. The Payback Project currently targets 12 senators with a mass-awareness campaign to expose the truth of their complicity in Trump’s failures. We’ve been making calls, talking to our neighbors, and activating voters….

    AP – “Pandemic overwhelms Trump’s message in critical N. Carolina”:

    President Donald Trump is fighting to fill a Supreme Court vacancy, howling with unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud and warning that violent mobs are infiltrating the suburbs.

    But on a recent morning along Arbor Street, a peaceful tree-lined road with stately brick Colonials and Tudors near Winston-Salem, the women who are the targets of Trump’s messages were confronting much more tangible threats.

    As conservative activists canvassed the neighborhood, one young mother, a baby in her arms, shouted through a closed window that she was in quarantine. Across the street, another was focused on teaching her children their daily lessons at the kitchen table.

    And a few doors down, 49-year-old Christina Donnell, an independent who voted for Trump four years ago, said through a black face mask that Trump’s “terrible” handling of the pandemic and divisive leadership more broadly are her chief concerns.

    “It’s embarrassing to the country,” Donnell, a lawyer who previously lived in Washington, said of Trump’s leadership. “He’s an embarrassing role model.”

    In one of the nation’s most consequential swing states, Trump’s push to inject new dynamics into the final weeks of the 2020 election is being overshadowed by the frightening realities of everyday life during a pandemic. Trump and his allies hope the escalating Supreme Court nomination fight will help unify a fractured Republican Party that has lost its grip on college-educated suburban voters, particularly white women.

    But for many, the coronavirus and the related economic challenges are much more pressing issues….

    This line: “Back on Arbor Street, there were more lawn signs expressing support for Black Lives Matter than Trump.”

  59. says

    Update to #61 above:

    NBC News: According to police records, Parscale had 10 guns confiscated from his residence, including several rifles. Police described Parscale as being under the influence of alcohol.

    Police say they observed bruising on Parscale’s wife, Candace, and she stated he has hit her.

  60. says

    Guardian world liveblog:

    Tests for Covid-19 that show on-the-spot results in 15 to 30 minutes are about to be rolled out across the world, potentially saving many thousands of lives and slowing the pandemic in both poor and rich countries.

    In a triumph for a global initiative to get vital drugs and vaccines to fight the virus, 120m rapid antigen tests from two companies will be supplied to low- and middle-income countries for $5 (£3.90) each or even less.

    The tests, which look like a pregnancy test, with two blue lines displayed for positive, are read by a health worker. One test has received emergency approval from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the other is expected to get it shortly.

  61. says

    Channel 4:

    Tonight at 7pm [British time]:

    EXCLUSIVE: Channel 4 News investigation reveals a huge Trump campaign data leak, exposing how 3.5 million Black Americans were listed as ‘Deterrence’ – to try to stop them voting in 2016.

    Trailer at the link.

  62. says

    Joy Reid:

    Just going to note how calmly and professionally police handled this armed, agitated, possibly drunken man who allegedly had been violent toward his wife and waved a gun at her, had ten firearms in the house and **failed to comply** with their orders. Just gonna leave that there.

  63. says

    How Trump could (but won’t) defend his scandalous finances

    “[Trump] could, right now, make this entire mess go away by disclosing his hidden financial records. But he won’t, and it’s pretty obvious why not.”

    The revelations from New York Times’ latest reporting on Donald Trump’s finances are brutal, […] an over-leveraged fraud, a man who’s repeatedly failed as a businessman, and a possible tax-cheat.

    The Washington Post’s Catherine Rampell added this morning, “Trump claimed no tax liability for so many years because, according to the documents reviewed by the Times, he sustained mindbogglingly huge, chronic losses. The magnitude of these reported losses suggests he has been a thoroughly incompetent businessman or has been cheating Uncle Sam. Most likely both.”

    Yeah. I’m voting “both.”

    Making matters just a little worse, [Trump] has published a series of years-old tweets that suddenly make him look ridiculous. In 2012, for example, he published a gem complaining that then-President Barack Obama wasn’t paying enough in taxes, at a time when the Democrat was paying vastly more than Trump paid during the first year of his presidency.

    There’s also another tweet in which he complained about Obama having to pay foreign taxes — before we learned that Trump actually paid foreign governments more in taxes than he paid his own government — and a 2013 missive in which Trump pushed the idea that he “will pay more taxes in one year than you pay in your entire life.”

    At a White House press conference late yesterday afternoon, [Trump] denounced the revelations as “fake,” and insisted that he paid “a lot” of taxes. Asked if he would produce documentation to support his claims, Trump said he would not.

    This morning, [Trump] published a three-part Twitter thread, further pushing back against the reporting.

    “The Fake News Media, just like Election time 2016, is bringing up my Taxes & all sorts of other nonsense with illegally obtained information & only bad intent. I paid many millions of dollars in taxes but was entitled, like everyone else, to depreciation & tax credits. Also, if you look at the extraordinary assets owned by me, which the Fake News hasn’t, I am extremely under leveraged – I have very little debt compared to the value of assets. Much of this information is already on file, but I have long said that I may release Financial Statements, from the time I announced I was going to run for President, showing all properties, assets and debts. It is a very IMPRESSIVE Statement, and also shows that I am the only President on record to give up my yearly $400,000 plus Presidential Salary!”

    To be sure, the details matter. When Trump described the revelations as coming from “illegally obtained” materials, for example, it seemed to be an implicit acknowledgement that the documents the Times relied on are legitimate. Note, yesterday the president told reporters, “It’s fake news. It’s totally fake news. Made up. Fake.” Today, the news is “illegally obtained information.” Since these two points are in conflict, he probably ought to pick one.

    What’s more, [he] pointed to “the extraordinary assets” he owns, which leads to questions Trump isn’t prepared to answer. […] “Why are the assets valuable if the tax returns say they generate massive Net Operating Losses? The books are being cooked in two different directions.”

    But stepping back, I’m also stuck on the simple solution Trump is carefully avoiding. [He] could, right now, make this entire mess go away by disclosing his hidden financial records. If he’s telling the truth, and the Times isn’t, transparency would not only discredit the allegations against him, it would simultaneously make his critics look awful.

    As Jay Bookman put it, “If the NYT story is ‘fake news,’ Trump can prove it by releasing just one page of his 2016 and ’17 returns, that critical last page of Form 1040 that includes his signature and total tax paid. One page [and] he could thoroughly humiliate the media. He won’t, and we all know why.”

    [Trump’s] response, as usual, is that he could release the relevant proof, and he could humiliate his critics, but he’s choosing not to — because he’s under audit. And that might be persuasive were it not for reality: every modern American president, just as a matter of course, has been audited while in office. They’ve also released their tax returns to the public while under audit.

    What Trump is saying, in effect, is that the evidence against him is fake, and the counter-evidence that would exonerate him must remain secret for reasons that aren’t true. It’s a position that’s literally unbelievable.

  64. says

    SC @73: ““Breaking news: NO John durham interim report. No indictments before election – Bartiromo sources.”

    Ha! It’s amazing how many “October surprises” are not going Trump’s way. He has nothing to stop his slide into oblivion. All of the pre-election surprises planned by the Republicans, (including Senator Ron Johnson’s report), are duds … or, even better, they are anvils falling on the Trump campaign.

    Meanwhile, Joe Biden’s campaign released a new ad.
    See: https://twitter.com/TeamJoe/status/1310399932067729410

    Teachers paid $7,239
    Firefighters paid $5,283
    Nurses paid $10,216

    Donald Trump paid $750

    Teachers get a $250 maximum deduction for supplies they buy for their classrooms. Hair Furor claims a $70,000 deduction for hair care.

  65. says

    Campaign news that offers an interesting comparison:

    Team Biden is currently investing in 13 states, only three of which Hillary Clinton won four years ago. Team Trump, meanwhile, is investing in 12 states, 10 of which the Republican carried in 2016.

    Here’s an update on polling news:
    ABC News/Washington Post poll found Biden leading Trump nationally, 54% to 44%, among likely voters.
    In Wisconsin, a new NBC News/Marist poll also found Biden leading Trump among likely voters, 54% to 44%.
    Biden is ahead in Michigan, 52% to 44%, among likely voters.
    In Minnesota, the latest Star Tribune/MPR News/KARE 11 poll found Biden with a modest lead over Trump, 48% to 42% among likely voters. The latest USA Today/Suffolk poll, meanwhile, produced similar results in Minnesota, with Biden ahead, 47% to 40%.

  66. says

    SC @85, thank you for alerting us to the Channel 4 report. That’s going to further reduce Trump’s chances to attract Black voters.

    Here is some good news:

    The Senate Majority PAC, the main super PAC tied to the Senate Democratic leadership, is investing $6.5 million in support of Jaime Harrison’s (D) candidacy against Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) in South Carolina. (This is a classic watch-what-they-do-not-what-they-say moment: when partisans start spending money in a race, it’s proof that they see it as competitive.)

    A related note re Lindsey Graham:

    On a related note, Lindsey Graham has increasingly turned to Fox News as a fundraising vehicle. “I’m getting overwhelmed,” Graham told Sean Hannity in desperation late last week. “LindseyGraham.com. Help me. They’re killing me, money-wise. Help me. You helped me last week — help me again. LindseyGraham.com.”

    Now that’s a satisfying schadenfreude moment.

  67. says

    This is kind of funny, (also horrifying):

    Trump’s former deputy campaign manager, Rick Gates, has a new book coming out, which includes revelations that in June 2016, the then-candidate repeatedly brought up Ivanka Trump as a possible running mate. The campaign ultimately polled the idea twice, before Ivanka Trump told her father this would be a bad idea.

  68. says

    Biden would create stronger economic growth and more jobs, economists find.
    Washington Post link

    A Democratic sweep that puts Joe Biden in the White House and the party back in the Senate majority would produce 7.4 million more jobs and a faster economic recovery than if […] Trump retains power.

    That’s the conclusion Moody’s Analytics economists Mark Zandi and Bernard Yaros reach in a new analysis sizing up the two presidential candidates’ economic proposals.

    And they are not alone in finding a Biden win translating into brisker growth: Economists at Goldman Sachs and Oxford Economics conclude that even a version of Biden’s program that would have to shrink to pass the Senate would mean a faster rally back to prepandemic conditions.

    All three see the higher government spending a Biden administration would approve — for emergency relief programs, infrastructure, and an expanded social safety net — giving the economy a potent injection of stimulus.

    “In this scenario, the economy is expected to create 18.6 million jobs during Biden’s term as president, and the economy returns to full employment, with unemployment of just over 4%, by the second half of 2022,” they write. […]

    For those who want a complete picture, with more economic details, there’s more at the link.

  69. says

    Trump’s blustering, asinine statement claiming that Joe Biden is taking performance-enhancing drugs:

    I will be strongly demanding a Drug Test of Sleepy Joe Biden prior to, or after, the Debate on Tuesday night. Naturally, I will agree to take one also. His Debate performances have been record setting UNEVEN, to put it mildly. Only drugs could have caused this discrepancy???

    No, I’m not joking. People say he was on performance-enhancing drugs. A lot of people have said that. A lot of people have written that…. Take a look. Why don’t you just check it? You can check out the Internet. You’ll see.

    Here is the reply from the Biden campaign:

    Vice President Biden intends to deliver his debate answers in words. If the president thinks his best case is made in urine, he can have at it. We’d expect nothing less from Donald Trump, who pissed away the chance to protect the lives of 200K Americans when he didn’t make a plan to stop COVID-19.

  70. says

    Pennsylvania’s former GOP governor, Bush cabinet sec backs Biden

    There’s no precedent for the sheer volume of high-profile Republicans rallying behind the Dems’ ticket – and the list of Biden’s GOP backers keeps growing.

    As last week came to a close, six members of George W. Bush’s White House cabinet had thrown their support behind Joe Biden’s 2020 candidacy: former Secretary of State Colin Powell, former EPA Administrator Christie Todd Whitman, former Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, former Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman, former Transportation Secretary Mary Peters, and former Transportation Secretary Norm Mineta.

    Over the weekend, a seventh emerged. Tom Ridge, the former Pennsylvania governor and former Homeland Security secretary in the Bush/Cheney administration, wrote an op-ed for the Philadelphia Inquirer, announcing his support for Biden.

    So much is at stake. For me, voting is not just a privilege, but a responsibility. And this year, I believe the responsible vote is for Joe Biden. It’s a vote for decency. A vote for the rule of law. And a vote for honest and earnest leadership. It’s time to put country over party. It’s time to dismiss Donald Trump.

    Ridge, a lifelong Republican, added that the current GOP president “lacks the empathy, integrity, intellect, and maturity to lead. He sows division along political, racial, and religious lines. And he routinely dismisses the opinions of experts who know far more about the subject at hand than he does — intelligence, military, and public health.” […]

    A day earlier, two former Republican members of Congress — Oklahoma’s Mickey Edwards and Hawaii’s Charles Djou — also announced their support for Biden. In a Roll Call op-ed explaining their decision, Edwards noted that he’s “a founding trustee of the conservative Heritage Foundation think tank and a former chairman of the American Conservative Union.” That’s not a background one expects from a supporter of the Democratic presidential ticket.

    “[…] After four years of reckless Trumpian chaos and division, we believe it is time for a new president and ask that you join us.”

    In isolation, it might be easy to look past endorsements like these, but seen in context, an extraordinary pattern emerges. […]there’s simply no precedent in the American tradition for so many members of one major party publicly throwing their support to the nominee of the other party. […]

  71. says

    From Nancy Pelosi:

    This president appears to have over $400 million in debt, $420 million in debt. To whom? Different countries? What is the leverage they have?

    So for me, this is a national security question. […]

    This is a president who wants parades of military armament and military paying homage to him in front of the White House like he’s some kind of a dictator, and yet is he paying for any of that? The protection of our country?

    From comments posted by readers:

    This would be disqualifying for a security clearance of any kind if it were anybody else.
    ———————–
    There are a lot more people in the country who are at least moderately sane, and he’s going to lose even more independents than he already has. And those strange people who never can make up their minds, he’s going to lose a lot of them too.
    ————————
    The Trump Organization is a crime syndicate beholden to foreign money loans.
    ———————–
    October and November 2020 need to be designated by the House as “National Trump Humiliation Months”.
    ———————–
    Just we are all on the same page, this $400 million debt was a national security concern when running for president in 2015, when he asked for russia’s help in 2016, when he signed a tax break for himself 2017, when he kissed putin’s ass in Helsinki in 2018, and while he golfed away all of 2019 too. Republicans just couldn’t be bothered to ask, they didn’t want putin’s puppet to get more upset.
    ———————–
    Make it about the $71,000 in hair cuts he cheated on his taxes by deducting, and then pivot to the $140M he has spent having the tax payer fly him around to play golf.
    ———————–
    From “Esquire” the mag.
    Wayne Barrett, 1979 on Trump:
    “small and venal, with no ideas big enough to transcend profit”

  72. says

    DeJoy and Trump lose a third time in federal court as Postal Service works to undo sabotage

    For the third time in a matter of weeks, a federal court has warned that the sabotage at the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) at the hands of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy is politically motivated and aimed at crippling the USPS’ work in helping secure a free and fair election. U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan of Washington, D.C., ordered DeJoy to halt implementing the changes that have resulted in mail delivery delays nationwide. His is the third such ruling. A fourth case was heard last week in Pennsylvania.

    At this point, DeJoy is enjoined from continuing his “trucks on time” delivery restrictions that have upended the system, leaving mail behind for days and sometimes weeks and resulting in empty trucks leaving distribution centers when they couldn’t be loaded according to schedule. He has been ordered to stop removing mail sorting machines and collection boxes now by three courts, and by all accounts has halted these operational changes. This is as clear a demonstration of why the independent courts are so vital to the nation as you’re going to get, because every judge who has intervened has called out the blatant politicization of the institution by Trump and DeJoy. “It is clearly in the public interest to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, to ensure safe alternatives to in-person voting, and to require that the USPS comply with the law,” Sullivan wrote.

    Monday, Sep 28, 2020 · 11:48:05 AM MDT · Joan McCarter
    Make it four out of four—Pennsylvania Judge Gerald McHugh joined his colleagues in stopping the USPS’s changes, writing “irreparable harm will result” in the election, and to the agency in general if they are not halted.

    […] Judge Stanley Bastian in Washington State was even more pointed. DeJoy and Trump, he wrote, are “involved in a politically motivated attack on the efficiency of the Postal Service” and said “this attack on the Postal Service is likely to irreparably harm the states’ ability to administer the 2020 general election.” […]

    I finally received my mail-in ballot today. I feel better now about mailing it back once I’ve completed it. Still, vote early! That’s the right thing to do in this circumstance.

  73. says

    The New York Times’s major new story reveals that Trump had political, legal, and financial reasons to hold back the returns.

    […] Buettner, Craig, and McIntire sussed out that mysterious write-offs for consulting fees on certain Trump projects matched the amounts of payments to Trump’s daughter Ivanka […]

    One major theme of the Times piece is that the IRS audit of Trump is extremely serious, and that he could end up owing the US government more than $100 million. So reporters’ scrutiny of his tax returns might not just be politically problematic for Trump — they could also be financially and legally problematic. […]

  74. says

    From Wonkette: Looks Like Trump Paid Ivanka $747,622 To Consult Herself

    One of the shadier revelations in the New York Times’s report on Trump’s tax returns is that it sure looks like he paid Ivanka $747,622 in “consulting fees,” which he then wrote off as a business expense. The consulting fees were paid in connection with hotel projects in Hawaii and Vancouver … that she was already managing as an executive of the Trump organization.

    So it looks like she was doing her regular job, for which she got paid $480,000 a year, and then got paid $747,622 to consult herself on … her job?

    The records show that between 2010 and 2018, Donald Trump wrote off $26 million in consulting fees, which he claimed as “business expenses.” This usually amounted to about 1/5 the cost of whatever project he was on at the time, and for the most part, no one has any idea who that money actually went to. (This is also considered “quite large” and even an automatic red flag.) However, the records also show a payment of $747,622, and Ivanka Trump reported that exact amount as a payment from the consulting company that she co-owns, so it’s pretty clear that particular chunk of change went to her.

    As sketchy as it seems, it’s not clear that this is totally illegal. Rich people are very good at getting out of paying taxes in ways that won’t get them sent straight to prison. Vulture capitalists who take over struggling companies are known to do the same kind of thing while they are running said companies into the ground. Michael Ferro, the former chairman of Tronc, the company that owned the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times and the New York Daily News, hired the consulting firm that he also owns for $15 million a year, “to provide certain management expertise and technical services.” Also to allow him to spend more money on using his private jet without needing to do an SEC filing, as a large portion of this fee is meant to go towards covering that particular expense. Similar things happened with Toys’R’Us and Sears.

    However, as the Times notes, people have gotten in trouble with the IRS before for doing similar things to evade taxes:

    The I.R.S. has pursued civil penalties against some business owners who devised schemes to avoid taxes by paying exorbitant fees to related parties who were not in fact independent contractors. A 2011 tax court case centered on the I.R.S.’s denial of almost $3 million in deductions for consulting fees the partners in an Illinois accounting firm paid themselves via corporations they created. The court concluded that the partners had structured the fees to “distribute profits, not to compensate for services.”

    There could also be another purpose here. It gives Trump the deduction, which he wants, but it also allows him to funnel money to his kid without triggering a gift tax/estate tax. Right now, anything he leaves to them over $11 million (both he and Melania can leave them $11 million each) will be taxed, federally, at 40 percent. As we learned back in the day, this is something his own father did in order to get out of paying estate taxes on what he was leaving Donald and his siblings. […]

  75. says

    UPDATED STORY: Police release body worn camera video of the Parscale arrest.”

    There’s no video at the link, but there’s a still of an officer basically tackling him.

    From the NBC report:

    …Skaggs also noted in his report that he saw several bruises on Candice Parscale’s arm. She said she suffered those “a few days ago during a physical altercation with Bradley, which she did not report,” according to Skaggs.

    Police eventually spoke to Parscale over a landline telephone and talked him into walking out of the house, police said. But as he walked out, police yelled “get on the ground” five times, and he didn’t comply, according to a report written by Sgt. Matthew Moceri.

    Parscale is about 6-foot-6 and Moceri described him as “substantially larger than I am.”

    “I initiated a double leg takedown”, Moceri wrote. “I lowered my level and wrapped both arms around the subject’s lower body while applying forward pressure to his mid section with my forehead.”

    Multiple police officers on the scene reported that Parscale smelled of alcohol.

  76. says

    Hillary Clinton was right:

    During the first presidential debate in 2016, Hillary Clinton speculated that Donald Trump was keeping his taxes secret because he didn’t want Americans to know that “maybe he’s not as rich as he says he is,” “maybe he’s not as charitable as he claims to be,” and maybe “he’s paid nothing in federal taxes.” […]

    The Times article supports the assumption that Trump ran for president in 2015 — a race he never expected to win — to revive his flagging fortunes. That is, in fact, what Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, told Congress last year: “Mr. Trump would often say this campaign was going to be the greatest infomercial in political history. . . . The campaign for him was always a marketing opportunity.”

    Once Trump unexpectedly won, the marketing opportunities only increased for the most unethical president in our history. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) just released a report showing that Trump has 3,400 conflicts of interest. He has profited from his presidency by making repeated visits to his own properties with his vast entourage in tow, while lobbyists, political groups and foreign governments have also paid to stay at his properties. […]

    Trump is not just less wealthy than he claims; he is up to his eyeballs in debt.

    The Times reports that Trump is on the hook for $421 million in debt, much of which is coming due soon. As former FBI agent Josh Campbell points out, that much debt “disqualifies most people from obtaining a government security clearance,” because the U.S. government “views this as a vulnerability and a point of leverage for foreign adversaries seeking access to classified information.”

    The Times account did not specify who Trump’s debtors are and sheds little light on his business connections with Russia. It did note that he made more money from holding the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow in 2013 — $2.3 million — than from any other pageant. That money came from the Agalarov family, which is close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, and which lost $10 million on the transaction.

    This should serve as a reminder that special counsel Robert S. Mueller III refused to look into Trump’s financial dealings with Russia, which Trump said was a red line for him. That investigation still needs to be conducted. But even the bare facts revealed by the Times show why both former FBI agent Peter Strzok and former director of national intelligence Daniel Coats suspect that (as Coats told Bob Woodward) “Putin had something on Trump.” […]

    Washington Post link

  77. says

    From the Washington Post: Donald Trump, facing financial ruin, sought control of his elderly father’s estate.

    The family fight was epic. “It was basically taking the whole estate and giving it to Donald,” Trump’s sister said in secretly recorded audio.

    Donald Trump was facing financial disaster in 1990 when he came up with an audacious plan to exert control of his father’s estate.

    His creditors threatened to force him into personal bankruptcy, and his first wife, Ivana, wanted “a billion dollars” in a divorce settlement, Donald Trump said in a deposition. So he sent an accountant and a lawyer to see his father, Fred Trump Sr., who was told he needed to immediately sign a document changing his will per his son’s wishes, according to depositions from family members.

    It was a fragile moment for the senior Trump, who was 85 years old and had built a real estate empire worth hundreds of millions of dollars. He would soon be diagnosed with cognitive problems, such as being unable to recall things he was told 30 minutes earlier or remember his birth date, according to his medical records, which were included in a related court case.

    Now, those records and other sources of information about the episode obtained by The Washington Post reveal the extent of Fred Trump Sr.’s cognitive impairment and how Donald Trump’s effort to change his father’s will tore apart the Trump family, which continues to reverberate today. […]

    Barry said that when she was asked by her father in 1990 to review the proposed changes, she consulted with her husband, John Barry, an attorney familiar with estate law who died in 2000. “I show it to John, and he says, ‘Holy s–t.’ It was basically taking the whole estate and giving it to Donald,” Barry said.

    Barry helped convince her father to reject her brother’s effort. As a result, Donald Trump “didn’t talk to me for two years,” Barry said […]

    Underlying the episode about the will was a troubling question: Did Donald Trump try to take advantage of his father at a time when the senior Trump was in the early stages of dementia? In a deposition, Donald said he had no idea his father was suffering from dementia, saying his father was “very, very sharp” at the time. But medical records and accounts by two of his siblings indicate the elder Trump’s cognitive abilities were already declining. […]

    the debts kept mounting, and Trump relied even more heavily on the man who had repeatedly bailed him out: his father. Fred Trump Sr. sent a lawyer to one of his son’s casinos with a check for $3.35 million, which paid for 670 gambling chips worth $5,000 a piece, according to a New Jersey regulator’s report. The maneuver funneled desperately needed cash into the casino. […]

    Fearing that his future inheritance would be seized, Donald Trump came up with his plan for an amendment, known as a codicil, to his father’s will.

    While Trump had been expected to be the lead executor in an initial version of the will, this amendment would have broadened that role, according to Mary Trump’s account in her book. She wrote that the codicil would have put his siblings “at Donald’s financial mercy, dependent on his approval for the smallest transaction.” […]

    More at the link.

    Trump worked hard to cheat members of his own family. Do you think he would not also scam anyone else?

  78. says

    The NYT report made me think about that 2018 WaPo piece about Trump buying UK properties with cash. I remember reading a quote from Eric Trump about how they were just so flush with cash and thinking it was total bullshit.

    I missed this great MoJo article last month about the Scottish properties (lots of details I didn’t know previously) – “The Biggest Trump Financial Mystery? Where He Came Up With the Cash for His Scottish Resorts.”:

    …He spent nearly $13 million purchasing the land for the Aberdeenshire course, and as much as $50 million developing the property. All, apparently, in cash. According to Trump, after purchasing Turnberry in 2014 for $60 million from a holding company owned by the government of Dubai, he dished out as much as $200 million rehabbing the venerable property.

    Neither has ever turned a profit….

    The size of Trump’s wealth is a source of great debate, but two things are fairly well known—the period between 2006 and 2014 included some of his lowest points, financially speaking, and even in the best of times, the amount he splurged in Scotland would be a ton of cash for him to have on hand, let alone spend so freely. And Trump made these Scottish investments amid a $400 million cash spending spree, documented by the Washington Post, in which he also purchased a golf club in Ireland, five courses in the United States, and several pricy homes.

    The New Yorker estimated that Trump would have spent half his available cash on the purchase of Turnberry alone, concluding there wasn’t “enough money coming into Trump’s known business to cover the massive outlay he spent” renovating the property.

    And the mystery deepens. Martyn McLaughlin, a Glasgow-based reporter for the Scotsman newspaper, discovered that in 2008 Trump approached a Scottish bank asking for a $63 million loan to buy and renovate a historic hotel overlooking the final hole of St. Andrews, the most famous golf course in the world. The terms he proposed were so ludicrously favorable to him that bank executives concluded Trump was asking for a “free loan,” and doing business with the developer was “too risky.” Meanwhile, Trump was touting his “very strong” cash position and his representatives were telling the Scottish public that he had more than $1 billion available to spend in their country. (The Trump Organization did not respond to questions from Mother Jones.)

    This February, a group of Scottish Parliament members began making the case that Scotland should use an investigative tool under UK law called an Unexplained Wealth Order (UWO) to scrutinize Trump’s transactions. It can’t be wielded against just anyone; it’s designed to make inquiries into the finances of “politically exposed persons” suspected of money laundering. It has been invoked several times in London; for example, examining how the wife of a jailed ex–Azerbaijani government official had managed to afford a 16 million-pound shopping spree at Harrods.

    Patrick Harvie, a Scottish Parliament member and co-leader of Scotland’s Green Party, has led the campaign for a UWO against Trump. “This is not someone who inspires confidence in sound finances and sound business,” he says. “The fact that there are many allegations floating around that the US authorities have investigated, whether it’s in relation to Russia or his political dealings domestically—you don’t have to sniff the air very long to see there’s something that smells.”…

  79. says

    SC @97, thanks for that link.

    The report is really powerful. Channel 4 did their homework.

    What is especially shocking is how well the “deterrence” or voter suppression efforts worked. Shocking.

    Facebook comes off as looking very bad indeed. Ditto for Cambridge Analytical. Ditto for the Republican campaign. Facebook is still not cooperating with researchers/journalists. Facebook should be ashamed.

    […] It reveals that 3.5 million Black Americans were categorised by Donald Trump’s campaign as ‘Deterrence’ – voters they wanted to stay home on election day.

    Tonight, civil rights campaigners said the evidence amounted to a new form of voter “suppression” and called on Facebook to disclose ads and targeting information that has never been made public. […]

  80. tomh says

    Pennsylvania GOP asks Supreme Court to halt mail-in ballot extension
    Fadel Allassan

    Republicans in Pennsylvania on Monday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to halt a major state court ruling that extended the deadlines for mail-in ballots to several days after the election, The Morning Call reports.

    It’s the first election-related test for the Supreme Court since the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and could decide the fate of thousands of ballots in a crucial swing state that President Trump won in 2016. What the court decides could signal how it would deal with similar election-related litigation in other states.

    A Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision moved the deadline for absentee ballots to be counted from 8 p.m. on Election Day to 5 p.m. the following Friday, Nov. 6. The U.S. Supreme Court granting a stay would result in a return to the original deadline.

    “In the middle of an ongoing election, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has altered the rules of the election and extended the 2020 General Election beyond the ‘Time’ established by the state legislature,” wrote the state’s Republican Senate leadership, which filed the motion.

    “In doing so, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has violated federal law and the federal Constitution.”

    The court also allowed counties to use drop boxes for people to personally turn in their ballots — a method President Trump has frequently attacked.

    This only affects the counting of the ballots, they still have to be postmarked by election day. Many states require postmarks by election day and then counting them as long as it takes. Oregon has done it for 25 years.

  81. says

    Trump’s Seventy-Three-Million-Dollar Tax Refund Is the Biggest Outrage of All

    New Yorker link

    […] the self-proclaimed billionaire paid a grand total of seven hundred and fifty dollars in federal income taxes in 2016, when he was elected President, and the same sum in 2017, his first year in the White House. In ten of the fifteen years before 2016, he paid no federal income taxes at all. If you haven’t yet read the lengthy Times report, I won’t spoil it by spilling all the juicy bits. Instead, I’ll focus on one that is arguably the most Trumpian of all.

    […] Between 1984 and 2004, he used actual losses, loss write-downs from previous years, and other accounting dodges to pay virtually nothing in federal income taxes. From 2005 to 2007 […] he did finally pay about seventy million dollars to the Internal Revenue Service. But then, in 2010, he demanded a full refund for those tax payments. And the I.R.S. acceded to his request: it paid him $72.9 million, including interest. This 2010 refund seems to be at the center of an auditing dispute between Trump and the tax authorities that has dragged on for almost a decade. It also appears to be the money that Michael Cohen, Trump’s former personal lawyer, was referring to in his 2019 testimony to Congress, when he recalled Trump showing him a huge check from the U.S. Treasury and remarked that Trump “could not believe how stupid the government was for giving someone like him that much money back.”

    […] the basic outline is fairly easy to grasp. He hates paying taxes. To avoid doing it, he will resort to virtually anything—and that includes exploiting his many business failures.

    In the late nineteen-eighties and early nineteen-nineties, Trump’s businesses, some of which he had greatly overpaid for when he bought them, racked up more than a billion dollars in losses, and four of them ended up filing for bankruptcy: three casinos in Atlantic City and his Plaza Hotel, in New York. In 1995, as he emerged from this wreckage, he declared a tax loss of more than nine hundred million dollars, which the I.R.S. allowed him to use in subsequent years as an offset against any profits his businesses made. So even in years when the Trump Organization did well, his loss carryovers reduced his tax bill to zero.

    […] this basic pattern of heavy losses in parts of the Trump empire offsetting substantial earnings in other parts of it has continued for the past decade and a half. Since 2000, for example, Trump’s fifteen golf courses have together generated losses of $315.6 million, even as other Trump enterprises—including Trump Tower, overseas licensing deals, and an investment in two office towers operated by Vornado Realty Trust—have generated substantial revenues. […]

    The only notable exceptions to this pattern of minimal tax payments were the years 2005, 2006, and 2007, when “The Apprentice,” which Trump co-produced with NBC, was doing very well, and the big accounting loss that he had carried over from the nineteen-nineties had run out. “With no prior-year losses left to reduce his taxable income, he paid substantial federal income taxes for the first time in his life: a total of $70.1 million,” the Times report says. This money didn’t stay in the coffers of the U.S. government for very long.

    […] “He also received $21.2 million in state and local refunds, which often piggyback on federal filings.”

    Trump has never been short on chutzpah. At some point, though, someone in the auditing department of the I.R.S. seems to have decided that this latest maneuver was over the line. Under tax law, refunds of more than two million dollars require approval from Congress’s Joint Committee on Taxation, which also got involved. […]

    It isn’t clear why the dispute has dragged on for so long, but the Times highlights one intriguing possibility. In 2009, Trump finally gave up ownership of his financially stricken casinos in Atlantic City, which had filed for bankruptcy again. In the same year, his tax returns included “a declaration of more than $700 million in business losses that he had not been allowed to use in prior years,” the Times says. Proprietors who abandon loss-making businesses are allowed to claim some of the losses they incurred for tax purposes, but they have to give up the businesses entirely and not receive anything of value in return. Trump got something. When Trump Entertainment Resorts was restructured and placed under new ownership, he received five per cent of the stock in the successor company. […]

    […] Trump’s businesses “reported cash on hand of $34.7 million in 2018, down 40 percent from five years earlier,” the Times report says. In theory, he could take out another bank loan to pay a big tax bill. During the past decade, though, he’s already incurred heavy borrowings. He “is personally responsible for loans and other debts totaling $421 million, with most of it coming due within four years,” the Times notes. “Should he win re-election, his lenders could be placed in the unprecedented position of weighing whether to foreclose on a sitting president.”

    […] Whatever happens on November 3rd, the Times story confirms that Trump has been playing the I.R.S. for decades. It also shows that, in the U.S. tax framework, there is one set of rules for the majority and another for the very rich. […] If anything good comes out of the whole thing, it’s that the arguments for meaningful reforms of the tax laws and tougher enforcement are now stronger than ever. Of course, Trump will have to be voted out of office for change to happen.

  82. says

    Ignoring reality, Trump gets Russian interference backward (again)

    The good news: Trump acknowledged Russian interference in our 2016 elections. The bad news: he thinks Russia tried to undermine him, reality be damned.

    At a campaign rally in Virginia on Friday night, Donald Trump did something highly unusual for him [he] acknowledged Russian interference in the U.S. elections four years ago.

    That’s the good news. The bad news is, he still managed to get reality backward.

    “You have to go home and you’ve got to read these documents. And they now prove that Russia interfered in 2016. Unfortunately, it was on behalf of Hillary Clinton, not Trump.”

    It was just last month when the Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee released its comprehensive findings on Russia’s 2016 attack, and as regular readers may recall, it brought several important elements into sharp focus.

    The bipartisan findings left no doubt that Vladimir Putin’s government targeted U.S. elections for the express purpose of helping elevate Donald Trump to power. The Republican’s political operation sought Russian assistance, embraced Russian assistance, capitalized on Russian assistance, lied about Russian assistance, and took steps to obstruct the investigation into Russian assistance.

    […] The Intelligence Committee’s report at one point literally described a “direct tie between senior Trump Campaign officials and the Russian intelligence services.”

    And yet, there was [Trump], pointing to “documents” that don’t exist in reality, conceding that Russia targeted our election, but claiming that the Kremlin actually tried to help the one candidate that Russia went to great lengths to defeat. […]

    Update: Just as I was posting this, Politico had an interesting report noting Trump’s meandering press conference from yesterday in which he repeatedly accused Hunter Biden of receiving millions of dollars from the wife of Moscow’s late mayor Yury Luzhkov. The Republican asked why “nobody even has any question about it.”

    But as the article added, “Trump himself sought to do business with Luzhkov’s government in the late 1990s, according to press reports from the time, SEC filings and comments made by Luzhkov last year. His attempts to build an underground mall in Moscow and renovate two major hotels there were part of a broader push to secure high-profile real-estate deals in Russia, which Trump was still pursuing as recently as 2016 with a proposal for a Trump Tower Moscow.”

  83. says

    Pressed on a peaceful transition, Trump keeps using the word ‘but’

    Every time Donald Trump says he’ll honor a peaceful transition of power in the event of a defeat, he adds an important word: “But.”

    Even jaded observers were taken aback last week when Donald Trump refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power in the event of an election defeat. [He] added that if officials would simply “get rid of the ballots,” there would be “a continuation” of his hold on power.

    A day later,[…] he reiterated his position.

    “I want a smooth, beautiful transition, but they don’t add the other part: But it’s got to be an honest vote…. We do want a very friendly transition. But we don’t want to be cheated…. We’re not going to stand for it. We’re not going to stand for it.”

    And then over the weekend, he echoed the line from a White House podium.

    “We all believe in transition. We believe not only in transition, but a very friendly. But when the ballots and when the system is rigged, which it is; obviously it is.”

    […] Trump clearly doesn’t believe any of this is “crazy.” He balked at the idea of peaceful transfer of power, then he did it again, and then he did it again. This may have been an off-the-cuff comment when the president first uttered it, but it’s since become the official White House position.

    Trump is the first president in American history to ever publicly resist the idea of a peaceful transfer of power […]

    Indeed, one of the most important words in [Trump’s] rhetoric on this is “but”: he’ll honor the results, “but” only if he thinks the elections are fair. Trump will respect the outcome, “but” only if he considers the process honest. The president will abide by voters’ decision, “but” not if he can concoct baseless ideas about his opponents cheating. He wants a smooth process, “but” the system is rigged.

    Trump can’t support or substantiate any of his ridiculous attempts to undermine public confidence in the results. [He] can, however, use these ludicrous theories to justify rejecting election results he doesn’t like […]

  84. says

    Barrett spoke at program designed to promote ‘distinctly Christian worldview’ in the law

    Judge Amy Coney Barrett, Donald Trump’s choice for some last-minute Supreme Court packing, spoke five times at a training program for young Christian law school students put on by a right-wing extremist organization. But, while it’s certainly troubling that a likely Supreme Court justice repeatedly participated in an event intended to teach law students a “distinctly Christian worldview in every area of law” including “how God can use them as judges, law professors and practicing attorneys to help keep the door open for the spread of the Gospel in America,” the significance of the event goes well beyond Barrett.

    […] over the years, the reading lists for the fellowship have included characterizations such as the idea “that homosexuals once had to remain in the closet was a sign of sanity in the society.” […]

    Barrett’s participation in this event is in line with everything we know about her: troubling, but not a bit surprising. But it’s also a marker of success of the organized and well-funded right-wing effort to dominate the legal profession—an effort liberals desperately need to emulate. It’s not just about confirming judges. It’s about supporting people from law school through their careers to the point where they do become influential federal judges.

    The Blackstone Fellowship, run by the Alliance Defending Freedom, has trained more than 2,400 law students. It pays law professors, like Amy Coney Barrett was when she spoke there, thousands of dollars for their presentations. People go on from the Blackstone Fellowship to become judges, including recently confirmed judges on the 9th Circuit and the 4th Circuit Courts of Appeals. This is an incredible feat of organization to contest the concept of separation of church and state […]

    the thing about Amy Coney Barrett isn’t that she is such a unique figure. It’s that she’s a perfect product of a long-term organizing project on the right.

  85. says

    Guardian – “Amnesty to halt work in India due to government ‘witch-hunt'”:

    Amnesty International has been forced to shut down operations in India and lay off all staff after the Indian government froze its bank accounts.

    The Indian enforcement directorate, an agency that investigates economic crimes, froze the accounts of Amnesty’s Indian arm this month after the group published two reports highly critical of the government’s human rights record.

    Amnesty said the move was the culmination of a two-year campaign of harassment by the home affairs ministry, and more broadly part of an “incessant witch-hunt” of human rights groups by the Hindu nationalist government of the prime minister, Narendra Modi.

    Amnesty’s departure starkly illustrates the shrinking space for dissent in India, where critics of Modi’s Bharatiya Janata party face investigation and detention, often under draconian terrorism laws. It also comes at a time when human rights violations, particularly against India’s 200 million Muslims, are on the rise.

    This crackdown on critics – including lawyers, activists and students – has increased during the coronavirus pandemic. Courts are only partly functioning and protest gatherings have been banned.

    Avinash Kumar, the executive director of Amnesty International India, said: “Treating human rights organisations like criminal enterprises and dissenting individuals as criminals without any credible evidence is a deliberate attempt by the enforcement directorate and government of India to stoke a climate of fear and dismantle the critical voices in India.”

    He added: “It reeks of fear and repression, ignores the human cost to this crackdown, particularly during a pandemic, and violates people’s basic rights.”

    Russia is the only other country where Amnesty has been forced to completely close down after government interference.

    There has been a particular focus from the Indian government on organisations perceived to be funded from overseas. This month, it tightened restrictions on foreign-funded charities and has previously frozen the bank accounts of Greenpeace and raided the offices of human rights lawyers….

  86. says

    Here’s a link to the September 29 Guardian coronavirus world liveblog.

    From there:

    Israeli health minister Yuli Edelstein said today that there was “no way” the country’s second nationwide lockdown would be lifted after three weeks as originally planned.

    “There’s no way that in 10 days we’ll be lifting all the restrictions and saying it’s all over, everything is fine,” he told public broadcaster Kan.

    Israel imposed its second lockdown on 18 September after the infection rate soared. It was originally scheduled to end on October 10.

    On Friday, the measures were tightened after the initial eight days failed to bring down the infection rate.

    Beyond shuttering schools and cultural events, the lockdown has closed the vast majority of workplaces, markets and places of worship, AFP reports.

    Parliament was meanwhile due to debate a regulation limiting demonstrations, which could curb weekly protests that have been held against prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s leadership for months.

    Convoys of vehicles were meanwhile heading to Jerusalem to protest the possible restrictions on demonstrations.

    On Saturday night, Netanyahu acknowledged “mistakes” in the reopening of Israel’s educational system and economy following the first lockdown earlier this year.

    “There might be some changes for the better, but this time, as part of the the learning process from what happened in April, we’ll exit (the lockdown) gradually, responsibly,” Edelstein said. “The opening of the economy and our lives will be gradual and slow.”

    Israel has recorded more than 233,000 infections and 1,507 deaths in a population of 9 million.

  87. says

    NBC – “Breonna Taylor grand jury recording to be made public”:

    A recording of the grand jury in the Breonna Taylor case will be made public after Kentucky’s Attorney General Daniel Cameron agreed to comply with a judge’s ruling to release it.

    Cameron added that he was concerned that the release planned for Wednesday could hamper the ongoing federal investigation and lead to a “poisoning of the jury pool.”

    “The grand jury is meant to be a secretive body,” Cameron said in a statement released Monday night. “It’s apparent that the public interest in this case isn’t going to allow that to happen.”

    The move follows the filing of a motion in Louisville, Kentucky, by a grand jury member to have the sealed transcripts and records released “so that the truth may prevail.”

    The motion, filed in Jefferson County five days after the jury’s decision was announced, also asked that the jurors be allowed to speak about the case as a matter of public interest….

  88. KG says

    Atlas is hair furor’s hand-picked Covid-19 advisor, despite due to having no qualifications.- blf@69

    FTFY!

  89. says

    Via New York Times email briefing:

    A juror in the Breonna Taylor case said the Kentucky attorney general misrepresented the grand jury’s deliberations and failed to offer the panel the option of indicting the two officers who fatally shot the young woman, according to the juror’s lawyer.

    IMO there can never really be justice for Breonna Taylor, but this? This is about not even trying for the smallest, most basic accountability.

  90. says

    Axios – “Exclusive: Biden campaign blasts Facebook for ‘regression'”:

    On the eve of the first presidential debate, the Biden campaign is pressing Facebook to remove posts by President Trump — and slamming the social media company as “the nation’s foremost propagator of disinformation about the voting process.”

    …”Rather than seeing progress, we have seen regression,” campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon wrote to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a three-page letter obtained by Axios.

    …”Facebook’s continued promise of future action is serving as nothing more than an excuse for inaction,” the letter says.

    …”We will be calling out those failures as they occur over the coming 36 days.”

    …”By now Mr. Trump clearly understands that Facebook will not hold him to their clearly stated policies,” the letter states.

    Flashback: In June, Biden’s campaign published a petition and a letter to Zuckerberg demanding that the social media giant implement stronger misinformation rules and hold politicians, including President Trump, accountable for spreading lies.

    (Axios is super annoying.)

  91. says

    The Atlantic – “Trump Secretly Mocks His Christian Supporters”:

    …The president’s alliance with religious conservatives has long been premised on the contention that he takes them seriously, while Democrats hold them in disdain. In speeches and interviews, Trump routinely lavishes praise on conservative Christians, casting himself as their champion….

    But in private, many of Trump’s comments about religion are marked by cynicism and contempt, according to people who have worked for him. Former aides told me they’ve heard Trump ridicule conservative religious leaders, dismiss various faith groups with cartoonish stereotypes, and deride certain rites and doctrines held sacred by many of the Americans who constitute his base.

    Reached for comment, a White House spokesman said that “people of faith know that President Trump is a champion for religious liberty and the sanctity of life, and he has taken strong actions to support them and protect their freedom to worship. The president is also well known for joking and his terrific sense of humor, which he shares with people of all faiths.”

    From the outset of his brief political career, Trump has viewed right-wing evangelical leaders as a kind of special-interest group to be schmoozed, conned, or bought off, former aides told me. Though he faced Republican primary opponents in 2016 with deeper religious roots—Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee—Trump was confident that his wealth and celebrity would attract high-profile Christian surrogates to vouch for him.

    “His view was ‘I’ve been talking to these people for years; I’ve let them stay at my hotels—they’re gonna endorse me. I played the game,’” said a former campaign adviser to Trump, who, like others quoted in this story, spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe private conversations.

    It helped that Trump seemed to feel a kinship with prosperity preachers—often evincing a game-recognizes-game appreciation for their hustle….

    The conservative Christian elites Trump surrounds himself with have always been more clear-eyed about his lack of religiosity than they’ve publicly let on….

    The Faustian nature of the religious right’s bargain with Trump has not always been quite so apparent to rank-and-file believers….

    Trump’s public appeals to Jewish voters have been similarly discordant with his private comments….

    One religious group that the Trump campaign is keenly fixated on this year is Mormons. In 2016, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints rejected the Republican ticket in unprecedented numbers. To win them over in 2020, the campaign has made Donald Trump Jr. its envoy, sending him to campaign in Utah and other Mormon-heavy states. The president’s son has cultivated relationships with high-profile conservatives in the faith. Earlier this year, he invoked Mormon pioneers in a call with reporters to describe his father’s “innovative spirit.”

    In fact, according to two senior Utah Republicans with knowledge of the situation, Don Jr. has been so savvy in courting Latter-day Saints—expressing interest in the Church’s history, reading from the Book of Mormon—that he’s left some influential Republicans in the state with the impression that he may want to convert. (A spokesman for Don Jr. did not respond to a request for comment.)

    I’ve been curious about the president’s opinion of Mormonism ever since I interviewed him in 2014 at Mar-a-Lago. During our conversation, Trump began to strenuously argue that Mitt Romney’s exotic faith had cost him the 2012 election. When I interrupted to inform him that I’m also a Mormon, he quickly changed tack—extolling my Church’s many virtues, and then switching subjects. (He remained committed to his theory about 2012: During his September 2016 meeting with evangelical leaders, Trump repeatedly asserted that “Christians” didn’t turn out for Romney “because of the Mormon thing.”) I’ve always wondered what Trump might have said if I hadn’t cut him off.

    When I shared this story with Cohen, he laughed. Trump, he said, frequently made fun of Romney’s faith in private—and was especially vicious when he learned about the religious undergarments worn by many Latter-day Saints. “Oh my god,” Cohen said. “How many times did he bring up Mitt Romney and the undergarments …”

  92. beholder says

    Hello, all. Long-time reader, first-time poster, and this thread seems open enough topic-wise with enough activity to make introductions.

    But don’t mind me. Carry on.

  93. says

    Ben Collins:

    If you’re hearing a ton about The Clinton Foundation out of the blue from the conservative internet today, it’s because Q spent all day posting about that (and vague nods to pedophilia).

    Users aren’t identifying as QAnon supporters, part of their new “camouflage” strategy.

    Here’s more about the QAnon “digital camouflage” strategy, which they’re using to try to launder Q’s wackadoo conspiracy theories onto the civilian internet without the movement’s toxic branding.

    [link at the link]

    Is it weird they’re attacking the Clintons with a month left to go in an election against Joe Biden? Yes! Is logic the point of this thing? Lol, no.

  94. says

    Trump being foolish and ignorant about ballots … but with a new twist (still wrong, but wrong in a different way):

    At a White House Q&A over the weekend, Donald Trump pointed to the Democrats’ Iowa caucuses as part of his case against 2020 balloting, arguing, “Many ballots were missing.” In reality, there were no ballots in the Iowa caucuses, making this line of attack quite foolish.

    Link

  95. says

    Projection from Giuliani? Is he projecting about himself, or about Trump?

    Giuliani Baselessly Claims Biden Has Dementia Ahead Of First Debate

    […] “Look, the man has dementia,” Giuliani claimed of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on “Fox & Friends” early Tuesday. “There is no doubt about it. I have talked to doctors. I’ve had them look at 100 different tapes of his — five years ago and today.” […]

    The comments came as Giuliani predicted that Biden would win the debate “by the crooked media,” adding that he would not judge the presidential debates on their terms.

    The Trump loyalist then plowed ahead with a claim that appeared to have no anchor in reality, suggesting not only that Biden couldn’t recite the Pledge of Allegiance, also offering the vague claim that the Democratic nominee “can’t do numbers.”

    “He actually displays symptoms that two gerontologists told me are classic symptoms of middle level dementia,” Giuliani said.

    But the clips Giuliani appeared to reference were edited by the Trump campaign and its allies in an apparent attempt to make Biden look confused or senile, an effort that has been made a key yet unfounded campaign attack against the Democratic nominee. [And that’s a tactic that the Russians have picked up and are amplifying.]

    […] Giuliani, who loyally distracts from the President’s rhetorical missteps, swooped in further to sow doubt about the Democratic candidate’s mental acuity.

    “I think the president is quite right to say maybe [Biden] is taking Adderall or some kind of an attention-deficit disorder thing,” Giuliani said.

    For months, Trump has challenged the mental sharpness of his opponent.

    […] Trump told reporters on Sunday that Giuliani and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) were helping him prepare for the upcoming presidential debate, which will be moderated by Fox News’ Chris Wallace on Tuesday night. [tonight] […].

  96. says

    Follow-up to comment 135.

    Comments from readers of the article:

    so he’s admitting that Trump uses Adderall and has dementia… [Yep. That was my impression too.]
    ———————-
    Every accusation is an admission.
    ———————-
    They’ve chosen the dementia and drugs line because they have no other way of accounting for Biden being so fit and on top of things otherwise.
    ————————
    Rudy’s sole “job” in this administration is to go on the TeeVee box and say the things that Donald wants to hear on the TeeVee box. Rudy is, thus, a direct window on whatever Don most loathes or fears.
    ————————-
    Literally anyone else on this planet would be a better messenger for “dementia” allegations than Rudes.
    ————————-
    It’s going to be interesting to see how they explain Trump getting destroyed in the “debate” by a man with mid level dementia who can’t even do numbers.
    ————————
    He ought to ask his pal Trump about confusing 9/11 by calling them the “attacks of 7/11”.
    ————————–
    If Trump does accuse Biden of dementia this evening, I hope Biden turns it right around by saying how much Trump is projecting and then citing Trump’s “windmills cause cancer”, “the Continental Army had airports”, and “Frederick Douglas is still alive”. Let alone Trump feebly walking down the ramp at West Point and needing two hands to drink a glass of water.

    And watch how Trump leans this evening due to his corset (so as to make him appear less obese than he looks when he golfs) and his lifts. He always leans forward when he is wearing both.
    ————————–
    I’m fine with this. Go on, keep lowering expectations to the point that if Joe walks on stage without an oxygen tank it’s considered a win.
    —————————-
    The entire “Sleepy Joe” meme is a a textbook example of how the media plays to Trump time and time again. Trump acts puerile and calls Biden a name and instead of pointing out how childish Trump is, the media (and some Bernie Bots still) are all about looking for signs of Biden not being mentally sharp. The media doing Trump’s work for him as they did in 2016 with Clinton (“What about your health, Mrs Clinton!?” – Andrea Mitchell, NBC)

    I don’t think Biden is a tremendously sharp debater. But I do think that he is so much better than Trump that there is no question that Hair Furor will look bad, sound bad, be bad. And Hair Furor will lie so fast and furiously that fact-checkers can’t keep up.

  97. says

    Guardian world liveblog:

    Moscow’s mayor Sergei Sobyanin has extended an upcoming school holiday by a week to limit the spread of coronavirus, days after sources told Reuters that the Russian capital’s hospitals had been told to free up hundreds of beds.

    Covid-19 infections have been rising across Europe in the weeks since the start of the new academic year and some other countries have also considered extending October school holidays to try to slow the spread.

    The Kremlin said last week it did not plan to impose severe lockdown restrictions despite a growing number of new cases of Covid-19, but Sobyanin advised anyone with chronic health problems or those older than 65 to stay home.

    The upsurge in Moscow has escalated since Russia reopened schools on 1 September. The number of new daily infections has more than doubled compared to late August.

    The rouble nosedived on Tuesday, hitting 93 against the euro and continuing its sharp downward trajectory from the previous two trading sessions. The falls were due to concern over the rising rate of infections as well as clashes in Nagorno-Karabakh just beyond Russia’s southern border.

    With 1,167,805 cases, Russia has the world’s fourth highest number of infections. On Tuesday, the authorities said that 160 people had died from the virus in the last 24 hours, pushing the country’s official death toll to 20,545….

    The UK has reported another 7,143 cases of Covid-19, the highest daily figure to date, according to government data. A further 71 deaths were also recorded, taking the government’s tally to 42,072….

    German chancellor Angela Merkel expects the rate of infection spread to rise as the change in weather means more people will spend time inside in the coming months.

    Speaking after a video conference with premiers of the federal states, Merkel said the number of daily infections could rise to 19,200 in three months if the rate of infection continued as it has done over the past three months.

    According to Reuters, Merkel also said she wanted the to avoid a full nationwide lockdown “at all costs”:…

  98. says

    ‘The Apprentice’ gave Trump a second shot of wealth … he squandered that one just like the first.

    When the recordings of Donald Trump on Access Hollywood emerged a month before the 2016 election, many people assumed that the ugly admission of gleeful sexual assault would drive the final nail in the coffin of Trump’s political aspirations. But there was another line that also came from others who knew Trump—just wait until everyone hears the things he actually said behind the scenes at The Apprentice. One of the producers on the show was open about Trump’s frequent use of racist remarks, a statement later backed up by former White House aide and Apprentice contestant Omarosa Manigault Newman. But MGM and The Apprentice producer Mark Burnett sat on the tapes of the show, refusing to release information about what Trump said off the air.

    As The New York Times story of Trump’s taxes continues to spill out, it’s now clear that it wasn’t just Trump’s racism and misogyny that was misrepresented to viewers of the “reality” show. Because Burnett also presented to America the idea of Donald Trump as a “successful businessman” who had built a real estate empire starting with a “small loan” from his father. It’s been clear for some time that everything about that story was the opposite of reality—a absolute lie. Trump was handed at least $400 million dollars to support his tacky gold-plated lifestyle, and at every possible point he made the wrong decision, eventually turning that vast mountain of money into a $421 million debt while leaving a string of failed businesses in his wake.

    The Apprentice wasn’t a showcase for a insightful businessman looking to pass along life lessons, it was a fantasy created by Burnett that gave a lifeline to a foulmouthed racist failure playing a role.

    As the Times reports, Burnett frequently handed Trump monologues in which he bragged about how he had used “my brain” and “my negotiating skills” along with tons of “work” to save his company, turn things around, and make himself wealthier than ever. Every single word of these statements was a lie.

    Even as Burnett and production company MGM were promoting Trump as a success, tax records show that his business was bleeding cash. And as they bragged on his negotiating prowess, the truth was that Trump had run out of banks and investors to dupe. No major U.S. bank would touch his collapsing empire. Instead, Trump turned again and again to Deutsche Bank, which for some reason, was willing to extend still more credit when everyone else walked away.

    But what’s particularly twisted about the relationship between Trump and Burnett is how much The Apprentice contributed not just to the fiction of Donald Trump, savvy billionaire investor, it actually threw Trump a massive lifeline. Trump actually earned $197 million directly from his contract with the show and related appearances over a span of 16 years. But that wasn’t the end. Another $230 million flowed into Trump’s pockets through promotion and licensing deals that resulted from his appearance on the show.

    In the process of propping up the image of Trump as wealthy mogul, Burnett and MGM actually gave Trump more money than he had to start with—a $427 million injection that really could have rescued his business. The problem was that Trump demonstrated no more investment acumen with this fresh influx of wealth than he had with the money that had been heaped on him by his parents or by the whole series of trusting investors he duped in his casino deals.

    […] Trump used this money to initiate his collection of golf resorts. Resorts that have often required lavish investment to bring them into being, but which have never returned a profit. Instead, Trump has been losing millions on these resorts each year. The money to buy Trump’s golf resorts and hotels didn’t come from any decision he made in his business, it came because his presentation by Burnett made Trump a pitchman for pizza and laundry detergent.

    […] Trump’s buffed-up made-for-TV reputation is exactly what allowed him to peddle a string of ghost-written books that supposedly packaged up his “wisdom.” And it’s what allowed him to take veterans, retired couples, and others for their last dime in his fake “Trump University.”

    It’s what allowed Trump to run for president.

    Donald Trump was never a successful businessman, but thanks to Mark Burnett, he did play one on TV. Burnett and MGM sold the nation on a product that was Trump, real estate tycoon. And it didn’t matter to them that the real Trump was clueless, racist, misogynist bastard who lost more money in a month than most people saw in a lifetime. They simply did not care. Because if Trump made money from this image, it’s a small fraction of what Burnett and MGM made selling the lie of Trump.

  99. says

    Trump’s lie about ballots, (one of many lies you can expect him to repeat in tonight’s debate):

    Democrats are sending millions of “unsolicited” ballots to Americans, which will result in widespread voter fraud.

    Here are the facts, (we might as well start fact-checking Trump now):

    Only nine states are automatically mailing all voters ballots this year, regardless of whether they requested one or not. Five of those states — Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Utah and Washington — regularly mail every voter a ballot. Four states — California, Nevada, New Jersey and Vermont — are doing so because of the pandemic, as is Washington, D.C. Montana also has given counties the option to do so, and most of them have taken advantage of it.

    Cases of election fraud in the United States are exceedingly rare, and there is no proof of the type of mass fraud Trump has alleged. Experts acknowledge there are some slightly higher fraud risks associated with mail-in voting compared with in-person voting, but only when proper security measures are not in place. A recent study found that voting by mail does not benefit one party over another.

    Link

  100. says

    Yikes. 90%!

    90 percent of coronavirus patients experience side effects after recovery, study finds

    That makes the video snippet to which SC linked in comment 131 even worse.

    Results from a preliminary study out of South Korea shows 9 out of 10 coronavirus patients reported experiencing at least one side effect of the disease after recovery, Reuters reports.

    An online survey of 965 recovered COVID-19 patients conducted by the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) found just over 90 percent of respondents reported experiencing side effects associated with the disease, such as fatigue, loss of sense of taste and smell and psychological effects. […]

  101. tomh says

    From the Flynn hearing:
    Sullivan with a bombshell question: “Have you had any discussions at all with the President of the United States about Mr. Flynn or about this case?”

    Powell [Flynn’s lawyer] replied: “I cannot discuss that.”

    “Any discussions I’ve had with the President would be covered by executive privilege,” she added.

  102. says

    We know, partially, the answer to the question of to whom Trump owes that $421 million that he personally guaranteed, and that comes due sometime in the next four years.

    […] Trump owes hundreds of millions of dollars each to two financial institutions: Deutsche Bank and Ladder Capital.

    Trump revealed this in his financial disclosure forms when he first ran for president in 2016, and journalists like Russ Choma of Mother Jones have been writing about it since. Choma wrote another piece on this earlier this summer, making the case that Trump’s half a billion in loans coming due “may be his biggest conflict of interest yet.”

    Trump’s loans from Deutsche and Ladder were all linked to particular properties — they were either mortgages on the properties themselves, or loans to fund the development of a property. Still, there have long been questions about why Deutsche and Ladder would loan Trump so much, given his history of stiffing his creditors.

    But overall, these loans are less mysterious than another aspect of Trump’s financial history — that from 2006 to 2014, he spent more than $400 million in cash on buying or developing various properties. Some journalists have long questioned how Trump got the money for all this, wondering whether he has other sources of funds he hasn’t disclosed. And the Times’s first story on the new tax records doesn’t clear this up.

    […] The finances of the Trump Organization and Trump’s web of private businesses have long been opaque. Dan Alexander, a reporter for Forbes, calculates the Trump empire has at least $1.1 billion of debt overall.

    But the new Times story focused on the amount of that debt that is guaranteed by Trump personally (rather than just his business) — which totals $421 million, according to the tax records the Times reporters obtained. That’s important because, theoretically, the creditors for this debt could force Trump into personal bankruptcy if he is unwilling or unable to repay them.

    The Times does not break down who holds all of that $421 million in debt […] most of it is from Deutsche, the German bank. Specifically:

    $160 million is from a loan from Deutsche to Trump to develop his Washington, DC, hotel

    $125 million is from Deutsche for mortgages on Trump’s Doral golf resort in Miami

    Trump has a tangled history with Deutsche Bank dating back to 1998. The New York Times’s David Enrich has chronicled how Trump would obtain a large loan from one arm of Deutsche, run into trouble paying back that loan, and then go to another arm of Deutsche to try and get more money. At one point he even sued the bank to try to avoid repayment; the parties ended up settling. Trump then paid his settlement obligation with a loan from yet another division of Deutsche. [holy fuck!]

    […] Trump’s second biggest creditor, according to his financial disclosures, is a firm named Ladder Capital. […] Ladder granted Trump a $100 million mortgage loan on Trump Tower in New York City which is due in 2022, as well as a loan for another Trump property, 40 Wall Street, which is worth more than $50 million. […]

    Link

  103. says

    Some summary information related to Trump’s taxes and to his financial situation:

    […] The resorts, hotels, and buildings the Trump Organization owns are not generating enough money to pay back its debts.

    • Trump has personally guaranteed $421 million worth of those debts, of which about $300 million is due within the next four years, and doesn’t seem to have any way to make good on them except by liquidating assets.

    • One of the ways he appears to be trying to keep cash on hand is by claiming things that aren’t legitimate business expenses (like transfers of money to his daughter and payments to lawyers working on cases related to his political campaigns) as business expenses so he doesn’t have to pay income taxes.

    • It’s possible that the IRS will determine a $70 million refund he filed for in 2010 should not have been issued. He originally claimed the refund by abandoning his stake in casinos whose investors were fed up with him; the best-case scenario for him, in other words, is the IRS accepting his version of events about a situation in which he formally admitted that, for him, trying to make money running casinos was a lost cause.

    • After repeated sell-offs, he may hold as little as $873,000 in securities, which would be a good, comfortable amount to have if he were an upper-middle-class professional living in Short Hills, New Jersey, rather than someone who is supposed to come up with $421 million by 2024.

    • His only recent sources of new revenue are deals to license his brand name in countries like India, the Philippines, and Turkey, whose leaders want (and have gotten) the United States’ tacit permission to suppress and kill dissidents or members of ethnic minorities in their countries. […]

    Link

  104. says

    Mitch McConnell is refusing to [participate in] any debate that is moderated by a woman.”

    Link atl. From there:

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is refusing to participate in debates that include women journalists as moderators, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader.

    McConnell is refusing a debate on KET, the statewide public affairs channel that would be moderated by a black woman, Renee Shaw. And it appears after accepting a debate hosted by TV stations owned by Gray TV, McConnell’s campaign worked to get a woman proposed to co-moderate the debate — WAVE3’s Shannon Cogan — removed. The debate is now moderated only by a man.

    It’s a trend that McConnell has carried for 25 years, the newspaper reported, noting that the last time McConnell participated in a debate with a female moderator was in 1996….

  105. says

    Postal Service workers quietly resist DeJoy’s changes with eye on election.
    Washington Post link

    Many USPS employees see recent cost-cutting changes that have slowed mail delivery as violating the spirit, if not the letter, of the law.

    This summer, as controversial new procedures at the U.S. Postal Service snarled the nation’s mail delivery and stirred fears of how the agency would handle the election, rank-and-file workers quietly began to resist.

    Mechanics in New York drew out the dismantling and removal of mail-sorting machines until their supervisor gave up on the order. In Michigan, a group of letter carriers did an end run around a supervisor’s directive to leave election mail behind, starting their routes late to sift through it. In Ohio, postal clerks culled prescriptions and benefit checks from bins of stalled mail to make sure they were delivered, while some carriers ran late items out on their own time. In Pennsylvania, some postal workers looked for any excuse — a missed turn, heavy traffic, a rowdy dog — to buy enough time to finish their daily rounds.

    “I can’t see any postal worker not bending those rules,” one Philadelphia staffer said in an interview.

    […] some of the agency’s 630,000 workers say they feel a responsibility to counteract cost-cutting changes from their new boss, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, that they blame for the mail slowdowns. They question whether DeJoy — a top Republican fundraiser and booster of President Trump — is politicizing the institution in service to a president who has actively tried to sow distrust of mail-in voting […]

    “People are burned out,” one New Jersey letter carrier said. “[…] I tell my customers, ‘Call your congressman, because I’m being told not to deliver your mail.’ ” […]

    New postal workers are introduced to the agency’s unofficial motto within their first days on the job: “Every piece, every day.” It’s referenced so frequently that “EPED” is shorthand to work faster, or longer, when mail piles up. Any conscious effort to delay mail is, under federal law, punishable by fine and as much as five years of imprisonment. […]

    In Michigan, one postal worker considered the removal of public mailboxes, which are subject to periodic checks to ensure they are being used, as disproportionately affecting people of color. When a collection box is removed in a wealthy suburb, residents have the time and resources to push back, said the carrier, who is Black. But when it’s removed in a racially diverse working-class neighborhood, it’s just another government service that’s been clawed back.

    “It’s kind of like everything else. It wasn’t built for us,” the worker said of the Postal Service and its relationship with Black people. […]

    Last month in New York, machinists were ordered to remove sorting machines and use spare parts to augment another, one of the workers said. The person told supervisors that such a move wouldn’t help; the enlarged sorter would be able to collate mail into more carriers’ routes, but it also would process letters more slowly than two machines doing the job simultaneously. When his supervisor told him to repeat the process for another set of machines, the machinist and colleagues balked and drew out the steps required to implement the change. Eventually, superiors gave up on the order. […]

  106. says

    More signs of incompetence from team Trump: the Trump administration’s new rapid coronavirus tests are plagued by confusion and a lack of planning.
    Washington Post link

    The new antigen tests are cheap and easy to use. But the White House’s hands-off approach in distributing them has sown confusion and alarming problems, state officials say.

    […] deployment of the new tests to nursing homes has been plagued by poor communication, false results and a frustrating lack of planning, state leaders say.

    Health officials in several states say they have been allowed no say in where the new tests are being sent and sometimes don’t know which nursing homes will receive them until the night before a shipment arrives.

    That has left some facilities ill-trained in how to use the tests and what to do with results. And it may be contributing to false-positive test results — when people are identified as being infected but aren’t.

    The lack of federal planning also has left states with no standardized way to capture results from the new tests and include them in daily counts of infections and tests. Consequently, as the rapid tests become more widely distributed, the data and dashboards being used each day to guide the nation’s coronavirus response are becoming more inaccurate.

    “This is data we need, and there’s just no way of capturing it,” Pennsylvania Health Secretary Rachel Levine said. “We need a reporting structure and not just hundreds of faxes being randomly sent from nursing homes and other facilities.”

    Many states are trying to create their own way to capture and classify the new data. Epidemiologists say that piecemeal approach could result in differing data sets, making it harder to pinpoint where infections are growing most this winter when infections are expected to spike.

    Fueling such problems, public health officials say, is the White House’s continued refusal to take responsibility for leading the country through the pandemic and to lay out an overarching strategy on testing, instead of repeatedly pushing that onus onto the states.

    “It’s the utter lack of planning and guidance that’s creating problems,” said one state official, speaking on the condition of anonymity for fear that federal officials might retaliate by giving the state less aid. “Their approach is to just throw things over the fence to the states and to say, ‘Take this, and deal with the problem.’”<[…]

    So frustrating.

  107. says

    Lynna @ #144, exactly! Glenn Kirschner: “WOW! Judge Sullivan asked Flynn’s attorney, Sidney Powell, if she talked about Flynn’s case with Trump. She tried to invoke executive privilege!!! Then she said she updated Trump personally on the Flynn case!!!”

  108. tomh says

    Biden releases 2019 tax returns ahead of debate
    Alexi McCammond

    Joe Biden’s campaign released his 2019 tax returns on Tuesday, showing that he and his wife, Jill, paid nearly $300,000 in federal taxes last year.

    The release, timed just hours before the first presidential debate, comes days after a bombshell New York Times report said that President Trump paid only $750 in federal taxes in 2016 and 2017. Biden’s team is hoping to make the tax contrast a sticking point during their showdown.

    The campaign also released 2019 tax returns for Biden’s running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, and her husband, Doug Emhoff. Biden’s deputy campaign manager, Kate Bedingfield, told reporters on a call that this marks 22 years of publicly available tax returns for Biden and 16 years for Harris.

    Bedingfield said the release reflects Biden’s commitment to “honesty and transparency” and that the campaign’s message to Trump is simple: “Mr. President, release your tax returns, or shut up.”

  109. says

    Barr accused of ‘working hand in glove’ with Team Trump, White House

    One former federal prosecutor said of Barr, “The attorney general is working hand in glove with the White House and the Trump re-election campaign.”

    Donald Trump appeared certain that, at long last, he had evidence of a nefarious election scheme. As the president told the public, a handful of ballots in a Republican-friendly county in Pennsylvania had been thrown in the trash, when they should’ve been counted for the GOP ticket. The claims were soon elevated by the White House, the Trump campaign, the Justice Department, and conservative media.

    […] the story faded — because it wasn’t quite true. There was an administrative error in Luzerne County, Pa., but there was no evidence of a local conspiracy to rig the election for Joe Biden. […]

    But the story did raise an entirely different set of questions, not about election officials in a midsize county in northeastern Pennsylvania, but about Attorney General Bill Barr.

    Why did the Republican lawyer brief Trump directly on the unimportant case? Why did Barr’s Justice Department ignore its own guidelines and issue a statement about an incomplete investigation? Why did the DOJ statement include factual errors?

    There’s no reason to be coy. The attorney general has made little effort to hide his efforts to politicize his office and federal law enforcement, and the Luzerne County incident appeared to be part of Barr’s election-season tactics.

    […] Politico connected the dots this way:

    The prosecution of Michael Flynn. A Senate investigation into the provenance of the Steele Dossier. The nascent federal probe of discarded absentee ballots in Pennsylvania. In recent days, the Justice Department has declassified or disclosed sensitive materials related to each of these proceedings that, on the surface, have little to do with each other. Yet within hours, […] Trump had weaponized each to boost his reelection campaign.

    Last week, James D. Herbert, a current federal prosecutor, wrote in the Boston Globe about “the unprecedented politicization of the office of the attorney general,” adding that Barr “acts as though his job is to serve only the political interests of Donald J. Trump. This is a dangerous abuse of power…. For 30 years I have been proud to say I work for the Department of Justice, but the current attorney general has brought shame on the department he purports to lead.”

    He’s hardly alone. Gene Rossi, a former federal prosecutor from Virginia, told Politico, “The attorney general is working hand in glove with the White House and the Trump re-election campaign.”

    The handling of the Luzerne County matter was especially egregious, though it might be easier to overlook if it were an isolated incident. It’s not. Vox had a related report along these lines:

    Most notably, a US attorney made a vague, partially inaccurate statement Thursday about problems with a handful of military ballots in one Pennsylvania county…. Also Thursday, Barr released some information that he suggested cast further doubt on a major source for the Steele dossier, sending it in a letter to Senate Judiciary Chair Lindsey Graham (R-SC)…. Meanwhile, in advance of a hearing next week at which a judge will consider whether the Justice Department can withdraw the false statements case to which Michael Flynn pleaded guilty, the Department sent new internal FBI documents about the case to Flynn’s lawyers, and released notes from a recent interview of an FBI agent who worked on the case and says he was skeptical about it.

    In case this isn’t obvious, these were developments that unfolded over the course of a couple of days last week. They came on the heels of the attorney general giving a speech in which he effectively endorsed greater politicization of federal prosecutions.

    Which came on the heels of Barr peddling demonstrable falsehoods related to election irregularities.

    Which came on the heels of the Justice Department taking over Trump’s defense involving in a case filed by a woman who accused the president of sexual assault.

    Which came on the heels of Barr vacillating on whether it’s wrong for the president to encourage his followers to vote twice.

    Which came on the heels of the attorney general intervening directly in a series of cases of political significance to Trump.

    A few months ago, 2,300 former Justice Department and FBI officials — from both Republican and Democratic administrations — publicly called for Barr’s resignation. It’s not too late for that number to grow.

  110. says

    !!!!!!: “Barrett’s father, Michael Coney Sr., has served as the principal leader of People of Praise’s New Orleans branch and was on the group’s all-male Board of Governors as recently as 2017. Her mother, Linda Coney, has served in the branch as a ‘handmaid’, a female leader assigned to help guide other women, according to documents reviewed by the AP. “

  111. says

    Buried in Trump’s taxes, what’s going on at his golf resorts makes no sense … unless it’s a lie

    […] Trump, fresh off the triple failure of his Atlantic City casinos and deeply in debt, was rescued when TV producer Mark Burnett dusted off the jobless failure and propped him up as a supposed business genius on the NBC show The Apprentice. This unwarranted fame generated more money than Trump had ever made from his real estate deals: a sweet $427 million in direct payments from MGM and in sponsorships of everything from pizza to detergent.

    Trump then took this injection of cash and spent it on high-end golf resorts and vacation properties—an investment that is extremely shaky under the best of circumstances. The financial reports from those clubs show just what might be expected: Trump is losing money in Scotland. He’s losing money in Florida. He’s even losing money at Mar-a-Lago.

    But something even more peculiar has happened. As these properties have been consistently bleeding cash, Trump has been reporting that their worth is skyrocketing. Then he has used these ever increasing valuations to borrow still more money. And he borrowed that money from himself … or so he claims.

    […] Trump reports a loss, inflates the value, and borrows money. […] Trump reports that he sometimes fills every role in this little play: He’s the stockholder losing cash, he’s the property owner reporting a growing investment, he’s the borrower accepting a loan, and he’s the lender forking over the money. And in many years, he supposedly takes that money and invests it into the same property he just “borrowed” from.

    Trump’s Turnberry golf property in Scotland is a particularly good example. Despite Trump’s attempts to inflate his revenue by having the Air Force stage at least 40 stopovers at his property, […] the Aberdeen resort has continued to lose millions each year.

    At the same time, the tumbling price of North Sea oil has sparked a sell-off in the local real estate market and sent prices in the area tumbling. This combination of factors might have been expected to drop the listed value of Trump’s course through the floor. Instead, Trump continued to tack millions onto his appraisal of the club, even in years when he did little to improve the property. Then Trump loaned that “new” money to himself, year after year.

    After that, something happens that almost seems to make sense: In many years, Trump spends that same money in the place he just borrowed it. So, for example, he declares that the value of the Turnberry resort has gone up by $2 million, loans himself $2 million, then reports that he invested that borrowed money back into the same course. The next year, Trump reports that the property’s value has gone up by even more, loans that amount to himself, reports almost all of that amount spent at the resort and … lather, rinse, repeat.

    As Davidson point out, this seems the opposite of what someone would do if they were committing tax fraud. After all, constantly reporting an inflated value means that Trump’s assessment for property taxes was also increasing. Not even Donald Trump could always get away with filing one set of documents to show the value of his property was increasing, then filing another set to show that the value was plummeting (though Trump apparently did exactly this when valuing his father’s properties for inheritance tax).

    So how does any of this make sense? It doesn’t. Not if the system actually worked as listed on paper. Trump is reporting that he is taking money from one pocket, then putting it back. And not even into a different investment. Trump would only be cycling the same money round and round unnecessarily, and he would be driving up the on-paper values of properties that were actually 18-hole money pits. If Trump is telling the truth about loaning himself the money, then spending it at the property, it makes no sense at all.

    But if Trump was getting this money from someone else, then it does make sense. Because in that case, this becomes … a cover for money laundering. As Davidson notes: “These financials are clear: this is not a golf business, it’s a money disappearing business.” Trump’s golf resorts aren’t making money. They’re not even designed to make money. They’re meant to lose money, and constructed so that they can make larger amounts of money vanish every year.

    This isn’t the first time it’s been suggested that Trump is laundering money through his golf resorts. […]

  112. says

    SC @152, misogyny on top of misogyny. Take normal Catholic misogyny and increase it 10-fold.

    I am wondering if this cult-like atmosphere encourages, or allows, lying to non-believers.

  113. says

    House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) issued two subpoenas to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Tuesday, alleging that agency officials are “unlawfully obstructing” his panel’s investigation related to a whistleblower complaint

    Schiff announced that they are seeking to compel public testimony from Joseph Maher, the top official carrying out the duties of the undersecretary for Intelligence & Analysis (I&A), to testify Friday and explain why DHS the whistleblower Brian Murphy was not been granted access to classified records related to his complaint as Schiff seeks to receive his deposition.

    He also issued a subpoena to compels DHS to produce the records they are seeking by next Tuesday.

    “After weeks, and in some cases months, of attempted accommodation with the Department, we were left with no choice but to issue two subpoenas today,” Schiff said in a statement.

    “Simply put, the Committee will no longer tolerate the obstruction and attempts to run out the clock by the Department,” Schiff added.

    The subpoenas come after Schiff twice postponed scheduled depositions with Murphy, the former undersecretary of I&A, after Murphy’s legal team said they have not received access to documents related to his complaint, which detailed allegations that top political appointees at DHS repeatedly sought to politicize intelligence to match […] Trump’s public remarks.

    Link

  114. says

    Ruler of Kuwait dies

    Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah, the emir of Kuwait, has died at 91, state media reported Tuesday.

    “With great sadness and sorrow, we mourn to the Kuwaiti people, the Arab and Islamic nations, and the friendly peoples of the world, the death of the late His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Emir of the State of Kuwait who moved next to his Lord,” the Gulf nation’s royal palace said in a statement.

    The emir was flown to the U.S. in a U.S. Air Force C-17 flying hospital earlier this year shortly after an undisclosed surgical procedure, according to CNBC. In September of last year, he canceled a White House visit, citing unspecified health issues. […]

    The late ruler’s half-brother, Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al Ahmad Al Sabah, has assumed leadership of the country, Kuwait’s Cabinet announced shortly after confirming the emir’s death.

    Link

  115. says

    I don’t like [bullies] & Trump is a bully. Yesterday he had a memo sent out to the 2.1 million federal workers that shared if you use these words connected to #racism there will be ‘Hell To Pay’ and you will face consequences. Here’s the memo & my take on it…”

    Link to the memo and a short video atl. (“Hell to pay” isn’t an actual quote from the memo.) This doesn’t seem legal.

  116. says

    Pete Strzok:

    Right now, Ken Kohl of the DC US Attorney’s office is before Judge Sullivan materially misrepresenting my statements, specifically my analogy of an insurance policy. I have stated repeatedly, under oath, that it was analogy of how to balance investigation against source safety.

    For Kohl to state I “felt I was an insurance policy” is entirely incorrect. If the Government was unable to review my sworn testimony, they could have interviewed me (or anyone else from the leadership of the team) about it.

    They didn’t.

    southpaw: “DOJ’s lawyers used the products of the extraordinary rummaging of the department’s own files that Barr ordered to lacerate their own current and former colleagues. At the same time, they argued the court should give extrinsic evidence of what’s been going on within DOJ no weight.”

    Truly shameful.

  117. says

    There has been an explosion of political disinformation ahead of tonight’s debate. This garbage can be traced back to QAnon posts and well-known conspiracy theorists. Yet these lies are spreading like crazy on Facebook right now — and are finding a home with right-wing outlets.”

    This CNN segment from last week seems relevant: “We asked Trump supporters to show us their Facebook feeds.”

    These people are dupes, but not in the sense people often think. They’re actively hostile to information and defensive about spreading lies. They’re responsible for their choices.

  118. tomh says

    Re #159
    TIERNEY SNEED 3:43pm

    Without any hint of irony, Powell says that the judge should treat Trump’s tweets and the Strzok claims that his notes had been altered as “extrajudicial” and as “red herring[s].”

  119. says

    From @jayrosen_nyu, four specific steps the political press could take, right now. (They involve shifts in culture but are nonetheless specific.)”

    These are good.

    Defense of democracy seen as basic to the job.

    Symmetrical accounts of asymmetric realities seen as malpractice.

    “Politics as strategic game” frame seen as low quality, downmarket, amateurish, silly – and overmatched.

    Bad actors with a history of misinforming the public seen as unsuitable sources and unwelcome guests.

  120. says

    Brett McGurk re #162:

    Wait? The DNI won’t release the US Intelligence Community’s global threat assessment to the American people (for the first time ever) but he’ll release RUSSIAN intel that US analysts say may be fabricated?

    Put another way: the DNI thinks the American people should be aware of sketchy Russian intel chatter while keeping from the American people the considered USG intelligence assessment on current threats to our country—including from Russia.

    Here’s some background on the bottled-up DNI threat assessment. So where is it? What does it say? Who doesn’t want us to see it?…

  121. johnson catman says

    re SC @152: Shouldn’t Amy Coney Barrett be cooking and cleaning for her husband, making and taking care of more babies, and not taking a job away from a man? Does she not take her religious idiocy seriously?

  122. blf says

    The water heater in the lair blew up (literally!) over the weekend, so after some frantic calling / txt-ing / e-mailing, it’s been replaced. The lair is no longer submerged, and has mostly dried out, so in celebration, I’ve had enough vin to drain — or at least dent — the famous French / EU “wine lake”. *hIC*

    Apparently, the local exemption to Marseille-area rule to allow restaurants and bars to stay open only allows then to stay open until 22h (10pm). I’ll check that in the morning when there should be only two or three keyboards to peck at… (First time I’m been more-than-less thrown out of a restaurant since fish learned to swim on land — the owner (who I’ve known for years) was very apologetic.) *hIc*

    The dead-tree edition of the International NYT is again available in the local shop. (Note the lack of plural.) Yea! Just in time to read — despite the fuzzy letters doing reggae break dancing to a tune which smells of crawling fish — the report on hair furor’s tax & profit dodging. *HiC* *hiC*

  123. says

    SC @164, that’s a good idea!

    In other news, what’s going to happen now? Wilbur Ross is not obeying a judges ruling:

    Census Bureau: “U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross says the 2020 census will end Oct. 5, despite a federal judge’s ruling last week allowing the head count of every U.S. resident to continue through the end of October, according to a tweet posted on the Census Bureau’s website Monday.”

  124. says

    blf @168, sounds to me like you are having fun. :-)

    In other news, the Phase IV process is apparently still ongoing: “House Democrats unveiled a $2.2 trillion pandemic relief package Monday night as part of a last-ditch attempt to secure new aid before the Nov. 3 elections.”

  125. says

    From Ted Cruz:

    The entire reason the Senate should act and should act promptly to confirm a ninth justice is so that the Supreme Court can resolve any cases that arise in the wake of the election.

  126. says

    The idea of ‘herd immunity’ is surging again, and it’s just as dangerous as ever

    […] The most horrible thing about this pandemic is not how many people have died, but how many people have died unnecessarily because of decisions made by Donald Trump.

    What may be even worse is that Trump is still making these decisions. […]

    Trump has found himself an “expert” in the form of Scott Atlas, a retired radiologist with absolutely no experience or expertise in infectious disease. Now, after having discarded NIH director Dr. Anthony Fauci, undermined Dr. Robert Redfield who Trump appointed to head the CDC, and sidelined even White House loyalist Dr. Deborah Birx, Trump is going to ride Atlas all the way down. And he may generate as many American deaths in the next three months as in the whole year up to now, because this thing is not over.

    […]”Everything he says is false,” said Redfield, and when discussing Atlas’ claims that the pandemic was all but over, the CDC director made it clear. “We’re nowhere near the end.”

    Meanwhile on CNN, Dr. Anthony Fauci made it clear that he was concerned, because the things Atlas says are “really taken either out of context or actually incorrect.” While Fauci said that he was willing to sit down with Atlas to talk through areas of concern, he made it clear that on the subject of masks —which Atlas have repeatedly disparaged—his position is firm. “[…] Masks are critically important in preventing the transmission and acquisition of SARS coronavirus 2. The data are strong. There’s no doubt about that.”

    These reports come just days after Deborah Birx was reportedly distressed over the way that Atlas has taken over the coronavirus task force meetings and, with Trump’s support, shouldered everyone else aside. “The President has found somebody who matches what he wants to believe,” said a source close to Birx. Birx is said to be upset that Atlas is telling Trump what he wants to hear about masks and social distancing, even if it’s all lies.

    Right now around the world, there are 40 vaccines that have reached the clinical trial stage and an astounding 10 vaccines in Phase 3 trials. These vaccines—covering a whole range of technologies from tried-and-true to revolutionary—offer a fantastic chance of providing genuine protection against infection by the SARS-CoV-2 virus by some time in 2021. But until a safe and effective vaccine becomes available, and even after, wearing a mask, maintaining social distancing, and the use of widespread testing is essential. The difference between having COVID-19 as a regular, endemic disease and having COVID-19 as a rare occurrence that doesn’t regularly spread across the population isn’t going to be through vaccination alone.

    […] Even as Atlas is bringing back the terrifying idea of “herd immunity,” new test results have shown that less than 10% of Americans have been exposed to COVID-19. That means that 90% of the population is still vulnerable to the disease. The rate of hospitalizations, heart attacks, strokes, nerve damage, heart damage, kidney damage, lung damage, and deaths from COVID-19 could all be nine times higher than they have been to date. Two million Americans have not been saved—they are still absolutely at risk, and absolutely vulnerable to COVID-19.

    There is simply no evidence that 10% or 20% exposure will generate herd immunity. This is a new disease with absolutely no reservoir of immunity in the population. If this wildfire is allowed to burn without restrictions, it will burn everyone. And leave behind not only far more deaths, but a mass population of people who are in some way suffering the lingering effects of the disease.

    This idea is gaining credence at just the wrong time. COVID-19 numbers are not headed down. Even at their lowest point in the last month, the level of new cases was actually above the high points from the first “wave” back in April and May. The United States is moving into the flu season with widespread cases of COVID-19 and still does not have the testing or case tracking infrastructure Trump promised in March. This is an incredibly dangerous moment, one where we cannot afford to listen to Scott Atlas, or to any of the “investor class” that wants to pretend that it’s all safe now for the little people to get back to work.

  127. says

    A few (related) recommendations:

    New episode of Chris Hayes’ podcast Why Is This Happening? – “FAQAnon with Brandy Zadrozny and Ben Collins”:

    Here by popular demand – all your QAnon questions answered with two of the best reporters on the beat. Is QAnon a cult, a religion, a conspiracy theory, a state of mind? Who or what is Q? How did it gain such prominence and capture the minds of so many? Is it harmless – or is it dangerous? NBC reporters Brandy Zadrozny and Ben Collins help us pull on the thread of a movement that exploded off the message boards and into the mainstream, with a fervent supporter likely headed to Congress.

    TPM – “NYT: Trump Used ‘The Apprentice’ Fame To Get Involved In Shady MLMs, Tax Returns Show”:

    The New York Times dropped another report on President Donald Trump’s tax returns on Monday night that not only exposed the extent to which Trump used his fame from “The Apprentice” to cultivate an image of a cunning businessman despite repeated financial failures, but also to boost shady multi-level marketing companies, including one allegedly involved in a pyramid scheme-like practices….

    (I’m so pleased this has sparked interest in the ACN scam and lawsuit.)

    Both seasons of The Dream podcast. (I can’t remember if blf linked to this when we were talking about the Conspira-Sea cruise – if so, thanks! – or if I came upon it some other way, but it’s quite good.) The first season is about MLMs and the second is about “wellness.”

  128. says

    YouTube link to “Our Moment” from Captain “Sully” Sullenberger.

    It debuted on Fox and Friends this morning—the day of the first debate—so that it could be seen by folks who need to see what a true hero looks like. It has only been up on youtube for 5 hours and has 219,000 views already.

    The twitter version from Vote Vets and the Lincoln Project has already been viewed 1.8 million times in 5 hours.

    11 years ago, Sully was called for his moment. Now, we are all called to this moment.

    Join Sully in regaining control of this nation’s destiny by voting Donald Trump out.

    In partnership with @votevets. pic.twitter.com/r9wQiAdjRO

    — The Lincoln Project (@ProjectLincoln) September 29, 2020

  129. says

    Chris Wallace: ‘Are you willing, tonight, to condemn white supremacists and militia groups and to say that they need to stand down…’

    Trump: ‘Proud Boys, stand back and stand by! But I’ll tell you what, somebody’s got to do something about antifa and the left’.”

  130. says

    I’m so glad MSNBC has Joy Reid, Rachel Maddow, and Nicolle Wallace analyzing the debate, pointing out how bizarre and terrible it was.

    But apparently they’re not alone:

    Jake Tapper: ‘That was a hot mess, inside a dumpster fire, inside a train wreck. That was the worst debate I have ever seen. In fact, it wasn’t a debate. It was a disgrace. It’s primarily because of President Trump, who spent the entire time interrupting, lying…’

    Dana Bash: ‘That was a shitshow’.”

  131. says

    SC @181 and 184, that was predictable. Very unfortunate. Trump basically gave the Proud Boys a call to arms.

    It actually hurt me to watch that “debate.”

    We needed a giant toddler wrangler to force Trump to stick to the rules … rules to which he and his campaign had agreed.

    I hated it when Chris Wallace tried to placate the abuser/bully for a moment by saying, “Mr. President you’ll like this next question. I’m going to ask you about law and order.” That made me wonder if people trying to brief Trump in the White House resort to similar language.

  132. says

    There were a couple of times when I thought that Trump didn’t understand/remember the current rules under which he was supposed to operate. He seemed to think that anytime Biden mentioned one of the Trump administration policies, he was entitled to respond, that he was entitled to time to respond.

    Trump bullied Chris Wallace. That was disgusting behavior.

    I suppose his cult followers will love it.

  133. larpar says

    Lynna, OM @ 186
    It’s not that he didn’t understand/remember, he doesn’t care. Rules are for losers.
    OT: Thanks for all the work you do on this thread.

  134. says

    A couple of moments that went by too fast for fact-checking:

    Trump claimed that he has tapes of Biden planning or attempting a coup.

    Trump claimed that antifa is going to overthrow Biden.

    Trump claimed that he paid millions in taxes.

    Trump bloviated about climate change, making no sense. “In Europe, they live, they have forest cities, they’re called forest cities. They maintain their forest, they manage their forest. I was w/ the head of a major country, it’s a forest city. He said, ‘Sir, we have trees that are far more – they ignite much easier than California'” All a bunch of nonsense he has said before. He just repeated it.

    From Aaron Rupar:

    Tonight’s debate illustrated that the 2020 presidential election is a choice between a deranged person and a sane person and any analysis that doesn’t start with that is missing the bigger picture

    “This is not going to end well. This is not going to end well” — Trump on the 2020 election.

    Trump shakes his head [a “no, no, no” shake, but Biden was right] as Biden points out that his own DHS and FBI directors say there’s no evidence that mail in ballots are a source of cheating.

    “I want crystal clean water and air. I want beautiful, clean air … as far as the fires are concerned, you need forest management” — Trump’s infantile comments on climate change

    Trump falsely claims that Kellyanne Conway never said unrest in cities is good for him politically. She said it during a Fox News interview.

    “I ended it because it’s racist” — Trump on why he directed federal agencies to stop racism trainings. #UpIsDown

    “Minneapolis, we got it back” — the National Guard was deployed in Minneapolis by the Democratic governor of the state, Tim Walz, not Trump

    Chris Wallace says, “Mr. President, please stop” — Trump refuses to stop interrupting Biden.

    “He will be the first President of the United States to leave office having fewer jobs in his administration than when he became president. Fewer jobs than when he became president.” — Biden

    “It turns out that in Obama’s final 3 years as president, more jobs were created — 1.5 million more jobs — than in the first three years of your presidency” — Chris Wallace to Trump. Trump pivots to talking about the stock market.

    “Because people wanna hear what I have to say” — Trump on why he’s holding packed rallies with no distancing and very few masks during a pandemic. “He’s not worried about you,” Biden responds. “He’s been totally irresponsible.”

    Biden looks like he can barely believe it as Trump insists that masks aren’t necessarily good for slowing the spread of coronavirus.

    Trump claims he suggested people inject bleach “sarcastically,” but there’s video of him saying it and he was dead serious!

    This is an absolutely pathetic performance by Chris Wallace. Trump is just interrupting whenever he wants, cutting off Biden, and Chris Wallace is doing nothing about it. The worst moderated presidential debate I have ever seen.

    Holy shit. Now Trump is trampling all over Chris Wallace. So far this has been a disaster.

    Chris Wallace is letting Trump trample all over Biden and not finish his statements.

    Trump incorrectly claims that there aren’t 100 million Americans with preexisting conditions (up to 129 million non-elderly Americans have them)

    Biden on nominating RBG’s replacement during an election: “What’s at stake is the president has made it clear he wants to get rid of the ACA. He’s been running on that and he’s been governing on that. He’s in the supreme court right now trying to get rid of the ACA.”

    “He has no idea what he’s talking about” — Biden responds to Trump making baseless allegations of election fraud in Carolyn Maloney’s primary. And with that the debate is over.

  135. says

    larger @187, thanks. I wonder if Trump’s campaign managers went over the rules with him and then Trump told them he wasn’t going to abide by any rules?

    From George Conway:

    Has there ever been a lower moment in the history of the American presidency?

    From Steve Schmidt:

    Trump’s stooges will lie to him and tell him he won. His cult may be ecstatic as they celebrate his unhinged behavior, lying, lack of control and facial contortions. His Presidency is over. We will vote him out. He is crazy, paranoid and unfit. Trump is incoherent. He is a liar

    This debate is a disgrace. What an embarrassment to the United States of America. Trump’s conduct and comportment are an outrage. He is a blustering, lying, bullying and incompetent fool.

    From the Proud Boys:

    Trump basically said to go fuck them up. This makes me so happy.

    From Ezra Kaplan:

    Proud Boys in social media groups are going wild about the “Stand back and stand by” comment. They are basically seeing it as acknowledgment and a call to arms.

  136. says

    From Fred Wellman:

    That attack on Hunter Biden was beyond pale and another lie. He failed a drug test as a newly commissioned Reserve office. He was Administratively Discharged not Dishonorably. We have an opiod crisis and the President is smearing a recovering addict for political points.
    ——————–
    Trump trying to discredit Biden’s DEAD son [Beau Biden] is fucking despicable.

    From Joe Scarborough:

    This is a colossal waste of the American people’s time. If they are not going to cut his mic so we can have an exchange of ideas, then Biden should not attend any more debates.

    From Ezra Kein:

    Trump is forcing an unwatchable debate, in which he plays the heel so Biden can’t get in a full answer, in an election where he’s down 10 points. It’s an insane strategy.

    I wonder if it is not really a strategy, it’s just that Trump can’t help himself.

    From Evan Siegfried:

    “So far we’ve had no problem [Trump on Covid at his rallies].”

    Herman Cain unavailable for comment

  137. says

    President Trump: “You didn’t do very well on swine flu.”

    Joe Biden: “14,000 people died not 200,000. There was no economic recession. We didn’t shut down the economy.” #Debates2020

    DONALD TRUMP: No one has gotten sick at my rallies.

    HERMAN CAIN:

    From Trevor Noah of The Daily Show:

    Minutes Each Candidate Spoke During the 90-Minute Debate:
    Joe Biden: 46 minutes
    Donald Trump: 76,563 minutes

    Chris Wallace’s debate performance tonight is a great reminder that kindergarten teachers are underpaid.

  138. says

    Trump claimed that there are states “where they’re losing 40% of the ballots.” He also said that millions of 2016 ballots were invalidated. And then he went on to claim that mail carriers are selling ballots.

  139. says

    This is from the Washington Post:

    […] Viewers were deprived of sustained, cohesive arguments or statements of principle because of the welter of partisan claims and personal insults. The bickering came from both candidates, but it was Trump who tried to bulldoze and shout down his opponent most frequently and most loudly.

    “The country would be better served if we allowed both people to speak with fewer interruptions,” said Wallace, of Fox News Channel. Speaking directly to Trump, he continued, “I’m appealing to you, sir, to do that.”

    “Well, and him, too,” Trump shot back, invoking Biden.

    “Well, frankly, you’ve been doing more interrupting,” Wallace replied.

    “But he does plenty,” Trump said.

    “No, less than you have,” Wallace concluded.

    Sigh. Face/Palm. Head/desk. Throw up.

  140. wzrd1 says

    OK, finished reviewing the “highlights”, which is an euphemism that’s beyond pale of sarcastic in scale, of the “debate”.
    Trumpites proclaim victory, as he was an “alpha male”. You know, rules don’t count, whoever blusters the loudest and longest wins.
    Everyone else ranges from shitfest, shitstorm, similar excrement related euphemisms and well, dumpster fire, within a train wreck comes to mind and well, trumpster fire.

    Mutually agreed upon rules were established and ignored, any future debate should be canceled, since debate isn’t possible and besides, who wants to debate with someone who committed sedition on live international television?
    He did order the Proud Boys to engage “leftists and antifa”.
    Our nation has died, if Congress fails to impeach and remove immediately, then present a sedition charge to the courts.

  141. wzrd1 says

    A tidbit more fun.
    Get unemployment via the old PAUC program, multiple states switched from direct check or our preferred direct deposit of decades old habit, screw the lot of us.
    Alleged foreign scammers did their thing and all are forced to use US Bank debit cards, which aren’t automatically issued, noted on the US website and all are in limbo.
    Coasted for a while, as I explored and one tidbit from the governor suggested US Bank and I contacted them.
    Found that we did have an account, in excess of $10k, got my card that should’ve been issued, finally issued.
    Passed around nearly $3k to my real bank account and the card got locked. Unusual transaction on an account I just aqauired possession of.
    There were lock issues over shipping address vs billing address, as apparently, apartments area foreign concept to US Bank.
    So. I corrected the address by adding our suite number, locking the fucking card forever, thus far.
    I can log in and see my wonderful balance, I’ll be on the streets in a week without payment if I can’t access that account.
    Then, a spill will occur, the entire planet knows how to construct a modern thermonuclear warhead.
    Complete with the x-ray laser dopant.

    In person, I’m a nice guy, but there is the monster inside and thank you, PZ, for reminding me to keep it constrained in these tense times!

    Irritating things today, weather angering a significant lumbar sprain and promised transportation to pick up some modest victuals (mostly ordered online and delivered at some modest cost for us), gravity in general, as wife moved the mattress at some point and arising, I sprained my back, yet again.
    Mirrors. Until they’re properly laughable, unwanted beyond combing hair. ;)

    Yeah, despite times when I’ve worried that my legs, literally failed to move, until I managed to reposition my SI join system, I still retain a a sense of humor.
    Right until cutting off money that I’m alleged to possess.
    Totally, flat out of a sense of humor, might as well shot at me and the DoD knows how that ends up.
    Frankly, I miss the good old days, babysitting a family or three’s kids, towing them across the Olympic size pool by my beard.
    Hell, that’s my preferred state, educating casually, as we interact.*
    Growing joyful as Socratic methods expand…

    Would that Mel Brooks could invalidate this fucking moron!

    In the US military, one is trained to train one’s replacement. Under very challenging conditions.
    And to be honest, rightfully so.
    All, current events requiring the mention, reminding incessantly, that there are lawful orders and unlawful orders and that our oath of office is predicated upon our honoring the laws and Constitution of our nation.
    Placing veterans that honor that oath and military under the same concept, The Constitution and Laws.
    Pissed Trump off no end, but he’s stuck with reality.

    Tired, so tangential thoughts are end of transmission. Reflections, welcome. Refractions, even more so. :P
    And yeah, my military career was in Pershing Missiles, back when we were trying to transport Pershing II first strike weapons to Germany.

  142. says

    Historian Kathleen Belew:

    Re “stand back and standby,” people who work in monitoring and de-radicalization and otherwise studying white power groups are sounding red alerts and sending emergency signals about increasing violence from now through the election, and after, regardless of winner.

    this is a movement that has sought not only poll intimidation–although it has done that–but also major mass casualties. There is no reason to think that strategy will change.

    we are talking about the movement responsible for the Oklahoma City bombing, the largest deliberate mass casualty on American soil between Pearl Harbor and 9/11 (yet we don’t remember it was the work of a movement)

    And even though we don’t remember, this is a movement that has been using online social network activism since 1983/84, that has repeatedly targeted people and infrastructure, that has continued largely un-confronted

    we are decades, if not generations, into this problem. A green light like “stand back and standby” is catastrophic.

    Please listen to the whistleblowers like [Elizabeth Neumann] who are leaving DHS after sounding the alarm about white power violence. Please. And please be safe out there, because the next step is mass casualty targets.

    as always, if you would like to read about the history of all this, check out Bring the War Home…other books coming out soon about what happens after 1996

    Spoiler: it’s bad!

  143. says

    Here’s a link to the September 30 Guardian coronavirus world liveblog.

    There are spikes across Eastern Europe. Also from there:

    Israel’s parliament has today approved a law restricting demonstrations as part of a coronavirus-related state of emergency that critics say is aimed at silencing protests against prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

    The law, which passed its final reading by 46 votes to 38, was meant to be part of a slew of measures approved by parliament on Friday tightening a second nationwide lockdown. But debate on the measure was put off as the government struggled to secure the necessary votes amid an opposition outcry and a protest outside parliament.

    The lockdown, which went into force on 18 September, shuts the majority of workplaces, markets, places of worship, schools and cultural venues.

    It also bans journeys of more than 0.6 miles (1km) from home, other than for essential purposes such as buying food and medicine or receiving medical treatment.

    The new law gives the government powers to declare a “special emergency caused by the coronavirus pandemic” for renewable periods of one week.

    During that time, the 1-kilometre limit on travel will apply to demonstrations, and there will also be restrictions on numbers.

    The state of emergency can be declared only during a lockdown. The government has yet to use those powers, but with more than 237,000 coronavirus infections and 1,528 deaths in a population of nine million, Israel currently has the world’s highest weekly infection rate per capita.

    Meir Cohen of main opposition party Yesh Atid-Telem condemned the new controls on demonstrations as a “slippery slope”, while Yair Golan of the leftwing Meretz party warned that the new law “won’t stop the demonstrations”.

    “The anger growing in the streets will find its way out,” he said.

    In recent months, weekly protests have been held outside Netanyahu’s Jerusalem residence demanding that he quit over his management of the pandemic and his ongoing trial on corruption charges.

  144. says

    How Trump acted last night is how people who’ve left the “administration” in disgust have described him acting in meetings about the coronavirus and national security, and how news reports and leaked recordings show him acting at international summits.

  145. says

    Biden is giving a speech and just got totally distracted by a train going by. The man loves trains.

    MSNBC chyron: “Biden goes on train tour after off-the-rails debate with Trump.”

  146. says

    Guardian world liveblog:

    The Italian Senate has suspended all parliamentary activity after two members from the ruling 5-star Movement fell ill Covid-19.

    Marco Croatti and Francesco Mollame wrote on Facebook that they had gone into quarantine.

    Croatti, 48, said he participated in a 5-star lawmakers assembly last Thursday, wearing a mask and respecting social distancing.

    Mollame, 58, said he did not take part in the 5-star meeting because he already had a fever and is now having difficulties breathing and speaking.

    All 5-star’s senators are now being tested, the Senate press office said. Out of Italy’s 319 senators, 95 are from 5-Star, the largest party group in the upper house.

  147. says

    Olivia Troye: “I waited for the President & the White House to condemn white supremacists the day after the mass shooting in El Paso, my hometown. Never happened. Last night Trump doubled down-energizing white supremacists once again-while claiming he supports ‘law & order’. He is one sick man.”

  148. says

    NBC – “Proud Boys celebrate after Trump’s debate callout”:

    The Proud Boys, a far-right extremist group, pledged allegiance to President Donald Trump on Tuesday night after he told the group to “stand back and stand by” during the first presidential debate.

    Many people on social media who identify with the group echoed that language, saying they were “standing down and standing by.” One known social media account for the group made “Stand back. Stand by” part of its new logo.

    On the Proud Boys’ account on the social media app Telegram, the group appeared to take the statement as marching orders.

    “Standing down and standing by sir,” the account wrote. The account then posted two videos of the answer, including one with the caption “God. Family. Brotherhood,” in which a man howled at the TV in response to Trump’s response.

    Megan Squire, a computer science professor at Elon University in North Carolina who tracks online extremism, said Trump’s giving the Proud Boys orders was their long-sought “fantasy.”

    “To say Proud Boys are energized by this is an understatement,” Squire said. “They were pro-Trump before this shoutout, and they are absolutely over the moon now. Their fantasy is to fight antifa in his defense, and he apparently just asked them to do just that.”

    The Proud Boys, a self-described “Western chauvinist” organization, is considered a violent, nationalistic, Islamophobic, transphobic and misogynistic hate group, according to the Anti-Defamation League, a nonprofit organization that tracks extremist groups. Proud Boys members marched at the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and have organized against Black Lives Matter protests in recent months.

    The group recently staged a rally in Portland, Oregon, in support of Trump. About 200 people, some armed with guns, attended the rally, short of the expectations of thousands.

    Proud Boys organizer Joe Biggs also posted after the debate that he was “standing by,” and he said the president “basically said to go f— them up.”

    “President Trump told the proud boys to stand by because someone needs to deal with ANTIFA… well sir! we’re ready!!” Biggs wrote.

    Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in a tweet that the president’s answer was “astonishing.”

    “President Trump owes America an apology or an explanation,” he said. “Now.”

    Trumps’ comments drew widespread condemnation on social media.

    Biden commented on the Proud Boys reaction, responding to a journalist who tweeted out a screenshot of the group celebrating the mention.

    “This. This is Donald Trump’s America,” Biden tweeted.

  149. says

    Why did Trump’s Intel chief launch a dubious pre-debate gambit?

    When John Ratcliffe was a member of Congress, he was seen as one of Capitol Hill’s most far-right members, who dabbled in silly conspiracy theories. When Donald Trump first nominated him to serve as the director of National Intelligence, the Texas Republican was effectively a punch-line to an unfortunate joke.

    Indeed, almost immediately after [Trump] introduced Ratcliffe as his choice for DNI, the far-right congressman was caught repeatedly lying about his professional background. Senate Republicans made little effort to hide the fact that they didn’t want Trump to nominate the guy.

    All the best people.

    […] GOP senators confirmed Ratcliffe to the post in May. We were reminded why yesterday afternoon. Politico reported:

    Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe on Tuesday declassified a Russian intelligence assessment that was previously rejected by Democrats and Republicans on the Senate Intelligence Committee as having no factual basis, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

    The disclosure was released in the form of an unclassified letter to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), dated yesterday.

    I realize this was quickly overshadowed by last night’s developments in Cleveland, but even by 2020 standards, this was extraordinary. Just hours ahead of a presidential debate, the director of National Intelligence effectively released Russian disinformation in the apparent hopes of smearing Hillary Clinton — a private citizen for the last eight years — and boosting one of Donald Trump’s conspiracy theories.

    Ratcliffe knows the information is unverified and possibly fabricated. He also knows the information was considered and discarded by career intelligence officials and the Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee. […]

    He was chosen to be part of Team Trump, and yesterday offered a painful example of Ratcliffe playing the role assigned to him.

    NBC News’ Andrea Mitchell noted earlier that U.S. professionals in the intelligence community “are horrified,” which seems like the only appropriate reaction to the circumstances.

    As the afternoon progressed, Ratcliffe issued a statement that read in part, “To be clear, this is not Russian disinformation.” Politico’s Kyle Cheney noted soon after that this was an instance in which the DNI found it necessary “to issue a statement clarifying that you didn’t just publicly disseminate Russian disinformation because your first statement made it sound like you did just publicly disseminate Russian disinformation.”

    Postscript: For his part, Donald Trump this morning promoted the aforementioned Politico article via Twitter, though he may not have read the content. The summary the president tweeted specifically said the DNI released information “that was previously rejected by Democrats and Republicans on the Senate Intelligence Committee as having no factual basis.”

  150. tomh says

    Tim Scott says Trump “misspoke” when he told Proud Boys to “stand by”
    Ursula Perano

    Scott is the only Black Republican in the Senate. Trump’s refusal to explicitly condemn white supremacist groups has sparked outrage and was celebrated by members of the Proud Boys group on online messaging boards.

    “I think he misspoke in response to Chris Wallace’s comment. He was asking Chris what he wanted [him] to say, I think he misspoke. I think he should correct it. If he doesn’t correct it, I guess he didn’t misspeak,” Scott said.

    A few other Republican comments, from the few Republicans they could get to comment.

    Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) said the debate was “a bit turgid in terms of understanding the candidates’ positions on the issues,” but responded “that’s all I have for you” when asked about the white supremacist remarks.

    Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) said, “He should have been very clear, and he should have made it very clear that there’s no room for people on the far left or the far right when it comes to either an antifa or these white supremacist groups. He should have been very clear.”

    Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.) would not respond to Trump’s comments specifically, only saying: “I condemn white supremacy, all extremist groups. I think that all of these groups are hateful and I condemn them in the strongest terms.”

    Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) said “of course” when asked if Trump should have condemned white supremacists, adding, “It was not a Lincoln-Douglas debate, that’s for sure.”

  151. says

    Bit and pieces of campaign news:

    * Wisconsin is struggling more than most states with an intensifying coronavirus crisis, but Donald Trump has nevertheless scheduled large campaign rallies in the Badger State for this weekend.

    * Former Gov. Marc Racicot, who led the Republican National Committee from 2002 to 2004, this morning became the latest Republican to announce his support for Joe Biden’s candidacy.

    * Donald Trump this morning tweeted that there’s a growing gap between Biden and the “radical left,” which appears to be the opposite of the message the president and his team have spent the last several months pushing.

    * As last night’s debate wrapped up, the Biden campaign raised $3.8 million in an hour, making it the best hour of his candidacy to date.

    * In Georgia’s 5th congressional district, former Atlanta City Council Member Kwanza Hall (D) and former Morehouse College President Robert Franklin (D) advanced to a Dec. 1 runoff, each hoping to temporarily fill the late Rep. John Lewis’ (D) vacancy.

    * Speaking of Georgia, the latest Quinnipiac poll found Biden leading Trump among likely voters in the state, 50% to 47%. […]

    * And as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce begins trying to mend fences with Democrats, the organization is experiencing greater internal turmoil. Scott Reed, the Chamber’s top political strategist, resigned yesterday. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, meanwhile, are reportedly lobbying the Chamber to be more partisan in the GOP’s favor.

    Link

    Of course Trump is lobbying the Chamber of Commerce. Sheesh.

    wzrd1 @196, that’s a terrible and frustrating tale of bureaucracy run amok, and of incompetence on the part of the people who are supposed to be paying you. I don’t have any experience with that system, so I don’t have any advice, but I am sorry to hear this happened. I hope you can get it straightened out.

  152. says

    Debate leaves much of the world ‘despondent about America’

    Last night’s debate seems to have done fresh damage to our global standing, leaving many to ask “fundamental” questions about the state of our democracy.

    Late last week, the New York Times reported that much of the world “is watching the United States with a mix of shock, chagrin and, most of all, bafflement.” The U.S. response to the coronavirus pandemic has done extensive harm to our international standing, and as the article added, Donald Trump’s refusal to honor a peaceful transition of power made matters worse.

    The Times quoted a lawmaker in Myanmar — a poor country struggling with open ethnic warfare — saying, “I feel sorry for Americans.”

    Last night’s presidential debate seems to have done even more damage, leaving many to ask “fundamental” questions “about the state of American democracy.”

    The unedifying spectacle of Tuesday night’s presidential debate produced some shock, some sadness and some weariness among American allies and rivals alike on Wednesday…. Many, if not most, European analysts blamed Mr. Trump for the mess.

    John Sawers, a former British diplomat, concluded, “My own response is that it makes me despondent about America.”

    Nicole Bacharan, a French-American historian and political analyst who lives in France, went on to tell the Times she was “dismayed,” by what she saw in the debate, adding, “It sent a depressing image of the United States, of the American democracy and its role in the world.”

    One of the few countries that seemed delighted was China — where there’s an ongoing effort to convince its population that democracy is a bad idea.

    At a campaign event in Ohio last month, Trump turned his attention to one of his very favorite falsehoods: “You know, we’re respected again. You may not feel it, although I think you do. You may not see it. You don’t read about it from the fake news, but this country is respected again.”

    As regular readers know, it is foundational to the president’s worldview: the United States was an international laughingstock for decades, Trump believes, and thanks to how awesome his awesomeness is, our global stature has finally been restored. He brings this up constantly, seeing it as one of his most important accomplishments.

    International surveys, however, have shown global respect for the United States falling to unprecedented depths. Last night served as a timely reminder that the damage is ongoing, and it’ll be a while before our reputation will be restored.

  153. says

    Why an out-of-control president raged through a cringe-worthy debate

    Chris Christie said of the debate, “The problems the president had tonight can potentially be fixed.” But they can’t — and that’s the problem.

    […] Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), who helped prepare the incumbent president for the debate, was asked on ABC News last night for his reaction to the event. “The problems the president had tonight can potentially be fixed,” Christie said.

    It was notable in its own right that one of Trump’s own debate coaches acknowledged [Trump’s] on-stage failures, but more important is the fact that Christie was mistaken: Trump’s “problems” can’t be fixed […]

    Michelle Obama has said, “Being president doesn’t change who you are; it reveals who you are.” As the world was reminded last night, the Republican incumbent has been revealed as a scared and dishonest fraud, indifferent toward rules, limits, and reality, unable to present a platform, a vision, or a coherent message. What viewers saw, in other words, was Donald Trump being Donald Trump — the voice we see at the rallies, and one we read on Twitter, is the same voice he brought to the debate stage.

    To call last night’s event a debate is itself a dubious assertion. […]

    Rachel’s post-debate analysis rang true for a reason:

    The clear choice that the American people have to make doesn’t much feel like a choice between Biden and Trump. It feels like a choice between a type of civic, normal politics, where there are debates, which have rules, where people on both sides may talk over each other a little bit, but at least they are participating in the same process, and we ultimately decide which one of them we want to be the leader. Or we have what we have seen tonight, and what this incumbent president is promising, which is a monstrous, unintelligible display of logorrhea, which has absolutely nothing to do with civic discourse, with debate, or even with the integrity of the contest they’re about to approach…. This sort of debate shouldn’t happen in a democracy.

    It’s tempting to try to process debates through conventional questions. What did the candidates hope to accomplish? Who were their target audiences? What core messages did they try to get across? What was their strategy and what does it tell us about the state of the race?

    [Trump] didn’t have a strategy, per se, he had a tantrum.

    This led the incumbent to act like a child losing a board game, deciding it’s better to simply toss the board in the air than to endure an embarrassment. […]

    As the dust settles this morning, Democratic fears have eased, and Republican hopes have been dashed. In a rather literal sense, Trump was unable to help himself, lacking the wherewithal to act like an adult for 90 minutes.

    The result was the worst presidential debate in U.S. history, a 90-minute ordeal unworthy of a great nation. Americans have never seen anything quite like this, and if we are very fortunate, the country never will again.

  154. says

    From Josh Marshall:

    […] not just a missed opportunity but a self-immolation. This was truly the worst of Trump: racist, belligerent, angry, unstable. […] It was pure id and an id under threat.

    […] One of the deepest traumas of living in the home of an abuser stems not from the outbursts of physical violence, verbal abuse or manipulation but the accumulated stress of ambient tension, uncertainty, the reflexive, unshakeable hyper-vigilance. It is exhausting in a profound way. Trump is exhausting – I suspect even for some who share his dark values. This was 90 minutes jam-packed with everything that makes Trump exhausting. Living with an abuser means being trapped in close quarters with the abuse, being unable to run. In a month voters get the chance to walk away.

    […] Incumbents often have a bad first debate. They’ve been cocooned, insulated from criticism and the rigors of campaigns. Surrounded by supporters they start thinking they’re better than they are and go light on preparation. The challenger has been debating for more than a year. […] They can get more prepared, more rhetorically limber for the second and third rounds. Getting angrier and more feral seems unlikely to help [Trump] since we’re likely to spend two weeks talking about his unhinged behavior. The next candidate debate is also the town hall format with voter questions – a format that is never friendly to aggressive candidates. It’s also Biden’s best format.

    […] getting more normal is similarly out of reach. Here character really is destiny. This is who Trump is. It is especially who he is under threat. His campaign is about nudging undecided voters into fears about general social disorder and frighteningly assertive black and brown people. He ended up embracing white nationalist militias and saying they were necessary to crush the left in the streets. […]

    Trump had to shift things in his favor and he failed. Since he’s already losing that’s a big loss. I suspect it was even worse for him. Maybe a turning point.

    https://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/the-morning-after-2

  155. says

    About the COVID-19 part of last night’s debate:

    […] a clear pattern does emerge in Trump’s behavior: whenever the topic of COVID-19 came up, [he] went completely off the rails, hurling disconnected and vicious attacks at his opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, and, at times, moderator Chris Wallace.

    Take the first time that Biden brought up COVID-19, around 10 minutes into the debate. It came during an opening volley of heckling from Trump, as he tried to paint Biden as some kind of Bolshevik in disguise.

    “The 200,000 people that have died on his watch, how many of those have survived?” Biden asked. “Well, there’s seven million people that contracted COVID. What does it mean for them going forward if you strike down the Affordable Care Act?”

    Trump at first replied completely incoherently, saying, “You’ve had 308,000 military people dying because you couldn’t provide them proper health care in the military.”

    Biden replied that he was “happy to talk about this.”

    But then, Trump really lost it. For the next few minutes of the debate, Trump did little more than fling brief snippets of attacks at Biden. At first he said that “it would have been two million people” had Biden been in office. Biden brought up Roe v. Wade (this whole exchange occurred following a question about the Supreme Court), but Trump was still enraged, telling Biden “you don’t know what’s on the ballot.”

    Things degraded from there. Wallace asked about the pending Affordable Care Act case before the Supreme Court, and Trump didn’t let him finish, instead interjecting with a series of brief jabs at Biden and the ACA while saying “we will protect people.”

    After more crosstalk, Biden eventually said that Trump was “a liar,” to which Trump replied, “Joe, you’re the liar. You graduated last in your class, not first in your class.”

    Trump picked up that same line of attack later on in the debate — again after Biden brought up COVID-19. [Trump’s] veil of populism slipped and revealed Trump as an Ivy Leaguer sneering at someone for going to state school.

    Biden had said that Trump “knew how dangerous [COVID-19] was going to be back in February, and he didn’t even tell you.”

    “He panicked or he just looked at the stock market. One of the two. Because guess what?” Biden asked. “A lot of people died and a lot more are going to die unless he gets a lot smarter, a lot quicker —”

    Then, Trump, turning towards Biden, began to speak.

    “Did you use the word smart?” Trump interjected.

    “So, you said you went to Delaware State, but you forgot the name of your college. You didn’t go to Delaware State,” he said, tapping into a debunked right-wing attack. “You graduated either the lowest or almost the lowest in your class. Don’t ever use the word smart with me.”

    The same rampage occured elsewhere in the debate when the topic of COVID-19 came up.

    Take the time during the debate that was actually apportioned for discussing the virus.

    Biden got the first shot at responding, during which Trump employed his typical strategy of saying “wrong” in the middle of every sentence.

    But then Trump couldn’t let Biden finish, reverting to his earlier talking points of “it’s China’s fault” and “if we would’ve listened to you, the country would have been left wide open, millions of people would have died, not 200,000.”

    The overarching point — that Trump does not have an answer to questions about his handling of the pandemic — was illustrated again when Trump brought up the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, telling Biden that he was “a disaster.”

    “14,000 people died, not 200,000,” Biden replied. […]

    Link

  156. says

    Follow-up to comment 215.

    From comments posted by readers of the article:

    He’s slinging terrified poo because he knows that COVID result is damning. It can’t be spun.
    ———————-
    confirmed: debate #2 is just a fist fight in a Chili’s parking lot.
    ——————–
    [Trump was] a Gatling gun of bullshit
    ————————
    He admitted COVID-19 is lethal. That’s going to be a useful admission.

    So send your kids to school. Go to the restaurant. Don’t wear a mask. Play football. Ignore it.
    ———————-
    It’s not a strategy, it’s a character trait. He can’t be “wrong” about anything, so when he feels under attack, he just lashes out with nonsense, lies, yelling, anger, etc. There’s no Machiavelli behind that orange spray.
    ———————–
    Donald Trump’s 2020 policy platform is “I don’t want to be prosecuted for a litany of federal crimes”.

    From David Frum:

    New theory from Trump camp: Biden did himself tremendous harm by revealing himself as politically moderate, culturally conservative, from a working-class background – instead of going for the all-important anarchist vote!

    Finnish take:

    Trump was like a schoolyard bully, and Biden wouldn’t surrender his lunch money.

    See the video at https://twitter.com/ProjectLincoln/status/1311172884337840128
    “Don’t use the word “smart.”

  157. lotharloo says

    This is not new but it was new for me. I was browsing wikipedia and came across this on McEnany:

    While in law school, McEnany appeared on CNN as a paid commentator. She supported Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election. However, in early 2015, before becoming a Trump supporter, McEnany was highly critical of him, declaring on CNN and Fox Business that “Donald Trump has shown himself to be a showman” and it was “unfortunate” and “inauthentic” to call him a Republican. McEnany called his comments about Mexican immigrants “racist”. She began supporting Trump after receiving advice over cocktails from Michael Marcantonio, a fellow summer associate at a law firm and a Democrat. He told her that “Donald Trump is going to be your nominee,” and if “a smart, young, blond Harvard graduate” wanted “to get on television and have a career as a political pundit, you would be wise to be an early backer.” According to The Guardian, she took this advice.

    Fucking scumbags. All of them, all republicans and some democrats.

  158. says

    lotharloo @217, and now McEnany is a Liar-for-Trump.

    In other news: ICE is reportedly set to terrorize blue areas in a blatantly political move just weeks before election.

    Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) reportedly plans to launch another racist terror campaign targeting immigrant families within the next few weeks […] with mass deportation agents looking to target communities in California, Denver, and Philadelphia. In the middle of a fucking pandemic.

    Whether it’s more fearmongering or a real sweep, it’s a plainly political move by the administration. It’s coming just weeks before Election Day, it’s targeting only blue areas that we know of so far, and it’s plainly political because because the administration says so: “[t]wo officials with knowledge of plans for the sanctuary op described it as more of a political messaging campaign than a major ICE operation,” the report said.

    Further adding to the political nature of this campaign is that instead of using his time to combat white supremacist terror threats against the U.S., unlawfully appointed acting Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Sec. Chad Wolf is instead reportedly planning to tag along for at least one of the stops for full effect. […]

    “In 2018, the Border Patrol planned a series of ‘crowd-control’ exercises—purely coincidentally, I’m sure—for election day in El Paso, which they only cancelled after a huge public outcry. Nothing to see here am-i-right?” tweeted Philip Wolgin, managing director of immigration policy at the Center for American Progress. “Oh and there’s Portland—have we forgotten about Portland, where the President and illegally-appointed-acting-Secretary Chad Wolf sent in DHS personnel to meet peaceful protestors?” he continued. “Surely that wasn’t political, am-i-right?”

    […] what about what it’s doing to undocumented families who are being targeted, and who already live their daily lives with the threat of detention and deportation hanging over their heads?

    “#DontLookAway this admin continues to make scapegoats out of immigrants,” tweeted Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services

    […] ICE has continued detaining people in the middle of a pandemic, with the Miami Herald reporting that when federal immigration officials should be emptying immigration prisons as a safety measure, they instead “quietly announced they would resume regular apprehension and detention practices, an apparent reversal from an earlier temporary suspension of non-criminal enforcement due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”[…]

    “Generally speaking, as ICE has noted for years, in jurisdictions where cooperation does not exist and ICE is not allowed to assume custody of aliens from jails, ICE is forced to arrest at-large criminal aliens out in the communities instead of under the safe confines of a jail,” ICE spokesperson Mike Alvarez claimed to The Post. Oh fucking please. From thumbing its nose at Congressional oversight to keeping people detained for years even after they won pardons, ICE isn’t forced to do anything. It’s doing exactly what it wants to do.

    Link

  159. tomh says

    Federal Judge Blocks Tennessee Medication Abortion Law
    September 30, 2020 DANIEL JACKSON

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. (CN) — A federal judge has temporarily blocked a Tennessee law requiring abortion providers to tell patients that medication abortions can be reversed, setting the stage for a hearing featuring dueling expert opinions over whether the advice is medically sound.
    […]

    The abortion providers – Planned Parenthood of Tennessee and North Mississippi, Memphis Center for Reproductive Health, Knoxville Center for Reproductive Health and carafem – argued the claim that the procedure can be reversed has been rejected by groups such as the American Medical Association and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
    […]

    In his ruling Tuesday, U.S. District Judge William Campbell Jr., a Trump appointee, said the abortion providers that filed a lawsuit at the end of August challenging the law were likely to succeed on their claim the law violates their First Amendment rights.
    […]

    Tennessee’s law, which was set to take effect Thursday, would have made a failure to notify a patient a Class E felony…

    Tennessee Class E felony = prison time of one to six years

  160. says

    There is one fact-check of Trump that arrived in real time, and that did not involve the media. This is from Sherriff Mike Reese:

    In tonight’s presidential debate the President said the “Portland Sheriff” supports him. As the Multnomah County Sheriff I have never supported Donald Trump and will never support him.

    More on Trump’s lies:

    […] Trump lied about, misrepresented, made false statements on, exaggerated, or misled on […] Biden’s position on health care, veterans’ health care, coronavirus and masks, Biden’s position on coronavirus shutdowns, his own manufacturing jobs creation record, Black Lives Matter protests, his own former adviser Kellyanne Conway’s words, Biden’s advocacy of the 1994 crime bill, the size of his campaign rallies, the Green New Deal, his own environmental record, the causes of wildfires in California, the number of people in the U.S. with preexisting conditions, the price of insulin, Hunter Biden, Hunter Biden, and basically everything he said about voting and election fraud.

    […] the content of what he said about elections was intended to delegitimize the elections—because he believes he is going to lose, and rather than accept that loss he is trying to create distrust in the whole process.

    So: Trump claimed fraud is widespread in mail-in voting, which it is not—in fact, it’s less than 0.0001%. He claimed his poll watchers in Philadelphia had been turned away Tuesday “Because bad things happen in Philadelphia. Bad things.” In reality, poll watchers are only allowed to observe in-person voting on Election Day in Philadelphia. He falsely claimed that postal workers in West Virginia are selling ballots, apparently based on a case in which a single postal worker in the state altered some ballot applications—Democrats’ ballot applications, by the way—and claimed it had been done as a joke. He exaggerated a case in which a small number of ballots were mistakenly thrown out by an inexperienced worker. The mistake was caught, but Trump’s Justice Department is seeking to politicize it so that he has a debate talking point—which took the politicized Justice Department story and distorted it further.

    It was a barrage of lies about election security designed to undermine confidence in November’s elections, combined with an invitation to his supporters to turn out to engage in voter intimidation, combined with an invitation to white supremacists to “stand by.” Over the years we’ve seen that many of Trump’s lies are intended to gain a fleeting moment’s advantage, to make him feel like a big man who won a single conversational exchange. Tuesday night was different. Both his attempts to rattle Joe Biden by attacking his son Hunter and his lies about voting had more sustained intention behind them. But the lies about the integrity of November’s elections were far more serious, because they were intentional, sustained assaults on those elections, and on U.S. democracy.

    Link

  161. says

    Slowly, painfully slowly, we are getting more information from the Mueller report.

    A federal judge on Wednesday ordered the Department of Justice to publish information redacted from the Mueller report that had been designated as privileged.

    District Court Judge Reggie Walton said that the Trump administration had failed to justify certain redactions from the report on the special counsel’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. […]

    “Based on the Court’s review of the unredacted version of the Mueller Report, the Court concludes that the Department has failed to satisfy its burden to demonstrate that the withheld material is protected by the deliberative process privilege,” Walton […] wrote in his 40-page opinion.

    The decision comes as a result of a pair of lawsuits under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) brought by a journalist with Buzzfeed and the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) that sought to have the full, unredacted report released to the public.

    Walton on Wednesday ruled that the DOJ could continue to withhold material it had redacted under FOIA exemptions allowing agencies to conceal information that would compromise law enforcement investigations or compromise the privacy of witnesses. […]

    “The inconsistencies between Attorney General Barr’s statements, made at a time when the public did not have access to the redacted version of the Mueller Report to assess the veracity of his statements, and portions of the redacted version of the Mueller Report that conflict with those statements cause the Court to seriously question whether Attorney General Barr made a calculated attempt to influence public discourse about the Mueller Report in favor of President Trump despite certain findings in the redacted version of the Mueller Report to the contrary,” Walton wrote in March. […]

    Link

    Judge Walton is a Bush appointee.

  162. says

    More about Trump’s lies: “We had an avalanche of lying from President Trump,” CNN reporter Daniel Dale said. “[Former Vice President Joe] Biden, conversely, made at least a couple false or misleading claims. But honestly, he was largely accurate.”

    He added, “There was times during this debate, Wolf [Blitzer], where President Trump’s every line — specifically on mail voting — almost every single thing he said during that concluding section of the debate was inaccurate. And the other thing that stood out to me, Wolf, was that these were largely false claims the president has made before.”

    Highlights from Daniel Dale’s Twitter feed:

    On Trump’s claim that he banned travel from China and Europe in response to Covid-19: “Trump didn’t ‘ban’ travel from China or Europe. He imposed travel restrictions with numerous exemptions — for US citizens, green card holders, many of their family members — and the Europe restrictions exempted entire countries.”

    On Trump’s claim that Biden wants to abolish private health insurance: “That claim is simply not true. You may recall the Democratic primary, in which a leading candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, proposed a Medicare-for-all plan … a single-payer plan that would indeed have eliminated most private insurance — about 100 million people with private plans. Biden rejected that approach.”

    On Trump’s claim that he’s bringing down drug prices: “Can’t fact-check the future, but there is very much no evidence Trump’s executive order will reduce drug prices 80 percent or 90 percent.”

    On Trump’s claim that Biden supports another lockdown: “Biden has not proposed a shutdown or put forward a shutdown plan. He said in an August interview that he’d shut things down *if scientists said that was necessary in a virus crisis.* He later walked that back, saying ‘there is going to be no need’ for a ‘whole economy’ shutdown.”

    On Trump’s claim that he brought back 700,000 manufacturing jobs: “From the beginning of Trump’s presidency through August, it’s a net loss of 237,000 jobs. We have lost manufacturing jobs under Trump.”

    On Biden’s claim that the US trade deficit with China has grown: “Biden is wrong that the trade deficit with China is now bigger than it was before. That would’ve been true in 2018, but it isn’t anymore; last year’s figure was slightly lower than the 2016 figure.”

    After the debate ended, Dale summarized his takeaway on Twitter: “Biden has gotten at least a small number of things at least a little wrong; Trump has told big lie after big lie.”

    Link

    Video of Daniel Dale speaking is available at the link.

  163. says

    Vox – “Pope Francis refused to meet with Mike Pompeo so as not to boost Trump”:

    When President Donald Trump’s top diplomat can’t get a meeting with God’s ambassador [sic], you know something is wrong.

    While on a weeklong trip to Europe, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo planned to sit down with Pope Francis during a visit to the Vatican. But the Catholic leader refused the photo ops and handshakes with America’s top diplomat out of one major concern: That he’d be a pawn in Trump’s reelection efforts.

    “Yes, that is precisely why the pope will not meet American secretary of state Mike Pompeo,” Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, the Vatican’s secretary for relations with states, told Italian news agency Ansa on Wednesday.

    That’s jarring, especially since the men met in person last October to discuss promoting religious freedom, even amid impeachment hearings in Washington.

    Pompeo still met with top Vatican officials, but the papal stiff-arming underscored two key changes.

    First, Pompeo wanted to criticize the Vatican’s still-secret deal with China, agreed to two years ago, so instead he used a speech in Rome on Wednesday to make his points publicly….

    Second, the 2020 US presidential election is just over a month away, and pictures of Pompeo and His Holiness smiling and chuckling could conceivably alter some Americans’ views on the current administration. Pope Francis, it seems, didn’t want to run that risk.

    But wait: The Secretary of State is America’s top diplomat, not Trump’s personal envoy. Why, then, would the Vatican boss have any concerns that such a meeting with Pompeo might be seen as picking sides in the US presidential race?

    The answer lies with Pompeo’s unsavory decision of late to act as Trump’s campaign surrogate, even in his official capacity — and it seems that decision may now be harming the administration’s ability to meet with foreign leaders.

  164. says

    The entire Trump family broke the rules at the debate last night.

    The first presidential debate featured a number of COVID-19 precautions. Donald Trump and Joe Biden didn’t shake hands. There were fewer than 100 people in the live audience. Masks were required. […]

    From Tyler Pager:

    An observation from inside the debate hall: Everyone in Biden’s side of the hall is wearing a mask. More than half on Trump’s side, including his four children, are not wearing masks. According to the Cleveland Clinic, it’s a requirement that all guests wear masks.

  165. says

    BuzzFeed – “Ukraine Is Investigating The Killing Of A US Embassy Employee In Kyiv”:

    Ukrainian police are investigating the killing of an American woman who was employed at the US Embassy in Kyiv, a police spokesperson told BuzzFeed News Wednesday.

    The woman, who had suffered a large head injury, was found by a passerby on a street near Kyiv’s Nyvky Park outside the city center, Artem Shevchenko, a spokesperson for Ukraine’s Interior Ministry, said. The US Embassy sits on the eastern edge of the park and is only a half-mile away from where the woman was found.

    Shevchenko said police were working to track down at least one male suspect they believe to be responsible for what he called a “deliberate murder.”

    Shevchenko said the woman, who has not yet been officially identified, was wearing jogging clothes and earbuds when she was found.

    “The unconscious woman was admitted to a hospital where she subsequently died. During the examination of the victim’s belongings, an identity card of an employee of the US Embassy in her name was found,” a Kyiv Police statement said.

    The embassy confirmed the death but said it did not have any new information about what had happened. “We are heartbroken to report the death of an American member of the U.S. Embassy Kyiv community. Officials from U.S. Embassy Kyiv are currently working with authorities to determine the circumstances of the death,” the embassy said in a statement to BuzzFeed News.

    The Kyiv Police said they were looking for a dark-haired man roughly 30-40 years old, around 6 feet tall, and dressed in black shorts, dark blue sneakers, and a t-shirt.

    The US Embassy in Kyiv employs hundreds of American diplomats and local staff at its compound. The facility is heavily guarded, with blast-proof walls, tall security fencing, and 24-hour guards on duty. The neighborhood around it is heavily patrolled by the Ukrainian police. In recent years, there have been only a few disturbances at the compound caused by small protests outside its walls.

  166. says

    Here’s Trump lying and saying ‘I don’t know who the Proud Boys are’. He doesn’t denounce them…”

    Videos atl. He’s very obviously lying – knows exactly who they are (and if he didn’t he would have said so last night – “I don’t know anything about that” is his go-to when he doesn’t want to explicitly condemn something, which he belatedly tried today). Note that in the comments about letting law enforcement do the job, he’s putting the Proud Boys, police, and himself on the same team – doing the same “work” – against Democrats, liberals, and the radical left. The far-right side. The white supremacist side.

  167. tomh says

    @ #230
    Just like in 2016 when Trump didn’t “know anything” about David Duke. Or last month, when asked about QAnon said, “I don’t know much about the movement; I understand they like me very much, which I appreciate…” “I heard these are people that love our country.”

  168. blf says

    Just a reminder the next “debate” between Biden and hair furor is(? contains?) a so-called “Town Hall” format, with questions from the public / audience. When hair furor tried to talk over or shout down the audience a few weeks ago, they audience / questioners did not allow him to do so. (The questions were also sharper and perhaps more to-the-point then that of most journalists.) Biden apparently does rather well in such situations, and his empathy is obvious; and hair furor shows up as obviously having none.

  169. blf says

    Biden’s ‘inshallah’ during US debate dubbed ‘historic’ on Twitter:

    […]
    You’ll get to see it, Trump said repeatedly as moderator Chris Wallace pressed him to commit to a firm timeline [to release his tax returns]. Biden retorted, “When? Inshallah?”

    While the Arabic language phrase translates to “God willing,” it also has colloquial connotations of ambiguous commitment.

    [… lots of stuff on twittering…]

    Has hair furor ever previously saidlied that he actually would release his tax returns? My (admittedly vague) memory is not doing so is one of the very few rather specific things he has consistently bellowed over the years. (When pressed, he usually uses the lie he cannot because he is being audited.)

  170. tomh says

    WaPo:
    Voting rights advocates see legal wins in Mont., Wis. and Ala.
    By Elise Viebeck

    Federal courts sided with voting rights advocates and Democrats in three more cases on Wednesday, adding to a string of legal victories for groups seeking to make mail voting easier during the coronavirus pandemic.

    Judges upheld Montana’s mail voting plan for the general election, kept in place an extended return deadline for mail ballots in Wisconsin, and loosened mail voting rules in Alabama for people who are medically vulnerable. In a fourth development, a federal appeals court allowed South Carolina’s witness requirement to remain blocked.

    Recent decisions have revealed judges’ skepticism about Republican claims that lowering barriers to mail voting will lead to widespread fraud in the general election, according to a review of nearly 90 cases by The Washington Post. Wednesday’s ruling in Montana offered another example, with Judge Dana L. Christensen writing that, based on the evidence, such claims are “a fiction” in the state.

    “When pressed during the hearing in this matter, the Plaintiffs were compelled to concede that they cannot point to a single instance of voter fraud in Montana in any election during the last 20 years,” Christensen wrote, denying GOP requests to block Montana from allowing counties to administer the general election by mail. “Importantly, Montana’s use of mail ballots during the recent primary election did not give rise to a single report of voter fraud.”

    Separately, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit Court denied a motion from the Wisconsin legislature to stay its ruling allowing mail ballots to be counted if they are postmarked by Election Day and received by Nov. 9. The case could be appealed to the Supreme Court.

    Finally, Judge Abdul K. Kallon of the Northern District of Alabama exempted people at heightened risk for complications from covid-19, the disease the coronavirus causes, from including a copy of their photo identification with their application for a mail ballot and obtaining a signature on a mail ballot affidavit from a notary or two witnesses. The ruling also stopped Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill from prohibiting counties from offering curbside voting procedures.

    Republicans will send a lot of these rulings to the Supreme Court as emergency cases, where Trump will count on “his people” to reverse some of these rulings.

  171. says

    Bernie Sanders: “Last night Trump was asked to condemn white supremacy—and refused. He has called neo-Nazis ‘very fine people’. He has inspired disgusting acts of racism and violence. This is the most dangerous president in the modern history of our country. He must be defeated.”

  172. blf says

    They don’t quite get this memory hole thing, Religious group scrubs all references to Amy Coney Barrett from its website:

    People of Praise, a tiny charismatic Catholic organization, admits removing mentions and photos of Trump’s supreme court pick

    A tiny religious organization tied to Amy Coney Barrett, Donald Trump’s supreme court nominee, sought to erase all mentions and photos of her from its website before she meets with lawmakers and faces questions at her Senate confirmation hearings.

    Barrett, a federal appeals judge, has declined to publicly discuss her decades-long affiliation with People of Praise, a Christian group that opposes abortion and holds that men are divinely ordained as the head of the family and faith.

    Former members have said the group’s leaders teach that wives must submit to the will of their husbands.

    A spokesman for the organization has declined to say whether the judge and her husband, Jesse Barrett, are members.

    But an analysis by the Associated Press shows that People of Praise erased numerous records from its website during the summer of 2017 that referred to Barrett and included photos of her and her family.

    At the time, Barrett was on Trump’s shortlist for the high court seat that eventually went to Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

    Last week, when Barrett again emerged as a frontrunner for the court, more articles, blogposts and photos disappeared.

    After an AP reporter emailed the group’s spokesman on Wednesday about members of Jesse Barrett’s family, his mother’s name was deleted from the primary contact for the South Bend, Indiana, branch. All issues of the organization’s magazine, Vine and Branches, were also removed.

    Sean Connolly, People of Praise’s spokesman, confirmed in an email that information was being wiped from the group’s website.

    […]

    The AP was able to track the deletions and access the missing information through the Internet Archive, a non-profit group that has saved digital versions of more than 330bn web pages since 1996.

    Barrett […] did not mention People of Praise in her 2017 or 2020 Senate judicial vetting questionnaires, the most recent of which was released on Tuesday.

    And a request to interview her made through the seventh circuit court of appeals in Chicago, where she currently serves as a judge, was declined.

    The AP reported earlier this week that People of Praise’s belief system is rooted in so-called charismatic Catholicism, a movement that grew out of the influence of Pentecostalism, which emphasizes a personal relationship with Jesus and can include baptism in the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues.

    Baptisloon Holy Sprit sounds like a nasty “brand” of moonshine (the literally toxic stuff that can blind or kill).

    […]
    Adult members of the group take a covenant that includes a passage where members promise to follow the teachings and instructions of the group’s pastors, teachers and evangelists.

    It’s unclear whether Barrett took the covenant. But members of the organization and descriptions of its hierarchy show that members almost invariably join the covenant after three to six years of religious study or they leave, so it would be unusual for Barrett to be involved for so many years without having done so.

    Among the items that were scrubbed in 2017 were select back issues of [the cult’s magazine] Vine & Branches that included birth and adoption announcements for some of the couple’s seven children.

    Also deleted were numerous other articles involving Barrett or her family members.

  173. blf says

    Plan to solve Florida’s non-existent protest problem is pure ‘mini-Trump’:

    […]
    For many who heard Ron DeSantis outline his proposed Combatting Violence, Disorder and Looting Act it was a head-scratcher.

    Why would Florida’s Republican governor suddenly be pushing severe penalties on protesters in a state that escaped the disorder of summer Black Lives Matter gatherings elsewhere? Why threaten to withhold state money from municipalities that defund police even as Florida cities including Miami and Tampa were actually increasing law enforcement spending?

    To Democrats, civil rights advocates, voters’ groups and others who have studied the behavior of a politician they see as a mini-Donald Trump, the governor’s solving of problems that appear not to exist was no mystery.

    A strong law-and-order pitch to voters in the key swing state just weeks before a presidential election deflected attention from a botched response to the coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 14,000 in Florida, they say. And it echoed the fearmongering tactics employed on a national scale that Trump believes will win him a second term in the White House.

    “He doesn’t want us to address his terrible track record so he’s using law and order as an election stunt to distract and scare voters,” said Anna Eskamani, a Democratic state representative for Orlando.

    [… The nonsense includes] a six-month prison sentence for anybody striking or throwing objects at law enforcement officers and designate gatherings of seven or more people resulting in injury or property damage as unlawful. Additionally, any driver who injures or kills a person during such a gathering will not be held liable — raising the prospect of almost legalizing vehicular attacks on protests.

    […]

    DeSantis himself acknowledged his manifesto was not built on anything that had taken place in the state.

    We have seen attacks on law enforcement, we’ve seen disorder and tumult in many cities. I will not allow this kind of violence to occur here in Florida, he said during a press conference […] flanked by senior state Republicans and law enforcement officials.

    Equality advocates are particularly outraged at the loosely defined clause removing criminal liability from drivers fleeing for safety from a mob.

    […]

    Some local government officials, meanwhile, decry the governor’s threat to hold back state money from municipalities perceived to have “defunded” police.

    “It seeks to bully local governments from reallocating law enforcement budgets and seeking reforms like we’re trying to do,” said Sabrina Javellana, vice-mayor of Hallandale Beach.

    “Sanctions only hurt the people he is purporting to help. Many crimes are committed out of poverty. If we can reduce poverty we can reduce crime.”

    Shevrin Jones, a Democratic state senator-elect, said DeSantis was guilty of “blatant overreach” by seeking to criminalize protests. […] “We’re going to fight this tooth and nail. You’ve just declared war on our civil rights. We’re prepared to strap up our boots and in the spirit of John Lewis get in some good trouble.”

  174. blf says

    A few snippets from an opinion column, A Facial Action Coding system to explain what women are thinking? You could just ask:

    It’s good to know that the pandemic hasn’t stopped proper academic research being done. Not just research into treatment or a cure for Covid, but something more pressing, such as how to tell if a woman is flirting with you.

    I personally bare my teeth and use a hard stare before clamping down, draining my prey and discarding the empty shell. But I suppose I would be a Facial Action Coding outlier.

    Of course, a man could just wait until a woman tells him what she thinks about him. But I forget myself: who cares about women’s inner lives, voices and actions? We’re talking about something much more important: our faces.

  175. tomh says

    WaPo:
    Misinformation about Biden’s health spreads after debate
    Elizabeth Dwoskin
    September 30, 2020

    False stories about Joe Biden’s health continued to spread on social platforms the day after the first presidential debate, including misleading Facebook ads by the Trump campaign and a viral video on TikTok.

    A false story about Biden wearing an earpiece that emerged on Tuesday continued to get traction on Facebook after the debate. The Trump campaign ad, which encourages people to “Check Joe’s Ears,” and asked “Why won’t Sleepy Joe commit to an earpiece inspection,” was viewed between 200,000 to 250,000 times and marketed primarily to people over 55 in Texas and Florida. The implication of the ad, the content of which originated from a tweet by a New York Post reporter who cited a single anonymous source, is that Biden needed the assistance of an earpiece so someone could pass him information during the debates.

    And on the video platform TikTok, four grainy videos alleging that Biden was wearing a wire to “cheat” during the debate racked up more than half a million combined views on Wednesday…One of the videos shows a still of Biden with his hand inside his suit, while another overlays an arrow over Biden’s tie, but neither video shows any visual evidence of Biden wearing an electronic device of any kind…

    The campaign ad on Facebook focusing on Biden reveals a significant hole in the social media giant’s enforcement efforts… the social network does not fact-check political ads as a matter of policy.

  176. blf says

    Global poll of views on environment and science finds sharpest divide in US (my added emboldening):

    […]
    People in the US are more sharply divided along political lines when it comes to science and environmental issues than in other parts of the world, new research shows.

    [… I]n the US, that divide is much sharper, according to an international survey by the Pew Research Center. About four in 10 US citizens[?] who are on the right politically would prioritise protecting the environment, even if it caused slower economic growth and some loss of jobs, compared with 87% of those on the left.

    In Europe, Australia, Canada, Brazil and South Korea, the divide was much less marked. Of those on the right in the UK, 68% would prioritise the environment, similar to the numbers in Italy, Sweden, Poland, Spain and France. On the left in the UK, 84% would prioritise environmental protection, similar to the proportion in other European countries.

    […]

    Only one in five people with right-wing political views said they had a lot of trust in scientists, compared with more than six in 10 people on the left, in the US.

    The Pew results show that people in 20 nations around the world have a strong regard for scientists generally, with about eight in 10 globally saying government investment in scientific research was worthwhile.

    […]

    Respondents were asked about the preventive health benefits of childhood vaccines, such as those for measles, mumps and rubella. In Sweden, a majority (84%) said the benefits were high, but only 49% said the same in Russia. In the US, one in 10 people said there were no preventive health benefits from such vaccines, and 37% said there was a high or medium risk of side-effects.

    […]

    The survey was done earlier this year, “before the effects of coronavirus became apparent”.

  177. blf says

    First Dog on the Moon in the Grauniad (please support the Grauniad if you are able to do so), It seems everyone is ‘fleeing to the regions’ (aka a fleechange lol) (cartoon), about people moving to rural locations from the cities (like the cartoonist did three years ago) and discovering it’s rather different (from imagination and previous lifestyle). E.g., “Good luck wherever you are, be it two hours from a badly funded hospital or just around the corner from one.”

  178. says

    Guardian – “Irish court rules Subway bread is not bread”:

    The Irish Supreme court has ruled that the bread served at Subway – a US sandwich food chain with branches in more than 100 countries – cannot be defined as bread.

    Under Ireland’s Value-Added Tax Act of 1972 it cannot even be defined as a staple food, according to the Irish Independent, because it contains too much sugar.

    The ruling came after an appeal brought before the court by Subway franchisee Bookfinders Ltd. The case rested on whether the bread for Subway’s sandwiches counts as a staple food and therefore is VAT-exempt.

    The bread’s sugar content – five times the qualifying limit under the act – means that it falls outside of the legal definition of a staple food. The ruling included white and wholegrain bread. The definition serves to differentiate bread from other baked goods.

    “The argument depends on the acceptance of the prior contention that the Subway heated sandwich contains ‘bread’ as defined, and therefore can be said to be food for the purposes of the Second Schedule rather than confectionary. Since that argument has been rejected, this subsidiary argument must fail,” the court ruled. The appeal was dismissed.

    The ruling is not the first slice of controversy for the brand. In 2014, Subway decided to start removing the flour whitening agent azodicarbonamide from its baked goods after a petition circulated online. The ingredient is commonly used in the manufacture of yoga mats and carpet underlay and has been banned by the European Union and Australia from use in food products.

  179. says

    Here’s a link to the October 1 Guardian coronavirus world liveblog.

    From there:

    Russia confirmed its highest daily tally of new coronavirus cases since June 12 on Thursday as authorities reported 8,945 new infections, pushing the national total to 1,185,231, Reuters reports.

    The capital, Moscow, the heart of the outbreak earlier this year, registered 2,424 new cases overnight, officials said. Authorities said 169 people had died nationwide in the last 24 hours, bringing the official death toll to 20,891.

    Poland reported a record number of new daily coronavirus infections on Thursday, with the health ministry announcing 1,967 new cases, according to Reuters.

    It comes as neighbouring Ukraine also reported a record new high in infections, with authorities there registering 4,069 new cases in the past 24 hours.

    For the past week, Poland has seen more than 1,000 new cases per day. The authorities announced a previous record 1,587 new infections on Friday.

    Since the start of the pandemic, Poland has recorded 93,481 coronavirus infections with 2,543 deaths in total.

    The government in Turkey has been accused of hiding the true extent of the country’s coronavirus outbreak after the health minister let slip that daily figures only account for patients with symptoms, not all positive cases.

    In a news conference on Wednesday night, Fahrettin Koca said that since 29 July the count did not include asymptomatic positive cases, the Associated Press reports. He ignored a question about the number of new positive coronavirus cases per day, a key indicator of where the outbreak is headed in any country.

    “We are talking about people with symptoms. We are giving this as the daily number of patients,” he told reporters.

    The revelation led to an outcry on social media, with people calling on the government to reveal the true spread of the coronavirus among the population of 83 million.

    The minister’s admission came after an opposition legislator, Murat Emir, claimed that the true number of daily new infections in Turkey was 19 times higher than the daily figures reported by Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government.

    Koca denied the claim, insisting that all information published on a table showing Turkey’s daily coronavirus count is correct.

    Turkey on Wednesday reported 1,391 new coronavirus patients and 65 deaths. Since the pandemic began, Turkey says 318,000 residents have been infected and 8,195 have died.

  180. says

    Follow-up to comments 61 and 62.

    Brad Parscale is stepping down. He will no longer be involved in Trump’s reelection campaign. NBC News link. “I am stepping away from my company and any role in the campaign for the immediate future to focus on my family and get help dealing with the overwhelming stress.” Meanwhile, Parscale’s wife is now claiming that he was never violent towards her. No idea what that’s all about. She did have bruises.

    In other campaign news: The National Republican Campaign Committee recently launched an attack ad falsely accusing Rep. Tom Malinowski (a Democrat from New Jersey) of having “lobbied to protect sexual predators.” Predictably, the congressman is now receiving death threats from QAnon adherents. BuzzFeed News link

  181. says

    Former commander of US forces in Afghanistan endorses Biden

    It’s striking how many retired military leaders, many of whom have been apolitical for decades, have stepped up to denounce Trump, endorse Biden, or both.

    Donald Trump kicked off 2019 with a tweet attacking retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal. “‘General’ McChrystal got fired like a dog by Obama,” [Trump] wrote, adding, “Known for big, dumb mouth.”

    McChrystal, of course, is a highly decorated four-star general and combat veteran who devoted nearly all of his adult life to serving his country. Trump nevertheless questioned McChrystal’s service — note his use of scare quotes around “general,” as he hadn’t earned his rank — and publicly mocked him.

    […] McChrystal has thrown his support behind Joe Biden.

    Retired Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal endorsed Democratic nominee Joe Biden for president on Thursday, saying that the nation needed a commander in chief that was “humble enough to understand that they are a servant.” McChrystal made the endorsement even though there had been tension between McChrystal and Biden in the past.

    […] There are a couple of relevant angles to this. Right off the bat, it’s important to note that Barack Obama fired McChrystal after the general’s 2010 interview with Rolling Stone, in which McChrystal had plenty of unkind words about Biden.

    So why is he endorsing the former vice president now? “I think my willingness to endorse him now should signal to people that there was a respectful relationship then and just how important I think it is to replicate that kind of respectful relationship between senior military and leaders now,” McChrystal said of Biden this morning.

    But it’s also worth acknowledging just how many retired U.S. military leaders, many of whom have been apolitical for decades, have stepped up to denounce Trump, endorse Biden, or both.

    […] McChrystal’s news comes on the heels of retired Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, the former commander of U.S. ground forces in Iraq, condemning the Republican president over his racism.

    Those criticisms came just two weeks after retired Adm. Bill McRaven, the former commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command, perhaps best known as the Navy SEAL who oversaw the 2011 raid that killed Osama bin Laden, made similar public comments.

    “This fall, it’s time for new leadership in this country,” McRaven said, adding, “President Trump has shown he doesn’t have the qualities necessary to be a good commander in chief…. The country needs to move forward without him at the helm.”

    As regular readers know, in recent months, the public has heard related Trump criticisms from former Secretary of Defense James Mattis and former Secretary of State Colin Powell — who have eight stars on their shoulders between them.

    Retired Navy Adm. James Stavridis and retired Navy Adm. Michael Mullen, a former Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, also spoke out in the wake of the Lafayette Square debacle. Around the same time, the public heard from retired three-star Admiral Joseph Maguire, who worked for Trump as an acting director of National Intelligence, and who publicly aligned himself with the criticisms of Trump levied by Mattis and Mullen.

    They were joined by retired Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who also spoke out against Trump’s divisive politics.

    For those keeping score, there are now four former chairmen of the Joint Chiefs who’ve publicly slammed Trump of late.

    Americans have heard related criticisms in recent weeks from Gen. Tony Thomas, retired four-star Marine Gen. John Allen, retired three-star Lt. Gen. Russel Honore, retired four-star Gen. Michael Hayden, retired Maj. Gen. Steven Lepper, retired four-star Gen. Barry McCaffrey, and to a certain extent, even retired four-star Gen. John Kelly, who served as Trump’s White House chief of staff.

    In case that weren’t quite enough, just last week, more than 200 retired generals and admirals collectively endorsed Biden’s candidacy — and some of those retired military leaders worked directly under Trump.

    If there’s a precedent for the retired brass stepping up like this, I’m not aware of it.

  182. says

    Oh, FFS.

    “As Election Day draws closer, the Trump administration is requiring the Food Box Program to include signed letters from the president.”

    […] the Trump administration last week began “mandating that millions of boxes of surplus food for needy families include a letter” from Trump claiming credit for the program.

    The USDA’s $4 billion Farmers to Families Food Box Program has distributed more than 100 million boxes to those in need since May, with the aim of redirecting meat, dairy and produce that might normally go to restaurants and other food-service businesses. But organizations handing out the aid complain the program is now being used to bolster Trump’s image a month before a high-stakes election — and some even have refused to distribute them.

    Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, executive director of the Ohio Association of Food Banks, told Politico, “In my 30 years of doing this work, I’ve never seen something this egregious.”

    […] the practice of adding the Trump-signed letter to the Agriculture Department’s food boxes began a few months ago, but it wasn’t until last week that the USDA “began requiring the letters to be added to all boxes distributed by companies with government contracts, according to six people familiar with the program.”

    Of course, many of the groups that help distribute the boxes are non-profit organizations that are prohibited under federal tax law from engaging in election activities. They’re now left to wonder: if they go along with Team Trump’s scheme, and they agree to include election-season letters from the president to the public, are they aiding the president’s campaign? Is that legal? […]

    Link

  183. says

    Update on discussions being held to change presidential debate rules:

    […] NBC News’ report added, “It is unclear exactly what changes the CPD will propose, but a source close to the commission said it was considering the ability to cut off a candidate’s microphone when the rules are violated.”

    Team Trump apparently wasn’t pleased. Tim Murtaugh, a spokesperson for the president’s re-election campaign, told Axios, “They’re only doing this because their guy got pummeled last night. President Trump was the dominant force and now Joe Biden is trying to work the refs. They shouldn’t be moving the goalposts and changing the rules in the middle of the game.”

    In other words, as far as the Trump campaign is concerned, (a) the non-partisan Commission on Presidential Debates is secretly in league with Biden; (b) Trump won the debate; (c) Biden is driving the Commission’s possible changes; and (d) the president should be allowed to ignore debate rules without interference or consequence. […]

    Link

  184. says

    We’ve now had 28 consecutive weeks in which the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits was worse than at any time during the Great Recession.

  185. says

    Trump claimed that he had fun during the Tuesday night debate. Josh Marshall disagrees.

    […] Donald Trump was not having fun Tuesday night and he did not look confident at all. Indeed, I think it’s pretty clear Donald Trump hasn’t had many fun days since he became President. He tells us this himself. Grievance and unfairness are his whole story. Now he’s losing and he knows it. It’s not a good look. It never is but when your ideology and premise is winning then losing wears very badly.

    In our latest podcast episode Kate Riga and I compared Tuesday with the 2016 debates. It’s easy to forget just how crazy they were. They each had a number of over the top moments. Tuesday was nonstop over the top.

    But the most salient difference was qualitative not quantitive. Trump was sullen, angry and panicked […]

    The centerpiece of Alberta’s column is the second presidential debate in 2016. Days before Trump had been hit with the Access Hollywood tape. […] He did show up at the debate and acted unscathed and unscared. This is apparently a core part of the Trump World mythology. That night won him the presidency. He showed he was strong, unafraid and unbendable. […] To Trump debates are pressure tests. He showed that he didn’t break or wilt under the most withering pressure. People saw that and wanted back onboard.

    What I saw then and recall now in retrospect is slightly different. As Trump might say, what did he have to lose?

    Trump had managed the unimaginable: secured the major party nomination and wasn’t so far from the presidency itself. Sure he wanted to win. Winning is his ideology. But if he lost … well, no one thought he could win in the first place. As he said again and again, he could just go back to being Donald Trump.

    This may not all check out but pretty close. What did he have to lose? Double down again, up the ante. He was having fun. Win he wins, and lose he would still mostly win.

    The Trump we saw on Tuesday didn’t look like he was having fun at all. As Adam Serwer puts it, in Trumpism the cruelty is the point. But the fun is also the point. The fun of winning, the fun of breaking the rules and getting away with it and having a good time doing it. It’s not sadism if you’re not enjoying it.

    Trump didn’t look like he was having fun at all Tuesday night. And what does he have to lose? A lot. Getting rejected for another term — after people have seen four years — is a far greater ego blow than losing the first time. And Trump is holding off numerous lawsuits and criminal investigations with the semi immunity of the presidency.

    What does he have to lose? Quite a lot. He knows it better than anyone.

    Link

  186. tomh says

    Trump administration cuts refugee cap to new record low
    Stef W. Kight

    The Trump administration plans to only admit a maximum of 15,000 refugees this fiscal year, the State Department said in a release late Wednesday evening.

    This is yet another record-low refugee cap. Before leaving office, President Obama set the refugee limit at 110,000 for fiscal year 2017 — a number Trump has continued to slash throughout his presidency.

    The proposed cut “accounts for the massive backlog in asylum cases — now more than 1.1 million individuals — by prioritizing those who are already in the country seeking humanitarian protection,” according to the release.
    “It also accounts for the arrival of refugees whose resettlement in the United States was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

    Meanwhile, 79.5 million people worldwide were living forcibly displaced from their homes in 2019 — roughly 1% of the world’s population, according to the United Nations…

    The Trump administration has also made it more difficult to attain asylum. Denial rates for asylum-seekers in immigration courts have risen from 55% in FY 2016 to 72% in FY 2020, according to Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse.

  187. says

    Last night, Trump was baffled … again. You have to wonder what it would be like to be as deluded as Trump so obviously is.

    […] Trump expressed utter bewilderment during a campaign rally in Duluth, Minnesota, on Wednesday night over the fact that his blatantly racist attempts to win over suburban women aren’t working.

    First Trump told his supporters at the rally that Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden “will turn Minnesota into a refugee camp” and warned of refugees “coming from the most dangerous pieces.”

    Then [Trump] complained that his fear-mongering isn’t being rewarded, as reflected in the polls showing Biden outpacing him among suburban voters.

    “They talk about the suburbs, women in the suburbs. I ended a regulation that nobody would have done,” Trump said, referring to his repeal of the Obama-era Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule that required cities receiving federal housing funds to probe potential housing discrimination against protected groups.

    Trump repeated his claim on Wednesday that the policy “brings public housing, low-income housing, into the suburbs.”

    [Trump] also falsely told his supporters that Biden’s housing plan would “zone you out” and “build low-income housing next to your house,” despite the fact that zoning is decided by the local, not federal, government.

    “And then I hear I’m not doing well in the suburbs,” Trump said. “I’m not doing well in the suburbs. Are you people crazy? Are you crazy?”

    Trump has been leaning heavily into instilling panic among “Suburban Housewives of America” and “people living their Suburban Lifestyle Dream” by portraying Biden as a threat to, and himself as a savior of, their tranquil (and supposedly poor people-free) neighborhoods.

    “The ‘suburban housewife’ will be voting for me,” the President tweeted after repealing AFFH. “They want safety & are thrilled that I ended the long running program where low income housing would invade their neighborhood.”

    Link

    Clueless dunderhead.

  188. says

    From Nancy Pelosi:

    What we saw that night [the night of the debate] was authenticity on both sides of the stage. The President, authentically a bully. Joe Biden, authentically a decent person […]

  189. says

    About mail-in voting: Trump’s tactic of labeling it (falsely) as ripe for fraud is backfiring.

    Donald Trump is very effectively depressing the mail vote … among Republicans. In state after battleground state, requests for mail ballots are up by enormous amounts, Democrats make up a majority of the people who’ve requested them—52% to Republicans’ 28% in Florida, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Maine, and Iowa—and the available information suggests they are returning ballots at a higher rate, too. That’s a reversal from the traditional pattern in which Republicans excel at getting their supporters to vote by mail, and it has party leaders worried.

    “It’s astronomical,” an unnamed Republican strategist told The Washington Post. “You see these numbers in a state like North Carolina, and how can you not be concerned?”

    Republicans from the Republican National Committee on down to the state and local level are trying to reel it back and get their voters to request mail ballots, but they’re working against a strong force: Donald Trump. […] Trump continued his attacks on vote-by-mail during the debate, one of his biggest platforms of this campaign. […]

    Trump’s attacks on mail voting are making it more likely that not only he but down-ballot Republicans will lose in November. He’s not going to stop, though, because he is serious about refusing to surrender power if and when he loses. Winning the election is no longer his priority, and he doesn’t care about Senate, House, or other Republican candidates, either.

    Link

  190. says

    Follow-up to comment 53.

    Homeland Security was told to play down Rittenhouse’s crimes, claim militia group not racist

    Donald Trump is still trying to walk back his callout to Proud Boys extremists to “stand by” to attack “the left.” But the question that generated that response was actually very specific. What Fox News moderator Chris Wallace asked Trump was whether he was “willing tonight to condemn white supremacists and militia groups and to say that they need to stand down and not add to the violence in a number of these cities as we saw in Kenosha and as we’ve seen in Portland.”

    The mention of Kenosha there is notable. Because the primary violence during protests in Kenosha was two people killed and a third wounded by terrorist Kyle Rittenhouse, who traveled across state lines with other armed vigilante militiamen. Following that shooting, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany refused to condemn the 17-year-old killer, and Donald Trump Jr. shrugged the whole thing off as teenage hijinx. The right has gone on to make a twisted hero out of Rittenhouse, with nearly a million dollars raised to defend him against charges related from traveling across state lines with a weapon he wasn’t legally allowed to own to shoot and kill two unarmed people.

    But turns out that’s not all. Because when briefing the public on the shootings, officials at Homeland Security were instructed to not just use language that softened Rittenhouse’s crimes, but also protected racist militias.

    As NBC News reports, as officials at Homeland Security were preparing to give a briefing on the shootings in Kenosha, they were instructed to play up how Rittenhouse went to the scene to “help defend small business owners.”

    Even though Rittenhouse had been charged with first degree murder, DHS provided media with an entire series of talking points that presented Rittenhouse as the victim. The talking points referred to Rittenhouse by his first name, with statements such as “Kyle was seen being chased and attacked by rioters …” Some of these talking points weren’t just defensive of Rittenhouse, they seemed to be making a case for his innocence, such as one saying, “Subsequent video has emerged reportedly showing that there were ‘multiple gunmen’ involved, which would lend more credence to the self-defense claims.” The talking points actually instruct officials to not commit to an investigation of Rittenhouse.

    […] Rittenhouse, who walked past police hurrying to the scene even though he had a rifle slung around his neck and was holding his hands up in surrender, was a Trump supporter who frequently posted pro-Trump statements on Facebook, as well as vocal support for “Blue Lives Matter.” Rittenhouse was part of the Facebook group “Kenosha Guard Militia.” He answered that group’s call for “Any patriots willing to take up arms and defend our city tonight from the evil thugs.” Rittenhouse came to Kenosha from Antioch, Illinois, traveling with two other armed militia members.

    A second set of Homeland Security talking points instructs them to correct media reports depicting the group “Patriot Prayer” as racist. The alt-right militia group has been a big supporter of Trump and led pro-Trump rallies in Portland and scheduled one of their rallies to be timed with the racist gathering in Charlottesville. A man associated with the group was shot in Portland just days after the Kenosha shooting.

    Exactly where these talking points originated is not clear, but considering how well they match the other messages coming from the White House, it isn’t hard to guess.

    Propaganda.

  191. says

    It’s not just a pandemic, it’s an ‘infodemic’ of bad information centered on a single source of lies

    […] It’s not hard to find people who claim that masks don’t work, or those who claim that the disease is less harmful than the flu, or even that the entire epidemic which has resulted in the death of 210,000 Americans is a hoax. It’s not hard to find them, because they all seem to be gathered in one place—at Trump rallies.

    […] a new study from Cornell University concludes that in addition to a pandemic, the world is also suffering from an “infodemic.” That is, an epidemic of misinformation concerning COVID-19 circulating in the media over the course of 2020. And after looking at 38 million articles, they penned down the biggest source of this misinformation. No surprise. It’s Donald Trump.

    Almost 40% of all incorrect information concerning everything from the World Health Organization warnings, to recommendations about wearing masks, was associated with statements from Trump. […] including broadcast networks and major newspapers simply passing along Trump’s statements without bothering to point out that he was either lying, confused, or simply wrong.

    […] And Trump has not stopped providing lies and misinformation. During the thing-called-a-debate on Tuesday night, Trump claimed that “young children aren’t much affected” by COVID-19, a statement that’s been proven wrong not just by the over 600,000 children who had become infected as of September, but by multiple studies showing that children can transmit COVID-19 at least as well as adults and by rising cases of COVID-19 as Trump has pushed for schools to reopen.

    The Trump-fed infodemic has generated its own body count. Not only has he encouraged people to ignore their own health, and that of family and friends, Trump has used threats and executive orders to force people into danger. That includes not just threatening to withhold assistance from states that didn’t push people back into schools and the workplace, it means actions like forcing meat and poultry workers to remain on the job even as hundreds of their coworkers were dying.

    […] his insistence on lying, distorting, and ignoring COVID-19 has turned America into the biggest disaster zone on the planet. […]

  192. says

    A Real Estate Firm Co-Owned by Jared Kushner Is Looking to Profit From the Pandemic

    […] Kushner owns a large stake in a real estate company now poised to make money off the economic distress caused by the pandemic […] this firm’s opportunity for profit may be enhanced by the Trump White House’s decision not to press for more widespread coronavirus economic relief.

    As part of the $200–$783 million fortune he shares with his wife, Ivanka Trump, Kushner holds an ownership stake worth between $25 million and $50 million in Cadre, a real estate investment firm […] The company’s aim was to connect wealthy people and institutional investors directly to real estate deals. […] The firm’s vision, according to Business Insider, was to provide an alternative to the more common use of real estate funds and allow direct investments in properties (or portions of properties) to make “the real estate market more like the stock market.” Its financial backers included Goldman Sachs, Silicon Valley mogul Peter Thiel, Chinese entrepreneur David Yu, and the family office of billionaire George Soros.

    In its first years, Cadre’s listed properties were all in the United States, but it intended to expand to overseas markets. Its website currently notes that the firm only accepts investors with annual incomes greater than $200,000 (or $300,000 for a household).

    […] the company has been looking to exploit the current economic misery by investing in distressed properties, particularly hotels. In May, Bloomberg reported, Cadre was establishing “a new fund to seize on property-market opportunities that arise from the economic downturn in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.” […]

    On September 10, Allen Smith, president of Cadre, wrote on the firm’s website that the pandemic-fueled “deep distress” in the economy could create “opportunities” in hotels. “While a full recovery in the hotel sector will be difficult to predict until a vaccine is developed,” he wrote, “the near-term distress will present unprecedented opportunities.” […]

    As the White House and Congress considered additional coronavirus relief this summer, the American Hotel and Lodging Association, the leading trade group for hoteliers, requested an extension of the Paycheck Protection Program and specific relief to assist hotels struggling to meet their commercial mortgages. […] But the GOP Senate adjourned in August without passing any new relief, and Trump’s White House, after issuing executive orders to extend federal unemployment benefits (at a lower rate) and implement a payroll tax break, has not made a new relief measure a priority. Hotel industry leaders have worried about a possible wave of foreclosures ahead.

    According to Cadre, further dislocation in the hotel sector—”forced selling,” as Rosenbloom put it—could be a golden opportunity for Cadre and its owners, including Kushner. […]

    When he became a White House official in 2017, he neglected to disclose his connection to Cadre—and many other business interests—on his financial disclosure form. […]

    Ethical concerns over Kushner’s passive investment in Cadre did not fade. In 2018, news outlets revealed that Cadre was trying to exploit Opportunity Zone low-income tax breaks, which Kushner and Ivanka Trump had helped enact and promote, and that the firm was doing so in hot-market neighborhoods, not underserved communities. The following year, the Guardian reported that Cadre “received $90m in foreign funding from an opaque offshore vehicle since [Kushner] entered the White House as a senior adviser to his father-in-law Donald Trump…The money came through a vehicle run by Goldman Sachs in the Cayman Islands, a tax haven that guarantees corporate secrecy.” […]

    In December, Kushner requested from the Office of Government Ethics a certificate of divestiture to sell his interest in Cadre (and avoid capital gains taxes), noting that his Cadre shares did pose a possible conflict. At the time, the top White House ethics officer determined it was “reasonably necessary” […]

    […] But this summer, Kushner put the brakes on the buyout, and his certificate of divestiture was withdrawn. […] this was the first time the Office of Government Ethics had pulled a certificate of divestiture. “When an official requests a CD, they ordinarily commit to divest the assets at issue,” […].

    […] This leaves Kushner still holding a large stake in a company that has signaled it is interested in capitalizing on economic calamity, particularly within the hotel industry.

    […] The hotel industry says it needs federal help to stay afloat. Cadre has indicated it is interested in hunting for hotels that go under. Kushner is involved with each of the competing sides of this equation. He could well personally benefit, if Cadre starts making a buck off hotels clobbered by the coronavirus that do not receive federal assistance. […]

  193. says

    FBI Warns Boogaloo Extremists Also Standing By For Some Civil War, So There’s That

    On Tuesday, the same day Donald Trump advised the Proud Boys they should “stand back and stand by” before they continue to bust heads of “antifa and the Left,” the FBI field office in Dallas issued a report warning of the potential for extremist violence from a different far-Right group. […] It warns that adherents of the “boogaloo” movement, which seeks to spark or at least really enjoy a second civil war, are likely to increase their activities between now and the inauguration in January, with the potential for violence […]

    Yes, that would be on the same day that Trump insisted, “Almost everything I see is from the left wing, not the right wing.” […] Rightwing violence is Trump’s thing, and he thinks violence is a really good thing, though he may prefer it be inflicted by agents of the state against reporters and protesters, who are no different from “rioters.”

    The report has the lyrical title “Boogaloo Adherents Likely Increasing Anti-Government Violent Rhetoric and Activities, Increasing Domestic Violent Extremist Threat in the FBI Dallas Area of Responsibility,” and notes that it was prepared using “social media posts, news reports, joint DHS-FBI-NCTC intelligence products, and reporting from FBI human sources,” the last of which suggests the FBI has a mole or two in, or adjacent to, boogaloo groups.

    […] In addition, the report says boogalooers are probably “influencing individuals already suspicious of perceived US Government (USG) overreach” in response to the coronavirus pandemic and protests against police violence, which could increase “the threat of violence at otherwise peaceful protests.”

    […] all the yahoos promising they’ll take to the streets if Trump loses […]

    The report notes that there have already been instances of violence connected to the boogaloo movement, in particular the murders of two law enforcement officers in Oakland by Steven Carillo, who hoped the killings during a Black Lives Matter protest would start a civil war. Instead, they just led to members of Congress lying and claiming the killings were perpetrated by the protesters […]

    [In] September, two other Boogaloo members were arrested and charged with providing material support to Hamas. The two men are alleged to have told an FBI informant posing as a Hamas member that they shared a common ideology in opposing the US government, and offered to act as mercenaries.

    […] the same “domestic violent extremist” (“DVE-1”) had “coordinated a quick reaction force (QRF) to Oklahoma in support of an anti-government or anti-authority extremist in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, who was arrested by the FBI.”

    Well heck, sending a bunch of armed loonies to protest the arrest of another violent loony is clearly protected by the First Amendment, so why is the FBI suggesting that’s the least bit untoward? […] they also “indicate a propensity toward violence and acquiring weapons that cause mass casualties, used by a small number of attackers.” […]

    See also:

    One of Trump’s Proud Boys threatens to start a war when Biden wins

    Twitter link to the video. “Come November there’s a war coming.” […] “If Trump wins all those Black Lives Matter and those antifa dumbasses are going to try to start a war.” […] “Don’t worry. We ready!”

  194. tomh says

    WaPo:
    Judge rules federal law enforcement commission violates law, orders work stopped as attorney general prepares to issue report
    By Tom Jackman
    Oct. 1, 2020

    A national commission on law enforcement launched earlier this year by President Trump and Attorney General William Barr has violated federal law by failing to have a diverse membership and failing to provide public access to its meetings, a federal judge ruled Thursday. The judge ordered the commission to stop work, though it has already sent its draft report and recommendations on improving American policing to Barr for release next month, and prohibited Barr from releasing a final report.

    The ruling by Senior U.S. District Judge John D. Bates in Washington came in response to a lawsuit from the NAACP’s Legal Defense and Education Fund, which sought an injunction against the Presidential Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice for violating laws on how federal advisory committees must work. Bates did not issue an injunction, but ordered the commission to change its membership and comply with other aspects of the law.
    […]

    The 18 member commission was composed entirely of state and federal law enforcement officials, with no one from the civil rights, criminal defense, social work, religious or academic fields. Members were sworn in on Jan. 22, and then heard months of testimony by teleconference from experts in a variety of police, prosecutorial and social fields. The commission also formed 15 working groups, with more than 100 members, to draft sections of the report focusing on topics such as “Reduction of Crime,” “Respect for Law Enforcement,” “Data and Reporting” and “Homeland Security.”
    […]

    Last month John J. Choi, the district attorney of St. Paul, Minn., resigned from a working group of the commission, saying the commission “had no intention of engaging in a thoughtful and open analysis” of the American justice system, “but was intent on providing cover for a predetermined agenda that ignores the lessons of the past.”…
    […]

    Bates acknowledged that the commission is in its end stages, required to produce its report by Oct. 28 and disband within 90 days. He instructed both sides to file briefs by next week on possible injunctive relief. He also ordered the commission to file a charter and designate a federal officer as required by FACA [federal committee law], ensure the commission has a “fairly balanced membership” and “refrain from publishing any report produced by the commission until the requirements of FACA are satisfied.”

  195. says

    Whoa! Michele Bachmann works hard to be more batshit bonkers than anyone else on the far right.

    Michele Bachmann Won’t Let Commie Chinese Fill American Barns With Pre-Printed Fake Ballots

    Former US Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minnesota) may no longer be in Congress, but she’s still out there — WAY out there! — defending America from enemies foreign, domestic, and entirely imaginary. At some kind of event […] where she was allowed to stand at a lectern, the great wingnut warned that mail-in voting is so insecure that all sorts of heinous schemes might be going on, like maybe a massive plot where China would print up tons of absentee ballots for Democrats to have on hand if a candidate needed a come-from-behind victory:

    Michele Bachmann warns of massive voter fraud in which pre-printed mail-in ballots from China are smuggled into the US and stored in barns until they are needed to steal the election from Trump.

    It’s a dangerous world out there, and if you didn’t know anything at all about how mail-in ballot security actually works, you might well envision a scenario like this:

    So could you have a more perfectly framed scenario for fraud? So in this kind of scenario, it’s entirely possible that you could have ballots already filled out. In fact they could be printed in China. They could be routed through various countries so you can’t detect them. Make their way into Minnesota, be in a barn somewhere. Until after the election day is over, you count up the ballots and you say, ‘Gee, how many more do we need? Oh, we’re short 48,000?’ No problem, you go out and you haul the ballots in.

    […] Leaving aside the little details, like FBI Director Chris Wray’s recent testimony that there’s no evidence of massive voting fraud, there seem to be a couple of plot holes in Bachmann’s caper movie. It’s a cascading failure of logic.

    We have questions!

    Has Michele Bachmann never heard of voter registration? To have hundreds of thousands of fake ballots counted, they’d need to have the names, addresses, and forged signatures of actual voters on them — and what’s more, none of those folks could have voted already, because that would invalidate the fakes. […]

    Why would our fraudsters hold back all those bogus ballots until after the election? […] if there’s a barn full of ballots somewhere and they’re just trucked in to tip the balance, that’s an irresistible just-so story […]

    Why would the Democratic fraudsters bother printing up ballots in China? Wouldn’t those sleazy Dems fraudsters have the work done locally — by union thugs! — so there’d be no risk of the fake ballots being discovered in transit? Maybe they just love China — or hate American workers — so much they had to offshore the operation.

    […] How would making the plot more complicated, by routing all the bogus ballots through multiple countries, make it harder to detect, instead of creating more chokepoints where the fraud could be exposed? Again, this is a frivolous question, since any fool knows all the foreign countries are against the USA, and would happily advance any scheme to promote the globalist agenda.

    As we say, we think maybe there are a few problems with Bachmann’s theory here. On the other hand, it’s probably much easier for wingnuts to believe than the possibility that a majority of voters might ever prefer to elect a Democrat. That’s just crazy talk.

  196. says

    Aaron Rupar at Vox – “Demonizing Somalis is at the heart of Trump’s Minnesota strategy. His Duluth rally showed it.”:

    Speaking Wednesday evening in Minnesota, a state with the largest Somali population in the country, President Donald Trump goaded his fans into, in effect, jeering their neighbors.

    During a rally in Duluth, Trump accused Democratic nominee Joe Biden of having a plan “to inundate your state with a historic flood of refugees,” prompting his fans to boo. He then turned his ire on one of his frequent targets of abuse: Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Somali refugee who now represents Minneapolis in Congress.

    “And what about Omar? Where she gets caught [ballot] harvesting. What the hell is going on? I hope your US attorney is involved,” Trump continued, referring to a newly released Project Veritas video that alleges (without any evidence) that Omar is involved in election fraud; the video has been dismissed as a “coordinated disinformation campaign” by researchers.

    As “lock her up!” chants rang out, Trump added, “I mean, frankly, harvesting’s terrible, but it’s the least of the things that she has done. How the hell — then she tells us how to run our country. Can you believe it? What the hell is wrong with you people? What the hell happened?”

    Before his rant was through, Trump suggested that another Congress member of color — Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) — should also be imprisoned for no reason in particular.

    “[Omar’s] been crooked for a long time. This is the least of it. It’s time, and you know what, AOC also. It’s time. It’s time. If you take a look at what they — the corruption. The disgusting corruption,” he said. “Biden will turn Minnesota into a refugee camp.”

    Wednesday’s rally marked the second time in less than a month that Trump viciously attacked Omar in particular and the Somali community in general during a speech in Minnesota. On September 26 in Bemidji, Trump alluded to Somalis and asked his fans, sarcastically, “Are you having a good time with your refugees?”

    Toward the end of that speech, Trump turned the white supremacy up to 11, telling his almost entirely white audience, “You have good genes, you know that, right? You have good genes. A lot of it is about the genes, isn’t it, don’t you believe? The racehorse theory. You think we’re so different? You have good genes in Minnesota.”

    Over a 24-hour period before Trump’s speech in Duluth, his campaign spent more than $10,000 on Facebook ads demonizing refugees. Those ads were ultimately taken down by Facebook for violating the company’s advertising policies.

    “If I lose Minnesota, I’m never coming back,” Trump told his fans in Duluth on Wednesday. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) responded on Twitter by saying, “Goodbye.”

    So to sum up Trump’s pitch to Minnesota voters: “What the hell is wrong with you people?” “Are you people crazy? Are you crazy?” “If I lose Minnesota, I’m never coming back.”

  197. says

    Some more deranged stuff Trump said during the debate, stuff that was largely overlooked thanks to the other wildly unhinged bullshit he spewed:

    […] The two most relevant scientific officials in Trump’s own administration are wrong about when a coronavirus vaccine will be ready, according to Trump. Moderator Chris Wallace asked Trump why he has been saying a vaccine is weeks away, despite the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the director of the White House’s “Operation Warp Speed” vaccine task force both saying one will likely not be ready to distribute widely until next summer. “I’ve spoken to the companies, and we can have it a lot sooner,” said the president, whose background is in real estate marketing. “I disagree with both of them.”

    Insulin is nearly free now. When Wallace pointed out correctly that Trump has never proposed a replacement for the Affordable Care Act health care system that he is always trying to eliminate, Trump responded that he is “cutting drug prices,” then said the following: “Insulin, it was destroying families, destroying people, the cost. I’m getting it for so cheap it’s like water, you want to know the truth. So cheap.” According to the medical news site Stat, “insulin still retails for roughly $300 a vial.” Trump, Stat says, was likely referring to a limited price-cap plan his administration has put in place that covers “a fraction of seniors enrolled in certain pricey private insurance plans.”

    Cars are too expensive because they have too many computers in them. “The car has gotten so expensive because they have computers all over the place,” Trump said, during a discussion of rolling back fuel-efficiency standards. I could not find any coverage online of excessive computer insertion driving car prices up. Additionally, Trump’s related claim that relaxing fuel-efficiency standards will make cars cheaper runs into the reality that if you buy a cheaper car with lower fuel efficiency you end up spending more on gas; Consumer Reports calculated that Trump’s rollbacks will end up costing consumers an average of $2,100 per new car purchased.

    Europeans live in fireproof forest cities. [We’ve covered this one before.]

    The numbers on his own tax returns are wrong. […] they show that he paid $750 in income taxes each year in 2016 and 2017. Although Trump called the blockbuster report “fake news,” the White House objected to the story by talking about other kinds of taxes Trump had paid, or income tax Trump had paid in other years, rather than by directly disputing the authenticity of the documents or the validity of the central $750 figure.

    The president can, and should, order the extrajudicial assassination of U.S. citizens. On the subject of protests and accompanying violence—a pet theme of the Trump reelection campaign—Wallace set out to press Biden on whether he was reluctant to call out the National Guard. When Biden argued that Trump’s federal interventions in Portland, Oregon, had made things worse, Trump jumped in to boast about his performance: “I sent in the U.S. Marshals to get the killer of a young man in the middle of the street, and they shot him. For three days, Portland didn’t do anything. I sent in the U.S. Marshals, they took care of business.” The “business” the president was referring to was the killing of Michael Forest Reinoehl, a suspect in the shooting of a far-right protester in Portland. After initial reports that Reinoehl had died in a gun battle with the authorities, one witness told reporters he was “clutching a cellphone and eating a gummy worm” when the marshals opened fire on him without warning.

    Link

  198. says

    Josh Marshall quoted in Lynna’s #255:

    Indeed, I think it’s pretty clear Donald Trump hasn’t had many fun days since he became President. He tells us this himself. Grievance and unfairness are his whole story.

    He’s got to be the whiniest person in the history of US politics. All he does is fucking whine.

  199. says

    Ah yes, irony-meter overload is inevitable.

    […] On Tuesday night, Trump not only went after former Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden for having had a drug addiction, he also interrupted Biden talking about his dead son Beau in order to do it. Joe Biden was forced to address Hunter’s struggle with addiction on the national stage and hours later, Donald Trump Jr. assigned the former veep’s son a new nickname.

    During an interview on the Glenn Beck Program on Wednesday, the junior referred to Hunter Biden as “crackhead Hunter.”

    Today, the first lady’s launching a new substance abuse program centered on living drug free.

    This October I am honoring National Substance Use Prevention Month by joining @ONDCP to highlight the dedicated efforts of our Nation’s youth to encourage healthy drug-free lives. Share how you are helping your community using #BeDrugFree – we look forward to hearing from you!

    […]

    Link

  200. says

    SC @268, “All he does is fucking whine.” Well, to be fair, nothing is his fault.

    In other news: Texas Governor Limits Mail-In Ballot Drop-Off To One Location Per County

    Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday restricted the number of locations where voters can drop off mail-in ballots, adding a potentially cumbersome hurdle to the process just weeks before Election Day.

    An executive order from the governor says that there can only be one location per county where voters can drop off their mail-in ballots.

    Abbott’s order also requires that clerks at early voting locations “allow poll watchers to observe any activity conducted at the early voting clerk’s office location related to the in-person delivery of a marked mail ballot.”

    That requirement includes allowing poll watchers to observe the presentation of voters’ identification […]

    According to the Austin-American Statesman’s Chuck Lindell, who first reported Abbott’s order Thursday, the restriction will severely cut down options for dropping off ballots in the state’s largest counties: Harris County — more populous than the state of Oregon — currently has 12 drop-off locations. Travis County has four.

    […] Voters’ options for dropping off mail-in ballots have become a flashpoint in the legal fights over election rules in the pandemic. The Trump campaign has sued to block the use of drop boxes in Pennsylvania, a key swing state, while state GOP officials in Ohio have sought to limit the counties from setting up more than one ballot drop off location per county.

    Texas has been extremely resistant to measures that would make voting easier during the pandemic — but Abbott had extended in person early voting by a week and allowed for mail ballots to be dropped off early as well. Prominent Texas Republicans have gone to court to undo the extension of in person early voting.

  201. says

    Follow-up to comment 270.

    From the comments posted by readers:

    Harris county [Texas] has almost 5 million people, so one drop of box.
    Poll nazis at every polling place.
    The mail will be late.
    It’s all working perfectly.

  202. says

    Trump loses ground to Biden in the latest battleground polling, because he really sucks

    […] note that 200,000 dead Americans has cost Trump a net three points in job approvals. Numbers won’t change rapidly. But they can change—suburban trends could continue moving against Trump. […] I’m not sure I’d be particularly excited to turn out and vote if I was a Republican right now. Their leader is an international embarrassment. You stand with Trump, you’re standing right there side-by-side with the Nazi Proud Boys.

    But will we actually see any of that in the polls? Let’s take a look: [charts and maps available at the link]

    Biden inched up in every single battleground except Arizona, which simply wasn’t polled last week. That’s one way for Trump to not lose ground. Simply don’t poll. The shifts weren’t big, +1 being the largest anywhere, but again, that kind of slight movement is to be expected given how little public opinion shifts. And of course, Biden is winning, so even zero movement works in our favor.

    Pennsylvania remains the tipping-point state, and note how solid Biden’s leads up to 270 electoral votes are. Things tighten up considerably after the Big Three rust-belt states of Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. The election will be won in those three states. Everything else afterward is gravy, at least for the presidential race.

    Of course, there’s more on the ballot than the presidential, so running strongly in places like Arizona, Georgia, and Iowa makes it easier for us to pick up those critical Senate seats. Same in places that aren’t presidential battlegrounds, like Montana and Kansas. So every point matters, because there’s going to be plenty of races at the Senate, House, and local levels won by less than a point. So we work hard to squeeze out every last possible point, and do so everywhere.

  203. says

    Sen. Schatz: “Senate Republicans just blocked a unanimous vote on a resolution condemning white supremacy. It passed the House unanimously. They said that after 9 months of the legislation languishing that the committees of jurisdiction needed to look at it and consider their ‘equities’.”

    They also defeated a bill to protect people with pre-existing conditions. Busy day for Senate Republicans.

  204. says

    Vox – “If Trump wins, 20 million people could lose health insurance. If Biden wins, 25 million could gain it.”:

    Millions of Americans stand to gain — or lose — health care coverage in the 2020 presidential election.

    An unfavorable Supreme Court ruling next year could mean potentially millions of low-income and middle-class people lose their health coverage in the middle of a pandemic. A freshly seated Justice Amy Coney Barrett and other conservative justices could invalidate most or all of the Affordable Care Act, as Donald Trump’s administration is urging the Court to do.

    The Trump administration announced its plan to protect people with preexisting conditions under that scenario last week that was, in effect, no plan at all. It was instead a plea to trust that Trump would figure out a way to restore the protections, despite his efforts to roll them back throughout his first term.

    The Supreme Court could also reject the argument for overturning the ACA. And if Joe Biden wins the presidency, he could wield a mandate to expand health coverage to millions more Americans, creating for the first time a government health insurance plan that would be available to middle-class, working Americans as an alternative to the private coverage offered by their employer. Low-income people who live in the states that have refused to expand Medicaid would be enrolled in that new government program, expanding the safety net to millions of people to whom it’s so far been denied.

    Universal health coverage would be within reach. A decade after Obamacare passed, Joe Biden could complete its mission.

    The possible futures for US health care have perhaps never been so disparate as they are today. In one of the most extreme scenarios, 20 million people could lose health insurance. In the other, 25 million people could gain coverage.

    The first domino will fall in the November election, when America’s voters decide which candidate they want to preside over the next chapter of health reform….

  205. says

    CAP – “The Chaos of Repealing the Affordable Care Act During the Coronavirus Pandemic”:

    With the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg just weeks before the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the latest health care repeal lawsuit, the fate of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is completely uncertain. Repealing the ACA at any point since its passage would have been disastrous to the health and economic security of millions of Americans. But repealing the ACA in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic that has infected more than 7 million Americans and killed more than 200,000 Americans is morally reprehensible.

    More than 20 million people would lose their health coverage, and more than 135 million people would lose protections for their preexisting conditions, including millions of COVID-19 survivors. Repealing the ACA in the middle of an unprecedented pandemic would create chaos across the entire health care system; weaken the country’s public health and economy recovery; and rip affordable health care coverage from millions of people at a time when access to health care services is absolutely essential….

    Much more atl.

  206. says

    Top bonkers moments from the most bonkers press conference to date

    Kayleigh McEnany began Thursday’s press briefing by lying. She gave a biography of Trump’s religious zealot nominee for the Supreme Court, Amy Coney Barrett, in which she explained that Barrett “also is a Rhodes scholar.” She wasn’t. She isn’t. She will never be one. It’s a strange boast, but that comes with the general lack of thoroughness and sloppy lying that has been the trademark of this administration. When McEnany was told that Barrett had received a BA from Rhodes College in Tennessee, and she was not a “Rhodes scholar,” McEnany said: “My bad,” and “that’s what I have here.” Such a lazy bit of lying. […]

    They can’t even lie well.

    Anyway, that was the least of the bonkers things coming from the Trump administration’s sociopathic-seeming mouthpiece on Thursday. It was one of quite a few moments that left all of us watching while slowly and sadly shaking our heads.

    Remember how during the debate, Donald Trump said some strange thing about mail-in ballots being found in “wastepaper” baskets and “thrown in a river?” Yeah, that was weird. Want to see something just as weird? Here’s McEnany using a phrase we will hear time and time again from this administration: “forest from the trees.” The highlight of the below exchange is McEnany saying that the press has no “journalistic curiosity” about the very thing Fox News’ Jon Decker is asking her about, and she is not answering. [Video available at the link.]

    The origin of this bit of b.s. is a “highly unusual” announcement by United States Attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania David Freed, a Republican, that he was opening an investigation into nine military absentee ballots with “potential issues” in Pennsylvania that were maybe discarded. […]

    More at the link, including several video snippets.

  207. says

    Politico – “Trump’s Proud Boy moment sparks Black outrage in Florida”:

    President Donald Trump’s shoutout to the far-right hate group Proud Boys is energizing black voters to turn out against him in the must-win state of Florida.

    “His call to the white supremacist group Proud Boys to ‘stand by,’ and telling his followers to go to the polls and watch them, that is straight up voter suppression,” said incoming state Minority Leader Bobby DuBose, a Black Broward County Democrat.

    DuBose made his comments during a conference call to roll out Democrat Joe Biden’s “Black men, VOTE!” campaign, a push to secure what has been an important but inconsistent Florida voting bloc.

    The Biden call was scheduled before Trump stood on the debate stage in Cleveland and ordered the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by,” creating a sense of urgency and outrage that could work in Biden’s favor.

    “He had an opportunity to sort of dim the views of the underbelly of the country,” said former Florida Rep. Alan Williams, a strategic adviser to Biden’s campaign and former head of the Florida Legislative Black Caucus. “I was watching with my son last night and my daughter was with us on Facetime. That was hard.”

    Florida’s Black vote has been consequential in recent election cycles, delivering an outsized impact on outcomes in a battleground where every vote matters. Trump’s remark on Tuesday could motivate Black voters, which [sic] overwhelmingly support Democrats, in a state he almost certainly has to take to win reelection….

  208. says

    Guardian – “Revealed: Amy Coney Barrett supported group that said life begins at fertilization”:

    Amy Coney Barrett, the Trump administration’s supreme court nominee, publicly supported an organization in 2006 that has said life begins at fertilization. It has also said that the discarding of unused or frozen embryos created in the in vitro fertilization (IVF) process ought to be criminalized, a view that is considered to be extreme even within the anti-abortion movement.

    The revelation is likely to lead to new questions about how Barrett’s personal views on abortion may not only shape reproductive rights in the US for decades to come if she is confirmed by the Senate, but how her appointment could affect legal rights for women undergoing fertility treatment, as well as their doctors.

    In 2006, while Barrett worked as a law professor at Notre Dame, she was one of hundreds of people who signed a full-page newspaper advertisement sponsored by St Joseph County Right to Life, an extreme anti-choice group located in the city of South Bend, which is in the region know as Michiana.

    The advertisement, which appeared in the South Bend Tribune, stated: “We, the following citizens of Michiana, oppose abortion on demand and defend the right to life from fertilization to natural death. Please continue to pray to end abortion.”

    The statement was signed by Barrett and her husband, Jesse. [Of course – SC]

    In an interview with the Guardian, Jackie Appleman, the executive director of St Joseph County Right to Life, said that the organization’s view on life beginning at fertilization – as opposed to the implantation of an embryo or a fetus being viable – did have implications for in vitro fertilization, which usually involves the creation of multiple embryos.

    “Whether embryos are implanted in the woman and then selectively reduced or it’s done in a petri dish and then discarded, you’re still ending a new human life at that point and we do oppose that,” Appleman said, adding that the discarding of embryos during the IVF process was equal to the act of having an abortion.

    Asked whether doctors who perform abortion ought to be criminalized, she said: “We support the criminalization of the doctors who perform abortions. At this point we are not supportive of criminalizing the women. We would be supportive of criminalizing the discarding of frozen embryos or selective reduction through the IVF process.”…

  209. says

    SC @280, that trumpian lickspittle questioned the legitimacy of Representative Omar’s citizenship, without evidence! He was just bringing up “questions.” The man has no shame. I was glad to see Ayman Mohyeldin shut him down. What an unrepentant asshole. The show finally had to just cut his sound. He was still spewing lies when Mohyeldin cut him off. Mohyeldin was actually nicer to the lickspittle than I would have been.

  210. says

    ‘I wish they could see how bad things are getting’: As Wisconsin hospitals fill up with COVID patients, front-line workers sound the alarm

    One of Paige Schonfelder’s recent COVID-19 patients told her she’d done everything right.

    The woman had a compromised immune system, so she’d heeded experts’ advice to stay home and avoid social gatherings. She must have picked it up at the grocery store, she told Schonfelder.

    For weeks, the woman suffered alone at a Fox Valley hospital where Schonfelder works nights as a nurse. She only saw family again in her last few days, as she died.

    Yet in Schonfelder’s small hometown a few hours northwest of Appleton, restaurants flaunt signs saying they don’t require masks. Some people think COVID-19 is overblown, or a hoax. She’s a firsthand witness, she tells people there: The threat is real.

    “I see it, I deal with it, I was at work overtime. I wish I was lying.”

    Six hundred and eighty-three patients were in the hospital with COVID-19 on Wednesday, the state hospital association reported, nearly double what it was two weeks earlier.

    In April, surging hospitalization numbers were a bellwether for Wisconsin’s highest death totals since the pandemic began. Although death totals have been level for most of September, on Wednesday, officials reported a new single-day record with 27. […]

    Recommended reading: A Bellevue Doctor’s Pandemic Diary

    New Yorker link

    An excerpt from March 12:

    […] To minimize contact, the initial medical evaluations are carried out by phone. Afterward, I gown up and gather supplies for the tests. A whirring, battery-powered hazmat helmet whooshes filtered air across my face. (“I wish I’d had this during menopause,” a colleague remarked.) The covid Clinic has been open for only three days, but the testing protocol has already changed at least that many times—with or without an influenza test, nasopharynx vs. oropharynx, double-bag vs. single-bag. I squeeze into Room 1 with four swabs, eight specimen bags, four tubes, double sets of labels, and double sets of gloves and face a workspace the size of a breadbox, plus a charming three-year-old who needs the potty, stat. My biggest fear is that I’ll mix up the tubes, or the swabs, or the bags, or the patients. The fathers are both tall, slim, masked, dressed in mid-thirties-dad casual. They are immensely gracious as I ask who is who over and over during the ordeal.

    For every patient I test, I duly recite the social-distancing guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control, but these feel tailored for suburbia: isolate in a separate bedroom, use a separate bathroom and eating area, keep six feet apart from the rest of the household. This is New York City. Six feet apart at all times means someone’s going to end up out on the fire escape.

    And what happens when there’s no home at all in which to isolate? In the afternoon, a patient with a fever and a cough arrives for testing; he isn’t sick enough to be admitted to the hospital, but it’s too risky to send him back to the shelter where he’s living. Hours pass as we make calls, trying to figure out what to do. One nurse brings him a sandwich; another passes a urinal into the room. The clinic will be closing soon. We wonder if his shelter could somehow provide a single room and bathroom, but he doesn’t remember its name or its phone number.

    But this is Bellevue. Someone figures out the name of the restaurant next door to the shelter, calls the restaurant, persuades a waiter to run over and procure the phone number, calls the shelter, works out an arrangement for a private room, and then gets the patient home, all before the sun shimmers down over the Hudson River.

    According to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s briefing today, there are ninety-five confirmed cases in all of New York City, with twenty-two New Yorkers hospitalized. Italy is experiencing a steep rise. Bellevue’s Special Pathogens team has been strategizing about where extra hospital beds could fit. […]

    An excerpt from March 24:

    […] All the patients with the coronavirus are being admitted to the general-medicine service, and at noon there’s a staff meeting. We learn that there are now almost thirty covid-19 patients in the I.C.U., and more than ninety on the wards. Attending physicians are being pulled from everywhere—clinic, cardiology, G.I., rheumatology, retirement. Senior residents from urology, orthopedics, surgery, and ophthalmology have been drafted to be interns on the medicine service. The staffing schedule looks like a NASA flowchart for the moon landing. […]

    From March 27:

    […] On Friday, the magnolia tree next to the covid tent bursts into riotous blossom despite the chilly weather. Until now, the flowers have been delicate cups of pink and lavender, spaced along the spindly gray branches. Now they’ve abruptly reversed their concavity, spilling open into an unbroken blanket of defiant white.

    Normally, the inner workings of the hospital are invisible to doctors and nurses. We show up every day and the patients are there, the beds are there, the supplies are there, the lights turn on, the floors are clean. Now it’s as if we can feel the pulse of the hospital’s vasculature—the complex network of administrators, suppliers, maintenance workers, technicians, housekeepers, phone operators, transporters, and I.T. support staff that keep the clinical enterprise afloat. An influx of ventilators arrives that morning. New wards are opening up. Beds are materializing. The tent gets a sink with running water and an air-filtration system. It’s nothing short of miraculous.

    But the patients keep coming. […]

    From March 30:

    […] One doctor is spending his evenings persuading phone companies to donate chargers for patients whisked here by ambulance without time to pack. A chief resident is training medical students to call patients’ families with daily updates. Someone is working from home on depositions for patients who were applying for political asylum when the pandemic hit. Someone else is single-handedly insuring that every homeless patient with the coronavirus gets a place to isolate. Another colleague is coördinating follow-up care for the waves of covid-19 patients discharged from the hospital. Yet another is tackling the avalanche of studies about hydroxychloroquine, remdesivir, and tocilizumab, steadily synthesizing the otherwise dizzying data for us. […]

    From April 6:

    […] As of Monday, April 6th, the coronavirus-case count in New York City is almost a hundred thousand. The inpatient count at Bellevue has pushed past three hundred. Our partner city hospitals—Lincoln, Jacobi, Elmhurst—are being pummelled even harder. Bellevue has begun taking patients from them, at first in handfuls and then in batches of thirty or forty; almost six hundred patients make their way across the East River to Bellevue, a staggering feat of coördination.

    Carpenters and engineers have been working their way through the I.C.U. floor, converting all the rooms into the negative-pressure spaces required to keep highly contagious pathogens out of circulation. As soon as the workers exit a room, an intubated patient is wheeled in behind them—and so it goes, for every one of the fifty-four rooms. The coronavirus has now taken over the entire I.C.U. It’s as if all the other calamities—heart attacks, strokes, traumas, appendicitis—have evanesced on cue. A flash mob in reverse.

    The I.C.U. service has spread well beyond its own floor, usurping two sections of the E.R., the endoscopy suite, the post-op units, plus another surgical ward. Walking through the E.R. that evening, I notice that every patient is hooked up to a different model of ventilator, each with its own arrangement of buttons, dials, and touch screens. These are the ventilators that averted our harrowingly close call two weeks ago. The basics are the same, but operating them is like being saddled with ten different TV remote controls. […]

    From April 15:

    […] I spend the morning on the wards with a colleague who normally practices psychiatry and addiction medicine. We’re rounding with a dermatology resident, a senior orthopedic resident, and a hastily graduated medical student all acting as medicine interns, plus one regular medical resident and a trio of imported nurse practitioners with accents ranging from deep Southern drawl to Midwestern flat—the typical pastiche that constitutes a medical team these days. As we work our way through the patient roster, the P.A. system issues a “rapid response” announcement. Pre-covid, rapids could signify any sort of acute clinical deterioration: unstable arrhythmia, altered neurologic status, sepsis. Now, a rapid response means only one thing—someone is getting intubated and going to the I.C.U. A few minutes later, the P.A. calls another rapid, and then another, and another. There are four in the space of an hour. […]

    From June:

    […] The pandemic unfolds into the summer and drags us, exhausted, into the fall. New York City, parched and panting, watches with horror as the rest of the country marches straight into the hellhole from which we’ve just extricated ourselves. We’d taken a bullet for our country—hadn’t we?—but obviously to no avail. Political chaos, science-denial, absence of leadership, and American “exceptionalism” seem impervious to the lessons we’ve so painfully learned. We approach, and then pass, the bleak milestone of two hundred thousand American deaths. […]

    We doctors had been instructed to avoid physical exams, but my patient has a severe heart disease, so I couldn’t skip it. The bottom edge of my plastic face shield scratched her shoulder as I slipped the bell of my stethoscope onto her chest. The ramped-up ventilation system dampened the sound, but it was there—the unflagging cadence that I’d taken for granted in the thousands of physical exams I’ve done over the years. I listened longer than I needed to. That heartbeat. I just needed to hear it.

  211. says

    From Steve Benen:

    * He lies about important things: “Early in Tuesday night’s presidential debate, […] Trump claimed he had drastically lowered the price of insulin, a lifesaving drug taken in some form by more than 7 million Americans with diabetes…. That came as a shock to the Americans who shell out hundreds of dollars a month on insulin, a number of whom posted triple-digit pharmacy bills to social media immediately after the president’s assertion.”

  212. says

    MI AG Charges Far-Right Hoaxsters For Robocalls With False Vote-By-Mail Claims

    Jack Burkman and Jacob Wohl — a Trump-loving duo who were behind a series of notoriously outlandish schemes to smear Trump’s opponents — face felony charges for their alleged involvement in robocalls that spread false claims about voting by mail.

    Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel unveiled the charges Thursday. Among them are charges of voter intimidation and conspiracy to commit an election law violation.

    […] “This effort specifically targeted minority voters in an attempt to deter them from voting in the November election.”

    […] Nessel and Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson announced their inquiries into the calls, which were first picked up in Detroit, in August. The calls told the recipients falsely that voting by mail would put their information in databases used for arrest warrants, debt collection and “mandatory vaccines.” The robocalls fashioned themselves as coming from a group led by Wohl and Burkman.

    In denying his involvement to TPM in August, Burkman claimed that “no one in their right mind would put their cell in a robo call.”

    According to Thursday’s announcement, the robocalls went out to nearly 12,000 residents in Detroit. Attorneys general offices in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Illinois also told Nessel that there were similar calls in their states, Nessel’s announcement said.

    Additionally she received assistance in the investigation from California Attorney General Xavier Becerra.

    The announcement said that charges had been filed Thursday in the 36th District Court in Detroit. Arraignment is pending for the defendants.

    “The Attorney General’s office will be working – with local law enforcement if necessary – to secure the appearance of each defendant in Michigan,” the announcement said. “It’s too early to say if formal extradition will be necessary or if they will present themselves here voluntarily in the very near future.”

  213. says

    Rightwing Trolls And Tricksters Try To Conjure Up Fake Proof Of Trump’s Voter Fraud Claims

    When Bob Phillips heard that a wealthy New York City gym owner was prepared to donate $1,000 to his good government organization, Common Cause North Carolina, he was elated.

    When the mystery man calling himself James Fortune upped that offer to $10,000, the elation turned to doubt.

    “$1,000 is a lot for us, so $10,000 — we don’t get people who write those kinds of checks,” he told TPM.

    Over the course of two whiplash-inducing weeks, Phillips came to suspect that he, like three other voter advocacy groups in Wisconsin, was the subject of an attempted infiltration and sting.

    These attempts, which range from schemes by groups like Project Veritas — with their heavily-edited “gotcha” videos — to doubt sowing by right-wing trolls, pundits and gadflies, have been replicated across the country, particularly in battleground states likely to decide the election. Though differing in style and levels of commitment, they seem to share a common goal: to whip up “proof” of the voter fraud […] Trump has been shouting about all campaign long.

    The right-wing actors have been creative in their targeting of different steps of the voter process. Many have focused on fabricating voter registration fraud: planting the suspicion that groups are registering non-citizens or felons. Some allege illegal ballot harvesting (collection by a third party, which is legal in some states), or funhouse-mirror versions or ballot harvesting where shady people stuff bags with ballots bound for mysterious locations.

    In North Carolina, Phillips had his guard down because Fortune had already “ingratiated” himself, in Phillips’ words, with other local organizations — by cutting them checks. Fortune first made contact with Democracy North Carolina, a close partner of the Common Cause chapter, as well as Latinx advocacy group Fortaleza. He made donations to both. […]

    Phillips told TPM that he didn’t connect with Fortune himself until the supposed businessman’s third call with Common Cause. He said that Fortune made passing, opinionated comments — once about Trump “hurting small businesses” — but nothing that roused Phillip’s suspicions.

    “It’s not like I haven’t heard that before,” he said. “People are emotional right now.”

    It wasn’t until Fortune floated upping his $1,000 donation so substantially that he started to have misgivings.

    “The first thing out of his mouth in that next call was: ‘If we increased that donation five- or tenfold, what would you do with it?’” Phillips said. “I was beginning to think, who is this guy? He parachutes in, we don’t know him, finds out about what we do and within a week is talking about giving $10,000.”

    Fortune also offered Phillips a volunteer to join the organization: a friend of Fortune’s who, he said, recently moved to the area and was very interested in helping out. The woman, Phillips recalled, contacted him immediately, claiming a background in protest movements in Brooklyn and wanting to know if she could start as soon as tomorrow.

    Around that time, Phillips’ friend from Democracy North Carolina called. His first question: “Have you been doing any business with James Fortune?” Phillips was told that Democracy North Carolina had found out that Fortune asked a person involved in voter education and advocacy if the groups could be persuaded to delve into the illegal and register undocumented immigrants to vote. Fortune’s proffered rationale was allegedly: “Trump is gonna cheat so we might as well also.”

    That was enough to raise the alarm. The groups looked into Fortune’s donations. They came from a company called Blue Sky Med Labs LLC, which did not exist until June, shortly before Fortune came to town. A local Atlanta TV station, nearby where Blue Sky is incorporated, was told by the LLC founder’s business partner that the lawyer for Blue Sky is Stefan Passantino — a former deputy White House counsel for the Trump campaign. […].

    Phillips reported the situation to the Wake County District Attorney, and Fortune and his enthusiastic volunteer disappeared. […]

    “You have to wonder if this is not all part of activity to fit the narrative the President is putting out there that we can’t trust elections due to rampant fraud,” said Phillips.

    In Wisconsin, six voter advocacy groups fell victim to similar infiltration attempts by two men who they believe to be agents of Project Veritas. […]

    More at the link.

  214. says

    Elie Mystal:

    If @katieporteroc pulled out the white board on me, I’d probably start confessing to stuff I ain’t even do.

    Porter: Elie, do you know how many cookies you ate?
    Me: goddamnit.
    Porter: There were [writing] 32 cookies in this jar.
    Me: ALL RIGHT, I used my sister’s Netflix password!

  215. raven says

    Jack Burkman and Jacob Wohl — a Trump-loving duo who were behind a series of notoriously outlandish schemes to smear Trump’s opponents — face felony charges

    From the Daily Beast
    Both Wohl and Burkman face four felony counts and a maximum sentence of 7 years in prison.

    The Michigan charges aren’t the only legal charges facing the pair. Wohl has been charged with two felonies over alleged violations of California securities law.

    Great news for once.
    2020 has been a terrible year for just about everyone.

    Needless to say, it couldn’t happen to a more deserving set of right wingnuts.

  216. says

    Trump says he’s just been tested because of Hope Hicks testing positive, then adds, ‘Whether we quarantine or whether we have it, I don’t know’. He adds, ‘We’ll see what happens. Who knows’.

    Trump on the coronavirus: ‘You get close and things happen’. He says of Hicks: ‘She’s a hard worker. A lot of masks. She wears masks, a lot’.”

  217. says

    In order to avoid going to trial in an investigation of sexual harassment against its former star Kimberly Guilfoyle, Fox agreed to pay a Guilfoyle accuser upward of $4 million, @JaneMayerNYer reports.”

    @realDonaldTrump just blamed U.S. soldiers and police officers for giving Hope Hicks coronavirus.”

    Fox audio atl.

    Oh, plus Melania tapes:

    “Who gives a fuck abt Christmas stuff & decorations?..Then I do it, and I say that I’m working on Christmas, planning for the Christmas. And they said ‘Oh, what about the children that were separated?’ Give me a fucking break.” – First Lady of the United States Melania Trump.

  218. tomh says

    No end in sight.

    California Wildfire Ravaging Picturesque Wine Country Towns
    October 1, 2020 MATTHEW RENDA

    (CN) — The Glass Fire continues to burn out of control in the heart of California’s wine country, razing wineries, destroying houses and prompting mass evacuations.

    Fire officials said Thursday that the fight will only get more difficult as high winds are expected to ramp up in the evening and continue throughout much of the day on Friday.
    […]

    The fire has already ripped through several legacy wineries in the Up Valley area of the Napa Valley near Calistoga.

    At least 19 wineries, resorts and restaurants have been destroyed by the Glass Fire which started last weekend and has grown steadily due to the combination of higher temperatures, low humidity and wind activity.
    […]

    California Governor Gavin Newsom toured some of the destruction Thursday, meeting with Cal Fire Director Thom Porter at the blackened remains of the Foothills Elementary School near St. Helena, in the middle of Napa Valley.
    […]

    So far, more than 4 million acres of land [in California] have burned in the summer and fall of 2020. The previous record was about 1.4 million acres.

    California has also summoned about 20,000 firefighters to fight the spate of wildfires throughout the state, calling in firefighters from Texas, Montana and Israel.

    The Glass Fire is currently at about 56,000 acres and is 5% contained.

  219. says

    Many photos of Hope Hicks, NOT wearing a mask, in close proximity to many top White House aides have been posted. When Trump said that she wears a lot of masks, he was lying. She sometimes wears a mask, but not as often as she should.

  220. says

    Trump’s tweet:

    Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!

    Trump knew that Hope Hicks had tested positive when he went ahead and flew to Bedminster for a fundraiser. Also, when Trump was traveling today he was surrounded by many top aides, and Ron Johnson and other politicians. Reportedly, Trump traveled without wearing a mask, and he appeared at the fundraiser in New Jersey without a mask.

  221. Anton Mates says

    It is assumed that Trump was tested multiple times in order to rule out any false positive.

    Have we anything beyond Trump’s word that he was actually tested at all, or that the test was positive?

  222. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    CNN Article about Trump having Covid.
    Note from Trump’s doctor.
    Hicks displaying symptoms

    A source close to Hicks told CNN that she is experiencing symptoms and is back in Washington. A source familiar with Hicks’ symptoms describes her as being achy and feeling pretty bad. CNN has reached out to Hicks for comment.

    Trump tested frequently, but not daily

    “I don’t know about more than one,” Trump responded to a reporter who asked why he was tested more than once a day. “I do probably on average a test every two days, three days, and I don’t know of any time I’ve taken two in one day, but I could see that happening.”

  223. raven says

    President Donald Trump tweets he and first lady Melania Trump test positive for Covid-19

    (CNN)President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump tested positive for coronavirus, the President announced early Friday morning, an extraordinary development coming months into a global pandemic and in the final stretch of his reelection campaign.

    The diagnosis amounts to the most serious known health threat to a sitting American president in decades. At 74 years old, Trump falls into the highest risk category for serious complications from the disease, which has killed more than 200,000 Americans and more than 1 million people worldwide.

    Latest headline at 11:30 PDT.

    Says it all.
    This is karma in action.

    Trump just met with Biden a few days ago for that debate.
    There is a real possibility that Biden is going to get Covid-19 too, from Trump or from the many people he has contact with every day.

  224. raven says

    Just going to point out that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are also at high risk for getting Covid-19 virus.

    As important people in the current election, they necessarily deal with a huge number of people. And the virus is everywhere these days. It’s become much more diffuse across the USA.

    And Joe Biden is 77.

  225. lotharloo says

    Yeah, Biden is very very at risk. The spacing between Trump and Biden was not sufficient, specially for 90 minutes of screaming contest.

  226. lumipuna says

    I foresee comedy writers going with: “Trump cancels upcoming Michigan campaign rallies as unnecessary after successfully contracting Covid-19 elsewhere”

  227. lumipuna says

    Or was it Wisconsin? Probably many states will be left unvisited in the next few weeks.

  228. says

    @#311, lotharloo:

    So, what you’re saying is that there’s a chance that when election day comes, the only person whose name is actually on any ballots who is an eligible choice for President will be Howie Hawkins. 🙆

  229. unclefrogy says

    time will tell I guess, I do not wish this thing on anyone but if you do not take consistent precautions shit is going to catch you
    I hope he does not have it, if he does it might change his attitude about things covid a little
    I can hardly stand this lead-up to the election

  230. blf says

    Anton Mates@306, “Have we anything beyond Trump’s word that he was actually tested at all, or that the test was positive?”

    Also my first thoughts. Hair furor repeatedly lies, so much so I refuse to believe anything he says without independent veritable confirmation. In this case, according to the Grauniad’s lying losing suckers live blog, there is confirmation of a sorts, albeit I hesitate to consider this “confirmation” independent:

    […]
    Melania said they would be going into quarantine […]: [… hair furor] & are quarantining at home after testing positive for COVID-19. We are feeling good & I have postponed all upcoming engagements. […]

    Her bellowing is set in eejit quotes because she is also a known consistent liar.

    At the risk of believing something she says, note she did not say anything about hair furor himself cancelling / postponing events.

    The Grauniad continues with what, in principle, should be more reliable information:

    Here is the memorandum issued by the White House about the positive results. The president’s physician, Sean Conley, stated:

    This evening I received confirmation that both President [sic] Trump and first lady Melania Trump have tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

    The president [sic] and first lady are both well at this time, and they plan to remain at home in the White House during their convalescence.

    The White House medical team and I will maintain a vigilant watch […]

    […]

    Whilst from the Navy, Dr Conley is part of the Wacko House mob and so probably also be presumed untrustworthy. As a reminder, he previously confirmed he previously approved hair furor’s taking hydroxychloroquine. Which, if true, works great! Now where’s the bleach?

  231. lotharloo says

    @The Vicar (via Freethoughtblogs):
    Or between that guy and the Libertarian party guy.

    Another remote possibility is for both Pence and Trump to die in which case Nancy Pelosi will be the president.

  232. says

    From the Guardian US-politics liveblog:

    A scramble is under way in Washington to determine how far coronavirus infection has spread in the top ranks of US leadership after Donald Trump tested positive, in a week that included a presidential debate, political rallies and White House meetings with Congress.

    The White House said its medical unit had begun contact-tracing on Thursday. Among those who may have been exposed is the Democratic challenger for the presidency, Joe Biden, who stood a few feet away from Trump for the 90 minutes of Tuesday night’s televised debate. Epidemiologists said that if Trump tested positive on Thursday morning he could have been infectious at that time.

    The two candidates did not shake hands under Covid rules, and their lecterns were about 10ft apart, but for the majority of the debate the president was speaking, sometimes at high volume, in Biden’s direction in an indoor venue in Cleveland.

    Saskia Popescu, an epidemiologist and assistant professor at the George Mason University, said it was “entirely possible” Biden had been exposed, as Trump would have been infectious for 48 before testing positive.

    Also on the list for possible exposure is the vice-president, Mike Pence, the White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, Trump’s pick for the supreme court, Amy Coney Barrett, and the Senate Republicans they visited this week to prepare for Barrett’s confirmation hearings.

    The list also include Trump’s children and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, along with other senior White House staffers who accompanied Trump from Washington to the Cleveland debate and back. Few if any of them are reported to have worn masks on Air Force One.

  233. says

    Here’s a link to the October 2 Guardian coronavirus world liveblog.

    From there:

    Madrid’s regional authorities will shortly put the Spanish capital and nine nearby towns under partial lockdown, with immediate effect, a source from Madrid’s regional government told Reuters on Friday.

    With 859 cases per 100,000 people, the Madrid region is the worst Covid-19 hotspot in Europe.

    The reluctant move — by the conservative-led regional government — follows an order from the Socialist-led central government to ban non-essential travel to and from Madrid.

    With the new restrictions, 4.8m people in Madrid and nine nearby municipalities will see borders closed to outsiders for non-essential visits, with only travel for work, school, doctors’ visits or shopping allowed. A curfew for bars and restaurants will be moved to 11pm from 1am.

    Bars are open and remaining open in Madrid. Bars.

  234. says

    Here’s the real story: Trump knowingly exposed people to Covid after learning he’d been exposed. He should’ve quarantined immediately. This is a judgment issue, a fitness to lead issue & Trump failed the test.”

    Kayleigh McEnany, knowing she had been exposed, came out maskless to do that propaganda session with the WH press corps yesterday without informing them.

  235. says

    Jennifer Jacobs (from Bloomberg – the reporter who broke the news about Hope Hicks last night) is now reporting that people around Trump had thought he seemed sick on Wednesday. Again, he broke New Jersey’s quarantine rules (once again) to travel there yesterday for a fundraising event with minimal masks or social distancing. Not only did he know he’d been exposed but he was experiencing symptoms.

    Here’s Trump on this date four years ago mocking Hillary Clinton for having pneumonia.

    Mike and Karen Pence have tested negative for now.

  236. says

    Jennifer Jacobs: “Kayleigh McEnany first learned Hope Hicks had tested positive from a senior White House aide shortly before the news broke, multiple sources tell me.

    Only a very, very small circle knew. Even some of Trump’s most trusted advisers were kept in the dark about Hicks’ illness.”

    I’m willing to believe this, because they don’t care about her, either. It would mean that she didn’t know about her/their exposure at the time of the “briefing” yesterday.

  237. lotharloo says

    Serious question: If Trump (or even Biden) dies, what happens to all those votes that have already been cast? E.g., is it a real possibility that Biden gets the virus, dies, but Trump survives, Dem nominate Harris but Trump wins the election because all the votes that have been cast and mailed for Biden get discarded?

  238. quotetheunquote says

    @SC #291- Thanks so much for that link, my first laugh-out-loud moment in this truly dismal week. Elie Mystal is a treasure (as is KP, of course).
    “the”

  239. says

    Re #324 – Jonathan Lemire is pointing out that McEnany knew that Hicks had been isolated on AF1 on the flight back and was having symptoms, so…

    CNN is also reporting that the WH didn’t contact the Biden campaign to alert them about the exposure. If reporters hadn’t found out, they would have left everyone in the dark, risks to them be damned.

  240. says

    Joe Biden tweeted: “Jill and I send our thoughts to President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump for a swift recovery. We will continue to pray for the health and safety of the president and his family.”

  241. quotetheunquote says

    @blf #316:

    I agree – nobody, not one single person, connected with the White House or the Don’s family can be trusted.

    I saw on my wife’s FB feed someone commenting that they’ll “only believe it when he’s actually dead.” But such is the toxic atmosphere of deceit that passes for the US Executive branch these days, I wouldn’t even buy that. As far as I’m concerned, they could claim that he’d died, have a state funeral, open casket*, whatever – and I’d still give you better than even odds that it was just another elaborate con to get out of being prosecuted for all the fraud he’s done, once he’s finally booted out of office. I’d be utterly unsurprised to learn, a few months later, that he’d been whisked off to Russia (via Brazil and Turkey) and was ensconced in a comfortable retirement in a resort in Sochi.

    *If they replaced Hair Furor’s body with a wax dummy, how could anyone tell?

  242. says

    I’ll never forget the moment the Trump family entered the debate hall, sat down, and each smugly took off their masks while everyone else in the audience wore theirs throughout.”

    Someone from the Cleveland Clinic approached them and asked them to put on masks, even offering them some in case theirs weren’t available, and they refused.

  243. johnson catman says

    re SC @331:

    Someone from the Cleveland Clinic approached them and asked them to put on masks, even offering them some in case theirs weren’t available, and they refused.

    At that point, they should have been politely asked to leave, and if they refused, escorted out by whatever means necessary.

  244. says

    Guardian US liveblog:

    House speaker Nancy Pelosi addressed the news of Trump testing positive for coronavirus in an MSNBC interview this morning.

    “We all receive that news with great sadness,” Pelosi told MSNBC anchor Stephanie Ruhle.

    The Democratic speaker said she always prays for the safety of the president and his family and those prayers had “intensified” since she heard the news.

    Pelosi pivoted to making a pitch for the Democrats’ coronavirus relief package, noting the president and the first lady would receive “the best of care and that’s what we want for everyone in this country.”

    Pelosi also suggested this may be “a learning experience” for the president and his supporters about the importance of wearing masks and social distancing.

    The speaker said Trump’s behavior in recent weeks, such as holding rallies with hundreds of attendees and avoiding wearing a mask in most settings, were a “brazen invitation” for coronavirus.

    Pelosi expressed hope that this moment will be an opportunity to take a “saner approach” to limiting the spread of the virus.

    “Thank God the vice president has tested negatively and the second lady as well,” Pelosi told MSNBC. “That continuity of government is always in place.”

    The Democratic speaker said she had also taken a coronavirus test this morning and was waiting on the results.

    Pelosi met with treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin on Wednesday, but Mnuchin said this morning that he had tested negative.

  245. says

    Zeke Emanuel:

    Despite our differences, I wish the President and First Lady a speedy recovery. Every person is different, and I have not examined the President. But what do we know based on public info and the public health data about what Trump is facing?

    What we do NOT know is the full extent of the President’s health. Unlike every President in the modern era, he has not released the full results of a physical exam.

    What we do know is that Trump is clinically obese (BMI over 30), he is male, and 74 years old.

    Compared to 18-29 yr olds w/COVID, acc to @CDCgov, 74 yr olds are 5X more likely to be hospitalized and 90X more likely to die.

    Mortality rate for that age is 11%.

    This is a serious diagnosis for a man his age. The WH needs to trace his contacts, test them, and be fully transparent about the President’s health to the American people.

  246. says

    Follow-up to comment 270.

    While Texas has been a reliable Republican stronghold over the last couple of decades, 2020 is shaping up to be a competitive year in the Lone Star State. In fact, at the presidential level, statewide polling has shown Donald Trump leading Joe Biden, but not my much.

    It’s against this backdrop that Texas’ Republican governor made an announcement yesterday afternoon.

    Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, ordered counties to stop accepting hand-delivered absentee ballots at more than one location, issuing a proclamation that could make it harder for residents to vote early.

    Note, Texas counties already had a system in place, with many ballot drop-off locations. Abbott announced yesterday, however, that officials need to stop doing what they’ve been doing and instead limit drop-off locations to one box per county.

    To appreciate the practical impact, it’s important to acknowledge the size of some of Texas’ larger counties. Harris County, for example, includes Houston, has a population of 4.7 million people — larger than many states — and is roughly the size of Rhode Island.

    Effective today, however, at the governor’s direction, it will have exactly one ballot drop-off location, rather than the 12 boxes it had yesterday.

    […] a Washington Post analysis noted that the governor’s change “will disproportionately affect Democratic and non-White areas.”

    […] It’s not as if Abbott discovered a problem with the ballot drop-off locations and scrambled to come up with a fix. Just the opposite is true: the system was up and running, and it was operating without incident — until the governor decided to make it vastly more difficult for his own constituents to cast ballots in a competitive election.

    Republicans are working hard to suppress the vote.

    None of this is subtle.

    As Rachel noted on the show last night, the League of United Latin American Citizens has announced plans to challenge the policy in court. […]

    Update: The Texas governor’s move almost certainly would’ve been impermissible under the Voting Rights Act, had the Republican-appointed justices on the U.S. Supreme Court not gutted it.

    Link

  247. says

    Definitely a schadenfreude moment, mostly because Trump acted like an arrogant fool when it came to coronavirus.

    Two weeks ago, Donald Trump suggested he was “not at all concerned” about contracting the coronavirus. It was this posture that led [Trump] to, among other things, hold indoor campaign rallies, repeatedly mock mask-wearing, downplay the significance of the pandemic crisis, and assure the public that the threat would soon pass. […]

    A Washington Post report quoted aides close to the president saying “all of Trump’s political events will be canceled for the foreseeable future,” which is not surprising.

    That said, the “foreseeable future” includes quite a few “political events,” including the next presidential debate, currently scheduled for Oct. 15 in Miami. A New York Times report described the fate of that event as “up in the air.”

    But a separate Times report considered the broader implications of Trump’s announcement, noting that the Republican is now “inviting significant questions about his cavalier attitude toward the pandemic.

    Mr. Trump … compounded his difficulties by disregarding and at times belittling the basic precautions, such as wearing a mask, that his health advisers were urging Americans to take to protect themselves…. [S]trategists in both parties and even senior aides to Mr. Trump said the president would face a harsh judgment from voters for throwing the country into greater uncertainty after one of the most trying years in American history.

    This seems likely given the circumstances. The president chose to mislead the country about the severity of the crisis. He blew off health guidelines touted by his own administration. Trump became one of the nation’s most irresponsible voices on matters of public health, spreading misinformation with reckless abandon. He sidelined public-health experts who dared to tell him accurate information he found politically unsatisfying.

    Just a few days ago, Trump stood on a national debate stage and ridiculed his opponent for wearing a mask, boasting, “I don’t wear masks like [Joe Biden]. Every time you see him, he’s got a mask. He could be speaking 200 feet away from me, and he shows up with the biggest mask I’ve ever seen.”

    Fifty hours later, the president said he’d contracted the virus.

    “This was avoidable,” said NBC News contributor Dr. Vin Gupta, a lung specialist at the University of Washington. “This did not have to happen if they were practicing the proper procedures and not going to these rallies and having these chaotic events, where, of course, airborne exposure was going to happen despite it being in an outdoor setting.

    “No masking, no distancing — what did they expect was going to happen?”

    Link

    One White House reporter said that staffers are finally wearing masks today.

  248. says

    EXCLUSIVE: House Opens Probe Of ‘Dangerous’ HHS Rapid Test Deployment After TPM Report

    The House Oversight Committee is opening an investigation into the Trump administration’s deployment of rapid COVID-19 tests to nursing homes around the country after TPM revealed in August that the tests had been sent without warning or guidance on their operation.

    Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), the chairman of the House Oversight Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy, said in a letter Friday that he is probing allegations that the Department of Health and Human Services distributed thousands of testing kits in a reckless manner, failing to provide guidance to recipients.

    […] The result was mass confusion, the potential for underreporting of test results, and conflict with state authorities that had banned the use of the rapid antigen tests in nursing homes because of their lower accuracy.

    […] Epidemiologists have shared a concern that if tests with insufficient sensitivity are used to ‘screen’ visitors to nursing homes, false negatives risk allowing entry to contagious persons who could seed a deadly outbreak.

    The antigen tests make a limited trade between speed and accuracy, providing less reliable results within a 15-minute timeframe. Scientists told TPM in August that the tests were best used and most accurate when testing people who were already showing symptoms that could be consistent with COVID-19 or other illnesses.

    […] Dr. Jeffrey Engel, a senior advisor on COVID-19 and an executive at the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists, told TPM in August that he had petitioned Giroir directly about the problem.

    “We’ve been asking for federal guidance all along, these nursing homes have very limited capacity, and to expect them to ramp up and do this — something that they’ve never done before — is not realistic and could be potentially harmful,” Engel said.

    […] The administration eventually expanded the program to distribute the rapid testing devices to schools and other areas where COVID-19 infection is likely, signing a $750 million deal with Abbott Laboratories. The terms of the devices’ procurement are also under investigation.[…]

    The White House still has not provided a list of the nursing homes to which it send the Abbott test systems. The White House is blaming manufacturers for not providing training and instruction. Blaming their clusterfuck on someone else.

  249. says

    Olivia Troye pointed out the breach of protocol:

    Olivia Troye, a former top aide to Vice President Mike Pence, is questioning whether protocol was breached amid a decision to attend a fundraiser in Bedminster, New Jersey. Her comments follow reporting that surfaced earlier on Friday that the President and his staff knew that a senior aide had tested positive for coronavirus — and yet took off for a fundraiser anyway, potentially risking the infection of roughly 100 attendees.

    Last month, Troye, who left the White House in August after serving on its coronavirus task force, made headlines when she tore into the President for his failure to communicate the seriousness of coronavirus — a move that she said could have “saved lives.” […]

    Link

  250. says

    Trump’s Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, is still wandering around without a mask.

    Meadows still isn’t wearing a mask even while talking to reporters about how his boss, who also repeatedly refused to wear masks, has “mild symptoms” of COVID.

    Why?

    “I’ve obviously been tested,” the chief of staff told the reporters. “We’re hopefully more than 6 feet away, and if there’s any concern there from a guidance standpoint, we have protocols in place.”

    He also argued that “even with a lot of mitigating factors,” the virus “certainly continues to be” contagious “regardless of whatever protocol we have.”

  251. says

    Sigh.

    Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien, who was on Air Force One with Trump and Hope Hicks on Tuesday and did not wear a mask, sent a truly remarkable memo to staffers today telling them to wear masks, which he described as one of the “practices the campaign has long encouraged.”

  252. says

    Trump refused masks, ignored science, praised quacks, and created the culture for his own infection

    The person most responsible for Donald Trump coming down with COVID-19 is absolutely Donald Trump. But unfortunately for the concept of karma, for the virus to get around to the man who purposely lied about the danger it represents from the very beginning of the outbreak, it had to go through over seven million other Americans. What’s worse is that Trump has created such a culture of resistance to science and reason, that even as he’s giving a personal demonstration of what happens if you follow his advice, his supporters across the country are not about to give up on the ideas he’s spent over half a year driving home.

    […] while Trump was demanding that schools and businesses reopen, the task force was repeatedly warning against exactly those actions. […]

    Trump’s purposeful downplaying of COVID-19 from the outset has generated a series of consequences that can be measured directly in increased business for gravediggers.

    Trump’s resistance to wearing a mask, which started all the way back at the end of March, has resulted in millions of others making a twisted connection between refusing to wear a mask and some concept of “freedom.”

    Attorney General William Barr compared social distancing guidelines to restrict large gatherings and limit operation of businesses where the virus is most readily spread, the worst thing since slavery.

    Trump has repeatedly provided false assurance that COVID-19 can be treated through everything from malaria drug hydroxychloroquine to injecting disinfectant.

    Trump has repeatedly insisted that COVID-19 is less dangerous that seasonal flu and insisted that reported deaths from COVID-19 are “fake numbers.”

    Trump has repeatedly dismissed the value of testing and insisted that states should do less, not more.

    Trump has insisted that children cannot spread COVID-19 even through both studies and direct evidence showed that children spread the disease as well as adults.

    The result of all these false narratives has been to create a culture where Republican governors feel that they have to open the schools, they have to open all businesses, they have to dismiss the effectiveness of masks, they have to downplay reporting of COVID-19 cases and deaths. Because admitting the truth means being seen as disloyal to Trump.

    Trump demonstrates how to be the ultimate bad role model […]

    Why shouldn’t people dismiss statements from the CDC? Donald Trump does. Why shouldn’t they feel free to disagree with the opinions of medical experts? Donald Trump does. Why shouldn’t they refuse to wear a mask, ignore social distancing, and insist on everything being wide open? Donald Trump does.

    Donald Trump testing positive for COVID-19 is the direct result of the culture of disdain for science, medicine, and common sense that Trump himself created. That doesn’t mean it’s justice. Because justice doesn’t leave 210,000 bodies in its wake.

  253. says

    With COVID Hitting the West Wing, What Happens When the President Is a Liar?

    Two viruses—the coronavirus and disinformation—collide at the White House.

    One of the best weapons to deploy against a killer virus is accurate information—that is, the truth. If the public is fully and well informed about the dangers and the best counter-measures, the better the chances this threat can be arrested. Donald Trump, who with his wife Melania has tested positive for COVID-19, recklessly chose not to adopt this fundamental strategy […]

    Trump has mounted a disinformation campaign since COVID-19 landed in the United States. He has undercut and contradicted the guidance provided by his own government’s public health experts. He has fueled the passions of the misguided anti-maskers and provided ammo to fools who believe the pandemic is a hoax. This week a Cornell University study that analyzed 38 million English-language articles about the coronavirus concluded that Trump was the largest driver of the “infodemic.” In other words, he is the chief spreader of the virus of disinformation. That was hardly a shocker. The Washington Post fact-checkers have chronicled over 20,000 false statements and lies from Trump since he stepped into the White House. […]

    Not surprisingly, the White House did not begin with transparency. Though Trump’s key adviser Hope Hicks had been diagnosed with COVID—and had recently been in contact with Trump—White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany did not share this information during a press briefing on Thursday. And it was only after the news about Hicks was broken by Bloomberg‘s Jennifer Jacobs on Thursday night that the White House acknowledged it and then subsequently said Trump had tested positively. Would it have told the public about the president otherwise? And had Trump and his campaign informed attendees at a New Jersey fundraiser on Wednesday headlined by Trump that he had recently interacted with a COVID-positive aide? No. (Trump traveled to his Bedminster country club for the event reportedly after learning of Hick’s condition.) On Friday morning, the public learned that Trump had displayed symptoms at that fundraiser—lethargy and cold-like symptoms. That information came not from the White House but from the New York Times.

  254. says

    Donald Trump had done everything possible to shift the focus of the presidential campaign away from his handling of the coronavirus.

    His own infection now ensures that he can’t – pulling Trump off the road 32 days before the election, throwing debates into question and fixing the public attention’s more squarely than ever on a pandemic dragging down his prospects for a second term.

    A president who once seemed impervious to October surprises is suddenly confronting one big enough to alter the outcome of the election.

    “The campaign as we knew it is over,” said Andrew Feldman, a Democratic strategist in Washington. “This is the worst nightmare for the Trump campaign.”

    Practically speaking, Trump’s announcement early Friday that he tested positive for the coronavirus will immediately remove him from in-person campaigning, though for how long is unclear. Sean Conley, Trump’s physician, said in a memo that Trump and First Lady Melania Trump, who also tested positive, “plan to remain at home within the White House during their convalescence,” and the White House removed a planned campaign rally on Friday night in Florida from Trump’s daily schedule. […]

    The more significant problem for Trump is that, now Covid-positive, it will prove almost impossible for him to steer public attention away from his biggest political liability. Americans disapprove of Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic by a wide margin. And cable news is going wall-to-wall with coverage of that — not U.S. Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, mail-in balloting or Trump’s latest outrage.

    It is a perilous way to finish the campaign for a candidate already trailing in the polls. In the most conspicuous way imaginable, the positive test publicly undermines so much of Trump’s rhetoric about the virus — from his faith in hydroxychloroquine to his cavalier pronouncements about a vaccine and his dismissal of Covid-19 as a disease that “affects virtually nobody.” […]

    Link

  255. says

    News from New Jersey Governor Chris Christie:

    […] Asked whether the five or six people in the president’s immediate proximity were wearing masks and taking proper health precautions during the debate preparation, Christie said no.

    “No, no one was wearing masks in the room when we were prepping the president during that period of time,” he said. […]

    Link

    Christie was tested on Tuesday, (negative test), and he will be tested again today.

  256. KG says

    “I don’t wear masks like [Joe Biden]. Every time you see him, he’s got a mask. He could be speaking 200 feet away from me, and he shows up with the biggest mask I’ve ever seen.” – Trump, quoted by MSNBC, quoted by Lynna, OM@338

    Entirely in character that Trump misrepresents the main point of wearing a (non-surgical-quality) mask: to protect others. So if Biden was being extremely cautious in his mask-wearing, it would be a mark of concern for others, not fear for himself.

  257. says

    Some shouts from, and about, the rabid rightwing:

    Shoutout to all the left wing radicals who are falling into Trump’s trap right now by wishing death upon him!
    I hope you know he’s playing 4D chess with all of you.
    You’ll see.
    ———————–
    The take from a lot of the QAnon people is that he is faking it in order to go into hiding so that the “10 Days of Darkness” can commence. This is supposedly a period of 10 days in which all power and communications go out, there’s no internet, no TV except for communications from the president. It is during this time that the mass arrests will start.
    ————————–
    If you think I am concerned, I am not. This is part of the plan. Patriots in control!
    ————————-
    Q said ten days of darkness, POTUS will be insulated. Two tweets yesterday with e’s missing…e=5, ee=5.5. Rig for red…Whitehouse lit up red yesterday etc. So many clues
    —————————-
    “Who’s worried? Enjoy the show!!!!!!!” wrote one Voat user on the QResearch forum. “Using the plandemic to his advantage, oh my who could have anticipated that,” wrote another. “Using his enemy’s moves against him is the smartest way to fight,” another Q person agreed. One user admitted that they were worried until they saw “Patriots posting comms and news unlocking,” which helped them see that “this is all planned.”
    —————————
    Look at them [photo of the Biden family] wearing those masks for the fake virus as a part of dem mind control efforts. Well, Trump will return as a naughty white messiah once he finishes trouncing the satanic paedo cabal. He isn’t sick. He battling evil and lib media no want you to know it. Amen.
    ————————–
    Great move by Trump. We all know the virus is a hoax so I think his next move will be to invest heavily in some medication, say that it cured him from the fake virus, then the libs will have to either reveal they created the hoax or let Trump get tons of campaign money from the sheep buying whatever medication he decided to promote. Plus it gives him a reason to avoid any more debates with fake news biased mediators.

    The quoted text above is excerpted from a longer Wonkette article.

  258. says

    Sen. Murphy:

    Everyone in the Capitol complex needs to be tested.

    Every Republican Senator or staff member who was in close contact with Trump needs to quarantine.

    No business should proceed in the Senate until we understand the scope of this crisis.

  259. says

    Guardian US liveblog:

    Trump is not participating in a call with New York governor Andrew Cuomo that he was scheduled to join moments ago, according to a New York Times reporter.

    Vice-president Mike Pence joined the call with the Democratic governor instead….

  260. blf says

    Making time for bébé: France doubles paid paternity leave (video) (in English, but the French speakers who are interviewed are subtitled):

    […] France has decided to double paid paternity leave from 14 to 28 days. Researchers have long documented the benefits of paternity leave and the reform is in step with French society, as polls suggest 80 percent of French people are in favour. […]

    It will also be obligatory to actually take one of the four fully-paid weeks. The paternity leave is for the mother’s partner, male or female. Paid maternity leave is much longer.

  261. blf says

    This Al Jazeera article is one of those from Bloomberg — and it shows with the Bloomberg habit of only considering / analyzing “financials” — albeit in this case the limitation is perhaps understandable, How is Joe Biden doing in the polls? Ask the Russian ruble:

    […]
    A slump in the [Russian ruble] in recent months has mirrored rising wagers that Biden will beat President [sic] Donald Trump […]. After two days of gains, the ruble sank the most in emerging markets on Friday on news that Trump had contracted the coronavirus.

    [… graph showing Biden-wins vs ruble-dollar rate…]

    The market is betting a Democrat in the White House will more likely impose harsher sanctions on Russia, and the risk of such penalties might increase if the Kremlin tries to interfere in the vote to prevent a Biden win.

    […]

    Only the Turkish lira has performed worse than the ruble among major emerging markets in the past three months. Both currencies are down more than 10% against the dollar.

  262. blf says

    Follow-up to SC@248, Of course Subway’s bread is full of sugar. Why else would my kids like it?:

    So it’s getting hard to tell sandwiches from cake? I could have told you that without dragging in the Irish supreme court

    It’s such a relief to read a supreme court story that isn’t about the grim and steady march of fascism, but then the Irish supreme court has more important things to worry about than constitutions. The judges have had a sandwich from Subway and concluded that the bread isn’t bread. No, wait, there were scientists involved. They analysed the sugar content of Subway’s rolls and found it to be five times the qualifying level for bread, which means it’s not a staple food. Which means it’s not exempt from VAT as Subway had been claiming. It is nobody’s job to rule on whether this, in fact, makes it cake.

    I could have told the court about the sugar without any science, from the heady, sweet smell that emanates from the stores […]. Even if my nose didn’t work, I would have known because the kids are obsessed with Subway, and whenever children conceive a passion for anything unusual […] it’s always because it contains a ton of sugar, it has headline sugar and small-print sugar, sugar crammed into every crevice, sometimes defeating the laws of physics to contain more sugar than actual product.

    I once got my 13-year-old a foot-long Subway chicken and bacon ranch melt with all kinds of bespoke gunk in it that, I later worked out, contained more than 1,300 calories. It’s an awesome amount of energy. It wasn’t even his dinner; it was a snack. I don’t blame him, I don’t even blame Subway. I blame myself, but on the other hand, it was fascinating to watch, like a python swallowing a sheep. […]

    What I want to say is that this is what late capitalism looks like when it has reached the end of its rope: corporations giving us so much of what we want that our sandwiches are made of cake, and eating a 12in cake packed with meat will render us unwell and economically unproductive, and then we’ll take to the streets shouting: “We just can’t afford any more cake!”, and the classic politician of the neoliberal death spiral, some modern-day Marie Antoinette […] will hear our cries and say: “Let them eat bread,” and after that there will be a revolution.

    […] If we are really serious that kids shouldn’t eat a week’s worth of crap in a single foot of sandwich, all we need is to start teaching the crisis of late capitalism in schools. Oh no, wait … That now contravenes regulations in the UK [Schools in England told not to use material from anti-capitalist groups]. Yeah, you were so engrossed in the cake-sandwich you missed the grim and steady march of fascism.

  263. says

    CNN is reporting that Amy Coney Barrett had COVID this summer and recovered. She had somewhat surprisingly tested negative. It’s looking increasingly like the event announcing her nomination might have been a superspreader…

  264. tomh says

    White House has no plans to mandate masks
    Alayna Treene

    The Trump administration has no plans to mandate that staff and visitors wear face masks on the grounds of the White House…

    Trump and his aides have been heavily criticized for refusing to wear masks and social distance, both publicly at large-scale events and in private. Many officials in Trump’s orbit have mocked others for adhering to these guidelines.

    “Our standard protocol is CDC best practices and recommendations,” a White House official told Axios. “Facial coverings are recommended but not required. There’s hand sanitizing stations located throughout the complex, frequent washing of hands and good hygiene is strongly recommended and social distancing is encouraged. So, I don’t foresee those things changing.”

    White House chief of staff Mark Meadows went mask-less when he addressed reporters on Friday morning, despite having traveled with the president and Hicks earlier this week…

  265. says

    Guardian US liveblog:

    The Republican donors who attended Trump’s fundraising event in New Jersey yesterday are reportedly panicking following news that the president has tested positive for coronavirus.

    CNBC reports:

    GOP donors have been reaching out to Trump campaign and GOP officials for any guidance following the event, according to a person briefed on the matter.

    ‘The donors have been texting and calling. Freaking out,’ the person with direct knowledge said. This person declined to be named as the conversations were deemed private.

    Trump’s campaign, as of Friday morning, has not sent out any official guidance to many of the donors involved with the event.

    About 30 to 50 donors came close to the president Thursday night, this person added, while noting most of the interaction with Trump took place outdoors. Many of those contributors who have been able to get in touch with GOP officials have been told to stay home and reach out to their physician for next steps.

    New Jersey governor Phil Murphy has instructed those who attended the fundraising event to “take full precautions, including self-quarantining and getting tested.”…

  266. tomh says

    WaPo:
    17 Republicans reject resolution condemning QAnon, baseless theory central to coronavirus misinformation
    By Isaac Stanley-Becker

    The House voted overwhelmingly Friday to condemn the baseless QAnon conspiracy theory as the online movement identified as a potential domestic terrorist threat by the FBI has gained traction with some in the Republican Party.

    The vote was 371 to 18 for the resolution sponsored by Reps. Tom Malinowski (D-N.J.) and Denver Riggleman (R-Va.) and came days after Malinowski said he received death threats from QAnon supporters after a false GOP ad accused him of lobbying “to protect sexual predators.”

    Seventeen Republicans and one independent Friday voted against a House resolution condemning QAnon, a pro-Trump conspiracy theory that has been a central vector of misinformation about the coronavirus…

  267. says

    Brian Stelter:

    News: I have obtained a memo from the [White House Correspondents’ Association] board to WH reporters with word of “two additional cases of COVID-19 at the White House.” A journalist received a preliminary positive result. And a WH staffer who sits in the “lower press” area received a confirmed positive result.

    “All other journalists tested today” at the White House “tested negative,” according to the @WHCA memo.

    The board said “we can’t stress enough the importance of mask-wearing, social distancing and common sense, especially on the White House complex.”

    A followup memo, just a few minutes ago, says “another member of our press corps tested positive today.” This person was last at the WH on Saturday (the day of the SCOTUS event) and traveled on Air Force One for the PA rally that night. The journalist showed symptoms yesterday.

  268. says

    Gabe Sherman at Vanity Fair – “‘No One Knows Where This Is Going to Go’: Pandemonium Inside the White House as Trump Contracts COVID-19”:

    Trumpworld is gripped by fear and panic this morning as the country absorbs the news that Donald Trump, Melania, and Hope Hicks tested positive for COVID-19. “There are so many threads to pull. No one knows where this is going to go,” a stunned former West Wing official told me.

    The biggest unknown is the state of the president’s health. This morning the New York Times reported that Trump is exhibiting “coldlike symptoms.” Two Republicans in close contact with the White House told me that Trump’s symptoms have included a cough and fever. Melania is said to be asymptomatic. “They are worried about the president because of his age,” one of the sources said. Sources said Trump will likely want to be seen in public as soon as possible to blunt the narrative that he is sidelined by the virus he’s spent the last six months downplaying. “He’s going to want to get out there a lot sooner than people think,” the former official said. “But it will be hard to hide if he’s sick. Also, who will want to be in a room with him?” The White House did not respond to a request for comment.

    Campaign advisers are also gaming out how Trump’s COVID diagnosis will play out with only 32 days left until the election. Sources I spoke with are doubtful the next two debates will happen. “There really can be nothing for 14 days. It’s as if the campaign ended yesterday,” a second former West Wing official told me. Republicans close to Trump are discussing what kind of message Trump should put out that might limit the political damage. “He could come out and say, ‘Look, I had COVID and it wasn’t that bad. It just shows that I’m strong and we should open up the country,’” the former West Wing official said. “He could make a mockery of it.”

    Meanwhile, Hicks has experienced more pronounced symptoms than the president. Two sources said she has had a high fever and a cough, with one source adding she lost her sense of smell. Hicks is said to be frustrated with Trump for taking such a cavalier approach to the virus. She was one of the few West Wing staffers to wear a mask in meetings, which her colleagues chided her for. “She was made fun of because she wore a mask,” a friend said. Sources told me Hicks is also upset that news coverage has made it appear that she gave Trump the virus, when in fact no one knows where he got it. “It’s so unfair she’s sort of being blamed,” the friend told me.

    Hicks did not respond to a request for comment.

  269. KG says

    Shoutout to all the left wing radicals who are falling into Trump’s trap right now by wishing death upon him!
    I hope you know he’s playing 4D chess with all of you.
    You’ll see. – Qanonidiot, quoted by Wonkette, quoted by Lynna, OM@3451

    If Trump dies, these idiots will think it’s a blindingly clever move in 19-dimensional chess.

  270. says

    SC @364, good timing for that.

    In other news, (still related to Trump lying): About those ‘ballots’ that Trump said were found ‘in a river’…

    Trump said there were “a lot” of ballots; they were found “in a river”; and “they” threw them out because they were votes cast for him.

    The first sign of trouble came eight days ago. Donald Trump, desperate to find evidence of voting irregularities, told reporters, “It was reported in one of the newspapers that they found a lot of ballots in a river. They throw them out if they have the name ‘Trump’ on it, I guess.”

    A day later, at a campaign rally, the president pushed the same line, telling supporters that “they” found “many, many ballots thrown into a river someplace.” The day after that, Trump started treating his claim as if it were common knowledge, saying, “They found many ballots, as you know, in a riverbed.”

    At this week’s debate, [he] added that ballots are “being dumped in rivers.”

    Yesterday, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Trump was actually referring to absentee ballots in Wisconsin that were found with mail that ended up “in a ditch.” (Last night, Trump nevertheless referred to ballots he believes were “thrown into a creek or a river.”)

    It was embarrassing enough when the president’s chief spokesperson effectively and grudgingly conceded that Trump’s “river” references weren’t accurate. It’s quite a bit worse now that the underlying claim about ballots appears to be wrong, too. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported late yesterday:

    No Wisconsin absentee ballots were found in mail discovered in a ditch in the Fox Valley last week, the state’s top election official said Thursday.

    Meagan Wolfe, director of the Wisconsin Elections Commission, told reporters during a virtual news conference, “There was mail found outside of Appleton and that mail did not include any Wisconsin ballots.”

    So, when the president first started pushing this, he said there were “a lot” of ballots; they were found “in a river”; and he guessed that “they” threw out the ballots because they were votes cast for him.

    Literally every element of this now appears to have been wrong. It comes on the heels of Team Trump also flubbing the details about alleged voter fraud in Luzerne County, Pa., which came on the heels of Attorney General Bill Barr flubbing the details about alleged voter fraud in Texas.

    The New York Times noted this week, “It is remarkable, but not at all accidental, that a narrative built from minor incidents, gross exaggeration and outright fabrication is now at the center of the effort to re-elect the president.” […]

  271. tomh says

    WaPo:
    Voting rights advocates sue to block Texas governor’s order limiting counties to one ballot drop-off location
    By Elise Viebeck

    Voting rights advocates have filed suit against Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, contending that his new order limiting mail ballot drop-off locations to one per county burdens voters and “undermines the public’s confidence in the election itself…”

    Abbott said having a single drop-off location per county is necessary for “ballot security,” echoing unfounded claims by President Trump about the risks of voting by mail…

    The complaint, filed late Thursday in federal court, seeks to block enforcement of an order Abbott issued Thursday and to allow counties to offer multiple ballot drop-off locations ahead of a projected rise in mail voting during the general election.

    The increase is expected despite the success so far of state GOP officials in maintaining strict eligibility limits on mail voting during the coronavirus pandemic. The state is one of only five that is prohibiting voters fearful of exposure to covid-19 from casting mail ballots this fall…

  272. says

    SC @369, “These people are maniacs.”

    They are killing themselves with stupidity. Unfortunately, they will kill a lot of other Americans as well.

    From Senator Sherrod Brown:

    I’m extremely troubled by the reports that the President’s family and staff refused to wear masks at the debate in Cleveland, and then held a fundraiser the next day – endangering all who worked at and attended these events.

  273. says

    From Jennifer Rubin:

    Lee [GOP Senator Mike Lee] with symptoms, attended a Judiciary hearing on Thurs. Any colleagues who came within six feet of him for more than 15 min must self-isolate. per CDC thru Oct 15. I have every expectation that the attending physician for Congress will act to enforce.

  274. tomh says

    This must be serious!
    “Trump has been uncharacteristically quiet Friday, not tweeting for several hours or making calls into television programs.”

  275. says

    Apparently, he’s some republican policy wanker, but this really set me off:

    Sorry, there is no way the Green New Deal pays for itself.

    Thankfully, a lot of people are pointing out the bullshit:

    “Uh. How much is it gonna cost to save the world?” – Asshole

    I’m gonna sit down with some paper and a calculator and see how long it takes for the California wildfires to start making a profit

    Great point! We should just die of climate change that is so much more cost effective

    Why is it always leftist policies that have to answer “how are we going to pay for that”
    No one asks how we are going to pay for:
    -our oversized military and their continued deployment overseas
    -police departments w/ $2,000 taser shields and military gear
    -tax cuts for the rich

    Imagine for a moment that this dude teaches at Stanford and you begin to understand how America collapsed

  276. says

    The WH physician has released a short statement.

    Two things stand out here:
    1 – it looks like the President was given an experimental treatment (details: [link atl])
    2 – the WH claims Trump has fewer symptoms than several media reports.”

    Yes, press reports are that he has a cough, congestion, fatigue, and a fever (I’m not sure how precise anyone’s being about “low-grade”). This statement is intentionally incomplete. I’ll also note that the “in good spirits” language mirrors the widely mocked spin put out about Boris Johnson in April – see here and here.

  277. says

    Follow-up to SC @382, yes, Trump will be flown on Marine 1 (helicopter) to Walter Reed. The White House says Trump will work from the presidential suite at Walter Reed, that he is being moved out of an abundance of caution, and that the ability to monitor his condition is better at the hospital.

  278. says

    Official statement: “President Trump remains in good spirts, has mild symptoms, and has been working throughout the day. Out of an abundance of caution, and at the recommendation of his physician and medical experts, the President will be working from the presidential offices at Walter Reed for the next few days. President Trump appreciates the outpouring of support for both he and the First Lady,” White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a statement.

    I think the reports of Trump “working” are propaganda.

  279. says

    Zeke Emanuel: “You do not give a patient — much less the President of the United States — a drug that is not yet approved by the FDA (to say nothing of one with ‘mild symptoms’).

    Unsurprisingly, the Trump WH is not being forthright to the American people about the health of their President.”

    Miles Cobia: “This is an incredible development and I cant believe he would be given this treatment with mild disease. There’s no way a physician taking care of the #POTUS would use an experimental drug for ‘mild disease’.”

  280. says

    Lynna @ #388, that contains all of the Boris Johnson bullshit – “remains in good spirits,” “working throughout the day,” “out of an abundance of caution,”…

  281. says

    ‘HOLD THEM ACCOUNTABLE,’ Loeffler says of Trumps’ COVID-19, but she’s talking about the wrong ‘them’

    Senator Kelly Loeffler went the racist (or perhaps xenophobic) route.

    Donald Trump has spent the past seven months denying the seriousness of the coronavirus pandemic, refusing to wear a mask or call on those around him to do so, and embracing junk science like hydroxychloroquine. But now that his irresponsible behavior has hit him at home as it has previously hit millions of Americans, Georgia Sen. Kelly Loeffler is outraged. At China.

    “Remember: China gave this virus to our President @realDonaldTrump and First Lady @FLOTUS,” Loeffler tweeted. “WE MUST HOLD THEM ACCOUNTABLE.” […]

    The important context for Loeffler’s statement—beyond that she’s a horrible human being—is that she is an appointed senator in a tough reelection campaign, facing not just Democrats but Republican Rep. Doug Collins running as a more Trumpy alternative. She’s trying to boost her reelection chances by out-Trumping Collins here, and she’s doing it without regard for the safety of Asian American people who have faced increased levels of violence and discrimination as a direct result of Republicans and their “China virus” hate speech.

  282. says

    SC @391, right. It’s garbage. It’s propaganda. At best, the White House is not being fully transparent about Trump’s condition and treatment.

  283. johnson catman says

    re Lynna @388:

    I think the reports of Trump “working” are propaganda.

    Yeah, he’s not golfing so he is not “working”. This is going to cut into his record lead on Obama for golfing in his first term.

  284. says

    Some excerpts from Biden’s speech today:

    We can get this pandemic under control so we can get our economy working for everyone. But this cannot be a partisan moment. It must be an American moment.

    I’d like to start by acknowledging, which I’m sure all of you do as well, sending my prayers for the health and safety of the first lady and the president of the United States. My wife Jill and I pray that they’ll make a quick and full recovery.

    This is not a matter of politics. It’s a bracing reminder to all of us that we have to take this virus seriously.

    We can save 100,000 lives in the next 100 days, according to the head of the CDC, if everyone wears a mask in public. So be patriotic, it’s not about being a tough guy.

    Biden wore a mask.

    He underwent two coronavirus tests today, and both were negative.