Comments

  1. says

    Key swing states vulnerable to USPS slowdowns as millions vote by mail, data shows.

    Washington Post link

    Battlegrounds that may decide the presidency have some of the nation’s most erratic mail service, which has particular implications for states with firm ballot deadlines.

    […] Consistent and timely delivery remains scattershot as the agency struggles to right operations after the rollout, then suspension, of a major midsummer restructuring. In 17 postal districts covering 10 battleground states and representing 151 electoral votes, first-class mail service is down 7.8 percentage points from January benchmarks and nearly two percentage points below the national average. By that measure, roughly 16 in 100 items will not arrive within the Postal Service’s one-to-three-day delivery window; in January, it was fewer than 10.

    The slowdowns, which have raised alarms and suspicions among voters, postal workers and voting experts, have particular implications for states with strict voter deadlines. Michigan, Wisconsin and Georgia, for example, do not accept ballots that arrive after Election Day, even if postmarked before. Of the states that do, there is generally a short acceptance window: In North Carolina, where polls have […] Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden in a dead heat, postmarked ballots must arrive within three days of the election. […]

    In Detroit, where Democrats are relying on heavy turnout to carry the rest of Michigan, only 70.9 percent of first-class mail was on time the week that ended Oct. 9, compared with 92.2 percent at the start of the year. [snipped more examples]

    Letter carriers in Michigan say supervisors press them to focus on package delivery in the waning hours of their shifts, pushing ballot collection down the priority list. In Pennsylvania, clerks are preparing to hand-stamp ballot envelopes in the waning days of the 2020 campaign, to steer ballots away from overwhelmed processing plants. In Florida, where package volumes are sky-high, employees are working 12-hour days, seven days a week, through at least the end of October. […]

    Postal workers say that tension is clear in Michigan, especially in Detroit’s suburbs. Letter carriers say they receive messages daily telling them to prioritize packages — which often have guaranteed delivery windows — over other items, including election mail. Carriers have taken to sorting through their satchels mid-route to pull out ballots and pieces of voting information so they can prioritize them on their own, according to two letter carriers who spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid retribution. […]

    In facilities that serve Detroit’s mostly White suburbs, staffing has remained steady, the workers said, and residents can expect delivery daily. If a piece of mail is late, they said, it will probably arrive the next day.

    But in more racially diverse neighborhoods, they said, residents generally get mail twice or three times a week unless a parcel is in the mix. […]

    Much more at the link.

  2. says

    Where did the Trump campaign’s $1 billion go?

    A GOP strategist said, “You could literally have 10 monkeys with flamethrowers go after the money, and they wouldn’t have burned through it as stupidly.”

    With the Trump campaign quickly running out of calendar, it was curious to see [Trump] in California over the weekend. Of course, Donald Trump wasn’t in the Golden State looking for votes — he lost California by 30 points four years ago and has no realistic chance of success there this year — rather, he was there to raise money.

    Except, that’s probably not how the Republican operation expected to spend its time in mid-October 2020. Trump officially launched his re-election bid on Jan. 20, 2017 — literally within hours of his inauguration — at which point his team started to raise money.

    When the general-election season began in earnest in the spring, Joe Biden’s campaign was short on funds following the Democratic primaries, while Trump’s campaign was flush with cash. Brad Parscale, the president’s campaign manager at the time, famously published a tweet in which he boasted about having created a “juggernaut.” The missive included a Star Wars gif featuring the Death Star firing on the Empire’s enemies.

    But as those who saw the movies know, not only did the Death Star belong to the bad guys, it was also destroyed (twice) by the good guys.

    Five months later, the Associated Press is reporting on how Team Trump “raised well over $1 billion,” but somehow managed to lose its financial advantage.

    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.

    Mike Murphy, a veteran Republican consultant and Trump critic, told the AP, in reference to the president’s operation, “They spent their money on unnecessary overhead, lifestyles-of-the-rich-and-famous activity by the campaign staff and vanity ads way too early. You could literally have 10 monkeys with flamethrowers go after the money, and they wouldn’t have burned through it as stupidly.”

    Arguably the best example of poor spending decisions is the fact that [Trump’s] re-election campaign spent $1.6 million on television ads in the Washington, D.C., media market — not because Team Trump seriously expected to compete in the Democratic stronghold, but because the campaign team knows [Trump] watches a ridiculous amount of television from the White House.

    [Trump’s] re-election campaign has been forced to scale back its advertising in several key states […]

    Complicating matters, there are some lingering questions about funds that were directed to limited liability companies, including Parscale-owned businesses. From the AP’s reporting:

    Since 2017, more than $39 million has been paid to firms controlled by Parscale, who was ousted as campaign manager over the summer. An additional $273.2 million was paid to American Made Media Consultants, a Delaware limited liability company, whose owners are not publicly disclosed. Campaigns typically reveal in mandatory disclosures who their primary vendors are. But by routing money to Parscale’s firms, as well as American Made Media Consultants, Trump satisfied the basic disclosure requirements without detailing the ultimate recipients.

    Grifters grifting.

    Before Democrats get too pleased by all of this, some caveats are in order. Trump had a financial disadvantage in 2016, for example, but was elected anyway.

    What’s more, the finances of the president’s operation are separate from outside groups that are also spending heavily on the Republican incumbent’s behalf, including a pro-Trump super PAC that recently received a $75 million infusion from Sheldon Adelson and his wife.

    That said, if the Trump campaign comes up short in two weeks, it’s going to face some difficult questions about how it managed to burn through $1 billion and lose

  3. says

    In the previous chapter of this thread, we talked about the fact that Trump and his lackeys have been disparaging Kristen Welker for days now.

    Some of Welker’s peers are pushing back:

    Reporters and colleagues on Wednesday defended the record of White House correspondent Kristen Welker, who is set to moderate Thursday’s presidential debate after […] Trump spent the past several days on a rampage against the NBC News journalist.

    ABC News White House correspondent Jonathan Karl appeared to set off a wave of support and praise for the longtime NBC News journalist in an effort to set the record straight amid an avalanche of false claims attempting to smear the moderator.

    “For the record: Kristen Wekler is an first-rate journalist and an honorable person. And her account has not been deleted — it’s right here: @kwelkernbc,” Karl tweeted early Tuesday.

    The comments come after Trump on Monday suggested that Welker had deleted her Twitter account in an apparent effort to shield evidence of bias — an attack he had already leveraged against previous moderators […]

    “She’s a radical Democrat. She deleted her entire account,” Trump falsely told supporters at a campaign rally in Arizona. “She’s no good,” he added.

    It’s not the first time Trump has taken aim at journalists broadly — and seized on Black women journalists in particular. Over the course of just three days in November 2018, Trump attacked three Black women journalists back to back including CNN’s Abby Phillip, April Ryan and Yamiche Alcindor just for asking him questions.

    […] [Today, Trump] sang a similar tune intensifying his attack against the next debate’s moderator, Welker, who is also Black, calling Welker “terrible” and telling Fox & Friends hosts that she “cannot be neutral at all.” […]

    Link

    From Jake Tapper:

    She’s not radical, she’s not a Democrat, she didn’t delete her entire account, she doesn’t scream her questions, and she’s a good journalist and a good person.

    Other than that, spot on.

    From Dana Bash, in response to Jake Tapper:

    What he said. @kwelkernbc is one of the most down the middle, serious, conscientious reporters and humans I know – and no amount of uncalled for bullying will change that.

    Additional comments from Welker’s colleagues:

    “I’ve worked alongside @kwelkernbc during two admins now. She’s the consummate professional.. tough but fair. Looking forward to watching her moderate Thursday’s debate.” —Jim Acosta

    “I’ve known @kwelkernbc for over 3 decades, as a classmate at @GFSchool & a consummate professional in Washington. She’s a smart journalist who asks tough, fair questions of people in power, & a kind, generous person.Trump should apologize for calling her “terrible,” but won’t.”—Alex Howard

    “fact check: @kwelkernbc is a straight shooter. The best of the best.”—Cecilia Vega

  4. says

    Firm Sued For Recruiting Former Special Ops To Patrol Minnesota Polling Places

    A private security contractor now faces a lawsuit in federal court over its effort to recruit former special operations forces to patrol polling places in Minnesota.

    The League of Women Voters of Minnesota and the Council on American-Islamic Relations of Minnesota filed the lawsuit Tuesday […]

    “Defendants’ objective is to further intimidate people with certain political beliefs from accessing polling locations through the presence of armed, highly trained, and elite security personnel,” the lawsuit alleges, arguing that the call for security personnel violates the Voting Rights Act’s language against voter intimidation.

    The suit names Atlas Aegis, its founder Anthony Caudle, “John Doe 1” […] and several other John Does that make up the still-unknown clients of the security firm.

    Caudle has refused to identify who was paying for the security presence, telling The Washington Post earlier this month that it was a “consortium of business owners and concerned citizens.”

    […] Election officials in Minnesota told the Post, which first reported on the recruitment effort earlier this month, that the extra security wasn’t welcome. The state’s attorney general, Keith Ellison, said “the presence of armed outside contractors at polling places would constitute intimidation and violate the law.”

    […] Tuesday’s lawsuit alleged that Caudle had made clear “that Defendants’ goal is specifically to deter perceived members of certain groups based on political belief and race.” […]

    Arguing that the presence of of former special forces personnel would intimidate voters, the lawsuit pointed to an old cover of Soldier of Fortune magazine, which features Atlas Aegis’ Chief Operating Officer Michael Beltran in full kit: [Photo is available at the link]

    […] “Today we affirm our stand against this clear plan of voter intimidation and suppression by armed forces targeting communities of color and new Americans,” added CAIR-Minnesota Executive Director Jaylani Hussein.

    Link

  5. says

    Guilty as charged:

    […] Elliott Broidy, a former deputy finance chairman for the Republican National Committee, conspired with others to influence the federal government on behalf of Malaysian financier Jho Low, he acknowledged on Tuesday.

    […] Broidy will forfeit $6.6 million as part of the deal.

    Low, an international fugitive from justice, stands accused of masterminding the massive 1Malaysia Development Berhad, or 1MDB, fraud. He has denied wrongdoing and recruited a stable of American advisers, but has not come to the U.S. to face charges.

    Broidy’s efforts on behalf of Low included attempts to soften the Trump administration’s stance on the 1MDB fraud, and to bolster Beijing’s efforts to secure the extradition of Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui, an ally of Steve Bannon’s seeking asylum in the U.S.[…]

    Broidy is best known in Washington for his efforts to influence the Trump administration’s foreign policy on behalf of the United Arab Emirates. […]

    Link

  6. says

    Yeah, DeVos is evil.

    Judge blasts DeVos’ sweeping denials of student loan relief claims as ‘disturbingly Kafkaesque’

    The judge ruled that DeVos had undermined the deal by denying large swaths of the claims without sufficient explanation.

    […] The class-action settlement, which was reached earlier this year and received preliminary approval from the court, was meant to force the Education Department to move faster on final decisions for roughly 160,000 of the backlogged requests for loan forgiveness, known as “borrower defense” claims. Some of the claims have languished at the department for years.

    Alsup said he is alarmed that DeVos has in recent months responded by swiftly rejecting tens of thousands of the applications through “perfunctory” denial notices. Of the applications in question in the class-action lawsuit, DeVos has denied 74,000 applications and granted 4,400 applications, which the judge noted was a denial rate of 94 percent.

    Ruling justification: Alsup called the denial notices “potentially unlawful” and said he was considering blocking DeVos from issuing any further denial notices as the lawsuit proceeds.

    The judge […] also took the unusual step of authorizing the depositions of up to five Education Department officials to probe the Trump administration’s decision to deny the claims and its months-long delays in processing them. He wrote that DeVos “at this time” would not be required to personally sit for a deposition but said it is a possibility in the future.

    In many cases, the department used form letters in its recent string of denials, stating that student loan borrowers had provided insufficient evidence, without any further explanation.

    As a result, borrowers face a process that “rings disturbingly Kafkaesque,” Alsup wrote in describing the system as oppressive. The Education Department said borrowers could appeal the denials by explaining why they believed the department incorrectly decided their claim, but it never provided any meaningful explanation for how it came to those conclusions, he said. […]

    Some of the backstory:

    DeVos’ handling of the “borrower defense to repayment” program has repeatedly been rebuked by federal judges and has been among her most politically contentious higher education policies over the past four years.

    The secretary argues that the Obama administration’s approach to addressing student loan fraud claims was too lenient and expensive for taxpayers. She has sought to curtail loan forgiveness for defrauded students — an effort that has enraged her Democratic critics.

    […] DeVos in 2019 rewrote the standards and tightened the rules. But more than a dozen Republicans in Congress joined with Democrats in passing legislation to block her policy over concerns that it was too difficult for defrauded students to obtain relief. […] Trump sided with his education secretary and vetoed the legislation, which cleared the way for DeVos’ rule to take effect in July.

  7. says

    More re Lynna’s #3 above:

    Last week in the previous thread, I linked to the segment “Brianna Keilar rolls the tape on Trump’s debate excuses.” It aired shortly before Trump began his preemptive whining for this week’s debate.

    From her show today – “Keilar: Maria Bartiromo has history of peddling baseless claims”: “CNN’s Brianna Keilar looks back at Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo’s history of pushing false claims and analyzes Bartiromo’s interview style with President Trump.”

  8. says

    Most states are now on New York’s quarantine list as coronavirus cases rise

    The quarantine advisory mandates people who have traveled to New York from areas with significant community spread of the coronavirus quarantine for 14 days.

    “We are now in a situation where 43 states meet the criteria for our travel advisory. This is really a bizarre outcome, considering New York once had the highest infection rate,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said in a statement Tuesday. […]

    The quarantine applies to travelers from areas that either have at least a 10 percent positive rate or more than 10 new cases per 100,000 people over a seven-day rolling average. […]

    The full list of states subject to the travel advisory is available at the link. The state where I live is on that list.

  9. says

    Trump’s new attack is that Biden “wants to listen to Fauci.”

    Yeah, that sounds less like an attack and more like a recommendation.

    […] At a rally in Phoenix, Arizona, on Monday, Trump told the crowd in disparaging tones that “Biden wants to lock it down,” and heed the advice of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci. The day before, at a rally in Carson City, Nevada, Trump mocked Biden by saying “he’ll listen to the scientists. If I listened totally to the scientists we would right now have a country that would be in a massive depression.”

    Biden’s subsequent tweet indicates he’s likely not worried about this line of attack.

    [Biden responded], “Yes.”

    […] Trump may have a hard time rallying more supporters by vilifying the 79-year-old public health expert. A Morning Consult poll conducted October 9-11 among 1,986 registered voters shows that “nearly 2 in 3 voters rate Dr. Fauci’s coronavirus response as excellent or good.” In stark contrast, Trump has “never topped the 42 percent of voters” who gave him a “good or excellent” rating in late April. In early October, this poll indicates that 58 percent of voters believe Trump’s handling of the virus has been “poor” or “just fair.” […]

    Link

    From Daniel Dale:

    Trump just debuted a new attack line against Biden: “He wants to listen to Dr. Fauci.”

    Reponse’s to Dale’s comment include, “Is Trump trying to lose?” and from Joe Biden, “For once Donald Trump is correct: I will listen to scientists.”

  10. says

    Guardian (support the Guardian if you can!) – “Chaos and fury as Boris Johnson forces curbs on Greater Manchester”:

    Andy Burnham, the mayor of Greater Manchester, accused the government of playing a “game of poker with people’s lives” after Boris Johnson imposed the toughest Covid restrictions on the region without agreeing a support package for businesses and low-paid workers.

    After a chaotic day of negotiations, the 10-day standoff between Downing Street and Greater Manchester’s leaders came to an acrimonious end despite the two sides being just £5m apart, or the equivalent of £1.78 for each resident.

    In a televised statement, Burnham warned that local people faced “a winter of real hardship”. He accused ministers of bullying the region into accepting less than their £65m final request for support for businesses and said that walking away from the talks amounted to a “deliberate act of levelling down”.

    The prime minister confirmed that tier 3 measures would be imposed on 2.8 million people in the region from midnight on Thursday, closing pubs and a swathe of the hospitality sector. It means one in 10 people in England – nearly 6 million – will be under the strictest measures. These are the first curbs to be imposed unilaterally, however.

    It came as the UK coronavirus death toll rose by 241 on Tuesday – the highest daily figure since the first wave of the pandemic – and new cases exceeded 21,000. Last month, the government’s chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, warned the UK was on course for 200 deaths a day by mid-November.

    In a sign of anger among “red wall” Tory voters, the Manchester Young Conservatives tweeted: “Boris has lied about helping us in the north. It’s time for him to go. He’s not a Conservative. He’s got no back bone or genuine deals. He’s incompetent. He has now lost all the seats we worked so hard in Greater Manchester to win.”

    Keir Starmer, the Labour leader, said he would force a Commons vote on Wednesday demanding a “fair one-nation deal” for areas facing tier 3 restrictions….

    Starmer is plainly right. I wonder if we’ll see the rise of Manchexit…

  11. says

    Well, I don’t want to get my hopes up, but:

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that he’ll schedule a vote if House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Trump administration are able to seal an agreement on a huge COVID-19 relief bill.

    AP News link

    More details:

    […] Mitch McConnell on Tuesday told fellow Republicans that he has warned the White House not to divide Republicans by sealing a lopsided pre-election COVID-19 relief deal with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — even as he publicly said he’d slate any such agreement for a vote.

    Well, speak out of both sides of your mouth why don’t you.

    McConnell made his remarks during a private lunch with fellow Republicans on Tuesday, three people familiar with his remarks said, requesting anonymity because the session was private.

    The Kentucky Republican appears worried that an agreement between Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin would drive a wedge between Republicans, forcing them to choose whether to support a Pelosi-blessed deal with Trump that would violate conservative positions they’ve stuck with for months. Many Republicans say they can’t vote for another huge Pelosi-brokered agreement.

    […] McConnell said if such a bill passed the Democratic-controlled House with Trump’s blessing “we would put it on the floor of the Senate.” Those public remarks came after the private session with fellow Republicans.

    Pelosi and Mnuchin spoke again Tuesday amid signs that they are continuing to narrow their differences. Pelosi said Tuesday that they remain at odds over refundable tax credits for the working poor and families with children, the size of a Democratic-sought aid package for state and local governments, and a liability shield for businesses and other organizations against lawsuits over their COVID preparations. […]

  12. says

    From Talking Points Memo:

    Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of the White House’s top experts on COVID-19, declined to directly address President Trump’s full-blown smear campaign against him during an interview with KNX 1070 News Radio on Monday, but expressed his concerns over threats that his family has received at times when he’s been at odds with [Trump’s] agenda.

  13. says

    School teachers in Idaho district go on strike after county experiences surge in coronavirus cases

    […] Over 700 educators in the West Ada School District [near Boise] called out sick Monday, leading to more than 400 teachers calling out sick on Tuesday after the district said it would proceed with some in-person and virtual learning […]

    Teachers joined the strike after the district moved to proceed with [in-person] learning sessions despite warnings by Central District Health (CDH) that Ada County was considered a coronavirus “red” zone, indicating a significant threat of possible virus transmissions. […]

  14. says

    SC @13, Trump is reportedly mad at “60 Minutes” for airing that interview with Dr. Fauci. There are also reports that he didn’t like the questions that were posed to him on Tuesday. He threw a tantrum.

  15. says

    BBC – “Jamal Khashoggi: Journalist’s fiancee sues Saudi crown prince”:

    The fiancee of slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi has filed a lawsuit against Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, accusing him of ordering the killing.

    Hatice Cengiz and the rights group Khashoggi formed before his death are pursuing Mohammed bin Salman and more than 20 others for unspecified damages.

    Khashoggi was killed by a team of Saudi agents during a visit to the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, in 2018.

    The crown prince has denied ordering the killing.

    Khashoggi was a prominent critic of the Saudi government and had been living in self-imposed exile in the US, frequently writing for the Washington Post.

    In the civil lawsuit filed in Washington DC on Tuesday, Turkish citizen Ms Cengiz claims personal injury and financial losses over Khashoggi’s death.

    Khashoggi’s human rights group, Democracy for the Arab World Now (Dawn), says its operations were hampered.

    The lawsuit alleges that Khashoggi was murdered “pursuant to a directive of defendant Mohammed bin Salman”.

    “The objective of the murder was clear – to halt Mr Khashoggi’s advocacy in the United States… for democratic reform in the Arab world,” the lawsuit says.

    In a video conference on Tuesday, lawyers for Ms Cengiz and Dawn said the focus of the lawsuit was to have a US court hold the crown prince liable for the killing and to obtain documents that reveal the truth, the Washington Post newspaper reports.

    “Jamal believed anything was possible in America and I place my trust in the American civil justice system to obtain a measure of justice and accountability,” Ms Cengiz said in a statement….

  16. tomh says

    In last-minute push, DeSantis administration urges Florida election officials to remove felons who owe fines from voting rolls
    By Beth Reinhard and Lori Rozsa
    Oct. 20, 2020

    Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s administration delivered last-minute guidance to local election officials recommending measures that voting-rights advocates say could intimidate or confuse voters, the latest salvo in a pitched battle over who is able to cast ballots in a state crucial to President Trump’s reelection.

    In a notice sent to local election officials last week, Division of Elections Director Maria Matthews urged them to remove from the voter rolls people with felony convictions who still owe court fines and fees, a move that local officials said is impossible to accomplish before Election Day.
    […]

    “They’re attempting to sow confusion,” Patricia Brigham, president of the League of Women Voters Florida said of the state’s instructions. She added: “The state of Florida doesn’t have a spotless record when it come to making sure voters have easy access to the polls.”
    […]

    …there is no simple, streamlined process for formerly incarcerated people to figure out if they still fines. Some may be fearful to vote, unsure if they are breaking the law, advocates said.
    […]

    The state’s directives to election officials come after Republicans have succeeded in narrowing the Democratic lead in voter registration in Florida to its smallest size since the state began tracking partisan breakdown in 1972….

    One factor has been the muted impact of a constitutional amendment that Floridians overwhelmingly passed in 2018 that automatically restored the voting rights of people with felony convictions.

    The move was heralded as the biggest expansion of the vote since the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and supporters believed it could translate into roughly 1.4 million new voters in the state.

    Instead, DeSantis signed a law passed by the Republican-led legislature that requires felons to pay all court fees and fines before registering to vote. Voting-rights activists sued, likening the law to an unconstitutional poll tax. But the measure was upheld last month by a panel that included five Trump-appointed judges on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, including two of DeSantis’s former Florida Supreme Court appointees.

    After two years of conflict over the popular initiative, only 67,932 felons had registered to vote as of Sept.30…

  17. Pascal's Pager says

    I’m new to these political threads but does anyone have any hopeful news? I’m having a rough time.

  18. johnson catman says

    re Pascal’s Pager @22: Good news: The Orange Toddler-Tyrant is going to lose the election.
    .
    .
    .
    .
    Bad news: He is going to destroy the country (and maybe the world) in the two months of his lame-duck presidency.

  19. Pascal's Pager says

    @23. Thanks for the laugh. I was a political science minor in school and had to fight my inclination towards cynicism but this year has worn down my resolve. I don’t want to be cynical about our politics especially as a parent but I don’t know.

  20. Pascal's Pager says

    @23. Thanks for the laugh. I was a political science minor in school and had to fight my inclination towards cynicism but this year has worn down my resolve. I don’t want to be cynical about our politics especially as a parent but…

  21. says

    NBC (sorry, Pascal’s Pager) – “Lawyers say they can’t find the parents of 545 migrant children separated by Trump administration”:

    Lawyers appointed by a federal judge to identify migrant families who were separated by the Trump administration say they have yet to track down the parents of 545 children, and that approximately two-thirds of those parents were deported to Central America without their children, according to a filing from the ACLU on Tuesday.

    The Trump administration instituted a “zero tolerance” policy in 2018 that separated migrant children and parents at the southern U.S. border. The administration later confirmed that it had actually begun separating families in 2017 along some portions of the border under a pilot program. The ACLU and other pro-bono law firms were tasked with finding the members of families separated during that pilot program.

    Unlike the 2,800 families separated under zero tolerance in 2018, most of whom remained in custody when zero tolerance was ended by executive order, many of the more than 1,000 parents separated from their children under the pilot program had already been deported before a federal judge in California ordered they be found.

    “It is critical to find out as much as possible about who was responsible for this horrific practice while not losing sight of the fact that hundreds of families have still not been found and remain separated,” said Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project. “There is so much more work to be done to find these families.”

    “People ask when we will find all of these families and, sadly, I can’t give an answer. I just don’t know. But we will not stop looking until we have found every one of the families, no matter how long it takes. The tragic reality is that hundreds of parents were deported to Central America without their children, who remain here with foster families or distant relatives.”

    The ACLU and other organizations that are part of a court-appointed “steering committee” learned that more than 1,000 families were separated in 2017 based on data provided by the Department of Homeland Security. Of those, it has been able to contact the parents of more than 550 children and believes about 25 of them may have a chance of being able to come back to the U.S. for reunification.

    Gelernt said some of the families contacted have elected to keep their children in the U.S. with a family member or sponsor “due to fear of what will happen to their child if they return” to their home countries….

  22. Paul K says

    I don’t know about good news, but I have hope. Things might get much worse, but they could also get much better, at least at some point, even if it might be years, or even decades, away.

    I suffer from chronic back pain, for which I take three different medications, none of which make it go away entirely, and sometimes it’s quite debilitating. I’ve had four surgeries and cannot stand up straight and never will again. But I plug along. Sometimes, someone will ask, ‘How can you stand it?’ and my thought is, what choice do I have?

    This thread is filled with mostly bad news, and has been for the past several years. But folks do find good news to report at times; and the shared views, the shared anger and frustration, the excellent gallows humor; all of these — here and elsewhere — get me through this. Knowing there are folks out there who do not accept all of the bullshit we get thrown on us without calling it out is saving me. Seeing people with empathy saves me. Seeing people working hard to keep us safe; reading the truth that honest people are sharing, even if it’s bad news; the protests of people showing righteous rage; all of these are good, even when they fail to change outcomes. I get why people are exhausted, bitter, fed up; but when I read someone saying ‘I give up’, while I can sympathize, my immediate thought is, how does that help?

    I’m not saying anyone here is doing that; just sharing my thoughts. Thanks to all who gather this news, bad as it is. We’re in this together, with folks who care. That’s good news right there.

  23. johnson catman says

    re Pascal’s Pager @24: I hate to break it to you, but that was not intended for a laugh. It is totally serious. I have no doubt that The Orange Toddler-Tyrant and all of his supporters, in the time between November 3(ish), 2020 and January 20, 2021 will do everything in their power to upend and disrupt the US. We all should prepare for the worst of the worst of militias, Q-anons, and conservatives/republicans in general to disrupt and destroy whatever they can before next year.

  24. Rob Grigjanis says

    SC @10:

    I wonder if we’ll see the rise of Manchexit…

    I’d like to see the entire North of England leave, preferably forming some sort of union (maybe a poor word choice) with Scotland. A boy can dream…

  25. says

    Good news from NBC News:

    A Kentucky judge on Tuesday ordered grand jury records from the Breonna Taylor probe to be released, citing the need to show if ‘publicly elected officials are being honest.

    Good news, as reported by Politico: Trump is not getting away with interfering with the CDC and other agencies.

    The government’s independent watchdog will investigate whether Trump administration officials improperly interfered with the coronavirus response at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration, Senate Democrats announced on Monday.

    Good news: Democrats didn’t just outraise Republicans last quarter. They outspent them.

    […] Altogether, Democratic candidates competing in this year’s Senate races raised $401 million from donors while Republicans took in $163 million—a gulf that would have been simply unthinkable even during the 2018 blue wave. Democrats also spent $373 million compared to $195 million from Republicans and ended Sept. 30 with a $184 million to $141 million cash-on-hand lead.

    A total of four upper chamber candidates—all Democrats—beat the $38.1 million Senate quarterly fundraising record that was set by Beto O’Rourke just two years ago. The top honor by far goes to Jaime Harrison, who took in a truly stunning $57.2 million for his bid against South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham. Graham, by contrast, raised just under half that with $28 million, which was the most of any Senate Republican up this year.

    The second-largest quarterly haul went to Maine’s Sara Gideon, who outpaced GOP Sen. Susan Collins by a lopsided $38.8 million to $7.9 million. In Arizona, Mark Kelly outraised appointed Sen. Martha McSally $38.3 million to $22 million, while Kentucky Democrat Amy McGrath outraised Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell $35.4 million to $15.3 million.

    The fundraising battle was similarly one-sided in favor of the Democrats in most other crucial Senate contests. In Iowa, Theresa Greenfield more than lapped Republican Joni Ernst by taking in $28.4 million compared to the senator’s $7.2 million. In North Carolina, Democrat Cal Cunningham outraised another GOP incumbent, Thom Tillis, $28 million to $6.2 million. Additionally, Colorado Democrat John Hickenlooper edged out Republican incumbent Cory Gardner, who looks like the underdog now more than ever—$22.3 million to $7.7 million. […]

    Link

  26. says

    Good news: Trump’s lost his edge on the economy and trails Biden on every other major issue

    Based on its latest national poll, the New York Times writes that nothing short of a “calamitous misstep” by Joe Biden could boost Donald Trump’s electoral fortunes now. Of course, it’s also perfectly clear that Trump is simply too self-absorbed to save himself because that would involve actually giving a damn about voters.

    Voters seem to have gotten the message loud and clear based on the results of the Times/Siena poll released Tuesday. Not only are the two candidates now neck-and-neck on who voters prefer to handle the economy—once a singular bright spot for Trump—they also prefer Biden on every other single issue of peak importance to them.

    Overall, the poll gives Biden a 9-point lead among likely voters nationally, 50%-41%, but the strength of Biden’s position is built upon the issues voters care about.

    LIKELY VOTER PREFERENCES ON THE ISSUES
    ECONOMY Biden 47% Trump 48% [within margin of error]
    CORONAVIRUS Biden 52% Trump 40%
    UNIFYING AMERICA Biden 55% Trump 36%
    LAW AND ORDER Biden 50% Trump 44%
    CHOOSING A SCOTUS JUSTICE Biden 49% Trump 43%

    Trump has been effectively neutralized on the two issues he has deliberately pushed most over the closing months of the election: the economy and law and order. The poll also found that voters broadly support passage of a new $2 trillion stimulus deal to boost the economy, 72%-21%, but Trump hasn’t had the juice to get that done amid a revolt by Senate Republicans (who would sooner die than do anything to help struggling Americans).

    […] Trump’s fall on the economy could be an indication that at least half of voters now view the national economic outlook as inherently linked to how well the country is handling the pandemic.

    […] Additionally, most voters reject Trump’s assertion that we’ve “turned the corner” on the pandemic, with 51% saying the worst is yet to come while just 37% believe the worst is behind us.

    Trump is also losing important demographics in the poll, with 56% of women holding a “very unfavorable” view of him along with 53% of white college-educated voters. In 2016, Trump lost women by 13 points while the Times poll shows him losing them by 23 points, 35%-58%. Likewise, Trump won white college-educated voters by 3 points last cycle while he is losing them by 19 points now, 37%-56%. […]

  27. says

    About economic relief:

    […] Republicans, including Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri, have argued against a supposed “blue state bailout,” which is a repulsive way of dismissing aid for Americans impacted by a natural disaster. They claim that so-called “blue states” just want a handout because they are “mismanaged.” Even if that were true, the federal government doesn’t withhold money from Florida or Louisiana after a major hurricane because of who their governors are. Republicans aren’t even hiding the partisan rancor with the divisive term “blue state.”

    The “blue states” had to waste money early in this pandemic bidding against themselves for PPE because the Trump administration tried to turn the COVID-19 response into a reality show contest. Trump also demanded that governors curry his favor before he’d even pretend he was president of the entire United States.

    New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo correctly noted that there’s no national economic recovery without aid to state and local governments. Republicans love to boast about the strength of the US economy but California and New York are major drivers of our economy. Whose tax dollars does Hawley assume predominately funds our military and the federal troops Trump sics on “liberal” cities?

    Missouri is far more dependent on federal tax dollars than New York, California, New Jersey, and Massachusetts. […]

    Republican pettiness is the bigger issue here […]

    Schumer announced on Twitter Monday that he was “forcing a vote to adjourn the Senate until after the election.” He wasn’t going to permit “business as usual” while Republican leadership rammed through their unqualified Supreme Court justice [and failed to address economic recovery funds] […]

    We’re not stopping until every Republican is gone and can’t hurt anyone else.

    Link

  28. says

    Paul K @ #30, thank you for your post.

    I suffer from chronic back pain, for which I take three different medications, none of which make it go away entirely, and sometimes it’s quite debilitating. I’ve had four surgeries and cannot stand up straight and never will again. But I plug along. Sometimes, someone will ask, ‘How can you stand it?’ and my thought is, what choice do I have?

    I’m so sorry to hear that. I’ve had back pain once in my life, briefly, years ago (caused by running on pavement with shot sneakers that weren’t up to the task to begin with). Wasn’t close to the worst pain I’ve had, but it was awful. I can’t even imagine living with back pain day in and day out. I’m impressed by your resilience!

  29. Paul K says

    SC at #39: Thanks for the kindness. The surgeries all helped at the time, and I seem to be stable for now. I’ve got a loving family, so that helps!

  30. Pascal's Pager says

    To everyone who responded: thank you. I live in a suburb in northern Utah and often feel completely alone in my frustrations and anger. I have little kids and between worrying about their education, covid, and their emotional development I feel like I’m watching a poorly scripted reality show play out in the White House. I appreciate the honest responses and am glad there are communities online that don’t spread misinformation and hatred. Good luck to you all in the coming months (Especially Paul K.)

  31. says

    Moire financial shenanigans on Trump’s part are revealed.

    […] Trump’s tax records show that China is one of three foreign countries where he maintains a bank account, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

    The account is controlled by Trump International Hotels Management LLC, which paid $188,561 in taxes in China from 2013 to 2015, according to the Times.

    In addition to the Chinese account, Trump also has bank accounts in the United Kingdom and Ireland. The president’s foreign bank accounts are held under corporate names and as a result don’t appear on the president’s public financial disclosure forms, the Times reported.

    The tax documents that the Times has obtained don’t indicate how much money may have flowed through Trump’s foreign accounts, and the Times said it’s unclear which financial institutions hold the accounts. The IRS requires taxpayers to report the portion of their income from foreign countries, and the Trump hotel management entity only reported several thousand dollars from China, the Times said.

    Alan Garten, a lawyer for the Trump organization, said the company opened an account at a Chinese bank that has offices in the U.S. in order to pay taxes associated with efforts to do business in China. […]

    “No deals, transactions or other business activities ever materialized and, since 2015, the office has remained inactive,” Garten told the Times. “Though the bank account remains open, it has never been used for any other purpose.”

    […] Trump and his allies have raised questions about the business dealings in China of Hunter Biden, the candidate’s son. Hunter Biden has denied wrongdoing and has said that he has not used his father’s position for personal gain.

    Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s financial disclosures and tax returns don’t show any business or income in China, the Times reported. […]

    Link

    Rachel Maddow reported tonight that $17 million mysteriously appeared in one of Trump’s Chinese bank accounts in 2017. Shortly thereafter, Trump withdrew $15 million in cash. I’ll look for a link to the story later.

  32. says

    Every resident of Kansas nursing home infected with Covid-19

    Sheesh. Really bad news. Shocking.

    All 62 residents of a Kansas nursing home have tested positive for the coronavirus, and 10 have died, health officials said. One resident is in the hospital, and the rest are being quarantined.

    The Norton County Health Department announced the outbreak at the Andbe Home in Norton on Monday.

    Fifty-one patients are being kept in their rooms at the center in northwestern Kansas, and an unspecified number of staff members have also tested positive. All staff members are being tested, county health officials said.

    “Steps are being taken to prevent any further outbreak including quarantining residents in their rooms and not allowing outside visitors into the facility,” the Health Department said in a statement […]

    Sounds to me like a lot of steps should have been taken much earlier.

  33. says

    Follow-up to comment 47.

    Apologies for spelling “more” as “moire.”

    From the New York Times article:

    […] Trump’s plans in China have been largely driven by Trump International Hotels Management — the one with a Chinese bank account.

    The company has direct ownership of THC China Development, but is also involved in management of other Trump-branded properties around the world, and it is not possible to discern from its tax records how much of its financial activity is China-related. It normally reports a few million dollars in annual income and deductible expenses.

    In 2017, the company reported an unusually large spike in revenue — some $17.5 million, more than the previous five years’ combined. It was accompanied by a $15.1 million withdrawal by Mr. Trump from the company’s capital account.

    […] Outside of China, Mr. Trump has had more success attracting wealthy Chinese buyers for his properties in other countries. His hotels and towers in Las Vegas and Vancouver, British Columbia — locales known for attracting Chinese real estate investors — have found numerous Chinese purchasers, and in at least one instance drew the attention of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

    During the 2016 campaign, a shell company controlled by a Chinese couple from Vancouver bought 11 units, for $3.1 million, in the Las Vegas tower Mr. Trump co-owns with the casino magnate Phil Ruffin. The owner of a Las Vegas-based financial services firm told The Times he was later visited by two F.B.I. agents asking about the company behind the purchases, which he said had used his office address in incorporation papers without his knowledge. It is not known what became of the inquiry.

    […] In Vancouver, numerous Chinese buyers of units in Mr. Trump’s hotel and tower helped increase licensing fees from that project to $5.8 million in 2016, the year it was completed, according to tax records. The project was built by a Canadian-based firm controlled by the family of Malaysia’s richest man, Tony Tiah Thee Kian, who operates hotels in China and elsewhere. CNN reported in 2018 that the Vancouver operation was the subject of a counterintelligence review related to Ivanka Trump’s need for a security clearance.

    And not long after winning the 2016 election, Mr. Trump reported selling a penthouse in one of his Manhattan buildings for $15.8 million to a Chinese-American businesswoman named Xiao Yan Chen, who bought the unit, previously occupied by Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, in an off-market transaction. Ms. Chen runs an international consulting firm and reportedly has high-level connections to government and political elites in China.

    Mr. Trump’s tax records show that he reported a capital gain of at least $5.6 million from the penthouse sale in 2017, his first year as president.

  34. tomh says

    Court allows North Carolina mail-in ballots deadline extension
    Rebecca Falconer

    North Carolina can accept absentee ballots that are postmarked Nov. 3 on Election Day until Nov. 12, a federal appeals court decided Tuesday in a 12-3 majority ruling.

    The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling against state and national Republican leaders settles a lawsuit brought by a group representing retirees, and it could see scores of additional votes counted in the key battleground state.

    “North Carolina voters deserve clarity on whether they must rely on an overburdened Post Office to deliver their ballots within three days after Election Day.”

    “Several other provisions from the consent judgment remain in effect,” Richard Fiesta, executive director of the Alliance for Retired Americans, which brought the suit, said in an emailed statement.

    “Voters can continue to submit their mail ballots curbside by providing their name orally, without waiting in line with other one-stop voters, thus alleviating long lines and potential exposure to COVID-19 and will be able to cure several ballot witness issues under guidance released by the North Carolina State Board of Elections.”

  35. KG says

    Nigerian “security forces” have murdered an unknown number of peaceful protestors against police violence in Lagos. The protestors had gathered in defiance of a curfew imposed to shut down the continuing anti-police-violence protests. The “security forces” of Africa’s most populous state have proved largely incapable of protecting civilians against the terrorists of Boko Haram, but are apparently well able to slaughter unarmed and peaceful protestors.

  36. says

    I’m reminded of this, from the Steele memos (July, 2015):

    Commenting on the negative media publicity surrounding alleged Russian interference in the U.S. election campaign in support of Trump, Source E said he understood that the Republican candidate and his team were relatively relaxed about this because it deflected media and the Democrats’ attention away from Trump’s business dealings in China and other emerging markets. Unlike in Russia, these were substantial and involved the payment of large bribes and kickbacks which, were they to become public, would be potentially very damaging to their campaign.

  37. says

    Speaking of Steele – Guardian – “Trump’s false ‘Russian spy’ claims put me in danger, says Steele dossier source”:

    A Russian analyst says he is in hiding and “afraid for his life” after being unmasked by top congressional Republicans as the source behind the Steele dossier on Donald Trump and Moscow.

    In his first-ever interview Igor Danchenko said he is the victim of a smear campaign by the president and the Republican senator Lindsey Graham. Both have repeatedly alleged that Danchenko is a suspected Russian spy who fed disinformation to Christopher Steele, the former MI6 officer.

    Danchenko said he was not a Kremlin operative. He added that the accusation had made him a target for the pro-Trump radical right and left him effectively unemployed. “It’s a stigma. Being a ‘Russian spy’ is quite different from being James Bond. There are myths,” he told the Guardian.

    He is now threatening to take legal action against Trump. Last week Danchenko’s lawyer, Mark E Schamel, sent a cease-and-desist letter to Pat Cipollone, the president’s counsel. It said Trump had endorsed and retweeted “completely unsubstantiated lies”, which damaged Danchenko’s professional reputation and were “endangering his life”.

    The letter added: “These allegations of treason and espionage are extraordinarily serious. They are also completely false. Yet the president continues to publish these and similar false statements about Mr Danchenko with disregard for Mr Danchenko’s safety and reputation.”

    In spring and summer 2016 Danchenko collected much of the raw intelligence that appeared in Steele’s dossier on Trump’s links with Moscow.

    He was outed in July, following interviews he gave in early 2017 to the FBI as part of its Crossfire Hurricane investigation into the Trump’s possible collusion with Russia. He was described in FBI documents as Steele’s “primary sub-source”.

    In recent weeks Trump has retweeted claims that Danchenko is a “Russian spy”, and the Republican senator Lindsey Graham made similar assertions to Fox News. Graham recently published the transcript of Danchenko’s FBI interview, after attorney general William Barr cleared it for release.

    In an interview with Sean Hannity, Graham said Danchenko had fed Kremlin disinformation to Steele. Steele, whose dossier was funded by Hillary Clinton’s Democrats, had then made it into a “Tom Clancy novel” which was in turn “sold” to the FBI.

    Speaking to the Guardian from New York, Danchenko defended his work on the dossier. “I stand by it,” he said. He said he did not resile from explosive allegations that Trump may have been compromised during a visit in 2013 to Moscow’s Ritz-Carlton hotel. “I got it right,” he added.

    The Steele dossier alleged that the Kremlin had been cultivating Trump for at least five years. It said that the FSB spy agency had secretly videoed Trump during his trip to Moscow for the Miss Universe beauty pageant, filming him inside the hotel’s presidential suite with two sex workers.

    Trump strenuously denies the claim. Danchenko said he couldn’t discuss his sources in Russia or his methods. But he said: “I stand by my raw intelligence.”

    He said the “salacious” material in the dossier formed a small part of a 35-page document. The allegation would be “amusing”, he said, were it not for the fact that any covert FSB recording might be used for blackmail purposes.

    Danchenko said he collected his raw intelligence from Russia on a “shoestring budget”. He confirmed that he travelled to Moscow and St Petersburg in 2016 for “the Trump-Russia project”.

    In August the committee published its counter-intelligence findings into the Trump campaign’s ties with Russia. The bipartisan report was dismissive of Steele’s dossier, but corroborated key elements in it, saying that a Russian intelligence officer was “permanently based” at the Ritz-Carlton hotel, and spied on guests via a “network” of hidden cameras.

    The nearly 1,000 page report also laid out multiple contacts between Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign manager who features in the dossier, and Konstantin Kilimnik, described as a Russian intelligence officer. Manafort gave Kilimnik internal Trump polling data, and the report described his willingness to pass sensitive material to a Moscow spy as a “grave counter-intelligence threat”.

    Danchenko said the campaign against him was designed to deflect from the damaging Senate report. “I think they thought I would be an easy target to discredit the dossier. By doubling down on this they would be able to discredit the whole Russia investigation,” he said.

    Danchenko is based in New York. He said since the Republicans outed him this summer he could no longer return to Russia – even in the event that Putin left power. He had been forced to embark on costly litigation against Trump and others to defend his reputation, he said – and on Monday launched a crowdfunding campaign to pay his legal bills.

    He was worried about using his real name when checking into hotels, and was more afraid of renegade Trump supporters than of Kremlin operatives. “I’m afraid for my life. I want to stay healthy. I want to stay alive,” he said.

  38. says

    lotharloo @ #349 on the previous thread:

    AOC is planning to do twitch streaming, to play Among US and talk about voting. She’s setting up her channel and already has 138K people follow her. Damn!

    I didn’t (and still don’t) know what the key words here mean, but I saw AOC and Ilhan Omar and others connected to this trending on Twitter last night.

    Zach Montellaro from Politico tweeted this morning:

    I mean this totally non-sarcastically: AOC’s stream with a lot of super prominent streamers is probably going to be the single-largest event to reach young voters. Soooo many people tuned in. Probably going to be lost in the general internet illiteracy, but it was a huge stream

  39. says

    TPM – “‘Bold Strategy’: People Scratch Their Heads Over Trump Telling PA Rallygoers He Didn’t Want To Be There”:

    President Donald Trump got remarkably candid on Tuesday night with his supporters in Pennsylvania, a state he desperately needs to win on Election Day, by telling them that if he had a choice, he wouldn’t have bothered to grace them with his presence.

    “Four or five months ago when we started this whole thing….before the plague came in, I had it made,” Trump said during a rally in Erie, Pennsylvania. “I wasn’t coming to Erie. I mean I have to be honest, there’s no way I was coming. I didn’t have to.”

    Unfortunately, the President complained to his supporters, the pesky COVID-19 pandemic that’s caused his approval ratings to plummet forced him to actually reach out to them.

    “And then we got hit with the plague, and I had to go back to work,” Trump said. “Hello, Erie. Can I please have your vote?”…

    As one of the tweets linked in the piece says, “He HATES his base. And that loathing is coming to the surface.” (As Howard Stern pointed out back in May…)

  40. says

    Here’s a link to the October 21 Guardian coronavirus world liveblog.

    From there:

    The Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro has been accused of putting politics before lives after announcing he would refuse to acquire an experimental coronavirus vaccine from China.

    “I’m alerting you that we will not buy vaccine from China,” the rightwing nationalist reportedly told ministers.

    Urged on social media to shun the vaccine of “the Chinese dictatorship”, Bolsonaro insisted he would. “IT WILL NOT BE PURCHASED,” he wrote.

    Those statements, likely to irk Brazil’s top trade partner, came just hours after Bolsonaro’s own health ministry, Eduardo Pazuello, signed off on the purchase of 46 million doses of an experimental vaccine from the Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinovac.

    In another social media post Bolsonaro suggested Pazuello was a traitor.

    Bolsonaro’s opposition to the Chinese vaccine appears partly the result of his longstanding hostility to China’s Communist party rulers and proximity to Donald Trump. But it is also part of a bitter political fight with the governor of São Paulo state, João Doria.

    Doria hopes to challenge Bolsonaro for the presidency in 2022 and has spearheaded attempts to bring the so-called CoronaVac to Brazil through a partnership between Sinovac and the Butantan Institute, a São Paulo-based biomedical research centre.

    Critics slammed Bolsonaro’s stance. “The politics of death,” tweeted Daniel Dourado, a public health expert and lawyer from the University of São Paulo.

    Former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said the move underlined Bolsonaro’s submissiveness to Trump: “The US doesn’t tolerate any Latin American country having ties with China.”

  41. says

    Guardian – ew – “Rudy Giuliani faces questions after compromising scene in new Borat film”:

    The reputation of Rudy Giuliani could be set for a further blow with the release of highly embarrassing footage in Sacha Baron Cohen’s follow-up to Borat.

    In the film, released on Friday, the former New York mayor and current personal attorney to Donald Trump is seen reaching into his trousers and apparently touching his genitals while reclining on a bed in the presence of the actor playing Borat’s daughter, who is posing as a TV journalist.

    Following an obsequious interview for a fake conservative news programme, the pair retreat at her suggestion for a drink to the bedroom of a hotel suite, which is rigged with concealed cameras.

    After she removes his microphone, Giuliani, 76, can be seen lying back on the bed, fiddling with his untucked shirt and reaching into his trousers. They are then interrupted by Borat who runs in and says: “She’s 15. She’s too old for you.”

    Representatives for Giuliani have not replied to the Guardian’s requests for comment.

    Word of the incident first emerged on 7 July, when Giuliani called New York police to report the intrusion of an unusually-dressed man.

    “This guy comes running in, wearing a crazy, what I would say was a pink transgender outfit,” Giuliani told the New York Post. “It was a pink bikini, with lace, underneath a translucent mesh top, it looked absurd. He had the beard, bare legs, and wasn’t what I would call distractingly attractive.

    “This person comes in yelling and screaming, and I thought this must be a scam or a shakedown, so I reported it to the police. He then ran away,” Giuliani said. The police found no crime had been committed.

    Giuliani continued: “I only later realised it must have been Sacha Baron Cohen. I thought about all the people he previously fooled and I felt good about myself because he didn’t get me.”

    Viewers may be less convinced that Baron Cohen, reprising his role as the bumbling reporter Borat Sagdiyev, and Maria Bakalova, who plays his daughter, Tutar, had no success.

    In the film Borat is dispatched by the Kazakh government back to the US to present a bribe to an ally of Donald Trump in order to ingratiate his country with the administration. After the monkey earmarked for the gift is indisposed, Borat’s supposedly underage offspring becomes the replacement present.

    Even before he reaches into his trousers, Giuliani does not appear to acquit himself especially impressively during the encounter. Flattered and flirtatious, he drinks scotch, coughs, fails to socially distance and claims Trump’s speedy actions in the spring saved a million Americans from dying of Covid. He also agrees – in theory at least – to eat a bat with his interviewer.

    Although unfortunate, the circumstances of the setup appear consensual, with Giuliani led to believe he was being courted. Bakalova, 24, is highly plausible in the sting, despite also having to pretend, for the benefit of viewers, to be a feral child posing as a far-right journalist….

  42. says

    American Oversight – “Pompeo’s Use of Personal Email While CIA Director Highlights State Department’s Failure to Produce His Emails as Secretary”:

    Last week, as the president dredged up his favorite accusations about Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo promised to release the former secretary’s emails ahead of the November election. Pompeo scoffed at accusations that the move would be a violation of the Hatch Act, claiming the release would be “for the sake of transparency.”

    But professed concerns about transparency have not led to the release of any of his own State Department emails. For the past two and half years of Pompeo’s tenure as secretary, American Oversight has submitted dozens of Freedom of Information Act requests for his emails. We’ve also sued multiple times after the department failed to comply with such requests, and have received not a single email sent from Pompeo’s official State Department account. Our litigation has, however, recently produced nearly 400 pages of his personal emails from his time as the director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

    These records not only reveal a problematic amount of official business being conducted over private email — a major issue of the 2016 presidential election that President Donald Trump continues to bring up, despite his own administration’s rampant disregard for the rules. They also show Pompeo fielding questionable investigation requests as well as the involvement of his wife, Susan Pompeo, in official government activities.

    Meanwhile, more than a year after we filed suit, the State Department has not yet produced documents in response to our litigation for his personal emails while serving as secretary, even as Pompeo’s pledge to declassify former Secretary Clinton’s emails has publicly underscored his purported commitment to transparency. American Oversight has called for an investigation into whether that pledge has led the secretary — or any staff he directed to work on it — to violate the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal employees from engaging in partisan political activity in their official roles. On Monday, the Office of Special Counsel said it would open a case file on the issue.

  43. says

    (To be clear: I’m confused about who thought what in the Giuliani situation. The actress is, I believe, 24. I think in the movie she’s playing a 15-year-old girl pretending to be a rightwing journalist, but I don’t think Giuliani believed she was 15.)

  44. says

    Team Trump’s attacks on Biden take an amazingly ironic turn

    Team Trump wants voters to believe Joe Biden has been principally focused on “creating wealth for him and his family.” No, seriously, that’s the new pitch.

    For much of the year, Donald Trump and his team have gone after Joe Biden with ironic lines of attack. Over the summer, for example, [Trump] was heavily invested in the idea that Americans would see social unrest in the event of a Democratic victory, against a backdrop of social unrest in many areas on Trump’s watch.

    A month later, Trump insisted that Biden’s agenda would lead the coronavirus to “infiltrate” U.S. communities nationwide, which again seemed odd, since that described what’s already happened.

    But just this week, we’re starting to see Team Trump embrace irony in amazing new ways. For example, this was the line White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows peddled on Fox Business this morning:

    “It’s important for us to understand that while this president, Donald Trump, was creating jobs in America, the only thing that Joe Biden was doing was creating wealth for him and his family.”

    Soon after, Hogan Gidley, the national press secretary for the president’s re-election campaign, pushed a very similar line:

    “I think the American people absolutely care about their politicians using taxpayer-funded jobs to try and benefit their family.”

    Meanwhile, the Republican National Committee yesterday released a new anti-Biden research document. The headline, which was entirely serious, read: “The Real Joe: A Business Built On The Family Name.”

    With 13 days remaining before Election Day, the GOP’s latest push seems to be that voters shouldn’t support Joe Biden, because he’s actually Donald Trump. […]

    Laughable.

  45. says

    NIH chief: It’s been a while since Trump met with COVID taskforce

    The good news is, the White House Coronavirus Taskforce still exists.

    From The Hill:

    […] Trump has not met with the White House coronavirus task force in “quite some time,” the head of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) said Tuesday. NIH Director Francis Collins told NPR’s “Morning Edition” that Trump instead gets his information from Vice President Pence and task force member Scott Atlas, neither of whom are infectious disease experts.

    That’s so bad. Sheesh. Trump is getting information from Scott “masks don’t work” Atlas.

    Commentary from Steve Benen:

    […] There was a point, especially in the spring and summer, when the White House Coronavirus Taskforce was a high-profile entity. While that’s obviously changed, Collins told NPR yesterday that the group “continues to meet regularly,” even if [Trump] hasn’t directly engaged with the taskforce in “quite some time.”

    The NIH director added that Trump is “primarily getting his information” from Pence and Atlas. The result is an inherently problematic dynamic during a deadly pandemic: when the president, vice president, and the White House Coronavirus Taskforce’s most influential figure get together for a conversation, the combined trio has literally no background in public health or infectious disease mitigation.

    When NPR’s Steve Inskeep asked whether the public should be concerned about this, Collins paused, took a breath, and carefully dodged the question: “You know, Steve, I don’t think I want to delve too deeply into the political side of this. As a scientist, as a physician, I’m trying to do everything I can to oversee the science going forward. And the political part of this tends to be a little bit harder for me to understand.”

    As for public understanding of the coronavirus threat, the NIH director acknowledged how easy it is for Americans to get confused, but he had some advice to help cut through the noise.

    “I would just urge people listening to our conversation right now, trust the public health officials,” Collins said. “They really don’t have an axe to grind. Trust CDC. Trust Fauci. Trust the folks at the FDA who are trying to do their jobs…. If you’re trying to get public health information, it’s probably good to listen to a public health expert.”

    Noticeably, the NIH chief didn’t say a word about the public seeking reliable information from Trump, Pence, or the radiologist the president saw on Fox News.

  46. says

    They’re Really Sticking With The ‘Anarchist Cities’ Thing

    Yesterday, […] Trump tweeted a disingenuous rallying cry to residents of states like New York, California and Illinois — messaging that won’t do much for him in the relatively blue states that are home to some of the country’s largest deep blue cities.

    “Your states are way too highly taxed, big crime, people fleeing, and just about every other problem you can have,” [Trump] declared. “VOTE TRUMP, I will turn them around for you, FAST!”

    It was a desperate, last-minute hail mary toward states that he won’t carry; his favorability continues to falter even in swing states. But new reporting shows us that the attacks on blue city governments continue, not just from [Trump], but from the rest of his administration. According to Politico, Trump is still hellbent on his bizarre crusade to label cities like New York, Portland, OR, Washington, D.C., and Seattle as anarchist hellholes spiraling toward their own demise. He occasionally flirts with the concept of adding Chicago and Los Angeles to the list.

    But there are serious implications of the comical crusade: The Trump administration is reportedly considering cutting millions in federal funding for crucial health and safety services in these cities — everything from COVID-19 services to public treatment for HIV to support and screenings for newborn babies.

    From Politico, which obtained documents containing the details of the possible funding cut:

    The Department of Health and Human Services has identified federal grants covering those services, which are among the nearly 200 health programs that could be in line for cuts as part of a sweeping government-wide directive the administration is advancing during the final weeks of the presidential campaign and amid an intensifying pandemic Trump has downplayed.

    These Democratic-run cities have been the source of Trump’s ire for some time, but most recently as anti-police and Black Lives Matter protests bubble up in those jurisdictions. City leaderships’ criticism of Trump’s handling of the pandemic have been the icing on the cake.

  47. says

    Jessica Huseman:

    To say absolutely nothing of the *bizarre* contents of the Giuliani segment in the new Borat film, it is completely alarming that a man so close to the president is so willing to take whatever meeting he wants with people he doesn’t know and then behave this way in front of them.

    The president’s personal attorney – who has inserted himself into more than one national embarrassment – is running around doing bizarre interviews and meetings and maybe also unzipping his pants in front of … people who just literally called him and asked him to meet.

  48. says

    Trump Allies Mash Hunter Biden And QAnon Conspiracy Theories Into One Horrible Mess

    Oh, FFS.

    The out-on-bail former campaign chairman for […] Trump, Steve Bannon, teased the coming “storm” gathering around Hunter Biden to viewers of his YouTube show Tuesday night.

    “It’s going to be… It’s going to be a storm,” Bannon said. “The storm clouds are around the Biden camp. The storm clouds are around the Biden camp. A gathering storm, and they are doing a disastrous job.”

    The comment appeared to be a criminally sloppy reference to the QAnon conspiracy theory, which is based on the belief that a supposed government insider has for years anonymously spilled secrets online for his followers to decode. His message? There is a ring of satanic, pedophilic elites — mostly Democrats, Hollywood stars, and Deep State operatives — that secretly control the world. But Trump is going to stop them.

    “The storm” is a reference to the storied culmination of Trump’s battle against these political evildoers: mass arrests and, depending on who you ask, executions. “Q” has been predicting that the storm is nigh since 2017, only to push the predictions back again, and again, and again.

    Nonetheless, the promise of “the storm” is apparently so enticing that “Q’”s followers don’t hold his lengthy track record of bunk predictions against him.

    […] With Rudy Giuliani and other right-wing internet denizens making wild claims about what might lie on a laptop, that, these same ratfuckers suggest, used to belong to Hunter Biden, many on the right are using the story to spin up their own fantasy of unmasking a pedophilic cabal. (Former intelligence officials, meanwhile, have described the whole thing as a likely Russian disinformation effort.)

    […] The former New York City mayor claimed Tuesday night that he had uncovered “numerous pictures of underage girls” on the laptop.

    “That’s dynamite stuff!” Newsmax interviewer Greg Kelly responded before trying to steer Giuliani back to the former vice president’s purported financial conflicts.

    Elsewhere on the fringe web, Caleb Hull, the political strategist who’s recovering from the discovery this July of his shockingly racist old Twitter account, joined in on the fun. “I’m no QAnon conspiracy theorist, but the media refusing to cover a story of the Dem nominee’s family allegedly being involved in pedophilia and using government power to funnel in millions certainly isn’t helping dismiss the argument for Q.”

    So did Wayne Allen Root, the bonkers writer and radio host. On Sunday, he claimed (citing “high up” unnamed sources) that files on the laptop showed Hunter Biden “raping & torturing little Chinese children.” The claim has been retweeted more than forty thousand times.

    “BREAKING NEWS. My sources- as high up as it gets- watched videos on Hunter’s laptops TODAY. Just told me point blank…no rumor…they saw Hunter raping & torturing little Chinese children…Chinese govt has the same videos…Biden is compromised. Blackmailed. Can NEVER be Prez.”

    40,000 retweets of that garbage! Sheesh.

    […] The anonymous “Q,” whose posts fuel hallucinations around the county, has gobbled up the Hunter Biden news, posting about behind-the-scenes machinations at the FBI and in political back rooms across the globe.

    On Sunday, Q posted about the migraine-inducing bread crumbs that form the foundation for much of the latest hysteria: A signature on a subpoena for Hunter Biden’s purported old laptop purportedly matches that of an FBI agent who, at least at one point, focused on child pornography cases.

    The clip traveled from the online, anonymous conspiracy theorist straight to cable TV: Maria Bartiromo, host of Fox News’ Sunday Morning Features, brought up the detail during an interview with Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), the chamber’s top purveyor of (often baseless) Joe Biden dirt. […]

    “Connect the dots,” Bartiromo ordered the senator during an interview Sunday. “If an FBI agent is working on child pornography issues for five years, why is he subpoenaing the laptop of Hunter Biden? Is there a connection here? Should this suggest that there’s a child pornography issue here on that laptop?”

    “Well, I think you just made the connection,” Johnson replied. “Again, I think this is what the FBI has to come clean about. This isn’t a standard investigation, where if the FBI doesn’t indict somebody, everything remains confidential. This is something that, as we were talking about, relates to national security.”

    […] Bartiromo was insistent: “Was the FBI agent who served the subpoena investigating child pornography, senator?” she asked.

    “You just read the news report, I can’t comment any further,” Johnson said, adding that “I’ve heard all kinds of things that I think will probably be revealed over the next few days.”

  49. says

    Des Moines Register Editorial Board: “Throw the bums out. Every one of them.”

    […] [Putting party above country] has led Republicans down a treacherous path of steadfast loyalty to a president who has coddled dictators, demonized immigrants, wavered on denouncing white supremacists, run the White House like a family business, routinely ignored science and witnessed over 215,000 Americans die in a pandemic on his watch. And the worst may be yet to come, since he has not committed to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses the election.

    That’s why in this particular election every Republican incumbent should be voted out of office and every open seat should be awarded to the Democratic candidate.

    The Democratic candidates for Congress in Iowa have much to offer. But make no mistake: Elected Republicans’ actions have been so poisonous that removing them from power is as important a goal as sending thoughtful public servants to Washington. […]

    The Republican-controlled U.S. Senate has had too little time to assist Americans struggling from the effects of a pandemic. Yet it has found plenty of energy to pour into assuring perpetual conservative control of the Supreme Court.

    For today’s Republicans, the needs of the party supersede those of the nation.

    And now we’ve reached the point where the party appears willing to abet a president in nullifying an election.

    […] An overwhelming repudiation at the polls might drive home to Republicans how far they have strayed from the principles of their past.

    To help steer them back, throw the bums out. Every one of them.

  50. says

    Biden plans would lift 1.4M out of poverty in first year: analysis

    Researchers suggest that Biden’s proposals would improve financial security for older adults and people with disabilities.

    […] Joe Biden’s tax plan for Social Security and Supplemental Security Income is projected to help 1.4 million Americans out of poverty within its first year of implementation, according to an analysis conducted by the Urban Institute.

    A key element of Biden’s plan is imposing Social Security taxes on income above $400,000. Under the current guidelines, employees and employers each pay taxes of 6.2 percent on earnings up to $137,700.

    Some of the other hallmark features of Biden’s plan include increasing minimum benefits to 125 percent of the federal poverty level, amounting to $15,950 annually in 2020, readjusting how cost-of-living adjustments are determined, and giving credits to caregivers for children younger than 12 or family members with disabilities.

    […] Biden’s proposal would increase Social Security revenue by 7 percent in 2021, 12 percent in 2040, and 16 percent more in 2065 as opposed to current law. Total taxes paid in 2021 would increase by just 1.1 percent, according to the report.

    “Social Security faces a serious financial problem and the next president is going to have to deal with this,” Richard John, a senior fellow at the Program on Retirement Policy at the Urban Institute, told Yahoo Money. “It’s getting to the point now where they’re going to have to act sooner through tax increases or cuts to Social Security.”

    In 2019, 12.8 percent of adults over age 65 earned below the federal poverty level. […]

    More at the link.

  51. says

    Secret Service charges man with threat to kidnap and kill Biden and Harris

    The Secret Service filed charges against a Maryland man after he threatened to kidnap and kill Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris.

    A criminal complaint filed by the agency Wednesday said a man identified as James Dale Reed on Oct. 4 approached a house in his hometown of Frederick that had Biden-Harris lawn signs posted and left a handwritten note detailing graphic threats against the candidates and their supporters.

    The man was identified after the resident’s video doorbell captured Reed allegedly leaving the note at the home’s doorstep, according to the complaint.

    Reed allegedly threatens in the letter to “severely beat” Biden to “the point of death” and shoot Harris in the head with a Glock 17 pistol. The letter also includes a graphic threat of sexual assault against Harris.

    The letter says Biden-Harris supporters would also be “targeted.”

    “We have a list of homes and addresses by your election signs,” the letter reads, without clarifying who constitutes “we.” “We are the ones with these scary guns, we are the ones your children have nightmares about.” […]

  52. says

    From Wonkette: “WH Chief Of Staff, Federal Judge Agree: President’s Tweets Bullsh*t, Please Ignore”

    White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows argued in court this week that Donald Trump’s tweets are total bullshit, and should be ignored for all practical purposes. Sure, he didn’t say it in exactly those words, but that is the general feeling we got from this filing Meadows submitted to US district court judge Reggie Walton.

    The President indicated to me that his statements on Twitter were not self-executing declassification orders and do not require the declassification or release of any particular documents, including the FD-302 reports of witness interviews prepared by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in connection with the investigation conducted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, III. Instead, the President’s statements related to the authorization he had provided the Attorney General to declassify documents as part of his ongoing review of intelligence activities relating to the 2016 Presidential election and certain related matters.

    Uh huh. In other words, when he tweeted, “I have fully authorized the total Declassification of any & all documents pertaining to the single greatest political CRIME in American History, the Russia Hoax. Likewise, the Hillary Clinton Email Scandal. No redactions!” Trump just meant that Attorney General Bill Barr can selectively and dishonestly declassify anything he personally feels will help the Trump/Fox News narrative about WITCH HUNT! But it certainly doesn’t apply all willy-nilly, especially not in such a way that shows once and for all that the Trump/Fox News narrative about WITCH HUNT! is bullshit.

    And Judge Reggie Walton agreed! At least to a point.

    A federal judge ruled Wednesday that a pair of tweets President Donald Trump issued earlier this month that appeared to call for the declassification of all documents related to the probe of Russian influence on the 2016 presidential election won’t trigger any further release of information to the public.

    U.S. District Court Judge Reggie Walton lamented the president’s sweeping language, but said a clarification White House chief of staff Mark Meadows submitted to the court Tuesday amounted to a retraction of the tweets.

    “It is unfortunate that we are in this situations because, obviously, when there’s ever a reference to declassification of classified information those words spoken should be artfully spoken, so there’s no ambiguity as to what the intent was and, obviously, that’s not what occurred here,” Walton said

    […] Briefly, what happened here was that after Trump tweeted those tweets, which Mark Meadows says are garbage, Jason Leopold from BuzzFeed, who has been FOIA-ing the fuck out of “any and all documents” pertaining to the “Russia Hoax Scandal,” took notice and said GIVE IT. Specifically he said GIVE IT the full, unredacted Mueller Report, as well all Mueller’s 302s, which Meadows alludes to in his filing, AKA the FBI summaries of its witness interviews in the Mueller investigation.

    The US Department of Protecting Trump’s Crimes Justice tried to argue that ACTUALLY Trump’s tweets didn’t mean anything, but Judge Walton said he was going to need to hear that from the president his own self. This filing from Meadows is him saying to Judge Walton that he has discussed Twitter with Donald Trump, and that Donald Trump’s Twitter is bullshit. And this ruling from Walton is him saying yeah, he guesses Trump’s tweets are bullshit.

    […] But we guess this time Trump’s bullshit worked. Trump spoke “inartfully,” therefore his words are meaningless.

    Which leads us to ask: Is everything Trump ever said now invalidated, because of how every lie-crap out of his mouth is “inartful”? […]

    Link

  53. says

    From Wonkette: “We Stole All The Babies”

    Imagine being a little kid who’s been taken away from your parents by men in uniform, and thrown into complete chaos. You’re surrounded by strangers who may not even speak the only language you know, kept in a freezing cage where the lights are on all day and night and nobody seems to care that you’re crying all the time, then later taken to a converted Walmart crammed with other kids, where you get to play outside on a dirt field once a day. Eventually, you’re sent to “foster care or whatever,” people you don’t know, but who seem nicer even if they don’t understand your language or your reflexive rocking in bed at night. If you’re really lucky, you might even end up with a distant relative who lives in this strange country, though you may not have met them previously. (Unless of course, your relatives were arrested and deported when they came to rescue you from baby jail.) It’s been three years since then and depending on how old you were when you were taken, you might still remember Mama’s face. Or maybe the only family you can think of is your foster parent. There’s little chance your real parents will ever be found.

    Now imagine that 545 times and you’ll have a very partial sense of the crime Americans committed so Donald Trump could brag he was finally cracking down on people who committed the misdemeanor offense of crossing the border without authorization. […]

    In a court filing yesterday, ACLU lawyers said that after years of searching, they were still unable to find the parents of 545 of the kids who’d been taken in America’s effort to “deter” asylum seekers and other immigrants by trying to be more monstrous than the countries they were fleeing. Why were ACLU lawyers (and attorneys from other nonprofits) tasked with finding the parents, and not the Department of Homeland Security, which took the kids away? Or the Justice Department, which ordered it? Or Health and Human Services, whose Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) had custody of the kids?

    Simple: The government refused to do it because it was too much work, so if the parents were going to be found, that was left to the attorneys for the kids and their parents.

    NBC News reports that the attorneys say about two-thirds of the parents were deported to Central America without their kids.[…]

    Beyond the basic horror of taking children from parents with the express purpose of terrorizing people to dissuade future potential migrants, one constant of the “zero tolerance” program was that there was never any plan to reunite the families. Officials never even tried to track which children belonged to which parents, and as a recent Inspector General’s report found, once kids went from the hands of the Border Patrol to HHS’s Office of Refugee Settlement, which contracted out the baby jails and foster programs, the Justice Department had no interest at all in what happened to the kids. Literally not their department.

    […] this was weaponized incompetence, cruelty compounded by bureaucratized chaos.

    First we need to eject Donald Trump from the presidency in two weeks, and once that’s done, we need to pressure Joe Biden to set up a special office to reunite the families. (A congressional Truth Commission, too, not to mention a special prosecutor.) The people who made this happen, from John Kelly and Stephen Miller to Jeff Sessions and Rod Rosenstein, from Kirstjen Nielsen on down through the ranks of Homeland Security, the Justice Department, and HHS, need to be held accountable.

    But finding the parents is the top priority. For fuckssake, we have to find the parents, and probably pay for thousands and thousands of sessions of family therapy, too. Then maybe we can start to undo the evil of the past four years.

    Link

  54. says

    E. Jean Carroll:

    Friends, here are the two greatest attorneys in the country @kaplanrobbie and @JoshuaMatz8.

    Today Joshua will argue that it’s NOT @realDonaldTrump’s “official job” to slander a woman who accuses him of rape.

    Wish us luck! (Your tax dollars are paying for Trump’s defense.)

    I believe this is just starting (not sure if anyone’s livetweeting). DoJ tried to delay, but the judge refused.

  55. says

    That was quick:

    The hearing in the E. Jean Carroll case has started, but there’s a *twist*: DOJ says they’ll choose to have the judge decide the issue on the papers, with no arguments

    And that’s a wrap — Carroll’s lawyer Roberta Kaplan tells the judge they’re disappointed, and asks to file an add’l brief to respond to the govt’s reply brief. DOJ opposes. Judge says no new briefing, but he won’t consider new args that DOJ raised for the first time in the reply

    Probably no one from the DoJ would agree to stand before a judge and make this grotesque argument in person.

  56. says

    Populism!:

    NEW: Labour vote to extend free school meals over the holidays until Easter 2021 is defeated 322-261.

    Government majority of 61.

    Motion called on government to extend the free school meal holiday funding in England to Easter 2021. It wouldn’t have had legal force but would have been an expression of the will of Parliament.

    The Scottish and Welsh governments have pledged to extend free school meals over the holidays up to and including Easter 2021. English pupils will be the outlier in Great Britain.

    Five Conservative MPs voted against the government tonight on Free School Meals. Includes @halfon4harlowMP the Chair of the Education Select Committee. Everything else was on party lines, with the remaining Conservative MPs (who didn’t abstain) voting against.

  57. says

    SC @92, that made me laugh out loud.

    The obvious metaphor is funny, but I also wonder why Team Trump thought they could get away with presenting a theatrical prop like that. Did they think no one would notice that the book was empty? Blank page after blank page.

  58. says

    Follow-up to comment 47.

    As promised earlier, here is the link to Rachel Maddow’s segment that “shares highlights from new reporting from the New York Times that Donald Trump has a previously unknown Chinese bank account from which he withdrew millions of dollars after he became president, and conducted millions of dollars in real estate deals after he became president, with people connected to the Chinese government.”

    The video is 2:48 minutes long. Maddow gets right to the most salient facts.

  59. says

    Follow-up to comment 99.

    Commentary from Steve Benen:

    […] Where’d all of this money come from? That’s still unclear, but we know where a lot of that money went: after the company suddenly received an influx, just as he took office, Trump withdrew $15.1 for himself.

    And while there are other important revelations in the reporting, it’s worth appreciating the larger political context: much of Trump’s 2020 pitch to the electorate is predicated on the idea that Joe Biden is somehow tied to Beijing in nefarious ways.

    There’s little to suggest those ties exist in reality, but there now appears to be quite a few meaningful — and lucrative — connections between China and the Republican incumbent himself.

  60. says

    The United States is about to break its own record for daily COVID-19 cases, at just the wrong time

    Back on September 6, the United States recorded just under 26,000 new cases of COVID-19 for the day. […]

    Following the initial rise of cases in April and May, governors in many states—though not all—reacted by issuing stay-at-home orders and placing restrictions on businesses. But by the end of May, states like Florida and Missouri had already stripped away the first sets of restrictions. Other states were right behind, and even though the CDC had issued guidelines to be met before states could move between the different stages of reopening, those guidelines were almost uniformly ignored by all states not hit badly by that initial surge. When cases dropped to less than 20,000 a day at the beginning of June, it represented the shadow of restrictions that had already been removed.

    Then cases surged upward again, propelled by states like Florida where Gov. Ron DeSantis seemed intent on practicing herd immunity, even if his herd did not agree; and by Texas where Gov. Greg Abbott was one of several Republican governors to pass an executive order specifically prohibiting local officials from requiring masks. A month after those 20,000 case days, the nation was averaging over 70,000 cases a day. […]

    But where the case count settled after that was on a value actually higher than the average at the April-May peak. What September 6 marked was not a decline in cases, it was a low point in testing around the Labor Day holiday weekend. And just like the low point in June, it was just a momentary deflection in a line that was angling back up.

    Since Labor Day, the number of new cases has gone up every single week. […] Every day brings a new set of awful statistics: 41 states trending the wrong way, 20 states setting new daily records on the same date, 38 states reporting higher rates of hospitalization.

    […] On October 2, the Friday peak was at 52,000 new cases. A week later, it hit 61,000. And last Friday it reached over 71,000.

    […] there seems to be no indication that this is anywhere near the peak.

    When cases topped out in May, it was because they were centered in the Northeast and tough regional action put the nation on the road that—had it been generally followed—could have led toward genuine control of the disease. When cases topped out again in July, it was because southern state governors finally relented and allowed city and county officials to impose necessary restrictions.

    But this third “surge” isn’t a localized event. It’s an almost everywhere event. […] CDC guidelines aren’t even getting a mention.

    Local reports in many cities show ICU beds aren’t just full, they’ve been full for days. […]

    the pandemic is now overlapping the beginnings of flu season. There may be no doubt about which disease is more deadly, but flu is also widespread, easily transmissible, and generates large numbers of hospitalized patients—patients who will be competing for bed, attention, and resources with COVID-19 patients. Hospitalized patients with the flu are going to be prime candidates to become infected by COVID-19. Hospitalized patients with COVID-19 are going to be at risk from the flu. And yes, you definitely can catch both. […]

  61. says

    Lynna @ #98, the reams of blank paper are a favorite of Trump’s. McEnany yesterday tweeted an image of herself handing the giant book to Stahl, trying to convey how surprised and impressed Stahl had been. They probably expected to keep it away from her after that. But it’s amateur hour at the WH now and Stahl smartly made her way to the book and opened it. (She probably asked him to describe what was in it, too, which could have been what set him off.) Why Trump included the picture with the blank pages in the little photo gallery he tweeted out is a mystery. I suspect he might not have had his glasses on. Also, he’s very stupid.

  62. says

    Politico – “U.S. weighs labeling leading human rights groups ‘anti-Semitic’”:

    The Trump administration is considering declaring that several prominent international NGOs — including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Oxfam — are anti-Semitic and that governments should not support them, two people familiar with the issue said.

    The proposed declaration could come from the State Department as soon as this week. If the declaration happens, it is likely to cause an uproar among civil society groups and might spur litigation. Critics of the possible move also worry it could lead other governments to further crack down on such groups. The groups named, meanwhile, deny any allegations that they are anti-Semitic.

    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is pushing for the declaration, according to a congressional aide with contacts inside the State Department. Pompeo is eyeing a future presidential run and has taken a number of steps to gain favor with pro-Israel and evangelical voters who make up a key part of Trump’s electoral base.

    But the proposal is drawing opposition from career State Department employees. Among the opponents are department lawyers who warn that it is on shaky grounds due to free speech concerns, could lead to lawsuits and might even lack a proper administrative legal basis.

    Spokespersons for the State Department did not immediately reply to a request for comment on Wednesday. A former State Department official with contacts on the inside confirmed the basics of the declaration and said it could be released shortly.

    The declaration is expected to take the form of a report from the office of Elan Carr, the U.S. special envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism. The report would mention organizations including Oxfam, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International. It would declare that it is U.S. policy not to support such groups, including financially, and urge other governments to cease their support.

    The report would cite such groups’ alleged or perceived support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, which has targeted Israel over its construction of settlements on land Palestinians claim for a future state.

    It’s also expected to point to reports and press statements such groups have released about the impact of Israeli settlements, as well as their involvement or perceived support for a United Nations database of businesses that operate in disputed territories.

    The groups named…do not all officially support the BDS movement or take a position on it. But they have all been critical to one degree or another of Israel’s settlement policies and its treatment of the Palestinians, and pro-Israel organizations have claimed that the groups’ actions nonetheless constitute support for the movement and are thus anti-Semitic.

    Officials with the three groups were unaware of the potential State Department declaration until contacted by POLITICO.

    The draft State Department declaration is drawing much of its information from NGO Monitor, a pro-Israel site that tracks the activities of human rights and other organizations and often accuses them of being anti-Israel….

  63. says

    From Aaron Rupar’s livetweeted thread with video clips of Obama’s speech today:

    Obama: “[Trump] has not shown any interest in doing the work or helping anybody but himself & his friends or treating the presidency like a reality show he can use to get attention..the only people truly better off than they were 4 years ago are billionaires who got his tax cuts”

    Obama on Trump: “He’s got a secret Chinese bank account. How’s that possible? Listen, can you imagine if had a secret Chinese bank account when I was running for reelection? You think Fox News might’ve been a little concerned? They would’ve called me Beijing Barry.”

    Obama: “I get that this POTUS wants full credit for the economy that he inherited, and 0 blame for the pandemic he ignored. But the job doesn’t work that way. Tweeting at the TV doesn’t fix things. Making stuff up doesn’t make people’s lives better. You’ve got to have a plan.”…

    More atl.

  64. says

    NEW

    The FBI has announced that it will hold a “major election security” news conference at 7:30 p.m.

    Expected to attend:

    -DNI John Ratcliffe
    -FBI Dir. Christopher Wray
    -Asst. AG for Nat. Sec. John Demers
    -DHS CISA Dir. Christopher Krebs”

    Ratcliffe’s involvement doesn’t fill me with optimism.

  65. says

    Russia and Iran influence actions. Both have obtained voter registration information (which isn’t secret), and are using it to try to manipulate voters. Iran distributing those threatening messages and false information about voting. That’s pretty much it.

  66. tomh says

    Supreme Court blocks Alabama curbside voting measure
    Rebecca Falconer

    The Supreme Court on Wednesday evening blocked a lower court order that would have allowed voters to cast ballots curbside at Alabama polling places on Election Day.

    With less than two weeks until Election Day, the justices voted 5-3 to reinstate the curbside voting ban and overturn a lower court judge’s ruling designed to protect people with disabilities during the coronavirus pandemic.

    The lower court judge ruled in favor of a lawsuit arguing that curbside voting would “violate federal laws designed to protect America’s most marginalized citizens.”

    In her dissenting opinion, Sotomayor wrote,”We should not substitute the District Court’s reasonable, record-based findings of fact with our own intuitions about the risks of traditional in-person voting during this pandemic or the ability of willing local officials to implement adequate curbside voting procedures.”

  67. says

    Guardian – “The women who brought down Greece’s Golden Dawn”:

    Behind the bench, before her mostly male audience, as the marathon trial of Golden Dawn entered its last act, supreme court justice Maria Lepenioti did what she has done every week: she kept the peace.

    It has not been easy. Emotions have often run high. Even as the curtain is about to come down on proceedings with a ruling on if those convicted will be jailed before an appeal can be heard, the Greek judge, both laconic and low-key, has had to pull off an extraordinary balancing act presiding over a case that has put more Nazi leaders and sympathisers in the dock than at any time since Nuremberg.

    In her court every word has counted. There has been no tolerance for the extreme rhetoric that fuelled the neo-fascist group’s spectacular rise. Nor for jibes from the other side.

    “Day after day, session after session, she has managed to keep the harmony,” says Giota Tessi, a reporter with the leftist Syntaktwn paper who has observed the proceedings almost since they began in April 2015. “Her knowledge of the case file is incredible. She has been a model of restraint but she has also been very aware of the weight of the moment.”

    Historians will look back at the women who played a seminal role in Golden Dawn’s downfall. Under Lepenioti’s gaze, the three-member tribunal has gone where many in Greece had formerly feared to tread. After its landmark ruling that the far-right, ultra-nationalist party was a criminal organisation bent on extinguishing enemies real or perceived, sentences have been delivered that will almost certainly ensure its leadership remain behind bars for years to come. The party’s founder, Nikolaos Michaloliakos, and the tattooed macho militants who comprised his inner circle, all received 13-year prison terms.

    With the last chapter in the story of Europe’s most violent political force finally written, it will not be lost on the protagonists that punishment, in the end, was meted out by a woman. “It’s undeniable that in this case justice was female,” said Maria Stratigaki, professor of gender studies at Panteion University, noting the number of female prosecutors and investigators who also participated in drawing up the dossier against Golden Dawn. “For a party whose ideology is based on male supremacy, whose worldview is so militaristic, it’s humiliating and will hurt.”

    Stratigaki is among the many who believe there are lessons to be learned.

    The dark episode of Golden Dawn – its meteoric rise from being a fringe movement 40 years ago to Greece’s third-biggest party on the back of protest votes over EU-dictated austerity – has raised disquieting questions.

    When historians look back they will see a nation whose political class was slow in dealing with the rightwing menace and a society whose silence was deafening. A police force whose complicity enabled the extremists to act with impunity – until their murder of a popular anti-fascist Greek hip-hop artist, Pavlos Fyssas, provoked a backlash that was impossible to ignore – has already been illuminated by the trial. Officers who sympathised with the group, covering up attacks on leftists, migrants and refugees and the LGBTQ community, were among the hearing’s 68 defendants.

    Instead, it took the justice system, viewed as one of the country’s few meritocratic institutions, to confront the party’s violent tactics and thuggish behaviour.

    “Justice stepped in where others should have stepped before,” Stratigaki told the Guardian. “And our justice system is full of female judges because it is they who do better at exams and rise to the top.”

    No trial since the collapse of military rule has been as politically significant.

    But as professor Statigaki is quick to note, it might never have got to this had it not been for the courage of other women in the justice system who would assemble the voluminous case file against Golden Dawn….

    More (not enough) atl.

  68. says

    Guardian – “Chance for Chile to forge new path in vote to scrap Pinochet-era constitution”:

    Carlos Hinrichs clearly remembers the fear and repression of the Pinochet years.

    His father was jailed for supporting Salvador Allende, the leftwing president deposed in Chile’s 1973 military coup. His mother and sister were dismissed from their university positions. He saw classmates shot dead at protests.

    When the general finally left power in 1990, Hinrichs expected that the legal framework for his rule would soon be replaced.

    But, the constitution introduced by Pinochet remained in force for decades, safeguarding a market-driven economy at a cost of subsidized healthcare, education and pensions.

    This Sunday, Hinrichs will finally have a chance to help condemn the dictatorship-era constitution to history, when Chile holds a national referendum which could clear the way for a new magna carta.

    “It would open the possibility to live a better life,” said Hinrichs, who plans to watch the results with his adult daughters and his 94-year-old father. All three generations are hopeful that the country will vote for change.

    Chile’s 1980 constitution has been criticised since its inception as fatally compromised by its links to a dictatorship guilty of political murder, torture and mass incarceration.

    And when protests over metro fares escalated into a nationwide uprising last year, many demonstrators singled out the constitution as the root cause of the country’s social crisis.

    Chiefly authored by the Pinochet adviser Jaime Guzmán, the 1980 constitution enshrined the neoliberal philosophies of the Chicago Boys, a group of Chilean conservatives mentored by the US economist Milton Friedman.

    For people of Hinrichs’ generation, the upcoming referendum evokes memories of another historic plebiscite, when Chile voted to end the dictatorship in 1988. He was jubilant at the time but now reflects on that period with bitterness.

    “We thought that they’d give back everything the state had sold. I had too much hope in what was to come,” he said.

    On Sunday, voters will be asked to either approve or reject constitutional change, before deciding who they want to author a new constitution – a mixed assembly of politicians and citizens, or a constituent assembly composed entirely of popularly elected representatives.

    A recent survey predicted “approve” will win by 69%, with 61% supporting the option without parliamentary involvement.

    President Sebastian Piñera agreed to the referendum amid the most violent period in Chile’s democracy. Since protests began, more than 30 people have been killed in clashes with security forces, and episodes of looting and arson have cost up to $1.3bn in damage.

    But the government’s response to the protests only served to expose the lingering influence of dictatorship. Thousands of people were arrested, many were tortured and at least 465 people suffered eye injuries from police weapons.

    A recent report by Amnesty International highlighted the use of the security law – “mostly used during the regime of Gen Augusto Pinochet” – to justify the crackdown.

    Calls are growing for an overhaul of the national police force over the string of abuses – including a recent episode in which an officer pushing a 16-year-old boy from a bridge.

    In June, Chile had the highest number of coronavirus cases per capita in the world, although cases have since dropped. The health minister, Jaime Mañalich, resigned over his failure to contain the spread and lack of transparency over death tolls.

    “We’re in the middle of a pandemic, and the state continues to spend more money on this imaginary war against protesters than on public hospitals,” said Bremmer.

    The promise of a new constitution has also won strong support from minority groups, who see it as the chance for a reckoning with historical injustices.

    Salvador Millaleo, a lawyer and academic – and member of the indigenous Mapuche people – told El País it could “end the political exclusion” of Chile’s 13% indigenous population. Millaleo hopes Chile will follow Ecuador and Bolivia and declaring itself a “plurinational” state, officially recognizing indigenous groups in the constitution.

    Women’s rights activists similarly see opportunity: the current constitution specifically protects “the lives yet to be born” over women’s sexual and reproductive rights, and access to abortion remains severely limited.

    Feminist lawyer and rights activist Constanza Valdés said that, despite its numerous reforms, the 1980 constitution “maintains the values of Catholic conservatives”. In June, the constitutional court rejected the legal recognition of same-sex parents, claiming it was “unconstitutional”.

    In the midday heat of Chile’s October spring, hundreds of people at Plaza Italia gathered round a cardboard coffin, marking the symbolic death of the Pinochet-era constitution.

    One of the protesters, Macarena Fernández, 29, said she was not expecting overnight change. But she was hopeful for the long term: “I will vote so my generation’s children and grandchildren will inherit a fairer Chile and can live with dignity.”

    So, some positive developments in recent days: Ardern’s landslide victory in New Zealand, the success of the Greens, and the possibility of a coalition of choice; the defeat of the far-right in the Viennese state elections (the Greens were also successful there!); the stunning comeback of MAS in Bolivia, bringing the country back from the brink after the racist coup; the Golden Dawn convictions (update); and the referendum and possibility of change in Chile.

  69. says

    Here’s a link to the October 22 Guardian coronavirus world liveblog.

    From there:

    Covid-19 cases are increasing across the United States and surging in the upper midwest, in what appears to be a third pandemic peak, writes Jessica Glenza for the Guardian US.

    In North Dakota, cases are increasing at a higher and faster rate per capita than in any other state throughout the pandemic so far.

    Experts have long predicted cooler weather and pandemic fatigue would increase the spread of Covid-19 this fall. That now appears to be coming to pass, coupled with the longer and higher levels of death and disease the US has seen throughout the pandemic compared to peer countries.

    “Everyone who knew anything about infectious disease and epidemiology predicted this six to eight months ago,” said Dr Ezekiel Emanuel, vice-provost for global initiatives at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

    “Yes, it will surge in the fall, and the reason it will surge is because we are moving indoors,” said Emanuel. “Our surge is much higher than the surges in general,” he said, because the US has started, “from a higher baseline”.

    The head of Germany’s disease control centre has said the country is facing a “very serious” rise in coronavirus cases, after the country earlier reported a record 11,287 new infections.

    Lothar Wieler, head of the Robert Koch institute, was quoted as saying by AFP, the French state-backed news agency, that it was still possible to bring the virus under control through “systematic compliance with restrictive measures”, but that “the overall situation has become very serious.”

    Thursday’s rise in cases far exceeded the previous record of 7,830 recorded last Friday, and was a steep jump from the 7,595 cases reported on Wednesday.

    Wieler blamed private gatherings, especially among young people, for the rise.

    “The more people gather in private circles, the more the numbers will increase and the further the virus will spread,” he said, noting that “the young are currently the most exposed to this virus”.

    He urged people to observe the rules but cautioned that an “uncontrolled” spread could be unavoidable in some regions.

    Russia has reported 15,971 new coronavirus infections and 290 deaths, as it was announced that the health minister, Mikhail Murashko, will self-isolate after a member of his family tested positive for the virus.

    On Wednesday, Russia reported 15,700 new cases and 317 deaths. The official death toll from the outbreak in the country is now 25,242.

    Sophie Wilmès, who was Belgium’s caretaker prime minister during the first wave of the coronavirus outbreak, has been admitted to intensive care with Covid-19.

    Wilmès, who is now foreign minister, tested positive for coronavirus last week and had been self-isolating. She was admitted to a Brussels hospital on Wednesday night, according to AFP, the French state-backed news agency.

    “She is conscious and she can communicate,” her spokeswoman said, confirming that Wilmès was receiving intensive care. A source in her office said her condition was “stable”.

    The prime minister, Alexander de Croo, who succeeded Wilmès on October 1, wished her a “speedy recovery” on his Twitter account.

    “No one is immune from this dangerous virus. Together as one, we will beat Covid-19!” he said.

    Belgium is experiencing one of the worst second waves of the epidemic in the world, and with 10,539 deaths in a country of 11.5 million people, one of the deadliest outbreaks per capita.

    The number of confirmed infections has doubled in a month to 253,386, and there are 3,274 patients currently in hospital, despite a renewed partial lockdown that has seen pubs and restaurants close.

    Government ministers and scientists will hold an emergency meeting on Friday and are expected to announce still tighter measures to stem the spread of the virus.

    No good news on that front today.

  70. says

    We are 12 days out. Trump is desperate for Barr to pull a Comey… but there is really nothing to pull and Barr has nuked his credibility so many times anything he does will backfire.

    Hence Trump is pressuring Wray to pull a Comey, threatening will fire him if he doesn’t.”

    A thousand people died from COVID in the US yesterday.

  71. says

    From New York Times:

    For the first time, said Ivan Krastev, director of the Center for Liberal Strategies, “Europeans are afraid that there is no longer a foreign-policy consensus in the United States. Every new administration can mean a totally new policy, and for them this is a nightmare.”

    “There is an incredible decay in Europe of the sense of the United States as a leader,” accelerated and symbolized by mishandling of the coronavirus, said Jeremy Shapiro of the European Council on Foreign Relations.
    “Biden doesn’t solve their America problem,” he said. “He’s not going to be president for ever, and Democrats won’t always be in power, and people have learned that the U.S. can’t be trusted on foreign policy, because the next administration will come in and wipe it away.”

    After Mr. Trump, however, there would also be a new wariness and unwillingness to take big risks on the part of America’s allies, said Mark Leonard, director of the European Council on Foreign Relations. “If you know that whatever you’re doing will at most last until the next election, you look at everything in a more contingent way,” he said.

    “We had differences, but there was never a basic mistrust about having common views of the world,” said Gro Harlem Brundtland, the former prime minister of Norway, who has dealt with numerous American presidents of both parties.
    But over the past four years, she said, several European leaders “no longer take for granted that they can trust the U.S., even on basic things.”
    Confidence in Washington will not return quickly, she said. “While most European leaders think it best for the global system to build on a close U.S.-Europe relationship,” she said, “to have such a polarized situation between the two main parties in the U.S. is scary, and you wonder where that goes.”

  72. says

    Sen. Murphy: “The e-mails told voters to support Trump but the DNI is sure the intent was to hurt Trump? That’s a dubious claim that seems motivated by the Administration’s desperation to distract from Russian interference and create false equivalencies between Russian and Iranian efforts.”

  73. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    SC@119–isn’t the narrative presented by Ratcliffe actually fostering the narrative of the trolls–e.g. that they’ve obtained voter info and will be using it against voters if they don’t vote for Trump?
    Sounds like the Derp state is becoming entrenched.

  74. says

    Remember to tune in for the last presidential debate tonight. Donald Trump and Joe Biden will meet tonight in Nashville, and the event is scheduled to begin at 9 p.m. (E.T.).

    The debate will be shown live on every major network and cable news channel, including ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC and C-SPAN. You’ll also be able to stream the debate live on YouTube via CBS News and other services like C-SPAN.

    Rachel Maddow, Joy Reid and other MSNBC hosts will cover the debate on MSNBC with pre-debate and post-debate shows.

    This is the debate at which each candidate’s microphone will be muted after they give their two-minute answer to the moderator’s question. There will still be opportunities for crosstalk and for boorish behavior by Trump during the more freewheeling discussion that follows the two-minute answers.

    Trump has claimed that he was promised a debate only on the subject of foreign policy. That’s not true, not one little bit true. He is lying and trying very hard to provide excuses now for why he is going to fail later.

  75. says

    ’60 Minutes’ bothers Trump with the truth about the economy

    Trump’s insistence that he created the strongest economy in history is demonstrably ridiculous, and insisting otherwise doesn’t turn fiction into fact.

    […] just this morning, [Trump] published yet another tweet on his not-yet-aired interview with CBS News’ Lesley Stahl — his third tweet on this in three days — in which he described his answers to Stahl’s questions as “full, flowing and ‘magnificently brilliant.'”

    No, seriously, that’s what he wrote. (It’s not clear why he put “magnificently brilliant” in quotes, but Trump has long struggled to understand how quotation marks are supposed to work.)

    We’ll see soon enough why the interview touched such a nerve with the president, though CBS this morning released a brief preview in which the anchor asked Trump about his “biggest domestic priority.” [Trump] has long struggled with questions about his agenda and plans for a second term, and he answered by bragging about the pre-pandemic economy.

    “We created the greatest economy in the history of our country, and the other side was coming in-” Trump said before Stahl cut him off. “You know that’s not true,” the CBS reporter told him. “It is totally true,” the President shot back. “No,” Stahl said before pressing Trump on the question again.

    This is no small matter: Trump’s standing on the economy appears to be the only thing sustaining his modest levels of public support, so Stahl challenging the president’s boast calls into question the most important of Trump’s many lies.

    But to the extent that reality still has any meaning, the “60 Minutes” anchor was right and Trump was wrong.

    Take job creation, for example. As we recently discussed, for all of [Trump’s] chest-thumping, 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 explained 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 recently 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.

    There’s also GDP to consider. As a candidate, Trump set specific targets for U.S. economic growth, and as a president, he failed spectacularly to deliver those results. In fact, the best year of GDP growth in Trump’s first term fell a little short of the best year of Obama’s second term.

    When Trump told Stahl that he and his team “created the greatest economy in the history of our country,” the truth is they didn’t even create the greatest economy in the history of the last decade.

    The Washington Post published an interesting analysis about a year ago, explaining, “[I]f we are linking economic numbers to presidential performance, Trump’s insistence that his abilities are unparalleled are rendered somewhat suspect in that he ranks second out of the last two presidents” on several key economic indicators. That, of course, was before this year’s severe downturn. […]

  76. says

    Follow-up to comment 130.

    […] the President has been on a rampage against Stahl by pledging to release the interview before its scheduled airing on Sunday and tweeting supposed “gotcha” photos of the CBS News reporter not wearing a mask.

    Several hours after CBS released the clip, Trump posted what he claimed was the full interview on his Facebook page.

    “Look at the bias, hatred and rudeness on behalf of 60 Minutes and CBS,” he fumed in the video caption.

    Link

    See also:
    https://twitter.com/CBSThisMorning/status/1319241809873293312
    Biden has faced tough questions from CBS hosts, but he didn’t take to Twitter afterward to claim that CBS hates him. Trump is a whining manbaby.

    @60Minutes has a history of asking tough questions of presidential candidates during the run-up to the election.

  77. says

    Follow-up to comments 130 and 131.

    From comments by readers:

    Rather surprising behavior from Trump. He usually reacts so well to powerful, intelligent women standing up to him and calling him on his lies.
    ———————
    It’s unreal and so sad just how many people have conspired to make Trump look bad by lying about his many great, great accomplishments, second only to Lincoln, if that. Why won’t they just let him do his job, which is unreservedly loving America and doing everything he can to make and keep it great? It’s so, so sad, tremendous, bigly, strongly sad.
    ——————-
    Could it be that those ‘constant interruptions’ he complains about were follow up questions and offerings of facts and stopping him when went on tangents telling lies? Why yes. Yes it could.
    ——————–
    it’s clear in this clip that Trump equates stock market performance with “the economy.” Moron.
    —————–
    “Watch her constant interruptions & anger.” So looks like he did read the reviews of his performance at the first debate – but he doesn’t understand the difference between “tough questioning” and “attempted bullying.”
    ——————-
    he’s lost more ground by walking out.
    ——————
    As soon as I read, the next day, that the campaign was ALSO shooting the interview, there was not a question in my mind they were doing it for nefarious reasons. I can’t imagine how it was that CBS agreed to the simul-shoot.
    ————
    The part that he and his supporters will never understand is that if you are making sense and dealing with reality you are a lot less likely to be called a liar.
    —————–
    he can never seem to rebut the points with facts and figures. Probably because he cannot retain details of anything, all of his life is just breezing past complications and difficulties with bluster and babble.
    ——————-
    Poor poor twumpie. Always so misunderstood and victimized.
    ——————
    Its also worth noting that tRump bragged about his healthcare policy and his spokesmodel handed Stahl a copy of his plan. As usual, the book when opened was blank. A total ruse.

  78. says

    More pre-debate drama, blustering and chest-beating from team Trump:

    Trump campaign press secretary Hogan Gidley dodged on Thursday morning when asked if […] Trump will comply with the rules allowing each candidate two minutes of uninterrupted speaking time, which will be enforced by muting the other person’s mic, during his final debate with Democratic challenger Joe Biden.

    “No red-blooded American is going to stand by anyone and allow them to lie about them. The President’s not going to let Joe Biden do that,” Gidley told MSNBC anchor Hallie Jackson after she pressed him on the issue.

    “So that sounds like you’re saying the President’s not going to let Joe Biden have his two minutes,” Jackson replied.

    “I didn’t say that. I’m just saying the President is a counter-puncher,” the campaign spokesperson said. “And if you’re going to lie about him he’s going to call you out for it.”

    “We’ll wait and see what happens in this debate,” he added. “The President wants to abide by the rules, but if Joe Biden’s not going to be truthful, then the President’s going to tell him about it.”

    […] Trump, who has been baselessly accusing the CPD of being biased against him, complained on Wednesday that the commission’s decision was “very unfair.”

    Link

    Comments from readers:

    In other words, of course he’s not going to respect the mute rule. Who in their right mind ever imagined that he would?
    ——————
    Is Trump just going to yell so he’s heard in Biden’s or ambient mics?
    ——————-
    The delusional dipshit probably thinks he nailed the first debate and won’t change a thing. What are the odds be brings a megaphone?
    ———————
    “Fish flop around before they die.” – David Jolly
    ———————–
    He’s going to yell and try to get Biden to interrupt himself to answer Trump’s yelling or address him in some way. I would guess that Biden and his people have practiced that scenario as part of their debate prep. It doesn’t seem likely that he could drown Biden out.
    ————————
    Victor Gevers [Dutch researcher] had access to Trump’s direct messages and could post tweets after trying the password ‘maga2020!’
    ————————-
    ‘Counterpuncher’ my ass: the man serially violates agreed upon standards of conduct to seek advantage or at whim. He does it aggressively and is abusive: it’s his go to in pursuit of domination.

  79. says

    From Josh Marshall:

    […]Trump will be every bit as aggressive, feral and rage-soaked as he was three weeks ago.

    Indeed, we should expect it to be worse.

    […] We know the subject matter: Hunter Biden and the ever expanding melange of accusations of international corruption, crime family intrigues, drug abuse and now underaged girls. His stump speeches which are not only as unhinged and febrile as we’ve ever seen them but focused now almost exclusively on the subject matter animating the reality bubble in which the President is cocooned: the purported range of crimes of the Biden ‘crime family’, the failed deputies who won’t order his enemies’ arrests, Trump’s feuds with various journalists […] It’s not so much that he’s out of control. But in the clutchest of moments he will be who he is. […]

    he follows his impulses. It won’t be pretty.

    Link

  80. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Maybe they can the “cone of silence” from the old Get Smart show over him for two minutes…/s

  81. says

    Trump Has Outdone Himself In False Claims, Making More Than 50 Per Day By WaPo’s Count

    […] Trump, in a last ditch effort to throw just about anything at the wall and hope it sticks amid dwindling election prospects […], has shamelessly made more than 50 false or misleading claims a day.

    That’s according to the Washington Post’s Fact Checker, which reported on Thursday that in the month of August — even before delivering a speech to accept the Republican presidential nomination — Trump made 1,506 false or misleading claims, or 56 a day.

    As of Aug. 27, the Post’s database, which tracks bogus claims made by Trump, stood at a whopping total of 22,247 false or misleading claims in 1,316 days.

    The number of false statements has increased drastically since the early days of his presidency in 2017, when […] Trump still keeping with a penchant for mistruth, averaged six claims a day. That number increased rapidly over the past three years — spiking to 16 a day in 2018 and then steadily increasing to 22 in 2019. So far in 2020, the president has averaged 27 claims a day.

    […] the coronavirus pandemic has risen to the top of Trump’s list of falsehoods as he repeatedly undermines science and admitted to intentionally misleading the public about the seriousness of COVID-19.

    In just six months Trump has generated nearly 1,400 false claims about the coronavirus pandemic […]

    According to the Post, Trump has also put a new spin on an old favorite false claim about the economy. While he’s previously falsely stated that the economy under his administration has been the best in U.S. history, he’s taken to the even more inflated suggestion lately by counting among his accomplishments achieving “the best economy in the history of the world.”

    Trump has repeated this wildly off base “best economy” claim more than 150 times just since the coronavirus began raging across the United States, the Post said, shredding the economy and Trump’s top pitch for his reelection bid in its wake.

  82. says

    Idaho hospitals near capacity, may send new coronavirus patients to Portland, Seattle

    People with COVID-19 in Northern Idaho soon may have to be sent to Portland or Seattle because the region’s hospitals are nearing capacity.

    Kootenai Health hospital said in a statement Wednesday that their hospital is at 99% capacity for patients. The facility is also short-staffed, as demand for nurses grows with the rise in COVID-19 cases throughout the country, the statement said.

    […] In the southern Idaho city of Twin Falls, St. Luke’s Hospital has had to cancel all elective surgery for the month to accommodate an influx of COVID-19 patients. One in every four patients there is sick with COVID-19.

    Idaho is seeing its largest coronavirus spike since the pandemic began, with new cases increasing statewide by 46.5% percent over the past two weeks. Gov. Brad Little, a Republican, has declined to take steps such as requiring masks statewide to slow the spread of the virus.

    It’s the Ammon Bundy effect. Willful ignorance. Belligerence.

    Worker shortages and concerns about the election are impacting the supply and demand of ammunition across the country, even here in the Treasure Valley. [Boise Area]

    Staff at Cliff’s Guns Safes and Reloading spoke about the effect this is having on their business. Many first time gun buyers are going to Cliff’s in the leadup to the election.

    But the coronavirus is causing a worker shortage in ammo factories, slowing retailer’s ability to get ammo on the shelves.

    […] Some larger retailers are no longer allowing customers to buy ammo in bulk, typically limiting them to three boxes.

    Link

  83. says

    Nerd @135, Ha! That made me laugh. I wish.

    Speaking of Trump’s boorish behavior, here’s an excerpt from CBS’s response to Trump’s bad behavior following the “60 Minutes” interview:

    […] “The White House’s unprecedented decision to disregard their agreement with CBS News and release their footage will not deter 60 MINUTES from providing its full, fair and contextual reporting which presidents have participated in for decades,” CBS News said. “60 MINUTES, the most-watched news program on television, is widely respected for bringing its hallmark fairness, deep reporting and informative context to viewers each week.”

    CBS News also praised Stahl, who Trump has been on a rampage against by vowing to release footage of his “60 Minutes” interview prior to its scheduled airtime on Sunday. Over the course of the week, Trump posted a short video clip and photos of Stahl not wearing a mask at the White House to his Twitter.

    “Few journalists have the presidential interview experience Lesley Stahl has delivered over her decades as one of the premier correspondents in America and we look forward to audiences seeing her third interview with President Trump and subsequent interview with Vice President Pence this weekend,” CBS News added in its statement. […]

    Link

  84. says

    Trump Mulls Ousting FBI Director For Not Delivering Damaging Investigation Into Biden

    […] Trump, angry that he hasn’t received the damaging pre-election bombshell on Democratic rival Joe Biden that he’s been pushing for, has reportedly been discussing with aides the possibility of firing FBI Director Christopher Wray for not handing Trump said bombshell in the form of an investigation into Biden.

    […] Trump wants a public announcement of a federal probe into Biden and his son, Hunter, that could damage the Democrat similar to how then-FBI Director James Comey had announced a renewed investigation into 2016 Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton’s emails less than two weeks before Election Day four years ago.

    […] Trump has publicly attacked Wray for testifying that Russia has been working to “denigrate” Biden in order to sway the elections in the President’s favor. Trump has also expressed anger over how Wray has not boosted the President’s fearmongering over “antifa,” an anti-fascist movement that Trump has falsely claimed to be an organization.

  85. says

    […] there is a difference between the erosion of faith in news sources, and the absolute collapse of faith in the World Health Organization, Food and Drug Administration, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Because that rapid collapse of health organizations was orchestrated deliberately—by just one man.

    Donald Trump has taken advantage of the distrust of traditional news, academic sources, and government agencies like no one before him. From even before the moment he stepped onto the national political stage, Trump was tweeting out fact-free claims on topics ranging from President Obama’s birth certificate to climate change. […]

    In his 25,000 lies, Trump has continually not just counted on the idea that no one can actually fact-check him, he has also been a major contributor to undercutting what faith in traditional sources remains through his constant claims about “fake news” and his dismissal of government workers as being part of the “deep state.” With a major news network, hundreds of AM radio stations, and thousands of social media sources pushing distrust of news media as part of their disinformation campaign, the disintegration of any basis on which to build rational political discourse is staggering.

    The result of this effort is measured in hundreds of thousands of bodies. […]

    that’s horrifying. Not just because it’s costing thousands of lives now, but because it’s clear as mud how to set it right. Restoring faith in government agencies, in news media, and academic sources is a challenge that may be as great as that of halting climate change, and just as vital.

    Let’s start by getting rid of that orange elephant. And the rest of his herd.

    Link

  86. says

    More details regarding that “60 Minutes” interview:

    […] The interview is combative throughout, with Stahl often interjecting to point out basic facts and question Trump on some of his claims and rhetoric.

    “We can’t put on things we can’t verify,” Stahl tells [Trump] after he repeats his unproven claim that the Obama administration spied on his campaign.

    Trump at multiple points claims that Stahl has “discredited herself” by not covering allegations in the New York Post about Hunter Biden’s business dealings after Stahl said “60 Minutes” could not verify them.

    Stahl repeatedly tells Trump that his allegations that Hunter Biden influenced his father have been discredited by Republican-led Senate committees, and she pushes him on his insistence that his administration has a health care plan ready to release despite its refusal to release any details on such a plan.

    At the beginning of the interview, Stahl focuses on the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus and the rising cases in the United States, asking him to acknowledge the increase.

    “I think we have done a great job with COVID,” Trump says.

    “Sir, excuse me. Cases are up in about 40 states,” Stahl replies.

    Trump acknowledges the increase in cases but attributes them only to an increase in testing, a claim that public health experts have said is misleading.

    “Because we do so much testing, the fake news media loves to say, cases are up. The fact is we have done a very good job,” Trump says.

    The president also continued to insist that the U.S. is turning the corner on the virus, a claim that is out of step with his top health officials’ warnings about the risk of a resurgence.

    “We have turned the corner. We understand the disease. We understand the elderly and we are taking care of them,” Trump says.

    At one point, Trump grows agitated with Stahl’s characterization of his recent plea to suburban women to “please like me” at a campaign rally. Trump insists angrily that he made the remark in jest.

    “You said the other day to suburban women, ‘Will you please like me?’” Stahl says in a pleading voice.

    “Oh I didn’t say that. You know, that is so misleading the way you said it. I say jokingly, suburban women you should love me because I’m giving you security and I got rid of the worst regulation,” Trump says.

    “See, the way you said that is why people think of you and everyone else as fake news,” Trump continues. “I said that in a joking way. The way you have it is like I’m begging.” […]

    Link

    Trump frequently claims that he was “joking” or that he was “sarcastic” when he his caught saying something particularly egregious.

  87. says

    From Lynna’s #133:

    “No red-blooded American is going to stand by anyone and allow them to lie about them. The President’s not going to let Joe Biden do that,” Gidley told MSNBC anchor Hallie Jackson after she pressed him on the issue.

    I think Gidley might have used this “red-blooded” phrase twice in the interview, or I heard another sycophant use it recently. It’s coded language. The full phrase is almost always “red-blooded male,” usually employed on behalf of white boys or men, and very frequently offered as a means of excusing unacceptable behavior. I always hear it as rapey, in fact. The only amusing aspect of all of this “red-blooded,” “counter-puncher” nonsense here is that they’re using it to describe just the most pathetic whining and pouting.

  88. says

    From Wonkette: “USPS Pulls All Postal Cops Off Streets Before Election, Because Reasons”

    Remember how back in August, Donald Trump’s pet postmaster general, big GOP donor Louis DeJoy, promised he wouldn’t do any more fuckery to the Postal Service until after the election, because people noticed his “reforms” had drastically slowed down mail delivery? Even with several courts ordering DeJoy to knock it off, everyone was rightly skeptical, particularly since DeJoy’s pledge didn’t include replacing any of the hundreds of sorting machines that had been dismantled nationwide. By mid-September, delivery times were still lagging from their pre-DeJoy norms in many parts of the country.

    Thanks to some terrific, horrifying reporting by the Wall Street Journal, we now know that even after DeJoy’s pledge, the Postal Service nonetheless took another action that might lead to problems with election mail, ordering its 455 uniformed Postal Police officers to, in effect, stand down and stop protecting the mails and postal carriers.

    That order came to light as part of a lawsuit by the union that represents the officers, who have requested an injunction to put those orders on hold so they can go out and do their jobs again. It’s some very serious shit, as the Journal reports:

    The agency’s unilateral order ended daily patrols meant to prevent robberies of blue collection boxes and mail vehicles, and has left letter carriers without escorts on unsafe routes in some of the nation’s biggest cities, according to interviews with police officers and union representatives opposed to the change and a copy of the directive. […]

    Mail thieves, in the past, often targeted mail for credit cards and checks. Now, the postal police officers said the fear is that thieves also will get ballots, which could be ditched.

    Gee, wonder if that could possibly be a partial explanation for recent stories about stolen mail, including undelivered ballots, that have been making the rounds (with some wild exaggerations) in rightwing media? Nahh, probably just a coincidence!

    Since the WSJ story is paywalled, here’s its author, reporter Rebecca Smith, going over the basics with Rachel Maddow last night.

    Video is available at the link.

    The president of the Postal Police Officers Association, Frank Albergo, told the Journal he wasn’t especially reassured that the order was merely a routine clarification of the postal police’s mission, given the timing, saying, “If I was going to undermine public trust in the mail, one of the first things I would do is pull postal police off the street.”

    Kids, we think we’ve finally found a police union we like.

    In addition to the uniformed officers who had until recently been out on the streets protecting mail and postal carriers, there are some 1,300 plainclothes postal inspectors who do detective stuff like investigating mail fraud. […]

    The government’s justification for confining the uniformed officers to post offices is as Trumpy as you get: The Postal Service suddenly discovered that the mission of the Postal Police, which is to protect postal “property,” doesn’t mean mailboxes, delivery trucks, or the mail itself as it’s being delivered by mail carriers. Instead, it really means real estate, so as of August 25, as the officers’ complaint says, uniformed officers were ordered

    to stop investigating and preventing mail theft and mail tampering, crimes against postal employees, and all community-policing efforts except within post office buildings.

    […] USPS leadership simply discovered that the Postal Police have been doing it wrong for pretty much their entire history, so please confine yourselves to the P.O. and make sure antifa supersoldiers don’t storm the barricades. […]

    For good measure, the Justice Department has moved to have the suit dismissed, claiming the officers’ union lacks standing. [WTF!]

    The order came down way back on August 25, just a few days after DeJoy said he would delay “reforms” to postal delivery operations, and the day after he reiterated that pledge in a congressional hearing. The Journal notes that, the very day DeJoy testified, Donald Trump

    tweeted that the nation’s mailboxes were a “voter security disaster” and posed the question: “who controls them, are they placed in Republican or Democrat areas?”

    […] Jim Bjork, the union’s business agent, said that if weakening security around the election wasn’t the intent of the new orders, “then why not wait until after the election to neuter the postal police?” […]

    And just as we’ve seen in other Trump legal actions, the administration insists that it can do what it damn well pleases without having to justify it:

    In a court brief, lawyers for the Postal Service said the agency has broad authority to define duties as it sees fit—including “whether to even employ Postal Police Officers.” […]

    The order, which came from Deputy Chief Inspector David Bowers, said officers still could travel between postal buildings, such as post offices and mail-processing centers, while on duty but were “not to be placed into situations in which it would be reasonably likely that they would be compelled to exercise law enforcement authority.”

    You certainly wouldn’t want police officers to enforce any laws, that’s for sure. […]

    Postal police and union reps told the Journal that the new regime of not enforcing laws had been emphasized in morning roll calls, when officers were

    reminded of the new “standard operating procedure” requiring them to activate a “decision tree” before responding to calls concerning criminal activity off postal property.

    Mmm-hmm. Definitely nothing to worry about there, then! We bet the Trump administration was simply worried the postal police might have been out there abusing their power. That has to be it. The Great Man just hates it when police operate beyond the scope of what’s allowed.

    Nothing to worry about! All is well!

    Link

  89. says

    Guardian world liveblog:

    Berlin has cancelled one of its most popular Christmas markets – which normally attracts almost a million visitors each year – as Germany registered a record 11,827 new Covid-19 infections within 24 hours, the Times (paywall) reports, as the city steels itself for a second lockdown.

    Dilek Kalayci, the city’s health minister, warned that her government was running out of targeted measures and said the contact-tracing system was overwhelmed. There are now nearly a thousand infections a day in the capital and half of its districts have detected more than 100 new cases for every 100,000 people over the past seven days.

  90. says

    SC @142, I agree. Thanks for making that point.

    In other news, Wonkette points out that “DNI Ratcliffe’s Press Conference Yesterday Was Clown-Ass Waste Of Time Even For DNI Ratcliffe.”

    “Oh shit, here we go,” we thought when we saw on Twitter early Thursday evening that the FBI was going to be making a very special statement about “election security,” one that required a night-time press conference. […]

    Director of National Intelligence Clownfuck himself, John Ratcliffe came out, flanked by FBI Director Chris Wray and a couple other DOJ/FBI folks. And very little of value was said.

    Video is available at the link.

    […] Ratcliffe announced that IRAN (and Russia shhhhhhh) had obtained voter data and IRAN WAS USING IT FOR BAD EVIL (and Russia not so much shhhhh). Don’t know where they got it, maybe they bought it from the same place the RNC buys it, considering how most of that stuff is public.

    Ratcliffe said Iran was the culprit behind very weird emails Democratic voters are receiving, mostly in Florida but also in other states, that say, “You will vote for Trump on Election Day or we will come after you.” The emails, which claim they “are in possession of all your information,” say they’re from the rightwing loser Proud Boys group, but Ratcliffe didn’t mention that. Blame Iran, though! He said these emails were meant to “damage President Trump,” which made zero sense unless you think A) Trump doesn’t want to be associated with rightwing loser Nazis, or that B) John Ratcliffe isn’t a known liar who lives in a cul-de-sac in Donald Trump’s ass across the street from Lindsey Graham.

    Ratcliffe said Iran is circulating some kinda video claiming nefarious things about fraudulent ballots being cast from “overseas,” but you shouldn’t believe the video, he said, because it is fake news. Which is interesting, considering how Attorney General Bill Barr and Donald Trump have been clowning around incessantly making up fake-ass stories about how fraudulent ballots will be sent from overseas. Indeed, the video in question actually shows Donald Trump saying things about fraudulent mail-in ballots.

    Right. Regarding that last bit above, that’s what I thought. LOL when Ratcliffe ramble on about that.

    So we guess the accusation here is that Iran is nefariously interfering with the US presidential election by making a video that, in part, simply highlights the US president’s words, verbatim.

    […] Hate it when “desperate adversaries” make “desperate attempts” to spread misinformation about “allegedly fraudulent ballots,” like a common Donald Trump.

    Did John Ratcliffe accidentally just tell the truth? He’s too dumb to realize what he just did, obviously, but as Greg Sargent notes at the Washington Post, he kinda just totally pissed all over Barr’s and Trump’s biggest lies about mail-in ballots. Whoops. […]

    After Ratcliffe was done being a pointless waste of time, FBI Director Chris Wray spoke, and he said … nothing. Mindless pablum about trusting our elections, and an assurance that the US government is on top of whatever the hell it was that Ratcliffe just had announced. He sure didn’t say any lies about how Iran’s But Her Emails were meant to hurt Dear Leader.

    Indeed, it was like he was only there to give Ratcliffe the Untrustworthy Trump Sycophant Moron the very thinnest patina of credibility, since Wray is one of the only Trump officials who’s not actually known for lying about election threats. […]

    Frankly, we don’t have a fucking clue why this press conference even happened, but we can be sure Ratcliffe is going to try to use it to skullfuck American democracy somehow. We just wish he’d do it without wasting our precious time at 7:30 p.m. on a Wednesday.

    Maybe Iran really is spoofing those Proud Boys emails, or maybe this is just Trump officials blowing smoke up reporters’ asses as part of their plan to accuse Iran of tipping the scales against Trump. We still don’t understand how those Proud Boys emails would “damage President Trump,” any more than we did several paragraphs ago. […]

    Also, per the Washington Post:

    U.S. officials said privately that the operation was not terribly sophisticated and was disclosed before it could have any major impact.

    […] if they figured out really fast that it was Iran, why are they fingering Iran in a public announcement 13 days before the election? That’s not how counterintelligence is supposed to work.

    When William Evanina, director of the Counterterrorism and Security Center, issued his warning in August about election interference, he named Russia, Iran, and China as nations that might wish to meddle in the election somehow, some way. If you read the statement, it was exceedingly clear that the only nation engaged in serious election attacks was Russia, though that didn’t stop Trump and Barr — who was curiously absent from Ratcliffe’s pointless announcement, shouldn’t he have been up there dancing like a trained monkey too? — from lying and saying the main threats are Anybody But Russia.

    The Washington Post reports that according to US officials, Russia is still the real primary threat to the election. And surprisingly enough, the Post reports in another piece today from Ellen Nakashima and Craig Timberg that the US government […] is actually working its ass off to prevent Russian attacks this year, seemingly behind Donald Trump’s back.

    So that’s good, if true. Unfortunately, any legitimate attempts by the US government to stop the Russian attacks have to contend with our adversaries Donald Trump and his trusty pant-tucker Rudy Giuliani literally assisting the Russian attacks in real time. […]

    Link

  91. says

    Sahil Kapur, NBC:

    Trump tells @60Minutes in footage he released that he wants to see the Supreme Court wipe out Obamacare.

    “I hope that they end it.”

    Trump insists he‘ll have a health care plan that protects preexisting conditions, but doesn’t point to a proposal or say what policies would be in it amid repeated questioning from Stahl.

    He repeats that he’d like SCOTUS to invalidate the ACA.

    “It’ll be so good if they end it.”

    Trump on a health care plan: “It’s fully developed. It’s going to be announced very soon, when we see what happens with Obamacare.”

    Then he says “large sections” of it are written, points to previous GOP plans, says he’ll “make a deal” on a bill. (There is currently not a plan.)

    STAHL: What about people with pre-existing conditions?

    TRUMP: I’ll protect it. Will be totally protected

    STAHL: How?

    TRUMP: They’ll be protected Lesley

    STAHL: How?

    TRUMP: I mean the people w/ pre-ex are going to be protected

    STAHL: How?

    TRUMP: As they are now

    STAHL: How?…

    Brianna Keilar just did a “Roll the Tape” segment on Trump’s repeated promises that the roll-out of his health care plan is imminent. I’ll link to it when it’s available online.

  92. says

    Mormon news: Church Of Latter-Day Saints Voters Biden-Curious

    Polls this summer show Church of Latter-Day Saints voters swinging about 15 points to the left this year, because most Mormons prefer their misogyny subtle and understated. (The LDS vote normally splits 80 percent R to 20 percent D.) […] it can make a profound difference in swing states with large Mormon communities: Arizona, North Carolina, Florida, and yes, Texas.

    The GOP has already caught on to how the LDS vote has put Arizona in play. This helps explain Vice President Mike Pence and Don Jr.’s multiple frantic visits to the state. The thing you have to understand about the LDS vote, though, is they’re not just voters. They run a lot of the GOP’s canvassing and GOTV efforts. This scenario is repeating around the country. Enough Mormons have defected to gut the GOP’s ground game around the country […]

    And again, Arizona’s not the only state with enough Mormons for a 15-point leftward swing alone to make a dent. […]

    A list is available at the link.

    The best part is the GOP seems to have no idea this is happening. They’ve woken up to it in Arizona, but like everyone else, they seem to think of Mormons as a strictly intermountain west phenomenon. In reality, today’s Mormons are Starbucksian in their ubiquity. It’s a great object lesson in what happens when you’re too dependable as a voting bloc: You run their GOTV campaigns for them and they forget you even exist.

    The overall story of political change in the Sunbelt will always be that of Latinx, Black, and (especially in Arizona) Native voters. The Mormon bump isn’t likely to last. But it could be a nice assist while it does. […]

  93. says

    Scott Wong:

    @BresPolitico: Do you have some kind of health issue? Everybody’s been talking about your hands.

    McConnell: “I’ve been worried about your health, Bres. how you feeling?”

    Bres: Is there anything going on we should know about?

    McConnell: “Of course not” … per Hill pool.

    Here’s what Bres was asking about. Not sure if McConnell had a fall or something but there is a lot of bruising on his hands…

    Photo atl.

  94. says

    CNN destroys coronavirus research showcased on Tucker Carlson’s show.

    Washington Post link

    Just as an aside, I am heartily sick of Tucker Carlson disseminating lies and/or misinformation.

    Last month, Fox News host Tucker Carlson welcomed Chinese virologist Li-Meng Yan onto his show to share her shocking finding: China had engineered SARS-CoV-2 and unleashed it on the world. “With my experience, I can tell you, this is created in the lab,” Yan told Carlson. “This is from that template owned by [the Chinese] military and also, it was spread to the world to make such damage.”

    As we wrote at the time, Carlson then admitted, right there on national TV, that he didn’t have the grounding to properly vet Yan’s claims. Instead, he referred the case to others. “This is when you wish for a functioning media, because what you just said completely changes everything we think we know about the pandemic that’s wrecking our country,” said Carlson, who urged Yan to keep talking: “So I really hope, sincerely, that you will be doing many interviews in American media and explaining this in much greater detail.”

    Weeks later, the “functioning media” has spoken. In a story with four bylines and two contributors, CNN found what Carlson — a man who works at a network with billions in annual revenue — could not find, or had no interest in finding in the first place: Yan’s research was essentially a house of cards.

    The debunking starts with the Center for Health Security at Johns Hopkins University, which on Sept. 21 published a searing refutation of Yan and her co-authors’ research, claiming that they cited “multiple papers in their reference section that have weaknesses or flaws”; that they “overstate the capabilities of deducing functional changes from genetic manipulation of coronaviruses”; that they “do not cite any references” to support the theory that SARS-CoV-2 is something other than a virus that jumped from an animal to humans; that “coronavirus research performed in a Chinese military research institute is not in itself suspicious”; and so on.

    There’s much more: As CNN notes, Yan’s research papers published on Sept. 14 and on Oct. 8 bear the imprimatur of the Rule of Law Society and the Rule of Law Foundation, organizations backed by former White House adviser Stephen K. Bannon and Guo Wengui, a Chinese billionaire sharply critical of the Beijing regime.

    Oh, FFS. Steve Bannon is involved! No wonder Trump continually hints that China released the virus on purpose. That’s a lie. But even if it were true, that does not excuse Trump’s complete failure to handle the coronavirus pandemic in a responsible, science-based way in the USA.

    Bannon, a longtime China hawk, and Guo have flogged the idea that the coronavirus is a Chinese conspiracy. That chatter, notes CNN, has surfaced on a Bannon podcast and the site G News, which carries the names of Bannon and Guo and which earlier this year spread the fake news that China was ready to admit that coronavirus crawled from its labs. G News, too, plays a prominent role in Yan’s work, as CNN discovered. “Yan’s papers bear a strong resemblance to blogs first published on G News,” notes the CNN report. “Yan’s papers contain paragraph after paragraph of identical theories and similar phrasing to the blogs, with some lines lifted nearly word for word.”

    Great. Throw in some blatant plagiarism of discredited sources for good measure.

    Here’s a timeline that exposes Carlson’s lack of integrity:

    Sept. 14: Yan and three other authors publish research suggesting that SARS-CoV-2 is the result of “sophisticated laboratory modification” instead of “natural evolution.”

    Sept. 15: Carlson hosts Yan on his show.

    Sept. 17: Carlson interviews Bannon, who cites Yan’s “amazing paper” and criticizes steps by Twitter and Facebook to suppress her postings. […]

    Sept. 21: The Center for Health Security publishes its analysis of Yan et al.’s research.

    Oct. 6: Carlson invites Yan for a return interview, even though he’d already conceded he lacks the chops to vet her work. The news peg for this interview is that Chinese authorities had reportedly arrested Yan’s mother. The motivation behind the arrest, Yan tells Carlson, is her very own comments on Fox News. Carlson issues one of his stern advisories: “So what we’re watching is the death of free inquiry of science itself. We’re not endorsing your findings,” he tells viewers. “They are in the public, for people to assess. … Anyone can read them, but rather than debate them, we’re trying to squelch them and our scientific community is standing back and watching it happen.” There’s no mention of the Johns Hopkins rebuttal.

    Oct. 21: CNN publishes its investigation of Yan’s work.

    […] CNN, furthermore, asked Fox News why Carlson hadn’t disclosed Bannon’s involvement in Yan’s research. Fox News declined to address that one, too.

    And even though Carlson urged Yan to do “many interviews” about her explosive work, she declined a CNN interview request “and did not answer repeated requests for responses to specific questions.”

    Again: With a flick of its financial wrist, Fox News could hire investigative personnel so that a high-profile host like Carlson doesn’t look like a tyro when faced with the claims of a Chinese scientist. But hiring actual journalists committed to honest inquiry would derail the mission of “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” which is to use lies and wobbly information to scare people and demonize enemies of the Fox News state. Journalists just get in the way.

  95. says

    Daniel Dale:

    How the raw 60 Minutes tape posted by Trump begins:

    Stahl: You ready for tough questions?
    Trump: Just be fair.
    Stahl: Last time you were like bring it on.
    Trump: “No, I’m not looking for that.”
    Stahl: “…But you’re OK with some tough questions?”
    Trump: “No, I’m not.”

    The president concluded the interview by complaining again about Stahl having started the interview by asking him if he was ready for some tough questions. He said, “That’s no way to talk. No way to talk.”

    LOL what a baby.

  96. says

    Lindsey Graham’s hypocrisy takes a ridiculously brazen turn

    Graham whined about those who’d dare to hold open vacant Supreme Court seats “until after the next election.” He must think we have very short memories.

    […] as part of this morning’s proceedings, Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) thought it’d be a good idea to deliver a little speech about how convinced he is that Republicans “did the right thing” by engaging in this obvious and ongoing abuse.

    The South Carolinian began his remarks by reflecting on the events of 2013, when he and other GOP senators — in the minority at the time — refused to consider any nominees for the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, regardless of merit or qualification, because the president was a Democrat.

    Senate Democrats responded by restoring majority rule to the process, and Graham this morning insisted that Republicans were the victim of what transpired. Reality makes clear he has this backwards.

    The committee chairman proceeded to brag about voting for both of then-President Obama’s first two Supreme Court nominees, conveniently skipping past his treatment of Obama’s third. [Merrick Garland]

    All of which led to these comments:

    “Now we find ourselves in a situation where qualifications no longer matter. It’s about holding open seats to have them filled after the next election, and we’ve lost sight that the individuals being nominated matter. I think they do matter.”

    Graham then went back to patting himself on the back for a job well done.

    To be sure, in a sea of political hypocrisy, Graham already stood out for his brazenness and nihilism. It was, after all, four years ago when the South Carolinian participated in a 10-month blockade against a high-court nominee, insisting that he couldn’t tolerate a confirmation process during an election season.

    “I want you to use my words against me,” Graham said at the time. “If there’s a Republican president in 2016 and a vacancy occurs in the last year of the first term, you can say Lindsey Graham said let’s let the next president, whoever it might be, make that nomination.”

    Two years later, Graham further committed to doing the right thing. “I will tell you this: If an opening comes in the last year of President Trump’s term, and the primary process has started, we’ll wait to the next election,” the GOP senator publicly declared. For emphasis he added, “Hold the tape.”

    We held the tape. It’s why we know Graham broke his word and abandoned his public commitment.

    But there he was this morning, atop his high horse, whining incessantly about those who’d dare try to hold open vacant Supreme Court seats until after an election, despite the fact that he insisted on holding open a vacant Supreme Court seat until after an election.

    “Now we find ourselves in a situation where qualifications no longer matter”? Really? Perhaps the senator can remind the nation whether Judge Merrick Garland’s qualifications mattered.

    “We’ve lost sight that the individuals being nominated matter”? Oh? Are we to believe that Merrick Garland — whom a leading Senate Republican encouraged Barack Obama to nominate before the GOP’s partisan blockade — did not deserve to be judged as an individual, too?

    The rhetoric from the Judiciary Committee’s chairman this morning seemed predicated on a simple assumption: that the public is easily fooled and has a tragically short memory.

    If Lindsey Graham is still capable of shame, now would be an excellent time for some.

  97. says

    Trump explains again that thousands of Americans are dying from a plague … caused by testing.

    […] Trump explains the real culprit: People are dying from testing. “If we did half the testing, we would have half the cases,” said Trump. “If we did no testing—like many countries—we would have very few cases.”

    Trump does not explain what countries are saving the lives of their citizens by staying test free. And he doesn’t explain why he hasn’t halted all testing to save Americans from this scourge.

    […] Back in June, Trump made it crystal clear, by saying testing “creates more cases.”

    “When you test, you create cases,” Trump said at a White House press conference. At a Tulsa rally that same week, he made he renewed his efforts to save lives by saying, “slow the testing down, please.”

    It’s not like Republican governors haven’t tried to follow Trump’s advice. Numerous states have dropped their rate of testing enormously since July. States like Florida have managed to get their rates of testing down to fewer than 0.1% of the population. Last week, North Dakota managed to get the rate of testing down so low that for three days running, they hit 100% positive results which … which, in Trump’s mind, represents hundreds of people who might have been saved if they had just been spared from testing.

    Trump is right, the United States has done a lot of tests. At this point, there have been enough tests that a third of the population might have been tested. However, the number of repeated tests is such that the actual number of individuals tested is like 1 in 7.

    However, some places didn’t get the memo about the danger of testing. Seven nations have now tested everyone for COVID-19. So they must all be dead now. Denmark has tested about three-fourths of its population. That should open up a lot of Scandinavian real estate.

    Or … it could be that nations like Hong Kong, Iceland, and Denmark, which have mounted extensive testing and case management systems, have much lower rates of both COVID-19 and deaths from COVID-19 than nations (or really, just the one nation) that decided that a national testing program wasn’t a great idea. And it could be that many of the nations that have done low levels of testing, have done so because they effectively isolated and crushed the pandemic months ago. They don’t have to conduct COVID-19 testing at a high level any more, just like the U.S. doesn’t have to test for smallpox … because it’s not there.

    But no. It has to be the testing. Because, if it’s anything else, Trump is a mass-murdering failure who supervised the greatest preventable disaster in American history.

    Link

  98. says

    More than 50 COVID-19 cases linked to multiple-day church event in North Carolina

    Given that the Trump administration has failed to give reasonable, consistent guidance and recommendations for life amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, it’s hardly surprising that instances of the virus spreading have been traced back to various social events. Sometimes clusters have been tied to weddings, family vacations, or, in multiple instances, religious gatherings. Most recently, a cluster of more than 50 COVID-19 cases, involving both people who attended the event and close contacts to those people, have been tied to a week-long church event in Charlotte, North Carolina.

    As reported by local outlet WSOC, as of Wednesday, 51 confirmed cases of the virus have been linked to church activities at the United House of Prayer for All People. An additional 75 people who have been in close contact with those who have the virus have also been asked to quarantine. Among people with confirmed COVID-19, one miniature cluster includes five people who live in an assisted living facility. […]

  99. says

    Republicans are hoping for a ‘crisp’ debate performance in which Trump keeps his pants on throughout

    It’s the last two weeks of the election, a pandemic is still sweeping unchecked through most of America, and there’s an asteroid poised to pay us a visit on election eve—but who says we can’t have some fun? McClatchy brings us some much-needed comic relief with this deadpanned gem for the ages, a look at Republican hopes for the debate tonight.

    “Republican operatives say they are hoping for a crisp, policy-filled contrast from the president Thursday,” sez McClatchy.

    […] Crisp!

    […] there’s little explanation of what would count as a (pfffft) “crisp” debate night for America’s steroid-riddled orange strongman. We do get hard-hard-right anti-tax Club for Growth president David McIntosh offering his advice: “If Trump forces it to be a selection on that vision for how America recovers from COVID … I think his platforms beat Biden’s platforms,” he says. This seems delusional on a level passable by Trump himself; so far, the Trump camp vision for COVID-19 recovery has careened from “everything is already fine” to “what if we let the virus kill off a good chunk of everyone, letting the rest of us get on with our lives.”

    […] But let’s return to that word. Crisp. What in the world might a crisp policy debate from Donald the Insult Comic President look like? Just this morning the Trump White House willingly put out interview footage that made him look like the world’s oldest toddler.

    Trump spent the last debate yelling things out at random intervals, a performance so humiliating for all involved that the commission responsible for the debate then spent weeks fretting over what rules they could implement to constrain the man-child. […]

    Coupled with his recent post-hospital manic behavior, a “crisp” debate performance from Trump might be one in which he managed to keep his pants on the whole time. And as Rudy Giuliani just demonstrated to a horrified nation […] even that may end up a challenge.

    […] Will Trump keep his pants on?

    We have gotten a bit of a preview from the Trump Team, and it does not look like Trump’s plan is to dive into a crisp (pfffft) policy debate or lay out his Club for Growth-friendly vision of a post-apocalyptic COVID-19 utopia. Instead, he’s going to shout things about Hunter Biden in an attempt to justify or deflect from four years of constant, nonstop Trump family and lieutenant scandals. It also appears that the Trump camp has largely given up on “preparing” Trump for this debate, which may or may not have to do with most of Trump’s debate prep team from last time around still recovering from a Trump-centered COVID-19 outbreak.

    Will yelling about Hunter Biden be crisp? And is Trump truly only obsessed with egging on an emotional outburst from a fed-up Biden, as many have speculated? Does he think that would truly look good for him, or is his only hope, at this point, that he can somehow goad others into looking a tenth as aggrieved and feral as he himself is?

  100. says

    Ben Collins:

    The desperation on these extreme far-right websites this week is palpable. The vitriol is on another level from the last election. These sites felt like a racist parade in 2016. Now it’s all doom and gloom; dark anger.

    You do not get the vibe they think their guy is winning.

  101. says

    Re: Trump and “just joking”.
    There are no “just jokes”. A joke is a tool in addition to anything else. I’m still figuring out how to express a lot involving jokes and humor because I don’t fully understand my differences relative to the population at large. It feels like I recognise the social conflict dimensions of humor first and that it’s related to the way the literal meaning of things stands out to me. There is nature and nurture in there. I am from a socially aggressive culture used to being in charge, that and arguing with people as a pastime is going to bias my perspective.

    Jokes change the intensity and valance of feeling. If something was a joke someone was trying shift feeling and should be able to explain. “Just joking” looks like a response to negative reactions to “testing”. Such testing could be looking for positive and/or negative responses.

    Other “jokes” are pure political mockery, which I see as a neutral overall, and an obstacle to be engaged with qhen it comes to my political opponents.

  102. says

    Video of the first part of #150.

    It’s exceptionally funny, but I think of how brave and tough people like Yovanovitch and Vindman and Omar and Whitmer and BLM protesters and so many others have had to be and I see this pampered whiner who melts down if he has to spend 5 minutes outside his protective bubble of propaganda and praise and I get very angry.

  103. KG says

    SC@148,

    McConnell’s hands look like those of a friend of mine who was on warfarin to avoid fatal blood clots. Tends to cause bruising from multiple small internal bleeds.

  104. tomh says

    GOP Advances Five Trump Nominees Alongside Barrett
    October 22, 2020 MEGAN MINEIRO

    WASHINGTON (CN) — Moments after advancing Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett to the full Senate, in an unprecedented vote absent of any Democratic senators, Republicans voted Thursday to clear five more of President Donald Trump’s nominees on their way to the federal bench.
    […]

    With Democrats absent from the hearing room, GOP senators also unanimously sent to the Senate floor for a final vote four district judge nominees and Trump’s pick for the Court of Federal Claims.

    The American Bar Association had rated one of the soon-to-be judges, Kathryn Kimball Mizelle, a Jones Day attorney, as “Not Qualified” to serve on the bench in the Middle District of Florida.
    […]

    At Mizelle’s confirmation hearing last month, Graham argued her “Not Qualified” rating from the ABA says “nothing about her capabilities…” “If the past is any indication of the future, we’re in good shape with Ms. Mizelle,” the chairman said.
    […]

    Democrats, meanwhile, pressed Mizelle, whose husband Chad Mizelle serves as Trump’s Department of Homeland Security acting general counsel, on her views on police shootings of Black Americans.

    “Are these one-off situations, or do they tell us something more important and historic about our system of justice in America?” Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois asked.

    Not answering directly at first, Mizelle followed up saying: “I appreciate the moment it is in history and I condemn all racism.” But she declined to opine as a prospective judge on the issue of systemic racism raised by Durbin.
    […]

    The Senate is expected to confirm the nominees in the weeks ahead, with the vote on Barrett scheduled for Monday evening taking priority.

  105. says

    Sen. Menendez:

    The Trump Admin signed the ‘Geneva Consensus’ today—yet another shameless attempt to have the U.S. join those restricting reproductive freedom & LGBTQ rights.

    Despite the name, it seeks to undermine *existing* consensus about these rights and has no legitimacy in the @UN.

  106. says

    From the NYT link referenced by SC in comment 164.

    While senior Trump administration officials said this week that Iran has been actively interfering in the presidential election, many intelligence officials said they remained far more concerned about Russia, which has in recent days hacked into state and local computer networks in breaches that could allow Moscow broader access to American voting infrastructure.

    The discovery of the hacks came as American intelligence agencies, infiltrating Russian networks themselves, have pieced together details of what they believe are Russia’s plans to interfere in the presidential race in its final days or immediately after the election on Nov. 3.

    Officials did not make clear what Russia planned to do, but they said its operations would be intended to help President Trump, potentially by exacerbating disputes around the results, especially if the race is too close to call.

    There is no evidence that the Russians have changed any vote tallies or voter registration information, officials said. They added that the Russian-backed hackers had penetrated the computer networks without taking further action, as they did in 2016. But American officials expect that if the presidential race is not called on election night, Russian groups could use their knowledge of local computer systems to deface websites, release nonpublic information or take similar steps that could sow chaos and doubts about the integrity of the results, according to American officials briefed on the intelligence.

    Some U.S. intelligence officials view Russia’s intentions as more significant than the announcement Wednesday night by the director of national intelligence, John Ratcliffe, that Iran has been involved in the spreading of faked, threatening emails, which were made to appear as if they came from the Proud Boys, a right-wing extremist group.

    Officials briefed on the intelligence said that Mr. Ratcliffe had accurately summarized the preliminary conclusion about Iran. But Tehran’s hackers may have accomplished that mission simply by assembling public information and then routing the threatening emails through Saudi Arabia, Estonia and other countries to hide their tracks. One official compared the Iranian action to single-A baseball, while the Russians are major leaguers.

    Nonetheless, both the Iranian and the Russian activity could pave the way for “perception hacks,” which are intended to leave the impression that foreign powers have greater access to the voting system than they really do. Federal officials have warned for months that small breaches could be exaggerated to prompt inaccurate charges of widespread voter fraud.

    Officials say Russia’s ability to change vote tallies nationwide is limited.

    NYT link

  107. says

    Debunking yet another one of Trump’s lies:

    Cities that have adopted ‘sanctuary’ policies did not record an increase in crime as a result of their decision to limit cooperation with federal immigration authorities, according to a new Stanford University report. The findings appear to rebut the Trump administration’s rhetoric about the policies’ dire effects on public safety.

    Washington Post link

  108. says

    From Chris Christie:

    When you get this disease, it hits you how easy it is to prevent. We are asked to wear cloth over our mouth and nose, wash our hands and avoid crowds. These minor inconveniences can save your life, your neighbors and the economy. Seldom has so little been asked for so much benefit. Yet the message will be broadly heeded only if it is consistently and honestly delivered by the media, religious leaders, sports figures and public servants. Those in positions of authority have a duty to get the message out.

  109. says

    From coast to coast, the Trump administration is locking Democratic leaders out of USPS facilities

    In a “policy departure” by the U.S. Postal Service, under incompetent Trump campaign donor Louis DeJoy, lawmakers have been barred from observing “firsthand how mail is being processed at large facilities in the final weeks of the election.” According to the Wall Street Journal, at least five Democratic lawmakers have been barred from entering facilities by Trump’s postal service, and their excuses have been “inconsistent.”

    New Jersey Democratic Rep. Bill Pascrell told the WSJ that he was refused entry last month, and then again on Monday. He and his delegation wanted to see how the handling of mail-in ballots, amidst the building workload, was being handled at a large mail-processing plant in Kearny, New Jersey. According to Pascrell, the post office said there were security concerns and that Pascrell’s appearance might be a violation of the Hatch Act.

    USPS spokesman David Partenheimer told Forbes that surprise, surprise, in 2018 under Trump the agency “updated its ethics guidelines to include this phrasing: “members of Congress who are on the ballot are not allowed to tour a postal facility within 45 days of a primary or general election.” Of course, because this is the incompetently corrupt Trump administration, the WSJ and Forbes point out that even under their own revised guidelines elected officials can visit federal facilities for “official purpose, such as receiving briefings, tours, or other official information.”

    Other Democrats that have been turned away include Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz who was told she hadn’t taken a “special training course first,” and California Rep. Jared Huffman who has not been able to observe his post office in Eureka, California, saying this is completely new, and that he has had “all sorts of previous meetings and tours and it’s never been an issue.” […]

  110. stroppy says

    Trump the Joker

    Like a lot of Republicans, Trump is humor challenged, though if you listen to his rhythms, you hear echos of retro stand-up — the forms of a certain type of humor but without the content. It can work in that it will sometimes trigger a laugh from people if they really want to believe that they are being entertained. Trump finds himself endlessly entertaining and invites his audience to suspend disbelief and share in his delusion. In reality it’s just the irony of someone who is lost and is bitter about it. He jokes like a jackass, because he really is a jackass despite what he wants you to believe.

  111. says

    Trump Jr. goes full QAnon in bizarre ‘Fox & Friends’ interview

    […] attempts to recreate the Trump win of yesteryear are all that Trump and his surrogates seem to have. This playbook includes wildly projecting one’s own insecurities and failings onto others. Donald Trump Jr. has been able to follow in his father’s footsteps, earning a place in history as one of the great failures of society. Junior appeared on Fox & Friends Thursday morning to do some damage control ahead of Thursday night’s upcoming debate. You read that right: Junior came in to explain why his father will get killed at tonight’s debate. The one in the future. It turns out, it’s because of all kinds of QAnon stuff, liberal media stuff, secret powers, and other nonsense gibberish.

    But before Donny Jr. came on to speak with the “friends,” he tweeted this out. “My father gave me an opportunity to work my way up in his company. Joe gave his son China.”

    That was noted by SC in comment 168.

    […] A quick reminder: On Monday, reports came out that Donald Trump had a secret bank account in China that he left off his financial disclosure statements. Anyways! Junior came to Fox & Friends and he was hot! After mysteriously claiming that Trump’s people would have someone “monitoring” the mute button during the debate, and then saying that Hillary Clinton messed with Trump’s mic in a 2016 debate, Junior launched into this:

    This moderator, apparently is, you know, a big Obama administration person. I mean you literally can’t make up the nonsense. When you look at the bias that we face on a daily basis, it’s literally hard to believe that we are in a free country in America.

    It is literally hard to believe. It’s figuratively hard to believe. It’s galactically hard to believe that Donald Trump Jr. isn’t in jail.

    Junior then launched into tech companies censoring Trump and his allies, something that is demonstrably the opposite of true. In fact, one might say it is “literally hard to believe.”

    From there, Junior explained how Joe Biden is “compromised by corrupt foreign regimes.” He really did say that. But, after wedging in some more mentions of Hunter Biden and Joe Biden creating big bank accounts filled with money, Junior made this amazing remark:

    I mean money tied to human trafficking and prostitution rings and the other one. That’s another big one. The Chinese money. Joe Biden is compromised 100 percent.

    I’m starting to worry that Trump and his family might be literally involved in human trafficking and prostitution. That is literally easy to believe at this point, knowing what we know about their willingness to vocalize their own sins and criminal behaviors by projecting them onto their perceived enemies.

    Video snippets are available at the link.

  112. says

    McConnell also has bruising on his face since October 20th. Maybe he had some kind of fall, perhaps while on blood thinners (see KG’s #163 above); but that raises other questions, especially since he could have simply said “I tripped and fell and I’m on blood thinners” or just “It’s a side effect of blood thinners.” The bandages on the back of his hands still seem odd. Did he fall into a pricker bush? Was bourbon involved? Is there something else going on?

  113. says

    SC #146

    Trump on a health care plan: “It’s fully developed. It’s going to be announced very soon, when we see what happens with Obamacare.”

    That’s what he said back in June… of 2019!

  114. says

    Am I the only one who’s angry that these dignified traditions are persisting with Trump involved? He disgraces and cheapens every moment. I know it’s probably the right choice to continue, but it’s painful.

  115. says

    Aaron Rupar has posted some excerpts from tonight’s debate.
    https://twitter.com/atrupar

    Q: The US can’t locate the parents of more than 500 children who were separated from them. How will they be reunited?

    TRUMP: “These children are brought here by coyotes and lots of bad people, cartels, and they used to use them to get into our country.” [That’s a lie.]
    —————————
    [About immigration and “catch and release”] Trump says, “Only the reaaaaaallllllly– I hate to say this, but those with the lowest IQ. They might come back.” — Trump [He earlier said that murders and rapists were released into the community.]
    ————————
    “These 500 plus kids came with parents. They separated ’em at the border to make it a disincentive to come to begin with … it makes us a laughingstock, and violates every notion of who we are as a nation.” — Biden
    ———————-
    Biden: “These first responders, we clap as they come down the street because they allowed us to make it. What is happening? They deserve a minimum wage of $15. Anything below that puts you below the poverty level.”
    ———————-
    Biden after Trump attacks blue states: “I’m running as a proud Democrat, but I’m going to be an American president. I don’t see red states and blue states. What I see is America, the United States.”
    ———————-
    “The idea that the stock market is booming — it’s his only measure of what’s happening. Where I come from in Scranton and Claymont, people don’t live off the stock market.” — Biden

    Trump responds by attacking Biden for moving away from Scranton when he was 13.
    ———————–
    “He’s a very confused guy. He thinks he’s running against somebody else. He’s running against Joe Biden.” — Biden after Trump starts bashing Bernie Sanders
    —————————
    Trump, who clearly doesn’t want to talk about health care because he has no plan, tries unsuccessfully to steer the debate to fracking
    —————————–
    “The difference between the president and I, I think health care is not a privilege, it’s a right. Everyone should have the right to have affordable health care.” — Biden
    ————————
    Biden: “There’s a reason why he’s bringing up all this malarky. He doesn’t want to talk about the substantive issues. It’s not his family and my family. It’s about your family.”
    ————————
    Trump keeps trying to pivot to Hunter Biden conspiracy theories. He then gets fact-checked by Biden when he lies about who pays tariffs.
    ————————
    Biden: “He embraces guys like the thugs like in North Korea and the Chinese president and Putin and others, and he pokes his finger in the eyeball of our friends, all of our allies.”
    ———————–
    Biden pushes back on Hunter Biden conspiracies: “The guy who got in trouble in Ukraine was this guy, trying to bride the Ukrainian government to say something negative about me, which they would not do.”
    ———————
    Trump pushes back on the NYT’s report that he only paid $750 in federal taxes by claiming he “prepaid” millions of dollars
    ———————
    “We learned this president paid 50 times the tax in China” — Biden goes on offense after Trump tries to pivot to Hunter Biden conspiracies
    ———————-
    Trump tries to gaslight people into believing that Russia wants him to lose
    ———————–
    “His buddy Rudy Giuliani — he’s being used as a Russian pawn” — Biden
    ————————–
    “I think he’s a Democrat” — Trump devotes some time to attacking Dr. Fauci
    ————————–
    “We have the best testing in the world by far. That’s why we have so many cases” — Trump [That’s a lite. In fact the US has so many cases because there’s lots of virus here!, as Rupar pointed out.]
    ————————
    Trump’s message for most all coronavirus questions is “we have to open our country” …Trump claims he was “kidding” when he suggested bleach might be a coronavirus treatment, which is not true
    —————————
    “He says ‘we’re leaning to live with it.’ People are learning to die with it” — Biden
    —————————-
    “We’re leaning to live with it. We have no choice. We can’t lock ourselves up in a basement like Joe does … I don’t know, obviously he’s made a lot of money someplace.” — Trump
    ——————————–
    “He is xenophobic, but not because he shut down access from China.” — Biden
    ——————————-
    “This is the same fellow who told us it would end by Easter, who told you don’t worry, we will end this by summer. We are about to go through a dark winter.” — Biden
    ——————————-
    “Anybody responsible for that many deaths should not remain as POTUS. We’re in a situation where there are 1,000 deaths a day now.” — Biden
    ——————————
    [Trump speaks about he has handled coronavirus] “I’ve been congratulated by the heads of many countries on what we’ve been able to do, with the — if you take a look at what we’ve done in terms of goggles.” — Trump
    —————————-
    The literal first words out of Trump’s mouth are a lie . The “2.2 million” figure he mentions refers to a scenario where the government literally did nothing to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Nobody thought that was a realistic option.
    —————————–
    Trump enters without a mask. Biden enters with one. And the final 2020 presidential debate is under way.

  116. says

    More of Aaron Rupar’s notes on tonight’s debate:

    Trump trashes Black Lives Matter, then claims, “I am the least racist person in this room.”
    ————————-
    “You know who I am. You know who he is. You know his character, you know his character. You know our reputations for honor and telling the truth … the character of the country is on the ballot … look at us closely.” — Biden

    Trump responds by bringing up Hunter conspiracies
    —————————-
    Biden brings up that Trump pushed for the death penalty for the Central Park 5, a group of Black and Latino teens who were innocent
    ——————————-
    [Trump talks about himself in the third person] “Nobody has done more for the black community than Donald Trump” — totally absurd
    ————————
    Asked about climate change, Trump begins by talking about the federal government’s tree program and says “what I want is the crystal clean water, the cleanest air.” Biden can’t hide his bemusement.
    ——————————
    “In the ’80s, we passed — all 100 senators voted for it — a bill on drugs and how to deal with drugs. It was a mistake.” — Biden
    —————————-
    Immediately after Trump’s climate mumbo jumbo, Biden goes into significant detail discussing his climate plan. The contrast is jarring.
    —————————–
    Biden’s facial expressions throughout this have been priceless. Check him out as Trump bashes “AOC plus three” here https://twitter.com/atrupar/status/1319465863616094211

  117. says

    A few notes from Daniel Dale’s coverage of the debate:

    This tiny-windows thing is a figment of Trump’s imagination. [Trump spent a lot time talking about the plan he imagines Biden having to tear down buildings and put up new ones with no windows or “tiny windows,” … lots of repetition of tiny windows, with hand gestures.] And the $100 trillion figure for the Green New Deal is a hotly disputed estimate from a conservative group, honestly, the GND is too vague, just a congressional resolution on principles, for any costing-out.
    ————————
    It’s not true [as Trump claims] that the Paris accord didn’t “kick in” for years for China and Russia. It allowed countries to set their own emissions-reductions targets; China just picked 2030 as the year by which it planned to meet its primary targets, while the US picked 2025.
    ————————–
    Trump has endorsed a “billion tree” project, not a “trillion” trees.
    —————————
    Biden was slightly understating Trump’s clemency total; Trump has given pardons to 27 people and clemency to 16 others. (Biden was right about Obama, who granted 1,927 acts of clemency.)
    —————————
    It’s usually a bad idea for fact checkers to try to check opinions, but I make an exception for Trump’s claim he’s done more for Black people than any president except maybe Lincoln.

    It is ridiculous even if you think Trump has done good work for Black people.
    ——————————
    It has never been true that “less than 1%” of people come back to immigration court hearings [as Trump claimed], though the Trump administration has stopped releasing updated data.
    ——————————
    The Obama administration did not have anything close to the separation policy imposed by the Trump administration, though it did happen on occasion; the Trump administration made it routine.
    —————————
    Now, there are legitimate questions about how a robust public option would affect the availability of private plans over time. (https://nytimes.com/2019/12/03/upshot/public-option-medicare-for-all.html… ) But Biden is not proposing to get rid of all private plans as Trump keeps saying or suggesting.
    ————————-
    Trump is just lying when he says Biden would get rid of private health insurance for 180 million. Biden has vocally rejected a Sanders-style “Medicare for All” that’d eliminate most private plans. He wants to let people enter a Medicare-like “public option” if they choose.
    ————————-
    This is a little technical, but the individual mandate is not actually “terminated.” Rather, the penalty for violating the mandate has been set to $0. Its continued existence at a $0 level is a key issue in the GOP lawsuit to get the whole law overturned as unconstitutional.
    ———————–
    From a lying perspective, Trump is even worse tonight than in the first debate.
    —————————
    Obama never actually sought to meet with Kim Jong Un. Trump has repeated this false claim over and over.
    ————————–
    There has never been any evidence that Obama “indicated” in their meeting that the US was gonna be in a war with North Korea. We know Obama told him North Korea was one of the hardest or thorniest problems.
    ————————-
    It’s not true that Biden “never charged” China “anything.” The Obama-Biden administration imposed new tariffs on China, in addition to maintaining the many current tariffs.

    (Again, Americans pay the tariffs, but ignoring that for a moment.)
    ————————-
    China is not paying the billions in tariff money Trump has given to farmers.

    That money comes from American taxpayers, as Biden correctly responded.
    ——————————-
    It is not true Hunter Biden did not have a job when he was appointed to Burisma board in 2014 (or before Joe was VP). He was a lawyer at a firm, an adjunct prof at Georgetown U, chairman of the board of World Food Program USA, and CEO of investment firm Rosemont Seneca Advisors.
    ——————————–
    The Mueller investigation cost $32 million, not $48 million, per final official figures. Trump has habitually inflated the figure.
    —————————–
    Biden has two houses: a Wilmington, Delaware house on a lot he bought for $350,000 in 1996, and a vacation house in Delaware he bought for $2.7 million in 2017, after he signed his lucrative post-VP book deal.
    ———————————
    Trump has made almost all of these false claims before, many of them frequently. He’s just debate-ifying his rally content.
    ——————————
    Again, an absolute avalanche of lying from Trump tonight.
    —————————-
    Again, it’s not true that Obama sent Ukraine only pillows and sheets. (That’s what Trump meant in that vague claim.)

    He did refuse to send lethal aid. But he sent armored Humvees, counter-mortar radars, drones, night vision and medical supplies. https://defenseone.com/threats/2015/03/united-states-sending-military-equipment-ukraine-lethal-arms/107256/
    —————————–
    “Joe got $3.5 million from Russia and it came through Putin” is false. [Trump repeated the same lie several times during tonight’s debate.]

    The allegation – denied by Hunter Biden – is that Hunter Biden got $3.5 million in a business deal with the wife of the late Moscow mayor.
    —————————-
    Fauci did not say the virus would “go away soon.”

    Fauci did say, for example in February, that people could keep going about their lives. But he always cautioned that conditions could change quickly and the virus was a threat.

    Trump has invented quotes from Fauci for months.
    ——————————-
    Fauci is not registered with any party. [Trump claimed that Fauci is a Democrat.] He got the Presidential Medal of Freedom from George W. Bush. He was previously tight with George H.W. Bush.
    —————————–
    Trump keeps saying Democratic-run states are “closed” even though they are not closed. (Some still have some restrictions on indoor dining and such, but they’re not prisons.)
    —————————–
    “All he does is talk about shutdowns” is false. Biden has merely said, in August, that he’d shut down if scientists said it was necessary; he then walked that back, saying he doesn’t think a complete shutdown would be necessary. (Also, presidents can’t do a shutdown themselves.)
    —————————
    Trump was not “kidding” about studying the injection of bleach.

    Pelosi was not “dancing” in Chinatown. She visited.
    —————————-
    Trump did not “ban” China from coming in. He imposed travel restrictions with multiple exemptions (citizens, permanent residents, many of their family members, some others); tens of thousands of people flew in from China after the restrictions took effect on February 2.
    —————————
    So…there were at least three egregiously false claims in Trump’s first answer:
    – 2.2 million deaths “expected”
    – We’re rounding the turn, it’s going away
    – Vaccine “ready”

  118. says

    The thing I can’t get past are the remarks about the families in TX living near polluting chemical plants. I remember Rachel Maddow reporting years ago – I’m sure I’ve linked to it since – about Greg Abbott as the Texas AG basically telling families whose kids are in schools near potentially explosive facilities “sucks to be you.” And then he was elected governor. Trump’s response was to claim that these people are making a lot of money, so no big deal. He’s not even capable of pretending he’s not a sociopath. He can’t even fake it.

  119. says

    SC, I agree.

    There was also this, as Jacob Soboroff pointed out:

    Trump has no idea where those 545 separated parents are and didn’t answer @kwelkernbc’s question about reuniting them, as I told @maddow
    His admin invited me and others to see separated kids while detained and they were anything but “well taken care of.”

    Excellent video snippet at the link. A must-see for Soboroff’s clear and detailed analysis. The video is 1:54 minutes long.

    https://twitter.com/jacobsoboroff/status/1319477534627540992

  120. says

    From debate notes posted by the team at Talking Points Memo:

    Trump claimed derisively that “AOC plus three” came up with Biden’s clean energy plan, an apparent reference to Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) and Ilhan Omar (D-MN).

    After the debate, Ocasio-Cortez had a response: “It’s actually AOC plus 115 because that’s how many House and Senate members have cosponsored the most ambitious climate legislation in American history.”
    —————————
    MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow just celebrated a “functional debate,” and acknowledged we have a pretty low bar for such things with this President.

    I realize our bar is low. This is like, going to go see a concert. And you’re like, wow, somebody hit the snare drum once and it made a sound. We’re so excited it was actually a debate between two people where they talked about policy and had arguments and you could understand every word of what they were saying and there was very little talking over each other.

    As Kate Riga notes, much of what Trump said was indecipherable.
    ——————————
    Trump speaks the language of the far-right fever swamps, and it can be impossible to understand for those of us who don’t live in those worlds. Trump, who spends much of his time in right-wing fever swamps of Twitter and on TV, has come to speak the language — a reality on full display during the last presidential debate of 2020.

    In the first hour of the debate, Trump tossed out handfuls of buzzwords for various conspiracy theories, Greek to those who left their Fox News decoders at home.

    “Joe got $3.5 million dollars from Russia and it came through Putin because he was friendly with the mayor of Moscow, and it was the mayor of Moscow’s wife,” he said.

    This accusation seems to be linked to the never-ending quest to nail down some dirt on Hunter Biden.

    He followed it up with another doozy on his Russian tangent: “While he was selling pillows and sheets, I sold tank busters to Ukraine,” Trump said.

    Trump has lodged this attack before. The Obama administration did not send lethal aid to Ukraine, but it sent military equipment and more than $100 million in security assistance.

    […] Back to the debate: “There is nobody tougher on Russia than Donald Trump,” the aforementioned Trump continued. “They were so bad, they took over the submarine port.”

    I cannot fact check this because I have no idea what it means. It may be a reference to Russia’s invasion of Crimea, specifically to Sevastopol — maybe an extremely convoluted way of implying that the Obama administration was soft on Russia? Who knows.

    […] Trump furthered his attempt to taint the Biden family with corruption later on, in another inscrutable attack.

    “Your brother made money in Iraq — millions of dollars, your other brother made a fortune,” Trump said. He appears to be referring to a construction contract Biden’s brother got to build houses in Iraq.

    In another section — supposed to be on race-related issues — Trump looped back to the Hunter Biden accusations, name-dropping the “laptop from hell.”

    That’s a paraphrase of Rudy Giuliani’s more alliterative “hard drive from hell,” supposedly Hunter Biden’s, from which Giuliani promised more information dumps. It’s not clear if the emails released from the hard drive so far are real, if they’re Russian disinformation or even really what they purport to reveal. The situation is so replete with red flags that only the likes of the New York Post would touch it with a ten-foot pole.

    Finally, Biden dismissed the vague, but sinister-sounding accusations.

    “There’s a reason he’s bringing up all of this malarkey. There’s a reason for it,” Biden said, looking the camera dead on. “He does not want to talk about the substantive issues. It’s not about his family and my family. It’s about your family, and your family is hurting badly.”

    Even I didn’t recognize some of Trump’s fever-swamp, conspiracy theory references … and I usually track that garbage fairly closely.

  121. says

    More telling debate moments:

    In a section about climate change, Biden mocks Trump for the crazy things he’s said about wind mills. Trump responds by saying…crazy things about wind mills.

    He brings up his favorite claim that wind mills will kill “all the birds.” He says that they emit massive “fumes.”

    “I know wind more than you,” Trump says.
    ———————-
    [This part is a follow-up to SC’s comment 183] The Trump administration has, as much as any of its priorities, aggressively sought to deregulate lucrative and dirty businesses like oil refineries and chemical plants. Asked by Kirsten Welker about what this means for people who live near these facilities — disproportionately people of color — Trump just opted to avoid answering entirely.

    “The families that we are talking about are employed heavily, and they’re making a lot of money, more money than they’ve ever made,” he said, repeating the same sort of line a few times without actually addressing Welker’s question.
    ————————
    Wowza. Trump is bragging about the dip in carbon emissions — that only came about because we were locked down in our homes due to the COVID-19 pandemic! Talk about silver linings.

  122. says

    I’m so glad MSNBC had Reid, Maddow, and Wallace on for the immediate reaction. It makes a difference. Welker also did a solid job.

    Lynna @ #184, yes. Biden was right to say it’s criminal.

  123. says

    More telling moments from the debate:

    In a lie about immigrants and immigration courts, Trump said that “less than 1% of the people come back” to attend immigration hearings if they are detained and then released inside the country — a process Trump and others call “catch and release.”

    Trump added: “They never come back. Only the really… I hate to say this, but those with the lowest IQ, they might come back.” [That will probably show up in a new Lincoln Project campaign ad.]

    Though the government’s “remain in Mexico” program and COVID-19 has changed the situation in recent months, past statistics show that the vast majority of people released pending immigration hearings do show up to those hearings. Link to a discussion of the study that shows 99% show up
    ————————–
    Trump got a bit tied up there trying to explain why he couldn’t get a stimulus deal done. In reality, he’s publicly called to “go big” while being unable to get Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to budge on passing a big stimulus package.

    Democrats have consistently attempted to “go big,” in part by including funding for state governments as part of a stimulus. While Trump initially said in the debate that “Pelosi doesn’t want to approve anything,” he flipped when Biden pressed him on the proposal that House Democrats have already approved. Trump called that bill “a way of getting a lot of money, billions and billions of dollars” to blue states. So which is it?
    ————————
    Trump gets angry when Biden says that Trump would rather talk about Biden’s family than the issues affecting middle class families.

    Biden had invoked an image of ordinary families sitting around the table discussing how to pay their bills.

    Trump says that Biden is acting like a “typical politician” by bringing up a desire to talk about the “the family, around the table.”
    ————————-
    The President absurdly attempted to use Biden’s ability to directly address his remarks straight to the camera as a weakness, arguing that it’s “typical politician.”
    —————————
    While touting that he has “many bank accounts” that are “all over the place,” Trump falsely claimed that he has disclosed his Chinese bank account, which was first reported by the New York Times.

    “The foreign accounts do not show up on Mr. Trump’s public financial disclosures,” according to the Times.
    ——————————-
    Biden goes after Trump for not releasing his tax returns. ““I have released 22 years of my tax returns,” Biden says, urging Trump to look at them himself.

    “What are you hiding? Why are you unwilling?” Biden says, arguing that the returns will show Trump’s financial relationships with other countries.
    ——————————-
    Trump just claimed that his national security advisor, John Ratcliffe, told him, “The one thing that’s common to both of them [Russia and Iran], they both want you to lose.”

    At least on Russia, that’s not what the intelligence community has said.

    The director of the United States National Counterintelligence and Security Center, William Evanina, said in August that Russia was trying to denigrate Biden. In September, FBI Director Christopher Wray said the same thing.
    ———————————-
    Trump bizarrely jabbed Biden for his commitment to listening to scientists on COVID-19 during a campaign rally in Nevada earlier this month.

    “If I listened totally to the scientists, we would right now have a country that would be in a massive depression,” Trump said. “We’re like a rocket ship. Take a look at the numbers.”
    ————————
    Biden started his introduction with a number: “222,000 Americans dead,” he said. “Anyone responsible for that many deaths should not remain President of the United States.”

    “I will take care of this, I will end this, I will make sure we have a plan,” he added.
    ———————-
    [Trump] is still very much trying to appear as a strongman who has beat COVID as he repeats his unfounded claim that he is now “immune.”

    “I was in for a short period of time and I got better very fast or I wouldn’t be here tonight. And now they say I’m immune,” Trump said, without citing evidence. “Whether it’s four months or a lifetime, nobody has been able to say that, but I’m immune. More and more people are getting better.”

    Trump’s baseless COVID immunity claim was not confirmed during evasive briefings and memos issued by White House physician Dr. Sean Conley earlier this month.
    ——————
    Trump just mentioned that “the excess mortality rate [of COVID] is way down” in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control puts out excess mortality figures — meaning the number of people who’ve died in addition to the average of years past — at 300,000 dead.

  124. says

    Also from Wonkette (see comment 190 for the link):

    Now Trump says Mueller and “18 angry Democrats” went through his tax returns on their witch hunt and “found nothing wrong.” No. They didn’t. Mueller never looked at his finances because WHAT THE FUCK MUELLER.

    I don’t have any idea how Daniel Dale keeps up with the lies.

    So, after all that, Joe Biden declines to bring up Trump’s kids “hoovering up” all the government money. [Trump had claimed earlier that all of the members of Biden’s family were “hoovering” up government and foreign government money.] Anyway, some stuff about GINNNA. Trump now says “our farmers” got paid by China.

    Now Trump is coming off his xanax or whatever has been mellowing him out and he is sneering about Kamala Harris, [Trump seems to think she is in charge and will force Joe Biden to immediately force socialized medicine on all USA citizens.] Oooh: “When he says ‘public option,’ he’s talking about socialized medicine,” Trump said. [Trump then goes on to say that Joe will destroy Medicare and Social Security.] Says Old Joe will destroy your socialized Medicare!

    “Nancy Pelosi won’t let me have a relief bill,” [Trump says.]

  125. says

    Sheesh. I’m signing off for the night. Enough of this debate coverage. Trump gives me a headache.

    I think we have enough posted here that no one needs to watch the debate if they haven’t already seen it.

  126. tomh says

    Texas Supreme Court Refuses to Shut Down Drive-Thru Voting
    October 22, 2020 CAMERON LANGFORD

    AUSTIN, Texas (CN) — More than 70,000 Houston-area voters have cast their ballots from their vehicles and thousands more will do so after the Texas Supreme Court on Thursday denied a bid from Republicans to shut down drive-thru voting.

    In what critics said was a cynical attempt to suppress turnout in the Democratic stronghold of Harris County the day before the Oct. 13 start of early voting, the Republican Party of Texas filed a lawsuit trying to stop the county from giving all registered voters the option of casting their ballots curbside or in drive-thru booths.

    Harris County’s 34-year-old Clerk Chris Hollins is getting rave reviews for his administration of early voting, in which over the first seven days about half as many ballots were cast as the whole turnout for the 2016 election…

    The Texas Republican Party claimed Hollins was using the coronavirus pandemic as an excuse to violate the Texas Election Code, though both Hughs and [Texas Elections Administrator Keith] Ingram are Republicans.

    It argued because fear of contracting Covid-19 at the polls doesn’t qualify people to vote by mail, as the Texas Supreme Court ruled in May, it doesn’t qualify them for curbside or drive-through voting either…

    Republicans took issue with Harris County ushering drivers into temporary tent structures, where they are handed a voting tablet after poll workers check their IDs and tell them to turn off their cellphones…

    A majority of the high court’s justices rejected the challenges late Thursday..

  127. says

    Guardian – “Golden Dawn deputy leader evades arrest after jail sentence”:

    A Greek neo-Nazi ideologue and deputy leader of the Golden Dawn party has evaded arrest Friday as dozens of fellow members headed to prison following a group conviction.

    Christos Pappas, whose father played a key role in a 1967 military coup, has been sentenced to more than 13 years in prison for his role in running Golden Dawn as a criminal organisation.

    His lawyer on Friday said he would not turn himself in, and a search of at least five homes linked to Pappas has failed to locate him, state TV ERT said.

    The former furniture store owner, whose lieutenant-general father helped install dictator Georgios Papadopoulos in 1967, is an admirer of the Italian dictator Benito Mussolini and collector of fascist memorabilia.

    Pappas, 58, had also evaded arrest in 2013, when senior Golden Dawn members had been rounded up following the murder of the anti-fascist rapper Pavlos Fyssas, the crime that led to the organisation’s undoing….

  128. says

    Here’s a link to the October 23 Guardian coronavirus world liveblog.

    From there:

    Belgium, one of the European countries worst hit by the new coronavirus, tightened restrictions on social contacts on Friday by banning fans from sports matches, limiting the number of people in cultural spaces and closing theme parks.

    Belgium had already closed cafes, bars and restaurants and imposed a night curfew, and has Europe’s second-highest infection rate per capita after the Czech Republic. New infections hit a peak of 10,500 on Thursday.

    But the government has resisted calls from medical experts to order a new lockdown to avoid causing more economic pain.

    The restrictions – running until 19 November – also include stricter social distancing. They are intended to avoid crowding on public transport and impose a limit of 200 people in theatres, concert halls and cinemas.

    “We are pressing the pause button …. we have a single objective, which is to limit contacts that are not strictly necessary,” Belgian prime minister Alexander de Croo told a news conference.

    “There’s no law that can stop the virus, the only ones who can stop it are us … all together.” Epidemiologist Marius Gilbert wrote on Twitter that hospitals were on the brink of collapse.

    Reading these reports is driving me to distraction. They talk about what’s being shut down, and I’m gobsmacked to learn these things have been open. Here I learned that Belgium – Belgium – has had fans at games and open theme parks, bars, concert halls, and theaters. And they’re not even closing the theaters and concert halls now, with hospitals on the brink of collapse, but just limiting attendance to 200!

  129. says

    Mehdi Hasan:

    I fact-checked and debunked Donald Trump’s 10 biggest whoppers from the #debate tonight for @peacockTV – lies and half-truths on everything from coronavirus to China to his racism.

    Watch it here in just 2 and a half minutes:…

  130. says

    HUGE 82-PERSON CHURCH OUTBREAK—A woman says her mother-in-law has died after attending a convocation at Charlotte church—82 #COVID19 cases & 3 deaths plus a cluster of 6 cases at a senior living facility—all stemming from a church’s events from Oct 4-11.

    This clearly stems from the Trump WH muzzling the CDC on stopping church events and warning that church gatherings are risky. See earlier saga about the church guideline muzzling….”

    Links atl.

  131. says

    Trump’s unfortunate belief that he’s an expert on wind power

    Trump expects people to believe he’s studied wind power “better than anybody.” If only that were true.

    It was just last year when Donald Trump told congressional Republicans that unidentified people believe the noise generated by wind turbines “causes cancer.” […] as he put it, “I know a lot about wind. I know a lot about wind.”

    […] In last night’s debate, Joe Biden reminded the public of the remarks, noting in reference to his opponent, “He thinks wind causes cancer, windmills.” I more or less assumed [Trump] would deny it, or perhaps pretend he was joking when he made the televised comments. Instead, Trump went in a different direction:

    I know more about wind than you do. It is extremely expensive, kills all the birds, it’s very intermittent, got a lot of problems, and they happen to make the windmills in both Germany and China.

    Part of the problem is that [Trump] has his facts wrong. A New York Times fact-check piece noted that Trump’s claims about birds and foreign manufacturing simply don’t stand up well to scrutiny.

    Another part of the problem is the motivation behind the rhetoric: Trump’s opposition to wind power appears to have a lot to do with his Scottish golf resort, not his interest in ornithology or energy policy.

    But as important as these details are, what I continue to find truly amazing is Trump’s apparent belief that he’s a genuine, well-read expert on the subject. As we discussed a while back, [Trump] delivered remarks to a group of far-right students last year and declared, “You know, I know windmills very much. I’ve studied it better than anybody.”

    […] Trump has insisted, for example, that homeowners who use wind power can’t watch television when the skies are calm. This isn’t how energy policy works, but the president has nevertheless convinced himself of his own expertise.

    [Trump] has also ranted about the “fumes” from turbine manufacturing, but these complaints have also never made sense.

    And yet, there the president was last night, presenting himself as some kind of specialist after Biden reminded voters of one of Trump’s most ridiculous comments on energy policy.

  132. says

    On minimum wage, Trump stops pretending he differs from his party

    On the minimum wage, Trump went from expressing vague support for an increase to falsely arguing that an increase would hurt businesses and force layoffs.

    It’s easy to forget that in 2016, Donald Trump fooled people into thinking he supported an increase to the federal minimum wage. In one Fox News interview in July 2016, the then-candidate declared, “I’m the one Republican that said in some cases we have to go more than minimum wage.” Pressed for specific number, Trump replied, “I would say $10,” up from the current $7.25.

    But the rhetoric always came with fine print: Trump wanted to be seen as taking the popular position, but he also made clear that he expected states to do the work, leaving the federal minimum wage alone.

    As president, Trump’s continued to play little games along these lines. In fact, on July 1, during a Fox Business Network interview, the president said, “I’m going to have a statement on minimum wage. I feel differently than lot of people on minimum wage, some people in my own party. But I will have a statement over the next two weeks on minimum wage.”

    Naturally, the two-week deadline was ignored, but the phrasing was clearly intended to leave voters with the impression that he and his “own party” saw the issue differently.

    Last night, the incumbent abandoned the pretense and voiced his opposition to an increase:

    “How are you helping your small businesses when you’re forcing wages? What’s going to happen and what’s been proven to happen is when you do that, these small businesses fire many of their employees.”

    The evidence suggests otherwise. The New York Times reported overnight, “Economic research has not ‘proven’ that when governments raise minimum wages, small businesses lay off workers. Many recent studies have suggested the opposite: that some state-level increases in the minimum wage have had no negative effect on hiring.”

    And while these details are obviously important, note the political trajectory: Trump went from expressing vague support for an increase to falsely arguing that an increase would hurt businesses and force layoffs.

    The result is a president who’s (a) wrong on the facts; (b) contradicting his own stated position; and (c) on the opposite side of the American mainstream, which heavily supports an increase.

    A few weeks ago, a Washington Post analysis marveled at Trump’s willingness to “double-down on his least popular” positions. Evidently, we can add the minimum wage to the list.

  133. says

    About that secret bank account Trump has in China:

    […] Joe Biden also brought it up, and for the first time, [Trump] addressed the issue publicly. “I was a businessman doing business, the bank account you’re referring to, which is — everybody knows about it — it’s listed, the bank account was in 2013,” Trump said. “That’s what it was. It was open and it was closed in 2015, I believe.”

    Is that true? Let’s take the claims one at a time. First, the idea that “everybody” knows about the account because “it’s listed” is wrong. As this week’s Times report explained, the account was never disclosed before now:

    The foreign accounts do not show up on Mr. Trump’s public financial disclosures, where he must list personal assets, because they are held under corporate names. The identities of the financial institutions are not clear.

    Second, the president’s belief that the account was “closed in 2015” is also wrong. The Times added in a debate fact-check:

    An attorney for the Trump Organization told The Times that the bank account Mr. Trump’s company owned in China is still open.

    So where does that leave us? With a scandal-plagued American president defending a previously undisclosed bank account in China with two claims, both of which are wrong. […]

    Link

  134. says

    ‘How Are You All Still Doing This?’: Pundits Roasted For Painting Trump As A Newly Tamed Beast

    During Thursday night’s debate (you know, the one that had a new rule on muting mics), […] Trump managed to avoid repeatedly heckling and shouting over Democratic candidate Joe Biden as often as he did last time–prompting “new tone”-hungry pundits to predictably applaud him for sort of exercising a restraint that one would expect from any grown adult.

    Those pundits found themselves under fire from critics who pointed out that Trump hardly deserves a gold star […], especially considering how het still spouted a bunch of nonsensical conspiracy theories and racist comments that weren’t any more coherent just because he didn’t scream them this time: […]

    “We shouldn’t discount how Trump — a bonafide TV star — likely watched tape of that first debate, realized how poorly he came across, and recalibrated his entire approach.”

    “I just heard Chuck Todd say that ‘Trump did probably stop the bleeding tonight and that’s important’ and I want to scream.”

    “The President struck a new gentler tone tonight when he described his orphan warehouses as clean.”

    “A very disciplined Trump tonight. Can this hold for 10-11 more days?”

    “The commentary is generally that Joe Biden “held his own,” per David Axelrod, and most of it is dedicated to fact checking the president or noting that Trump didn’t have a big moment that could change the trajectory of the race. I suspect that means Trump won.”

    Some good responses:

    The best thing I saw posted last night was that ‘Trump is the same crazy Uncle, spouting the same racist, bigoted garbage but he’s using his indoor voice!’
    ———————
    Pundits: ‘I like my racism and cruelty without yelling, thank you very much.’
    —————-

    The media may think they are giving trump a mulligan but they don’t realize how low they have set the bar for him. They want to push the idea that he did a great job because he demonstrated more restraint than the first debate completely missing all the nonsense an gobbly gook talk he was spewing.
    ——————
    So none of our pundits noticed the weird, weedling con man way of speaking that Trump was using? The “Let’s make a deal; you’re a beaudiful person, beaudiful! It’s gonna be big! Powerful!” The tone he’s always used to sucker people into giving him money, agreeing to provide things, services?

    We saw the “Post-Deal” Trump at the previous debate, the one that screams like a hateful madman, motormouths over your attempts at defense, threatens massive legal retribution, and just keeps yelling until you give up.

    Yet the pundits STILL haven’t read the books on Trump and how he does business?

  135. says

    Trump’s immersion in a far-right bubble does him no favors

    […] last night watching Jon Meacham’s reaction to the last presidential debate of the year, and his impression that [Trump] was effectively auditioning to host a program on Fox News.

    “That may sound like an attempt at glibness, but it was the innate reaction I had to watching the president who dwells in this wilderness of mirrors, to borrow a phrase from the Cold War. Where there are these code words and language that I’m sure makes sense to a certain segment of his base, but doesn’t make a lot of sense to anyone who has a nodding acquaintance with the realities of America during this pandemic.”

    A New York Times analysis added that Trump “debated at times as if the tens of millions of Americans tuning in were as intimately familiar with the internet outrages that burn bright across the right-wing media ecosystem as he is.”

    It was the first presidential debate I’ve ever seen in which I thought the audience would benefit from some kind of decoder ring. Trump made multiple references to “AOC plus three,” for example, as if voters would intuitively understand the reference. He twice mentioned “the laptop from hell,” without explaining what that might be, or why anyone should care. The president complained about deploying “pillows” to Ukraine, which probably went right over the heads of those who aren’t immersed in a far-right bubble.

    At one point, [Trump] said of his rival, “Joe got $3.5 million dollars from Russia and it came through Putin because he was friendly with the mayor of Moscow, and it was the mayor of Moscow’s wife.”

    What did this mean? Trump didn’t really explain; Biden had no idea; and the rest of us were left to shrug our shoulders in befuddlement.

    […] It’s as if there are two distinct languages — English and conservative media speak […]

    And I have no doubt that there was a small part of the population that nodded their heads in agreement last night, catching every weird far-right reference, and delighting in Trump’s obscure jabs.

    But the trouble for the GOP ticket is that these voters were already loyal Trump supporters. A presidential debate offers candidates seeking national office an opportunity to speak to a national audience, not just a base.

    Trump, however, seemed determined to communicate only to those who share a bubble with him.

  136. says

    Trump Mocked For Taking ‘Full Responsibility’ For COVID And Also None At All

    Trump on Thursday gestured at possibly taking some responsibility for a failed response to the COVID-19 pandemic, before quickly retreating into a familiar blame game with China.

    “I take full responsibility,” Trump said, before quickly adding: “It’s not my fault it came here. It’s China’s fault.”

    The comment laid bare a common refrain for President Trump to blame others for his failures as a President after more than 224,000 people as of Friday morning, have died from coronavirus in the United States and he has continuously sought to mislead the public about the virus’ severity.

    It’s almost impossible to sum up the many times Trump shrugged responsibility for his bungled pandemic response.

    When it came to testing back in March, Trump claimed it was the fault of his predecessor that testing for the novel coronavirus wasn’t meeting demand.

    “The Obama administration made a decision on testing that turned out to be very detrimental to what we’re doing,” Trump said at the time, suggesting the former president had hampered his administration’s ability to roll out testing.

    In a stunning twist, once testing got underway, Trump blamed the tests for rising cases — suggesting if the country tested less there wouldn’t be any COVID-19 cases at all.

    In an interview with Axios’ Jonathan Swan in August, when given the opportunity to own up to his failures after more than 155,000 people had died from coronavirus in the United States at that time, Trump famously said — “it is what it is.”

    Calling it an “iconic debate line” and a “slogan for 2020” critics on Twitter wouldn’t let Trump forget just how often he’s shrugged responsibility for COVID-19 in the past […]

    From Ezra Klein:

    The more I think about it, the more I think “I take full responsibility. It’s not my fault” is going to be a truly iconic debate line.

    From Jessica Huseman:

    “I take full responsibility, it’s China’s fault,” is really the slogan of 2020

    From Steve Inskeep:

    Two consecutive sentences: “I take full responsibility. It’s not my fault…”

    From Greg Sargent:

    Trump:

    Why didn’t he get stuff done on his watch?

    Also Trump:

    Coronavirus will “disappear” like a “miracle”

    “I don’t take responsibility at all”

    Now that more than 200K died, it’s “not my fault”

    “I got stuck with it”

    (All real quotes from Trump)

  137. says

    Follow-up to SC’s comment 148.

    What is going on with Mitch McConnell’s hands and his health?

    […] While waiting to address reporters, Mitch McConnell dropped his mask and when he bent over to pick it up, Associated Press photographer Yuri Gripas captured an image that is quite startling. [Photo at the link]

    Other angles were just as severe, showing extensive bruising and multiple bandages.

    Close-ups of his face also seemed like there might be more going on than he is letting on, with notable bruising and yellowing around his eyes. [Photo at the link]

    Internet doctors, real and imagined, have noted this type of bruising is common for certain types of blood thinners, although this would appear to be a more severe case.

    For comparison, just two weeks ago, at a debate on October 12 with Democratic challenger Amy McGrath, McConnell’s hands and face looked quite different. [Photo at the link]

    McConnell was quick to deny he has any health concerns, telling CNN reporters Ted Barrett and Clare Foran he had “no concerns” when asked if he was having a health problem voters should know about before Election Day. After all, he is up for a new six-year term and voters have a right to know if he’s up for the job.

    The self-proclaimed Grim Reaper might be telling others he has “no concerns” but will voters buy it? What we can see with our own eyes isn’t exactly the picture of health.

  138. says

    Guardian world liveblog:

    More than half a million people in the US could die from Covid-19 by the end of February next year, but around 130,000 of those lives could be saved if everybody were to wear masks, according to estimates from a modelling study.

    The estimates, from a study by researchers at the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, show that with few effective Covid-19 treatment options and no vaccines yet available, the U.S. faces “a continued COVID-19 public health challenge through the winter”.

    Large, populous states such as California, Texas and Florida will likely face particularly high levels of illness, deaths and demands on hospital resources, the study found. [California appears pretty stable at the moment. Hope that can hold.]

    US president Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 221,000 Americans so far, has become the top election issue for him and Democratic candidate Joe Biden. Polls have shown that Americans trust Biden more than Trump to handle the crisis.

  139. says

    Kristen Welker Asked Donald Trump About Immigration—and His Answer Was Both Disgusting and False

    During Thursday night’s debate, […] Trump repeated one of his most disgusting lies: The Obama administration, he claimed, created family separation, and his administration ended it. “They did it,” Trump said. “We changed the policy.” There is not even a sliver of truth to that.

    Former Vice President Joe Biden responded forcefully, and accurately. “They separated them at the border to make it a disincentive to come to begin with,” Biden said. “Coyotes didn’t bring them over. Their parents were with them. They got separated from their parents. And it makes us a laughingstock. And it violates every notion of who we are as a nation.”

    The Obama administration did not separate families to deter people from coming to the United States. In the spring of 2018, after a similar pilot program the year before, Trump’s Justice and Homeland Security Departments launched a “zero-tolerance” policy across the US-Mexico border. Under zero tolerance, parents were prosecuted for the misdemeanor offense of crossing the border without authorization. That led to parents being separated from their kids, who could not be in jails while their parents awaited trial.

    This was not an accidental byproduct. It was the point. “We need to take away children,” then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions told Justice Department prosecutors. […]

    That was also the part of the debate in which trump claimed that less than 1 percent of immigrants show up for their court dates. “Only the really—I hate to say this—but those with the lowest IQ, they might come back.” Records show that 99% of immigrants who are given a court date show up. See comment 188.

  140. says

    Guardian world liveblog:

    The world is now at a critical juncture in the Covid-19 pandemic and some countries are on a dangerous path, facing the prospect of health services collapsing under the strain, the head of the World Health Organization said on Friday.

    “We are at a critical juncture in the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly in the Northern hemisphere,” WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news conference.

    “The next few months are going to be very tough and some countries are on a dangerous track.”

    “We urge leaders to take immediate action, to prevent further unnecessary deaths, essential health services from collapsing and schools shutting again. As I said it in February and I*m repeating it today: This is not a drill.”

    Tedros said too many countries were now seeing an exponential increase in infections, “and that is now leading to hospitals and intensive care units running close or above capacity – and we’re still only in October”.

    He said countries should take action to limit the spread of the virus quickly. Improving testing, tracing of contacts of those infected and isolation of those at risk of spreading the virus would enable countries to avoid mandatory lockdowns.

  141. says

    New New Abnormal – “Final Debate Just Proves Trump ‘Can Lie in Different Gears’”:

    On a special episode of The New Abnormal responding to the final presidential debate Molly Jong-Fast and Rick Wilson are joined by GOP political consultant Mike Madrid, Daily Beast senior editor Tim Teeman and Gary Peters, the Senator from Michigan, who is here to outline the fight against voter intimidation at the polls….

    The Teeman segment is very good.

  142. says

    A second Trump term would mean severe and irreversible changes in the climate

    During the final presidential debate Thursday night, both candidates were asked how they would combat climate change and support job growth. […] Trump offered few specifics, merely saying that that, “We have the Trillion Trees program. We have so many different programs. I do love the environment.”

    But let’s be clear: If Trump is reelected president, the likely result will be irreversible changes to the climate that will degrade the quality of life of every subsequent generation of human beings, with millions of lives harmed or foreshortened. […]

    This sounds like exaggeration, some of the “alarmism” green types are always accused of. But it is not particularly controversial among those who have followed Trump’s record on energy and climate change.

    “As bad as it seems right now,” says Josh Freed of Third Way, a center-left think tank, “the climate and energy scenario in Trump II would be much, much worse.”

    […] In what follows, I’ll assume that if Trump wins, Republicans keep the Senate — and that the situation remains as is, with Congress divided and gridlocked, unable to pass major legislation or effectively restrain Trump. […]

    I’m going to do a quick review of Trump’s record so far on climate and energy. By necessity, it is not comprehensive. The amount of damage done, not only on high-profile issues but through unceasing daily efforts to weaken and degrade the federal bureaucracy, could fill volumes. I’ll just look at the highlights, with a focus on what Trump wants to do and is more likely to get away with in a second term.

    […] a Trump victory would make any reasonable definition of “success” on climate change impossible.

    […] We know from the latest IPCC report that the climate target agreed to by nations — no more than a 2° Celsius rise in global average temperatures — is not a “safe” threshold at all. Going from 1.5° to 2° means many more heat waves, wildfires, crop failures, migrations, and premature deaths. We know that every fraction of a degree beyond 2° means more still, along with the increasing risk of tipping points that make further warming unstoppable.

    Hitting the 1.5° target would require the world to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions 50 percent by 2030 and to net zero by 2050. Doing so would require industrial mobilization beginning immediately. Even hitting 2° would be desperately difficult at this point. There is no longer any time for delay; this is the last decade in which it is still possible.

    […] we know it is wildly unlikely that the rest of the world will be able to organize to meet that goal without US leadership. And in the face of active US undermining and opposition, it will be all but impossible.

    Climate policy is complicated, but in the end, it comes down to replacing everything powered by fossil fuels with zero-carbon alternatives, and we know beyond any doubt that the Trump administration is devoted to the interests of its allies in the fossil fuel industry. Everything the administration has done since taking office reflects a single-minded zeal to release fossil fuel industries from regulatory restraints and to subsidize them through public policy.

    US carbon emissions have been declining, down roughly 12 percent since 2004. That’s almost entirely due to the market-driven decline of coal in the electricity sector, a trend that analysts expect to continue. The Trump administration disingenuously takes credit for it. But it won’t be enough, on its own, to reduce emissions fast enough to stay on track for net zero by 2050. Not even close.

    The US needs to completely transition off electricity generated by coal and natural gas, vehicles powered by gasoline and diesel, and buildings heated by natural gas and oil — and quickly.

    Everything Trump has done pushes in the opposite direction. […]

    More at the link.

  143. says

    From Wonkette:

    Donald Trump, a guy whose entire family lives off his name, is trying to gin up a scandal because Hunter Biden monetized his own father’s name. […]

    Half a mile from the White House is a Trump-branded hotel where foreign governments, lobbyists, and corporate entities slip millions of dollars directly into the president’s pocket every year.

    […] And now we have to learn about some asshole named Tony Bobulinski!

    […] Okay, fine. Let’s start with “Hunter Biden’s” laptop, which was supposedly abandoned at a repair shop in Delaware in April 2019. This week we learned from Time that back in September 2019, someone in Ukraine was trying to sell the same set of images and texts supposedly found on Hunter Biden’s hard drive for $5 million. Why, yes, that is when Rudy Giuliani was traveling around Ukraine trying to gin up dirt on Trump’s electoral rival!

    Over at Salon, Roger Sollenberger reports that Giuliani was approached in May with a trove of Hunter Biden’s texts and emails, but passed on them because it seemed too sketchy.

    It certainly looks like some portion of the data is genuine, likely the product of a phone hack. (Who uses their laptop to text?) And it’s been floating around for upwards of a year.

    Wikileaks is out of commission as a cutout to selectively leak real or doctored versions of hacked data into the public domain, but then AMAZINGLY, it just turns up on a laptop in some random computer repair shop in Delaware. Lucky break for Rudy and his team, huh?

    Assuming the New York Post screenshot of a subpoena is genuine, the FBI took possession of the data in December of 2019, since which time it has done exactly nothing with it. Because there’s nothing illegal about Hunter Biden being a sleaze with a drug problem.

    […] Increasingly desperate to make something stick to Joe Biden, Rudy Giuliani and Steve Bannon are currently tucking their shirts in all over “Hunter Biden’s” hard drive. NBC has a terrific deep dive into how this story worked its way up through the feverswamp into Pizzagate-style allegations of child pornography. And for her pains, reporter Brandy Zadrozny found herself with a giant target painted on her back courtesy of Tucker Carlson. Ain’t he a peach?

    Because Rupert Murdoch’s entire army has laid down on that bed with Rudy and joined the circle “tuck,” with the New York Post playing the role of cutout, allowing Fox News to pass up the original story, then devote a thousand hours to reporting on the Post’s reporting. Which in turn allowed the Wall Street Journal to launder it up from Fox to its own opinion page. It’s the circle of li-i-ife!

    Which brings us to Tony Bobulinski. Back in 2017, Boba Fett was part of a group trying to get a deal going with Chinese oil company CEFC China Energy Co. Bobble Head produced a series of texts in which Hunter Biden allegedly acknowledged that his family name was the main lure for the project. […]

    Yesterday Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo put out a statement in the New York Post saying that Joe Biden was a silent partner in the CEFC deal and that Hunter always discussed his business dealings with his father. At a press conference yesterday, the Bluetick Coonhound produced three old cellphones as proof. No, you cannot examine Borat’s cellphones; you just have to take it on faith.

    Biden has flatly denied Bhagavad Gita’s allegations, and pointed to the 22 years of tax returns he’s released as proof that he never had a penny of foreign income.

    Nevertheless, diehard winger Kimberly Strassel has happily treated Bob’s Burgers’s allegations as gospel truth on the Wall Street Journal’s Opinion page. Even as she admitted that Biden was out of office by 2017 and entitled to enter into business with anyone he liked, she tut-tuts that “CEFC was always a suspicious company with ties to a rival government. It would have a been risky for any public figure to deal with it, much less a potential presidential candidate.” She has no tuts to give over Donald Trump’s myriad connections to the Chinese government, including renting three floors of Trump Tower in Manhattan to a state-owned bank and continuing negotiations for a Trump development in China well into 2016. Plus the Chinese bank account and the taxes he paid to the Chinese government, and the dozens of Chinese trademarks awarded to Ivanka Trump when she was theoretically working for the people as a senior White House aide.

    There’s also the minor detail that Joe Biden was never involved in a deal with CEFC, and there’s no proof that he ever even knew about his son’s business negotiations. All of which is confirmed by the Journal’s news side, which published a piece noting that “Corporate records reviewed by The Wall Street Journal show no role for Joe Biden,” and that “Text messages and emails related to the venture that were provided to the Journal by Mr. Bobulinski, mainly from the spring and summer of 2017, don’t show either Hunter Biden or James Biden discussing a role for Joe Biden in the venture.”

    The authors of the piece, Andrew Duehren and James T. Areddy, also add in a few more details that Strassel omitted from her piece, although she had access to exactly the same set of documents they did.

    […] she neglects to address her own newspaper’s news side story completely debunking her own. […] Probably an oversight by Kim Strassel, whose journalistic integrity is beyond question. AHEM.

    […] This isn’t story about Mr. Bubble or whatever that guy’s name is appearing as Trump’s guest at a presser before last night’s debate. It’s about how the media ecosystem deals with literal FAKE NEWS being weaponized to pervert our political processes. And it turns out we have learned something from the 2016 disaster when Bannon and Giuliani’s bullshit about the Clinton Foundation and her Buttery Males was treated by the news side as worthy of coverage as if it might be true. Which it very clearly wasn’t.

    Trump’s efforts to make The Blob a thing failed. No one knows who that guy is, the social media platforms signaled hard that the story was bullshit, and outside of the wingnuttosphere, it hasn’t penetrated. They tried to October Surprise us, and it didn’t work. […]

    Link

  144. says

    Yes, when Joe Biden sarcastically referred to Donald Trump as “Abraham Lincoln over here,” Trump angrily interrupted both him and the moderator to clarify that he was not, in fact, Abraham Lincoln. Helpful! All in all, he was much improved from the first debate; he was clearly coached to be less shouty and aggressive. But I’m not sure he endeared himself more to viewers. His dismissal of the idea of “families around the table” and his use of his son Barron as an example of how one shouldn’t worry about covid-19 in children were shocking in their callousness. — Christine Emba

  145. says

    “We have a president who’s running for re-election on a strategy of deliberate serial dishonesty,” — CNN fact-checker Daniel Dale.

  146. says

    Already in a health care ditch, Trump gets shovel, keeps digging

    After Donald Trump released a video of his unaired “60 Minutes” interview, he found himself with a new, self-imposed problem: viewers saw Trump say it’d “be so good” if the Supreme Court destroyed the Affordable Care Act, which is a politically problematic argument, especially during a pandemic.

    […] In last night’s presidential debate, Trump kept digging.

    He began by arguing that the ACA “is in court because Obamacare is no good.” In reality, the Affordable Care Act is working well; it’s more popular than the president who hopes to destroy it, and it’s in court because a group of Republicans filed a transparently ridiculous lawsuit against it. Trump nevertheless went on to say:

    “Pre-existing conditions will always stay. What I would like to do is a much better health care, much better. We’ll always protect people with pre-existing. So I’d like to terminate Obamacare, come up with a brand new, beautiful health care.”

    Right off the bat, the idea that the president “will always” support protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions is absurd: Trump is right now supporting Republican litigation that intends to eliminate those protections altogether.

    But taking a step further, when a president says he wants to tear down his own country’s existing health care system, he needs to do more than offer vague assurances about “a brand new, beautiful health care” system that would be “much better.” He needs to actually back that up with some kind of plan.

    […] It still doesn’t exist. Indeed, when the Trump White House and GOP lawmakers tried to repeal and replace the ACA in 2017, they failed spectacularly, in large part because their regressive plan was neither “beautiful” nor “better” than the existing system.

    But that was just the start. As recently as last month, [Trump] went so far as to boast, in reference to his non-existent health care plan, “I have it all ready. I have it all ready…. I have it all ready.” The president used similar rhetoric three months ago, promising Fox News he’d “sign” a “full and complete” health care plan “within two weeks.”

    Late last month, the president claimed he was unveiling a “plan” to improve health care and to protect Americans with pre-existing conditions, but what Trump actually signed were some executive orders that literally didn’t do anything.

    In his “60 Minutes” interview, the incumbent conceded that he hasn’t yet presented a health care blueprint, but it’s “going to be announced very soon.” Hours after the public saw this, Trump told a national audience he wants to “terminate” the popular and effective law, and eventually “come up with” something else. […]

  147. stroppy says

    @ 217

    and
    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/oct/02/donald-trump-climate-change-michael-mann-interview

    Except more than two years have been lost, because in that time, the Trump administration has prevented the world’s biggest economy from making “the dramatic reductions that were necessary to keep us on that path” of halving emissions by 2030, Mann says. “So now the incline is steeper. It’s no longer 5% [reductions] a year for the next 10 years. It’s more like seven and a half per cent.” (As a comparison, 7% is how much global carbon emissions are projected to fall in 2020 due to the Covid-19 economic lockdowns that shrank driving, flying and other carbon-intensive activities.)

    The numbers get unrealistically challenging if Trump gains another four years as president.

    “Four more years of relative inaction, of flat emissions, means that four years from now that number might be closer to 15% [emissions reductions] a year,” Mann says. “And that may be, although not physically impossible, societally impossible. The rate at which we shift away from a fossil-fuel-driven infrastructure, it just may not be economically possible or socially viable to do it that [fast].”

  148. says

    Follow-up to comment 221.

    American Bridge 21st Century, a leading super PAC affiliated with Democratic politics, wasted little time in creating a new digital ad highlighting Donald Trump’s “60 Minutes” comments on health care.
    YouTube link

  149. says

    Minneapolis Star Tribune – “Charges: Boogaloo Bois fired on Minneapolis police precinct, shouted ‘Justice for Floyd'”:

    In the wake of protests following the May 25 killing of George Floyd, a member of the “Boogaloo Bois” opened fire on Minneapolis Police Third Precinct with an AK-47-style gun and screamed “Justice for Floyd” as he ran away, according to a federal complaint made public Friday.

    A sworn affidavit by the FBI underlying the complaint reveals new details about a far-right anti-government group’s coordinated role in the violence that roiled through civil unrest over the Floyd’s death while in police custody.

    Ivan Harrison Hunter, a 26-year-old from Boerne, Texas, is charged with one count of interstate travel to incite a riot for his alleged role in ramping up violence during the protests in Minneapolis on May 27 and 28. According to charges, Hunter, wearing a skull mask and tactical gear, shot 13 rounds at the south Minneapolis police headquarters while people were inside. He also looted and helped set the building ablaze, according to the complaint, which was filed Monday under seal.

    Unrest flared throughout Minneapolis following Floyd’s death, which was captured on a bystander’s cellphone video, causing Gov. Tim Walz to activate the Minnesota National Guard. As police clashed with protesters, Hunter and other members of the Boogaloo Bois discussed in private Facebook messages their plans to travel to Minneapolis and rally at the Cub Foods across from the third precinct, according to federal court documents. One of the people Hunter coordinated with posted publicly to social media: “Lock and load boys. Boog flags are in the air, and the national network is going off,” the complaint states.

    Two hours after the police precinct was set on fire, Hunter texted with another Boogaloo member in California, a man named Steven Carillo.

    “Go for police buildings,” Hunter told Carillo, according to charging documents.

    “I did better lol,” he replied. A few hours earlier, Carillo had killed a Federal Protective Services Officer in Oakland, Calif., according to criminal charges filed against him in California.

    On June 1, Hunter asked Carillo for money, explaining he needed to “be in the woods for a bit,” and Carillo sent him $200 via a cash app.

    Five days later, Carillo shot and killed a sheriff’s deputy in Santa Cruz when authorities tried to arrest him, according to charges filed in California. Authorities say he then stole a car and wrote “Boog” on the hood “in what appeared to be his own blood.”

    A couple of days later, during police protests Austin, Texas, police pulled over a truck after seeing three men in tactical gear and carrying guns drive away in it. Hunter, in the front passenger seat, wore six loaded banana magazines for an AK-47-style assault rifle on his tactical vest, according federal authorities. The two other men had AR-15 magazines affixed to their vests. The officers found an AK-47-style rifle and two AR-15 rifles on the rear seat of the vehicle, a pistol next to the driver’s seat and another pistol in the center console.

    Hunter denied he owned any of the weapons found in the vehicle. He did, according to the complaint, volunteer he was the leader of the Boogaloo Bois in South Texas and that he was present in Minneapolis when the Third Precinct was set on fire. Police seized the guns and let Hunter and the others go.

    Hunter had bragged about his role in the Minneapolis riots on Facebook, publicly proclaiming, “I helped the community burn down that police station” and “I didn’t’ protest peacefully Dude … Want something to change? Start risking felonies for what is good.”

    “Hunter also referred to himself as a ‘terrorist,’ ” the complaint states.

    Hunter is the third member of the Boogaloo Bois, a loose-knit group intent on igniting a second American civil war, to be charged in Minneapolis as a result of the unrest that followed Floyd’s death….

    Not the sharpest pencils in the box.

  150. says

    Plot that brought would-be assassin to Biden’s revealed, as list of violent threats grows longer

    Another Republican hero is ready to take his place next to the Kenosha shooter Kyle Rittenhouse and the gun-waving McCloskeys. The newest candidate for a six-figure defense fund or a speaking slot at the Republican National Convention is 19-year-old Alexander Hillel Treisman, and his star turn is an attempted assassination of Joe Biden.

    According to The Washington Post, Treisman was arrested in North Carolina in a van containing four rifles, a handgun, an explosive, and a bomb-making manual. He was also carrying over half a million dollars in cash … so maybe he doesn’t need that defense fund. The arrest came months after he had posted an image captioned with: “Should I kill Joe Biden?”

    The location of Treisman’s arrest may make it seem like his plan to assassinate the Democratic nominee had not progressed that far. That’s not the case. Back in May, Treisman was in Biden’s neighborhood, eating at a Wendy’s within four miles of Biden’s home while conducting a search for Biden’s address. While he was in the area, he stopped by a New Hampshire gun store to buy a new AR-15 and inquire about night vision goggles.

    It’s not as if Treisman then decided to abort his plan, because shortly after that visit to Biden’s neighborhood was when he was actually arrested. Workers at a bank in North Carolina reported an abandoned white van in the parking lot. When police arrived they found that the van actually contained Treisman, along with his collection of weapons and … something else that had nothing to do with his publicly revealed plot to kill Biden. It was the something else that actually went before a grand jury in September when Treisman was indicted … on child pornography charges. Word about his apparently serious plot to kill Biden didn’t slip out until prosecutors were asked to give a reason why Treisman had been held so long in advance of trial. So far the guns, explosives, and social media messages threatening an assassination haven’t netted him any additional charges.

    Treisman’s arrest isn’t actually the most recent one: On Wednesday, 41-year-old James Dale Reed was arrested after he threatened to kidnap and kill both Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris. […]

    From comments posted by readers:

    “When police arrived they found that the van actually contained Treisman …”
    This is incorrect. Police arrived and could see weapons in plain view. They then contacted the feds (perhaps FBI) and waited. Treisman showed up while they were waiting so they detained him. They found that he was carrying a concealed handgun and so arrested him.
    Despite all the crap he’d posted online, this guy was apparently on no one’s radar.
    ———————–
    What I want to know is where he got the half million bucks. Obviously given the Secret Service protection this bozo was never going to succeed in killing Biden, but something really strange is going on here.

  151. says

    CREW – “$80 million dark money group tied to Trump Supreme Court advisor, Leonard Leo”:

    A close informal advisor to President Trump who has been deeply involved in all three of his Supreme Court nomination battles is the sole trustee of a mysterious group that brought in more than $80 million in 2018, according to a previously unreported tax return uncovered by CREW. The filing vastly expands the amount of money known to be flowing into the growing constellation of dark money groups tied to Federalist Society co-chairman Leonard Leo and provides new details about his role in a secretive firm that was responsible for one of the largest donations received by President Trump’s inaugural committee.

    What makes Rule of Law Trust (RLT) particularly interesting is that despite its $80 million haul, the group seems remarkably hollow. It claimed it had no employees and no volunteers in its first year and listed what appears to be a virtual office in Virginia as its main address. Its stated mission is “to advance conservative principles and causes through communications, research, strategy and assistance to other organizations,” but there’s no apparent public information to demonstrate what that work entails, not even a website.

    In an unusual financial arrangement, the group also appears to have channeled nearly all of its $2.7 million in expenditures through the BH Group — an enigmatic firm that, the filing reveals, is partly owned by Leo. The company has long been known to be tied to Leo, but the nature of his role was unknown until now. Just months after it was formed in 2016, the BH Group gave $1 million to President Trump’s inaugural committee — though the only known funds that it has received during that time came from other dark money groups allied with Leo. The ultimate source of the money remains unknown to this day.

    The only other people linked to RLT in the sparse filing are either longtime Federalist Society officials-turned-consultants like Leo, or operatives with a long history working behind the scenes on dark money groups tied to Leo….

    But even as the note provides new details, it raises new questions….

    A picture is emerging, but it will take years to sort out. One thing is clear, though: Leo and his allies have amassed a massive war chest of anonymous donations for their fight to remake the federal judiciary.

    More atl.

  152. says

    TPM – “Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is: Sullivan Orders DOJ To Verify Docs In Flynn Case”:

    Federal prosecutors need to provide detailed documentation of allegations of corruption among Obama administration officials, Judge Emmett Sullivan said on Friday.

    The move will force prosecutors to attest to the truth of exhibits that they’ve filed in the Michael Flynn prosecution, after Judge Sullivan said that a previous document — notes that the government admitted had been altered with post-it notes prior to filing — broke his trust that federal prosecutors would file accurate documents.

    Now, Sullivan is demanding that the DOJ produce two declarations attesting to the veracity of exhibits it has filed in the case since making the unprecedented decision to drop charges against the former national security adviser in May. The judge also wants prosecutors to itemize each exhibit by date, author, and name, and to type up all handwritten documents filed in the matter.

    The order creates reams of work for the DOJ in its bid to drop charges against Flynn, and compels federal prosecutors to back up numerous claims they’ve made in the case after the DOJ conceded that the document had been altered.

    The Trump administration has suggested that the filings in question prove allegations that Obama-era federal law enforcement officials set up Flynn in an example of malicious prosecution.

    There hasn’t been any serious evidence to support that charge….

    He…ordered federal prosecutors to produce two declarations: one attesting to the veracity of the exhibits filed to its initial motion to dismiss the charges, and another attesting to the exhibits that the government produced to Flynn, which he then filed in the docket….

  153. says

    Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is: Sullivan Orders DOJ To Verify Docs In Flynn Case

    Federal prosecutors need to provide detailed documentation of allegations of corruption among Obama administration officials, Judge Emmett Sullivan said on Friday.

    The move will force prosecutors to attest to the truth of exhibits that they’ve filed in the Michael Flynn prosecution, after Judge Sullivan said that a previous document — notes that the government admitted had been altered with post-it notes prior to filing — broke his trust that federal prosecutors would file accurate documents.

    Now, Sullivan is demanding that the DOJ produce two declarations attesting to the veracity of exhibits it has filed in the case since making the unprecedented decision to drop charges against the former national security adviser in May. The judge also wants prosecutors to itemize each exhibit by date, author, and name, and to type up all handwritten documents filed in the matter.

    The order creates reams of work for the DOJ in its bid to drop charges against Flynn, and compels federal prosecutors to back up numerous claims they’ve made in the case after the DOJ conceded that the document had been altered.

    The Trump administration has suggested that the filings in question prove allegations that Obama-era federal law enforcement officials set up Flynn in an example of malicious prosecution.

    There hasn’t been any serious evidence to support that charge. The development comes after an attorney for former FBI official Peter Strzok disputed the date of a page of notes that government attorneys filed in the case last month, saying that they had been “altered” and incorrectly dated in a way that could make it appear that a White House meeting occurred earlier than it did.

    […] At that hearing, Sullivan told the DOJ that it would need to “authenticate documents” that had been filed with the court, after Strzok said that the notes had been altered.

    The Justice Department later acknowledged that an FBI agent had photocopied documents with sticky notes that had been subsequently attached to them. The result was that the documents had dates on them, even though they had previously been undated.

    Sullivan wrote that this means he can no longer presume that the government’s record in the case is accurate.

    “Here, however, the government has acknowledged that altered FBI records have been produced by the government and filed on the record in this case,” Sullivan wrote.

    He then ordered federal prosecutors to produce two declarations: one attesting to the veracity of the exhibits filed to its initial motion to dismiss the charges, and another attesting to the exhibits that the government produced to Flynn, which he then filed in the docket. […]

    Kudos to Peter Strzok, who pays attention to the details.

  154. says

    Follow-up to SC’s comment 205.

    NC GOPer Tries To Clean Up Racist Attack On Those Who ‘Ruin White Males Running For Office’

    Madison Cawthorn, the Republican candidate running for former Rep. Mark Meadows’ (R-NC) old seat, scrambled to put out the fire sparked on Thursday by his racist attack involving Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), who is Black, and a journalist who volunteered for Booker’s 2020 presidential campaign.

    Cawthorn had posted the now-revised broadside on MoeTaxes.com, his website about Democratic opponent Moe Davis. The post attacked Davis’ ties to reporter and ex-Boston University dean Tom Fiedler, who “quit his academia job in Boston to work for non-white males, like Cory Booker, who aims to ruin white males running for office.” The broken grammar made it unclear whether it was Fiedler or Booker whom Cawthorn was accusing of victimizing white male candidates.

    Davis slammed Cawthorn’s “blatantly racist” remark and stated that the Republican “has clearly established his poor moral character.”

    “If racism has no place in America, then it surely has no place in Congress, either,” the Democratic candidate said in a statement.

    Cawthorn edited the post after it was first flagged by the Bulwark. The post now claims that Fiedler left Boston University to “become a political operative and is an unapologetic defender of left-wing identity politics.”

    The Republican claimed in a statement that the original sentence contained a “syntax error” that failed to “convey my intended meaning.”

    “My intended meaning was, and is, to condemn left-wing identity politics that is dangerous and divisive,” he said.

    Cawthorn also claimed that he was not referring to Booker when he was decrying the supposed victimization of white male candidates.

    “My concerns were never with Cory Booker but Tom Fiedler who I believe is more of a political operative than a journalist based on his pattern of biased reporting,” he said.

    In other interesting info:

    Twenty five-year-old North Carolina GOP congressional candidate Madison Cawthorn is on the defensive over photos on his Instagram page that show him in 2017 visiting Adolf Hitler’s vacation house in Germany known as the “Eagle’s Nest.”

    From CNN.

  155. says

    ‘Act of radical defiance’: Groups unite to again post millions of dollars in bond to free immigrants

    For the second year in a row, organizations are uniting to free hundreds of people from dangerous and inhumane immigration detention conditions. Immigrant rights groups, in coordination with the National Bail Fund Network and Detention Watch Network, have begun posting $3 million in bond to free hundreds from over 20 immigration prisons across the United States […]

    The coalition’s “Fall Freedom Day” this year far exceeds its historic action last year, when it secured the freedom of 200 people after posting over $2 million in bond. One year later, what the network calls the “largest collective act of freedom” yet has never been more urgent: fiscal year 2020 marked Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) deadliest year since 2005. “Today’s action,” Detention Watch Network advocacy manager Setareh Ghandehari said in the statement, “underscores the urgent need to free all people from immigration detention.”

    According to the network, “[u]nder the Trump administration, the average amount for the ransom of immigration bond has increased.” While average bond is $10,000 (an exorbitant amount of money), groups under a partnership of National Bail Fund Network, Detention Watch Network, Minnesota Freedom Fund, and Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights expect to see bonds going as high as $80,000 (an absolutely astronomical amount of money).

    Unable to pay what the network call in effect “ransom,” detained immigrants have been left to languish in conditions only worsened by the novel coronavirus pandemic. […]

  156. says

    Follow-up to comment 233.

    A tweet posted by Madison Cawthorn on August 11:

    The only bigots in this race are my opponents and the disgusting members of the media who would try and affiliate a disabled man, like myself, with a movement that would have had me exterminated.

    Commentary:

    […] So, what’s the deal with the paranoia about white males being oppressed? [See comment 233] Sounds Hitler-y. This comes around the same time that over 150 former classmates of Cawthorn at Christian conservative Patrick Henry College signed onto a letter detailing “predatory” behavior by Crawford and saying he was not fit to be an elected official. That’s more than half the student body, by the way.

    Davis released a statement citing both racist events and the letter from Patrick Henry College, saying: “Madison Cawthorn has proven time and time again that he is unfit for public office. From the predatory sexual behavior that caused his Christian conservative classmates at Patrick Henry College to implore NC-11 voters to reject Mr. Cawthorn, to his incessant lying to embellish his own personal story, to his repeated appeals to racism and bigotry, Madison Cawthorn has clearly established his poor moral character.”

    Still, Cawthorn continues to have the full backing of the Republican establishment and conservative gun enthusiasts.

    Link

  157. says

    Trump lied about “working very hard” to reunite children and parents. His administration was hardly working.

    During the final presidential debate Thursday night, impeached president Donald Trump claimed in response to a question on his family separation policy that he was “working very hard” to reunite children and parents he cruelly ripped apart. According to a recent NBC News report, hundreds of children separated from their parents before the policy officially began still haven’t been reunited with their deported parents, three years later.

    But during a court hearing earlier that same day, the federal judge who in 2018 ordered the reunification of separated families called on officials “to do more” to help family reunification efforts […] In fact, advocacy groups that have been tasked by the court with reunification efforts say that officials are “only now offering assistance because of the ‘backlash’ from media reports about the number of kids still awaiting reunification with their parents,” NBC News reports.

    […] According to the report, the ACLU said the administration could do more to help groups by funding reunification efforts, but nevertheless criticized officials for mostly being hands off in repairing the damage they created.

    ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt told NBC News that “[t]here have never been serious specific offers to help in concrete ways in the past” from the administration, referring to a claim from government attorneys in court that they “could certainly be of some assistance”—oh, how generous of them!—as a “PR move in response to the public’s backlash.” […]

    As Michelle Wiley and Adriana Morga have previously reported for KQED, organizations that are actually trying to reunite families have seen their grueling on-the-ground efforts to locate deported parents in Central America largely put on hold because of the novel coronavirus pandemic. “While defenders were able to connect with some people online,” they reported, “it’s much harder to build trust with traumatized parents digitally than it is in person.” […]

    Link

  158. says

    Theresa Greenfield:

    Severe flooding, extreme drought, and now a #derecho. This is what climate change looks like in Iowa.

    But @joniernst denies climate science. The futures of our kids and grandkids are on the line — we can’t afford six more years of inaction. We need to flip this #IASen seat.

  159. says

    Guardian world liveblog:

    US Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden attacked President Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

    Biden, 77, spoke from his home city of Wilmington, Delaware ahead of a campaign trip by Trump, 74, to the battleground state of Florida with just 11 days left in the campaign.

    While Election Day is scheduled for November 3, more than 52 million Americans have already voted, a record-setting pace that suggests a record turnout, according to University of Florida’s Elections Project.

    Biden said: “He’s quit on America. He just wants us to grow numb.”

    He said if he wins the election he will ask Congress to pass a comprehensive COVID-10 response legislation and send it to him to sign into law within the first 10 days he takes office.

    “I’m not going to shut down the economy. I’m not going to shut down the country. I’m going to shut down the virus,” he said.

  160. says

    Sen. Schumer, over the past several hours:

    I required the GOP to show up for a live quorum call—Senate can’t do business without quorum

    Then I forced us into closed session to talk face-to-face about this nomination & its impact on America

    But the GOP decided to keep forcing this nominee through an illegitimate process

    …I just forced a vote to stop Judge Barrett’s nomination from moving forward

    We aren’t going to have business as usual as the Republicans try to use an illegitimate process to jam through President Trump’s nominee

    But the Senate GOP voted to keep working to rip away health care

    …I just forced a vote to send Judge Barrett’s nomination back to the Judiciary Committee

    But GOP voted to keep working to rip away health care

    We won’t stop fighting

    We won’t have business as usual as GOP tries to use an illegitimate process to jam through Pres. Trump’s nominee

    …I just forced a vote to adjourn the Senate until after the November election.

    But the Republicans voted to keep jamming President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee through this sham process to rip away health care from millions.

    We will not stop fighting.

  161. says

    Trump on Kamala Harris: ‘We’re not supposed to have a socialist — look we’re not going to be a socialist nation. We’re not going to have a socialist president, especially a female socialist president, we’re not gonna’ have it, we’re not gonna’ put up with it’.”

  162. johnson catman says

    re Brony @243: I think David Attenborough once narrated a program on them in their natural wild habitat. They are quite the impressive species!

  163. says

    Quoted in Lynna’s #209 above: “I just heard Chuck Todd say that ‘Trump did probably stop the bleeding tonight and that’s important’ and I want to scream.”

    October 10, 2016, headline from Hardball with Chris Matthews: “Trump stopped the bleeding, but still lost.”

    Matthews offers the “stopped the bleeding” line as he introduces a segment with Joan Walsh and Steve Cortez. Perhaps it was Todd’s homage to Matthews. Seriously, I’m so relieved – as I said @ #187 – that MSNBC had Reid, Maddow, and Wallace for the post-debate analysis.

  164. says

    Vice – “Charlie Hebdo’s Mohammed Cartoons Projected on Buildings in Tribute to Slain Teacher”:

    Controversial Charlie Hebdo cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed were projected onto public buildings in two French cities on Wednesday night, as the country paid tribute to Samuel Paty, the Parisian school teacher slain by an Islamist extremist for using the images in a lesson on freedom of speech.

    The cartoons from six Charlie Hebdo covers, including the Islamic prophet and other religious figures, were displayed on local government buildings in Montpellier and Toulouse in the southern region of Occitanie, along with a portrait of Paty.

    The images included the famous cartoon of Mohammed holding a sign reading “All is forgiven,” originally published in the aftermath of the 2015 terror attack on the satirical newspaper’s officers, and another featuring three rolls of toilet paper labelled the Bible, Koran and Torah.

    The tribute in Occitanie took place as President Emmanuel Macron led a nationally televised memorial service to Paty in Paris’s Sorbonne university, in which the murdered teacher was posthumously awarded France’s highest honour, the Legion d’Honneur.

    “He was killed precisely because he incarnated the Republic,” Macron said, denouncing those who targeted Paty as “cowards.”

    “He was killed because the Islamists want our future. They know that with quiet heroes like him, they will never have it.”

    The assassination followed a hate campaign against Paty on social media, triggered by the Muslim father of one of his students who was angered by his use of the cartoons of Mohammed, which he considered blasphemous.

    In the wake of the killing — the second knife attack in France in the name of avenging the Prophet Mohammed since Charlie Hebdo republished the controversial cartoons last month — the French government has vowed to ramp up its efforts to crack down on radical Islam. Alongside the investigation into the murder, it’s vowed to disband Islamist NGOs, and has ordered the six-month closure of a mosque outside Paris that had shared Facebook videos calling for action against Paty, including his school’s address.

    The hardline response has also resulted in Islamophobic threats to French Muslims; mosques in Bordeaux and Beziers have been placed under police protection after reporting threats. The public display of the Charlie Hebdo cartoons was also celebrated by the anti-Islam Dutch politician Geert Wilders yesterday, who called for the cartoons to be projected on to the Dutch House of Representatives in solidarity.

  165. tomh says

    WaPo (free)
    Trump rally contains racially incendiary comments
    By Colby Itkowitz

    Trump slipped several racially insensitive remarks into a campaign speech at the Villages in Florida, many that date back to his early days as a politician.

    Trump referenced “Barack Hussein Obama” three times in a row, giving extra emphasis to “Hussein.” He conflated low-income housing with crime, warned of “criminals and rapists and even murderers” immigrating across the border, and talked up his ban on travelers from Muslim countries to keep out “radical Islam.”

    Meanwhile, a man behind Trump’s shoulder repeatedly made a gesture with his hand that matches one used by white nationalists.

    Trump also attacked Joe Biden’s running mate, Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), and her politics, railing against the idea of her as the first female president.

    “She will not be your first female president. It’s not the way it’s supposed to be,” he said. “We’re not supposed to have a socialist — look, we’re not going to be a socialist nation. We’re not going to have a socialist president, especially a female socialist president.”
    […]

  166. says

    Josh Marshall with an insightful point: “I sense that for many the work of this campaign is akin to testifying against your abuser in court. Necessary for justice and to make sure it never happens again and to protect others. But still harrowing and gives the abuser a chance to inflict a new helping of harm, predation.”

    …while being cheered and treated as a put-upon victim.

  167. says

    Follow-up to SC @250.

    Trump’s campaign made stops nationwide. Coronavirus cases surged in his wake in at least five places.

    USA Today link

    As […] Trump jetted across the country holding campaign rallies during the past two months, he didn’t just defy state orders and federal health guidelines. He left a trail of coronavirus outbreaks in his wake.

    [Trump] has participated in nearly three dozen rallies since mid-August, all but two at airport hangars. A USA TODAY analysis shows COVID-19 cases grew at a faster rate than before after at least five of those rallies in the following counties: Blue Earth, Minnesota; Lackawanna, Pennsylvania; Marathon, Wisconsin; Dauphin, Pennsylvania; and Beltrami, Minnesota.

    Together, those counties saw 1,500 more new cases in the two weeks following Trump’s rallies than the two weeks before – 9,647 cases, up from 8,069.

    Public health officials additionally have linked 16 cases, including two hospitalizations, with the rally in Beltrami County, Minnesota, and one case with the rally in Marathon County, Wisconsin. Outside of the counties identified by USA TODAY with a greater case increase after rallies, officials identified four cases linked to Trump rallies.

    Although there’s no way to determine definitively if cases originated at Trump’s rallies, public health experts say the gatherings fly in the face of all recommendations to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

    USA TODAY reviewed coronavirus case counts in the counties where Trump attended rallies starting from mid-August through mid-October. The news organization examined the rate of increase in virus cases for the two weeks before and after campaign events. For rallies occurring within the past two weeks, not enough time has passed to draw conclusions.

    The earliest post-rally spikes occurred even as the nation’s overall case counts were in decline from a peak in mid-July. When U.S. cases started climbing in mid-September, Trump did not alter his campaign schedule but continued holding an average of four rallies a week.

    He stopped first in Minnesota, where Blue Earth County’s coronavirus growth rate was 15% before Trump’s rally, but grew to 25% afterward. Three days later, he was in Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania, where the coronavirus growth rate jumped from less than 3% before his visit to more than 7% afterward.

    Even in states where cases were already rising, the spikes in at least four counties that hosted Trump rallies far surpassed their state’s overall growth rates.

    In two counties, it was more than double: Marathon County’s case count surged by 67% after Trump’s visit compared to Wisconsin’s overall growth rate of 29% during the same time. In Beltrami County, Minnesota, it swelled by 35% compared to the state’s 14%. […]

    experts all agreed that holding large rallies during a pandemic interferes with efforts to contain the virus and can make things worse. […]

  168. says

    Follow-up to SC’s comment 242.

    Excerpts from Aaron Rupar’s coverage of Trump’s super-spreading event at The Villages in Florida:

    Trump lies about Mazie Hirono’s statements about the Green New Deal, then accuses Biden of wanting to ban “air conditioning during the summer” and “heat during the winter.”

    Trump accuses Biden of talking about Covid so much because he “wants to scare people.” In the next breath he reminisces about Rush Limbaugh referring to Obama as “Barack Hussein Obama.”

    One day after the US set a single-day record for new coronavirus cases, Trump claims the US is “rounding the corner beautifully” with regard to the pandemic

    “All Biden and his handlers in the media want to talk about today is Covid, Covid Covid … on November 4th, you won’t hear anything about it … they want to scare you to try to make you vote for Biden” — Trump

    Well I am scared, and so angry with Trump for talking like this. In the state where I live, coronavirus cases and deaths/per/day are hitting new records weekly and sometimes daily. We have what the experts are characterizing as “uncontrolled spread.”

    Dunderheaded Hair Furor is killing people and he is threatening my life. It’s getting harder and harder to stay safe. Hospital administrators are sounding the alarm, but local doofuses loyal to Trump just continue to make stupid decisions, like voting down mask mandates. This is a red state. It is not run by Democrats. During the debate, Trump tried to blame some COVID cases on “Democrat-run states.” That’s not true.

    “You know why we have so many [coronavirus] case numbers? Because we do more testing than any country in the world … there’s plenty good about testing, too. The bad thing is you find cases.” — Trump still hasn’t figured out that testing doesn’t cause cases, the virus does

    “We’re not entering ‘a dark winter.’ We’re entering the final turn and approaching the light at the end of the tunnel.” — Trump, the day after the US recorded the most new single-day coronavirus infections on record

    “With the best equipment in the world. Hydrosonic rockets.” — “Hydrosonic” is a brand of toothbrush

    The guy behind Trump is still throwing up the white power sign. You’d think perhaps a campaign official would notice and at least get the guy off camera, but no.

    More white power hand gestures behind Trump

    The guy throws up the sign again right after Trump says, “We have made America proud again.”

  169. says

    Republicans just found another case in which they think they can refuse to count votes:

    Republicans have gone to federal court to make it easier for them to challenge the ballots of nearly 29,000 Pittsburgh-area voters who were caught up in ballot-sending flub in recent weeks.

    The court fight stems from a mail vendor screw-up that resulted in 28,879 Allegheny County voters being sent the wrong ballots. Election officials have since sent those voters the correct ballots, and have created a process to prevent those voters from having their votes counted twice if they send both of the ballots back in.

    But two GOP U.S. House candidates filed a federal lawsuit earlier this month arguing the county’s approach to the blunder violates their constitutional rights. They’ve asked the court to order that any ballot cast by the nearly 29,000 affected voters be automatically treated as “challenged” — a designation that could subject the ballot to an onerous process in order to be counted — and that the court waive the $10-per-ballot fee the candidates would usually face to file challenges.

    If the Republicans get their way, it could create a messy and confusing situation that would drag out the process of counting and tabulating the results of a key swing state that’s already been a flashpoint of election litigation. President Trump has made false claims to suggest that any delay in announcing the presidential election is a sign of fraud. He and his allies have also signaled the potential that a Bush v. Gore-like legal battle could ultimately resolve the election.

    When ballots are challenged in Pennsylvania, they’re subjected to an additional set of checks akin to provisional ballots. The process includes the voter receiving a notice that her ballot is being challenged and a hearing in front of an elections board to resolve whether it should be tossed.

    At a hearing Friday morning, U.S. District Judge J. Nicholas Ranjan urged Republicans and Allegheny County to work out an agreement over the weekend that would avoid a court fight while the election was underway or right after. […]

    Link

  170. says

    Former CDC director Tom Frieden:

    Covid Epi Weekly: Turning the Corner on Covid in the US … Into an Oncoming Tsunami of Cases, Hospitalizations, and Death

    You know who’s NOT tired of winning? Covid, that’s who. Unless we up our game, it will keep winning, keep spreading, keep killing Americans preventably….

    Informative thread follows.

  171. says

    BLM co-founder Alicia Garza:

    The FBI visited my house today. They arrested a man in Idaho on weapons charges who they believe was affiliated with white supremacist groups. They found my name on a list in his home, alongside others.

    This is why this President is so dangerous. He is stoking fires he has no intention of controlling. I’m ok y’all, but this shit is not ok. Vote this muthafucka out. For real.

  172. says

    Here’s a link to the October 24 Guardian coronavirus world liveblog.

    From there:

    Poland’s president, Andrzej Duda, has tested positive, adding another name to the list of leaders to have been diagnosed with the virus.

    Aside from the diagnosis, the 48-year-old Duda is believed to be in good general health.

    Thousands of anti-lockdown protesters have begun a noisy march through central London.

    After gathering at Speakers’ Corner in Hyde Park, crowds began to walk down Oxford Street in the direction of Oxford Circus.

    Before leaving, they heard from Piers Corbyn, the brother of the former Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, who exhorted followers to “stop new normal, save lives”.

    Louise Creffield, the founder of Save Our Rights UK, one of the groups behind the protest, told the crowd: “Today we are standing in our power and we are not abiding by their rules.

    “It doesn’t matter what they say, it doesn’t matter what threats they bring, it doesn’t matter if they try and intimidate us, we are not going to accept it, because we don’t abide by their rules. We don’t listen because we do not consent.”

    As they marched down Oxford Street, protesters chanted for freedom and told passersby to take off their masks. Others played the drums, blew whistles and played music on portable sound systems….

  173. says

    Guardian – “UK’s top universities urged to act on classism and accent prejudice”:

    Universities must act to eradicate discrimination against working-class students, including the mockery of regional accents, equality campaigners have said.

    A Guardian investigation has found widespread evidence of students at some of the country’s leading universities being ridiculed over their accents and backgrounds, in some cases prompting them to leave education.

    The analysis found discrimination against working-class students was particularly prevalent among Russell Group universities. The group, which is made up of 24 institutions, has a reputation for academic excellence.

    In a series of Guardian interviews, students past and present reported bullying and harassment over their accents and working-class backgrounds. Some said their academic ability was questioned because of the way they spoke.

    The Social Mobility Commission (SMC), , which monitors progress in improving social mobility in the UK, described the situation as unacceptable and said accents had become a “tangible barrier” for some students.

    Sara Khan, a vice-president of the National Union of Students, said working-class students were sold a “myth of meritocracy”, but in some cases the reality was starkly different.

    “As long as working-class students have to pay for education, work alongside their studies to cover basic necessities, and are saddled with debt for the rest of their lives, higher education will never be a welcoming environment for them,” she said. “It is unfortunately inevitable that in a system like this, such students would face prejudice and harassment, which is only the tip of the iceberg regarding the classism in our education system.”…

  174. says

    As the White House’s white nationalist ties are exposed further, its defenders go on the attack

    The Trump White House’s embrace of white nationalists within the halls of its administration was exposed in even greater depth this week when the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Michael Edison Hayden published an in-depth examination of the career of Julia Hahn, the current deputy communications director and a longtime ally of senior adviser Stephen Miller, whose own white nationalist ties were previously exposed by Hayden.

    These are, moreover, hardly the only administration figures with extremist backgrounds—and as if to obscure the reality these reports substantiate, Trump’s defenders in the right-wing media are now attacking the journalists working to expose them by claiming that somehow they are actually part of a deep-state operation to “smear” Trump supporters. At least, that was the story Tucker Carlson was pitching on Fox News.

    Julia Hahn’s current role at the White House at least partially entails helping press secretary Kayleigh McEnany prepare her press briefings, but she has held several jobs in the administration prior to this one, primarily as an aide to Trump himself. In that capacity, as Hayden reports, Hahn was involved in a behind-the-scenes campaign to defend Miller in 2017 from a flood of negative reports about his extremist background.

    Prior to being hired by the White House, she had worked first as a producer for Fox News’ Laura Ingraham, who has her own history of promoting white nationalist themes. Somewhere around the end of her tenure there, she attended a writers workshop sponsored by an explicitly racist, white-nationalist publishing house, Social Contract Press—notorious for publishing the vile race-war screed, Camp of the Saints.

    Her next job was at Breitbart News, where she contributed significantly to that online news site’s alt-right/white nationalist content, particularly during the years it was overseen by Trump’s former chief adviser, Stephen Bannon. […]

    Hahn wrote McHugh a story pitch on July 12, 2016, under the subject line, “think you need to do a black on white crime #s story.”

    “How many whites have been killed by blacks since Obama has been in office?” Hahn asked McHugh in the body of that email. McHugh did not reply to that email. […]

    Much more at the link.

  175. says

    Oh no, another super-spreader event in Washington D.C.

    Thousands of people are expected to gather outside on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., on Sunday evening to participate in a worship event and to protest COVID-19 restrictions.

    The event, part of California-based Christian singer Sean Feucht’s “Let Us Worship” tour, is expected to draw up to 15,000 people, according to a permit issued this week.

    The National Park Service granted the permit for the event, which will take place on federal property, though participants will reportedly not be required to wear face masks.

    “For all permit applications, we discuss a COVID-19 mitigation plan with the event organizers, but that plan is not a requirement for or condition of the permit,” a Park Service official told CBS affiliate WUSA.

    “While the National Park Service strongly encourages social distancing, the use of face coverings and other measures to prevent the spread of infectious diseases, we will not require nor enforce their use.”

    Some have raised concerns about holding a large gathering – even outside – without widespread mask use.

    “It’s concerning,” Glenn Wortmann, chief of infectious diseases at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, told NBC affiliate WRC-TV.

    “I mean anytime there a group of a large number of people in one area, there is a potential for spread,” Wortmann said, adding that holding the event outside “makes the risk [of spread] lower.” […]

    The event will serve as the last stop of a prayer tour led by Feucht that has drawn large crowds across the country. Online images and videos from previous rallies feature mass baptisms, prayer and singing at the events. […]

    Link

  176. says

    Ian Dunt – “Week in Review: The spirit of Brexit haunts No.10 over covid”:

    …We have a Brexit administration dealing with non-Brexit problems. Whatever those problems were, these dynamics would eventually have emerged. A movement based on treating practical issues with identity arguments was always unsuited for government. But it is our great misfortune that the problems we happen to face are of such enormous severity, and that our lives and our financial well being depend on them being dealt with competently.

  177. tomh says

    Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner threaten lawsuit over Times Square billboard
    By Colby Itkowitz

    In the middle of Times Square are two massive billboards, one of a smiling Ivanka Trump next to the number of U.S. and New York coronavirus-related deaths, and the other of Jared Kushner, also grinning, next to a quote sounding cavalier about New Yorkers suffering from the pandemic.

    The larger-than-life signs were placed by the Lincoln Project, a group of anti-Trump Republicans who have made it their mission to produce ads intended to get under Trump’s skin.

    This one did.

    Marc E. Kasowitz, a lawyer for the president’s daughter and her husband, sent a letter to the organization threatening to sue if the billboards aren’t taken down, which the Lincoln Project posted on Twitter.

    “Of course, Mr. Kushner never made any such statement. Ms. Trump never made any such gesture, and the Lincoln Project’s representation that they did are an outrageous and shameful libel,” Kasowitz wrote. “If these billboards are not immediately removed, we will sue you for what will doubtless be enormous compensatory and punitive damages.”

    The image of Ivanka Trump gesturing toward the tally of the dead is lifted from a photo she took promoting Goya beans, which government watchdog groups said broke ethics laws. The quote attributed to Kushner that New Yorkers “are going to suffer and that’s their problem” is from a September Vanity Fair article. The article claims Kushner, in criticizing New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) said, “His people are going to suffer and that’s their problem.”

    The Lincoln Project released a statement that the billboards will remain up, saying it intends to make this “civics lesson” in the First Amendment “as painful as possible.”

    “Jared and Ivanka have always been entitled, out-of-touch bullies who have never given the slightest indication they have any regard for the American people,” the statement read. “We plan on showing them the same level of respect.”

  178. says

    Follow-up to comment 256.

    As for his rival Joe Biden, Trump said, “All he talks about is COVID, COVID, COVID. Because they want to scare people.”

    “Well, there’s some 225,000 fewer Americans to scare because they’re already dead.”—Kerry Eleveld

  179. says

    Israel:

    For the 18th week in a row, thousands of anti-Netanyahu protesters gather outside his official residence in Jerusalem

    Belarus:

    Women continue marching along the Independence Avenue chanting ‘Get the hell out! You and your OMON!’

    Videos at both links.

  180. says

    Trump campaign flouted agreement to follow health guidelines at rally, documents show.

    Washington Post link

    The start of […] Trump’s rally was still hours away when it became clear that his campaign would not keep its promise.

    In the days leading up to the Sept. 30 event in Duluth, Minn., local officials had privately pressed the campaign to abide by state public health guidelines aimed at slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus, documents show. In response, the campaign signed an agreement pledging to follow those rules, limiting attendance to 250 people.

    On the day of the rally, however, Trump supporters flooded onto the tarmac at Duluth International Airport. They stood shoulder to shoulder, many without masks.

    “We have been notified that the 250 person limit has been exceeded,” an airport representative emailed a campaign official late that afternoon. “This email serves as our notice of a contract violation and we are requesting you remedy the situation.”

    The warning went unheeded — and unanswered.

    Held two days before Trump was diagnosed with covid-19, the rally was attended by more than 2,500 people, airport officials estimated.

    The Duluth event shows the dilemma local officials face as Trump turns to his signature rallies in the closing weeks of the campaign: They can enforce local guidelines intended to protect the public, and risk antagonizing the campaign and its supporters, or they can look the other way as the campaign holds massive gatherings at a time when coronavirus cases are surging in many states.

    Emails and other documents obtained by The Washington Post through open-records requests show that Duluth officials insisted on adherence to the rules, and that the campaign responded by making commitments it ultimately did not keep. The documents also show that local officials suspected the campaign would violate the agreement, but shied away from enforcing public health orders for fear of provoking a backlash.

    […] Minnesota public health officials have traced 19 coronavirus cases to a pair of Trump rallies held in the state in September, three of them to the event in Duluth.

    […] On Oct. 5, Hanke, the attorney for the airport, sent the campaign a formal letter asserting that it had breached the agreement’s 250-person limit. The letter also said the Trump campaign had not paid the airport the $20,000 fee for hosting the event.

    Two weeks later, officials won’t say whether that fee has been paid. “That information is covered under our nondisclosure agreement and cannot be released,” a spokeswoman for the airport said in an email.

  181. johnson catman says

    re Lynna @274:

    The letter also said the Trump campaign had not paid the airport the $20,000 fee for hosting the event.

    What the fuck did they expect? When will these idiots begin demanding the payment up front from any entity connected to The Orange Toddler-Tyrant?!

  182. says

    johnson catman @275, good point.

    Speaking of things that are wrong with The Orange Toddler-Tyrant and his lackeys, Mary Trump wrote an opinion piece for The Washington Post: “Psychiatrists know what’s wrong with my uncle. Let them tell voters.’

    In 1964, Fact magazine published an unscientific survey asking psychiatrists whether they thought the Republican nominee, Barry Goldwater, was psychologically fit to serve as president of the United States. […] irresponsible and often bizarre analyses that were in some cases based entirely on rank speculation. “Goldwater is basically a paranoid schizophrenic” who “resembles Mao Tse-tung,” one offered. […]

    Embarrassed, the American Psychiatric Association (APA), in reaction to this debacle, established the “Goldwater Rule,” which barred its members from diagnosing public figures. It concluded that “it is unethical for a psychiatrist to offer a professional opinion unless he or she has conducted an examination and has been granted proper authorization for such a statement.” That’s fair, as far as it goes. But in March 2017, shortly after my uncle, Donald Trump, was inaugurated, the APA didn’t just reaffirm the rule — it expanded it past the point of coherence. Not only were members prohibited from diagnosing public figures, now they could no longer offer a professional opinion of any sort, no matter how well supported or evidence-based, even if they believed that a public figure posed a threat to the country’s citizens or national security.

    This is absurd on its face and has potentially serious consequences for the safety of the American people. While psychiatric diagnosis is a technical process, it is entirely within bounds to draw conclusions based on observable behavior. […] The APA has also stated that “psychiatrists are medical doctors; evaluating mental illness is no less thorough than diagnosing diabetes or heart disease.” That’s true — but what might a cardiologist say if a public figure kept having heart attacks? […] If the person who kept having heart attacks was a pilot who refused to seek medical attention, wouldn’t it be malpractice not to speak out? It is not an exaggeration to say that Donald has exhibited pathological behavior that is equally alarming — as evidenced most recently by his callous disregard for his own health and the well-being of those around him when he left Walter Reed hospital while still shedding coronavirus, or when he holds rallies and encourages thousands of people to attend without wearing masks or social distancing in order to prop up his ego.

    […] Every day legal experts weigh in on Donald’s unconstitutional or norm-breaking behaviors. Since his covid-19 diagnosis, medical experts have speculated about the course of his illness and the potentially dangerous side effects he may be experiencing as a result of the experimental treatments he’s received. Only the mental health experts have been effectively sidelined.

    […] If we look at the past 3½ years, Donald has lied publicly in excess of 20,000 times; he has impulsively, and against all reason, gone against the advice of experts who could have helped contain the pandemic and protect the economy; he has put private citizens at risk by attacking them on Twitter because they have criticized him; he has proved himself to be incapable of accepting responsibility, changing course or exhibiting empathy. As Courtney Fingar wrote recently in the New Statesman: “The public can observe all these things too, but does so largely without translation or explanation by actual experts. In the end, what was written as a rule to curb speculation has, in fact, allowed it to run rampant.”

    Donald’s rhetoric and behavior do have an enormous impact on and play an outsize role in the day-to-day lives of more than 300 million Americans and more in the larger world. We are, in this respect, in a relationship with him, even if it is inevitably one-sided. While it is impossible to diagnose him in the technical sense — because diagnosis is a stringent process that requires certain steps to be followed and certain data to be collected in a very specific way — shifting our focus from the diagnosis to the impact that erratic, impulsive, psychologically disordered behavior can have on those in a relationship, no matter how one-sided or involuntary, is not just useful but necessary.

    I am a trained clinical psychologist and have worked as a clinician. If Donald had walked into my office for an evaluation, I would have gathered less information about him from a normal intake interview than I could gather from the countless hours of video available from his decades in the public eye. Often when self-reports aren’t available — because the patient is either unable or unwilling to offer information — the clinician turns to those close to the patient in order to fill in the blanks. But none of that is necessary because examples of Donald’s disordered, impulsive, self-defeating and destructive behavior, which are unlikely to present themselves in a clinical setting, have been extensively recorded.

    Alan Stone, a Harvard professor of psychiatry, wrote that, as citizens, “psychiatrists enjoy freedom of speech — just not in their professional capacity.” Individual psychiatrists have agency and can speak if they want to. But to have a substantive and effective conversation about Donald’s fitness for office, a foundation must be laid by a governing body that can more effectively communicate the overarching concerns.

    Adopting a notionally neutral stance in this case doesn’t just create a void where professional expertise should be — it serves to normalize dysfunctional behavior. Paradoxically, the suggestion seems to be that speaking out about mental illness is the problem. But in truth, it is remaining silent about Donald’s obvious psychological impairment that is stigmatizing. By claiming that its silence is neutral, the APA is essentially granting Donald’s campaign an in-kind contribution while the American people remain subject to his often deranged and unpredictable behavior, without the tools necessary to evaluate it or understand how it renders him unfit for the office he holds.

    Washington Post link

  183. says

    It was only a matter time before society would have to become more fluent in diagnostic criteria. That’s a reason why I go through the process of demanding people show them when they make mental health/illness references. It’s got to be very specific and we should all know how it works.

  184. tomh says

    Mark Meadows: “We are not going to control the pandemic”
    Axios

    White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows defended Vice President Pence’s decision to continue traveling and campaigning despite his exposure to staff who have tested positive for COVID-19, saying Sunday that Pence is exempt from CDC guidelines because he is “essential personnel.”

    CDC guidelines call for people who have been exposed to the virus to quarantine for 14 days. Meadows said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that Pence will wear a mask when he travels and argued that “he’s not just campaigning,” pointing to the Israel-Sudan normalization agreement announced by the White House last week.

    Meadows told CNN that “we are not going to control the pandemic,” dismissing the notion that the appropriate COVID policy should be to “quarantine all of America.” Instead, Meadows argued, the focus should be on developing vaccines and therapeutics “to give Americans the relief that this is not a death sentence.”

    The exchange:

    MEADOWS: “We are not going to control the pandemic. We are going to control the fact that we get vaccines, therapeutics and other mitigation areas — ”
    JAKE TAPPER: “Why not get control of the pandemic?”
    MEADOWS: “Because it is a contagious virus just like the flu.”
    TAPPER: “But why not make efforts to contain it?”
    MEADOWS: “Well we are making efforts to contain it.”
    TAPPER: “By running all over the country and not wearing a mask? That’s what the vice president is doing.”
    MEADOWS: “Let me just say this. What we need to do is make sure that we have the proper mitigation factors, whether it’s therapies or vaccines or treatments, to make sure that people don’t die from this. But to suggest that we are going to actually quarantine all of America –”
    TAPPER: “No one’s saying that.”
    The U.S. reported over 80,000 new cases on Saturday for the second consecutive day.

  185. tomh says

    US Signs Multinational Women’s Health Declaration That Rejects Abortion
    October 24, 2020

    The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced that on Oct. 22, the United States co-sponsored a virtual signing ceremony for the Geneva Consensus Declaration on Promoting Women’s Health and Strengthening the Family. The Declaration (full text) which calls for universal health care and supporting the role of the family was signed by 32 countries. It reads in part:

    [We] Emphasize that “in no case should abortion be promoted as a method of family planning” and that “any measures or changes related to abortion within the health system can only be determined at the national or local level according to the national legislative process”;

    … Reaffirm that “the child… needs special safeguards and care… before as well as after birth”….

    The signatories agreed to work together to…Reaffirm that there is no international right to abortion, nor any international obligation on the part of States to finance or facilitate abortion…

    The primary co-sponsors of the Declaration are Brazil, Egypt, Hungary, Indonesia, Uganda and the United States. The signatories are mostly nations from Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe.

  186. says

    Follow-up to tomh’s comment 278,

    […] Asked about a detail in the New York Times’ report on Pence aides testing positive for COVID-19, which reported that Meadows sought to keep the news of the outbreak from being public, the White House chief of staff falsely asserted that it’s “not a report, it’s a tweet.”

    Meadows then said that “sharing personal information is not something that we should do.”

    “Not something that we do actually do unless it’s the vice president or the President or someone that is very close to them where there is people in harm’s way,” Meadows said. […]

    Link

    From comments posted by readers of the TPM article:

    They’re just fucking lazy. [I agree with this. They never want to do the work.]
    —————
    They’re just fucking us… over.
    —————————
    If the pandemic in America is contained, it will have been done by a Biden administration.
    ——————–
    “Even masks, Margaret – I was one of the early proponents … I wore a mask early, and I still got Covid and survived it.” – Robert O’Brien

    Multiple WH officials have gone on TV today & suggested masks aren’t effective, even as new daily US coronavirus cases hit record highs. pic.twitter.com/Q8Ij7ZfqSM 2
    Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 25, 2020
    ————————–
    I totally agree that they’re lazy but perhaps more than that, these scumbags are genuinely incompetent. They believe that they can BS people into believing that they’re not but reality ALWAYS betrays that.
    ———————–
    And Drumpf’s blindly loyal, credulous horde of supporters thinks it’s awesome that a president can be such a tough guy that he intentionally let’s people die just to own the libs. The right-wing is so drunk on the Kool-Aid that even when they’re the ones being killed, they think it’s fantastic and bad-ass. If only the Trump-45 Virus infected only conservatives.
    ———————
    I thought trump said its under control, that we’ve turned corners and its almost gone away.
    ——————-
    Jake closed with: “I wear a mask except when I’m in here, in my office, and at my home.” ” That is 100% true.” I wear a mask in the hallway here at CNN. Okay?”
    (He forgot to add: “You stupid, fucking moron.”)
    ———————
    Abandoning leadership. Abandoning morality. Abandoning the duty to provide for the common welfare.
    ————————
    All those assholes had to do was to listen to the doctors and epidemiologists, and to tell the idiots among the public who follow and admire them to act appropriately. We could have avoided at least 3/4 of the deaths we’ve seen so far, and with the virus spiking in the red states we’re going to see a lot more. Sometimes I really do have trouble trying to imagine how these people sleep at night.
    ————————–
    The only hand washing they are doing is washing their hands of the whole thing.

  187. says

    From Sen. Kamala Harris, the Democratic nominee for vice president:

    We are breaking records of the number of people that are contracting a deadly virus, and this administration fails to take personal responsibility or responsibility in terms of leading the nation through this dangerous, dangerous and deadly mass casualty event. And that’s why they have forfeited their right to a second term in office.

  188. KG says

    An unusual item of good news: < href=”https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/oct/25/treaty-banning-nuclear-weapons-made-official-with-50th-un-signatory”>the TPNW (Treaty Prohibiting Nuclear Weapons) will shortly come into force as Honduras became the 50th signatory to ratify. It only directly constrains the signatories, but will affect the decision-making of hundreds of corporations involved in the manufacture, maintenance, transport and storage of these genocidal weapons. The Trump administration has written to all 50 ratifying states, urging them to rescind ratification (I don’t think this would make a difference, legally), and pointing out that the USA, Russia, China, the UK and France are all opposed to the treaty (which I would count as a an obvious point in its favour).

  189. says

    The ‘Q’ movement is a pro-pedophile, pro-terrorist, anti-Semitic Nazi-adjacent Trumpian cult

    [Photo of Joliet Police officers in QAnon vests]
    A movement that combined neo-Nazi themes, Fox News conspiracy peddling, and drooling authoritarian Trumpism was probably inevitable.

    […] The New York Times has another look at the growth of “Q” nonsense in the Republican mainstream, and while it doesn’t contain anything new, it does more forcibly connect the batshit conspiracy theorizing of gullible, gullible supporters to the cowardice—and complicity—of Republican leaders.

    The most plausible explanation for the Q hokum, in which an anonymous supposed member of the Deep State drools out accusations against anyone deemed to be enemies of Donald Trump in comically performed pseudo-riddles, remains the obvious one: It is the work of chan-style trolls, part of that internet corner’s grand tradition of crafting gaudily improbable hoaxes to distribute for no other purpose than to see who they can draw in. It may turn out to be the first domestic terrorism group founded for funsies—though at this point, those connected to the movement have focused their claims and targets enough to make it clear that stoking incidents of real-world terrorism is, in fact, the current goal.

    […] Q conspiracies have been tailored to American conservative tastes because American conservatives are the richest (read: most gullible) targets. Fox News conservatives have been fed decades of tawdry but false information, all packaged with advertising pitches to buy gold, or “survival” equipment, or hyper-expensive pills sold through conservative mailing lists and on conservative programs relentlessly. It is an audience of laboratory-grown suckers, people who have been whittled down over the years to a base of the most credulous, and therefore profitable, marks.

    […] The QAnon claim is that most or all of the world’s most famous powerbrokers, including politicians, actors, nonpartisan government figures and so on, are secret ultra-pedophiles and child traffickers. But the revelation of Trump ally Jeffrey Epstein as precisely that did not make a ripple. […]

    The QAnon claims burst into Republican popularity after Donald J. Trump was accused of sexual assault by two dozen women, after his taped bragging about committing sexual assaults, and after a long public history of being an eager pervert—whether it be the purchase of a top beauty pageant as apparent ticket to ogle nude teenagers or the mysterious and Epsteinesque “Trump modeling company.” Instead, the movement holds Trump up as the mockingly dubious “hero” fighting against society’s sex predators. He is alleged to be doing this secretly, with Good Genes and near-godlike powers, and the movement remains absolutely immune to news cycle after news cycle in which their own predictions prove to be fan-fiction bunk.

    […] it continues the pattern of 1) Republican 2) conservative 3) Trump-allied 4) powerbrokers revealed as tawdry often-sexual-assaulting ultrapervs. From Wynn to Epstein to Broidy to Falwell to Rudy, there is a very robust claim to be made that the QAnon suspicions of an enormously powerful cabal of sex freaks are indeed well-founded—and that they radiate from the Republican National Committee’s finance offices, from Mar-a-Lago, or both.

    […] It should be obvious from that history, then, that isn’t a conspiracy base that gives a damn about pedophilia and child sex trafficking […]

    This is a group born to defend criminal acts by the powerful, not combat them. It does so using the precise playbook Trump himself uses when caught committing apparent tax fraud, foreign extortion, or embezzlement: The projection defense. It’s not me, it was that other guy. It has always been that other guy. […]

    As Trump’s charity foundation was revealed to be little more than a passthrough for the Trump family’s personal spending—resulting in the family being barred from future charity boards—an organized effort to portray the Clinton’s own family foundation as corrupt erupted from longtime conservative hoax-peddlers. As Trump personally profited off the presidency with the aid of his sons and favorite daughter, a new hoax emerged claiming that Actually it was the Biden family that was doing that thing. It is the far-right response to revealed Republican wrongdoing. […]

    In that context, QAnon’s relentlessly partisan far-right claim that a Republican Party visibly awash in corruption—with a series of Trump lieutenants and allies being led off in handcuffs for everything from sex trafficking to foreign influence-peddling to election crimes—is “actually” a group of heroes working to expose the corruption of their enemies looks less like a coincidence than a pattern.

    […] There’s not a lot of daylight between the QAnon version of reality and that promoted by Glenn Beck’s now-famous chalkboards, or Tucker Carlson’s parade of “alt-right” fascist-adjacent guests. The online versions of each conspiracy are always more vigorous than the versions the Fox hosts themselves provide, but they each grow from similar stock. They intertwine more often than not.

    […] The movement’s guides insist not only that there is a secret global cabal of child sex traffickers, but that the ultimate purpose of the plot, run by “globalist” figures, is to harvest those children’s fluids for consumption.

    There’s not an educated person alive who doesn’t recognize that theory. It is the blood libel conspiracy theory that has been promulgated by anti-Semites for literally hundreds of years, but made most famous in Nazi Germany for a variation very close to the Q version.

    The QAnon claim does not bother to go too far afield from the versions peddled in the 1920s and 30s. “Globalists” is used to mean “Jewish,” as it is by most modern neo-Nazi adherents; rather than “blood” of children, a specific compound is named this time around in near-comical pseudoscientific gibberish. The premise of a secret group of global “elites” running the world from the shadows is the claim from the Henry Ford-peddled hoax Protocols of the Elders of Zion; the omnipresent inclusions of George Soros and “Hollywood” as alleged conspirators are lifted directly from neo-Nazi fever dreams, anti-Semitic tropes that were willingly taken in as staples of Republican Party rhetoric long before Q-anything arrived on scene.

    So it’s clear that the originators of QAnon are well-versed in neo-Nazi and anti-Semitic propaganda, and are particularly interested in repopularizing it for a modern audience. […] achieve true cult status, with some adherents willing to commit terrorist acts in deluded efforts to prove conspiracies invented in someone else’s head […]

    [….] Fox News and conservative talk radio provided a large Republican base already trained to disbelieve news uncomfortable to the party, a base literally willing to deny reality in favor of pleasing fictions. A set of gullibles that could easily be transformed into deplorables.

    The white supremacist and white nationalist movement provided the conspiracy itself, a bog-standard edition of “evil global cabal that has secretly undermined world governments” that has been a staple of neo-Nazi movements in this country and in others.

    American militia movements are providing, in a literal sense, the ammunition: A far-right collection of malcontents who insist that violence against nonright citizens is essential, glorious […]

    The Republican Party’s own widespread embrace of corruption, nearly all of it centered around Trump, has all but required more and more outrageous conspiracy theories as official party defense.

    That all of this would combine into kleptocratic fascism is not surprising. That its enablers did not, at any point along the way, reflect on the likely outcome of the combination is damning.

    It remains vitally important to see QAnon for what it is, and no more. […] It is a scam intended for the most gullible. […]

    As racism-embracing nitwits incapable of discerning truth from fiction despite having access to nearly all of human history tucked in the space before a single wandering thumb, its adherents should be mocked. There is not enough mocking of willful, self-absorbed, self-interested gullibility these days, which is why it spreads so prolifically. If you willingly listen to Fox News hosts lie to you night after night and become irate at contrary information, you are a self-built fool and should be treated as such. If you believe that Donald Trump, serial sex abuser, pedophile-adjacent thug is the good Christian hero who will secretly reveal that everyone aside from him is the dribbling pervert he appears to be, however, you are something closer to a half-sentient wart. You should be pilloried as one of the true suckers of the planet.

    Congratulations, all those willing to fall for transparent anti-Semitic gobbledegook rather than admit you got played by a skeevy lifelong con man. You certainly have revealed yourselves.

  190. says

    Joe McCarthy wanted history to forget the inimitable Hazel Scott—and almost succeeded

    Too long to excerpt. A well-told story of black pianist, Hazel Scott. The mini-documentary “What Ever Happened to Hazel Scott” is available at the link, as well as video snippets of her performances, including her performing “Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2” by Franz Liszt, for World War II soldiers, and then segueing into jazz.

    […] In 1950, right-wing journal Red Channels put out a list of actors, musicians and others in entertainment industry suspected of being Communist sympathizers. The list included Leonard Bernstein, Orson Wells and Hazel Scott. It was common during the post-Cold War, McCarthy era for artists to be blacklisted from future employment if suspected of being ‘subversives’ of any sort – even if in Hazel’s case, she was not accused of any actual support of the Soviets. Fearful, Hazel volunteered to testify before the House Un-American Activities. She denied being a communist, but strongly criticized the blacklisting process.

    Her speech ended with an impassioned request to the committee to “protect those Americans who have honestly, wholesomely, and unselfishly tried to perfect this country”, concluding: “The actors, musicians, artists, composers, and all of the men and women of the arts are eager and anxious to help, to serve. Our country needs us more today than ever before. We should not be written off by the vicious slanders of little and petty men.”

    Hazel’s speech made the headlines. A week later, her talk show was cancelled – and concert bookings took a nosedive. […]

    From related Twitter posts:

    You know the first show Dr Martin Luther King Jr went to with a non-segregated audience?

    HAZEL FREAKIN’ SCOTT.

    She was born 100 years ago, and should be being celebrated from every rooftop today.
    —————————
    Who is Hazel Scott? Alicia Keys shouts-out a legendary double piano player http://twib.in/l/yMBeMAqn957E

    Video of the tribute from Alicia Keys is available at the link.

    I’m hoping that Hazel Scott’s name and legacy will be obscured no more.

    If you are early voting, and headed to the polls, why not make and take a Hazel Scott playlist with you to pass the time on those long lines?

  191. says

    From Representative ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ:

    It does not bother me [Joe Biden saying that he does not plan to ban fracking]. I believe, and I have a very strong position on fracking. You know, the science is very clear, the methane emissions from fracking are up to 64 times more powerful than CO2 emissions and trapping heat in the air, and from a perspective of stopping climate change there is a scientific consensus. However, that is my view. Vice President Biden has made very clear that he does not agree with the fracking ban and I consider that, you know—it will be a privilege to lobby him should we win the White House but we need to focus on winning the White House first. I am happy to make my case but I understand he is in disagreement with that issue.

    When he says we are eliminating subsidies [to the fossil fuel industry], I think that is, frankly, an important first step. A lot of folks who like to tout themselves as free market capitalists, while still trying to make sure they get as much government subsidy, and propping up of the fossil fuel industry as possible. If you do believe in markets, solar and renewable energies are growing less and less expensive by the day in many areas. They are starting to become less expensive than fossil fuels. When you eliminate government subsidies, it becomes more difficult for fossil fuels to compete in the market. I think while the Vice President wants to make sure that he is not doing it by government mandate or regulation. I do believe we are moving towards that future. I believe that there’s a way and that we should push that process along but the vice president and my disagreements are, I believe, recorded and that is quite all right.

    Text quoted above is excerpted from an interview conducted by Jake Tapper.

  192. says

    Trump administration planned to spend $250M to give mall Santas early vaccines to promote reopening

    The Trump administration is a few things: it’s fascistic, it’s xenophobic, it’s white supremacist, it’s corrupt, and it is incompetent. The last part of this is a common trait in dens filled with thieves. In some respects it is the saving grace of this regime, as their ability to truly overthrow our democracy has mostly been hampered by their general incompetence. […] they aren’t very good at anything that doesn’t have to do with the short-term thinking of lining their own pockets. Best people and all of that.

    Tragically, the other side of this incompetence is their inability to even muster up the most basic of functioning governmental infrastructures. This has led to, as of this story’s writing, 225,000 dead Americans due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The lacking response to the growing global pandemic, due to both cowardice and egomania, has been well-documented. But the Wall Street Journal has just reported a new level of low: details of the Trump administration’s plans on how to promote reopening the United States by using Santa Clauses, while not protecting the general public.

    According to the WSJ, this coronavirus ad campaign would have cost taxpayers $250,000,000, and was being coordinated by the Department of Health and Human Services. Titled “Covid 19 Public Health and Reopening America Public Service Announcements and Advertising Campaign,” the plan would have offered a deal where Santa Claus performers would receive early vaccines—like before the rest of the American public early—in order to get out there and bring the Christmas cheer to consumers […]

    I am 45-years-old. I have never missed a Christmas in New York, with my immediate family, in my entire life. Even after I moved out West over a decade ago, and even with two young children, I’ve gone back every year to celebrate the holidays in general with the family. I will not be able to do that this year because of Donald Trump and the Republican Party’s handling of our country’s national security response to the COVID-19 virus. The Republican Party was right: there is a war on Christmas and all of those family value things they babble about when it is convenient for them. But that war is from within. They, along with their most conservatively Christian base, have turned their own temples into dens of thieves.

  193. says

    Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer urged colleagues not to congregate on the Senate floor Sunday or Monday and to “cast your votes quickly and from a safe distance” in the wake of news that at least five people in Pence’s circle have tested positive for the virus, including the vice president’s chief of staff, Marc Short.

    Schumer is sounding the alarm ahead of a final up-or-down vote on Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett over which Pence, who is also the president of the Senate, is expected to preside in the chamber. That vote is expected Monday evening.

  194. says

    BBC – “France recalls Turkey envoy after Erdogan says Macron needs ‘mental check'”:

    France has recalled its ambassador to Turkey for consultations after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan insulted his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron.

    He said Mr Macron needed a mental health check for pledging to defend secular values and fight radical Islam.

    Mr Macron has spoken out forcefully on these issues after a French teacher was murdered for showing cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in class.

    France “will not give up our cartoons”, he said earlier this week.

    Responding to Mr Macron’s campaign to defend such values – which began before the teacher was murdered – Mr Erdogan asked in a speech: “What’s the problem of the individual called Macron with Islam and with the Muslims?”

    He added: “Macron needs treatment on a mental level.

    “What else can be said to a head of state who does not understand freedom of belief and who behaves in this way to millions of people living in his country who are members of a different faith?”

    In the wake of the remarks, a French presidential official told AFP news agency that France’s ambassador to Turkey was being recalled for consultations, and would be meeting Mr Macron.

    “President Erdogan’s comments are unacceptable. Excess and rudeness are not a method. We demand that Erdogan change the course of his policy because it is dangerous in every respect,” the official was quoted as saying.

    Earlier this month, Mr Macron described Islam as a religion “in crisis,” and announced plans for tougher laws to tackle what he called “Islamist separatism” in France.

    He said a minority of France’s estimated six million Muslims were in danger of forming a “counter-society”.

    Some in Western Europe’s largest Muslim community have accused Mr Macron of trying to repress their religion and say his campaign risks legitimising Islamophobia.

  195. says

    From Amy Davidson Sorkin, writing for The New Yorker: “Trump’s Bitter, Vainglorious Fantasy of America on the Debate Stage’

    The America that Donald Trump described in his debate with Joe Biden last Thursday night is a strangely destructible place—one that might, in a blink, disappear. In an exchange about covid-19, Trump said, “We can’t close up our nation, or you’re not going to have a nation.” After a few minutes, he repeated that warning, saying, “We have to open our country—we’re not going to have a country.” This is not a new move for Trump: the list of things without which, he has previously said, Americans won’t have a country includes a border wall, steel, petroleum, eminent domain, and his reëlection. Later in the debate, he noted that, if a President Biden secured a public option for health care, “this whole country will come down.”

    Whether Trump wins or loses on November 3rd, Thursday night was almost certainly the last time that he will appear on a debate stage. He used the occasion to present a bitter, vainglorious fantasy of America, with triumphs invented and disasters ignored. As always, he added a dose of conspiracy theories—“All of the e-mails, the e-mails, the horrible e-mails!”—in an attempt to leave people perplexed about the truth. In contrast with the first Presidential debate, he more or less obeyed the time limits (enforced by microphone muting) and didn’t try to shout down Biden or the moderator, Kristen Welker, which mainly showed that he can prevaricate calmly. […]

    Biden’s challenge, which he navigated fairly well, was that Trump lies in a manner that is so unanchored to reality that it becomes disorienting. Never mind, for example, that the Trump Administration’s lawyers are heading to the Supreme Court in two weeks to argue that the entire Affordable Care Act, including its protections for people with preëxisting conditions, should be thrown out, and that Trump has articulated no plan for what would replace it. When asked what he would do, he replied, simply, that “preëxisting conditions will always stay.” [snipped other examples]

    Trump’s falsehoods are always harmful, but distinctly so when it comes to the pandemic. […] Cases are rising in a majority of states; the official toll of dead Americans is approaching a quarter of a million, and will perhaps reach four hundred thousand by the end of the year—numbers that Biden said should, by themselves, disqualify Trump for the Presidency. Welker noted that the pandemic is entering “a dangerous new phase.” Not in Trump’s view. He insisted that any spikes will soon dissipate—“It’s going away”—and added that anyone who has doubts about his timeline for distributing a vaccine by the end of the year just doesn’t share his faith in the capabilities of the American military to get the job done.

    The President used the debate almost as an infomercial to encourage people to court infection. “I got better very fast,” he said. “And now they say I’m immune.” (One of his key pandemic advisers, Scott Atlas, has reportedly pushed what amounts to a pursuit of natural herd immunity, at the likely cost of hundreds of thousands of lives.) Trump claimed that “ninety-nine per cent” of Americans would likewise survive the virus, as if vulnerable Americans were a rounding error, and covid-19 didn’t have long-term effects on many survivors. Some of Biden’s best moments came in confronting Trump’s attempts to divide and marginalize, as when, speaking about the sites of recent spikes, the former Vice-President said, “They’re the red states, they’re the states in the Midwest, they’re the states in the upper Midwest. . . . But they’re all Americans.” In response, Trump mocked New York’s high death toll.

    […] The penal colony on the Great Lakes [Michigan], like the zombie metropolis on the Hudson [NYC], is a place that exists only in Trump’s imagination.

    The brittleness that pervades America’s political culture comes, in part, from four years of Trump responding to every problem by deriding someone else. One of his main targets on Thursday was Biden’s son Hunter […]

    A plain translation is that Trump is attacking Biden, his family, and any Democrat he sees because he is behind in the polls and is getting desperate. That same impulse underlies his frenetic prophecies of American doom. During the debate, Trump said of Biden, “If he’s elected, the stock market will crash!” But the polls don’t seem to have sparked any fall; Wall Street apparently doesn’t think that America will disappear. Indeed, if Biden wins, some of the country’s values may reëmerge. And Trump is the one who will be gone.

    Link

  196. johnson catman says

    re Lynna @291:

    And Trump is the one who will be gone.

    I am sure Fox or some other right-wingnut entity will give him a platform, but hopefully I will never have to hear his whiny ass voice again. Or his fucked-up offspring.

  197. tomh says

    Pennsylvania Republicans return to Supreme Court to challenge extended deadline for mail-in ballots
    Amy Howe

    Four days after the justices left in place a ruling by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court that requires election officials in that state to count mail-in ballots received within three days after Election Day, Nov. 3, Pennsylvania Republicans returned to the Supreme Court. This time, rather than asking the court to put the state supreme court’s ruling on hold, they asked the justices to rule on the merits of the case – and to do so before Election Day. And with the Senate set to vote on Monday night on the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to fill the vacancy left by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, there could be nine justices to consider, and eventually vote on, the Republicans’ request.
    […]

    The eight-member court denied the request on Monday. Four of the court’s conservative justices indicated that they had voted to grant the Republicans’ request and block the state court’s decision…

    It should be noted that ballots still must be postmarked on or before election day, it’s just that they would still be counted if delivery were delayed.

  198. says

    Talia Lavin:

    so the FBI showed up at my house about death and rape threats because of my book

    unnerving! but i would do it again. and im not scared.

    ok im kinda scared. but not enough to shut up!

    anyway buy the damn thing please in case i die…

    I’m reading her book right now and recommend it. Culture Warlords: My Journey into the Dark Web of White Supremacy.

  199. says

    Sens. Schatz and Murphy today on Twitter:

    Murphy: McConnell just placed a giant ad buy in Georgia. And I can tell you why – internal polls show Sen. Perdue in BIG trouble.

    So today, a HUGE goal: raise $500K for Jon Ossoff. He’s short on $$ for his turnout effort. Folks, if we win GA, it’s OVER.

    Schatz: Hey @ChrisMurphyCT – Good news and bad news. Good news is we’ve raised a ton. Bad news is Mitch McConnell just dropped 5 million dollars into Georgia for the next nine days. Good news is it is close. Bad news – it is close.

    Murphy: Yup, the late billionaire Super PAC money is concerning. But that’s why we set our goal so ridiculously high today.

    Ossoff says he needs this $500K to run the turnout campaign his team has designed.

    So we’ve been at it for 3.5 hours…where we at? Can we make it?

    Schatz: We are at 360k from just over 10 thousand donors. We have 140 k more to hit our goal. LFG!

    [donation link at the link]

    Murphy: Amazing. Remember, a great Ossoff turnout operation helps the whole ticket. Helps Warnock and Biden too. And Biden is heading to Georgia Tuesday which tells you which way they think the state is heading.

    We can do 140K more – I know we can.

  200. says

    Axios – “Scoop: Trump’s post-election execution list” (irresponsible headline):

    If President Trump wins re-election, he’ll move to immediately fire FBI Director Christopher Wray and also expects to replace CIA Director Gina Haspel and Defense Secretary Mark Esper, two people who’ve discussed these officials’ fates with the president tell Axios.

    The big picture: The list of planned replacements is much longer, but these are Trump’s priorities, starting with Wray.

    Wray and Haspel are despised and distrusted almost universally in Trump’s inner circle. He would have fired both already, one official said, if not for the political headaches of acting before Nov. 3.

    Why it matters: A win, no matter the margin, will embolden Trump to ax anyone he sees as constraining him from enacting desired policies or going after perceived enemies.

    Trump last week signed an executive order that set off alarm bells as a means to politicize the civil service. An administration official said the order “is a really big deal” that would make it easier for presidents to get rid of career government officials.

    There could be shake-ups across other departments. The president has never been impressed with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, for example. But that doesn’t carry the urgency of replacing Wray or Haspel.

    The nature of top intelligence and law enforcement posts has traditionally carried an expectation for a higher degree of independence and separation from politics….

    More atl.

  201. says

    BREAKING: Kamala Harris is coming to Houston again.

    For the first time since 1988 we have a Democratic Vice Presidential candidate campaigning in Texas down stretch

    It further shows how the Biden & Trump campaigns have very different views on Texas. Jill Biden, Doug Emhoff & now Harris will have been here down the stretch.

    Meanwhile Tim Murtaugh says Trump is ‘focusing his time & travel & energy on the states that will decide the election’.”

  202. says

    Update to #295:

    Holy moly. A half million dollars in 8 hours. That’s a record, right??

    But extra $100K tonight for @ossoff tonight could be the difference between win and lose. Let’s up the goal to $600K. It’s important. We win Georgia, McConnell is the minority leader.

    …Hey we’re at $500,000 to flip the Georgia Senate seat. Amazing.

    We need to do another $100K. But @brianschatz and I are the 2 Senators covering the Senate floor overnight to keep the Coney Barrett fight going.

    Can you guys handle this? $100K more.

  203. says

    Update from 60 Minutes: “President Trump’s press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, gave us a heavy book that she described as the president’s health care plan. It was filled with executive orders and congressional initiatives, but no comprehensive healthcare plan.”

    Video clip atl. This just aired. Truly one of the stupidest and most desperate stunts ever in a presidential campaign. Trump was like a Trump impersonator during the interview. And the whining.

  204. says

    Breaking: Fox News prez Jay Wallace ‘and several of the network’s top anchors’, including @BretBaier and @MarthaMaccallum, ‘have been advised to quarantine after being exposed to someone on a private flight who later tested positive for the coronavirus’.”

  205. tomh says

    Amy Coney Barrett’s immediate impact
    Axios

    In her first week on the job, Amy Coney Barrett may be deciding which votes to count in the presidential election. By her third week, she’ll be deciding the fate of the Affordable Care Act.

    The Senate votes on Barrett’s nomination tomorrow. If she’s confirmed, Chief Justice John Roberts is expected to swear her in at the Supreme Court within hours, an administration official tells Axios.

    At that point, she’s officially on the job, even if a ceremonial swearing-in at the White House comes later…

    This means Barrett could weigh in immediately on election-related cases piling up, including emergency petitions on extending deadlines for counting absentee ballots.

    Barrett could seal a majority delivering Republicans some decisive wins.

    Because of a 4-4 tie last week, the court let stand an extended ballot-counting deadline in Pennsylvania. Roberts joined the three remaining liberals, while his conservative colleagues voted to block the extension.
    If that conservative bloc held and was joined by Barrett, it could change how ballots are counted after Election Day in two critical swing states, Wisconsin and North Carolina.

    More election-related lawsuits could reach the court in the coming weeks. Barrett also could jump straight into some enormously consequential work on the court’s regular schedule.

    On Nov. 4, the court will hear a significant case on the collision of LGBTQ rights and religious freedom: whether Philadelphia violated the First Amendment by requiring adoption agencies to serve same-sex couples.

    The week of Nov. 10, the court is scheduled to hear the Affordable Care Act case that dominated Barrett’s confirmation hearings.

  206. KG says

    For the first time since 1988 we have a Democratic Vice Presidential candidate campaigning in Texas down stretch

    It further shows how the Biden & Trump campaigns have very different views on Texas. Jill Biden, Doug Emhoff & now Harris will have been here down the stretch.

    Meanwhile Tim Murtaugh says Trump is ‘focusing his time & travel & energy on the states that will decide the election’.” – Jeremy S. Wallace quoted by SC@298

    This is actually rational strategy on the part of Trump’s campaign: only if the polls are badly wrong andor they can find a much more effective “October surprise” andor cheat effectively enough is there any real chance they’re going to win – and in any of those cases, they are very unlikely to lose Texas. OTOH, putting some effort into Texas is probably rational for Biden’s team: it’s very unlikely to be crucial for a win, but taking it would be a huge blow to Republican morale, and would make post-election cheating much more difficult.

  207. says

    Update! – Guardian – “Celebrations as Chile votes by huge majority to scrap Pinochet-era constitution”:

    Chile has voted overwhelmingly in favor of rewriting the country’s constitution to replace guiding principles imposed four decades ago under the military dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet.

    Jubilant pro-reform supporters took to the streets of the capital Santiago and other cities to celebrate on Sunday night after exit polls showed that 78.24% of people had voted to approve a rewrite, while 21.76% rejected the change.

    Voters also elected for the new constitution to be entirely drafted by a popularly elected body – meaning no active lawmakers can be involved in the process.

    In a speech to the nation after the results became clear, President Sebastián Piñera acknowledged the victory for those seeking a new charter but cautioned it was only the start of a long process.

    “Starting today, we must all collaborate so that the new constitution is the great framework for unity, stability and the future,” he said.

    The special convention would begin drafting a new constitution that would be submitted to voters in mid-2022.

    The referendum was conceded by Piñera in November last year after a hike in metro rail fares flared into a movement against inequality and high costs of living. Demonstrations included episodes of violence — clashes with police forces left more than 30 civilians killed and thousands injured.

    Protesters’ demands included reforms to the country’s privatised education, health, and pensions sectors, which converged into a call to change the country’s Pinochet-era constitution.

    Catalina Miranda, 34, was among a crowd of thousands celebrating the result in Santiago’s Plaza Italia as the results were announced on Sunday night.

    “We’ve been living under an illegitimate constitution created by a military regime, that’s only allowed progress to those who have money,” she says. “There’s been very few times that Chilean people have shared a collective victory like today.”

    Principally written by Pinochet adviser Jaime Guzmán, the 1980 constitution enshrined the neoliberal philosophies of the Chicago Boys, a group of Chilean conservatives mentored by US economist Milton Friedman.

    It advocated minimal state intervention, allowing private sectors to control public services.

    Conceived during a dictatorship guilty of political murder, torture, and exile, the 1980 constitution was compromised since its inception.

    Political and social groups have a two-month window to nominate candidates to form the constitutional assembly.

    In April, the public will elect 155 members, with equal numbers of men and women — significantly, the world’s first constitution to achieve gender parity.

    They will draft the charter over nine months, with the option of a three-month extension.

    Once the draft is ready, voters must decide whether they accept the new charter in an obligatory exit referendum in 2022. The new draft must be approved by a majority to replace the 1980 charter.

  208. says

    Here’s a link to the October 26 Guardian coronavirus world liveblog.

    From there:

    Russia’s daily tally of new coronavirus cases surged to a record high of 17,347 on Monday, including 5,224 in Moscow, taking the national tally to 1,531,224.

    Authorities said 219 people had died in the last 24 hours, pushing the official death toll to 26,269.

    Angela Merkel has warned that Germany is on the verge of losing control of its fight against the coronavirus, reportedly telling colleagues from her Christian Democratic party this morning “the situation is threatening” and “every day counts”, writes Kate Connolly, the Guardian’s Berlin correspondent.

    At the internal meeting of the CDU, details of which were leaked to the media by participants, the chancellor warned of “very, very difficult months ahead” and said that “every day counts” in terms of tackling the virus’s spread.

    On Friday she is due to hold a meeting with the leaders of the 16 states where it is expected they will agree on tougher nationwide restrictions than those currently in place.

    Merkel used her weekly podcast at the weekend to renew her insistence that people were not powerless to control the virus, and to appeal to them to “reduce contacts” as this was the most convincing measure to tackle it.

    She said even though “people expect politicians to come up with new words” her message had not changed, and so she would simply go ahead and repeat her podcast from the previous week. The old podcast was promptly blended in.

    Jens Spahn, the health minister, who is in quarantine having been diagnosed with coronavirus last week, appealed in a video message for people to stop believing those who were attempting to downplay the severity of the virus, adding that Germany’s health system was in danger of being overwhelmed if the number of new cases was not kept in check.

    Meanwhile authorities in Berlin, which already for several weeks has been considered one of the nation’s coronavirus hotspots, have said they will veer away from tracking and tracing those infected with coronavirus due to a lack of resources, and will rely instead on infected persons taking responsibility for themselves and going into isolation at home as well as taking the initiative in contacting people with whom they have been in touch.

    The health authorities will switch their focus onto the vulnerable instead, including medical personnel, patients in hospitals and care homes as well as homeless people.

    Berlin cases have been well over 100 per 100,000 for several days, over double the critical 50 per 100,000 marker.

  209. says

    The way cable news is covering the campaign schedules right now is bizarre and irresponsible. The line seems to be: Trump is out doing rallies all over the pace, while Biden hasn’t done many since the DNC, and some unnamed Dems might be worried. We’re in the middle of a pandemic, cases are surging across several battleground states, Biden doesn’t want to endanger his supporters or their communities, and keeping him safe is very important. They veer from segments with public health experts who point out how insane the Trump campaign’s tactics are to these ones where they’re borderline shaming Biden for not doing large events. Madness. (I confess that I’ve never really understood the whole thing about presidential candidates having to personally go to all of these places to get people there to vote for them, but talking about this election like it’s normal and Biden should be getting out there more is absurd.)

  210. says

    The Union Leader newspaper in Manchester, N.H., which has a notoriously conservative editorial board, hasn’t endorsed a Democratic presidential candidate in over a century. Over the weekend, it announced its support for Biden.

    Link

    It is a more-or-less reluctant endorsement, and the editorial board spends some time praising Trump. Still, when Trump can’t get the endorsement of The Union Leader in New Hampshire you know he is going down.

  211. says

    Marjorie Taylor Greene is the Republican candidate in Georgia who is also a proponent of the crackpot QAnon conspiracy theory.

    […] Given Greene’s record of radicalism, Politico reported at the time that the House’s highest-ranking Republicans were “racing to distance themselves” from the right-wing candidate. The Washington Post quoted one GOP source soon after saying, “There are a lot of members livid at [House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy] for sitting back and doing nothing to stop this woman from being elected.”

    But as the summer progressed, the party’s posture slowly evolved. Donald Trump, for example, not only endorsed Greene’s candidacy, the president also called her a “future Republican Star” and invited her to attend his convention speech at the White House. When Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) condemned QAnon and the Republican candidates who espouse such madness, the Trump campaign quickly went on the attack — against Kinzinger.

    As Election Day nears, the party has apparently abandoned it concerns altogether. The Daily Beast reported yesterday:

    After weeks of wavering, the national Republican party has formally thrown its support behind Marjorie Taylor Greene, the Georgia Republican House candidate who is openly supportive of QAnon. The National Republican Congressional Committee donated $5,000 to Greene’s congressional campaign on September 25, according to campaign finance records — the maximum amount the committee can donate. The donation formalizes the GOP’s acceptance of Greene’s candidacy after top officials in the party had signaled hesitancy in backing her.

    In case this isn’t obvious, it’s worth emphasizing how wholly unnecessary this is. Greene is the Republican nominee in one of the nation’s reddest districts. She didn’t need the boost and the NRCC’s backing won’t affect the outcome of her race at all: Greene’s victory is inevitable. (Her Democratic rival quit the race weeks ago.)

    But the National Republican Congressional Committee apparently wanted to give the fringe candidate its official backing anyway, drawing a formal connection between the party and QAnon adherent.

    On “Meet the Press” yesterday, NBC News’ Chuck Todd asked outgoing Rep. Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-Va.) about the message the Republican Party is sending by supporting a congressional candidate accused of years’ worth of racist and offensive antics.

    The Virginia Republican lamented, in reference to his party, “We’ve lost our way.” Riggleman added, “[W]hen we start to actually represent as a party that’s part of this anti-Semitic conspiracy theory that believes there’s some kind of pedophilic cabal on the Democratic side of the House, I think we’re in for a rough ride.”

    Link

    So Trump endorsed the QAnon candidate and then the Republican Congressional Committee also endorsed her (and sent her some money she didn’t need). That’s who they are.

  212. says

    Doctors, nurses push back against Trump’s latest conspiracy theory

    Trump is now pushing a conspiracy theory that hospitals are over-classifying coronavirus deaths. Doctors and nurses wasted little time pushing back.

    It was seven months ago this week when Donald Trump first pushed a conspiracy theory related to hospitals and the coronavirus pandemic. As [Trump] argued in late March, hospitals lacked the equipment and materials needed because staff might be stealing supplies.

    “Where are the masks going? Are they going out the back door?” [Trump] asked, adding, “We have that happening in numerous places.”

    None of this was true. In fact, the Trump administration was failing to supply hospitals with necessary resources, which led the president to falsely accuse hospital staff of widespread thefts.

    Seven months later, against a backdrop of a brutal third peak, Trump peddled an entirely different conspiracy theory related to hospitals and the coronavirus pandemic. The Associated Press reported over the weekend on the president’s remarks at a campaign rally in Wisconsin:

    Trump went further, pushing a conspiracy theory that hospitals are over-classifying coronavirus deaths because “doctors get more money and hospitals get more money” — even though there is no evidence of that and experts say the count is likely under-reported.

    So that’s what Trump would do if he ran a hospital: he would over-classify coronavirus deaths in order to get more money.

    As part of this unscripted line of attack, [Trump] added, in reference to alleged hospital corruption, “Think of this incentive.”

    […] it’s worth acknowledging the depravity of rhetoric like Trump’s. Since the start of the crisis, front-line medical workers have made enormous sacrifices, done life-saving work, and earned our respect and gratitude. For Trump to both fail in his response to the crisis and falsely accuse heroes of corruption is appalling, even for him.

    […] Trump’s comments did not go unnoticed. The American Medical Association, the nation’s largest group of doctors, issued a statement over the weekend that didn’t specifically reference [Trump] by name, but nevertheless made clear that he’s wrong:

    At a time when physicians and other health care professionals are providing care to a record number of COVID-19 patients amidst a third wave, there is misinformation about how patients are counted. Let’s be clear: physicians are not inflating the number of COVID-19 patients. Research published in [the Journal of the American Medical Association] and CDC reports indicate the U.S. had significantly more deaths in 2020 than in previous years (excess deaths). Physicians and patients are making remarkable sacrifices and we continue urging all to wear a mask, physical distance, and wash your hands to reduce suffering, illness, and death.

    Around the same time, National Nurses United, the nation’s largest union and professional association of registered nurses, issued a related statement condemning Trump’s rhetoric. The statement said, among other things, “This is a reminder why nurses are actively campaigning to elect Joe Biden as president.”

    Trump has pulled a lot of stunts, and he has said a lot of stupid things, but this one really irks me. I have relatives in the nursing profession. Trump’s claims are not true. “Depravity” is the right word to use when describing Trump’s rhetoric.

  213. says

    Follow-up to SC’s comment 302:

    On his show on Friday night, MSNBC’s Brian Williams extended a suggestion to viewers. “If you do go out this weekend, please do so safely, and please pay special attention to your surroundings — situational awareness they call it,” the host said. “Look around and look hard, because you can be a part of a great national effort to find the president’s health care plan.”

    Link

  214. says

    Follow-up to SC’s comment 296.

    Trump plans to purge every last vestige of competence from the federal government if he wins

    The only thing holding Donald Trump back from axing the heads of the nation’s top two intelligence agencies is the upcoming election […] Trump and his “inner circle” totally distrust both FBI Director Chris Wray and CIA Director Gina Haspel and, if he wins reelection, they will reportedly be among the first to go.

    In fact, Trump clearly has big plans to do some major house cleaning depending on the outcome of the election. Last week, he signed a “big deal” executive order that mostly flew under the radar and will make it much easier for him to oust career government officials. In Trump’s case, that means anyone who isn’t doing what he wants them to do and saying what he wants them to say will quickly be axed. The U.S. government will simply become a bureaucracy of loyalists willing to back whatever Trump’s latest horrific and inherently destructive policy is.

    But the prospect of Trump ousting Wray and Haspel is especially telling. Haspel, in particular, has kept a fairly low profile and, in some cases, has even bent the intelligence to fit Trump’s delusional view of the world. But that apparently hasn’t been enough for Trump—he’s reportedly frustrated that Haspel has opposed the declassification of certain documents that supposedly could have provided fodder for Trump’s baseless allegations against his Democratic rival Joe Biden. And while Wray hasn’t exactly been a vision of defiance, he has resisted surrendering to Trump’s will on the issue of election security. […]

    If Trump wins, his ultimate goal will be to install two loyalists who will serve as willing participants in using the power of the intelligence agencies to go on whichever [bogus investigation and prosecution] Trump would like. His main goals at first will almost surely be trained domestically on rooting out individuals he either doesn’t like or considers a threat to his power base. In other words, yes, he will turn the full force of the federal government and its intelligence services on the American people. It would be the most classic of dictatorial moves to stamp out opposition, silence critics, and move to consolidate power as quickly as possible. […]

  215. says

    Guardian – “Republicans closely resemble autocratic parties in Hungary and Turkey – study”:

    The Republican party has become dramatically more illiberal in the past two decades and now more closely resembles ruling parties in autocratic societies than its former centre-right equivalents in Europe, according to a new international study.

    In a significant shift since 2000, the GOP has taken to demonising and encouraging violence against its opponents, adopting attitudes and tactics comparable to ruling nationalist parties in Hungary, India, Poland and Turkey.

    The shift has both led to and been driven by the rise of Donald Trump.

    By contrast the Democratic party has changed little in its attachment to democratic norms, and in that regard has remained similar to centre-right and centre-left parties in western Europe. Their principal difference is the approach to the economy.

    The new study, the largest ever of its kind, was carried out by the V-Dem Institute at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, using newly developed methods to measure and quantify the health of the world’s democracies at a time when authoritarianism is on the rise.

    Anna Lührmann, V-Dem’s deputy director, said the Republican transformation had been “certainly the most dramatic shift in an established democracy”.

    The study, published on Monday, shows the party has followed a similar trajectory to Fidesz, which under Viktor Orbán has evolved from a liberal youth movement into an authoritarian party that has made Hungary the first non-democracy in the European Union.

    India’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been transformed in similar ways under Narendra Modi, as has the Justice and Development party (AKP) in Turkey under Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the Law and Justice party in Poland. Trump and his administration have sought to cultivate close ties to the leadership of those countries.

    The Republican party has remained relatively committed to pluralism, but it has gone a long way towards abandoning other democratic norms, becoming much more prone to disrespecting opponents and encouraging violence.

    “We’ve seen similar shifts in parties in other countries where the quality of democracy has declined in recent years, where democracy has been eroding,” Lührmann said. “It fits very well into the pattern of parties that erode democracy once they’re in power.”

    “The demonisation of opponents – that’s clearly a factor that has shifted a lot when it comes to the Republican party, as well as the encouragement of political violence,” she said, adding that the change has been driven in large part from the top.

    “We have several quotes from Trump, that show how he has encouraged supporters to use violence against either journalists or political opponents.”

    In western Europe, centre-right parties like Germany’s Christian Democratic Union and Spain’s People’s party have stuck to their commitment to democratic norms. By the same measure, Britain’s Conservative party has moved some way along the liberal-illiberal spectrum but not to the Republicans’ extremes.

    “The data shows that the Republican party in 2018 was far more illiberal than almost all other governing parties in democracies,” the V-Dem study found. “Only very few governing parties in democracies in this millennium (15%) were considered more illiberal than the Republican party in the US.”

    The institute has found the decline in democratic traits has accelerated around the world and that for the first time this century, autocracies are in the majority – holding power in 92 countries, home to 54% of the global population.

    According to V-Dem’s benchmark, almost 35% of the world’s population, 2.6 billion people, live in nations that are becoming more autocratic.

    I respect the data on the current state of affairs, but I’m skeptical of the Guardian’s claim that “authoritarianism is on the rise.” I think it might have already hit its peak.

  216. says

    Guardian – “Survey uncovers widespread belief in ‘dangerous’ Covid conspiracy theories”:

    Significant numbers of people around the world believe Covid-19 was created deliberately, has killed far fewer people than reported, or is a hoax and does not actually exist, according to a global survey.

    Along with belief in other conspiracy theories – such as that the world is run by a secret cabal – the YouGov-Cambridge Globalism Project, a survey of about 26,000 people in 25 countries designed in collaboration with the Guardian, found widespread and concerning scepticism about vaccine safety.

    Among the most widely believed Covid conspiracies is that the death rate of the virus, which according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker has so far killed nearly 1.1 million people worldwide, has been “deliberately and greatly exaggerated”. Nearly 60% of respondents in Nigeria said this was definitely or probably true, along with more than 40% in Greece, South Africa, Poland and Mexico. About 38% of Americans, 36% of Hungarians, 30% of Italians and 28% of Germans felt the same.

    Among other countries, roughly one in four French and one in five British and Spanish respondents believed the death rate of the virus had been exaggerated, while Australians, Swedes and Japanese were more likely to dismiss such a belief.

    Significant numbers also thought the virus had been “deliberately created and spread” by the Chinese or US government, while in Poland one in five people believed it was definitely or probably a complete myth, created by unidentified “powerful forces”. Roughly the same proportions in Turkey, Egypt and Saudi Arabia said they agreed with that proposition, while in the US the figure reached 13%.

    The false claim that 5G mobile technology is to blame for the spread of Covid-19 also has plenty of adherents, according to the survey, which was conducted in July and August.

    The survey revealed widespread and significant anti-vaccination sentiment, a matter of serious concern to many governments that hope soon to be able to inoculate their populations against Covid-19….

    Much more atl. Some of the questions aren’t worded to my liking, but the overall picture is clear.

  217. tomh says

    One year ago today, Joe Biden on Twitter:

    “We are not prepared for a pandemic. Trump has rolled back progress President Obama and I made to strengthen global health security. We need leadership that builds public trust, focuses on real threats, and mobilizes the world to stop outbreaks before they reach our shores.”
    @JoeBiden Oct 25, 2019

  218. says

    New from CNN public editor @arianapekary: In April, CNN aired Trump 1,568 times; Biden 89.

    In September, Trump appeared 1,332 times; Biden 829.

    As of October 18, Trump leads 593 to 179 for the month.”

    Someone mentions in the responses that the wildfires in Colorado have received almost no coverage, and I would say that’s definitely true – that was the first I’d heard about them.

  219. KG says

    Significant numbers of people around the world believe Covid-19 was created deliberately, has killed far fewer people than reported, or is a hoax and does not actually exist, according to a global survey.- Guardian, quoted by SC@323

    I’m sure quite a few of them believe all three.

  220. says

    The manically gleeful turtle:

    The Senate is on a crash course to confirm another illegitimate Supreme Court nominee [today], having stayed in over the weekend for procedural votes. That’s a sense of urgency from Mitch McConnell [which is] totally lacking on responding to COVID-19 […]

    McConnell couldn’t control his glee over the prospect of this vote. Over the fact that he has engineered this takeover. “We’ve made an important contribution to the future of this country,” he said after the cloture vote. “A lot of what we’ve done over the last four years will be undone sooner or later by the next election. They won’t be able to do much about this for a long time to come.” That’s a lot of bravado for a man who is about to lose his Senate majority. He’s banking on Democrats being unwilling to reform the courts. He’s wrong. […]

    Democrats are ready. “McConnell is clearly betting against the Democrats mustering the resolve to ever alter the structure of the court,” Brian Fallon of Demand Justice, told NBC News. “Given how far the movement to add seats has already come in just two years, and how likely it is for this 6-3 court to produce rulings threatening progressive priorities, I think it’s an unwise bet,” he said.[…]

    Understanding that, embattled Republican Sen. Susan Collins both voted with Democrats against cloture, and will vote against Barrett. Not on the merits of the nominee, she stressed, but because the vote is coming so close to the election. That’s Collins trying to split the baby—assure Republicans that she’s totally on board with this ideologically, but tell Democrats she’s all about fairness. […] Sen. Lisa Murkowski is no better. She voted against cloture as well, in muted opposition to the timing of the confirmation. But she’s going to be a yes on confirmation. […] the backlash from the left will be swift and massive.

    Link

  221. says

    Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott and president Jay Wallace email staff this morning: there have been a few positive COVID cases at the channel. Will reduce workforce in the office and encourage remote work ahead of the election.”

    Their email is at the link. It refers to their “mandatory guidelines” and how they’ve been “operating under the strictest health and safety protocols,” none of which do they ever convey to their audience.

  222. KG says

    SC@322,

    The diagram from the V-Dem Institute, included in the Guardian article, has some very odd classifications. The Polish PiS is placed to the left of the midline (it’s not clear whether placement on the left-right axis is supposed to be binary, or graded – if the latter, the placement of the UK Labour Party at the far left is just bonkers, even as it was when led by Corbyn). I suppose PiS is placed to the left because it has protected welfare payments, but in every other respect, it’s far right – the modern right is defined at least as much in cultural as in economic terms. I can’t see any justification for placing any of the left parties on the chart much above the bottom other than that of Venezuela – I suspect this is just stupid centrist bothsiderism, with anything that even looks like serious commitment to redistribution defined as authoritarianism.

  223. says

    Asylum Is Dead. The Myth of American Decency Died With It.

    Donald Trump took a broken system and turned it into a machine of unchecked cruelty.

    You need a story. That’s what they say, anyway. You need sympathetic characters, a villain, some violence, maybe a dramatic escape. That’s what it takes to gain asylum in the United States. You need lots of other things, too—a principled Border Patrol agent, a competent asylum officer, a good lawyer, a fair-minded judge—but before any of that you need a story, something that can be fitted into the rapidly narrowing margin of American benevolence. You need a man, say, draping his arm around your shoulder, telling you, “We are watching you.”

    That’s where the story of Gaspar Cobo Corio and Francisco Chávez Raymundo might begin. “We are watching you,” the man said out of nowhere. “You didn’t even notice that I have been following you. This was not just today. I have always been following you.”

    It was not the first time that Gaspar had been threatened, but this time—right after a town hall meeting he’d organized with Francisco, also a Mayan human rights activist—was different from the harassing phone calls, the angry texts, the break-ins, and even the stickups the two had endured ever since they’d started challenging Guatemala’s culture of official impunity.

    For years, the two friends had been helping their fellow Ixil Maya testify against General Efraín Ríos Montt, the former president who in 2013 was hauled into court on genocide charges for his role as the architect of the bloodiest campaigns of the country’s 36-year civil war. […] Gaspar and Francisco spent time assisting would-be witnesses with whatever they needed—lodging, food, safe passage to the courthouse—so that the darkest moments of the war could reach the light of day.

    […] “We have warned you many times,” he said. “I am going to be clear with you that this is your last chance.” He told Gaspar that they knew where his family and friends lived, and that they were monitoring them at all times. Gaspar, realizing that he’d never seen this man before in his life, asked him why he was doing this.

    The man pulled Gaspar’s left hand toward his waistband. He felt cold metal. “Thank you for the warning,” Gaspar told the man. Moments later, he found himself alone. He contacted Francisco with the news of what had just happened. They realized they’d just become characters in a storyline they wanted no part of, and so, after laying low for the better part of a week, they did what they knew they needed to do. They found a coyote, said goodbye to their families, and got the hell out of Guatemala.

    Gaspar and Francisco’s account checks all the boxes of a successful asylum claim. They belong to an indigenous group that was targeted in a civil war, were threatened with death for their work as human rights activists, and have a well-founded fear of being persecuted if they return home. […] As Gaspar and Francisco bided their time in Ciudad Juárez, just south of El Paso, COVID-19 came and provided Donald Trump and Stephen Miller the opportunity they’d been waiting for to close the border for good, to everyone and anyone arriving for almost any reason.

    […] “The asylum program is a scam,” Trump said. “Some of the roughest people you’ve ever seen—people that look like they should be fighting for the UFC. They read a little page given by lawyers that are all over the place—you know, lawyers. They tell them what to say. You look at this guy and say, ‘Wow, that’s a tough cookie!’” He paused, gesturing like he was reading from a statement and launching into his best big-galoot voice. “‘I…am…very…fearful for my life. I am very worried that I will be accosted if I am sent back home.’” […] The crowd laughed, ate it up. “Asylum”—and here he tried out a whiny, bleeding-heart voice—“‘Oh, give him asylum! He’s afraid! He’s afraid! We don’t love the fact that he has tattoos on his face. That’s not a good sign. We don’t love the fact that he’s carrying the flag of Honduras or Guatemala or El Salvador, only to say he’s petrified to be in his country.’” He stopped again, one more time, and held his arms out wide. “To confront this border crisis, I declared a national emergency.”

    […] That the United States has long-standing commitments to asylum seekers under federal law and international agreements is of little consequence to Trump and his coterie of immigration hardliners. […]

    Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called the situation at the border “a policy of dehumanizing.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said it was “a clear abdication of American humanitarianism.” Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley, whose viral videos from the borderlands helped bring family separation into full view in 2018, titled his 2019 book America Is Better Than This: Trump’s War Against Migrant Families. […] This is doing great damage to our national soul. And we need to end it.”

    Joe Biden has a 22-page plan to do just that—“The Biden Plan for Securing Our Values as a Nation of Immigrants.” In it, he not only proposes rolling back Trump’s executive actions on immigration and asylum but continues far to the left of Obama-era policies. To address the root causes driving people out of Central America, he’d spend $4 billion to attack corruption and strengthen civil society in the region. He also proposes working with Congress to create a path to citizenship for the nearly 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States. “We’re going to restore our moral standing in the world and our historic role as a safe haven for refugees and asylum seekers,” Biden promised at the Democratic convention. […]

    Trump rode his bigotry all the way to the White House, racking up supporters like Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions and his obsessed aide, Stephen Miller, who had spent the previous years killing off comprehensive immigration reform in the Senate. […]

    In late 2019, Human Rights First recorded more than 630 cases of kidnapping, torture, rape, and other attacks against asylum seekers who had been forced back to Mexico. “The whole thing is a fucking disaster designed to fail,” a lawyer told Mother Jones earlier this year. […]

    Right now, it doesn’t matter how detailed, how plausible, how consistent your story is. It doesn’t even matter, in a basic sense, how true it is. Asylum is dead. And the power of stories—the one asylum seekers like Gaspar and Francisco tell to save themselves, the one the US government tells about the fairness of our laws, the one we tell ourselves about our goodness, our decency as Americans—died with it.

    Much more at the link.

  224. says

    Good news: Biden stretches lead over Trump in Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania: poll

    […] The latest survey of likely voters in the three former “blue wall” states from the Elections Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison finds Biden nearly doubling his lead in each state compared to last month.

    Crucially, Biden is above the 50 percent mark in all three states, while Trump remains mired in the low to mid-40s.

    In Michigan, Biden leads by 10 points, 52 to 42. Five percent of voters remain undecided. The same poll from September found Biden with a 6-point advantage.

    The poll from Wisconsin finds Biden leading 53 to 44, with 3 percent undecided. Biden’s 9-point advantage is up from 4 points in September.

    The closest state is Pennsylvania, where Biden leads 52 to 44, with 3 percent undecided. Biden has grown his lead from 4 points in September to 8 points now.

    In addition to the former undecided voters breaking for Biden, he also leads big among those who voted third party in 2016 or didn’t vote at all. Across the three states, Biden leads 54 to 25 among third-party voters in 2016, with 21 percent saying they’ll still support another candidate. Biden leads 64 percent to 29 percent among likely voters in 2020 who did not vote in 2016.

  225. says

    Trump reveals, once again, how stupid he is.

    From Wonkette: “Trump Pretty Sure Trump-Supporting Company Rigged Pennsylvania Against Him”

    […] Trump repeated his baseless charge that intentional election fraud was occurring in a state he’s set to lose in eight days.

    Pennsylvania Ballot “mistakes” made, in my opinion, on purpose by the Democrat Governor, puts Republicans, in particular @SeanParnellUSA, at great risk. Corrupt politics in Pennsylvania must be investigate immediately. By the way, Philadelphia is out of control. @JusticeDept

    It should come as no surprise that Trump doesn’t know what he’s talking about. It wasn’t Democratic Governor Tom Wolf who botched the delivery of tens of thousands of absentee ballots to Ohio and Pennsylvania voters. That was Cleveland-based Midwest Direct, a company that until recently had a Trump flag flying in front of its headquarters.

    From the New York Times:

    Midwest Direct is owned by two brothers, Richard Gebbie, the chief executive, and James Gebbie, the chairman. This summer they began flying a Trump 2020 flag above Midwest Direct’s headquarters on the west side of Cleveland. It was a curious juxtaposition — a company in the business of distributing absentee ballots through the mail showing a preference for a president who has spent months denigrating the practice of voting by mail.

    “We have freedom to vote for who we want and support who we want,” Richard Gebbie said in an interview last month. “We fly a flag because my brother and I own the company and we support President Trump.”

    […] Hire Trump supporters for a task and let the incompetence take care of itself.

    Newsweek reported that in Pennsylvania’s Allegheny County more than 28,000 ballots were sent to the wrong addresses. That impacts the state’s 17th congressional district, where Republican Sean Parnell is challenging Democrat Conor Lamb.

    The problem isn’t “corrupt politics in Pennsylvania,” as Trump claims, but bungling from a private company that supports the president.

    […] Trump managed to drop some extra racism at the end of his Sunday tweet. He declared Philadelphia “out of control” and cc:ed his goons at the Department of Justice. He could probably call a meeting. He has the attorney general’s number. He doesn’t need to mafioso by tweet.

    […] The Trump campaign claimed to have caught on tape shady figures, such as a guy “wearing a striped baseball cap” and a woman “with gold bangles,” dropping off “multiple ballots.” Trump’s stooges aren’t so much trying to win as they are casting doubt on the integrity of the election itself. They want it close enough to take to a friendly Supreme Court [with Amy Coney Barrett there] or justify a violent response when the state is called for Biden.

    We can’t get rid of this monster fast enough.

    Link

  226. says

    Mike Pompeo faces (yet another) federal ethics investigation

    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sure is keeping the Office of Special Counsel busy with his many alleged ethical transgressions.

    t was a week ago today when the New York Times reported on a new ethics investigation into a leading cabinet official: the U.S. Office of Special Counsel said it would investigate whether Secretary of State Mike Pompeo violated federal ethics laws earlier this month.

    At issue was Pompeo’s vow to use his department’s resources to, at Donald Trump’s behest, find and release Hillary Clinton’s emails before Election Day 2020. Seven days later, there is eerily similar news from the same office about an entirely different issue. The Hill reported this morning:

    The Office of Special Counsel (OSC) has launched a probe into whether Secretary of State Mike Pompeo violated the Hatch Act by delivering prerecorded remarks to the Republican National Convention while on official diplomatic travel in Israel, top Democratic House lawmakers said on Monday.

    “Our offices have confirmed that the Office of Special Counsel has launched a probe into potential Hatch Act violations tied to Secretary Pompeo’s speech to the Republican National Convention,” Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee, said in a statement.

    In case anyone’s forgotten, Pompeo became the first modern secretary of State to speak at a nominating convention in August, delivering a wildly dishonest and partisan speech — from foreign soil, no less.

    Pompeo personally approved a State Department policy earlier this year that told the agency’s workforce, “Senate-confirmed Presidential appointees may not even attend a political party convention or convention-related event.” The Kansas Republican nevertheless ignored his own policy, while simultaneously ignoring federal ethics laws and modern American norms.

    The fact that the Office of Special Counsel — not to be confused with Robert Mueller’s special counsel’s office — has taken an interest is a no-brainer.

    But while we wait for the scrutiny of the diplomat’s political work to unfold, it’s worth pausing to appreciate just how many related controversies we’ve seen surrounding Pompeo. When I see a headline about the secretary of State allegedly violating ethical limits, I run through a variety of possible stories: is the headline referring to his convention antics or his pre-election search for Clinton emails? Maybe the story is about his so-called Madison Dinners? Or accusations that he’s used governmental business to advance his political ambitions? Or perhaps allegations that he misused federal resources to benefit himself and his family?

    Perhaps most importantly, how about the questions surrounding Pompeo’s role in orchestrating the firing of the State Department’s inspector general — who happened to be investigating the cabinet secretary for possible wrongdoing?

  227. says

    Follow-up to SC’s comment 311.

    The backlash was swift against Jared Kushner Monday shortly after he suggested on that Black people must “want to be successful” so that his father-in-law’s policies can help them.

    After telling “Fox and Friends” that he had an “in-depth and respectful policy discussion” with rapper Ice Cube — who told the network the day before that he had spoken with Trump administration officials recently to collaborate on its Platinum Plan that aims to invest $500 million into Black communities — Kushner launched into a tone-deaf lecture.

    Kushner suggested that the Black community should be more appreciative of the President’s policies, which requires Black people wanting to be “successful” if Trump’s policies are going to work for them.

    “Again, one thing that we have seen in a lot of the Black community, which is mostly Democrat, is that President Trump’s policies are the policies that can help people break out of the problems that they’re complaining about,” Kushner said. “But he can’t want them to be successful more than that they want to be successful.”

    Shortly after Kushner appeared on “Fox and Friends,” he received backlash for his remarks on the Black community, which White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany quickly dismissed.

    “It’s disgusting to see internet trolls taking Senior Advisor Jared Kushner out of context as they try to distract from President Trump’s undeniable record of accomplishment for the Black community,” McEnany said in a statement shared with TPM on Monday. “From criminal justice reform and record HBCU funding to record low Black unemployment and record high income increases, there is simply no disputing that President Trump accomplished what Democrats merely talked about.”

    Kushner’s jaw-dropping suggestion comes on the heels of the President — who has repeatedly defended Confederate symbols and refused to directly condemn white supremacy — boasting that he’s the “least racist person in the room” during the final presidential debate last week.

    Twitter users, elected officials and the Biden campaign swiftly decried Kushner’s remarks […]

    “It wouldn’t be Monday without Jared Kushner saying racist garbage.” [Scott Dworkin]

    “Just watched Jared Kushner stand in front of a camera and say that DJT wants black people to be successful more than black people want success for themselves. When people say racism is not a problem, or they’re not racist, apparently they literally don’t know what racism means.” [Catherine Ryan Hyde]

    “This how the 1% look at minorities. I was a classmate of Kushner let me tell you what I did to get into Harvard compared to what he did. Yes a thread.” https://twitter.com/RubenGallego/status/1320750911040360449
    Excerpts from that thread:

    My freshman year of HS. I realized that the only way college was gonna happen was that first I had to do well on my exams. So I started buying used prep exam books and copying exams from the library. The school librarian is a close friend to this day. (Thanks Mrs. Conley)

    I was lucky enough to have a job that let me practice my tests in between flipping burgers. (Thank you Steve and Souzy’s) I used that money to pay for extracurriculars that would look good on a college resume.

    Not knowing anyone that went to Harvard let along college, I looked up students in the student directory. I called anyone that had a Latino sounding name and left messages. A few returned my calls and helped guide me to get ready to apply for college.

    Junior year I intensified my practice exams added more AP exams, became Student Council President, had my after school job as well as other extracurriculars.

    Senior year! I am might be the only student to apply to Harvard using money orders but did it. Use a friends computer to apply

    “Jared Kushner is a condescending douchebag.” [George Takei]

  228. says

    KG @ #331:

    The diagram from the V-Dem Institute, included in the Guardian article, has some very odd classifications. The Polish PiS is placed to the left of the midline (it’s not clear whether placement on the left-right axis is supposed to be binary, or graded – if the latter, the placement of the UK Labour Party at the far left is just bonkers, even as it was when led by Corbyn). I suppose PiS is placed to the left because it has protected welfare payments, but in every other respect, it’s far right – the modern right is defined at least as much in cultural as in economic terms. I can’t see any justification for placing any of the left parties on the chart much above the bottom other than that of Venezuela – I suspect this is just stupid centrist bothsiderism, with anything that even looks like serious commitment to redistribution defined as authoritarianism.

    Looking at the chart at the link, the left-right axis is labeled “Economic Left-Right,” so it appears to be based solely on economic policies, and graded. Labour is significantly to the left of the Democrats on that score, but it does seem strange that it falls so far left relative to the other parties. (The briefing paper has the criteria, broadly, for democratic/illiberal but not for economic left/right.) I agree about the “illiberal” leftwing classification; it’s amusing that they have MAS, which was just democratically returned to power after a reactionary rightwing coup, near the top. I pretty much try to block out most of what’s said about Latin America in the US and UK, since it tends to get my hackles up. There’s also the matter of the complexities involved with leftwing parties that are trying to promote economic and social justice in the face of violent rightwing backlash. One criterion for the democratic/illiberal placement is “disrespects opponents,” but if your opponents won’t be satisfied with anything other than the death or exile of your party leaders and are constantly attempting coups and attacking your supporters and responding violently to redistributive policies, what does it mean to “respect” them?

  229. says

    Twitter washes Republican hack Peggy Noonan away, as she tries to rain on Kamala’s parade

    There are moments in time that speak to sheer joy. In a world filled with dire upswings in COVID-19, an epic economic crisis, the rise of white supremacy, children in cages, and a lunatic in the White House, we need hope, inspiration, and an uplift for our spirits.

    Senator and vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris provided one of those moments at a campaign rally last week in Jacksonville, Florida, when during a rainstorm she danced a moment, and later tweeted to supporters, “Rain or shine, Democracy waits for no one.”

    As Biden-Harris supporters shared the photo and video clips on social media, making them go viral, a holdover from the days of speechwriting for Ronnie Ray-Gun, Peggy Noonan—currently a columnist for The Wall Street Journal—made the unfortunate (for her) decision to turn Harris’ joy into an open diss.

    Here’s the Harris tweet. “Rain or shine, democracy waits for no one.” [Images can be viewed at the link.]

    Noonan decided to talk out the side of her neck by declaring Harris to be “insubstantial” and “frivolous,” and is currently being roasted on Twitter for her caucasity.

    In her opinion piece, “A Good Debate, and It’s Not Quite Over,” Noonan lauds Trump, critiques Biden, and then decided to sharpen her claws on Harris.

    For her part, vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris is, when on the trail, giddy. She’s dancing with drum lines and beginning rallies with “Wassup, Florida!” She’s throwing her head back and laughing a loud laugh, especially when nobody said anything funny. She’s the younger candidate going for the younger vote, and she’s going for a Happy Warrior vibe, but she’s coming across as insubstantial, frivolous. When she started to dance in the rain onstage, in Jacksonville, Fla., to Mary J. Blige’s “Work That,” it was embarrassing.

    Apparently you’re not allowed to say these things because she’s a woman, and she’s doubling down on giddy because you’re not allowed to say them. I, however, take Ms. Blige’s advice to heart: I will not sweat it, I will be myself. Kamala Harris is running for vice president of the United States in an era of heightened and unending crisis. The world, which doubts our strength, our character and our class, is watching. If you can’t imitate gravity, could you at least try for seriousness? I hate the shallowness with which politics is now done, the absolute puerility of it. Do you? We’re on the losing side. The future is an endless loop of Barack Obama on “Between Two Ferns,” stamping on your face, forever.

    Somebody needs to tell Noonan that you don’t try to drop anemic vanilla shade on a Black woman. […]

    “Oh right, kinda racist ole lady Peggy Noonan admired Rush Limbaugh.” [Soledad O’Brien]
    [From Noonan]: “In March 2001 I met with rush Limbaugh, a man I admire … He was wearing a gray sweater … and his graying hair was softly combed back … He is a man who can literally stop traffic.”

    “This is the joy that so triggered Peggy Noonan that she wrote a column about how Senator Harris comes off as ‘insubstantial, frivolous.’

    “Black joy is something they feel the need to attack.” [African American Policy Forum https://twitter.com/AAPolicyForum/status/1320504022659436551
    GIF of Harris dancing in the rain is available at the link.]

    […] Peggy “Karen” Noonan is the past. Kamala Harris is our future.

    Dance your way to the polls, the mailbox, or the drop box if you haven’t already voted. As Mary J. Blige sings, “Let em get mad, They gonna hate anyway … Don’t you get that?” [video available at the link]

  230. says

    From their codebook (pp. 28-29)

    Parties on the economic left want government to play an active role in the economy.This includes higher taxes, more regulation and government spending and a more generous welfare state. Parties on the economic right emphasize a reduced economic role for government: privatization, lower taxes, less regulation, less government spending, and a leaner welfare state.

    Hm. I’m still a bit confused about how they arrived at their classifications.

  231. says

    From Wonkette:

    [Photo of Turner with Mike Pence tops the article] Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has been pretty much the only Republican Governor to take the COVID-19 pandemic with a modicum of seriousness. As a result, there are a whole lot of people in his state who are really mad at him about it. One of those people is Renea Turner, who previously ran against DeWine as a write-in candidate and who, now, currently considers herself to be the One True Governor of Ohio.

    Turner was so mad at Governor DeWine for the extremely mild restrictions he put on Ohio residents in the beginning of the pandemic that she was looking to assemble a “posse” to go and kidnap/arrest him for tyranny. Because that’s a thing that Republicans do now. Her plan was discovered after one of the people she contacted to join her “posse” reported her to the police, noting that although they do want Governor DeWine arrested for tyranny, that should be done through the normal legal channels that exist for charging a sitting governor with tyranny for enacting safety regulations during a pandemic.

    […] Turner donned her most regal crushed velvet dress and had a whole ceremony swearing herself in as governor last Thursday, which is of course a thing anyone can do. In fact, right now I am declaring myself Queen Of All I Survey.

    […] As far as we know, Turner is the first pretender to the throne of Ohio.

    Watch as much as you can stomach, because it is actually just incredible and it gets even better towards the end. [Video available at the link]

    […] It also turns out that Turner may have some connections to the Trump administration. Her former running mate, Keith Colton, worked on Trump’s campaign in Ohio, which is probably how Turner got that sweet, sweet photo with Mike Pence.

    Becker is far from alone as a state legislator calling to have DeWine arrested. State Rep. Nino Vitale, who believes Bill Gates created the coronavirus, has also stated his desire to overthrow him or whatever.

    Now, you would probably think that planning to kidnap and arrest the governor of Ohio would be some kind of pretty big deal. Like the kind of thing you might even go to jail for. However, charges have yet to be filed and Turner has said that all that has happened so far is that police stopped by her house to “to check out my temperament and what my plans are.” Well, that and her kidnap plans being thwarted.

    It’s really no wonder that people like Turner and people like the 13 men who were arrested for plotting to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer think it’s actually perfectly OK for them to do things like this. Their leaders basically tell them it is OK for them to do these things. You tell people for however many years that the reason they have the right to bear arms is because it is also their right to overthrow the government if they think that government is doing tyranny to them, they’re gonna think it’s totally fine for them to overthrow the government. Especially if they’re a little bit stupid or unstable.

    There’s going to be more of this, and someone is eventually going to get hurt.

    Link

  232. says

    Oh good, an even worse version of religion.

    “Seeking power in Jesus’ name: Trump sparks a rise of ‘Patriot Churches’”

    The new congregation is gathered in a barn in Lenoir City, Tenn., with a roof that has a 60-foot American flag painted on it. And they are praying for a Trump landslide.

    […] young and old, lay their hands on their pastor, Ken Peters, as he raises their requests to God.

    He prays that “communism and socialism and transgenderism and homosexuality and abortion will not have their way in this land.”

    […] He prays that the nation’s “Christian roots” will remain, that the church of Jesus Christ will be a “restraining power.”
    “God, this nation is a miracle for you,” Peters continues. “You rescued us, and you gave us our independence for a purpose.”

    […] This is a Patriot Church, part of an evolving network of nondenominational start-up congregations that say they want to take the country back for God. While most White conservative Christian churches might only touch on politics around election time and otherwise choose to keep the focus during worship on God, politics and religion are inseparable here. The Tennessee congregation is one of three Patriot Churches that formed in September. The other two are near Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., and in Spokane, Wash. […]

    The Patriot Churches belong to what religion experts describe as a loosely organized Christian nationalist movement that has flourished under President Trump. In just four years, he has helped reshape the landscape of American Christianity by elevating Christians once considered fringe, including Messianic Jews, preachers of the prosperity gospel and self-styled prophets. At times, this made for some strange bedfellows, but the common thread among them is a sense of being under siege and a belief that America has been and should remain a Christian nation.

    From his lectern during the worship service, Peters rails against perceived attacks on First Amendment freedoms, decrying government mandates and calling masks “face diapers.”

    […] “Black Lives Matter isn’t being powered by the Holy Spirit. Antifa isn’t being powered by the Holy Spirit. They can’t save this land,” Peters says. “There’s only one organization that has a shot at saving America, and that’s the church of Jesus Christ.”

    Sounds Mormon thanks to the “church of Jesus Christ” description, but it is non-denominational.

    […] For many churchgoers in suburban Knoxville, the political boldness in worship is a breath of fresh air. They complain that social media restricts their free speech, and they fear government-mandated vaccines. And whether Trump wins or loses, religion experts believe these Americans are building powerful networks that are expected to endure long after Trump has left the White House.

    […] Trump has brought more sentiments about Christian nationalism “to the surface,” says Paul Miller, a professor at Georgetown University who is working on a forthcoming book on nationalism, Christianity and American identity. “He’s given permission to say this stuff out loud. He’s mainstreamed them as prominent evangelical voices.”

    […] “Some Christians are trying to shame those who love this country or love President Trump,” he said. “We’re saying, we’re not only unashamed, but we’re going to put it in the name.”

    […] Growing up in an evangelical home in Oregon and Washington state, he says he received a sense of urgency from his “culture war” father, who was a Pentecostal preacher in Raymond, Wash. […]

    After the Sunday service in the barn, Joy Stafford is one of two people in a mask, choosing to wear one because she cares for her 89-year-old mother. “I wish there were more social distancing,” Stafford says.

    “Oh, trust the Lord with your health,” another churchgoer tells her.

    […] After the service, Peters and his family pile into their Toyota Highlander and head to a nearby highway overpass. They pull over and, from the back of the SUV, take out giant American and Trump flags, which they wave over the side of the overpass as they cheer at passing cars. Peters especially enjoys the honks from enthusiastic truckers shouting, “God bless!”

    “They love us, guys!” Peters says. “Dude, this is Trump country.”

    Later that evening, he leads a group of about 20 people from Patriot Church to share popcorn and watch the film “Trump Card” from conservative activist Dinesh D’Souza in a church member’s basement. In 2014, D’Souza pleaded guilty to a felony charge of making an illegal campaign contribution.

    […] After the movie, Peters warns that under a President Joe Biden, the “spirit of Jezebel” could spread. “When you’re dealing with bullies, you have to fight back,” he says. […]

    Washington Post link

  233. says

    Quoted in Lynna’s #332:

    For years, the two friends had been helping their fellow Ixil Maya testify against General Efraín Ríos Montt, the former president who in 2013 was hauled into court on genocide charges for his role as the architect of the bloodiest campaigns of the country’s 36-year civil war. […] Gaspar and Francisco spent time assisting would-be witnesses with whatever they needed—lodging, food, safe passage to the courthouse—so that the darkest moments of the war could reach the light of day.

    Some more context:

    From WP:

    In 1982, an Amnesty International report estimated that over 10,000 indigenous Guatemalans and peasant farmers were killed from March to July of that year, and that 100,000 rural villagers were forced to flee their homes. According to more recent estimates, tens of thousands of non-combatants were killed by the regime’s death squads in the subsequent eighteen months. At the height of the bloodshed under Ríos Montt, reports put the number of disappearances and killings at more than 3,000 per month.

    While the genocide was happening, in December 1982, Reagan met with Ríos Montt. From his remarks (posted by the Reagan Library):

    Well, ladies and gentlemen, President Rios Montt and I have just had a useful exchange of ideas on the problems of the region and on our bilateral relations.

    Our conversation today has done much to improve the climate of relations between our two governments. I know that President Rios Montt is a man of great personal integrity and commitment. His country is confronting a brutal challenge from guerrillas armed and supported by others outside Guatemala.

    I have assured the President that the United States is committed to support his efforts to restore democracy and to address the root causes of this violent insurgency. I know he wants to improve the quality of life for all Guatemalans and to promote social justice. My administration will do all it can to support his progressive efforts.

  234. says

    “Again, one thing that we have seen in a lot of the Black community, which is mostly Democrat, is that President Trump’s policies are the policies that can help people break out of the problems that they’re complaining about,” Kushner said. “But he can’t want them to be successful more than that they want to be successful.”

    In addition to racist, this sounds very MLM. “We’re offering you this amazing opportunity and if you lose money it’s because you’re not willing to do what it takes to be successful.”

  235. says

    Guardian world liveblog:

    Italy’s interior ministry is on high alert over fears of violence as protests take place in major cities against coronavirus restrictions.

    From Turin, Milan and Trieste in the north to Rome, Naples and Catania in the south, people have converged on squares to protest measures that include the 6pm closure of bars and restaurants and complete closure of gyms, swimmings pools, cinemas and theatres.

    Episodes of tension have been reported in Turin and Naples, where people are calling for the resignation of the recently re-elected regional president, Vincenzo De Luca.

    Extremist groups influenced protests in Naples and Rome over the weekend, causing clashes with police.

    However, many of Monday’s protests have so far been peaceful and attended mostly by those working in sectors that will be penalised by the measures, which will be in place until 24 November.

  236. says

    Sen. Murphy:

    Update: because of what you did yesterday, Jon Ossoff has $592,811.34 more to spend on his voter turnout effort. Just unreal.

    And a new poll from today:

    Ossoff 46
    Perdue 45

    A win in Georgia is more possible because of what you did. A huge thanks from me and @brianschatz.

  237. says

    Does anyone know of an updated source for which coronavirus interventions around the world have proven effective and which not, with links to scientific studies? There was an article in the Guardian this morning with a title that led me to believe it would discuss what different European countries have done that’s been effective or ineffective, but it was surprisingly useless – just a list of countries and interventions they’re now considering, noting that Finland had been relatively successful in containing the virus but without describing how specifically.

  238. says

    Elizabeth Warren:

    This is a dark day. But it’s important to remember why Republicans fought so hard to steal this Supreme Court seat.

    They’ve realized a truth that shakes them to their core: The American people are not on their side.

    And we’ll keep fighting until we take our democracy back.

  239. says

    Here’s a link to the October 27 Guardian coronavirus world liveblog.

    From there:

    Poland’s prime minister defended the tightening of the country’s abortion law and condemned massive nationwide protests led by women’s rights activists, saying they shouldn’t be happening amid heightened coronavirus restrictions and decrying “acts of aggression”.

    Prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki was reacting to five days of massive protests across Poland against a ruling on Thursday by the country’s top court that declared abortions due to foetal congenital defects unconstitutional.

    On Monday, protesters led by women’s rights activists blocked traffic for hours in most cities and also gathered outside churches, chanting obscenities against Poland’s influential Catholicchurch leaders, who condemn abortions. They called for the women to have the right of choice.

    “In order to have the freedom of choice you first must be alive,” Morawiecki, whose conservative government backs tight restrictions, said in defending the court’s ruling.

    Morawiecki added that “the situations that we are seeing in the streets and which amount to acts of aggression, vandalism, attacks, are absolutely inadmissible, should not be taking place at all”.”

    The prime minister urged everyone to observe restrictions that ban gatherings of more than five people in an effort to fight a sudden spike in coronavirus cases.

    The constitutional tribunal’s ruling tightened what was already one of Europe’s most restrictive abortion laws. When it takes effect, abortion will be permitted only when a pregnancy threatens the woman’s health or is the result of crime like rape or incest.

    Further protests are planned for later this week.

  240. KG says

    SC@337,

    Thanks – I didn’t notice that it speciifed “economic left-right” – but the real left/right division on the economy is degree of economic (in)egalitarianism, not degree of state intervention, as I’m sure you’d agree. They’ve just accepted glibertarian terminology.

  241. says

    Update to #s 93 and 95 – CNN – “Judge rejects DOJ’s attempt to defend Trump in E. Jean Carroll rape defamation lawsuit”:

    A federal judge on Tuesday denied the Justice Department’s effort to effectively end a defamation lawsuit against President Donald Trump brought by a longtime magazine columnist who has alleged he raped her, paving the way for the case to proceed.

    The department had sought to intervene in the case and substitute itself as defendant in the lawsuit filed by E. Jean Carroll, a move that likely would have curbed the proceedings, since the federal government can’t be sued for defamation.

    Trump has denied Carroll’s allegations, telling reporters, “She’s not my type,” and alleging Carroll lied to boost her book sales.

    In a 61-page opinion, US District Judge Lewis Kaplan ruled that Trump “is not an ’employee of the Government,’ as Congress defined that term,” and therefore the lawsuit isn’t, as the Justice Department argued, against the United States.

    That conclusion allows for Trump to be sued personally for defamation in the matter. The Justice Department hasn’t yet indicated whether it will appeal the ruling.

    Kaplan also rejected the Justice Department’s argument that Trump’s statements regarding Carroll were made within the scope of his employment, writing, “while commenting on the operation of government is part of the regular business of the United States, commenting on sexual assault allegations unrelated to the operation of government is not.”

    Carroll’s lawyer, Roberta Kaplan, said Tuesday: “The simple truth is that President Trump defamed our client because she was brave enough to reveal that he had sexually assaulted her, and that brutal, personal attack cannot be attributed to the Office of the President.”

    The case is now set to proceed in federal court. Carroll had originally filed her case in New York state court, and after Trump challenged it, a trial court judge ruled in August that the lawsuit could proceed, allowing Carroll’s attorneys to move forward in their efforts to obtain a DNA sample from Trump and take his deposition under oath.

    Shortly thereafter, the Justice Department filed to replace Trump as the defendant.

    There have been so many low points for the DoJ over the past four years, but this is one of the lowest.

  242. says

    KG @ #363, yes. Their tax description alone – where leftwing parties support “higher taxes” and rightwing ones “lower taxes,” with no attention to progressive vs. regressive tax policies – makes it clear enough where they’re coming from. I didn’t spend that much time yesterday looking at the codebook, but I didn’t see what the concrete basis was for locating countries on this spectrum. I assume it must exist, since it’s a numerical range from 0.0 to 1.0. They do have more coding guidelines for the democratic/illiberal placement. As I said, there’s a complexity they’re not capturing in that several of the leftwing parties they show are facing extremely illiberal rightwing forces, while the reverse isn’t the case.

    Which all makes the findings about the illiberal shift of the Republican Party all the more striking. As they point out, there’s no equivalent movement in the Democratic Party (which is also center-left economically). It’s not a mutual escalation, but wholly one-sided.

  243. says

    NPR – “U.S. Agency Targets Its Own Journalists’ Independence”:

    A regulatory “firewall” intended to protect Voice of America and its affiliated newsrooms from political interference in their journalism was swept aside late Monday night by the chief executive of the federal agency which oversees the government’s international broadcasters.

    Michael Pack, a Trump appointee who assumed leadership of the U.S. Agency for Global Media in June, wrote that he acted to eliminate policies that were “harmful to the agency and the U.S. national interest.” And Pack argued they had interfered with his mandate “to support the foreign policy of the United States.”

    Pack has already come under fire for revelations that his senior aides investigated the agency’s journalists for bias against President Trump and pushed for their dismissals and reassignments, in seeming violation of the rules he has now rescinded, effective immediately.

    The move set off a firestorm.

    “I am stunned,” former Voice of America director Amanda Bennett told NPR early Tuesday morning. “It removes the one thing that makes Voice of America distinct from broadcasters of repressive regimes.”

    In addition to VOA, the U.S. Agency for Global Media includes the Office of Cuba Broadcasting, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio Free Asia and Middle East Broadcasting Networks. Collectively, the networks reach more than 350 million people across the world each week.

    They historically have demonstrated American pluralism by providing balanced coverage of news events and robust political debate, regardless of how it reflected on current government officials. The broadcasters are also intended to serve the citizens of nations which do not allow journalists to operate freely.

    “The key to the credibility of any news organization is editorial independence and adherence to the professional standards of journalism,” said David Kligerman, whom Pack suspended as the agency’s general counsel in August.

    Kligerman was the chief author of the regulation which Pack just killed. It was supported by the agency’s bipartisan board, which was dissolved upon Pack’s confirmation. Kligerman is also among a group of a half-dozen whistleblowers who have come forward to challenge Pack’s actions since he arrived in June.

    “The firewall protects the networks by insulating their editorial decisions from political interference,” Kligerman said. “That is what differentiates the Voice of America and the other USAGM-funded networks from the state-sponsored propaganda of Russia, China, Iran and others.”

    Several others who work at the agency told NPR they believe the threat to the VOA’s independence is “existential.” They requested anonymity out of fear of retribution. Pack has purged USAGM and its broadcasters of top executives whom he believed to be insufficiently loyal.

    Theodore J. Boutrous Jr., an attorney for five other suspended executives turned whistleblowers, called Pack’s moves unconstitutional.

    “Mr. Pack’s attempt to repeal the regulation (which itself is unlawful) confirms the allegations in our suit,” Boutrous wrote in a statement. “Rather than protecting these cherished media outlets, their independence, and their credibility, Mr. Pack is trying to break the firewall down brick by brick. At the very least, Mr. Pack is now being honest with the public about what he has been doing all along, taunting independent journalism and violating the First Amendment.”

    Pack’s bold move was taken in the dark of night — announced at 10:18 p.m. Eastern Time in a note to all of USAGM’s several thousand employees, on the same night as the swearing-in of a new U.S. Supreme Court justice, and just eight days before Election Day.

    Presidential politics have hovered over all of the controversies in Pack’s brief tenure.

    He has embraced Trump’s talk of a so-called “deep state” thwarting the president’s priorities at USAGM, and Pack echoed White House immigration policies in denying visa extensions for foreign employees. Pack also instigated investigations of the Urdu language service, the French-to-Africa service and VOA’s White House bureau chief over perceived anti-Trump bias in stories involving Trump, Democratic nominee Joe Biden, or their wives, as NPR previously revealed.

    The chairman and ranking member of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee joined forces in denouncing Pack’s investigations….

    “When the politicians, the politically appointed people, get to now tell the journalists what they can and can’t do, what they can and can’t report, what they can and can’t say, it’s completely contrary to the principles that have governed VOA,” said Bennett, who resigned along with her deputy the weekend before Pack took control.

    She noted VOA had been founded in 1942 during World War II to combat Nazi propaganda with credible news reports, including Allied setbacks as well as advances. The service followed that practice during the Cold War, along with its sister networks. It was codified in a charter drafted in 1960 and signed by President Gerald Ford in 1976, which promised VOA’s news would be “accurate, objective and comprehensive” and “represent America, not any single segment of America society.”

    “If you looked at the entire body of everything, it all pointed in the same direction, from the origin story on,” Bennett said. “There’s a stack of stuff, you know, 4 inches high that all contain essentially the same language and say essentially the same thing — that the newsgathering operation had to be protected from the political interference.”

    On its website, USAGM has posted a list of “rumors, myths and untruths” in which, among other things, it defends the firewall. “The firewall is critical to ensure that USAGM journalists and editors can make the final decisions on what stories to cover, and how they are covered,” the page reads.

    As of early Tuesday morning, the agency’s site still touted the virtues of the “firewall.” But the CEO had swept it away.

  244. says

    Andrew Kaczynski, CNN:

    Trump’s 60 Minutes interview reminded me of when he walked out of a 1990 interview with CNN when asked about his finances.

    Here’s the footage:…

    Reporter: “What was inaccurate so far?”

    Trump:”I thought your demeanor was inaccurate.”

    Here’s the backstory on it I reported in October 2016:

    Trump was asked about dire prediction for his casinos.

    The Trump Taj Mahal entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy a little more than a year later.

    Video and link to 2016 report atl.

  245. says

    Slate – “Brett Kavanaugh Signals He’s Open to Stealing the Election for Trump”:

    …The most generous explanation of Monday’s frightening opinion is that Kavanaugh started to defend his vote in these election cases and got carried away, digging a deeper hole for himself as he tried to respond to the unanswerable rejoinders in Kagan’s dissent.

    The most pessimistic view is that Kavanaugh knows exactly what he’s doing: laying the groundwork to reject enough ballots to hand Trump an unearned second term while daring Democrats to do something about it, or to potentially decide critical congressional races at least. Perhaps Kavanaugh is planting his flag now, proclaiming that he won’t strike compromises for the sake of the court’s legitimacy; to the contrary, he’ll toss fuel on the fire, confident Democrats are too cowardly to retaliate.

    Whatever the reasons behind Kavanaugh’s performance on Monday, he has given the nation another legitimate reason to fear that this election may end with a Bush v. Gore–like disaster for American democracy, but even worse than the original.

    Much more atl.

  246. tomh says

    Judge bars South Carolina from rejecting ballots because of signature mismatches
    By Derek Hawkins

    A federal judge in South Carolina ruled Tuesday that the state can’t reject absentee ballots because of a signature mismatch, and ordered officials to reprocess all ballots previously thrown out because of signature-related issues.

    U.S. District Judge Richard Mark Gergel found that the state lacked a consistent process for matching signatures on voters’ ballots and that some South Carolina counties were disqualifying ballots based on signature problems without authorization.

    “Here, absentee ballots, which meet all statutory requirements under South Carolina law, may nonetheless be disqualified on the basis of a subjective judgment that the voter’s signature does not match some sample relied upon by county election officials,” Gergel wrote. “Moreover, a number of the counties conducting signature matching procedures have no or ill-defined procedures for providing affected voters timely notice of a signature mismatch determination or a timely procedure for challenging that determination.”

    The judge added: “This is obviously a significant burden on Plaintiffs’ voting rights.”
    […]

    In court this month, the state election commissioner said she wasn’t aware of any county engaging in signature matching to disqualify ballots. She later said that after surveying counties, she learned of at least nine that were conducting some form of signature matching.

  247. says

    From text quoted by SC in comment 367:

    “That is what differentiates the Voice of America and the other USAGM-funded networks from the state-sponsored propaganda of Russia, China, Iran and others.”

    “It removes the one thing that makes Voice of America distinct from broadcasters of repressive regimes.”

    That’s exactly what Trump and his lickspittles wanted to do, to turn the Voice of America into a propaganda outlet … like Putin has.

    I hope the lawsuits aimed at putting a stop to this succeed in the courts. May Trump loose again.

  248. says

    From text in the article referenced by birgerjohansson in comment 364:

    […] The disinformation campaign quickly grew, its aim to sow doubt about the White Helmets and the footage they collected. As the war progressed, north-western Syria became a magnet for extremists bent on using the chaos to launch a global jihad. Propagandists exploited the confusion on the ground. Soon, claims appeared online that the White Helmets had been infiltrated by al-Qaeda, which had supposedly seized on the group as a way to obtain foreign funds. There were also accusations that the group had been created by governments determined to remove Assad from power, and that the White Helmets volunteers were “crisis actors” staging scenes to discredit Russia and Syria.

    Useful idiots promoting such conspiracy theories on YouTube, Twitter and their own fringe websites were given profile and flattering coverage by Russian and Syrian media outlets. Le Mesurier was himself the subject of near-daily state-sponsored attacks on Russian television and social media, calling him a terrorist, spy, paedophile and organ trafficker, among other scripted slurs. He was called an agent of western intelligence, using a rescue organisation as a Trojan horse for regime change. The smears even got an airing at the UN security council, via a panel put together by Moscow. […]

    That sounds so familiar, so cynical, so evil.

    Oh, and of course the spreaders of disinformation had to add “paedophile and organ trafficker” to their smears. Same playbook, different arena.

  249. says

    Another excerpt from the article referenced by birgerjohansson in comment 364:

    “The world is suffering from a crisis of hope. Our hope that a normal person can be heroic, that they can make a profound difference, is constantly under attack by dark and powerful forces. James stood up to those forces unflinchingly time and time again in the name of what was right. That he was ultimately felled by petty jealousy and grave injustice makes his loss even more absurdly painful.”

    As Winberg was trying to restart her life, Vrieswijk was making headway in the investigation of Mayday Rescue’s finances. By mid-March, he was starting to doubt the tales of fraud and self-enrichment that he had heard when he first arrived in Istanbul. “It gradually became obvious that these allegations could not be true,” he said.

    “We could not find a single penny spent that was not justified, or could not be explained,” he added. “My impression of James and Emma changed wholeheartedly. In the end, it was obvious that neither Emma, nor James, or any of the staff had embezzled money. I went 180 degrees on this. From starting out thinking he was a mob leader who had enriched himself in outrageous ways, I came to see him as somebody I really admire.”

    Vrieswijk’s view was corroborated by the conclusions of the forensic accounting investigation by Grant Thornton, delivered in May 2020, which found no evidence of misappropriation. “The key finding of our investigation of the flagged transactions leads us to believe that there is no evidence of misappropriation of funds,” a summary of the report reads. “For the most part we have been able to refute the alleged irregularities. In particular, the cash withdrawals by James Le Mesurier and Emma Winberg were justified and are accounted for. The events surrounding the ‘50k Emergency Fund’ appear to be a result of a misunderstanding.”

    […] In Syria, the conflict has stagnated, with Russia and Iran having pushed Assad into a winning position on the battlefields and allowed him to claim a pyrrhic victory. Idlib remains out of the Syrian leader’s control, its people caught in a kill box, bombed by warplanes from above and threatened by competing groups of fighters on the ground. More than half the country’s prewar population remains internally displaced, or in camps across the borders of neighbouring countries.

    “I’ve never seen an event where so many who tried to do good were destroyed,” said the source familiar with the Grant Thornton report. “Everything that this conflict ever touched ended up damaged.”

  250. says

    Follow-up to tomh @278.

    From The Rachel Maddow show: “Hospitals bear brunt of Trump admin surrender to coronavirus”

    Rachel Maddow looks at hospitals in crisis around the United States, where ICU beds are full to capacity, and spillover capacity is being utilized but medical staffing is stretched too thin to extend care further.

    Link. The video is 2:47 minutes long. The segment begins with a 17-year-old young man almost died of coronavirus when his parents couldn’t find a hospital bed for him (Bismark, North Dakota)

    Hospitals in Utah are talking about taking emergency measures in which older patients are transferred out of ICU beds so that younger patients more likely to survive can be cared for.

    This story is such an effective rebuttal to the propaganda being put out by Trump, by Mark Meadows, and by other Trump administration lackeys.

  251. says

    Follow-up to SC @352

    From NPR: “Some Countries Have Brought New Cases Down To Nearly Zero. How Did They Do It?”
    NPR Link

    Some useful details:

    Over the past month, Hong Kong has averaged one new confirmed coronavirus case a day.

    Taiwan has reported only one case in the past three weeks. The situation is similar in Vietnam. Although the number of coronavirus cases continues to grow globally, there are places that have managed to successfully control COVID-19.

    New Zealand’s triumph

    Perhaps the greatest success story is New Zealand, which has stopped local transmission and has a plan to completely eliminate the virus from its territory.

    “The lesson is that it can be done,” says Siouxsie Wiles, an associate professor of microbiology in New Zealand. “Obviously, the longer you leave it, and the more cases there are, the harder it becomes. But that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try.”

    Wiles heads up the Bioluminescent Superbugs Lab at the University of Auckland. Much of her work focuses on antibiotic resistance and infectious diseases. When the coronavirus hit, she got involved in communication efforts in New Zealand to help explain the virus, including by using a popular cartoon.

    But it wasn’t just scientists who led the charge. Wiles — and many other New Zealanders — give much of the credit for their country’s success to the swift and decisive leadership of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in March. […]

    Much more at the NPR link.

    Coronavirus: which countries do best in beating COVID-19? Charts showing the best and the worst, without any details as to how they got there: https://www.endcoronavirus.org/countries

  252. says

    Guardian world liveblog:

    Chancellor Angela Merkel warned that Germany’s health system could hit breaking point if coronavirus infections continue to spiral, after bringing forward high-level talks to decide on new restrictions to break the second wave of the pandemic, Reuters reports, citing daily newspaper Bild.

    Bild reported that Merkel told party colleagues that the number of new cases is doubling every seven to eight days, while the number of occupied intensive care beds is doubling every 10 days.

    The paper quotes Merkel as saying:

    It just needs to double again four more times and the system will be at a breaking point.

    On Monday, Bild reported that Merkel was planning a “lockdown light” which would mainly focus on closing bars and restaurants as well as restrictions on public events.

    No comment.

  253. says

    Jamelle Bouie:

    One thing to take away from Kavanaugh’s concurrence is that he is almost certainly afflicted by the same Fox News brain as the president.

    As a general matter people really need to understand that there’s no longer any separation between the guards and the inmates. Elite legal conservatives are just as likely to be devoted Limbaugh listeners and Fox watchers as the average MAGA enthusiast.

  254. says

    Follow-up to SC @361.

    ‘The Mar-a-Lago dinner, infamous for spreading infection, cemented partnership between Trump and Bolsonaro rooted in shared disregard for the virus; the two had waged ideological campaign that would undermine Latin America’s ability to respond to Covid-19′
    NYT link atl. If anyone has access and can excerpt, it would be much appreciated.

    Here are some excerpts from the NYT article:

    The two presidents [Trump and Bolsonaro] drove out 10,000 Cuban doctors and nurses. They defunded the region’s leading health agency. They wrongly pushed hydroxychloroquine as a cure.

    By David D. Kirkpatrick and José María León Cabrera

    The coronavirus was gathering lethal speed when […] Trump met his Brazilian counterpart, Jair Bolsonaro, on March 7 for dinner at Mar-a-Lago. Mr. Bolsonaro had canceled trips that week to Italy, Poland and Hungary, and Brazil’s health minister had urged him to stay away from Florida, too.

    But Mr. Bolsonaro insisted, eager to burnish his image as the “Trump of the Tropics.” His grinning aides posed at the president’s resort in green “Make Brazil Great Again” hats. Mr. Trump declared he was “not concerned at all” before walking Mr. Bolsonaro around the club shaking hands.

    Twenty-two people in Mr. Bolsonaro’s delegation tested positive for the virus after returning to Brazil, yet he was not alarmed. Mr. Trump had shared a cure, Mr. Bolsonaro told advisers: a box of the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, the unproven treatment that Mr. Trump was then promoting as a remedy for Covid-19.

    Sheesh!

    Together, the two men, fierce opponents of Latin America’s leftists, took aim at Cuba’s great pride: the doctors it sends around the world. […]

    Then, the two leaders attacked the international agency most capable of fighting the virus — the Pan-American Health Organization, or PAHO — citing its involvement with the Cuban medical program. With help from Mr. Bolsonaro, Mr. Trump nearly bankrupted the agency by withholding promised funding at the height of the outbreak, to an extent not previously disclosed.

    […] Weak health systems and overcrowded cities made Latin America inherently vulnerable. But by driving out doctors, blocking assistance, and pushing false cures, Mr. Trump and Mr. Bolsonaro made a bad situation worse, dismantling defenses.

    Now Latin America, with a third of the world’s deaths, has suffered more acutely from Covid-19 than any other region.
    The two most powerful leaders in the Americas, Mr. Trump and Mr. Bolsonaro are both ardent nationalists defiant of mainstream science. Both have put economic growth and short-term politics ahead of public health warnings. […]

    “In their zeal to get rid of the Cuban doctors, the Trump administration has punished every country in the hemisphere, and without question that has meant more Covid cases, and more Covid deaths,” said Mark L. Schneider, a former head of strategic planning for the Pan-American Health Organization who was a State Department official in the Clinton administration. “It is outrageous.”

    Smaller, less powerful countries like Ecuador felt the pain. Ecuador acceded to American pressure and sent home nearly 400 Cuban health care workers shortly before the pandemic. Then the country also suffered from the Trump administration’s freeze on funding for the health organization, which hampered its ability to provide emergency supplies and technical support.

    […] White House officials say the administration withheld payments from the health organization to demand transparency. They note that the United States helped the region in other ways, by donating tens of millions of dollars through organizations like the World Food Program, UNICEF and the Red Cross. Over the summer, Washington sent hundreds of excess ventilators directly to government health systems.

    But public health experts say the Pan-American Health Organization — with offices inside every health ministry and nearly 120 years of experience tackling epidemics — was uniquely positioned to confront Covid-19. […]

    Jair Bolsonaro roared into power in Brazil in October 2018, styling himself as a Trumpian populist, speaking favorably of “dictatorship,” and accusing his country’s left-leaning establishment of taking lessons from communist Cuba. He promised to expel more than 8,000 Cuban medical workers.

    A predecessor had invited the Cubans five years earlier to help care for more than 60 million people, mostly in small communities in the Amazon basin, many of whom had never before seen a doctor. Academic studies reported high levels of patient satisfaction and reduced infant mortality rates. The Pan-American Health Organization oversaw the Cuban doctors in Brazil and promoted their work as a model; the Obama administration raised no objection.

    I snippped details of possible financial shenanigans related to payments to doctors and to over-charging governments where the doctors were deployed

    […] Mr. Costa soon discovered Ramona Matos Rodríguez, a Cuban doctor who had defected to Miami from a mission to Brazil, and helped her become the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit accusing the Pan-American Health Organization of forced labor and human trafficking.

    In a court filing, lawyers for the organization said the allegations were “grossly inaccurate” and “bear almost no resemblance to reality.” Experts say the lawsuit is at best a long shot, but, in politics, it made an impact.

    […] Citing the accusations, the State Department pressured Ecuador, Bolivia and El Salvador until they expelled more than a thousand Cuban medical workers last year.

    But the bigger blows hit the Pan-American Health Organization. […] Public-health experts credit the agency with eradicating smallpox, polio and measles from Latin America long before they were eliminated from Africa and Asia.

    […] The United States stopped paying its annual dues of $110 million, more than half the agency’s core budget. Mr. Bolsonaro’s government also froze payment of its $24 million in dues. […]

    […] Doctors in Guayaquil say that more hands-on advice from the Pan-American Health Organization might have helped detect the virus much sooner, before it had penetrated the city so deeply.

    Then ill-informed health ministry officials and local doctors compounded the crisis with a basic error: The ministry recommended cheap coronavirus antibody tests rather than more difficult and expensive genetic tests.

    The antibody tests yielded false negatives at the point when patients were most contagious, leading them to unknowingly spread the virus.

    Sounds similar to the approach at the White House.

    […] For many families, those mistakes meant heartbreak. In July, Patricio Carrillo, 70, visited a doctor at his local health center near Quito, the national capital. He had received a negative antibody test and was given penicillin for pharyngitis, his son recalled.

    “I have nothing more than the flu,” Mr. Carrillo reassured his family in a hoarse voice message.

    Days later, he was dead from Covid-19.

    […] So many people died that doctors had to step over bodies piled on the floor of the morgue. “Wherever you stood, it smelled like rotting flesh,” she said.

    […] Without enough protective equipment, half the health ministry employees in Guayaquil fell sick, doctors said. More than 130 doctors died.

    […] During past outbreaks, local doctors credit the Pan-American Health Organization with procuring supplies or rushing in skilled consultants to provide face-to-face technical help to laboratories and hospitals. […] the funding crisis caused by Mr. Trump’s freeze also loomed large, even as leaders tried to compensate by shifting resources to prioritize Covid-19 response.

    […] speaking on condition of anonymity to avoid angering the Trump administration, other senior officials said more money would have enabled the agency to provide more hands-on help, sooner. Regional meetings that might have discussed efforts to tackle the virus were instead consumed by the funding crisis. […]

    Ecuadorean doctors would have been just as good [as the Cuban doctors who were expelled from the country], he said, if the health ministry had paid enough to fill the vacancies.

    […] As the epidemic was exploding in Ecuador, Mr. Bolsonaro returned to Brazil from Mar-a-Lago. He quickly summoned Nise Yamaguchi, a São Paulo oncologist who had become a prominent champion of hydroxychloroquine. […] Dr. Yamaguchi became his most trusted adviser.

    In an interview, she said Mr. Trump’s donation of two million doses had made Brazil’s reliance on the medicine possible.

    […] Ignoring a medical consensus, Brazil’s health ministry still provides free hydroxychloroquine to anyone with Covid-19. And critics say Mr. Bolsonaro’s promotion of the drug, coupled with his refusal to wear a mask or socially distance, has undermined public health.

    […] Brazil has suffered more than 157,000 deaths from Covid-19, a total second only to the United States. Indigenous communities in the remote Amazon basin, which lost 8,000 Cuban medical workers, have been hardest hit. […]

    […] When the pandemic hit, the Pan-American Health Organization began raising $92 million to send out infectious disease experts and critical supplies. The goal was later raised to $200 million. […] This time, the United States offered almost no new money.

    […] At the end of the month, Mr. Trump announced that the United States was withdrawing from the World Health Organization and the administration temporarily froze other grants to the Pan-American agency.

    […] the campaign against the agency only escalated. “PAHO must explain how it came to be the middleman in a scheme to exploit Cuban medical workers,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared on June 10.

    That’s just one out of many instances when Pompeo spouted bullshit to back up Donald Trump.

    […] It took funding from Canada for the health organization to send some protective equipment to Ecuador, the first time it had done so for any country. […]

    Finally, under congressional pressure, the Trump administration on July 15 unblocked $65 million, staving off insolvency for the organization. […]

    Catching the virus did nothing to change either president’s outlook. Mr. Bolsonaro, 65, was infected in July and suffered only mild symptoms. He celebrated his recovery with a motorcycle ride and stands by his embrace of hydroxychloroquine.

    Mr. Trump, 74, quietly stopped promoting that drug. When he was briefly hospitalized with Covid-19 earlier this month, he received other medicines. He began describing some of those as miracle cures and returned to dismissing the virus.
    “People are tired of Covid,” he said this week on a campaign conference call. “People are saying: ‘Whatever. Just leave us alone.’”

    […] The Trump administration continues to pressure other countries to expel Cuban doctors. […]

    Other countries known for their sophisticated health systems have welcomed Cuban help. A group of 40 Cuban medical workers went to Turin in Italy last spring to help fight the pandemic, said Carlo Picco, who leads health services in the city.
    “The Cubans were a success story for us,” he said.