1. says

    Here’s a link to the October 13 Guardian coronavirus world liveblog.

    From there:

    Russia on Tuesday reported its highest daily coronavirus fatalities since the start of the pandemic, with 244 deaths in the past 24 hours, but said it had no plans to reintroduce a lockdown.

    The country on Tuesday also reached a record number of new daily infections, at almost 14,000.

    Russia is the fourth worst-hit country in the world by number of infections – behind the US, India and Brazil – with a total of more than 1.3 million cases.

    The head of the country’s health watchdog Anna Popova said:

    Despite the fact that we see these figures are growing, in Russia we are not talking about shutting down the economy, halting activity or business.

    We do not see the sense in doing this.

    Restaurants, theatres and nightclubs in Russia are open, though Moscow has asked businesses to ensure a third of their employees are working from home. Mask-wearing has increased in Moscow in recent weeks, as police impose fines for non-compliance with rules on public transport.

    Russia imposed a strict lockdown in the spring but the Kremlin this week said it could be more “flexible” in its response to the virus because of better treatment options and more hospital beds.

    Moscow, the worst-hit area in the country, has built temporary facilities to treat Coronavirus patients.

    But local media have reported that hospitals in other regions are already at capacity, and are having to turn away suspected Covid cases and people with other illnesses….

    Brazilian researchers have detected a correlation between support for Brazil’s science-denying president, Jair Bolsonaro, and higher levels of Covid-19 infection and death.

    A study produced by academics from Rio’s federal university reportedly found that areas that voted more heavily for Bolsonaro in the 2018 election had been more severely affected by the epidemic.

    Proportionally there was an 11% increase in coronavirus cases and a 12% increase in fatalities for every 10% more votes for Bolsonaro, the study found, according to the Folha de São Paulo newspaper.

    “One conclusion might be that the president’s ambiguous rhetoric leads his supporters to more frequently display risky behaviour – such as showing less respect for confinement instructions and the use of masks – and to suffer the consequences as a result,” it said of what researchers called ‘the Bolsonaro effect’.

    One of the authors, João Luiz Maurity Sabóia, told the newspaper the correlation was probably caused by “the stance of the president, who trivialized the use of masks and the disease, calling it a ‘bit of a flu’”.

    Bolsonaro has faced domestic and international condemnation for his handling of the global health emergency, which has killed more than 150,000 Brazilians.

    On Monday night Bolsonaro’s former health minister, Luiz Henrique Mandetta, accused his former boss of taking “a conscious decision” to play down Covid-19 for political gain.

    Johnson & Johnson said on Monday it has temporarily paused its Covid-19 vaccine candidate clinical trials due to an unexplained illness in a study. The participant’s illness is being reviewed and evaluated by an independent data and safety monitoring board as well as the company’s clinical and safety physicians, it said in a statement.

  2. says

    NAACP LDF – “LDF Objects to the Confirmation of Supreme Court Nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett, Releases Report Outlining Objection”:

    Today, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) announced its objection to the confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett, President Donald Trump’s nominee to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the United States Supreme Court. A report outlining the organization’s objection to the process undertaken by the President and the Senate since the death of Justice Ginsburg, and the stakes of this confirmation for core civil rights protections, accompanied the statement opposing Judge Barrett’s confirmation. Judge Barrett’s confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee began earlier today.

    For over 30 years, LDF has prepared a detailed report outlining the civil rights implications of the background, judicial philosophy, and judicial record of Supreme Court nominees. LDF prepared such reports when President Trump nominated then-Judges Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh to the court. The circumstances of Judge Barrett’s nomination are starkly different and LDF approached the preparation of its report and its decision to oppose Judge Barrett’s confirmation within the unique context in which it arises.

    “This process should not occur until the next president has been inaugurated and the next session of Congress has been seated in January 2021,” said Sherrilyn Ifill, LDF’s President and Director-Counsel. “The fact that the United States Senate is prepared to rush through a confirmation hearing and vote to fill a Supreme Court vacancy while millions of voters are engaged in early voting and casting absentee votes, and less than one month before the general election for the President and for Senate seats across 34 states – one in which millions of ballots have already been cast – is an unconscionable political power grab. It taints the process, the nominee, and the legitimacy of the Supreme Court.

    The troubling record of Judge Barrett makes the prospects of this confirmation even more objectionable. From voting rights to affirmative action, to health care and abortion rights, the record and judicial philosophy of Judge Barrett constitutes a threat to the protection of core civil rights. Our report outlines the gravity of our concerns about this process and Judge Barrett’s judicial record.”

    The report reflects three primary themes: 1) the illegitimacy of Judge Barrett’s nomination and confirmation process; 2) the damaging impact of a potential Barrett confirmation on this country’s trajectory, including its implications for civil rights; and 3) Judge Barrett’s concerning judicial record. Report highlights from each of these areas are reflected below….

    Summary and link to the full report at the link.

  3. says

    More re #497 on the previous iteration – Business Insider – “Boris Johnson overruled scientists who told him to introduce a lockdown three weeks ago, while ignoring warnings that his plans won’t stop the coronavirus”:

    Boris Johnson ignored advice to introduce a second national lockdown three weeks ago, according to newly published documents which illustrate an extraordinary spat between ministers and the scientists who advise them.

    The scientific advisory group for emergencies (SAGE) advised the prime minister to introduce a raft of measures to try and contain the rate of Covid-19 transmissions in a Zoom meeting three weeks ago.

    Boris Johnson reportedly sided with “hawks” in his Cabinet, including Chancellor Rishi Sunak, and refused to consider the measures because he feared the damage they would do to the economy.

    The measures suggested included a two-week “circuit breaker” lockdown similar to the one imposed in March, a national ban on household mixing, and the closure of all restaurants, pubs, cafes, gyms, and hairdressers.

    The papers also reveal that Johnson was warned that plans he did later enact to introduce a curfew on pubs and restaurants would only have a “marginal impact” on the spread of the virus.

    The prime minister instead on Monday announced a “three-tier” system of local lockdowns, where areas which faced the highest incidence rate of Covid-19 would face the harshest measures.

    The extraordinary rift between Johnson and his team of scientific advisers was illustrated at Monday’s Downing Street press conference, where Johnson and Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer, were explaining the new three-tier lockdown system.

    Whitty pointedly said that even the harshest local measures in the new system would not be “sufficient” to limit the spread of Covid-19.

    In another document which could prove highly damaging to the government, the SAGE group of scientists said that the £12 billion “test-and-trace” programme, which Johnson has described as “world-beating” is having only a “marginal” impact on reducing the spread of the virus because it is not tracing enough people, and many of those contacted are simply ignoring advice to self-isolate.

    SAGE suggested that the programme’s effectiveness would likely “further decline” as the virus continued to spread.

    “The relatively low levels of engagement with the system… coupled with testing delays and likely poor rates of adherence with self-isolation suggests that this system is having a marginal impact on transmission at the moment,” the scientists wrote.

    “‘Unless the system grows at the same rate as the epidemic, and support is given to people to enable them to adhere to self-isolation, it is likely that the impact of Test, Trace and Isolate will further decline in the future.”

  4. says

    GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — FBI agent: Anti-government paramilitary groups in plot against Michigan governor discussed kidnapping Virginia governor.”

    (Trump had called for Virginia to be “liberated.” In related news, on Fox last week he casually claimed Northam “executed a baby.”)

  5. says

    From the link provided by SC in the previous chapter of this thread, comment 495.

    Trump tells a story about how he and Melania turned on the evening news expecting to see coverage of his Nobel nominations, but were dismayed to see coverage of a hurricane in Florida instead. This is supposed to make the media look bad.

    That’s a quote from Aaron Rupar who covered Trump’s rally that was held in Sanford, FL last night.

    There was a big crowd, very few masks.

    Matt Gaetz and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis were there with their wives. None of them wore masks. Link

    […] Video of the event shows an enthusiastic and unmasked DeSantis greeting and high-fiving numerous attendees of the rally, only some of whom wore face coverings. […]

    “I feel so powerful,” Trump told reporters upon leaving Washington on Monday. “I’ll kiss everyone in that audience. I’ll kiss the guys and the beautiful women. Just give you a big fat kiss.”

    Florida itself has struggled to bring its rate of new COVID-19 cases down, and on Sunday reported more than 5,000 new cases of the virus. The state’s 7-day average of new case numbers has remained above 2,000 per day for months after peaking in July. DeSantis last month lifted coronavirus restrictions on bars and restaurants in the state.

  6. says

    From SC’s comment 496 in the previous thread:

    […] Sharon Lau, midwest advocacy director for Whole Woman’s Health Alliance, said in a statement: “At Whole Woman’s Health and Whole Woman’s Health Alliance, we have heard story after story from patients from multiple states who came to us after accidentally going to WCC where they were shamed, manipulated and lied to by WCC staff in order to impose their own anti-abortion agenda. Pregnant people deserve to access birth control, abortion and other reproductive services without shame or judgement.” […]

    Amy Coney Barrett, Trump’s supreme court nominee, promoted that “crisis pregnancy center,” and she has other forced-birth associations that have not been properly vetted.

    More details regarding the South Bend, Indiana Women’s Care Center:

    […] The WCC’s website appears to offer women abortion services at first glance, as well as free pregnancy tests and ultrasounds. If a user clicks on the “abortion” tab, the clinic states on its website: “If you’re considering abortion, we offer free, confidential services to help you find out the facts and make a plan that is best for you.”

    It also offers to give women information so that they can “understand the procedure”, using either the abortion pill RU486 or surgical abortion.

    In fact, the clinic does not offer abortion services and is clearly supported by conservative faith and pro-life student groups in South Bend and at Notre Dame university. […]

    It’s based on deception.

  7. says

    Oh, no!

    The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last night that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) can, in fact, limit ballot-drop-off sites to one per county. The three-judge panel was comprised entirely of Donald Trump-appointed jurists.

    NBC News link

    Kind of funny:

    In a debate last night, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) argued that Kentuckians should not want “somebody from New York setting the agenda.” While the comment was intended to refer to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D), it’s worth emphasizing that Donald Trump is from New York.

    Good news: The Democratic National Committee today launched new, state-specific voter education videos featuring former President Barack Obama. YouTube link

  8. says

    Guardian world liveblog (linked @ #1 above; support the Guardian if you can):

    There had been a further 17,234 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK. It brings the total number of cases in the UK to 634,920.

    A further 143 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 as of Tuesday. It is the highest daily figure since June, as parts of the country were facing tougher social distancing restrictions under a new three-tiered alert system. This brings the UK death total to 43,018.

    The opposition Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer called for a two to three-week “circuit-breaker” lockdown in England in an effort to bring coronavirus cases down.

    Speaking at a press conference, he said:

    Three things are now clear.

    The government has not got a credible plan to slow infection. It has lost control of the virus.

    And it is no longer following scientific advice.

  9. says

    Amy Coney Barrett hearings, day two:

    As senators get their chance to question Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, she’s wriggled out of answers that political and legal observers are particularly concerned about. She refused to commit to recusal on a hypothetical case to decide the November election, dodged on whether she thinks Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided and wouldn’t agree that President Trump delaying the election would be unlawful.

    Democrats are trying to exact the ultimate political price for Republicans’ rush job, and they’re doing it by bringing up social issues people feel strongly about: health care, LGBTQ civil rights, abortion rights, etc. Republicans, for their part, have also been outraged at Democrats’ lines of questioning about her views on those issues, trying to make the argument that she is an entirely blank political slate and that no one can guess how she’ll rule. […]

    Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) offered an ironic comment in the Roe v Wade debate which has surfaced amid Barrett’s hearing as some Democrats fear she is likely to challenge the abortion rights decision.

    “Life is valuable. That is not a religious statement,” Lee said, appearing to defend Barrett’s conservative values on Tuesday, adding: “a purpose of government is to protect life.”

    In spite of being one of three GOP senators who was diagnosed with COVID-19 in recent weeks, the Republican lawmaker was not wearing a mask, which public health experts have encouraged to protect lives as it is critical in curbing the spread of the deadly coronavirus which has now killed roughly 215,000 people in the United States. […]

    This was one of the most heated exchanges so far — in my opinion, Durbin is one of the best questioners Democrats have. Here, he pushes Barrett on a crucial decision she wrote on felon voting rights: [Watch the video at the link, it is in the 11:38 a.m. slot.]

  10. says

    Oh, FFS.

    Giuliani Declares ‘People Don’t Die Of This Disease Anymore’ Amid Rising COVID Deaths

    Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani went all in on President Trump’s efforts to portray himself as an all-powerful strongman who has beat COVID-19 (he has not) during an indoors Italians for Trump rally in Philadelphia Monday night.

    Speaking to a crowd of about 75 Trump supporters at the campaign’s Northeast Philadelphia office space — which was originally scheduled to be held at the 15,000-square-foot 2300 Arena, but was forced to relocate when the arena’s owners canceled the night before after finding out the event was a Trump rally — Giuliani falsely declared victory over COVID-19 as the country tops more than 215,000 fatalities amid the pandemic.

    “People don’t die of this disease anymore,” Giuliani said, before baselessly insisting that “young people don’t die at all” and that “middle age people die very little”

    “And even elderly people have only 1 percent chance of dying,” Giuliani said, without evidence.

    Giuliani’s latest rosy picture of COVID-19 comes amid Trump’s return to the campaign trail despite an outbreak among those in his orbit, which included a rally in Florida on Monday night when he doubled down on his unfounded assertion that he’s now immune to COVID-19 after being diagnosed and hospitalized for it less than two weeks ago. […]

    From comments posted by readers of the TPM article:

    Just because you’re undead doesn’t mean everybody else is, bro.
    “Good news!” said the 69 year old with asthma in Mesa who personally knows someone who just died of COVID after working her entire life as a nurse. “Thanks for clearing that up, Rudy.”
    He’s a liar. Pure and simple.
    This is why it is surging here and hospitals are reaching capacity again – our “leaders” are utterly useless.

  11. says

    Trump is attacking Dr. Fauci, (or he is having someone attack Fauci for him, note that “prognostications” is spelled correctly):

    […] Trump swung at White House COVID-19 expert Dr. Anthony Fauci on Tuesday morning after the health official slammed the Trump campaign for misleadingly using his words in an ad without permission and out of context.

    “Actually, Tony’s pitching arm is far more accurate than his prognostications. ‘No problem, no masks,’” Trump tweeted in response to CNN’s report on Fauci’s criticism.

    [Trump] seemed to be referring to when Fauci threw out the first pitch at a Washington Nationals game in July, which reportedly irritated Trump at the time.

    On Sunday, Fauci blasted the Trump campaign’s ad on the President’s COVID-19 response that used a clip of the doctor stating that “I can’t imagine that anybody could be doing more.”

    “The comments attributed to me without my permission in the GOP campaign ad were taken out of context from a broad statement I made months ago about the efforts of federal public health officials,” Fauci said in a statement.

    Trump campaign spokesperson Tim Murtaugh said that “the words spoken are accurate, and directly from Dr. Fauci’s mouth.”

    The full context of the doctor’s comments, which he had made during a Fox News interview in March, was his praise of the White House’s COVID-19 task force as a whole amid the pandemic.

    “We’re talking about all hands on deck. I, as one of many people on a team, I’m not the only person. Since the beginning, that we even recognized what this was, I have been devoting almost full time on this. I’m down at the White House virtually every day with the task force. It’s every single day,” Fauci said during the interview. “So I can’t imagine that, under any circumstances, that anybody could be doing more.”


    From comments posted by readers:

    And thanks for keeping this in the news for a second day, dumbass.

    Combined with General Milley and others, it would seem there’s a pattern of your using people and twisting their words out of context without their consent to try to prop up your losing campaign. And that they’re publicly rebuking and distancing themselves from you only makes things better, doesn’t it? Time to attack Milley, too.

    And don’t get me started on the music you use without permission.
    “Tim Murtaugh said that “the words spoken are accurate, and directly from Dr. Fauci’s mouth.”

    How do these people sleep at night or look at themselves in the mirror?
    Even George Orwell never imagined these guys.

  12. says

    From Mitt Romney:

    […] our politics, as it has moved away from spirited debate to a vile, vituperative, hate-filled morass that is unbecoming of any free democracy.

    The President calls the Democratic vice presidential candidate “a monster;” he repeatedly labels the speaker of the House “crazy;” he calls for the Justice Department to put the prior president in jail; he attacks the governor of Michigan on the very day a plot is discovered to kidnap her.

    Democrat’s launch blistering attacks of their own-though their presidential nominee refuses to stoop as low as others.

    The rabid attacks kindle the conspiracy mongers and the haters who take the small and predictable step from intemperate word to dangerous action.

    […] the consequence of the crescendo of anger leads to a very bad place.

    No sane person can want that.


    Mitt Romney is a Republican senator from Utah.

    From the comments posted by readers:

    Yeah, whatever, Mittens. You’re just the same as the rest of the GOP scumbags, letting the Handmaidens’ nomination go through.
    I really didn’t hear any policy differences in there. It’s that Trump’s bizarre behavior makes them all look bad, even as he mostly does what they tell him to. Mittens is reading the same polls everyone else is, in which ordinary people think politics are too divisive now. It was always scorched earth with the GOP, has been for a long time, but Trump made it too goddamned obvious and that crossed a line. So just shut up and take your beating, Mitt. You all have been asking for it and here it comes.

  13. says

    From Mark Sumner, “Amy Coney Barrett makes it clear she’s willing to ignore the Constitution to elect Donald Trump”:

    Every Republican Supreme Court nomination follows the same pattern:

    Nominee builds up a record of statements showing their allegiance to the most extreme positions on a set of topics dear to the far right.

    Federalist Society vets the nominee against strict ultraconservative checklist on the same list of topics.

    Republican senators pretend that 1. and 2. never happened, as nominee protests they couldn’t possibly speak to any of those topics. Or to anything else.

    It’s become commonplace for a candidate who has spent their career signing their name to statements calling the Roe v. Wade decision barbaric to suddenly discover that they have nothing to say on the subject while in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Nothing, that is, except for meaningless hand-waving about “precedent.” But sometimes a non-answer can speak more loudly than a scream. That’s the case when a nominee is confronted by a question that should generate a response as automatic as breathing. That was certainly the case on Tuesday morning, as Trump nominee Amy Coney Barrett weasel-worded her way through an answer that left absolutely no doubt: She intends to be there if Trump needs her to overturn the results of the election.

    Earlier in the session, Barrett had been asked if she would recuse herself on a series of cases in which she had a personal or political position. Barrett’s response on all of these was the same—she would follow the rules of the Supreme Court.

    This answer has a simpler meaning. It means “no.” That’s because, unlike lower courts, there are no actual rules requiring a Supreme Court justice to step back from any case. Since there are no spare justices to substitute for a recused justice, each is given absolute personal latitude to determine if they feel they need to recuse themselves on a particular topic. No one can make a Supreme Court justice recuse themselves from a case, even if that case is ruling on something in which they have a deep personal involvement or even a fiscal interest.

    That also means that every appeal to Supreme Court guidelines is nothing but a dodge. […]

    So, when Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy asked Barrett if she would recuse herself from any dispute over the outcome of the presidential election, her pat repetition of earlier statements was a hurricane warning for democracy. Leahy even pointed out that Donald Trump has directly told his followers that he is attempting to seat Barrett quickly expressly because he wants her in place before the election.

    “I can’t offer a legal conclusion right now about the outcome of the decision I would reach,” said Barrett. That’s may sound like a “maybe,” but what Barrett just said is best summed up as ”No.”

    However, this is far from the worst answer that Barrett gave on this topic. Here’s a very straightforward question from Sen. Dianne Feinstein, and an absolutely shocking reply.

    Sen. Feinstein: Does the Constitution give the president of the United States the authority to unilaterally delay a general election under any circumstances? Does federal law?

    Barrett: Well Senator, if that question ever came before me, I would need to hear arguments from the litigants, and read briefs, and consult with my law clerks, and talk to my colleagues, and go through the opinion writing process. So, you know, if I give off-the-cuff answers, then I would be basically a legal pundit, and I don’t think we want judges to be legal pundits.

    There’s a difference between “being a legal pundit” and pretending to deliberate legal ignorance. Because there’s only one answer to Feinstein’s question. […]

    Can Trump unilaterally delay an election? The answer is no. Absolutely no. Without a question no. That’s because Article II of the Constitution grants Congress the power to set the timing for a general election. That day was then fixed in law back in 1845. Trump has no authority to change that date, not by any mechanism provided, or even hinted at, in the Constitution.

    The answer is no. Or at least that’s the case now. Until Barrett helps write the decision telling us the “originalist” meaning of the clear words of the Constitution.


  14. says

    From Wonkette:

    […] Minnesota’s Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar would like you to know that this week is bullshit. Just unmitigated, undemocratic, un-American bullshit. She’d like the other Republican senators on the Judiciary Committee to know this, and she’d like Amy Fuckin’ Comet Ping-Ping Handmaid Idiot McGee to know this, and she’d like Judge Serena Joy Waterford to look her in the eye while she calls it bullshit.

    Mostly, she’d like every American voter — millions of whom are voting THIS VERY WEEK — to know the following:

    “Judge, I think this hearing is a sham,” said Klobuchar. “I think it shows real messed up priorities from the Republican Party.”

    BUT, she said, “we have a secret weapon that they don’t have.” Tasers? No not tasers. Klobuchar said it is you, and we, and all of us, by which she means the voters. Who are, again, VOTING RIGHT NOW. In droves! This very week! […]

    Amy Klobuchar would like y’all to know some other things too:

    That INJUSTICE moves “at lightning speed, as we are seeing here today.”

    That the president who nominated this garbage human to take Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat refuses to commit to a peaceful transfer of power. Everybody does that, she said, but “not this guy.”

    That he is throat-cramming the American people with this terrible nominee because he thinks the election is going to end up in the Supreme Court, and he wants her godawful ass to rubberstamp his election stealing.

    That healthcare for millions of Americans is coming before the Supreme Court, and the Republicans are doing this to try to kill Obamacare, IN THE MIDDLE OF A PANDEMIC. You know, the pandemic Mike Lee appeared to be coughing all over everyone, that he may have gotten directly from open-mouth kissing Donald Trump, not that we are in any way sure about that.

    That she was doing this for Ruth Bader Ginsburg, because of how she realized that Ginsburg’s dissents were “blueprints for the future,” as she explained to Rachel Maddow last night.

    And finally, that “this isn’t Donald Trump’s country. It’s yours.” And “This shouldn’t be Donald Trump’s judge. It should be yours.” […]


  15. says

    Amy Coney Barrett Says Judges Shouldn’t Make Policy. That’s Nonsense.

    Conservatives often claim judges shouldn’t make laws, only interpret them. The people who wrote the Constitution would disagree.

    Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s prepared remarks for her Senate Judiciary Committee hearing included a familiar refrain. […] “The policy decisions and value judgments of government must be made by the political branches elected by and accountable to the People.” This is similar to something that Justice Neil Gorsuch said in his own confirmation hearing a few years ago. He said it was Congress’s job to make the law, while it was the job of the courts only to make sure that individual cases were fairly decided. Judges “would make pretty rotten legislators,” he added. He said this in response to a question about the separation of powers, and he strongly suggested that the people who wrote our Constitution didn’t want judges to make laws.

    […] most government and civics classes teach school kids that legislatures are supposed to make laws, while courts are just supposed to interpret them. But that isn’t true.

    For more than half of our country’s history, judges played a central role in deciding what the law would be. They did this in criminal law, property law, torts, contracts, and essentially every other area of law in early America. Judges’ role in creating substantive law was not an American invention. The colonists brought the concept of common law with them from England, and English and American judges helped develop most of the basic legal principles that underlie modern American law.

    It’s now in fashion for people to say that judges should not make policy decisions. Conservative politicians and commentators will often complain about “legislating from the bench,” saying that judges have no business telling people how to live their lives. Instead, these people argue, judges should limit themselves to merely judging whether laws are constitutional, and they should limit their interpretation of the Constitution to what it meant when this country was first created.

    […] The Constitution assigns “[a]ll legislative powers” in Congress, and it assigns the “judicial power of the United States” in the Supreme Court and lower federal courts. There is no doubt that “legislative powers” includes the power to set policy—after all, it includes the power to write laws. But what about the “judicial power”? It obviously includes the power to interpret laws and to enter judgments in particular cases. But what else does it include?

    […] there is very convincing historical evidence indicating that those who drafted and ratified the Constitution understood that term to include the power to make policy—especially in the area of criminal law. In the years immediately following ratification of the Constitution, there were a number of federal prosecutions brought for crimes that were not mentioned in any federal laws. Written laws were considered unnecessary because certain actions were understood to be illegal as a matter of “common law”—the rules that had developed over time in the course of individual cases. And so common law prosecutions were brought in federal courts for bribery, counterfeiting, and piracy.

    […] All of the Justices on the Supreme Court (except Justice Chase) accepted the validity of prosecuting common law crimes in the federal courts. So did major political figures of the time, including Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay.

    The general consensus that the federal courts could convict someone for these judge-made crimes began to fracture when these prosecutions became a weapon in the partisan battles between the Federalists and the Democratic-Republicans. […]

    Democratic-Republicans eventually gained control of federal offices, including the Supreme Court. And as a result of that political victory, in 1812 the Supreme Court declared that federal courts had no criminal common law authority in United States v. Hudson & Goodwin.

    Importantly, the Supreme Court opinion in Hudson & Goodwin didn’t endorse the “judicial policy decisions are bad” position that Judge Barrett and Justice Gorsuch have offered. The opinion was largely written in terms of the limited power of the federal government, not the appropriateness of entrusting judges with the power to set policy. Indeed, for many decades after, the federal courts continued to set policy by creating common law in other, non-criminal areas of the law. Criminal common law persisted in the states much longer. Right now, more than a dozen states explicitly retain a role for common law crimes in their written statutes.

    […] for those who consider themselves to be originalists—and both Judge Barrett and Justice Gorsuch identify themselves with that label—the argument that judges should not set policy is not consistent with their views that the Constitution should be interpreted according to its original public meaning.

    The people who wrote the Constitution expected judges to play a very large role in setting legal policy in this country. If we are going to reject that original understanding of the Constitution, why shouldn’t we reject others?

  16. says

    Trump campaign used top general in ad without permission, too

    It’s not just Fauci: Team Trump is also running an ad featuring Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley, but it didn’t seek the general’s permission.

    […] [Trump’s] political operation is also running a digital ad featuring Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley, but the campaign didn’t seek the general’s permission beforehand.

    The military has strict rules against uniformed service members participating in political campaigns, and the ad is just the latest example of the president or those around him pulling the nation’s highest-ranking officer and other Defense Department officials into the political realm…. Active-duty service members are prohibited from participating in fundraisers, speaking before partisan gatherings and wearing military uniforms at campaign events, according to DoD.

    A Pentagon official told Politico, “This photo, like many others, was not used with [Milley’s] knowledge or consent,” said the official, who requested anonymity to speak about a sensitive topic.

    The article went on to quote Jim Golby, a former Pentagon official who is now a senior fellow at the Clements Center at the University of Texas at Austin, describing the ad as “a disturbing violation of civil-military norms by the president’s campaign.” Golby added, “There is simply no reason for a sitting chairman of the Joint Chiefs to be included in an advertisement paid for by the campaign.”

    […] it’s worth emphasizing for context that the Joint Chiefs chairman has been willing to put some distance between himself and the president who tapped him for his post. In June, for example, the general publicly expressed regret for his role in Trump’s Lafayette Square debacle.[…]

    Two months later, after the president tried to discredit his own country’s electoral system, and raised the prospect of ignoring election results he doesn’t like, the Joint Chiefs chairman made explicit that the armed forces would not be involved in the electoral process or resolving an election dispute.

    And this week, after Donald Trump told the public that all U.S. troops currently deployed in Afghanistan should be home by Christmas, Milley seemed to contradict the presidential campaign promise and said deployment decisions would be “conditions based.” […]

  17. says

    Chris Hayes: “The thing I find most notable about ACB’s answers today is that the GOP traded a hundred thousand American lives for her seat on the court, and there are thousands of Americans walking around healthy right now who will be sick and dead by year’s end.”

  18. says

    Klobuchar: Judge Barrett, under federal law is it illegal to intimidate voters at the polls?

    Barrett: Sen. Klobuchar, I can’t characterize the facts in a hypothetical situation and I can’t apply the law to a hypothetical set of facts, I can only decide cases as they come to me.

    p.s. It is illegal to intimidate voters at the polls. Klobuchar cited the law. ‘I’ll make it easier– 18 USC 594 outlaws anyone who intimidates, threatens, coerces or attempts to intimidate, threaten…'”

    WTH, this is pathetic.

  19. says

    NYT – “Turkish Defector Says He Was Ordered to Kill Politician in Austria”:

    One afternoon last month, a man claiming to be a Turkish intelligence operative walked into a police station in Vienna. His confession was explosive: The man said he had been ordered to shoot a Kurdish-Austrian politician, which he did not want to do, and asked for police protection.

    He also said that he had been forced to give false testimony used to convict an employee at the American Consulate in Istanbul.

    If true, the claims by the man, who identified himself as Feyyaz Ozturk, provide new insight into how far President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey is prepared to go to pursue his foes.

    Mr. Ozturk’s confession, detailed in a police report which was obtained by The New York Times, could blow a hole in the conviction of Metin Topuz, who worked for the U.S. State Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration in Istanbul. In June, Mr. Topuz was sentenced by a Turkish court to more than eight years in prison on charges of aiding an armed terrorist group.

    The Topuz case is one of several against American citizens and U.S. government employees that American officials have said are groundless and that they see as an attempt by Mr. Erdogan to exert leverage in his increasingly antagonistic relations with the United States.

    Mr. Erdogan’s growing authoritarianism over the past decade has been accompanied by an aggressive campaign against perceived enemies at home and abroad, which began as he fell out with the European Union and intensified after a failed coup in 2016 that the president has blamed on the U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen.

    In Turkey, the crackdown has resulted in the imprisonment of tens of thousands of Mr. Erdogan’s political enemies, often on evidence that critics say is flimsy or fabricated. Abroad, it has involved the forced renditions of 100 or more Gulen supporters and has even stretched, according to French investigators, to the assassination of three Kurdish militants in Paris in 2013, although Turkish intelligence denies any involvement in those killings.

    Others living abroad have had notices served through Interpol for their arrest and complain of harassment and surveillance by Turkish agents.

    The Austrian government has long been concerned about the influence of Turkey’s secret service in Austria and this latest case has raised the alarm.

    “We are taking this very seriously,” Karl Nehammer, the Austrian interior minister, told The New York Times on Tuesday. He said he would not comment on the details of the case because the investigation was continuing. The prosecutor’s office declined to comment, saying in an emailed statement that the case was so sensitive that it was “classified.”

    A senior government official who is familiar with the case and who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the issue while the investigation remained open, said that if the plot to attack a Kurdish-Austrian politician were confirmed, it would signal a new level of Turkish meddling in Austria.

    Just last month, a special police commission concluded that Turkey’s secret service had recruited agitators to help provoke violent clashes during a Kurdish street protest in the Vienna district of Favoriten in June and collect information on demonstrators.

    At the time, Mr. Nehammer said, “Turkish espionage and Turkish meddling in democratic rights has no place in Austria.” There are about 270,000 people with Turkish roots in Austria, the Interior Ministry said, and about a third of them are Kurds.

    Susanne Raab, the Austrian minister for integration, was even more blunt. “Austria has become a target of Turkish espionage,” she said. “Erdogan’s long arm reaches all the way to Vienna-Favoriten.”…

    More atl.

  20. says

    Speaking of Austria – AP – “Center-left wins Vienna election, no comeback for Strache”:

    Austria’s main center-left party has won a regional election in Vienna that saw the far-right Freedom Party lose more than two-thirds of its support and its former leader, Heinz-Christian Strache, apparently fail to make a political comeback.

    Preliminary final results from Sunday’s election, including an estimate of postal votes that have yet to be counted, showed the center-left Social Democrats winning more than 42% of the vote, making slight gains and cementing Mayor Michael Ludwig’s position, the Austria Press Agency reported.

    The party is in opposition nationally to a coalition of Chancellor Sebastian Kurz’s conservative Austrian People’s Party and the Greens, which both moved up, to around 19% and over 13% respectively.

    The Freedom Party, Kurz’s former partner in a national government that collapsed in a scandal last year, saw its support collapse from just over 30% to around 8%.

    In May 2019, a video showing then-Freedom Party leader Strache offering favors to a purported Russian investor prompted Kurz to pull the plug on the national government. Strache, who denied any wrongdoing, was later kicked out of the Freedom Party.

    Strache ran in the Vienna election with a new party, Team HC Strache, but the preliminary results showed it polling 4% at most — falling short of the 5% needed to win seats in the local legislature.

  21. says

    Senator Whitehouse stripped the veil off the dark money running the ‘puppet theater’ of the Barrett hearings.

    Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett isn’t going to answer any of the big questions truthfully, and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse knew that. So instead of inviting Barrett to be dishonest, Whitehouse explained the forces that put her in that Senate hearing room with the specific agenda—killing the Affordable Care Act, ending marriage equality, overturning Roe v. Wade—she is on the record as having (but is currently pretending not to have).

    Whitehouse described the Senate hearing room as being like a puppet theater, with “forces outside of this room who are pulling strings and pushing sticks and causing the puppet theater to react.” Highlighting the hypocrisy from Senate Republicans who claimed in 2016 that they would oppose filling a Supreme Court seat in 2020 only to push to do exactly that after the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Whitehouse said “When you find hypocrisy in the daylight, look for power in the shadows.” He then spent his time shining a light on the power in the shadows—the right-wing dark money behind the Republican takeover of the courts and the use of the courts to move U.S. policy ever to the right.

    You really have to find the time to watch the whole thing, because it is an education in how right-wing dark money has corrupted the courts—and in how the end result is a corrupt Supreme Court. Whitehouse identified the groups like the National Federation of Independent Business, the Federalist Society, and the Judicial Crisis Network, into which secret donors have poured tens of millions of dollars. These groups select Republican judicial nominees, promote and lobby for those nominees, submit giant piles of amicus briefs in cases before the courts, all in a well-funded scheme to change U.S. law through the courts. Huge amounts of money, Whitehouse noted, come through an organization called Donors Trust, a “gigantic identity-scrubbing device for the right wing” that exists to funnel anonymous money into the campaign to control the courts.

    Adding it all up, the right wing has spent $250 million for control of the courts. “$250 million is a lot of money to spend if you’re not getting anything for it,” Whitehouse said. “So that raises the question, what are they getting for it? […]

    He counted 80 cases decided by what he called “the Roberts Five” on the Supreme Court, without a single vote from a justice appointed by a Democratic president. “And it’s important to look at where those cases went, because they’re not about big, public issues like getting rid of the Affordable Care Act, undoing Roe v. Wade, and undoing same-sex marriage. They’re about power,” Whitehouse said. Power as in “there is an identifiable Republican donor interest in those cases, and in every single case that donor interest won.”

    Whitehouse identified four areas around which these judgments center: “unlimited and dark money in politics,” curtailing the power of the civil jury, weakening regulatory agencies, and limiting voting rights. On the civil jury, he said, “You can’t bribe them, you’re not allowed to. It’s a crime to tamper with a jury. It’s standard practice to tamper with Congress.”

    It’s a stunning, detailed indictment of how Republicans have bought the supposedly nonpartisan courts. […]


    Videos of Sheldon Whitehouse’s presentation is available at the link. The two videos are worth watching.

  22. says

    Correction to comment 29: there are three video segments, not two.

    In other news, California Republican Party leaders are refusing to remove the illegal and deceptive ballot drop boxes they put in place.

    […] Voters may not be aware that these very much not official “drop off boxes” are managed by unknown Republican operatives, and there’s no guarantee the ballots collected in such boxes won’t “accidentally” be, to use a recent Trumpian example, dumped into a river. […] There’s nothing to say the ballots the Republican Party claims to be collecting won’t be sorted through, perhaps to weed out non-Republican looking names, or otherwise disposed of. That’s why California ballot-harvesting laws require a designee.

    California officials have now warned the state Republican Party that what they’re doing is illegal and may even result in prison time. The Republican Party has responded in the expected way: They don’t care, and won’t be complying with state demands to remove the boxes.

    More specifically, the California Republican Party intends to continue the operation while daring state officials to do anything about it. Party spokesperson Hector Barajas noted that a 2018 state law prohibits election officials from rejecting a ballot solely because it was returned without the required designee signature or relationship to the voter, signaling that the party intends to collect ballots however they want, handle and turn them in however they want, and dare election officials to throw those votes away. Election officials will almost certainly not do that, so here we are.

    It’s another case of the party’s all-encompassing insistence that laws don’t matter if bending the law would benefit the party. See also: Dinesh D’Whateverguy, and literally every member of Donald Trump’s inner circles, past and present, indicted and not, and the Republican gutting of the Federal Election Commission, and the nullification of election-related impeachment charges against Dear Leader, and take your pick. […]

    What California voters need to know right now, however: Do not use those boxes. Don’t. California is mailing ballots to all voters; follow the instructions provided to the letter and mail them back. Do not put your ballot in a cardboard box, or a burlap sack, or into the mouth of a large wooden horse that has appeared, overnight, in the empty parking lot of an abandoned mall. Just mail them in, or turn them in [according to state of California instructions]. […]


  23. says

    Another instance of Trump using the Department of Justice to go after his enemies, or in this case, Melania’s enemies:

    The Justice Department on Tuesday filed a complaint against Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, a former adviser to first lady Melania Trump, alleging that she breached a 2017 nondisclosure agreement with the publication of her new tell-all book.

    Department of Justice (DOJ) lawyers filed a complaint in federal court in Washington, D.C., accusing Wolkoff of breaching a gratuitous services agreement signed when she volunteered to serve as an aide to Trump by publishing her book, “Melania and Me: The Rise and Fall of My Friendship with the First Lady.” The book was released by publisher Simon & Schuster last month.

    The 16-page compliant says that the agreement, a copy of which is included in the filing, prevented Wolkoff from disclosing nonpublic information about her work without authorization from the White House. It states that Wolkoff violated the agreement by not submitting a draft of the book to the White House for review or receiving written permission to publish it.

    The complaint says that the DOJ notified Wolkoff’s attorney on July 15 that the publication of the book would violate the terms of her agreement, but that she moved ahead regardless of the administration’s outreach.

    “Ms. Wolkoff voluntarily, willingly, and knowingly entered into a contractual agreement with the United States of America, allowing her access to the White House and sensitive information in consideration for agreeing to certain conditions on her use and dissemination of that information,” the complaint states. […]

    The DOJ is asking a federal judge to declare that Wolkoff breached her contractual obligations and her fiduciary obligations, and to set aside profits from the book in a constructive trust. […]


    From comments posted by readers:

    Barr thinks they’re [the Department of Justice] the Trump family law firm. They’re not – they work for us. As do the people in the White House. Any NDA is unenforceable and against American principles of transparency.
    Dear Leader can’t get any private attorneys to work for him because they know they won’t get paid.
    Being first lady is not a government job and the NDA isn’t with the government.
    There’s no such thing as an NDA for a public employee unless it’s about classified information.

    This woman can write as many books as she pleases
    DOJ is fully aware that Wolkoff is working with NY State prosecutors on an investigation that Trump misdirected millions$$ from his inauguration fund. He laundered it through her special events company
    This is basically witness intimidation by the DOJ to protect Trump

  24. says

    Say what now?

    Trump campaign wants Omarosa to pay for nearly $1 million ad campaign

    […] Trump’s campaign wants former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman to pay almost $1 million for an ad campaign as a “corrective” remedy for her previous criticisms of the president, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

    The Trump campaign last week filed a document from an expert witness, obtained by the Times, in the arbitration case over Manigault Newman’s comments against Trump in her 2018 book “Unhinged” and associated interviews.

    The filing was written by Eric Rose, a crisis management expert, who proposed that Manigault Newman could fund an advertising campaign that would cost more than $846,000. […]

    “It would be my recommendation that Ms. Manigault Newman pays for the corrective ads/corrective statements outlined above to counteract the long-term adverse effects of information that appeared as a result of Ms. Manigault Newman violating her confidentially agreement,” he said, according to the Times.

    […] Rose suggested Manigault Newman’s negative remarks about Trump were “given heightened veracity because of her relationship with the president” and “corrective remedies are justified.” […]

    The proposed ad campaign names “targeted audiences” in 15 “select states” that are also battleground states in the election, including Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

    Manigault Newman’s lawyer John Phillips told the Times the campaign’s submission of the expert witness document was the height of “weaponized litigation.”

    […] “This isn’t free speech. It’s speech with a gun to your head.” […]

    Maybe Trump’s campaign really is running out of money.

  25. says

    From Wonkette: “Trump Needs To Stop His Jim Jones Coronavirus Rallies”

    Last month, Donald Trump held a few all-you-can-infect COVID-19 superspreader events in Minnesota. It was a bad idea […] Now, at least two dozen people have contracted the coronavirus after attending Trump’s hate rallies, according to state health officials. Two were hospitalized and one remains in the intensive care unit. It’s as if COVID-19 is dominating their lives.

    […] Doug Schultz, a Minnesota Department of Health spokesman, said in an email that the department cannot say definitively that the infections were acquired at [a rally in Bemidji, Minnesota] , due to widespread community transmission of the disease — “only that they attended the rally during the time when they were likely to have been exposed to the virus that made them ill (i.e. 14 days prior to illness onset).”

    At least one person was likely infectious while at the rally, the department said.

    […] our testing and tracing program is so lousy no one could ever definitively prove that Trump is personally making America sick again.

    […] Trump is bored and can only truly enjoy presidenting when he’s performing his stale racist Borscht Belt act in front of a packed audience of dummies, most of whom might even survive the experience. […]

    By the way, the Bemidji rally is where Trump praised the mostly white audience’s “good genes.” Looks like they weren’t quite good enough.

    At least four of the cases are connected to people who showed up to protest Trump’s Bemidji rally. I’m all for hating on Trump, but I also support staying alive to vote against him. The best way to achieve this is staying far, far away from his rallies where everyone’s packed together and few people are wearing masks, except for the Responsible Adult Extras placed prominently behind Trump while he’s ranting.

    According to Kris Ehresmann, the state’s infectious disease director, three people who attended Trump’s triumphant post-debate rally in Duluth on September 30 later tested positive, as well as three people who attended a rally Vice President Mike Pence headlined at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport on September 24. […] It’s like literally traveling with the Dead.

    Health officials trace at least two infections to Joe Biden events, and while the former vice president takes every precaution, as Trump likes to mock, this speaks to how dangerous this disease is. Keep it virtual, Joe! […]

    Minnesota’s coronavirus cases and deaths are trending upward. The state reported 1,537 new infections, a record high. Two campaign staffers for Republican Rep. Tom Emmer recently tested positive and are in quarantine.

    This virus is no joke, although our so-called president is a bad one.


    Video of Trump bloviating about “good genes” is available at the link.

  26. says

    From Wonkette: “You’ll NEVER GUESS What The Anti-Abortion & Stem Cells Crowd Thinks Of The President’s Stem Cell Smoothie!”

    […] With [Trump] out touting the wonders of an antibody cocktail developed using kidney cells from an aborted fetus, the forced birthers are contorting themselves into pretzels to explain why this is perfectly fine and totally consistent with their previous opposition to stem cell research which “destroys human life.”

    Just last year the Trump administration announced an almost complete ban on the use of fetal stem cells in government funded projects, installing a 14-member Human Fetal Research Ethics Advisory Board to review applications for just the kind of research used to develop the Regeneron cocktail Trump touts as a “cure” which made him “immune” to COVID. The board, appointed by Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, must contain a lawyer, and ethicist, and a theologian, and currently counts among its members representatives from the Catholic Medical Association and the National Catholic Bioethics Center.

    When HHS announced the policy, Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, called it “a major pro-life victory and we thank President Trump for taking decisive action. It is outrageous and disgusting that we have been complicit, through our taxpayer dollars, in the experimentation using baby body parts.” But she and her compatriots seem less upset now that it’s Donald Trump using taxpayer dollars to “cure” himself using drugs derived from “baby body parts.”

    […] At Breitbart, they’re simply denying reality, relying on a wildly disingenuous statement from the Charlotte Lozier Institute, an outcrop of the SBA List, which states that the drug was tested on mice, and ipso facto propter hoc, “No human embryonic stem cells or human fetal tissue were used to produce the treatments President Trump received–period.” Which conveniently elides the fact that cloned cells from the electively aborted fetus were used to develop particles which mimic the virus, and those particles were then injected into the mice to test the efficacy of Regeneron’s antibody cocktail.

    Over in Wingnuttistan, in the Province of Q, where it is dogma that Democrats are sustaining themselves with chemicals derived from murdered babies, there seems to be tension between those calling this an eleventy-dimensional chess move to beat the Deep State at their own game — if Trump got cured […], then it doesn’t matter that Fauci is blocking release of the vaccine to throw the election! — and those who are sure Trump is now an adrenochrome swilling demon. […]

    Business Insider got the skinny […] Most declined to comment on the record, although they pointed out that these particular fetal cells were grandfathered in because they came from an abortion performed in 1972. The Lozier Institute stuck to its line that the drug itself was acceptable because it didn’t contain any baby parts, while Texas Alliance for Life’s Joe Pojman said it was totes cool because GORSUCH (and Kegstand and Barrett).

    “We continue to be very enthusiastic about endorsing president Donald Trump for reelection. He has been sensational on the life issues, and we’re very grateful to him for that,” he told Insider.

    Only one forced-birth doofus was willing to take the bait. But he was very, very willing.

    “In the case of President Trump, the doctors who are providing those medicines to him, those treatments to him, they were not involved with that abortion that took place decades ago,” Eric Scheidler, the executive director of Chicago’s Pro-Life Action League said. “They didn’t assist in it. They didn’t choose for it to happen. They may even wish that it had never happened, even if they’re benefiting from something that came from that injustice.”

    It is fine to use cells from an abortion as long as Donald Trump didn’t actually perform the abortion with his own tiny hands.

    In summary and in conclusion, it is totally fine for Republicans to use drugs derived from fetal stem cells. But Democrats are baby killers who hate marriage and children and apple pie and America and probably kill children in the basement of a one-story pizza parlor and use their body parts to make risotto. The end.


  27. says

    Oh no.

    Supreme Court Lets Trump Truncate Census Count

    The Supreme Court will let […] Trump truncate the decennial census, putting on hold Monday a federal judge’s order that the count continue through the end of the month.

    Justice Sonia Sotomayor is the only justice who noted her dissent, issuing with it a six-page dissenting opinion.

    The legal fight over how and when the Trump administration winds down the pandemic census, has been one of several lawsuits filed challenging the way the White House appears to have hijacked the survey.

    The challengers in this case have argued that by ending the survey’s data collections a month earlier than what was planned, the administration put the accuracy of the count’s data collection at risk. Census Bureau experts warned Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross of the threat to census accuracy posed by expediting the final stages of the count.

    Sotomayor in her dissent said that letting the administration implement the truncated counting timeline will cause “irreparable” harms that will be felt “for at least the next 10 years.”


  28. says

    Follow-up to comment 37.

    From comments posted by readers:

    Yep, the fix is in with the completely corrupted court.
    got real tired of all the arguments about “That’ll never happen – Roberts won’t want to tarnish his reputation/reputation of the court”


    Biden must balance this court – priority one. Everything else can wait if we get the senate. Otherwise, everything else is in jeopardy.
    I’d love to know why Kagan voted with the majority.
    This has gotta be about targeting urban centers in the redistricting process. That much I know. It seems likely to hurt some red states too though.
    It is a temporary stay while the lower court makes its decision.
    The GOP POTUS wants the count to be finished so that he, not Biden, provides the numbers used for redistricting. His numbers will not include undocumented immigrants.

  29. says

    A lengthy court hearing Tuesday morning revealed the larger ambitions — and, frankly, undeniable buffoonery — of the alleged plotters behind a plan to kidnap the governor of Michigan.

    […] Code Name Stupidity
    The new information we have Tuesday comes from FBI special agent Richard Trask, who authored the affidavit detailing the alleged plot in support of the federal charges that came out last week.

    That affidavit detailed some of the group’s attempts to allegedly hide their planning. For example, alleged ringleader Adam Fox is quoted as using the words “baker” and “cupcakes” to refer to an explosives manufacturer and explosives.

    But it went deeper, and dumber, than that. For example, Trask listed the code names of the five defendants present Tuesday. They’re something else.

    Here are all the code names used in encrypted chats by members of the alleged conspiracy to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, according to testimony
    Adam Fox = “Alpha Fuck You”
    Ty Garbin = “Gunney”
    Kaleb Franks = “Red Hot”
    Daniel Harris = “Beaker”
    Brandon Caserta = “Debased Tyrant” […]


    More at the link.

  30. says

    USPS: “The U.S. Postal Service saw its overall on-time delivery performance slip during the month of September, despite commitments from Postmaster General Louis DeJoy that he would right the ship ahead of the presidential election.”

    NBC News link

    […] With just 25 days until Nov. 3, Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., released a report detailing how the Postal Service’s delivery performance dropped again last month. On-time delivery rates remained more than 5 percent under regular performance prior to July 10, when DeJoy made operational changes at the federal agency that critics say led to the delays. Massive shipping delay over the summer led to a national uproar.

    “The Postal Service’s performance has still not returned to its previous standards for on-time delivery, and these delays will continue to affect Michiganders and folks across the country,” said Peters, who serves as ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, which oversees the Postal Service.

    […] The Postal Service credited the early September delays to a backlog over Labor Day weekend, as well as wildfires in the West and hurricanes and storms along the Gulf Coast. After a second drop in service later in the month, DeJoy pledged additional resources to deal with demand and promised that election mail would be further prioritized.

    First-Class Mail on-time deliveries increased to nearly 86 percent in the last week of September, but that still remained 5.1 percent under the rates seen before the July changes administered by DeJoy.

    […] The delay in mail is also not necessarily widespread, but appears to most significantly affect the Midwest and area surrounding Washington, D.C., where the on-time delivery of first-class mail remained less than 80 percent in the last week of September. Detroit saw its delivery rate sit at 72.2 percent, while Chicago’s was less than 70 percent.

    […] “results are showing us that some of these policies that were put into place by management are still causing delays.”

    […] The ongoing mail delays have led to numerous court battles. Three federal judges separately ruled last month that the Postal Service must reverse changes made under DeJoy’s leadership, including the removal of mail sorting machines and blue mailboxes, limits on extra delivery trips and a reduction of overtime work.

    All three cited the high need for election mail to be delivered on time during the pandemic.

    […] worries about the Postal Service are not only about election mail, as delays seen under DeJoy’s leadership had a massive ripple effect over the summer that affected the delivery of medications, burdened small businesses and further disconnected rural communities. […]

  31. tomh says

    @ #37 Re: Census Count
    Just one in a long line of suppression tactics that we’ll see from this Court, which will only intensify when Barrett is seated.

    This case will tell us a lot about upcoming decisions.
    Trump attorneys ask Supreme Court for stay in Manhattan DA’s tax case
    Oct. 13, 2020
    By Tom Winter and Pete Williams

    Attorneys for President Donald Trump have asked the Supreme Court for an emergency application to stay — or put on hold — the recent decision by an appeals court to let Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance get Trump’s tax documents pursuant to a grand jury subpoena.

    Trump’s attorneys are asking for the stay pending the filing of a writ of certiorari by the president asking the Supreme Court to review the appeals court decision on the grounds that the Manhattan DA’s subpoena is “overbroad” and lacks a “good faith basis,” two arguments the appeals court didn’t buy.

    The president’s lawyers argued for a stay because they believe there is an “intensely factual” basis for the Supreme Court to eventually overturn the appeals court decision…

    Trump’s attorneys say that the case should be stayed pending the filing and disposition of the president’s petition for a writ, or the Supreme Court could just treat the request for the stay as a petition for the writ, grant it, and overturn the appeals court decision.

    If the Supreme Court denies the stay it is possible that Vance could enforce the subpoena and get a copy of the requested documents before Election Day but still outside of public view.

  32. says

    Trump opines again on the subject of suburban women:

    “They talk about the suburban women. And somebody said, ‘I don’t know if the suburban woman likes you.’ I said, ‘Why?’” Trump told the crowd, though he did not clarify to whom he had spoken. “They said, ‘They may not like the way you talk,’ but I’m about law and order. I’m about having you safe. I’m about having your suburban communities. I don’t want to build low-income housing next to your house.”

    “Suburban women, they should like me more than anybody here tonight because I ended the regulation that destroyed your neighborhood. I ended the regulation that brought crime to the suburbs, and you’re going to live the American dream,” he added. “So can I ask you to do me a favor? Suburban women, will you please like me? I saved your damn neighborhood, OK?”


  33. tomh says

    ‘Unmasking’ probe commissioned by Barr concludes without charges or any public report
    By Matt Zapotosky and Shane Harris
    Oct. 13, 2020

    The federal prosecutor appointed by Attorney General William P. Barr to review whether Obama-era officials improperly requested the identities of individuals whose names were redacted in intelligence documents has completed his work without finding any substantive wrongdoing, according to people familiar with the matter.

    The president in recent days has pressed federal law enforcement to move against his political adversaries and complained that a different prosecutor tapped by Barr to investigate the FBI’s 2016 investigation of his campaign will not be issuing any public findings before the election.

    Though “unmasking” is common and appropriate because it allows government officials to better understand a document they are reading, Trump and others suggested the list of requests that ultimately revealed Flynn’s name showed wrongdoing.

    Bash’s team was focused not just on unmasking, but also on whether Obama-era officials provided information to reporters, according to people familiar with the probe, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive investigation. But the findings ultimately turned over to Barr fell short of what Trump and others might have hoped, and the attorney general’s office elected not to release them publicly, the people familiar with the matter said. The Washington Post was unable to review the full results of what Bash found.

    This was the investigation that Trump was sure would result in jail time for all the Obama officials involved (including Biden.) “I’m talking with 50-year sentences,” Trump said in an interview with Fox Business Network.

  34. raven says

    From @25

    “Under questioning from Sen. Klobuchar, Judge Barrett says that Roe v. Wade is not a ‘super-precedent’ that would never be overturned.

    I’m certain right here that she will try to overturn Roe versus Wade.
    Amy Barrett is one tough and smart woman. That she is also a far right extremist and religious kook makes her very dangerous to us.

    The fundies have been trying to overturn Roe versus Wade since it was decided in 1973. They see blood in the water now and the sharks are circling. AFAICT, it is a dead precedent walking.

  35. KG says


    Not directly relevant to your comment, but I’m currently reading a book that might interest you: Revolution in Rojava: Democratic Autonomy and Women’s Liberation in Syrian Kurdistan, by Michael Knapp, Anja Flach and Ercan Ayboga, translated by Jane Biehl and with a forword by the late David Graeber. The authors spent time in Rojava in 2014-15.The revolution is inspired by the ideas of Abdullah Öcalan, and indirectly by those of Murray Bookchin. I’m not wholly convinced by these ideas (in particular I consider indirect election in which delegates at the most local level vote for delegates to the next and so on, badly flawed) but Rojava is a fascinating experiment in feminist, ecological, quasi-anarchist politics.

  36. KG says

    A link to <Ahref=””>the latest Guardian/Opinium poll on the US presidential election. The headline finding is a 17-point lead for Biden – which I must say I’m sceptical of, but it’s clear that Trump is not narrowing the persistent lead Biden has held ever since it became clear he was the Democratic nominee. But among those intending to vote in person, Trump has a clear lead (55%-42%), swamped by a 75%-25% split in (presumably cast or intended) postal votes. It seems almost beyond doubt that in a fair election, Trump would lose, but when we add up the electoral college bias, polling station distribution bias, intimidation, and the sabotage of the postal system, it’s far less clear – even if outright ballot stuffing or “losing” votes from Democratic areas is discounted. The article itself notes the strong possibility of a Trump lead when in-person votes are counted, which the postal votes will then overturn – if they get counted. It seems inevitable Trump will claim victory, and Republicans at state level will systematically attempt to block the counting of postal votes. Whether the Trumpist coup succeeds is likely to depend on which party controls the legislature and judiciary in key states – and on how much popular protest there is against it.

  37. lotharloo says

    Sheldon Whitehouse’s speech is highly recommended.
    What I specially liked: 1. He didn’t bother to ask questions. 2. He exposed the game. L. Graham and Amy Coney Barrett played the game well, they spend a lot of time on the procedural stuff, saying that “judges can’t just make rules, they have to wait for a case show up.” But that is how the game is played! They influence the selection of the judges, they pay the politicians, and eventually the pay up people to bring up the cases, to lose quickly in lower courts to finally reach the supreme court.

  38. says

    Rob Grigjanis @ #45, thanks! The discussion on Morning Joe this morning is infuriating. (Scarborough isn’t there, so maybe they felt like they had to go further right to make up for his absence.) They showed a tiny clip of the Blitzer-Pelosi interview, in which Blitzer displayed the Khanna tweet and prefaced his question to Pelosi about it by describing Khanna as a “man you know well, I assume you admire him…,” which is some condescending nonsense, about which they have nothing to say. Then they summarize the clip as Blitzer asking Pelosi some “basic questions” about which she was “unhappy,” before launching into dishonest bothsidesism. No discussion of any substance of anything.

    Mika Brzezinski brought up Barrett’s refusal to even acknowledge that the law plainly states that a president can’t unilaterally delay an election and should commit to the peaceful transfer of power, and the Republicans on the panel hemmed and hawed and talked about how they can understand that she didn’t want to be “trapped” into making a political statement so even if her answers weren’t great they totally understand her dilemma.

    They didn’t name Sheldon Whitehouse, who provided a public service yesterday that the media should be providing, much less show any of his presentation, but instead chuckled about their agreement that speeches during these hearings, which they claimed no one wants to hear, should be banned. Nothing at all about the substance of his intervention (see Lynna’s #29 above).

    And now, a few minutes ago, they announced that NBC/MSNBC will air a Trump town hall in Miami with Savannah Guthrie tomorrow night. So Trump hosts multiple superspreader events, gets infected, participates in more events, doesn’t adhere to any protocols, won’t release any information to the public about WH infections and when he last tested negative before his positive test, refuses to participate in the virtual town hall event organized by the official commission, and then gets a live NBC town hall the same night as Biden, who did nothing wrong, does his.


  39. johnson catman says

    re Rob Grigjanis @45: I could only watch two or three minutes of that before turning it off. When Blitzer kept interrupting, Pelosi should have said “I’m speaking now” and shut him down.

  40. says

    KG @ #48, I was reading quite a bit about Rojava in 2015 and 2016, and I can’t remember if I read that then or not. My Kindle died recently and I can’t yet afford a new one, but when I get a new one I can check. I have a faint recollection of reading Graeber’s introduction, but I was reading other things by him about Rojava at the time, or I could have read the free sample planning to get the full book later…. Either way, thanks for the reminder about the book. (I’ve always found Bookchin something of an odd choice. Not my favorite anarchist by any stretch – his ideas are somewhat derivative of Kropotkin’s, but in a distorted way, and then he criticized Kropotkin for imaginary flaws.)

  41. says

    CNN – “Labor secretary’s wife, who was at Rose Garden event, tests positive for coronavirus”:

    The Labor Department announced in a news release Tuesday night that Secretary Eugene Scalia’s wife, Trish, has tested positive for coronavirus. The announcement said that Eugene Scalia has tested negative so far but will work from home “for the time being.”

    Both Eugene and Trish Scalia attended the Rose Garden event where President Donald Trump announced Judge Amy Coney Barrett was his pick to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court. They were seated in the second row, directly behind first lady Melania Trump and next to former White House counselor Kellyanne Conway — both of whom would later test positive for Covid-19.

    “This afternoon, doctors confirmed that U.S. Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia’s wife, Trish, tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Mrs. Scalia is experiencing mild symptoms but doing well,” the release stated.

    “This evening, Secretary Scalia received a test and the results were negative; he has experienced no symptoms. The Secretary and Mrs. Scalia will follow the advice of health professionals for Trish’s recovery and the health of those around them. For the time being, the Secretary will work from home while continuing to carry out the mission of the Department and the President’s agenda.”…

    As I mentioned on the previous iteration, Maureen Scalia, Justice Scalia’s widow, was in pictures from one of the maskless indoor events. It probably goes without saying, but Eugene Scalia is a corporate stooge opposed to policies protecting workers’ lives and health, regardless of where he works from.

  42. says

    Guardian – “US militias forge alliances with conspiracy theorists ahead of election”:

    Armed militia groups are forging alliances in the final stages of the US presidential election with conspiracy theorists and anti-vaxxers who claim the coronavirus pandemic is a hoax, intensifying concerns that trouble could be brewing ahead of election day.

    Leading advocates of anti-government and anti-science propaganda came together at the weekend, joined by the founder of one of the largest militia groups. The rare connection occurred at the Red Pill Expo, a conference convened on Jekyll Island, Georgia – a symbolic location as it is the birthplace of the US Federal Reserve, a popular bogey figure for conspiracy theorists.

    The summit, staged indoors in front of a packed and maskless audience of about 350, was headlined by Stewart Rhodes, president of the Oath Keepers. The militia, which turned up menacingly at several Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests over the summer and has acted as a vigilante squad at numerous Donald Trump campaign rallies, has links to 25,000 current or past members, mostly military or police veterans.

    Rhodes aroused the crowd of “Red Pillers”, as they called themselves, with incendiary language. He denounced BLM as a “communist front” and encouraged attendees to seek training in firearms and militia activity as the election approaches.

    “You are your own self-defense,” he said. “You must organize yourselves in the next 30 days in your towns and counties. We have members in every state in the union and we are standing them up right now.”

    Rhodes said the turbulence around “radical left” protests had brought “a flood of special warfare operatives into the Oath Keepers”. He cited former navy Seals and special force personnel from Fort Bragg, the US army garrison in North Carolina.

    A number of groups monitoring far rightwing paramilitary activity have warned in recent weeks that militia groups and individuals online are increasingly focusing their attentions on the presidential election….

    Anxiety is also growing around the activities of white supremacist domestic terrorist groups, which federal agencies now recognize as an especially dangerous threat….

    At the Red Pill gathering, the Oath Keeper president set his sights openly on election day. He said that on 3 November “we will have our men deployed outside the polling stations to make sure you are protected, especially in swing states”.

    Rhodes’ appearance marked an unusually overt fusion of interests between armed far-right groups and anti-government and anti-pharmaceutical conspiracy theorists. Several of his fellow keynote speakers denounced the coronavirus pandemic as a fraud cooked up by global elites as a ploy to subjugate the American people.

    Among the speakers at the summit, Mikki Willis followed Rhodes in talking up the actions of armed rightwing individuals. Willis is known for having been the director of Plandemic, the viral video that spread the lie that coronavirus was invented by big drug companies and Bill Gates, among others.

    He boasted to the Red Pill audience that he had also made a laudatory video about Kyle Rittenhouse, the teenager charged in August in the killing of two people during anti-police brutality protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Willis praised the alleged shooter, whom Trump also notably failed to denounce, as a “very stand-up citizen”.

    David Icke, the British conspiracy theorist widely denounced for antisemitic hate speech, was beamed into the summit by video from the UK. He traded misinformation about the “pandemic hoax”, accusing a global “cult” of elites of having creating a coronavirus vaccine that was in fact a “sterilization agent” that would be used to destroy humanity.

    Icke also encouraged school kids to refuse to wear masks, which he called “face diapers”.

    Two other major strains of misinformation were represented at the weekend. Del Bigtree, producer of the anti-vaccination film Vaxxed, which features the disgraced British doctor Andrew Wakefield, also portrayed the pandemic as a global conspiracy aiming to take control over people’s lives.

    The last group given a voice at the gathering were peddlers of industrial bleach, who market the chemical as a “miracle cure” for all known ailments including malaria, HIV/Aids, cancer and Covid-19. Kerri Rivera, a leading advocate of chlorine dioxide as a treatment for autism, talked to the summit by video link from Germany.

    “If people took chlorine dioxide for most illnesses, few doctors would be needed and the pharmaceutical industry would be bankrupted,” she said.

    She also claimed the bleach, which is used in industrial textile manufacturing, had no major side effects. In fact, the US Food and Drug Administration has warned that consuming it can be life-threatening and incidents of death have been recorded.

    Several leading bleach pushers in the US are currently in jail on federal charges.

  43. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Lynna@44Holy crap! That is some classic abuser rhetoric there. I fully expect him to nuke Portland and say, “Now look what you made me do!”

  44. stroppy says

    Trump “I saved your damn neighborhood, OK?”

    No Dirty Don, you talked about saving neighborhoods and shoved some people around, then went for a round of golf. That’s it. You are a delusional jackass, Mr. Guy in the Whitehouse Who Belongs in Jail, here’s hoping you get yours, you sick bastard.

  45. KG says

    The last group given a voice at the gathering were peddlers of industrial bleach, who market the chemical as a “miracle cure” for all known ailments including malaria, HIV/Aids, cancer and Covid-19. – Guardain, quoted by SC@55

    I’m puzzled: why does a hoax disease need a cure?

  46. johnson catman says

    re SC @55:

    “If people took chlorine dioxide for most illnesses, few doctors would be needed and the pharmaceutical industry would be bankrupted,” she said.

    Mainly because there would be a lot of dead people, and dead people need neither doctors nor pharmaceuticals.

  47. says

    Here’s a link to the October 14 Guardian coronavirus world liveblog.

    From there:

    Russia saw a record daily increase in coronavirus cases on Wednesday for the second day in a row as Moscow introduced online learning for many students in a bid to contain the rapidly spreading virus.

    Although the number of new infections has been steadily rising in recent days, the authorities have said they see no need to impose any lockdowns or restrictions on economic activity.

    Russia’s coronavirus taskforce said it had recorded 14,231 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, the most of any day since the pandemic began.

    In the same period 239 people died, it said, bringing the death toll to 23,205. On Tuesday, it reported 13,868 new cases and 244 new deaths.

    Home to nearly 13 million people, Moscow has been the area of the country hardest-hit by the pandemic, reporting more than 4,500 new infections on Wednesday.

    Sergei Sobyanin, the city’s mayor, said students from the sixth to the 11th grade would be taking online classes for a two-week period starting on Monday, while younger students would continue attending school as usual.

    Several more countries have record or near-record daily infections (Switzerland, Germany, Iran, Croatia) or health care systems on the brink (Belgium, Poland).

  48. Rob Grigjanis says

    KG @49:

    among those intending to vote in person, Trump has a clear lead (55%-42%)

    If those intending to vote for Trump in person are concentrated in solidly red states, this may not be a huge problem. My impression is that the major problem will be voting shenanigans in swing states governed by Republicans (e.g. Florida, Ohio).

    They need UN observers in that shithole country.

  49. KG says

    Rob Grigjanis@65,

    Trump is quite capable of claiming victory on the basis of an apparent lead in the popular vote, based only on in-person votes, wherever those votes were cast.

  50. says

    Guardian world liveblog:

    People in France are preparing for new coronavirus restrictions, ahead of a nationally televised interview by the president, Emmanuel Macron, in which he is expected to speak about the virus.

    French media reports say Macron will step up efforts on social media to press the need for virus protections among young people, according to the Associated Press.

    France’s government has already put Paris, seven other cities and the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe under maximum virus alert, closing bars, banning student parties and capping the size of gatherings.

    Covid-19 patients occupy a third of intensive care units nationwide. France reported about 180 positive cases per 100,000 people during the last week and higher concentrations in some cities.

    France has 798,000 confirmed cases and nearly 33,000 deaths.

    Italy’s coronavirus infections reached 7,332 on Wednesday – the highest daily increase recorded since the beginning of the pandemic, writes Angela Giuffrida, the Guardian’s Rome correspondent.

    There were 43 more fatalities, bringing the death toll to 36,289.

    The biggest increase was in Lombardy, where there were 1,844 new cases, followed by Campania in the south, Veneto and Lazio.

    The number of people hospitalised for Covid-19 also increased by over 400 to 5,470 within the last 24 hours, with 539 people in intensive care.

    A doctors’ union has warned that if Italy’s daily infections reach the same level as in France then hospitals would hold up for no more than two months.

    Walter Ricciardi, the scientist advising the health ministry on the pandemic, said on Wednesday that new cases in Italy could eclipse 16,000 a day by the beginning of November if not sooner.

    The government has ruled out a new national lockdown, saying they would instead target specific areas. However, Andrea Crisanti, a top scientist, said a Christmas lockdown “could be the order of things”.

    “You could reset the system, lower the transmission of the virus and increase contact tracing. As we are, the system is saturated,” he added.

    Cases have leapt since economic activity resumed after the summer holidays, with many experts criticising packed public transport.

  51. says

    White House’s drug-discount-card plan faces election-season trouble

    The whole point of the White House’s scheme was to deliver the drug-discount cards before Election Day. That’s apparently not going to happen.

    While rolling out a faux health care plan three weeks ago, Donald Trump boasted that he’d soon send $200 drug-discount cards to 33 million Medicare beneficiaries. “Nobody has seen this before,” the president said. “These cards are incredible.”

    Even by 2020 standards, it was a brazen move. The White House’s plan is to move billions of dollars out of Medicare trust funds, without congressional approval, using taxpayer funds — in a legally dubious way — as part of an unabashed election-season scheme. Polls show Trump losing his advantage among seniors, so his team got to work on a plan in which the administration would effectively send them Trump-branded, taxpayer-financed gift cards ahead of Election Day.

    […] administration officials weren’t notified in advance that [Trump] would promise to send seniors these cards: “Trump and his advisers were searching for proposals to tout as health care accomplishments and latched onto the drug-discount cards just hours before the president’s scheduled address, leaving the health department scrambling to justify the idea.”

    […] The Wall Street Journal reported overnight:

    Trump’s plan to send 33 million Medicare beneficiaries a card that can be used to help pay for as much as $200 in prescription drug costs won’t be completed until after the election, according to a person familiar with the plan. The cards will be mailed in phases, with some likely going out later in October but most not until after the Nov. 3 presidential election, the person said.

    [also] from the WSJ report: “The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is spending an estimated $20 million for administrative costs to print and send letters to Medicare beneficiaries informing them that they will be getting cards.”

    In other words, the administration may not be able to deliver the drug-discount cards ahead of Election Day, but it can deliver letters to seniors — using tens of millions of taxpayer dollars — letting Medicare beneficiaries know that Trump’s plan has been hatched.

    Will that have the intended political benefit? The White House clearly hopes so.

  52. says

    Trump’s conspiracy theorizing reaches unsettling new depths.

    Trump is peddling wild-eyed conspiracy theories with increasing frequency.

    From Steve Benen:

    […] He recently suggested the FDA is conspiring against him on a coronavirus vaccine, for example, and it didn’t cause much of a stir. The political world was similarly unmoved when Trump suggested Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s dying wish may have also been the result of a Democratic conspiracy. […]

    From the Washington Post:

    One retweet alleged that Biden and former president Barack Obama “may have had Seal Team 6 killed” and that a “CIA Whistleblower Exposes Biden’s Alleged Role with the Deaths of Seal Team- Claims to have Documented Proof.” Another suggested that the CIA kept bin Laden in Iran, before having him transferred to Pakistan for Obama’s “trophy kill” ahead of the 2012 election.

    From Steve Benen:

    […] the theory is quite convoluted, utterly ridiculous, and not worth pondering in any real detail.

    Indeed, it led George Conway to write, “Gosh, the president should be careful what he retweets because people might get the impression he is possibly deranged.”

    […] the problem is not just that Trump is embracing conspiracy theories; it’s that he’s peddling wild-eyed nonsensical conspiracy theories with increasing frequency. Last month his focus was on Joe Biden being controlled by people hiding in “dark shadows” and a secret plane full of anarchists intent on disrupting the Republican National Convention. This month, the president thinks the FDA is out to get him, “Biden and Obama may have had Seal Team 6 killed,” and “Obamagate” is real.

    […] Election Day is 20 days away. I shudder to think how much worse this can get.

  53. says

    Team Trump uses Russian footage in its advertising (again)

    Given recent history, and Trump’s unfortunate history with Russia, these are amateur missteps the Republican operation probably ought to avoid.

    After recent reporting on Donald Trump denigrating military service, the president’s re-election team tried to address the problem by launching a digital ad emphasizing his support for Americans in uniform. There was just one problem: the ad released by a fundraising arm of the Trump campaign used stock images of Russian fighter jets and weapons.

    As Politico reported late yesterday, something quite similar happened again this week.

    A new pro-Trump super PAC ad uses stock footage from Russia and Belarus in a major ad buy that’s airing in three swing states…. America First Action last Thursday launched an ad called “Pandemic Tax” in Florida, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin as part of a $10 million ad campaign slamming Joe Biden for supporting bad trade deals and arguing that he would raise taxes on “all of us.” But some of the people featured in the ad were actors in stock footage from Russia and Belarus.

    […] Remember this one from July?

    A new advertisement from […] Donald Trump’s re-election campaign features an image of a policeman being attacked, designed to show “chaos [and] violence” in the United States — but it’s actually a photo from a 2014 Ukrainian pro-democracy protest. The ad compares “public safety,” shown as Trump speaking with police officials, to the “chaos [and] violence” of the Ukrainian protest image.

    The protesters in the image were taking a stand against Viktor Yanukovych, in part over his ties to Moscow.

    In fact, by Politico’s count, there have been four instances from the last three months in which Americans have seen ads promoting Trump’s re-election featuring footage from Russia. […]

    LOL, four Trump campaign ads that feature footage from Russia. Very appropriate.

  54. says

    In his chess match with North Korea, Trump is clearly losing

    On global affairs, Trump has said, “If you’re not a great chess master, you’re going to have a problem.” His failures with North Korea prove the point.

    In one of his Fox News interviews in August, Donald Trump, referring to leaders of global rivals, said, “I can tell you one thing, they’re very sharp. They’re at the top of their game. And if you’re not at the top of your game, it’s not going to be a pretty picture. It’s like chess masters, and if you’re not a great chess master, you’re going to have a problem.”

    [Trump] definitely has a problem.

    As a matter of personal affection, Trump and Kim Jong-un apparently remain quite close. Eric Trump said this week that when his father was hospitalized with the coronavirus, it was the North Korean dictator who was the first person who “came out to wish” the American president well. This came on the heels of Bob Woodward’s latest book, featuring quotes from Donald Trump gushing about his personal relationship with Kim.

    “I’m the only one he smiles with,” [Trump] said of his dictatorial counterpart.

    But while [Trump] focuses on his “love” for North Korea’s authoritarian leader, Pyongyang has advanced its pieces on the global chess board. The Wall Street Journal reported this week:

    North Korea, even as it pursued denuclearization talks with the Trump administration, kept advancing its arsenal. Now the behind-the-scenes progress is in the public eye. At a military parade marking the 75th anniversary of the ruling Workers’ Party on Saturday, Pyongyang revealed a new intercontinental ballistic missile…. The Saturday procession featured one reveal after another: upgrades to soldiers’ infantry gear, a next-generation submarine missile and what weapons experts say is the world’s largest mobile ICBM.

    […] while [Trump] celebrated the triumph that existed only in his mind, Kim Jong-un “quietly improved and expanded” his weapons program, which is the opposite of what the United States wanted to see.

    […] North Korea’s weapons program is far more dangerous now than when Trump told the world that he’d eliminated the threat altogether. […]

  55. says

    A small gaffe on the part of Amy Coney Barrett during today’s hearing:

    It was a small moment, but the amazing note-less Barrett whiffed on a gently tossed Sasse softball about the rights covered by the First Amendment, overlooking the middle child of the five: the right to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    Other highlights/lowlights from today’s hearing:

    [Senator] Klobuchar pointed out that Barrett, then an associate, worked on the Republican side on Bush v. Gore, as did Kavanaugh and Roberts. That led to a testy exchange on recusal in an election-deciding case.
    [Senator Ted] Cruz went on quite a tirade about those who have committed felonies getting back the right to vote after serving their sentences.

    “I am not sure our democracy is better by changing the law to allow murderers to vote,” he said. “I’m not sure the operation of the republic would be better if Charles Manson had a greater voice in the electoral system.”

    States like Florida — which theoretically should be re-enfranchising felons with the vote though state Republicans have fought tooth and nail to keep the voters’ will from being done — have imbued that re-enfranchisement with caveats aimed at preventing such arguments: it does not apply to those with murder or felony sex crimes convictions.

    “Let me say first of all, the last three days of hearings have revealed very good news. They have revealed the news that Judge Barrett is going to be confirmed by this committee and by the full Senate,” Cruz said.

    That’s true! And has been true since before there was a nominee, almost since the moment when news broke of RBG’s passing. Republicans simply have the numbers to rush Barrett through and get her on the bench, no matter Democratic anger about the hypocrisy or the will of the people.
    Whitehouse brought up that justices on the Supreme Court are not required to adhere to an ethical code of conduct like judges on lower courts are — the “highest court” having the “lowest standards,” in his words. He cited in particular Kavanaugh’s ethics investigation that got interrupted when he was elevated to the Supreme Court.
    “Judicial activism is bad from either side, and no matter what somebody’s policy preferences are about the ACA, I completely agree with you, they should not be trying to undermine the policy that Congress enacted,” Barrett said. [That’s going to come back to bite her.]
    Barrett said she can’t say whether Trump has the power to pardon himself, because it hasn’t been tested in court. She dodged the same question yesterday.

    Barrett has been extremely careful not to piss off Trump, even when it means whiffing on questions it was previously unthinkable to even have to ask, like whether all presidents should guarantee a peaceful transfer of power.
    Feinstein, homing in on some specifics on her ACA questions from yesterday, pressed Barrett on the severability issue surrounding the individual mandate. Barrett, predictably, didn’t really say anything about the case, instead giving the listeners a broad definition of what severability is.

    Feinstein: “Thank you, that is quite a definition, I’m really impressed.”

    Eek. Democrats are already unhappy enough with Feinstein to have started a whisper campaign to get her booted from her leadership position on the committee […]
    Graham, with a bad-faith invocation of the “Ginsburg rule,” opened up the day’s proceedings by criticizing Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) for accusing Barrett last night of being less candid than Ginsburg was during her confirmation hearings. Harris is more right here — though GOP nominees have loved to cite the rule as a way to get out of answering hard questions, Ginsburg was found in a 2018 study to be the most responsive nominee that had ever come before the Senate Judiciary Committee.


  56. says

    After all of his abject toadying, Bill Barr is still not on Trump’s “happy” list.

    […] During an interview with Newsmax TV, Trump wouldn’t say if Barr would get to stick around if he wins reelection in November.

    “Can’t comment on that. It’s too early,” the President said.

    “I’m not happy with all of the evidence I have, I can tell you that,” he added. “I’m not happy.”

    Trump’s comments came after Barr informed Republican lawmakers last week that the results of U.S. Attorney John Durham’s investigation into the FBI’s 2016 Russia-Trump probe would not come out before Election Day, a major blow to Trump and his allies’ desperate attempts to gain political advantage.

    Additionally, the “unmasking” probe Barr had commissioned in response to Trump’s conspiracy theories about Michael Flynn also ended up being a total bust, having been quietly concluded on Tuesday night without a single charge or arrest.

    Trump complained to Newsmax that the lack of arrests from the probe were “ridiculous” and a “disgrace.”

    “I think it’s really a horrible thing that they’re allowed to get away — when they say no indictments, they actually said no indictments before the election,” he said. […]


  57. says

    Guardian world liveblog:

    France announces public health state of emergency over Covid-19

    The French government has declared a public health state of emergency, giving officials greater powers to impose new measures to contain the spread of Covid-19.

    Announcing the decision in a statement, the government said the epidemic was a public health disaster which endangered the health of the population and justified the adoption of strict measures.

    The government’s statement did not say what action it would take, but the adoption of the state of emergency gives the authorities statutory power to impose tough measures.

    The French president Emmanuel Macron is expected to detail the measures being planned when he gives an interview on national television at around 8.00pm on Wednesday.

    French media reported that a nightly curfew between 9pm and 6am was one of the measures Macron would unveil.

  58. says

    Follow-up to comments 44, 56m 57 and 63.

    From Catherine Rampell:

    maybe “suburban women” don’t like him because their kids are out of food, out of school, and increasingly off of health insurance?

    the kids in cages thing probably didn’t help either

    From Krystal Ball:

    This is hilariously embarrassing. Also I really wish both parties would end their obsession with white suburban women and I say this as a white suburban (kind of. DEFINITELY no Whole Foods in my town) woman.

    From Khashoggi’s Ghost:

    Who’d have thought being being a racist misogynist who’s creating hate and division and rolling back women’s rights wouldn’t be a huge hit with the ladies?

    He really sounds desperate and pathetic here.

    From Holly Figueroa O’Reilly:

    Between this begging and Lindsey Graham begging for money on Fox every night, I’m almost starting to fee sorry for them.


  59. says

    A few podcast recommendations:

    Chris Hayes’ WITHpod – “Money, Democracy, and John Maynard Keynes with Zach Carter”:

    How do we stabilize an economic crisis? Years before we faced the Coronavirus pandemic and the economic crises of the 21st century, the theories of British born economist John Maynard Keynes helped lead the United States out of the Great Depression. His ideas revolutionized how we looked at scarcity and invented our understanding macroeconomics. This week Zach Carter sits down to discuss his new book about the life and influence of John Maynard Keynes and the importance of Keynesian economics in this moment.

    Slate’s Trumpcast – “No Saviors, Just Us”:

    Virginia Heffernan talks to Sarah Jones, staff writer at New York Magazine’s Intelligencer, about the problem with putting Claudia Conway and other teenage girls on a pedestal, why Trump’s contracting of COVID-19 doesn’t mean justice, and what she wants to see from Joe Biden.

    The New Abnormal – “Trump Is Polluting the Planet With a Thousand Mini-Dons”:

    It’s bad enough that we have to deal with one Donald Trump here in the U.S. of A. What’s worse, Mehdi Hasan explains on the latest episode of The New Abnormal, is that Trump has become a template for a whole planet full of bad-faith actors and wannabe strongmen. Before he became the host of his own TV show in America, Hasan interviewed all sorts of international politicians. “What I noticed over the last few years is that they all now start talking like Trump. They all use the same verbal tics, the same ‘fake news,’ the same completely brazen lies,” Hasan tells Molly Jong-Fast. “This is not a coincidence. People around the world have said, ‘well, it worked for Donald Trump. Why can’t it work for me?’ Of course, all politicians are bullshit artists. But what’s different today, Hasan adds, “is the way in which Trump and co. have turned lying into not just an art form, but an instrument of power. They don’t lie just to get their way. They lie because they want to destroy our shared reality. They want to demonstrate their power. They want people to back them and say, yes, ‘I don’t believe my lying eyes.’” Speaking of belief, you’ll be gobsmacked by the lengths Alex Gibney had to go to in order to make “Totally Under Control,” his documentary about the government’s response to COVID….

    (Speaking of Hasan, I like his new show on Peacock. Haven’t had a chance to check out Zerlina Maxwell’s or Sam Seder’s yet…)

  60. says

    Follow-up to comment 80.

    From Mark Sumner:

    […] There seem to be no public sightings of Barr since the announcement that he was self-quarantining. However, there have been mentions of Barr by Trump. Back in August, Trump was still crowing about the possibility of a Barr-Durham report being produced as an October surprise. Since then, Trump has made several attacks on Barr and the failure to produce a report in advance of the election. Trump has complained about Barr in rallies, complained about Barr in appearances on Fox and Rush Limbaugh, and complained about Barr on Twitter.

    It all goes to show that, when you’ve signed on to be a toady, you better provide some … toad.

    Maybe Barr really is sick. Maybe he’s on the run from Trump. But don’t discount the idea that he may still be scribbling furiously on a summary that explains what Bash and Durham “really” found.


  61. says

    I’m with SC, who already noted that even though Trump backed out of the second presidential debate, he will still get a primetime TV platform (on NBC) from which to spew his lies tomorrow night. I’m disgusted.

    […] Trump has now scheduled a competing town hall on NBC—which means he’ll be aired on NBC itself, MSNBC, and CNBC, while Biden is only on one channel. Basically, NBC is rewarding Trump for backing out of a debate because he didn’t want to play by the rules. […]

    We can hope that this town hall event does not go well for Trump. He has failed miserably at previous town hall events.

  62. says

    Giuliani and the New York Post Are Pushing Russian Disinformation. It’s a Big Test for the Media.

    With its new Biden story, Murdoch’s tabloid is a useful idiot for Vladimir Putin.

    A newly discovered laptop, the FBI, a trove of emails, October, a presidential election—it sounds familiar. Especially when you add in a Russian disinformation campaign. On Wednesday, the New York Post released what it hailed as a bombshell: an unidentified computer repair store owner in Delaware had come to possess a laptop that contained Hunter Biden emails (and purportedly a sex tape), the hard drive and computer was seized by the FBI, the store owner at some point passed a copy of the hard drive to Rudy Giuliani, and one of the emails suggested that Hunter, who served on the board of Ukrainian energy company Burisma, may have in 2015 introduced a Burisma official to his dad, Vice President Joe Biden. The story depicts this as a big scandal, and Guiliani tweeted, “Much more to come.”

    But the key point of the article was predicated on false information that Giuliani has been spreading for a long time—and that appears to be linked to a Russian disinformation operation that the Post neglected to note in its article. That is, the Post piece, based on an unproven smear, is in sync with Moscow’s ongoing effort to influence the 2020 election to help […] Trump retain power. […]

    The bad faith animating the Post story is demonstrated by its open embrace—in the first sentence—of a demonstrably false narrative and by its failure to report Giuliani’s association with a Russian intelligence agent who the Department of Treasury has accused of interfering in the 2020 election.

    The article begins: “Hunter Biden introduced his father, then-Vice President Joe Biden, to a top executive at a Ukrainian energy firm less than a year before the elder Biden pressured government officials in Ukraine into firing a prosecutor who was investigating the company, according to emails obtained by The Post.” [false narrative!] […]

    Biden in 2016 did push for the firing of this prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, but there is no indication this was done to assist Burisma. In fact, there is a boatload of evidence that Shokin was canned because of his own corruption. There was no active investigation of Burisma at the time of his dismissal. […] And as has been widely documented, Biden’s demand that Shokin be dumped was part of an international effort to pressure Ukraine’s government to clean itself up in order to receive financial assistance. (Several Republican senators also called for Shokin’s removal.) Yet Trump and others have falsely claimed that Biden nefariously bounced Shokin to cover up supposed Burisma misdeeds. [false narrative!]

    The Post repeating this baseless accusation is an act of propaganda […] there certainly isn’t anything necessarily scandalous about Biden having met with the board member. Moreover, the 2015 email to Hunter—which simply says, “thank you for inviting me to DC and giving an opportunity to meet your father”—discloses nothing about any conversation the board member might have had with the vice president. It’s not even confirmed that this meeting occurred. (The Biden campaign issued a statement saying it had reviewed Joe Biden’s schedule and no such meeting “ever took place.”)

    The Post provides no information connecting this email exchange and the Shokin case. But Rupert Murdoch’s paper is using this one email to revive the Ukrainian scandal that Giuliani has been trying to gin up for over a year. […] And don’t forget that it was Giuliani and Trump’s search for Ukrainian dirt that led to Trump’s impeachment.

    […] The Russian operation has overlapped with Giuliani’s endeavor. But the Post left this inconvenient fact out of its story.

    […] Giuliani has a starring role in the Post‘s story. The Delaware computer repair store owner gave a copy of the laptop’s hard drive to Giuliani (sometime after last December), and this past weekend Giuliani shared a copy with the Post […] As part of his smear-Biden campaign, Giuliani late last year traveled to Ukraine and met with Derkach [confirmed Russian intelligence officer/spy] and other Ukrainians who have been pushing the fake Shokin story.

    […] Derkach staged press conferences in Kiev and played secretly recorded tapes of Biden speaking by phone with former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. Derkach claimed the recordings backed up Trump’s and Giuliani’s allegations about Biden. Yet the tapes revealed no wrongdoing. This appeared to be a disinformation stunt, and Ukrainians critical of Russia speculated that the tapes originated with Russian intelligence.

    None of this is in the Post’s story […] The Murdoch outlet ignores the elemental—and crucial—information that Russia has been mounting an information warfare operation against the 2020 election to harm Biden and that this plot has included Derkach’s efforts to taint Biden. Leaving out the documented link between Giuliani and a Russian agent involved in a disinformation scheme is gross journalistic malpractice.

    […] The article was co-written by Emma-Jo Morris, a former segment producer at Fox News for host Sean Hannity and a former communications staffer for the Conservative Political Action Conference. […] Hunter also states that his Ukrainian associates “need to know in no uncertain terms that we will not and cannot intervene directly with domestic policy makers”—in other words, he won’t use his influence with dad. The Post‘s story does not report that.

    […]The big question is how the rest of the media will contend with this […] Will they fall for it?

    On Wednesday morning, New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman tweeted out the Post story and its headline referring to a “smoking-gun email.” Subsequently, she posted tweets taking a more skeptical view of the story. […] Facebook executive Andy Stone noted that the social media giant would limit the Post article’s distribution on its platform. […]

    Will the rest of the media handle this story responsibly? […] “To journalists considering writing about this toxic story: don’t—unless you can independently verify more details. And even if you can verify something, acknowledge the possibility of disinformation up-front, especially against the backdrop of 2016. Not doing so is bad practice.”

    In 2016, Russia attacked an American election and accomplished its mission of electing Trump—in part because much of the media throughout October of that year focused on the Hillary Clinton-related emails hacked-and-leaked by Putin’s secret operation without paying much attention to the Kremlin assault itself. In 2020, Moscow, according to the Trump administration’s top intelligence officials, is at it again. So allegations or stories that might be linked to or created by Russia’s ongoing covert operation ought to be vetted carefully before being reported or amplified. Journalists should resist becoming handmaids for Putin’s latest war on the United States. Especially now that the New York Post has provided all reporters a wonderful tutorial on how to be a useful idiot for Russia.

  63. says

    Follow-up to comment 76.

    The former Navy SEAL known for his role in the operation that killed Osama bin Laden is pushing back after […] Trump amplified conspiracy theories that the terrorist leader’s death was a hoax.

    Robert O’Neill, who says he killed bin Laden in the 2011 raid, has rebuffed Trump and others in several tweets for promoting the conspiracy theory that bin Laden’s body double was instead killed.

    “Very brave men said [goodbye] to their kids to go kill Osama bin Laden. We were given the order by President Obama. It was not a body double,” O’Neill tweeted on Tuesday. […]

    The response from the former Navy SEAL came after [Trump] on Tuesday retweeted a QAnon-linked account that promoted a baseless conspiracy theory alleging that bin Laden is still alive and his body double was instead killed. The account has since been suspended. Trump retweeted another video on Wednesday promoting conspiracy theories about bin Laden’s death.

    […] Bin Laden was killed in a 2011 raid by SEAL Team Six on his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, ordered by then-President Barack Obama.

    Trump, meanwhile, has attacked his Democratic opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, over the bin Laden raid.

    The president tweeted in September that Biden “opposed the mission to take out Osama bin Laden.” He wrote in a follow-up tweet that, “If it were up to Joe, bin Laden and Soleimani would still be alive,” referencing his decision to kill Iranian paramilitary commander Qassem Soleimani last year.

    Biden was reported to be a skeptic of a possible raid […]


  64. says

    Videos show conservative activists discussing limiting mail-in voting

    […] “We need to stop those ballots from going out, and I want the lawyers here to tell us what to do,” said Tom Fitton, president of the tax-exempt charity Judicial Watch, at an Aug. 21 meeting. “But this is a crisis that we’re not prepared for. I mean, our side is not prepared for.”

    Fitton said that the left is “war-gaming” a plan to delay the election until Jan. 20, 2021, which would enable Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to become acting president. [another effing batshit bonkers conspiracy theory]

    […] Another video from CNP showed conservative activist Charlie Kirk discussing the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on America’s colleges. He said that so many campuses had closed, which meant that hundreds of thousands of left-leaning students probably would not vote.

    “So please, keep the campuses closed,” Kirk said in August as the audience cheered, according to another video obtained by The Post. […]

    At the February meetings, Fitton and CNP executive committee member Brent Bozell said the right will begin “ballot harvesting,” which involves collecting and delivering sealed absentee ballots from churches and other institutions. At the time, [Trump] and other Republicans were blasting ballot harvesting, claiming it would lead to voter fraud

    Yet Ralph Reed, chairman of the nonprofit Faith & Freedom Coalition, told the CNP audience that conservatives would use the technique […]

    “And so our organization is going to be harvesting ballots in churches,” he said. “We’re going to be specifically going in not only to white evangelical churches, but into Hispanic and Asian churches and collecting those ballots.” […]

  65. tomh says

    Union Challenges Trump Plan to Ditch Farmworker Wage Survey
    October 14, 2020 NICHOLAS IOVINO

    (CN) — The Trump administration’s decision to abruptly discontinue a 110-year-old survey that helps set minimum wage for immigrant farmworkers will lead to pay cuts for millions of U.S. and guest agricultural laborers across the country, a farmworkers union claims in a new lawsuit.

    “How can Donald Trump justify slashing pay for all farm workers in the U.S., which means cutting wages by up to a quarter or a half in some states?” United Farm Workers president Teresa Romero said in a statement Wednesday.

    Romero also claims the president will personally benefit from the decision by suppressing the wages of field workers at his vineyard in Charlottesville, Virginia.

    The lawsuit filed in federal court in Fresno, California, on Tuesday night challenges the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Sept. 30 decision to end data collection for the biannual Agricultural Labor Survey, also called the Farm Labor Survey, which first started in 1910.

    The union seeks a preliminary and permanent injunction to block USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue from discontinuing the biannual farm labor survey.

  66. tomh says

    This is the kind of case that Barrett will be deciding.

    Fifth Circuit Strikes Texas’ Ban on Common Abortion Procedure
    October 13, 2020 KELSEY JUKAM

    (CN) — A three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit Tuesday struck down Texas’ attempted ban on the most common abortion procedure performed during the second trimester of pregnancy.

    In 2017, Texas lawmakers passed Senate Bill 8, which made it illegal for physicians to perform a dilation and evacuation abortion without first causing “fetal demise” in utero by injecting a chemical compound or performing an umbilical cord transection. Several clinics and physicians challenged the law, arguing that it threatened the health of their patients and violated their constitutionally protected right to obtain an abortion…The procedure, which is used beginning at 15 weeks of pregnancy, is the safest and most common method of second-trimester abortions.

    U.S. Circuit Judge James L. Dennis, a Bill Clinton appointee, wrote in the panel’s 22-page ruling that the unnecessary procedures required by SB 8 “expose all women to heightened risks of adverse health consequences, while offering no corresponding health benefit…”

    U.S. Circuit Judge Carl E. Stewart, a Bill Clinton appointee, joined Dennis in the opinion. U.S. Circuit Judge Don Willett, a Donald Trump appointee, dissented.

  67. says

    tomh @89, Senator Kamala Harris questioned Amy Coney Barrett about her record of siding consistently against unions and against workers in past cases. Barrett refused to answer.

  68. says

    From John Cassidy, writing for The New Yorker, “The Amy Coney Barrett Supreme Court Hearings Are an Enlightening Sham.”

    If Supreme Court nomination hearings are thought of as quasi-judicial proceedings to determine whether someone deserves to spend decades on the nation’s highest legal bench, it was clear well before Tuesday morning, when Amy Coney Barrett started taking questions from the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, that this hearing would be a “sham”—the term that Senator Amy Klobuchar, Democrat of Minnesota, used to describe it on Monday. In this era of permanent political warfare, loyalty to party and President long ago trumped the “advice and consent” clause in Article II of the Constitution, which granted the U.S. Senate the exclusive right to approve or reject treaties and judicial nominations.

    […] Citing the need to preserve their independence and maintain an open mind, the nominees point-blank refuse to say anything about the most consequential cases that they are likely to be called upon to decide, and the senators, robbed of any real judicial function, resort to giving political speeches. […] an antidemocratic heist of historic dimensions—a point I emphasized when the news of her nomination broke. But this is a crime that the cops—McConnell and his Republican colleagues—aren’t merely in on: they are planning and executing it.

    […] This being so, the main point of interest on Tuesday was Barrett’s performance, and whether she would be able to maintain the convenient fiction that, if elevated to the Supreme Court, she will behave like a baseball umpire, calling balls and strikes without any regard to her personal feelings. […]

    Despite Barrett’s evasiveness, her Democratic interlocutors did highlight some of the prior associations and expressions of belief that she was so keen to downplay. Leahy got her to acknowledge that, in 2006, she signed a public letter from St. Joseph County Right to Life, an Indiana anti-abortion group, which, in some of its other literature, had taken the position that in-vitro fertilization is equivalent to manslaughter. Barrett said that she signed the letter, which she had failed to disclose in the materials she sent to the committee, “almost fifteen years ago quickly on my way out of church” and hadn’t been aware of the group’s other materials, a point she repeated later in the hearing. Leahy also quizzed Barrett about a lecture she gave to the Blackstone Legal Fellowship, a Christian program run by an ultraconservative organization called Alliance Defending Freedom. “Were you aware of the A.D.F.’s decades-long efforts to recriminalize homosexuality?” Leahy asked. Barrett replied, “I am not aware of those efforts, no.” These expressions of ignorance were jarringly at odds with the voluminous knowledge and instant recall she displayed in many of her other answers.

    It was Senator Dick Durbin, the veteran Democrat of Illinois, who got to the crux of the matter, which is that Barrett’s legal opinions are much more closely tied to her conservative political beliefs than she lets on. […]

    Durbin pointed out that even Scalia himself, in District of Columbia v. Heller, a landmark Supreme Court Case on gun rights from 2008, had said the Second Amendment didn’t preclude the government from preventing felons and mental patients from purchasing firearms.[…] Durbin also brought up a study which found that many nonviolent offenders are subsequently arrested for violent felonies. “The evidence is there,” he said. “You ignored it.” Barrett, momentarily appearing to lose a bit of her sangfroid, replied, “Senator, I didn’t ignore it.”

    Durbin then brought the conversation back to race. In Barrett’s 2019 dissent, he pointed out, she had also drawn a distinction between the “individual right” to own a gun under the Second Amendment—a deeply dubious interpretation in itself—and the “civic right” to vote, which, toward the end of the Reconstruction era, and indeed up to this day, many southern states had systematically undermined as it applied to African-Americans by, among other things, banning felons from voting for their entire lives. “So you are saying that a felony should not disqualify Rickey from buying an AK-47, but using a felony conviction from someone’s past to deny them the right to vote is all right?” Durbin asked Barrett.

    Barrett repeatedly sought to parry Durbin’s thrusts. The Constitution “contemplates” the option for states to ban felons from voting, she said. “But I expressed no view on whether that was a good idea, whether states should do that.” In noting a difference between individual rights under the Second Amendment and the civic right to vote, she was merely making a distinction that was consistent with the language used in earlier cases, including the Heller case, she insisted. Durbin pressed her further, though. He suggested that the very act of countenancing a distinction between the right to vote and the right to bear arms “goes back to the original George Floyd question” about systemic racism. Barrett blinked and said, “Senator, the Supreme Court has repeatedly said that voting is a fundamental right, and I fear that you might be taking my statement in Kanter out of context.”

    As the hearing proceeded, there were other interesting exchanges between Barrett and the Democratic senators, but the one with Durbin was the most telling of all. Although the Illinois senator didn’t fully penetrate the judge’s armor, he did succeed in illuminating the deeply conservative legal philosophy that lies behind her aw-shucks demeanor. In the Kanter v. Barr case, she substituted a tendentious reading of the Constitution for a straightforward reliance on the need to keep guns out of the hands of criminals. And instead of simply applying the Heller precedent law, like the good textualist she claims to be, she came up with a new distinction between felons and violent felons. “It’s saying, when we say felony, we just mean ‘violent felony.’ Well the word violent isn’t in there, but you found, or at least found reference to it,” Durbin pointed out.

    That’s what activist judges do. Given Barrett’s background, and her fealty to the legacy of Scalia […] there is every reason to believe that she will turn out to be a conservative activist on the Court. Not that she will ever admit to this, of course. Deciding cases is sometimes hard and complicated, she said toward the end of her questioning by Durbin. “But to the extent, Senator Durbin, that you’re suggesting I have some sort of agenda on felon voting rights, or guns, or campaign finance, or anything else, I can assure you, and the whole committee, that I do not.”

    New Yorker link

  69. tomh says

    Lynna @ 91
    Yeah, she’s slippery, but everyone knows what she’s going to look like on the Court. Scalia enhanced, without the occasional bit of humor.

  70. says

    From Mark Sumner, “Trying to achieve ‘herd immunity’ has always been an immoral and impossible idea, and it still is.”

    Early on in the spread of COVID-19, as it became clear that this was not going to be just an epidemic in China but a true pandemic, a number of “mavericks” proposed a radical idea—doing nothing. Or, to be more accurate, doing less than nothing. Instead of attempting to protect the populace from COVID-19, these supposed experts ran with the idea of getting people infected even faster. This, they declared, would hustle the world toward that now tired term, “herd immunity,” and preserve the economy from all the perils involved in actually keeping people healthy.

    The U.K. considered making this official policy, and in the process of considering the idea slowed down both testing and restrictions in a way that provided the U.K. with one of the worst results in the world when it came to both case counts and deaths per population. Sweden actively embraced the idea and as a result had a rate of death five times that of Denmark and over 10 times that of Norway. Experts have called the idea of attempting to reach herd immunity both absolutely immoral and likely impossible. It is absolutely a path that places a very low value on human life, and actively promotes the idea that it’s better for old people to die than to have corporations inconvenienced.

    In the United States the idea of herd immunity keeps popping up, most recently because it’s being actively promoted by Donald Trump’s new coronavirus task force member, Scott Atlas. But the bigger news may be what the “rogue scientists” behind herd immunity make clear: It’s been Trump’s policy all along.

    Martin Kulldorff, Jay Bhattacharya, and Sunetra Gupta (no relation to Sanjay Gupta) have been the principle authors pushing the idea of herd immunity from the outset. Their plan isn’t subtle. In its latest form—known as the “Great Barrington Declaration”—it says those “who are at minimal risk of death” should not just ignore efforts to restrict the flow of the virus but “build up immunity to the virus through natural infections.” Supposedly this comes with increased protection for those at greater risk, though exactly how a massive increase in the number of active cases in the population allows any group to be protected is absolutely unclear.

    PZ posted about the “Great Barrington Declaration” today.

    As The Washington Post points out, the declaration is “not a scientific document.” It has absolutely no data. Not a single footnote. It presents exactly zero evidence to support the statements that it makes demanding that people surrender to illness and death for the betterment of … someone.

    […] the evidence shows that not only did Sweden’s version of the “throw grandma to the wolves” plan result in a massive spike of hospitalizations and deaths, it has not given the population anything like immunity. Since September, new cases in Sweden have increased more sharply than in neighboring nations. […]

    Both Swedish authorities and the Barrington trio have attempted to deflect attention from all those dead bodies, by claiming that the health effects of lockdowns are even worse than allowing COVID-19 to run its course. To do so, they’ve beat their chest about supposed increases in everything from heart attacks to anxiety disorders. And they’ve completely ignored the fact that COVID-19 has become the third leading cause of death, absolutely swamping any other threat.

    As World Health Organization Chief Tedros Ghebreyesus stated on Tuesday, “Herd immunity is achieved by protecting people from a virus, not by exposing them to it. Never in the history of public health has herd immunity been used as a strategy for responding to an outbreak, let alone a pandemic. … Letting Covid-19 circulate unchecked therefore means allowing unnecessary infections, suffering and death.”

    Herd immunity is nothing less than human sacrifice to the gods of Wall Street. Period. […]

    Any effort to execute the far from great Barrington declaration would generate unwarranted suffering for millions and unnecessary deaths for thousands, all in the name of preserving something so amorphous they couldn’t be bothered to produce any actual data. Unsurprisingly, not only is this being given fresh support in the White House by Atlas and Trump, it’s also getting a big boost in Florida by Gov. Ron DeSantis. Because, sure, if you’re going to move on a plan that says old people need to die to save money, Florida is the place for that plan.

    As National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins said, “What I worry about with this is it’s being presented as if it’s a major alternative view that’s held by large numbers of experts in the scientific community. That is not true. … This is a fringe component of epidemiology. This is not mainstream science. It’s dangerous.”

    Still, the most frightening point might be that made by a White House official talking to The Washington Post. “We’re not endorsing a plan. The plan is endorsing what the president’s policy has been for months.” It’s not that Trump is moving toward supporting the immoral, fringe, and deadly plan of herd immunity … it’s that he has been there all along. […]


  71. says

    Barrett offers few views during hearing but her ruling on a case involving the N-word is going viral

    […] Barrett has an impressive, seemingly relentless, ability to dodge perfectly reasonable questions. She could not bring herself to express support for the peaceful transition of power, say whether a president can unilaterally delay an election, and refused to explicitly state Donald Trump can’t pardon himself for his crimes. She managed to describe sexual orientation as a “sexual preference,” and apologized after much backlash.

    What has Barrett offered up an opinion on in the past? Well, as covered by the Associated Press, in 2019 as a judge in the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, she wrote a mind-boggling opinion on a workplace harassment lawsuit that came after an employee was terminated. Barrett wrote on behalf of three judges on the panel who all agreed on the ruling. In this case, Terry Smith, a Black Illinois transportation employee, claimed he was called a racial slur (the N-word) by his white supervisor, Lloyd Colbert. The judges upheld the original ruling, and, somehow, Barrett found a way to both close her eyes to the inherent hostility of racial slurs and effectively blame the worker for being fired. […]

    She wrote: “The n-word is an egregious racial epithet. That said, Smith can’t win simply by proving that the word was uttered. He must also demonstrate that Colbert’s use of this word altered the conditions of his employment and created a hostile or abusive working environment.”

    And she managed to essentially blame Smith for his being fired because of his “poor track record.” Barrett wrote: “To be sure, Smith testified that his time at the Department caused him psychological distress. But that was for reasons that predated his run-in with Colbert and had nothing to do with his race. His tenure at the Department was rocky from the outset because of his poor track record.”

    There are few words as singularly demonstrative of a hostile or abusive environment as the N-word. […] In this instance, the notion that a literal racial slur isn’t enough to prove how abusive a workspace might be opens up the bigger picture conversation about the ways people of color are systemically kept out of the workforce. After all, even while in the workforce, employees of color are subject to latent (or, in this case, apparently pretty explicit) racism. Because white people don’t want to […] recognize racism in its many forms, people of color face the brunt of not only racism but endless emotional labor to make their experiences digestible for people who simply do not want to accept it. Racism is a systemic, structural issue, from going to the bank to selling property, and the workplace is far from an exception.

    On Twitter, people shared a lot of important dialogues on the complexity of Barrett’s writing alongside her role as the mother of Black children. In short: White family members are not excused from racism—nor immune to racist beliefs or participating in structures that uphold racism—just because they have non-white family members.

    “As a disabled person myself and the sibling to a man with Down syndrome, I resent that Amy Coney Barrett’s children are being used to give her credibility on certain issues. You can be problematic (and worse) and have disabled or black family members. This tells us nothing.”

    “Amy Coney Barrett is the white woman who will take away reproductive freedom for millions of African American women who suffer the highest rate of maternal mortality in our racist healthcare system full of Amy Coney Barretts in white coats. Our country is hypocritical and broken.”

    “Barrett saying her 17 YEAR OLD Black daughter didn’t understand what it meant to be Black until George Floyd is very white-mother-with-Black-adopted-children.”

    “Amy Coney Barrett just had to go all ⚪ savior when talking about her Black children. She had to remind folks how destitute the Black kids were while speaking of her ⚪ children’s intellect & potential. Those kids deserved more than to be talked about like brutes. ”

    “Did anybody else notice that Amy Coney Barrett told us her white children have intellectual goals while her black children can… deadlift?”

    “Amy Coney Barrett on originalism: “That means that I interpret the Constitution as a law… I understand it to have the meaning that it had at the time people ratified it. That meaning doesn’t change over time and it’s not up to me to update it or infuse my policy views into it.””

    “At the time the Constitution was ratified, Black people were classed as 3/5 of a person.” [Joy Reid]

    “Every man praising Amy Coney Barrett’s motherhood supports a president who ripped children away from their mothers at the border.”

  72. says

    Internal email reveals DHS is really scared about employees leaking information

    A senior Department of Homeland Security (DHS) official emailed employees to tell them to turn in fellow coworkers they even just suspected of leaking agency information, an order which apparently was then promptly leaked to BuzzFeed News. “This isn’t the first warning not to leak to media—we’ve reported on a few of those before. Notable thing here is the request to report on colleagues ‘suspected’ of leaking information as well as any requests for info from colleagues that were suspect.”

    Of course, it’s par for the course that DHS leadership would be angrier about whistleblowers exposing the department’s hateful policies than the hateful policies themselves. After all, it was whistleblowers who last year also revealed to BuzzFeed News that career officials were being instructed to deport asylum-seekers back to Guatemala even though the administration knew they would likely be sent to their deaths.

    […] apparently now even just suspecting someone of leaking could get them in trouble. Aleaziz reported that the DHS official who emailed employees to spy on their coworkers warned that leaks risked violating both agency policy and law, but do we really think the same DHS led by an unlawfully appointed acting secretary who has repeatedly lied under oath to Congress and has signed policies later found unlawful by the courts is actually, really concerned about the law? […]

    Unlawfully appointed acting DHS Sec. Chad Wolf should have his eye on actual terror threats facing the nation, but—yet again—a whistleblower exposed that he ordered intelligence findings altered to support impeached president Donald Trump’s political agenda. Unlawful Chad then used his “State of the Homeland Address” at the agency’s headquarters last month […] to peddle anti-immigrant bullshit for his boss, complete with racist lies about “foreigners seeking to harm and kill Americans.”

    Unlawful Chad also decided to publicly attack immigrant communities as supposed criminals just weeks before right-wing domestic terrorists plotted to kidnap Gretchen Whitmer […] DHS leadership is also threatening its employees as […] Stephen Miller’s policy using the novel coronavirus pandemic as an excuse to quickly and unlawfully deport migrant children from the U.S.

    “Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Immigrants’ Rights Project described the order as ‘a complete bypass of the entire asylum system and (the) system protecting unaccompanied children,’” the Associated Press reported earlier this month. “’That is what the Trump administration has been trying to do for four years and they finally saw a window,’ he added.”

  73. says

    Yeah, That Pro-Trump Black Voter’s Twitter Account Is Probably Fake

    There’s a mad rush on social media to make people believe Donald Trump has Black friends. He doesn’t. Not only does Joe Biden lead Trump by at least 81 points among Black voters, but Black people are more likely to state that they are voting for Biden and not just against Trump, although we’re happy to do both. We’re good multitaskers.

    According to the Washington Post, Clemson University social media researcher Darren Linvill has tracked a “network of more than two dozen” phony Twitter accounts from supposed Black Trump supporters. […]

    Twitter suspended the account for @CopJrCliff, which passed itself off as a Black police officer and Trump fanboy who urged people to VOTE REPUBLICAN! (in all-caps, naturally). It was active for six days, tweeted just eight times, but managed to amass 24,000 followers. Mr. CopJrCliff’s most popular tweet was liked 75,000 times […]

    “Digital blackface” is a scurrilous practice online. The fake accounts can promote misleading narratives faster than Twitter can take them down.

    Many of the accounts used profile pictures of Black men taken from news reports or other sources. Several of the accounts claimed to be from members of groups with pro-Trump leanings, including veterans, police officers, steelworkers, businessmen and avid Christians. One of the fake accounts had, in the place of a profile photo, the words “black man photo” […]

    The @CopJrCliff account claimed it was a police officer from Pennsylvania, a regular steel-driving man, but the account’s profile photo was swiped from a recent article about a Black police officer in Portland, Oregon. The account often tweeted such authentic messages as “YES IM BLACK AND IM VOTING FOR TRUMP!!!”

    […] Conservatives are deeply invested in the 1950s-style myth that actual Black people don’t have a problem with law enforcement or racism in general. That’s all just hyped up by rabble-rousing white commies. […]

    Darren Linvill found evidence of foreign manipulation behind the accounts “with a few traces of the Russian Cyrillic alphabet appearing in online record.” […]

    Trump’s […] campaign manager, Bill Stepien, thinks the minority vote is still in play despite the air horns the administration uses instead of dog whistles. Trump’s support among seniors has eroded significantly since 2016, but Stepien told reporters Monday that the president could offset those losses with “gains in certain voting populations — Black, Hispanic and others, based on the president’s appeal, his policies and the outreach he’s been conducting for the last four years.”

    Trump’s appeal, policies, and outreach are all racist, so Stepien will excuse me if I laugh derisively at him.

  74. says

    Bits and pieces of news:

    Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Nebraska and Wisconsin have seen a greater than 25 percent increase in coronavirus cases in the last two weeks compared to the two weeks before. [From NBC News]

    Houthi rebels in Yemen freed two American hostages Wednesday in exchange for the release of nearly 300 of the group’s members, in a surprise U.S.-brokered deal, according to the Houthis and American officials. [Washington Post source]

    The mayor of Anchorage, Alaska, announced his plans to resign Tuesday after apologizing for an ‘inappropriate messaging relationship’ with a local TV news reporter who had posted what she said was a partially nude photo of him on Facebook. [NBC News]

    […] The resignation came after Berkowitz, a Democrat and former statehouse minority leader who was first elected mayor in 2015, released a statement Monday describing the relationship with the reporter, Maureen “Maria” Athens, as a “major lapse in judgement” that was consensual and occurred several years ago.

    “I’m embarrassed and ashamed for the hurt I’ve caused my family and our community,” he said, noting that he was taking responsibility for his actions and that it “takes time to rebuild trust.” […]

    Athens also left the mayor a voicemail before posting to Facebook in which she threatened to kill him and made anti-Semitic remarks. […]

    Sheesh! Weirdness and messiness.

  75. says

    First Lady Announces That Son Barron Had Tested Positive For COVID-19

    […] The first lady recounted how she “immediately” thought about their son upon her and the President testing positive for COVID-19, but that Barron initially tested negative.

    The first lady then recalled how her “fear came true” when Barron was tested again for COVID-19 and received a positive result. She said that her son “exhibited no symptoms” at the time.

    “In one way I was glad the three of us went through this at the same time so we could take care of one another and spend time together,” the first lady wrote. “He has since tested negative.”

    The first lady wrote that she was “very fortunate” that her diagnosis came with “minimal symptoms,” but that she had experienced “a roller coaster of symptoms in the days after” that “hit me all at once.”

    “I experienced body aches, a cough and headaches, and felt extremely tired most of the time,” the first lady wrote, before mentioning that she chose “a more natural route” for treatment such as “opting more for vitamins and healthy food.”

    […] “I also thought about the hundreds of thousands of people across our country who have been impacted by this illness that infects people with no discrimination.”

    The first lady concluded that she has now tested negative for COVID-19 and will resume her duties “as soon as I can.” […]

  76. tomh says

    More grist for the Supreme Court mill.

    Two-Day Waiting Period for Abortion Struck Down in Tennessee
    October 14, 2020 DANIEL JACKSON

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. (CN) — Calling it “gratuitously demeaning,” a federal judge ruled Wednesday a Tennessee law that required women to wait 48 hours before obtaining an abortion is unconstitutional and enjoined the state from enforcing it.

    Senior U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman – a Reagan appointee whose previous rulings include striking down the federal government’s ban on female genital mutilation and nixing a Michigan ban on same-sex marriage in 2014 – said in his 136-page ruling the state failed to prove that the law furthered its interests in protecting fetal life and helping women be sure they wanted to go through with the procedure.

    “Defendants’ suggestion that women are overly emotional and must be required to cool off or calm down before having a medical procedure they have decided they want to have, and that they are constitutionally entitled to have, is highly insulting and paternalistic…

    About half of U.S. states require women seeking abortions to undergo a wait time before the procedure…

    Tennessee Attorney General spokesperson Samantha Fisher said the office was disappointed in the decision and it is evaluating what it will do next, including an appeal…

  77. says

    Yesterday’s tweet o’ the day.

    From Caroline Winterer’s (2016) American Enlightenments:

    …People who thought themselves enlightened were acutely self-conscious of their era and their own self-imposed duty to promote the improvement of future ages. What good was the enlightenment of the eighteenth century, asked J. Hector St. Jean de Crèvocoeur in his salute to the American potato, if it did not help us see and adopt everything the genius of man had invented for the happiness of humanity?

    The happiness of humanity. Crèvocoeur’s words – and Thomas Jefferson’s far more famous ones in the Declaration of Independence, “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness” – remind us that the pursuit of happiness was one of the principal quests of enlightened people. But happiness meant something different in the eighteenth century from its meaning today…. For them, happiness first of all had expansive, public meanings. People at the time often spoke of a happy people and a happy society. A society was happy when its people enjoyed the security, stability, and peace that allowed them to prosper… Educated leaders would be the architects of the good government that led to a happy society. But since it was never known which data would become most relevant to what John Adams called “the science of social happiness,” many realms of knowledge – nature, religion, art, literature, and politics – awaited exploration. Once achieved, social happiness freed people to go about seeking private happiness…

    Could anything be more exhilarating than the new idea of enlightenment? People now felt free to build the world anew, as though endowed with the power of creation itself. Precisely for this reason, enlightenment was also frightening…. Wielding the gleaming razor of human reason, sharpened by empirical evidence, common sense, and withering sarcasm, they would slash away at traditions that rested on nothing but the dust of convention and privilege. Staking claim to the existing term enlightened and deploying it for new purposes, forward-looking people in the eighteenth century imagined that it was their particular duty to apply reason to the continual improvement of human society. This was a daunting task, placing a new responsibility for social transformation on the shoulders of human beings who, like Atlas, sometimes staggered under the weight of it all. Thus the people who called themselves enlightened were restless rather than calm, doubtful rather than self-assured. They squabbled endlessly about everything, especially about what enlightenment was and how to achieve it.

    This was not just a clash of titans, a war waged in canonical texts and solemn founding documents. Nor was it only the disputation of philosophers, floating elegantly in an ether of abstractions. To be sure, enlightenment did not involve, let alone acknowledge, everyone. [!] But what is astonishing is the sheer variety of people who began to insist that things might be seen or done differently: mapmakers, artists, farmers, physicians, ministers, astronomers, poets, diplomats, novelists, and many others joined in the large, baggy conversation of the enlightenment…. Americans from many quarters poured out their excitement, their awe, their wonder at the possibility that they might set the world on fire….

    Armed with the new idea of enlightenment – that purposeful human effort and reason could yield positive good in this world – Americans set about changing their world. The constant lexical companion of the new idea of enlightenment was…the urgent now that fills the era’s pamphlets and manifestos, spurring whole peoples to throw off the habits of mind that seemed to shackle them to a dark, oppressive past. (pp. 2-9)

    Barrett’s vision is about as foreign to this worldview as is conceivable.

  78. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Rachel has Kamala Harris on “live” (but not in studio). Links in the morning.

  79. says

    Lawrence O’Donnell is interviewing Nancy Pelosi. She’s explaining very clearly and at length the differences between the Democrats’ position and Mnuchin’s and what’s at stake. What a contrast with the Blitzer interview.

  80. lumipuna says

    Is the Twitter machine broken? It has recently failed to open individual pages with increasing frequency. Sometimes it helps to refresh, sometimes not.

  81. lotharloo says


    “Barrett saying her 17 YEAR OLD Black daughter didn’t understand what it meant to be Black until George Floyd is very white-mother-with-Black-adopted-children.”

    Exactly. The whole “Barrett has multi-racial” family is precisely identity politics. And it is worth nothing that right-wingers accuse left of playing identity politics but they play identity politics the most.

  82. says

    More re Lynna’s #86 above – Guardian – “Facebook and Twitter restrict controversial New York Post story on Joe Biden”:

    Facebook and Twitter took steps on Wednesday to limit the spread of a controversial New York Post article critical of Joe Biden, sparking outrage among conservatives and stoking debate over how social media platforms should tackle misinformation ahead of the US election.

    In an unprecedented step against a major news publication, Twitter blocked users from posting links to the Post story or photos from the unconfirmed report. Users attempting to share the story were shown a notice saying: “We can’t complete this request because this link has been identified by Twitter or our partners as being potentially harmful.” Users clicking or retweeting a link already posted to Twitter are shown a warning the “link may be unsafe”.

    Twitter said it was limiting the article’s spread due to questions about “the origins of the materials” included in the article, which contained material supposedly pulled from a computer that had been left by Hunter Biden at a Delaware computer repair shop in April 2019. Twitter policies prohibit “directly distribut[ing] content obtained through hacking that contains private information”.

    The company further explained the decision in a series of tweets on Wednesday, saying some of the images in the article contained personal and private information. Twitter’s policy against posting hacked material was established in 2018. Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter, said the company’s communication about the decision to limit the article’s spread was “not great”, saying the team should have shared more context publicly.

    Facebook, meanwhile, placed restrictions on linking to the article, saying there were questions about its validity. “This is part of our standard process to reduce the spread of misinformation,” said a Facebook spokesperson, Andy Stone.

    The move marks the first time Twitter has directly limited the spread of information from a news website, as it continues to implement stricter rules around misinformation ahead of the 2020 elections. On Wednesday evening Twitter also reportedly locked the personal account of the White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany for sharing the article.

    In recent weeks Twitter announced it would warn users who attempt to retweet a link without first clicking on it for more context. It has also started to take action against misinformation and calls to violence posted by Donald Trump and other public figures….

  83. says

    Here’s a link to the October 15 Guardian coronavirus world liveblog.

    From there:

    Europe has recorded its highest ever weekly number of new Covid-19 cases, the World Health Organization has said, warning that without effective countermeasures daily death rates could reach four or five times their April peak within months.

    Dr Hans Kluge, the WHO’s regional director for Europe, said on Thursday the virus was spreading rapidly across the continent, with exponential increases being reported in daily cases and matching percentage rises in daily death rates.

    “The evolving epidemiological situation in Europe raises great concern: daily cases are up, hospital admissions are up, and Covid is now the fifth leading cause of deaths” in the region, Kluge said, killing more than 1,000 people a day.

    He said confirmed cases in the organisation’s 53 European member states had moved from 6 million to more than 7 million in just 10 days, with records being set on 9 and 10 October, when daily totals exceeded 120,000 cases for the first time.

    However, there was cause for optimism, he said, because the situation was not the same as during the first wave of the pandemic.

    The World Health Organization’s European office said on Thursday that the soaring number of Covid-19 cases in Europe was of “great concern”, but that the situation was still better than the peaks in April.

    “Daily numbers of cases are up, hospital admissions are up,” the WHO’s regional director for Europe, Hans Kluge, told a press conference.

    “Covid is now the fifth leading cause of deaths and the bar of a 1,000 deaths per day has now been reached.”

    But he said that “we are not” in the situation experienced in March and April.

    “Although we record two to three times more cases per day compared to the April peak, we still observe five times less deaths, and the doubling time in hospital admissions is still two to three times longer,” Kluge said.

    He said part of the increase could be traced to a higher level of testing among younger people, and the lower mortality could be explained by the virus spreading in younger, less vulnerable groups.

  84. says

    Brian Stelter: “On Wednesday evening, I’m told, an NBC exec reached out to their ABC counterpart to see if ABC would be willing to shift the Biden town hall to 9pm. Nope. ABC was first, and made a commitment to the Biden campaign. Why change now to help bail out NBC?”

    Hayes did the handoff to Maddow last night and said he wouldn’t be on tonight but didn’t say why. Both in this transition and Maddow’s handoff to O’Donnell, they all made clear that they’re not pleased without coming out and saying it directly.

  85. says

    Variety – “Rachel Maddow Criticizes NBC for Trump Town Hall”:

    During Wednesday night’s episode of “The Rachel Maddow Show” on MSNBC, Maddow interviewed [D]emocratic vice presidential candidate Senator Kamala Harris – and criticized her parent company’s decision to hold a town hall for President Donald Trump on Thursday.

    After discussing Trump’s response to COVID-19, Maddow posed the following question to Harris: “Are you as mad as everybody else is that NBC is doing a town hall with President Trump tomorrow instead of the debate, at the same time that Vice President Biden’s going to be on ABC?”

    In response, Harris broke out into nervous laughter, saying, “I’m not touching that.”

    Maddow then reframed her question, asking Harris: “Should the networks refuse to give the president other opportunities for airtime if he’s the one who refuses the chance to debate?”

    Harris replied politely with, “I’m not going to tell the networks what to do, but I can tell you that I know who I’ll be watching, so there you go.”

    Though Harris avoided giving a straight answer, both questions made it clear that Maddow is none too pleased with NBC’s decision to air a town hall for Trump, which was announced on Tuesday. MSNBC declined to comment on the matter….

    Nerd linked to the video of the interview @ #117.

  86. says


    Scoop – ActBlue raised $1.5 BILLION for Dem candidates, left-leaning groups in Q3.

    In ALL of 2018, ActBlue processed nearly $1.6 billion.

    In las 3 months in 2020, ActBlue processed $1.5 billion.

    That’s 6.8M donors giving 31.4M contributions to 14,223 campaigns/groups. Averaging $47 per donation.

    $$ going way down ballot, too: State legislative candidates tripled their contributions. State parties saw 7xs more donors.

    Another telling stat: More than half of the unique donors (6.8M) who gave in the third quarter gave more than once.

    That’s why small-dollar donors can become some powerful. They’re a renewable resource.

  87. says

    Guardian world liveblog:

    Proponents of allowing the new coronavirus to circulate among populations in the hope of achieving herd immunity are promoting a “dangerous fallacy” devoid of scientific proof, dozens of health experts said Thursday.

    In an open letter published in The Lancet medical journal, more than 80 specialists from universities across the world said that the only effective way of limiting excess deaths during the pandemic was to control the disease’s spread.

    The letter comes after numerous US media this week reported that senior Trump administration officials had voiced support for an online declaration advocating herd immunity which gathered more than 9,000 signatories worldwide.

    As a second Covid-19 wave batters Europe, several countries have reintroduced controls on movement and implemented regionalised lockdowns.

    The authors of Thursday’s letter said that the social and economic impacts of confinement had led to “widespread demoralisation and diminishing trust” in government measures to get a handle on the virus.

    The second wave has also led to a renewed interest in so-called herd immunity, which suggests allowing a large uncontrolled outbreak among people considered to be at low risk of death or serious illness from the virus.

    The health experts listed numerous flaws in the concept.

    Firstly, “uncontrolled transmission in younger people risks significant morbidity and mortality across the whole population,” the letter said.

    This would have a catastrophic human and financial cost, besides overwhelming healthcare systems.

    The authors also noted that it is possible to become reinfected with Covid-19.

  88. says

    CNN – “Notre Dame calendars show more events not listed on Amy Coney Barrett’s Senate paperwork”:

    Public calendars from the University of Notre Dame’s law school show at least seven additional talks not listed on Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s Senate paperwork, including one with the law school’s anti-abortion group, according to a CNN KFile review.

    Barrett, whose Supreme Court confirmation hearing to succeed the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is underway, is listed as participating in the newly discovered talks from 2004 to 2013.

    The calendars list her as participating in a panel on religion in the public square, a speech to a student religious society, a talk with the law school’s anti-abortion group, a roundtable on the Constitution, a faculty colloquium, a student scholarship symposium and an event sponsored by Notre Dame’s Women’s Legal Forum.

    All of Barrett’s events were listed on public calendars from Notre Dame, which CNN’s KFile accessed on the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine and on Notre Dame’s website. Barrett is required to disclose to the Senate Judiciary Committee all public talks she has given in her professional career, according to a committee staffer. Similar types of events were disclosed on the paperwork she submitted….

    I love how she’s out there signing onto letters about public issues put forward by her church and speaking about religion in the public sphere but no one’s supposed to ask her about her religious beliefs.

  89. says

    Two campaign staffers for Kamala Harris have tested positive. One is her communications director.

    In other news, YouTube is banning QAnon and other conspiracy-theory content that targets individuals.

  90. says

    From George Takei:

    Don’t watch the Trump Town Hall tomorrow on NBC. Catch the highlights later. Don’t give Trump a ratings win. Pass it on.

  91. says

    Poppy Harlow was still at it this morning, bothsidesing the stimulus issues. They all have this idiotic line about how “the people” don’t care about the points of negotiation and are just worried about paying their rent and so forth. Like the points of negotiation aren’t about the substance of the legislation. I mean, obviously people care about what’s in the actual fucking bill. It’s such a stupid, insulting bit of rhetoric.

    Here’s Lawrence O’Donnell’s interview with Nancy Pelosi last night.

  92. tomh says

    NYT Opinion:
    Republican Judges Are Quietly Upending Public Health Laws
    A catastrophic sequence of decisions has blocked states from responding to the pandemic.
    By John Fabian Witt
    Mr. Witt is a law professor at Yale and the author of the forthcoming “American Contagions: Epidemics and the Law From Smallpox to Covid-19.”
    Oct. 15, 2020

    Alongside growing controversy over judicial nominations, court reform and Covid-19 policies, American law is in the midst of a little-noticed paradigm shift in courts’ treatment of public health measures.

    The Republican Party’s campaign to take over the federal and state courts is quietly upending a long and deeply embedded tradition of upholding vital public health regulations. The result has been a radically novel and potentially catastrophic sequence of decisions blocking state responses to the coronavirus pandemic.

    For centuries, American constitutional law granted state governments broad public health powers. “Salus populi suprema lex,” the old saying went: The health of the people is the supreme law. Such authority went back to the beginning of the Republic…Chief Justice John Marshall defended the “acknowledged power of a State to provide for the health of its citizens.” States, he explained, were empowered to enact “inspection laws, quarantine laws” and “health laws of every description.”

    [Examples of legislative power to control epidemics, mandatory quarantines, mandatory vaccination, etc., follow]

    The basic outlines of this approach remained in place for more than two centuries. Today, however, the tradition of salus populi is in collapse. In state and federal courts alike, Republican-appointed and Republican-elected judges are upsetting the long-established consensus.

    This month, a bare majority of four Republican-appointed justices on the Michigan Supreme Court struck down the state’s 75-year-old emergency powers law as an “unlawful delegation of legislative power to the executive.” …

    …four justices connected to the Republican Party on the Wisconsin Supreme Court overturned their state’s common-sense emergency Covid-19 rules over the dissents of three colleagues…

    The Supreme Court threatens to get into the action, too. In May, four conservative justices…dissented from an order in South Bay United Pentecostal Church v. Newsom allowing California’s Covid-19-related restrictions to remain in place… Then, in Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley v. Sisolak, decided at the end of July, those same justices dissented from a similar order leaving Nevada’s restrictions intact.

    Next month, the court is scheduled to hear arguments on a startling and widely criticized decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in Texas last year that offers yet another opportunity to strike down the Affordable Care Act. The health care of millions could be cast into question even as the pandemic rages.

    All of this is a sharp departure from a long history of judicial solicitude toward state powers during epidemics…

    The results are already devastating.

  93. says

    Bits and pieces of campaign news.

    The Biden/Harris campaign raised $383 million in September, up from a similarly stunning $364 million in August. Both were single-month records for U.S. presidential campaigns.

    In news out of Georgia, Gov. Brian Kemp (R) appointed Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R) to help expand the party’s appeal, Loeffler this morning accepted an endorsement from Marjorie Taylor Greene, a right-wing congressional candidate best known for spreading QAnon conspiracy theories.

    Lindsey Graham appeared on camera from a Senate office building yesterday and encouraged viewers to send him campaign contributions. The South Carolinian soon after appeared on Fox News and did the same thing, once again hoping to use the network as a conduit for political donations. Lindsey is crying and begging for donations everywhere. Glad he is broke. His campaign for reelection deserves to die.

  94. says

    Republicans in the Senate are blocking Trump’s economic goals today in order to stand in the way of Biden’s economic goals tomorrow.

    Shortly after midnight, Donald Trump published his latest missive on a possible economic aid package, insisting that Republicans are “ready to go,” but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) “couldn’t care less” about helping the economy. As presidential lies go, it was a doozy.

    In reality, Pelosi and House Democrats have already passed two ambitious aid packages […] Senate Republicans, meanwhile, have made it abundantly clear to the White House that they’re staunchly opposed to any robust effort to help the economy.

    And that, in turn, has led to a question that’s lacked an obvious answer: Why, exactly, are GOP lawmakers so opposed to giving the economy a boost ahead of Election Day?

    The official answer from Senate Republicans is that they’re now concerned about the deficit. This is literally unbelievable, not only because they voted for other economic aid packages this year without regard for budget shortfalls, but also because GOP lawmakers have ignored deficit considerations throughout Trump’s term.

    […] Bloomberg News had an interesting report on this yesterday:

    A GOP strategist who has been consulting with Senate campaigns said Republicans have been carefully laying the groundwork to restrain a Biden administration on federal spending and the budget deficit by talking up concerns about the price tag for another round of virus relief. […]

    The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent added, “It’s also likely that a big package now would put the economy in a somewhat better position early next year, when Biden (should he win) would take over. This, too, is probably what Republicans want to avoid.”

    From a policy perspective, this is indefensible, but from a political perspective, at least it’s coherent. […]

    In other words, Republicans are blocking Trump’s economic goals today in order to stand in the way of Biden’s economic goals tomorrow. If/when a Democratic White House looks to Capitol Hill to create a strong and lasting economic recovery, McConnell is laying the groundwork now to say no.

    […] let’s also not forget that a reckoning on the filibuster may also be drawing near. It’s quite possible that we’ll see Democrats in control early next year, taking the reins against a backdrop of a struggling economy and a public desperate for action. Republicans are apparently already preparing to block any meaningful proposals — from the minority — effectively trying to cut off a Biden presidency at the knees in its early months. […]


  95. says

    More re Lynna’s #76 above – some conspiracy nut on Twitter (with 232,000 followers!) tweeted:

    terabytes of information
    implicates Obama/Biden administration in the killing of #SEALTeam6 while protecting Osama Bin Laden and lying to the public about his death.
    TEAM 6 DNA test Failed so they threw the body from the helicopter
    Burial at sea was a lie

    Robert O’Neill, the SEAL who shot bin Laden (and is now a Trumper), replied:

    Every SEAL from the UBL Mission is alive while you are reading this.

    From the responses:

    I’ll stand by for more details. I trust you would do the same in my position.

    Something stinks, and I hope you smell it to.

    Hilariously batshit.

  96. says

    On jobs, Trump’s record is not what he thinks he it is

    Donald Trump spoke with the Washington Post’s Marc Thiessen this week and tried to focus on the economy. “We’re going to set new records, we’re setting new jobs records,” the president said. “11.4 million in the last four and a half months.”

    The statistic is true, though it needs context: the 11.4 million jobs created since May would be better news if the United States hadn’t lost 22 million jobs in March and April. Making matters slightly worse, the recovery has slowed of late, and the jobs report for September — the last before Election Day — was disappointing by every metric.

    But there was something else Trump told Thiessen that was even more problematic.

    “We’re going [to] make the economy stronger than ever before. The best year we’ve ever had was last year. The best year we will ever have is going to be next year and that’s going to bring people together.”

    On the surface, this is predictable cheerleading for someone seeking re-election: vote for me and everything will get even better.

    But for the president to believe 2019 was “the best year we’ve ever had” is bizarre. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2.13 million jobs were created in the United States last year, which isn’t a bad total.

    But it’s not an amazing total, either. That tally was a drop from the jobs created in 2018 and it was lower than any year from Barack Obama’s second term. In fact, job growth in 2019 was the third worst of the last decade.

    […] the truth remains that fewer jobs were created during Trump’s first three years than during Obama’s last three years, and the incumbent president has never even tried to explain why job growth slowed after he took office — even before the coronavirus pandemic. What’s more, no individual year from Trump’s tenure has produced job growth that matches the best years from Obama’s second term.

    Complicating matters further, Joe Biden noted this week that Trump is on track to be the first president since Hoover to leave office with fewer jobs than when he came into office — a claim that has the benefit of being true.

    RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel recently argued via Twitter, “There’s no denying it: [Donald Trump] is the JOBS President!” As it turns out, it’s quite easy to deny it, because the claim is demonstrably untrue.

  97. says

    WTF? Why is Trump still attacking Governor Gretchen Whitmer?

    Trump kept up his attacks against Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) on Thursday morning by nonsensically accusing her of wanting to be a “dictator” a week after the FBI thwarted an alleged militia plot to kidnap her.

    Appearing on Fox Business Network on Thursday morning, Trump […] rehashed his call to “open up the states” as the country tops over 250,000 COVID-19 fatalities.

    […] “Michigan, she has to open up. She wants to be a dictator in Michigan,” Trump said. “The people can’t stand her. And they want to get back and want to get back to work and so Michigan we won.”

    Trump said that states such as Pennsylvania and North Carolina have to “open up,” and boasted that they will the day after the November election.

    “They got to open them up. They will open them up on November 4th. They’re only doing it for politics,” Trump said, before predicting a “great third quarter” despite coronavirus-related restrictions.

    […] [Trump’s] attack toward Whitmer last week came on the heels of the Michigan governor tying his rhetoric to the alleged 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 first remarks about the alleged kidnapping plot.

    […] Whitmer went after Trump for refusing to condemn white supremacists during the first presidential debate last month.

    “When our leaders speak, their words matter, they carry weight,” Whitmer said last week. “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.”


  98. says

    Follow-up to comment 139.

    From comment posted by readers of the TPM article:

    Trump always telegraphs his insecurities and ambitions. QED: Trump wants to be what he accuses others of doing. [Trump wants to be a dictator.]
    All their accusations are confessions.
    When all is said and done, I think Trump will beat Whitmer on November 3 for the race to see who is the most popular with Michigan militia groups.
    Has Trump even once denounced the yahoos who were plotting against Whitmer? Because it’s starting to sound a lot like he is totally cool with armed insurrection against state governments run by people he doesn’t agree with…
    “Michigan, she has to open up. She wants to be a dictator in Michigan,” Trump said. “The people can’t stand her. And they want to get back and want to get back to work and so Michigan we won.”
    Anybody here that learned how to diagram sentences in grade school want to give this a shot?
    Fucker is trying to get her killed.
    Trump is guilty of inciting further political disruption and violence.
    Has he mentioned the Republican governor of MA who yesterday said he would not vote for DJT?
    Of course not. Trump is demonstrating both his misogyny and his bullying temperament all in one fell swoop.
    Fire Chuck Todd was trending on twitter. It is thought that he arranged this [town hall event to be aired tonight on NBC] and caved to the Trump campaign wrt the broadcast time. It is all about the ratings and nothing about the actual election. He will swamp Savannah Guthrie.

  99. says

    Lindsey Graham: “Y’all have a good chance of winning the White House.”

    Amy Klobuchar: “Thank you for acknowledging that.”

    Graham: “Yeah. I think it’s true.”

  100. says

    Follow-up to comment 142.

    […] “I think we could lose the White House and both houses of Congress, that it could be a bloodbath of Watergate proportions,” Sen. Ted Cruz, (R-TX) said Friday.

    Veteran GOP pollster Whit Ayres told the Associated Press in an interview earlier this week that he was “struggling” to see bright spots for GOP wins broadly.

    […] Trump has appeared to acknowledge the possibility, even drawing a similar conclusion about his potential defeat months ago in an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity when he complained of an impending victory for his Democratic opponent Joe Biden.

    “The man can’t speak,” Trump told Hannity in a June 25 interview, “And he’s going to be your president because some people don’t love me, maybe.”

  101. says

    Follow-up to comments 142 and 143.

    Rupert Murdoch Privately Predicts A Landslide Biden Win

    Media magnate Rupert Murdoch has predicted privately that Democratic nominee Joe Biden will defeat […] Trump in the presidential election in a landslide victory, the Daily Beast reported Thursday.

    The Australian-born billionaire who has been an influential supporter of [Trump] in the past has remarked to close associates that Trump is his own worst enemy, according to the Daily Beast. Murdoch suggested to at least three Daily Beast sources that Trump has handled the COVID-19 pandemic poorly and ignored advice on how to better manage it, which has created a never-ending crisis for his administration. […]

  102. says

    Giuliani Uploads Video Showing Him Doing Racist Chinese Impression

    All the best people.

    Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, uploaded a video that included footage of him doing a racist imitation of a Chinese person on Wednesday.

    The video, which had been posted on Giuliani’s YouTube channel before it was deleted, was extended footage of Giuliani’s interview with former White House press secretary Sean Spicer earlier this week.

    In it, Giuliani tells his assistant, Jayne Zirkle, that she’s “going to be the most famous model in China,” then speaks with a mock Chinese accent.

    “Ah, get me Jayne Zirkle. Jayne Zirkle,” he says.

    The bit goes on for a while, with Giuliani using the accent again after asking “What would you like for dinner?”

    “Jayne Zirkle. Jayne Zirkle. Jayne Zirkle. Jayne Zirkle,” the attorney repeats over and over while bowing back and forth.

    The Daily Beast first reported the video, which has since been removed.

    Comments from readers:

    Rudy Giuliani’s continual devolution and debasement into this helpless drooling court jester
    I think Giuliani has as much dementia as Trump. That bit made no sense at all. They’re both decompensating at a rapid pace.

    Daily Beast link to article, with the video embedded. In the video, Giuliani also takes a long pause as he tries to remember the word “Christmas.”

  103. says

    Anand Giridharadas in his newsletter – “Why Don quit Donald”:

    In three weeks, the country could get rid of Donald Trump. According to a recent New York Times/Siena College poll, 86 percent of people in battleground states who voted for him in 2016 plan to do so again. But there is a small sliver — 6 percent, to be exact — who’ve had a change of heart.

    Some saw the light about Trump’s faux business savviness. Some scorned Trump’s response to the Black Lives Matter protests this past summer. Some disapprove of his handling of the coronavirus pandemic that has put more than 214,000 in the grave.

    This week I tell the story of one such American voter. He happens to be named Don….

  104. says

    Coronavirus pandemic—and Republican refusal to extend aid—leads to soaring poverty

    Six to eight million people have fallen into poverty since the coronavirus stimulus ended, depending on how you measure it. Either way, it’s a damn lot of people who are suddenly poor because a pandemic has slammed through the nation’s economy and Senate Republicans don’t want to fix it. The Cares Act lifted four million people out of poverty, but once it expired—once the one-time payments had been used up and the expanded unemployment insurance evaporated—the result has been a disaster.

    The Cares Act “wasn’t perfect, but hands down it’s the most successful thing we’ve ever done in negating hardship,” University of Michigan poverty researcher H. Luke Shaefer told The New York Times. Republicans take a different view.

    “I’m not as alarmed about poverty as I am about unemployment,” the head of one conservative policy organization said. “Poverty is an arbitrary income threshold, and people who dip below it, they make adjustments. If you’re not working at all, that’s a huge deal. Physical and mental health declines, substance abuse goes up.”

    An arbitrary income threshold.

    Poverty is an income threshold, to be sure, and it could use some updating, but the point at which a family cannot pay the bills and keep the electricity on is not an arbitrary measure. The point at which a parent is skipping meals to feed his or her child is not an arbitrary measure. And poverty has very clear physical and mental health effects, including on children—children being a group that hopefully even Republicans can agree shouldn’t be employed.

    “Socioeconomic status is the most powerful predictor of disease, disorder, injury and mortality we have,” according to the head of the University of California San Francisco’s Division of Developmental Medicine within the Department of Pediatrics. “Poverty gets under our skin and leads to biological changes that can last into adulthood, even when circumstances change, and, in some cases, affect the next generation through maternal health,” Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, head of UCSF’s Center for Vulnerable Populations, said.

    Poverty is linked to a host of negative health outcomes, from low birth weight to lowered life expectancy, worse educational outcomes, higher blood pressure and risk of cardiac disease or diabetes. Six to eight million people added to the United States’ already high rate of poverty is a disaster. It’s a healthcare disaster, an educational disaster, and—because Republicans supposedly care about this—a fiscal disaster, leading to increased costs going forward because of the damage it causes. Most of all, though, it’s a moral disaster.

    […] People can just make adjustments. Yeah, adjustments to how many meals they eat each day and whether they have hot water to shower and clean with. After a while, adjustments to whether there’s any roof at all over their heads.

    […] Child poverty is also skyrocketing, in part because parents whose kids are home all the time are less likely to be able to go out and get the few jobs that are available in the pandemic.

    This is one more way the coronavirus pandemic—and Donald Trump’s failed response to it, and Senate Republicans’ refusal to extend economic aid—is going to scar a generation.

  105. says

    Today is the last day to complete the 2020 census. Make sure you’re counted

    Have you completed the census yet? Because today, Thursday, Oct. 15, is the final day you will be able to respond, following an unsigned order from the Supreme Court this week allowing the U.S. Census Bureau to end data collection early under a completely self-imposed deadline.

    But despite the Trump administration’s sabotaging, we need to make sure we’re counted. Right now.

    Completing the census takes just a couple minutes out of your day, and can be done online or over the phone, with representatives available in multiple languages. If you’ve already completed the census, guess what, you rock. Go another step and send this link to friends and family, and make sure they’re counted as well: […]

    See also:

  106. says

    Fauci blasts herd immunity proposal embraced by White House as ‘total nonsense’

    Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, on Thursday called a herd immunity proposal being embraced by the White House “total nonsense.”

    The so-called Great Barrington Declaration authored by a small group of doctors calls for quickly reaching herd immunity by letting COVID-19 spread uncontrolled among the young and healthy population while protecting the vulnerable.

    Herd immunity, typically achieved with a vaccine, is the point at which a disease, like measles, stops spreading widely throughout a population because enough people have already had it and are immune to it. It’s not clear if prior COVID-19 infection confers long-term immunity to the disease.

    “If you just let things rip and let the infection go … that quite frankly, George is ridiculous,” Fauci said Thursday, addressing ABC’s George Stephanopoulos in an interview.

    Fauci, who appeared impassioned while railing against the proposal, noted that 30 percent of the population has underlying health conditions that makes them vulnerable. Additionally, older adults, even those who are otherwise healthy, are far more likely than young adults to become seriously ill if they get COVID-19.

    “What that will do is that there will be so many people in the community that you can’t shelter, that you can’t protect, who are gonna get sick and get serious consequences,” Fauci said.

    “So this idea that we have the power to protect the vulnerable is total nonsense because history has shown that that’s not the case. And, and if you talk to anybody who has any experience in epidemiology and infectious diseases, they will tell you that that is risky, and you’ll wind up with many more infections of vulnerable people, which will lead to hospitalizations and deaths. So I think that we just got to look that square in the eye and say it’s nonsense.”

    […] Experts argue the best way to protect the vulnerable is by trying to slow the spread of COVID-19. The higher cases of COVID are in a community, the more at risk the vulnerable are to getting sick, experts say.

    “This [declaration] is dangerous because it puts the entire population, particularly the most vulnerable, at risk. Young people are not all healthy and they don’t live in vacuums,” dozens of scientists, doctors and researchers wrote in a letter published this week in The Lancet medical journal.

    “They interact with family members, co-workers and neighbors. Inviting increased rates of COVID-19 in young people will lead to increased infections rates among all Americans.”

  107. says

    Excerpt from a longer article:

    This is a busted operation from a man whose whole Ukrainian adventure has been marked by:

    Being caught out pushing stories based on manufactured lies

    Working with partners who were charged with election fraud and conspiracy

    Engaging directly with a known Russian agent in an attempt to smear Biden

    What Rudy Giuliani and Rupert Murdoch have on their wrinkly fingers is a big ball of dirty tricks shading toward outright espionage, supported by Vladimir Putin.

    Sorry, comrades, you’ve been caught.


  108. says

    From Wonkette: “Quaint Sexting Scandal Turns To Flaming Wreckage As QAnon News Anchor Self-Destructs”

    Ethan Berkowitz, the Anchorage mayor who is the highest ranking Democratic official in the state of Alaska, stepped down this week after it was revealed that “several years ago” he had an “inappropriate texting relationship” with local reporter Maria Athens.

    In simpler times, this would all be a fairly standard political scandal. A rather quaint one, really, given that as far as we know, nothing actually happened in person. We might even ask ourselves questions like “Why is this even a thing? Should he really resign over something like that? Are we really still pretending we care if politicians cheat on their spouses? And, really, do the Republicans have room to criticize an Alaska mayor for not stepping down over that kind of thing when they elected Donald Trump? Don’t they kind of have to shut their mouths about that kind of thing forever?” […]

    As it turns out, the only reason we even know about any of this is because Maria Athens, the news anchor in question, is a QAnon/Save The Children believer who now thinks everyone is a pedophile and did not just accuse Berkowitz of having an affair with her, but also of being a pedophile, based on a story from another QAnon weirdo who was wrong about a thing, and her accusations against Berkowitz involved a ranting voicemail that got super anti-Semitic and involved death threats.

    […] Several years ago, Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz began a textual relationship with reporter Maria Athens. As far as we know, it never went further than that. At some point, he sent her a picture of his butt or some other unclothed part of his body.

    Fast forward to last Friday, when Athens was interviewing the owner of a cookie shop, who is apparently the sister of a guy named Andy Kriner who owns a diner in Anchorage that’s gotten into a bunch of drama with the city due to their insistence on staying open during the pandemic. The subject somehow turned to Mayor Berkowitz and what the cookie shop owner thought of him. She said she wasn’t sure and then asked if he was short.

    Athens says yes and then Cookie Shop Owner says that her daughter used to be a non-sexual escort in Anchorage and they have a whole conversation that results in Athens calling up Mayor Berkowitz and leaving this message on his voicemail.

    Ethan, it’s Maria Athens from Fox/ABC/CW/News Net National Alaska. Uh, I just learned through my g- my, eh, ah … Emmy-award winning journalism, you’re also a pedophile and like little girls and children, and there’s a website. I’m so fucking exposing you. I’m gonna get an Emmy. So you either turn yourself in, kill yourself, or do what you need to do. I will personally kill you and Mara Kimmel my god damn self, you Jewish piece of living fucking shit. You have met your match, motherfucker. You have met your motherfucking match. I can’t believe- I am such a good person, and thought I loved you. I fucking hate- I don’t even hate you. I will pray for your Zionist fucking ass, you piece of shit loser. And, I’m putting this on the news tonight. Bye! Have a great Friday, you motherfucker!

    After that, she went to the station to record a video teaser alleging that “Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz has his male genitalia posted on an underage girls’ website.” [Video at the link]

    Athens then physically assaulted station general manager Scott Centers, who was also reportedly her boyfriend, and was arrested.

    So what exactly was the conversation that prompted this? Well, when Cookie Shop Owner heard that he was short, she decided that he must be the same man who “worked for the state of Alaska” who her daughter, the non-sexual escort, said was her favorite client. The daughter found out about it and implored her mother to tell Athens that Berkowitz was never her client, according to a text message she (the daughter) posted to Twitter.

    Her daughter has since explained what she believes occurred during the conversation (the rest of her Twitter is very NSFW, just FYI):

    So for a bit of back story, I was an escort in Alaska in 2018. I would get paid to go on dates with men or to keep them company (I never did anything sexual or was paid for sexual favors)

    She was obviously still very upset at the idea of her 18 year old daughter escorting. She started asking me questions about who I would work with, and all I told her was that my favorite person I worked with was a man that worked for the state of Alaska.

    All I told her about this man was that he worked for the state of Alaska, and that he was short. That’s IT, okay? I didn’t say any names, nothing.

    Fast forward to 2020, my mother owns a cookie business that’s doing somewhat successful, and a local news station asked my mom if she would like to do a story about it. My mom said yes and went to the interview. The interviewer was Maria Athens, who (according to my mother) asked her about what my mom thought about the local anchorage Mayor, Ethan Berkowitz.

    My mom asked if he was short. After learning he was short, my mom decided that Ethan Berkowitz was the one I was an escort for.

    She went off on a whole story about how I was an escort for Mr. Berkowitz, that he hired me for sexual favors, sent me pictures, etc. because she was receiving attention for what she was saying, and she wanted her five seconds of fame.

    I was NOT an escort for Ethan Berkowitz, I don’t know that man and I have NEVER met him. He has never sent me naked pictures or posted any on any of my websites, I have no idea who that man is. Maria Athens is running a fake story in attempts to ruin this mans life.

    So there’s that! It also turns out that Maria Athens had been frequently posting on the Save Anchorage! Facebook group that is reportedly focused on QAnon and accusing random people of being pedophiles.

    I’m not really sure what the moral of this story is here, but I don’t think it would have happened were it not for all of the QAnon/Save The Children hysteria. Ethan Berkowitz wasn’t the only person whose life was ruined this week. Maria Athens also ruined her own life, a life she worked pretty hard for. She went to Seton Hall, she worked in journalism all her life, and now it’s pretty unlikely she will ever have a journalism career again. She ruined her relationship with her current boyfriend. Her life is now definitely more ruined than Berkowitz’s is — he can come back from a sexting scandal that no one really cares all that much about anyway, but she can’t really come back from losing her shit this publicly.

    This is what these conspiracies are doing to people. We can say that oh, maybe she has psychological problems that have nothing to do with QAnon and Save The Children — and that may well be true. But lots of people have psychological issues. This crap, however, has a way of tapping into something in people that makes them go off the deep end in a way they probably wouldn’t have done otherwise.


    Lesson: stay away from QAnon.

  109. says

    Re: 139, 141
    I also see accusations of dictatorial behavior here, as a means of specifically shifting attention to dictatorial behavior on someone else.
    Maybe Trump wants to act like a dictator, maybe he’s shifting attention from places he is acting like a dictator. More DARVO.

  110. says

    The Most Shameless Promoters Of The Bogus ‘Biden Emails’ Disinfo Campaign

    Since the New York Post dropped a whopper of an attempted hit job on Joe Biden, mainstream conservatives have circled together to create an echo chamber to promote the article.

    […] Nothing in the story – from premise to conclusion – adds up, and it fails on its own terms. Even the person that Biden was alleged to have met with publicly said last year that he met with Kurt Volker, President Trump’s top envoy for the Ukraine crisis.

    Separately, the New York Times reported on Wednesday that American spooks have been contacting people with knowledge of a hack attack on Burisma last year after “picking up chatter that stolen Burisma emails would be leaked in the form of an ‘October surprise.’”

    […] a list of the most shameless promoters of the New York Post’s bizarre Ukraine disinformation dump.

    President Trump
    The biggest offender here is the big boy himself: President Trump.

    As if on cue, […] Trump called the story a “smoking gun,” though it’s not clear of what wrongdoing, and also promoted a Fox News segment that regurgitated the story’s allegations.[…]

    Trump also tweeted:

    So terrible that Facebook and Twitter took down the story of “Smoking Gun” emails related to Sleepy Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, in the @NYPost. It is only the beginning for them. There is nothing worse than a corrupt politician. REPEAL SECTION 230!!!

    And, Trump promoted the false story when he ranted at his recent rallies:

    […] He also made the story a centerpiece of his Iowa campaign rally Wednesday night.

    Trump used the article as the basis for a charge that Biden is “a corrupt politician who shouldn’t even be allowed to run for the presidency.”

    The cronies

    Other big promoters are the chief instigators of the story: Rudy Giuliani and Steve Bannon.

    Remember, it was Bannon who tipped the Post off to the existence of the supposed hard drive, and Giuliani who gave the paper a copy.

    The indicted Bannon has used his daily show – War Room: Pandemic – to relentlessly promote the story. The former Trump campaign chairman, who once derided Don Trump Jr. as “someone who believes everything he reads on Breitbart,” asked viewers with a slight grin whether they believed that the New York Post wouldn’t have gone through the story “with a fine-toothed comb before publishing.” […]

    Giuliani, predictably, has hyped the story and played into the drip-drip notion of the reporting, saying that there’s “much more to come” with the election three weeks away.

    The Congressional GOP
    Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), a chief promoter of disinformation that helps [Trump], told Fox News on Wednesday that his committee considered the source of the story a “whistleblower,” and said that his staff was “in the process of validating the information he provided.”

    Separately, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has boosted the story online, including one comment saying that it reveals “graft in the Biden dynasty.”

    But he has taken it a step further with complaints that Twitter blocked access to the link, vowing to keep the story alive by issuing a subpoena to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey for testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee next Friday. […]

    Over in the House, the situation is much the same.

    Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) of House Intelligence Committee fame retweeted the story, while Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) expressed outrage over Facebook limiting access to the story. In a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Jordan described the article as “explosive” and relevant to “the upcoming presidential election,” demanding answers from Zuckerberg over the decision to throttle access. […]

    White House press shop
    White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany also latched onto the article, posting screenshots of the supposed emails on Twitter, in a tweet that has since been deleted.

    McEnany has also used the social media platforms’ decision to limit access to the story as a way of keeping it alive, suggesting that it makes Silicon Valley look like Pyongyang. […]

    Separately, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said on Wednesday that “there is plenty of evidence to suggest Joe Biden knew good and well what Hunter Biden was doing—using his connections to enrich himself and the Biden family” – a comment retweeted by White House communications director Alyssa Farah.

    The Trump campaign
    The Trump campaign immediately pushed out a video encapsulating the story’s conclusions, asking the bogus (and un-premised) question of “Why did you let Hunter do it?” […]

    Movement conservatives
    But the cherry on the cake here are the D.C. professional conservatives who keep the whole show running: justifying the current administration while wielding it as a tool to achieve their judicial goals.

    Take Hugh Hewitt, who anticipated the story’s path by initially promoting it as a question about how people reacted. […]

    Similarly, National Review editor Rich Lowry appears to have commissioned a write-up of the story’s conclusions in part as a way around the platforms’ decision to throttle access. […]

  111. says

    Hollywood Bigwigs Rip NBC For Rewarding Trump With Town Hall

    More than 100 top directors, producers and Hollywood stars have issued a letter to Comcast and NBCUniversal executives protesting the timing of Thursday’s scheduled event with […] Trump, which is set to air during rival network ABC’s town hall with Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

    “By agreeing to air his town hall as counterprogramming opposite Vice President Biden’s town hall on ABC, you are enabling the president’s bad behavior while undercutting the Presidential Debate Commission and doing a disservice to the American public,” the letter, first reported by The Hollywood Reporter, states.

    The letter, which was sent to Comcast CEO Brian Roberts, NBCUniversal chairman Jeff Shell and NBCUniversal News Group chairman Cesar Conde condemns the timing of an hourlong Trump event on NBC’s network scheduled to air in direct conflict with the first hour of Biden’s 90-minute town hall on ABC.

    The missive comes after Trump refused to participate in the virtual debate scheduled for Thursday night by the debate commission amid concerns about health risks after Trump was diagnosed with coronavirus days after leaving the first presidential debate stage in Cleveland, Ohio.

    “This is not a partisan issue. This is about the political health of our democracy,” the letter states.

    Prominent actors, directors and producers — including many involved with NBC’s programming — have signed the letter. Sterling K. Brown of “This is Us” as well as Ava DuVernay and Aaron Sorkin are among its signatories.

    […] The network provided a statement from clinical director of the National Institute of Health, Dr. H. Clifford Lane, declaring that he had reviewed the President’s medical record and concluded “with a high degree of confidence” that the president was no longer contagious based on information provided by White House physician Dr. Sean Conley.

    Katie Couric, a former “Today” show host, said on Twitter that NBC’s decision was “bad for democracy.”

    Another former NBC News executive, Vivian Schiller, called the move “shameful” in a tweet Wednesday, saying, “the point of a news organization is to serve the public. This is the opposite. @NBCNews could literally run this any other day, or any other time.”

  112. says

    I won’t work in Attorney General William Barr’s Justice Department any longer. The article is by Phillip Halpern.

    After 36 years, I’m fleeing what was the U.S. Department of Justice — where I proudly served 19 different attorneys general and six different presidents. For the last three-plus decades, I have respected our leadership regardless of whether we were led by a Republican or a Democrat. I always believed the department’s past leaders were dedicated to the rule of law and the guiding principle that justice is blind. That is a bygone era, but it should not be forgotten.

    Maybe I should’ve seen this coming, but like many of my colleagues, I fervently hoped that Attorney General William Barr’s preemptive misrepresentation of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report was an honest mistake or a solitary misstep — rather than a deliberate attempt to conceal potential presidential misconduct. […]

    Unfortunately, over the last year, Barr’s resentment toward rule-of-law prosecutors became increasingly difficult to ignore, as did his slavish obedience to Donald Trump’s will in his selective meddling with the criminal justice system in the Paul Manafort, Michael Flynn and Roger Stone cases. In each of these cases, Barr overruled career prosecutors in order to assist the president’s associates and/or friends, who potentially harbor incriminating information. This career bureaucrat seems determined to turn our democracy into an autocracy.

    There is no other honest explanation for Barr’s parroting of the president’s wild and unsupported conspiracy theories regarding mail-in ballots (which have been contradicted by the president’s handpicked FBI director) and his support for the president’s sacking of the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York […]

    Similarly, it took federal Judge Reggie Walton (who sharply criticized Barr for a “lack of candor”) to at least temporarily stop Barr from dismissing all charges against Flynn, the president’s former national security adviser, who admitted lying to the FBI about conversations he had with the Russian ambassador. Rather than representing the interests of the American public, Barr chooses to act as Trump’s lap dog.

    More recently, Barr directed federal officers to use tear gas in Lafayette Park to quell what were, at that time, peaceful protesters. Barr’s assertion the square was not cleared due to the president’s desire for a Bible-carrying photo op is laughable. It is certainly a case that Barr would lose before a jury ([…] this may not be clear to him due to his unfamiliarity with jury trials).

    Barr also turned his back on the rule of law by supporting the president’s selective use of federal troops to assault citizens protesting the killing of George Floyd in Portland, Oregon. Yet he stood silently by when armed right-wing protesters stormed the Michigan state Capitol building to protest the Democratic governor’s public health orders.

    Barr’s longest-running politicization of the Justice Department is the Durham investigation — a quixotic pursuit designed to attack the president’s political rivals. Confirming his scorn for honest apolitical prosecutors, Barr refers to some as “headhunters” who pursue “ill-conceived charges against prominent political figures.” It does not appear to be a coincidence that all of these prominent political figures happen to be friends of the president. However, if I’m a headhunter because I charged and convicted disgraced local House members Duncan D. Hunter and Randy “Duke” Cunningham, so be it. It’s a badge that I will wear with honor.

    I remained in government service this past year at least partly because I was concerned that the department would interfere with the Hunter prosecution in my absence.

    […] highly qualified lawyers appear to be unwilling to apply to be federal prosecutors while Barr remains at the helm. Yet, as I leave government service, I take great comfort in the fact that the career people who remain in the Department of Justice are firmly committed to the rule of law, and are some of the most dedicated, ethical and industrious individuals we have in government. At times like these, I take heart in knowing that they are all committed to preserving and rebuilding the Department of Justice that I was privileged to serve.

    Halpern was an assistant U.S. attorney for 36 years in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Diego. He is a resident of Mission Hills.

  113. says

    About the September 3 shooting death of Michael Reinoehl of Portland, Oregon, at the hands of federal law enforcement officers—four days after Reinoehl had himself shot a right-wing protester named Aaron Danielson to death on the streets of Portland:

    […] after an investigation by ProPublica and Oregon Public Broadcasting into the case […] the portrait that emerges of how the shooting transpired, including witnesses saying the police gave no warning, and that Reinoehl did not display a gun, suggest that the 48-year-old fugitive was not arrested so much as he was simply executed. […]

    The shooting happened in the early evening. Reinoehl had been on the lam ever since the shooting of Danielson, and apparently was hiding out that day in a neighborhood near Lacey, Washington, some 119 miles north of Portland. He had given an interview to Vice magazine earlier in the day, telling the reporter that he had acted in self-defense.

    I guess we’ll never know if that claim of self defense was true or not. The man was executed before a proper investigation and trial could take place.

    He was leaving the apartment where he had been in hiding, and had just gotten into his car, when a cluster of SUVs containing U.S. Marshals Service contractors descended and surrounded him.

    Police and witness reports have varied widely, and some conflict with other witnesses and the evidence at the scene. A deputy U.S. Marshal claims that Reinoehl pointed a gun at him. One witness claimed he saw Rienoehl firing two guns. However, Reinoehl’s only gun was found in his front pants pocket after he was shot. What we know for certain is that the marshals hit him with a barrage of gunfire, and he was killed by bullets to the head and torso. And the majority of witnesses said he displayed no weapon at all.

    One witness said the bullets from the fusillade the marshals unleashed—without any kind of warning or order to surrender, he said—were flying around the apartment complex where the arrest happened. Children were present, and one father described running his two young children inside his home for safety. “There was no ‘drop your weapon’ or ‘freeze’ or ‘police’ — no warning at all,” the man recalled.

    According to the report, most of the men firing the weapons were local law enforcement officers who had been deputized by the Marshals Service.

    […] A U.S. marshal was also part of the team but did not fire.

    Donald Trump may have played a role in the officers’ apparent eagerness to kill Reinoehl. One hour before the fugitive was killed, Trump had tweeted:

    Why aren’t the Portland Police ARRESTING the cold blooded killer of Aaron “Jay” Danielson. Do your job, and do it fast. Everybody knows who this thug is. No wonder Portland is going to hell!

    Afterward, Attorney General William Barr issued a statement on the Justice Department letterhead that was equally bloodthirsty:

    The tracking down of Reinoehl — a dangerous fugitive, admitted Antifa member, and suspected murderer — is a significant accomplishment in the ongoing effort to restore law and order to Portland and other cities. I applaud the outstanding cooperation among federal, state, and local law enforcement, particularly the fugitive task force team that located Reinoehl and prevented him from escaping justice. The streets of our cities are safer with this violent agitator removed, and the actions that led to his location are an unmistakable demonstration that the United States will be governed by law, not violent mobs.

    Trump subsequently told Maria Bartiromo of Fox News: “This guy was a violent criminal, and the U.S. Marshals killed him. And I’ll tell you something—that’s the way it has to be. There has to be retribution.”

    This all stood in stark contrast to how the Trump administration led a right-wing parade of support for Kyle Rittenhouse, the Illinois teenager who killed two Black Lives Matter protesters in Kenosha, Wisconsin, in August.

    Trump himself had openly sympathized with Rittenhouse. “That was an interesting situation,” he told a rally in Kenosha. “You saw the same tape as I saw. And he was trying to get away from them. I guess it looks like he fell and then they very violently attacked him. And it was something that we’re looking at right now, and it’s under investigation. But I guess he was in very big trouble. He would have been—probably would have been killed, but it’s under investigation.”

    The Department of Homeland Security also promoted this narrative by directing public comments by its officials to follow this storyline with prearranged talking points. An internal DHS document suggested that department officials note that Rittenhouse “took his rifle to the scene of the rioting to help defend small business owners.” If officials are asked about Rittenhouse, it recommended they first decline comment on an ongoing investigation, with the addendum that “what I will say is that Rittenhouse, just like everyone else in America, is innocent until proven guilty and deserves a fair trial based on all the facts, not just the ones that support a certain narrative. This is why we try the accused in the court of law, not the star chamber of public opinion.”

    The official storyline, in both cases, promotes the larger right-wing narrative creating a bogeyman of a supposed “violent left” comprised of Black Lives Matter and antifa, while erasing the reality of a growing army of violent right-wing thugs directing their heavily armed ire at these concocted enemies. And as the facts in Michael Reinoehl’s killing emerge, it appears to have created a mentality within law enforcement creating permission (if not outright encouragement) not only to join them, but to perform extrajudicial executions on behalf of the same authoritarian cause. [video available at the link]

    UPDATE: Donald Trump again commented approvingly on Reinoehl’s killing today in Greenville, South Carolina, at a campaign rally. He told the crowd, in fact, that there was no intention of arresting Reinoehl:

    We sent in the U.S. Marshals, it took 15 minutes and it was over, 15 minutes and it was over … They knew who he was, they didn’t want to arrest him, and 15 minutes that ended. And they call themselves peaceful protesters.

    That is an extrajudicial execution. Not lawful.

  114. says

    Trump says only Jesus Christ more famous than him

    “Someone said to me the other day, ‘you’re the most famous person in the world by far.’ I said, ‘no, I’m not’… they said, ‘who’s more famous?’ I said, ‘Jesus Christ’,” Trump recounted, prompting cheers from his crowd of supporters.

    I think Trump said something similar in the past. This latest arrogant bullshit was spewed by Trump today.

    He said more. You can view video at the link.

  115. says

    Another terrible milestone: In the USA there are now more than 8 million people who have tested positive for coronavirus. The death toll has exceeded 218,000.

  116. says

    As elections near, Pompeo plays the role of political operative

    As Election Day nears, Mike Pompeo is vowing to produce Hillary Clinton emails, but that’s not all he’s doing to help make Donald Trump happy.

    Last week, Donald Trump lashed out wildly in a variety of directions, and even Secretary of State Mike Pompeo couldn’t escape [Trump’s] tantrum. [Trump] specifically targeted [Pompeo] for, of all things, failing to produce emails sent by Hillary Clinton several years ago.

    “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.”

    It wasn’t at all clear which emails [Trump] thinks are still lurking in State Department servers. Nevertheless, just one day later, the nation’s chief diplomat assured Fox News that he and his team intend to produce anti-Clinton materials “before the election.”

    As Bloomberg News reported yesterday, Pompeo’s still at it.

    The State Department is doing “everything we can” to release additional emails from Hillary Clinton’s tenure as the top U.S. diplomat, Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said, reaffirming a vow he made after President Donald Trump criticized him for not doing more. “We’ll continue to do the right thing, we’ll make sure that all these emails get to the right place,” Pompeo told reporters Wednesday. “We will do everything we can to make sure that the American people get a chance to see as much as we can equitably produce.”

    The point of the endeavor remains elusive. If old Clinton emails exist, they’re unlikely to be significant. But even if Pompeo were to uncover voluminous emails in which the former presidential candidate spoke in great detail about orchestrating a series of felonies, I’m hard pressed to imagine how this would alter the trajectory of the 2020 race — because the last time I checked, Hillary Clinton isn’t running for anything.

    But for Pompeo, that doesn’t appear to much matter: Trump expects officials to use levers of federal power to help his re-election campaign, and so the secretary of State is eager to do his part.

    In fact, Pompeo appears a little too eager. Just today, he did media appearances with outlets from several states, including 2020 battlegrounds such as Florida, Georgia, and Michigan.

    “Yes, the secretary should talk to the American people,” Philip J. Crowley, former U.S. assistant secretary of State wrote today, “but in those states three weeks before the election? He’s not even pretending to keep his distance from domestic politics.”

    Pompeo keeps proving this criticism true. The cabinet secretary headlined a political event in Florida late last month, which roughly coincided with Pompeo’s swing-state tour. The Associated Press noted that the secretary was “shattering diplomatic norms” with his “overtly political” excursions.

    A month earlier, of course, Pompeo became the first modern secretary of State to deliver remarks at a national political convention, despite federal ethics laws and election-year guidelines issued by his own office.

    […] he’s apparently decided to stop caring and start embracing a role as election-season political operative.

  117. tomh says

    Texas Judge Blocks Limit on Ballot Drop Boxes Upheld by Fifth Circuit
    October 15, 2020 DAVID LEE

    AUSTIN, Texas (CN) — A Texas state judge blocked Governor Greg Abbott’s limit of one absentee ballot drop-off box per county Thursday, two days after the Fifth Circuit reinstated it in a parallel federal case.

    Travis County District Judge Tim Sulak, a Democrat, issued a temporary injunction, agreeing with the plaintiffs that Abbott’s Oct. 1 executive order needlessly exposes voters to the risk of contracting Covid-19.

    The Anti-Defamation League, Common Cause Texas and voter Robert Ketsch sued on Oct. 5, asserting violations of the Texas Constitution and Election Code. They claim Abbott, a Republican, is “impermissibly” intruding on the authority of local election officials to manage elections.

    Abbott’s order most notably affects Travis and Harris counties, which must keep closed three and 11 respective extra drop-off sites that they operated before Abbott intervened.

    Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton quickly appealed Sulak’s order to the Third Court of Appeals in Austin. The court is expected to quickly rule on whether to stay Sulak’s order and reinstate Abbott’s limit.

    In a separate federal lawsuit earlier this month, the League of United Latin American Citizens and the League of Women Voters of Texas made similar claims that Abbott’s order exposes voters to the risk of Covid-19 and favors smaller, more conservative counties. That lawsuit rejected Abbott’s claims of election security fears as phony, arguing voters must still show identification and sign a roster before dropping their ballot off.

    U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman, an appointee of President Barack Obama, agreed with the plaintiffs and blocked Abbott’s order on Oct. 9. He said the state’s election security fears are “vague” and fail to outweigh the “significant burden” placed on absentee voters.

    The Fifth Circuit did not agree, reinstating Abbott’s order four days later. A three-judge panel consisting of all President Donald Trump appointees concluded Abbott does not need to show “actual examples” of voter fraud.

  118. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    October surprises won’t effect my vote. It is already in the hands of the of the County Clerk’s office. Quit trying Dumbf.

  119. Trickster Goddess says

    I voted today in person at the first day of advance polls for the British Columbia provincial election. Traffic was light and from the time I arrived to the time I walked out was less than 4 minutes. Covid safety measures were observed and while pencils for marking your ballot were provided, you are welcome to use your own.

    The advance polls are open for 7 consecutive days, Thurs-Wed, from 8 am – 8 pm, with General Voting Day (“Election Day”) on Saturday, Oct 24. Over 400,000 voters have requested mail-in ballots, compared to about 10,000 for the last election.

    BC Politics Background:

    In the May 2017 election, the incumbent conservative centre-right BC Liberal Party won 43 seats, the social democratic centre-left New Democratic Party (NDP) won 41 seats and the Green Party won 3 seats. The NDP and Greens combined their seats to take control of the legislature, ending 16 years of Liberal rule.

    Although the next election wasn’t scheduled until October 2021, Premier John Horgan decided to call an early election, citing a weakening alliance with the Greens and seeking a mandate for planning the post-Covid recovery. Polls are indicating that the NDP are likely to win a majority of the seats this time. People seem to be generally pleased with their policies of the past 3 years, which helped the general populace instead of corporate cronies, and a refreshing lack of scandals. Premier Horgan also has high marks for his handling of the Covid crisis which has kept BC’s infection rate among the lowest in the Western world.

  120. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    OMG, just saw the Caroline Giuliani will be on Rachel Maddow. Must see TV.

  121. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Made sure to set both my cable boxes to ABC (Joe Biden) in case they are used for ratings…

  122. says

    Newsweek – “‘Con-Cast’: Trump Calls NBC ‘The Worst’ Hours Before Appearing on Network for Town Hall”:

    President Donald Trump trashed NBC as “the worst” shortly before he was set to appear at a town hall on the network on Thursday.

    Trump made the remarks at a North Carolina campaign rally hours before his Miami, Florida town hall event was scheduled to take place at the same time as Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s ABC town hall event. Despite agreeing to participate, the president insisted he was being “set up” by NBC and took aim at parent company Comcast while commenting on several network personalities including the host of the town hall, Savannah Guthrie.

    “So, you know I’m being set up tonight, right? I’m doing this town hall with Con-cast,” Trump said. “C-O-N. Con, right? Because it’s a con job. C-O-N, not C-O-M. So, I’m doing it and it’s NBC. The worst. Home of sleepy-eyes Chuck Todd and some others… Lester Holt, he’s a beauty.”

    “They gave Joe Biden, a week ago, a town hall and it was meant for children,” Trump added. “It was a joke. And so, they asked me if I’d do it, and I figured what the hell, we’ve got a free hour on television. And we have Savannah Guthrie, she’s always lovely, isn’t she? But I figured why not.”

    In addition to Trump’s attacks on NBC, where he hosted The Apprentice for more than a decade, the president spent a considerable amount of time disparaging “fake news” and the media. He called journalists covering the rally “the enemy of the people,”…

    Great call, NBC.

    Brianna Keilar today ran through Trump’s recurring set of debate excuses.

    I feel like if people had someone like this in their personal life – constant grievances, endless whining, blaming others for everything – they’d find it exhausting and annoying, and would want to get their distance.

  123. says

    Lynna @ #171, wow. He’s doing a good job, answering questions at length and respectfully. This is his sort of format. Possibly more important, it’s a chance to hear a reasonable discussion without a deranged asshole having a tantrum.

  124. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Saw a bit of the Biden town hall while trying to get my TV/iMac widget channel changed to TRMS. Biden was talking about energy policy, and sounded knowledgeable, competent, and reasonable. Rachel was fact checking Hair Furor. That went on for a while, needless to say.

  125. says

    Follow-up to comments 171 and 173.

    I had that wrong. My local ABC station aired the Biden town hall an hour later. It is still going on now.

    As SC noted, Biden is doing a good job. He has facts at the ready. He offers concrete solutions. He is on top of it.

    Meanwhile, as Rachel Maddow pointed out, Trump claimed that 85% of people who wear masks get COVID. JFC! He’s referring to a study in which people who tested positive for COVID were asked if they had ever worn a mask. Trump misinterpreted that, and/or he lied big time about it. Trump made it sound like masks give you COVID! Trump’s number of lies, and the number of dangerous lies, makes his town hall one of the craziest death-cult-like things he has done so far.

    Trump also refused to denounce QAnon.

  126. says

    From Aaron Rupar:

    The contrast between Trump lying his ass off on NBC and then flipping the dial to ABC and hearing Biden talk about how “the biggest carbon sink in the world is the Amazon” is really something.

    At the same moment that Trump was refusing to disavow QAnon, Biden on ABC was saying that “when a president doesn’t wear a mask, or makes fun of folks like me when I was wearing a mask for a long time, then people say it mustn’t be that important.” A jarring contrast.

    [JFC moment] “Good evening, Mr. President. I have to say, you have a great smile… you’re so handsome when you smile.”

    Savannah Guthrie closes by asking Trump to explain why undecided voters should vote for him. He begins his response by saying, “Because I’ve done a great job.”

    “I think, depending on what happens with Roe v. Wade, I think that perhaps it could get sent down to the states, and the states would decide” — Trump

    Trump on his meeting with Amy Coney Barrett and if he expects her to rule for him if SCOTUS hears a challenge to the election results: “I didn’t talk about any of the obvious things that you could talk about, and I think a lot of people in my position might.”

    “That’s a statutory number” — Trump’s weird explanation for only paying $750 in federal taxes in 2016

    TRUMP: “I will probably, because it’s so easy to solve, and if you’d like to do — I will let you know who I owe whatever small amount of money.” [Ha! Don’t hold your breath while you’re waiting for Trump to let Savannah Guthrie know.]

    GUTHRIE: “On behalf of voters, who do you owe $421 million to?”

    TRUMP: *talks about how awesome his properties are*

    G: “Are you confirming that you do owe some $400 million dollars?”

    T: “What I’m saying is it’s a tiny percentage of my net worth.”

    Trump’s explanation for his position on a stimulus bill changing back and forth repeatedly in recent weeks

    GUTHRIE: Just this week you retweeted to your 87 million followers a conspiracy theory that Joe Biden orchestrated to have SEAL Team 6 killed.

    TRUMP: “That was a retweet. That was an opinion of somebody.” [as if that justifies it!]

    TRUMP on QAnon: “What I do hear about is they are very strongly against pedophilia, and I agree with that, I do agree with that.”

    Asked to denounce QAnon, Trump refuses to do so and instead says, “They are very much against pedophilia, they fight it very hard.”

    Asked why he doesn’t try to at least set an example by wearing a mask, Trump says, “but many people are catching it.”

    TRUMP: “Just the other day they came out with a statement that 85 percent of the people that wear masks catch [coronavirus].”

    GUTHRIE: “They didn’t say that. I know that study.”

    TRUMP: “That’s what I heard and that’s what I saw.”

    “Possibly I did. Possibly I didn’t.” — Trump on if he took a coronavirus test the day of the first presidential debate

    GUTHRIE: When was your last negative coronavirus test?

    TRUMP: “Well, I test quite a bit.”

    GUTHRIE: Did you test the day of the debate?

    TRUMP: “I don’t know. I don’t even remember.”

    G: Did you take a test the day of the debate?

    T: “I probably did.”

  127. says

    Trump said he “probably” owes money to a foreign bank or entity. I doubt that anyone believes Trump when he claims that the $400+ million he owes is only a small fraction of his net worth.

    Signs that Guthrie did a good job: “Savannah Guthrie is showing herself to be a partisan hack tonight,” Fox News contributor Lisa Boothe wrote on Twitter. “Has any media person ever challenged Biden like Savannah Guthrie is with Trump?” asked Fox News host Laura Ingraham.

    Tim Murtaugh, director of communications for Trump’s campaign, said that “Savannah Guthrie is attacking the President like she openly hates him.” [She did not show “hate,” but she did try to get Trump to actually answer the questions. And she did occasionally fact-check Trump in real time. Trump seemed to shrug off the factchecking. Trump is impenetrable.]

    On the other side, “Pod Save America” co-host Jon Favreau wrote: “I would like to propose a Trump town hall moderated by @SavannahGuthrie every night between now and election day.”

  128. says

    Rachel Maddow noted that Trump seemed to shrink during his town hall event. Also, Trump was sweating. I would say that, yes, Trump seemed small as in “petty” and pathetic.

    Joe Biden is still answering questions as I write this.

  129. says

    From Steve Schmidt:

    .@JoeBiden is killing it. The American Presidency will see dignity and decency restored very soon.

    .@realDonaldTrump is rattled talking about his finances. He is lying. Trump is not underlevered. Ludicrous.

    .@realDonaldTrump You aren’t smart enough to swindle Savannah Guthrie with your lies and nonsense. Who on your team of losers thought it was a good idea to sit across from someone who has at least 75 IQ points on you. You are failing and flailing.

    .@realDonaldTrump This town hall is another Trump debacle. Trump sounds crazy and seems very hyper. The blizzard of lies and delusion is coming to its’ end. This fool will be fired by the American people.

    Relevant information: “We haven’t had clear national leadership [on masks] and other points related to the control of the covid virus. Had we had that, I think this virus by now would have been much less damaging to all of us” – Dr. William Schaffner w/ @NicolleDWallace

    “Biden… has drawn very direct links between what we do to get control of the virus and to wipe it out as a way to get back to a strong economy, and I think that he’s been very successful” – @DonnaFEdwards w/ @NicolleDWallace

    “It is a mystery why the president didn’t see the connection between conquering the virus and improving the economy, that these things are not separate, they’re not in opposition to each other, but they’re tied together” – @peterbakernyt w/ @NicolleDWallace

    Honestly it’s just dumb luck the president didn’t give his 77 year old opponent Covid at the debate. [From Chris Hayes]

  130. says

    From Evan Siegfried:

    Trump would have been better served by accepting the virtual debate. Suicide bombers have hurt themselves less than this…

    From The Lincoln Project:

    Does Biden have to report Donald Trump’s town hall as an in-kind contribution?

    From Evan McMullin:

    Trump said tonight, “I just don’t know about QAnon,” but then said that he knows they’re “very strongly against pedophilia.” This statement and the bizarro claim that Democrats are actually for pedophilia is already nearly a mainstream idea on the right. I hear it all the time.

  131. says

    The WH just called a lid. @realDonaldTrump is in for the evening. @JoeBiden is still in the hall taking questions from voters. [Posted 11 minutes ago.]

    Devastating quote from a staffer at the White House:

    “Either they think he’s lying about testing negative or they think he’s lying about ever having it,” said one staffer. “After four years of lying, no one knows what to believe from him anymore.”

    Posted by Brian J. Karem.

    From Jake Tapper:

    I admit I’m grateful that i have retained the capacity to be shocked and disgusted that the president is pushing a deranged conspiracy theory that the SEAL Team 6 heroes who killed OBL didn’t actually kill OBL.

    What a lunatic and hideous lie to be pushing.

  132. says

    From Adam Schiff:

    This isn’t hard:

    QAnon is a crazy, dangerous, fringe conspiracy theory. I denounce it.

    Trump refuses to say the same — simply because most of its followers support him.

    Worse, Trump amplifies QAnon, which can lead to real world consequences and violence.

    Enough already.

  133. says

    Quoted in Lynna’s #182:

    Tim Murtaugh, director of communications for Trump’s campaign, said that “Savannah Guthrie is attacking the President like she openly hates him.”

    Yes, that’s totally the image the public holds of Savannah Guthrie: full of hate.

  134. says

    CNN – “Trump administration rejects California’s disaster assistance request for wildfires”:

    The Trump administration has rejected California’s request for a disaster declaration for six destructive wildfires that burned hundreds of thousands of acres across the state, including a massive central California wildfire that has become the single largest in state history.

    “The request for a Major Presidential Disaster Declaration for early September fires has been denied by the federal administration,” Brian Ferguson, a spokesperson for the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, confirmed to CNN. The state plans to appeal the decision.

    The denial comes after California Gov. Gavin Newsom requested financial aid from the federal government in a September 28 letter to the Trump administration outlining the financial impact of the wildfires.

    Writing that infrastructure damage estimates exceeded $229 million, Newsom asserted that “federal assistance is critical to support physical and economic recovery of California and its communities.”

    “The longer it takes for California and its communities to recover, the more severe, devastating, and irreversible the economic impacts will be,” he said.

    Since the beginning of this fire season, more than 8,500 wildfires have burned well over 4.1 million acres across the state, Cal Fire said in a press release on Thursday. Thirty-one people died as a result of the wildfires and more than 9,200 structures have been destroyed….

  135. says

    CNN – “GOP senator unloads on Trump in constituent call, saying ‘he mocks evangelicals’ and has ‘flirted with White supremacists'”:

    Republican Sen. Ben Sasse criticized President Donald Trump earlier this week during a phone call with constituents, saying a number of unflattering things about the President, including that he’s “flirted with White supremacists” and “kisses dictators’ butts,” his office confirmed to CNN.

    “The way he kisses dictators’ butts. I mean, the way he ignores that the Uyghurs are in literal concentration camps in Xinjiang right now. He hasn’t lifted a finger on behalf of the Hong Kongers,” Sasse said in response to a constituent’s question about his relationship with Trump and his past criticisms of the President.

    “The United States now regularly sells out our allies under his leadership. The way he treats women and spends like a drunken sailor. The ways I criticized President (Barack) Obama for that kind of spending I’ve criticized President Trump for as well. He mocks evangelicals behind closed doors. His family has treated the presidency like a business opportunity. He’s flirted with White supremacists,” the Nebraska Republican said.

    The comments were first reported by The Washington Examiner, which obtained audio of the call. Sasse’s office confirmed to CNN on Thursday that the senator made the comments during a “campaign telephone town hall call that went to about 17,000 Nebraskans.”

    Despite Sasse’s reputation as a periodic critic of the President, he’s been a reliable Republican vote for Trump administration nominees and GOP policies. The Sasse spokesman did not respond to an inquiry about whether the Nebraska Republican supports Trump’s reelection.

    Republican lawmakers have largely avoided attacking Trump since he took office nearly four years ago, but the rare pointed criticism from Sasse comes just several weeks before an election in which the party is at risk of losing both the White House and the Senate, which the senator emphasized in his answer.

    Complaining about Trump’s “stupid political obsessions,” Sasse stressed during the call the possibility that the President’s political brand could alienate women and young voters in the future.

    “If young people become permanent Democrats because they’ve just been repulsed by the obsessive nature of our politics, or if women who were willing to still vote with the Republican Party in 2016 decide that they need to turn away from this party permanently in the future, the debate is not going to be, you know, ‘Ben Sasse, why were you so mean to Donald Trump?’ ” he said. “It’s going to be ‘What the heck were any of us thinking that selling a TV-obsessed narcissistic individual to the American people was a good idea?’ It is not a good idea.”

    The senator also criticized Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, saying he doesn’t think the President’s leadership during the crisis has been “reasonable or responsible.”…


  136. says

    Here’s a link to the October 16 Guardian coronavirus world liveblog.

    From there:

    A court has suspended a curfew on Berlin’s bars and restaurants, joining others in Germany in overturning government-imposed measures meant to contain the further spread of the virus.

    Berlin’s local government imposed a night-time curfew from 11pm to 6am to tackle surging numbers of new infections a week ago. On Friday a spokesman for the administrative court in Berlin said:

    The curfew has been suspended for the time being as the court considers it disproportionate in view of other measures taken to fight the pandemic.

    The court said there was no evidence that bars and restaurants that stick to rules on mask-wearing and social distancing contributed to any increase in infection rates. The ruling was in response to legal action brought by 11 restaurant owners who contested the curfew, but not a ban on the sale of alcohol after 11pm.

    Several other German cities, including the financial hub Frankfurt, have also imposed curfews on bars and restaurants. Germany’s states agreed with the chancellor, Angela Merkel, this week that such measures should be automatic as soon as infection rates in any area exceed 50 per 100,000 residents over a week.

    Germany, like other countries across Europe, is dealing with a sharp rise in coronavirus infections. The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases reported a daily tally of more than 7,300 new cases on Friday.

  137. says

    One thing Savannah Guthrie did very well last night (judging from the clips I’ve seen): refusing to engage with Trump’s efforts to bring her into a personal exchange. One of his means of avoiding substantive answers is to use personalizing tactics like saying to interviewers “And you know it” or “And you don’t know that.” He tried this with Guthrie last night, in addition to “We’re on the same side,” “We should be on the same side,”… If the person responds to these claims, it gives Trump an antagonist and a lever to pull the person away from the substance. She just ignored these remarks entirely and kept the focus on the questions. It’s surprising that a morning-show host, who typically works in an environment in which the discussions are very personal, is skilled at this.

  138. says

    Guardian – “‘On the brink of disaster’: Europe’s Covid fight takes a turn for the worse”:

    …Europe’s second coronavirus wave took a dramatic turn for the worse this week, forcing governments across the continent to make tough choices as more than a dozen countries reported their highest ever number of new infections.

    In France, 18 million people in nine big cities risk a fine from Saturday if they are not at home by 9pm. In the Czech Republic, schools have closed and medical students are being enlisted to help doctors. All Dutch bars and restaurants are shut.

    Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Poland are among countries to have broken daily case records, prompting the World Health Organization to call for an “uncompromising” effort to stem the spread.

    Unfortunately, that requires making all but impossible compromises.

    Most European governments relaxed strict lockdowns over the summer to revive economies shattered by the pandemic’s first wave. The return of normal activity, from packed bars to new academic terms, has fuelled an exponential increase in infections.

    With infections across the continent breaking the barrier of 120,000 a day, authorities must now tighten restrictions once more to slow the spread of the disease – while doing all they can to avoid destroying already-jeopardised jobs and livelihoods.

    They are also facing legal challenges: the Dutch government must work out how it can make masks mandatory while complying with the law, and a Berlin court suspended a city order requiring bars to close at 11pm, for lack of evidence it would prove effective.

    In France, which reported more than 30,000 new infections on Thursday, President Emmanuel Macron said a curfew was needed to halt “the parties, the moments of conviviality, the festive evenings … They accelerate the disease. We have to act.”

    The government will deploy 12,000 police to enforce it, and spend an extra €1bn (£900m) to help already hard-hit businesses in the entertainment and hospitality sectors. “We cannot live normally while the virus is here,” the prime minister, Jean Castex, said.

    The stakes are certainly high. Bavaria’s outspoken governor, Markus Söder, said bluntly that “Europe’s prosperity is at stake”. But while it warned that without countermeasures daily coronavirus deaths in Europe could reach four or five times their April peak within months, the WHO said there was cause for some optimism.

    “The pandemic today is not the pandemic yesterday – not only in terms of its transmission dynamic, but in the ways we are now equipped to face it,” Dr Hans Kluge, the organisation’s regional director for Europe, said on Thursday.

    Vastly increased testing capacities meant it was impossible to compare this week’s figures to those of March and April, Kluge noted, while higher transmission among younger, less vulnerable people, plus an improved ability to manage severe cases, meant mortality rates, while rising, were still relatively low.

    Europe is recording two to three times more new daily infections compared with April, he said, but five times fewer deaths, while hospital admission numbers are taking two to three times longer to double than during the spring.

    According to WHO models, quite simple measures – such as near-100% mask wearing, and strict limits on social gatherings – could save up to 281,000 lives across Europe by 1 February. “These may be pandemic times. But that need not necessarily mean dark times,” Kluge said.

    More atl.

  139. says

    Kayleigh McEnany, callously exposed to coronavirus by Trump recently, tweeted:

    TWITTER is against us.

    THE MEDIA is against us.

    BIG TECH is against us.

    THE SWAMP is against us.

    THE DEEP STATE is against us.

    THE HOLLYWOOD ELITE is against us.

    CHINA is against us.

    But President Trump has the WORKING MAN AND WOMAN and NOTHING can beat that [double red exclamation points]

    As I read through this, I thought “us” was the whole Trumper movement. But no! When you get to the end it’s clear that “us” means just them: Trump and his coterie of sycophants. The “working man and woman” have one role only – to praise and support President Snowflake and attack his alleged enemies. With every utterance they reveal that they don’t work for the people, not even their supporters; the supporters work for them.

  140. says

    Brian Beutler at Crooked Media – “What to Do About GOP Bad Faith After Trump”:

    …If after four years of the Trump presidency, we can’t stipulate that Republicans have been malicious rather than simply misguided, we may as well also stipulate to their implicit terms: that rules, laws, and norms apply only to those who care about rules, laws and norms. We may as well stand back as they transform the United States into a kleptocracy.

    Alternatively, we can free ourselves from any sense of obligation to behave as though we were born yesterday….

  141. says

    NYT Opinion:

    Donald Trump “stands without any real rivals as the worst American president in modern history,” writes the editorial board. Today, we are publishing a special section to remind readers why President Trump is unfit to lead the nation.

    “From his first days in office, President Trump has waged a relentless and cynical campaign against the institutions most responsible for turning science into sound policy,” @JInterlandi writes

    Corruption and self-dealing have “come to define this president, his family and much of his administration,” writes @mcottle. “Mr. Trump will be remembered for assembling a world-class Team of Grifters.”

    “A president’s words are among his most powerful, and potentially dangerous, tools,” @jessewegman writes. “They can move global financial markets, start wars — and embolden violent individuals.”

    “‘From this day forward, it’s going to be only America first,’ Mr. Trump warned in his Inaugural Address. Today, what that meant is clear in the decline of American leadership and the hallowed American brand,” writes Serge Schmemann.

    Ultimately, “the mess the nation faces is bigger than Donald Trump,” @fstockman writes. “If he is voted out in November, the people who cast ballots for him will remain, pining for the policies he promoted.”

    Links atl.

  142. says

    Donald Trump has repeatedly insisted this week that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is standing in the way of a pre-election economic aid package. […] Trump is clearly pointing in the wrong direction. […]

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told reporters yesterday that GOP senators are so opposed to the White House’s current approach that he won’t even bring it to the floor for a vote. […]

    It’s Mitch McConnell, not Nancy Pelosi, that is blocking the economic aid package.

    Ordinarily, this would be roughly the point at which some presidential leadership started making a real difference, but Donald Trump doesn’t seem to know what he wants.

    The Tax Policy Center’s Renu Zaretsky explained the other day, “In just the past week, Trump has said he wants a big bill, then no bill, then a small bill, then a $1.8 trillion bill, and now, perhaps, an even bigger bill than that. Or not.” Yesterday, the president made matters a bit worse, telling Fox Business that he’s “absolutely” prepared to endorse an aid package larger than the $1.8 trillion plan being pushed by his own team. “I would go higher,” he added. “Go big or go home.”

    The resulting dynamic is a mess: Democrats and Trump are both arguing that Mnuchin’s offer is too small, while Senate Republicans say it’s too big. All the while, Trump is blaming Pelosi, despite agreeing with her, as Pelosi faces media pressure to accept Mnuchin’s offer — the one the president dislikes — which McConnell won’t even consider.

    “Pelosi is holding up STIMULUS, not the Republicans!” Trump tweeted this week, seemingly unaware of the fact that the one person who’s refusing to support his position is his own party’s Senate majority leader.

    […] McConnell and his Republican brethren are content to look past Trump altogether. […]

  143. says

    Barron’s – “Sarkozy Charged With ‘Conspiracy’ Over Libyan Financing”:

    French prosecutors said Friday that they had slapped criminal conspiracy charges on former president Nicolas Sarkozy over claims he used Libyan cash for his 2007 election campaign.

    The charge for “membership in a criminal conspiracy” was brought on Monday, the [prosecutors] told AFP.

    It adds to charges lodged in 2018 of “passive corruption,” “benefitting from embezzled public funds” and “illegal campaign financing” for which Sarkozy already faces trial.

    Sarkozy, who was president from 2007 to 2012, has denied any wrongdoing, saying on his Facebook page Friday that his “innocence had been tarnished” by the charges, without “even the slightest proof”.

    Prosecutors suspect that Sarkozy and his associates received millions of euros from the regime of former strongman Moamer Kadhafi to help finance his election bid.

  144. says

    Link for text quoted in comment 205.

    Trump struggled when confronted with crackpot conspiracy theories at his townhall event.

    Trump’s answers were dishonest, wrong, and shameful.

    Whenever Donald Trump speaks for an extended period of time, it’s all but inevitable his audience will hear some odd conspiracy theories. At an NBC News town-hall event last night, for example, [Trump] suggested several governors are only taking steps to curtail the coronavirus pandemic in order to undermine his re-election campaign.

    […] More alarming was [Trump’s] approach to more dangerous and insidious conspiracy theories.

    This week, [He] apparently thought it’d be responsible to promote a series of bizarre ideas about Osama bin Laden and SEAL Team 6, which in turn has sparked some aggressive pushback. When Savannah Guthrie asked for some kind of explanation, Trump initially said he didn’t know anything about the conspiracy theory he brought to the public.

    Pressed further, he added, “That was an opinion of somebody…. I’ll put it out there. People can decide for themselves.” It fell to Guthrie to remind the incumbent leader of the free world, “You’re the president,” Guthrie responded. “You’re not someone’s crazy uncle who can retweet whatever.”

    And then things got quite a bit worse.

    “I know nothing about QAnon,” he said. “I do know that they are very much against pedophilia, and I agree with that.” An FBI field office recently warned that “fringe political conspiracy theories” like QAnon “very likely motivate some domestic extremists” (it already has motivated some acts of violence), and social media giants have clamped down on QAnon.

    For those who may need a refresher, the basic idea behind the crackpot nonsense is that Donald Trump is secretly at war with nefarious forces of evil, including Democrats, Hollywood celebrities, the “deep state,” cannibals, and an underground ring of Satanic pedophiles that only adherents of the conspiracy theory are aware of.

    As we recently discussed, this isn’t just the usual conspiratorial nonsense bubbling up from the right. It’s vastly weirder and more radical. Last year, the FBI went so far as to classify QAnon as a domestic-terror threat in an internal memo.

    With this in mind, for the president to say he doesn’t know anything about QAnon is plainly false: Trump, as recently as August, stood at the White House podium and expressed his appreciation for the adherents’ support. Referring to the radicals, he added at the time, “I’ve heard these are people who love our country.”

    It was around this same time that the president expressed his support for QAnon cult members running for Congress, while routinely promoting online content from QAnon followers.

    But last night, Trump made matters vastly worse by insisting that adherents of the delusional theory “are very much against pedophilia.” The practical effects of this are obvious: QAnon cultists will see this as presidential validation of their ridiculous efforts.

    […] he feigned ignorance, offered tacit support for one of the cult’s central tenets, and tried to change the subject. Even by 2020 standards, it was a shameful display.


  145. says

    From Tom Nichols:

    The only good thing about these two competing town hall events is that they show how much Biden is held to a different standard as an actual rational human being while Trump just has to get through an hour without lighting a bucket of mice on fire

    Here’s Where The President Got His Latest Dumb Anti-Mask Talking Point

    Trump on Thursday night cocked his head and spewed viral misinformation all over the American people, potentially infecting millions with a bit of anti-mask propaganda completely void of scientific substance.

    On two separate occasions Thursday night, [Trump] said that the CDC reported “that 85% of the people that wear masks catch it” — that is, catch COVID-19. He made the same claim earlier Thursday, telling a largely maskless rally crowd that “85% of the people wearing the masks catch it.”

    That statistic and similar ones have gripped the COVID truther community in recent days, and, as has often been the case during this pandemic, emerged from a wildly misconstrued real report.

    The CDC report [Trump] cited asked a pool of 314 people, around half of whom had tested positive for COVID-19, about their behavior in recent weeks. And it didn’t say anything like what [Trump] claimed. It wasn’t even primarily about mask-wearing. (As the Associated Press pointed out, if what Trump said were true, the majority of the country would be infected.)

    What the report really emphasized — shocker — is that people were more likely to have tested positive for COVID-19 if they 1) went out to eat or drink at a restaurant or bar, and 2) were in close contact with someone else who has COVID-19.

    […] “Adults with positive SARS-CoV-2 test results were approximately twice as likely to have reported dining at a restaurant than were those with negative SARS-CoV-2 test results.”

    The mask disinformation comes from distorting some numbers that were also included in the report. Specifically, this bit: [screenshot available at the link]

    There are some inherent flaws in relying on responses to small surveys like this, specifically that people feel social pressure to lie and report wearing a mask more often than they did. But even accounting for that, the data in fact show that the non-COVID control group wore masks “always” and “often” in greater numbers than COVID patients surveyed: 88.7% versus 85%.

    Nonetheless, anti-maskers in recent days have used these numbers to tell a different story: 85% of the infected respondents wore masks “always” or “often,” they say — so what good are masks!

    “There’s nothing in this (report) that indicates that mask wearing is associated with more coronavirus,” Texas A&M University-Texarkana virologist Ben Neuman told PolitiFact of the report. […]

    And yet, here we are: The only way to conclude from this report that mask wearing is ineffective is through a misreading of the numbers. And boy, the Internet is chock full of that.

    One Facebook post on Monday that was shared nearly a thousand times claimed of the report, “This means that people who wear masks, are actually ‘collecting’ the virus in their masks” and “A clear indication there is a correlation to more infected people wearing masks than those who do not.” [JFC!]

    Facebook flagged the post as “false information,” but it was hardly the only one.

    Former TV journalist Ben Swann, for example, falsely said on his platform Truth In Media Tuesday that “that’s what this study seems to be showing, that those who always wear the face masks or often wear the face masks seem to be putting themselves at more of a risk for contracting a virus. The study does not explain to us why this is.” [JFC! twice]

    “We know the masks don’t protect you…” said popular anti-masker Justin Hart of the report, “but at some point you have to wonder if they are PART of the problem.” […]

    Some just selectively left out the crucial context in the report: Non-COVID patients reported more mask-wearing, but more importantly, less attendance at restaurants and proximity to sick people!

    […] The website California Globe went even further [with disinformation]: “It turns out that most everyone infected with COVID-19 ‘always’ wore masks, according to a newly published study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention,” editor Katy Grimes wrote, after fretting about […] “mask mouth.”

    Even the anti-government activist Ammon Bundy, in an interview with TPM Thursday about his army of anti-public-health protesters, brought up the bunk talking point.

    “There’s a tremendous amount of conflicted data there, including one that just came from the CDC, that identifies — this is their own report — that 70-plus percent of the people who died always wore masks in public!” he said.

    For all of the nonsense surrounding this report, its conclusion is simple, and the exact opposite of what Trump and others have cited it to say: “Exposures and activities where mask use and social distancing are difficult to maintain, including going to locations that offer on-site eating and drinking, might be important risk factors for SARS-CoV-2 infection.”

  146. says

    Vaccine timelines (NOT before election day):

    Pfizer said that it would likely seek emergency approval for a COVID-19 vaccine in late November, citing recent federal guidance that toughened approval standards for a vaccine, despite […] Trump’s efforts to push for a shot by the “special day” of Nov. 3.

    In an open letter released Friday, Pfizer CEO and Chairman Albert Bourla said that “assuming positive data, Pfizer will apply for Emergency Authorization Use in the U.S. soon after the safety milestone is achieved in the third week of November.”

    […] Out of the three vaccine candidates in mass, phase III trials, Moderna had already committed to asking for emergency approval in late November. Trials for a vaccine produced by AstraZeneca remain frozen by the Food and Drug Administration after a neurological issue was discovered in a trial participant in the UK.

    That left Pfizer with the last, potential pre-election vaccine approval. […] Bourla reiterated that he believed the company would likely know whether its vaccine candidate is effective by the end of this month. But he added in the letter that the new FDA safety standards would push the company to ask for emergency approval in late November. […]

    Pfizer’s vaccine requires two shots, taken 21 days apart. It needs to be stored at sub-zero temperatures, creating logistical headaches in how to effectively ship and store doses so that millions of Americans can be inoculated.

    […] Money for vaccine distribution was allocated in drafts of the stimulus bill that has not yet been passed, amid opposition from Senate Republicans and inchoate negotiating tactics from the President.

    Without further data on how effective the vaccine is and how long immunity from it may last, it’s also difficult to know what impact any of the shots currently in phase III trials will have on controlling the pandemic.

    […] Trump and others have portrayed it as a silver bullet in bringing the rampaging deadly virus to an end […] epidemiologists and vaccine researchers tend to portray any COVID-19 vaccine more as one effective tool among many in the fight against the spread of the disease.

    Dr. William Schaffner, professor of preventative medicine at Vanderbilt University, told TPM in an interview last month that the vaccine would not singlehandedly end the pandemic. “There’s this unstated hope that the day the vaccine is approved, we can stop all the social distancing and mask wearing. That’s wrong,” Schaffner said. “People are going to be shocked that they’ll be asked to wear the mask continually, even after it’s distributed.”

    The FDA has said that it will approve any safe vaccine that is more than 50 percent effective. The efficacy of any of the vaccine candidates in trials has yet to be determined.


  147. says

    The woman who went viral for repeatedly nodding at […] Trump’s remarks in the background during his town hall on Thursday turns out to be a former congressional candidate who ran on a pro-Trump platform in 2018.

    The Miami Herald identified her as Mayra Joli, an immigration lawyer and former beauty queen who ran against Rep. Donna Shalala (D-FL) two years ago as an independent who strongly supported Trump.

    Joli was seated behind Trump and could be seen nodding approvingly multiple times and giving Trump a thumbs up at one point as he spoke throughout the town hall.

    She later posted a Facebook live video of herself calling out to the President, who was greeting a crowd of supporters after the event, and shouting “We have your back!”

    “You are the best,” she told him. “You are the favorite.”

    From Allison Harris:

    The nodding is to the Trump town hall what the fly was to the VP debate.

  148. says

    Trump is easily duped:

    […] Trump on Friday shared a fake report from a known news satire website in a seeming effort to bash Twitter for its efforts to block a proliferation of misinformation on its platform about Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

    The story tweeted by [Trump] early Friday morning was published by The Babylon Bee — a self-described satire site — and stated that Twitter had “shut down its entire social network” Thursday to curb the spread of negative press about Biden.

    Trump appeared to hope that his followers might take the satirical story with some seriousness when he tweeted: “Wow, this has never been done in history. This includes his really bad interview last night. Why is Twitter doing this. […]”

  149. says

    Trump pins 2017 effort to kill DACA on the pandemic, in one of his most ridiculous lies yet

    […] [Trump spewed] a lie about the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that I just can’t ignore. […]

    During Thursday night’s debate, the impeached president actually got a very good question on DACA from an audience member, who noted the strong bipartisan support for protecting young undocumented immigrants, and pressed him on whether he would keep pursuing an end to the popular program should he remain in office.

    Trump started off by repeating his usual lie, which is that he’s “going to take care of DACA.” This isn’t true because he’s been trying to end it since September 2017. […] Trump continued on with his nonsense until pressed by moderator Savannah Guthrie, who noted that Trump has in fact decimated the program. That’s when Trump jumped in with his whopper.

    ”There are—under your administration—no new applicants are allowed,” Gunthrie said, “and in fact, the DACA recipients now have to renew every year, as opposed to every two years. So, in fact, the DACA program has been curtailed by your administration.”

    ”Well, what happened was because of the pandemic,” Trump replied. “Much changed on the immigration front.” The pandemic. He’s saying the novel coronavirus pandemic, you know, the one with the “19” in the name because that’s when it was identified by scientists, is what made him end the DACA program beginning in September 2017?

    Perhaps he’s also blaming his 100-plus days and counting defiance of the Supreme Court’s ruling upholding the DACA program on the pandemic, too. As Guthrie noted, the administration is refusing to accept new applications but is so far not outright attempting to again end the program before the election. Even they know that continuing to so publicly attack this incredibly popular program is a losing issue for them. But if he remains in office, he’ll try again and without fear of the repercussions—for him.

  150. says

    Follow-up to SC’s comment 193.

    Trump turns down California’s disaster request, hands farmers record subsidies

    Right now in California, the largest wildfire to ever strike the state is still burning. […] at this moment the state estimates that over 4.1 million acres have burned in over 8,500 individual fires. Triggered by climate change that has brought both rising temperatures and shifting rainfall patterns, the incredible wash of flames has also destroyed over 5,000 homes, created some of the worst air conditions on the planet, led to regular power outages for millions … and left eight people dead.

    In fact, the lives directly lost in the flames are only a small part of the toll. Healthcare experts attribute thousands of premature deaths and tens of thousands of illnesses to the air pollution generated by the fires. And in this pandemic season, the thousands of cases of COVID-19 that are springing up in California each day can be directly connected to the large numbers of displaced citizens, many of whom were forced into temporary housing—or no housing at all—in conditions that promoted the spread of the disease. Against that backdrop, it seems particularly shocking, if not simply vile, that on Thursday evening, Donald Trump turned down California’s request for a disaster declaration. With billions of dollars in damage, including over $200 million’s worth of state infrastructure, a disaster declaration might seem automatic.

    […] There are a number of reasons why Trump might have turned California down. None of them are good reasons […] He has also repeatedly blamed California for the fires, arguing with Newsom and other officials, and talking about the need to “sweep the forest floor,” because Trump’s understanding of nature is that it’s just another golf course. While visiting California shortly before Newsom filed his request, Trump blamed the fires on exploding trees, then went on to explain how Europeans manage to build “forest cities” despite having even more explosive trees. With lots of sweeping.

    Trump could easily have decided to deny funds to California simply because he wants the state to hurt. After all, blaming blue-state governors for problems is so important to Trump that he deliberately allowed 220,000 Americans to die in hopes that he could pin it on Democratic officials.

    But the easiest explanation is this one: Trump lost California to Hillary Clinton by 30%. Again … by 30%. And he’s trailing Joe Biden in the state by an almost identical margin. In North Carolina, Trump won by four points in 2016, but recent polling has him behind. Plus, the announcement that he would provide federal funds to North Carolina [Hurricane Isaias relief] came less than a day before Trump appeared for a rally at the Greenville, North Carolina airport. […]

    Would Donald Trump hand over millions to a state where he’s losing in a desperate ploy to gain votes? Sorry … that was not a serious question. In other news, Trump sent record subsidies to farmers in the Midwest and South this week. That $434 billion makes the disaster relief to North Carolina look like a pittance. But then … Biden has edged ahead in both Iowa and Georgia, while drawing level with Trump in Ohio. That’s what Trump considers a real disaster.

    Of course, the reason farmers are suffering comes back largely to Trump’s trade policies that have driven record losses, record debt, and record farm foreclosures. […]

  151. says

    Oh, FFS.

    RNC files FEC complaint against Twitter, alleging ‘in-kind contributions to Biden’

    The Republican National Committee (RNC) has filed a federal elections complaint against Twitter, accusing the social media company of making what it describes as “in-kind contributions” to Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s campaign.

    In a four-page complaint filed Friday, according to Fox News, the RNC alleges Twitter has “us[ed] its corporate resources to provide active support for Joe Biden’s campaign in violation of federal law.”

    The committee cited Twitter’s decision to block users from posting or sending a link to a New York Post story alleging corruption by the former vice president’s son, Hunter Biden, and detailing what critics have said is his illegal overseas business dealings.

    Citing a hacked material policy, Twitter said the story about Hunter Biden is harmful disinformation and should not be allowed on the platform. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey later said it was a mistake to block the story on the platform.

    Senate Republicans reacted to Twitter’s censoring of the New York Post story by accusing the company of “election interference,” and announced this week they plan to subpoena tech company executives to call them to testify about their policies regarding content moderation.

    […] Trump also seized on the news of Twitter blocking the New York Post story, saying the company was trying to “get Biden out of this impossible jam.”

    “Democrat media consultants can only dream of such abilities,” the complaint from the RNC said. “Through its ad hoc, partisan oppression of media critical of Biden, [Twitter] is making illegal, corporate in-kind contributions as it provides unheard-of media services for Joe Biden’s campaign.”

  152. says

    Healthcare and trumpism, an excerpt from last night’s townhall:

    GUTHRIE: You’ve been in office almost four years. You had both houses of Congress, Senate and House, in Republican hands. And there is not a replacement yet.

    TRUMP: […] if you look, we had both houses and what did we do? We got rid of the individual mandate.

    GUTHRIE: The promise was repeal and replace.

    TRUMP: Look, look, we should be on the same side. I want it very simple. I’m going to put it very simple. We would like to terminate it and we would like to replace it with something that’s much less expensive and much better. We will always protect people with preexisting conditions.

    GUTHRIE: But if you’re successful in court in November, the preexisting conditions, that promise will be gone.

    TRUMP: If we don’t succeed, we are running the remnants of whatever is left because we took it apart. We are running the remnants of whatever is left much better than the previous administration, which ran it very badly. We would like to have new health care, much better and much less expensive.


    Trump is unable to explain why he couldn’t come up with a better health care plan when his party controlled all three branches of government. His answer to the question about preexisting conditions is gibberish, largely because there is no good answer.


    From Frank Luntz:

    Trigger Alert: I’m about to say something that will upset many people reading my Twitter feed tonight.

    My group of undecided voters say that the more Trump speaks, the worse he looks.

    More commentary:

    […] Biden came prepared for his town hall with notes, at one point casually throwing around statistics about the British Thermal Unit as it pertains to wind and solar power, and talking about pelletizing chicken and cow manure to take out the methane that contributes to climate change.

    “Electric vehicles will save billions of gallons of oil … [and create] 1 million automobile jobs,” Biden said. “But we’re lagging. We’re not investing. We’re not doing the research.”

    Discussing a long-standing racial wealth gap, Biden recognized that even as the economy has slowly recovered over the summer, the economic picture looks far bleaker for Black and brown workers. The most recent overall unemployment rate is 7.9 percent. But when you break it down along racial lines, the story on what’s happening is quite different: White unemployment is 7 percent, while Black unemployment is 12.1 percent and Hispanic unemployment is 10.3 percent.

    “[Trump] talks about a V-shaped recovery; it’s a K-shaped recovery,” Biden said, pointing to the theory that those with means in America are bouncing back quite easily, while everyone else is suffering. “If you are on the top, you’re going to do very well. If you’re on the bottom, in the middle or the bottom, your income is coming down.”

    […] The Trump campaign [called] Guthrie a “Biden surrogate” and added, “President Trump masterfully handled Guthrie’s attacks and interacted warmly and effectively with the voters in the room.” [LOL]

    Trump’s allies, in the face of his performance, focused on working the refs — the media. The rule for interviewing Donald Trump is very clear: He can be mean to you, but you have to be nice to him, obsequiously so, no matter what he says or does.

    But this was Trump’s choice. As he said about the decision to do the town hall: “They asked me if I’d do it, and I figured what the hell? We’ll get a free hour of television.”

    He did indeed. And now some of his biggest allies are very upset about it.

  153. says

    An excerpt from a debate transcript, one in which Republican doofus Senator Joni Ernst failed in what former presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg called the “most Midwestern moment in the history of televised debates”:

    Moderator #1: What’s the breakeven price for soybeans in Iowa? You grew up on a farm you should know this.

    Ernst: Ah, I think you had asked about corn, and I …

    Moderator #1: I asked her [Democratic challenger Theresa Greenfield] corn

    Ernst: It depends on what the inputs are, but probably about $5.50

    Moderator #1: Well you’re a couple dollars off I think here, ’cause it’s $10.05, but we’ll move onto something else

    Ernst: (smugly) And I don’t think Ms. Greenfield answered either

    Moderator #2: She actually did with the price of corn, we had asked for the price of soybeans from you, Senator.

    For contrast, here is an excerpt in which Theresa Greenfield nails her answer:

    Moderator #1: What’s the breakeven price for a bushel of corn in Iowa this week?

    Greenfield: Well a bushel of corn is going for about $3.68 today, $3.69 and breakeven just really depends on the amount of debt someone has. I suspect there’s farmers that are breaking even at that price. However, if their yields are down 50 percent, that’s certainly not gonna cover it for ’em. I’ll tell ya, we’ve had low commodity prices for too long, they’ve been “going out of business” prices.

    Greenfield is leading in the polls.

  154. KG says

    Most European governments relaxed strict lockdowns over the summer to revive economies shattered by the pandemic’s first wave. – The Guarian quoted by SC@198

    I don’t think this hyperbole is helpful. A “shattered” economy is one like Germany after both world wars, Zimbabwe at the height of the hyperinflation, Russia in the 1990s, or possibly the USA in the 1930s. European economies have continued to function, food and other necessities have been available and for most people, affordable, services such as utilities, the post, the internet and garbage collection have continued. Certainly, many people have lost their jobs, more people have had to depend on welfare andor charity, the number in dire poverty has increased (but “austerity” had already pushed that number up considerably) but the pandemic has shown that a rich modern country can continue to function economically, at least for a period of months (and in a rich captialist country the wealthy can continue to accumulate wealth) with large numbers of people either not working, or working from home.

  155. says

    From Wonkette, commentary on Trump’s downhill event:

    Bang-up job by the Trump campaign, who thought they’d convince those suburban women to PLEASE LIKE ME Donald Trump — a man they find loathsome and boorish — by giving them more Donald Trump.

    […] “And so they asked me if I’d do it, and I figured what the hell, we’ve got a free hour on television,” he bragged to a crowd in North Carolina yesterday.

    “And we have Savannah Guthrie,” he added sarcastically. “She’s always lovely, isn’t she? But I figure why not.”

    If you saw this scene in a movie, you’d know it was a prelude to watching the pompous ass get his ass kicked by the plucky heroine. […]

    The evening got off to relatively normal start.

    “It’s great to be back in my home state, Florida, to make my official return to the campaign trail,” said the president, who held rallies this week in Pennsylvania, Iowa, North Carolina, and Florida.

    Then Guthrie asked about his coronavirus symptoms and whether he ever had pneumonia.

    TRUMP: No, but they said the lungs are a little bit different, a little bit perhaps infected, and —

    GUTHRIE: Infected with?

    TRUMP: I don’t know. I mean, I didn’t do too much asking. I really felt good. I didn’t have much of a problem with the lungs. I did have a little bit of a temperature. Obviously, I felt there was something missing, and then I tested, I tested positive.

    […] GUTHRIE: Just to button it up, do you take a test every single day?

    TRUMP: No. No, but I take a lot of tests.

    GUTHRIE: Okay. And you don’t know if you took a test the day of the debate?

    TRUMP: Possibly I did, possibly I didn’t. But the doctor has very accurate information and it’s not only that doctor, it’s many doctors. The one thing, if you’re president, you have a lot of doctors you’re surrounded by. But I was in great shape for the debate. And sometime after the debate, I tested positive, then that’s when they decided to, let’s go.

    GUTHRIE: Okay, good. I hopefully provided some clarity for folks.

    Spoiler Alert: He didn’t take the test. And if he did, it was the rapid response one that doesn’t pick up most asymptomatic cases because the viral load is too low.

    […] GUTHRIE: But we have per… Our deaths per capita is among the highest of all —

    TRUMP: Excess mortality.

    GUTHRIE: I’m sorry?

    TRUMP: Excess mortality, we’re a winner on the excess mortality. And what we’ve done has been amazing.

    Is he trying to make an argument that other countries are hiding all their coronavirus deaths and saying they’re from, like, car accidents? Or is he just making shit up again?

    That’s a rhetorical question. Also, if you’re asking, “is the president correct about our excess mortality compared to other countries,” the Journal of the American Medical Association says the answer is “no”.

    I bolded the sentence above because I don’t think we had debunked that particular lie in this thread.

    “Let me ask you about QAnon. It is this theory that Democrats are a satanic pedophile ring and that you are the savior of that. Now can you just, once and for all, state that that is completely not true, and disavow QAnon in its entirety?” Guthrie asked.

    [Trump] responded with several minutes of equivocation, insisting that “I know nothing about QAnon,” while simultaneously praising the cult for being “very much against pedophilia.” Trump, who had just agreed to denounce white supremacy, pointedly refused to repudiate QAnon, pivoting immediately to blarping nonsense about Antifa.

    TRUMP: I know very little. You told me, but what you tell me, doesn’t necessarily make it fact. I hate to say that. I know nothing about it. I do know they are, they fight it very hard. But I know nothing about it. If you’d like me to study the subject.

    GUTHRIE: They believe that it is a satanic cult run by the deep state.

    TRUMP: I’ll tell you what I do know about. I know about Antifa, and I know about the radical Left, and I know how violent they are and how vicious they are. And I know how they are burning down cities run by Democrats, not run by Republicans.

    He finished the exchange by sneering “that’s so cute.” Sorry ladies, he’s taken!

    And speaking of shit Trump knows nothing about … remember like three days ago when Donald Trump RT’d some rando conspiracy loon saying that Joe Biden killed SEAL Team 6 to cover up for not killing Osama bin Laden […]

    TRUMP: That was a retweet. That was an opinion of somebody and that was a retweet. I’ll put it out there. People can decide for themselves. I don’t take a position.

    GUTHRIE: But, I don’t get that, you’re the President. You’re not like, someone’s crazy uncle who can just retweet, whatever.

    TRUMP: No, no. No, no. That was a retweet. And I do a lot of retweets. And frankly, because the media is so fake, and so corrupt, if I didn’t have social media… I don’t call it Twitter, I call it social media. I wouldn’t be able to get the word out. And the word is —

    GUTHRIE: Well, the word is false.

    TRUMP: And you know what the word is? The word is very simple. We’re building our country, stronger and better than it’s ever been before. And that’s what’s happening. And everybody knows it.

    “I bear absolutely no responsibility for any slanderous information I put out in the world” is kind of an odd position for a guy gunning to make Twitter liable for what’s posted on its site. But whatevs.

    Then it was time for Trump to barf out errant nonsense in response to audience member questions. Like the healthcare worker who asked what he’d do about furloughs of front line workers, only to be met with a boast about how he’d closed the borders to China and the economy was just booming.

    […] unlike Maria Bartiromo, Guthrie didn’t just smile and nod at the presidential bullshit fountain.

    Trump is sure that the science on masks is unsettled — it isn’t — and that Senate Republicans will gladly greenlight a massive relief package the second he snaps his fingers — they won’t. A perfect plan to replace Obamacare with something bigger, better, faster, more is right around the corner, to be announced in two weeks. Probably the same day as the coronavirus vaccine.

    There are infinity crazy stupid quotes to choose from in last night’s transcript, but it’s too boring to bother. They’re all exactly the same. […] Nothing he says is true, and worse, he doesn’t understand that people expect that the president of the United States will not simply fabricate statistics out of whole cloth.

    “I know you read the news, but do you watch it?” he demanded of Guthrie. Because in his mind, actually doing the work means sitting on the couch and watching television. The real news isn’t the data, it’s the spin.

    Meanwhile, over at ABC, Vice President Joe Biden was talking policy and engaging with voters. Yes, it was boring. Of course it was boring! Because policy is hard. Negotiating treaties and passing legislation is hard. Reading the briefing books to understand all sides before making a decision is hard. […]

    The guy was still answering voter questions after ABC had handed the microphone over to the talking heads. […]


  156. says

    KG @217, “I don’t think this hyperbole is helpful.” I agree. I will note that Republicans are likely to make the economy in the USA much much worse before they are finally kicked out of office.

  157. says

    Trump brought data from the Fox News universe to a debate centered in reality.

    Washington Post link

    It is usually the case that when […] Trump sits for an interview, the person sitting across from him works for Fox News or Fox Business.

    […] it was predictable that a significant chunk of the president’s town-hall-style interview on NBC News would focus heavily on his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, something that his friends at Fox generally handle with kid gloves. Trump himself seemed to predict the line of questioning, so he came prepared with charts detailing the relative effectiveness of what his administration had done.

    Unfortunately for him, though, the information he was holding itself came from the Fox News universe. Literally.

    […] “Look at what’s going on in Europe: massive spikes,” Trump said. “They’ve done a very good job, but now you take a look today at the U.K., you take a look at Spain and France and Italy, there’s tremendous spikes — ”

    “But our death rate is worse than — well, not Spain, but those other countries,” Guthrie interjected.

    “Well, I have,” Trump began rifling through papers sitting next to him — “I have things right here that will tell you exactly the opposite.

    He held up a sheet of paper. “So the U.K. is up 2,500 percent — because I knew you’d be doing this. I know you very well,” Trump said, looking up briefly from the document he was holding. “The U.K. is up 2,500 percent, the E.U.’s up 722 percent, and the United States is down 21 percent.”

    On the surface, this seems like a compelling point. But, of course, it lacks context. Up and down from what? What’s being measured?

    Luckily, we can answer that question because we know the source of Trump’s numbers: Laura Ingraham’s Wednesday Fox News show. Trump was holding a printout of a still from a YouTube video from Ingraham’s show and rattling off the large numbers it depicted.

    The chart was part of a segment on Ingraham’s program that night titled, “Biden and the covid experts, exposed” […]

    “When you think about it, Joe Biden really has only one argument for his presidency that even attempts at cutting through,” Ingraham said as the segment began, “and it would be that he is better at handling covid.”

    […] “There are a number of countries in Europe that listened to those same scientists who advocated widespread lockdowns,” she said, “and the results in Europe are a spectacular disaster.”

    “If you care about daily cases,” she continued, “the U.K. has soared past the U.S., and the E.U. is close.”

    […] It’s a comparison between that date [August 1] and the Wednesday numbers from the United States, the European Union and the United Kingdom.

    Why Aug. 1? Well, almost certainly because it was a date near the peak in daily cases and daily deaths in the United States. […]

    on Aug. 1, the average number of new cases in Europe was at about 8,000 and in Britain, about 600 — compared with the United States’ 64,000. As a function of population, the metric Ingraham uses, the United States’ case totals on that day were 11 times the European Union’s. On Wednesday, the E.U. was still seeing fewer per-capita cases than the United States, a point that Ingraham failed to raise.

    A central point here is that the increases in the European Union (and, to a lesser extent, Britain) were so large precisely because those places had done a much better job controlling the virus. Europe implemented broad measures aimed at containing the virus, actions that Ingraham pooh-poohs — and largely contained the virus. Ingraham is doing the equivalent of bragging about how well a city that has had 50 murders a day had done fighting crime since a city that had been at a steady 5 murders a day recently spiked to 30. That’s a 600 percent increase! Terrible, compared with the recent 2 percent drop in Murderville from 50 to 49 murders each day.

    […] fewer people were contracting the virus in Europe and Britain and, therefore, fewer were dying. She [Ingraham] also shifts here from per-capita numbers to raw ones, exaggerating the effect.

    If you’re curious, on Wednesday, the day of Ingraham’s show, the United States was averaging more deaths on a daily basis than the European Union and Britain combined, on both a raw and per-capita basis. Ingraham also touted that the number of people who had died of covid-19 in the United States was a smaller percentage of total cases than in the E.U. or Britain — which is entirely a function of the massive case numbers the United States saw over the summer, after medical experts had learned more about effectively treating covid-19.
    Ingraham reached her conclusion.

    “The obvious conclusion from the European experience is that lockdowns only delay the inevitable,” Ingraham claimed.

    […] It’s all spin, aimed at precisely what Ingraham outlined at the outset: undermining Biden’s insistence on following expert advice and, therefore, bolstering Trump’s seat-of-his-pants approach. So it’s not surprising that the argument appealed to Trump. He undoubtedly watched the program, as he often does, and heard Ingraham’s claims. Sounds good, he apparently thought. Someone handed him a sheet with her numbers, and off he went to the NBC News event. Armed with his printout, he was ready for battle.

    So, too, was Don Quixote. […]

  158. says

    From Rachel Maddow:

    Trump is essentially telling you that if you wear a mask, you are going to get COVID. It’s not only fantastically wrong, it’s fantastically dangerous when the science tells us that actually wearing masks is one of the main things that we can do as a country, as individual citizens, to slow the spread of the virus and to prevent others from getting it, more importantly to prevent ourselves from giving it to others.”

  159. says


    Some medical facilities in Kansas City, Mo., have turned away ambulances due to hospital beds occupied by COVID-19 patients.

    Metro hospitals and emergency departments reported Wednesday night high enough volumes of patients that facilities temporarily stopped accepting ambulances, a leading physician at St. Luke’s Health System told The Kansas City Star.

    […] “We’re bursting at the seams in the metropolitan area, and really across the state and the region, […]

    St. Luke’s Health System admitted more than 100 COVID-19 patients Tuesday, setting record numbers since the start of the pandemic. On Thursday, the system still averaged 90 virus patients across St. Luke’s facilities.

    The ambulance diversions continued into Thursday afternoon, as five facilities still remained overwhelmed by the surge in patients.

    The diversions were prioritized for those who were not in the most critical need, allowing patients suffering from strokes, heart attacks and other serious injuries to receive urgent care.

    The uptick of COVID-19 cases in Missouri continues to worsen as medical facilities in rural areas are reporting struggles under the pressure of incoming patient admissions.

    Three hundred miles west of Kansas City, more than 50 employees at the Gove County Medical Center in Kansas have been infected by the virus. […]


  160. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Lynna @215: Trump’s allies, in the face of his performance, focused on working the refs — the media.

    Well, isn’t that their approach with the courts? And with the press–badgerthem until they “bothsides” their way to irrelevance? And when history is not kind, they will just suppress all the nonsycophants–after all they’ll have all the money by then.

  161. says

    KG @ #217:

    I don’t think this hyperbole is helpful….

    Indeed. I’m also bothered by the constant talk of total lockdowns vs. getting back to normal life, like those are really the two options. The point is to draw on the existing global knowledge base and experiment cautiously to find out what’s effective and what isn’t. (New York has done a decent job of this.) I’m still gobsmacked that Italy went from very strict regulations to crowded nightclubs. The article even mentions “packed bars.” What the hell? It’s hard to believe so many places went through what they did in the spring and then thought they could just reopen indoor restaurants and bars. There are some activities that pose too much of a risk and have to be curtailed, and if people and businesses will lose money they have to be paid while this lasts. There needs to be adequate testing, tracing, isolation, and data collection and sharing. There need to be mask mandates; public information campaigns; and clear, daily updates and scientific explanations of the rationale for different measures. People need to limit their in-person social activities and do them as safely as possible. No one’s going back to normal life until this is past. They should stop with this false dichotomy about ruinous lockdowns vs. “open” economies where the virus is uncontrollable.

    Guardian world liveblog:

    Boris Johnson has attempted to strong-arm Greater Manchester into accepting tougher Covid restrictions without providing extra money to protect businesses, by claiming that every day of delay would mean “more people will die”.

    In a Downing Street press conference, the UK prime minister reiterated his threat to impose the tier 3 lockdown if an agreement could not be reached this weekend – and dismissed the idea of a short national “circuit break” to help bring down infection rates.


  162. says

    Kai Kupferschmidt:

    Gilead received the Solidarity manuscript ruling out a big impact from remdesivir on #covid19 mortality on 28 September according to @WHO.

    On 8 October, before the results became public, Gilead signed a billion dollar deal with the EU Commission for remdesivir.

    I have questions

    For starters:

    Did the EU Commission know about the results that were about to come out?

    Did Gilead push to ink the deal before that happened?

    What are the provisions in the deal in case the drug turns out to have very little effect/isn’t used?

    And a ton more questions….

  163. says

    And one more thing re #224 – even when appropriate policies are enacted and communicated well, there are often entitled assholes and dupes who refuse to take the most basic precautions to protect themselves and others and will even use their power to sabotage public health efforts, then turn around and talk about how destructive and ineffective those measures are.

  164. says

    David Fahrenthold:

    NEW: The @statedept says it has 450 pages of records showing government payments to @realdonaldtrump’s businesses.

    But it’s only going to release 2 pages before the election.

    Here’s what we *do* know: the Trump administration has spent $1.2 million+ in taxpayer money at @realdonaldtrump’s businesses.

    And Trump’s business did not keep a promise to charge the govt “like $50” for rooms. Their rates went as high as $650/night.

    NEW: the Post’s lawyers just filed this motion, asking a judge to make @StateDept release more of the 448 pages of records it’s holding back. (Which show hidden government payments to @realdonaldtrump’s businesses)

    WaPo link atl.

  165. says

    Guardian world liveblog:

    In the United States, Covid-19 cases are rising in key battleground states in the presidential election campaign.

    AP reports that Midwest states such as Iowa and Wisconsin are opening more early voting locations, recruiting backup workers and encouraging voters to plan for long lines and other inconveniences.

    Confirmed virus cases and deaths are on the rise in the swing states of Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Wisconsin.

    Wisconsin governor Tony Evers, whose state is seeing record Covid-19 cases, says he plans to activate the Wisconsin National Guard to fill any staffing shortages at election sites.

    While holding a competitive presidential election during a pandemic is “tricky business,” the governor said, “People are ready to have this election over, and I think it will be a successful election with very few hiccups.”

  166. says

    CNN – “Former White House chief of staff tells friends that Trump ‘is the most flawed person’ he’s ever met”:

    Former White House chief of staff, retired Marine Gen. John Kelly, has told friends that President Donald Trump “is the most flawed person” he’s ever known.

    “The depths of his dishonesty is just astounding to me. The dishonesty, the transactional nature of every relationship, though it’s more pathetic than anything else. He is the most flawed person I have ever met in my life,” the retired Marine general has told friends, CNN has learned.

    The reporting comes from a new CNN special scheduled to air Sunday night, “The Insiders: A Warning from Former Trump Officials,” in which former senior administration officials — including former national security adviser John Bolton, former Health and Human Services scientist Rick Bright and former Department of Homeland Security general counsel John Mitnick — explain why they think the President is unfit for office.

    Kelly’s sentiments about the President’s transactional nature and dishonesty have been shared by other former members of the Trump administration who also appear in the special….

    Another moral coward and awful person.

  167. says

    Trump on Florida: ‘If we don’t win it, I’m blaming the governor. I’m gonna fire him somehow. I’ll find a way’.”

    He said this to the crowd at his Florida superspreader with DeSantis right there, pointing at DeSantis. He acted out similar scenes with Chris Christie and others in 2016 (although this time it’s combined with blatant corruption and autocratic moves). He’s sadistically compelled to humiliate the people around him when he’s under stress.

  168. Saad says

    SC, #234

    For us mere mortals, this would surely be illegal: putting pressure on a governor to make you win the state.

  169. says

    Humor/satire from Andy Borowitz, published by The New Yorker with a photo of Trump and Samantha Guthrie onstage at the town hall event:

    In one of the more embarrassing television fiascos in recent memory, NBC has announced that it will cancel its reboot of “The Apprentice” after only one episode.

    The reboot, which attempted to revive the flagging career of its star, was widely panned by critics and audience members, who seemed baffled by the network’s decision to air it in the first place.

    Even more puzzling, the producers of the “Apprentice” reboot tinkered with the original’s winning format, transforming its star from a successful, nearly omniscient business mogul to a hapless incompetent beset by failure.

    While a press release from NBC indicated that the network would be scheduling “no further episodes” of the reboot, a permanent cancellation could come on November 3rd, insiders say.

    New Yorker link

  170. says

    Bits and pieces of news.

    A federal judge demanded on Friday that the White House counsel’s office confirm directly with President Donald Trump whether he stands by a series public statements he made declaring that he’d declassified all information related to the probe of alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

    Quoted from a Politico article.

    Remdesivir, the only antiviral drug authorized for treatment of Covid-19 in the United States, fails to prevent deaths among patients, according to a study of more than 11,000 people in 30 countries sponsored by the World Health Organization.

    Quoted from a New York Times article.

  171. says

    EXCLUSIVE: Ross Commits To Protocols That Make It Harder For Trump To Mess With Census

    Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement to TPM that when the Census Bureau gives the President the 2020 census data for congressional apportionment, it will make that data public at the same time.

    The statement commits the Trump administration to following a decades-long tradition of simultaneously releasing and transmitting the numbers, encouraging public confidence that the data will not be secretly manipulated by the White House.

    […] “I have no further comment on the ongoing litigation, but we will release this Census data publicly, and in keeping with past practice, will do so simultaneously with its delivery to the President,” Ross said in a response provided to TPM on Friday afternoon.

    After a follow up from TPM, the Commerce Department confirmed that Ross was referring to the total population counts, the apportionment calculations that they produce, and, in the event the Supreme Court gives a green light, the immigration data that Trump is requesting so that he can exclude undocumented immigrants from apportionment process.

    A lower court has declared the exclusion of undocumented immigrants from the apportionment count illegal. Not long after TPM received the initial statement from Ross, the Supreme Court announced it would hear arguments in that case on a timetable that could let it resolve the dispute before early January.

    “Early January.” Yikes. Amy Coney Barrett will have joined the Supreme Court by then.

    The gambit, if okayed by the Supreme Court, would allow Trump to diminish political representation for immigrant-rich states, while boosting the political power of whiter, Republican-leaning parts of the country. It has been blocked by a lower court.

    Even amid the legal uncertainty, the Census Bureau has been moving forward on assembling data on undocumented immigrants. Recent developments in the various census-related court cases have suggested that the Bureau is having trouble collecting reliable data on undocumented immigrants beyond those that can be linked to ICE detention records, which would be a relatively small number of people.

    In the meantime, census advocates have been clamoring for full transparency on what data the Census Bureau will be providing the White House if and when the White House seeks to execute this plan. There are concerns that the Bureau will be pressured to provide data that do not meet the Bureau’s normal quality standards due to a White House desire to maximize how much it can screw over blue states.

    Seeing what data the White House will be working with will help the public understand whether those concerns are warranted — or if there are any other tactics the White House could in theory try to use to manipulate the count for the benefit of Republicans. […]

    A separate statement from the Census Bureau to TPM signaled that the Bureau is also not 100 percent sure it can meet the statutory Dec. 31 deadline for delivering the data to the president.

    “The Census Bureau is working hard to process the data in order to deliver complete and accurate state population counts as close to the December 31, 2020, statutory deadline as possible,” the statement said.

    That deadline was a flashpoint in a recent court battle over the Trump administration’s moves to expedite the census count. At the beginning of the pandemic, it requested that Congress extend that deadlines by four months given the ways the COVID-19 outbreak was disrupting the survey. But over the summer, the White House appeared to reverse itself on that request — a move many believe indicated a desire to implement the immigrant apportionment policy before Inauguration Day, in case Trump lost the election. […]

    For the last 50 years, the Commerce Secretary and the Census director have held a press conference to announce both the population totals and the Bureau’s apportionment calculations on the same day those numbers are sent to the President. That has helped the public maintain confidence that the White House wasn’t then tampering with numbers before sending them to Congress.

    Justice Department filings and other chatter coming out of the administration have suggested that this time, the White House may run the apportionment calculations instead of the Bureau.

    Not everyone was convinced by Ross’ commitment, and there are other examples where the White House has reversed on official commitments about the census.

    “The Commerce Department is being sketchy, limiting its comments to following past practices.They are not indicating if they will add new twists to the process or state population totals for reapportionment. I wouldn’t be surprised if they do something completely new and different a few days or weeks later,” Jeff Wice, a redistricting lawyer and adjunct professor at New York Law School, told TPM.

  172. tomh says

    McConnell packing the courts is paying off.

    Sixth Circuit Revives Kentucky Abortion Clinic Transfer Rule
    October 16, 2020 KEVIN KOENINGER

    CINCINNATI (CN) — A divided panel of appellate judges on Friday reinstated restrictions that require abortion providers in Kentucky to obtain written transfer agreements with hospitals, a decision opponents say could leave the state without a licensed provider…

    Following a three-day bench trial, U.S. District Judge Greg Stivers … ruled the statutes unconstitutional. Stivers, a Barack Obama appointee, granted the abortion providers a permanent injunction to prevent enforcement of the transfer agreement rule, and Kentucky appealed to the Sixth Circuit.

    U.S. Circuit Judge Joan Larsen, an appointee of President Donald Trump, wrote the lead opinion…The judge called the written transfer agreements a “rational way” to combat the issue of emergency medical problems that might arise during an abortion and said the Kentucky laws therefore serve a legitimate governmental interest…

    Larsen was joined in the majority opinion by fellow Trump appointee U.S. Circuit Judge Chad Readler…

    U.S. Circuit Judge Eric Clay, a Bill Clinton appointee, wrote a 35-page dissenting opinion and called the majority’s decision “terribly and tragically wrong…As a result of the majority’s deeply flawed analysis, millions of individuals will be altogether deprived of abortion access.”

    Clay ended his dissent by calling the transfer rule unconstitutional “under any possible applicable test…”

  173. KG says

    SC@224, 227

    Just about every European country that enacted a lockdown lifted it too early, giving way to corporate and contrarian pressure, before reducing cases to a level where a test-trace-isolate system could keep it low (I think the rise is probably partly due to cooler weather, but mainly to this premature relaxation). Aside from the additional sickness and death in Europe, this has had the effect of giving Trump a degree of cover for his even worse performance. In the UK at least (I don’t know about other countries), the t-t-i system is a complete shambles, because most of it was outsourced to commercial companies with no expertise in public health. The comparison every rich western country with high levels of infection should be making is with China, Taiwan, South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, New Zealand, Australia…

  174. says

    NYT – “A Regulatory Rush by Federal Agencies to Secure Trump’s Legacy”:

    Facing the prospect that President Trump could lose his re-election bid, his cabinet is scrambling to enact regulatory changes affecting millions of Americans in a blitz so rushed it may leave some changes vulnerable to court challenges.

    The effort is evident in a broad range of federal agencies and encompasses proposals like easing limits on how many hours some truckers can spend behind the wheel, giving the government more freedom to collect biometric data and setting federal standards for when workers can be classified as independent contractors rather than employees.

    In the bid to lock in new rules before Jan. 20, Mr. Trump’s team is limiting or sidestepping requirements for public comment on some of the changes and swatting aside critics who say the administration has failed to carry out sufficiently rigorous analysis.

    Some cases, like a new rule to allow railroads to move highly flammable liquefied natural gas on freight trains, have led to warnings of public safety threats.

    Every administration pushes to complete as much of its agenda as possible when a president’s term is coming to an end, seeking not just to secure its own legacy but also to tie the hands of any successor who tries to undo its work.

    But as Mr. Trump completes four years marked by an extensive deregulatory push, the administration’s accelerated effort to put a further stamp on federal rules is drawing questions even from some former top officials who served under Republican presidents.

    Few of the planned shifts have drawn more scrutiny and criticism than a Labor Department proposal to set federal standards for defining when a worker is an independent contractor or an employee, a step that could affect millions of workers. [See my comment at the end of #54 above.]

    The issue has come to a boil as states like California have tried to push companies like Uber and Lyft to classify workers as employees, meaning they would be entitled to benefits such as overtime pay and potentially health insurance, a move that the companies have challenged.

    The proposed Labor Department rule creates a so-called economic reality test, such as whether workers set their own schedules or can earn more money by hiring helpers or acquiring new equipment.

    The department, in the proposed rule, said it cannot predict how many workers may see their status change as a result of the new definitions because of “uncertainties regarding magnitude and other factors.”

    But it is nonetheless pushing to have the rule finished before the end of Mr. Trump’s first term, limiting the period of public comment to 30 days, half the amount of time that agencies are supposed to offer.

    That has generated letters of protest from Senate Democrats and 22 state attorneys general.

    “Workers across the country deserve a chance to fully examine and properly respond to these potentially radical changes,” said a letter organized by Senator Patty Murray, Democrat of Washington, and signed by 16 other Democratic senators.

    Unlike most of the efforts the administration has pushed, the rules intended to tighten immigration standards would expand federal regulations, instead of narrowing them. They also come at a considerable cost, estimated to be more than $6 billion just for the new demands related to immigrants’ biometric data and proof of financial capacity for those sponsoring immigrants.

    The Environmental Protection Agency, which since the start of the Trump administration has been moving at a high speed to rewrite federal regulations, is expected to complete work in the weeks that remain in Mr. Trump’s term on two of the nation’s most important air pollution rules: standards that regulate particulates and ozone emitted by factories, power plants, car exhaust and other sources.

    Mr. Trump has played a direct role in pushing to accelerate some regulations. Among them is a provision finished this summer, nicknamed “bomb trains” by its critics, that allows railroads to move highly flammable loads of liquefied natural gas on freight trains. Mr. Trump signed an executive order last year directing the Transportation Department to enact the rule within 13 months — even before it had been formally proposed.

    The change was backed by the railroad and natural gas industry, which has donated millions of dollars to Mr. Trump, after construction of pipelines had been blocked or slowed after protests by environmentalists.
    But the proposal provoked an intense backlash from a diverse array of prominent public safety officials….

    McEnany tweets about how “President Trump has the WORKING MAN AND WOMAN” while they jam through this corporate wish list.

  175. says

    NYT – “White House Opposes Expanded Virus Testing, Complicating Stimulus Talks”:

    In late September, a Nobel Prize-winning economist emailed Dr. Scott W. Atlas, a White House coronavirus adviser, in what he saw as a last-ditch effort to persuade the Trump administration to embrace a sharp increase in testing and isolating infected patients. The plan, meant to appeal to a president who has complained that positive tests make his administration look bad, would not “generate any new confirmed cases.”

    Dr. Atlas, a radiologist, told the economist, Paul Romer of New York University, that there was no need to do the sort of testing he was proposing.

    “That’s not appropriate health care policy,” Dr. Atlas wrote.

    Dr. Atlas went on to mention a theory that the virus can be arrested once a small percentage of the United States population contracts it. He said there was a “likelihood that only 25 or 20 percent of people need the infection,” an apparent reference to a threshold for so-called herd immunity that epidemiologists have widely disputed.

    The call for more widespread testing and isolation, Dr. Atlas wrote, “is grossly misguided.”

    The exchange highlights the resistance in the White House toward adopting a significantly expanded federal testing program, including efforts to support infected patients in isolation and track the people they have been in contact with, even as cases and deaths continue to rise nationwide. That resistance has become a sticking point in negotiations over a new economic stimulus package, with the administration and top Democrats yet to agree on the scope and setup of an expanded testing plan.

    Many public health experts, and some economists like Mr. Romer, say that a far more sweeping program would save lives and bolster the economy by helping as many Americans as possible learn quickly if they are infected — and then take steps to avoid spreading the virus.

    Dr. Atlas and other administration officials playing influential roles in the government’s virus response effectively say the opposite: that more widespread testing would infringe on Americans’ privacy and hurt the economy, by keeping potentially infected workers who show no symptoms from reporting to their jobs. [!!!]

    Congressional Democrats have grown so frustrated with the administration’s testing efforts that as part of any agreement on a new aid package, they insisted on language that would force the government to carry out a far more prescriptive national program for administering and distributing tests.

    While White House negotiators resisted those demands for months, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has said he will accept such wording with minor edits. Top Democratic staff, including the top health adviser to Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California, walked Mr. Mnuchin through the party’s proposal on Friday, according to a person familiar with the discussion, but they had yet to announce agreement on language by early evening.

    Mr. Mnuchin said on Thursday that the pair had settled on spending an additional $75 billion for testing and tracing. But the sides have not yet reached agreement on the language that Democrats have demanded for a national testing strategy, including timelines and benchmarks for allocating testing supplies and testing communities heavily affected by the virus. Democrats have been wary that the administration would actually spend the money as intended without specific legislative parameters.

    Ms. Pelosi said she had not received proposed changes from Mr. Mnuchin as of early Friday evening, saying in an interview on MSNBC, “we’re making progress — we have to have clarification in language.” The pair are scheduled to speak Saturday evening….

    Where the US is: people have to try to concoct schemes to keep positive tests from forming part of the official statistics to placate the malevolent lunatics in the WH, while the malevolent lunatics in the WH have already moved on to not wanting people tested because they won’t go to work if they’re potentially infected.

  176. says

    Guardian – “Jacinda Ardern hails ‘very strong mandate’ after New Zealand election landslide”:

    Jacinda Ardern will govern New Zealand for a second term after the Labour party secured a landslide victory in the general election, attracting so many votes that it could become the first party in decades to be able to govern alone.

    With more than 90% of the vote counted, Labour had secured 49%, with the opposition National party on 27%. Labour was expected to win 64 of the 120 seats in parliament, and National, 35. It is the best result for the Labour party in 50 years.

    The leader of the opposition, Judith Collins, congratulated Ardern on the “outstanding result” on Saturday night.

    Speaking to supporters at Auckland town hall minutes later, Ardern thanked the nation for the strong mandate. She said elections “don’t have to be divisive” and promised to govern with positivity.

    “I cannot imagine a people I would feel more privileged to work on behalf of, to work alongside and to be prime minister for,” she said to cheers.

    “Tonight’s result does give Labour a very strong and a very clear mandate.”

    It is an extraordinary night for Labour, which might not have to rely on a minor party to form a government.

    The vote had become a referendum on Ardern’s leadership of the country since her sudden ascension to power three years ago. The dismal results for her opponents suggested New Zealanders had rewarded her for her deft handling of the pandemic, which has so far spared the country the worst of Covid-19, although it is now in a recession.

    A record number of voters – more than 1.7 million – cast their ballots in advance, accounting for almost half of the roughly 3.5 million New Zealanders on the electoral rolls.

    After coming to power in 2017 Ardern drew a mixed response in the polls. But she has since risen to become New Zealand’s most popular prime minister of modern times, steering the country through crisis after crisis, including Covid-19.

    Although New Zealand is now in its worst recession in decades, Ardern’s decision to close the borders and enforce a nationwide lockdown meant fewer than 2,000 people become infected with coronavirus and 25 people died.

    Ardern, who has become globally famous as a progressive leader, emphasised kindness and cooperation during her first term, and told voters she needed a second term to deliver on her promises of transformational change.

    During her first term, she banned future oil and gas exploration, increased paid parental leave, raised the minimum wage, and increased benefits for the most deprived New Zealanders.

    But she failed to deliver on some of her key pledges. She ditched the KiwiBuild affordable housing scheme (fewer than 500 homes were built out of an original 100,000 pledged), scrapped a proposed capital gains tax, and made minimal headway on child poverty.

    She defended her progressive record on Friday, telling an interviewer that change would not happen overnight.

    A second term brings with it a slew of challenges for the prime minister, with the country facing a recession, poverty and benefit figures on the rise and climate-related weather events becoming more common.

    Election fatigue was pronounced throughout the long weeks of campaigning, with voters and politicians alike seeming to have no appetite for dog-eat-dog politics in the midst of a global pandemic.

    But it was Labour’s promise to deliver “stability” for voters – usually a National party slogan – that proved decisive, with many New Zealanders feeling too uncertain to shake up the government after such a trying year.

    Ardern has promised to halve child poverty by 2030, tackle the climate crisis and build more state housing. She has also promised to resuscitate the economy after a strict seven-week nationwide lockdown….

  177. says

    Guardian – “Teacher decapitated in Paris named as Samuel Paty, 47”:

    A history teacher decapitated outside his secondary school in a Paris suburb on Friday after he reportedly showed a caricature of the prophet Muhammad to his pupils has been named.

    Samuel Paty, 47, who taught history and geography at the school in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine , north-west of the French capital, was attacked on Friday evening by an 18-year-old man who was shot dead by police shortly afterwards.

    Earlier this month, Paty had reportedly shown a class of teenage pupils a caricature from the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo during a moral and civic education class discussion about freedom of speech, sparking a furious response from a number of parents who had demanded his resignation. Before presenting the caricature, the teacher reportedly invited Muslim students to leave the classroom if they wished.

    Afterwards, the father of a 13-year-old girl who did not leave the class posted a video on YouTube claiming the teacher had shown a “photo of a naked man” claiming he was the “Muslim prophet”. The father called on other parents to join him in a collective action against the teacher, whom he described as a “voyou” (thug).

    In order to calm the situation, the school organised a meeting between the headteacher, the teacher and an official from the education authority.

    The 18-year-old killer, who was born in Moscow and was reported to be from Chechnya, attacked Paty as he left the school, beheading him with a large kitchen cleaver. He then took a photo of his victim and posted it, with a message to French president Emmanuel Macron signed “Abdullah the servant of Allah”, on social media.

    Witnesses said the killer shouted “Allahu Akbar”, then ran off chased by police. He was shot dead after refusing to surrender. Officers said they fired at least 10 times after the attacker threatened them.

    Macron visited the scene of the attack on Friday evening. “One of our compatriots was assassinated today because he taught pupils freedom of expression, the freedom to believe and not believe,” he said. “This was a cowardly attack on our compatriot. He was the victim of a typical Islamist terrorist attack.”

    Nine people were being questioned by police on Saturday, among them members of the attacker’s family, including his grandfather and 17-year-old brother.

    The anti-terror prosecutor has opened an investigation into “assassination linked to a terrorist organisation and association with terrorist criminals”.

    A court in Paris is currently trying 14 people in connection with the January 2015 killings at Charlie Hebdo and the kosher supermarket Hyper Cacher, and the gunning down of a police officer. Three weeks ago, a man with a knife stabbed two members of a television production company outside the former offices of Charlie Hebdo in response to the newspaper’s decision to republish the controversial caricatures, originally printed in 2015, to mark the opening of the trial.

    Staff at Charlie Hebdo released a statement after Friday’s killing expressing their “horror and revulsion”.

    On social media, parents paid tribute to the teacher. “RIP Monsieur Paty. He was my son’s teacher last year. He was a man of great humanity,” wrote one.

    The hashtag #JeSuisProf (I’m a teacher) was spreading on social media on Saturday. It is reminiscent of #JeSuisCharlie, which emerged as a global wave of support for the journalists and staff of Charlie Hebdo killed in 2015.

  178. says

    Here’s a link to the October 17 Guardian coronavirus world liveblog.

    From there:

    Chancellor Angela Merkel today urged Germans to curb social contacts and keep travel to a minimum, making a personal appeal after the federal and state governments struggled to agree on ways to contain a second wave of coronavirus infection.

    “We have to do everything to prevent the virus from spreading out of control. Every day counts,” Merkel said in her weekly video podcast.

    While Germany’s infection rates have been lower than in much of Europe, they have been accelerating and hit a daily record high of 7,830 on Saturday, according to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases. The reported death toll rose by 33 to 9,767.

    German leaders were unable this week to reach a consensus on strong new measures to contain the second Covid-19 wave. Courts in several regions have, meanwhile, overturned bans on hotel stays for visitors from infection hotspots.

    Politicians and health experts have appealed to the population to take voluntary measures over and above those already prescribed – including wearing masks, avoiding close contact with others and handwashing. Merkel said:

    We have to go further. I appeal to you: Meet with fewer people, either at home or outside. Please forsake any journey that is not absolutely essential, every party that is not absolutely essential. Stay at home, where at all possible.

  179. says

    Rep. Lieu: “Dear @Perduesenate: We all watched the video. You didn’t simply mispronounce your colleague’s name. You mocked @KamalaHarris’ name. If you are going to take a racist, chickenshit action, at least have the courage to own up to it.”

  180. says

    HuffPo – “DOJ’s Antifa Push Spurs Trump Appointee To Charge A Band’s Bassist Over A Bag Of Weed”:

    A top federal prosecutor appointed by President Donald Trump held a news conference this week to announce that the “outstanding investigative work” of federal and state law enforcement officers had resulted in a federal felony charge against a 29-year-old bassist in an anarcho-punk band over a bag of weed.

    Justin Coffman and his friends and family in Jackson, Tennessee, think that U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant, a Trump appointee, is trying to make an example out of a Trump opponent. Coffman joined Black Lives Matter protests, belonged to a rock band with an anarchist theme and posted memes poking fun at what he saw as Republicans’ overblown concerns about the loosely organized anti-fascist movement known as “antifa.”…

    Much, much more atl.

  181. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    SC@237, I found myself wondering how Don Jr. feels reading those texts and realizing not all fathers dismiss their sons as losers.

  182. sophiab says

    It’s even better, as the green party did well, even winning an electorate! Typically the small left wing parties do badly when the main ones are doing badly ( same on the right, hence the libertarian party doing well this time). Its also nice to see the Maori party back in.

  183. says

    Sen. Murphy:

    Joe Biden – and all of us – SHOULD be furious that media outlets are spreading what is very likely Russian propaganda.

    1/ I’ve seen the intel. The mainstreaming of misinformation is Russia’s 2020 goal. Here’s what we know, and why we can’t take it lying down. [LOL – listmaking fail]

    2/ Russia knew it had to play a different game than 2016. So it built an operation to cull virulently pro-Trump Americans as pseudo-assets, so blind in their allegiance to Trump that they’ll willingly launder Kremlin constructed anti-Biden propaganda.

    Guiliani was a key target.

    3/ Andriy Derkach was a top Russian agent. He was unmasked by the Treasury Dept this summer. Derkach and his team recruited Guiliani and have been feeding him info all year. The White House knew this.

    4/ Whether he knows it or not, Giuliani is effectively a Russian asset now. It’s almost certain that any anti-Biden info he has is fed to him by Derkach and Russian intel.

    This should be patently obvious to any reporter worth his or her salt.

    5/ And you don’t have to believe me. Believe the Department or Justice – Trump’s own FBI is investigating the “leaked” Hunter Biden emails as Russian spycraft.

    6/ Further, media don’t need a Pulitzer to see the whole story as super fishy.

    A pro-Trump computer repairman mysteriously comes across Hunter Biden’s laptop, copies the files, and guess who gets them? Russia’s top American asset – Rudy! Coincidence!!

    7/ Why is it important for media to not simply pick this story up and amplify it? Why should we be offended that the VP is being asked about it?

    Because this is Russia’s bet – that America, and its media, is so hungry for salacious stories that no one will vet their lies.

    8/ And American media do have major credibility, for good reason. They do amazing work, and get most stories 100% right.

    Russia wants to use this credibility to their advantage. And that’s why we all have to be vigilant. Democracy depends on it.

  184. says

    sophiab @ #258, thanks for the information! I was surprised the article didn’t mention the smaller parties and thought there mustn’t have been anything interesting to report, but that wasn’t the case!

  185. says

    Follow-up to SC’s comment 194.

    Trump responded to those comments from Republican Senator Ben Sasse.

    The least effective of our 53 Republican Senators, and a person who truly doesn’t have what it takes to be great, is Little Ben Sasse of Nebraska, a State which I have gladly done so much to help.

    Little Ben is a liability to the Republican Party, and an embarrassment to the Great State of Nebraska.

    That is not a response that includes any real reply to the criticisms Sasse offered.

    A reminder of just some of Sasse’s comments:

    “The debate is not going to be, ‘Ben Sasse, why were you so mean to Donald Trump?’” Mr. Sasse said, according to audio obtained by The Washington Examiner and authenticated by The New York Times. “It’s going to be, ‘What the heck were any of us thinking, that selling a TV-obsessed, narcissistic individual to the American people was a good idea?’”

    “We are staring down the barrel of a blue tsunami,” he added.

  186. says

    On the economy, Trump and Limbaugh’s lies go unchallenged for audience of tens of millions

    [Trump’s] now-infamous two-hour live call-in to the Rush Limbaugh Show on Oct. 9 was unprecedented. The relationship between them—and the debt this president owes conservative media’s top radio host—runs much deeper, as Trump’s awarding Limbaugh the Medal of Freedom earlier this year suggests. In the midst of verbal meandering that covered countless grievances, one of Trump’s top priorities—echoed by the host—was to tout his economic record; pre-COVID-19, of course. Much of that touting, however, was little more than lying.

    […] As the election campaign has become ever more dominated by his administration’s disastrous handling of COVID-19, the economy is essentially the only issue on which the president still performs well. He and his supporters trumpet it as the number one reason voters should re-elect him. […]

    The great power Limbaugh wields makes him the most important threat, outside the president himself, to the truth. The host uses sophisticated language on issues like the economy to prop up Trump’s lies in a way that sounds smart and convinces listeners that he—and they—know what’s going on, irrespective of what the mainstream media publishes.

    For anyone out there wondering about the necessity of debunking these lies—in particular those coming from a crank like Limbaugh or presented on his show by Trump—let’s talk about why doing so matters. First, the modern form of conservative AM radio has long had a tremendous influence. […]

    hosts such as Limbaugh were equally as important in creating today’s version of Republicanism as “deified political figures like George Wallace, William Buckley, or Pat Buchanan. Indeed, far from being a mere tool of the Republican Party, talk radio is revealed … as the dominant explanation for that party’s continued existence, an essential precondition of the far right’s cultural dominance today.”

    […] right-wing radio indoctrinated listeners with a conservatism “less focused on free markets and small government and more focused on ethnonationalism and populism.” This ideology serves as “the core of Trumpism […] The 15 most popular hosts alone produce approximately 45 hours of material each day, five days a week. No TV opinion show is on for more than an hour daily, by comparison. As Matzko noted: “(T)he dedicated fan can listen to nothing but conservative talk radio all day, every day of the week, and never catch up.” […]

    Let’s examine just some of the (mis)information on the economy Limbaugh and Trump presented to millions of listeners during their recent gabfest. The two of them slammed the Obama-Biden era economy, with Limbaugh claiming that “they were telling everybody that we need to adapt our expectations to a new era of decline….America’s best days are behind us….You know, GDP [Gross Domestic Product], 1.5% max every year?” Trump’s economy, they claimed, was far superior until the pandemic.

    This lie works on two levels. First, it’s a straightforward (pretend) fact: Trump presided over a stronger economy than Obama-Biden. Second, on a more emotional level, it includes the slander that Obama, Biden, and their party are somehow down on America and believe our greatness is a thing of the past. […]

    What’s the truth? The figure Limbaugh cited for GDP under Obama was false [Graphs are available at the link]

    […] Trump next spewed some lies about his tax cut plan—which overwhelmingly benefits the wealthiest among us, something he didn’t mention—as well as job growth. Trump claimed that he made “the biggest tax cuts in history, bigger than Reagan’s tax cuts.” [snipped trumpian word salad]

    On the tax cut, Politifact found that, when adjusted for inflation, Trump’s tax cut was only the fourth biggest going back to 1940. The top two tax cuts were signed by—wait for it—Barack Obama, and his largest was more than twice as big as Trump’s in terms of dollars per year. […]

    As for those “best employment numbers,” the number of jobs created in each of Obama’s final three years in office outpaced Trump’s best year. Overall, Trump to this point has the worst jobs record of any president for whom that data has been calculated, and even before COVID-19, his record was mediocre at best.

    […] on March 30, shortly after we started our COVID-19-related lockdown, Limbaugh told his audience this: “It took quarantining. It took many small businesses closing. It took canceling practically everything, to bring the USA economy back to the Obama high mark. In three weeks … we have wiped out three years of an economic expansion unseen in the lives of most Americans today.” The “high mark” of economic growth under Obama was not only much higher than the depths we reached this spring, post-lockdown, but it was, according to an analysis in Forbes, higher than the highest mark reached at any point under Trump.

    […] look at what Limbaugh said on March 9, 2018: “If you dig deeper into these employment numbers, just the raw numbers are staggering, folks: 313,000 new jobs!” […] The same numbers that signify strong growth when we have a Republican president were below par if the president was named Obama. On the Rush Limbaugh Show, this kind of double-standard was “what’s normal.”

    […] on multiple occasions Limbaugh accused the Obama administration of toying with or flat-out falsifying the labor force participation rate […] The host leveled this baseless smear on at least 10 different shows between March 2011 and November 2013.

    […] by making these false claims Limbaugh gave Trump ammunition, which he used both before and during his run for the White House. These lies continued into the Trump presidency. On March 12, 2017, Mick Mulvaney, then-director of the Office of Management and Budget, charged that: “the Obama administration was manipulating … the number of people in the work force to make the unemployment rate … look smaller than it actually was.” assessed this accusation from the Trump administration, and found it baseless, stating that there was “no evidence jobs data was manipulated.”

    […] With 15.5 million unique listeners each week, he [Limbaugh] has the largest audience of any radio host in the country—a title he has held ever since these ratings were first measured in 1991. This wildly popular host beats the drum of the 45th president’s supposedly unique economic success on virtually a daily basis. […] much of what the well-known conservative host has to say is, in fact, misleading, incomplete, or just plain untrue.

    These lies reach far and wide into segments of the American voting population that may rarely hear a dissenting voice. Getting those voters the truth—and, hopefully, getting them to question the right-wing media sources that would lie to them in the first place—is thus a huge challenge, but also a necessary one … one that we, not to mention the media, absolutely cannot ignore.

  187. says

    SC @249, “MSNBC last night aired the film about Obama WH photographer Pete Souza, The Way I See It. I thought it was quite good.” It was good. I actually cried through part of it. I am constantly being surprised by how much I miss having a competent and caring person as president of the USA. I think I may have grown a bit of a carapace to protect myself from trumpism. Sometimes the carapace is penetrated just by watching video of President Obama. Most of the time, I am walking around half dead in order to protect myself from Trump.

    Follow-up to SC’s comment 244.
    If he can’t have it, nobody can—Trump is trying to destroy government on his way out the door

    […] as it becomes increasingly clear that Donald Trump is going to lose yugely, his supporters inside the White House are engaging in a desperate last minute quest to break everything they can on the way out the door. […] What they are destroying at the moment is regulatory agencies, advisory boards, and the regulations that actually hold government, business, and our daily lives together.

    […] regulatory destruction and disarray, altering key provisions in ways that leave the nation less safe, less secure, more polluted, and less able to respond to corporate criminals.

    […] changes are underway that let truck drivers go down the highway with less rest, allow agencies to conduct more surveillance and collect more information without a warrant, and allow more government workers to be classified as “contractors” who don’t get benefits, and are subject to much lower levels of scrutiny. That last change in particular is part of an extended effort to turn America into a 19th century state, where every worker is disposable […]

    They’re skipping over things like required periods for public comments, advisory board reviews, or the pesky idea of performing analysis to see how the revised regulations fit into the remaining framework. They’re moving forward with their idea of a pro-corporate, anti-worker paradise. […]

    In addition to scratching out or altering regulations, Trump’s team is working to stuff advisory boards with lobbyists and right-wing ideologues rather than independent scientists. Many of these positions have terms that run far past the end of Trump’s remaining time in office, or even beyond the next term. […]

    classify workers as contractors rather than employees. […] Even “vaccine czar” Moncef Slaoui, who is heading up the White House effort to develop a vaccine, was changed to a contractor—specifically so that he could hold onto millions in stock in one of the leading companies in the vaccine race.

    […] The changes being made would mean that corporations could even reclassify existing employees as contractors, shedding insurance and other benefits. […]

    Despite letters of opposition from 22 states, the Labor Department fully intends to move forward with this new rule.

    In other cases, departments are eliminating public comment periods entirely. They’re using emergency rules to immediately enact changes without the opportunity for comment or review. That includes simply changing requirements on work visas for immigrants in a way that makes most such visas impossible. For example, one rule would require anyone looking to sponsor a family member for immigration to provide three years of credit reports, credit scores, and bank records. […]

    Biden’s transition team should seriously consider a “reset.” The simplest thing to do would be to return all federal regulations to where they stood on January 19, 2016. Then work to incorporate necessary changes from laws that have passed in the interval. Otherwise, they’ll be pulling out the bad wiring of Trump changes for years.

    And while they’re at it, they should reach out to every scientist, diplomat, doctor, and experienced bureaucrat who resigned or was forced out during the last four years. Every effort should be made to see that qualified people are in place both in every agency, and on every advisory panel.

    Trump’s team is engaged in a massive smash and grab operation […] It’s becoming clear that they’re no longer going to be able to pull the strings of government, so they’re trying to leave them as tangled, or broken, as possible. […]

  188. says

    VoteVets and the Lincoln Project collaborate on one of the most devastating Trump videos yet

    Scroll down to view the video.

    […] The newest video put out in collaboration with tells the very simple story of retired Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and the bullying and threats he and his family received for bravely testifying about Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani’s involvement in trying to coerce a foreign power to create the illusion of criminal impropriety in political rival Joe Biden’s record. The video shows Rachel Vindman, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman’s wife, and their family talking about their experience […]

  189. says

    Follow-up to SC’s comment 256.

    Some comments on the third wave of coronavirus infections in the USA, (or on the continuation of one long set of barely dampened waves that are now turning into a tsunami):

    […]This latest peak is concentrated in rural communities in the upper Midwest and follows a spring surge in the Northeast and a summer surge in the South. Experts are now worried about a rising number of cases coinciding with flu season as families gather indoors during the holiday season and winter months.

    “There’s a growing sense of coronavirus fatigue out there,” Dr. William Schaffner, an epidemiologist at Vanderbilt University, told CNBC. “People really want to get back to the old normal.” But ignoring public health guidelines could have dire consequences; some states are already feeling the impacts of the latest surge in cases.

    In Wisconsin, Democratic Gov. Tony Evers opened up a field hospital for coronavirus patients with more moderate symptoms to ease the crowding in intensive care units in the state’s hospitals. North Dakota’s case load has reached record highs and state officials are beginning to worry about hospital capacity. In Minnesota, where 18 cases were associated with a Donald Trump campaign event, coronavirus infections have also reached new highs.

    The latest surge comes just weeks before the election. The Trump administration remains wholly uncommitted to responding to the coronavirus, even as the president’s poll numbers sink, in part, due to his handling of the pandemic. Even as deaths top 217,000 and the third wave threatens to be worse than the first two, Trump continues to downplay the severity of the virus. “The light at the end of the tunnel is near,” he told a crowd of supporters in Florida on Friday. “We are rounding the turn.”


    Trump is holding an ever-more-frantic schedule of superspreader events, in the form of campaign rallies. Some of the rallies are even indoors.

  190. says

    From Wonkette:

    Making shit up is nothing new to the Susan B. Anthony List. After all, the entire premise of their organization — that Susan B. Anthony was deeply opposed to abortion, including the safe and legal abortion we have today — is bullshit based on a few quotes that are either misattributed or taken out of context. In reality, Anthony didn’t really say a whole lot about abortion, particularly legal abortion, which did not exist in New York until 1970, a full 64 years after she died.

    This time, however, the lie they are pushing is that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris believe that abortion should be legal right up until the moment of birth. Not only do they not believe that, it’s not a thing. Like, in no way is that a real thing that happens, anywhere, or that anyone thinks should happen.

    But they claimed this on an ad on Facebook, and were then told that they could not put that ad on Facebook because of how it was full of lies, and now they are very mad about it. […]

    The ad claims:

    Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are extreme on abortion. Biden and Harris support abortion up until the moment of birth all at taxpayer expense. And they promise to nominate only pro-abortion judges. Biden and Harris. Troubling ideas, disturbing policies.

    Gosh, it sure is surprising that Facebook wouldn’t run that ad, or that fact checkers would say it was false, just because neither Joe Biden nor Kamala Harris have ever said they support abortion “up until the moment of birth” and it is just a thing the Susan B. Anthony Foundation made up. The way they’d have you believe it, there are just hordes of women and others out there getting pregnant, going through nine months of pregnancy — which of course is a walk in the park — and then just having abortions mid-labor, for funsies. Because of how they are evil.

    Late term abortion, of course, does not mean “up until the moment of birth” — it refers to abortion from the 21st to 25th week of pregnancy, as abortion is illegal, everywhere, after the 25th week. The average pregnancy is about 40 weeks. It is possible that the Susan B. Anthony List is just as terrible at math as they are at history, but one would hope that even they could understand that 40 is 15 more than 25.

    Also, late-term abortions only account for about 1.2 percent of all abortions. They’re very rare, and often happen for medical reasons that are none of the Susan B. Anthony List’s goddamn business.

    As for paying for abortions with “taxpayer funds?” Sure! If we are paying for someone’s medical care — because they have Medicaid or because they work for the government or the military — then they should get to use that insurance the same way as anyone else uses their health insurance. We shouldn’t get to say “No, you can’t do this one thing because some people are morally opposed to it,” because there are people who are morally and religiously opposed to just about every medical procedure there is. We can’t go around barring military personnel from receiving blood transfusions because the Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t approve, can we? We can’t bar Medicaid and Medicare patients from receiving medical care because it might upset the Christian Scientists, either.

    Everyone’s tax money goes to things they might think are bad. My tax money goes to fund wars I don’t believe in, prisons I don’t believe in, and a police force that I don’t believe in, at least in its current state. You know, where they’re killing unarmed black people all of the time. That sucks! I don’t like paying for that, but I do, because I live in this country. So I think these snots can handle allowing those who fight in those wars to have health insurance that covers anything they might need, medically. And that includes abortion.

    So they can go around all day saying that Biden and Harris and practically everyone else in this country who isn’t an asshole and can read and comprehend things believe that the Hyde Amendment should be abolished. Because that is true. What they can’t say is that Biden, Harris, or literally anyone, supports “abortion up until the moment of birth” because that is insane and not true. Well, they can say it, but not on Facebook or anywhere else that won’t allow them to lie.


  191. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Lynna@263: “I am constantly being surprised by how much I miss having a competent and caring person as president of the USA. I think I may have grown a bit of a carapace to protect myself from trumpism.”

    Probably true for all of us. We’ve all become coarser, meaner less willing to give the benefit of the doubt. Me…well, I’ve learned to hate, not just Combover Caligula and his enablers, but all the dumbass supporters, Q-Morons and prosperity gospel heretics… I want nothing to do with these people ever again, and if we do not divide the country, eventually it will come to a bloody end.

  192. says

    Another kidnapping threat, this time against a Democratic mayor:

    A Wichita man has been arrested for an alleged threat to kidnap and kill Wichita Mayor Brandon Whipple (D) over frustration with the city’s mask mandate.

    Per the Witchita Eagle, the suspect had expressed opposition to “masks and tyranny,” in a series of texts reviewed by the city’s mayor.

    “He said he was going to kidnap me and slash my throat and he needed my address because I needed to see the hangman,” Whipple said.

    “It sounded like the person was very upset about pretty much mask mandates and he said something about not being able to see his mother because of COVID restrictions on elderly homes,” he added.

    The news comes months after Whipple in July pushed for a city ordinance requiring face coverings to be worn in most public spaces in an effort to curb the spread of coronavirus amid a wave of similar mandates in other cities and states nationwide.

    According to the Eagle, the suspect, Meredith Dowty, 59, a retired Wichita city firefighter, was also a well-known local musician who plays guitar and harmonica and has performed in local bars and nightclubs under the name “Cathead.” […]

    Dowty who was placed behind bars at Sedgwick County Jail on Friday evening could face a charge of criminal threat the police told the Eagle.

    […] The case is the latest example of how […] Trump’s months-long tirade against masks, mocking officials who wear them while refusing to wear one himself has appeared to promote sometimes violent consequences.

    […] The reported threat comes just weeks after a foiled alleged plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, (D) who was targeted for restrictions in her state amid efforts to protect against the virus’ spread.

    […] On Tuesday, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam was revealed as a second Democratic target for what authorities have said were violent plots against lockdown orders to curb the spread of coronavirus.

    Whipple, also a Democrat, has said he believes Dowty posed a credible threat and that he will need additional security to protect his family in the aftermath of the alleged threat.

    “This wasn’t just some guy popping off on social media,” Whipple said. “He contacted someone that knows where I live that apparently he thought would give him my address.”


  193. says

    Women’s March in D.C. draws thousands in protest of Supreme Court nominee, Trump

    Washington Post link

    […] thousands of people gathered for the Women’s March in downtown Washington and in cities across the country Saturday to protest the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett and to build momentum to vote […] Trump out of the White House.

    Women wore white lace collars and black robes to honor the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and red robes and white bonnets to mock the woman expected to take her seat […] Some there for the march faced off in a tense confrontation with a group of counterprotesters at the Supreme Court who had come to support Barrett and oppose abortion, yelling […]

    Ginger Belmonte, 23, said she has come from her home in Frederick County, Md., to Washington every weekend since Ginsburg died.

    […] The child-care provider said this year’s march feels even more urgent than the first one, after […] Trump’s inauguration.

    “We didn’t know the severity of how bad it was going to be,” she said. Now, especially with the new makeup of the Supreme Court, “it’s actually happening.”

    […] Women’s March leaders hoped to bring a final show of force before Nov. 3 with a rally in the nation’s capital and in more than 429 marches across all 50 states.

    In Houston, Chicago, New York, San Diego and other cities across the nation, people posted photos of events, most with people wearing masks and standing at a distance in an attempt to gather safely despite the coronavirus pandemic. Organizers had discouraged participants from traveling to D.C. from states that are on the self-quarantine list, encouraging them to attend local marches or to get involved with its text-a-thon efforts to get out the vote. Still, some drove from New Jersey, West Virginia, Florida, New York and other states to be at the epicenter of power.

    […] Tensions over the nomination came to a head outside the Supreme Court on Saturday afternoon, as marchers confronted several dozen counterprotesters who were chanting Barrett’s initials “ACB” and holding antiabortion posters. They were quickly drowned out by the several thousand Women’s March attendees, who countered by yelling, “RBG” and “My body, my choice.”

    “We have the votes!” Students for Life protesters chanted, holding up signs with pictures of fetuses with messages such as “She could be Audrey,” “She could be Oprah” and “She could be Alexandria.” A Women’s March volunteer stood between the two groups, keeping them separated, but many young women held heated one-on-one debates, sparring about abortion, birth control and health care.

    […] A group of a dozen women dressed as handmaidens, with red dresses and white bonnets, lined up in a row with signs hanging from their necks with the words “Trump Pence OUT NOW!”

    The costumes were a reference to Barrett’s leadership role in the Christian group People of Praise, a position that had been called “handmaiden” until 2017 when “The Handmaid’s Tale,” a dystopian novel by Margaret Atwood, was adapted for TV and the term was associated with women subjugated by men.

    […] The march comes amid an economic recession that has fallen especially hard on women of color and mothers, a Supreme Court nomination that many fear threatens the reproductive rights of women, and a presidential election that could be decided in large part by women. Former vice president Joe Biden holds a 23 percentage point advantage over Trump among female likely voters (59 percent to 36 percent), according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll. Meanwhile, Trump and Biden split men, with 48 percent each.

    The gender gap is even bigger in the suburbs, where women favor Biden by 62 percent to 34 percent, according to the poll. Men in the suburbs lean toward Trump, with 54 percent supporting his reelection, while 43 percent back Biden. […]

  194. says

    Here’s a link to the October 18 Guardian coronavirus world liveblog.

    From their summary:

    Globally, there have been 39.7m confirmed cases of Covid-19, and 1.1m deaths. The US has nearly 8.1m confirmed cases, followed by India 7.4m, and Brazil 5.2m.

    England will not go into a two or three-week “circuit-break” lockdown, a senior cabinet minister said. Michael Gove insisted the government was right to ignore its scientific advisers and pursue a plan they have said is insufficient to stop the spread if not enhanced.

    It is not too late to introduce an effective national lockdown in England, a senior adviser said. Sir Jeremy Farrar said the worst thing to do would be to wait until November to act.

    Europe is the emerging epicentre of the current wave: a third of all new cases worldwide are being detected in western European countries. Europe is recording more new cases than India, Brazil and the US combined.

    Global coronavirus cases rose by more than 400,000 for the first time late on Friday, a record one-day increase as much of Europe enacts new restrictions to curb the outbreak.

    Italy had a record daily rise in cases of 10,925 and is considering toughening nationwide restrictions in response to the increase. The Czech Republic, Poland, Ukraine and Malaysia also recorded their highest daily totals since the pandemic began.

    The number of deaths in Iran from Covid-19 now exceeds 30,000, with the country’s health ministry saying the total number of deaths since the start of the pandemic was now 30,123.

    A two week “circuit breaker” lockdown is expected to commence in Wales on 23 October that will see all but essential retail outlets close, according to a leaked letter.

    Thailand has recorded its first locally transmitted cases of Covid-19 in more than a month.

    The foreign ministers of Austria and Belgium have both tested positive for Covid-19.

    New Zealand, which has twice eliminated the virus, reported its first local case for 22 days.

    The French Collectivity of Wallis and Futuna in the South Pacific recorded its first case for the entire pandemic.

    Saudi Arabia allowed its citizens and residents inside the kingdom to perform prayers in one of the most holy religious sites in Islam, Al-Haram mosque in Mecca, for the first time in seven months.

  195. says

    Update to #s 246 and 258 – Guardian – “Jacinda Ardern considers coalition despite New Zealand election landslide”:

    Jacinda Ardern has held out the possibility of forming a coalition government despite securing a historic election victory that will enable her Labour party to govern alone.

    New Zealanders expressed relief on Sunday at her re-election, after a campaign that felt long and wearying for many. Ardern’s party won the highest percentage of the vote in more than five decades, claiming 64 seats in parliament, with her handling of the Covid-19 crisis regarded as decisive in her win.

    But on Sunday, the prime minister said she would take two to three weeks to officially form government, after talks with potential coalition partners. Ardern said she had informed the governor general she would be in a position to form a government soon.

    “We’ll be cracking on very quickly with our agenda, we clearly have a mandate from New Zealand,” said Ardern. “I have been a consensus builder but I also need to work with the strong mandate Labour has been given.”

    Ardern said new talent coming into the Labour caucus included GPs, a midwife and an infectious disease expert, which would inform her decision on who would take over the crucial health portfolio.

    Green party co-leaders James Shaw and Marama Davidson have confirmed they spoke to Ardern. The party won 10 seats in parliament – two more than the previous election – and is hoping to be invited to join her government – pushing it further to the left.

    While Labour could rule alone, Shaw is confident the Greens will be included to make use of their ministers’ specific experience, to bolster the new government’s majority and to build their partnership for the future, and an even more progressive government down the line.

    “We want to win again in 2023,” Shaw told the Guardian. “We are stronger at the end of our first term in government than we were at the beginning,” Shaw said. “We defied the odds. We made history.”…

    More atl.

  196. says

    @JakeTapper’s intro: ‘There are just over two weeks until Election Day and President Trump seems to be attempting to make up for troubling numbers in the polls by spreading nastiness and disinformation and potentially, in his rallies, the coronavirus’.

    Tapper noted: ‘The White House declined to make ANYONE from the Trump admin available to answer questions about the pandemic’. @CNNSOTU asked for task force members, the president’s doctor, chief of staff, WH comms director, etc etc.”

    Video atl.

  197. says

    BuzzFeed – “People Of Color Are Sharing The Meaning Behind Their Names After A GOP Senator Mocked Kamala Harris’s Name”:

    Georgia senator David Perdue is facing backlash for mockingly mispronouncing Sen. Kamala Harris’s name at a Trump campaign rally on Friday, with many calling his remarks racist.

    “Ka-MAL-a, Ka-MAL-a or Kamala, Kamala, Ka-mala, -mala, -mala, I don’t know, whatever,” Perdue said as the crowd in Macon, Georgia, burst into cheers and laughter before he introduced President Trump.

    That moment from his speech instantly went viral, and it was widely criticized on social media. [See #251 above.]

    By Saturday, many people were using the hashtag #MyNameIs in response to Perdue.

    Conservatives have dismissed the pronunciation of Harris’s name in the past, too. In July, when a guest on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show told the host he was saying Harris’s name incorrectly, Carlson responded, “OK, so what?”

    Perdue, however, is facing backlash amid a close reelection fight against Democrat Jon Ossoff, who criticized him Friday and later fundraised off of his opponent’s comments.

    “This kind of vile, race-baiting trash talk is what President Trump has unleashed from sitting Republican members of the Senate,” Ossoff said on MSNBC that night.

    It’s not the first time the Republican senator has come under fire over racial issues. In July, his campaign ran an ad on Facebook that featured Ossoff, who is Jewish, with an enlarged nose….

    I recommend checking out #MyNameIs.

  198. says

    Lara Trump Insists Prez Was Just ‘Having Fun’ As He Fueled ‘Lock Her Up’ Chants At MI Rally

    Trump campaign senior adviser Lara Trump defended her father-in-law on Sunday when grilled on the President’s latest attack against Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) during a rally the night before, which involved joining in on chants of “lock her up” just days after the FBI foiled an alleged right-wing conspiracy to kidnap and possibly kill her.

    During his Michigan rally on Saturday night, Trump repeated his previous gripe that Whitmer should be more appreciative of the FBI for thwarting the alleged right-wing kidnapping plot. The President also continued railing against Whitmer for implementing COVID-19 restrictions that allegedly infuriated the 14 charged suspects in the state and federal case.

    When supporters chanted “lock her up,” Trump joined in on the incendiary chant that is reminiscent of his presidential run against Hillary Clinton in 2016 by snarking: “Lock her up? Lock them all up!”

    Pressed on the President’s amplification of his supporters’ “lock her up” chants the morning after, Lara Trump piggybacked off of her father-in-law’s talking point that his Department of Justice “actually thwarted this attack against” the Michigan governor.

    […] Asked again about the threats Whitmer has received, Lara Trump hit back that she has gotten threats as well and that “this is not just on one side.”

    CNN’s Jake Tapper acknowledged that threats against her or her family are “detestable” before asking Lara Trump whether the President himself should “tone it down.”

    Lara Trump denied that the President was doing anything to “provoke” people to threaten Whitmer and quipped that “he was having fun at a Trump rally.”

    “And quite frankly, there are bigger issues than this right now for everyday Americans. People want to get the country reopened. They want to get back to work,” Lara Trump said. “Not only are we trying to make it through a pandemic, but think about all of the cancers that have gone unaddressed, think about the kids that aren’t in school who use school to get their one meal a day.”

    Trump continued deflecting as she reiterated that the President just wanted to have fun at his rally.

    “There are issues at hand here that are bigger than just keeping everybody locked down,” Lara Trump said. “So I think people are frustrated and look — the President was at a rally. It’s a fun, light atmosphere. Of course he wasn’t encouraging people to threaten this woman.”

  199. says

    Senate Democrats try to save federal workforce from Trump’s harebrained payroll tax scheme

    Senate Democrats are trying to save federal workers from having big docks in their pay next spring by allowing them to opt out of the mandatory Trump scheme to give them a payroll tax holiday. Trump spent the whole of the year obsessing about “terminating” payroll taxes as stimulus in the coronavirus pandemic, somehow not grasping the basic issue that people who lost their jobs because of the virus aren’t paying payroll taxes anyway. He was so intent on making this thing that no one thought would be helpful that his administration finally just gave in and imposed it on the only people they could—federal workers. The difficulty is that they’ll have to pay the money back in the first quarter of next year, while we’re still going to be in this pandemic.

    […] Trump has vowed to “terminate” payroll taxes entirely, a plan that could “terminate” Social Security by 2023, the chief actuary for the program says. […]

    Even Louis DeJoy, Trump’s corrupt toady postmaster general, opted out of suspending withholding. Federal employee unions have also been asking the administration to allow them to give the withholding a pass. Treasury Sec. Steven Mnuchin said in a hearing last month that that was a “reasonable” request, but he hasn’t acted on it, and he and the Office of Management and Budget have kept the policy in place.

    So all federal employees who earn less than $4,000 per biweekly paycheck with get the 6.2% bump in pay, but will have to repay that starting in January, with larger withholdings from their paychecks—the regular withholding plus the clawback. So they won’t be able to spend this “extra” pay now because they’ll need it starting in January when their paychecks will be smaller. Which is stupid. But it’s Trump’s big idea so of course it’s stupid. “The President’s payroll tax deferral scheme is nothing more than a scam on hardworking federal employees—making their paychecks look bigger until the end the of the year when they’ll be hit with a surprise increase in their payroll taxes right after the holidays,” American Federation of Government Employees President Everett Kelley said in a statement.

    The Democrats’ legislation might be enough of a nudge for Mnuchin to reverse the policy for the remainder of the year, but again, Trump wanted this. He seems to believe that all the federal employees will be so grateful to him for giving them a temporary bonus they’ll vote for him or something. Which shows just how untethered from reality the man is.

  200. says

    Follow-up to SC’s comment 245.

    […] “The overwhelming majority of people who get this infection are not at high risk,” Dr. Atlas told the New York Times. “And when you start seeking out and testing asymptomatic people, you are destroying the workforce.” He also said a federal test-and-isolate program would infringe on civil liberties, and he falsely claimed that “herd immunity” can be achieved once 20 to 40 percent of Americans are infected. On Saturday morning, he continued to spew debunked science, claiming that masks aren’t effective.

    Masks work? NO: LA, Miami, Hawaii, Alabama, France, Phlippnes, UK, Spain, Israel. WHO:”widesprd use not supported” + many harms; Heneghan/Oxf CEBM:”despite decades, considerble uncertainty re value”; CDC rvw May:”no sig red’n in inflnz transm’n”; learn why
    — Scott W. Atlas (@SWAtlasHoover) October 17, 2020

    At the end of the tweet, Atlas links to a piece by the libertarian think tank American Institution for Economic Research, which earlier this month drew the attention of the White House when it released a roadmap for ending the pandemic. Called the Great Barrington Plan, the document purports to lay out a plan for a return to normal life but was widely criticized as bogus […]:

    The vast majority of infectious disease physicians, virologists, and epidemiologists don’t support it—and in fact, most of the scientific community believes that this approach will actively hurt vulnerable people rather than protecting them. “The authors are well known people in public health, but they don’t represent anything like a consensus view about how to approach COVID,” Yale University epidemiologist Gregg Gonsalves told me. “The rest of the people in their field are looking at them aghast.” Indeed, the public health community has swarmed to point out the many problems with the Great Barrington plan, and many have also called out Jacobin for promoting it.

    Gonsalves, who wrote a critique of the document in The Nation, noted that the document starts with a flawed premise—that we’d only need to isolate a select few elderly and at-risk members of society. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 40 percent of Americans have a condition that puts them at risk for severe COVID-19.

    Despite the approximately 219,000 deaths and the 8 million people plunged into poverty since July, when the last relief bill expired, the White House and other Republicans seem hellbent on ignoring the science and denying the help that Americans desperately need—all but ensuring that the crisis will continue unabated.


  201. says

    Puerto Rico’s Leading Newspaper Just Backed Biden in Historic Endorsement

    Puerto Rico’s leading newspaper, El Nuevo Día, has endorsed Joe Biden in what his campaign says is the first presidential endorsement in the paper’s 50-year history.

    In an editorial published on Sunday, El Nuevo Día concluded that the Trump administration “has shown an overwhelming amount of inattention, disdain and prejudice against our people.” Along with [Trump’s] infamous paper towel throwing, it mentions the president asking about whether the United States could trade Puerto Rico for Greenland. More broadly, the editorial catalogues his disastrous response to Hurricane Maria. […]

  202. says

    Follow-up to comment 281.

    Twitter said it took down a tweet from a member of […] Trump’s coronavirus task force for violating the social media network’s policy on misleading information about COVID-19.

    The post from Scott Atlas read, “Masks work? NO” followed by several posts questioning the effectiveness of masks in combating the spread of the coronavirus.

    Twitter told The Hill in a statement that Atlas’ tweet “was in violation of our COVID-19 Misleading Information Policy” that “prohibits sharing false or misleading content related to COVID-19 which could lead to harm.”

    Twitter has flagged or removed several tweet relating to the pandemic and voting, including posts by President Trump, as it gets closer to Election Day. […]


  203. says

    From Pete Buttigieg:

    It’s 2020 and the choice has come down to Joe Biden, who I enthusiastically support, and Donald Trump, who has been a disaster in every foreign and domestic issue of policy at stake. We definitely need to turn the page even more now than when I was running for president a year ago.

    Look how unified we are now, you’ve got Democrats from across the spectrum from the left to the center joining with independents and Republicans because we can all see what’s at stake here. I can’t think of an election in modern history where the choice has been this stark and I know what side I’m on.

    […] There’s an enormous amount of frustration that this Senate under [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell can’t even vote on a COVID relief package.

    […] My marriage might depend on what is about to happen right now with this justice [Amy Coney Barrett].

  204. says

    Excerpts from Aaron Rupar’s coverage of Trump’s latest rally:

    “I said, first lady, am I the most handsome president ever? ‘Yes, absolutely.’ I said, who can top me? She said, ‘well, JFK was good looking, but nothing like you. Nothing like you, darling.'” — Trump

    Trump once again insinuates that Gold Star families gave him Covid, then says, “I got better fast. I can now jump into the audience and give you all a big kiss. The women and the men. I’ll kiss those big powerful men down there.”

    “When someday I leave [office], whether it’s in 4 years, 8 years, 12 years, 16 years” — Trump muses about shredding the Constitution and becoming an autocrat

    “We’re putting a charge at the border. Mexico is paying for the wall” — Trump makes stuff up

  205. says

    From Eric Swalwell:

    First he deliberately spews Putin’s propaganda in the Senate, and now this despicable dirt. Senator Johnson keeps finding new lows.

    Ron Johnson is on Fox News suggesting there’s child pornography on the computer that purportedly belongs to Hunter Biden

    From Aaron Rupar:

    Obama’s take on the attention-seeking reasons why Trump decided to get involved in politics in the first place is the smartest I’ve heard

    See the link to listen to the audio clip.

  206. says

    Nancy Pelosi sets a 48-hour deadline for getting a stimulus deal before the election

    Pelosi is still negotiating with the White House while Senate Republicans push their own stimulus bill.

    […] During an appearance on ABC’s This Week on Sunday, Pelosi suggested there likely won’t be time to pass a new package prior to November 3 if lawmakers don’t reach an agreement within the next 48 hours. “The 48 [hours] only relates to if we want to get it done before the election, which we do,” she said.

    Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have been negotiating over a new stimulus package since the summer, but the effort has been stymied by disagreements over provisions on state and local funding, as well as Republican pushback over the scope of spending. Their talks were also briefly derailed by […] Trump, who in early October announced the White House was ending negotiations, before changed course and demanding the parties proceed quickly.

    Drew Hammill, Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff, tweeted Saturday that there are “an array of additional differences” between what Democrats want and what Mnuchin has offered, which would need to be worked out in the next two days.

    […] As House Democrats negotiate with the White House, Senate Republicans, it seems, are on a parallel track. Even as Pelosi and Mnuchin continue talks about an expansive package — with a recent White House proposal suggesting a bill worth $1.8 trillion — Senate Republicans have been adamant that any stimulus be much smaller. On Saturday, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced the Senate would vote on a narrower $500 billion bill this week.

    The new bill is a reminder that even if Pelosi and Mnuchin reach an agreement, there’s a great deal of uncertainty around whether Senate Republicans would support it […]

    The new Senate bill, however, isn’t expected to get the Democratic votes it needs in either the House nor the upper chamber: The targeted $500 billion bill includes only a fraction of the spending House Democrats demanded in the latest version of their stimulus package, the HEROES Act, which calls for $2.2 trillion in aid (down from the $3 trillion bill passed in May).

    […] It’s an argument that has seen House Democrats’ proposals blocked by ongoing disagreements over aid for states and expanded unemployment insurance, along with diverging concerns about the debt.

    In the meantime, millions of people are grappling with evictions, unemployment, and business closures as the economic fallout from the pandemic continues. […]

  207. says

    From Wonkette:

    Yesterday, at his rally in Muskegon, Michigan, Donald Trump announced to a thrilled public that he was dismissing Mike Pence as his running mate and replacing him with JFK, Jr, who it turns out is not dead after all. Then Elvis popped onstage and sang a few bars of “Are You Lonesome, Tonight?” before they all walked off into the sunset, only to find themselves at the Nighthawks diner a few hours later, in order to drink some coffee and solidify their plans for the mass arrests expected to happen this week.

    Ok, no. That did not happen. And a few people are upset about that. […]

    From Mickey Miller replying to @John_F_Kenedy:

    I have followed the Q movement, wait with baited breath each day for instructions and news. JFK jr was supposed to be announced today. You even posted a fuzzy picture saying ‘I’m back”. Now I am disheartened and broken, and wondering if all of this was a lie. I was praying to GOD

    From Ret.U.S.A.N.G. Tech Sgt. Charlie Gunnells:

    Hundreds of thousands have been following Q and what they say. We had people watching Trump’s rallies and now we all look like lying, crazy ass falls for believing that today was the great Awakening coming back from the dead. Monday will be an imbarisment for a lot of people.

    From linda Brown:

    If you were a true patriot you would know not to believe all the trolls. I’m very confidate . I received a testimony that Jr. was alive long ago Q SENT ME [followed by lots of USA flag emojis and red hearts, etc.]

    More from Wonkette:

    What did end up happening at the rally, however, was that Trump told the crowd that they needed to tell Governor Gretchen Whitmer to stop trying to do things to control the spread of the novel coronavirus:

    “You gotta get your governor to open up your state, okay? And get your schools open. Get your schools open. The schools have to be open, right?”

    The crowd responded with their traditional chants of “Lock Her Up!” — which one might consider in poor taste given the fact that a bunch of militia members had recently been arrested for their plot to kidnap Gov. Whitmer in a PT Cruiser.

    Did Trump admonish them? He did not! In fact, he responded by saying “Lock ’em all up.” […]


  208. says

    How the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally may have spread coronavirus across the Upper Midwest

    Within weeks of the gathering that drew nearly half a million bikers, the Dakotas, along with Wyoming, Minnesota and Montana, were leading the nation in new coronavirus infections per capita.

    It had been a long ride back from Sturgis, S.D., so when he first felt an ache at the back of his throat, Kenny Cervantes figured he was just tired. He’d traveled the 400-some miles on his Harley, rumbling through wide-open farm and prairie land on his way home to Riverdale, Neb., where his girlfriend was waiting.

    A lifelong motorcycle enthusiast, the 50-year-old construction worker and father of five had been determined to go to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, a holy grail for bikers. Even when his girlfriend, Angie Balcom, decided to stay back because she was worried about being around so many people during a pandemic, Cervantes was adamant about going.[…]

    Back home, Cervantes took Tylenol for his throat and went to bed early. But he woke up the next morning coughing so hard he struggled to catch his breath. Over the next few days, the pain in his chest made him fear that his heart might stop, and a test later confirmed he had the novel coronavirus […] He was admitted to the hospital 11 days later, on Aug. 27. Soon, his girlfriend and his sister were sick […]

    Within weeks of the gathering, the Dakotas, along with Wyoming, Minnesota and Montana, were leading the nation in new coronavirus infections per capita. The surge was especially pronounced in North and South Dakota, where cases and hospitalization rates continued their juggernaut rise into October. Experts say they will never be able to determine how many of those cases originated at the 10-day rally, given the failure of state and local health officials to identify and monitor attendees returning home, or to trace chains of transmission after people got sick. Some, however, believe the nearly 500,000-person gathering played a role in the outbreak now consuming the Upper Midwest.

    More than 330 coronavirus cases and one death were directly linked to the rally as of mid-September, according to a Washington Post survey of health departments in 23 states that provided information. But experts say that tally represents just the tip of the iceberg […]

    While some states and localities banned even relatively small groups of people, others, like South Dakota, imposed no restrictions — in this case allowing the largest gathering of people in the United States and perhaps anywhere in the world amid the pandemic and creating huge vulnerabilities as tens of thousands of attendees traveled back home to every state in the nation.

    Many went unmasked to an event public health officials pleaded with them to skip, putting themselves and others at risk, because they were skeptical about the risks, or felt the entreaties infringed on their personal liberties. Rallygoers jammed bars, restaurants, tattoo parlors and concert venues; South Dakota officials later identified four such businesses as sites of potential exposure after learning that infected people had visited them.

    Despite the concerns expressed by health experts ahead of the event, efforts to urge returnees to self-quarantine lacked enforcement clout and were largely unsuccessful, and the work by state and local officials to identify chains of transmission and stop them was inconsistent and uncoordinated.

    […] some suspected of having the virus refused to be tested, said Kris Ehresmann, director of infectious-disease epidemiology at the Minnesota Department of Health.

    Such challenges made it all but impossible to trace the infections attendees may have spread to others after they got home. Several infections tied to a wedding in Minnesota, for instance, “linked back to someone who had gone to Sturgis,” Ehresmann said. Those were not tallied with the Sturgis outbreak because “the web just gets too complicated,” she said. […]

    “Holding a half-million-person rally in the midst of a pandemic is emblematic of a nation as a whole that maybe isn’t taking [the novel coronavirus] as seriously as we should.”

    […] in contrast with participants in the Black Lives Matter protests this summer, many Sturgis attendees spent time clustered indoors at bars, restaurants and tattoo parlors, where experts say the virus is most likely to spread, especially among those without masks.

    Attendees came from every state, with just under half hailing from the Great Plains and substantial numbers journeying from as far as California, Illinois and Arizona, according to an analysis by the Center for New Data, a nonprofit group that uses cellphone location data to tackle public issues. The analysis, shared with The Washington Post, shows just how intertwined the South Dakota rally was with the rest of the country — and how far the decisions of individual attendees could have ricocheted.

    Cervantes feels certain he got the virus from his Sturgis trip, and shared that with the contact tracer from the Two Rivers Public Health Department who phoned him after his case was recorded. […]

    Yet his illness was not classified as a Sturgis case, suggesting that even under the best of circumstances, infections might go uncounted. With so much still unknown, it worries him to think people might look at the rally and conclude that massive events aren’t concerning after all — that the risk is worth it.

    […] He recalls having a fleeting thought as he guided his motorcycle through the turns of the famed Needles Highway two months ago, taking in the sweeping views and rock formations close enough to touch: “If I catch the virus and die, I will be a happy man. I have lived.”

    He hadn’t imagined that within a matter of days, he would feel that death was hovering right at his door. […]

    Among T-shirts hawked by vendors were ones that made mention of the virus keeping many Americans at home: “Screw covid-19, I went to Sturgis.” […]

    Noem, the governor, attributed the rise in cases to increases in testing, echoing […] Trump’s explanation of growing U.S. infections. “That’s normal, that’s natural, that’s expected,” she told the Associated Press. She did not explain how extra testing could have accounted for the rise in hospitalizations in the state, which hit record highs in October.

    […] “I was naive,” Cervantes said. “I was dumb, you know? I shouldn’t have went. I did; I can’t change that, so I just got to move forward. But sitting here just the past few days, that’s all I keep thinking about. I’m like, Jesus, look at the hell I’m going through, the hell I put everybody through. It ain’t worth it. It wasn’t. It really wasn’t.”

    Quite a bit more at the link.

  209. says

    Trump’s HHS secretary says we should wear masks but also that it doesn’t matter if we wear masks

    […] With just over two weeks until Election Day, Trump’s surrogates—the ones not sick with COVID-19 or hiding out to pretend they aren’t still milking the poisonous Trump cow—have taken to the airwaves to pretend everything is going according to plan. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar was on Meet the Press Sunday, to implore Americans in his most imploring-sounding voice, to wear masks and follow the basic general protections against spreading the COVID-19 virus that experts have been promoting since the beginning of this pandemic. Azar even scripted his statement as a plea to Chuck Todd’s “viewers.” This, obviously, surprised even Meet The Press host Chuck Todd, since Donald Trump and his administration have done the opposite now for, oh, about … seven months.

    […] Todd remarked that Azar’s statement was strange considering that just last week, Azar attended an indoor rally with […] Trump—the same […] Trump that still may very well be COVID-19 positive. Azar said that everyone at the indoor rally was socially distanced—sort of—and were all offered masks. Of course, this means nothing if you don’t wear said mask. Todd pointed out that the message being sent doesn’t seem consistent, as states like Wisconsin see surges in COVID-19 cases, while Donald Trump flies into those areas to promote big superspreader events.

    It is here that Azar attempts to promote misinformation that does two things: It attempts to justify the Trump administration’s current anti-public health farewell tour, while also absolving the administration’s criminally negligent handling of a pandemic that has claimed almost a quarter of a million American lives. Azar says that lots of countries in lockdown are having big surges. The implication here is that you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

    This isn’t true. The fact of the matter is that the United States, for the first time in years, is actually No. 1 in the world in something: death rates due to COVID-19 and death rates in general during the pandemic. We are also a leader in the world in cases per 100,000 and deaths per 100,000. I guess Azar is talking about how places like Aruba and Bahrain have a worse case rate? Todd asks why it’s been so “difficult for the president” to promote a public health message that would actually save thousands, if not tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of lives.

    […] Azar has been a Trump hack throughout this process and can be justifiably blamed for much of the misinformation and confusion among certain sections of the American public in regard to COVID-19. He has attacked Americans and frontline responders instead of the virus. If we lived in a just universe, Alex Azar would soon find himself doing some prison time along with the hundreds of Republican operatives and scam artists who have brought us to where we are now.

    Video of the interview with Azar is available at the link.

  210. says

    New Zealand journalist Tova O’Brien shows us how it should be done.

    […] When they get to COVID-19 and related misinformation in the interview, O’Brien says, “You knew exactly what you were doing. You were whipping up fear and hysteria among vulnerable communities.”

    “Not at all,” he replied. He acknowledged COVID-19 as a real virus and appeared to begin to talk about fatality rates of COVID-19 compared to that of other viruses, like the seasonal flu, and O’Brien said she was going to stop him right there.

    “I don’t want to hear any of that rubbish,” she said. “If you’re going to come on the show and say things which are factually incorrect, I can’t do that.” […]


    See also:

    “You sold your soul for political ambition.” Yep.

  211. says

    Cornyn Likens His Private Disagreements With Trump To A Bad Marriage: ‘He Is Who He Is’

    Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) admitted to having private disagreements with […] Trump on several issues during an interview with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram Editorial Board published Sunday.

    While acknowledging that he has broken with Trump on issues such as budget deficits and debt, tariffs and trade agreements and border security, Cornyn said that he actively decided to air his disagreements privately rather than publicly.

    The Texas senator is up for re-election against Democrat challenger MJ Hegar, with polls currently showing that Cornyn has a small lead over Hegar.

    When asked whether he and other Republicans regretted not pushing Trump to combat the COVID-19 crisis more aggressively, Cornyn used a bad marriage analogy when describing his relationship with [Trump] to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

    “Maybe like a lot of women who get married and think they’re going to change their spouse, and that doesn’t usually work out very well,” Cornyn said, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “I think what we found is that we’re not going to change President Trump. He is who he is. You either love him or hate him, and there’s not much in between.”

    Cornyn told the Forth Worth Star-Telegram that he has tried avoiding public confrontations with Trump because “as I’ve observed, those usually don’t end too well.”

    Cornyn noted how Trump soured on his friend, former Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), when the then-Tennessee senator broke with [Trump] on issues such as a border wall. Corker decided against running for re-election in 2018 after his clash with Trump.

    However, Cornyn told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that he’s had an easier time working with [Trump] on judicial nominations, Hurricane Harvey relief, a U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade deal and tax cuts — issues he was comfortable praising Trump for publicly.

    “But when I have had differences of opinion, which I have, (I) do that privately,” Cornyn told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “I have found that has allowed me to be much more effective, I believe, than to satisfy those who say I ought to call him out or get into a public fight with him.” […]

  212. says

    Follow-up to comment 292.

    From comments posted by readers of the TPM article:

    I’m not sure “I could have said something, been effective for you my constituents by airing a message about your real needs and how I stand for them; but instead – because it would have cost me a political hit to my power – instead I chose to do nothing” is quite the winning message that Cornyn thinks it might be.

    Also, I’m not sure you won over any spouses in “bad marriages” with this message…
    Profile in courage.
    When you and the other GOPPERs aquitted Trump last winter, people died.

    A lot of people. And it continues…

    You do not deserve to call yourself a “public servant” let alone continue as such.
    “Although I administered the Concentration Camps, I can assure you that in private I most strenuously disagreed with their existence.”

    -John Goering Cornyn
    You enabled him.
    You exempted him from crimes.
    You are complicit with his actions.
    You are a self-serving coward John Cornyn.
    Cornyn also agrees with Trump on “I don’t take responsibility at all.”
    Divorce him!
    So here it is. The new Republican POV. The country’s fast track race to a new Covid hell: It is what it is. The freak they all support: He is what he is.

  213. says

    Adam Goldman, NYT, summarizing the article @ #296:

    Bruce Golding, a reporter at the Rupert Murdoch-owned tabloid since 2007, did not allow his byline to be used because he had concerns over the article’s credibility

    The article named 2 sources: Bannon, former adviser to Trump facing federal fraud charges, who made the paper aware of the hard drive last month; and Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, who was said to have given the paper “a copy” of the hard drive on Oct. 11.

    Ms. Morris did not have a bylined article in The Post before Wednesday, a search of its website showed. She arrived at the tabloid in April after working as an associate producer on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show, according to her LinkedIn profile.

    Her Instagram account, which was set to private on Wednesday, included photos of her posing with the former Trump administration members Mr. Bannon and Sarah Huckabee Sanders, as well as Roger J. Stone Jr., a friend and former campaign adviser to Mr. Trump.

    “The senior editors at The Post made the decision to publish the Biden files after several days’ hard work established its merit,” Mr. Allan said in an email.

    Mr. Giuliani said he chose The Post because “either nobody else would take it, or if they took it, they would spend all the time they could to try to contradict it before they put it out.”

  214. says

    Guardian – “Bolivia election: exit polls suggest thumping win for Evo Morales’ party”:

    Exit polls have suggested that Evo Morales’ leftwing party has pulled off a stunning political comeback in Bolivia’s presidential election, although an official result has yet to emerge.

    Two private surveys projected that Luis Arce, the candidate for Morales’ Movimiento al Socialismo (Mas), had secured more than 50% of the vote in the ballot on Sunday, with his closest rival, the centrist former president Carlos Mesa, receiving about 30%.

    Arce, a former finance minister under Morales, claimed victory in a late night broadcast from La Paz. “We have reclaimed democracy and above all we have reclaimed hope,” said the 57-year-old UK-educated economist, widely known as Lucho.

    Arce vowed to end the uncertainty that has plagued his bitterly divided nation since October 2019, when hotly disputed claims of vote rigging against his party resulted in mass street protests, the presidential election being scrapped and Morales being forced from the country by security forces in what his supporters call a racist, rightwing coup.

    “We will govern for all Bolivians … we will bring unity to our country,” said Arce, who holds a master’s degree from the University of Warwick.

    Morales, who has towered over the election re-run despite living in exile in Argentina, hailed “a resounding victory” for his party. “Sisters and brothers: the will of the people has prevailed,” tweeted Bolivia’s first indigenous president, a key member of Latin America’s leftwing pink tide who governed from 2006 until his dramatic downfall last year.

    Even Morales’ nemesis, the rightwing interim president, Jeanine Áñez, conceded the left had come out on top. “We do not yet have the official count, but the data we do have shows that Mr Arce [has] … won the election. I congratulate the winners and ask them to govern thinking of Bolivia and of democracy,” Áñez tweeted.

    Leading members of the Latin American left, who hope Arce’s apparent triumph might help revive their fortunes, celebrated the result….

  215. says

    Guardian – “Thousands rally across France in tribute to murdered schoolteacher”:

    Tens of thousands of people have rallied in solidarity, in dozens of towns and cities across France, after a secondary schoolteacher was beheaded in an attack that has shocked a country already shaken by terrorist atrocities.

    Demonstrators gathered on Sunday in cities including Paris, Lyon, Toulouse, Strasbourg, Nantes, Marseille, Lille and Bordeaux in support of free speech and in tribute to Samuel Paty, who was killed outside his school on Friday after discussing caricatures of the prophet Muhammad with his class.

    Leading politicians, civil rights associations and teachers’ unions rallied on the Place de la République in Paris holding placards proclaiming “Je suis Samuel”, an echo of the “Je suis Charlie” slogan following the 2015 attack in which Islamist gunmen killed 12 people at the offices of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.

    Others held placards aloft declaring “No to totalitarianism of thought”, “I am a teacher” and “Schools in mourning”. Between bursts of applause, others chanted “Freedom of expression, freedom to teach” or sang La Marseillaise.

    Before the rallies, the education minister, Jean-Michel Blanquer called on “everyone to support our teachers”, saying “solidarity and unity” was vital. State interior secretary, Marlène Schiappa, said she was attending the Paris rally “for teachers, secularism and freedom of expression, and against Islamism”.

    Kamel Kabtane, rector of the Lyon mosque and a senior Muslim figure, said Paty had merely been “doing his job” and was “respectful” in doing so. “These terrorists are not religious but are using religion to take power,” Kabtane told Agence France-Presse.

    A national tribute will be organised for Wednesday, the Élysée Palace announced. The prime minister, Jean Castex, who attended the Paris rally along with opposition leaders and the city’s mayor, Anne Hidalgo, said the government was working on a strategy to better protect teachers from similar threats.

    “I want teachers to know that, after this ignoble act, the whole country is behind them,” Castex said. “This tragedy affects each and every one of us because, through this teacher, it is the republic that was attacked.”…

  216. says

    Here’s a link to the October 19 Guardian (support the Guardian if you can) coronavirus world liveblog.

    From there:

    Russia’s daily tally of coronavirus cases surged to a new record high of 15,982 on Monday, including 5,376 in the capital, Moscow, pushing the national case total to 1,415,316 since the pandemic began.

    Authorities reported 179 deaths in the last 24 hours, bringing the official death toll to 24,366.

    Belgium is losing control of the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic and is very close to being overwhelmed by a “tsunami” of infection, the country’s health minister has said.

    Frank Vandenbroucke, the federal minister, told the broadcaster RTL that Belgians needed to radically alter their behaviour.

    He described the situation in francophone Wallonia in the south and in the country’s capital, Brussels, as “the worst, and therefore the most dangerous in all of Europe”.

    We are the most affected region in all of Europe. We are really close to a tsunami … that we no longer control what is happening. Today, we can still control what is happening, but with enormous difficulties and stress.

    If it continues to increase, the number of hospitalisations will be such that we will have to postpone more and more non-Covid care, which is also very dangerous. [The government] has only one message to the public: protect yourself, protect your loved ones, so as not to be contaminated.

  217. says

    Aaron Rupar’s thread with video clips of Trump’s pro-COVID NV rally yesterday. (See also johnson catman’s #302 above.)

    It begins: “‘Fortunate Son’ is playing before Trump’s pandemic rally in Carson City, Nevada.” John Fogerty of CCR issued a cease & desist the other day telling them to stop using the song.

    Most disturbing: “‘The one I really want to do is Portland. That’s gonna be so easy… we’d love to go in and do something big in Chicago’ – Trump says he wants to send federal troops into various cities, then commends US Marshals for killing a murder suspect/antifa sympathizer.”

  218. johnson catman says

    re SC @306: See Mano Singham’s post “Film review: The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020)”. It has come almost full circle in 40 years. The Orange Toddler-Tyrant and authoritarians are trying to complete the loop back to the time when they attempted to make protesting illegal. We HAVE to get rid of that Orange Menace, but the courts are already tipping in their favor because of the despicable actions of Moscow Mitch. I will probably not live long enough to see the damage undone because it could take decades.

  219. tomh says

    U.S. Supreme Court to review legality of Trump’s ‘remain in Mexico’ asylum policy
    By Andrew Chung

    (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday agreed to decide the legality of one of President Donald Trump’s hardline immigration policies that has forced tens of thousands of migrants along the southern border to wait in Mexico, rather than entering the United States, while their asylum claims are processed.

    The justices will hear a Trump administration appeal of a 2019 lower court ruling that found the policy likely violated federal immigration law. The program, called Migrant Protection Protocols, remains in effect because the Supreme Court in March put the lower court’s decision to block the policy on hold while the legal battle continues.

    A federal judge blocked the program nationwide, saying that forcing these asylum applicants to wait in Mexico was contrary to the text of the Immigration and Nationality Act and violated treaty-based obligations to not send refugees back to the dangerous countries from which they came…

    Migrants in the program, many of them children, have faced violence and homelessness in Mexico while awaiting court dates. Human rights groups have documented cases of kidnappings, rapes and assaults.

  220. says

    Maggie Haberman reporting on a call with Trump:

    “People are tired of covid,” the president said. “People are tired of hearing Fauci and all these idiots… Fauci’s a nice guy, he’s been here for 500 years…wonderful sage telling us…”

    “If there’s a reporter on, you can have it just the way I said it, I couldn’t care less,” Trump says.

    MSNBC reporting that Trump also called Fauci a “disaster.”

  221. says

    More re #311: “On call with campaign staff, President Trump says people are tired of hearing about coronavirus. ‘People are saying whatever. Just leave us alone. They’re tired of it. People are tired of hearing Fauci and all these idiots…Fauci is a nice guy. He’s been here for 500 years’.”


  222. johnson catman says

    People who shun science and scientists should be prohibited from the tools and advantages that science has provided us. So, The Orange Toddler-Tyrant should have his cell phone ripped from his tiny little hands and he should be relocated to a cave far from electricity and all the comforts of home. Also, all of his science-denying supporters and sycophants.

  223. says

    SC @305, one thing that struck me about that recording of Melania speaking is that she definitely has one of her husband’s traits: whining about people criticizing her too much and not appreciating her enough.

  224. says

    Follow-up to comments 311 and 312.

    I expected Trump to escalate his attacks against Dr. Fauci. I hope Trump pays a big price of this latest bit of bullying ugliness.

    Commentary from Steve Benen:

    […]That [Trump] thinks some of the world’s most respected public-health experts are “idiots” explains a great deal about the failed White House response to the pandemic. Indeed, if Trump thinks Fauci’s so dumb and wrong, why was his re-election campaign so eager to lean on Fauci’s credibility in the now-infamous ad?

    Second, whether “people are tired of COVID” is irrelevant. The deadly threat exists independent of public fatigue.

    And third, with two weeks remaining before Election Day, as millions of Americans cast ballots through early voting, could Trump’s closing message be much worse? He’s picking fights with Republican senators, Democratic governors, his rival from four years ago, members of his own cabinet, and the nation’s most respected and celebrated immunologist.

    There is no method to the madness. There’s just a hapless amateur, impulsively lashing out wildly in every direction, because he knows no other way.

  225. says

    Bits and pieces of campaign news:

    * Jennifer Horn, the former chair of the New Hampshire Republican Party, wrote an op-ed for USA Today late last week, urging GOP voters to throw Trump out of office. “[A]fter years of destruction at the hands of this president, I have to ask my fellow Republicans, is this your party?” Horn asked.

    * In South Carolina, where Senate hopeful Jamie Harrison (D) has full campaign coffers, the Harrison campaign launched a new, minute-long television ad this morning featuring former President Barack Obama speaking throughout. YouTube link

    * Though casino mogul Sheldon Adelson hasn’t played a high-profile role in the 2020 cycle, Politico reports that he and his wife donated $75 million “to a super PAC that flooded battleground states with anti-Joe Biden ads in September, a huge investment from the GOP megadonors as […] Trump slipped in the polls.”

    * And though the president narrowly lost Minnesota four years ago, and he’s repeatedly expressed an interest in carrying the state in 2020, his campaign has begun slashing ad buys in Minnesota.

  226. johnson catman says

    re Lynna @314: LOL!! Without the hairspray, that thing on his head may be able to escape!

  227. says

    More re #319 – AP – “6 Russian military officers charged in vast hacking campaign”:

    Six current and former Russian military officers sought to disrupt through computer hacking the French election, the Winter Olympics and U.S. hospitals and businesses, according to a Justice Department indictment unsealed Monday that details destructive attacks on a broad range of political, financial and athletic targets.

    The indictment accuses the defendants, all alleged officers in the Russian military agency known as the GRU, in destructive attacks on Ukraine’s power grid; in a hack-and-leak effort directed at the political party of French President Emmanuel Macron in the days leading up to the 2017 election; and to impede an investigation into the suspected nerve-agent poisoning of a former spy and his daughter.

    The indictment does not charge the defendants in connection with interference in American elections, though the officers are part of the same military intelligence unit that prosecutors say interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election by hacking Democratic email accounts.

    The 50-page indictment, filed in federal court in Pittsburgh, focuses instead on attacks that prosecutors said were aimed at promoting Russian’s own geopolitical interests. Those include cyberattacks that targeted the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea, where Russian athletes were banned because of a state-sponsored doping effort.

    “No country has weaponized its cyber capabilities as maliciously and irresponsibly as Russia, wantonly causing unprecedented collateral damage to pursue small tactical advantages as fits of spite,” said Assistant Attorney General John Demers, the Justice Department’s top national security official.

    No US election-interference charges, but I suspect the French ones are a shot across the bow and a message that their activities are known.

  228. says

    Follow-up to SC’s comment 297.

    Things go from bad to worse for Giuliani’s anti-Biden gambit

    The New York Post ran an anti-Biden story last week that was literally unbelievable. New revelations now make the reporting look even worse.

    […] The article, which had the superficial appearance of an “October Surprise,” was filled with convoluted details involving Hunter Biden, a Ukrainian gas company, an alleged laptop, some alleged emails, and an unnamed shop owner in Delaware. The conservative tabloid was apparently handed the story by Rudy Giuliani and Steve Bannon.

    At face value, one of the problems with the story was that the underlying premise of the allegations were discredited quite a while ago, which is why most major news organizations had the good sense to steer clear of the Post’s reporting.

    But it now appears that even some of the key people who work at the conservative tabloid had serious concerns about the highly dubious article. The New York Times reported overnight:

    The New York Post’s front-page article about Hunter Biden on Wednesday was written mostly by a staff reporter who refused to put his name on it, two Post employees said. Bruce Golding, a reporter at the Rupert Murdoch-owned tabloid since 2007, did not allow his byline to be used because he had concerns over the article’s credibility, the two Post employees said, speaking on the condition of anonymity out of fear of retaliation.

    As a rule, when a reporter writes most of a story, but has so little faith in it that he doesn’t want to be associated with it, that’s a bad sign.

    But that’s really just the start. The New York Times’ reporting on what transpired at the New York Post went on to note that “many” of the tabloid’s staff raised concerns about the integrity of the anti-Biden smear. Editors felt compelled to press staffers to add their bylines, and at least two reporters refused.

    One of the people whose name ended up on the byline arrived at the Post in the spring, after a stint as a producer of Sean Hannity’s Fox News program. Another “learned that her byline was on the story only after it was published.”

    […] New York magazine ran a related piece over the weekend, quoting insiders at the tabloid who now concede the anti-Biden story shouldn’t have been published. “It just makes you cringe and roll your eyes, and it’s hard to stomach, but at the same time we kind of know that you’re signing up for stuff like that,” one Post reporter said. “It’s upsetting. It’s disappointing. It sucks to, like, work for, like, a propaganda outlet.”

    But as striking as these developments are, the controversy isn’t limited to an unfortunate article that shouldn’t have run. As Rachel explained on Friday’s show, there’s reason to believe the Giuliani/Bannon scheme is part of a Russian intelligence operation.

    Donald Trump is nevertheless promoting the New York Post article, even posing with the anti-Biden smear article in the Oval Office. The president has reportedly received explicit warnings that Russian intelligence services may be using Giuliani to launder propaganda, but the Republican incumbent — four years after benefiting from a foreign influence operation — seems unconcerned.

    Imagine that.

  229. says

    Pre-debate bashing of Kristen Welker has begun.

    Kilmeade Hops On Trump’s Moderator-Bashing Bandwagon Ahead Of Final Debate

    “Fox and Friends” co-host Brian Kilmeade joined […] Trump on Monday in railing against NBC News White House correspondent Kristen Welker just days before she is set to moderate the final presidential debate this week.

    On Saturday, [Trump] ripped Welker while quote-tweeting his son, Donald Trump Jr., who linked to a New York Post article claiming that the White House correspondent has “deep Democratic ties.” The Post reported that Welker’s parents have donated tens of thousands of dollars to Democratic candidates and close to $20,000 to former President Barack Obama alone.

    Although Welker’s party registration is not currently listed, the Post reported that she was a registered Democrat in Washington, D.C., in 2012 and in Rhode Island in 2004. The Post also pointed to Welker and her parents celebrating Christmas at the White House with the Obamas in 2012.

    [Trump tweeted] She’s always been terrible & unfair, just like most of the Fake News reporters, but I’ll still play the game. The people know! How’s Steve Scully doing?

    Kilmeade jumped on the Trumpworld’s Welker-bashing bandwagon on Monday morning. After criticizing topics for the debate that were selected by Welker as the moderator, Kilmeade tore into her for being “a registered Democrat before.”

    […] Kilmeade said. “How does she get picked to be the moderator at this debate? It’s incredible.”

    A spokesperson for Welker told TPM on Monday that Welker is not a registered Democrat and has been a “registered independent in D.C. since 2012, almost a decade.”

    Trump’s recent attacks against Welker starkly contrast his praise of the NBC News White House correspondent in January when he congratulated her for being named co-anchor of Weekend TODAY during a news conference. Trump told Welker that NBC “made a very wise decision.”

    Trump’s latest criticism of Welker also contradicts what campaign senior adviser Jason Miller told Fox News earlier this month.

    “I have a very high opinion of Kristen Welker. I think she’s going to do an excellent job as the moderator for the third debate,” Miller told Fox News’ Martha MacCallum, prior to Trump pulling out of the second presidential debate that was originally scheduled Oct. 15. “I think she’s a journalist who is very fair in her approach. And I think she’ll be a very good choice for this third debate.” […]

  230. says

    Trump is now tweeting about Fauci:

    Dr.Tony Fauci says we don’t allow him to do television, and yet I saw him last night on @60Minutes, and he seems to get more airtime than anybody since the late, great, Bob Hope. All I ask of Tony is that he make better decisions. He said “no masks & let China in”. Also, Bad arm!

    …P.S. Tony should stop wearing the Washington Nationals’ Mask for two reasons. Number one, it is not up to the high standards that he should be exposing. Number two, it keeps reminding me that Tony threw out perhaps the worst first pitch in the history of Baseball!

  231. says

    Trump’s campaign is broke, so it’s using the federal treasury as his reelection slush fund

    The Trump campaign is broke and broken with a candidate slipping further off the rails as the minutes tick by. But he’s got a very powerful, albeit illegal, tool: the whole of the federal government. From day one, Trump’s plan was to use the White House to expand his personal brand and make him some money. Now he’s using the federal government to try to hang on to the White House, using taxpayer dollars as his own slush fund.

    […] The worst abuse has to be Attorney General William Barr’s entire Justice Department being an arm of the campaign. It’s bad enough that Barr is out there, in his official capacity as attorney general, echoing Trump’s contention that mail-in ballots are unsafe and that this election could be rigged against his boss. “There’s no more secret vote,” Barr lied in an official news conference in Arizona in September. “Your name is associated with a particular ballot. The government and the people involved can find out and know how you voted. And it opens up the door to coercion.” None of that is true. Your name is not on your ballot, however you cast it. Elections officials only know if you cast a ballot. […]

    Barr is also using the Justice Department—lawyers getting paid with taxpayer funds—to defend Trump personally against a defamation charge from E. Jean Carroll, who alleges Trump raped her in the 1990s. […]

    Trump has also been pushing Barr to prosecute Joe Biden and President Barack Obama for spying on his 2016 campaign. “Unless Bill Barr indicts these people for crimes—the greatest political crime in the history of our country—then we’re going to get little satisfaction,” Trump told Fox Business last week. […]

    Then there’s the things like his raid on the Medicare Trust fund, $8 billion and change to send $200 bribes to seniors in the guise of prescription drug assistance. He and chief of staff Mark Meadows cooked up that scheme, and tried to get the pharmaceutical companies to pay for it. When they balked, they decided they may as well bilk the seniors they’re supposedly helping by taking the money out of Medicare. This was all so last-minute and harebrained, it turns out that it probably can’t be done before the election, so Trump is spending an extra $20 million to send out letters telling them the bribe is on the way.

    Trump also insisted that a letter signed by him be included in food boxes in the Farmer to Families program, federally funded food assistance that will have the campaign stamp on it. […]

    He’s been using the White House as the prop for his campaign [snipped details of August use of White House for campaign event] […] he had his big MAGA rally on White House grounds last week

    Bob Bauer, the former White House counsel to Obama, […] told Politico “Trump is openly saying, ‘I get to use this office, the authority and resources that come with it, to just advance my political interests in the most raw terms.'”

    That’s what he’s been doing all along, particularly by using Trump properties for official business. He’s been intent on stealing everything he could get his hands on while in office, and is going to use the Treasury to keep him in office so he can steal the rest.

  232. says

    SC @324, who the fuck cares that Fauci is not up to MLB standards when it comes to throwing a baseball? Every time he opens his mouth, Trump reveals that he is a small-minded, extremely petty man child.

  233. says

    New Eyewitness Accounts: Feds Didn’t Identify Themselves Before Opening Fire on Portland Antifa Suspect

    Witnesses say they heard no warning before the agents shot Michael Reinoehl dead, an outcome President Trump termed “retribution.’’

    […] two silver SUVs gunned toward Reinoehl, tires squealing as they skidded to a stop in front of his VW, pinning his car in. Deputized U.S. marshals burst from the vehicles aiming military rifles at him. The official line is that Reinoehl jumped out of his car, his hand on the .380-caliber pistol in his pocket, defying a shouted command: “Stop! Police!”

    One deputy U.S. marshal told investigators with the Thurston County sheriff’s office that Reinoehl pointed a gun at him. Another deputy marshal told detectives that Reinoehl had his hand on his pistol and was in the process of pulling the gun out of his pocket when officers fired. The gun was in Reinoehl’s right front pants pocket when detectives recovered it.

    Civilian eyewitnesses interviewed by Oregon Public Broadcasting and ProPublica and other public statements offer similarly inconsistent and sometimes conflicting recollections. They agree that they heard no warning from federal agents, and saw no flashing lights that indicated the arrival of law enforcement, just a fusillade that one neighbor likened to a scene out of the video game Call of Duty.

    Reinoehl, 48, died in the street from gunshot wounds to his head and torso. The shots were fired by two Pierce County sheriff’s deputies, a Lakewood police officer and a Washington State Department of Corrections employee […]

    Investigators haven’t said how many shots the officers aimed at Reinoehl, but there were so many that the little yellow evidence markers used to identify and protect spent shell casings resembled a miniature tent village.

    It might never be possible to determine exactly what happened in the estimated 15 seconds of gunfire that left Reinoehl dead, because the men who shot him were not wearing body cameras, the surrounding buildings lacked security cameras, and three people who witnessed critical segments of the shooting have not been interviewed by police.

    That uncertainty matters.

    […] Reinoehl’s ensuing death raises questions about […] Trump’s tendency to talk about law enforcement as a political tool and to portray police as responding to his agenda rather than doing their jobs independent of politics.

    An hour before Reinoehl died, the president called on Portland police to arrest the “cold blooded killer” of Jay Danielson. “Do your job, and do it fast,” he tweeted. […]

    Reinoehl shot Danielson near the end of that Saturday of street skirmishes between antifascists and right-wingers. Danielson, a white man, was a Portland businessman and stalwart of the far-right political group Patriot Prayer […]. Reinoehl, another white man, described himself as “100 percent antifascist,” and had shown up to many rallies over the summer to, as he put it, provide security to Black Lives Matter demonstrators. […]

    it remains unclear why Reinoehl shot Danielson. In an interview aired on VICE the day he died, Reinoehl said he had acted to protect “a friend of mine of color” who Reinoehl claimed would have been killed had he not fired. That purported friend, according to investigators, denied knowing Reinoehl, and said he did not witness the shooting and had no idea it would happen.

    […] A security camera on a downtown Portland building captured video of Reinoehl entering a nearby parking garage as Danielson and a friend walked by. That camera, and videographers ubiquitous at the protests, captured the moment in which Reinoehl followed them into the street and fired two rounds from his pistol; one drilled through Danielson’s chest.

    Danielson stumbled a few steps and collapsed.

    […] Early on Aug. 30, about five hours after Danielson’s killing, several trucks drove past the Portland rental home that Reinoehl shared with his son and middle school-age daughter and opened fire, Deaven said.

    “I heard the gunshots,” he said.

    The teenager said he heard three rounds fired at the dwelling but did not phone 911. Instead he called his dad to report what happened. Michael Reinoehl arrived and removed his daughter from the home, Deaven said. Reporters who interviewed the teen at his doorstep saw what appeared to be bullet holes in the siding above his head. […]

    Deaven Reinoehl said he spoke frequently with his dad in the days that followed. “He was just planning on trying to be on the run,” the younger Reinoehl said. “He didn’t know where he was going. He had people helping him find these safe houses or whatever. That’s why he was in Lacey, but I don’t know anything about, like, those people or anything.”

    […] One resident of the apartment complex, Nathaniel Dinguss, has been of particular interest to law enforcement. After the shooting, he consulted with lawyers who issued a news release describing the shooting of Reinoehl. The release noted that Dinguss, who has so far declined to speak with investigators, claims that deputized U.S. marshals did not attempt to apprehend Reinoehl—or issue any commands—before shooting him. Further, the lawyers wrote, Dinguss did not see a gun on Reinoehl or see him make a move to reach for one. […]

    What Dinguss’ lawyers and his press release fail to mention is that Reinoehl had been staying with Dinguss prior to the shooting, although authorities don’t know for how long.

    “I don’t know whether they’re friends,” said Lt. Ray Brady, who is overseeing the shooting investigation for the Thurston County sheriff’s office and still hopes his team will get a chance to interview Dinguss. “That was the apartment where Mr. Reinohel was staying.”

    Brady noted that Dinguss’s home was under surveillance by the fugitive task force. He said sheriff’s deputies searched the townhome after Reinoehl’s death. Officers were looking for anything related to the shooting in Portland

    […] Brady said that in the frantic seconds after deputy marshals opened fire, Reinoehl ran from his car and tried to take refuge behind a truck parked by his VW. As he lay dying on the ground, deputy marshals removed his hand from the pistol in his pocket, cuffed his wrists, and began CPR.

    Investigators recovered an AR-15-style .22-caliber rifle from his car, along with a .380-caliber shell casing in the back seat. Deputies don’t know, and may never know, if Reinoehl fired at officers during their failed arrest operation.[…]

    Soon after Reinoehl’s death, eyewitnesses gave vivid yet wildly varying accounts of the shooting.

    Garrett Louis witnessed part of the shooting from outside his home and across the street from Dinguss, and he has his own concerns about how officers behaved.

    […] “There was no ‘drop your weapon’ or ‘freeze’ or ‘police’—no warning at all,” he recalled.

    Louis first thought the gunplay—a brief volley, a few seconds of silence, then a sustained barrage—was the work of rival drug dealers. “They just seemed like trouble,” he said. Confused by the shooting, Louis plucked his 7-year-old and a playmate off a nearby lawn and secured them in his home before dashing across the street to yank his 8-year-old off his bike and run him to safety.

    In the hours after the shooting, he wrote a two-page account of what he saw. But he has not yet spoken to Thurston County detectives. […]

    Another eyewitness offered […] She thought the shooters—buff white men dressed in khakis and ballistic vests and armed with rifles—looked less like law enforcement officers than members of a right-wing militia. Perhaps, she said, Reinoehl might have mistaken the lawmen for the far-right vigilantes he feared were hunting for him.

    […] A moment after the shooting, Louis, the father of two, stared across the street, still bathed in late summer sunshine, and spotted Reinoehl sprawled on the pavement near a cluster of mailboxes. He walked over to a police officer and introduced himself as an EMT, having served in that capacity in the Army, he said.

    “I was going to see if there was any sort of aid that I could offer,” he recalled. “He just told me to shut the fuck up and go inside, and that it was a crime scene.”

    A livestream Facebook video posted at 6:59 p.m., well after the law officer rebuffed Louis’s offer to render medical help, shows a police officer in latex gloves performing chest compressions on Reinoehl.

    […] Trump celebrated Reinoehl’s death: “This guy was a violent criminal, and the U.S. Marshals killed him,” he said. “And I will tell you something: That’s the way it has to be. There has to be retribution when you have a crime like this.”

    But those sentiments rang sour with at least some of those closest to the shooting. Jay Danielson’s friends, many of them Trump supporters, seethed when they learned that deputy marshals had killed Reinoehl. They weren’t looking for revenge, said Chandler Pappas, who was standing just behind his friend Danielson when Reinoehl shot him.

    “We wanted to see him face a jury, we wanted to see him suffer in prison,” Pappas said. “I wanted to see him answer for what he had done in a courtroom.”

  234. says

    Various Republican Senators have been trending on Twitter for the past few hours because people are debating whose state has the worst. I think it started with this tweet:

    I’m in Texas with Cornyn and Cruz. I bet my state has worse senators than yours. Prove me wrong!

    Others in the running:

    FL: Rubio and Scott
    NC: Tillis and Burr
    KY: McConnell and Paul (would be my pick)
    IA: Ernst and Grassley
    GA: Perdue and Loeffler

    No one’s making a case for the state with the best Senators, but my vote would probably go to Hawaii (Schatz and Hirono).

  235. microraptor says

    Apparently, Tesla’s stock prices took a dive following a strong socialist victory in Bolivia’s national election.

  236. says

    Trump launches a frenzied effort to save his brand

    “‘I am not a sick person, ever’ is how he sees himself,” said one longtime Trump chronicler. “He has always defined every outcome as a victory even when it wasn’t.”

    Trump is racing to close a yawning gap in the polls in his final, frantic sprint to Election Day — and also rushing to restore a key element of his personal brand.

    Two weeks since exiting a hospital after being pumped with experimental drugs, Trump is attempting to regain a carefully cultivated persona of the businessman-turned-politician who can travel more than anyone, work (or tweet) at all hours and deliver roaring rally speeches […]

    […] Now, in the middle of a once-in-a-century pandemic and searing recession, Trump is closing out his campaign with this attitude of fighting, dominance and aggression rather than empathy and compassion […]

    […] Now, Trump’s post-Covid macho man routine could become a political liability as cases rise this fall across the nation.

    “When he said, ‘Don’t let the virus dominate your life,’ I heard a million epidemiologists cry out in terror,” said Jeremy Faust, an emergency physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and an instructor at Harvard Medical School. “The fact that when Trump recovered, it was all about him beating the virus and not about, ‘I went through this ordeal and here is what we can do to stay safe’ — that is a terrible disservice. As a president, you have the opportunity to educate people every day.”

    […] Trump’s portrayal of his health has long been an avenue for him to display his tough-guy cred. It’s carried from his time as a high-profile marketer to his 2016 campaign, when his doctor released an exaggerated assessment of his health, to his genuine aversion to germs as president in order to avoid getting sick.

    Privately, the president has long bragged to staff about his ability to outlast them on long travel days and at rallies. He views the length of his speeches as a transactional way to reciprocate the enthusiasm of his supporters, one aide said. […]

    “The president obviously talks about his IQ and personal fitness a lot,” said a second former senior administration official, who said much of the White House staff recognized it as hyperbole. “He usually does it to compare himself favorably to others.” […]

    Insecure, petty manchild, infected with toxic masculinity. I am not impressed.

  237. says

    Guardian world liveblog:

    Ireland will move to the highest level of Covid-19 restrictions under the government’s five-tier living with Covid roadmap.

    Cabinet ministers have agreed to place the country under level 5 restrictions from midnight on Wednesday for six weeks in a bid to combat the rise in cases of the virus.

    The decision was taken at a Cabinet meeting in Dublin on Monday evening.

    The restrictions will last until 1 December.

  238. says

    Birx confronted Pence about Atlas

    White House coronavirus response coordinator Deborah Birx recently confronted Vice President Pence about the increasing influence of Scott Atlas over the administration’s handling of the pandemic, a person familiar with the exchange confirmed to The Hill.

    Birx raised concerns about the information Atlas was giving President Trump and suggested he be removed from the White House coronavirus task force. Atlas is not an infectious diseases expert but has emerged as one of Trump’s most influential advisers on the pandemic.

    The exchange was first reported by The Washington Post, which said Pence asked Birx and Atlas to work out the strife on their own and to present data to their colleagues supporting their viewpoints.

    OMG, Pence! That’s not a good idea. You pretended that Birx and Atlas were equally qualified to present views to the coronavirus task force. Atlas is an unqualified dunderhead.

    […] Asked about Atlas’s position and if the White House was open to herd immunity, Fauci did not mention Atlas by name but pushed back in an interview with Yahoo News last week.

    “My position is known, Dr. Deborah Birx’s position is known, and Dr. Bob Redfield,” Fauci told Yahoo News, adding: “All three of us very clearly are against that.”

    […] Birx has been pushed aside at the White House, last appearing alongside Trump in early August. She has spent the last few months on the road, meeting with governors and university officials to advise them on their pandemic response and gather information on best practices.

    She has joined Fauci, Redfield and Surgeon General Jerome Adams as public health experts who were prominent figures in the early weeks of the pandemic but who have been sidelined from public view even as the country sees rising case numbers and hospitalizations.

  239. says

    Donald Trump’s Very Sane Day continues: “‘You’re a criminal for not reporting it. You are a criminal for not reporting it’. — Trump calls [Jeff Mason from Reuters] ‘a criminal’ for not reporting on Hunter Biden’s [alleged] emails”

    Mason had asked why his campaign strategy is calling Biden a criminal. Trump just repeats several times “He is a criminal.”

    Video atl.

  240. says

    Guardian world liveblog:

    A top Lebanese security official has tested positive for Covid-19 in the US, forcing him to delay his return from talks in Washington and to cancel scheduled meetings in Paris.

    Major-General Abbas Ibrahim is in good health, the directorate of General Security, which he heads, said in a tweet.

    Ibrahim met US national security adviser Robert O’Brien at the White House last week to discuss American citizens held in Syria, the Wall Street Journal reported.

    PSA: Stay away from the White House.

  241. says

    From Aaron Rupar’s livetweeted thread with video clips of Trump’s AZ COVIDathon:

    Trump is about to deliver a pandemic speech in Prescott, Arizona. Follow for a video thread.

    Trump is using taxpayer resources as political props

    “They are getting tired of the pandemic, aren’t they? You turn on CNN, that’s all they cover. ‘Covid, Covid, Pandemic, Covid, Covid.’ You know why? They’re trying to talk everybody out of voting. People aren’t buying it, CNN, you dumb bastards.” — Trump

    “Biden wants to listen to Dr. Fauci,” Trump says, prompting boos and yells of “lock him up!”

    Trump mockingly mimics Dr. Fauci’s first pitch

    “Lock him up!” chants for Joe Biden are a new staple of Trump rallies.

    “I know people that would’ve had him locked up five weeks ago,” Trump says, suggesting Bill Barr is having mercy on Biden.

    Trump claims that “FISA” is developing a coronavirus vaccine. (He meant Pfizer.)

    “Women. I like women. I like women.” — Trump

    “Can you imagine if Don Jr had problems of where’s Hunter? Don Jr. Oh, my poor boy. Boy, what that boy has been through.” — Trump

    “I call the head of Exxon. I’ll use a company. ‘How, how are you doing, how’s energy coming? When are doing the exploration? Oh, you need a couple of permits, huh?’ But I call the head of Exxon, I say, ‘you know, I’d love you to send me $25m for the campaign'” – Trump #QuidProQuo [!!!]

    “Kristen Welker. She’s a radical Democrat. She deleted her entire account. But I’ve known her, she’s been screaming questions at me for a long time. She’s no good.” — Trump disses the moderator of the upcoming presidential debate

    Trump again repeatedly brags about the military’s “hydrosonic” missiles. He means “hypersonic.” “Hydrosonic” is a brand of tooth brush.

    “And you said, if we were here earlier instead of Obama, she would have been with us today.” — Trump blames Obama for the death of Kayla Mueller…

  242. says

    Re the Exxon quote from #338: “For people retweeting without watching the full clip: this quote was not a Trump corruption admission. It was him being defensive about Biden outraising him – saying he COULD easily raise tons of money if he wanted to call up CEOs and make corrupt bargains, but he won’t do that.”

    Yes, but since his entire MO consists of corrupt bargains of this sort, and since he just did a high-end fundraiser, and since Mnuchin is in the Middle East doing god knows what, and since his accusations are all projection, I’m going with the logical inference. Also, he says he doesn’t do it because he doesn’t want to, not because it’s a federal crime.

  243. says

    New Yorker – “Trump’s Labor Secretary Is a Wrecking Ball Aimed at Workers”:

    …Last September, Scalia became the Secretary of Labor. The son of the late Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Antonin Scalia, he secured the position after Alex Acosta stepped down amid revelations that, in 2008, while serving as U.S. Attorney in Miami, he’d arranged a lenient plea deal for the financier and alleged sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein. Like many other Cabinet officials in the Trump Administration, Scalia had credentials that suggested an antagonism toward the agency he was appointed to run. The official role of the Labor Department is “to foster, promote and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers and retirees of the United States.” As an attorney, Scalia had spent decades helping corporations gut or evade government regulations, including worker protections.

    Since Donald Trump entered politics, he has surrounded himself with grifters and figures of gross incompetence. Scalia is part of a smaller cohort: distinguished conservatives who have joined the Administration to advance their own ideological goals. A graduate of the University of Chicago Law School, where he edited the law review, and a partner at the white-shoe firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, where he has specialized in labor-and-employment law and administrative law, Scalia has an intellectual pedigree that most members of Trump’s inner circle lack. Temperamentally, he has little in common with the bombastic President. Yet, like virtually everyone in the Republican Party, Scalia has chosen to view this Administration chiefly in opportunistic terms. His longtime agenda has been curtailing government, and at the Labor Department he has overseen the rewriting of dozens of rules that were put in place to protect workers. As the coronavirus has overrun America, Scalia’s impulse has been to grant companies leeway rather than to demand strict enforcement of safety protocols.

    On April 28th, Richard Trumka, the president of the A.F.L.-C.I.O., sent Scalia a letter accusing the Department of Labor of forsaking its mission. Even as millions of workers were risking their health to perform jobs deemed essential, OSHA had done little more than issue a modest list of voluntary safety guidelines. Trumka demanded that Scalia impose emergency temporary standards that would require companies to follow specific rules to slow the spread of COVID-19, such as providing employees with personal protective equipment and adhering to social-distancing guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control.

    Scalia’s response was polite but unyielding. “Correspondence such as yours can help us do our jobs better,” he began, but then insisted that Trumka’s complaints were riddled with “basic misunderstandings.” Imposing emergency temporary standards was unnecessary, Scalia wrote, because OSHA already had the authority to penalize irresponsible companies under the General Duty Clause, which requires employers to create an environment “free from recognized hazards.”… The clause has played little role lately, Trumka told me. Since the pandemic began, OSHA has received more than ten thousand complaints alleging unsafe conditions related to the virus. It has issued just two citations under the General Duty Clause.

    The pandemic likely would have overwhelmed OSHA no matter who was running the Department of Labor. Founded in 1970, OSHA has a budget less than a tenth the size of the Environmental Protection Agency’s. Limited resources, meek penalties, and fierce opposition from business interests have long inhibited OSHA’s ability to address the unsafe conditions that lead to the deaths of some five thousand workers on the job annually, with injuries sustained by nearly three million more.

    Nevertheless, there are ways OSHA can let companies know that willfully violating the law has serious consequences. One of these methods is negative publicity….

    The Trump Administration summarily ended the policy. Michaels, who is now a professor at the George Washington University School of Public Health, asked me, “When have you heard President Trump mention OSHA? Or Vice-President Pence? Or even Scalia? With thousands of workers sick and hundreds dying over an infectious disease that we know how to prevent, Scalia should be banging the table saying, ‘You have to make sure workers are safe!’ He should be next to Anthony Fauci on television every night.” Despite reports of workers being exposed to unsafe conditions everywhere from Amazon warehouses to greenhouse farms, Michaels said, Scalia has been “invisible.”

    …One casualty of the Trump Administration’s “regulatory reform” was an Obama-era initiative, launched after the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, to develop an infectious-disease standard for work sites. When COVID-19 struck, some former OSHA officials pushed the agency to reinstate a modified version of the standard, and current staffers prepared one. Michaels said, “The staff told me, ‘We had it ready to go.’ ” It went nowhere.

    Introduced instead was a Department of Labor policy memorandum relieving the vast majority of employers of any duty to keep records about whether employees’ coronavirus infections were “work-related.” The memo, issued on April 10th, just as cases were exploding nationally, so confounded Joseph Woodward, a former associate solicitor for occupational safety and health at the Labor Department, that he wrote a five-page letter to Scalia. The letter, which Woodward shared with me, warned that, without proper data, OSHA “will be left in the dark about conditions that have resulted in employee deaths.” The decision, he noted, also “ignores the right of employees to know whether work-related illnesses are occurring,” which “is a basic human right.” The policy was so roundly criticized that Scalia scuttled it. This fall, however, OSHA informed employers that they no longer have to report COVID-19 hospitalizations unless an employee was admitted within twenty-four hours of a workplace exposure—a highly unlikely scenario, given that symptoms are usually delayed.

    Scalia has bristled at criticism of his handling of the pandemic, accusing Woodward and others of failing to show “due respect for the steps the dedicated men and women at OSHA are taking.” But David Michaels told me that the front-line officials he’d heard from felt handcuffed by the Labor Department’s current leadership. “They’re there to protect workers—and they’re not being sent to do anything,” he said….

    OSHA has also reduced its personnel….

    On October 5th, the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies released a working paper that examined why the per-capita mortality rate from COVID-19 is five times higher in America than it is in Germany. The paper found a correlation between complaints to OSHA in various regions of the country and local spikes in mortality roughly seventeen days later. The findings indicated that national safety standards and stronger enforcement by the federal government could have mitigated the virus’s spread “in the workplace and, in turn, the community at large.” (The Labor Department spokesperson said that the study didn’t “establish that an increase in fatalities was somehow attributable to how OSHA responded to complaints.”)

    Among the communities most imperilled are rural counties with meatpacking plants, where more than forty thousand workers have contracted COVID-19 and at least two hundred have died, many of them Latino immigrants. In April, Trump signed an executive order categorizing meat and poultry as “critical” to “national defense,” thus insuring that meat-processing facilities would stay open. OSHA issued “interim guidance” but no mandatory safety measures to protect workers. Inspections of meatpacking plants have increased in the months since, but Alfonso Figueroa, an official with the United Food and Commercial Workers, has not been impressed by their rigor….

    Since the pandemic began, the Department of Labor has also issued a series of little-noticed rules that have weakened the few protections that workers in low-wage industries have. A July 24th memorandum rolled back a policy, expanded under the Obama Administration, to deter wage theft, which robs low-income workers of billions of dollars every year….

    A senior official in the Labor Department told me that its own experts and field officers have been sidelined by political appointees. In the past, the official said, field officers played an integral role in drafting new rules. Today, many of them learn about rule changes only after the fact, from agency press releases. Career officials have taken to calling the shadowy operatives now in charge the Ghost Squad.

    Although some of Scalia’s rules may be overturned under future Administrations, the reversal process can take years, particularly if industry mounts court challenges.

    Insuring that employees are not subjected to retaliation for engaging in certain protected activities is a key responsibility of the Department of Labor—in particular, of OSHA, which enforces the whistle-blower provisions of more than twenty laws. During the Obama Administration, David Michaels established a federal advisory committee to strengthen OSHA’s whistle-blower program. After Trump was elected, the committee was disbanded, and since then the whistle-blower-protection office has had no leader, despite many reports of workers facing reprisals for complaining about unsafe conditions during the pandemic. A survey conducted in May by the National Employment Law Project revealed that one in eight workers “has perceived possible retaliatory actions by employers against workers in their company who have raised health and safety concerns.” The survey found that Black workers were more than twice as likely as white workers to have witnessed such retaliation.

    It appears that Scalia at least cares about how his tenure as Labor Secretary is perceived in Washington. Several people I interviewed speculated that he nurtures larger ambitions, hoping to be appointed a federal judge and, eventually, a Justice of the Supreme Court. At the same time, Scalia has gone to great lengths to please the clients he used to serve as a corporate lawyer. Left out of Scalia’s cost-benefit calculations is the public good….

    Much, much more atl.

  244. says

    LOL – when even ExxonMobil has to tweet: “We are aware of the President’s statement regarding a hypothetical call with our CEO…and just so we’re all clear, it never happened.”

  245. says

    Joy Reid is interviewing Nancy Pelosi and introduced the segment with clips of Trump calling everyone criminals and calling for them to be locked up, which she characterized as “threatening to go full Mobutu.”

  246. says

    This seems wise. Biden’s campaign has a war room designed to counter online disinformation.

    Joe Biden’s campaign has quietly built a multimillion-dollar operation over the past two months that’s largely designed to combat misinformation online, aiming to rebut […] Trump while bracing for any information warfare that could take place in the aftermath of the election.

    The effort, internally called the “Malarkey Factory,” consists of dozens of people around the country monitoring what information is gaining traction digitally, whether it’s resonating with swing voters and, if so, how to fight back. The three most salient attacks the Malarkey Factory has confronted so far are claims that Biden is a socialist, that he is “creepy” and that he is “sleepy” or senile.

    In preparation for misinformation spreading as voters head to the polls, especially a stretch around Election Day when Facebook will not let campaigns buy new ads, the campaign has partnered with dozens of Facebook pages associated with liberal individuals or groups that have large followings. The campaign has also enlisted 5,000 surrogates with big social media platforms who can pump out campaign messages.

    The Malarkey Factory has already been at work. When Trump began attacking Biden as a socialist, for example, the Biden campaign saw that it was affecting Hispanic voters in Florida. So it developed counter-messaging that showed a different image of Biden, with him speaking of his love for America and being endorsed by former president Barack Obama, and the campaign blasted the messaging to Latinos in the state.

    “Our theory of the case has been that we need to find and identify the misinformation that is actually moving voters, even if it is a small number of voters, then find who those voters are and see if we can intervene,” said Rob Flaherty, the campaign’s digital director and head of the Malarkey Factory. “There’s misinformation that inflames a base. There’s misinformation that persuades people. And there’s misinformation that suppresses a base.”

    While it is increasingly easy to determine where misinformation is coming from, given the proliferation of online tools, the trickier challenge is figuring out whether it’s shaping voting behavior and merits a response.

    “The real dilemma of misinformation, from a campaign perspective, is that in the vast majority of cases, the correct tactical thing to do is nothing,” said Matthew Hindman, an associate professor at George Washington University who co-wrote a study on misinformation during the 2018 midterms. “There is a very real risk that you will take a nothing story that nobody has heard of and raise its prominence and give it oxygen.”

    And given the speed of social media, that decision often has to be made within minutes.

    When a conspiracy theory emerged that Osama bin Laden was never really killed — and Biden and Obama had Navy SEALs executed to cover that up — Biden’s campaign felt little need to respond. The deeply implausible fabrication might affect some potential Trump voters, Biden staffers concluded, but would not affect the types of voters they were trying to attract.

    […] The project started in August when the Biden campaign assembled groups inside and outside the campaign, tapping campaign staffers working remotely in places such as Washington, D.C.; Portland, Maine; and Long Island, as well as an array of marketing and tech firms in Silicon Valley.

    […] While most of the effort is aimed at combating misinformation, the Malarkey Factory is also attempting to persuade undecided voters. It has run a program in Pennsylvania and is about to do the same in Michigan, for example, that gathers videos recorded by voters on why they support Biden. The campaign tests the videos on thousands of people and, based on the results, forwards specific clips to particular groups of voters.

    The campaign has also teamed up with users on TikTok, the enormously popular platform featuring super-short videos, to spread Biden’s message.

    And on Friday, Biden opened a virtual field office in “Animal Crossing: New Horizons,” part of a Biden island in the virtual world that has ice cream stands, model trains and campaign merchandise. […]

    Washington Post link

  247. says

    Ha! This is funny. Trump has terrible timing:

    Trump’s criticism of Fauci on Monday came the same day the National Academy of Medicine awarded the disease expert with its first-ever Presidential Citation for Exemplary Leadership. Presenting the award, academy president Victor J. Dzau praised Fauci’s ‘firm and steady leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic’ and for ‘offering an unwavering, trusted voice to the nation and world on behalf of science-based policy and public health. […]

    USA Today link

  248. says

    Trump lost another court case:

    A federal judge on Sunday formally struck down a Trump administration attempt to end food stamp benefits for nearly 700,000 unemployed people, blocking as ‘arbitrary and capricious’ the first of three such planned measures to restrict the federal food safety net.

    In a scathing 67-page opinion, Chief U.S. District Judge Beryl A. Howell of D.C. condemned the Agriculture Department for failing to justify or even address the impact of the sweeping change on states, saying its shortcomings had been placed in stark relief amid the coronavirus pandemic, during which unemployment has quadrupled and rosters of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program have grown by more than 17 percent, with more than 6 million new enrollees. […]

    Washington Post link

  249. johnson catman says

    re Lynna @344:

    Trump has terrible timing

    This is not at all surprising. At almost every chance he has had to make a decision, he has made the wrong decision. It is no wonder that he has gone bankrupt several times, even running A CASINO where the house ALWAYS wins.

  250. says

    Pompeo Faces Investigation After Teasing Clinton Email Release ‘Before The Election’

    Government investigators will look into whether Secretary of State Mike Pompeo illegally used his office for […] Trump’s political gain, the Office of Special Counsel said Monday.

    The office is in charge of investigating potential Hatch Act violations; the law bars executive branch employees from using their offices for political ends, and according to a recent complaint, Pompeo did just that when he pledged to release emails from former secretary Hillary Clinton “before the election.”

    “We’ve got the emails, we’re getting them out. We’re going to get all this information out so the American people can see it,” Pompeo told Fox News’s Dana Perino earlier this month.

    “We’re doing it as fast as we can,” he added. “I certainly think there’ll be more to see before the election.”

    Pompeo was responding to pressure from […] Trump himself, who’d said of Clinton’s emails a day earlier: “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. He was unable to get them out. I don’t know why. You’re running the State Department, you get them out.”

    In a letter dated Friday, the watchdog group American Oversight wrote to the Office of Special Counsel that Pompeo’s comment “warrants an investigation of whether Secretary Pompeo has given directives or orders to State employees in violation of the Hatch Act.”

    Pompeo has faced numerous allegations that he’s politicized his office, including when he addressed the Republican National Committee during a trip to Jerusalem, and over the lavish taxpayer-funded dinner he’s hosted with VIPs, including deep-pocketed Republican donors. […]

  251. tomh says

    Supreme Court denies Pennsylvania GOP request to limit mail-in voting

    The Supreme Court on Monday denied a request from Pennsylvania’s Republican Party to shorten the deadlines for mail-in ballots in the state. Thanks to the court’s 4-4 deadlock, ballots can be counted for several days after Election Day.

    It’s a major win for Democrats that could decide the fate of thousands of ballots in a crucial swing state that President Trump won in 2016. The court’s decision may signal how it would deal with similar election-related litigation in other states.

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

    The deadlock underscores the importance for Republicans of confirming Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, who the president himself has said could be a deciding vote in an election-related dispute.

    Chief Justice John Roberts joined liberal justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Stephen Breyer in denying the application…

    When the court is deadlocked, the decision from the lower court remains in place without setting a precedent for future cases.

    It won’t be long before Roberts is irrelevant.

  252. says

    Here’s a link to the October 20 Guardian coronavirus world liveblog.

    From there:

    Russia recorded a record high 16,319 new cases of coronavirus on Tuesday, including 4,999 in the capital Moscow, taking the national tally to 1,431,635. Authorities reported a further 269 deaths in the last 24 hours, taking the official death toll to 24,635.

    Iran’s health ministry on Tuesday reported 5,039 new coronavirus infections in the previous 24 hours, the highest ever daily tally, pushing the national total to 539,670.

    Ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari told state TV that 322 people had died in the previous 24 hours, bringing the official Covid-19 death toll to 31,034 in Iran, one of the worst-hit countries in the Middle East.

    Also today in the Guardian – “Angels and artillery: a cathedral to Russia’s new national identity”:

    Angels hover above artillery, religious images are adorned with Kalashnikovs and the Virgin Mary strikes a pose reminiscent of a Soviet second world war poster. The imagery inside Russia’s vast Cathedral of the Armed Forces blends militarism, patriotism and Orthodox Christianity to breathtaking and highly controversial effect.

    An hour’s drive from Moscow, the cathedral has a metallic, khaki-green exterior, topped with golden domes and crosses that rise to 95 metres (312ft). Inside is the largest amount of mosaic of any church in the world, with many of the work depicting battles from Russian history and the second world war in particular.

    During Vladimir Putin’s two decades in charge of Russia, the Soviet victory in the Great Patriotic War, as the second world war is still called here, has gradually become the main building block of a new Russian national identity. Now, the war victory has its own religious shrine, and when future historians look back at the Putin era, they may well decide that this cathedral is its defining building….

    Deserves to be read in full.

  253. says

    AP – “How Trump plowed through $1 billion, losing cash advantage”:

    President Donald Trump’s sprawling political operation has raised well over $1 billion since he took the White House in 2017 — and set a lot of it on fire.

    Trump bought a $10 million Super Bowl ad when he didn’t yet have a challenger. He tapped his political organization to cover exorbitant legal fees related to his impeachment. Aides made flashy displays of their newfound wealth — including a fleet of luxury vehicles purchased by Brad Parscale, his former campaign manager.

    Meanwhile, a web of limited liability companies hid more than $310 million in spending from disclosure, records show.

    Now, just two weeks out from the election, some campaign aides privately acknowledge they are facing difficult spending decisions at a time when Democratic nominee Joe Biden has flooded the airwaves with advertising….

    Much more atl.

  254. johnson catman says

    Poll worker fired for turning away Memphis voters wearing Black Lives Matter shirts:

    A poll worker in Memphis, Tennessee, has been fired after turning away early voters who were wearing “Black Lives Matter” and “I Can’t Breathe” shirts, an elections official said Monday.

    Tennessee law does not allow voters to wear items bearing the name of a candidate or a political party in a polling place. But state law does not prohibit statements such as “Black Lives Matter,” Thompson said.

    The number of voters who were told to leave was not immediately known, but Thompson said it was only a few. The poll worker thought the statements were tied to the Democratic Party, Thompson said.

    My emphasis. Maybe because republicans don’t think Black Lives Matter.

  255. says

    Politico – “Trump’s case against Omarosa exposes another problem: Unpaid legal bills”:

    Donald Trump’s campaign wants Omarosa Manigault Newman to pay up for penning an incriminating tell-all book about the president in 2018. But it’s the Trump campaign that hasn’t paid its bills.

    The delinquent $52,000 payment — revealed in a previously unreported letter dated Oct. 14 and obtained by POLITICO — is just one example of how the Trump campaign is handling the flurry of legal actions it has taken to both protect the president and attack his enemies in the final weeks of the campaign.

    In some instances, the campaign is pressing ahead. In others, it has let the cases go dormant. The through line, however, is that the campaign has started a lot of fights in court, yet is not close to resolving them with just two weeks left until Election Day.

    In the action against Manigault Newman, the campaign may simply let the case dissolve. In 2018, the Trump campaign filed an arbitration case against the former West Wing aide over her book, which rocked the White House with stories of Trump using lewd, sexist and racist language. At one point, Trump’s attorneys suggested Newman pay for a nearly $1 million ad campaign “to counteract the long-term adverse effects” of her remarks.

    Yet the campaign has thus far stiffed the arbitrator assigned to mediate the case, according to a letter sent to the parties in the case. If Trump’s attorneys don’t pay the outstanding bill by next week, the case could be tossed out.

    The dispute over Manigault Newman’s book is far from the only legal thread left dangling for the Trump campaign.

    The campaign is helping fight accusations Trump harassed and sexually assaulted women. It’s helping keep documents about his business deals hidden. Other cases are proactive, such as attempts to enforce nondisclosure agreements and to punish media companies the campaign accuses of defamation. And it is responding to lawsuits from people who say they were assaulted at Trump events, including one from a Missouri man who claimed he was arrested after laughing at a MAGA rally.

    It’s not the first time Trump, a businessman with a global real estate footprint, and his campaign have faced accusations that they didn’t pay the bills.

    Private contractors, bartenders, painters, real estate brokers and others have all claimed that Trump didn’t adequately compensate them for their work before he was sworn into office. More recently, Trump has been accused of failing to pay local officials who provide thousands of dollars’ in security assistance to the president’s campaign during rallies.

    The Trump campaign’s financial outlook is also faltering in the election’s final weeks. Trump has fallen behind Biden on fundraising.

    Already, the Trump campaign has spent millions of dollars on completed legal work, including helping defend Trump against allegations he worked with Russia to interfere in the 2016 election and on his impeachment trial, during which he was accused of pressuring Ukraine’s president to investigate Biden and his son, Hunter.

    The campaign has also teamed up with the Republican National Committee on more than 40 lawsuits challenging voting rules in states across the country. An RNC official said the official Republican Party is not involved in any non-voting cases….

  256. says

    SC @358, Yikes. Greenwald is even worse than I remember. I’m going to have to put him on my list of people to ignore. He has no nuanced views left. He just went full rightwing dunderhead.

    “I couldn’t agree more Tucker. First of all, Adam Schiff is the most pathological liar ….”

    As an aside, when Tucker Carlson says, “The so-called intel community […]” it makes me want to avert my gaze and plug my ears. So much propaganda. Also, Tucker is a known white supremacist, so why is Greenwald even appearing on his show?

  257. says

    Trump tells journalist he’s ‘a criminal’ for ignoring story Trump likes

    Trump believes journalists are “criminals” unless they report discredited allegations that may be part of a hostile foreign influence operation.

    During a brief, eight-minute Q&A with reporters yesterday, Donald Trump was asked why he keeps insisting that Joe Biden is “a criminal.” The president struggled to answer with any specificity, saying instead, “He is a criminal. He’s a criminal…. Joe Biden is a criminal.”

    But as part of the same exchange with Reuters’ Jeff Mason, the Republican went considerably further.

    “And you know who’s a criminal? You’re a criminal for not reporting it. You are a criminal for not reporting it…. Let me tell you something: Joe Biden is a criminal, and he’s been a criminal for a long time. And you’re a criminal, and the media, for not reporting it.”

    For several years, Trump has repeatedly suggested he considers words like “criminal” and “illegal” to be synonymous with “stuff Donald Trump doesn’t like.”

    But this is a rather extreme example of the phenomenon.

    Ruth Ben-Ghiat, a historian at New York University, said the president’s rhetoric yesterday is an example of “what authoritarians do.” Quite right. Complicating matters, we’ve confronted a few too many related examples of Trump embracing authoritarian tactics — both in style and in substance — but telling a reporter he’s “a criminal” for overlooking a story the president wants to see is the stuff of tin-pot dictators.

    But let’s not brush past the specific reporting Trump expects journalists to pursue. At issue is last week’s convoluted anti-Biden smear published by the New York Post, which even staffers at the conservative tabloid want nothing to do with, and which is suspected of being part of a Russian disinformation campaign.

    Or put another way, according to the sitting president of the United States, American journalists are “criminals” unless they bring to the public discredited allegations that may be part of a hostile foreign influence operation.

    Under normal circumstances, this would seem insane. Under Donald Trump’s presidency, his “criminal” rhetoric generated only modest attention […]

  258. says

    Jeremy Bash is right.

    […] Jeremy Bash, who’s served as the chief of staff at both the Pentagon and the CIA, told Rachel on the show last night that every intelligence professional he’s spoken to about Giuliani’s scheme agrees that “this walks like a Russian disinformation campaign, this talks like a Russian intelligence disinformation campaign, [and] this is most likely a Russian intelligence disinformation campaign against the Biden team.”

    Did Giuliani not see this coming? Evidently, his plan was to partner with an active Russian agent, shrug as U.S intelligence professionals warned the White House to be wary of his information, and then pretend to have the necessary credibility needed to smear Donald Trump’s rival with information that’s being investigated as being part of a possible foreign intelligence operation.

    Instead of creating a scandal, Rudy Giuliani has found himself in the middle of one.


  259. says

    SC @362, that was painful before she even started speaking.

    In other news: Admiral from bin Laden raid endorses Biden in dramatic fashion

    […] an astonishing number of retired American military leaders have stepped up in recent months to denounce Donald Trump, endorse Joe Biden, or both. The list includes four former chairmen of the Joint Chiefs, each of whom have publicly slammed the incumbent president ahead of his re-election bid.

    […] one retired U.S. military leader in particular has gone further than most in warning the public about the man in the Oval Office.

    Retired Adm. William McRaven, the former commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command, is perhaps best known to Americans as the Navy SEAL who oversaw the 2011 raid that killed Osama bin Laden. In a new op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, the retired admiral talks about the ballot he cast this week in Texas.

    Truth be told, I am a pro-life, pro-Second Amendment, small-government, strong-defense and a national-anthem-standing conservative. But, I also believe that black lives matter, that the Dreamers deserve a path to citizenship, that diversity and inclusion are essential to our national success, that education is the great equalizer, that climate change is real and that the First Amendment is the cornerstone of our democracy. Most important, I believe that America must lead in the world with courage, conviction and a sense of honor and humility.

    He added, “I voted for Joe Biden.”


    Now, the world no longer looks up to America. They have been witness to our dismissiveness, our lack of respect and our transactional approach to global issues. They have seen us tear up our treaties, leave our allies on the battlefield and cozy up to despots and dictators. They have seen our incompetence in handling the pandemic and the wildfires. They have seen us struggle with social injustice. They no longer think we can lead, because they have seen an ineptness and a disdain for civility that is beyond anything in their memory. But, without American leadership the world will indeed be transformed, just not in the way we hope.

    […] after the president said he’d revoke the security clearances of some of his critics, McRaven wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post urging Trump to revoke his security clearance, too, explaining that he would consider it “an honor” to stand alongside those “who have spoken up against your presidency.”

    Last fall, McRaven wrote another piece, this time for the New York Times, reflecting on the president’s willingness to break faith with American allies and American principles. He added that “the fate of our Republic” may depend upon replacing Trump as quickly as possible.

    In February 2020, McRaven wrote another Washington Post op-ed, which concluded, “As Americans, we should be frightened — deeply afraid for the future of the nation. When good men and women can’t speak the truth, when facts are inconvenient, when integrity and character no longer matter, when presidential ego and self-preservation are more important than national security — then there is nothing left to stop the triumph of evil.”

    Four months later, the retired Navy admiral explained, “[…] Trump has shown he doesn’t have the qualities necessary to be a good commander in chief.” On the anniversary of D-Day, McRaven contrasted Trump’s style with the kind of qualities from earlier wartime leaders. “As we have struggled with the COVID pandemic and horrible acts of racism and injustice, this president has shown none of those qualities,” the admiral said. “The country needs to move forward without him at the helm.”

    In August, McRaven rang the alarm once more, positioning himself as one of the nation’s most unexpected, most forceful, and most credible Trump detractors. In a Washington Post op-ed, he argued persuasively, “Today, as we struggle with social upheaval, soaring debt, record unemployment, a runaway pandemic, and rising threats from China and Russia, […] Trump is actively working to undermine every major institution in this country.”

    A couple of years ago, asked for a response to the criticisms, Trump said, “I don’t know McRaven.” Evidently, McRaven knows him all too well.

  260. says

    Trump continues to publicly pressure Bill Barr to arrest Joe Biden.

    Donald Trump returned to a theme he’s hit several times at recent rallies—telling Attorney General William Barr to get off his ass and arrest Joe Biden.

    On a phone call to Fox News, Trump claimed the widely and thoroughly debunked Russian disinformation about Hunter Biden is “major corruption.” And, insisted Trump, “We’ve got to get the attorney general to act. He’s got to act. And he’s got to act fast. He’s got to appoint somebody.”

    It’s not like Trump is completely alone in this. After all, Rupert Murdoch has thrown every crumb of his crumbly media empire behind the effort, even when that took running a piece of obvious propaganda so odious not even a New York Post reporter would stand behind it. And on Monday, a handful of Trump’s most adamant supporters in the House joined in to demand that Barr open an investigation into a hard drive “purportedly” belonging to Joe Biden’s son. Only … here’s the measure of how obviously awful this setup really is: Trump got just eleven Republican House members to sign on. That means he still has Louie Gohmert and Steve King, because, of course he does, but even Devin Nunes did not add his name to this effort. Yeah, that’s where Trump has gone; into territory too far for the guy who sues cows.

    It’s not as if Barr isn’t pedaling as fast as he can to support Trump—see fraudulent claims of mail fraud and absolute distortion of his own department’s findings about the source of violence at protests. It seems more that Barr, like the nation, is simply staggered by the effort of keeping up with all the standards Trump wants him to break.

    […] This isn’t the first time Trump has taken to Fox News to berate a member of his own cabinet, or even an attorney general […] but the fact that Trump’s most loyal toady is now the subject of complaints that have Trump’s supporters, and this is real, claiming that Barr is “part of the deep state conspiracy” is really … an incredible example of panic, confusion, and weakness that has overcome Trump in his final days.

    By the way, Devin Nunes, you’re also part of the deep state now. […]


    I wonder how impotent Trump is feeling.

  261. says

    From Mark Sumner:

    Donald Trump has always been the guy who knew more than anyone else. He knew the economy better than all the economists. The military better than all the generals. Science better than all the scientists. And, of course, how to handle health care better than all the doctors. And you can tell that Trump was right … because here we are at the end of four long years, in a nation that’s in the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, isolated from all our allies, […] and with more people dead of COVID-19 than any other nation on Earth. That’s how smart Trump is.

    Trump has many exceptional qualities … in the sense that very little about him could be considered “normal.” But his hubris may be the greatest of them all. […]

    Trump not only continues to claim his worst in the world performance is great, he insists that it’s infinitely better than anyone else could have done. Which has brought him to where his illogical excess always delivers him in the end: Not just ignoring the experts, but actively attacking and belittling them. […] Trump has now decided that every healthcare expert is a threat for placing human lives over the stock market. There’s just no one left to stop him. […]

    At the beginning of the pandemic, Donald Trump’s reaction was clear. He wanted to do nothing. Actually, to be fair, he wanted to do less than nothing, because his primary tactic was to belittle the threat, dismiss the possibility that it would have any impact on the nation, and make regular promises that it would “magically” go away. Of all the world’s leaders, only Boris Johnson and Donald Trump seriously considered a plan involving simply allowing the disease to run its course as a “response.” Only Trump was willing to keep pretending that nothing was happening while the bodies piled up.

    It took weeks, a chart showing millions of deaths, and a concerted effort on all fronts, to convince Trump that telling Americans that all was well even as the hospitals, morgues, and cemeteries overflowed would be a bad thing. But […] Trump was never really convinced. Especially when it came to listening to medical experts. […]

    As CNN reports, there is no one left in the White House who can check Trump on COVID-19. He’s turned both the CDC and FDA into examples of his “deep state” conspiracy, with claims that they are purposely holding back treatments and vaccines until after the election. […] He’s sidelined Deborah Birx, even though she reliably defended his failures and gave the mildest possible advice.

    And of course Trump has not just demonstrated his disdain for the nation’s greatest infectious disease expert, Anthony Fauci, he’s turned Fauci into an emblem of hate for his followers. As Fauci walks tirelessly on, attempting to save American lives, he does so with a security detail—to protect him from a stream of death threats from Trump supporters.

    With two weeks to go before the election, Trump has made it absolutely clear that he’s not about to let people dying get in the way of anything important. “People are tired of COVID,” Trump said on a phone call Monday. “I have the biggest rallies I’ve ever had, and we have COVID. People are saying whatever. Just leave us alone. They’re tired of it.”

    In the closing days of the campaign, Trump isn’t just ignoring the spread of COVID-19, he’s encouraging it. He’s preaching an anti-mask, anti-doctor, anti-life gospel—with Mark Meadows, Scott Atlas, and every Fox News pundit in the choir. Trump is engaged in a a series of campaign stops where disdain for the virus isn’t an accident, it’s a theme.


  262. says

    “We just don’t know what’s happening in our bodies”: Covid-19 long-haulers are still suffering.

    On March 15, Melanie Montano woke up with a fever and chills. Her Covid-19 symptoms progressed quickly; she lost her sense of smell and taste and had trouble breathing.

    Seven months later, she’s still struggling with fevers, brain fog, fatigue, and pain in her arms and legs. She’ll feel better some days, only to feel worse the next, in what she calls the “coronacoaster.”

    With 8 million cases of Covid-19 now confirmed in the US, stories like Montano’s are becoming increasingly common. But you might not know it from listening to President Trump. In his first extended statement in October since his own diagnosis, he falsely implied that everyone infected with the coronavirus can expect a rapid and full recovery. “Now what happens is you get better,” he said. “That’s what happens, you get better.”

    For many diagnosed with Covid-19, nothing could be further from the truth. Preliminary research suggests at least 10 percent of people — and possibly many more — may continue to have symptoms for at least two months after infection.

    “When Trump says ‘don’t be afraid of it’ — I’ve been so angry in the last week, I’m just trying to calm down,” says Kate Meredith of Beverly, Massachusetts, who has been experiencing Covid-19 symptoms since mid-March.

    To this day, Meredith has fevers four to five days a week. “I go up one flight of stairs and can’t breathe,” she says. She also now has tachycardia, a heart condition where standing up too quickly makes her heart rate jump to 140. Since March, she has been to the emergency room three times, and to the doctor 35 times. She still gets debilitating headaches almost daily, and has run out of her two and a half months of medical leave.

    Meredith and Montano are among thousands of people who have continued to experience extended symptoms or suffered relapses after an initial coronavirus infection. As new information emerges about the many, varied impacts that can linger, patients are facing doubt from doctors and structural failures that loom over an uncertain future. […]

    More at the link, including details of studies that follow COVID patients for prolonged periods of time.

  263. tomh says

    Senate to vote Monday to confirm Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, McConnell says
    By Donna Cassata

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told reporters Tuesday that the Senate will vote Monday to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, Trump’s third pick for the court.

    The Senate Judiciary Committee is poised to vote on the nomination Thursday and forward it to the full Senate. Republicans, intent on installing Barrett on the court, will likely hold a rare weekend session to debate the nomination, setting the stage for a vote Monday.

    Trump has pushed for the Senate to fast-track the nomination and ensure Barrett is on the court before the Nov. 3 election.

    They just missed on Pennsylvania, but she’ll be there in time to tip the balance on other vote counting issues that come up.

  264. says

    From Wonkette:

    Late last week, two Trump appointees to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals decided to try to close the only two abortion clinics in the state of Kentucky. And with a brand new rightwing zealot about to be added to the Supreme Court, rightwing judges are trying their hardest to get abortion back in front of our highest court.

    We don’t know yet where it will go from here, but this case could end legal abortion in the state of Kentucky — or even all around the country.

    Here’s what happened

    Like a lot of other states, Kentucky has spent the last few decades trying to put abortion providers out of business by putting more and more restrictions on them until they have no choice but to close. These laws are called TRAP laws, meaning targeted regulation of abortion providers — and they are a favorite tactic of red state legislatures in their war to control women’s bodies.

    […] despite the fact that abortion is an incredibly safe medical procedure that rarely requires hospitalization — Kentucky has required abortion providers to have transfer agreements with a local hospital and transport agreements with a local ambulance service. In recent years, the state has put additional regulations on the types of agreements providers must have with the local hospitals and ambulance service.

    […] In 2017, EMW [EMW Women’s Surgical Center in Louisville] filed this lawsuit, seeking a court order finding the state’s restrictions unconstitutional. At the end of a three-day trial last year, District Judge Greg Stivers ruled in favor of the abortion providers, finding “that the scant medical benefits” from the state’s regulations “are far outweighed by the burden” they “impose on Kentucky women seeking abortions.” Therefore, Judge Stivers found that the challenged laws impermissibly “place[] a substantial obstacle in the path of women seeking a previability abortion [and] constitute[] an undue burden on abortion access.”

    But now, the Sixth Circuit has jumped in to be like, “Nah, this is fine.”

    […] The Supreme Court has ruled recently — TWICE — that states need to fucking stop it with the fucking TRAP laws that do nothing to advance women’s health. (Okay, I may be paraphrasing.)

    […] And now, here we are again!

    Republicans can just never stop trying to use the law to control women’s bodies and personal lives […] attempts to regulate the bodies of pregnant people have only increased. And now that Amy Bony Carrot is about to be confirmed just days before a presidential election, things are about to get even worse.

    Sixth Circuit, you are the fucking WORST

    […] it was the only federal circuit court to rule against legal same-sex marriage. In August, it upheld undemocratic ballot access restrictions in Michigan. Last week, it essentially killed a great district court opinion allowing Ohio counties to have more than one ballot dropbox.

    The opinion in EMW Women’s Surgical Center v. Friedlander was written by Judge Joan Larsen, a Trump appointee, and joined by Chad Readler, another Trump appointee.[…] The opinion is based on a purposefully dense reading of last term’s SCOTUS ruling in June Medical. In essence, Judge Larsen, joined by Readler, decided that June Medical, rather than upholding previous precedent, like Roberts explicitly stated he was doing, just means … well, whatever they want it to mean.

    […] Judges Larsen and Readler wrote that the bullshit Kentucky law in question was a “rational way” to regulate abortion providers and allowed the rule to go into effect.

    […] Judge Eric Clay, a Clinton appointee, dissented, writing that the anti-woman opinion from the rightwing judges was “terribly and tragically wrong,” based on a “deeply flawed” reading of Supreme Court precedent, and finding that Kentucky’s TRAP laws are unconstitutional “under any possible applicable test.”

    The majority directly contravenes both the plurality and concurring opinions in June Medical Services, as well as the majority opinion in Whole Woman’s Health. Correctly analyzed, the record and the law definitively demonstrate that Kentucky transfer and transport agreement requirements impose an undue burden under any possible analysis. […] As a result of the majority’s deeply flawed analysis, millions of individuals will be altogether deprived of abortion access.

    […] Donald Trump has already appointed 218 Article III judges […] He is about to put an extreme rightwing zealot on the Supreme Court. The only thing that saved abortion rights with June Medical last summer was John Roberts desperately trying to save the credibility of the Court. Amy Coney Barrett and the other four conservatives already on the bench have no such concerns.

    This case very well could result in the end of legal abortion in Kentucky, but that’s not even the worst-case scenario. The worst-case scenario — and one that Judges Larsen and Readler seem to be pushing for with their terrible decision — is that this case is used by our new, fascist Supreme Court to restrict abortion rights everywhere.

    […] Here’s the opinion. It sucks. The dissent is good! [Available at the link.]