1. says

    It looks like this Political Madness thread has reached 500 comments … again. It is now ready to roll over to start a new chapter.

    For the convenience of readers, here are a few links to the previous chapter.
    The Trump Administration is poised to make a settlement with Purdue Pharma that it can claim as a victory for opioid victims. But the proposed outcome would leave the company’s owners enormously wealthy—and off the hook for good.
    Texas Attorney General Accused of Bribery
    The Deranged, Dangerous Push to Still Seat Amy Coney Barrett
    Trump left Walter Reed. He was seated in “The Beast” vehicle. The huge, long, slow motorcade drove around for a bit. Trump waved at his supporters lining the route. And then the motorcade returned to Walter Reed.

  2. tomh says

    Nick Luna, Trump’s personal assistant, has tested positive, according to a senior administration official.

  3. says

    Trump’s team appears to be either blocking Rose Garden contact tracing or incompetent at it

    Last week, a White House celebration for Amy Coney Barrett was followed by numerous Rose Garden participants testing positive for COVID-19, including several senators and Donald Trump himself. Despite this, there has still been no apparent effort to do contact tracing to determine the true extent of the resulting disease outbreak.

    That’s the implication of this New York Times report, which backs up a Washington Post story published Saturday. Both report that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has assembled a contact tracing team “ready to go,” but that despite Saturday claims to the contrary by White House physician Dr. Sean Conley, the agency has not been contacted by the White House to start the process.

    Neither is the White House apparently coordinating such efforts without CDC input: The Times notes that on CBS’ Face the Nation, Dr. Scott Gottlieb reported that “he had spoken to several officials who attended the Rose Garden event and who had not been spoken to by any contact tracers.

    […] It is possible that the White House is simply that incompetent, unable to muster a contact tracing response to an apparently superspreading event even when that event is on White House grounds, and with the full cooperation of the whole of federal government available to assist. But it’s more likely that the White House is intentionally flubbing the tracking of who has or has not tested positive after the event because they don’t want to find out.

    […] for them to now actively work to hide the scope of the outbreak is, for this crowd of amoral and sociopathic cretins, an expected response.

    […] There’s also a darker possibility here, but one that cannot be ignored. On Monday, Trump held an unusual Rose Garden pandemic briefing that featured something we have almost never seen before: strict social distancing, at least for Trump, with all other speakers using a separate podium at least 12 feet from his own. This, from a White House that has been contemptuous of social distancing […]

    So there’s anecdotal reason to think the White House may have suspected or known Trump himself was infected on Monday, before the debate. […]

    The White House has been steadfastly refusing to reveal just when Trump’s last negative COVID-19 test took place. They’ve apparently undertaken no coordinated tracing efforts, despite the Rose Garden event hosting dozens of Trump’s most important allies. […]

  4. says

    Follow-up to the last link in comment one.

    One doctor commented on MSNBC, “It makes me sick to see him [Trump], in close proximity to others in that car.”

  5. says

    Nice move. Gay men overwhelm Twitter taking back #ProudBoys and it is glorious

    The Proud Boys are one of America’s brownshirt-like fascistic groups of predominantly white nationalists—see racist and sexist—finding favor with Trump and Trump supporters. Like all good hate groups based in the fundamental pathetic mythology that men, and mostly white men, are being persecuted by … society, the Proud Boys are filled with all kinds of bigotries and fears. They are homophobic and racist and misogynistic. They are xenophobic and fascistic and militaristic. Lots of fun these Proud Boys are not.

    While the Proud Boys are a dangerous group, they are also a small group, and the majority of the known universe is not made up of people with such small-minded ideas about the world. On Sunday, the LGBTQ community online decided to take back the hashtag of the #ProudBoys and use it to celebrate some of the more beautiful things in life as opposed to the childish insecurities and mismanaged frustrations of a group of sad sacks. […]

  6. blf says

    The Grauniad’s lying plague-spreading super-spreaders current live blog notes (about hair furor’s brief drive to spew smog into the air):

    Jonathan Reiner, a professor of medicine at George Washington University, said the president [sic] put his Secret Service detail “at grave risk”.

    “In the hospital when we go into close contact with a COVID patient we dress in full PPE: Gown, gloves, N95, eye protection, hat. This is the height of irresponsibility,” Reiner wrote.

    One reporter said an anonymous Secret Service source said Trump’s appearance was “so reckless, so careless, so heartless”.

    (A later update says “Reporters on Twitter are pointing out that it appears that the other people in the car, likely Secret Service detail, were wearing PPE including medical-grade masks and eye protection”, which does make the shunt any less stooopid reckless careless heartless and irresponsible.)


    The White House did not disclose that Donald Trump received a positive test result from a Covid-19 rapid test on Thursday, opting to carry on business-as-usual until the more thorough Covid-19 screening confirmed the president [sic] has Covid-19.

    The Wall Street Journal is reporting this afternoon from anonymous sources familiar with the matter that the president [sic] attempted to keep the positive test result from the rapid test mum, saying on Fox News Thursday night that he was awaiting test results when the president [sic] already knew about his positive rapid test result. Trump tweeted at 1 am that morning that he tested positive for Covid-19.

    The Journal is reporting that close members of the president’s [sic] team have been kept out of the loop about the potential spread of the virus in the White House. Trump’s campaign manager Bill Stephien did not know that Hope Hicks, a close aide to the president [sic], had tested positive until news reports came out about her case Thursday night.


  7. says

    That little motorcade parade in which Trump just engaged, waving like he was the queen when he was driven around outside of Walter Reed hospital, reminds me of the time that Trump had law enforcement clear Lafayette Square so that he could have a photo op while holding a bible.

    The people who accompanied Trump in the vehicle, (Secret Service driver and others), were in a sealed tight car with a COVID patient. The vehicle is sealed against chemical attacks, but in this case the virus attack was inside. It was Trump.

    Trump appeared to be NOT taking the coronavirus seriously. Yeah, no surprise. But, JFC!

  8. says

    Follow-up to comments 6 and 7.

    From Sam Seder:

    Is this supposed to project strength or a neurological problem?

    From Dr. James P. Phillips, MD:

    That Presidential SUV is not only bulletproof, but hermetically sealed against chemical attack. The risk of COVID19 transmission inside is as high as it gets outside of medical procedures. The irresponsibility is astounding. My thoughts are with the Secret Service forced to play.

    From Justin Wolfers:

    I get that the secret service are meant to be willing to take a bullet for the President, but what if the President’s the one spraying those bullets around?

  9. blf says

    Oops, @6: which does make the shunt… → which does not make the stunt any less stooopid reckless careless heartless and irresponsible.

  10. says

    How Alexei Navalny’s aides got crucial poisoning evidence out of Russia.

    Washington Post link

    Vladlen Los sat in a chair outside Room 239 of the Xander Hotel. It was midmorning on Aug. 20 in the Siberian city of Tomsk. The lawyer Los was determined that no one get inside the room that his colleague, Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, had left hours before.

    All that was known at that point was that Navalny was gravely ill — stricken on a plane returning to Moscow. But Los and a handful of other members of Navalny’s inner circle immediately suspected a deliberate poisoning. And they decided some clues could still be in the hotel room. They also knew they had to be first to get inside.

    So began a pivotal, high-pressure gambit with four of Navalny’s associates becoming forensic evidence hunters — recovering a hotel water bottle on which a German military laboratory later found traces of a Novichok group nerve agent. Novichok-linked poisons have been used in previous attacks that Western officials and others assert were carried out by Russia.

    The effort to gain access to Room 239, described to The Washington Post by members of Navalny’s team, has been largely overshadowed by Navalny’s slow recovery in a Berlin hospital and widespread suspicion of Russian state involvement in the attack.

    But the actions of Navalny’s colleagues at the Xander Hotel were critical in attempts to piece together what happened that morning.

    […] a clip of the video from the hotel room search was posted online and fits with the accounts.

    […] In a statement posted by Navalny last week, he accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of the attempted killing. […]

    Around 10 a.m. on Aug. 20, Los was having breakfast with two other members of Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation, part of his political network. They had stayed an extra day in Tomsk. Navalny was on the early flight to Moscow.

    Georgy Alburov, an investigator with the foundation, pulled up a flight-tracking app. He noticed Navalny’s plane was diverted to Omsk. He fired off a lighthearted message — “How’s Omsk?’ — to Navalny press secretary Kira Yarmysh, who was on the flight.

    “A couple of minutes later she replied that everything is terrible. Alexei is unconscious and he was poisoned,” Alburov said. Not long after, in a video posted on Twitter by a passenger, Navalny was heard screaming and moaning.

    […] In Tomsk, the three Navalny aides — Alburov, Los and Maria Pevchikh, the group’s head of investigations — tried to set their next move. They decided it was worth trying to gather potential evidence.

    […] they stationed Los outside room 239. They phoned former detective Anton Timofeyev, a Tomsk lawyer assisting the Navalny team. Pevchikh and Alburov approached the hotel reception.

    Pevchikh tried to reason with the young hotel administrator to let them in room. […]

    They were denied access to the CCTV footage. Proyekt, an investigative independent media site, reported that police later seized the video.

    Finally, the hotel staff agreed to let them in. At 11:45 a.m. the team donned rubber gloves and entered the room, filming everything. They were accompanied by a hotel employee who warned nothing could be taken without police permission, the Navalny team members said. […]

    “We knew exactly what we needed,” Alburov said. “We started to collect and pack all possible things we could carry with us without being charged with robbery.”

    They took the shampoo bottles, water bottles and hotel towels. Timofeyev bagged and labeled the items.

    […] “We were doing it for the minor, tiny chance that he had been poisoned within the room with something traceable.”

    They divided the items and carefully hid them in different parts of their luggage.

    Vladimir Uglev, one of Novichok’s developers, said in an interview the banned substance came in two forms: a liquid like vegetable oil and a solid that looked like salt. […]

    After the room search, Pevchikh and the team drove 165 miles to Novosibirsk, arriving around 5 p.m. to get a flight to Omsk. There was no Internet access for much of the journey through remote Siberia.

    “We were very worried about Alexei,” said Pevchikh. “It was an awful ride.”

    […] On Aug. 22, Navalny was finally allowed to fly to Berlin. Pevchikh, carrying the hotel room evidence, flew out on the same air ambulance as Navalny. She handed the items to the Berlin hospital. Evidence of a Novichok group chemical weapon was established from analysis of samples taken from Navalny.

    The water bottle recovered from the hotel room showed traces of the nerve agent on the outside, suggesting that Navalny touched the poison before he grabbed the bottle for a drink.

    “It was very useful not in identifying the actual Novichok. It was very useful for the timeline,” Pevchikh said.

    […] the evidence on the bottle was crucial because it discredited the many contradictory theories promoted by pro-Kremlin media, doctors and others that there was no poisoning, or Navalny had a metabolic illness […]

    […] Pevchikh said Russia would probably never open an investigation because it would automatically give Navalny access to all the investigation materials, including surface tests for poisoning, results of a police room check and hotel CCTV footage.

    In recent weeks authorities have stepped up harassment, freezing Navalny’s bank account and barring him from selling or mortgaging his home.

    “My task now is to remain a guy who is not afraid. And I am not afraid.” Navalny told Der Spiegel.

  11. blf says

    A snippet from The hardy few Trump fans outside Walter Reed get reward as first patient drives by:

    By then [Sunday morning], the crowd of about 50 supporters who had been at the gate on Saturday night had dispersed and there was just a determined handful who had stayed overnight. That included five Chinese exiles who were members of a new organisation called the New Federal State of China, created in June by the rightwing ideologue and former Trump adviser Steve Bannon and a New York-based Chinese businessman, Guo Wengui.

    The Chinese demonstrators held up signs saying Take Down the CCP (Chinese Communist party) and CCP Virus Kill People, while displaying a more detailed sign that accused the Chinese government of unleashing the coronavirus deliberately. They could not explain further as none of the five spoke English.

  12. says

    Dr. Faust:

    Conley said “low grade fever” before.

    Now says was “high fever.”

    He said no oxygen was given Friday.

    Today he says he did need oxygen on Friday.

    His oxygen was below 94% but higher than “low 80s”.

    Triangulating thru the lies, moderate to Severe COVID-19 is the implication.

  13. blf says

    Follow-up to @6/@10, @7, @8, and @12, A snippet from ‘This is insanity’: Walter Reed physician among critics of Trump drive-by visit:

    As recently as Friday, Secret Service agents were expressing their anger at how Trump’s perceived recklessness was placing them at risk.

    “He’s never cared about us,” one agent told a confidant, according to the Washington Post.

    The newspaper said some agents had become convinced in recent months that the president [sic] was oblivious to them being in harm’s way, citing as evidence a policy that agents on duty at Trump rallies were no longer routinely being tested when they returned home.

  14. says

    Bradley Moss: “If you were on the Secret Service detail, and you are concerned about the risk you were just unnecessarily exposed to so the COVID-infected president could wave to supporters, please reach out to me for legal guidance.”

  15. says

    Michele Dauber:

    I was treated with Dexamethasone following brain surgery. It is (as my team told me) a drug that seriously messes with your mind. It is a bad drug. I could not wait to get off it. Unfortunately you have to wean off which takes time. Trump is incapacitated.

    I couldn’t be President of my cat when I was on Dexamethasone. He should not be exercising the powers of the Office of President on that drug. We are lucky if he doesn’t start a war. He’s incapacitated.

    I think the drive by thing he just did is potentially a symptom of Dexamethasone. In addition to warning of mood changes my surgeon told me it makes you feel like I could bike up Mt. Tam or run a marathon right after brain surgery when I still had staples in my head.

    Heres’s the distinguished doctor and Chair of Psychiatry at Tufts University supporting what my neurosurgeon at a Top 3 teaching hospital (not Stanford) told me — this is a drug that can have serious side effects including mania. Trump is incapacitated.

    [Quote: “Dexamethasone can cause frank mania, or more severe depressive states. Added to the risk of COVID related neuropsychiatric symptoms/severe delirium the press ought to be asking the medical team how they are formally monitoring his mental status”]

  16. says

    Esther Choo:

    There are now several reasons to do frequent mental health assessments:
    – low oxygen levels to brain
    – COVID direct neuropsych effects
    – high dose steroids [right arrow] delirium, psychosis
    – “sundowning” common in older patients in hospital
    – side effects of other meds
    – sleep derangement

  17. says

    Jason Johnson: “Privately black journalists, academics etc. have been talking all weekend about being careful what tweets we send or like about Trump having #COVID. A level of restraint that white conservative talkers NEVER have to consider about #BLM regardless of where they work”

  18. John Morales says

    There are now several reasons to do frequent mental health assessments:

    As the old joke goes, how would one tell the difference?

  19. PaulBC says

    @22 It’s not even a joke. We are well beyond “OMG, a maniac has hacked into the president’s Twitter account!” because most days it would literally be impossible to tell.

  20. tomh says

    California’s record fire season: “Well over” 4 million acres burned
    Rebecca Falconer

    More than 8,200 wildfires have burned “well over” 4 million acres in California this year, killing 31 people and destroying 8,450-plus structures, Cal Fire confirmed Sunday…

    The amount of land charred now is bigger in size than Connecticut and more than double that which burned in 2018, when 1,975,086 acres were razed.

    The blazes have been particularly bad in California’s wine country, where the Glass Fire that started late last month has burned across 63,885 acres and was at 17% containment as of Sunday.

  21. lumipuna says

    483 on previous page:

    By overwhelming margins, voters in Pennsylvania and Florida were repelled by President Trump’s conduct in the first general election debate, according to New York Times/Siena College surveys, as Joseph R. Biden Jr. maintained a lead in the two largest battleground states.

    Over all, Mr. Biden led by seven percentage points, 49 percent to 42 percent, among likely voters in Pennsylvania. He led by a similar margin, 47-42, among likely voters in Florida.

    The surveys began Wednesday, before the early Friday announcement that President Trump had contracted the coronavirus. There was modest evidence of a shift in favor of Mr. Biden in interviews on Friday, including in Arizona where a Times/Siena survey is in progress, after controlling for the demographic and political characteristics of the respondents.

    One day of interviews is not enough to evaluate the consequences of a major political development, and it may be several days or longer before even the initial effects of Mr. Trump’s diagnosis can be ascertained by pollsters.

    Remember: In the end it may look like Covid-19 killed Trump’s re-election campaign, but honestly it shouldn’t count because the campaign had plenty of co-morbidities.


  22. blf says

    First Dog on the Moon in the Grauniad, Getting Covid is the most democratic thing Trump has ever done (cartoon) … “Imagine a malevolent 74-year-man struggling to breathe with this terrible illness like so many before (except he is getting the best medical treatment taxpayers can buy)” … “And now crawling with the disease he is riding around in a car, surrounded by workers and waving out the window to his dull-eyed crew ot well-armed well-wishers.”

    (When transcribing, I originally misspelled “malevolent” as “maleviolent”.)

  23. blf says

    Here in France, starting tomorrow, all bars will be closed (as is currently the case in Marseille and Aix-en-Provence (both fairly close to the village where I live)). Apparently, according to the Grauniad, Paris bars to close for two weeks as city moves to maximum Covid alert, the rules will be tweaked so that restaurants can, in some circumstances, stay open, “restaurants will have to put in place new sanitary protocols to stay open” (no idea what that means). These new rules will also apply to Marseille and Aix, potentially allowing some restaurants there to re-open.

    France24 adds, France places Paris on top Covid-19 alert level as virus resurges (out-of-order snippets):

    BFM television on Sunday published a poll saying that 61 percent of people living in Paris and its suburbs were in favour of a complete closure of bars […]

    Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo was to outline further specific measures Monday morning […]

    Nothing yet (that I am aware of). They™ seemed to have learned a lesson from the imposition of restrictions on Marseille, Aix, and nearby areas (including my village for a short time), when they imposed without consultation. Several mayors were very annoyed by that (Marseille’s mayor was irrate).

    Locally — I’m unsure of the precise rules but it’s something like this — restaurants and bars can stay open until 22h (10pm), social distancing &tc is mandatory, and no alcohol is to be sold for “take-away consumption” after 20h (8pm). The police are now more assertively stopping people who aren’t wearing masks (so far, in all the incidents I’ve seen, the stopped people put on masks and that was that (fines are possible (I have no idea if any have been imposed))). Apparently, there haven’t been any new cases in the schools (there were a small number in the first week or so). Mask-wearing is now extremely good, with only a small number wearing them improperly and a tiny number without any at all.

  24. says

    Kaitlan Collins, last night:

    White House staff just got an email telling them not to come to work if they have symptoms. If they develop them, they’re told to go home and contact their primary care provider. “Staff should not go to the White House Medical Unit clinic for any Covid-19 testing inquiries.”

    As NYT noted earlier, executive staff had gotten no guidance from the chief of staff since POTUS tested positive.

  25. says

    Craig Spencer:

    Questions for Trump’s medical team:

    1. When was last negative test?
    2. What labs were abnormal?
    3. Does he have COVID pneumonia?
    4. Is he on antibiotics?
    5. Mental status exam results?
    6. Fever? If not, what antipyretic is he on and how often?
    7. Did you sign off on the joyride?

  26. says


    #Belarus #Minsk Great video that shows the scale of the rally. There were several crowds of protesters who couldn’t join because security forces didn’t allow to do so.Nevertheless,at least 100,000 people came out to the streets again. They demanded political prisoners be released

    #Belarus “Sasha, drink novichok,” the protesters are chanting. I don’t know how #Lukashenko is planning to rule the people who feel so much disgust towards him. As much as he loves his power, he should be considering an alternative. The point of no return has passed.

    Videos at the link.

  27. says


    #Belarus The elderly and pensioners came out to the streets in #Minsk. They are protesting against #Lukashenko, despite the common notion and state propaganda saying they are his electorate. They say since riot police are still treating them more mildly, they should fight


    In #Minsk, #Belarus, some 200 pensioners are marching in #protest today. Previously, older voters where the core supporters for Lukashenka. With economic stagnation and poor government response to #Covid19 pandemic, not anymore:


    Belarusian elderly have organized their own march in Minsk. Here they are chanting “grandmothers against OMON” opposite of the KGB HQ.

    Videos and photos at the links. More masks this week than I’ve noticed previously.

  28. says

    Maggie Haberman: “McEnany spoke to reporters without wearing a mask yesterday.”

    I’m at a loss as to why the WHCA doesn’t set a clear line for reporters and refuse to go along with this. How are the news organizations allowing people to be endangered like this? In under four years, Trump has turned the White House into a pestilent swamp. It’s not a safe workplace.

  29. says

    Text quoted by SC in comment 28: ““Staff should not go to the White House Medical Unit clinic for any Covid-19 testing inquiries.”

    Speculation is that the testing staff in the White House medical unit has tested positive for COVID-19.

    SC @38, none of them are following the guidelines: they should be in quarantine if they have been exposed. That is the protocol to follow even if they have not yet tested positive.

    The Trump virus is ravaging the White House. Staff is not responding competently.

  30. says

    Bits and pieces of campaign news, as summarized by Steve Benen:

    * The new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll showed Joe Biden’s national lead over Donald Trump climbing to 14 points, 53% to 39%, among registered voters. This is the largest lead the former vice president has had to date in this poll.

    * On Friday, after the president announced his coronavirus infection, the Biden campaign pulled all of its negative ads from the airwaves. Nevertheless, on Friday afternoon, the Trump campaign sent out an email appeal to supporters with a subject line that read, “Lyin’ Obama.” The Republican solicitation went on to ridicule Biden for being “asleep in his basement.”

    * The latest New York Times/Siena College poll found Biden leading Trump in Pennsylvania, 49% to 42%, among likely voters. The survey was conducted after last week’s debate, but before Friday’s announcement about the president’s coronavirus diagnosis.

    * The latest New York Times/Siena College poll found Biden leading Trump in Florida, 47% to 42%, among likely voters over the same time period. […]

    * In a bit of a surprise, Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) announced this morning that he will leave elected office altogether in 2022, retiring from Congress and declining to run for governor.

    * As of this morning, the scheduled debate between Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris is still on track for Wednesday night.

    * Rather than serve out the remainder of his final term, Rep. Tom Graves’ (R-Ga.) final day as a congressman was yesterday.

    * And today is the last day to register to vote in a dozen states, including several competitive 2020 states, including Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Ohio, and Texas.


  31. says

    Oh, FFS.

    White House trusts Russia’s word on election interference

    The White House National Security Adviser insisted that Russia is “committed” to staying out of our elections, despite all of the overwhelming evidence.

    White House National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien isn’t concerned about Russian interference in U.S. elections because his counterpart in Moscow assured him there are no such plans.

    The adviser, Robert C. O’Brien, said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that he had delivered the warning during a meeting in Geneva on Friday with Nikolai Patrushev, the secretary of Russia’s Security Council. Mr. O’Brien did not disclose what else was discussed, but the meeting comes as the administration is racing a deadline to decide whether to extend the New START nuclear arms control treaty and as it faces pressure to act against Moscow after the poisoning of Aleksei Navalny, the Russian opposition leader.

    According to the CBS News transcript, O’Brien explained that he “demanded” to Patrushev that Russia not interfere in U.S. elections, adding, “The Russians have committed to” steering clear.

    […] Russia has “committed” to staying out of our elections, and that’s good enough for O’Brien?

    […] William Evanina, Trump’s director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, recently released a statement documenting the fact that Kremlin-linked operatives are already actively involved in an effort to keep [Trump] in power.

    […] FBI Director Chris Wray delivered sworn congressional testimony describing “very active efforts” by Russia to interfere in the 2020 election by trying to “denigrate” the Democratic candidate.

    […] In the private sector, meanwhile, tech giants such as Microsoft, Facebook, and Twitter have all pointed in recent weeks to Russian efforts to target U.S. elections. In fact, less than two weeks ago, Facebook announced that it had taken down a network linked to Russian disinformation, as part of a larger effort from the social-media giant to dismantle the Kremlin’s efforts.

    […]this naturally leads to questions about what, if anything, the White House is doing to protect that United States from this attack, if the president’s right-hand man on national security policy is skeptical that the ongoing attack is real.

  32. says

    All the best lawyers:

    In late July, the Trump campaign announced the formation of a Lawyers for Trump group, to be led in part by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton […]

    Right off the bat, there was no getting around the fact that the Texas Republican is currently spearheading litigation to tear down the Affordable Care Act in its entirety. In other words, the co-chair of Lawyers for Trump is the same state A.G. who’s fighting to take health security from tens of millions of American families for no reason.

    […] Paxton was also indicted a few years ago on felony securities fraud charges. It’s the sort of background that should lead a scandal-plagued president to keep his ally at arm’s length […]

    Over the weekend, Paxton became just a little more politically radioactive. The Austin American-Statesman reported Saturday:

    Top aides of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton have asked federal law enforcement authorities to investigate allegations of improper influence, abuse of office, bribery and other potential crimes against the state’s top lawyer. In a one-page letter to the state agency’s director of human resources, obtained Saturday by the American-Statesman and KVUE-TV, seven executives in the upper tiers of the office said that they are seeking the investigation into Paxton “in his official capacity as the current Attorney General of Texas.”

    The letter, written Thursday, added that each of the seven officials in the state attorney general’s office “has knowledge of facts relevant to these potential offenses and has provided statements concerning those facts to the appropriate law enforcement.” […]


  33. says

    Uh ….

    Trump campaign press director Erin Perrine bragged during a Fox News interview about Trump’s “firsthand experiences” that Biden lacks–including the fact that the Democratic candidate hasn’t been hospitalized for COVID-19.

    “[Trump] has experience as commander-in-chief. He has experience as a businessman. He has experience, now, fighting the coronavirus as an individual,” Perrine said. “Those firsthand experiences, Joe Biden, he doesn’t have those.”

  34. blf says

    Last Spanish anti-fascist survivor of Nazi concentration camp dies aged 101:

    The last survivor of 7,500 Spaniards who were sent to the Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria has died at the age of 101, just weeks after his heroic anti-fascism efforts were finally recognised by his homeland.

    Juan Romero, who was born in Córdoba in 1919, was a teenager when the Spanish civil war broke out and went on to fight for the republicans in some of the bloodiest battles of the conflict, including the Battle of the Ebro, where he was wounded.

    After crossing the border into France alongside 500,000 fellow republican exiles in 1939, Romero joined the French Foreign Legion. He was captured by the Nazis in the summer of 1940 and eventually sent to Mauthausen, where 5,200 “stateless” republican Spaniards were murdered or worked or starved to death.


    About 100,000 men, women and children died in the camp before it was liberated by US troops in May 1945. Romero survived and settled in France, where he was awarded the Légion d’honneur in 2016.

    It was not until this year that Spain acknowledged his extraordinary commitment and sacrifices. In August, the deputy prime minister, Carmen Calvo, travelled to Romero’s home in Ay, north-east France, to present him with a certificate recognising both his persecution and Spain’s outstanding debt to its anti-fascists.

    “It wasn’t very long ago that I had the immense honour of recognising Juan Romero on behalf of the Spanish government,” Calvo tweeted after learning of his death on Saturday. “I mourn his passing and hope that he rests in the peace for which he always fought.”


  35. says

    Follow-up to comments 18, 22 and 23.

    Trump seems to be going even crazier than usual while he is in Walter Reed hospital.

    […] on Monday morning: Nearly 20 unhinged tweets in all-caps.

    The spree began with Trump thanking a voter for voicing support for him on “Fox and Friends.” Then the President added “NEXT YEAR WILL BE THE BEST EVER. VOTE, VOTE, VOTE!!!!!”


    Trump’s third tweet took a somewhat calmer tone in that he didn’t use all-caps when he told Virginians that they’d “Better Vote for your favorite President, or wave goodbye to low taxes and gun rights!” […]

    And … the tweet storm went on and on, including: “STOCK MARKET HIGHS. VOTE!” and ‘BIGGEST TAX CUT EVER, AND ANOTHER ONE COMING. VOTE!” and “SPACE FORCE. VOTE!”

    Even the debunked lies were repeated: “BETTER & CHEAPER HEALTHCARE. VOTE!” and “PROTECT PREEXISTING CONDITIONS. VOTE!”

    There’s more, but you get the idea.

  36. says

    Follow-up to comment 48.

    Former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Tom Frieden tweeted that “steroids such as dexamethasone cause hyperactivity. Just saying.”

  37. johnson catman says

    re Lynna @48:

    Better Vote for your favorite President, or wave goodbye to low taxes and gun rights!

    Can I vote for Obama again this election?

  38. says

    From reader’s comments about Trump’s deranged tweet storm:

    WaPo says campaign is hopeful the deranged one will be leaving the hospital today. I’m sure the hospital would like to get rid of him, but who the hell wants him back at the WH?
    No way Trump will leave Walter Reed today. He’s far from out of the woods, and at least some of his doctors must be saying so.
    Well, the bleach treatments seem to be taking hold.
    My hope is that he stays in the woods with rake in hands doing his part to keep us safe from forest fires.
    Someone mentioned it yesterday, but prepare for operation Weekend At Bernie’s.
    The real story is in “arrived too late to be tested before the debate.” That’s the tell: they knew then. If ever there were an official excuse with the unmistakeable stink of Trumpian prevarication all over it, that one is right up there with Bone Spurs. Consider: they couldn’t POSSIBLY cancel out the first debate under the headline “Trump fails CV test!” And they couldn’t possibly drop the plan of having his entourage unmasked during the debate because mocking Biden for masking was an essential part of Trump’s schtick.

  39. says

    From Wijia Jiang:

    .@VP is heading to Utah as planned today, which could be an indication the President’s health is stable or improving. If it was worsening, Pence would likely stay in Washington in case a transfer of power became necessary.

    An excerpt from Wonkette’s response:

    LOL! Vice President Starscream knows as much about President Covid-tron’s health as we do, which is nothing reliable. All Trump and those close to him care about is remaining in power, so of course they are going to send Pence out to campaign on his behalf like a good little sycophant rather than, say, keeping him in Washington for the nation’s security when the president is gravely ill.

    The Trump crime family wouldn’t keep Pence in Washington for the very reason that it would reek of weakness. People might suspect that the president has one foot on the grave and the other on a banana peel. No one with the last name Trump cares about national security or continuity of government. All that matters is digging Trump out of his current electoral hole.

    Pence shouldn’t be traveling anyway because he was in the same room with multiple people who’ve since tested positive. If I were him, I wouldn’t show my face in public on the general principle that I’m the supposed head of the White House coronavirus task force and now almost everyone in the White House has coronavirus. […]

    Trump’s ailment isn’t ass-related, but he is an asshole. Pence should be on deck, but Trump is of course too vain and self-centered to willingly cede power. He’d have to die first. […]

    The answer to the question “Who’s in charge?” right now is less clear than “Who’s on first?” White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows was always subordinate to Jared Kushner, because Trump doesn’t even have the sense of Vito Corleone, who never let his own idiot son-in-law anywhere near the family business. This just reinforces the longstanding problem of the Trump administration’s blatant nepotism. Family members are hardly objective, and in Kushner’s case, his sole motivation is to remain in power, even if Trump is more heavily medicated than Keith Richards during the 1970s. […]

    Trump’s been mentally incapacitated while still technically alive for his entire presidency, but if he becomes more obviously useless, Pence and a majority of the Cabinet could notify Congress that the vice president should take over. That is unlikely to happen, as Trump’s installed a Cabinet of stooges loyal to him. Meanwhile, there is no clear chain of command during a pandemic that has felled the commander in chief […]

    MCENANY: As an essential worker, I have worked diligently to provide needed information to the American people at this time.

    Aside from its comma usage, everything in that sentence is wrong.

    MCENANY: With my recent positive test, I will begin the quarantine process and will continue working on behalf of the American people remotely.

    Everyone at the Barrett bash should be in quarantine right now […]

    From Mark Meadows:

    The doctors will actually have an evaluation sometime late morning and then the President in consultation with the doctors will make a decision on whether to discharge him later today. […] We are still optimistic that based on his unbelievable progress and how strong he’s been in terms of his fight against this Covid-19 disease, that he will be released, but that decision won’t be made until later today.

    Response to Meadows from Wonkette:

    Something about this description, at least the “unbelievable progress” part, feels a little Russia, a little North Korea, a little Weekend At Bernie’s. But hey! What do we know. Nothing. We still really know nothing, because of how the administration is being super cagey about everything.

  40. says

    ‘Gays Did Katrina’ Pastor Got The COVID. Who’s God Trying To Punish Now?

    John Hagee, in his long career as a windbag/wingnut pastor, has earned a reputation for claiming that basically every horrible thing that has ever happened was simply God’s way of punishing those he was mad at or rearranging the world to his liking. God made the Holocaust happen, he said, as a lovely favor to Jewish people so that they could reclaim Israel, so that the Christian Apocalypse could come on time. God did Katrina, he said, because “there was to be a homosexual parade there on the Monday that the Katrina came.”

    He has also said a bunch of terrible things about Catholic people and various other people and also one time he predicted that the world was going to end in 2015, which then did not happen for another year. He said so many terrible things about people that it was actually quite a scandal back in 2008 when he endorsed John McCain, and McCain ended up rejecting his endorsement — which now just feels ever so quaint.

    In 2017, Donald Trump shook Hagee’s hand and said that he would not disappoint him.

    Anyway, dude has COVID-19 now. […]

    Given that Pastor Hagee always has something to say about God’s reasons for hurting people, I think we are all looking forward to finding out why he thinks God gave him COVID-19. Was he going to hold a homosexual parade in his lungs? Did God feel that making him sick would be a good way to kick off Armageddon? Is John Hagee about to go full Jerry Falwell Jr. or full 1980s Jim Bakker or full whatshisface, the crying one … Jimmy Swaggart? Is there gonna be a John Hagee sex scandal? Or a financial scandal? Or both? I think it’s probably gonna be both.

    Because really, if you’re gonna go around claiming that horrible things that happen to other people happen because God wants them to happen, then you have to assume that when something bad happens to you, that too, is God’s will. What’s good for the goose is good for the 80-year-old bigot pastor.


  41. says

    Lessons have NOT been learned:

    […] Jason Miller, a top Trump campaign aide, hit the Sunday shows and continued to criticize Joe Biden’s mask-wearing, complaining that the former vice president has “too often” used masks “as a prop.” Around the same time, Trump campaign adviser Steve Cortes tried to defend the Trump family ignoring the mask-wearing rules at last week’s debate.

    Also yesterday, White House National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien responded to his boss’ health crisis by telling a national television audience yesterday, “We have to open up the country.”

    Hours later, the president — contagious after contracting a deadly virus — thought it’d be fun to briefly leave the hospital to go for a little joy ride, indifferent to the risks this might pose to those around him.

    And then, of course, there’s White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, who, despite her exposure to those who’ve been infected, spoke with reporters yesterday without a mask — less than 24 before she learned that she tested positive, too.

    Does any of this sound like a presidential team that has learned valuable lessons?

    In an online video released yesterday, Trump told the public, “I learned a lot about COVID. I learned it by really going to school. This is the real school.”

    Putting aside the fact that the president really ought to have learned “a lot about COVID” many months ago, it’s hard not to wonder whether he’s flunked his courses at “the real school.”


  42. says


    Ohio allows counties to set up multiple drop boxes for ballots … at the same location.

    After a state appeals court said Friday that Ohio’s top elections official has the discretion to limit the number of ballot drop boxes per county, Secretary of State Frank LaRose announced that he was still prohibiting counties from setting up drop boxes at sites other than their county election offices. He is, however, letting them set up multiple boxes on their office grounds.

    […] he is arbitrarily limiting the use of drop boxes.

    […] The fight over Ohio’s ballot drop box use began this summer, after LaRose announced in August that local election officials were prohibited from setting up drop boxes at locations other than the one at their county board offices.

    At the time, LaRose said that as a matter of policy, he had no issue with the idea of drop boxes, but that he believed state law constrained him from letting county boards expand their use.

    The posture quickly got LaRose sued in state and federal court. The state Democratic Party had success in its state court case when a judge blocked LaRose’s August directive limiting drop box use. A state appeals court however scaled that victory back in its ruling Friday that left it up to LaRose to decide how widely drop boxes could be used, while making clear he was free to loosen those restrictions.

    In the federal litigation, the judge was holding off on weighing in on the merits of LaRose’s August directive while the state case could unfold. But he did order LaRose to work with Cuyahoga County — home to Cleveland — on a solution that addresses its particularly cramped and inaccessible county drop box location.

  43. blf says

    Brenden Dilley Says Trump Has God-Tier Genetics and Will Add Beating COVID to His List of Legendary Feats:

    [… lots of seriously deluded blattering…]
    Part of what makes President Trump special is that we finally have somebody we can build legend around and you need that in culture, he [“MAGA life coach, Trump-cultist, and proudly amoral right-wing broadcaster Brenden Dilley”] continued. So far, President Trump has dispatched the Russians. He’s dispatched China. He’s dispatched North Korea. He’s dealt with the Iranians. He whacked ISIS. He destroyed the deep state. He destroyed Obama. He destroyed Clinton. All these people tried to fight him; he beat all of them so far. He beat Mueller. He beat the FBI. He beat the CIA. Do I need to keep going? He’s gonna add coronavirus to the list of legendary feats.

    And for an encore he’ll pay 750$ in federal taxes whilst using a sharpie pen to instruct hurricanes where to go. And that’s before the breakfast of champions, twittering covfefe. Day’s work done, time to relax by scoring 20 consecutive holes-in-one in a single 18-hole golf game.

  44. says

    Oh, FFS.

    “I am the president of the United States. I can’t lock myself in a room. … I had to confront [the virus] so the American people stopped being afraid of it so we could deal with it responsibly.

    “We have made tremendous progress on treating this disease. Fatality rates are very low compared to [the beginning].


    Trump phoned Rudy Giuliani from his hospital bed Saturday afternoon to declare he feels so healthy, “I could get out of here right now.”

    [Giuliani] said his friend of 30 years sounded hale and hearty during the 2:30 p.m. conversation. “If you can judge by the way he speaks, he sounded like vintage Donald Trump,” Giuliani said.

    The president dictated a statement to Giuliani:

    “You go tell people I’m watching this coverage [reporting he’s taken a turn for the worse].

    “I feel I could get out of here right now. But they’re telling me there can always be a backstep with this disease. But I feel I could go out and do a rally. […]

    “I’m going to beat this.

    “Then I will be able to show people we can deal with this disease responsibly, but we shouldn’t be afraid of it.

    “If I had handled it any other way, I would have created more panic, more fear in the American people.

    “We are making great progress on dealing with this disease and making better progress with the economy than anyone had the right to expect.”

    New York Post link

    Propaganda extravaganza.

  45. lumipuna says

    This Finnish story discusses Trump’s health based on expert analysis, and on what little info has been made public. I wanted to translate some of the more amusing reader comments:

    “Getting flashbacks to the USSR and [the late Finnish strongman president Urho Kekkonen who clung to office around 1980 despite being severely ill]”

    “Trump has proven dangerous to all living organisms down to plants, but most of all he’s now dangerous to his own supporters, family and himself”

    “I should be feeling some compassion, but it takes hard work”

    “Based on the number of tweets, the president is either healthy or in drug delirium”

    [In case this illness were fake and a campaign stunt] “A weird stunt to make oneself look weak and all ones actions in pandemic look harmful. OTOH, the judgement ability of American voter is certainly questionable at the base level”

    “Paging for tea and sympathy”

    “This not be a representative example of typical US patient access to healthcare”

    “I hope they hid the nuclear football for a while”

  46. tomh says

    Polls show no signs of a sympathy bounce, and find most Americans don’t think Trump took the virus seriously.

    The Trump campaign is hoping the nation will rally around the ailing president as he battles the coronavirus. But the first polls conducted since the president’s announcement of his diagnosis early Friday did not seem to show a sympathy bounce.

    Polls by Ipsos/Reuters and YouGov/Yahoo conducted on Friday and Saturday found that most Americans feel the president hadn’t been taking the coronavirus seriously, in terms of policy or personal conduct, and that he could have avoided getting sick…

    The poll found that nearly two-thirds of Americans, including half of Republicans, think Mr. Trump could have avoided the virus if he had taken it more seriously…

    The polls are behind the news, and they will be for a while, but what we’ve seen so far is pretty consistent with what we have been seeing for a while: Mr. Biden is ahead, and the president needs to make up ground.
    — Nate Cohn

  47. says

    Trump tweeted: “I will be leaving the great Walter Reed Medical Center today at 6:30 P.M. Feeling really good! Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life. We have developed, under the Trump Administration, some really great drugs & knowledge. I feel better than I did 20 years ago!”

    He’s an absolute horror.

  48. says

    NEWS: @NYMag has confirmed that Pastor Greg Laurie of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, California has tested POSITIVE for COVID-19. Pastor Laurie was at the Prayer March on the Mall with Mike Pence and Franklin Graham and the ACB Rose Garden event later that day.

    The Prayer March on the National Mall that preceded the ACB Rose Garden event was attended by THOUSANDS, few of them wearing masks. Laurie, who is now positive, then went to the White House.

    When and where was he infected? How many others from the Prayer March are sick too?”

  49. blf says

    ‘The Onion’ Investigates Who In The White House Has Potentially Been Exposed To Coronavirus (minor tweaks to the formatting (unmarked)):

    ● Donald Trump Jr: His propensity to be spit on by his father places him at increased risk of transmission.
    ● Stephen Miller: Exposure unlikely since the entire White House staff has maintained at least six feet of distance from him since Trump’s inauguration.
    ● Kimberly Guilfoyle: High likelihood she contracted the virus after stripping nude and forcing Jared Kushner to massage her feet.
    ● Jared Kushner: Trump’s loyal advisor has fallen in line by licking all the Oval Office surfaces in an attempt to contract the virus.
    ● Mark Meadows: Trump’s chief of staff has approximately 0% chance of contracting the virus as it does not exist and poses no threat to the American people.

  50. says

    Chelsea Clinton: “Continuing to hold the Presidential Protection Division and Uniformed Division Secret Service in my heart and prayers along with the White House butlers, housekeepers, ushers, chefs, electricians, florists, curators and everyone Trump and his staff blithely exposed to #covid19.”

  51. says

    I still can’t get over the pictures from the indoor Amy Coney Barrett event showing an unmasked Maureen Scalia chatting with others. I have to assume she’s been tested, but they endangered the widow of Justice Scalia.

  52. blf says

    Leader of non-profit labeled ‘hate group’ attended White House Amy Coney Barrett event:

    The head of a conservative Christian non-profit organization that has been designated an anti-LGBTQ+ hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) attended the White House event announcing Donald Trump’s nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett for the supreme court.


    Michael Farris, who is CEO and general counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), is seen in videos speaking closely with the Republican senator Mike Lee […]. Farris also spoke with the Louisiana Republican congressman Mike Johnson, the head of the conservative Republican [bible?] study committee who, before his election to Congress, was senior attorney and spokesman for ADF.


    Barrett’s historical ties to the group were already known. In 2017, during a confirmation hearing for her federal court position, senators questioned Barrett about her paid position as a speaker at a training program for Christian law school students, called the Blackstone Legal Fellowship, which is run by ADF. She was paid five times by the group, starting in 2011.


    At the time, ADF was co-counsel on a supreme court lawsuit alongside WilmerHale, a respected law firm.

    They wouldn’t be co-counsel with ADF if it were a hate group. I assure you they wouldn’t be co-counsel with the KKK, Barrett said.


    The SPLC says ADF was “founded by some 30 leaders of the Christian right” and is a “legal advocacy and training group that has supported the recriminalization of sexual acts between consenting LGBTQ adults in the US and criminalization abroad; has defended state-sanctioned sterilization of trans people abroad; and claims that a homosexual agenda will destroy Christianity and society”.


    ADF reportedly received more than $55m in contributions in 2018 and claims to have more than 3,400 affiliated attorneys and judges worldwide, the Guardian has previously reported. It has brought some of the most consequential cases of the last decade on contraceptive and gay rights before the supreme court, including the case of a baker in Colorado who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.

    When Barrett was confirmed to the seventh circuit appeals court in 2017, 27 LGBTQ+ groups opposed her based on past comments and her affiliation with ADF, which they called “arguably the most extreme anti-LGBT legal organization in the United States”.

  53. says

    Jennifer Jacobs:

    “No,” Dr. Conley told me when I asked if Trump has any neurological symptoms, brain fogginess, side effects of medications.

    “I think you have seen the videos. And now tweets. And you will see him shortly. You know, he’s back.”

  54. blf says

    “Waiter, there’s a radio in my egg!” Decoy turtle eggs put in nests to track illegal trade in Costa Rica:

    Quarter of fakes were stolen with some eggs tracked from thief to trafficker to consumer

    Decoy eggs made by a 3D-printer and fitted with satellite tags have been placed in sea turtle nests on beaches in Costa Rica to track the illegal trade of their eggs.

    A quarter of the fake eggs put among 101 turtle nests on four beaches in Costa Rica were stolen, with some eggs successfully tracked as they moved from thief to trafficker to consumer.

    The egg decoy, dubbed the InvestEggator, was developed by the conservation organisation Paso Pacifico to track the illegal raiding of eggs from nests buried in the sand for trafficking and sale to restaurants, bars and individuals as a delicacy.

    Researchers found that the decoys did not damage incubating embryos and could successfully track the illegal trade of green and olive ridley turtles eggs and identify trafficking routes, according to a study published in Current Biology.

    The early evidence suggests that the eggs do not travel far from the beaches where they are snatched. One of the fake eggs was taken close to a nearby residential property, another travelled 2km to a bar, while the farthest-travelled went 137km inland, spending two days in transit.

    In one case, the discovery of the transmitter-egg led to useful intelligence. Eleven days after the decoy stopped responding in Cariari, a town 43km from the beach, the researchers received photographs, sent from Cariari, of the dissected egg. They also received evidence about where the egg was purchased and how many had been exchanged — useful intelligence for the local authorities seeking to protect the eggs.

    [… Lead author of the study from the the University of Kent, Helen Pheasey explained] it is less important to find the people who take the eggs from the beach than identify those who are trafficking and selling the eggs, often door to door, and identifying handover locations. “As trafficking is a more serious crime, those handover points are far more valuable from a law enforcement perspective than catching someone taking a nest,” she said.

    [… InvestEggator designer Kim Williams-Guillén] said to eradicate the turtle egg trade it must be part of “a multi-pronged conservation approach that uses education, building better economic opportunities, and enforcement to help fight sea turtle egg-poaching”.

  55. says

    From text quoted by SC in comment 60:

    Trump tweeted: “I will be leaving the great Walter Reed Medical Center today at 6:30 P.M. Feeling really good! Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life. We have developed, under the Trump Administration, some really great drugs & knowledge. I feel better than I did 20 years ago!”

    Sounds like drug delirium to me. Even it is just Trump being Trump, this is exactly the wrong thing to say. He is actively encouraging more people to ignore COVID in ways that will put more people in hospitals, and that will result in more people dying.

    It’s so frustrating. In my community there is not even 50% compliance with mask-wearing guidelines. Trump just guaranteed that the situation will worsen.

  56. tomh says

    Doctor says ‘there’s a chance’ Trump will be contagious for more than 10 days

    At Monday’s briefing, Conley declined to say when Trump is likely to stop being contagious, although he said it’s possible the president may be able to infect others for more than 10 days…

    Asked how it will be possible to keep Trump safely quarantined at the White House, Conley declined to say.

    “I wish I could go into that more, but I just can’t,” he told reporters.

  57. says

    Despite his hospitalization, Trump recklessly downplays COVID threat

    “Don’t be afraid of Covid” might be the single most dangerous thing Trump has ever tweeted.

    “I will be leaving the great Walter Reed Medical Center today at 6:30 P.M. Feeling really good! Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life. We have developed, under the Trump Administration, some really great drugs [and] knowledge. I feel better than I did 20 years ago!”

    To be sure, the competition is fierce, but this might be the single most dangerous thing Trump has ever tweeted.

    The president wants the people of his own country not to “be afraid” of a deadly virus that’s already claimed the lives of nearly 210,000 Americans?

    There’s a significant percentage of the population that, for whatever reasons, is under the impression that Trump knows what he’s talking about. These people are now being told that if they get infected, they’ll be treated with “really great drugs [and] knowledge,” and ultimately feel the best they’ve felt in 20 years.

    […] Those weighing whether or not to be “afraid” of the coronavirus should probably consider this checklist:

    Do you have a team of highly trained medical professionals standing by, in your home, 24 hours a day, ready to respond to all of your health care needs, for free?

    Do you have a helicopter standing by, ready to whisk you away to a world-class medical facility at the first sign of symptoms, also for free?

    Do you have immediate access to experimental medicines and treatments, each of which will be administered to you for free?

    I don’t even have access to a COVID-19 test.

    Will you receive treatment from a luxury, multi-room hospital suite, staffed by world-class medical professionals, who will tend to your every need, 24 hours a day, for free?

    If you answered “no” to any of these questions, it seems remaining “afraid of” the deadly virus is the responsible way to go.

  58. says

    Esther Choo:

    So “abundance of caution” has been replaced with “throw caution to the wind, and put up your middle finger while you’re at it”

    Sometimes in medicine we go with a reckless plan, just to mess with our medical licenses and our parents’ dreams for us

    I just discovered it’s helpful to think of the WH medical team as more of a Greek chorus bearing witness to the unfolding drama

  59. says

    How Sick Is Trump? White House And Doctors Misdirect, Evade And Sow Confusion

    Conley citing HIPAA several times in refusing to disclose information about Trump’s medical condition makes one thing very clear:

    Trump is actively withholding information about his health from the American people.

    (And even some Trump advisers think that’s a mistake) [from Jeremy Diamond]

    I deal with HIPAA a lot reporting on medical bills.

    The long and short of it is that, a patient can waive HIPAA protections to allow their provider to speak openly to the media about their medical care.

    If Trump wanted more on his condition shared, HIPAA doesn’t preclude that. [from Sarah Cliff]

    HIPAA’s privacy protections apply to doctors, hospitals and insurers, not media or even employers.

    Also, as a professor noted to me today, spelling it “HIPPA” gets you an automatic failing grade in his class. [from Aaron Blake]

    Dr. Conley enthusiastically discusses specific details of Trump’s personal health information when it shines a positive light on the president’s condition.

    Asked about information that could undercut that “upbeat” picture, he dodges and cites HIPAA. [from Toluse Olorunnipa]

    That’s not how HIPAA works.

    I should know…I wrote it. [Representative Donna E. Shalala]

    Here are questions that White House physician Dr. Sean Conley dodged during his third evasive briefing regarding Trump’s health condition:

    When Trump’s last negative test was
    What Trump’s lung scans looked like
    What Trump’s viral load was
    Whether Trump will be confined to the White House residence
    Why the President wasn’t treated with the Trump-touted hydroxychloroquine
    Whether he agrees with Trump’s claim that the public shouldn’t be afraid of COVID-19

  60. says

    […] Most notably, Conley refused once again to disclose when Trump last tested negative for the virus, which would allow those exposed to Trump in the days before his hospitalization to know whether he was infectious when he met with them. Conley and the White House are steadfastly refusing to disclose whether Trump was known to be infected on Tuesday when he debated Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, speaking loudly in an enclosed space in front of Biden and the assembled crowd—one of the precise situations known to most easily transmit the airborne virus.

    That seems an unforgivable game to play, whether from a doctor or not. But it’s becoming more and more evident that that’s likely what’s going on here.

    Conley also refused to discuss Trump’s lung condition, only willing to acknowledge that tests were done. From this we can presume Trump indeed has the pneumonia seen in serious COVID-19 cases, and that there remains the possibility of permanent lung damage. (Conley and the assembled doctors were quick to disclose test results favorable to Trump, so we can easily infer which test results were not favorable.) Conley also refused to discuss Trump’s continued use of the powerful and mood-altering steroid dexamethasone. At one point, Conley weirdly refused to answer a question, citing HIPPA, “for his own safety and health and reasons.” What does that even mean?

    While Trump himself claims, while on a mood-altering substance, to feel better then he did “20 years ago,” we know from the hundreds of thousands of worldwide COVID-19 deaths that the disease can be unpredictable, escalating rapidly even after patients believe they are recovering. Conley assured the press that the White House medical team would be watching Trump’s condition closely, and acknowledged that (according to the White House timeline) Trump was not yet through the 7 to 10 day period when symptoms could become the most dire.

    It all seems as bizarre and baffling as everything else during Team Trump’s tenure. We can’t tell if they’re lying about intentionally exposing people to a deadly disease. We can’t tell if they’re confident Trump’s own illness is under control, or if Trump’s raging narcissism is overriding doctors’ advice, or if Conley pressured Walter Reed doctors to pump Trump full of multiple experimental treatments in a throw-everything-and-see-what-sticks approach. The condition of the current president of the United States remains a mystery.

    We do know Trump might have a sudden relapse, and that the White House will have to be prepared for that possibility. And we know that the White House is absolutely insisting on hiding when Trump was last known not to be infected. Maybe that’s because the White House has been too incompetent to conduct daily testing, but it seems just as likely that Trump knew or suspected he was infected on Tuesday, before the debate, but could not tolerate the “optics” of not showing up. […]


  61. tomh says

    GOP Lawmakers Call for Texas Attorney General to Resign After Bribery Claims
    October 5, 2020 DAVID LEE

    AUSTIN, Texas (CN) — Calls for the resignation of embattled Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton grew Monday from fellow Republicans after seven senior staffers reported him to federal officials for alleged bribery and abuse of office tied to the investigation of a campaign donor’s enemies.

    GOP Congressman Chip Roy, whose district includes Austin, tweeted Monday morning Paxton must resign “for the good of the people of Texas and the extraordinary public servants” in the attorney general’s office…

    Roy said the allegations made by Paxton’s senior staff “are more than troubling on the merits” and that the work of the attorney general’s office “is too critical to the state and her people to leave in chaos and to risk the work of over 700 lawyers managing almost 30,000 legal cases” at any one time.

    Paxton flatly refused to resign Monday afternoon, admitting the allegations surround his involvement in a case referred to him by Travis County officials regarding campaign donor and Austin real estate investor Nate Paul. Paxton said Sunday the case involved “allegations of crimes relating to the FBI, other government agencies” and unidentified individuals.

    “Because employees from my office impeded the investigation and because I knew Nate Paul, I ultimately decided to hire an outside independent prosecutor to make his own independent determination,” Paxton said in a statement. “Despite the effort by rogue employees and their false allegations, the AG’s office will continue to seek justice in Texas.”

    …Paxton’s staff intervened when that special prosecutor, Houston attorney Brandon Cammack, had a Travis County grand jury last week issue subpoenas targeting Paul’s enemies. Deputy Attorney General J. Mark Penley, one of the seven senior staffers, filed a motion to quash the subpoenas on Oct. 2, which was granted within hours.

    “He is not properly authorized to act as a special prosecutor, and … has no authority to appear before the grand jury or issue grand jury subpoenas,” Penley’s motion to quash stated…

  62. says

    First thing Trump did after his return to the White House from Walter Reed hospital … he took off his mask!

    Trump is still contagious. He took off his mask and proceeded to endanger all of the White House staff greeting him.

  63. says

    After taking off his mask, posing on the balcony, saluting Marine One as it took off, Trump then apparently finished a video. A short video was shot, and then Trump disappeared inside.

  64. says

    Don’t know if this was reported yet in this thread: two members of Kayleigh McEnany’s staff also tested positive.

    According to one report, McEnany’s office (communications) was almost empty today. No one came to work.

    Joy Reid called his posing on the balcony without a mask a “Mussolini moment.”

    Trump had his orange makeup on, and his hair was in Hair Furor mode.

  65. says

    The president of the USA is spreading the virus while he stands around looking like Mussolini.

    He is spreading the Trump virus.

    Looks to me like the White House should be closed and fumigated.

  66. says

    In attempt to hide COVID-19 spread, Trump team won’t be doing contact tracing of Rose Garden guests

    Well, it’s what we expected. The New York Times reports that the Trump team “has decided not to trace the contacts of guests and staff members” at the superspreading White House Rose Garden celebration for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, the apparent source of infection for at least three Republican senators and numerous other people.

    The Trump White House is going to dodge the question of how many people were infected by the Rose Garden event in the most obvious and criminal way: They’ve “decided” not to find out. They’ve also refused to give the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention authority to do that contact tracing themselves, despite the agency having scrambled a team to do just that.

    There’s little doubt as to what’s going on here. The White House flagrantly ignored pandemic safety measures for their grave-dancing event, and it resulted in a new coronavirus outbreak that has now touched the House, Senate, White House, and allied conservative luminaries. Now they don’t want federal officials to look too closely—or at all—at how the infections took place or what the ongoing spread might look like, because it would highlight their near-criminal irresponsibility, their incompetence, and the nontrivial possibility that Trump himself spread the virus at the event. […]

  67. says

    SC @94, right. But Trump is worse than Typhoid Mary. Typhoid Mary didn’t know she was infected. Trump knows he is infected. Trump knows he is shedding virus.

  68. says

    From Josh Marshall:

    Listening to all the little clues and nuggets of evidence and the adamant refusal to disclose the date of the President’s last negative COVID test, I think the piece of kryptonite at the center of this clown show is this: the President went into Tuesday night’s debate without getting tested. Perhaps he hadn’t been tested in some time.

    Many of the gaps and disconnects point toward a scenario in which the White House was relying mostly on testing those who came in contact with the President as a proxy for testing the President himself. Obviously tests and incubation periods are far too fallible for that to make any sense. But I’m pretty sure that at least to some extent that’s what they were doing. Just how much is pretty key right now.

    If this isn’t the case, if the President was getting tested every day, then certainly there should be a negative test from Wednesday, Tuesday, Monday and every day going backward. The refusal to disclose this piece of information makes it all but certain that the answer is bad. And the red line of badness is whether he was tested prior to the debate.

    If the President was tested and tested negative Tuesday afternoon and then started feeling under the weather Wednesday or Thursday and got tested Thursday evening how can it possibly be that the White House wouldn’t be saying that?

    Was he even tested before the Barrett announcement event no Saturday? If we’re assuming he wasn’t being tested daily or almost every day it’s not clear why that’s any more likely than for debate day. Remember that Trump traveled on Thursday and Friday before the event with RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel. She was likely infectious when they traveled together. She was with Trump, likely Hope Hicks and perhaps others on those two days.

    All this leads to a scenario in which if the President gets infected things move very fast because he seems never to wear a mask. Again, when was the last negative test? They won’t say.

  69. says

    Follow-up to comment 97.

    The overview, shot from further away, looked worse, especially toward the end. You could see the many people in the White House, (all of whom were wearing masks), that Trump walked up to, the small crowd of people he walked through.

  70. says

    The president cares about his image. That’s pretty much it.

    Washington Post link

    […] Trump’s response to his covid-19 diagnosis has reeked of disregard for human life. But he has given his image loving, obsessive attention.

    On Sunday, the highly contagious commander in chief demanded that Secret Service agents risk their own health to feed his hunger for adulation. He climbed into the back of an SUV so he could ride by the crowd of supporters that had assembled outside Walter Reed. Agents are well prepared to face the dangers inherent in protecting the president. But requiring agents to seal themselves inside a vehicle along with the president’s personal viral load simply because he needed an ego boost should not be part of their job description. […]

    But Trump would not be denied. Yet the man who fancies himself the ultimate showman has proved to be terrible at choreographing these bids for attention. His law-and-order posturing in front of St. John’s Church this summer had him looking like a confused would-be strongman manhandling a Bible. And over the weekend, as Trump waved to his devoted followers from behind the tinted windows of the black Chevy Suburban, he looked like the caged ringmaster in a circus of his own creation.

    He did not look tough; he looked trapped.
    He looked desperate. He looked pathetic. He looked weak — not because he was ill or because he was finally wearing a mask but because instead of doing the hard work of accepting his own vulnerabilities in the face of sickness, he’d propped himself up on the strength and professionalism of Secret Service agents. Instead of focusing on the humbling task of getting better, he was consumed by the desire to simply look good. […]

  71. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    MSNBC is airing a “town hall” meeting with Biden from Miami. I think he’s making his case. Hopefully it will be available somewhere….

  72. says

    CNN – “‘It’s recklessness out here’: White House reporters are furious with the White House for having ‘endangered’ their lives”:

    Reporters covering the White House are furious with top administration officials who they believe have, in grossly mishandling the West Wing coronavirus outbreak, recklessly endangered their lives, according to interviews Monday with nine journalists who cover the White House. Several of these journalists said they do not feel safe at the White House and are actively avoiding the grounds unless absolutely necessary.

    “People are angry,” one White House reporter, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity to candidly express his views, told CNN Business. “It’s recklessness out here.”

    Reporters have long voiced concerns about the cavalier attitude the White House has taken throughout the pandemic, flouting basic health guidelines as the coronavirus surged through the United States, claiming more than 200,000 lives. Trump has continued, for instance, to hold large indoor rallies during the pandemic and top officials have refused to wear masks.

    But over the past week, the exasperation has hit a crescendo. Even after President Donald Trump and several of his top aides tested positive for the virus, the White House still declined to adopt many of the rudimentary health guidelines it recommends to the public.

    Kayleigh McEnany, the White House press secretary who announced Monday that she had tested positive for the coronavirus, spoke to reporters without a mask just the day before. Alyssa Farah, the White House communications director, also spoke on Sunday to reporters without wearing a mask. And last week, Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, spoke with reporters without a mask.

    “It’s not just frustrating, it’s infuriating,” said one White House reporter. “As White House reporters we put our health at risk every day. We have families of our own. We expect people working at the same facility as us to take the same measures. But they don’t and because of this recklessness we are more worried than ever about our health.”

    “It’s a scary situation,” said another reporter.

    “It’s not a safe place to work and hasn’t been in a long time,” said a third reporter. “They don’t wear masks. They clearly haven’t cared as much as they should have for seven months — large meetings, large rallies, large everything. No masks on planes. Inconsistent testing. Every life reliant on a rapid testing system that doesn’t really work. And they have mocked and attacked us for pointing that out repeatedly.”

    After McEnany tested positive, the White House Correspondents Association issued a statement wishing her well and encouraging its members to “continue following CDC guidance on mask-wearing and distancing.”

    Several reporters who spoke to CNN Business were not satisfied with the statement and said it was not strong enough. These reporters pointed out the behavior of top officials has posed a safety risk to them and hoped the White House Correspondents Association would take a more aggressive stance toward the White House like it had in previous statements.

    “It was bad,” one White House reporter bluntly stated.

    “It could have been stronger and it should have been stronger,” said another.

    Zeke Miller, the White House Correspondents Association president, declined to comment Monday evening.

    Most reporters, however, are now trying to avoid the White House at all costs and only a skeleton crew of journalists have been on-site in recent days.

    “Frankly, it’s not a safe place to be,” said one White House reporter.

    “I don’t want to go anywhere near there right now,” echoed another.

    “I felt safer reporting in North Korea than I currently do at the White House,” tweeted another reporter, Ben Tracy of CBS News. “This is just crazy.”…

  73. tomh says

    Eric Trump deposed in New York probe into family business

    President Trump’s son Eric Trump was questioned under oath Monday as part of New York’s investigation into the Trump Organization’s financial dealings, Bloomberg first reported and Axios can confirm.

    The deposition comes less than a month out from Election Day, after a judge denied Eric Trump’s motion to have it delayed until after Nov. 3. The 36-year-old Trump Organization executive vice president had argued he did not want the questioning to be used “for political purposes,” per the New York Times…

    The investigation is focused on whether the Trump Organization inflated the values of four properties “to obtain favorable terms for loans and insurance coverage, while also deflating the value of other assets to reduce real estate taxes,” according to a previous statement from the office…

  74. says

    Guardian – “Kyrgyzstan election result declared invalid after mass protests”:

    The central election commission of Kyrgyzstan has declared the results of the weekend’s parliamentary election invalid after mass protests erupted in the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek, and other cities.

    Opposition supporters had seized government buildings overnight, freed the ex-president from jail and demanded a new election. Hundreds of people were hurt and one person died.

    The decision was made in order to “avoid tension” in the country, the head of the commission, Nurzhan Shaildabekova, told the Interfax news agency.

    Before the commission’s declaration, the president, Sooronbai Jeenbekov, had accused “certain political forces” of trying to “illegally seize power” in the country and urged the opposition to get people off the streets.

    Mass protests in Bishkek and other cities in the country in central Asia broke out after the authorities announced early results of Sunday’s parliamentary election. They attributed the majority of votes to two parties with ties to the ruling elites, amid reports of vote-buying and other violations.

    Supporters of a dozen opposition parties took to the streets on Monday, demanding the cancellation of the vote and a new election.

    Members of several opposition parties announced plans to oust Jeenbekov and create a new government.

    “We intend to seek the dismissal of Sooronbai Jeenbekov from his post,” Maksat Mamytkanov, a member of the Chon Kazat party, told Interfax on Tuesday, adding that opposition parties also insisted on adopting a new constitution.

    Zhanar Akayev of the Ata Meken opposition party was quoted by the Kyrgyz service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty as saying that “a new prime minister and the people’s government need to be appointed”, and then “a popular election” held.

    Jeenbekov on Tuesday urged leaders of opposition parties to “calm their supporters down and take them away” from the streets.

    “I proposed to the central election commission to thoroughly investigate the violations (reported during the parliamentary election) and, if needed, cancel the results of the vote,” the Kyrgyz president said in a statement.

    “I call on all (political) forces to put the fate of the country above their political ambitions and return to (acting) within the law,” Jeenbekov said.

  75. says

    TPM – “WH Blocking COVID Emergency Vaccine Guidelines That Would Prevent Release Before Election Day”:

    The White House is reportedly blocking the Food and Drug Administration’s guidelines on an emergency approval of a COVID-19 vaccine in yet another seemingly politically motivated intervention in the FDA’s vaccine authorization process.

    According to the New York Times, White House officials are doing so on the grounds that the guidelines would prevent the vaccine from being approved before Election Day on November 3.

    The FDA is reportedly keeping its fingers crossed that an outside advisory committee will bypass the White House’s meddling and enforce the guidelines anyway.

    The White House’s latest intervention in the vaccine approval process comes as President Donald Trump openly pushes for a speedy vaccine authorization to boost his reelection prospects, despite health experts’ health and safety concerns.

  76. says

    From last night:

    BREAKING Federal judge extends Arizona voter registration beyond deadline of midnight tonight to 5 pm Oct. 23. Voting rights advocates Mi Familia Vota argued pandemic prevented them from registering voters. @RNC & @dougducey opposed.

    RULING Here’s the ruling by Federal Judge Steven Logan, an Obama appointee who served as a federal prosecutor & immigration judge in Arizona….

    NEXT Expect appeal to 9th Circuit or Scotus aiming for ruling before 10/23. Q: Would registrations between now & then be tossed if high court overturned ruling? Also note that Secretary of State Katie Hobbs opposed extension.

  77. stroppy says

    I missed most of Biden’s town hall. What struck me from what I saw, after four years of Trump, was Biden’s ability to speak at length while making his points in well organized paragraphs. Even in long digressions he could snap back on topic without losing his place. Nothing unexpected in normal times, but it’s just another reminder that Trump is a mean, degenerate, dribbling lowlife who failed upward into the most powerful position on the planet where he stands as our great beacon of worthlessness for all the world to see and marvel at.

  78. says

    From the Guardian world liveblog:

    Iran has announced more than 4,000 new cases of Covid-19 infection, the most in a single day for the Middle East country hardest hit by the pandemic.

    “The number of infected persons… is 4,151” in the past 24 hours, during which “we unfortunately lost 227 of our dear compatriots”, said health ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari.

    The grim tally was announced a day after Iran reported 235 fatalities from the virus, a figure equal to the record high death toll set on 28 July.

    According to Iran’s official figures, the pandemic has claimed 27,419 lives out of a total 479,825 cases of infection in the Islamic republic.

    The situation in Tehran has worsened, with provincial authorities indicating it will be compulsory to wear masks in all public places in the capital from Saturday in a bid to halt the spread.

  79. tomh says

    Supreme Court Reinstates South Carolina’s Ballot Witness Requirement
    October 5, 2020 DAVID LEE

    WASHINGTON (CN) — The U.S. Supreme Court Monday night reinstated a Republican-backed witness signature requirement for absentee ballots in South Carolina, rejecting Democrats’ complaints of voter suppression during the Covid-19 pandemic.

    The high court granted South Carolina Republicans’ application for stay in part. Due to the Nov. 3 election being less than one month away, the Supreme Court exempted absentee ballots that have already been mailed and received by Wednesday, Oct. 7…

    Thomas, Alito and Gorsuch stated they would have granted the application in full, with no exceptions made for the thousands of absentee ballots already mailed…

    Approximately a dozen other states have similar witness signature or notary requirements for mail-in ballots.

  80. tomh says

    Poll shows Biden with 12-point lead in Pennsylvania
    Alexi McCammond

    Joe Biden now has a 12-point lead over President Trump in Pennsylvania, according to a Monmouth University poll out Tuesday, which also found that a majority of voters in the battleground state think Biden better understands their daily concerns.

    It’s more bad news for Trump, whose re-election efforts have hinged on winning Pennsylvania and its 20 electoral votes. Biden’s current lead is a significant improvement from his 4-point lead in last month’s Monmouth poll…

    There was little movement before and after Trump’s announcement that he tested positive for COVID-19, the poll found. Voters still trust Biden more when it comes to handling the pandemic and health care…

    A decisive Biden win in Pennsylvania would likely help Democrats avoid major post-election litigation, Axios’ Stef Kight writes:

    Pennsylvania is already at the center of election-related legal battles since it could decide the election and has had very little experience with mass vote-by-mail. (Just 4% of ballots were cast by mail in 2018.)

    In order for there to be meaningful lawsuits over ballot counts after the election, there either has to be a massive election failure (like a cyber attack) or it has to be a razor-thin election — within a few thousand ballots, elections experts say.

    There’s less incentive for suing over whether or not to count certain ballots if it won’t change the outcome.

  81. says

    Guardian world liveblog:

    Frustration over a punishing second lockdown in Israel has been inflamed by national resentment directed at sections of the ultra-Orthodox community, who have refused to halt mass religious events and clashed with police attempting to disperse them.

    While most of the country remained locked up at home in the hopes of curbing a raging infection rate that threatens to spiral out of control, thousands of men gathered shoulder-to-shoulder this week at a funeral for Rabbi Mordechai Leifer, 64, who died of Covid-19 complications.

    Public television showed footage of a sea of black and fur hats worn by ultra-Orthodox men in the coastal city of Ashdod on Monday, with a small unit of police squeezed in the middle, fruitlessly attempting to control the crowd.

    “The images we are seeing are a spit in the face of the entire country,” wrote the staunchly secular, far-right politician, Avigdor Liberman, on Facebook.

    The pandemic has blown open deeply entrenched grievances between secular and religious Israel that have festered for decades.

    Under deals made around the time of the state’s founding, many ultra-Orthodox Israelis avoid military service and live off government stipends, factors that have already led to bitterness.

    In related news from New York last night: “NYPD tried to break up a huge Sukkot party in Crown Heights tonight — and met fierce resistance from ultra-Orthodox revelers.”

    Video atl.

  82. says

    More re #117 – Jennifer Jacobs:

    NEWS: One of the president’s military aides, Coast Guard aide Jayna McCarron, has coronavirus, sources tell me. And so does one of the president’s valets, who is also active duty military, and traveled with the president last week.

    Military aides handle phone calls for president, and do advance for trips. They’re a link between him and White House Military Office, which runs IT, food, transportation, valet services, medical unit, Navy Mess.

    Valets, also active duty, serve food, act as personal assistants.

  83. says

    CNN is reporting that several top people at the Pentagon, including several members of the Joint Chiefs, are now quarantining after they had extended contact with the vice-commandant of the Coast Guard who’s tested positive. Mark Milley, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, is working from home, along with several others. He hasn’t tested positive and doesn’t have any symptoms.

  84. says

    Polling update: a new CNN poll found Joe Biden leading Donald Trump nationally by 16 points, 57% to 41%, among likely voters.

    The debate between Kamala Harris and Mike Pence is still going to take place tomorrow (Wednesday). The two vice presidential candidates will be separated by a plexiglass shield, and they will be seated 12 feet apart. Good idea. Pence should actually be in quarantine right now. He has recent exposure to other people who have tested positive for the virus. I hope this debate adds a couple more points to the lead that the Biden/Harris ticket now has over Trump/Pence.

    Goldman Sachs is looking at the likely outcome of the November election:

    Goldman Sachs concluded yesterday that significant Democratic gains in next months elections, resulting in a “blue wave” would “likely result in substantially easier US fiscal policy, a reduced risk of renewed trade escalation, and a firmer global growth outlook.”

    Fortune link

  85. says

    From the Associated Press:

    The West Wing is a ghost town. Staff members are scared of exposure. And the White House is now a treatment ward for not one — but two — COVID patients, including a president who has long taken the threat of the virus lightly. […] Trump’s decision to return home from a military hospital despite his continued illness is putting new focus on the people around him who could be further exposed if he doesn’t abide by strict isolation protocols.


    […] And no one seriously expects [Trump] to care at all about “strict isolation protocols.” Indeed, the AP report added that Trump “has made clear that he has little intention of abiding by best containment practices.” […]

    Axios had a related report on “widespread dismay” among officials. A White House source added:

    “It’s insane that he would return to the White House and jeopardize his staff’s health when we are still learning of new cases among senior staff. This place is a cesspool…. He was so concerned with preventing embarrassing stories that he exposed thousands of his own staff and supporters to a deadly virus. He has kept us in the dark, and now our spouses and kids have to pay the price. It’s just selfish.”

    Remember, these criticisms aren’t being directed at Trump from outside the White House; they’re coming from within the president’s own team.

    The New York Times also reported today while a “culture of negligence” had prevailed in the White House, it’s now been replaced by “a culture of panic.”

    The Washington Post added, “As the residence staff has been caring for the first family, a chorus of concern has started to rise among former White House and residence staff members about whether the first family and the administration are taking care of those employees in return.”

    Expect that chorus to grow louder.


  86. says

    OMG. Look at the photos.

    A member of the White House cleaning staff sanitizes the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room yesterday. President Donald Trump, several members of his staff, and three members of the press corps have recently tested positive for coronavirus.

    That’s what needs to be done to the entire White House. But first, Trump has to be removed.

  87. says

    Trump’s lickspittles are spinning his COVID-19 infection hard: “He literally stared down coronavirus. It looks like he is on the back end of it.”

  88. says

    ‘He does not care about any of us’: COVID-19 survivors and families aghast at Trump’s message

    […] people who have suffered through COVID-19, lost loved ones to the virus, or treated coronavirus patients in the hospital don’t think Donald Trump’s advice of the last few days is that of a very stable genius or of a leader concerned with the well-being of the people.

    “I’m so glad that he appears to be doing well, that he has doctors who can give him experimental drugs that aren’t available to the masses,” Scott Sedlacek, who had COVID-19 in March, told the Associated Press. “For the rest of us, who are trying to protect ourselves, that behavior is an embarrassment.”

    Trump tells us: “Don’t let it dominate your life.” But Marc Papaj, who lost his mother, grandmother, and aunt to the virus, told the AP: “The loss of my dearest family members will forever dominate my life in every way for all of my days.”

    Trump’s words are a “slap in the face to all of those who lost a loved one to COVID-19, as well as all of us who put our lives on the line to save others,” Liza Billings, a New York City nurse whose brother was killed by the coronavirus, said in a statement to ABC News.

    Fianza Garza Tulip, who lost her mother to the disease, used the same words: “a slap in the face.” So did Amanda Kloots, widow of Broadway star Nick Cordero.

    They’re sure to be far from the only ones feeling that way.

    ”For the long haulers living with symptoms of COVID-19 for months on end, this virus is terrifying. Trump doesn’t care, and he still doesn’t get what families are going through,” Chris Kocher, executive director of COVID Survivors for Change, said in a statement. And Trump has no stress about whether doctors will respond to his symptoms, about whether every possible medication will be available to him, about the costs of his care.

    But: ”He does not care about any of us—he’s feeling good,” Papaj said.

  89. says

    Trump, gasping for air, puts everyone around him at risk with every breath

    Getting COVID-19 only seems to have made Donald Trump reject public health more furiously than before. Whether he’s reacting against his personal panic and fear by lashing out or is under the influence of medications that impair his already questionable judgment, Trump has gone from negligence to outright defiance, as if the virus cares what he thinks about it. But while the virus may not care what Trump thinks, he’s endangering the people around him, few of whom have a choice and many of whom are now living in fear.

    “Don’t be afraid of Covid,” Trump tweeted on Monday, giving a slap in the face to the 210,000 people who have died of the disease in the U.S., to millions of those who have been very sick, and to all the people who’ve lost loved ones. Then he returned to the White House and took off his mask. At the White House, Trump is cared for by the residence staff, many of whom are people of color and in vulnerable age groups, working for decades through changing presidential administrations to support their families and ultimately earn pensions. They are intimately involved with the first family, and they don’t have a choice.

    Trump also endangers the Secret Service agents who protect him. […]

    White House reporters are another group with reason to be furious after Team Trump has persistently put their health at risk […] The New York Times’ Michael Shear tested positive himself—as did at least two other White House reporters—then tweeted that his wife has also tested positive.

    One group that is reportedly afraid and upset but gets no sympathy is Trump’s political staff. Those people have participated in the culture Trump built—and they can leave. They’re not butlers and housekeepers proud to serve the institution through administration after administration and trying to earn a comfortable retirement. They’re not Secret Service agents who committed to an ideal and similarly have long-term careers on the line. They’re part of the problem of Trumpworld, and if they suddenly object because Trump is putting them in danger like he’s done to so many vulnerable communities in this country for four years and like he’s done to the entire country since the start of the pandemic, well, they should walk.

    For his part, Trump is fully committed to this path of denying that he’s been sick in any way that should worry anyone. […]

    Donald Trump has been responsible for the United States’ disastrous, inept, irresponsible response to the coronavirus pandemic from day one. Now, somehow, while he’s sick himself—possibly dangerously so—he’s finding ways to make it worse.

  90. says

    Follow-up to Nerd’s comment 105.

    About Biden’s town hall event:

    Joe Biden spent Monday campaigning in Florida, including a town hall with NBC News, and he continued to show leadership on the coronavirus, with distanced events and repeatedly emphasizing the importance of mask-wearing. In some cases, that was pointed: “Anybody who contracts the virus by essentially saying masks don’t matter, social distancing doesn’t matter, I think is responsible for what happens to them,” the former vice president said at the town hall in response to a question about whether Donald Trump bears responsibility for getting COVID-19.

    […] “I would ask him to do this: Listen to the scientists! Support masks! Support a mask mandate nationwide. Require a mask in every federal building, facility in their state. Urge every governor in America to do the same. We know it saves lives.”

    Biden spoke on other issues at the town hall as well, taking a question from a younger voter about the future of Generation Z. Biden referred to his plans to reduce student debt and help first-time homebuyers, but he also went more abstract. “I made the comment that I view myself as a transitional president … it’s a transition to your generation,” he said. “You’re the best educated, you’re the most open, you’re the least prejudiced generation in American history and the future is yours and I’m counting on you.”

    […] At the campaign events earlier in the day, Biden also strongly criticized Venezuelan leader Nicolás Maduro, calling him “a dictator, plain and simple.” Biden connected that view of Maduro to other world leaders, saying that “President Trump cannot advance democracy and human rights when he has embraced so many autocrats around the world, starting with Vladimir Putin.”

    Biden, of course, was drowned out in the national media by Donald Trump’s gasping return to the White House, but meanwhile he was on the ground in the key swing state of Florida and speaking directly to voters with his characteristic empathy and bluntness at the televised town hall. […]


  91. says

    […] There are very good reasons to suspect that the White House knew or believed Trump to be infected with COVID-19 before the debate with Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden took place, and that the White House covered up his infection to allow the debate to go forward. It is possible that, had Trump not become so physically ill two days afterward as to require public acknowledgement, then hospitalization, the White House intended to hide Trump’s infection from the public completely. […]

    That’s an excerpt from a longer article. See the link for more details.


  92. says

    Oh, FFS.

    Representative Matt Gaetz, a particularly ignorant and irritating Republican from Florida, tweeted:

    President Trump won’t have to recover from COVID.

    COVID will have to recover from President Trump.

    What a dunderheaded sycophant.

  93. says

    About the upcoming vice presidential debate:

    […] Harris’ aides view Pence as a far more polished and disciplined orator than the president. Unlike with Trump, they say, when Pence says something untrue it is packaged in language that makes it harder to spot and counter in real time. But Harris will attempt to pin him down on Trump’s stewardship of the sputtering economy and explosive remarks on race and groups tied to white supremacy.

    “The key thing with Pence is that you have to separate out style from substance,” said Bob Barnett, the Democratic lawyer who was Tim Kaine’s stand-in for Pence in 2016 and has focused on debate preparations for 10 presidential campaigns. “He will come across as very measured, very thoughtful and very smooth — very unlike President Trump. But out of his mouth will come these wild Trumpisms.” [Yep]

    Rarely have vice presidential debates been memorable, let alone consequential. […]

    Harris, a prodigious preparer, has spent weeks trying to drill down to the substance of Pence’s record and past remarks. In Washington, before arriving last week in Salt Lake City, she reviewed briefing materials, memorizing Biden’s stances, the Trump-Pence agenda and studying for how to square her record with the anticipated hits from Pence.

    Prep sessions have involved a rotating cast of subject matter experts and top Biden hands, including Symone Sanders, who has been traveling with Harris of late. Former South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg […] has been helping prep her on Pence, a fellow Indianan.

    “We’re very cognizant that Pence can’t run from Trump’s record,” a Biden campaign adviser said. […]


    Harris does the necessary work to prepare.

  94. says

    Nonsense spewed by Trump on Twitter today:

    The Fake News Media refuses to discuss how good the Economy and Stock Market, including JOBS under the Trump Administration, are doing. We will soon be in RECORD TERRITORY,” Trump tweeted. “All they want to discuss is COVID 19, where they won’t say it, but we beat the Dems all day long, also!!!

  95. says

    Trump received the best Covid-19 treatment. Compare that to my family being turned away at the hospital.

    On Friday, the president of the United States informed the world that he contracted the coronavirus. Soon, medical staff and Trump himself outlined the extensive care he was receiving: around-the-clock physicians who were able to administer oxygen and the best experimental drugs currently unavailable to the public, not to mention a helicopter ride to a hospital where this VIP treatment would continue.

    His diagnosis came after spending most of the pandemic flouting any cautionary measures against spread, holding massive indoor rallies despite warnings from the CDC, and refusing to consistently wear a mask, mocking those of us who faithfully wore them. Fortunately for him, the response to his actions have been met with an extremely high level of medical care. […]

    Around mid-March, one of my family members got Covid-19. Much of my family works in the medical field in New York — from caring for patients in nursing homes to working as registered nurses in hospitals. At the height of the pandemic, when cases in the city were the highest in the nation, my family member told us on a phone call that they felt physically exhausted and had trouble breathing. They immediately went to the hospital, fearing Covid-19, and were told they weren’t “sick enough.” They were not given a test and were simply told to go home because the tests, beds, and space was reserved for those with more “severe symptoms.” So they went home.

    As a front-line worker, it was very possible that they were in contact with an infected person. Out of a sense of responsibility, they called out of work and attempted to self-medicate with tea and rest. A couple of days later, their symptoms intensified. It became even more difficult to breathe and their chest pains were especially challenging at night.

    Once again, we urged them to go back to the hospital. Again, they were told despite the escalations in symptoms, the hospital simply did not have enough tests to administer one to somebody who was not presenting with “severe and clear signs of Covid-19.” They returned home more emotionally broken than the previous time. It took a third attempt at a hospital, one that was located in a more affluent community, before my family member received a test. They tested positive and were told to quarantine for 14 days at home.

    Last weekend, as Trump’s inner circle continued to test positive, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie announced he was experiencing “mild symptoms” and was checking himself into the hospital “out of an abundance of caution.” […]

    Based on this report, Christie — now a civilian, like my relative, yet not an essential worker, like my relative — had the privilege of being quickly tested and able to decide he should occupy a bed at a hospital. […]

    Earlier treatment is a life-or-death situation. When my relative got sick, they had to watch the virus quickly spread through my family as they slowly recovered. Almost every family they came in contact with before they were tested became infected. None of my family members were admitted to the hospital despite each of them having a consistent temperature of about 103, some with a history of asthma, and extreme difficulty breathing. This in turn meant the significant others of said family members were also infected. It was a wild-spreading fire fueled by lack of privilege.

    […] people across the country indicated they were denied care at alarming rates. Seven months into the pandemic, I deduce this number would be even greater if we factored in the number of people who lack access to reliable transportation to get them to drive-thru testing centers and hospitals. Which makes it likely that thousands upon thousands of Americans suffered at home with all the symptoms of Covid-19 without an official diagnosis.

    Fortunately, my relatives lived, but hundreds of thousands of other Americans did not. I get to tell the story of my family while they are all still alive. Others are sharing similar stories over Zoom funerals. […]

  96. says

    Rudi Giuliani was seen coughing near the end of an interview on Fox News. He said he does not yet have his test results.

    From Aaron Rupar:

    Rudy Giuliani is on Fox News preaching nihilism about medical science

    Video snippets at the link. See especially:

    From Wonkette:

    […] Giuliani’s cough led MacCallum to wish him well as she signed off, saying, “I hope that cough is not anything bad while you are waiting for your test to come back. […] We hope you will be healthy and well.” Giuliani said he’d be sure to let her know.

    We don’t yet have any information on the outcome of Giuliani’s most recent test, which by his own standards he may just decide to ignore.

    Giuliani does not look good despite being prepared for the interview with makeup and good lighting.

  97. says

    From Wonkette, a few comments about Joe Biden’s town hall event:

    […] we like the parts where Biden actually follows a train of thought and doesn’t veer off into conspiracy theories, which is all of it. Also the part where he explains his strategy would not be “Infect ’em all, let God sort ’em out.”

    […] Noting that more than 205,000 Americans have died and that 50,000 people are still being infected daily, he said: “There’s a lot to be concerned about. […] I hope no one walks away with the message, thinking that it is not a problem. It’s a serious problem. It’s an international pandemic and we have four percent of the [world] population, and 20 percent of the deaths.”

    […] he did not address the important question of whether he would secretly be run by socialists who will impose full communism in his first 100 days. But he did point out that, unlike a certain wannabe oligarch he’s running against, he would stand up to dictators, not cozy up to them.

    There was also a weird moment where a questioner asked Biden whether his debate with Donald Trump last week signaled he could be bullied: If Trump was able to throw him off message, then how would he hold his own with foreign leaders? Biden rejected the premise of the question, noting that he has met with plenty of foreign leaders and not been pushed around by them, though we sort of wish he’d added that with few exceptions, no other countries have leaders as irrational as Donald Trump either.

    That was followed by a very stupid follow-up by moderator Lester Holt, who wondered if Biden regretted having been so rude to Trump when he called him a clown. Then Holt ripped off his David Brooks mask and demanded Biden commit to being more damn civil. Biden shunted that aside and noted that while it was frustrating, Trump refused to actually answer any of the questions, and if anything, Trump’s behavior was “embarrassing to the nation.”

    Fortunately, wingnut media focused on the important stuff. The New York Post devoted an entire article to the half-second when Biden immediately corrected himself on how many Americans have died from COVID-19 (“two hundred ten million — two hundred ten thousand have died”), which is surely far more damning than Donald Trump telling people hey, coronavirus is like a fountain of youth and a really good time!

  98. says

    Trump just tweeted that he told his representatives to stop negotiating with Pelosi on the stimulus bill until after the election. Says the economy is “doing very well.”

  99. says

    From Elliot Hannon, writing for Slate:

    President Donald Trump left Walter Reed Medical Center on Monday night, declaring himself healthy days after testing positive for COVID-19. Trump, to be clear, is almost certainly still contagious and even his doctor—who is obsequious to the point of malpractice—says he’s “not out of the woods yet.” In fact, he’s likely just entering the woods. But Trump was bored or concerned about his image as a toxic man-patient and decided that putting on a suit and saying he was fine and healthy was the same thing as being fine and healthy.

    [Extremely alarming video available at the link. “Maybe I’m immune, I don’t know.”]

    It seems like Trump was going for a real FDR moment but instead was laying down end of days messianic dictator vibes. We’ll have to wait for the polling, or actual voting, but the painfully forced theatrics might juuust be coming off to the American people more like the crazy uncle who’s lost it and checked himself out of the hospital against medical advice and now is standing on your front doorstep wearing a hospital gown wanting to run the government again. Despite the propaganda of personal wellness whirling in Trump’s head, during his return to the White House, when not staging his own vitality, the president looked bad. And his breathing appeared labored. […]


    From Ilan Schwartz MD PhD:

    This is a textbook example of increased work of breathing. In addition to using normal respiratory muscles (the diaphragm & those between the ribs that expand the chest cavity), “accessory muscles” in his neck are kicking in to help draw a breath.

    Notice the weird grimace & shape of his mouth? “Pursed lip breathing” is a coping mechanism that truncates expiration & increases airflow resistance at the end of a breath (+ end-expiratory pressure=PEEP) which acts as an artificial splint to keep the airways & airsacs open.

    Video is available at the link.

  100. tomh says

    If they want to discuss Harris’s record at the debate, they should highlight this aspect.

    Kamala Harris and the Push to Cut Hospital Bills in California
    By Reed Abelson
    Oct. 6, 2020

    As a former state attorney general, Senator Kamala D. Harris, the Democratic nominee for vice president, has received significant scrutiny of her record on law enforcement, facing questions and criticism about uneven prosecutions of killings by police officers.

    But she is less known for another role she took on, opposing the consolidation of institutions in the health care industry, which has become a major force driving the cost of medical care higher for consumers. She challenged proposed mergers between industry behemoths and anti-competitive behavior by powerful hospital systems and drug makers.

    She oversaw multimillion-dollar settlements with major health care corporations like Quest Diagnostics and McKesson, which were the subjects of whistle-blower lawsuits accusing them of fraud against the state Medicaid program.

    And she took the lead among state attorneys general in opposing an anti-competitive merger between a big hospital group and a large physician practice. She joined the Justice Department lawsuit that stopped two of the nation’s largest health insurers, Anthem and Cigna, from joining together…

    As the California attorney general from 2011 to 2017, Ms. Harris used her powers to protect consumers and to prosecute fraud or antitrust violations in pursuit of health care industry players she accused of maximizing profits at the expense of patients.

    Ms. Harris’s antitrust efforts also extended to drug makers. She used both federal and state courts to challenge what are called pay-for-delay agreements in which drug manufacturers pay competitors to delay the introduction of generics to replace brand-name drugs…

    Many more examples in a long article. Meanwhile, the Trump Administration is at the Supreme Court getting Obamacare declared null and void.

  101. says

    SC @146, well that should get Trump’s attention.

    In other, but related news, more of Trump’s lickspittles pretended that he was superman:

    […] “COVID stood NO chance against @realDonaldTrump!” tweeted Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.). […]

    Amazingly, this was not the most ludicrous attempt at machismo of the evening. That honor went to the White House videographer who heralded Trump’s return to the residence with 30 slickly produced seconds that appeared to be pieced together from Michael Bay’s cutting room floor. As the president disembarked Marine One, the accompanying music, Shazam tells us, was an instrumental version of a song found on an album called “Epic Male Songs.” […]

    Normally I hate the phrase “toxic masculinity.” It’s nonspecific, needlessly triggering and laden with so much baggage it repels nuance, shutting down conversations before they can even begin. But there is no better phrase for this behavior, in which a bullheaded sense of bravado becomes toxic in the dictionary sense, i.e. “capable of causing death or serious debilitation.” […]

    Washington Post link

  102. says

    tomh @149, thanks for posting that. Good information.

    In other news, as expected, Trump has returned to his false comparisons of COVID-19 with flu.

    The first sign of trouble came on Feb. 26, when much of the United States saw the coronavirus as a crisis affecting other countries, not ours. Donald Trump told reporters that the responsible thing to do would be to treat COVID-19 “like a flu.” [Trump] went on to say that there are other “certain steps” a country could take, but “that won’t even be necessary.”

    He added, “This is a flu. This is like a flu…. It’s a little like the regular flu that we have flu shots for. And we’ll essentially have a flu shot for this in a fairly quick manner.” [snipped other examples of Trump saying essentially the same thing]

    Nearly seven months after his misguided “think about that!” tweet, [Trump] has apparently come full circle.

    In a comparison that is disputed by public health experts, […] Trump on Tuesday likened the coronavirus to the seasonal flu and said we can learn to live with Covid-19. “Flu season is coming up! Many people every year, sometimes over 100,000, and despite the Vaccine, die from the Flu,” tweeted Trump, who has Covid-19 and returned to the White House on Monday after three days in Walter Reed hospital for treatment. “Are we going to close down our Country? No, we have learned to live with it, just like we are learning to live with Covid, in most populations far less lethal!!!”

    As is always the case, the fact that Trump is flubbing all the relevant details matters. We know, for example, that COVID-19 is exponentially more serious than influenza. We also know that the number of flu deaths the president is touting is wrong.

    […] But stepping back, I think there are a few broader takeaways to consider.

    First, it’s discouraging, to put it mildly, to see Trump backslide. This misguided rhetoric about the flu was indefensible in March — when, again, he privately contradicted his own claims — but the fact that the president is bringing the comparison back is evidence of a leader retreating to discredited nonsense, even after his own hospitalization.

    Second, this doesn’t do Trump any political favors, either. For months, [Trump] has responded to questions about a climbing death toll by saying his bold leadership prevented the “plague” from claiming the lives of millions of Americans. Now, however, he’s back to equating COVID-19 with influenza that everyone can simply “live with.”

    Trump can make one pitch or the other, but he shouldn’t try to push both lines.

    Finally, and most importantly, the more [Trump] downplays the seriousness of the coronavirus threat, the more dangerous it is to the public.

    Today, tens of thousands of Americans will test positive for the virus, and several hundred will die. For Trump to tell the citizens of his own country that they need not fear the pandemic, they will survive infections, and the virus is comparable to the flu is to see him effectively play the role of a public menace.


  103. says

    Follow-up to SC’s comment 147.

    Top U.S. military officials quarantined after COVID19 exposure:
    Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff
    Vice Chairman
    Army chief of staff
    Naval Operations Chief
    Air Force chief of staff
    CyberCom Commander
    SpaceForce operations chief
    Chief of the National Guard
    Gen. Daniel Hokanson deputy commandant of the Marine Corps
    Gen. Gary Thomas

  104. says

    Oh, FFS.

    […] Dr. Stella Immanuel, the Houston-based doctor and preacher who specializes in demons and alien DNA, was part of a group of doctors who in July falsely declared hydroxychloroquine a “cure” for COVID-19. Trump shared a video of the group on his Twitter account and subsequently called Immanuel “very impressive.”

    So Immanuel was understandably disappointed when hydroxychloroquine wasn’t mentioned on the White House press release detailing Trump’s treatment plan.

    “Whoever told the president to stop taking HCQ should be punched in the face,” she wrote on Twitter Friday. […]

    The fringe website LifeSiteNews took things a step further, with co-founder and hydroxychloroquine evangelist Steve Jalsevac urging readers to literally “contact the White House to ask why the president and Melania are not immediately being given this well-proven-in-practice medication protocol for COVID infection.” […]

    TPM link

    Maybe we should let Stella Immanuel treat Trump.

  105. tomh says

    Pence, Harris teams at odds over plexiglass at debate
    By Michael Scherer and Josh Dawsey
    Oct. 6, 2020

    Vice President Pence is requesting that no plexiglass dividers be placed on his side of the stage at Wednesday night’s vice-presidential debate, after an announcement Monday by the Commission on Presidential Debates that dividers had been agreed to as a safety measure to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

    Marc Short, the vice president’s chief of staff, said the vice president’s team does not view plexiglass dividers as medically necessary, given other safety measures at the debate, including a 12-foot distance between Pence and Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) and daily testing of both candidates.

    “If she wants it, she’s more than welcome to surround herself with plexiglass if that makes her feel more comfortable,” Short said. “It’s not needed.”

    The dispute plays into a larger clash of messages between the Trump and Biden campaigns. Trump argues that the coronavirus has largely been conquered and there is no need for burdensome restrictions; Biden’s campaign is based largely on a critique of the president’s handling of the pandemic. For both sides, plexiglass dividers could be seen as a symbol of the continued threat posed by the virus.

    The Trump campaign has also resisted a request by the Biden campaign that both candidates stand during the debate. The current plan has them sitting at separate tables.

    Pence attended a White House Rose Garden ceremony with several people who have since tested positive on Sept. 26, 11 days before Wednesday’s debate. He sat immediately in front of Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), three rows in front of White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany and five seats away from Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.).

    All three have since tested positive for the virus, along with at least 10 others who had contact with the White House or the Trump campaign.

    Pence’s team contends that he did not come close to anyone who contracted the virus.

  106. says

    From Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez:

    .@TulsiGabbard – You, along with everyone else who amplified this fraudulent story, owe Rep. Omar a public apology.


    Liban Osman, subject of Project Veritas alleged voter fraud story, tells @LydenFOX9 he was offered $10K by Omar Jamal to say he was collecting ballots for Congresswoman @IlhanMN.

  107. says

    Re Trump’s stimulus tweets – it could be that Trump had seen the comments from the fed chair saying that the economic results could be disastrous if the country doesn’t control the virus and that a stimulus is badly needed, as well as those from Goldman Sachs (quoted and linked in Lynna’s #127). Not long before Trump’s tweets, the Goldman thing was quoted in a CNN report framed as Wall Street coming around to the idea of a Biden presidency. Seems possible that in his roid rage he interpreted this as a class betrayal and decided to lash out destructively (which is all he knows in the best possible times). I imagine he could get even more destructive as things get worse.

  108. says


    “He’s become sort of a first responder. He has lived through it and been in the hospital,” Newt Gingrich, a former Republican House speaker and an informal adviser to Trump, said in an interview on Monday. “And he’s fearless. We are not the land of the timid and the home of the scaredy cats.”

  109. blf says

    Lynna@95, “Trump is worse than Typhoid Mary. Typhoid Mary didn’t know she was infected. Trump knows he is infected. Trump knows he is shedding virus.”

    Not quite. Mary Mallon (Typhoid Mary) never believed she was a carrier.

    Whilst hair furor may understand he is infected, I doubt his “understanding”(? concern?) continues on to one or both of shedding the virus and/or thereby endangering others.

  110. blf says

    SC@156, More likely, in my opinion, is hair furor “thinks” he’s “beaten” Covid-19, thus “proving” anyone “strong” can do it, so there’s no point to any assistance for the “weak” “losers & suckers”. Who, in a self-confirmatory “analysis”, won’t vote for him anyways, so who cares?

  111. says

    blf @ #160, he for sure doesn’t care about anyone who needs the stimulus. The seemingly confounding thing is that it’s such a plainly self-destructive act – very unpopular, tanked the stock market, harms his chances a month before the election, and places any blame squarely on himself (making it far harder for the Republicans to claim it’s the Dems’ fault). One possibility is that it’s an act of narcissistic revenge, further enabled by the dexamethasone. Terrible for the country and very dangerous going forward.

  112. says


    The Joint Chiefs attended an event with Trump on Sunday.

    Trump tweeted he was COVID positive Friday around 1am.

    Then Joint Chiefs all got together Friday in the windowless Tank on 1st floor of the Pentagon right near entrance.

    Not encouraging.”

    Then Milley met with Pompeo on Sunday before Pompeo flew to Japan, possibly bringing the gift of virus to the new leader.

  113. tomh says

    This should provoke another steroid-induced tweetstorm.

    Steep Vaccine Hurdles Overcome White House Block
    October 6, 2020 ALEXANDRA JONES

    WASHINGTON (CN) — The Food and Drug Administration will not consider emergency approval of any coronavirus vaccine that developers have not monitored for at least two months after testing in human trials, the agency said Tuesday, all but ensuring there will be no vaccine before Election Day.

    Coming shortly after a reported blockade by the Trump administration, the criteria were announced ahead of what will be an Oct. 22 meeting of the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee.

    “The vaccines are coming momentarily,” Trump said in a video tweeted Monday night upon checking out of the hospital where he was treated this weekend for Covid-19.

    Administration officials speaking anonymously to the Times said the president’s understanding about vaccine steadiness came from talks with pharmaceutical industry officials. Politico reported Tuesday that the White House rescinded its block to approve the new guidelines.

    To ensure the vaccine’s quality and consistency, the FDA said it also require adequate manufacturing information, “and a determination by FDA that the vaccine’s benefits outweigh its risks based on data from at least one well-designed Phase 3 clinical trial that demonstrates the vaccine’s safety and efficacy in a clear and compelling manner.”

    Last week, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said in a note that the company remains committed to the “ambitious” goal of having vaccine data ready to submit to the FDA “in October.” Moderna’s CEO Stéphane Bancel, by comparison, indicated the pharmaceutical giant will not seek authorization before the election.

  114. says

    Ben Collins:

    BREAKING: Facebook bans QAnon across its platforms

    Facebook “will remove Facebook Pages, Groups and Instagram accounts for representing QAnon” like any other militarized social movement, militia or terror group.

    Facebook’s QAnon ban is the most sweeping content moderation step I’ve seen from any social media company so far.

    This won’t just ban certain posts. Facebook will ban Groups, Pages and Instagram accounts that post about QAnon, a militarized movement.

    QAnon will now be treated like other militias and terror groups that have been tied to real-world violence and repeatedly fantasize about violence and mass slaughter.

    Facebook previously banned QAnon followers that referenced the conspiracy theory’s endgame — the purge or mass execution of Democrats and celebrities. This is a ban on QAnon groups, pages and Instagram accounts writ large.

    In recent weeks, QAnon pages had become superspreaders for disinformation around, well, anything.

    From false conspiracy theories claiming the president isn’t sick to Joe Biden wearing a secret debate wire, QAnon pages served as a hub on Facebook. No more.

    QAnon followers have been awaiting this ban for a while.

    Q, their leader, told everyone to “camouflage” themselves digitally before any action like this came down.

    Expect more QAnon conspiracies without the explicit branding now.

    (Here’s that story.) [I’ve linked to it here. – SC]

    This QAnon Facebook ban is a substantial problem for the conspiracy messaging infrastructure that they spent three full years building.

    Q pages, especially on Instagram, were becoming the new ammo dump for far-right talking points. That’s now in ruins.

    (Well done, Ben Collins and Brandy Zadrozny.)

  115. blf says

    SC@161, “The seemingly confounding thing is that it’s such a plainly self-destructive act — very unpopular, tanked the stock market, harms his chances a month before the election, and places any blame squarely on himself […]. One possibility is that it’s an act of narcissistic revenge, further enabled by the dexamethasone.”

    Yes (the Hitler in the bunker syndrome (which is a very real possibility)), however… That (seems to me) to presume hair furor is capable of predicting likely outcomes, is somewhat rational, and (perhaps) is not drugged-up. None of those is presumptions is in evidence. He’s delusional, contemptuous, lives in a fantasy-land, and (probably) is drugged-up.

  116. says

    ‘It’s incredibly selfish of older people or neurotic people who are timid & afraid & won’t come out of their basements to confine children & young people to miss out on the most important part of their lives’ – Fox News is now straight up blaming old & vulnerable people for Covid”

    “Alright, It’s an interesting point of view” comes the horrified response. Some of these Fox hosts appear to be questioning every decision that led them here in real time.

  117. says

    blf @ #170:

    That (seems to me) to presume hair furor is capable of predicting likely outcomes, is somewhat rational, and (perhaps) is not drugged-up.

    Huh? My post presumed none of that. I suggested he was swinging out vengefully and destructively (irrationally) after hearing that the fat cats might be dropping him. I said there that: “Seems possible that in his roid rage he interpreted this as a class betrayal and decided to lash out destructively (which is all he knows in the best possible times).” Not sure how you’re reading “One possibility is that it’s an act of narcissistic revenge, further enabled by the dexamethasone” the way you are.

  118. blf says


    ● “Seems possible that in his roid rage he interpreted this as a class betrayal and decided to lash out destructively” — to lash out (destructively or otherwise) seems (to me) “predict[ing] outcomes”.
    ● “One possibility is that it’s an act of narcissistic revenge” — revenge (narcissistic or otherwise) seems (to me) “rational [thought]”.
    ● We don’t know if he is drugged-up or not, but Dexamethasone is reported to cause effects not dissimilar to what seems to be happening.

    He is delusional. He does live in a fantasy-land. He is contemptuous. And he is (probably) drugged-up. What I am offering as a another possibility, which is, broadly, it MAY not be the “Hitler in the bunker syndrome”.

    Calm down.

  119. says


    Calm down.

    OK, I’m done responding to you right now. You’re misinterpreting and appear to be looking for a dispute today. Don’t ever tell me to calm down again, thanks.

  120. John Morales says

    From #158:

    “And he’s fearless. We are not the land of the timid and the home of the scaredy cats.”


    Congress Allocates $120 Million for Trump Family's Security ... › U.S. › Politics
    May 1, 2017 — Congress Allocates $120 Million for Trump Family's Security Costs. Secret Service agents surrounded Marine One as President Trump ...

  121. says

    From the Guardian world liveblog:

    Brazil on Tuesday registered 41,906 new cases of Covid-19, the highest number for a single day since 11 September, the health ministry said. The number of deaths rose by 819 to 147,494, the second highest death toll in the world.

    Six US states reported record numbers of patients hospitalised with Covid-19, including Wisconsin, where officials on Tuesday issued a new order limiting the size of indoor public gatherings, Reuters reports.

    The rise in reported hospitalisations on Monday hit states in the Midwest the hardest, with Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming reporting their highest figures, according to a Reuters tally. Wisconsin has 782 hospitalised patients, compared with 433 two weeks ago.

    Wisconsin’s Department of Health Services issued a directive that gatherings will be limited to no more than 25% of a room or building’s total occupancy.

    Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers said in a statement:

    We’re in a crisis right now and need to immediately change our behaviour [I mean, I doubt he said “behaviour.” :) – SC] to save lives.

    We are continuing to experience a surge in cases and many of our hospitals are overwhelmed, and I believe limiting indoor public gatherings will help slow the spread of this virus.

  122. says

    SC @177, definitely a schadenfreude moment. Couldn’t happen to a more rabid White Supremacist.

    Looks to me like most, if not all, of Kayleigh McEnany’s team is sick … or will test positive soon. So far, it is her and 4 of members of her staff.

  123. says

    From NBC News:

    Wall Street fell on Tuesday after […] Trump said he would be halting all negotiations on a new round of coronavirus stimulus relief. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by almost 400 points, having been up more than 200 points earlier in the day. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq were down by around 1.5 percent each.

  124. says

    About Biden’s remarks in Gettysburg today:

    Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden called for national unity while delivering remarks at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on Tuesday, as he disavowed political division in the grueling final weeks leading up to the November presidential election.

    Biden began his speech by arguing that “there’s no more fitting place” than the Civil War battlefield to discuss “the cost of division.”

    “And how much it has cost America, in the past, but how much it is costing us now,” Biden said. “And about why I believe at this moment, we must come together as a nation.”

    Biden then invoked former President Abraham Lincoln as he urged the country against remaining “a house divided.”

    “Today, once again, we are a house divided. That, my friends, can no longer be. We are facing too many crises. We have too much work to do,” Biden said. […]

    “We have too bright a future to leave it shipwrecked on the shoals of anger and hate and division,” Biden said.

    Biden also urged the end of “unrelenting partisan warfare” before nodding to protests against racial injustice […]

    “I think about what it takes for a Black person to love America,” Biden said, after quoting remarks by Floyd’s daughter, Blake’s mother and Los Angeles Clippers basketball coach Doc Rivers expressing injustice. “That is a deep love for this country that has for far too long never been recognized.”

    Biden turned his focus to the COVID-19 pandemic later in his speech. Without directly mentioning President Trump, the Democratic presidential nominee urged the public against politicizing COVID-19.

    “Wearing a mask is not a political statement, it’s a scientific recommendation,” Biden said. “Social distancing isn’t a political statement, it’s a scientific recommendation. Testing, tracing, the development and approval and distribution of a vaccine isn’t a political statement.”

    […] Biden used his speech Tuesday to emphasize that the COVID-19 pandemic “isn’t a red or blue state issue.”

    “It affects us all and can take anyone’s life,” Biden said. “It’s a virus. It’s not a political weapon.”

    Biden concluded his remarks with a call to “end this era of division.”

    “You and I are part of a covenant, a common story of divisions overcome and hope renewed. If we do our part, if we stand together, if we keep faith of the past and with each other, the divisions of our time will give way to dreams of a a better and brighter future,” Biden said. “This is our work. This is our pledge, this is our mission. We can end this era of division. We can end the hate and the fear.”

    Shortly after Biden’s speech concluded, […] Trump weighed in on the state where Biden appeared, expressing concern over his sinking poll numbers in Pennsylvania. “How does Biden lead in Pennsylvania Polls when he is against Fracking (JOBS!), 2nd Amendment and Religion? Fake Polls. I will win Pennsylvania!”

    TPM link

  125. says

    In a few days, more people in Trump’s orbit tested positive for coronavirus than in all of Taiwan.

    Washington Post link

    In […] Trump’s personal orbit, the coronavirus case count continues to creep upward.

    More than a dozen White House officials have recently tested positive for the novel coronavirus […]

    Meanwhile, Taiwan — the self-ruled island home to 23 million people — reported just eight new cases in the past week.

    More than a dozen countries have reported fewer than 10 new coronavirus cases in the past seven days […] Taiwan has been widely praised for its handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

    […] As hospital wards became overwhelmed in hot spots across the globe, Taiwan — which was prepared to launch intensive contact-tracing initiatives — has managed to avoid the worst of the pandemic. The island has confirmed just 521 coronavirus cases and seven deaths, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally.

    Meanwhile, the White House refuses to do contact tracing around this latest cluster of positive cases of infection.

    […] A Taiwan health official tried to warn the world about the novel coronavirus. The U.S. didn’t listen. […]

    Trump’s behavior since his diagnosis — including his decision to leave the hospital to drive past his supporters and to remove his mask upon return to the White House on Monday — has stunned epidemiologists, who fear he continues to put those around him at risk of contracting the highly contagious virus.

  126. says

    John Mitnick (DHS General Counsel 2018-2019): “As bad as things are now, assuming @realDonaldTrump
    loses on Nov. 3, the period from then until Jan. 20 could be frightening. To my former colleagues @DHSgov and at other agencies: please prepare to uphold your oath of office in the face of extreme adversity. I know you will.”

  127. says

    Humor/satire from Andy Borowitz:

    Mike Pence said that he was “extremely grateful” that the organizers of Wednesday night’s Vice-Presidential debate would be providing a plexiglass shield to protect him from a woman.

    Speaking to reporters, Pence said that the Commission on Presidential Debates had taken “appropriate measures” to shield him from exposure to a female during the Salt Lake City face-off.

    “I’ve read all the relevant literature, and from what I’ve learned a plexiglass shield provides adequate protection from a woman,” he said. “Knowing that this barrier exists between me and a member of the opposite sex, I feel comfortable about moving forward with the debate.”

    The Vice-President added that, if he makes it through Wednesday’s debate without being exposed to a woman, he may start bringing a portable plexiglass shield with him on the campaign trail.

    “Despite all of my precautions, in my travels across this great land of ours I have unfortunately encountered women,” Pence said. “Plexiglass might be the answer.”

    New Yorker link

  128. says


    NEW: “We need to take away children,” AG Sessions told prosecutors, according to a draft DOJ IG report. That statement contradicts Sessions’ previous claim that “we never really intended” to separate children.

    One top official told the IG, in implementing child separation policy DOJ officials were merely following orders from President Trump. In April 2018 meeting Trump was on “a tirade” as he “ranted” to Sessions and demanded as many prosecutions as possible, the official said.

    Rosenstein told prosecutors when separating parents from children it should not matter how young children were, according to IG report. Rosenstein criticized prosecutors for refusal to take action that would have separated parents from children who were barely older than infants.

    NYT link atl.

  129. tomh says

    Commission installs plexiglass barriers for both candidates in VP debate, apparently overruling Pence’s objections
    By Michael Scherer and Josh Dawsey

    The Commission on Presidential Debates built a stage Tuesday for the vice presidential debate in Salt Lake City with plexiglass barriers for both candidates, apparently overruling the objections of Vice President Pence, who had requested that no plexiglass dividers be placed on his side of the stage.

    The added protections against the spread of coronavirus had become a heated point of contention this week, as both campaigns jockey over the threat of covid-19, after President Trump and multiple campaign and White House advisers tested positive for the disease.

    The dispute over installing plexiglass barriers for the Wednesday night event, which were requested by the camp of Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), extended well into Tuesday as the Trump and Biden campaigns negotiated with the Commission on Presidential Debates.

    The standoff had left an aura of uncertainty just one day before the campaign’s only vice-presidential debate, as politics collided with the pandemic in a race still feeling the aftershocks of President Trump’s hospitalization for coronavirus.

    Adding to the last-minute uncertainty, Stephen Miller, the husband of one of Pence’s top staffers, Katie Miller, who had traveled to Salt Lake City, tested positive for coronavirus on Tuesday. She had previously been infected with the disease, and it was not clear what effect her husband’s diagnosis would have on the Pence entourage.

  130. raven says

    Stephen Miller, the White House white supremacist, just tested positive for Covid-19 virus.
    This is a true tragedy here.
    I’m really, deeply feeling sorry for the virus.
    Nobody should have to get that near to Stephen Miller.

    White House Adviser Stephen Miller Tests Positive For The Coronavirus
    October 6, 20208:21 PM ET NPR

  131. says

    I give up. It’s pointless to report on anything other than the President of the United States having a personal social media feed that reveals he’s a lunatic.”

    Screenshot atl. The full thing is even crazier.

  132. says

    Twitter: “FBI Director Christopher Wray and representatives from the Department of Justice will hold a virtual press conference ‘on a national security matter’ on Wednesday morning.”

  133. says

    BREAKING @ABC — Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh are in the air at this hour on their way to Washington to be charged as ISIS guards of 4 murdered US hostages, US official tells me. The ‘Beatles’ are expected to appear in federal court in Alexandria, Va. this afternoon.

    It cannot be overstated what an emotional moment this is for families of ISIS hostages murdered in captivity that these two Londoners are finally coming to the US District Court in the Eastern District of Virginia. They will have the last word. They also still want information….”

    I assume that’s the subject of the 11 AM press conference.

  134. says

    Cook Political Report – “South Carolina Senate Moves To Toss Up”:

    There has been no more surprising race on the Senate map than South Carolina. Even early this year, it looked like Sen. Lindsey Graham would cruise to re-election. Instead, the Republican incumbent finds himself in a tied race in both public and private surveys with challenger Jaime Harrison, who has proven to be perhaps Democrats’ best recruit and a fundraising behemoth.

    “It’s a jump ball at this point,” said one South Carolina Republican strategist. “Jaime is peaking at exactly the right time and he’s got a deluge of money. [Harrison] is blocking every pass there is from Republicans.”

    Even Democrats in and outside of the Palmetto State are surprised such a typically red state is truly in play. Many Republicans have privately voiced frustrations that Graham’s campaign didn’t take the challenge from Harrison — a charismatic 44-year-old African-American former state party chairman who tells a compelling story of growing up with a teen mother and being raised by his grandparents in impoverished Orangeburg — seriously enough from the get-go.

    Ultimately, this race has earned a more competitive rating — underscoring just how fast the GOP majority is slipping away if they have to defend turf like this, and also how much Trump’s numbers have fallen across the board. We are moving South Carolina from Lean Republican to Toss Up.

    More atl.

  135. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    SC: “Stephen Miller has tested positive. That’s a shame.”

    Yeah, that poor virus!

  136. says

    BBC – “Greece Golden Dawn: Neo-Nazi leaders guilty of running crime gang”:

    After a trial lasting more than five years, the leadership of Greece’s neo-Nazi party has been convicted of running a criminal organisation.

    Big crowds gathered outside the court in Athens as the judges gave verdicts on 68 defendants.

    Golden Dawn secured 18 MPs in 2012, as Greeks were battered by a financial crisis.

    The criminal inquiry into the party began with the murder of an anti-fascist musician in 2013.

    Leader Nikos Michaloliakos and six colleagues were convicted of heading a criminal group. Supporter Giorgos Roupakias was found guilty of murdering an anti-racist musician and 15 others were convicted of conspiracy in the case.

    Some 2,000 police were deployed around Athens Appeals Court as thousands of protesters demanded long jail terms, carrying banners that read “fear will not win” and “Nazis in prison”, Greek media reported.

    Tear gas was fired into the crowd as some of the protesters clashed with police and threw petrol bombs.

    Eleven of the defendants were in the court when the verdict was read out, along with 50 attorneys and 50 journalists.

    Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou said the verdict was an important day for democracy and proof that Greek institutions were able to “fend off any attempt to undermine them”….

    I’m crying.

  137. says

    Here’s a link to the October 7 Guardian coronavirus world liveblog.

    From there:

    Boston is delaying plans to reopen schools after the city’s positivity rate climbed higher than 4%, its mayor Marty Walsh has announced. Remote learning began on 21 September and families were allowed to opt in for hybrid learning scheduled to start this month.

  138. says

    Guardian – “Revealed: Amy Coney Barrett lived in home of secretive Christian group’s co-founder”:

    Amy Coney Barrett lived in the home of one of the founders of the People of Praise while she was a law student, raising new questions about the supreme court nominee’s involvement with the secretive Christian faith group that has been criticized for dominating the lives of its members and subjugating women.

    Public records examined by the Guardian show that Barrett, a conservative 48-year-old appeals court judge who has been put up to fill the vacant seat left by the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, lived in a nine-bedroom South Bend, Indiana, residence owned at the time by Kevin Ranaghan, a religious scholar and a co-founder of Barrett’s faith group, during law school.

    The revelation offers new clues about the possible influence of the People of Praise, and one of its leaders, on a woman who may shape the direction of the supreme court for the next 40 to 50 years. Barrett has said she is a “faithful Catholic” but that her religious beliefs would not “bear in the discharge of my duties as a judge”.

    Public records – and a record of a speeding ticket – show that Barrett’s husband, Jesse, apparently also lived in the home in the years before their 1999 marriage. The public records examined by the Guardian show where individuals receive their mail, including bills. It is difficult, based on the records alone, to determine when precisely individuals lived in the residence. The database shows no other residence for Amy Barrett at that time.

    Amy Barrett, who as Amy Coney graduated from Notre Dame Law in 1997 at the top of her class, has said she met Jesse while she was in law school but has not offered other details. Records show that other individuals who appear to be members of the People of Praise have also gotten married following periods of living in the Ranaghan household.

    Insider accounts by former members who are now critical of the organization suggest that the group has “well-developed courtship and marriage traditions” which are closely followed. One critic, former member Adrian Reimers, has said in writings about his experience that people who are in the community do not usually date until the matter has been prayed upon by an individual’s “head” – or spiritual leader – who helps make decisions about whether a couple ought to get married.

    Democrats on the Senate judiciary committee have emphatically stated that Barrett’s faith was not an issue that would be raised in upcoming confirmation hearings. Pressed on the issue recently by the Guardian, the Connecticut Democrat Richard Blumenthal, a member of the committee, said he had “no intention” of questioning Barrett about her “religious faith or religious affiliation”.

    “I think the arguments against her are so powerful and persuasive on the merits, that we should focus on them,” he said.

  139. says

    Guardian – “Billionaires’ wealth rises to $10.2 trillion amid Covid crisis”:

    The world’s billionaires “did extremely well” during the coronavirus pandemic, growing their already-huge fortunes to a record high of $10.2tn (£7.8tn).

    A report by Swiss bank UBS found that billionaires increased their wealth by more than a quarter (27.5%) at the height of the crisis from April to July, just as millions of people around the world lost their jobs or were struggling to get by on government schemes.

    The report found that billionaires had mostly benefited from betting on the recovery of global stock markets when they were at their nadir during the global lockdowns in March and April. UBS said billionaires’ wealth had hit “a new high, surpassing the previous peak of $8.9tn reached at the end of 2017”. The number of billionaires has also hit a new high of 2,189, up from 2,158 in 2017.

    The world’s current super-rich people hold the greatest concentration of wealth since the US Gilded Age at the turn of the 20th century, when families such as the Carnegies, Rockefellers and Vanderbilts controlled vast fortunes….

  140. tomh says

    “at the turn of the 20th century, when families such as the Carnegies, Rockefellers and Vanderbilts controlled vast fortunes….”

    But there were no US income taxes then to level the playing field….oh, wait.

  141. raven says

    Economic Report
    U.S. trade deficit climbs in August to $67.1 billion and hits third highest level on record
    Published: Oct. 6, 2020 at 9:49 a.m. ET

    Most people have stopped paying much attention to the Trump regime. It is after all, predictably chaotic and a disaster.

    One of the Trump’s big efforts early on was to start trade wars with everyone, Mexico, Canada, China, the EU, etc.. This was supposed to fix something somewhere
    Like just about everything he does, it has so far been a failure.
    Years on, the trade deficit for August was one of the largest in history.

    Doesn’t look like we are winning our trade wars either.

  142. says

    From Preet Bharara:

    I like a president who is not Patient Zero. Or Individual 1.

    From Miles Taylor:

    To current & former Trump Administration officials: we have secured top-tier, pro bono legal counsel to advise those looking to speak out about the President. We’ve got your back. My DMs are open.

    From Nate Silver:

    Trump not only rejects stimulus funds that would probably have helped his re-election chances, but *also* does so in a way to make sure that he personally will take blame for it?

    From Joe Biden:

    Make no mistake: if you are out of work, if your business is closed, if your child’s school is shut down, if you are seeing layoffs in your community, Donald Trump decided today that none of that — none of it — matters to him.

    Whistle-blower Dr. Rick Bright resigned from NIH today, NBC News has confirmed. His attorneys said he “can no longer sit idly by and work for an administration that ignores scientific expertise, overrules public health guidance and disrespects career scientists…”

    See also:
    NEW AD: Former Director of the CIA under Bush @GenMhayden: “If there is another term for Trump, I don’t know what happens to America.” He’s supporting @JoeBiden.

  143. says

    raven @204, Trump has one skill: making everything worse. He definitely failed when it came to all the tariffs, trade wars and trade deficits.

    This is how Republicans are setting up another economic failure by choosing to focus on their Supreme Court pick over facing the economic crisis:

    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin were scheduled to have an important meeting yesterday afternoon on a possible economic aid package. Before they could connect, however, Donald Trump rendered their meeting moot: the negotiations, [he tweeted], were over.

    Americans with economic concerns, Trump added, will have to wait “until after the election.” In the meantime, [Trump] demanded that his team and its allies “focus full time” on Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court.

    Not surprisingly, this has quickly become the official White House line.

    White House National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow told CNBC on Wednesday that there was a “low probability” of approving additional legislation in time for the election … “We’ve only got four weeks to the election, and we have a justice of the Supreme Court to get passed. It’s too close to the election — not enough time to get stuff done at this stage in the game,” Kudlow said.

    Right off the bat, we know this is politically unwise: polls show the American mainstream is far more concerned about the struggling economy than filling the vacancy on the high court. […]

    Kudlow’s wrong, and not just in the abstract. In the spring, when policymakers were focused on a hearty response to the coronavirus crisis, the CARES Act came together rather quickly. It didn’t take four weeks; it barely took one.

    What’s more, it’s not like officials would need to start from scratch to craft a plan between now and Election Day: the House has already passed two ambitious aid packages, and bipartisan negotiations have been ongoing for weeks. […]

    As for the Barrett confirmation process, there’s no reason lawmakers couldn’t walk and chew gum at the same time: D.C. is capable of focusing on more than one task at a time.

    All it would take is a White House capable of prioritizing the economy and jobs. The president and Kudlow are effectively telling millions of unemployed Americans that their plight just isn’t that important to Team Trump: the Supreme Court needs yet another far-right jurist more than these struggling families need an economic lifeline.


  144. says


    On Twitter this morning, Trump said he believes he can compete and win in California this year, a state he lost by 30 points in 2016. As part of his pitch, Trump said he would end “ridiculous forrest [sic] fires.” (Yes, he misspelled “forest.”)

    Hmmm, I think this is a good sign: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was asked this week about the GOP’s odds of keeping its majority in the chamber. “I think it’s 50-50.”

  145. says

    Why it matters when Team Trump listens to herd-immunity advocates

    Not everyone gets an audience with cabinet secretaries. So when the HHS chief chats with herd-immunity advocates during a pandemic it’s worth asking why.

    From Politico:

    The Trump administration’s health chief met Monday with a trio of scientists who back the controversial theory that the United States can quickly and safely achieve widespread immunity to the coronavirus by allowing it to spread unfettered among healthy people. The meeting with Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, which also included Trump adviser Scott Atlas, is the latest example of administration officials — including the president himself — seeking out scientists whose contrarian views justify the government’s handling of a pandemic that has killed 210,000 people and infected nearly 7.5 million so far in the U.S.

    From Steve Benen:

    […] the discussion was behind closed doors, but after the meeting, Azar published a tweet that read, “We heard strong reinforcement of the Trump Administration’s strategy of aggressively protecting the vulnerable while opening schools and the workplace.” [Propaganda speak!]

    The cabinet secretary added that the trio was comprised of “three distinguished infectious disease experts,” each of whom, generally speaking, has voiced support for herd immunity.

    Politico’s article added, “Mainstream medical and public health experts say that seeking widespread, or herd, immunity in the manner the scientists prescribe could result in the deaths of hundreds of thousands or even millions more U.S. residents.”

    And yet, the idea appears to have gained favor from Donald Trump, probably because it would mean curtailing efforts to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

    It was just three weeks ago when the president participated in an ABC News town-hall event and said the coronavirus is “going away,” even without a vaccine. When George Stephanopoulos was incredulous, the president added, “You’ll develop — you’ll develop herd — like a herd mentality. It’s going to be — it’s going to be herd-developed, and that’s going to happen. That will all happen.”

    While there was some laughter surrounding his use of the phrase “herd mentality,” instead of “herd immunity,” what mattered was the fact that Trump was describing a strategy in which the virus “goes away” by having much of the country get infected.

    When Stephanopoulos said such a tactic would lead to “many deaths,” the president ignored the observation and just kept talking.

    Herd immunity has also been popular with Dr. Scott Atlas, a radiologist whom Trump saw on Fox News, and who was brought onto the White House team, despite the fact that he has “no expertise in public health or infectious disease mitigation,” hasn’t practiced medicine in nearly a decade, and has demonstrated a habit of echoing unscientific claims.

    Yesterday, Atlas joined the HHS chief for the closed-door discussion.

  146. says

    Follow-up to comment 206.

    Trump calls for economic aid talks after ending economic aid talks

    As of this morning, Trump appears to be both for and against talks on economic relief measures. What his position will be by the end of the day is unknown.

    […] As of three weeks ago, [Trump] was telling the public that a proposal from congressional Democrats was both too generous and not generous enough. He simultaneously said he stood with Republicans, whose plan he opposed.

    [Trump] also said he was prepared to twist GOP lawmakers’ arms, convincing them to move closer to the Democratic plan, which he said he disliked.

    And yet, somehow, Trump’s position managed to get more confusing yesterday.

    For reasons unknown, [Trump] announced that he was abandoning economic aid talks altogether, effectively telling Americans that they should simply accept high unemployment and a weak economy until after the elections.

    About seven hours later, [Trump] started tweeting about economic bills — each of which would require legislative negotiations — he wants Congress to tackle quickly.

    […] Trump reversed course Tuesday night and urged Congress to approve a series of coronavirus relief measures that he would sign, including a new round of $1,200 stimulus checks for Americans…. He said in another tweet that he would approve funding for specific struggling industries, such as airlines and small businesses, which is short of what House Democrats proposed.

    So to recap, after weeks of contradictions on economic aid talks, Trump ended the negotiations entirely, only to start publishing tweets hours later about the new economic aid talks he’d like to see.

    […] Maybe the president is confused about what’s going on around him [Likely!]. Maybe he was rattled by yesterday’s reaction on Wall Street to his declaration [Also likely!]. Maybe [Trump’s] medications are having an unfortunate effect. [Also likely!]

    Maybe he’ll continue to change his mind every few hours, indefinitely, because he simply doesn’t know what he’s doing. [Good summary!]

    […] as of this morning, the president appears to be both for and against talks on economic relief measures. What Trump’s position will be by the end of the day is anybody’s guess.

    Update: White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said this morning, “The stimulus negotiations are off.” Whether his boss will soon say the opposite is unclear.

  147. says

    What does it say about a person when it’s hard to tell the difference between his usual persona and the one he displays while on mood-altering medications?

    […] Rachel [Maddow] spoke on the show last night with Dr. Robert Wachter, the chair of the department of medicine at UC San Francisco, who explained that the medication the president is on can cause mood swings — as can COVID itself, especially among the elderly.

    “For a 74-year-old man to have COVID, symptomatic COVID, low blood oxygen, which can alter your thinking, and be on dexamethasone raises the possibility that his thinking is altered, his judgment is altered from the medications,” Wachter said. “And part of the problem is if he is the one responsible for figuring out whether he’s capable of thinking clearly, that’s not a good plan.”

    The physician added, “I would say of the hundreds and hundreds of patients I’ve taken care who have altered thinking, it’s not at all infrequent that they have no idea. It’s one of these things that happens. They lose insight. They are unable to tell they have a problem. It’s the folks around them that can tell that. I can’t say for sure that there’s a problem here, but it certainly is possible given the medications, the low blood oxygen and the infections itself.”

    But in the same interview, Wachter conceded that part of the challenge in the diagnosis is having a sense of a patient’s “baseline personality,” which can serve as the basis for a comparison to determine whether he or she is acting erratically. […]

    [Trump] appeared to be acting recklessly, tweeting strange messages at a manic pace, and making policy pronouncements that were counter to his own interests. Given his behavior, it was hardly surprising that some, including White House officials, started wondering about Trump’s health and the effects of his ailment and treatments.

    But all of this comes with a caveat: we’ve confronted similar questions about Trump’s erraticism last week, last month, and last year. And the year before that. And the year before that. […]


    Trump was and is always batshit bonkers … but now he is more radically, deeply batshit bonkers for the reasons listed above by Dr. Robert Wachter.

  148. says

    From Nancy Pelosi:

    I wouldn’t go anywhere near the White House. It’s one of the most dangerous places in the country both in terms of the assault that it makes on truth as well as health.

    In other news, Pence has tested negative for COVID-19 prior to tonight’s vice presidential debate.

    In news about Trump’s health: White House physician Dr. Sean Conley’s latest memo says that Trump now has detectable levels of the COVID antibodies that were undetectable last week. CDC guidelines say that antibodies “most commonly become detectable 1–3 weeks after symptom onset.” We still don’t know when Trump last had a negative coronavirus test. But it looks like he has been sick for a long time.

    Trump’s White House doctor is just repeating Trump’s happy talk:

    Amid many critical yet unanswered questions regarding Trump’s health, White House physician Dr. Sean Conley once again reported on what the President told him this morning — much like his memo yesterday that said Trump “reports no symptoms.”

    In a memo issued Wednesday, Conley quotes Trump saying “I feel great!” this morning.

  149. says

    Trump is still tweeting crazy shit. He just retweeted some rando’s conspiracy nonsense from 2018 and editorialized “Wow!!! NOW DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS, THE BIGGEST OF ALL POLITICAL SCANDALS (IN HISTORY)!!! BIDEN, OBAMA AND CROOKED HILLARY LED THIS TREASONOUS PLOT!!! BIDEN SHOULDN’T BE ALLOWED TO RUN – GOT CAUGHT!!!”

  150. says

    Lynna @ #211, Conley sounds more like Bornstein and Jackson by the day. I’m starting to question whether he’s still writing these memos, which now seem to be uninitialled.

  151. says

    Follow-up to comment 211.

    From Mark Sumner:

    […] it looks a whole lot like Conley is a “Doctor Feelgood” who has provided Trump with a kitchen-sink approach that may be covering up his symptoms at the cost of his health.

    Conley became Trump’s physician after being at the White House for only a year on the recommendation of previous White House physician Ronny Jackson. Jackson was famously the doctor who inflated Trump’s height and underreported Trump’s weight so that he could avoid being technically obese in medical records. […] Jackson repeatedly made the same kind of claims that Conley has taken up since—proclaiming Trump the healthiest man alive. [Jackson] lost his position at the White House amid an ongoing investigation by the Navy.

    […] I’m not a doctor. I’m not a health specialist. So do not treat this as more than just an interested amateur who reads a lot of journals. Please do not override the recommendations of your own doctor based on any statement I make. Thanks.

    Trump got antibody treatment far too early
    Regeneron monoclonal antibody “cocktail”—Regeneron’s treatment is a mixture of two different monoclonal antibodies that are designed to increase the body’s own response against COVID-19. At the Saturday conference at Walter Reed, Dr. Brian Garibaldi said that Trump had been treated with the Regeneron therapy “about 48 hours ago.” Which means that Trump was given his first treatment of the cocktail well before his diagnosis was admitted to the public. But there’s an issue with this right off the bat. Regeneron’s own statements indicate that the results of phase 1/2a trials show that the “greatest treatment benefit was in patients who had not mounted their own effective immune response.” All patients in the study entered their trials already being confirmed as being COVID-19 positive and already several days into treatment.

    But Donald Trump was given a “compassionate use” authorization for his COVID-19 at what we’ve been told was the very outset of his disease course, well before his body could have mounted a response on its own. […]

    Considering that one of the largest issues with patients dying or suffering severe effects from COVID-19 has been an overly strong response by the immune system resulting in a “cytokine storm,” it’s difficult to see how treating Trump with these antibodies at the beginning of his illness could be considered either safe or effective, […]

    Trump should not be taking Remdesivir outside of a hospital
    Trump was immediately placed on a five-day course of the antiviral drug Remdesivir. There are at least two reasons to be concerned about this: First, this therapy is generally reserved for patients who are exhibiting a more severe reaction to COVID-19. News that Trump’s oxygen levels twice dropped into the 80s, and that he was given oxygen, might have justified this. However, Remdesivir is available under an emergency use authorization from the FDA that specifies in-hospital treatment.

    […] Trump should not be getting the steroid dexamethasone
    Both Remdesivir and the anti-inflammatory steroid dexamethasone have contributed to the decreasing rate of death among patients hospitalized with COVID-19. But both of them are suitable only for specific cases. The commonly available steroid became part of the COVID-19 standard of care following a study in The New England Journal of Medicine. That study did show an increase in survival rate, but only “among those who were receiving either invasive mechanical ventilation or oxygen alone.” Dexamethasone provided no improvement for patients who were not receiving respiratory care.

    In short: If Trump is not getting oxygen, he should not be getting dexamethasone. There is not only no benefit from the drug, there are a huge number of potential side effects. Even leaving aside the normal threat that steroids can represent, a study in the Journal of Hospital Medicine specifically found that use of steroids with patients who did not need oxygen or intubation had negative effects.

    […] there appears to be no reason this treatment should have continued when oxygen treatment was suspended. As The Washington Post points out, dexamethasone can cause blood clots, blurred vision, insomnia, mood swings, and “frank psychotic manifestations.” The side effects of steroids like dexamethasone can also be feelings of empowerment and invulnerability, even though the patient’s actual condition is declining.

    […] The extraordinary spate of even more disturbing than usual tweets from Trump have been widely connected to the administration of steroids and their well-known side effects. Which raises a question: When did Trump start getting steroids?

    Conley […] has continued to refuse to give a date on which Trump had his last negative test for COVID-19, suggesting—strongly—that Conley is collaborating in an effort to cover up when Trump was first diagnosed.

    Consider this evidence that Trump knew he had been exposed by Monday, Sept. 28: First, here’s a picture of Donald Trump and Mike Pence on Sept. 25 [photo of Pence and Trump side by side is available at the link.]

    The following tweet shows Pence and Trump just three days later on Monday, Sept. 28. Rather than being side by side, Pence is at a separate podium, well away from Trump. This kind of arrangement […] had not been employed for several weeks before making a reappearance on that day. And it was not just Pence. Everyone spoke at a separate podium from Trump.

    It seems clear that by that day, Trump knew he had been exposed. He may have even tested positive. The following day, Trump went to the debate against Joe Biden, where he notably did not take a COVID-19 test because he “arrived too late.”

    Considering Trump’s behavior on the debate stage, had Conley already provided him with steroids to cover up his COVID-19 symptoms at the time of the debate? White House staff talking about Trump’s illness repeatedly mentioned “lethargy.” Trump also made a point of making noises about a “drug test” before the debate, but definitely did not actually take such a test himself.

    All of which makes it entirely possible that Trump was given dexamethasone, or some other steroid, before the debate—which would go some ways toward explaining his train wreck of a performance.


  152. says

    SC @213, I agree.

    From reporter Pema Levy: Trump Showed Up at His Debate Infected.

    It’s now clear that […] Trump rolled up to the first debate against Joe Biden while not only infected with coronavirus but almost certainly contagious. His family members took off their masks in the debate hall, including the first lady, whose own positive COVID-19 test would soon be announced. The White House has thus far refused to reveal when the president’s last negative test was, as the number of infections in Trump’s orbit has climbed to 23.

    Against this backdrop, it should be clear taking team Trump’s word on the timing or presence of any infection in their ranks is unsafe.

    And yet, it appears that is exactly what will happen at tonight’s debate between Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris. The Biden campaign is again deferring to the Commission on Presidential Debates—the event’s host—and the Cleveland Clinic—their medical advisor—to ensure the safety of their nominee. These are the same entities that deferred to Trump on his test results last week, putting Joe Biden on stage for 90 minutes with a man who could have infected him with a deadly disease. The decision by the debate commission to accept the candidates’ word on their test results, rather than administer their own tests or collect evidence of negative results, put a dark cloud over the first debate—yet their testing protocol remains unchanged.

    “The presidential debate commission, the Cleveland Clinic, they are responsible for the safety of this debate,” Liz Allen, a Harris spokesperson, told reporters on a call Wednesday. “We are abiding by their determination on safety measures and questions about the adequacy of those safety measures should be addressed to them.” Allen did not respond to a question about whether Pence’s team had reached out to Biden’s camp about testing, leaving an impression that Pence has not been transparent with his opponents about his own testing ahead of the debate.

    […] ahead of tonight’s Vice Presidential debate, the Cleveland Clinic put out a statement downplaying their role in the events by stating that they were merely an adviser to the Commission on Presidential Debates. While the press release reiterated that the clinic’s recommended safety precautions have not changed, it directed questions about their implementation to the commission. During the first debate between Biden and Trump, a Cleveland Clinic representative asked the first family members to wear their masks inside the venue. They refused, and the clinic did not enforce its rule, putting everyone there in danger.

    […] On Tuesday, Pence spokesperson Katie Miller released a statement from Pence’s doctors that said his daily rapid tests—a less sensitive test—have been negative, while offering that he undergoes “intermittent PCR tests”—a more sensitive and conclusive test type. The statement but did not clarify when his last PCR test was. A few hours later, Miller’s husband and White House adviser Stephen Miller tested positive.

    Does the debate commission or the Cleveland Clinic know when Pence’s last negative PCR test was? The commission did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


  153. says

    Follow-up to SC’s comment 213.

    From Wonkette:

    Dr. Leo Spaceman Sean Conley has released another statement on the president’s health. It begins, as most medical documents do, with the patient assessing himself, which is only fair since […] Trump knows more than the generals and also the doctors. It ends without his signature.

    In a statement Oct. 2, meant to clear up his “misstatement” of how long the president had had coronavirus, Dr. Conley misspelled the medication Regeneron and was also incorrect by calling it polyclonal antibody theory in his memo. “It is two monoclonal antibodies. It was incorrect in the physician’s letter,” Regeneron spokesperson Hala Mirza told CBS News.

    So either the president of the United States has a sloppy doctor, or some asshole is (not) signing his name to stupid letters.

    […] Donald Trump Wants To Murderize Everyone In White House

    Chief of Staff Mark Meadows says President Trump wants to resume working from the Oval Office and they now have precautions in place to allow for that. Any staff coming in contact with him will wear gowns, gloves, mask, eye protection

    Donald Trump still has COVID-19 but he wants to start “working” again (i.e., sending deranged tweets) from the Oval Office. We direct you to the very clear guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

    Employees who test positive for COVID-19 (using a viral test, not an antibody test) should be excluded from work and remain in home isolation if they do not need to be hospitalized. Employers should provide education to employees on what to do if they are sick.

    But President Pandemic wants to pose for photos behind the Resolute desk. Those blank papers won’t sign themselves!

    White House staff will have to wear moon suits when interacting with Typhoid Donnie, and you know they won’t bother to provide adequate PPE for the poor folks who have to fumigate the Oval Office whenever he leaves.

    Trump’s utter contempt for human life is, well, what we’ve come to expect from him. White House staff is reportedly “terrified” that he’s roaming the halls while infected and most likely maskless. One staffer told The Atlantic that he’s “just waiting and worried for my friends and their families.”

    Tuesday, DC recorded its highest daily coronavirus cases since June, and the White House has become a hot zone. Trump’s malignant narcissism is quite literally toxic. […]


  154. says

    Quoted in Lynna’s #214 above:

    Conley became Trump’s physician after being at the White House for only a year on the recommendation of previous White House physician Ronny Jackson.

    I did not know that, but wow that makes sense.

  155. says

    SC @217, on that’s funny. Also, spot on.

    In other news, Trump retweeted a story about ballot fraud without realizing that the story confirms that there are safeguards against fraud.

    Yet another Donald Trump supporter, this time a bona fide Florida Man, has attempted ballot fraud, just to check to see if the voting system is secure. The amateur investigator, one Larry Wiggins of Manatee County, sent in an absentee ballot request for his late wife Ursula, who died in 2018, and the system worked exactly as it should: County election officials saw that the late Mrs. Wiggins had been removed from the voter rolls, and saw the signature on the ballot application didn’t match one on file, so they contacted law enforcement. A deputy arrested Wiggins last week, and after being booked on one count of requesting an absentee ballot on behalf of another elector, a third-degree felony, Wiggins was released.

    Wiggins, a “self-described Democrat who supports President Donald Trump,” told WFLA-TV he was worried about ballot integrity, you see, presumably since Donald Trump says mail-in ballots are an invitation to fraud.

    “I heard so much about ballots being sent in and people just having found them in different places,” said Mr. Wiggins. “I feel like I haven’t done anything wrong.”

    The 62 year-old said he was just testing Florida’s voting system.

    It works! He couldn’t get away with attempted voter fraud, which should be a great relief to people worried about voter fraud.

    Aw, don’t be ridiculous! Donald Trump saw a story about Wiggins and retweeted it, because look at the fraud! (Which didn’t lead to a fake vote at all, because ballot security really is a thing.) […]


    Rightwing sources are repeating this story without noting that Wiggins is a Trump supporter. They are also posting a photo of Wiggins, who is Black, along with headlines like this one”Crooked Democrat Requests Ballot for Dead Wife.”

    […] Fox News and Sean Hannity pushed the story with no mention of Wiggins’s loyalty to the Great Leader.

    For what it’s worth (very little), the blog post Trump retweeted, by Fox News contributor Gregg Jarrett, does at least mention Wiggins is a Trump supporter — in its next-to-last paragraph, between two blocks of ads. […]

  156. says

    Just one of Trump’s batshit bonkers tweets, from today, (does not include the dozens of unhinged tweets he posted yesterday):



    […] That’s one of the 13 messages Donald Trump has posted since 9:47 a.m. ET. Many of them, like the one above, are related to his belief that Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration fabricated evidence that his 2016 campaign had connections to Russia in order to sabotage his presidency. (This theory was most recently debunked by a bipartisan Senate report.)

    It is not unusual for Trump to engage in binges of all-caps social media posting about obscure subjects that he has scraped from the sewers of the right-wing internet. (It’s up to you whether you believe the tweeting has become even more manic because of the steroids he’s on or simply because of his dire political position.) What isn’t normal is that there is nothing on the horizon to distract him from doing this indefinitely: There are no public events on his schedule, because he has a serious case of a contagious and potentially fatal disease, and he isn’t meeting with anyone in the White House, because he has a serious case of a contagious and potentially fatal disease

    He’s reportedly been insisting that he be allowed into the Oval Office, where he would become a part of this dystopian scene:

    Per an Internal White House Memo: Senior staff who interact w Trump must first don protective gear from an “Isolation Cart” — which includes yellow gowns and protective goggles.

    From a long-term perspective, it is perhaps “good” that Trump is concluding his reelection campaign by emphasizing things that swing voters either don’t like about him (his personal impulsiveness and thoughtless attitude toward COVID-19) or don’t care about at all (Peter Strzok). From a near-term perspective, though, it is concerning.

    The seeming deterioration in Trump’s state of mind has already had harmful real-world repercussions, as when he, on Tuesday, suddenly instructed Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to pull out of what had been relatively fruitful negotiations with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi about passing another badly needed stimulus bill. (A bill that it almost certainly would have helped Trump politically to sign!) Going forward, there is truly no telling what demands he will make of his subordinates—particularly if he loses the Nov. 3 election and is left with 2½ months in which he holds the power of the presidency, has no more incentive at all to act “normal,” and is compulsively watching cable news coverage of the many ways in which he and the people around him might be prosecuted once he leaves office.

    From a national stability perspective, we should probably root for a medical incapacitation or a late-night, fugitive-style flight to Dubai, then a brief Mike Pence presidency. I don’t like it either, but what other options look better?


  157. says

    Denver Post – “U.S. Rep. Lamborn staffers in D.C. test positive for COVID-19, sources say”:

    Two members of U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn’s Washington, D.C., staff have tested positive for COVID-19, staffers of the Colorado Springs Republican confirmed to The Denver Post on Tuesday evening.

    Meanwhile, Lamborn is back in Colorado attending fundraisers and refusing to take a test himself, according to the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution.

    The highly contagious coronavirus has been spreading through the White House and Capitol at least since a Sept. 26 Rose Garden ceremony in which President Donald Trump announced Amy Coney Barrett as his Supreme Court nominee.

    “The deputy chief of staff, who is also the legislative director, started feeling unwell sometime around Thursday or Friday and tested positive for COVID over the weekend,” one of Lamborn’s staffers told The Post.

    Then, Lamborn’s military legislative assistant tested positive Tuesday, the source said.

    “The chief of staff called and told us about the one positive case,” the source said. “Three or four more people are experiencing symptoms. … It was recommended that they not tell their roommates.”

    The information was confirmed by a second Lamborn staff member.

    Cassandra Sebastian, spokesperson for Lamborn, said the congressman’s staff will work virtually for the next two weeks and that constituent services will not be interrupted.

    “Congressman Lamborn has been in contact with a physician within the attending physician’s office for the U.S. House of Representatives,” Sebastian said. “After giving detailed information to the office, including a lack of symptoms, he was advised that he did not need to be tested or quarantined for COVID-19.”

    Lamborn’s offices are among the few in Congress that haven’t closed due to the pandemic, his staffers said. His D.C. office employs about a dozen people, while the local office employs about seven.

    Now that Lamborn is back in Colorado, he has been attending events and meeting with people, including a fundraiser Tuesday evening for 6th District Congressional District candidate Steve House, a fellow Republican. At least some attendees of the Colorado Springs event weren’t wearing masks, according to a photo former Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams posted on Facebook….

  158. says

    SC @219, yep. That goes a long way towards explaining Dr. Leo Spaceman Conley.

    In Biden news, here’s a telling moment:

    Former vice president Joe Biden was standing on the tarmac Monday chatting with reporters at New Castle County Airport before boarding his campaign plane for Miami. Biden was wearing a mask and so were the journalists, but the plane’s engine was whirring and as he was answering questions about whether he would participate in the upcoming scheduled debate, he began to drift from socially distanced range into normal speaking range. And so, with no fanfare but unmistakable firmness, Jill Biden approached her husband from behind, reminded him of proper spacing and physically moved him several paces back.

    Biden apologized for his spatial indiscretion and then carried on with his thoughts about the importance of following the science in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

    An entire campaign was summed up in that simple gesture — and by Biden’s response to it. […]

    Washington Post link

    Video is available at the link.

  159. says

    SC @222, OMG. They are trying to hide the positive coronavirus tests related to Republican legislators and their staffers.

    It’s time to prosecute.

  160. says

    How sexist, racist attacks on Kamala Harris have spread online — a case study.

    Washington Post link

    […] A racist trope questioned whether Harris, a daughter of immigrants who was born in the United States, is constitutionally eligible to be vice president. Another suggested her heritage, which is Jamaican and Indian, disqualifies her from claiming she is Black.

    One pernicious line of attack on Harris is as old as misogyny itself. It claims that a woman who has served as San Francisco district attorney, California attorney general and U.S. senator slept her way into those positions.

    In the first week after Harris was named to the ticket, the sexualized hashtag #heelsupharris appeared 35,479 times in Twitter posts, according to an analysis by the media intelligence platform Zignal Labs. It also found that, immediately following the running-mate announcement, false claims about Harris were being shared at least 3,000 times an hour on Twitter.

    […] what started as an offensive post on one man’s personal Facebook page was seized upon and expanded by malicious actors, then blasted across the Internet. Ultimately, it would be seen more than 630,000 times on Twitter alone, adding fuel to sexist attacks being made on Harris by leading right-wing figures and even the president of the United States.

    The day after Biden announced his selection of Harris, a former California state assemblyman named Steve Baldwin wrote a post on his Facebook page that began: “I do remember Kamala Harris….” He recalled seeing her around Sacramento in the 1990s with Willie Brown, the assembly speaker, who was separated from his wife.

    AN EXCERPT FROM THE FACEBOOK POST: “Willie launched her career because she was having sex with him. The idea that she is an ‘independent’ woman who worked her way up the political ladder because she worked hard is baloney. She slept her way into powerful jobs.”

    That is false. Harris dated Brown, and he appointed her to two state boards, which may have been ethically questionable. But their relationship had been over for about eight years by the time Harris ran for her first elective office. During that campaign for district attorney in 2003, her past with Brown, who had by then become mayor of San Francisco, was used against her by her opponents. Harris described Brown as “an albatross hanging around my neck.”

    What Baldwin wrote underwent a transformation as it spread like a brushfire across the dry tinder of the digital ecosystem. […] Odd Web links were added. In some instances, so was a cartoon that depicted Harris engaged in oral sex. It was rewritten to include new opening paragraphs that accused Harris, who got married in 2014, of being an “opportunistic liar” when she spoke of her affection for the stepchildren who call her Momala. [Examples at the link.]

    The altered post showed up on dozens of right-wing blogs, on Facebook group pages and in comments sections. It also found its way to non-political sites that cater to people with such varied interests as day trading, biblical prophecy, firearms […]

    there are signs that the metastasis of Baldwin’s post was not random.

    Mentions on disparate websites spiked over a short period during the first week of September, which was nearly a month after Baldwin wrote his original version. They were being generated from accounts with names such as “Here4money” on a stock-trading forum and “Big Boy” on a biker blog. “To see a cluster of identical posts on everything from a motorcycle forum to a pornographic Tumblr account suggests a behind-the-scenes coordinated effort by these pseudo-anonymous actors,” said Tim Chambers, the head of Dewey Digital, the digital and social media arm of the public affairs firm Dewey Square Group. […]

    “I don’t want to see a woman president get in to that position the way she’d do it, and she is not competent.”
    President Trump, Aug. 28, 2020 […]

    More at the link.

  161. says


    Claiming A Grand Obama Conspiracy, Flynn Asks Judge To Recuse Himself From Case

    Michael Flynn is asking that the federal judge in his case recuse himself from further proceedings […] the former national security adviser’s attorney said that the case against him was actually part of a “coup” attempt against […] Trump.

    […] Powell accused District Judge Emmett Sullivan for the District of Columbia in the filing of “actively litigating against [Flynn],” saying that Sullivan’s presence in the case was a “national scandal undermining confidence in the impartiality of the federal judicial system and faith in the rule of law writ large.”

    The Justice Department made the unprecedented decision in May to move to drop charges against Flynn, repudiating its own theory of the case and siding with right-wing conspiracy theories alleging that Flynn is the victim of a late Obama administration plot to sabotage Trump.

    Since then, Sullivan appointed former federal judge John Gleeson as an amicus to argue against the government’s motion in court. After the case spent the summer on appeal, Sullivan was allowed to continue with the proceedings, resulting in a hearing last week.

    Powell said at the hearing that she would file a motion for Sullivan to recuse, which he is unlikely to grant.

    But in the Wednesday filing, she went further, implying that Sullivan himself was part of the conspiracy and saying that “it goes all the way to the Obama oval office.” […]

    She went on to conclude that Sullivan’s bias was “terrifying” and constituted “his own prosecution of General Flynn.”

    General Flynn and his legal council are batshit bonkers. It’s like they caught a different virus from Trump and/or QAnon.

  162. says

    Update on Chris Christie – “Ex-N.J. Gov. Chris Christie remains hospitalized for COVID-19”:

    Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie remains hospitalized at Morristown Medical Center, where he was admitted Saturday after testing positive COVID-19.

    Christie’s current condition is not known. Hospital officials declined comment Tuesday.

    Gov. Phil Murphy said during a television interview Monday he had “private communications” with Christie over the weekend, but he has “no insight” into his condition.

    “He’s in our prayers, and he knows we’re here for him,” Murphy said.

  163. says

    From Josh Marshall:

    […] I think there’s a decent chance Mitch McConnell suckered […] Trump into canceling stimulus bill negotiations. The GOP looks to be shifting into bust out mode. McConnell and other party leaders likely see that Trump is finished and that the Senate majority probably is too. The cynical play is straightforward: pocket the Court seat and leave an incoming Biden administration in as deep a hole as possible.

    It even cues Republicans up to switch seamlessly back into austerity/fiscal scold mode in 2021, without their fingerprints on any more stimulus spending. Little discussed here is Trump’s assertion that leaving stimulus negotiations until after the election will clear the calendar to focus on confirming Amy Coney Barrett. Of course it will. That seems to be the point.

    Normally it would be reasonable to ask whether anyone really thinks that cynically about governance. With Mitch McConnell not only do we know he thinks that cynically he actually acted this cynically under Barack Obama. We have a track record.

    […] Trump’s defeat already looks increasingly likely. Not only foreclosing the possibility of any additional relief but owning that decision publicly is the political equivalent of taking a hammer to your own head. Trump campaign advisors who spoke to reporters off the record last night were apoplectic. The stock market tanked. This is likely why by mid-evening Trump was back on Twitter demanding Nancy Pelosi agree to more deals and more spending.

    It is no accident that we haven’t seen [Trump] speak live on camera since his COVID diagnosis. It is hard to distinguish [Trump’s] current state of mind from his baseline antic, mercurial nature. But much of what has happened over the last three days resembles a fairly typical manic episode and mania is a relatively common side effect of the steroid medication he was given as part of his COVID treatment. His Twitter feed is increasingly difficult to distinguish from Kanye West’s. […]

    But don’t take your eyes off this broader calculus […] Everybody get out to vote. The stakes for a second Trump term are too high to take anything for granted. But for those gaming out their own moves and post-January realities, Trump’s defeat is starting to look very likely. Under normal circumstances that would lead congressional Republicans to cut Trump loose and pitch their reelection as a check on the power of a Democratic President. That would be a great card to play for a number of endangered Republican Senators at the moment. But it’s all but impossible since loyalty to Trump is now the centerpiece of Republican identity. And any move away from him would trigger a fatal backlash.

    So look for more signs of this bust out scenario. Steal what you can and burn the rest down on the way out.



  164. says


    The Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency has asked the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) for the green light to erase its paper trail and destroy internal documents, including records concerning alleged misconduct, as soon as four years from now.

    The purpose of the ask to the National Archives is clear, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said. CBP, among the most corrupt law enforcement agencies in the nation, would be able to sabotage investigations into its abuses by simply pressing delete. […]

    “CBP misconduct often only becomes public via leaks, investigative reporting, or lawsuits,” the ACLU cautioned, “meaning the loss of internal records could forever bury unknown abuses. For example, the first death of a child in CBP custody in over 10 years was revealed by journalists, after CBP failed to report the death to Congress, as required.” A medical expert later told Congress that Jakelin Ameí Rosmery Caal Maquin, the 7-year-old indigenous girl from Guatemala who died while in CBP custody in December 2018, could have been saved.

    Following her death, Congress gave the agency emergency humanitarian funds for food and medical supplies in an attempt to prevent further tragedies. But in a blockbuster report this year, the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) said the agency violated law by spending some of those funds on dirt bikes, computer network upgrades, and a canine program. […]

    “Independent lawyers uncovered children held in deplorable conditions at a Border Patrol station in Clint, TX,” the ACLU continued. “Border Patrol’s racist and xenophobic Facebook page was uncovered by a reporter, and the prevalence of sexual harrassment and rape within the agency has been revealed only when survivors and former officials spoke up. Lawsuits have similarly uncovered severe agent misconduct, including kidnapping, sexual assault, and an agent intentionally running over a migrant.” The U.S. has in fact shelled out tens of millions of dollars to settle case allegations of wrongful detention, assault, and death at the hands of border agents.

    Those are the kinds of abuses the agency is seeking to forever hide […]

    Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), another out-of-control federal immigration agency, also asked for—and got—authorization from the National Archives to begin deleting records. […]

    the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has also taken truly unprecedented actions in the name of white supremacy. Under a Stephen Miller-led order exploiting the novel coronavirus pandemic, the administration has violated U.S. and international law by blocking thousands of asylum-seekers, including children.

    A possible end to the Trump administration within the next couple months could mean we begin a true period of accountability. CBP knows that too. “With systemic failures of oversight, CBP’s abject failure to hold its own personnel accountable, and a complete lack of transparency, the last thing the agency should be permitted to do is purge its own records,” the ACLU said.


    “erase its paper trail and destroy internal documents, including records concerning alleged misconduct” Dystopian, authoritarian? How would you describe that?

    Looks like CBP also thinks that Trump is going to lose. Like Mitch McConnell, the agency is now in “Steal what you can and burn the rest down on the way out” mode.

  165. says

    Rick Wilson:

    Hey, Donald.

    Why is your campaign off the air in most of the big swing states?

    Why are they lying to you about digital ads?

    Why are they ripping you off on commissions and fees?

    Because — and let’s be honest — you’re not very smart.

  166. says

    ‘We Need to Take Away Children,’ No Matter How Young, Justice Dept. Officials Said

    New York Times link

    The five U.S. attorneys along the border with Mexico, including three appointed by […] Trump, recoiled in May 2018 against an order to prosecute all undocumented immigrants even if it meant separating children from their parents. They told top Justice Department officials they were “deeply concerned” about the children’s welfare.

    But the attorney general at the time, Jeff Sessions, made it clear what Mr. Trump wanted on a conference call later that afternoon, according to a two-year inquiry by the Justice Department’s inspector general into Mr. Trump’s “zero tolerance” family separation policy.

    “We need to take away children,” Mr. Sessions told the prosecutors, according to participants’ notes. One added in shorthand: “If care about kids, don’t bring them in. Won’t give amnesty to people with kids.”

    Rod J. Rosenstein, then the deputy attorney general, went even further in a second call about a week later, telling the five prosecutors that it did not matter how young the children were. He said that government lawyers should not have refused to prosecute two cases simply because the children were barely more than infants.

    […] The Justice Department’s top officials were “a driving force” behind the policy that spurred the separation of thousands of families, many of them fleeing violence in Central America and seeking asylum in the United States, before Mr. Trump abandoned it amid global outrage, according to a draft report of the results of the investigation by Michael E. Horowitz, the department’s inspector general. […]

    Rod Fucking Rosenstein.

    […] After the pilot program in Texas ended, the report asserted, Mr. Sessions, Mr. Hamilton and Mr. Rosenstein pushed aggressively to expand the practice across the entire southwestern border, with help from prosecutors. […]

    More at the link.

  167. says

    Ryan Struyk:

    FAUCI: “If we had everyone have universal use of masks, distancing, no crowds, outdoors, wash hands, you wouldn’t see the surges we’re seeing. It occurs because of the lack of implementation of simple public health measures. It’s so frustrating, because it’s not rocket science.”

    FAUCI: “You almost want to say, OK, country, you know, maybe 50 percent of you hate me, because you think I’m trying to destroy the country, but do me a favor. Listen to me for, like, maybe six weeks or so, and do these things. You would see the level of infection go down.”

    FAUCI: “Right now, a resurgence, superimposed upon what we’re currently looking at, doesn’t look pretty… The models tell us that, if we do not do the kinds of things that we’re talking about in the cold of the fall and the winter, we could have from 300,000 to 400,000 deaths.”

  168. says

    CNN is reporting that Trump is in the Oval Office, and MSNBC is reporting that Meadows is in there with him. If true, what a despicably callous act. He’s probably trying to film another propaganda video.

  169. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    SC#235 Seconded, the barriers are big enough to help. Maybe if they were 12’X12′ ft. I’d still wear an N95 mask even then.

  170. johnson catman says

    re SC @235: Those barriers are pitifully inadequate. And the spacing is ridiculously close. Harris should bring her own plexiglass barrier like Jaime Harrison did in the SC Senate race debate.

  171. says

    Jennifer Jacobs:

    NEWS: The head of White House security office, Crede Bailey, is gravely ill with coronavirus and has been hospitalized since late September, I’m told. Security office handles credentialing for access to WH; works closely with Secret Service on security measures on the compound.

    Crede Bailey, the head of the White House security office, became sick with the coronavirus before the Sept. 26 Rose Garden event, I’m told.

    Is this the person they minimized last month?

    John Santucci:

    BREAKING – @ABC – 34 people connected to White House, more than previously known, infected by coronavirus: Internal FEMA memo via ⁦@JoshMargolin ⁦@lcbruggeman

  172. says

    NEJM editorial – “Dying in a Leadership Vacuum”:

    …Anyone else who recklessly squandered lives and money in this way would be suffering legal consequences. Our leaders have largely claimed immunity for their actions. But this election gives us the power to render judgment. Reasonable people will certainly disagree about the many political positions taken by candidates. But truth is neither liberal nor conservative. When it comes to the response to the largest public health crisis of our time, our current political leaders have demonstrated that they are dangerously incompetent. We should not abet them and enable the deaths of thousands more Americans by allowing them to keep their jobs.

    More atl.

  173. says

    Mike Pence looks sick.

    Pence is repeating some Trump lies.

    Pence refused to move on to a new topic when the moderator asked. From Aaron Rupar: “Pence seems to sense that Harris drew blood during the coronavirus section of the debate and tries to circle back to it even as the moderator wants to move on.”

    The moderator keeps harping on how old Biden is.

    More from Aaron Rupar:

    These are the first words out of Harris’s mouth: “The American people have witnessed what is the greatest failure of any presidential administration in the history of our country.”
    [Pence claimed that Trump respects the American people, and that Trump trusts them to make their own decisions, while Biden/Harris do not.] “Let’s talk about respecting the American people. You respect the American people when you tell them the truth.” — Harris
    Q: How can you expect Americans to follow the administration’s safety guidelines for Covid when the administration won’t?

    PENCE: “President Trump and I have great confidence in the American people.”
    “The reality is the work of the POTUS goes on. A vacancy on SCOTUS has come upon us, and the POTUS introduced Amy Coney Barrett” — Pence is talking like the White House superspreader event was something Trump *had* to hold.
    Q: Why is the US coronavirus death toll higher than comparable countries?

    PENCE: *doesn’t answer the question but instead touts Trump’s accomplishments*
    Harris: “They knew and they covered it up. The president said it was a hoax. They minimized the seriousness of it … in spite of all of that, today they still don’t have a plan.”

  174. says

    From Talking Points Memo live coverage:

    Harris says she’ll take COVID vaccine if public health professionals say it’s okay, not if Trump does.
    Pence urges Harris to “stop playing politics with people’s lives.” [Reminder. Pence is the Head of the White House coronavirus Task Force.]

    Pence pivots to the deadly pandemic disease that has swept the country: swine flu, the H1N1 pandemic that occurred in the first year of the Obama presidency.

    It would be a hilariously bad comparison, if it weren’t so bleak: 12,000 U.S. swine flu deaths compared to 210,000 of COVID-19.
    And now, Pence delivers the first head-on defense of the Rose Garden superspreader event. And, really of his whole conduct during the pandemic.

    It’s about freedom and the American way.

    “The difference here is that President Trump and I trust the American people to make choices in the best interests of their health,” Pence said, contrasting that with the “mandates” of his opponents. “We’re about freedom and respecting the freedom of the American people.”

    Asked a pretty straightforward question about the White House’s recent super-spreader event — “How can you expect Americans to follow the administration’s safety guidelines to protect themselves from COVID when you at the White House have not been doing so?” — Pence sidesteps it almost entirely, talking about personal choice and how many at the White House event were tested beforehand. Testing does not mean it’s okay to ignore distancing guidelines!
    As Harris brought up President Trump knowing that the virus was deadly – worse than the flu – in late January, per Woodward’s reporting, Pence tried to interrupt.

    But it was to no avail. “Mr. Vice President, I’m speaking,” Harris said.

    The next question, for Pence, is brutal: “Why is the U.S. death toll as a percentage of our population higher than that of almost every other wealthy country?”

    And Pence doesn’t offer a direct response. Instead, he pivoted to Trump, reminding us all of his belief that Trump “has put the health of America first.” [OMG. That was so weak on Pence’s part.]


  175. says

    More from Aaron Rupar:

    “I remember hearing about some infrastructure week — I don’t think it ever happened,” Harris says, adding: “There was a time our country believed in science.”
    Note how Pence does not deny the NYT’s reporting about Trump’s taxes but instead says “the president denies” it.
    “Donald Trump is in debt for $400 million. Just so everyone is clear, when we say ‘in debt,’ it means you owe money to somebody. It would be really good to know who the POTUS, the commander-in-chief, owes money to.” — Harris

  176. says

    Ronald Klain fact-checks the lies Pence told about the number of people who died from H1N1:

    Thanks for mentioning me @vp, so here are the facts: 14,000 died from H1N1; we are headed to 400,000 dead in less than a year from COVID. Happy to compare records any time!

    More debate notes from Talking Points Memo:

    Asked whether voters deserve detailed health information about their presidents — and asked specifically about Trump’s doctors’ misleading answers about his COVID situation — Pence totally passed, instead talking about “how moved we’ve been with the outpouring of prayers and concern” about the first family. Total non-answer.

  177. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Got tired of hearing Pence’s rethug lies. I know what my IRA was after 2008 (rethug policies), and how Obama slowly recovered the economy and built up that money (money I’m now living off). The first thee years of Trump were simply a continuation of the strong growth Obama had built. No growth from Trump, and his tax cut and deruglation sped up the expected downturn, even before the pandemic. Shut off the debate.

  178. says

    From Aaron Rupar:

    “The climate is changing, but the issue is, what’s the cause?” — Mike Pence is out here pretending like climate science is unsettled. It’s not.
    Harris: “Biden is the one who, during the Great Recession, was responsible for the Recovery Act that brought America back, and now the Trump-Pence administration wants to take credit, when they rode the coattails of Joe Biden’s success.”
    Pence: “Obamacare was a disaster. President Trump and I have a plan to improve health care and protect pre-existing conditions for every American.”

    Then he pivoted to criticizing Harris for a host of other issues like taxes and environmental policy. The Trump administration has been teasing a non-existent Obamacare replacement for ages. In reality, they have no plan and with another Trump SCOTUS pick headed for the court and the ACA in real danger, it’s clear that Republicans have not come to terms with reality […]

    From Aaron Rupar:

    “President Trump and I believe that forest management has to be front and center” — Pence

    “Joe understands that the West Coast of our country is burning, including my home state of California … So Joe believes, again, in science” — Harris

    Harris did a good job of explaining that Trump lost his trade war with China.

  179. says


    Q: Do you believe that climate change presents an existential threat?

    PENCE: “The climate is changing. We’ll follow the science. But once again, Sen. Harris is denying the fact that they’re going to raise taxes.”

  180. says

    From Aaron Rupar:

    “There are estimates that the end of the term of this administration, they will have lost more jobs than almost any other presidential administration, and the American people know what I’m talking about.” — Harris
    “China is to blame for the coronavirus, and President Trump is not happy about it” — Pence

  181. says

    From Pence: “With regard to wildfires, President Trump and I believe that forest management has to be front and center. And even Gov. Gavin Newsom, from your state [California], has agreed we’ve got to work on forest management. And with regard to hurricanes, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association tells us that, as difficult as they are, there are no more hurricanes than there were 100 years ago.” [The question was not about the number of hurricanes, it was about the increasing damage caused by hurricanes that are “wetter” and that cause more damage.]

    Pence then criticized “climate alarmists.”

    From Pence: “Obamacare was a disaster. President Trump and I have a plan to improve health care and protect pre-existing conditions for every American.” [They don’t have a plan! They have the DOJ in front of the Supreme Court right now trying to kill Obamacare and the part that would protect coverage for pre-existing conditions.]

  182. says

    “There was a team of disease experts that President Obama and VP Biden dispatched to China to monitor what is now predictable, and what might happen. They pulled them out. We now are looking at 210,000 Americans who have lost their lives” — Harris

    Speaking directly to the camera, Harris highlighted the staggering number of jobs lost under the Trump-Pence administration. Harris, while looking directly into the camera, told Pence that he “lost that trade war” with China given how the U.S. lost 300,000 manufacturing jobs.

    “Farmers have experienced bankruptcy because of it. We are in a manufacturing recession because of it,” Harris said. “And when we look at where this administration has been, there are estimates that by the end of the term of this administration, they will have lost more jobs than almost any other presidential administration.”

  183. says

    “It’s about relationships. The thing that has always been part of the strength of our nation, in addition to our great military, has been that we keep our word. Donald Trump doesn’t understand that, because he doesn’t know what it means to be honest” — Harris

    Pence tries to blame Joe Biden for the death of Kayla Mueller at the hands of ISIS. Pretty gross.

    From Trump: Mike Pence is doing GREAT! She is a gaffe machine.

    The moderator is now lecturing Pence because he won’t shut up and give Harris equal time.

  184. says

    From Josh Kovensky:

    Throughout this debate, Pence has returned to President Trump’s decision to ban travel from China as proof both of The Donald’s exemplary handling of the pandemic and his staunch opposition to the Maoists in Beijing.

    The problem is that the supposed “China ban” accomplished nothing.

    Americans who were in China at the start of the pandemic still had to come back to the U.S., and none of them were monitored, tested for COVID, or asked to quarantine upon arrival. By that point, the virus was already in Europe, and it would be weeks before those borders were closed (also without monitoring of those arriving).

    Beyond that, Chinese citizens were able to travel to the U.S. via third countries. So, even on its own terms, the policy was a failure.

  185. says

    Pence is asked a question about if he supports banning all abortion and immediately pivots to a weird and totally unrelated rant about ISIS.

  186. says

    I think Pence looks sick. So do others.

    From Rick Wilson: “Undead VP’s Rona eye is so disturbing.”

    From Kumail Nanjiani: “Pink eye is a symptom of Covid-19. Saying that for no reason at all.”

    From Joshua Green: “Researchers identify pink eye as possible primary symptom of COVID-19”

  187. says

    “There is the issue of choice, and I will always fight for a woman’s right to make a decision about her own body. It should be her decision, not that of Donald Trump and Mike Pence.” — Harris

  188. tomh says

    Pence is asked how they will protect pre-existing conditions and he went right to packing the Supreme Court. Neither Harris or the moderator called him on it.

  189. says

    Q: How would your administration protect Americans with preexisting conditions if the ACA is struck down?

    PENCE: praises Trump and talks about abortion, doesn’t answer question

  190. says

    Pence says that he trusts that the Grand Jury in the Breonna Taylor case made the right decision.

    He then goes on to claim that there is no systemic racism in the American justice system.

    And this is perfect: Pence has a fly on his head for about five minutes.

  191. says

    tomh @270, true. After the lecture from the moderator, he got away will a bit less, but he still talking over the moderator … repeatedly.

  192. says

    “We are talking about an election in 27 days where last week, the President of the United States, in front of 70 million Americans, refused to condemn white supremacists” — Harris

    Pence says, “Not true.”

  193. says

    From Matt Shuham:

    Pence has twice pretended that Amy Coney Barrett is not an anti-abortion jurist.

    And asked specifically if he’d ban abortions if he were still governor of Indiana, and if the Supreme Court post-Amy Coney Barrett allows for such a possibility — Pence totally passed.

    After a detour about Qassim Soleimani, Pence expressed his enthusiasm about Coney Barrett then criticized Democrats for scrutinizing her religious beliefs. No answer on Roe, nor what he would do if he were a governor today — even though his record and Coney Barrett’s record make their views quite clear.

    He added later: “I would never presume how Judge Amy Coney Barrett would rule on the Supreme Court of the United States, but we’ll continue to stand strong for the right to life.”

  194. says

    Pence repeated the lie that the Obama/Biden administration “spied” on Trump’s campaign, and that they never accepted that Trump was elected president.

  195. says

    Following in his boss’ footsteps, Pence refused to agree that he and Trump will step down if they lose. He started out saying that it doesn’t matter since they’ll win anyway, then pivoted to a grab bag of Fox News-esque deep state grievances.

    From Kate Riga: “It’s extremely weird that the moderator directed a question about what she would do if Trump refuses to step down to Harris first. Pence is part of the administration! He would be part of the group refusing to step down!”

    Asked what he’d do if Trump doesn’t accept a peaceful transfer of power, Pence admonishes Harris that “your party has spent the last 3.5 years trying to overturn the results of the previous election.” He then lies about the FBI “spying” on Trump’s campaign.

  196. says

    Some responses on Twitter, mostly to Kamala Harris’ facial expressions, mostly positive.

    Video snippets are available at the links.

    From Chris Redd: “Kamala Harris has the best “I can’t believe this bullshit right HERE” face I have ever seen.”

  197. says

    As Joy Reid pointed out, there were several times during the debate when Pence tried to insist that Kamala Harris answer his questions. Bullying move.

    Kamala Harris was not there to answer Pence’s questions.

  198. says

    From Josh Kovensky:

    The debate is ending, and the fever is running higher and higher. Pence is taking us into the world of conspiracy.

    “It’s amazing,” Pence said. “When Joe Biden was Vice President of the United States, the FBI actually spied on President Trump and my campaign.”

    This is an old saw at this point, but that didn’t happen. The Justice Department did open a counterintelligence investigation into Russia and the Trump campaign. And, as the Senate GOP found in a report released in August, there was ample reason to be concerned.

  199. says

    Jake Offenhartz:

    Heschy Tischler, the right wing radio host leading the Orthodox anti lockdown protests, is greeted in Borough Park to a hero’s welcome. Children standing on light poles try to get a glimpse. Older men jostling for selfies. Heschy declines a supporter’s offer of a mask

    NYPD agrees to block off a portion of 13th Avenue for tonight’s event. Trump and Thin Blue Line flags abound

    Right now it’s basically a pro-Trump dance party. Lots of media here after last night’s violence, but no sign of similar chaos (though someone was chucking eggs a few minutes ago)

    At Heschy’s urging, the crowd just surrounded and attacked journalist @jacobkornbluh. They pinned him against a wall and shouted “moyser” (“snitch”) as NYPD lost control of the situation. Really scary scene. Jacob is a pro

    Here’s Heschy egging then on. “He’s lucky time be alive,” one of the protesters told me after.

    A few yards away, cops agree to close more streets, joking around with same men who just beat up a reporter

    For those just tuning in, a photojournalist was assaulted at last night night’s protest. A different so-called “snitch” was knocked unconscious (video below). Now Jacob. Not one arrest

    The scene on 13th Ave currently. Police are attempting to clear the streets. Not happening

    Cops are pulling out. “We stayed way too fucking long,” one of them says. “No way we were breaking that up.”

    “Were not coming over there so go over there. You wanted space we gave you space.”

    Videos atl. Tischler’s a real piece of work.

  200. says

    Jacob Kornbluh:

    I was just brutally assaulted, hit in the head, and kicked at by an angry crowd of hundreds of community members of the Boro Park protest — while yelling at me “Nazi” and “Hitler” —after Heshy Tischler recognized me and ordered the crowd to chase me down the street

    I want to thank the people who got in harm’s way — and might have gotten injured — to protect me. I am filing charges against Heshy Tischler for incitement and physical assault and will seek charges against any individual who hit me.

  201. says

    Forward – “In Borough Park, an anti-shutdown protest turns into a pro-Trump rally — and a journalist is assaulted”:

    The religious Jews of Brooklyn’s Borough Park neighborhood often pour into the streets during the harvest holiday of Sukkot to dance with Torahs in a celebration called “Simchat Beit HaShoeva,” a ritual having to do with rainfall.

    On Wednesday night, they danced along Borough Parks’s 13th Avenue holding Trump flags.

    Heshy Tischler, a community agitator and candidate for New York City Council, drew a crowd for the second night in a row to protest new social-distancing restrictions that Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio have imposed on the neighborhood and eight other ZIP codes with at least double the city’s positivity rate for coronavirus. And though he promised no violence after a counter-protester on Tuesday was beaten to the point of critical injuries, a Hasidic journalist was hit in the head, kicked and berated as a “Nazi” during Wednesday’s gathering of more than 300.

    “Here is my army!” Tischler said Wednesday night pointing to the crowd that included Haredi — or ultra-Orthodox — Jews of all ages, some from outside the neighborhood. “We’re gonna fight back. This is our city, our town, our country.”

    Tischler is not a rabbi, scholar or elected official, but he has emerged as a popular figure in this deeply religious neighborhood because its usual leaders have not been able to manage their communities’ resentment against the news media and government officials they see as biased against them, or even antisemitic. [See #116 above. – SC]

    After some protesters burned masks on Tuesday in a sign of defiance against the coronavirus restrictions, there was something of a concerted effort to show compliance with social distancing on Wednesday. Volunteers walked around handing out masks, and early into the festivities, some Hasidic teenage boys approached a news photographer and asked him to take pictures of them wearing masks.

    Tischler’s WhatsApp messages promised that Wednesday’s event would be peaceful, with no “violence, fires, etc.” The event was billed as a religious one, a “Simchat Beit HaShoeva,” or “rejoicing at the water-drawing house,” connected to the prayer for rain that starts at this time of year. But with President Trump hours earlier having released a video saying his having been ill with Covid-19 was a “blessing from God” and that he was cured, there was also a strong political overtone, as some of the dancers carried huge blue Trump 2020 banners.

    “[Tischler] tapped into the vacuum of no leadership,” Jacob Kornbluh, a Hasidic Jew who, like Tischler, lives in Borough Park, and is a journalist for Jewish Insider, said in an interview earlier on Wednesday.

    Kornbluh has previously sparked the community’s ire by calling out violations of social-distancing rules. Tischler threatened him in a video he tweeted on Wednesday during the day. And on Wednesday night, when he recognized Kornbluh among the journalists covering his rally, Tishcler sent the crowd to chase him down the street.

    Kornbluh was hit in the head and kicked by protesters, who screamed “Nazi” and “Hitler” at him.

    Most of Tischler’s neighbors are Hasidic, but he is not. He does not wear the community’s uniform for men of black and white clothing, or curled sidelocks.

    He works as an “expediter,” who facilitates official permits and other paperwork for construction professionals, but he also runs a weekly call-in show on YouTube and Facebook. After studying in yeshiva, he served time in prison for immigration fraud. He ran for City Council, but got only 4% of the votes.

    Yet since the summer, when he gained wide attention among Orthodox Jews for taking bolt cutters to the chains around playgrounds in Hasidic neighborhoods, his profile has been rising.

    “I don’t understand, why only the Jews?” Tischler said in an interview Wednesday, expressing the widespread Orthodox conviction that Cuomo’s rules unfairly single out their communities. “We contribute to this country more than anybody else, so you will respect us.”

    In recent weeks, as coronavirus cases have spiked in Orthodox neighborhoods in Brooklyn and other parts of the state, he has risen in prominence because religious and government leaders failed to explain that the community could open in the summer, but would likely need to shut down religious life again in the fall to accommodate a second wave, Kornbluh said….

  202. says

    I haven’t heard the recording yet, but apparently Trump, talking to Maria Bartiromo this morning, called Kamala Harris a monster and a Communist, attacked Hillary Clinton, criticized Barr for not launching prosecutions (see #212 above), said Wray was a disappointment, talked about how he wants to start holding rallies,…

  203. says

    TPM – “Pence Reminds Us All That The Pre-Trump GOP Is Alive, Kicking, And Terminally Smarmy”:

    He’s the adult in the room.

    But Mike Pence is both much more and much less than that. His performance at the debate Wednesday night reveals what we’ve all known for a long time, but may have forgotten: the pre-Trump Republican party.

    And Pence is that party incarnate, unifying the faux religiosity of the Bush administration, the inchoate cries for freedom of the Tea Party movement, and the smarm of using it all to sell out to noxious interests; the glue that holds it all together.

    Take Pence’s defense of his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The Vice President cast that in terms of freedom of choice, saying that he and Trump simply believe that this is a free country, and that no crypto-commie is going to come in and impose “mandates” on the heartland.

    “President Trump and I trust the American people to make choices in the best interests of their health,” Pence said. “Joe Biden and Kamala Harris consistently talk about mandates and not just mandates with the coronavirus, but a government takeover of health care.”

    Of course, that doesn’t really work in a pandemic. The virus reveals that all of our actions are interconnected; one group of people in a city refusing to wear masks or socially distance can quickly cause the virus to spread to the rest.

    But as a justification of selfish behavior, framing the argument in terms of freedom and the evildoers who hate it was pure, pre-Trump GOP.

    The same goes for Pence’s shout-out to the Persecution of Christians in the United States.

    But what really delivers Pence as a figure walking astride history, out of the ashes of the 2016 Republican primary and into today, is the noxious positioning on matters of consequence that result.

    The Vice President took a position on climate change that was remarkably similar to the Bush-era denial that global warming was even happening, and its focus on ill-defined, supposedly free market solutions.

    “President Trump and I believe that the progress that we have made in a cleaner environment has been happening precisely because we have a strong free market economy,” Pence said. “We’ve done it through innovation, and through natural gas and fracking.”

    He added to Harris that “the both of you repeatedly committed to abolishing fossil fuel and banning fracking.”

    Of course, the point here is not that the Republican Party won’t act on climate change. That much is blindingly obvious.

    Rather, it shows that the underlying reasons for that lack of action — utter commitment to specific, sectoral energy industry interests whose profits rely on a system that’s destroying the future — have stayed the same. And so too have the talking points deployed to support them.

    In fact, what’s stayed the same with Pence is the whole package; selfishness justified in terms of freedom, stoking a victim complex around the country’s religious majority, and using it all to advance corporate interests no matter the cost.

  204. says

    NBC – “Trump asked Walter Reed doctors to sign nondisclosure agreements in 2019”:

    President Donald Trump required personnel at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center to sign nondisclosure agreements last year before they could be involved with treating him, according to four people familiar with the process.

    During a surprise trip to Walter Reed on Nov. 16, 2019, Trump mandated signed NDAs from both physicians and nonmedical staff, most of whom are active-duty military service members, these people said. At least two doctors at Walter Reed who refused to sign the NDAs were subsequently not permitted to have any involvement in the president’s care, two of the people said.

    The reason for his trip last year remains shrouded in mystery.

    The four people familiar with the process did not know whether, during the president’s most recent visit over the weekend, he had the same requirement for Walter Reed staff members who had not previously been involved in his care.

    Anyone providing medical services to the president — or any other American — is automatically prohibited by federal law from disclosing the patient’s personal health information without consent. The existing legal protection for all patients under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, raises the question of why Trump would insist that staff members at Walter Reed sign NDAs.

    In addition, all personnel assigned to the White House Medical Unit, which treats the president and the vice president day to day, are required to have special “Yankee White” security clearance. To obtain the clearance, they must be U.S. citizens and undergo extensive background checks.

    Multiple times in recent days, Conley, a Navy officer, has refused to disclose information about Trump’s health by citing HIPAA.

    “We’ve done routine standard imaging. I’m just not at liberty to discuss,” Conley told reporters Monday when asked whether the president had any pneumonia or inflammation in his lungs.

    Conley’s written updates on Trump’s health have included the note “I release the following information with the permission of President Donald J. Trump.”…

  205. tomh says

    Karen Pence went maskless onstage at end of last night’s debate
    By Felicia Sonmez

    The organizers of last night’s vice-presidential debate had strict rules regarding mask use amid the coronavirus pandemic: Anyone not wearing a mask could be ejected from the venue.

    But that didn’t stop Karen Pence from appearing maskless onstage as she greeted her husband at the end of the debate.

    By contrast, Harris’s husband, Doug Emhoff, was wearing a face mask as he joined his wife onstage at the debate’s end…

  206. says

    Daniel Dale tweeted Trump’s call-in to Fox this morning:

    Trump said this morning that he wanted to be having a rally last night. Asked if he thinks he’s contagious, he said, “I don’t think I’m contagious at all.” (?)

    Trump today on Gold Star families: “They come within an inch of my face sometimes. They want to hug me and they want to kiss me. And they do. And frankly, I’m not telling them, ‘Back up,'” even though “it’s a dangerous thing, I guess, if you go by the Covid thing.”

    Trump explicitly said he wants indictments from Attorney General William Barr related to the Russia investigation. Without that, he said, there’ll be “little satisfaction” unless he wins the election, and then “we’ll just have to go [he trailed off] — because I won’t forget it.”

    Trump continued later in the interview to pressure Barr to indict people, saying Barr has “all the information he needs.” He explained, “Barr’s going to go down either as the greatest attorney general in the history of the country or he’s gonna go down as a very sad situation.”

    Trump again falsely said this morning that Nevada’s Democratic governor is “in charge of the ballots” (it’s a GOP secretary of state), then said, “We have law enforcement watching him very strong. US Attorney is watching him very strongly. The US Marshal is watching.”

    Trump continued to make his usual array of false claims about mail-in voting fraud. And he again claimed “they found trays of ballots in the river” without naming the alleged river.

    Trump claimed that Biden is the actual bad one to the military, he called them “a bunch of dirty bastards.”

    Biden joked during a speech that soldiers were “stupid bastards” for not applauding his line about a lieutenant present. Even Breitbart reported this was obviously a joke.

    Trump claimed this morning that the people he got killed, ISIS leader al-Baghdadi and Iranian commander Soleimani, were “bigger names than Osama bin Laden.”

    Trump on his tariffs on China: “Nobody ever even heard of tariffs. They never even heard of tariffs. Nobody. In fact, when I first started doing it, they didn’t know what it meant.”

    The US has had tariffs on Chinese goods for more than two centuries. Obama added new ones.

    Trump on how he thinks China views him: “They want to keep me happy. Because they know that I’m a hair trigger when it comes to them. And I’m sick of ’em. Everything that we have — we have that Covid, the China virus, because of them.”

    Trump on the state of his coronavirus infection: “I’m essentially very clean.”

    Trump on the medication he is taking: “I’m almost not taking anything.”

    Trump on the steroid he is taking: “They have a steroid. It’s not a heavy steroid.”

    Trump emphasized that most people don’t die from the coronavrius. He said it’s mostly just the “tiny percentage of senior citizens and all.”

    People of all ages, obviously, can and do die.

    Trump: “I’ve done more for the Black community than any president except Abraham Lincoln, and it’s true…and people don’t even challenge me on it.” (Lots of people challenge him on it, since it is objectively ridiculous.)

    Trump’s descriptions of Sen. Kamala Harris this morning: “This monster.” “Totally unlikable.” “She’s a communist.” (No.)

    Trump on the Electoral College: “The Republicans have a disadvantage. They lose New York, Illinois and California before it even starts.”


    Trump asked why the polls show him trailing: “I don’t know, I don’t understand it, I don’t believe them. I don’t believe the polls. Because we’ve never had this much support. They have a boat thing, they have 5,000 boats. They have thousands of trucks all over the country.”

    (The link is to what I believe was the first in the series, which isn’t threaded.)

  207. johnson catman says

    re the fly in the debate: Where are all the people calling Pence a demon because of the fly? They couldn’t stop calling Obama a demon when he had a fly land on him.

  208. says

    Aaron Rupar also livetweeted:

    “I’m not going to waste my time on a virtual debate” — Trump, on with Maria Bartiromo, begins his first post-coronavirus interview by saying he’s pulling out of the second debate. (He sounds a little hoarse.)

    “He was raising his very thin hand, and he was fracking” — what the hell is Trump talking about?

    “Remember this: when you catch it you get better, and then you’re immune” — this is a lie. There are already documented cases of people getting coronavirus twice.

    “I’m back because I’m a perfect physic[al] specimen,” Trump claims, before falsely describing Regeneron as “a cure” [added “and I’m extremely young.” He’s 74.]

    “I met with Gold Star families. I didn’t want to cancel that … I can’t say, ‘back up’ … they wanna hug me and they wanna kiss me, and they do” — Trump on now suggesting Gold Start families gave him coronavirus

    “We shouldn’t be hurting our workers because China put the curse on” — Trump is now accusing China of putting a “curse” on the US

    “Unless Bill Barr indicts these people for crimes — the greatest political crime in history of our country — then we’ll get little satisfaction … and that includes Obama and that includes Biden” — Trump calls for Obama and Biden to be charged with crimes

    “He’s been disappointing” — Trump throws FBI Director Wray under the bus

    “We have law enforcement watching him very strong. The US Attorney is watching [the gov of Nevada], very strongly. The US Marshal is watching. In New Mexico, a state I think we can win, we have the US Marshal and the US Attorney watching him”- Trump on his concerns w/mail ballots

    Trump claims he’s killed terrorists that are “bigger names than Osama bin Laden”

    “She’s a communist,” Trump says of Kamala Harris, adding without a shred of irony that “Biden won’t make it two months as president”

    LOL — Trump is back to touting fake middle-income tax cuts just before an election, just as he did in 2018

    Asked what he’ll do to bring the economy back in a second term, Trump goes on an unhinged rant about China

    Trump is ranting and raving about indicting Hillary Clinton

    “I’m not happy about him, for that” — Trump criticizes Pompeo for not finding Hillary’s emails

    Trump says he hasn’t been tested for coronavirus recently but “I’m essentially very clean”

    As Maria Bartiromo tries to end the interview, Trump yells out of nowhere, “why isn’t Hillary Clinton being indicted?!”

    Asked what he wants to accomplish in a second term, Trump says “I have done more for Black community than any president except Abraham Lincoln.” He remains unable to answer this extremely basic question.

    Trump refers to Kamala Harris as “this monster”

    “I am making a play for the whole state” — Trump on New York, where he is currently trailing Biden by more than 30 points

    “I don’t understand it. I don’t believe ’em … they have a boat thing, they have 5,000 boats, they have thousands of trucks all over the country. I don’t believe the polls” — Trump on polls showing him trailing Biden by a dozen or more points

    As Trump predicts “a depression the likes of which we’ve never seen before” if he loses, Maria *finally* succeeds in wrapping up the interview. Whew.

    Trump’s unhinged Fox News return immediately squandered whatever goodwill his coronaivrus diagnosis may have garnered

    Videos atl. These are threaded.

  209. tomh says

    2020 Census Fight Likely Heading to Supreme Court
    October 7, 2020 MATTHEW RENDA

    (CN) — The Ninth Circuit denied the Trump administration’s attempt to shut down the 2020 Census early, saying the government did not do enough to justify the appeals court overturning a lower court’s preliminary injunction preventing them from ending the process early…

    “The government has not made a strong showing that it is likely to prevail on appeal on its primary challenge to the district court’s merits ruling,” the judges wrote in the unanimous 21-page decision.

    The ruling means that an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court is likely, as Sopan Joshi, the U.S. Attorney who argued for the administration during oral argument on Monday asked for an expeditious decision so an appeal could be entered in a timely manner.

    The legal issues come amid a backdrop of political concerns over the way the Trump administration has conducted the 2020 Census. The census not only serves to give a reliable indication of population levels and demographics but also determines funding allocation for federal dollars and grants as well as the apportionment process.

    The preliminary injunction means that data collection workers will remain in the field until Oct. 31, unless the appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court is successful.

  210. says

    Here’s a link to the October 8 Guardian coronavirus world liveblog.

    From there:

    Russian authorities have recommended people stay at home this weekend and urged them to take more safety precautions, as the number of new coronavirus cases shot up to nearly the highest it has been since the pandemic began.

    Officials reported 11,493 new infections in the last 24 hours, close to a record daily high of 11,656 cases confirmed on 11 May at the height of the initial outbreak when a strict lockdown was in place.

    Russia currently has no lockdown and the Kremlin has said there are no plans to impose one for now, although the city of Moscow has recommended people over the age of 65 isolate and told businesses that at least a third of staff must work remotely.

    “We recommend people spend the coming weekend at home with their families and co-habitants,” Alexei Kuznetsov, an aide to Russia’s health minister, was quoted by RIA news agency as saying.

    On Thursday, the Kremlin said the rise in cases was a cause for “serious concern” and told people to take proper precautions or else expect further restrictions.

    “If we don’t all draw conclusions from this for ourselves – and by that I mean wear masks, and observe all hygiene and sanitary regulations – then the numbers will grow even faster,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

    “And then regional leaders will have to think about how to correct that”.

    Patriarch Kirill, the 73-year-old leader of Russia’s Orthodox Church, said on Thursday he had gone into self-isolation after coming into contact with someone infected with the new coronavirus.

    But the patriarch was in good health and was continuing to work, church spokesman Vladimir Legoida said.

    Russia, which has a population of around 145 million, has reported 1,260,112 cases of the virus, the fourth largest tally in the world.

    Officials said on Thursday that 191 people had died in the last 24 hours, pushing the official death toll to 22,056.

    US house speaker Nancy Pelosi said there would be no additional federal aid for US airlines without a more comprehensive Covid-19 relief package, adding that she was hopeful for a larger deal “because it has to be done.”

    “Ain’t going to be no standalone bill, unless there is a bigger bill,” Pelosi told reporters.

  211. says

    NBC – “Six men charged in alleged plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer”:

    An FBI-led investigation identified six men who were trying to plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

    The investigation involved multiple confidential sources and undercover FBI personnel.

    Based on court documents, the FBI was well aware of the activities of the men charged Thursday and there does not seem to have been an imminent threat posed to Gov. Whitmer, a Democrat.

    The documents identify the defendants as Adam Fox, Barry Croft, Ty Garbin, Kaleb Franks, Daniel Harris, and Brandon Caserta.

    At a meeting in July, allegedly attended and recorded by one of the confidential sources, the men “discussed attacking a Michigan State Police facility, and in a separate conversation after the meeting, Garbin suggested shooting up the Governor’s vacation home,” authorities allege.

    They’re rightwing militia people.

  212. tomh says

    SC high court rejects governor’s private school aid plan
    Michelle Liu Associated Press
    OCTOBER 07, 2020

    The South Carolina Supreme Court ruled Wednesday a program created by Gov. Henry McMaster(R) to allocate $32 million in federal pandemic aid to private and religious schools is unconstitutional because the public money would directly benefit the schools.

    The ruling comes days after congressional leaders called on the U.S. Department of Education to review the program, which they labeled “a voucher scheme,” arguing it violated “the plain text” of the coronavirus aid package and guidance provided by the federal department.

    The program constituted the majority of the $48 million in discretionary education dollars granted to McMaster by the federal Department of Education…

    “This is an important decision that upholds the integrity of our public education system,” said Skyler Hutto, the attorney representing the plaintiffs. “In a time when faith in the judicial system may be waning, the people of South Carolina can have confidence in their Supreme Court to protect them.”

  213. says

    Detroit News – “Feds say they thwarted militia plot to kidnap Whitmer”:

    The FBI says it thwarted what it described as a plot to violently overthrow the government and kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, and federal prosecutors are expected to discuss the alleged conspiracy later Thursday.

    The alleged plot involved reaching out to members of a Michigan militia, according to a federal affidavit filed Thursday.

    The court filing also alleges the conspirators twice conducted surveillance at Whitmer’s vacation home and discussed kidnapping her to a remote location in Wisconsin to stand “trial” for treason prior to the Nov. 3 election.

    “Several members talked about murdering ‘tyrants’ or ‘taking’ a sitting governor,” an FBI agent wrote in the affidavit. “The group decided they needed to increase their numbers and encouraged each other to talk to their neighbors and spread their message.”

    The affidavit was filed hours after a team of FBI agents raided a Hartland Township home Wednesday and comes amid an ongoing investigation into the death of a Metro Detroit man killed during a shootout with FBI agents.

    More than 12 people were arrested late Wednesday on state and federal charges.

    “A threat against our Governor is a threat against us all,” Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, tweeted Wednesday afternoon. “We condemn those who plotted against her and our government. They are not patriots. There is no honor in their actions. They are criminals and traitors, and they should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

    The investigation dates to early 2020 when the FBI learned through social media that individuals were discussing the violent overthrow of several state governments and law enforcement.

    In June, Croft, Fox and 13 others from multiple states held a meeting in Dublin, Ohio, near Columbus, according to the government.

    Those present included an FBI confidential source who recorded the meetings. The source has been paid $8,600.

    “The group talked about creating a society that followed the U.S. Bill of Rights and where they could be self-sufficient,” the FBI agent wrote.

    “They discussed different ways of achieving this goal from peaceful endeavors to violent actions. At one point, several members talked about state governments they believed were violating the U.S. Constitution, including the government of Michigan and Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

    “As part of that recruitment effort, Fox reached out to a Michigan-based militia group,” the agent added.

    The militia group is not identified in the court filing, but members periodically meet in remote areas of the state for firearms training and tactical drills.

    The FBI was already tracking the militia in March after a local police department learned members were trying to obtain addresses of local law-enforcement officers, the FBI agent wrote.

    “At the time, the FBI interviewed a member of the militia group who was concerned about the group’s plans to target and kill police officers, and that person agreed to become a (confidential source),” the agent wrote

    In late June, Fox posted on Facebook a video in which he complained about the state’s judicial system and COVID-19 restrictions on gyms operating in Michigan.

    “Fox referred to Governor Whitmer as ‘this tyrant b—-,’ and stated, ‘I don’t know, boys, we gotta do something,” according to the court affidavit. “You guys link with me on our other location system, give me some ideas of what we can do.”

    Whitmer’s office did not immediately comment Thursday morning, but the governor is expected to deliver prepared remarks on the investigation at 3 p.m. Thursday on her Facebook and Twitter pages.

    Michigan Attorney Dana Nessel is set to join with state police, FBI officials and the U.S. attorneys from Detroit and Grand Rapids at 1 p.m. Thursday to announce “details of a major operation” and criminal charges….

  214. says

    Sen. Duckworth: “Let’s get this straight: Instead of following his own Admin’s guidance & wearing a mask, Trump put Gold Star Families & our military’s leadership at risk—& now he’s trying to BLAME THEM for his negligence? He has no shame & his negligence is putting our national security at risk.”

  215. says

    It sounds from the briefing like the plot was quite far along. The only reason there was no imminent threat to Whitmer was that they were watching the plotters closely.

  216. says

    Guardian world liveblog:

    WHO reports record one-day rise in global coronavirus cases

    The World Health Organization reported a record one-day increase in global coronavirus cases on Thursday, with the total rising by 338,779 in 24 hours.

    Deaths rose by 5,514 to a total of 1.05 million.

    India reported 78,524 new cases, followed by Brazil at 41,906 and the US with 38,904 new infections.

    The previous WHO record for new cases was 330,340 on 2 October. The agency reported a record 12,393 deaths on 17 April.

  217. says

    Link to the Michigan arrest affidavit here.

    From there:

    FOX stated, “In all honesty right now . . . I just wanna make the world glow, dude. I’m not even fuckin’ kidding. I just wanna make it all glow dude. I don’t fuckin’ care anymore, I’m just so sick of it. That’s what it’s gonna take for us to take it back, we’re just gonna have to everything’s gonna have to be annihilated man. We’re gonna topple it all, dude. It’s what great frickin’ conquerors, man, we’re just gonna conquer every fuckin’ thing man.”

  218. quotetheunquote says

    @SC #296;

    As a nice rebuttal to the “America is a Republic! not a democracy” gaslighters in the comments to that tweet, Heather Cox Richardson is giving a lecture on FB right now… sorry don’t know any way to link to it, but if you do have FB, you can certainly search for it.

  219. says

    All the best people news: Trump fundraiser and former RNC co-chair Elliott Broidy has been charged in a foreign lobbying scheme.

    D.C. federal prosecutors charged[…] GOP fundraiser Elliott Broidy on Thursday over a wide-ranging foreign lobbying scheme, alleging that the 2016 Trump campaign fundraiser conspired to illegally lobby the U.S. government on behalf of a staggering array of foreign interests.

    Broidy allegedly lobbied the Justice Department to drop its investigation of a massive Malaysian corruption scheme that involved bankers at Goldman Sachs, and also pushed the Trump administration to extradite an exiled Chinese billionaire living in Manhattan who had become bothersome to Beijing.

    […] The Washington Post reported last month that Broidy was in plea talks. Though the case was brought in D.C., it is being prosecuted by the Public Integrity Section at the DOJ’s main office.

    The charging document says that Broidy had direct access to President Trump, alleging that he used his high-level contacts “to orchestrate back-channel, unregistered campaigns to lobby the Administration and DOJ.”

    Broidy served as a deputy finance chairman at the RNC starting in April 2017, months after Trump’s victory and shortly after Trump inaugural, for which the the GOP financier was a vice chair.

    Prosecutors say that Broidy quickly leveraged that access for what they describe as a series of secret foreign lobbying campaigns. In March 2017, the document reads, Broidy agreed to take an $8 million retainer to lobby the DOJ to bring the 1MDB probe to an end.

    By April, Broidy allegedly took another $1 million payment from his client in exchange for “traveling to Bangkok.” At a May meeting in the Thai capital with the client, prosecutors say, Broidy also discussed a potential lobbying campaign to have exiled Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui deported from the U.S.

    Broidy allegedly enlisted a coterie of Trumpworld figures to help in his efforts.

    That, prosecutors say, included Rick Gates, who received “$25,000 per month for advice and guidance with respect to navigating the administration.”

    Meanwhile, according to a bit of satire/humor by Andy Borowitz in the New Yorker, Ben Carson, H.U.D. Secretary, was wandering around the White House wondering why nobody was there and why there were cleaning crews everywhere. He “couldn’t figure it out.” Sounds too close to the truth instead of like satire. All the best people.

  220. tomh says

    Health officials scrambling to produce Trump’s ‘last-minute’ drug cards by Election Day
    As officials debate how to get Trump’s name on the cards, health officials warn of a taxpayer-funded boondoggle to bolster president’s flagging poll numbers.

    Caught by surprise by President Donald Trump’s promise to deliver drug-discount cards to seniors, health officials are scrambling to get the nearly $8 billion plan done by Election Day, according to five officials and draft documents obtained by POLITICO.

    The taxpayer-funded plan, which was only announced two weeks ago and is being justified inside the White House and the health department as a test of the Medicare program, is being driven by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, the officials said. The administration is seeking to finalize the plan as soon as Friday and send letters to 39 million Medicare beneficiaries next week, informing seniors of Trump’s new effort to lower their drug costs, although many seniors would not receive the actual cards until after the election.

    The $200 cards — which would resemble credit cards, would need to be used at pharmacies and could be branded with a reference to Trump himself — would be paid for by tapping Medicare’s trust fund…

    Career civil servants have raised concerns about the hasty plan and whether it is politically motivated, particularly after Verma pushed Medicare officials to finalize the plan before the Nov. 3 election, said two officials…

    “This has nothing to do with politics. It’s good policy and demonstrates the president is continuing to deliver on his promises to our nation’s seniors,” said Judd Deere, a White House spokesperson. The White House did not make Meadows available for an interview…

    “It’s a shameless stunt that steals billions from Medicare in order to fund a legally dubious scheme that’s clearly intended to benefit President Trump’s campaign right before Election Day,” said Rep. Frank Pallone, the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce committee.

  221. says

    Follow-up to SC @299.

    Yes, Trump has now blamed Gold Star families, cops and soldiers for infecting him with the coronavirus. He has repeated that smear several times.

    […] Trump does not allow for the possibility that he could have been the one infecting the families, which could have happened if he caught the virus from RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel on Friday or at the Rose Garden Supreme Court announcement-turned-super spreader event on Saturday.

    […] “But it’s very, very hard when you are with people from the military or law enforcement, and they come over to you, and they want to hug you. And they want to kiss you, because we really have done a good job for them,” Trump said. “And you get close, and things happen.”

    t’s still unclear exactly when Trump was infected, and the timeline is hard to nail down due to the White House’s refusal to clarify when Trump first exhibited symptoms and when he last tested negative. Hicks reportedly fell ill Wednesday night, but, per the White House’s timeline, Trump was not tested until Thursday evening. That time lapse seems even more egregious given that White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said he knew about her positive test Thursday afternoon, as Trump and his entourage were headed to a fundraiser in Bedminster, New Jersey.


    Why does Trump think that people want to kiss him? I doubt that. There are no videos of law enforcement personnel, Gold Star families, or military personnel trying to kiss Trump.

    And what about Trump’s Secret Service detail. Would they prevent the attempted kissing?

    Comment from a reader: “They said, ‘Sir, it would be an incredible honor to hug you.'” [Trump often uses the “Sir” preamble before telling a lie.]

  222. says

    JFC. Mike Pence is not done toadying up to Trump: “There’s no question who won the debate. President Donald Trump won the debate, hands down, with an agenda that puts America first.” [Peak Mike Pence tweeted that.]

  223. says

    Oh, Fuck. This is going to be awful.

    “I’m thrilled to announce that our commander in chief, President Donald Trump, will be right here tomorrow hosting the largest virtual rally in radio history,” the conservative radio host [Rush Limbaugh] announced Thursday […] “It will be special, and I am really looking forward to it.”

    Limbaugh said he would share additional event details on his website later in the day and that listeners would be able to submit questions.

    “Get ready for the largest virtual rally in radio history tomorrow,” Limbaugh said.

  224. says

    Pete Buttigieg dropped by a Fox News pre-debate segment

    Before the vice presidential debate got underway in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Pete Buttigieg dropped by a Fox News pre-debate segment and absolutely leveled the place. This is precisely how you slice and dice a Fox News talking point. [Video is available at the link.]

    Team Biden dispatched Pete Buttigieg again this morning for a Fox News appearance and oops! He did it again. After the Presidential Debate Commission announced the next debate would be virtual because of the COVID-19 risk, Donald Trump appeared on Fox News to say he would not participate. That debate is slated to be a town hall-style debate where the candidates take questions from audience members.

    Once again, Buttigieg proved himself to be an extremely effective surrogate for the Biden campaign, hitting Donald Trump’s cowardice and noting most American families have had to adjust to virtual learning for their children, working from home, etc. and Donald Trump seems incapable of the kind of sacrifice the rest of us make every single day. [Video available at the link]

    I don’t know about the description, “leveled the place,” but he did handle the questions well, and he didn’t pull his punches when going after Trump. He spoke in complete, clear sentences. He didn’t ramble. In a short amount of time he highlighted the most salient issues.

  225. says

    Not a good move by the Trump administration. At the very least, the timing (during the coronavirus pandemic) is bad.

    The Trump administration on Thursday announced sweeping new sanctions on Iran’s financial sector, targeting at least 18 banks in a move that critics say will hamper humanitarian assistance during the pandemic.

    The fresh round of sanctions is part of the administration’s “maximum pressure campaign” that aims to push the Islamic Republic toward negotiations over its nuclear program and prevent the country from financing military actions throughout the Middle East. [Sheesh! They keep trying this … after pulling out of the agreement crafted by the Obama administration, an agreement that working.]

    […] But the sanctions are drawing criticism, with experts saying they threaten a key avenue for the delivery of humanitarian assistance and services for Iranians who are squeezed under existing U.S. sanctions and suffering amid the coronavirus pandemic.

    The Washington Post reported Thursday that European officials were expressing alarm at the new sanctions, saying they would effectively freeze Tehran’s access to any foreign assets and rob it of foreign currency to pay for humanitarian imports. [Of course the Trump administration is not cooperating with European allies.]

    The Trump administration in October 2019 worked to set up a humanitarian channel through the Swiss to deliver goods and services to Iran; the first transfer of cancer drugs and transplant medication occurred in January and the terms of the channel were finalized in February.

    […] pharmaceutical exports to Iran through the Swiss had declined sharply since January.

    “Pharma exports to Iran were already lower after Trump reimposed sanctions in Nov 2018 *and* have yet to recover after COVID-19 halted normal trade flows. This data for Swiss exports makes the risks clear,” he wrote.

    Barbara Slavin, director of the Future of Iran Initiative at the Atlantic Council, said the sanctions were “sadism masquerading as foreign policy.”

    “They won’t bring the Iranian government to its knees but will hurt ordinary people […]”

    Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif condemned the new sanctions […] “Amid Covid19 pandemic, U.S. regime wants to blow up our remaining channels to pay for food & medicine. Iranians WILL survive this latest of cruelties. But conspiring to starve a population is a crime against humanity. […]” he tweeted. […]


  226. says

    No, the Regeneron drug Trump received is not a Covid-19 “cure”

    Why Trump’s promise to bring America a free antibody cocktail to treat Covid-19 is so absurd.

    […] [Trump] put out a video on Twitter suggesting he had changed course: a promise to bring the American people a Covid-19 “cure.”

    […] “within a very short period of time, they gave me Regeneron … and it was, like, unbelievable. I felt good immediately,” Trump said in the video. The president then claimed “hundreds of thousands of doses” of the Regeneron drug were nearly ready, and that Americans could “get em and you’re going to get em free.”

    “I call that a cure,” he added, saying it’s a “blessing from God” that he got infected with the virus, which has killed more than 212,000 Americans. [Video is available at the link.]

    Before we go any further, Regeneron is the name of a pharmaceutical company that manufactures one of the experimental treatments Trump received, not the name of the drug. The drug itself, REN-COV2, is an experimental “monoclonal antibody cocktail.”

    In theory, the synthetic antibodies are supposed help patients mount an immune response early in their illness — slowing the virus from progressing into the cells and preventing it from causing serious disease or death.

    But the cocktail is still considered experimental because clinical trials are ongoing and it hasn’t been approved for market by the Food and Drug Administration. Trump was only able to access the treatment through the FDA’s “compassionate use” provision, whereby unapproved drugs are administered to seriously ill patients who have no other treatment options on a case-by-case basis. (Whether Trump should have gotten the antibodies this way is a matter of ethical debate.)

    All we know about its effectiveness comes from a September 29 Regeneron press release, […] about a multi-phase, randomized, double-blind clinical trial involving only 275 people.

    While the company did report promising results — the treatment cut the viral load of Covid-19 patients who were not hospitalized, and it reduced the time it took to resolve symptoms — these are very early, unvetted findings. They say nothing of whether the drug cut the risk of death or “cured” people.

    “The sample size is pitiful,” said David Nunan, a senior research fellow at the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine at Oxford University, referring to the 106 participants in the trial who reported the main outcome of symptom alleviation in the interim results. “There’s going to be huge uncertainty, and any of the differences we see in [the treatment group compared to the placebo group] are unlikely to be statistically significant — meaning they could just be chance effects.”

    Data from the trial hasn’t yet been peer reviewed. And again, the trial isn’t even finished.

    It’s the same story for another antibody therapy from the drug company Eli Lilly, which Trump also mentioned in the video. No published data. Just a press release.

    Science by press release is not reliable science. Drug companies are notorious for exaggerating and skewing their early findings in public announcements to grab attention and boost investor interest.

    […] researchers at Oxford University were also criticized for announcing the results of their trials of dexamethasone via press release instead of a peer-reviewed paper or publishing their data. (Dexamethasone is a corticosteroid treatment being used for Covid-19 that Trump has also been given.)

    […] “There’s a reason we’re not giving this to patients [yet],” said intensive care doctor Lakshman Swamy, who works with the Cambridge Health Alliance. “We don’t know enough about it.”

    “This is very, very early data,” said Joshua Barocas, an assistant professor of medicine at Boston University and infectious disease physician at Boston Medical Center.

    “The monoclonal antibody is just not tested,” Jen Manne-Goehler, an infectious diseases doctor at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, told Vox.

    Plus, even if the experimental drug looks promising in early research, Swamy noted, “people said the same thing about hydroxychloroquine,” the malaria drug — also embraced by Trump — now known to be ineffective for Covid-19.

    Trump’s single case is not enough to draw conclusions about the drug […]

    What drug regulators are supposed to do in this situation is wait for more carefully reported data on many patients to evaluate the treatment’s efficacy and safety. […]

    “We need people to be enrolled in trials,” Swamy said. “Whenever a high-profile case gets a therapy or doesn’t, the public is swayed based on what happens in that one case.” […]

    although Trump pointed to the Regeneron treatment as the reason for his apparent turnaround, we can’t be sure the cocktail made a difference in his case. He’s been on at least two other Covid-19 drugs, according to his doctors: One is the antiviral remdesivir, and the other is dexamethasone.

    Nunan called it “massive confounding.” “You’ve got no idea as to which of those interventions if any were having an effect,” he said. […]

    The government — with taxpayer dollars — already invested $450 million in Regeneron to develop and manufacture an undetermined number of doses (between 70,000 and 1.3 million, depending on the final dosing and how the drug is used). So though the company has said the drug will come free of charge, Garthwaite said, “that’s because we already entered into a supply agreement.”

  227. says

    From Wonkette:

    […] Some quick background: Trump is friendly with Regeneron CEO Dr. Leonard Schleifer, who’s a member of one of Trump’s money-laundering operations golf clubs in Westchester, New York. Regeneron also benefitted from $450 million in government funding in July. This was part of Trump’s “Operation Warp Speed” plan to whip out a vaccine or miracle cure in time for the election.

    Also, Regeneron is not a drug or even the leader of the Decepticons. That’s the name of the company. […]

    Regeneron’s monoclonal antibody treatment isn’t cleared yet for the general public, but Trump’s doctors filed a “compassionate use” request. That’s normally granted for “immediately life-threatening” illnesses, which are usually more severe than “I wasn’t feeling so hot.” Now, just three days later, the president is fast-tracking an experimental treatment. We don’t even fully know what the side effects are. The drug might’ve caused permanent brain damage. It’s not like we could tell the difference.

    TRUMP: I have emergency use authorization, all set, and we got to get it signed now, and you’re going to get better. You’re going to get better, really fast.

    He’s really been busy while possibly gravely ill. […]

    TRUMP: Then in addition to that, you have various other drugs that help a lot. But I view these, I know they call them therapeutic, but to me it wasn’t therapeutic, it just made me better. I call that a cure.

    Trump claims getting his miracle cure to the American public is “much more important to me than the vaccine.” He also claims that drug companies are still working hard on a vaccine and we’d have one before the election if it wasn’t for the politicians and their “games.” But even if the vaccine arrives after the election, no one else but him could’ve pulled off such a feat. By the way, Trump was treated with the powerful steroid dexamethasone, which can produce such side effects as “psychic derangements” and “frank psychotic manifestations.” (And that’s just what they tell you on the label.)

    […] Trump still has COVID-19.

    TRUMP: Some people don’t know how to define therapeutic. I view it different. It’s a cure. For me, I walked in, I didn’t feel good. A short 24 hours later, I was feeling great, I wanted to get out of the hospital and that’s what I want for everybody. I want everybody to be given the same treatment as your president because I feel great. I feel like perfect.

    Trump continued his descent into madness when he said contracting the coronavirus was “a blessing from God.” COVID Moses revealed it was “his suggestion” to take Regeneron, which I repeat is not the name of a drug. If true, this implies his doctors are quacks because doctors don’t usually consult fever-ridden patients on their course of treatment. Where was Melania Trump during all of this? She tested positive, as well, but reportedly her symptoms weren’t as severe because she’s not 74 years old and 90 percent McDonald’s byproducts. […]

    After blaming China for his incompetent COVID-19 response, [Trump] kept promising that he’s going to get us Regeneron (not an actual drug) “for free” and he’ll make sure it’s available at a hospital near you.

    The New York Times was less bullish:

    Monoclonal antibodies like the ones that Regeneron is developing are difficult and expensive to manufacture, and some have raised questions about whether the companies will be able to make enough to meet global demand if they are proven to work.

    Everything Trump said was bonkers and potentially homicidal. He’s going to get (more) people killed. Earlier this week, Vanity Fair reported that Donald Trump Jr. thought his father was acting nuts and wanted to stage an intervention. He should’ve acted sooner, when Trump was just high on drugs and not actively pushing them.

  228. says

    MCCONNELL: ‘I haven’t actually been to the White House since August the 6th. Because my impression was that their approach to how to handle this is different from mine and what I suggested that we do in the Senate, which is to wear a mask and practice social distancing’.”

  229. says


    I still can’t get over how bad the climate change section of the debate was last night.

    This is the consequence of no climate questions in debates for years.

    The questions were childish, no follow-up questions for basic information, & there was almost no talk of solutions.

    Journalists:“How do you feel about the Green New Deal” is not a climate change question.

    Try: “What is your plan to bring down emissions?” so voters actually understand if a candidate even *has* a plan for the worst impending crisis of our time, and can share what it is.

  230. says

    MI Guv Whitmer Ties Trump’s Rhetoric To Right-Wing Plot To Kidnap Her

    […] “Hate groups heard the President’s words not as a rebuke but as a rallying cry, as a call to action,” Whitmer said.

    […] In her remarks, Whitmer thanked the state and federal agents who stopped the plot, while calling the men behind it “sick and depraved.”

    “I knew this job would be hard, but I’ll be honest, I never could have imagined anything like this,” she said.

    According to the details of the scheme revealed by law enforcement, the men allegedly involved surveilled Whitmer’s home, purchased equipment and tested explosive devices as part of their planning.

    The alleged ringleader of the operation, Adam Fox […] appeared motivated by the governor’s COVID-19 public health efforts, including her lockdown of gyms, according to court filings, which quoted a Facebook video in which Fox called Whitmer a “tyrant [B-word].”

    Another person alleged to be involved in the plot, Daniel Harris, suggested in an encrypted group chat that they “Have one person go to her house. Knock on the door and when she answers it just cap her . . . at this point. Fuck it.”

    […] “This should be a moment for national unity where we all pull together as Americans to meet this challenge head on with the same might and muscle that put a man on the moon,” Whitmer said, as she pivoted towards her criticisms of the President.

    “Instead our head of state has spent the last seven months denying science, ignoring his own health experts, stoking distrust, fomenting anger, and giving comfort to those who spread fear and hatred and division,” she said.

    She brought up last week’s presidential debate, where Trump repeatedly had to be asked to condemn white supremacists groups until he finally said that those groups should “stand back and stand by.”

    “When our leaders speak, their words matter, they carry weight,” Whitmer said. “When our leaders meet with, encourage or fraternize with domestic terrorists, they legitimize their actions and they are complicit. When they stoke and contribute to hate speech, they are complicit.”

  231. says

    From Susan B. Glasser, writing for The New Yorker:

    In April, as the country’s coronavirus outbreak surged, […] Trump mocked Mike Pence’s filibustering skills, presenting himself as a teller of tough truths compared with his slippery Vice-President. “That’s one of the greatest answers I’ve ever heard, because Mike was able to speak for five minutes and not even touch your question,” Trump said in a press briefing after Pence avoided answering a reporter. “I said, that’s what you call a great professional.” Throughout Wednesday night’s debate, Trump’s version of Pence was fully on display, as the Vice-President ducked questions and outright refused to answer them for much of the ninety minutes.

    Perhaps most significant, given that Trump is currently stricken with the coronavirus that he denied was an ongoing threat to the American people, Pence refused to say whether he had discussed the issue of “Presidential disability” with Trump. […]

    The Vice-President began the debate by refusing to say why the United States has had so many more deaths from the coronavirus than other leading nations. He ended it by refusing to say whether he would accept the peaceful transfer of power after the election. In between, Pence managed to avoid numerous other questions, from whether he believes climate change is an “existential threat” to what the Administration’s plan is for providing health care to Americans with preëxisting conditions. […] Pence seemed more eager to deliver pre-planned attack lines against his Democratic opponent, Senator Kamala Harris, than he was to defend the Trump-Pence Administration’s record.

    […] Both Harris and Pence are younger and far more articulate politicians than their running mates, fully capable of holding their own in a televised argument that cleared the low bar of not degenerating into a food fight at a senior-citizens’ center. […] But the more I listened to Pence the more I realized that the Vice-President of 2020 is no longer the deeply conventional, if fervently right-wing, evangelical of four years ago. Or even the oleaginous Trump suck-up he has been for much of the Administration’s tenure. He has been changed, and radically so, by his association with [Trump], and Wednesday night showed something both new and disturbing: Pence has come to resemble a lower-decibel Trump, lying with a fluency and brazenness that might have shocked his former moralistic self.

    […] this new Pence was ruder and cruder, and he spent much of the evening interrupting the two women with whom he shared the stage, refusing to listen when the moderator implored him to follow the rules, and simply seizing extra time to rebut Harris […] he was nasty, an elbow-thrower who […] inserted random media-bashing into long-winded soliloquies, and peddled a pet Trump conspiracy theory about the 2016 campaign. Like the boss, he repeated falsehoods about the Democratic platform with abandon […]

    Mike Pence wasn’t the only public official who channelled his inner Trump this week. For the last few days, the White House physician, Dr. Sean Conley, has been doing a pretty good impression of the reality-denying President, including misleading the public about Trump’s health in order to leave what the doctor called an “upbeat” impression. […]

    The good doctor is merely the latest aide in this White House to find out what Pence has clearly learned […] all those in [Trump’s] orbit will be sucked into progressively more humiliating and absurd efforts to go along with the ruse. […]

    […] Among the many questions that Pence refused to answer was one of the week’s more obvious, given the large cluster of coronavirus cases in the White House and [Trump’s] own illness after months of refusing to wear a mask or observe social distancing: Why should the American people listen when you tell them to abide by public-health guidelines that you yourself refuse to follow? Pence’s response was a model of misdirection, which had something to do with the Green New Deal and the coming government takeover of health care under the radical-left Democrats. […]

    By the time a fly improbably showed up on Pence’s close-cropped white hair and stayed there, without the Vice-President even appearing to notice, for a good two minutes, it was clear who the evening’s real winner would be. It was the fly, who will surely be remembered in debate history after all of Pence’s whoppers are long forgotten.

    New Yorker link

  232. says


    Jason Miller attacks Gretchen Whitmer, the target of a kidnapping plot, right after her presser:

    ‘If we want to talk about hatred, then Gov. Whitmer, go look in the mirror! The fact that she wakes up every day with such hatred in her heart towards President Trump’.”

    (It was also a potential murder plot. There was talk of shooting her in the head, blowing up a bridge, and burning down her house.)

  233. johnson catman says

    re SC @341: Inbreeding really does produce some really poor humans, doesn’t it?

  234. says

    Ayman Mohyeldin: “Absolutely incredible all of these officials briefed the press and no mention whether these suspects are white? Do they have a military background? What was their ideology? Did any of them have any communications, connections to extremists or supremacists abroad?”

  235. tomh says

    Trump tells House GOP leader he wants a “big deal” on COVID relief
    Alayna Treene, Jonathan Swan

    Within a day of tweeting that he was calling off bipartisan talks for a coronavirus stimulus deal, President Trump phoned House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and indicated he was worried by the stock market reaction and wanted a “big deal” with Speaker Nancy Pelosi, per two sources familiar with the call.

    Trump was spooked after seeing the instant drop in the stock market and intense backlash to his tweet, and he has since directed Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to push for a more comprehensive relief bill before the election.

    Oh yeah, he’s fine, nothing to worry about here.

  236. says

    SC @339, maybe the bride expects to die from coronavirus soon and she wanted her bridesmaids to have something to wear to the funeral.

  237. says

    SC @349, good plan.

    In other news:

    In an extraordinary step, the Washington, D.C., Department of Health has released an open letter appealing to all White House staff and anyone who attended a Sept. 26 event in the Rose Garden to seek medical advice and take a COVID-19 test. […]

    AP News source. Adequate contact tracing is not being done by the White House.

    I don’t imagine Trump will like this: “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., plans to introduce legislation Friday that would create a ‘Commission on Presidential Capacity,’ which would be involved in presidential transfer of power procedures under the 25th Amendment.”

    NBC News source.

    Online campaign tactics: “Facebook said Thursday that it has taken down hundreds of fake accounts created by a marketing company that worked with the young conservative group Turning Point USA to invade the comments sections of mainstream publishers and denigrate Democratic politicians.”

    NBC News source.

    From Jemele Hill:

    I don’t know who needs to hear this but just imagine the reaction if it would have been discovered that anyone connected to Black Lives Matter was plotting to kidnap a United States Governor.

  238. says

    Trump adds another unlawfully serving official to his long list of unlawfully serving officials

    Last month a judge found that unqualified Trump-appointed official William Pendley had been unlawfully serving in his position of acting Bureau of Land Management (BLM) director for well over a year, meaning a number of anti-environment policies he signed while illegitimately serving were now at risk. The judge, The New York Times reports, “ordered briefs from all parties regarding which of Mr. Pendley’s policies should be overturned, due this week.”

    That sounds like some good news, right? Some justice finally prevailed. But not really. Not only is the Trump administration fighting the federal judge’s court order, it’s openly defying it: the Times reports Pendley remains at the agency, but now under an altered job title. Presto change-o, problem fixed. But Pendley isn’t the only unqualified administration official unlawfully serving in their job. Nope, not even close.

    We’ve talked about Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials Chad Wolf and Ken Cuccinelli, the mini-fascists who’ve been using the full power of their department not to protect all Americans, but to protect one person: impeached President Donald Trump. And just like Pendley, both are unlawfully serving in their positions according to the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office (GAO), with Unlawful Chad as acting secretary and Ken as his deputy. And just like Pendley, both are still in their positions.

    But even these three deplorable musketeers only scratch at the surface of this administration’s unprecedented corruption and lawlessness: “The Constitutional Accountability Center, a liberal research group, has identified 15 high-ranking Trump administration officials who are currently holding jobs in violation of the vacancies act,” the Times continued. […]

    […] It’s been well over 100 days since the Supreme Court ruled on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, and young undocumented immigrants still aren’t able to apply for first-time protections because U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is refusing to follow the court’s order and accept their applications. And in a double-whammy of corruption, remember that another federal judge found that Ken Cuccinelli, a noted anti-immigrant loudmouth, was also unlawfully serving in his other government job as acting USCIS director.

    […] “Mr. Pendley, a former oil-industry lawyer, has ridiculed the established science of climate change and called for the sale of public lands,” the Times said. “Under Mr. Pendley the bureau has approved dozens of land management plans and expanded oil and gas drilling in several states, including within the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante national monuments in Utah. He also has spearheaded moving the bureau from Washington, D.C., to Grand Junction, Colo., which many environmental groups believe is part of an effort to hollow out the agency.”

    […] How are they still in their jobs if there are court rulings saying they’re unlawfully serving? The GAO’s findings aren’t court orders, but court orders are court orders. That means something, right? I’m sorry to inform you that I’m just as stuck as you are. I can only assume that an administration is perfectly willing to defy […] a pesky lower court ruling. Especially when the Republicans who control half of Congress won’t hold it accountable. It’s a good thing there’s an election coming up that gives us a chance to boot not only Trump, but also his lackeys.

  239. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    SC#353, As we say in science, “what data is what the data is”. At last those of us with honesty and integrity. Which is most (but not all) of us.

  240. tomh says

    Supreme Court puts on hold Trump administration request to reimpose medication abortion restrictions
    By Robert Barnes
    Oct. 8, 2020

    The Supreme Court on Thursday declined a Trump administration request to require women seeking the drugs for medication abortions to visit a doctor’s office or clinic, but sent the case back to a Maryland federal judge who had lifted the rule during the coronavirus pandemic.

    The court’s unusual and unsigned disposition of the petition came after six weeks of consideration, and brought a rebuke from two of the court’s conservatives for their colleagues, and for U.S. District Judge Theodore D. Chuang.

    “While COVID-19 has provided the ground for restrictions on First Amendment rights, the District Court saw the pandemic as a ground for expanding the abortion right recognized in Roe v. Wade,” wrote Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., who was joined by Justice Clarence Thomas.

    Chuang ruled in July that requiring an in-person visit to obtain the medications needed to induce abortion was unduly burdensome. There is no requirement that a woman take the medication in a clinic setting, and most take the pills that end a pregnancy in its early stages at home.

    At the request of abortion providers and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Chuang imposed a nationwide injunction against the Food and Drug Administration directive.

    Instead of agreeing with the government’s petition, the court’s order issued Thursday night directed Chuang to “promptly consider a motion by the government to dissolve, modify, or stay the injunction, including on the ground that relevant circumstances have changed.”

    Abortion providers told the court that there was no reason an in-office visit was necessary.

    “Of more than 20,000 FDA-approved drugs, mifepristone is the only one that patients must pick up in person in a clinical setting but are permitted to self-administer elsewhere, unsupervised,” Kaye wrote…

    The unsigned order and compromise decision may indicate the court was deadlocked, although only Thomas and Alito declared their views…

    Is it any wonder the Republicans want to rush through the confirmation of another anti-abortion fanatic to the Court?

  241. says

    Here’s a link to the October 9 Guardian coronavirus world liveblog.

    From there:

    Authorities in Moscow were considering closing bars and nightclubs to halt a second coronavirus wave as the number of new daily cases surged on Friday to the highest it has been since the pandemic began.

    Russia reported 12,126 new infections, Reuters has said, pushing the overall total to 1,272,238. The previous record daily rise was 11,656 cases on May 11, when strict lockdown measures were in force across most of the vast country.

    Russian authorities have recommended people stay at home this weekend, but currently have no lockdown in place and the Kremlin has said there are no plans to impose one for now.

    The Moscow Mayor’s office was looking into closing bars, nightclubs and karaoke bars, but keeping restaurants in the capital open, the RBC media outlet reported on Friday, citing a a source at the mayor’s office.

    “We have to at least somehow reduce the number of people in the city, otherwise we may arrive at the same strict restrictions as we had in the spring,” RBC quoted the source as saying.

    Authorities in Moscow, the epicentre of Russia’s coronavirus outbreak in the spring, has also recommended people over the age of 65 isolate and has told businesses that at least a third of their staff must work remotely.

    Officials said on Friday that 201 people had died of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus, in the last 24 hours, pushing the official death toll to 22,257.

    Germany has recorded more than 4,000 new infections for the second day in a row, with the country’s disease control agency stating on Friday it has been notified of 4,516 confirmed cases in the last 24 hours.

    The latest daily coronavirus numbers are the highest recorded in Germany since 16 April, when testing capacity was considerably lower. The infection fatality rate in Germany for now remains relatively low, at 3% compared with 4.7% in June.

    Berlin has emerged as one of the hotspots of the pandemic’s second wave, with the capital on Thursday crossing the crucial threshold of more than 50 cases per 100,000 people over the last seven days.

    “These developments cause me great concern”, Berlin’s mayor, Michael Müller, said on Thursday evening. Bars, restaurants and off-licences in the capital will from Saturday be forced to close between 11pm and 6am, and rules around public and private gatherings at nighttime will be further tightened.

    “We cannot rule out having to agree to take further steps”, Müller said. “We want to do everything to avoid a lockdown like the one we’ve already had.”

    [Close the bars and nightclubs. – SC]

    Switzerland has reported a record daily rise in coronavirus infections of 1,487.

    The country’s health agency has reported a total of 60,368 confirmed cases, up from 58,881 on Thursday. The death toll rose by three to 1,794.

    Switzerland reported its first confirmed case of Covid-19 in late February. New daily infections previously peaked at 1,456 on 23 March but had dwindled to as few as three on 1 June.

    Poland reported a record daily rise in coronavirus cases for the fourth consecutive day on Friday, with 4,739 reported new infections.

    From Saturday, wearing masks outside will be compulsory across the country, and a tightening of measures in schools is also expected to be announced.

    Spain’s government invoked a state of emergency on Friday to impose a partial lockdown on Madrid, one of Europe’s worst Covid-19 hotspots, after a court had struck down the measures.

    The move escalates a standoff between prime minister Pedro Sanchez’s socialist government and the conservative Madrid regional chief who believes the curbs are illegal, excessive and disastrous for the local economy.

    Following a Health Ministry order, Madrid authorities last week reluctantly barred all non-essential travel in and out of the city and other nearby towns.

    The region had 723 coronavirus cases per 100,000 people in the two weeks to 8 October, according to the World Health Organisation, making it Europe’s second densest cluster after Andorra.

    But instead of a blanket restriction, the Madrid region chief Isabel Diaz Ayuso wants tailored restrictions in different neighbourhoods according to local contagion levels. [Guess which neighborhoods.]

    A Madrid court sided with her on Thursday, effectively suspending the restrictions and prompting the government’s response with an emergency order.

  242. says

    NEWS: more than 1600 clergy members, religious scholars and other faith-focused officials and activists are endorsing Biden– organizers believe it is the largest group of faith leaders to back a Democratic presidential candidate in modern times

    list includes rabbis, LDS, Muslim and Hindu leaders+more – but endorsements come largely from Catholic, evangelical and mainline Protestant Americans, organizers said. Majorities of white voters from those religious traditions backed Trump in ’16, per Pew.”

    NYT link atl.

  243. tomh says

    McConnell says stimulus “unlikely” before election despite Trump’s desperation
    Jonathan Swan, Alayna Treene

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told a Kentucky event on Friday that a coronavirus stimulus deal is “unlikely in the next three weeks,” per the Washington Post’s Erica Werner.

    Two sources close to Senate leadership said President Trump is desperate, has zero leverage to push them to support a bill crafted by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and congressional Republicans aren’t inclined to wrap themselves any tighter to a sinking ship…

    McConnell doesn’t want to do anything to interrupt the only visible Republican win before the election in his chamber — the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.

  244. says

    From former RNC chair Michael Steele, speaking to Christiane Amanpour about why he is supporting Joe Biden:

    There’s more to the presidency than a policy or Supreme Court nomination…. Look, I’ll disagree with Joe Biden all day on public policy, but right now, the country is not concerned so much about that as it is, can you help us re-establish the relationship with foreign leaders and our partners around the globe? Can you help re-establish our faith in institutions and how they help govern the country? I think that matters a lot more than people realize.

  245. tomh says

    Pelosi on Trump’s impaired judgement: ‘Clearly he is under medication.’
    By Colby Itkowitz

    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) weighed in on whether Trump’s coronavirus medications were impairing his judgment during a news conference introducing legislation that would create an independent commission of medical professionals that could recommend a president’s removal based on his physical or mental fitness to do the job.

    Pelosi said she didn’t know if the president was in an altered state from his medication, but that “there are those who believe that taking certain medications can affect your judgment.”

    Pelosi claimed the legislation is “not about President Trump,” but that his experience with the coronavirus showed the need for some process for how to “ensure stability and continuity of government in times of crisis.”

    Pressed on the suggestion that Trump might currently have mental impairment from his medications, Pelosi again wouldn’t say directly what she believed, but left open that it is possible.

    “Clearly, he is under medication,” Pelosi said of Trump. “Any of us who is under medication of that seriousness is in an altered state. There are articles by medical professionals saying this could, as I said earlier, could have an impact on judgment…”

  246. quotetheunquote says

    @SC #319 –

    This is Heather Cox Richardson’s YT channel .

    The video that I referred to above is not on there at the moment, but as I see she’s put most of her previous “history chats” up in the past, I’m guessing it will be posted there soon (?).

    Incidentally, all the ones I’ve listened to so far have been really good, so if you have the time, just going to the channel and picking one at random would be a worthwhile way to spend an hour.

  247. says

    SC @332, so if Mitch McConnell is smart enough to stay away from the COVID-ridden White House, why isn’t he smart enough to pass some economic relief legislation?

    In other news, Trump is furious that Bill Barr’s and Mike Pompeo’s sycophantic actions haven’t kept pace with his overactive imagination.

    During a rambling appearance on Fox Business yesterday, Donald Trump accused Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and Hillary Clinton of being criminals who deserve immediate prosecution for reasons that were hopelessly bonkers. But as it turns out, Democrats weren’t the president’s only targets.

    In the same on-air interview, Trump was critical of Attorney General Bill Barr for failing to indict his perceived political enemies. He blasted his own hand-picked FBI director, Chris Wray, as a “disappointment” who’s failed to take his election conspiracy theories seriously.

    Even Secretary of State Mike Pompeo couldn’t escape the president’s tantrum.

    He also expressed rare dissatisfaction with Pompeo, who he said should release some sort of new information on Hillary Clinton’s emails. “They’re in the State Department, but Mike Pompeo has been unable to get them out, which is very sad actually. I’m not happy about him for that reason,” Trump said. “He was unable to get that. I don’t know why. You’re running the State Department; you’re able to get them out.”

    Trump is batshit bonkers crazy-minded.

    It was of interest to see that Trump, just 26 days from Election Day, remains fixated on Hillary Clinton — who left public office eight years ago, who isn’t running for anything, and who has no meaningful role in the 2020 race.

    It was also notable that the president has convinced himself that the State Department, which has already released Clinton’s emails, has a secret batch of emails that Pompeo is responsible for finding and releasing.

    […] we appear to be witnessing is a president melting down under pressure. Trailing his 2020 rival, Trump’s desperation has him looking in every direction, looking for enemies, scapegoats, excuses, and allies whom he expects to be rigging the system to prevent his failure.

    Officials like Barr and Pompeo have been unflinching White House loyalists — to a degree that has practically corrupted their offices — but for Trump, their sycophancy simply hasn’t been good enough. [Trump] can think of even more outrageous steps they could be taking to help him, and he’s apparently furious that their actions haven’t kept pace with his imagination. […]

  248. says

    It dawned on the oft-confused president that sabotaging himself in the final four weeks of re-election campaign wasn’t such a good idea.

    After weeks of confusing and contradictory messages, Donald Trump made a bizarre announcement on Tuesday afternoon: [he] was pulling the plug on bipartisan talks on an economic aid package. Sure, his opponents were willing to give the economy an enormous pre-election boost, but [Trump] had made up his mind: there would be no agreement.

    Was there a chance we’d see more negotiations? No, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said. Maybe the door was still ajar? No, White House National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow added.

    But it wasn’t long before Trump started publishing tweets that contradicted his own message. [He] told Fox Business yesterday that the negotiations — the ones he ended on Tuesday — were “starting to work out.”

    Trump reportedly told House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) that the White House is now looking to strike a “big deal” on economic aid, and by some accounts, [he] “badly” wants to see a new aid package come together before Election Day.

    All of which leads to a fairly obvious question: what happened to Trump’s negotiating position between Tuesday and Thursday? Axios helped answer the question:

    A person who spoke with Trump yesterday said that while he would never use the word “regret” about scuttling the negotiations, they got the strong impression that Trump realized he had messed up tactically.

    Exactly. [Trump], with no real forethought or interest in consequences, scrapped negotiations. Wall Street wasn’t pleased; congressional Republicans were even angrier; and practically every observer struggled to understand why Trump would undermine his own interests so aggressively.

    It apparently wasn’t long before the oft-confused president started to realize that maybe sabotaging himself in the final four weeks of re-election campaign wasn’t such a good idea.

    […] House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said this week that Trump’s priorities don’t even have any meaningful policy value: “All he has ever wanted in the negotiation was to send out a check with his name printed on it. Forget about the virus, forget about our heroes, forget about our children and their need to go to school safely and the rest.” […]

  249. says

    Some additions to the White House COVID-19 hotspot:

    Two new cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed among White House residence staff, bringing the total number of people [in the residence staff] infected so far in that outbreak to four, including three members of the housekeeping staff as well as an assistant to the chief usher, Timothy Harleth […]

  250. says

    More Barrett efforts to cover up her past revealed, questions about the health of Republicans swirl

    There are two related themes emerging from the Amy Coney Barrett nomination and confirmation process: Barrett has been covering up potentially damaging information about her record, and Republicans will go to any lengths to ram her onto the court. Both are severe threats to the health of this democracy.

    […] Barrett did not disclose a notable case in which she was one of two lead attorneys defending a Pittsburgh steel magnate accused of helping drive a major Pennsylvania hospital system into bankruptcy on her Judiciary Committee disclosure forms. The questionnaire she, like all court nominees, completed required her to list the “10 most significant litigated matters which you personally handled, whether or not you were the attorney of record” and to “describe in detail the nature of your participation.” She listen only three cases, the same three she listed in her 2017 questionnaire for an appeals court seat, leaving this one out. […]

    She worked on this case for at least six months beginning in June of 2000 according to court documents. This case “involves one of the largest nonprofit bankruptcies in U.S. history, at $1.5 billion, which prompted numerous investigations including a criminal probe.” […] this one sticks out because she worked on it for a big chunk of the time[…] and that raises a red flag. […] Is it sloppiness on her part? Did she leave it off because it was health care-related and she was on the “wrong” side of the destruction of a hospital system? Republicans are trying to get her onto the court before arguments in the Affordable Care Act case are heard, certain that she will be a vote to overturn it, making her participation in the Pittsburgh case potentially relevant.

    This comes after Barrett has already been under fire for not disclosing important, relevant information. Like signing on to a two-page ad published in the South Bend Tribune of Indiana, which called for Roe v. Wade to be overturned to end its “barbaric legacy,” calling for an end to “abortion on demand,” and defending “the right to life from fertilization to the end of natural life.” Additionally, Barrett has not disclosed that she served as a “handmaid” in People of Praise, a far-right fundamentalist religious community based in charismatic Catholicism. People of Praise has scrubbed its whole website of any mention of Barrett.

    What else is Barrett covering up in her record, and who is helping her do it? There is a clear pattern with Barrett of hiding relevant information. […] these are people who will do anything to get their way, to preserve a minority rule government and extend it to the Supreme Court.

    Like potentially covering up the coronavirus infection of the Judiciary Committee chairman, Lindsey Graham, who is absolutely refusing to be tested ahead of a Saturday debate with Democrat Jaime Harrison. There’s no good reason for Graham not to be tested, unless he has good reason to think that test will be positive. There are already four Republican committee members who’ve tested positive or are quarantining because of their exposure to the virus. […]

  251. says

    Follow-up to the Lindsey Graham part of comment 369.

    Since Sen. Lindsey Graham was at the Senate Judiciary Committee meeting attended last week by Sens. Mike Lee and Thom Tillis, both of whom were unmasked and subsequently tested positive for COVID-19, you’d think he’d want to know his own status. But nope. Graham very much does not want to be tested—at least not with the results becoming public.

    Graham’s opponent, Jaime Harrison, is pushing for testing for everyone involved in the debate scheduled for Oct. 9. “We need real leadership in this pandemic,” Harrison tweeted Thursday afternoon. “The debate moderators and I have agreed to take a COVID test prior to debating. I’ve scheduled my test, and I am calling on Sen. Graham to do the same.” Graham was not on board, all but calling Harrison “uppity” in response. […]

    It’s easy enough to be tested if you’re a United States senator. For some reason, Graham won’t do it, won’t set an example for South Carolinians to be tested when they’ve had contact with coronavirus-positive people, won’t set an example for South Carolinians to be tested if they’ll be sharing space with others for a sustained, maskless period of time. For some reason. […]


  252. says

    Immigrant youth-led ads slam Republicans for failing to protect them

    he pro-immigrant United We Dream Action (UWDA) PAC has launched digital ads in a number of battleground states targeting embattled Republican senators for their catastrophic novel coronavirus pandemic response and failure to protect young undocumented immigrants thrown into limbo by impeached president Donald Trump’s cruel rescission of the popular Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

    “You hear that?” one ad targeting North Carolina’s Thom Tillis asks over the sound of crickets. “That’s Thom Tillis’ silence on Trump’s disastrous COVID-19 response. It’s his silence when Trump destroys our DACA protections. It’s his silence when Trump deports young immigrants and separates families in deportation camps in the middle of a pandemic. We’re done with it.” Similar ads target Arizona’s Martha McSally, Colorado’s Cory Gardner, and Texas’ John Cornyn. […]

    Scroll down at the link to see the ad.

    More background details:

    […] the digital ads come as Texas’ John Cornyn has begun to publicly panic over his race against Democratic nominee and military veteran MJ Hegar suddenly heating up. Example: Cornyn has spent years claiming that oh, he really wants immigration fixes when in reality he’s nothing but a saboteur. Time after time, he’s voted against legislation, and been damn proud of it.

    But now in panic mode, Cornyn is laughably claiming he’s actually been working for undocumented youth behind the scenes, but just hadn’t bothered to say anything until a couple weeks before Election Day. Sure, John. […]

  253. says

    Update on the vote so far:

    […] More than 6 million Americans have already voted in 27 states for November’s general election, according to data released by states that have begun accepting ballots.

    Registered Democrats have returned 1.4 million ballots, more than twice the 653,000 ballots registered Republicans have returned so far […]

    About two-thirds of voters who have already voted — 3.7 million Americans — are either unaffiliated with either party or live in states that do not register voters by party. Demographic modeling by one prominent Democratic firm, TargetSmart, estimates that almost 3 million of all votes cast have come from Democratic voters, compared to about 2.1 million from Republicans.

    Regardless of party affiliation, more people are voting by mail this year than in years past. The coronavirus pandemic and both Democratic and Republican efforts to get their most hardened supporters to vote by mail has led to an explosion in the early vote.

    At this point in the 2016 presidential contest, only around 750,000 people had voted, about 13 percent of the number of voters who have cast a ballot this year. […]

    So far this year, women, college-educated white voters, African Americans and Hispanic voters account for larger shares of the electorate than they did in 2016, a hopeful sign for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, who leads substantially among those groups. […]


  254. says

    Trump has changed his mind four times in the last four days, so I’ll believe this when I see it.

    Inching closer to Democrats’ demands, […] Trump and his aides on Friday [today] will offer Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) a $1.8 trillion coronavirus relief package, sources said, as the president urged the negotiators to “go big.”

    The new figure was a jump from the White House’s $1.6 trillion offer last week, but there was no indication that Pelosi would come down from her demand for a $2.2 trillion package. She is set to speak with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Trump’s lead negotiator […]

    “Covid Relief Negotiations are moving along. Go Big!” Trump tweeted on Friday morning, a striking reversal from his position on Tuesday when he said he would walk away from negotiations with Democrats on a comprehensive relief bill to assist businesses and American workers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

    In one concession, the White House is raising its offer on emergency aid for cash-strapped cities and states to $300 billion, up from a $250 billion offer last week, sources said. A bill passed by House Democrats last week calls for $436 billion in aid for state and local governments.

    White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told reporters at the White House that Trump had settled on a “revised” stimulus package but declined to offer details […]

    “The developments are very positive, they are very constructive. This is breakthrough stuff and it happened this morning,” Kudlow said, sounding optimistic about the prospect of an agreement. […]


    Kudlow has also issued contradictory statements in the past few days. So, we’ll wait and see what happens.

    Mitch McConnell could just refuse to consider the bill.

  255. tomh says

    Trump to Rush Limbaugh about Nancy Pelosi:
    “She’s gone crazy. She’s a nut job,” Trump said.

  256. says

    tomh @374, pure projection on Trump’s part … sort of. I doubt that Trump has enough self awareness to know that he has gone even more batshit bonkers than usual. But, he probably has some dim awareness that he is not thinking straight.

    In other news: Trump’s $21M tax break comes under fresh scrutiny with newly obtained records

    An appraisal of a New York property that resulted in […] Trump receiving a $21 million tax break appears to have relied on unsupported assertions, according to an analysis of the document obtained by The Washington Post.

    The New York attorney general’s office indicated in court documents filed in August that it is investigating the valuation of several Trump properties, including the Seven Springs estate in Westchester County, N.Y.

    Trump received a $21.1 million tax break in exchange for agreeing to preserve much of the land on the property. The size of the tax break was determined based on an appraisal conducted in 2016 that valued the property at $56.5 million.

    The Post obtained a copy of the appraisal, which was written by the commercial real-estate firm Cushman & Wakefield. According to the Post, the appraisal claimed that if the land weren’t preserved, 24 homes worth an average of $2.1 million could be built and sold on it.

    Two independent appraisers who reviewed the document told the Post that it was problematic that the document did not provide evidence that this type of development would comply with local regulations, and that the document didn’t mention that Trump had unsuccessfully attempted to develop the land over a number of years.

    Appraisers also expressed concerns about the fact that the appraisal said the preserved land didn’t have any value of its own.

    “This is not a good appraisal, and it’s misleading, and it’s thin as all get out,” an appraiser who spoke to the Post under the condition of anonymity said. “What you get is appraised values for these 24 hypothetical lots that appear to be much higher than they ought to be.” […]

  257. says

    […] Is Trump still infectious? Probably! Is he still sick? Probably that, too! Is he just feeling better because he is taking a steroid known to make people behave erratically but also feel like they could conquer the world? Could a return to the campaign trail be dangerous for him and those around him? Almost definitely. Should anyone who doesn’t want to get coronavirus go anywhere near him or anyone who has been around him? Oh hell no.

    Because the fact is, even if he’s not infectious, we now know that COVID-19 is spreading in his circle and that they and he are still opposed to following public health guidelines, because of how they think following public health guidelines is for [P-word, plural]. They lied about having had negative tests before the debate. Not just him, all of them lied. His family, his entourage, all of them. They’ve only belated agreed to contact tracing the superspreader Rose Garden party. We know that all of them are being extremely irresponsible. […]

  258. says

    Oh, FFS.

    A private security company is recruiting a “large contingent” of former U.S. military Special Operations personnel to guard polling sites in Minnesota on Election Day as part of an effort “to make sure that the Antifas don’t try to destroy the election sites,” according to the chairman of the company.

    The recruiting effort is being done by Atlas Aegis, a private security company based in Tennessee that was formed last year and is run by U.S. military veterans, including people with Special Operations experience, according to its website.

    The company posted a message through a defense industry jobs site this week calling for former Special Operations forces to staff “security positions in Minnesota during the November Election and beyond to protect election polls, local businesses and residences from looting and destruction.”

    The prospect of armed guards outside election sites alarmed election officials in the state. It is illegal in Minnesota for people other than voters and elections staff — or those people meeting the requirements to be a registered election “challenger”— to be within 100 feet of polling sites.

    There are also laws against voter intimidation that could prevent armed civilians from being in the area even if outside the buffer, according to election officials in Minnesota. […]

    In an interview, Anthony Caudle, the chairman and co-founder of Atlas Aegis, said the client is a “consortium of business owners and concerned citizens” in Minnesota, but he declined to name the group. That consortium hired another unnamed firm as the prime contractor that is licensed in Minnesota, and Caudle’s company is responsible for staffing the security guards, he said. He declined to say where in Minnesota the guards would operate or how many intend to be out on Election Day.

    Caudle denied that having elite former U.S. military personnel in the vicinity of polling sites would intimidate voters. […]

    “They’re there for protection, that’s it,” he added. “They’re there to make sure that the Antifas don’t try to destroy the election sites.” […]

    Caudle said that Minnesota election officials as well as law enforcement in the state are aware that armed civilians intend to guard polling sites.

    But election officials in Minnesota, at the state level and in Minneapolis, said that they had never heard of this company or any plan to allow armed guards at polling sites. Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon said that “no one can do anything other than go to and from voting” in the 100-foot buffer.

    […] Simon, who was not aware of the Atlas Aegis call for security guards until notified by The Post, added that state and federal laws also prohibit law enforcement or armed personnel from preemptively deploying at polling sites, as that could be perceived as voter intimidation. Armed security guards are not going to be allowed to help law enforcement in the event of an incident, he said, “in fact, they’re making things more difficult.” […]

    […] The top election official in Minneapolis, city clerk Casey Carl, also said that he and his security manager have never heard of Atlas Aegis or any plan to have armed guards at polling sites. Asked if an armed presence amounted to voter intimidation, Carl said “certainly I could appreciate how voters could interpret that as intimidation.”

    “I am not authorizing them to be at my polling places,” Carl said. […]

    The job posting, which was distributed on, a job list for the defense industry, specifically seeks people with “Tier 1 and Tier 2” Special Operations experience, classifications for elite forces including units that have conducted kill-and-capturemissions in the Iraq and Afghan wars. The pay was listed at $910 per day with an expected 15 to 30 days of work around the election. […]

    Washington Post link

  259. says

    Two weeks ago, Donald Trump became the first American president to ever publicly resist the idea of a peaceful transfer of power between administrations.[he] not only refused to commit to a peaceful post-election process, he added that if officials would simply “get rid of the ballots,” there would be “a continuation” of his hold on power.

    [Trump] proceeded to echo the position, both at a campaign rally and from the White House podium. He went so far as to tell reporters that the United States’ electoral system is “rigged,” which Trump apparently sees as a credible justification for rejecting results he doesn’t like.

    At this week’s debate, moderator Susan Page reminded Vice President Mike Pence that [Trump] has repeatedly refused to commit to a peaceful, post-election transfer of power, and asked what he’d do if Trump refuses to accept the election results.

    Pence replied with a long, meandering answer, which included some deeply weird, conspiratorial nonsense — the vice president falsely accused the FBI of spying on the Trump campaign four years ago, somehow tying this to Hillary Clinton — before falsely accusing Congress of having impeached the president “over a phone call.” He added:

    “So let me just say, I think we’re gonna win this election. President Trump and I are fighting every day in courthouses to prevent Joe Biden and Kamala Harris from changing the rules and creating this universal mail-in voting, they’ll create a massive opportunity for voter fraud.”

    […] none of this made any sense, but just as importantly, at no point did Pence ever get around to saying that he and the president would, in fact, honor a peaceful transition of power in the event of an electoral defeat.

    Last night, Donald Trump described this as the vice president’s “best answer” of the debate. He proceeded to scoff aloud at the very idea of “a peaceful transition to power.”

    […] on Thursday, the president sneered at the idea that he should respect election results he doesn’t like, which is a line he’s now repeated several times over two weeks. […]


  260. says

    Bits and pieces of campaign news, as summarized by Steve Benen:

    […] * After the Trump campaign used images of Jackie Robinson and Martin Luther King Jr. in campaign advertising, the families of both men quickly denounced the Republican commercial.

    […] * The Biden campaign released a television ad this week focused exclusively on the climate crisis, the first such ad for any presidential hopeful since 2008.

    Huffington Post link to article that includes the video of the new Biden/Harris climate change ad. The ad is good. Like all ads, the short amount of time limits the coverage. This ad looks at climate change from a farming perspective.

  261. says

    Quoted in Lynna’s #377 above:

    Because the fact is, even if he’s not infectious, we now know that COVID-19 is spreading in his circle and that they and he are still opposed to following public health guidelines, because of how they think following public health guidelines is for [P-word, plural]. They lied about having had negative tests before the debate. Not just him, all of them lied. His family, his entourage, all of them. They’ve only belated agreed to contact tracing the superspreader Rose Garden party. We know that all of them are being extremely irresponsible.

    The posts about Lindsey Graham @ #s 369 and 370 also make me furious. You don’t get tested just for yourself, but to help with contact tracing and understanding how it’s spreading. He’s also demanding people be around him while refusing the most basic measure of getting tested, which makes me suspect he fears it would be positive. Which makes it even worse.

    They just lie and conceal and harm people. It’s hard to believe it’s even happening.

  262. says

    Follow-up to comment 373.

    From Joan McCarter:

    […] McConnell knows as well as the rest of us that it is pretty darned likely Trump loses this election. He’s also aware that the Senate will likely flip. Looking ahead to 2021, he wants to sow the seeds now for obstructing a Joe Biden administration. Leaving him with a totally wrecked economy, needing to immediately pass a massive stimulus bill is one way to do that.

    A 6-3 minoritarian rule on the Supreme Court that will strike down Biden’s initiatives (as well as President Obama’s) is another way. He seems absolutely heedless to the panic among his own vulnerable members about the need to help struggling constituents—even Texas Sen. John Cornyn has been fretting about it.

    Which is all to say, McConnell is probably not going to let another coronavirus relief bill onto the Senate floor before the election, no matter how much that angers Trump.


    More at the link.

  263. says

    Trump Uses COVID Diagnosis To Lean Into Every Trumpian Tendency Ever

    In one of his most reality TV star-in-chief moves yet, […] Trump is going to be examined by a physician on Friday night in a segment that will be broadcast exclusively by Fox News.

    During his first on-camera, in-person interview since he was diagnosed with COVID-19 last week, Trump will apparently be interviewed by his BFF Tucker Carlson either before or after the recorded medical evaluation occurs. Details are scant on what this evaluation will actually entail, but in true Trump fashion, I’m sure we can expect a highly staged, highly dramatic affair. This is Trump’s favorite form of self-indulgence.

    Despite being an obese man in his mid ’70s, Trump has been toiling to portray an image of strength and good health — an effort that long predates the White House COVID-19 outbreak. Since the early days of his presidency when he made the White House physician deliver a press briefing detailing just how healthy he is, to earlier this week when he (probably prematurely) was released from Walter Reed after spending four days there, to his return with a mask-free photo op in front of the White House.

    The Trump campaign has taken a similar messaging approach, mocking former VP Joe Biden for not getting COVID-19 and reframing his personal bout with the pandemic — which has killed more than 200,000 Americans and infected more than 7 million — as a triumph dripping with machismo.

    In short: COVID has made Trump even more himself.

  264. says

    Re: 374
    Pelosi is coherent. Limbaugh and others like him replace engagement with ableist characterizations. It was that or “hysterical”.

    The behavior Limbaugh is projecting is probably closer to what occured during the first presidential debate sexist narratives being what they are.

  265. says

    quotetheunquote @ #365, thanks! I’ll check it out. Ooh, I very much want to read her latest book, How the South Won the Civil War: Oligarchy, Democracy, and the Continuing Fight for the Soul of America.

  266. says

    CNN – “The US is reporting more than 46,000 positive Covid-19 tests on average every day”:

    The US is averaging more than 46,000 new Covid-19 infections each day — up 12% from the previous week and more than double what the country was seeing in June, as lockdown restrictions were easing.

    On Thursday, the number of cases reported in the country — 57,191 — was the highest in almost two months, and 10 states saw their highest seven-day averages of new daily cases.

    And where in the past just one or a few regions were experiencing a growth in cases, infections are now on the rise across all regions.

    It’s a case count that experts warn is far too high, ahead of what’s forecast to be a challenging — and deadly — winter season. The latest US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ensemble forecast says US Covid-19 deaths could reach 233,000 by the end of this month.

    And projections from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation show more than 2,900 Americans could be dying daily by January.

    Earlier this week, Dr. Anthony Fauci said he was “disturbed and concerned” by the country’s average case count.

    “That’s no place to be when you’re trying to get your arms around an epidemic,” he said.

    And as the weather gets colder, things will get tougher.

    Gatherings will likely begin to move indoors, where the virus is more prone to spread. And as colleges battle outbreaks on campus, students soon returning to visit their families for the holidays could unknowingly bring the virus with them.

    “It’s important for all of us to not let our guard down during Thanksgiving,” Dr. Deborah Birx of the White House Coronavirus Task Force said. “We see that from the High Holy Days, people are just yearning to be together.”

    Even if friends and relatives appear healthy, it’s impossible to know for sure that they aren’t infected without testing, Birx said at a media briefing in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Friday.

    On top of that, it will be coupled with flu season to create what experts say could turn into a “twin-demic.” What could help, health officials have said, are flu shots and strong safety measures like masks and social distancing.

    The high average case count comes alongside more worrying trends: only Alabama and Hawaii are reporting a decline of new cases over the past week, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
    The 10 states that had their highest seven-day averages Thursday were Alaska, Colorado, Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Utah and Wyoming.

    And nationwide, hospitalizations have begun to rise, with more than 34,000 hospitalized patients Thursday, the highest since before Labor Day, according to the COVID Tracking Project.

    Wisconsin announced it would open a field hospital next week to address the surge of patients.

    “We obviously hoped this day wouldn’t come, but unfortunately, Wisconsin is in a much different and more dire place today, and our healthcare systems are being overwhelmed,” Gov. Tony Evers said in a news conference.

    New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said Thursday the state reported more than 1,300 new Covid-19 cases, the highest number since late May.

    “This is a sobering number,” the governor said, and later lashed out at the President, who recently told Americans not to let the virus “dominate.”

    “To say this virus isn’t still with us, to say that it isn’t virulent, to say that it could not take your life is completely false. Every speck of that.” Murphy added.

    Meanwhile, in neighboring New York, local officials are trying to get a hold of clusters that have broken out in several communities in Brooklyn, Queens, and Rockland and Orange counties….

  267. says

    Why it matters that Trump is pointing to a ‘cure’ that doesn’t exist

    There is no cure for the coronavirus. For Trump to say that “we have a cure” is wrong, and could carry public-health consequences.

    The first sign of trouble came on Wednesday. In a weird online video, featuring the president in unusual makeup, Donald Trump boasted about the amazing medicine he’d taken to treat the coronavirus. “It just made me better,” the Republican said. “I call that a cure.”

    Except, he shouldn’t “call that a cure,” because in reality, there is not yet a coronavirus cure — and telling the public otherwise needlessly puts people at risk.

    Nevertheless, Trump pushed the same line on Fox News last night, saying in reference to his medications, “I viewed it as a cure. It’s incredible. And we’re going to get it to everybody, free of charge.” He added that “the military” will be delivering the “cure” to hospitals.

    This afternoon, the rhetoric was slightly worse.

    […] Trump is once again touting the antibody treatment he received as a “cure” for the coronavirus. “I’m telling you we have a cure,” Trump told radio host Rush Limbaugh during a “radio rally.”

    Because this is so important, it’s worth setting the record straight. As of now, there is no cure for the coronavirus. To say that “we have a cure” is demonstrably wrong.

    What’s more, while I’m sure[Trump] is excited to be feeling better, the treatments he’s received have not yet proven to be an effective treatment with a large number of patients.

    Complicating matters, as Trump talks about the idea of national distribution, the medications in question are in short supply, and it’ll be months before production can be ramped up, even if the treatments are proven effective.

    As for the president’s assurance that the “cure” will be “free,” the truth is far more complicated, and the idea that the military is poised to deliver the “cure” to hospitals is literally unbelievable.

    But as important as the individual factual errors are, even more important is the effect of Trump’s deception: an untold number of Americans will hear their president say that “we have a cure,” believe him, and ease up on necessary precautions intended to slow the spread of the pandemic.

    In other words, what the president is peddling isn’t just a lie, it’s a falsehood that could make a bad situation worse.

  268. says

    Michigan sheriff says accused terrorists were within their rights to ‘arrest’ Gov. Whitmer.


    […] As additional details come to light, the picture of what these men were plotting has become even more frightening. Kidnapping plot aside, perhaps the most disturbing element is just how cozy they are with law enforcement—including Barry County Sheriff Dar Leaf.

    When Fox 17 reporter Aaron Parseghian caught up with Leaf to get his thoughts on the men facing charges, specifically whether he regrets appearing on stage with these men at a May 16 rally in opposition to the lockdown orders issued by Gov. Whitmer—orders Leaf said he would not enforce—Leaf gave a downright chilling response. Not only did Leaf say he had no regrets, he said these men were within their rights to conduct a citizen’s arrest of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Really, he did. [Video at the link]

    Leaf belongs to a far-right fringe group who call themselves the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officer Association (CSPOA). If that sounds familiar, it’s because some of the whackiest and cruelest sheriffs in the news over recent years all belong to this organization, including the Trump-loving disgraced former Milwaukee sheriff, David Clarke. In short, they (wrongly) believe the Constitution gives them the ultimate authority in their county and that they can enforce—or not enforce—whatever laws they want. They also frequently espouse anti-government views. Like many of today’s far-right groups, their ideas are founded in white supremacy. […]

    The extremist organization named Leaf “Sheriff of the Year” in 2019. Leaf addressed the CSPOA in 2019 at a “Lawmen for Liberty” conference, and expressed some downright bone-chilling thoughts on Democrats. […]

    He said that the Social Democrats, Democratic socialists, Progressives, etc., are ”just people who can’t spell Communism.” […]

    Leaf’s outlook is not confined to Michigan. In 2016, Ammon Bundy and his armed militant crew illegally occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge; one of the reasons they chose that location was its proximity to Grant County Sheriff Glenn Palmer, who they believed would side with them if they needed to take refuge in his county; indeed, Palmer called the men “patriots.” Federal officials were so concerned that he was working with the Bundys that they concealed their plans to put up a roadblock to apprehend them as they traveled to meet with Palmer. It was at that roadblock where Bundy follower LeVoy Finicum reportedly tried to draw his weapon on federal agents and was gunned down.

    The connections go even deeper than that. The primary reason the Bundys occupied Malheur was to bring attention to the case of Dwight and Steven Hammond, who’d been sentenced to five years in prison for arson after a 22-year fight with the federal government over land management and grazing fees.

    The Hammonds became the faces of a far-right fringe movement that is intertwined with the Constitutional Sheriffs movement. Donald Trump has been courting these extremists since at least 2016. Three of his most controversial pardons are related to this movement. In August 2017, Trump pardoned former Sheriff Joe Arpaio, also a member of the CSPOA. In July 2018, Trump pardoned Dwight and Steven Hammond. Make no mistake about it, these pardons were to shore up support from the most far-right law enforcement and militia types in the country.

    At the end of the day, once we rid this government of Trump, we need to make a nationwide effort to purge each and every one of these extremist sheriffs with their grandiose ideas based in white supremacy. Everyone in this country deserves unbiased policing and law enforcement who follow the law, not make their own law. […]


  269. says

    Frank Fahrenkopf, a co-chair of the Commission on Presidential Debates, said President Trump’s campaign has presented “no evidence whatsoever” that he has tested negative for the coronavirus amid controversy over the remaining presidential debates.

    Fahrenkopf told Fox News’s Brian Kilmeade on Friday that he wanted to have a debate next week while maintaining that doing it virtually would be the “safest way to go.”

    “We’re talking about something that will happen in less than a week, if it had originally gone forward. Less than a week,” Fahrenkopf said. “At this point in time, there is no evidence whatsoever whether or not when the president tested negative.” […]


  270. says

    An obvious failure of faith healing:

    In Redding, California, there is a school called the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry. […] Is it like … Hogwarts? Kind of! It is kind of like Hogwarts. Except that instead of learning about witchcraft and wizardry, they learn about faith healing and scam artistry.

    There is really only one hard and fast rule when it comes to having an entire school dedicated to doing faith healing, and that is that no one can ever get sick, or else the jig is up. Or at least it should be.

    If it is, we’ll find out soon, because the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry has had 137 cases of COVID-19 in the last month and currently has 68 cases.

    You may recall hearing about this school in the early days of the pandemic, when students from the school kept going to hospitals to lay hands on people in order to heal them, which sounded like a really terrible idea. You may also recall them from […] the time Donald Trump invited the head of the school to anoint all the doorways in the White House to keep demons out. Oh, and they’re always trying to raise the dead, because that is a thing they actually think they can do. They have an actual “Dead Raising Team.”

    The school is blaming the transmission on outside activities.

    Press release, via Joe My God:

    Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry (BSSM) currently has 68 active positive cases of COVID-19 among BSSM students who have been instructed to isolate in their homes. All students and staff who have been in close contact with these individuals have been instructed to quarantine in their homes as well. As of October 6, 2020, the total number of positive cases among BSSM students and staff is 137 since school started in early September 2020.

    In our contact tracing system within BSSM, we have seen that a primary source of transmission has occurred in off-campus living situations and social interactions outside of school hours that are common to student life. Unlike a university setting with dorms and campus rules being monitored after school hours, BSSM students find housing in the community which they often share with other students.

    But even if that were true, it still wouldn’t count. They’re attending the school, aren’t they? Shouldn’t their teachers be able to cure them just by pressing a hand to their head?

    The school says they have been very careful, because of how they care about the health of their students, […]

    “Our school culture values community,” Kris Vallotton, director of the School of Supernatural Ministry, said in a statement. “In this unprecedented year, our strength in building community presents challenges and a temporary need for change. We deeply care about the health of our students, and have strongly communicated to them the importance of protecting our local community in Shasta County by wearing masks, social distancing and staying home when sick.”

    Huh! That may be true, but it also seems like if you tell kids they have magic healing powers, they’re probably not going to take a contagious virus all that seriously. They’re probably just thinking “Oh, no big if we get sick, because we can just all heal each other and everyone will be fine! If someone dies, we’ll also be fine cause we can just raise them from the dead!”

    The way I figure it, if you say you are a school of faith healing and you charge students $4,000 a year to teach them how to do faith healing and also how to resurrect the dead, you don’t get to have sick students. You have to heal them with your special Jesus magic or no one is going to believe a word you have to say ever again.


  271. says

    Brian Stelter:

    Tonight: Trump’s “first on-camera interview” since falling ill with covid “will take place on ‘Tucker Carlson Tonight’ at 8 p.m. ET. Dr. Marc Siegel will conduct a medical evaluation and interview during the program.”


  272. says

    VP Pence points to elusive health care plan, pretends it’s real

    Pence claimed he and Trump “have plans to improve health care and to protect pre-existing conditions.” If he’d only told us where those plans are hiding…

    Vice President Mike Pence had plenty to say at this week’s debate against Sen. Kamala Harris, but his comments on health care policy continue to linger for a reason.

    “Obamacare was a disaster and the American people remember it well. President Trump and I have plans to improve health care and to protect pre-existing conditions for every American.”

    Right off the bat, it’s worth emphasizing that the Affordable Care Act still exists; it’s still working; and it’s still providing health security to tens of millions of American families, so for the vice president to refer to it in the past tense was odd.

    […] the Affordable Care Act’s popularity continues to reach new heights. Indeed, “Obamacare” is more popular than any policy from the Trump/Pence agenda of the last four years.

    But what seemed especially important was the vice president’s insistence that he and Donald Trump “have plans to improve health care and to protect pre-existing conditions for every American.” They do? That’s great to hear, though it leads to an awkward follow-up question:

    Where are these plans hiding?

    Two weeks ago, the president said he was unveiling a “plan” to improve health care and to protect Americans with pre-existing conditions, but what Trump actually signed were some executive orders that literally didn’t do anything.

    The HuffPost’s Jeffrey Young had a terrific summary of the unveiling, explaining that the president “really, really wants to fool voters into thinking he has a plan to make the health care system great again. But he really, really doesn’t.”

    Slogans, lies and exaggerations aren’t policies. Trump pitched his phantom plan by saying it rests on three pillars: “more choice,” “lower costs,” and “better care,” and that it would “put patients first.” Those focus-group-tested slogans sound great! Except they’re hogwash. The truth is that, like in so many other areas, Trump doesn’t want to do the work. […]

    Aside from the inherent problems associated with national office-holders deceiving the public on life-or-death issues, the fact remains that the Republican-appointed Supreme Court justices may soon tear down the Affordable Care Act and strip Americans of the protections and benefits it provides.

    Pence wants voters to believe that they shouldn’t worry, because he and Trump have a blueprint in place to pick up the pieces if the Republicans anti-ACA lawsuit succeeds. It’d be great if that were true. It’s not.

  273. tomh says

    World Hits New Virus Infection Record, Extreme Poverty Soars
    October 9, 2020 CAIN BURDEAU

    (CN) — With new cases surging in Europe, the world is recording its highest daily infection counts since the World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus a pandemic seven months ago.

    On Thursday, the WHO reported a record one-day increase of 338,779 new infections. Globally, more than 5,000 people are dying each day from Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. The pandemic’s death toll stands at about 1.07 million, making it one of the deadliest pandemics in the past century and a global crisis with catastrophic consequences.

    The World Bank this week said the pandemic is likely to cause the first rise in extreme poverty since 1998 with up to 115 million more people falling into that category this year. The bank had previously estimated up to 100 million people in 2020 would fall below the extreme poverty line, defined as living on less than $1.90 a day.

    On the flip side, the pandemic is making the world’s richest even richer. A report from the Swiss bank UBS this week found that the wealth of the world’s 2,189 billionaires reached a new high of $10.2 trillion by the end of July. The wealth of the world’s richest grew by 27.5% between April and July, the report said. Industrialists and healthcare and tech billionaires have done the best, according to the report.

    India leads the world in the number of new daily infections and deaths. On average, India is reporting more than 70,000 new daily infections and more than 900 deaths each day. Its death toll stands at more than 106,500 and the virus has been detected in nearly 7 million people in India.

    The United States and Brazil, meanwhile, are the worst-hit nations in the world. U.S. President Donald Trump and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro are faulted for downplaying the risk of the virus and hindering efforts to suppress it.

    More statistics at the link.

  274. tomh says

    S.C. Senate debate canceled after Lindsey Graham declines to take a coronavirus test
    By Colby Itkowitz

    The Friday night debate between Democrat Jaime Harrison and Republican Sen. Lindsey O. Graham, who are competing in a surprisingly tight Senate race in South Carolina, has been canceled because the senator declined to take a coronavirus test ahead of their meetup.

    Harrison demanded Thursday night that Graham get tested before the two met again. When the two candidates were together for their first debate last weekend, Harrison set up a plexiglass barrier to protect himself from Graham, who’d earlier in the week been exposed to senators who tested positive.

    The two candidates will participate in separate interviews instead, according to the Post and Courier.

    Graham attacked Harrison on Twitter, accusing him of using the coronavirus test to get out of the debate. It’s unclear why Graham has refused to take one.

    “Mr. Harrison is ducking the debate because the more we know about his radical policies, the less likely he is to win. It’s not about medicine, its politics. His liberal views are a loser in South Carolina — and he knows it!” Graham tweeted, also accusing Harrison of putting himself above others by refusing to debate unless Graham shows he does not have the coronavirus.

    Harrison and the debate moderator both agreed to be tested before the debate. The Democrat said he wanted Graham to get one as well for the safety of his family.

  275. says

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention drafted a sweeping order last month requiring all passengers and employees to wear masks on all forms of public and commercial transportation in the United States, but it was blocked by the White House”

    “The order would have been the toughest federal mandate to date aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus…but the White House Coronavirus Task Force, led by Vice President Mike Pence, declined to even discuss it.”

    NYT link atl. How much is the virus paying him?

  276. says

    CNN – “Federal judge blocks Texas governor’s directive limiting ballot drop boxes to one per county”:

    A federal judge late Friday blocked Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s directive that limited ballot drop boxes to one per county.

    Several groups had filed suit over the controversial directive, issued last week, because they felt it would suppress voters — particularly in larger counties.

    Judge Robert Pitman agreed, writing, “By limiting ballot return centers to one per county, older and disabled voters living in Texas’s largest and most populous counties must travel further distances to more crowded ballot return centers where they would be at an increased risk of being infected by the coronavirus in order to exercise their right to vote and have it counted.”

    Texas Democrats cheered the judge’s order, calling it “common sense.”

    “Frankly, it ought to be a shock to all of us that such a ruling is even required,” Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa said in a statement.

    Ahead of the start of early voting in Texas on October 13, the directive had required large counties, regardless of population and area, to limit their number of drop-off locations for mail-in ballots to one.

    Abbott, a Republican, had argued the directive was necessary to ensure the drop boxes remained secure. But the judge said the risk of disenfranchising voters outweighed those concerns.

    The judge was also troubled by Abbott’s late change of policy and felt he needed to rule immediately.

    “The public interest is not served by Texas’s continued enforcement of a proclamation Plaintiffs have shown likely violates their fundamental right to vote,” Pitman wrote.

    The state’s justifications for the directive, Pitman wrote, “do not present a sufficiently relevant and legitimate interest in light of the burden it imposes on Plaintiffs,” adding that the voting rights groups have shown that the directive “likely violates their fundamental right to vote under the First and Fourteenth Amendments.”

    Pitman also wrote that because of the directive, “absentee voters must choose between risking exposure to coronavirus to deliver their ballots in-person or disenfranchisement if the USPS is unable to deliver their ballots on time.”

    Before Abbott’s order, several counties had already begun to roll out multiple absentee voting drop-off locations. Harris County, the state’s most populous county and a Democratic stronghold, had to reduce its 12 drop-off locations down to one on October 2. Over 40% of Harris County residents are Latino and nearly 20% are Black.

    Harris County Clerk Chris Hollins said in a statement that the decision was a “victory for voting rights.” He said Harris County will have its 11 satellite drop box locations open on Monday, a day before early voting begins.

    “The Governor’s suppressive tactics should not be tolerated, and tonight’s ruling shows that the law is on the side of (the) Texas voter,” Hollins said to CNN. “Seniors and voters with disabilities across Harris County need these drop-off locations to deliver their mail ballots safely and conveniently during the global pandemic. We shouldn’t be playing politics with voters’ lives.”…

    …”And state has appealed to 5th Circuit….”

  277. says

    Trump is planning: a rally on the South Lawn today, with “hundreds” of attendees, in which he will be speaking from a balcony; a rally in Florida on Monday; and more rallies throughout the week.

  278. says

    Miles Taylor: “When it came to domestic terrorism, the message to us from the White House was clear: don’t talk about it. The cost? American lives—and now a serious threat to one of our nation’s governors.”

    Video atl.

  279. says

    Chris Christie: “I am happy to let you know that this morning I was released from Morristown Medical Center. I want to thank the extraordinary doctors & nurses who cared for me for the last week. Thanks to my family & friends for their prayers. I will have more to say about all of this next week.”

  280. says

    Kristen Clarke:

    BREAKING: Federal court REJECTS Trump challenge to use of drop boxes, rule requiring poll watchers reside in county they seek to serve in and guidance on processing of absentee ballots. Big victory for voters across Pennsylvania.

    Pennsylvania court finds that Trump’s claims FAIL because:

    1. he lacks standing to bring this suit
    2. his claims are without merit
    3. the rules put in place by the state do not burden the right to vote

    Drop boxes in Pennsylvania are common sense.

    10 counties cover over 1,000 square miles & 2/3 of counties cover over 500 square miles, meaning some voters would have to drive dozens of miles (and perhaps in excess of 100 miles) to return a mail-in ballot to their Bd of Elections.

    Court cites Prof. Matthew Barreto who notes that drop boxes are especially important for Black and Latino voters who have concerns about the USPS delivering their ballots.

    (Note — we are still fighting the USPS in a separate lawsuit pending in Maryland)

    Note that Trump is putting more time and energy into fighting access to the ballot and fighting the #2020Census than he is into fighting the impact of #COVID19 on our country.

  281. tomh says

    Too much to excerpt, a few key findings.

    Trump’s Reinvented Swamp
    The president built a system of favor-seeking at his hotels and resorts that is unrivaled in modern American politics.
    By The New York Times
    Oct. 10, 2020

    …President Trump didn’t merely fail to end Washington’s insider culture of lobbying and favor-seeking. He reinvented it, turning his own hotels and resorts into the Beltway’s new back rooms, where public and private business mix and special interests reign…

    After the election, his family business discovered a lucrative new revenue stream: people who wanted something from the president.

    An investigation by The Times has found over 200 companies, special-interest groups and foreign governments that patronized Mr. Trump’s properties while reaping benefits from him and his administration. Nearly a quarter of those patrons have not been previously reported…

    The president’s family business earned millions from customers with interests before his administration

    Just 60 customers with interests at stake before the administration brought the Trump Organization nearly $12 million during the first two years of Mr. Trump’s presidency, The Times found. Almost all saw their interests advanced, in some fashion, by the president or his government…

    They paid his family business for golf outings and steak dinners, for huge corporate retreats and black-tie galas.

    During Mr. Trump’s campaign and the months leading up to his inauguration, the in-house magazine at his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida announced nearly 100 new members, a number of whom had significant business interests in Washington. The tax records show that in 2016 alone, the club’s initiation fees delivered close to $6 million in revenue…

    Getting access to Mr. Trump was easy: He has spent time at his hotels and resorts on roughly one day out of every four of his presidency

    Patrons at the properties ranged widely: foreign politicians and Florida sugar barons, a Chinese billionaire and a Serbian prince, clean-energy enthusiasts and their adversaries in the petroleum industry, avowed small-government activists and contractors seeking billions from ever-fattening federal budgets.

    Mr. Trump’s administration delivered them funding and laws and land. He handed them ambassadorships, appointments, presidential directives and tweets.

    Donors also paid for the privilege of giving money to his campaign and super PAC. Mr. Trump attended 34 fund-raisers held at his hotels and resorts, events that brought them another $3 million in revenue. Sometimes, he lined up his donors to ask what they needed from the government.

    The NYT has hundreds of interviews and thousands of pages of documents with evidence for all the allegations.

    A White House spokesman, Judd Deere, issued a brief statement saying that… “The president has kept his promise every day to the American people to fight for them, drain the swamp and always put America first…”

  282. says

    SC @418, that is a good thread.

    An excerpt:

    Judge Barrett already sits in one of these stolen seats. She sits on a federal circuit court in a seat that Obama nominated a Black woman for. Mitch blocked that nomination, and then under Trump, handed that seat to Barrett instead.

  283. tomh says

    Graham says a Black person can go anywhere in S.C. as long as they are ‘conservative, not liberal’
    By Donna Cassata

    Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), who is facing his toughest challenge in his bid for a fourth term, said Friday that a Black person can go anywhere in South Carolina as long as they are “conservative, not liberal.”

    Graham made the comments at a candidate forum that replaced a planned debate with his Democratic rival, Jaime Harrison. The debate was canceled after Harrison, a borderline diabetic, called on Graham to get tested for the coronavirus before the two shared a stage. Graham refused, and Harrison, who brought a plexiglass divider to their last debate, declined to be onstage with Graham.

    During the forum, the topic was how to address civil unrest in South Carolina.

    “If you’re a young African American, an immigrant, you can go anywhere in this state, you just need to be conservative, not liberal,” Graham said.

    Does he really think this will win him favor in the Black community? He sounds as unhinged as Trump.

  284. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    @417: ” Note that Trump is putting more time and energy into fighting access to the ballot and fighting the #2020Census than he is into fighting the impact of #COVID19 on our country.”

    Hell, he and McConnell are both putting more effort into suppressing the blue vote and ratfucking the courts than they are to getting red votes! We’re in burn it down and salt the Earth territory now.

  285. says

    a_ray @422, I agree.

    Also, when it comes to infecting other people with COVID-19, Trump seems to think the more the better. He held another super spreader event at the White House today.

    About Trump’s tests and whether or not he is still infectious and spreading the disease:

    […] Trump has not yet publicly announced a negative test for coronavirus which CDC officials have said is a definitive benchmark for determining whether a person who contracted COVID-19 is still contagious.

    “I haven’t even found out numbers or anything yet, but I’ve been retested and I know I’m at either the bottom of the scale or free,” Trump told Fox News’ medical analyst Dr. Marc Siegel during an interview on Friday. “They test every couple of days, I guess, but it’s really at a level now that’s been great — great to see it disappear.”

    He would say if he tested negative. He would have all of his lickspittles shouting it from the roof tops if he had tested negative. As an aside, Joe Biden tested negative again, and that makes four negative tests since the debate with Typhoid Trump.

    The fact that Trump is unable to say whether or not he has tested negative for coronavirus, comes as he delivers another speech from the White House balcony with roughly 2,000 people expected at the event and potentially at risk of infection. [Fewer than 2,000 showed up, but there were still too many people jammed in close together, with few wearing masks.]

    Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden tore into the President, calling his behavior “reckless.”

    “He didn’t take the necessary precautions to protect himself or others,” Biden said at a campaign event on Friday. “The longer Donald Trump is President, the more reckless he gets. How can we trust him to protect this country?”

    Trump seemed to acknowledge during the Fox News interview on Friday that he may have contracted the virus at one of the recent events at the White House which has routinely flouted guidelines to protect against the spread of coronavirus. Although earlier in the week her appeared to blame Gold-Star families for his infection, he hasn’t had much to say about a Sept. 26 Rose Garden event for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett where at least eight attendees later tested positive for coronavirus, including President Trump.

    Earlier on Friday, Dr. Anthony Fauci told CBS News Radio during an interview that “we had a super-spreader event at the White House.” […]

    […] experts have said the Fox News interview offered little clarity about whether or not Trump remains infectious.

    “They are being purposely vague on this, but I think they’re trying to track his viral load,” Dr. Sanjay Gupta told CNN’s Jake Tapper.

    The White House and the President’s physicians have remained evasive about Trump’s last negative test for coronavirus. But Trump revealed during the Fox News interview that he was no longer taking medication for COVID-19 and that the steroid dexamethsaone had helped to keep “the swelling down of the lungs.”

    White House physician, Dr. Sean Conley, who has been famously vague about the details of Trump’s health said in a statement earlier in the week that Saturday would mark 10 days since Trump’s diagnosis. He appeared to contradict earlier statements by preemptively appearing to clear President Trump in anticipation of his “safe return to public engagements” on Saturday.


  286. tomh says

    Ninth Circuit Blocks Construction of Trump’s Border Wall
    October 10, 2020 JON PARTON

    (CN) — The Ninth Circuit on Friday ruled that President Donald Trump’s allocation of military funds for construction of his border wall was illegal, upholding a December 2019 ruling from a federal judge.

    In 2019, U.S. District Judge Haywood Gilliam granted summary judgment to a slew of states and advocacy groups seeking to halt construction of the southern border wall. After Congress gave Trump $1.3 billion instead of his requested $5.7 billion for border wall funding, the president invoked the National Emergencies Act to declare an emergency at the southern border.

    Defense Secretary Mark Esper said that over $3 billion reserved for construction projects within the military would instead go to border wall construction sites in four different states.

    Ruling 2-1, the Ninth Circuit panel found that the diversion of funds to be unlawful and sidestepped the constitutional separation of powers, including the legislative branch’s control of funding.

    “Particularly in the context of this case, where Congress declined to fund the very projects at issue and attempted to terminate the declaration of a national emergency (twice), we cannot interpret the statute to give the Executive Branch unfettered discretion to divert funds to any land it deems under military jurisdiction,” wrote Chief Circuit Judge Sidney Thomas, a Bill Clinton appointee.

    The court rejected the federal government’s interpretation of the National Emergencies Act that would allow them to build the wall under “other activities.”

    “As demonstrated by this case, this would allow the Federal Defendants to redirect funds at will without regard for the normal appropriations process,” Thomas wrote…

    The Ninth Circuit decision lifts a stay on the federal court’s order, putting an immediate stop to all border wall construction.

    U.S. Circuit Judge Daniel Collins, a Trump appointee, dissented from the majority, claiming that the court went too far to determine the scope of the law.

  287. says

    From Aaron Rupar:

    The president delivered a partisan campaign screed from the White House is an egregious abuse of taxpayer resources for political gain but Republicans don’t care.

    “I was in that hospital, I was watching down over so many people” — Trump

    [Crowd chants, “We love you!” repeatedly.]

    It’s a personality cult.

    “I have done more for the black community than any president since Abraham Lincoln. Nobody can dispute it. Nobody can dispute it. Nobody can dispute it.” — Trump’s material is unchanged

    Trump on mail voting: “I think we’re gonna swamp ’em by so much hopefully it’s not gonna matter, and we have law enforcement watching.”

    Trump falsely claims the coronavirus is “disappearing,” then suggests the situation in the US isn’t that different from elsewhere, saying, “very big flareup in Canada.” Canada had about 2,500 new coronavirus cases on Friday, whereas the US had more than 58,000.

    Trump begins his first post-coronavirus diagnosis speech by telling his adoring fans at the White House, “we gotta vote these people into oblivion. Into oblivion. Gotta get rid of ’em. So bad for our country.”

    Like a scene from The Handmaid’s Tale

  288. says

    Trump made a big show of removing his mask today before to a crowd of supporters at the White House.

    […] Trump wore a mask which he removed as he approached the podium — taking a dramatic pause before making his remarks to the cheers of hundreds of supporters who gathered on the South Lawn in spite of warnings from public health officials.

    “I’m feeling great,” Trump told the crowd, although the White House has provided little evidence that Trump is no longer contagious amid his recovery from coronavirus.

    Dr. Anthony Fauci, a leading infectious diseases expert, cautioned the White House to avoid large gatherings — especially where people are not wearing masks– after a Supreme Court nomination ceremony on Sept. 26 turned into what he called a “super-spreader event” that resulted in a cluster of new cases among its attendees and other White House staffers in recent weeks.

    During a Fox News interview on Friday, Trump was also not able to definitively report that he had tested negative for coronavirus which CDC officials have said is key indicator to determine whether or not a person is still contagious.

    […] Prior to Saturday’s event the President had not appeared publicly since his return less than one week ago from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center where he was administered steroids, supplemental oxygen and experimental treatments for COVID-19. Bandages could still be seen on one of his hands on Saturday as he addressed the crowd. […]

    In his remarks on Saturday […] Trump kept with an old and widely disputed narrative that the coronavirus was largely fading saying — “it’s going to disappear, it is disappearing.”

    The remarks were delivered to a crowd of largely masked, but not socially-distanced, “Blexit” supporters who are campaigning to convince Black voters to leave the Democratic Party. The highly political address that the White House called a “peaceful protest for law & order” and billed as an official White House event strongly resembled a campaign rally — taking clear aim at the Democratic Party as Trump rebuked Democrats as the enemy in a sweeping condemnation of the “radical, socialist left.”

    While the White House remains evasive about what sort of testing is underway to ensure Trump is noninfectious as he ramps up rallies again, Joe Biden’s campaign reported that the Democratic presidential nominee tested negative again on Saturday for COVID-19 after he was potentially exposed to the coronavirus during last month’s presidential debate.


  289. says

    Barrett adds to Senate questionnaire on which she omitted forced-birther talks she made

    If the prospect of her being confirmed as the next Supreme Court justice weren’t so grim, Amy Coney Barrett’s recent zipped-lip approach on her views about abortion and Roe v. Wade would be hilarious.

    Are there doubts about where she stands in the matter, or how she would come down on any ruling to undermine or obliterate the 47-year-old decision that legalized abortion nationwide? Although she was picked for the nomination because she’s an ultra-conservative on many issues, the biggest cheers attending the announcement of her selection came not from the Federalist Society, but from the forced-birther brigades who have sought for decades to get enough justices on the Supreme Court to kill (or at least maim) Roe. As a law professor at the University of Notre Dame, Barrett was a member of University Faculty for Life, a vigorous foe of abortion.

    Her unwillingness to talk about her views with senators, and her initial failure to mention on her Senate Judiciary Committee questionnaire that she signed a 2006 anti-abortion advertisement calling for “an end to the barbaric legacy of Roe vs Wade” won’t provide any cover for what’s she’s truly about. And on Friday there was a new revelation. She hadn’t told senators about a lecture and a seminar she gave in 2013 to two student forced-birther groups when she was teaching at Notre Dame. The lecture was called “Being a Woman After Roe” and advertised on Facebook. Titled “The Supreme Court’s Abortion Jurisprudence,” the seminar was a project of Jus Vitae, the university’s “right to life” student organization.

    […] Late Friday, the Senate Judiciary Committee released a supplemental update to Barrett’s questionnaire that includes the lecture and seminar, as well as the hard-nosed advertisement, according to CNN. So far, it’s not known what she said at the two events. […]

    Will there be consequences for the omissions? In the past, Republican chairmen of the Judiciary Committee have halted the confirmation process when relevant material was left off a nominee’s questionnaire. But for current Judiciary Chairman Sen. Lindsey Graham to take such action would require integrity and consistency that the South Carolina Republican has demonstrated he lacks.

    When Barrett appears for her hearing before the Judiciary Committee on Monday, you can expect her to assert, as nominees have in the past, that she cannot say how she might rule on a future case, abortion or otherwise. Such a pretense of anticipatory objectivity has served other nominees well in the past, with enough senators willing to ignore the obvious and hand over a life-time appointment on the bench.

  290. says

    The Trump administration got caught siphoning millions from the 9/11 Fund, but won’t give it back

    On Sept. 11, the New York Daily News reported that the Trump administration had been somewhat secretly siphoning off millions from the Fire Department of New York’s (FDNY) World Trade Center Health Program. The money taken by the Trump administration—shorting payments to the fund here and there over the past three-plus years—is a cruel attack in an alleged battle between the administration and New York health officials over Medicare. That money is earmarked for the men and women who have suffered and continue to suffer from serious medical issues due to their first responder work on Sept. 11, 2001.

    […] there’s an update. The New York Daily News reports that while “top officials in the Trump administration” admit that withholding $4 million from the New York Fire Department’s 9/11 treatment program was “unacceptable,” the officials aren’t doing anything to get that money back to those heroes […]

    The Trump administration’s position is that the money is a “debt” New York owes for some unrelated Medicare issue. No one has been able to find out exactly what this issue is. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, best known for being a world-renowned bag of overly expensive dung beetle refuse, has the power to make this issue go away with a wave of his hand. He’s been mum.

    Seema Verma has been in charge of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) under Trump. She has not been able, along with Mnuchin, to figure out a way to get that money back to the 9/11 Fireman’s fund, although she has reportedly been able to steer another $5 million in taxpayer money toward her buddies and the communications consultants brought in to “burnish her image.”

    On the one hand, Verma is a scapegoat at this point for the Trump administration, in no small part because she’s a woman of color and the optics are likely better for the white supremacists. […]

    Back on Oct. 3 when she was feeling some heat over the Daily News’ article, Verma tweeted: “@CMSGov has been made aware of recent reports regarding the unacceptable use of NYC’s 9/11 funds as a means to repay debt, and is taking swift action to correct this issue.” Once again, whether or not this “debt” is a real thing is a question. […]

    A spokesperson for Verma and CMS was not able to say whether or not the agency had taken that immediate action. A spokesperson for the Treasury Department did not answer a request for comment.
    FDNY officials have been fighting since the Trump administration came into office to stop this siphoning of funds. According to the Daily News, “21 jobs dealing with medical care and support for ill paramedics and firefighters remain unfilled while the program goes without its money.”

  291. says

    Source familiar tells me ‘Trump is really angry about [North Korea’s] missile parade’, where new ICBM, domestically made truck launchers, etc unveiled.

    Adds Trump is ‘really disappointed’ in Kim Jong Un and has expressed that disappointment to multiple White House officials.”

    Fucking imbecile.

  292. Akira MacKenzie says

    @ 460

    Chapo Trap House did a piece on The Villages a couple of years back. Essentially it’s a massive gated community for rich, white, Boomer retirees. Their support for Trump has nothing to do with economics but with their disdain for non-whites, LGBTQ, and anything else that threatens their vision of America.

    Besides Trump as his cohorts, I can’t think of another group of people more deserving of COVID-19.

  293. tomh says

    I can’t believe that Graham can get away with refusing to take a covid-19 test. Hearings start tomorrow with him as chair, and I guess there won’t be any tests there either.

  294. Pierce R. Butler says

    Akira MacKenzie @ # 434: … The Villages … a massive gated community for rich, white, Boomer retirees.

    They also have a (minority) contingent of pro-Biden campaigners (persisting despite harassment and vandalism), and some – retired union people, mostly – are not only active in progressive groups like Veterans for Peace but have taken the lead in organizing a new statewide Florida Peace and Justice Alliance.

  295. says

    Trump took a vague memo from his doctor and turned it into supposed proof that he is COVID-free.

    I don’t trust Trump’s doctor. More importantly, Trump is using the doctor’s memo as a foundation for spreading more lies.

    Trump attempted to take full advantage of White House physician Dr. Sean Conley’s vague memo issued the night before — which declared Trump as no longer at risk of transmitting COVID-19 […]

    When asked about Conley’s memo and whether it suggests he no longer has COVID-19, Trump replied “yes” and that “it seems like I’m immune.”

    “So I can go way out of a basement — which I would have done anyway and which I did because you have to run a country, you have to get out of the basement — and it looks like I’m immune for, I don’t know, maybe a long time, maybe a short time,” Trump said, appearing to jab Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden by repeating a right-wing trope that slams the former VP for making virtual appearances amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Trump then leaned into his unfounded assertion that he has immunity from COVID-19.

    “It could be a lifetime. Nobody really knows, but I’m immune,” Trump said. “So the President is in very good shape to fight the battles.”

    When asked what he is doing to ensure the safety of attendees at his campaign rally scheduled in Florida on Monday, Trump bragged about how White House doctors are “the best” and supposedly told him that he is “totally free of spreading.”

    […] After touting that he knew he was “free” from COVID-19 on Saturday, Trump took on an infomercial-like tone when saying that he believes contracting COVID-19 “also gives you immunity.”

    “I mean, it does give you immunity,” Trump said. “Even the people that just cannot accept anything, I mean, they just don’t want to accept anything. No, so we — I passed the highest test, the highest standards, and I’m in great shape.”

    The President doubled down on feeling “fantastically” and “good,” before baselessly arguing that he has a “protective glow.”

    “I even feel good by the fact that the word immunity means something, having really a protective glow. It means something,” Trump said. “I think it’s very important to have that. To have that is a very important thing.”

    Shortly after his interview on Fox News aired, Trump reiterated his unfounded conclusion that he now has immunity from COVID-19 in a tweet: “A total and complete sign off from White House Doctors yesterday. That means I can’t get it (immune), and can’t give it. Very nice to know!!!”

    Although Conley wrote in his memo issued late Saturday that he will continue to monitor the President “clinically as he returns to an active schedule,” he did not confirm Trump’s last negative COVID-19 test nor conclude that the President is now immune from COVID-19.

    Both Conley and the White House have continued providing few details on Trump’s condition, and have repeatedly dodged questions regarding the President’s last negative COVID-19 test in the past week. […]

    TPM link

  296. says

    Follow-up to comment 438.

    You can’t help but notice that the two negative PCR tests, taken 24 hours apart, as recommended by the CDC before anyone can be declared COVID-free — those two tests seem to have not been done for Trump. Certainly, we don’t have proof of those tests.

    It is likely that Trump still has COVID.

    From the comments posted by readers of the TPM article:

    People who get sick are weak, in his mind. Therefore he is projecting strength by having it be nothing for him.
    That’s not a protective glow, you moronic schmuck. That’s orange face paint.
    He’s most certainly immune -from all evidence, logic, reasoning, and reality. But that’s about it, until we see his vitals, chest x-rays, viral titers, etc.
    He’s been fever-free for more than 24 hours.
    Which means he’s had a fever sometime in the last 48 hours.
    Hmm, given the incubation period, this should put the attendees out of commission around Nov 3rd.

    Johns Hopkins University reported a total of 54,639 new positive cases of coronavirus in the US Saturday — the fourth consecutive day JHU has reported 50,000+ cases. The last time JHU reported four consecutive 50,000+ days in the US was early August.
    White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow: “We are learning to deal with the virus in a targeted, safe, prevented way.”

    Jake Tapper: “No, we’re not. We had four days in a row of 50,000 infections and the death rate is the highest in the world.”
    Trump’s still in steroid euphoria territory it appears.

    Sounds like his doctors plan to keep him pumped full of drugs, probably through the election. His health is going to crash and burn as soon as they let up
    Memo to CDR Conley: You are actively aiding and abetting a disinformation campaign that WILL. KILL. PEOPLE.

    Stop now.
    Well, supposedly literally all the people at the Balcony Il Dupe Event were paid to be there.
    Doctor’s note from Saturday said that he had been fever-free for over 24 hours.

    Not 72 or since the last time he wrote about it at the beginning of the week…

    Only logical conclusion is that there’s a fever on Thursday or Friday.
    It’s the attendees passing it amongst themselves and then taking it to their families, co-workers, and members of the community that’s the real worry.
    Peter Piot: “Many people think COVID-19 kills 1% of patients, and the rest get away with some flulike symptoms. But the story gets more complicated. Many people will be left with chronic kidney and heart problems. Even their neural system is disrupted…
    A new study adds to growing concern about short immunity duration and the potential for reinfection.
    If there is no definitive NEG test, we will report a de facto POS test unless you show us proof data.
    I happened to see the Art of the Deal author Tony Schwartz on CNN the other night. He said that he has refrained in the past to describe Trump as a cult leader comparable to Jim Jones but now its appropriate to use the comparison.
    The way the Coronavirus is spreading among the White House and at his rallies you could call it a viral Jonestown.

  297. says

    […] In prepared remarks released Sunday ahead of her hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Barrett omits her conservatism and religious views, but instead focuses on her family life while vowing to remove politics from her legal reasoning as a future Supreme Court justice.

    Barrett will tell senators that “policy decisions” need to be made by Congress and the White House, and that courts are “not designed to solve every problem or right every wrong in our public life.”

    Barrett will also nod to late Justice Antonin Scalia, who she clerked for, by saying that his “reasoning” shaped her “straightforward” judiciary philosophy.

    “A judge must apply the law as written, not as the judge wishes it were,” Barrett wrote. “Sometimes that approach meant reaching results that he did not like.”

    Senate confirmation hearings for Barrett are expected to begin at 9 a.m. ET on Monday and last through Thursday. […]


    You can read the entire opening statement at the link.

  298. says

    Follow-up to comment 440.

    From comments posted by readers:

    Family is a great start for questions.

    Like how she had to get permission from the head of the cult in order to even date her husband.

    And why her cult has so vigorously scrubbed any mention of her existence. Are they not proud of her?
    I’m not clear on why I need to learn about her family’s life when she’s running for a position where her personal views will directly affect my family’s life. I’d much rather have her address that, but I suspect she won’t because she’s out of the mainstream with Americans.
    Will she be able to visit with Graham personally since he refuses to have a Covid test?
    Maybe she’s going to explain how easy it is to have all those children and a full time job without any help.
    At least she’s learned to give more info in her opening statement for all the amateur contact tracers (a.k.a., the media) who will need to do follow-ups. Start looking up those friends. Incubation time from the Rose Garden can continue for another week.
    This attempt at charm falls very flat. Using her children much like Sarah Palin to increase her likability is pretty hollow. And despite her professed religious objections to the death penalty, she has no problem lifting pauses to allow the feds to execute inmates.
    Forgive me if this whole bullshit exercise just makes me upchuck with frustration. McConnell already stole SCOTUS, now he is just running up the score.

    […] Twenty million people facing eviction in the next month. A SCOTUS getting ready to not only reverse ROE but Marriage equality and grant the wishes of every environment destroying corporation that comes before it. […]

    McConnell knows TRump is going to lose and he is putting all of his chips on the courts that he has shamelessly packed with “judges” who are actually ideologues anxious to re-write the constitution and overturn any precedent that doesn’t fit their very narrow image of a “Christian” America. We see the beginnings of this scorched earth policy in his refusal to consider anything that might actually ease the burden on the folks who are right now in real trouble until after he gets his worst candidate yet firmly ensconced on SCOTUS.

    Economically, if we cannot win the Senate and start taking steps to bolster the economy, we are actually poised for an economic collapse that could rival the depression. The artificial environment that is keeping the stock market afloat will collapse unless a massive relief program is undertaken – the Fed Chair has told us this in so many words. I am not even going to contemplate what will happen to healthcare in general and earned benefits like SS and Medicare.

    This thing is not 1968 again – it is 1968 on top of 1929 with quite a bit of 1860 thrown in. That militia plot in MI is, to me, just a harbinger of things to come. We cannot win and then go back to our lives this time. It took the religious right about 60 years to achieve this shit pile – it is going to take at least 30 years to clean it up. We have to stay engaged on a daily basis for the rest of our lives.
    Her views are wildly extreme compared to the vast majority of Americans.

    And she omitted any reference to the two ads she signed onto calling Roe v Wade a mistake.

    She’s an extremist and a liar.

  299. tomh says

    Twitter flagged a tweet from President Trump on Sunday morning in which he claimed that he is now “immune” to the coronavirus.

    This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about spreading misleading and potentially harmful information related to COVID-19. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public’s interest for the Tweet to remain accessible.

  300. says


    Trump, who has gone out of his way in the past week to portray himself as a strongman who’s defeated COVID-19 amid mixed messaging from the White House on his condition, floated the idea of wearing a Superman shirt after his discharge from Walter Reed last week.

    According to the New York Times on Saturday, the President told advisers during several phone calls last weekend from the presidential suite at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center about an outlandish idea he had as he would exit the military hospital where he spent four days undergoing treatment for COVID-19.

    People with knowledge of the conversations told the Times that Trump envisioned himself appearing frail as he exited Walter Reed, but would reveal a Superman t-shirt underneath his button-down dress shirt as he ripped open the top layer. The move — which did not ultimately come through — would be part of the President’s attempts to convey strength following his COVID-19 diagnosis and treatment.

    Although the Superman stunt wasn’t a feature of Trump’s departure from Walter Reed, the President pulled showboating tactics before and after his discharge from the military hospital. A day before his discharge, Trump held a motorcade publicity stunt in front of the hospital. The next day, the COVID-infected President essentially held a photo-op as he returned to the White House and took off his mask.

    The Times noted that the President has expressed his itch to return to the campaign trail to advisers. The White House event on Saturday — which was his first public event since his discharge from Walter Reed — was a compromise from advisers, who preferred delaying Trump’s re-entry on the campaign trail.


    Stupor Man.

  301. says

    Trump is using the presidency to hand out favors to those that support his businesses.

    The New York Times continues its reports on Donald Trump’s taxes, this time with (more) clear proof that Trump has been making money off the U.S. presidency.

    The shortest possible summary of the Times’ latest story is that Donald Trump Is A Crook. Not only have “customers” of Trump, in the form of lobbyists, interest groups, and foreign governments funneled roughly $12 million into Trump’s pockets by booking events at Trump’s properties, buying memberships into Mar-a-Lago and his other properties, and just generally hanging out at Trump’s for-profit establishments with the expectation of meeting either Trump, his sons, his toadies, or his allies, but Trump has responded in kind by doing his paying customers favors that can only be fulfilled using the office of the presidency.

    If you pay for a Mar-a-Lago membership, you get to meet Trump during one of his many Florida weekends and bring up ways the government could do your company or group significant favors. If you do make those requests, it’s very possible that Trump will respond […]

    The reverse is also true. If you’re seeking favors from Donald Trump, reports the Times, Donald Trump or one of his closest associates and/or family members may contact you to point out that you have been appearing an awful lot at Mar-a-Lago, for example, without ponying up for a quarter-million dollar membership—and that Donald has personally noticed that.

    The Times lays out its case solidly, with examples. Those that pay into Trump’s companies are frequently awarded with White House meetings, such as when he invited restaurant-owning billionaire Tilman Fertitta. After hearing Fertitta’s personal request—a new pandemic relief fund for “the larger private restaurateur”—Trump turned to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin with a directive: “Do the best you can” on that.

    And so on, and so on. “Just 60 customers with interests at stake before the Trump administration brought his family business nearly $12 million” during Trump’s first two years in office, reports the Times. “Almost all saw their interests advanced, in some fashion, by Mr. Trump or his government.”

    It’s blatant corruption, of course. The payment of cash to the privately held businesses of a sitting president in exchange for that president personally bending government decision-making in your favor is definitively corrupt. […]

    Trump has proven time and time again to be […] in it solely for self-promotion and self-enrichment. His extortion of the legitimate Ukrainian government, withholding congressionally approved military aid to pressure the Ukrainian president into inventing a specific Trump-demanded campaign boost, was a near-perfect mirror to Trump’s strong-arming of Mar-a-Lago supplicants to either pony up or get lost. […]

    As usual, though, perhaps the only surprising discovery is that Trump really is an astonishingly petty crook. Corrupting the whole of U.S. government for $12 million dollars is dreadfully small-ball stuff; once again we see how Donald Trump, handed everything by his father and coming back for more, could manage to bankrupt even a casino. He’s supposedly worth billions of dollars, and is handing out favors based on who has or hasn’t purchased a $250,000 Mar-a-Lago membership? He’s supposedly ultra-super-rich, and his idea of “using the most powerful office on Earth for self-enrichment” is wink-nod pressuring of supplicants to maybe rent out hotel rooms in his hotel when they’re in town?

    It’s pathetic. He’s corrupting the presidency for peanuts.

    But he may have to, in his mind, if the Times’ previous reporting on Trump’s taxes is accurate. Trump is personally on the hook for almost half a billion dollars in loans coming due in the next few years, and there seems little chance “billionaire” Donald Trump can come up with that sort of money. He is, and always has been, a fraud. His claims of wealth are the words of a con artist.

    Now he’s up to his eyeballs in debt, yet again, and he clearly has used the presidency as he used his campaign: As publicity stunt, a personal brand boost, and nothing more. Even the presidency doesn’t seem like it will pay out enough to keep Trump from going bankrupt in the near future.

    He’s just that bad at business. And that cheap in his ambitions. The world at his fingertips, and the man spends most of his time obsessing over how he can use it to boost golf club memberships and hotel room fees.


  302. says

    The campaign to eject Donald Trump from the White House and replace him with Joe Biden dropped an ad beautifully targeted at Black voters Saturday. “Mayors” features duly elected city leaders from across the country, and has one simple message: Vote. […]


    Scroll down at the link to view the ad.

  303. says

    From Nancy Pelosi:

    […] in terms of addressing testing, tracing and treatment, what the Trump Administration has offered is wholly insufficient.

    We cannot safely reopen schools, the economy and our communities until we crush the virus with the science-based national plan for testing, tracing, treatment and isolation, and for the equitable and ethical distribution of a safe and effective vaccine once developed. […]

    The heart of the matter is: can we allow the virus to rage on and ignore science as the Administration proposes, or will they accept the scientific strategic plan in the Heroes Act to crush the virus?

  304. says

    From Wonkette:

    I don’t exactly know how it happened, but we all woke up this morning to a story about a Pinkerton detective, America First-ers and a crime wrongly being blamed on anarchists and yet somehow it is not 100 years ago and I am not currently in a speakeasy singing “10 Cents A Dance.” […]

    This weekend in Denver, a protester at a far-right rally was shot and killed after pepper spraying a Pinkerton security guard who was hired by local television station 9News. Police have been very, very clear that the shooter, named as 30-year-old Matt Doloff had no connection to antifascist activists — but, naturally, conservatives have been screaming from the rooftops that dude was basically Sacco and/or Vanzetti and/or Leon Czolgosz. Or they would if they knew who any of those people were.

    [From the Denver Police Department] “Update: Further investigation has determined the suspect is a private security guard with no affiliation with Antifa.”

    […] The shooting occurred as dueling protests — a far-right “Patriot Rally” and a counter protest, the Antifa-BLM Soup Drive — were petering out and people were leaving. According to Police Chief Joe Montoya, there was a verbal altercation and then shots were fired. There is video of the Trump supporter spraying the shooter with pepper spray, and two guns were found at the scene.

    Via 9News:

    The private security guard in custody was contracted through Pinkerton by 9NEWS. It has been the practice of 9NEWS for a number of months to contract private security to accompany staff at protests.

    DPD originally took two people into custody and later found the second individual, a 9NEWS producer who works in the investigative unit, was not involved in the incident. The producer is no longer in police custody and is not a suspect.

    Before practically anything was known about the shootings, right-wing asshats such as Ian Miles Cheong and Andy Ngo started screaming and crying that the shooter was an antifa activist. Never mind the fact that we all know full well that if the shooter were a police officer and the victim were a black man — likely armed and spraying them with pepper spray — they would be the first ones claiming that the victim deserved what they got.

    You might think that after the police came out and said “we have the guy in custody, he’s not an antifascist