Comments

  1. says

    Guardian (support the Guardian if you can!) – “Protecting nature is vital to ‘escaping era of pandemics’ – report”:

    The world is in an “era of pandemics” and unless the destruction of the natural world is halted they will emerge more often, spread more rapidly, kill more people and affect the global economy with more devastating impact than ever before, according to a report from some of the world’s leading scientists.

    The emergence of diseases such as Covid-19, bird flu and HIV from animals was entirely driven by the razing of wild places for farming and the trade in wild species, which were bringing people into contact with the dangerous microbes, the experts said.

    “The risk of pandemics is increasing rapidly, with more than five new diseases emerging in people every year, any one of which has the potential to become pandemic,” the report says.

    It estimates there are more than 500,000 unknown viruses in mammals and birds that could infect humans.

    The current approach to disease outbreaks is trying to contain them and develop treatments or vaccines, which the scientists say is a “slow and uncertain path”. Instead the root causes must be tackled, including stopping the demolition of forests to produce meat, palm oil, metals and other commodities for richer countries.

    The costs of such a transformative change would be “trivial”, the experts found, compared with the trillions of dollars of damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic alone. Their proposed solutions include a global surveillance network, taxing damaging meat production and ending taxpayer subsidies that ravage the natural world.

    “There is no great mystery about the cause of the Covid-19 pandemic, or of any modern pandemic,” said Peter Daszak, the chair of the group convened by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, (Ipbes) to produce the report. “The same human activities that drive climate change and biodiversity loss also drive pandemic risk through their impacts on our environment.”

    “We’re seeing pandemics every 20-30 years,” said Daszak, who is also the president of EcoHealth Alliance, and they were getting more frequent and damaging. “We can escape the era of pandemics, but this requires a much greater focus on prevention, in addition to reaction.”

    The report was produced by 22 experts in fields including zoology, public health, economics and law, and representing every continent. It cites more than 600 studies, a third of which were published since 2019. “It’s really state of the art in terms of its scientific basis,” said Anne Larigauderie, the executive secretary of Ipbes.

    Daszak added: “Clearly, in the face of Covid-19, with more than one million human deaths, and huge economic impacts, [the current] reactive approach is inadequate. There is enough science that shows a way forward and would involve transformative change that rethinks our relationship with nature.”

    The scientists call for a high-level intergovernmental council on pandemic prevention to provide decision-makers with the best evidence, predict high-risk areas and coordinate the design of a global disease surveillance system.

    The report was widely welcomed by other experts. Guy Poppy, an ecology professor at Southampton University, said the report’s comprehensive analysis of solutions was valuable. “The link between planetary health and human health was already becoming increasingly recognised, but Covid-19 has brought it to the front of everyone’s minds,” he said.

    Prof John Spicer, a marine zoologist at the University of Plymouth, said: “The Covid-19 crisis is not just another crisis alongside the biodiversity crisis and the climate change crisis. Make no mistake, this is one big crisis – the greatest that humans have ever faced.”

    But he said that by offering solutions the report “is a document of hope, not despair … the question is not can we [act], but will we?”

  2. says

    Perdue, Ossoff face off in Georgia Senate debate, attack goes viral

    The Democratic challenger accused the Republican incumbent of being a “crook.”

    Republican Sen. David Perdue and Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff battered each other Wednesday night with what has become the familiar refrains of their bitter race: Perdue repeatedly accused Ossoff of backing radical, socialist policies while Ossoff slammed Perdue’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and Republican efforts to overturn the Affordable Care Act.

    Perdue and Ossoff met in Savannah for their second debate of the race, which polls indicate is extremely close. The outcome could have national implications over which party controls the Senate, with Democrats hoping Ossoff could give the party their first U.S. Senate win in Georgia since 2000.

    […] “We are in the middle of a grave public health crisis. It is spiraling out of control because Washington politicians downplayed the crisis, ignored the medical science, undermined the doctors and scientists who knew what they’re doing,” Ossoff said. “And senator David Perdue, in the middle of this health crisis, is still supporting efforts to repeal protections for Georgians with preexisting conditions.”

    “Right now we’ve got to get serious about beating COVID and then getting our economy going again. If you leave it to the Democrats, they want us locked down and continue to stay locked down,” Perdue responded, before falsely accusing Ossoff of backing the Green New Deal and socialized medicine, neither of which Ossoff supports.

    […] “There’s the senator with the catchphrases again. But no substance, little truth and no sense of personal responsibility,” Ossoff shot back.

    The Democrat also accused Perdue of being a “crook” in a video clip that’s gone viral.

  3. says

    Unemployment claims improve, but remain high

    For 32 consecutive weeks, the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits has been worse than anything seen during the Great Recession.

    When it comes to weekly unemployment filings, our whole understanding of “normal” flew out the window six months ago. […] it was considered a catastrophe during the Great Recession when jobless claims topped 600,000.

    But in 2020, as the coronavirus pandemic started taking a brutal toll on the U.S. economy, Americans confronted an entirely new set of standards — to the point that it seemed like relatively good news last month when initial jobless claims fell below 1 million for the first time since March.

    […] In the week ending October 24, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 751,000, a decrease of 40,000 from the previous week’s revised level. […]

    It seems hard to believe, but today’s report is the best we’ve seen on initial jobless claims since the crisis began in earnest in March. That said, we’ve now had 32 consecutive weeks in which the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits was worse than at any time during the Great Recession. […]

  4. says

    Trump is bragging. Trump is confused.

    Long before he knew what today’s report on economic growth would say, Donald Trump was bragging about it, both on Twitter and in campaign ads. [Trump] and his team didn’t see any point in waiting, because it was obvious that the data would show the economy improving in the third quarter (July through September) after suffering a devastating second quarter (April through June).

    How much improvement would we see? CNBC reported this morning:

    Coming off the worst quarter in history, the U.S. economy grew at its fastest pace ever in the third quarter as a nation battered by an unprecedented pandemic put itself back together. Third-quarter gross domestic product, a measure of the total goods and services produced in the July-to-September period, expanded at a 33.1% annualized pace, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday.

    […] people might say, if we saw a 33% drop in the second quarter, followed by 33% growth in the third quarter, that means we’re back to where we were.

    Except, that’s not even close to being true. As NBC News reported this week, ahead of the release of this morning’s report: “The economy was recovering from a 31.4 percent drop in the previous quarter, the worst decline ever recorded, amid mass stay-at-home orders. And experts say the path to fully making up the losses is rocky — particularly with coronavirus case numbers rising faster than ever before in the U.S. and a lack of a stimulus package.”

    Economist Mark Zandi told NBC News, “While the third-quarter bounce in GDP will be a record quarterly gain, it isn’t all that impressive, as it follows the collapse in economic activity in the second quarter.” He added that “even with the third-quarter gain, real GDP will have only recovered about two-thirds of what was lost in the second-quarter free fall.”

    As was pointed out by an MSNBC commentator, if you lost $100 and then $60 was given back to you, your situation would be improved but not restored to what it was.

    [From David Wilcox, a nonresident senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics and the former director of the Division of Research and Statistics at the Federal Reserve Board.]

    Real GDP would have to have increased a whopping 53 percent at an annual rate in the third quarter to return to its previous level. (Why not 36.4 percent, if GDP declined at a 5 percent annual rate in the first quarter, and a further 31.4 percent rate in the second quarter? Because that’s not how it works. Suppose GDP was at 100, and then it fell to 50 — a drop of 50 percent. If it then rose by 50 percent, it would only move back to 75. A similar calculation is required here.)

    More details from Steve Benen:

    […] Diane Swonk, chief economist at Grant Thornton, told CNBC, “The concern is we get another setback in the fourth quarter…. November and December could be materially worse. The problem is you’re going into the critical season for celebrations and gatherings. If we continue to see the spread, we can’t reflate the economy.”

    Keep this in mind as the president takes a victory lap in response to data he doesn’t understand. […]

    Link

    One of Trump’s asinine tweets:

    Big GDP projected. Pelosi only looking to Bail Out badly run Democrat Cities. Tap, Tap, Taping us along. She has little interest in helping out the “people”.

  5. says

    Something you probably already suspected: QAnon Is Supposed to Be All About Protecting Kids. Its Primary Enabler Appears to Have Hosted Child Porn Domains.

    Archives document Jim Watkins’ links to domains suggestive of underage sexual material.

    One dark irony of QAnon has always been that the conspiracy theory, which holds that […] Trump is waging a war on a cabal of elite liberal pedophiles, rose to prominence on 8chan, an imageboard where users swapped child pornography.

    But that irony may have a darker, deeper layer: Mother Jones has uncovered that Jim Watkins, the owner of 8chan and its successor site, 8kun, controls a company that hosted scores of domains whose names suggest they are connected to child pornography.

    While Mother Jones did not visit the domains because of strict laws related to viewing child sex abuse material, internet registration and hosting data suggest at a minimum that Watkins profited from domains with names explicitly related to pedophilia—the very thing that QAnon followers say that they’re motivated to end.

    The domains’ names include terms such as “preteen,” “schoolgirl,” and “child” alongside graphic terms for genitalia and words like “rape” and “love.” […] an analysis of metadata collected years ago from one by archive.org shows dozens of filenames and links containing highly suggestive terms, including “xxxpreteen,” “children,” and sexual references to girls aged 12 to 15.

    Some of the domains date back to the late 1990s and may no longer be active, while others currently resolve to IP addresses controlled by Watkins’ company, N.T. Technology, […]

    Watkins, who some experts believe has an active role in maintaining the QAnon account on 8kun, dismissed Mother Jones’ questions about the domains as “an attempt to smear [his] name and print something awful,” offering varying explanations why they were on N.T. Technology’s servers. “We’re not child pornographers, and we don’t host child pornography, and we don’t condone that,” he insisted.

    A group of anti-Q researchers that includes Aubrey Cottle, a founder of the activist hacker collective Anonymous, brought Watkins’ connection to the domains to Mother Jones’ attention. Another researcher, who asked not to be named to avoid harassment from Watkins supporters, reviewed the historical domain and routing information at Mother Jones’ request and agreed the records showed that N.T. Technology “hosted many domains with CP [child pornography] themed names over an extended period of time.”

    […] One domain created in 1998 and hosted by N.T. Technology, which bills itself as “a powerhouse in the internet world, [s]upporting some of the largest sites on Earth,” lists Watkins as its administrator and names a separate holding company he owns, Is It Wet Yet Inc., as the administration organization. According to historical domain and web archive records, the domain has, over the years, been associated with dozens of subdomains—more specific and focused offshoots of the main domain—whose names combine terms like “preteen,” “kidnap,” and “rape.” They include a comprehensive system of subdomains referencing age ranges as young as 10. […]

    Even if he has no direct relationship to the QAnon account, as an active supporter of Q and the movement’s host, Watkins is an inextricable sustainer of a conspiracy that has falsely branded political opponents and innocent bystanders as pedophiles—despite his own apparent role in profiting from words that appeal to the real thing.

    More at the link.

  6. says

    […] “We have a sitting president who’s actively trying to undermine this election,” Shapiro [Attorney General Josh Shapiro] told me. “He’s doing that because he knows that if all legal eligible votes are counted, he’s more likely than not going to come out on the losing side here in Pennsylvania.”

    Pennsylvania state officials are in the extraordinary position of actively taking defensive steps to preempt a situation in which the Supreme Court helps Trump suppress untold numbers of lawfully cast ballots — as Trump has openly declared he expects it to do.

    Shapiro is at the center of this effort. One main worry concerns the untold numbers of ballots that are mailed before Election Day but arrive after. The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued a ruling allowing for Pennsylvania ballots arriving up to three days afterward to be accepted.

    But Shapiro bluntly warned that Trump and Republicans will still likely try to use those late-arriving ballots “as a hook to challenge all mail-in ballots.”

    […] The fear among many Democrats is that, despite the Supreme Court ruling, the Trump campaign and Republicans could still challenge those late ballots — and use that to ask the court to halt the count of all mail ballots until that’s sorted out.

    The counting of mail ballots will go on for days after the election. If Trump is ahead in the initial count of in-person Election Day votes — and far more Republicans intend to vote on the day itself — he could declare victory while seeking to invalidate uncounted mail ballots.

    It doesn’t matter that much what Trump declares. What matters is whether the court is willing to halt the count.

    Pennsylvania officials tried to preempt this by announcing that they will segregate all late-arriving ballots. The idea is to prevent Republicans from challenging those ballots and then using that to challenge all mail ballots, by claiming they’ve all been commingled and can’t be separated from one another, requiring a halt to the count until the legal dispute over the late ballots is resolved.

    […] In allowing the acceptance of late ballots, the high court let stand a Pennsylvania state Supreme Court ruling permitting that acceptance, rebuffing arguments that it infringed on the authority of the GOP-controlled state legislature to set election rules.

    But the U.S. Supreme Court only declined to nix those late-arriving ballots for now, just before the election. And three conservatives — Clarence Thomas, Samuel A. Alito Jr. and Neil M. Gorsuch — indicated that after the election, they may revisit the question.

    Worse, the justices said there’s a “strong likelihood” that the state Supreme Court’s ruling is unconstitutional, because if state courts can “override” the legislature on setting election rules, that renders its authority over those rules “meaningless.”

    In short, three justices believe state legislatures wield near-absolute authority over election rules — and state courts cannot intervene to ensure that those rules don’t infringe on voting rights as outlined in state constitutions.

    If Amy Coney Barrett and Brett M. Kavanaugh subscribe to this — and Kavanaugh already has, in a related decision in Wisconsin — five justices could invalidate untold numbers of late-arriving ballots after the election.

    So we know the Supreme Court is open to hearing a dispute over those late ballots after the election and could invalidate them. But does that mean the court would also halt the count of the larger pool of mail ballots?

    We don’t know. Probably not: In the Pennsylvania ruling, even the three conservative justices indicated reluctance, clarifying that if the late ballots are segregated, that would allow a “targeted remedy” against them.

    But we know Trump and Republicans will try to make this happen. […]

    Washington Post link

  7. says

    The list of Republicans backing Biden grows a bit longer

    The number of Republican officials who’ve thrown their support behind Joe Biden’s candidacy was already striking, but as the Washington Post reported this week, the list isn’t done growing.

    Twenty former U.S. attorneys — all of them Republicans — on Tuesday publicly called […] Trump “a threat to the rule of law in our country,” and urged that he be replaced in November with his Democratic opponent, former vice president Joe Biden. “[Trump] has clearly conveyed that he expects his Justice Department appointees and prosecutors to serve his personal and political interests,” said the former prosecutors in an open letter. They accused Trump of taking “action against those who have stood up for the interests of justice.”

    Thomas Heffelfinger, a Republican and a former two-time U.S. attorney in Minnesota, not only signed his name to the joint statement, he also told the Post, “I can’t look at myself in the mirror; I can’t look my daughters in the face if I can’t do what I can to get rid of him.”

    In context, of course, “him” referred to Donald Trump.

    And while these Republican prosecutors’ willingness to publicly step up like this is an important story in its own right, it’s the larger pattern that’s unlike anything Americans have seen in modern political history.

    […] 2020 is qualitatively and quantitatively different. Former Republican National Committee chairs are backing Biden. Former Republican cabinet secretaries have also endorsed Biden. Some Republicans who worked as members of Trump’s own team have announced their support for Biden.

    The list includes former GOP governors, former GOP senators, former GOP House members, and several dozen Republican national security officials — from the Reagan, Bush/Quayle, and Bush/Cheney administrations — who’ve all endorsed Biden. […]

  8. says

    Detroit News – “FBI arrests white supremacy leader in extremism crackdown in Michigan”:

    Federal agents on Thursday arrested two men, including the self-proclaimed leader of the Base, a violent white supremacist group, as part of a continuing crackdown on extremism in Michigan three weeks after the FBI said it thwarted a plot to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

    A team of FBI agents arrested Justen Watkins, 25, of Bad Axe, the self-proclaimed leader of the Base, and Alfred Gorman, 35, of Taylor, during a pair of raids.

    They are linked to a December 2019 incident in Dexter in which a local family was terrorized by the men, who tried to intimidate a husband and wife and shared their address with members of the Base, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said in a statement.

    The developments continue a string of arrests, raids and operations targeting far-right, anti-government extremists and white supremacists this month. That includes accused members of the Whitmer kidnapping plot and a shootout in suburban Detroit between FBI agents and a Madison Heights man who died 28 years after his family became embroiled in the infamous Ruby Ridge standoff in Idaho.

    “I think this shows the range of bad actors that are operating in the United States, which should be a cause of concern,” said Jon Lewis, a research fellow at the Program on Extremism at George Washington University.

    Nessel’s office charged the men with several felonies, including gang membership, a 20-year felony, using a computer to commit a crime and unlawful posting of a message. The charges were filed in Washtenaw County District Court, the location of the alleged Dexter incident.

    Both suspects were lodge in the Washtenaw County Jail pending arraignment.

    “Using tactics of intimidation to incite fear and violence constitutes criminal behavior,” Nessel said. “We cannot allow dangerous activities to reach their goal of inflicting violence and harm on the public. I am proud to work alongside law enforcement agencies at the local, state and federal levels to safeguard the public’s safety from these serious threats.”

    State and federal investigators have launched a series of operations this year against members of the Base, a small Neo-Nazi network that started to emerge in mid-2018, Lewis said.

    The Base, according to Nessel’s office, is a white supremacy organization that encourages acts of violence against the U.S. and claims to be training for a race war “to establish White ethnonationalist rule in areas of the U.S., including Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.”

    “The group also traffics in Nazi ideology and extreme anti-Semitism, at one point requiring its members to read neo-Nazi books that urge the collapse of Western civilization,” Nessel’s office said in a statement….

  9. says

    About that rightwing war on masks:

    […] Misinformation about masks isn’t being generated by confusion or a lack of consistency among experts. It’s the other way around. Confusion is being generated by misinformation specifically generated to give the appearance that masks are either ineffective or that experts are in disagreement. The Wall Street Journal editorial by cardiologist Joseph Ladapo is a primary example.

    Ladapo—who has been the Scott Atlas of The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page for months—begins his anti-mask manifesto by looking at why health officials began insisting that wearing masks was important. He’s correct in saying that the discovery of asymptomatic transmission was a major factor. He’s hugely incorrect in saying this is “a weak rationale” for masks. He’s also hugely deceptive in citing as proof a study that looked at how face masks and other factors worked against flu, and representing it as a general study on a “respiratory virus.” It’s not.

    He goes on to attack researchers for not anticipating that COVID-19 might spread without symptoms because “presymptomatic spread of respiratory viruses isn’t a novel phenomenon.” But there’s a very good reason that experts were surprised to find the SARS-CoV-2 virus spreading without symptoms; it’s called the SARS-CoV virus. People who catch SARS become symptomatic before becoming highly infectious, with first symptoms appearing about five days before the patient begins to expel virus at a high rate. That was a major factor in how SARS was isolated and defeated. It was completely understandable that experts expected these two very similar viruses would behave in a similar way. Asymptomatic and presymptomatic spread of COVID-19 was a genuine surprise.

    Ladapo then goes on to dismiss the idea of using masks to protect against asymptomatic cases by saying: “Asymptomatic or mild cases appear to contribute more to Covid-19 transmission, but this happens in flu cases, too, though no one has called for mask mandates during flu season.”

    Why would that be? Here’s what the same study that Ladapo cited as evidence against masks being effective had to say about flu: “Most influenza virus infections cause mild and self-limiting disease; only a small fraction of case-patients require hospitalization.”

    In COVID-19, that percentage of hospitalization has been in double digits around the world. The rate of death from COVID-19 is an order of magnitude higher than the rate of hospitalization from flu. After more than 9 million cases, the case fatality rate for COVID-19 in the United States is still over 2.5%.

    After this, Ladapo devotes the center of his essay to demeaning the idea that masks are effective, which largely involves dismissing all the evidence that masks are effective. And it includes a section that needs to be quoted in full: “Policy makers and the media point to low-quality evidence, such as a study of Covid-19 positive hairstylists in Missouri or a Georgia summer camp with an outbreak. These anecdotes, while valuable, tell us nothing about the experience of other hairdressers or other summer camps that adopted similar or different masking practices.”

    This is a medical doctor attacking not just the entire basis of human trials, but delivering a backhand to the entire scientific process. The reason you look at results of specific tests is exactly because they can tell you something about the general experience. If they cannot, someone should call the vaccine manufacturers and tell them to stop the trials.

    But all of this is only leading up to the main theme, to the point where Ladapo pulls off his own masks and gets down to what he’s really selling. “… mask mandates have the unintended consequence of delaying public acceptance of the unavoidable truth. In countries with active community transmission and no herd immunity, nothing short of inhumane lockdowns can stop the spread of Covid-19, so the most sensible and sustainable path forward is to learn to live with the virus.”

    As Joe Biden said in the second and final debate, Americans aren’t learning to “live with” COVID-19, they’re learning to die from it. Ladapo, like the White House, is selling herd immunity. And he’s not attacking masks because they don’t work. He’s attacking masks because they do.

    As a study just released Wednesday from Vanderbilt University demonstrates, there is a direct connection between the rate of mask-wearing in an area and the rate of hospitalization. [charts available at the link]

    Vanderbilt medical school originally did this analysis in August, and repeated it again with data through early October. In both instances, the effects of widespread mask-wearing are dramatic. […] The University of Washington Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation review in August also demonstrated that masks not only cut the rate of infection, they prevented the kind of sharp spikes that tipped healthcare systems over the edge.

    Masks work. They work best in areas with mandates and a very high level of use. The war on masks is an extension of the push for herd immunity, and the forces behind it are making that more and more evident.

    Masks should be used in conjunction with a lot of other preventative measures. I refer everyone back to SC’s comment 483 from the previous chapter of this thread. Her link leads to an excellent presentation showing how coronavirus is spread through the air, and which preventative measures work to prevent the spread. The link.

    I recommend that everyone read through that presentation carefully.

  10. tomh says

    One of the Georgia senate race is interesting, (the other is dead even in the polls) with the two top vote getters almost certainly being in a runoff in January. One will be the Democrat, Ralph Warnock, while two R’s are fighting for the other spot. It’s a race to see who can ouflank the other on the right — Kelly Loeffler has run a series of TV ads calling herself “more conservative than Attila the Hun” and touts an endorsement from QAnon-supporting congressional candidate Marjorie Taylor Greene. Meanwhile, her opponent Douglas Collins spotlights endorsements from convicted felons, Michael Flynn and George Papadopoulos. These are not your normal campaign tactics.

    Warnock leads both in the polls in a runoff, but those kind of elections are tricky. Turnout is key and Republicans have always been better at that. And, of course, if the battle for Senate control is tight, this one could swing the majority either way, two months after the Nov. 3 election.

  11. says

    LOL – CNN – “Glenn Greenwald is quitting The Intercept, claiming editors ‘censored’ his article about Joe Biden”:

    Glenn Greenwald is resigning from The Intercept, the news site he co-founded in 2013 not long after his most prominent work, the publication of articles based on leaks from former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

    In a lengthy letter of resignation published Thursday, Greenwald alleged his editors “censored” an article he wrote this week about former Vice President Joe Biden. He claimed that the editors were “refusing to publish it unless I remove all sections critical of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, the candidate vehemently supported by all New-York-based Intercept editors involved in this effort at suppression.”

    Greenwald also included the text of a separate resignation email he sent to Michael Bloom, the president of First Look Media, which owns The Intercept, and Betsy Reed, the editor in chief.

    “The precipitating (but by no means only) cause is that The Intercept is attempting to censor my articles in violation of both my contract and fundamental principles of editorial freedom,” Greenwald’s email says.

    Greenwald shared his resignation letter in a series of tweets on Thursday.

    Greenwald said he will soon publish the article in question on Substack, the newsletter platform to which he posted the letter. He added that he will continue to publish on Substack, which he heralded as a place where journalists “have come in order to practice journalism free of the increasingly repressive climate that is engulfing national mainstream media outlets across the country.”…

    Chris Hayes: “If Hitchens had lived he’d be making a $1 million dollars a year on substack writing exclusively about woke mobs and why the US must got to war with China.”

  12. says

    Follow-up to comment 12.

    Trump spews his usual hogwash about mail-in ballots:

    A 3 day extension for Pennsylvania is a disaster for our Nation, and for Pennsylvania itself. The Democrats are trying to steal this Election. We have to get out and VOTE in even larger numbers. The Great Red Wave is coming!!!

    Trump’s dangerous comments about COVID-19 to a rally crowd in Florida today:

    You know the bottom line, though? You’re gonna get better. You’re gonna get better. If I can get better, anybody can get better. And I got better fast.

    The infectious disease has killed more than 225,000 Americans so far. It didn’t kill Trump.

    More about Trump’s rally in Florida today:

    It looks like the high temperatures at the President’s Tampa rally are taking a toll: Multiple people have passed out, NBC News reports. This comes just a couple days after poor planning at a Trump rally in Omaha forced multiple people to the hospital due to extended exposure to the cold.

    [From Monica Alba]

    It’s so hot here in Tampa (87 degrees) that there’s a truck blasting water at the back of the Trump rally crowd. Multiple people have passed out already, with supporters calling for medics every 5-10 minutes

    Trump and Biden holding dueling campaign events in Florida right now.

    The difference is striking: thousands of people packed together in Tampa vs people socially distanced remaining in their cars in Coconut Creek.

  13. says

    More evidence that Trump is putting people at risk of catching the virus when he holds rallies:

    The Gaston County Department of Health and Human Services [in North Carolina] issued a statement on Thursday warning that two individuals who attended a Trump campaign rally at the Gaston Municipal Airport last week tested positive for COVID-19.

    […] Gaston County stated that routine case investigation and contact tracing protocols are being followed. Additionally, other places that the two individuals have been as well as other close contacts to them are being notified directly by public health staff.

    “Because of the large number of potential contacts from the rally, and the inability to alert them directly, the community is being notified so they can assess their own risk and take appropriate actions,” Gaston County wrote.

  14. says

    A Florida woman delivered in voting ballot while she was on her way to the hospital to have her baby.

    A pregnant Central Florida woman forced her husband make a pit stop at an elections office so she could cast her vote, shortly before heading to the hospital to deliver their child.

    According to WESH, Karen Briceno Gonzalez, a worker at the Supervisor of Elections Office in Orlando, said the woman’s husband showed up in line and asked for a ballot for his wife.

    The woman’s husband was asked for his license, but he told Gonzalez that it was his pregnant wife who was waiting in the car while in labor who needed to cast her ballot. The woman told her husband that she refused to go to the hospital until after she voted.

    Gonzalez told WESH that the elections office staff raced to the car where the pregnant woman was to check her ID and hand her a vote-by-mail ballot. To Gonzalez’s surprise, the woman filled out her ballot at that moment “while doing a little controlled breathing.”

    The woman’s vote was certified and placed in the ballot box, and Gonzalez told WESH that the woman was “very happy she got to vote.”

  15. says

    Some of the mystery around why Barr was so anxious to fire U.S. Attorney Berman has been solved

    In June, Attorney General William Barr suddenly announced the resignation of U.S. attorney Geoffrey Berman. There was only one problem—Berman had not resigned, and he wasn’t going to resign. So Barr fired him. Berman disputed Barr’s ability to remove him from office, but finally left after securing an agreement that his primary assistant would take over the office, rather than handing it off to a political appointee with no criminal law experience who was favored by Donald Trump.

    In congressional testimony, Berman made it clear that Barr had been trying to force him out of his office for months. […] there was speculation over exactly why Barr was so anxious to see the New York attorney gone. Was Berman looking into the fake “We Build the Wall” organization that was feeding money to Steve Bannon? Was he taking a closer look at Rudy Giuliani after bringing the grand jury case that indicted Giuliani’s pals? Or was Berman fired because he was taking a look directly into the finances of the Trump Organization?

    At least part of the answer became clear on Thursday, and that answer is: none of the above. Instead, Berman was trying to prevent a Turkish state-owned bank from illegally funneling billions to Iran in violation of U.S. sanctions. And Donald Trump was defending them.

    […] Berman had the evidence he needed to make a case against Turkey. But even before Barr came to town, the Department of Justice would not allow him to move forward on charges that Halkbank, under the control of Turkish dictator Recep Tayyip Erdogan, had violated U.S. law and international sanctions to the tune of billions.

    […] What Barr wanted was for Berman to tell Turkish officials that, in exchange for a small fine, he would end the investigation. Halkbank would be able to carry on business in the U.S. Erdogan and other figures connected to the sanctions violations would not be charged.

    Berman refused. He pointed out that though they had enough evidence to lay charges against the bank, there were key investigations underway. Not only did some of those investigations involve people close to Erdogan, there also appeared to be direct connections to the Iranian nuclear program—a program that was restarted after Trump broke the multinational Iran nuclear treaty.

    […] Why was Barr pushing Berman to let it go? Because Erdogan was pushing Trump.

    […] Trump has refused to confront the Turkish strongman over anything. Meetings concerning Turkey inevitably include Trump bragging about his properties in Istanbul, and Trump frequently defends Erdogan’s harsh treatments of his political opponents. Trump isn’t alone. Among the charges that the DOJ dropped when Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI, were illegal lobbying for Erdogan, and even a plot to kidnap a U.S. resident and bring him to Turkey so Erdogan can kill him.

    One year ago, Trump tweeted out his support for Turkey’s “ultimate solution” of the Kurdish situation as he betrayed America’s long-time allies, turned his back on treaties, and handed over much of what they considered their homeland to Erdogan. For Trump, it’s not just a relationship in question, it’s an exchange of cash. Trump has made at least $2.6 million from his operations in Turkey since he made that ride down a golden escalator. The two men also share an attorney in Rudy Giuliani, who Erdogan hired to lobby in the United States.

    […] Berman was canned, at least in part, because he had become an obstacle in one of those “personal relationships” that Trump regards as more important than treaties or alliances.

    […] which came first: Erdogan’s making billions from Iran’s nuclear program while sending millions to Trump, or Trump’s desire to end the Iran nuclear deal, making Erdogan’s multi-billion dollar play possible?

  16. says

    In Pennsylvania, Republicans Might Only Need to Stall to Win

    New Yorker link

    On September 10th, Kevin Boyle, a Democratic state representative in Pennsylvania, opened his e-mail to find an invitation to a Zoom call with several Democratic advocates and former politicians. They wanted to speak with him on behalf of Keep Our Republic, a nonpartisan civic-engagement group that formed this past summer, amid the pandemic, to investigate unconventional threats to the election. The call included high-powered figures such as Richard Gephardt, the former U.S. representative and Presidential candidate, and Tom Rogers, the founder of MSNBC and CNBC. Boyle, who is forty and has a thick beard, represents a working-class district in northeast Philadelphia. He wondered why they wanted to talk to him. “I’m not a big shot,” he told me recently. “I represent sixty-five thousand people.” In the state legislature, he is also the minority chair of the Republican-dominated House State Government Committee, which oversees, among other things, the governor’s emergency orders regarding the coronavirus pandemic, and all matters related to voting.

    Boyle prepared for a perfunctory discussion of Pennsylvania’s election. When he joined the call, however, the tenor was more alarming. “It was defcon 5,” he said. The former politicians warned Boyle that the Trump campaign might try to hijack the 2020 election, and that this effort could hinge on his state. “Pennsylvania, like Wisconsin, North Carolina, and Michigan, isn’t only a battleground state,” Mark Medish, the co-founder of Keep Our Republic, told me recently. “Pennsylvania has a Democratic governor and a Republican legislature. This political division sets up a potential dispute over who, in a contested election, can appoint special electors.” In Pennsylvania, even if Democrats win the popular vote, Republicans could contest the results, arguing that various procedural aspects are illegitimate. Court cases regarding the election could end up before the Supreme Court, which will be filled with Trump appointees and likely to rule in his favor. But Republicans don’t even have to win; all they have to do is stall. If the vote is not certified by December 8th, the Republican-controlled legislature could appoint electors, who would likely cast their votes for Trump.

    […] Boyle left the Zoom meeting extremely concerned; he notified the Party leadership and the Democratic governor’s chief of staff, but was unsure how else he could help. Then, two days after Trump’s rally at the airport, Boyle’s Republican colleagues on the State Government Committee announced that they were introducing a measure to establish a special panel called the Select Committee on Election Integrity. […] Boyle worried that the panel could be used to derail the election. The committee could have the authority to subpoena election officials, making it impossible for them to count ballots. It could impound ballot boxes in Democratic districts, making them unavailable to tally. If the committee delayed long enough, the legislature could take matters into its own hands.

    The panel would likely be drawn from Boyle’s fellow State Government Committee members, a collection of ardent Trump supporters. […] He worried that they would do anything they could to insure Trump’s election.

    The vote on the Election Integrity committee’s creation was supposed to take place three days later. But on the morning of the vote, a Republican legislator on the State Government Committee tested positive for the coronavirus, and the session was called to an emergency halt. The delay allowed for more scrutiny of the proposal. “This committee touched on a lot of fears disenfranchised people have right now,” Liz Fiedler, a Democratic representative from Philadelphia, said. […] Fiedler’s team drafted a petition against the new panel and circulated it around the state. […] Boyle frantically filed amendments to the resolution, twelve in all, including an attempt to remove the Election Integrity committee’s subpoena power and a provision to formally designate it as a “coup.” […] On October 9th, the Republican leadership announced that it was pulling the resolution.

    Democrats rejoiced, but Boyle remained wary. He worried that, the day after the election, if their candidates were safe, Republicans could resurrect the panel and begin causing trouble. “This measure could come back to us in November, and we could have to vote on it within twenty-four hours,” he said. […]

    There are many issues with Pennsylvania’s election infrastructure that could leave it exposed. In 2018, the Department of State ordered all counties to introduce new voting machines with paper trails. The change is likely to cause confusion for voters and poll workers, as well as mechanical mishaps. During an election in 2019, a failure to properly calibrate new voting machines led to large-scale dysfunction in Northampton County, in the northeastern part of the state. If that kind of error is sufficiently widespread during the 2020 election, it could give Republicans an opening to contest the vote. […]

    Republicans could also exploit the state’s mail-in voting system. The pandemic has led people to vote by mail in unprecedented numbers: to date, Pennsylvania has sent out more than 2.6 million ballots, and gotten back five hundred and eighteen thousand. Mail-in voting was only introduced to the state this year, and all sixty-seven counties have different procedures for receiving and counting mailed ballots […]. In Pennsylvania, under-resourced election boards, inexperienced voters, and exacting technical procedures could also introduce dysfunction into a system under strain. […]

    Any idiosyncrasy will come under intense scrutiny. […] Dropping off a ballot for someone else, unless the voter is disabled or hospitalized, is called ballot harvesting and can cause the vote to be invalidated. […] (On Friday, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that ballots cannot be invalidated because a voter’s signature does not match the one on file.)

    Pennsylvania is also one of a handful of states that require a mail-in ballot to be sealed within a second “secrecy” envelope, another provision demanded last year by state Republicans, which was recently upheld by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. If a ballot is received without the secrecy envelope, it is termed a naked ballot and is discarded. […] Lisa Deeley, the Democratic chairwoman of the Philadelphia city commissioner’s office, warned that, in Pennsylvania, a hundred thousand votes could be invalidated. (In 2016, Trump won the state by only forty-four thousand votes.)

    More Democrats than Republicans have requested mail-in ballots in the state, by a margin of two-to-one. […] subsequent efforts to contest mail-in ballots will primarily invalidate Democratic votes. […]

    One of the last remaining fights in the legislature centered on how votes would be counted. Many states had already begun counting mail-in ballots so that they will have results in a timely manner. But Republicans in Pennsylvania had refused to allow ballots to be counted, or even sorted and opened—a process known as pre-canvassing—before 7 a.m. on Election Day. This will likely cause significant delays. The count in Pennsylvania will be further delayed by the secrecy envelopes. Bob Harvie, a Democratic county commissioner in Bucks County, recently told me, of this summer’s primaries, “What took us the longest was to open the envelope, then open the secrecy envelope, then flatten the ballot as much as we could before it was counted. It was an endless process.” […] He feared that it would be days after the election before Bucks would be able to come up with a preliminary vote count. “This isn’t just about Trump and Biden,” he told me. “We’ve got one shot of doing this, and if the country is waiting on Pennsylvania, we’re going to look terrible.”

    During the primaries, owing to processing issues, it took Pennsylvania about three weeks to certify the vote. In the general election, there will be more than twice as many ballots to count. There will only be five weeks after Election Day before the legislature could appoint the electors. […] Last week, before the legislative session ended, Democrats, along with a few Republicans, tried to push for a bill to allow pre-canvassing to begin. But the majority of Republicans refused to budge on the issue […]

    “It’s pretty clear that Republicans are carrying Trump’s strategy to delay the vote count in Pennsylvania,” he said. “This whole pre-canvassing thing is about creating doubt in the results, so they can sell the override of the state popular vote.” […]

  17. says

    How Much Longer Will Donald Trump Be Our Con-Artist-in-Chief?

    New Yorker link

    Over the past few weeks, the Times has published a series of detailed reports about Donald Trump’s financial affairs, including a mammoth exposé of his tax records. The latest installment is devoted to a single ill-starred venture—the Trump International Hotel & Tower, in Chicago—and, in some ways, it is the most revealing of all. […]

    Unlike many shysters, he [Trump] has managed to remain within the letter of the law—or, at least, he has not faced any criminal prosecutions. Second, as the latest Times story makes clear, he has enlisted some of the supposedly most astute financial minds in the country to back his ventures. […]

    The Chicago story began almost twenty years ago, when Trump announced plans to build a skyscraper on the site of the decrepit Chicago Sun-Times Building, where Mike Royko and Ann Landers once penned their columns. (What did Royko think of Trump? “I finally decided that he was totally loathsome when, in addition to his other flaws, he turned out to be a cheapo,” the columnist wrote in a 1991 piece about Trump’s first divorce.) Trump originally claimed that the new building would be a hundred and fifty stories high. After 9/11, he scaled it back to a modest ninety stories. In addition to an upscale hotel, the plan included luxury condos and retail outlets.

    The principal financier of the project was Deutsche Bank, which was then trying to establish itself as a top player on Wall Street. Many U.S. banks had been burned by their experiences with Trump during the nineteen-nineties, when two of his debt-laden properties had filed for bankruptcy, leaving their creditors with heavy losses. Deutsche extended a construction loan of six hundred and forty million dollars, some of which it chopped into pieces and sold to other banks, many of them foreign. […] A big hedge-fund manager, Fortress Investments, also came in on the deal. According to the Times, it extended a loan of a hundred and thirty million dollars, some of which it sold to other private-equity firms and hedge funds, including Dune Capital Management, a firm co-founded by Steven Mnuchin, who would go on to be Trump’s Treasury Secretary.

    […] Trump’s new creditors soon met a fate that was similar to what their predecessors had faced. In 2008, some of the loans on the Chicago project came due, but many of the condo units still hadn’t been completed, and the project was way behind its financial projections. The bankers found themselves stuck with a debtor who couldn’t meet his payments and who had no compunction about using his stretched finances as leverage. Trump demanded an extension to the loans, which Deutsche refused. Then he sued the bank, accusing it of “predatory lending practices.” (He also sued Fortress.)

    […] Trump owed hundreds of millions, and he had played this game before. In the nineties, Trump’s creditors, when faced with the prospect of endless legal battles and maybe losing the entirety of the money they had lent, agreed to write off huge chunks of his loans. Deutsche and Fortress ultimately did the same thing. “Mr. Trump was let off the hook for about $270 million,” the Times story says. “It was the type of generous financial break that few American companies or individuals could ever expect to receive, especially without filing for bankruptcy protection.”

    […] Fortress was repaid forty-eight million dollars, or roughly a sixth of what it had expected to receive after interest payments. Deutsche’s corporate-loan division also suffered a big loss. But, in a remarkable turnaround, another arm of the bank—the wealth-management division—subsequently lent Trump hundreds of millions of dollars more. These new loans went to the Chicago building; the Doral golf resort, in Miami; and the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., which Trump built on the site of the Old Post Office Building. “At the end of 2018, Mr. Trump and his companies owed the bank $330 million,” the Times says.

    […] according to another scoop in the Times, Trump exploited his huge losses to take a gargantuan tax writeoff, which enabled him to pay virtually nothing in federal income taxes during the subsequent decade. After the Chicago debacle, he again turned the situation to his advantage. Under the tax laws, if somebody forgives a loan that you owe them, the I.R.S. treats the sum as income, and you have to pay tax on it. Unless you are Trump. By exploiting other loopholes in the tax code and utilizing offsetting losses from elsewhere in the Trump organization, he “managed to avoid paying income taxes on nearly all of it,” the Times story says.

    […] this is the financial Houdini who rebounded from the wreckage of his early-nineties bust; the former proprietor of the shameless scam that was Trump University; the self-proclaimed billionaire who got other people to finance his charitable foundation; the man whose chronic self-dealing as President has extended to such lengths that his Mar-a-Lago resort, in Florida, once charged the U.S. government three dollars for water that was served to him.

    You hadn’t heard that last detail? It comes from David Fahrenthold, the Washington Post reporter who won a Pulitzer Prize, in 2017, for his reporting on Trump’s unique brand of philanthropy. In a report published on Tuesday, Fahrenthold revealed that since Trump came to office his properties have charged the federal government at least $2.5 million for hosting Trump events. This total includes seven thousand dollars for a 2017 dinner at Mar-a-Lago with Xi Jinping, the Chinese leader; six thousand dollars for flowers at Mar-a-Lago during a 2018 visit by Shinzo Abe, the former Prime Minister of Japan; and—yes—three dollars for water served during a press briefing with Trump and Abe at the same event. “The price was $3 each, including service charge,” Fahrenthold’s story notes. “Taxpayers had effectively paid Trump’s company to serve him water.”

    Mike Royko wouldn’t have been surprised.

  18. says

    Guardian world liveblog (linked @ #1 above):

    Global coronavirus cases rose by more than 500,000 on Wednesday, Reuters reports, a record one-day increase as countries across the Northern Hemisphere reported rising cases.

    Global daily Covid-19 cases have risen by nearly 25% in less than two weeks as the world witnessed 400,000 daily reported cases for the first time last Friday.

    Most western countries and parts of Latin America have reported their highest single-day surges in the past few weeks. Many governments, with the notable exception of the US, have started taking stronger measures to bring the spread of the virus under control.

    The global coronavirus tally stands at 44.7 million cases and about 1.17 million deaths.

    Europe, North America and Latin America account for over 66% of global cases and over 76% of global deaths.

    Europe’s new daily infections have doubled over the past two weeks as it reported more than 250,000 cases for the first time on Wednesday, according to a Reuters tally.

    The region has so far reported about 9.5 million cases and about 261,000 deaths.

    France reported a new record daily total of more than 50,000 infections for the first time on Sunday.

    The US broke its daily record for new coronavirus infections on Friday as it reported 84,169 new cases due to outbreaks in virtually every part of the country shortly before its presidential election on Tuesday.

    The US is reporting about 75,000 cases a day on an average, according to a Reuters analysis, and its death toll from Covid-19 could surpass 500,000 by February unless nearly all Americans wear face masks, researchers said.

    Asia surpassed 10 million infections on Saturday, according to a Reuters tally, as cases continue to mount in India.

    Indian prime minister Narendra Modi promised to provide any successful vaccine to each of India’s 1.3 billion people, and the country is preparing a database of all government and private health personnel to speed up vaccinations once they become available.

    In the Middle East, Iran is reporting one death every three minutes, according to state television.

  19. says

    Chad Wolf says he has no regrets about helping carry out state-sanctioned kidnapping

    Unlawfully appointed acting Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Sec. Chad Wolf took a break from using his government position to campaign for impeached president Donald Trump’s reelection to finally address the family separation disaster. No, he wasn’t announcing he was dropping his appearance at Trump’s stupid wall to help reunite families torn apart under the administration’s policy. He was instead saying that families are separated only because they chose to be separated.

    Parents, Unlawful Chad claimed to CBS News on Tuesday, “have chosen to have their kids remain here in the United States while they remain back in their home countries. They have chosen. They themselves have chosen to separate their children from themselves,” the report said. When then asked if he “had any regrets” about helping implement the state-sanctioned kidnapping of children at the southern border, Unlawful Chad “said he did not.”

    Advocacy group Families Belong Together tweeted that this coiffed mini-fascist “baselessly claimed that the families separated under the family separation policy are choosing to remain apart from their children. Here’s what he left out. […] What he didn’t mention is that these parents aren’t allowed to reunite with their kids in the US, where they are safe. If they want to see their children, they risk putting them in danger.”

    […] “The fundamental point is that the Trump administration is trying to suggest that these parents do not want their children. Nothing could be further from the truth,” Gelernt continued to CBS News. “The administration is forcing families into the horrible choice of potential permanent separation or bringing a child back to danger, when what should happen is that parents should be allowed to rejoin their child in the United States. That is the simple and humane way to deal with the horrific problem created by this administration.” […]

    “No parent wants to be ripped away from their child,” Families Belong Together continued. “And no parent wants to choose between being with their child and their child’s safety. Wolf’s claims are false, misleading, and heartless.”

  20. says

    Intercept EIC Betsy Reed sent me this statement regarding the departure of @ggreenwald, saying there’s a ‘fundamental disagreement over the role of editors in the production of journalism and the nature of censorship’.”

    Full statement at the link. “The narrative he presents about his departure is teeming with distortions and inaccuracies – all of them designed to make him appear a victim, rather than a grown person throwing a tantrum.” “We have the greatest respect for the journalist Glenn Greenwald used to be,…”

  21. says

    SC @29, this is it in a nutshell: “We have the greatest respect for the journalist Glenn Greenwald used to be.” Used to be. Not anymore.

    In other news, here is a quote from Bruce Springsteen:

    There’s no art in this White House. There’s no literature, no poetry, no music. There are no pets in this White House: no loyal man’s best friend, no Socks, the family cat.

    There are no images of the first family enjoying themselves together in a moment of relaxation: no Obamas on the beach in Hawaii moments or Bushes fishing in Kennebunkport, no Reagans on horseback, no Kennedys playing touch football on the Cape.

    Where’d that country go? Where did all the fun, the joy, and the expression of love and happiness go?

    We used to have a president who calmed and soothed the nation, instead of dividing it.

    We are rudderless and joyless. We have lost the cultural aspects of society that make American great.

    We have lost our mojo, our fun, our happiness, our cheering on of others — the shared experience of humanity that makes it all worth it.

  22. says

    From Dave Matthews:

    It’s very disappointing, the sort of disregard for science, and the disregard for the health of people, and disregard for even his own … his greatest followers that are willing to go to an environment. But it does tell everybody don’t really worry about this, believe what you will about it.

    [Jake Tapper noted how, as a performer, Matthews won’t hold massive in-person concerts because he doesn’t want his fans to get infected with the deadly virus.]

    It’s a disregard for what’s happening. It’s just a playing by your own rules, taken to a really absurd and kind of insulting, obviously selfish, degree.

    It just makes me think he doesn’t really have much interest in the truth or helping out with the struggle people have. And being blatant about it, “I’m more important than anyone else.”

    But the direction that [Biden’s] leadership would take the country would be at least toward trying to again turn the country into a place that listens to the science, and listens to the medical industry, and listens to the people that know, that have an idea of what is happening.

    I think it’s unfortunate that we’re in a place right now where it’s believe what you will. Which is kind of scary.

  23. says

    Jeff Sharlet:

    First the black, white & blue anti-Black Lives Matter flag flew outside of Trump rallies, then on stage, next to the US flag; in Wisconsin last week it replaced the US flag behind Trump; now the American flag, with all its complications, is just gone, & a fascist banner waves.

    [image at the link]

    Growing dominance of “Blue Lives Matter” flag w/in Trumpism suggests a formation close to but not identical w/ both white nationalism & police state: I’ll call it “police nationalism.” Identity founded on fetishization of an explicitly brutal & implicitly racist idea of policing.

    Police nationalists, like the civilian creator of the Blue Lives Matter flag, are mostly *not* law enforcement. Rather, they’re people who form an identity, a sense of themselves, *through* fantasizing punishment for others. Hence the popularity of the Punisher motif.

    Police nationalists are white supremacists (including occasional non-white ones; it’s an infectious disease) who don’t want to think of themselves as such. Police nationalism allows them to fetishize force as “law” and relieves them of having to think about what law is.

    Police nationalists often merge “law & order” w/ an authoritarian idea of Christianity. But in essence I think it’s a secularization of authoritarian faith, fetishization of a fixed, received “law & order” similar to fundamentalist “natural law” w/ state power replacing divine.

    You may have seen a popular meme of the anti-Black Lives Matter police nationalist flag with stripes pulled away to reveal a Nazi flag. I get the sentiment, but it obscures fact that this authoritarian flag is, now at least, far more versatile in its service to neo-fascism.

    That’s because the Nazi flag only means one thing. The police nationalist flag now means many things: anti-Black Lives Matter (which is how it began), Trump, &, yes, a martyred memory of officers killed in line of duty. It’s like Trump: it twists.

    I’ve been reporting on the Right for 20 years. I believe self-definition matters. Police nationalists now call their flag “Back the Blue”–a statement they experience not as non-partisan but as transcending partisanship. It’s an assertion of ultimate authority. But worse…

    Implicit in the slogan “Back the Blue” when used by police nationlists is the fantasy of a coming conflict (which aligns neatly with QAnon’s idea of a “storm”) in which “backing the Blue” will mean choosing a side in a civil war not so much feared as anticipated.

    Police nationalists endorse police violence under cover of police benevolence. One often finds them trading memes of cops with little kids, often a little blonde white girl or–thought to immunize against charges of racism–a little black boy.

    Some examples of two popular police nationalist memes: A cop with a kid, and German shepherds….

    The police nationalist memes of cops w/ kids aren’t false. Police, for all the profound & fundamental problems w/ American policing, often do good things. One can recognize that & still see police *nationalism* for what it is: The replacement of civil authority w/ armed power.

    Addendum: Lot of responses telling me word I’m looking for is “fascism”–a word that *is in the thread’s first tweet.* But the point of the thread is to look closer, to consider the particular manifestation of a fascistic phenomenon, the better to oppose what’s happening *now.*

  24. says

    Bruce Springsteen quoted @ Lynna’s #30 above:

    Where’d that country go? Where did all the fun, the joy, and the expression of love and happiness go?

    That’s exactly what I was thinking watching The Way I See It. Such an awful transformation over just a few years.

    Imagine this inaugural parade

  25. says

    NBC – “How a fake persona laid the groundwork for a Hunter Biden conspiracy deluge”:

    One month before a purported leak of files from Hunter Biden’s laptop, a fake “intelligence” document about him went viral on the right-wing internet, asserting an elaborate conspiracy theory involving former Vice President Joe Biden’s son and business in China.

    That document, a 64-page composition that was later disseminated by close associates of President Donald Trump, appears to be the work of a fake “intelligence firm” called Typhoon Investigations, according to researchers and public documents.

    The author of the document, a self-identified Swiss security analyst named Martin Aspen, is a fabricated identity, according to analysis by disinformation researchers, who also concluded that Aspen’s profile picture was created with an artificial intelligence face generator. The intelligence firm that Aspen lists as his previous employer told NBC News that no one by that name had ever worked for their company, and no one by that name lives in Switzerland, according to public records and social media searches.

    One of the original posters of the document, a blogger and professor named Christopher Balding, took credit for writing parts of the document when asked about it by NBC News, and said that Aspen does not exist.

    Despite the document’s questionable authorship and anonymous sourcing, its claims that Hunter Biden has a problematic connection to the Communist Party of China have been used by people who oppose the Chinese government, as well as by far-right influencers, to baselessly accuse candidate Joe Biden of being beholden to the Chinese government.

    An unverified leak of documents including salacious pictures from what President Donald Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and Delaware Apple repair store owner claimed to be Hunter Biden’s hard drive were published in the New York Post on Oct. 14. Associates close to Trump, including Giuliani and former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, have since promised more blockbuster leaks and secrets, which have yet to materialize.

    The fake intelligence document, however, preceded the leak by months and helped lay the groundwork among right-wing media for what would become a failed October surprise: a viral pile-on of conspiracy theories about Hunter Biden….

    Much more atl.

  26. tomh says

    Houston voters are turning out in record numbers. Could they flip Texas for Biden?
    Oct. 29, 2020 By Mike Hixenbaugh

    HOUSTON — It was after 8 p.m. Tuesday when Hector Martinez came straight from work to an early-voting site near his home, flicked off his headlights and headed inside to cast a ballot.

    Four years ago, the early-voting location nearest his office closed at 5 p.m. most weeknights, making it impossible for Martinez to get there after his evening shift as a maintenance worker. As a result, he wound up waiting in line for nearly an hour to vote on Election Day in 2016.

    “This was much easier,” Martinez, 47, said Tuesday, after voting at the Bayland Park Community Center in southwest Houston. “No line. No problem.”

    Martinez, who voted for former Vice President Joe Biden in the presidential race, is among more than 1.2 million voters who’ve already cast ballots in Harris County, which includes Houston, as of Wednesday evening, nearly surpassing the fast-growing county’s total turnout from 2016. Experts say the surge in voter participation in the nation’s third largest county almost certainly benefits Democrats and could be the key to flipping Texas from red to blue. And it demonstrates what’s possible when local officials make big investments to make voting easier.

    In 2016, under Republican leadership, Harris County spent about $4 million to administer the elections. After Democrats took control of every countywide office, officials increased the election budget to a staggering $31 million this year.

    That’s allowed election officials to triple the number of early-voting sites in the county of 4.7 million residents. They vastly expanded voting hours so residents like Martinez could come after work. During the final days of early voting, some locations will be open 24 hours. And officials also opened 10 drive-thru voting sites across the county, making it possible for residents worried about the coronavirus to cast ballots from the safety of their cars.

    As a result, more Harris County residents have voted early this year than ever before.

    “What we’re seeing is, when you build it they come,” said Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, the county’s top elected official, who is the first woman and the first Latina to hold the job. “We’ve learned that we can’t blame the historic lack of participation on the voters themselves. It’s been these obstacles.”
    […]

    He [Brandon Rottinghaus, a political scientist at the University of Houston] estimates at least 1.5 million voters need to turn out in Harris County for Democrats to have a reasonable shot at winning Texas. With another two days left of early voting, it’s possible the county could hit that total before Election Day.

    “I mean, not to be cliché, but elections have consequences,” Rottinghaus said, referring to 2018, when Hidalgo and other Democrats won county offices in Harris County. “And when you start to make policy changes that lead people to participate more, you’re going to see a different type of voter come to the polls. So, that’s exactly what we’re seeing.”

    Not everyone has welcomed the changes….the Texas GOP waged an unsuccessful legal battle to force Harris County to close its drive-thru voting sites.

    If Texas goes blue it’s all over.

  27. says

    Guardian world liveblog:

    EU at risk of being overwhelmed by coronavirus – EU Commission head

    The EU’s healthcare systems are at risk of being overwhelmed by the number of coronavirus cases unless authorities act quickly, the head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said.

    “The spread of the virus will overwhelm our healthcare systems if we do not act urgently,” she said after a video conference of EU leaders to coordinate the EU’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

    She said the Commission made available €220m to finance the transfer of Covid-19 patients across EU countries to avoid healthcare systems in the most affected countries not being able to cope.

    She also said the EU would work for the quick validation, at EU level, of rapid antigen tests.

  28. says

    Quoted in tomh’s #36:

    In 2016, under Republican leadership, Harris County spent about $4 million to administer the elections. After Democrats took control of every countywide office, officials increased the election budget to a staggering $31 million this year.

    That’s allowed election officials to triple the number of early-voting sites in the county of 4.7 million residents. They vastly expanded voting hours so residents like Martinez could come after work. During the final days of early voting, some locations will be open 24 hours. And officials also opened 10 drive-thru voting sites across the county, making it possible for residents worried about the coronavirus to cast ballots from the safety of their cars.

    The Harris County Clerk’s office is the best thing on Twitter this week.

  29. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Rachel Maddow is reporting on a series of ransomware attacks on hospitals traced to hackers in Russia. Link in the morning.

  30. says

    Politico – “Pence absent from Covid-19 planning calls for more than a month”:

    When Vice President Mike Pence first took charge of the White House’s coronavirus task force, among his earliest moves was establishing a standing call with all 50 governors aimed at closely coordinating the nation’s pandemic fight.

    Yet as the U.S. confronts its biggest Covid-19 surge to date, Pence hasn’t attended one of those meetings in over a month.

    Pence – who has been touting the Trump administration’s response effort on the campaign trail for weeks – is not expected to be on the line again Friday, when the group holds its first governors call since Oct. 13, said a person with knowledge of the plan. It’s a prolonged absence that represents just the latest sign of the task force’s diminished role in the face of the worsening public health crisis it was originally created to combat.

    Once a driving force behind the White House’s coronavirus messaging, the group hasn’t held a collective press briefing in months. Inside the West Wing, task force members’ growing alarm over the virus’ resurgence has gone largely ignored. And among health officials on the front lines, there is mounting consensus that the federal government has little new aid to offer – leaving states to face the pandemic’s third and potentially worst wave increasingly on their own.

    “There’s not any acknowledgment or appreciation of the severity of the surge,” said an official in one governor’s office long frustrated with the federal response. “The stark reality that we’re facing is the White House – from top to bottom – has stopped governing and is only campaigning.”

    The task force’s shrinking stature comes amid warnings that the nation is headed toward its darkest days since the beginning of the pandemic, as cases hit record highs and hospitals across several states struggle to deal with a fresh crush of Covid-19 patients….

  31. says

    Barbara Bollier:

    Last night Roger Marshall skipped our 3rd debate in Topeka — and then lied about receiving the invitation. But don’t worry, they had receipts.

    Watch….

    Video atl. In related news (update to #4 above), Perdue dropped out of the third debate with Ossoff.

  32. says

    Here’s a link to the October 30 Guardian coronavirus world liveblog.

    From there:

    Russia’s daily tally of coronavirus cases surged to a record high of 18,283 on Friday, including 5,268 in Moscow, Reuters reports.

    The latest figures take the national total to 1,599,976 since the pandemic began.

    Authorities reported 355 deaths in the past 24 hours, bringing the official death toll to 27,656.

  33. says

    Guardian – “New Zealand votes to legalise euthanasia in referendum”:

    New Zealanders have voted to legalise euthanasia for those with a terminal illness, in a victory for campaigners who say people suffering extreme pain should be given a choice over how and when to bring their life to a close.

    The decision on whether to legalise euthanasia appeared as a referendum question on the 17 October general election ballot paper, alongside a second referendum question on whether to legalise cannabis – which did not succeed, according to preliminary results.

    The results of the euthanasia referendum are binding and will see the act come into effect 12 months from the final results – on 6 November 2021. Assisted dying will be administered by the Ministry of Health.

    Preliminary results announced on Friday by the electoral commission saw 65.2% of eligible voters tick “yes” to legalising euthanasia, with 33.8% ticking “no”.

    Only 46.1 % of New Zealanders voted to legalise cannabis, while 53.1% voted no.

    The referendum results so far do not include nearly half a million special votes, meaning the final results will not be confirmed until 6 November.

    This has left cannabis supporters hoping special votes may be able to tip the outcome, but they would need to be overwhelmingly in favour – an outcome seen as slim.

    The vote makes New Zealand the seventh country in the world to legalise assisted dying. It was a “momentous day” for the country, said campaigner Mary Panko.

    “It’s now clear what we have known for decades that Kiwis want, and have always wanted, the right to die on their own terms,” said Panko.

    “One day New Zealanders will shake their heads in amazement that the basic human right to say ‘no’ to intolerable suffering ever had to be debated in this country … now because of the passing of this Act our lives as well as our deaths will be immeasurably better.”

    While the results of the euthanasia referendum are binding, the cannabis issue was not, meaning no matter the outcome the government would still need to debate the issue and pass policy through parliament.

    In the lead-up to the October election polls showed a country divided; with support for legalising cannabis veering between 30-50%.

    Prime minister Jacinda Ardern said she voted yes on both referendum questions.

    Former Labour prime minister, Helen Clark, said cannabis prohibition “doesn’t work” and should be abandoned, a position echoed by many leading public health professionals.

    Māori account for 16% of New Zealand’s population and are shown to be disproportionately affected by New Zealand’s drug laws, facing three times as many arrests and prosecutions for possession of cannabis than non-Māori.

  34. says

    Harris County Clerk:

    Good morning! Between 7PM last night and 7AM this morning 10,250 people voted in Harris County.

    This morning County Clerk @CGHollins will be casting his vote at Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church.

    Still need your #IVoted sticker? 120 locations are open until 7PM.

    CNN is reporting that Texas has now surpassed its total 2016 voting numbers.

  35. says

    Guardian world liveblog:

    When Angela Merkel warned at the end of September that Germany could see 19,200 daily coronavirus cases “by Christmas”, she was widely criticised in the national press for being too alarmist.

    Forward a month, and Germany looks likely to surpass her “alarmist” scenario over the weekend, almost two months earlier than Merkel predicted. On Friday, the country’s disease control agency recorded 18,681 new confirmed cases of Covid-19.

    The number of coronavirus patients in intensive care is also rising, up by 143 in the last 24 hours to 1,839.

    While German infection rate is still below those of other European neighbours, there’s a sense that the country is losing the best-in-class status it gained during the first wave.

    A bout of national soul searching is leading some to look more closely at Asia and Scandinavia’s handling of the pandemic. In an op-ed for Die Zeit, influential economist Marcel Fratzscher suggested Germany had its national ego inflated by focusing too much on the wrong countries: “Why don’t we measure ourselves against Denmark, Norway or South Korea, who have handled this crisis much better than Germany in terms of health and the economy?”

    In an article for the same paper from August, reporter Wolfgang Bauer had prophetically suggested that Germany would need to slay one of its most sacred cows to avoid a spike in the winter: unless the country learnt to become more pragmatic in its attitude to data privacy, contact tracing would eventually reach its limit.

    “Data protection can save lives”, Bauer wrote. “But not in times of this pandemic. In this crisis it is threatening lives”.

  36. Paul K says

    It took me a bit to figure out the reference, but this is very funny, especially once you do:

  37. says

    AP – “Trump officials end gray wolf protections across most of US”:

    Trump administration officials on Thursday stripped Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves in most of the U.S., ending longstanding federal safeguards and putting states and tribes in charge of overseeing the predators.

    The U.S. Department of Interior announcement just days ahead of the Nov. 3 election could lead to resumption of wolf hunts in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin — a crucial battleground in the campaign between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden.

    It’s the latest in a series of administration actions on the environment that appeal to key blocs of rural voters in the race’s final days, including steps to allow more mining in Minnesota and logging in Alaska.

    Minnesota Gov. Tim Waltz, who opposes recreational wolf hunting, called the decision disappointing and wildlife advocacy groups pledged to fight it in court.

    Both feared and revered by people, gray wolves have recovered from near extinction in parts of the country but remain absent from much of their historical range.

    Some biologists and former government officials who previously reviewed the administration’s proposal for lifting protections said it lacked scientific justification. And wildlife advocates worry the move will make it harder, if not impossible, for wolves to recover in more regions, such as the southern Rocky Mountains and portions of the Northeast.

    Their numbers also are sure to drop in the western Great Lakes area, as happened previously when federal controls were lifted, said Adrian Treves, a professor of environmental studies at the University of Wisconsin. Hunting seasons took their toll and research showed that poachers were emboldened by the absence of federal enforcement, he said….

  38. says

    SC @60, ““Data protection can save lives”, Bauer wrote. “But not in times of this pandemic. In this crisis it is threatening lives”.

    I think the same issue is prevalent in the USA.

  39. says

    Texas Monthly – “Meet the Harris County Voters Who Showed Up After Midnight to Cast a Ballot”:

    …Norma Gonzalez was worried about the state of the country, too. I intercepted the 25-year-old as she walked toward her car around 3 a.m. and asked her what had prompted her to vote so early in the morning. She started with immigration policy before mentioning her concerns about Abbott attempting to suppress voting in Harris County. Like Valencio’s, her vote was an act of defiance. “I guess it’s important to show them we’re going to vote no matter what,” she said. “And if enough people come to this 24-hour voting location, next time it will be harder for them to take it away.”

  40. says

    tomh @36, the Democrats did it right. It took local government officials to create that kind of voting environment. And they had to fight several court fights (against Republicans) to keep a good infrastructure that was conducive to voting. A success story.

    Nerd @51, thanks for posting that link. The facts around the cyber attacks against hospitals in the USA are really scary. Hackers based in Moscow and St. Petersburg launched ransomware attacks against at least 6 hospitals, and they were discussing a list of 400 hospitals to attack. This is war—a war backed by Putin against the USA. And during a pandemic! Trump will likely say nothing about it and do nothing about it.

    We’ve got US Cyber command, some private sector security companies and Microsoft taking on some of the defense here, but it is not enough.

  41. says

    Has Trump surrounded himself with ‘only the best’ people?

    Trump’s vow to surround himself “only with the best and most serious people” should count as one of his broken campaign promises.

    It was just a couple of months into his presidential campaign when Donald Trump described his vision on personnel decisions. “I’m going to surround myself only with the best and most serious people […] We want top of the line professionals.”

    [He] did largely the opposite after becoming president.

    […] while many of his personnel failures involve high-profile figures, some of whom turned out to be criminals, there’s also a long list of lesser-known figures in lower-profile roles who also fall short of the “best and most serious” standard Trump committed to before his election.

    The Washington Post ran this report today, highlighting just such an example.

    Weeks after the Interior Department halted diversity training to comply with an executive order from […] Trump, a top assistant at the agency is under scrutiny for defending Kyle Rittenhouse, the teenager accused of fatally shooting two people and injuring a third during a Black Lives Matter protest in Kenosha, Wis. The official, Jeremy Carl, a newly appointed deputy assistant secretary for fish, wildlife and parks, also called peaceful Black Lives Matter protests racist and cited an opinion piece in a white supremacist publication, American Renaissance, to support an argument denouncing the anti-discrimination work of former attorney general Eric H. Holder Jr.

    […] reports like these have been relatively common in recent years […]

    I’m reminded of a piece Jon Chait wrote in July about the “series of extremists nominated or appointed to posts within the administration.”

    Merritt Corrigan, the deputy White House liaison at the U.S. Agency for International Development, has written, “Liberal democracy is little more than a front for the war being waged against us by those who fundamentally despise not only our way of life, but life itself,” and complained, “Our homo-empire couldn’t tolerate even one commercial enterprise not in full submission to the tyrannical LGBT agenda.” John Gibbs, Trump’s nominee to run the Office of Personnel Management (and a current official at HUD) has claimed that Hillary Clinton and John Podesta were Satanists. Rich Higgins, whom Trump nominated for a Pentagon job, has called former President Obama a “communist” and Black Lives Matter “an agent of communist China.” Higgins would be chief of staff to Anthony Tata, who has described Obama as Muslim and a “terrorist leader,” and suggested that former CIA Director John Brennan sent a coded tweet ordering Trump to be assassinated.

    This is, of course, a partial list, not a comprehensive collection of Trump appointees with some deeply offensive views.

    And therein lies the point: [Trump’s] vow to surround himself “only with the best and most serious people” should probably be seen as among the most dramatic of [his] broken campaign promises.

  42. says

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

    With just days remaining before Election Day, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled late yesterday that Minnesota officials must separate mail-in ballots that arrive after Election Day for possible invalidation. Before the ruling, Minnesotans were told that ballots arriving up to a week after the polls close would still be counted. It was a 2-1 ruling, with judges appointed by Donald Trump and George W. Bush in the majority. A Barack Obama appointee dissented.

    Democrats “are sounding the alarm about weak voter turnout rates in Florida’s biggest county, Miami-Dade, where a strong Republican showing is endangering Joe Biden’s chances in the nation’s biggest swing state.”

    Speaking of the Sunshine State, Duval County senior Judge Brent Shore, who’s been overseeing his county’s vote-counting board, is required to be politically neutral. He’s nevertheless donated repeatedly to the Trump campaign and covered his property with pro-Trump signs. Yesterday, Shore resigned from Duval County’s vote-counting board.

    Asked this morning about Republican officials’ widespread voter-suppression efforts, an RNC spokesperson reportedly said that party officials “don’t like the construct of that narrative.” (The party’s voter-suppression efforts are, in fact, quite real, whether the RNC likes the construct of that narrative or not.)

    In Pennsylvania, the latest Quinnipiac poll found Biden leading Trump by seven, 51% to 44%.

    In Ohio, which was not expected to be a pick-up opportunity for Democrats, the Quinnipiac poll showed Biden with a surprising five-point lead over Trump, 48% to 43%.

    Trump is leading Biden by 1 point in Iowa.

    In Utah’s most competitive congressional race, Republican Burgess Owens suggested this week that the crackpot QAnon conspiracy theory deserves consideration because it’s something “the left” is “trying to keep us away from.” Incumbent Rep. Ben McAdams (D) is now pressing his GOP challenger to denounce the insane movement. [Oh, FFS, Republicans. Are you really going to travel even further down the crazy Qanon road?]

    In the print edition of the New York Times today, readers were treated to a full, two-page ad from entertainer Kanye West, whose Republican-backed presidential campaign is apparently ongoing.

  43. says

    Another Trump administration insider is sick of Trump:

    […] Josh Venable has a credible background in Republican politics. He helped lead the Michigan Republican Party; he worked for former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R); and in the first two years of Donald Trump’s presidency, he served as Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ chief of staff.

    But last month, Venable took on a new role, joining a group of former Trump administration officials — the Republican Political Alliance for Integrity and Reform — who stand in opposition to the Republican incumbent.

    In today’s Detroit News, Venable has an op-ed explaining that he’s not leaving the party he’s been a part of his entire life, but he is “exhausted” by the president’s failures.

    Nearly all my career, I have worked for Republican candidates and conservative causes, managing campaigns, organizing coalitions and raising money…. But this is 2020, so of course this year is different. I cannot vote for the Republican nominee for president. For the good of the party I have supported my entire life, but more importantly, for the sake of the country I love, I implore all patriotic Republicans to join me.

    Venable added that Donald Trump “thrives on purposely sowing strife and discord,” something the former administration official says he’s seen “up close and in person.”

    And it’s those five words — “up close and in person” — that help make perspectives like these so interesting. Indeed, I continue to think one of the most under-appreciated elements of the 2020 race is the staggering number of people who’ve worked for and/or with Trump and who now want to see him lose.

    [snipped details of many other insiders speaking out against Trump]

    Under normal circumstances, a president should expect criticisms from a rival party’s members. A White House incumbent should similarly expect unflattering critiques from various pundits and commentators.

    But it’s qualitatively different to hear from officials who were part of Trump’s own team. Many of these former officials had a front-row seat, watching how the president tried to lead, how he processed information, how he evaluated evidence, and how he made decisions.

    And now that these men and women have left the administration and had an opportunity to reflect on their time in the administration, they’re eager to see Americans vote for someone else.

    History offers plenty of examples of presidents who’ve clashed with one aide or another, but we’ve never seen anything like this.

    Link

  44. says

    Guardian world liveblog:

    The number of coronavirus infections in Spain rose by 25,595 on Friday, the highest daily increase since the start of the pandemic and the second consecutive record after Thursday’s 23,580, health ministry data showed.

    Coronavirus infections in Italy rose by 31,084 on Friday, a jump of over 4,000 in a day, while 199 more fatalities were recorded. Hospital admissions increased by over 1,000 in a day, bringing the total across the country to 16,994, of which 1,746 are in intensive care.

    The UK has reported 274 more deaths and 24,405 new cases.

    The head of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Montenegro has died in a hospital after contracting the coronavirus, AP reported citing a statement from the church said Friday.

    The condition of Bishop Amfilohije deteriorated on Thursday after he developed heavy breathing and chest pains, doctors said. He had been taken to a hospital in the capital, Podgorica, earlier in October after testing positive for the virus.

    The church said the 82-year-old died Friday from pneumonia caused by Covid-19.

    Ahead of a parliamentary election in August, followers of the Serbian Church led by Amfilohije staged months of protests against a property law adopted by the parliament in December.

    The pro-Russian church argued that the law allows the Montenegrin state to confiscate its property as a prelude to setting up a separate Montenegrin church. The government denied that claim.

    The protests, some held in defiance of a ban on public gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic, managed to galvanize the opposition, which narrowly won the vote.

    Amfilohije, known for his staunch anti-Western and pro-Russian political views, played a key role in leading the anti-government protests and putting together an opposition coalition that is currently trying to form the country’s new government.

    Montenegro’s prime minister-designate, Zdravko Krivokapic, called on authorities to declare a day of mourning for Amfilohije.

    South Africa will reopen its borders to most countries next month, the president said Wednesday, part of a wider easing of anti-coronavirus measures announced as figures continue to improve.

    The continent’s most industrialised economy shuttered its borders at the start of a strict nationwide lockdown on March 27 to limit the spread of the virus.

    Restrictions on movement and business have been gradually eased since June, but borders stayed sealed to avoid importing the virus from abroad.

    President Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday said most remaining rules will be rolled back from September 20, and that international travel would “gradually and cautiously” resume on October 1st.

    “We have withstood the coronavirus storm,” Ramaphosa said in an address to the nation.

    “It is time to move to what will become our new normal for as long as the coronavirus is with us.”

    Under the new measures, most gatherings will be permitted at 50% of a venue’s capacity, with a cap of 250 people for indoor events.

    A 10:00 pm curfew will be scaled back to midnight and a 50-person limit at recreational facilities will be lifted.

    Easing some of these rules sounds very unwise, as does announcing that the country has “withstood the coronavirus storm.”

  45. says

    Follow-up to SC @58.

    At a campaign rally yesterday, Donald Trump suggested to his followers that they need not fear dying from COVID-19. “You know the bottom line, though?” […] “You’re gonna get better. You’re gonna get better.”

    [He] pushed a related message online this morning, writing on Twitter this morning that coronavirus fatalities are “WAY DOWN,” at least in part because, as he put it, “Therapeutics working!”

    The timing of [Trump’s] boasts could’ve been better: the day Trump used this misguided rhetoric, the United States saw its 9 millionth confirmed case since the start of the crisis. Yesterday also saw more than 80,000 infections, the worst single day of the pandemic thus far — and the third time in a week the country broke its daily case record.

    What’s more, the pandemic claimed the lives of roughly 1,000 Americans yesterday, pushing the overall death toll to nearly 230,000. The average daily fatalities is now getting worse, not better.

    But as galling as the president’s claims have been, the rhetoric from one of his adult sons was arguably worse. NBC News reported this morning:

    Donald Trump Jr. falsely claimed Thursday that Covid-19 infection numbers have dwindled to “almost nothing,” despite there being around 1,000 deaths reported in the U.S. the same day. In an interview on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle,” the president’s son said that medical experts who have been talking about a surge in cases are “truly morons.”

    He added that “the number is almost nothing” because “we’ve gotten control of this thing.” (This might come as a surprise to White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, who insisted earlier this week, “We’re not going to control the pandemic.”)

    As a rule, I tend not to pay too much attention to the latest rhetoric from Donald Trump Jr., in part because he’s not in a position of authority […]

    He is, however, in a position to influence Trump’s cult members and other gullible voters.

    But last night’s nonsense struck me as notable largely because, under normal circumstances, it’d serve as a political disaster. Putting aside familial connections, a surrogate for the president’s re-election campaign, five days before Election Day, went on national television during a pandemic and insisted that coronavirus numbers have fallen to “almost nothing.”

    […] Trump Jr. wasn’t simply wrong; he was cruel. But this deep denial of our painful reality is nevertheless the message Team Trump is taking to the public in the campaign’s closing days.

    Link

  46. says

    Follow-up to comment 24.

    The painful simplicity of Trump’s new Turkey scandal

    “The Halkbank scandal is simple: a foreign dictator asked Trump to corrupt his own country’s justice system, and [Trump] gladly said yes.”

    […] one of my favorite angles to the story is that it began before Trump took office.

    In the summer of 2016, then-Vice President Joe Biden took a diplomatic trip to Turkey, where he was inappropriately lobbied by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who wanted the Democratic administration to do him a favor. Specifically, Erdogan pressed Biden to fire a federal prosecutor [Preet Bharara], whose office was investigating a state-owned Turkish bank called Halkbank — an institution with close ties to Erdogan’s family and political party — which was allegedly violating sanctions by helping Iran.

    The Turkish leader went on to tell Biden that he wanted the administration to get rid of the judge handling the case, too.

    At a public event, sitting alongside Erdogan, [Joe Biden] explained that the Democratic White House simply could not do what the Turkish president wanted, because in the United States, we take the rule of law seriously. “If the president were to take this into his own hands, what would happen would be he would be impeached,” Biden explained.

    Of course, three months later, there was an election in the United States, and a change in administrations soon after. And wouldn’t you know it, Donald Trump — whose company had business interests in Turkey — was far more amenable to the Turkish leader’s appeals. From the Times’ report:

    The president was discussing an active criminal case with the authoritarian leader of a nation in which Mr. Trump does business…. And Mr. Trump’s sympathetic response to Mr. Erdogan was especially jarring because it involved accusations that the bank had undercut Mr. Trump’s policy of economically isolating Iran, a centerpiece of his Middle East plan. Former White House officials said they came to fear that the president was open to swaying the criminal justice system to advance a transactional and ill-defined agenda of his own.

    This wasn’t an instance in which the White House simply placated a foreign leader, humoring Erdogan while ignoring his demands. On the contrary, the Republican White House, unlike Obama and Biden, pressed the Justice Department to back off in the Halkbank case.

    After initially saying he wouldn’t, Trump did fire the U.S. Attorney whose office was investigating the Turkish bank. The prosecutor’s successor, Geoffrey Berman, moved forward with the probe, but when his office was ready to file criminal charges, the effort was blocked — by Trump’s acting attorney general at the time, Matt Whitaker, who made clear that he wanted the matter “shut down.”

    When Whitaker was replaced by Bill Barr, the current attorney general, Barr reportedly told the U.S. Attorney he wanted prosecutors to go easy on Halkbank, allowing it to avoid an indictment “by paying a fine and acknowledging some wrongdoing.” At that point, Barr’s Justice Department “would agree to end investigations and criminal cases involving Turkish and bank officials who were allied with Mr. Erdogan and suspected of participating in the sanctions-busting scheme.”

    To his credit, Geoffrey Berman balked, saying the move would be unethical and at odds with Justice Department policy. Ultimately, Berman was fired, too.

    It’s important to emphasize that federal prosecutors did end up prosecuting Halkbank, not because of a change in the case, but only after Trump clashed with Erdogan about an unrelated matter.

    I realize this story is landing at a busy time, but I don’t think we’ve heard the last of it. […]

  47. says

    Zoe Tillman, BuzzFeed:

    New: After concluding that USPS policy changes that led to mail delays are likely to burden voting rights…, a DC federal judge [Sullivan] has entered a comprehensive order that requires several things of USPS going forward. Here are highlights:

    1) USPS has to implement what are referred to as “extraordinary measures” to improve delivery times for ballots mailed at postal facilities in the following places:…

    2) USPS has to file a daily update with the court on locations where delivery service for ballots falls below a certain threshold, and explain why that’s happening and what USPS is doing to address it

    3) USPS also has to provide the court every day with data sets about service performance as it relates to the delivery of mail ballots

    Minute order atl.

  48. says

    Chaos surrounding rules regarding mail-in ballots:

    A Thursday court order that indicated a U.S. appeals court was likely to reject ballots that arrived within Minnesota’s post-election grace period has injected chaos and a potential for major disenfranchisement into a state that […] Trump has long been trying to flip.

    Under a consent decree that Minnesota had reached in state court litigation, election officials would count ballots that were postmarked by Election Day as long as they arrived within the week after Nov. 3. That message has been broadcast far and wide to voters, including in pamphlets they received with their mail ballots. […]

    From Will Stancil:

    It’s vitally important that people reporting on the MN court ruling note that it CONTRADICTS THE INSTRUCTIONS MAILED WITH THE BALLOT.

    See for yourself: here’s a photograph of my ballot, which I have not submitted.

    See https://twitter.com/whstancil/status/1321965827617296384

    From the instructions:

    Your returned ballot must be postmarked on or before Election Day (November 3, 2020) and received by your Absentee Voting Office within 7 days of the election … to be counted.

    More from Talking Points Memo:

    […] now, many of those ballots are in jeopardy after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit — citing an extremely controversial legal theory that has not been endorsed by a majority of the Supreme Court — ordered them segregated from those that come in by Election Day.

    The appeals court made clear that it was likely to order those ballots rejected at a later stage in the judicial proceedings.

    Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon (D) said in a press teleconference Thursday night after the order came down that the state had not decided whether to now seek the Supreme Court’s intervention.

    In the meantime, Minnesota election officials and their partners are launching a desperate public messaging campaign stressing to voters that — despite the instructions that came with their ballots — it is now too late to use mail delivery to submit ballots.

    The order not only disrupted the voting plans of those who had not yet submitted their ballots. Given that the U.S. Postal Service has advised voters that they give their ballots no fewer than seven days to make it through the mail service, voters who put their ballots in the mail earlier this week — when the extended deadline was still firmly in place — may also see their ballots in jeopardy.

    […] As part of the state court litigation, the Trump campaign agreed to not challenge the consent decree the state officials had reached extending the ballot deadlines. But two of Trump’s electors sued in federal court to challenge the decree.

    […] The mess the court has made for election officials is extensive. […] the order was not “a model of clarity” as […] could not figure out from the order the answers to basic questions like whether the tallies that are released after the polls closed next week should include the segregated ballots and if not, should only the presidential results from those ballots be separated out.

    […] A Facebook policy on late-in-the-cycle political ads prohibits the state from running new ads on the social media platform, restricting one pathway for the state to emphasize the need to avoid the mail at this point.

    […] Voters can cast their vote in person with an absentee ballot at their local election office up until November 2, 2020.

    Voters can cast their votes in person on Election Day. […]

    Link

  49. says

    McConnell Vows To Keep Confirming Judges Right Up Until January

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) vowed Friday that he would continue his full-court press to remake the judiciary up until January 3, when Democrats may take over the Senate, depending on the outcome of next week’s election.

    “We’re going to run through the tape. We go through the end of the year, and so does the President,” McConnell told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt. “We’re going to fill the 7th Circuit. And I’m hoping we have time to fill the 1st Circuit as well.”

    The seat on the 7th Circuit opened when Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett was elevated to the high court. […]

    “We’re going to clean the plate, clean all the district judges off as well,” McConnell said. […]

  50. says

    lumipuna @80, Yes.

    In other news: Texas lieutenant governor previews GOP lies of voter fraud ahead of possible electoral rout

    Clearly anticipating a terrible night for Republicans, GOP Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick told a radio show Thursday that if Democrats win the White House next Tuesday, they will have cheated.

    “The Democrats have just decided this election, Mark, we don’t have to pay attention to any laws. We’re gonna use COVID as an excuse to steal the election, and that’s what they’re trying to do everywhere,” Patrick told radio host Mark Davis. “If the president loses Pennsylvania or North Carolina, Mark, or Florida, they’ll lose it because they stole it.”

    The Texas Tribune reported on Patrick’s lie-fest, and it’s surely just the beginning of a deluge of GOP disinformation that everyone from Trump on down through state-level officials will be spewing, particularly if Joe Biden flips a Sunbelt state like North Carolina, Georgia, or Florida. But singling out Pennsylvania—where Biden’s been polling ahead of Trump by anywhere from five to nine points for the last few months—just shows the depths of Republicans’ depravity. For instance, The Economist forecast model presently gives Biden a 93% chance of winning Pennsylvania. I hasten to add that a Biden victory in the Keystone State isn’t assured, but the suggestion that him winning there somehow suggests foul play is legit laughable.

    Just to be clear: No credible reports of voter fraud have emerged in a single state so far. There is, however, a lot of evidence that Republicans are shaking in their boots, particularly in Texas where the total number of early votes has already surpassed all the votes counted in 2016.

    In fact, here’s how worried Republicans are—forget about Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Florida—Trump’s making GOTV [Get Out The Vote] calls in Texas!

    “Texas, I need you to get out and vote,” Trump says. Give it a listen—Trump is sounding a touch raspy and desperate. Link [It’s also full of lies.]

    Texas is the bedrock of the GOP electoral map. For decades, every Republican presidential candidate has taken its giant 38 electoral vote haul as a given without so much as a second thought. Until now.

  51. lumipuna says

    That Aaron Rupar’s tweet above was Trump asserting at a rally that the Covid-19 concern is just political scaremongering and economic sabotage against him, and you know it because you’ll see that on Nov 4 Democrats will just drop it like a hot potato. I’ve seen various rightwing pundits make this same prediction.

    I can make predictions too. If Biden wins and demand for lockdown continues, rightwing pundits will say it’s because leftist ideology requires turning people into heavily controlled slaves for no particular reason, other than leftist hatred of freedom. If Biden loses and demand for lockdown continues, rightwing pundits will say it’s because Democrats just want to sabotage the economy to hurt Republicans in future elections. It all makes perfect sense.

  52. says

    ABC4 – “Utah issues emergency alert due to rapid spread of COVID-19”:

    Utah issued an emergency alert due to the rapid spread of COVID-19 within the state on Thursday.

    The emergency alert said, “State of Utah, COVID-19 is spreading rapidly. Almost every county is a high transmission area. Hospitals are nearly overwhelmed. By public health order, masks are required in high transmission areas. Social gatherings are limited to 10 or fewer. Visit [website] to see your county’s information. Be careful!”

    The emergency alert comes as Utah announced 2,292 new COVID-19 cases, its highest case count since the beginning of the pandemic.

    Utah has not yet issued a statewide mask mandate, but masks are required in the county’s classified by the state as “high transmission areas.”

  53. says

    How a Right-Wing Group Led by a Trump Lawyer Is Funding a Russian Activist Tied to the Putin Regime

    Jay Sekulow’s outfit has sent $3.3 million to its Moscow affiliate.

    Over the past 12 years, a prominent conservative nonprofit led by one of Donald Trump’s impeachment lawyers has provided $3.3 million in funding to a Russian organization run by a legal activist with ties to Vladimir Putin’s government.

    The American Center for Law and Justice, founded in 1990 by right-wing evangelical Pat Robertson to pursue legal cases that benefit Christian conservatives, has been annually sending hundreds of thousands of dollars to its Moscow-based affiliate, the Slavic Center for Law and Justice (SCLJ), according to ACLJ’s tax records. The chief counsel for the ACLJ—and its driving force—is Jay Sekulow, who famously shepherded Trump’s impeachment defense as one of his private attorneys. The SCLJ is directed by Vladimir Ryakhovsky, an evangelical activist and Russian lawyer who serves on Putin’s human rights council.

    The funds sent by the ACLJ to the Russian group, the ACLJ says in its tax filings, are meant to underwrite “litigation and legal services related to religious freedoms and human rights in Russia.” On its website, the SCLJ says it provides “legal assistance to religious organizations and citizens” and mounts “court cases related to the protection of the rights of citizens and organizations to freedom of conscience and religion.” […]

    The SCLJ and the European Center for Law and Justice, another ACLJ-financed affiliate, generally embrace a fundamentalist view when it comes to civil liberties. In 2013, the SCLJ expressed support for Putin’s law banning gay-rights advocacy. […] the SCLJ called for a law to criminalize such “blasphemous” activity, as well as the “dissemination of such information on the Internet.” […]

    For the past 26 years, Vladimir Ryakhovsky, who has directed the SCLJ since 1993, has served in influential posts within the Russian government. In 2018, he was appointed by Putin as a member of the Presidential Council on the Development of Civil Society and Human Rights, a governmental group that supposedly monitors assaults on political rights. Last year, Putin overhauled the council, booting off members who had criticized his government and replacing its head with a former TV host widely seen as a Kremlin loyalist. The four members bounced from the committee had sought to investigate actions taken by Russian security forces and the courts against participants in protests that had challenged the fairness of recent elections. The new head of the council said in an interview that he intended to pay less attention to political rights and more to “social rights.” At the time of Putin’s remaking of the council, the Irish Times noted the panel “has gained a reputation as a toothless advisory body that soft pedals when criticising the authorities.” After Putin’s assault on the council, Ryakhovsky remained a member. […]

    Much more at the link.

    It has always bothered me that the rightwing in the USA exports prejudice and bigotry.

  54. says

    Berlin’s Madame Tussauds places wax Trump in a dumpster ahead of election

    Photo at the link.

    […] The Trump replica was placed in a dumpster with the words “Dump Trump Make America Great Again” written on the front of it and surrounded by garbage bags and images of tweets reading “Fake News!,” “I love Berlin,” and “You are fired!”

    The museum made the move in anticipation of Tuesday’s election, marketing manager Orkide Yalcindag told Reuters. […]

  55. says

    Walmart announced Friday that it would be reversing its decision to remove guns and ammunition from its sales floors in anticipation of civil unrest in the lead-up to Election Day.

    In an email obtained by Bloomberg, the retail giant said that the incidents that caused the company to remove firearms from the sales floors were isolated.

    “After civil unrest earlier this week resulted in damage to several of our stores, consistent with actions we took over the summer, we asked stores to move firearms and ammunition from the sales floor to a secure location in the back of the store in an abundance of caution,” a spokesperson wrote, according to Bloomberg. “As the current incidents have remained geographically isolated, we have made the decision to begin returning these products to the sales floor today.”

    The firearms and ammunition were removed from public display Thursday as a precaution following looting and damage some of its stores had endured in Philadelphia this week.

    At least one of the stores had been ransacked after violent demonstrations broke out after local police shot and killed Walter Wallace Jr., a Black man whose family says he was having issues with his mental health.

    Walmart had taken similar precautions of removing guns and ammunition from their sales floors after the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man who died in police custody in late May. His death sparked nationwide protests that, at times, became violent.

    […] A majority of surveyed Americans anticipate there will be violence during or after Election Day as both Democrats and Republicans have worried about the validity of the election and suspect foul play. […]

    Link

  56. says

    As PZ noted in his earlier post, Idaho is in the news for all the wrong reasons. Here is Wonkette’s take on the various debacles in Idaho:

    As COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations set new records in Idaho this week, a group of rightwing state legislators released a video in which they publicly declared they’ll ignore any orders aimed at limiting the spread of the virus, which they said might not be real at all. Reality, after all, is a deeply personal thing, and the Constitution prohibits the government from ever telling free people what to do. Then the legislators all ran a stoplight and died, the end. Fine, instead, they’re all likely to be reelected because they represent districts that are similarly opposed to science, which is a tool of communism and the Devil.

    The video was made in conjunction with the “Idaho Freedom Foundation,” a rightwing clearinghouse for liberty and terrible ideas that’s funded by, among others, the Koch political money operation and by Donors Trust, the notorious “Dark-Money ATM of the conservative movement,” as Mother Jones puts it. You name a wingnut astroturf outfit, and IFF is likely to be up in its business. The Freedom Foundation, working together with a pro-gun group and a bunch of anti-vaxx idiots, has been at the center of resisting public health efforts in the state, including Ammon Bundy’s Superspreader Easter Jamboree.

    Here’s the video, in which a collection of state legislators, including Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin, read out, line by line, the Freedom Foundation’s “Declaration to Idaho residents and public officials,” which the group’s website claims was “ratified by the people of Idaho” on October 1. They sure as hell didn’t ask me to vote on it. We like the captions where two of the goofs, Karey Hanks and Ron Nate, are identified as “Representative-elect” by virtue of the fact that they’re running unopposed.

    Video is available at the link.

    There’s just so much authentic wingnut gibberish here. You have the pseudo-Framer “We the people” stuff, and a line taken from the Idaho Constitution, which improves on the Declaration of Independence:

    We, the people of the state of Idaho, reaffirm our solemn commitment to the foundational principles that have made America the greatest country in the world. As noted in our state constitution and restated here, we remain grateful to Almighty God for our freedom. We recognize that all of us are “by nature free and equal, and have certain inalienable rights, among which are enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing, and protecting property, pursuing happiness and securing safety.”

    The state constitution doesn’t have the Almighty God stuff, which is surely just an oversight, or perhaps a corruption imposed on the state by Politically Correct Cancel Culture. We also like that the “happiness” line is timed to McGeachin’s pulling out her semiautomatic pistol, because happiness is a warm (yes it is) gun.

    The single most jaw-droppingly stupid line goes to Karey Hanks, who served one term in the Lege, lost the seat in the 2018 primary, and then narrowly won the GOP primary again this year. She gets to proclaim, “The fact that a pandemic may or may not be occurring changes nothing about the meaning or intent of the state constitution in the preservation of our inalienable rights.”

    The rest of the declaration is a load of liberty and inalienables, claiming that public health measures trample all over the sacred right to never do anything you don’t wanna, especially not for the sake of protecting other people’s health, and the aforementioned vow to never surrender, never give up, full speed ahead into the ICU, should there be any space (there is not, at least in the only major hospital in Northern Idaho).

    For what it’s worth, the Supreme Court has repeatedly held the US Constitution grants state and local officials fairly broad powers to protect public health. Not that the Supreme Court has more authority than God and the wingnuts who speak for Him.

    Idaho Freedom Foundation spox Dustin Hurst (no relation, we hope, for Evan’s sake), who does not seem to know what communicable disease is, explained that preventing community spread of the virus is a matter of individual choice. “We want to remind people that, ultimately, their health is their responsibility, whether they want to wear a mask or not. […] Personally, I wear a mask, but I respect others’ right not to.”

    Earlier this week, Idaho Gov. Brad Little ordered new restrictions on the number of people allowed to gather in public, but there has never been a statewide mask mandate. Several cities and counties, including the People’s Republic of Boise, have ordered masks be worn in retail stores and when social distancing is not possible.

    The SARS-CoV-2 virus declined to directly comment on the video, noting, “Oh, man, I have so many places to be in this fucking ass-backwards state.”

    Link

  57. says

    From Paul Waldman, writing for The Washington Post:

    With just a few days before the election, Republicans everywhere — whether they’re running for office this year or not — are prisoners of […] Trump. His delusions are theirs, his failures are theirs, his campaign message is theirs, and the blowback he produces will affect them, too.

    They checked themselves into that prison willingly. But even if they wanted to find their way out, it’s too late.

    To understand what this looks like, consider this moment from a rally [Trump] held in Tampa on Thursday, at which he revealed that he’s being urged not to waste his remaining campaign time talking about Hunter Biden and the media:

    They don’t call him out on, where’s Hunter? They don’t call him out. Where’s Hunter? Where’s Hunter? Is Hunter in the crowd? They don’t call him out. They don’t call him out on, where’s Hunter?

    It’s crazy. It’s crazy. You know, some people said — I get a call from all the experts, right? Guys that ran for president six, seven, eight times. Never got past the first round, but they’re calling me up, “Sir, you shouldn’t be speaking about Hunter. You shouldn’t be saying bad things about Biden because nobody cares.”

    I disagree. Maybe that’s why I’m here and they’re not. But they say, “Talk about your economic success. Talk about 33.1 percent, the greatest in history.” Now, look, if I do, I mean, how many times can I say it?

    That was followed by a tribute to all the Fox News programs Trump enjoys, then an extended riff on Miles Taylor, the former administration official who recently revealed that he is “Anonymous,” the author of an insider tell-all on the administration. This is what he thinks will win him more votes.

    […] Trump and the conservative media are locked in a self-reinforcing cycle in which this “issue” — fed, we should note, by bizarre and ludicrous disinformation — is all they can think about. He talks about it at his rallies, so Fox and other right-wing outlets devote endless airtime to it, and since Trump spends hours every day watching Fox, he becomes yet more convinced that it’s both vitally important and the key to his victory. And the cycle spins on. […]

    Think about what is actually the most important issue in this campaign: the pandemic that has killed 228,000 Americans and is gaining strength in nearly every state in the country. There are any number of ways [Trump] might be talking about it right now, but what he has chosen to say is that it’s pretty much over, and anyone who says otherwise — journalists, public health experts, the families of those who have died — is just trying to undermine him.

    That message then gets repeated in conservative media and quickly becomes an official line that other Republicans are expected to toe. So they wind up looking as irresponsible, uncaring, and downright stupid as he does. […]

    Link

    More at the link, including a discussion of Trump’s claims that the election is fraudulent and any result other than him winning is proof that the election was stolen. Other Republicans running for office are trapped by that lie too.

  58. says

    From Talking Points Memo:

    White House Communications Director Alyssa Farah told reporters on Friday that President Trump’s promise for the delivery of a COVID-19 vaccine ahead of Election Day was ‘kind of an arbitrary deadline,’ as it grows increasingly clear that a vaccine for the virus will not be made available by Tuesday.

  59. says

    Wohl, Burkman Ordered To Make Remedial Robocalls After Misinfo Spree

    Ha! I like this. Those two asshats were disciplined.

    Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman, the bumbling duo facing legal trouble in multiple states for sending out robocalls that were allegedly intended to intimidate minority voters, informed a federal judge Friday that they have complied with his order to send out some remedial robocalls to correct the false information.

    Judge Victor Marrero from the Southern District of New York gave them a script to follow: “At the direction of a United States district court, this call is intended to inform you that a federal court has found that the message you previously received regarding mail-in voting from Project 1599 contained false information that has had the effect of intimidating voters, and thus interfering with the upcoming presidential election, in violation of federal voting-rights laws.”

    The pair initially tried to fight the order by saying that it forces them to incriminate themselves, and that, because of separate state charges over the misleading robocalls they’re facing in Michigan, they are currently banned from making any robocalls at all before the election.

    Marrero was not swayed, saying that he is not “persuaded” that the Michigan ruling was intended to prohibit the corrective calls, and that federal court orders supersede state ones anyway.

    Wohl and Burkman also tried to duck out of the remedial calls by making the wild claim that the content of their original robocalls — which warned people that if they voted by mail, their information would be used by debt collectors, police officers to serve warrants and the CDC for “mandatory” vaccinations — was true. [OMG, how stupid can they get?] Marrero swatted down all of those arguments as well.

    And so Wohl and Burkman’s counsel informed the court Friday that the two had “retained the services of DialMyCalls” to correct the record, and that the service had completed all of the calls just before the judge’s deadline. According to the letter, the call went out to 29,117 unique numbers.

    The two were indicted earlier this week for the calls in Ohio’s Cuyahoga County.

  60. says

    Follow-up to comment 93.

    From comments posted by readers of the TPM article:

    I hope this is an time-sensitive remedial step and not their total punishment. The only real deterrent is jail time.
    ——————-
    This is the proverbial “slap on the wrist” when both of these fuckers should be working on a chain gang.

  61. says

    DHS watchdog report again confirms former DHS Sec. Kirstjen Nielsen lied to Congress

    A report from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) watchdog continues to confirm that Customs and Border Protection (CBP) lied when it turned away asylum-seekers by claiming officials couldn’t process these families because U.S. ports of entry were full […]

    “We found two ports had stopped using available detention space,” even as families were waiting in Mexico, the DHS inspector general said in a report (which was public for a short time before it became no longer available). “Management at those ports said staffing was insufficient to monitor the rooms. However, other staff we interviewed disagreed with that assessment.” The report also continues to confirm former DHS Sec. Kirstjen Nielsen is a liar, but we already knew that.

    American Immigration Council counsel Aaron Reichlin-Melnick tweeted that Nielsen claimed under oath to Congress in late 2018 that she’d taken no actions to reduce CBP’s ability to process asylum-seekers at ports of entry. But Nielsen perjured herself (it wouldn’t be the first time), because the report says she’d earlier that year ordered policy intentionally designed to limit how many asylum-seekers can be processed per day.

    “In May 2018, DHS and CBP leaders anticipated an increase in undocumented aliens seeking entry at the southern border,” the inspector general’s report said. “[A] few weeks later, then-Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen asked CBP for the estimated ‘number of [undocumented aliens] that would likely be turned away’ if all ports conducted ‘Queue Management.’ After learning that CBP could turn away 650 undocumented aliens every day, the Secretary instructed ports to implement Queue Management.”

    Nielsen further claimed in a tweet the summer that if “you are seeking asylum for your family, there is no reason to break the law and illegally cross between ports of entry.” But it was Nielsen herself who was forcing families to do just that: “After waiting in Queue Management lines or being redirected to other ports, some asylum seekers and other undocumented aliens crossed the border illegally between ports of entry,” the inspector general’s report continued.

    The report also found that CBP unlawfully turned away asylum-seekers after they’d entered the country.

    “Moreover, although asylum seekers legally must be processed once physically within the United States, we found CBP staff turned away asylum seekers at four ports after they had already entered the United States,” the report said. “For instance, our fieldwork indicated, CBP officers at San Ysidro and Tecate ports returned to Mexico asylum seekers who had not only crossed over the international boundary into the United States, but also had entered the ports’ buildings.”

    As Ramos noted in her tweets, CBP has long been lying about its ability to process asylum-seekers. In just one example last year, an officer had told a pregnant woman, her husband, and their 3-year-old son, “We’re full” when they presented themselves at the Paso del Norte port of entry. But unbeknownst to the officials, Oregon U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden and his staffers were behind them […] Miraculously, the family was then allowed to pass through after Wyden intervened. […]

  62. says

    Paul Waldman, quoted in Lynna’s #91:

    With just a few days before the election, Republicans everywhere — whether they’re running for office this year or not — are prisoners of […] Trump. His delusions are theirs, his failures are theirs, his campaign message is theirs, and the blowback he produces will affect them, too.

    They checked themselves into that prison willingly. But even if they wanted to find their way out, it’s too late.

    I’m struck when I see recent clips of Fox & Friends. I keep thinking, “Do they really want to do this for four more years?!” Listen to this lunatic rage every morning, pretend he’s not a malevolent madman killing thousands of people, massage his ego, defend his lies, indulge his grievances and obsessions, kiss his ass?

  63. says

    Background to #78 above – The Hill – “Georgia Republican Drew Ferguson tests positive for COVID-19”:

    Rep. Drew Ferguson (R-Ga.) announced that he tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday after experiencing mild symptoms.

    The Georgia Republican, who serves as House Republican deputy whip, said he is quarantining and will continue working from home.

    “Last night I began feeling mild symptoms consistent with a cold, with no fever. This morning when I began running a slight fever, I immediately took a COVID test which has come back positive. Following the advice of my physician, I will be self-quarantining and working from home,” he tweeted.

    Ferguson attended a rally Tuesday with Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) and Kemp’s wife, who both announced Friday that they are quarantining while awaiting test results….

    A local broadcaster reports that Kemp and his wife tested negative, but Ferguson and Kemp spoke at an indoor rally yesterday. Ferguson (who looks just as you’d imagine) is 53.

  64. says

    COVID Tracking Project: “Our daily update is published. States reported a new record number of cases—97k—and 1.4 million tests. Currently, 47k people are hospitalized. There were 933 COVID-19 deaths reported.

    Case growth is far outpacing testing through the US, suggesting that current case surges are an indication of uncontrolled spread of COVID-19.”

  65. says

    Adam Schiff:

    No country has ever recorded 100,000 positive tests in a day. We’re about to.

    Hospitalizations and deaths are rising too.

    Trump has given up fighting the virus. Even worse, he’s actively spreading it through his campaign rallies.

    It didn’t have to be this way.

    Trump is actively sabotaging public health efforts.

  66. says

    This is funny, in a horrifying way. Putin is more or less claiming that Biden is a communist.

    Putin said that his own experience as a member of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, founded by Vladimir Lenin in 1917, gave him an affinity with the Biden campaign.

    “After all, I was a member of the Soviet Communist Party for nearly 20 years, or more precisely 18 years,” Putin said. “I was a rank-and-file member, but it can be said that I believed in the party’s ideas.”

    Putin added that “this can be seen as an ideological basis for developing contacts with the Democratic representative” while recalling “a time when huge portraits of Angela Davis” were on display around the Soviet Union.

    “We believe that this is something we can talk about and that can be used as the basis for mutual understanding,” Putin said of his potential future relationship with Biden.

  67. says

    Medical Community Slams Trump For Pushing COVID Cash Conspiracy

    Trump elicited disgust and anger from nearly the entire medical community this week, after he said that doctors were over-counting COVID-19 deaths to rake in piles of cash.

    Trump called American doctors “smart people” at a Michigan rally on Friday, saying that “what they do is say, ‘I’m sorry, but you know, everybody dies of COVID.’”

    “Our doctors get more money if someone dies from COVID,” Trump said, adding that a death due to the virus was “like $2,000 more.”

    Large swaths of the medical community expressed revulsion at the remarks.

    “Throughout this pandemic, physicians, nurses, and frontline health care workers have risked their health, their safety and their lives to treat their patients and defeat a deadly virus. They did it because duty called and because of the sacred oath they took,” Dr. Susan Bailey, president of the American Medical Association, said in a statement. “The suggestion that doctors — in the midst of a public health crisis — are overcounting COVID-19 patients or lying to line their pockets is a malicious, outrageous, and completely misguided charge.”

    Bailey alluded to the record spike in infections, saying that the country’s leadership was “attacking us and lobbing baseless charges at physicians” instead of “following the science and urging adherence to the public health steps.”

    The American College of Emergency Physicians said that it was “appalled” by Trump’s “reckless and false assertions” in a statement.

    “These baseless claims not only do a disservice to our health care heroes but promulgate the dangerous wave of misinformation which continues to hinder our nation’s efforts to get the pandemic under control and allow our nation to return to normalcy,” the group said.

    Others reamed Trump for the remarks.

    Sam Ghali, an ER doctor at the University of Kentucky, reminded everyone who needed to be reminded that “doctors do NOT get more money if somebody dies from COVID.”

    From Eric Feigl-Ding:

    FOR F*CK SAKE!!! Trump just picked the wrong goddamn fight trying to blame doctors for “phony” #COVID19 diagnoses and deaths. Here are over 20+ doctors who have **DIED ON THE FRONTLINES** among almost 2000 healthcare workers who have died.

    Trump—you can goto hell after we #VOTE

    From Cleavon MD:

    Truth: I took a 20% pay cut due to less patients. Lost 3 colleagues & 27 y.o. cousin. Cried countless times delivering news of deaths to families. I’m doing more for the U.S. than you!

  68. says

    More responses to Trump’s COVID cash lie:

    From Leana Wen, M.D.

    This is beyond insulting.

    Healthcare professionals have been risking their lives. We’re doing everything we can to address this public health crisis, one made worse because of Trump admin’s lack of action.

    We need support, not false accusations.

    Commentary from Josh Kovensky:

    Trump’s statement appears to have been inspired by a long-debunked narrative on the right that a large proportion of COVID-19 deaths are actually due to separate, unrelated causes.

    There’s never been any evidence to support that notion. Career government officials like chief of mortality statistics at the CDC Bob Anderson have said that 92 percent of deaths where COVID-19 was present are due to the virus.

    Vice President Joe Biden also homed in on the remarks Friday, noting that “our doctors are putting their lives on the line, busting their necks.”

    “He [Trump] said they’re making up deaths from Covid-19 because they get more money,” Biden added. “My lord.”

  69. tomh says

    Stanford study estimates that 18 crowded Trump rallies ultimately resulted in 30,000 coronarvius cases
    By John Wagner

    A new study from Stanford University estimates that 18 of Trump’s recent large-scale campaign rallies ultimately resulted in 30,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and probably led to more than 700 deaths among attendees and others infected by them.

    The study, released Friday by Stanford economics professor B. Douglas Bernheim and three doctoral students, examined rallies staged by Trump between June 20 and Sept. 30 and looked at the trajectory of cases in the counties in which they were held.

    “Our analysis strongly supports the warnings and recommendations of public health officials concerning the risk of COVID-19 transmission at large group gatherings, particularly when the degree of compliance with guidelines concerning the use of masks and social distancing is low,” the authors said. “The communities in which Trump rallies took place paid a high price in terms of disease and death.”

    Asked for comment on the study’s findings, the Trump campaign did not address the numbers but pushed back on the notion that the standards for social distancing at its rallies are low.

    “Americans have the right to gather under the First Amendment to hear from the President of the United States, and we take strong precautions for our campaign events…

  70. says

    From comments posted by readers:

    EVERY SECOND you are reading this, another American is infected with the coronavirus. Every 107 seconds , someone in the United States is dying.
    ———————-
    I spent 40+ years teaching medical students and doing medical research. I have been around a lot of doctors and other medical folk. They do not do their jobs with avarice in their minds. They don’t have time to think of profit. This man is deliberately , willfully insulting the very people who saved his life from covid. They didn’t have to do what they did with all the fancy cutting edge stuff they gave him. They saved his fucking life and this is how he repays them. If ever a person deserved public humiliation it is donald trump.
    ————————
    given the cost of taking care of Covid patients, hospitals are losing money on every one of them, especially when one takes into account the profitable elective procedures that have had to be cancelled in areas with severe Covid outbreaks.
    ————————
    “Our doctors get more money if somebody dies from COVID. You know that, right? I mean our doctors are very smart people.”

    So because they’re smart they’re making money?

    He’s projecting his ghoulishness on them.
    ————————-
    Did you SEE all the people nodding their heads behind him as he said this incredible shit? !?!??!? [I noticed that too.]
    ———————
    The only motive he recognizes is profit. That’s why it’s inconceivable to him that medical people just might be risking their own lives to help others because they care.

    He wants to believe they must be doing it for the money because money’s the only thing he cares about himself.
    ———————–
    Have I suddenly gone deaf? I can’t hear a damn thing from the Republicant bottom feeders because they’ll swim down with Trump as he generates new depths of disgust every day.
    ——————–
    When you’re a crook, everyone else looks like one too.
    ———————-
    Rachel had a segment last night with Joey. A nurse. By the time I finished listening to him, I was a wreck. Trump should be forced to stand quiet and let that nurse tell him what reality is. We should see it on national media. And let it replay every time this disgusting piece of dreck of a president flings crap at the medical community.

  71. says

    A victory for Biden won’t just change everything on the ground, it could reset the future in space

    What the 2020 election means for the moon may not seem all that critical at the moment, what with the pandemic pressing down, […] and the Supreme Court set to roll back the clock to 1950. But the thing about the future is … it would be really nice if we could all have one. And advances in science, including space science, will be a big factor in what that future might be like.

    Over the last half-dozen changes in White House residents—and really, since its inception—NASA has been a political football, with goals that are redefined every four to eight years. Both White House administrations and NASA administrators long ago adopted the idea that one way to maintain support for an agency—whose goals were always going to seem like “pie in the sky” to some Americans—was to turn every program into a jobs program, chopping projects into pieces and distributing them to key congressional districts to lock down necessary votes.

    As a strategy for producing a persistent agency which has sailed on through the decades, that’s worked. It has also turned into a very good source of information about our own planet while providing a fantastic set of STEM careers and technological advances. However, as a platform to constantly promote new challenges and propel the nation forward with projects that capture the imagination and lift the human spirit … it’s a very mixed bag.

    […] Every incoming administration has felt the urge to put its own stamp on NASA, and many seem to start with the same assumption—the agency is old, stodgy, and engaged in the wrong goals. With a fresh hand at the tiller, a cleaning out of old programs, and a decisive new goal, NASA can once again wave the banner of progress and take the nation to the moon. Or to Mars. Or … something.

    […] Along with scrapping plans to return to the moon in favor of moving on to Mars, Obama ended the Constellation program in favor of a new heavy lift rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS). SLS reused some bits from Constellation, some bits from the shuttle, and little new technology. That dependence on existing technology was supposed to make the craft easier to build and keep costs under control.

    SLS was supposed to see first flight by 2015. Instead, it’s had an unending series of setbacks, delays, and redesigns. […]

    But there were plenty of Obama-era programs at NASA that went pretty darn well. The Kepler telescope was launched to look for planets outside the Solar System. Juno entered orbit around Jupiter and began the return of spectacular photos and data. A whole new squadron of probes arrived around Mars to both sample its surface and analyze it from above. Many of these systems got their start before Obama took office, but his administration provided the resources and political support to see them through.

    […] Obama’s team supported an expanded use of public-private partnerships in space. That included doubling down on the 2005 Commercial Cargo program with the Commercial Crew Program. It was that program, first signed in 2011, that finally saw Americans flying into space on an American rocket again in 2020—almost a decade after the last shuttle was grounded.

    When Donald Trump came in, it wasn’t surprising that he moved the pointer from Mars back to the moon. After all, if Obama wanted Mars, then Trump had to aim somewhere else. Where he aimed was at a deadline that made even the most enthusiastic workers at NASA gulp—putting humans back on the moon by 2024. […] the plan to do this included a rocket that had never flown, landers that hadn’t been developed, and a moon-orbiting space station that was nothing more than a sketch, a pretty good argument could be made that it was at least as ambitious as Apollo, and on a tighter timeline.

    […] NASA has leaned heavily into the partnerships with private space companies that started under George W. Bush and Obama to select a series of possible contenders for parts of the system. The plan now is for a handful of missions that would be very similar to those conducted under Apollo, followed up by a more ambitious lunar program that would use landers from Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, or a craft from SLS prime contractor Dynetics, or a genuinely massive lander from Elon Musk’s SpaceX.

    But with the election at hand … what happens now? Will any of those plans move forward, or is NASA about to get yet another do-over?

    […] Biden is likely to start with a decision that seems both boring and utterly necessary: Extending funding for the International Space Station (ISS). Trump has already announced that he was pulling the plug on the station in 2025, with no replacement in sight. It was a decision that makes no sense, as the ISS has proven itself as an invaluable platform for experimentation in microgravity and evaluating the effects of space on the human body. Any administration that is serious about going anywhere in space, needs something like ISS to test out new technologies. After all, it’s much nicer to find out about problems with Earth just a few hundred miles away, rather than hundreds of thousands … or millions.

    Another goal that lacks the pizzazz of planting a flag anywhere, but comes with the benefit of saving lives and scoring critical science, is a reestablishment of NASA’s Earth science program. Expanding Earth science was a critical drive under Obama. However, Trump seems to have regarded those sneaky satellites as just another way to prove that the climate crisis was not a Chinese hoax. Biden will add support to both the analysis of data from existing satellites, and the launch of new systems to monitor the warming world and provide good coverage of weather events.

    […] Right now, both SpaceX and Blue Origin seem poised on the brink. The Superheavy/StarShip system that Musk’s crew is building in Texas could completely revolutionize the whole idea of human spaceflight, providing a system that could extend across the solar system. But it’s also hugely ambitious and risky. It simply may not work. Meanwhile, Bezos’ Blue Origin is assembling their New Glenn heavy lift rocket in a massive factory right on the doorstep of Kennedy Space Center. They’ve been notably more secretive and significantly slower about putting that system together than SpaceX, but their patient progress may pay off when the new system is hauled out into the sunshine next year. And finally, Boeing and other traditional players in the market are getting desperate about the possibility of being left on the sidelines. They not only have their own new rockets on the way—along with Boeing’s contract to deliver astronauts to the ISS—they’re kicking out new designs and looking at plans that are decidedly more radical than anything they’ve produced over recent decades.

    What NASA most needs from Biden is steadiness and a breather from changes made because they make good fodder for press conferences. It sounds like they’re going to get what they need.

  72. says

    From Mark Sumner, an analysis of the wave of COVID cases in the USA:

    […] it’s been over nine months since the coronavirus first began to circulate across the nation. Over that time, 230,000 Americans have died and millions have become ill. But the pandemic we’re seeing now isn’t just larger: It’s different in a fundamental way that makes addressing it more difficult. […]

    From the start of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States, cases have been distributed coast to coast. This was largely due to a failure to recognize that cases were coming in from many other sources than China, and because an abject failure of testing meant that community spread of the virus wasn’t recognized until literally days before hospitals in New York began filling up with victims. But the lack of a coordinated federal response has meant that each surge has been fought on a local level, with governors, mayors, and county officials taking the steps necessary to fight the disease within their very limited borders, using their very limited authority. As each little flame has been momentarily dimmed, the sparks have spread out and the overall temperature of the nation has risen to a level where fires can, and are, starting everywhere. All the time.

    Testing has been left to the states, where it has gone on in what can charitably called an “erratic” fashion. On Thursday, Rhode Island tested at a rate that was 12 times that of Nevada, even though Nevada has far more active cases and is reporting a horrendous 23% rate of positive tests to Rhode Island’s much more reasonable 3% rate. Some states have had flurries of intense testing, especially when there were spikes in that region. Other states have very deliberately reduced testing when cases were at their maximum—looking at you, Florida.

    While Donald Trump insists that the United States has more cases simply because it has done more testing, that’s far from true. Some of the states with the lowest rates of testing are showing the highest rates of disease, and states with very high rates of testing are doing fantastic jobs of controlling the outbreak (like Vermont, where I’ll be interviewing a state health official next week about their well-nigh miraculous results).

    […] The uncoordinated testing strategy means that case counts can swing by 15,000 or more in a single day, which is clearly not reflective of anything actually happening in the real world.

    To get a better sense of the nature of the pandemic, here’s another view. In this case, the numbers have been averaged over the course of weeks. Then each week has been compared to the preceding week. [chart available at the link]

    […] As the chart shows, the most recent surge has already gone on longer than the previous periods of increasing rate. And it’s not just starting from a higher point: it’s also increasing at a greater rate.

    […] The first spike was highly regional, with more than half the cases occurring in a few Northeastern states. The second spike was still regional, though less so, with about one-third of cases restricted to large states in the South. But this third spike is essentially everywhere. On Thursday, 33 states reported more than 1,000 new cases. There are certainly states that are seeing more COVID-19 than others—North and South Dakota in particular have become the first states to have more than 5% of their total population test positive for COVID, putting them at almost twice the national average. But there are very few states where COVID is not well-established and widespread.

    […] The first surge could be largely arrested with tough social distancing restrictions in a handful of states, and something as simple as Republican governors in Texas and Arizona allowing counties to implement mask mandates could make a big dent in the second surge. But the broad base of this new surge means that no small group of governors or local officials can put out this fire.

    It needs the one thing we’re unlikely to get before January: coordinated national action.

    Link

  73. says

    USPS investigates undelivered Miami ballots

    State and federal authorities are investigating a video posted by Florida House Minority Leader Kionne McGhee allegedly showing a pile up of mail “sitting for over a week” at a Miami post office that included a handful of completed ballots.

    McGhee tweeted the video around 12:30 p.m. Friday afternoon indicating it came from a “source” he did not identify. He tweeted a separate video roughly four hours later showing what he said were postal service investigators on the scene.

    “I call on the Postal Service to correct this and promise the citizens of Miami-Dade that these ballots will be delivered in time,” McGhee said in a statement. “I call on Laurel Lee, Florida’s Secretary of State, and Governor Ron DeSantis to use their power and influence to guarantee every valid vote in Florida is counted.”

    The USPS confirmed Saturday morning six completed ballots and 42 blank ones were found after investigators were sent to the Miami location Friday afternoon.

    […] The footage from the post office in Miami, an overwhelmingly Democratic region of the state where former Vice President Joe Biden must win by large numbers if he hopes to best President Donald Trump in Florida, was made public just days before Election Day as Democrats maintain a massive vote-by-mail lead. State party leaders and the Biden campaign made a significant push to persuade Democrats to cast ballots by mail because of the coronavirus pandemic. Trump, in contrast, has called vote-by-mail susceptible to fraud and has urged Republicans to vote in person.

    […] Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernández Rundle said she is also calling for an audit of all mail ballots across the county to ensure there are no mail ballots piling up in other Miami-Dade County postal facilities.

    “I have requested that all postal distribution centers be audited and any and all ballots that may remain in these centers be immediately transported to the Department of Elections,” she told the Miami Herald. “I have offered the full resources of the State Attorney’s Elections Task Force to Elections Supervisor Cristina White and South Florida’s Special Agent in Charge of the United States Postal Inspector’s Office Antonio Gomez.” […]

  74. says

    An American citizen kidnapped in the West African nation of Niger this past week has been rescued in a U.S. military operation in neighboring Nigeria, U.S. officials said Saturday.

    The man was taken from his farm in Massalata in southern Niger early Tuesday morning by armed kidnappers who demanded a ransom from the man’s father. He was identified earlier in the week by a local government official as Philipe Nathan Walton, though other officials and news reports cited slightly different spellings of the man’s first name.

    […] “This American citizen is safe and is now in the care of the U.S. Department of State. No U.S military personnel were injured during the operation,” the department said in a statement.

    SEAL Team 6, along with other members of a joint special operations force, conducted the rescue, according to U.S. officials with knowledge of the operation. The officials were not authorized to publicly discuss the operation and spoke on condition of anonymity to provide details.

    […] A U.S. official, who was not authorized to publicly discuss the rescue before an official announcement and spoke on condition of anonymity, said there were no solid indications that Walton’s kidnapping was terrorism-related and that it was instead “trending toward a kidnapping for ransom.”

    Link

  75. says

    Self-Proclaimed ‘Proud Boy’ Threatened To Bomb North Dakota Polling Station

    Wonkette link. Photo available at the link.

    A self-proclaimed Proud Boy has been arrested in North Dakota after threatening to bomb a polling station.

    According to police, 33-year-old Anthony A. Raymond of Dickinson, North Dakota, sent an email on Wednedsday to a local newspaper, The Dickinson Press, stating “I will blow up the voting location in Stark Co.,” that was signed “The Proud Boys.” Police traced the email back to Raymond through his IP address, and he was swiftly arrested and incarcerated. Raymond now faces a C-felony for the crime.

    Via the Grand Forks Herald:

    “I think this is an isolated incident and we don’t believe that anyone is in any immediate danger and can safely vote at any of the various polling locations located in Stark County or other jurisdictions within North Dakota and feel safe to be able to cast their vote,” Cianni said. “This should not (prevent) them from feeling safe or casting their vote.”

    The investigation is still ongoing as police sift through video surveillance footage […]

    The Proud Boys, of course, are a violent far-right “Western Chauvinist” street gang founded by Gavin McInnes. Usually, they just show up at liberal protests to start shit with people, but more recently have joined up with Neo-Nazis to watch polling stations for Donald Trump. Additionally, voters in both Alaska and Florida recently reported getting threatening emails demanding they vote for Trump from the “info@officialproudboys.com” account. Proud Boy leaders claim to have had nothing to do with the email, which read:

    We are in possession of all your information. You are currently registered as a Democrat, and we know this because we have gained access into the entire voting infrastructure. You will vote for Trump on Election Day or we will come after you. Change your party affiliation to Republican to let us know you received our message and will comply. We will know which candidate you voted for. I would take this seriously if I were you. Good luck.

    As for Raymond, it’s not clear what actual affiliation he has with The Proud Boys — and as sick as those motherfuckers are, something is off here.

    Raymond’s social media imprint, rather than being typical of the kind of person who might join a super wacky right-wing street gang, is what you might call “politically confused.” He’s not particularly pro or anti Trump. There are pro-police memes, there are pro-Black Lives Matter memes, and then there are anti-Black Lives Matter memes coming after the pro-Black Lives Matter memes. It’s truly like he’s just throwing spaghetti up against a wall to see if it sticks. […]

    It is entirely possible that he is, indeed, affiliated with The Proud Boys and that he, for some reason, thought it would make sense to threaten to bomb a polling station in a state that is definitely going to Trump no matter what, but it is equally possible that this is just a guy with some very serious issues who just wanted to belong to a club, any club. […]

  76. says

    Trump is holding election rallies (COVID super-spreader events) today. He is also prepping his cult followers for post-election-day violence:

    During his rally in Newton, Pennsylvania, the President complained about the Supreme Court allowing Pennsylvania and North Carolina to keep their deadline extensions for receiving ballots after Election Day (three days and nine days respectively).

    Trump claimed the SCOTUS, which he had clearly relied on to greenlight all his attempts at voter suppression, made a “terrible political, horrible decision” on Pennsylvania and North Carolina.

    “We’re going to be waiting, November 3rd is going to come and go, and we’re not going to know,” he ranted. “And you’re going to have bedlam in our country, and you’re going to have this period of nine days or seven days or whatever it is, and many bad things.”

    Link

  77. says

    […] For America to survive enough voters are going to have to opt out of Trump’s death parade. Trump, who not only failed to bring the pandemic under control but never even tried, is learning to kill his people with the efficiency of a long line of murderous dictators. If we think some 230,000 COVID-related American deaths is a tragedy—and it most certainly is—that’s a drop in the bucket compared to what Trump has planned for us given the chance at another four years.

    As we clearly know now based on Trump’s actions and the overt declarations from his chief of staff Mark Meadows, the Trump administration has no plans to “control the pandemic,” but rather just treat people after they fall ill. As many medical professionals have pointed out, this so-called “herd immunity” strategy Trump and his minions are pushing will lead to millions of deaths—more than 5 million by some estimates. That’s not simply incompetence or malpractice, it’s mass murder.

    Those are the kind of numbers dictatorships are built on. Look up almost any of the 20th Century’s most notable tyrants and they have one thing in common—they killed millions upon millions of their own people. Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong—all murdered brutally and without an ounce of compunction.

    Trump is right on course to join them if we let him. He may not have manufactured the virus, but he has most certainly maximized its lethality. And what is becoming more apparent by the day is the fact that the virus’ extensive footprint in the U.S. isn’t simply a function of Trump’s incompetence or lack of caring—rather it’s a byproduct of the glee he is taking in fueling its path of destruction.

    In fact, as Trump flits around from hotspot to hotspot in the Midwest, he’s the happiest of warriors. The notion that thousands of people flood into his ghoulish rallies and put their bodies on the line for Trump is clearly thrilling to him. It’s his imaginary 5th Avenue murder on steroids […]

    Still Trump’s cultists just keep on filing into those rallies, and he adores it. While he doesn’t actually adore them, he adores the attention, he feeds off it. And he shows neither remorse nor a hint of interest in the fact that he leaves a trail of coronavirus infections everywhere he goes. USA Today released a study on the pattern last week, and this week CNN’s Sanjay Gupta examined 17 locations that hosted Trump rallies and 82% of the time he found infections spiked in the corresponding counties shortly after the events.

    […] Trump’s death tour continues. In his last hurrah on the stump, he plans to sweep through several regions of the country already confronting serious surges in coronavirus infections, including three stops in Michigan, one stop in Wisconsin, and a stop in Dubuque, Iowa. On Friday, the top three stories in Dubuque’s daily newspaper featured alongside Trump’s impending visit were all COVID-related. […]

    One Telegraph Herald headline screamed that Jones County, which borders Dubuque County, “faces rapid community spread of COVID-19” and the “highest ever positivity rate.” Another headline reported, “1 more long term care outbreak in Dubuque Co. in 24 hours.” And just across the river from Dubuque, Grant County, Wisconsin, is also seeing a deadly spike in cases.

    In other words, when Trump holds his superspreader rally in Dubuque on Sunday, he’ll be parachuting into a hot zone already aflame with the virus. Only a candidate who actually reveled in destruction would purposely plan an infectious event there.

    It remains to be seen how well Trump’s recklessness plays for him politically on Tuesday. But in the meantime, Trump is having a good old time watching people risk life and limb for him. […]

    Link

  78. tomh says

    NYT Opinion:
    Republicans, Not Biden, Are About to Raise Your Taxes
    People making from $10,000 and $30,000 — nearly one-quarter of Americans — are among millions slated to pay more in 2021.
    By Joseph E. Stiglitz
    Mr. Stiglitz, a university professor at Columbia, is a Nobel laureate in economics.
    Oct. 31, 2020, 11:00 a.m. ET

    The Trump administration has a dirty little secret: It’s not just planning to increase taxes on most Americans. The increase has already been signed, sealed and delivered, buried in the pages of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

    President Trump and his congressional allies hoodwinked us. The law they passed initially lowered taxes for most Americans, but it built in automatic, stepped tax increases every two years that begin in 2021 and that by 2027 would affect nearly everyone but people at the top of the economic hierarchy…

    They surmised — correctly, so far — that if they waited to add the tax increases until after the 2020 election, few of the people most affected were likely to remember who was responsible.
    […]

    The current poverty line for a family of four is $26,200: People with incomes between $10,000 and $30,000 — nearly one-quarter of Americans — are among those scheduled to pay a higher average tax rate in 2021 than in years before the tax “cut” was passed. The C.B.O. and Joint Committee estimated that those with an income of $20,000 to $30,000 would owe an extra $365 next year — these are people who are struggling just to pay rent and put food on the table.
    […]

    By 2027, when the law’s provisions are set to be fully enacted, with the stealth tax increases complete, the country will be neatly divided into two groups: Those making over $100,000 will on average get a tax cut. Those earning under $100,000 — an income bracket encompassing three-quarters of taxpayers — will not.

    At the same time, Trump has given his peers, people with annual incomes in excess of $1 million dollars, or the top 0.3 percent in the country, a huge gift: The Joint Committee on Taxation estimated the average tax rate in 2019 for this group to be 2.3 percentage points lower than before the tax cut, saving the average taxpayer in this group over $64,000 — more than the average American family makes in a year.
    […]

    … The Republicans — who suddenly lost their grasp on their self-described fiscal conservatism when they came into office in 2017 — saw a chance to give their rich friends and corporations a big thank you for campaign contributions. But the tax cuts they promised these donors produced projections that the resulting budget deficits were well beyond $1 trillion.

    To reduce that stomach-churning amount, they had to phase-in higher taxes on ordinary Americans. While this kind of budget gimmickry has been used before under President George W. Bush’s administration, Mr. Trump carried it to a new level.
    […]

    Mark Zandi and Bernard Yaros of Moody’s Analytics have done the most credible and thorough analysis comparing the Biden and Trump plans, including Mr. Trump’s stealth increases and other promised tax and expenditure changes. Mr. Biden’s plan wins by an enormous margin: 7.4 million more jobs and a much quicker recovery from this recession. That means higher wages and incomes for most Americans.
    […]

    The problem now is that unless the Democrats win a majority in the House and the Senate and clinch the presidency, these Republican tax increases, already legislated, are likely to go into effect. The increases, unfairly aimed at the vast majority of Americans who are disproportionately suffering in the pandemic, will cause even more hardship…

  79. says

    Oil companies show by contributions they’re eager to Keep Republicans in Office: More than 80% of industry campaign contributions in 2020 have gone to Donald Trump or other GOP candidates likely to block climate action. The big contributors? The pipeline company Energy Transfer LP and its CEO Kelcy Warren, and Koch Industries, the privately held conglomerate run by billionaire Charles Koch, who with his late brother has funded climate science denial at propaganda outlets labeled think tanks and science-denying candidates. Those two companies and their executives have contributed more than 20% of the total $110 million in campaign spending this year by the oil industry, its employees, and executives, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

    Link. Scroll down to see the chart.

  80. tomh says

    Biden campaign says it canceled event after pro-Trump cars tried to run its bus ‘off the road’
    By Hannah Knowles

    Biden’s campaign said it canceled an event Friday after cars with Trump signs and flags surrounded its bus on the way to Austin and tried to “run it off the road.”

    The bus had left San Antonio and was on Interstate 35 when cars pulled in front of the bus and slowed, the campaign said in a statement, attempting to “stop the bus in the middle of the highway.” Campaign staff called 911, according to the statement, getting help from law enforcement to reach its destination.

    Video captures one white truck appearing to hit another car while driving close behind the Biden bus on a highway. Around the country, officials are worried about the potential for harassment or violence as the election unfolds.

    Out of “an abundance of caution,” the Biden campaign said, it scrapped an event set to be held in the parking lot of the Texas AFL-CIO building. Democrats are hoping to make inroads this year in the traditionally Republican state.

    “Rather than engage in productive conversation about the drastically different visions that Joe Biden and Donald Trump have for our country, Trump supporters in Texas today instead decided to put our staff, surrogates, supporters, and others in harm’s way,” said Tariq Thowfeek, the Biden campaign’s communications director in Texas, in a statement.

    The campaign did not comment on reports that a staffer’s car was the one hit.

    Others who said they were set to join the Biden campaign Friday shared their dismay.

    “Unfortunately, Pro-Trump Protestors have escalated well beyond safe limits,” tweeted Texas House Rep. Sheryl Cole (D).

    The Austin Police Department did not immediately respond to an inquiry.

    Footage from CBS Austin also captures people heckling the Biden bus as it pulls out of a lot, a truck with a pro-Trump flag nearby.

    “We’re here to escort you out of Texas!” a man can be heard saying.

  81. says

    Guardian – “Johnson’s U-turn puts England under tough new lockdown”:

    Boris Johnson performed an extraordinary U-turn on Saturday as he unveiled new month-long national lockdown measures across England, amid accusations that government indecision and delay will cost lives and livelihoods across the country.

    With immediate warnings of the grave economic fallout and a mounting backlash among Tory MPs, the prime minister announced that a series of measures would come into force on Thursday to combat growing Covid infections. They will remain in place until 2 December.

    Under the new measures non-essential shops and venues, as well as pubs and restaurants, will be closed. Schools, colleges and universities will remain open. The public will be told only to leave home for specific reasons, such as work if they cannot work from home, to shop for food and essentials, exercise, medical appointments or caring for the vulnerable.

    The vulnerable and those over 60 are being advised to be especially careful and minimise their social contacts, but there will be no return of a formal request to shield themselves. Government insiders said the “time-limited” measures would then see a return to a regionalised approach.

    In another major reversal, the original furlough scheme under which the state paid 80% of workers’ wages will be extended for the duration of the new lockdown. Ministers had been resisting an extension of the scheme. The move angered regional leaders who had been pleading for extra support for weeks. Mark Drakeford, the Welsh first minister, said the Treasury had refused to extend furlough when Wales’ “firebreak” lockdown began.

    At a press conference, the prime minister said that he had decided to reimpose a national lockdown because “we could see deaths running at several thousand a day”. The virus, he said “is spreading even faster than the reasonable worst-case scenario of our scientific advisers”. He added: “The risk is that for the first time in our lives, the NHS will not be there for us and for our families.”

    His chief scientific adviser, Patrick Vallance, said the data painted “a very grim picture”. Deaths over the winter, he warned, could be “twice as bad or more than the first wave”.

    The government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) had called for a “short period of lockdown” five and a half weeks ago, but was rebuffed. At that stage, the UK was averaging 4,964 new cases per day, with 1,502 Covid patients in hospital and 28 deaths. Yesterday, there were 21,915 more cases across the UK, more than 10,000 Covid patients in hospital and 326 deaths.

    The move comes less than two weeks after Johnson accused Labour of attempting to “turn the lights out” following Keir Starmer’s endorsement of a circuit-breaker lockdown timed to overlap with half term. It is also an admission that the three-tier system in England, designed to contain local outbreaks, has failed .

    Starmer said that the government’s delay in imposing a lockdown will come “at an economic cost and a human cost” and that the government had resisted scientific calls for it since September. He said it was unfair to pretend to the public that Christmas “will be normal”.

    “I don’t think Christmas will be normal and I think we need to level with the public on that,” he said.

    There is also private anger among the government’s scientific advisers, who say that concerns about exceeding the reasonable worst-case scenarios had been known about for weeks. Insiders expressed concerns about the government’s unwillingness to do anything seen as unpopular, adding that restrictions now had to be more severe and longer than would have been the case with earlier action.

    Many scientists remained angry that the government has taken so long in heeding their advice. “Yet again, the UK has been slow to act and delayed decisive action until the last moment,” said Stephen Griffin, associate professor at Leeds University’s School of Medicine.

  82. tomh says

    Judges nominated by President Trump play key role in upholding voting limits ahead of Election Day
    By Ann E. Marimow and Matt Kiefer

    Federal judges nominated by President Trump have largely ruled against efforts to loosen voting rules in the 2020 campaign amid the coronavirus pandemic and sided with Republicans seeking to enforce restrictions, underscoring Trump’s impact in reshaping the judiciary.

    An analysis by The Washington Post found that nearly three out of four opinions issued in federal voting-related cases by judges picked by the president were in favor of maintaining limits. That is a sharp contrast with judges nominated by President Barack Obama, whose decisions backed such limits 17 percent of the time.

    The impact of Trump’s court picks could be seen most starkly at the appellate level, where 21 out of the 25 opinions issued by the president’s nominees were against loosening voting rules.

    The pattern shows how Trump’s success installing a record number of judges in his four years in office has played a critical role in determining how people can vote this year and which ballots will be counted…

    The opinions by Trump nominees have been among hundreds issued throughout the country as the courts have contended with a record number of cases related to voting and the administration of this year’s election.

    …many have ruled in favor of the GOP in major cases involving rules about mail voting, ballot deadlines and signature requirements that have affected millions of Americans, many of whom are casting votes by mail for the first time because of concerns about the health risks of in-person voting.

    …a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit ruled Thursday night that a Republican lawmaker and GOP activist could challenge Minnesota’s plan to count ballots that arrive after Election Day…

    A Trump nominee also joined the majority in a Tennessee case in October to uphold signature-match rules for mail ballots. That decision, rejecting a challenge from voting rights groups, drew a sharp dissent from Judge Karen Nelson Moore, a nominee of President Bill Clinton. She broadly criticized her judicial colleagues throughout the country, listing a series of cases in which she said courts “have sanctioned a systematic effort to suppress voter turnout and undermine the right to vote.”

    “Many courts are chipping away at votes that ought to be counted. It is a disgrace to the federal courts’ foundational role in ensuring democracy’s function, and a betrayal to the persons that wish to participate in it fully,” Moore wrote… [this case] is another drop in the bucket that is the degradation of the right to vote in this country. I fear the day we come out from behind the courthouse doors only to realize these drops have become a flood.”

  83. says

    tomh @123 and SC @125, that is so scary! Those trumpian asshats could have killed people in the white car directly at the rear of the bus. They put other people in danger too. Surely there is enough video to identify all of the vehicles and to arrest those who were creating danger on the highway.

  84. says

    CNN – “Poland’s biggest protests in decades stand against abortion ban”:

    Huge crowds turned out to protest in the Polish capital, Warsaw, on Friday against a court decision to ban nearly all abortions, making it one of the largest demonstrations seen in the country in decades.

    Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski said more than 100,000 people were in attendance, while protest organizers put the figure at 150,000.

    Police detained 37 people Friday evening, the vast majority of whom were football hooligans, Sylwester Marczak, spokesman for the Warsaw Police headquarters, said Saturday morning. Taking into account the huge number of participants, it was a “very peaceful” protest, he added.

    Demonstrations of this scale were last seen in the Solidarity movement of the 1980s in Poland which led to the collapse of the government, analysts say.

    The protest in Warsaw was the culmination of nine days of nationwide protests since a court ruling on October 22 deemed abortion due to fetal defects to be unconstitutional. This meant abortion in Poland would only be legal in two scenarios — if the pregnancy threatened the mother’s life and health, or if a woman became pregnant following rape or incest.

    Demonstrators also turned out in Gdańsk, Białystok, Poznan, Kraków, Wroclaw, Torun, Sczescin, Myślenice, Gorlice and Jasło on Friday.

    According to local media, 430,000 people attended more than 400 demonstrations across the country against the ban on Wednesday. Online supporters are using the tag #ThisIsWar to show solidarity with those marching.

    The protests have been taking place in defiance of a ban on gatherings of more than five people due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    Aerial footage of the demonstration in Warsaw posted to social media showed the vast scale of the turnout there on Friday evening.

    Protest organizers urged protesters to make their way towards the residence of Jaroslaw Kaczyński, the leader of the ruling right-wing Law and Justice Party Leader (PiS) who is widely seen as the de facto decision maker in Poland. The demonstration ended there at around 11 p.m. local time and organizers urged protesters to make their way home safely.

    Kaczyński on Wednesday called the protesters “criminals” and said people taking part in mass gatherings were endangering people’s lives given the surge in coronavirus cases in Poland.

    The ruling by Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal removed one of the few remaining grounds for legal termination in the country, which already had some of the strictest abortion laws in Europe.

    Asked about the ongoing protests across Poland over the controversial court ruling, Duda condemned the demonstrators who disrupted church services earlier this week.

    “If we are talking about acts of physical or verbal aggression, if we are talking about invading churches, if we are talking about insulting religious feelings, profaning places of worship, I am sorry, but the boundaries are definitely exceeded here,” he said.

    Abortion rights protest leaders have accused the populist PiS party of pushing the court to tighten abortion restrictions in order to please the party’s base, and the Church. Church leaders have denied influencing the change in law.

    Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki on Friday urged protesters not to go out on the streets as he announced further steps to try to limit the spread of Covid-19.

    On Friday, Poland recorded 21,629 new coronavirus cases, marking another record high in the country, where case counts have tripled in less than a month. A further 202 deaths were also reported by the Polish Health Ministry, with the total number of confirmed infections in the country surpassing 340,000.

  85. tomh says

    Lynna @ #128

    “Surely there is enough video to identify all of the vehicles and to arrest those who were creating danger on the highway.”

    I’m sure there is but…this is Texas.

  86. says

    Here’s a link to the November 1 Guardian coronavirus world liveblog.

    From there:

    Fauci says Biden is taking virus seriously, as he warns of bleak winter for US

    The US is “in for a whole lot of hurt” under the coronavirus pandemic, the senior public health expert Anthony Fauci has said, predicting a winter of 100,000 or more cases a day and a rising death toll.

    Fauci has regularly appeared with president Trump at press conferences on the coronavirus pandemic.

    “It’s not a good situation. All the stars are aligned in the wrong place as you go into the fall and winter season, with people congregating at home indoors. You could not possibly be positioned more poorly,” he told the Washington Post.

    Fauci said that Trump’s challenger, the Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, was “taking it seriously from a public health perspective”. Trump, he said, was “looking at it from a different perspective … the economy and reopening the country”.

    Unsurprisingly, this has caused outrage in the Trump administration, who have accused Fauci of “playing politics”.

    Judd Deere, a White House spokesman, said: “It’s unacceptable and breaking with all norms for Dr Fauci, a senior member of the president’s coronavirus taskforce and someone who has praised President Trump’s actions throughout this pandemic, to choose three days before an election to play politics.”…

    Also in the Guardian, “As Europe’s governments lose control of Covid, revolt is in the air.”

    Too much to excerpt.

    I just watched the documentary Totally Under Control. Brought the article @ Lynna’s #119 to mind.

  87. says

    tomh @130, yeah. And Trump was praising the drivers who tried to run the Biden bus off the road. Trump was gleeful as he told his cult followers that the video was trending.

    More details about the Trump followers who ambushed the Biden bus:

    […] Neither Joe Biden nor Kamala Harris were aboard the bus, which was traveling from San Antonio to Austin on Interstate 35. Among the passengers on board were Wendy Davis, a Democrat running in the 21st Congressional District against incumbent Republican Chip Roy; Democratic Congressman Rep. Lloyd Doggett, who represents District 35; and Roland Gutierrez, a candidate for Texas senate District 19.

    […] The pro-Trump vehicles, dubbed the “Trump Train,” surrounded it as it passed near New Braunfels en route to Austin, and remained with it until San Marcos, 20 miles down the road.

    Videos showed the vehicles lined up along the freeway in wait for the bus, then speeding up and surrounding it as pro-Trump onlookers cheered and laughed. According to people on the bus, the vehicles slowed and appeared to attempt stopping the bus altogether.

    One of the caravan’s Facebook organizers, Randi Ceh, posted video on her Facebook page claiming the staff car following the bus closely was breaking the law—and when a large pickup veered and hit it on the side fender, claimed that it was the staff car driver attempting to cause an accident. [bullshit, misinformation]

    A campaign staffer told The Daily Beast that the Trump supporters appeared to be trying to force the bus off the road. Police were called from the bus, and they reportedly helped the driver reach Austin safely.

    Once in Austin, however, a crowd of Trump supporters surrounded the bus and continued the harassment. Fearing the threats would escalate, Democrats canceled the event.

    Nor was that the only canceled event. The Biden bus had also been scheduled to make a stop in Pflugerville to campaign with Texas House Representative Sheryl Cole, who was waiting there. Cole tweeted that the Biden bus also had to cancel due to security reasons.

    “Pro-Trump Protesters have escalated well beyond safe limits,” she posted.

    The Trump truck caravans have increasingly proved to be not just a prime environment for violent rhetoric and threatening behavior organized on behalf of the Republican president, but as occurred in Oregon earlier this summer, a prime vector for blurring the lines between far-right extremists such as the Proud Boys and ostensibly mainstream Republicans.

    Locals in New Braunfels voiced their anger with the Trump Train organizers, who have been creating the caravans as regular demonstrations since this summer. Gloria Meehan, Comal County Democratic Party chair, told MyCanyonLake.com that the activists were destroying the area’s reputation.

    “Frankly, I feel sorry for those involved with the Trump Train that they have nothing worthwhile to do, but drive around aimlessly, harassing and intimidating,” Meehan said. “Why? Nothing good comes of idleness and bad intentions. They’re rudderless, adrift, lost in a sea of discontent. It’s unsustainable, and behavior like this strikes at the heart of our community and is driving our economy into the ground as folks no longer feel safe coming to New Braunfels and will take their tourist dollars elsewhere. The word is Comal County, for all its beauty, is dangerous and unwelcoming.”

    Link. Video is available at the link.

    From Trump supporter Betsy:

    I’m getting a little bit nervous for election time in that if Trump does win, I’m afraid of violence, & I don’t think there’s any chance that Trump won’t win unless it’s massive voter fraud. So I’ve signed up to be a challenger, to watch out at the polls.

    See https://twitter.com/atrupar/status/1322920255128326144

    My neighbors have been listening to Trump: they sent their children out to go trick-or-treating last night. Hordes of kids going door to door. I didn’t answer my door. Love the kids, but the danger of spreading coronavirus is too great.

    In related news, Trump’s favorite not-an-expert, Scott Atlas, gave an interview to Russian TV.

  88. says

    From Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers:

    We are in the middle of a pandemic. We have hotspots all across the state. People are dying at high numbers, and then Trump is up in Green Bay at the same time talking about the fact that the doctors are … identifying people as COVID-19 deaths when they’re not just so they can make money.

    Honest to God, it’s just breathtaking. We’re in a very difficult situation here. We should be pulling together.

    We have a president that believes the doctors are at fault or are messing with the number. And he believes that it’s over. It ain’t over.

    We need to do the basic things in Wisconsin and frankly some people aren’t doing them because they’re listening to Donald Trump.

    People aren’t gonna go spend money if they don’t have confidence in their health. That is the basic issue here. It’s not whether doctors are making more money for not. That is such a stupid thing to say.

  89. says

    https://twitter.com/ericcervini/status/1322336226792321025

    Shocking video. More Trump supporters than I thought.

    I flew down to Texas to help with the Biden/Harris bus tour, intended to drum up enthusiasm at polling locations. Instead, I ended up spending the afternoon calling 911.

    These Trump supporters, many of whom were armed, surrounded the bus on the interstate and attempted to drive it off the road. They outnumbered police 50-1, and they ended up hitting a staffer’s car.

    The police refused to help. When I flagged down one officer, he said his hands were tied: “not my jurisdiction.” He was wearing a blue stripe bandana.

    Understandably, though nobody was hurt, the rest of the tour was cancelled. And as a historian who studied the rise of the Third Reich, I can tell you: this is how a democracy dies. —Dr. Eric Cervini

    While Germany still had elections and Hitler was merely a disgraced politician, his militia of Brownshirts interrupted his opponents’ political meetings and incited violence on the streets. You know what happened next.

    We don’t know what Trump’s supporters (or Russia) have planned for Tuesday. We don’t know what kind of intimidation and suppression will inevitably occur.

    But we can be prepared. In the next four days, we can create such a landslide that their efforts are futile, sending a message that Nazi tactics have no place in America. […]

  90. says

    From the Washington Post: Trump allies, largely unconstrained by Facebook’s rules against repeated falsehoods, cement pre-election dominance

    From a pro-Trump super PAC to the president’s eldest son, conservatives have blown past Facebook’s fact-checking guardrails, with few consequences.

    In the final months of the presidential campaign, prominent associates of […] Trump and conservative groups with vast online followings have flirted with, and frequently crossed, the boundaries set forth by Facebook about the repeated sharing of misinformation.

    […] these users have received few penalties, according to an examination of several months of posts and ad spending, as well as internal company documents. In certain cases, their accounts have been protected against more severe enforcement because of concern about the perception of anti-conservative bias, said current and former Facebook employees, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the matter’s sensitivity.

    These people said the preferential treatment has undercut Facebook’s own efforts to curb misinformation, in particular the technologies put in place to downgrade problematic actors. Toward the end of last year, around the time Facebook-owned Instagram was rolling out labels obscuring fact-challenged posts and directing users to accurate information, the company removed a strike against Donald Trump Jr. for a fact-check on the photo-sharing service that would have made him a so-called repeat offender, fearing the backlash that would have ensued from the accompanying penalties, according to two former employees familiar with the matter.

    […] The kid-glove treatment contradicts claims of anti-conservative bias leveled by Trump and his children, as well as by Republican leaders in Congress. It also renews questions about whether Facebook is prepared to act against the systematic spread of falsehoods that could intensify as vote tallies are reported this week.

    […] efforts to combat misinformation are viewed internally as a political liability. “Too often we’ve made politically expedient exceptions at the expense of our own rules, which we generally believe to be fair,” the person said.

    […] Delayed and uneven enforcement of the company’s rules is evident in particular on prominent right-leaning Facebook pages involved in sharing news about the election. More than a dozen such pages identified by The Washington Post shared content debunked by Facebook’s own third-party fact-checkers twice within 90 days over the last six months, meeting the definition of repeat offenders described by multiple people familiar with the company’s process and backed up by internal communications. But many of these pages were still attracting significant engagement and still purchasing ads, despite rules for repeat offenders that prescribe significant penalties, including reduced distribution of content and the revocation of advertising privileges. […]

    More at the link.

  91. says

    Trump Cheers His Supporters Swarming Biden Bus Mad-Max Style In Texas

    https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/trump-biden-bus-texas

    […] Trump also reveled in the episode during a riff at his Pennsylvania rally Saturday night.

    The response from the Texas Republican party was even more callous.

    Citing the supposed “execution” of Trump supporters and attempted “rape and killing” of the McCloskeys, the gun-toting couple from St. Louis who were indicted after brandishing their weapons at protesters, chair Allen West dismissed the incident as “propaganda.”

    “Where is the liberal corporate media’s concern about that real violence? Additionally, none of what your question implies is accurate. It is more fake news and propaganda,” he responded to a Texas Tribune writer in an official party statement. “Prepare to lose … stop bothering me. Maybe Soros can cut y’all another check in 2022.”

    Some current and former Democratic Texas officials, including U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett (R-TX), were on the bus at the time.

    “This aggressive, abusive conduct by his supporters comes from Trump continuing to incite acts of intimidation and violence,” Doggett tweeted. “As Republican lawyers use Republican-dominated courts to diminish voting, this is another more outrageous form of voter suppression.”

    “Those who fear their party is about to lose Texas resort to such desperate tactics,” he added. “We have to stand up to these bullies just as we seek to protect the right of every last Texan to vote out the Bully-in-Chief.”

    […] The Trump squadron eventually backed off when a police escort arrived, and the FBI is now reportedly investigating.

    FBI Special Agent Michelle Lee from the San Antonio field office told TPM that an official statement on the incident will be coming later Sunday afternoon.

    Katie Naranjo, chair of the Travis County Democrats, tweeted that at one point, the Trump supporters “ran into a person’s car, yelling curse words and threats.” Democratic state Rep. Rafael Anchía (D-TX) said that those flanking the bus were “armed.”

    Senior Biden campaign adviser Symone Sanders tweeted that Trump’s response to the intimidation was even more reason for Americans to vote him out.

    “What the President tweeted in regards to Texas is reckless, dangerous and an intimidation tactic,” she said. “It’s not something we should come to accept from our leaders. The people of our great country have the opportunity to turn the corner here. VOTE. HIM. OUT.”

    See also: https://twitter.com/atrupar/status/1322708576775929856

    “Did anybody see the picture of that crazy bus driving down the highway, they’re surrounded by like, hundreds of cars? They’re all Trump flags all over the place.” — Trump glorifies an incident in Texas where his supporters tried to drive a Biden/Harris bus off the road

    Video of Trump speaking is available at the link.

  92. says

    More coverage of Trump’s rally in Pennsylvania:

    As Trump fans direct “lock them up!” chants toward Obama and Biden, Trump says, “you’re right. You know, there are a lot of people who call that treason, okay? That’s treason. Let’s see what happens.”
    ————————
    “I wonder what happens during that period of delays w/ the ballots. I wonder what happens. Are they going to mysteriously find more ballots?…report whatever you see”- Trump tosses out baseless conspiracy theories that any ballots tallied after election night could be forgeries
    ————————-
    Trump can’t even transport people to and from his rallies without them nearly freezing to death but he wants people to believe the logistics of distributing a coronavirus vaccine are totally under control and will be smooth sailing
    ————————–
    See https://twitter.com/atrupar/status/1322713246432899072
    Trump just murdered irony.
    —————————–
    “Under Biden, there will no be no school, no graduations, no weddings, no Thanksgivings, no Easters, no Christmases, and no Fourth of July,” Trump claims as the holidays actually are canceled because of his coronavirus mismanagement

  93. says

    From President Obama:

    He’s [Trump is] still worrying about his inauguration crowd being smaller than mine…He’s still talking about that. Does he have nothing better to worry about? Did no one come to his birthday party when he was a kid? Was he traumatized? What’s with crowds?

    From Jaime Harrison, U.S. Senate candidate in South Carolina:

    Ballots are being tossed out in South Carolina

    Thousands of ballots have been thrown out because of confusion around whether a witness signature was required.

    Democrats and Republicans should be united on this. This is voter disenfranchisement.

    For fun: “That’s what I do.”—Barack Obama. See the video here:
    https://twitter.com/kylegriffin1/status/1322669690875867136

  94. says

    From George Conway, replying to Trump’s “I LOVE TEXAS” tweet, and to the reposting of Trump’s cult followers ambushing the Biden bus:

    There’s no need for you to keep trying to demonstrate your psychopathy. We saw enough long ago.

    From Robert Reich:

    Here’s the truth about Trump’s economy: more Americans have filed for unemployment this year than voted for him in 2016.

    From Michael Beschloss:

    Trump just said it at Reading PA rally:
    “If we win on Tuesday or — thank you very much, Supreme Court — shortly thereafter…”

  95. says

    Follow-up to SC @143.

    Excerpts from the Washington Post article:

    […] In an email sent Tuesday and later reviewed by The Washington Post, the Trump campaign asked officials in Cumberland County for the names of people who transport ballots and voting machines once polls close, the names of people who have access to the ballots afterward, and the precise locations where the ballots are stored, including room numbers.

    […] also sought answers on more generic issues such as where ballots are counted and whether information is wiped from voting machines.

    The email was first reported by the Sentinel newspaper.

    County Commissioner Gary Eichelberger, a Republican, called the request intrusive and said that responding might disrupt election administration in the Republican-leaning county of 253,000.

    “Our responsibility is to protect the integrity and security of the election,” he told The Post on Saturday. “I don’t know if the Trump campaign understands that, but they’re asking to do our job as the board of elections. And that’s our job, not their job.” He said he’d never seen a request like it in 16 years as an election official.

    A campaign spokeswoman, Thea McDonald, said the request was for “standard election transparency details.” She said the [Trump] campaign had been in touch with other counties, “some of which transparently provided answers to these important, reasonable questions via less formal requests.”

    […] David Becker, head of the nonprofit Center for Election Innovation and Research, said it was unusual for a campaign to seek information on individual election workers that is typically kept confidential for security reasons. He also noted that other, less sensitive details in the campaign’s request would have been easily accessible had the campaign reached out earlier.

    “To do so one week before Election Day, when election officials are at their busiest, in the best case shows a lack of competence,” he said. “The information that the campaigns really need has been publicly available for months. I’m not quite sure what the campaign feels it’s missing here.”

    Washington Post link

  96. says

    Update/context for #124 above: “Again: Trump’s comments today about the Supreme Court are going viral out of context. Trump was sarcastically thanking the Court for supposedly delaying the announcement of a winner (this is ridiculous, but anyway), not saying the Court would hand him the win.

    Transcript:…

    There’s a lot of nonsense in this transcript — no basis to suggest PA’s governor might cheat; official results never come on election night — but Trump was clearly not saying ‘the Supreme Court is going to make me the winner’, which is how people are interpreting the snippet.”

  97. says

    Ashish Jha:

    Haven’t voted yet?

    Wondering if it’s safe to vote in person?

    Yes it is

    Want to maximize safety?

    Read sample ballot prior. Plan how you’ll vote

    Wear mask

    Dress for outside weather

    Distance in line, inside

    Go in, fill out ballot, leave

    Can be safer than grocery store trip

  98. says

    Trump tweeted yesterday: “Over the next four years, we will stop the radical indoctrination of our students, and restore PATRIOTIC EDUCATION to our schools. We will teach our children to love our Country, honor our history, and always respect our great American Flag.”

  99. says

    Axios – “Trump COVID adviser Scott Atlas apologizes for appearing on Russian state TV”:

    President Trump’s favorite coronavirus adviser Scott Atlas apologized on Twitter for appearing Saturday on Russia’s state-controlled RT network, where he insisted that the U.S. is turning the corner on the pandemic and that lockdowns are actually “killing people.”

    Why it matters: RT, formerly known as Russia Today, is a Russian state-owned media outlet registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. This means that all of its content is labeled as propaganda attempting to influence U.S. public opinion, policy, and laws.

    Atlas appeared on RT just hours after The Washington Post released an interview with Anthony Fauci, who criticized Atlas for his controversial views on the pandemic.

    “I have real problems with that guy,” Fauci told the Post. “He’s a smart guy who’s talking about things that I believe he doesn’t have any real insight or knowledge or experience in. He keeps talking about things that when you dissect it out and parse it out, it doesn’t make any sense.”

    Driving the news: “I recently did an interview with RT and was unaware they are a registered foreign agent,” Atlas tweeted. “I regret doing the interview and apologize for allowing myself to be taken advantage of. I especially apologize to the national security community who is working hard to defend us.”

  100. says

    From Jane Mayer, writing for The New Yorker: Why Trump Can’t Afford to Lose

    [Trump] has survived one impeachment, twenty-six accusations of sexual misconduct, and an estimated four thousand lawsuits. That run of good luck may well end, perhaps brutally, if Joe Biden wins.

    The President was despondent. Sensing that time was running out, he had asked his aides to draw up a list of his political options. He wasn’t especially religious, but, as daylight faded outside the rapidly emptying White House, he fell to his knees and prayed out loud, sobbing as he smashed his fist into the carpet. “What have I done?” he said. “What has happened?” When the President noted that the military could make it easy for him by leaving a pistol in a desk drawer, the chief of staff called the President’s doctors and ordered that all sleeping pills and tranquillizers be taken away from him, to insure that he wouldn’t have the means to kill himself.

    The downfall of Richard Nixon, in the summer of 1974, was, as Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein relate in “The Final Days,” one of the most dramatic in American history. […] Nixon himself, however, escaped prosecution because his successor, Gerald Ford, granted him a pardon, in September, 1974.

    […]As Donald Trump fights to hold on to the White House, he and those around him surely know that if he loses […] the presumption of immunity that attends the Presidency will vanish. Given that more than a dozen investigations and civil suits involving Trump are currently under way, he could be looking at an endgame even more perilous than the one confronted by Nixon. […] Trump has famously survived one impeachment, two divorces, six bankruptcies, twenty-six accusations of sexual misconduct, and an estimated four thousand lawsuits. Few people have evaded consequences more cunningly. That run of good luck may well end, perhaps brutally, if he loses to Joe Biden. Even if Trump wins, grave legal and financial threats will loom over his second term.

    Two of the investigations into Trump are being led by powerful state and city law-enforcement officials in New York. Cyrus Vance, Jr., the Manhattan District Attorney, and Letitia James, New York’s attorney general, are independently pursuing potential criminal charges related to Trump’s business practices before he became President. Because their jurisdictions lie outside the federal realm, any indictments or convictions resulting from their actions would be beyond the reach of a Presidential pardon. Trump’s legal expenses alone are likely to be daunting. […] At the same time, he is locked in a dispute with the Internal Revenue Service over a deduction that he has claimed on his income-tax forms; an adverse ruling could cost him an additional hundred million dollars. […] “It’s the office of the Presidency that’s keeping him from prison and the poorhouse,” Timothy Snyder, a history professor at Yale who studies authoritarianism, told me.

    […] Throughout the 2020 campaign, Trump’s national poll numbers have lagged behind Biden’s, and two sources who have spoken to the President in the past month described him as being in a foul mood. […]

    The President’s niece Mary Trump […] told me that his fury “speaks to his desperation,” adding, “He knows that if he doesn’t manage to stay in office he’s in serious trouble. I believe he’ll be prosecuted, because it seems almost undeniable how extensive and long his criminality is. If it doesn’t happen at the federal level, it has to happen at the state level.” […] As [Trump] ponders potential political defeat, she believes, he is “a terrified little boy.”

    Barbara Res, whose new book, “Tower of Lies,” draws on the eighteen years that she spent, off and on, developing and managing construction projects for Trump, also thinks that [Trump] is not just running for a second term—he is running from the law. […] She calculated that, if Trump loses, “he’ll never, ever acknowledge it—he’ll leave the country.” […]

    […] Mary Trump, like Res, suspects that her uncle is considering leaving the U.S. if he loses the election (a result that she regards as far from assured). If Biden wins, she suggested, Trump will “describe himself as the best thing that ever happened to this country and say, ‘It doesn’t deserve me—I’m going to do something really important, like build the Trump Tower in Moscow.’ ”

    The notion that a former American President would go into exile—like a disgraced king or a deposed despot—sounds almost absurd […] “I’m sure he’s terrified,” Schwartz told me. “But I don’t think he’ll leave the country. Where the hell would he go?” However, Snyder, the Yale professor, whose specialty is antidemocratic regimes in Eastern Europe, believes that Trump might well abscond to a foreign country that has no extradition treaty with the U.S. “Unless you’re an idiot, you have that flight plan ready,” Snyder said. “Everyone’s telling me he’ll have a show on Fox News. I think he’ll have a show on RT”—the Russian state television network.

    […] Michael Cohen, Trump’s former attorney, told me, “He will not concede. Never, ever, ever.” He went on, “I believe he’s going to challenge the validity of the vote in each and every state he loses—claiming ballot fraud, seeking to undermine the process and invalidate it.” […]

    Cohen is so certain that Trump will lose that he recently placed a ten-thousand-dollar bet on it. “He’ll blame everyone except for himself,” Cohen said. “Every day, he’ll rant and rave and yell and scream about how they stole the Presidency from him. He’ll say he won by millions and millions of ballots, and they cheated with votes from dead people and people who weren’t born yet. He’ll tell all sorts of lies and activate his militias. It’s going to be a pathetic show. But, by stacking the Supreme Court, he’ll think he can get an injunction. Trump repeats his lies over and over with the belief that the more he tells them the more people will believe them. We all wish he’d just shut up, but the problem is he won’t.”

    […] It has become clear that the Manhattan D.A.’s investigation involves more than the Stormy Daniels case. Secrecy surrounds Vance’s grand-jury probe, but a well-informed source told me that it now includes a hard-hitting exploration of potentially illegal self-dealing in Trump’s financial practices. […]

    Norman Ornstein, a political scientist at the American Enterprise Institute, in Washington, D.C., and an outspoken Trump critic, said, “The odds are 99.9999 per cent that New York State authorities have him on all kinds of tax fraud. We know these aren’t crimes that end up just with fines.” […]

    “If he loses—if—we can expect that he’ll roll out pardons promiscuously, including to himself.” The President has already issued forty-four pardons, some of them extraordinarily controversial: one went to his political ally Joe Arpaio, the former Arizona sheriff who was convicted of criminal contempt in his persistent violation of immigrants’ rights. Trump also commuted the sentence of his friend Roger Stone, the political operative who was convicted of seven felonies, including witness tampering, lying to federal investigators, and impeding a congressional inquiry. Other Presidents have also granted questionable pardons. […] But, Goldsmith said, “no President has abused the pardon power the same way that Trump has.” […]

    Trump “could quit and be pardoned by Pence.” Kaplan represents E. Jean Carroll, who is suing Trump for defamation because he denied her accusation that he raped her in a dressing room at Bergdorf Goodman, in the nineteen-nineties. The suit, which a federal judge allowed to move forward on October 27th, is one of many civil legal threats aimed at Trump. […]

    Scholars today are far less united than they used to be about the wisdom of pardoning Presidents. Ford’s pardon of Nixon is increasingly viewed with skepticism. […]

    Several former Trump associates worry that, if Biden does win, there may be a period of tumult before any transfer of power. Schwartz, who has written a new book about Trump, “Dealing with the Devil,” fears that “this period between November and the Inauguration in 2021 is the most dangerous period.” Schwartz went on, “If Biden is inaugurated President, we’ll know that there’s a new boss, a new sheriff in town. In this country, the President is No. 1. But, until then, the biggest danger is that Trump will implicitly or explicitly tell his supporters to be violent.” […] Mary Trump predicted that, if Trump is defeated, he and his associates will spend the next eleven weeks “breaking as much stuff on the way out as they can—he’ll steal as much of the taxpayers’ money as he can.”

    Joe Lockhart, who served as Bill Clinton’s press secretary, suggested to me that, if Biden narrowly wins, a chaotic interregnum could provide an opportunity for a “global settlement” in which Trump will concede the election and “go away” in exchange for a promise that he won’t face charges anywhere, including in New York. […]

    Barbara Res, the former Trump Organization employee, and a number of other former Trump associates believe that, if the President is defeated, he will again try to launch some sort of media venture. A Democratic operative in New York with ties to Republican business circles told me that Bernard Marcus—the billionaire co-founder of Home Depot and a Trump supporter—has been mentioned recently as someone who might back a second iteration of a Trump-friendly media platform. […]

    A former Trump associate who is in the media world speculated that Trump might instead fill the talk-radio vacuum left by Rush Limbaugh, who announced in mid-October that he has terminal lung cancer. […] Trump has publicly commented on how lucrative Limbaugh’s gig is […]

    Res, however, can’t imagine Trump settling for a mere radio show, calling the platform “too small.” Tony Schwartz said of the President, “He’s too lazy to do a three-hour daily show like that.” […]

    Signals from the New York real-estate world are also not encouraging. I recently asked a top New York banker, who has known Trump for decades, what he thought of Trump’s prospects. He answered bluntly: “He’s done in the real-estate business. Done! No bank would touch him.” He argued that even Deutsche Bank […] might be reluctant to continue the relationship. “They could lose every American client they have around the world,” he said. […]

    If Trump is forced to concede the election, he will, Scaramucci expects, “go down to Florida and build up his war chest doing transactions with foreign oligarchs—I think he’s going to these guys and saying, ‘I’ve done a lot of favors, and so send me five billion.’ ” Nixon’s disgraced Vice-President, Spiro Agnew, who was forced to resign, in 1973, amid a corruption scandal, later begged the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia for financial support […]

    […] “to tens of millions of Americans, Trump will continue to be a heroic figure.” Whatever the future holds, [Lawrence] Douglas doubts whether Trump could ever fade away contentedly, as many other Presidents have done: “He craves the spotlight, both because it satisfies his narcissism and because he’s been very successful at merchandising it.” […]

  101. tomh says

    Re: #153

    The same effort by Republicans to throw out 127k ballots from Harris County (heavily Dem county) is in federal court, where it landed in front of U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen, one of the most notoriously partisan conservatives in the federal judiciary. He’s scheduled a hearing for tomorrow, Nov 2. The GOP argument is that drive-thru voting locations are unconstitutional. Drivers pull into a large tent, where election officials confirm their identity, then give them privacy to vote. The process has proved extremely popular.

  102. tomh says

    This is rich. At a Michigan rally today, Trump says the Texas yahoos were ‘protecting’ the Biden bus.

    “Did you see the way our people, they, you know, they were protecting his bus yesterday,” Trump said Sunday. “Because they’re nice. So his bus — they had hundreds of cars. ‘Trump,’ ‘Trump.’ Trump and the American flag. That’s what you see — Trump and the American flag.”

  103. says

    More about the Texas incident:

    Here is @RepDanCrenshaw pictured with Eliazar Cisneros — the man identified as the driver of the vehicle attempting to run the Biden/Harris bus off the road in Texas.

    Mr. Cisneros is a known terrorist in the area, who previously drove his Trump truck through a crowd of mostly black protestors.

    Here is Mr. Cisneros being interviewed by local news as he “patrols” the area as a vigilante with weapons intending to use them on vandals….

    More atl. including a (FB?) message in which he writes “that was me slamming that fucker…. Hell yea” and other incriminating evidence.

  104. says

    Bernie Sanders: “The polls look good. So what. That doesn’t mean anything. This will be a very close race in state after state after state. In the next 3 days please do all you can to get everyone you know to vote. We can’t have 4 more years of Trump.”

  105. tomh says

    NYT:
    Trump’s supporters block traffic on major roadways in New York and New Jersey.

    Caravans of President Trump’s supporters blockaded the Mario M. Cuomo Bridge and the Garden State Parkway on Sunday, snarling traffic on two of the busiest highways in the New York metropolitan area just two days before Election Day.

    Videos taken by motorists showed the president’s backers parked in the middle of the westbound lanes of the bridge, which carries Interstate 287 across the Hudson River and is named for the father of the current governor, Andrew M. Cuomo.

    A number of them exited their vehicles in the rain and waved Trump banners and American flags as motorists honked their horns.

    The episode happened around midafternoon, with the caravan lining up on the interstate’s shoulder in Tarrytown before driving onto the span.

    In New Jersey, a caravan of Trump supporters snarled traffic on the northbound lanes of the Garden State Parkway near the Cheesequake Service Area in South Amboy, according to videos and local media reports.

    New York State Police and New Jersey State Police did not immediately respond to requests for comment, and it was not immediately clear if there were any arrests.

    In the final days of the election, Mr. Trump’s backers have flocked to major roadways to show their fealty to the president, sometimes with aggressive tactics… [See Texas]

    — Neil Vigdor, Jesse McKinley, Emma G. Fitzsimmons and Sydney Ember

  106. says

    I just turned on MSNBC and Tory Gavito, co-founder and president of Way to Win, was on talking about the Democrats’ chances in TX. She was asked about the margin she’s looking for in the state, and started her answer: “You know, this is Texas, everything’s bigger, there’s still an active, big Republican base. My in-laws are Republicans. It’s a good thing we have COVID to look to as the reason we’re not going to spend Thanksgiving with them…” I’m still laughing. Her spouse has to be like “Oh, fuck.”

  107. says

    Trump, responding on Twitter to the San Antonio FBI’s official confirmation that they’re investigating the incident: “In my opinion, these patriots did nothing wrong. Instead, the FBI & Justice should be investigating the terrorists, anarchists, and agitators of ANTIFA, who run around burning down our Democrat run cities and hurting our people!”

  108. says

    Right Wing Watch – “Attorney General Bill Barr Meets With Radical Right-Wing Activist Dave Daubenmire”:

    On Friday and Saturday, a small group of right-wing activists, led by radical religious-right bigot Dave Daubenmire, carried out a series of protests outside the home of Joe Biden in Delaware, as well as the home of former president Barack Obama in Washington, D.C., demanding that the Democratic presidential nominee and the president for whom he worked as vice president be arrested, tried, and executed for treason.

    On Saturday afternoon, Daubenmire and crew took their protest to the home of Attorney General Bill Barr, who personally came out to meet the group, pray with them, and take photos with them.

    The protests were a continuation of Daubenmire’s “Equal Justice Tour,” which began in 2019, when the same group of activists protested outside the home of Bill and Hillary Clinton in Chappaqua, New York, declaring that Hillary must be arrested and sent to prison so that she would “be taught to fear God.”

    Since then, Daubenmire has only ratcheted up his attacks on Clinton, declaring last month that she must be publicly executed.

    “I do not believe that there has ever been a more corrupt American politician than Hillary Clinton,” Daubenmire said on the Oct. 8 episode of his “Pass The Salt Live” program. “Her public life has been one slimy action after another. The demonic left loves her. There is no doubt in my mind that she is under control of very dark forces. Spiritual forces. Demonic forces. Gates of hell forces. Hillary Clinton is a child of the devil.”

    “The greatest example of love is discipline,” he added later in the program. “The greatest example of love is to kill those traitors, so others learn never to do it.”

    Daubenmire is a deeply bigoted, anti-Semitic, anti-choice, anti-LGBTQ, right-wing conspiracy theorist—the sort who proudly declares that women become lesbians because they are so ugly that no man could ever love them, asserts that Barack Obama was “a quasi-Muslim freak” and “an emissary from Hell,” warns that Oprah Winfrey was planning to run for president in order to carry out a white genocide, complains that he is not allowed to say the “N-word,” gripes that the marriage of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle was a “psy-op” intended to promote “the blending of the races,” and calls interracial marriage “spiritual AIDS.”

    Daubenmire has defended former Republican senatorial nominee Roy Moore, the ​anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church, and the extremists he deemed “patriots” who marched at the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017. He has also declared that only evangelical Christians should be allowed to serve on the Supreme Court, proclaimed that a woman can never be president “because women are not to have authority over men,” lamented that the North won the Civil War, and called for the embrace of a “more violent Christianity.”

    Daubenmire is openly homophobic and regularly accuses Democratic politicians of being “non-human” and demon possessed.

    By any measure, Dave Daubenmire is a thoroughly radical and intensely bigoted right-wing activist for whom the U.S. attorney general inexplicably found time to personally speak, pray, and take photos with yesterday​, even as Daubenmire was protesting​ to demand the arrest and execution of leading Democratic political figures.

    Photo atl of Barr and Daubenmire posing for pictures with their arms around each other and grinning. No masks – unsurprisingly, but of note for anyone planning to be around Barr this week.

  109. says

    Again!:

    Hours after the President departed for Florida, this was the scene in Georgia as people were left for hours waiting for buses to take them to their cars:…

    Some of the folks left stranded were older and disabled. Multiple people tried to hitch rides from strangers amid the pandemic.

    The single, narrow road to get in and out of the rally site was shared by pedestrians, cars, busses and emergency vehicles.

    A chaotic scene where hundreds lined the road a mile up from where President Trump held his rally in Rome, GA — attempting to exit the event.

    Some people were sitting and laying on the ground. It’s 46 degrees and windy in the area tonight.

    Videos atl.

  110. says

    Beto O’Rourke: “We made 2,626,315 calls to Texas voters today, thanks to the thousands of volunteers and many amazing guests who fired us up. Big thanks to @AOC who led the last shift, inspiring and encouraging us to keep talking to Texas voters. Back at it tomorrow!”

  111. says

    Per TV pooler @Kevinliptakcnn:
    ‘We were escorted directly through the crowd of supporters, without any bike rack or fencing separating us…
    One supporter, who was not wearing a mask, made exaggerated coughs in our faces as we tried to get through, laughing while we passed’.”

    I’m concerned for the safety of these journalists.

  112. says

    Here’s a link to the November 2 Guardian coronavirus world liveblog.

    From there:

    Russia today reported 18,257 new coronavirus cases, including 4,796 in Moscow, pushing the national tally to 1,655,038 since the pandemic began.

    Authorities said 238 people had died in the last 24 hours, taking the death toll to 28,473.

    Germany goes into “lockdown light” mode today, as the country’s disease control agency recorded 12,097 new confirmed Covid-19 infections in the last 24 hours.

    Bars, cinemas, theatres, museums, fitness studios and swimming pools will remain closed from today, while cafes and restaurants are allowed to offer takeaway food only.

    Meetings in public are restricted to two households and no more than 10 people. Unlike during the first lockdown in the spring, schools and nurseries will stay open.

    While the new “wavebreaker” restrictions will for now only apply until the end of the month, Angela Merkel’s chief of staff, Helge Braun, has said it cannot be ruled out that the soft lockdown could last longer. On Sunday, health minister Jens Spahn called on the public to prepare for “months of restrictions and abstinence”.

    One positive trend among the latest coronavirus numbers in Germany is that the case fatality rate is lower than in the spring, and on Monday fell below 2 today for the first time since mid-April.

    However, the head of the association of German hospitals, Gerald Gaß, warned in an interview with tabloid Bild that that trend could be reversed in two to three weeks’ time, when the number of patients in intensive care is expected to surpass its April peak.

    While Germany has spare capacity for about 6,000 high-care patients, there are concerns about a future lack of staff to attend those on emergency care beds.

  113. says

    Daniel Goldman:

    It’s one thing for Trump supporters to block highways and bridges with little law enforcement response. It will be an altogether different matter if they congregate aggressively at polls.

    Law enforcement must be prepared to make wholesale arrests. Voter intimidation is illegal.

  114. says

    BBC – “Vladimir Marugov murder: Russian ‘Sausage King’ killed in sauna with a crossbow”:

    A Russian oligarch, nicknamed The Sausage King, has been murdered with a crossbow, investigators say.

    Vladimir Marugov and his partner were in an outdoor sauna when they were attacked, reportedly by two masked assailants.

    The woman managed to escape through the window and call the police.

    Detectives found the body of Mr Marugov, who owned some of Russia’s largest meat-processing plants, in the sauna with a crossbow next to it.

    The attack happened at Mr Marugov’s countryside estate, about 40km (25 miles) outside the capital, Moscow, early on Monday morning, Russia’s Investigative Committee (similar to the FBI in the US) reported.

    It did not name the man, but local media identified him as Mr Marugov, the owner of the Ozyorsky and Meat Empire sausage factories.

    The intruders demanded cash from Mr Marugov, before fleeing in a car, the Investigative Committee said.

    The getaway car was later recovered on the outskirts of the town of Istra, outside Moscow.

  115. says

    Guardian world liveblog:

    Eleven players from Amsterdam’s Ajax football club have tested positive for coronavirus, a day before their Champions League tie against Danish side FC Midtjylland on Tuesday.

    RTL Nieuws, which reported the infections, said the club had not disclosed the names of the affected players.

  116. says

    HuffPo – “Lindsey Graham Says U.S. Has A ‘Place’ For Women Who ‘Follow Traditional Family Structure’”:

    Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) assured “young women” on Sunday that there’s a “place” for them in America if they “follow traditional family structure,” embrace religion and oppose abortion.

    Graham laid down his rules for women while praising new right-wing Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who would never have attained her position by adhering to a traditional family structure that would typically include a stay-at-home mom.

    Graham did not issue any comparable guidelines for men. Graham has no wife or children, which seems to exclude him from the “traditional family structure” he mentioned. Presumably, Graham’s requirements would eliminate places in America for members of the LGBTQ community.

    A person close to the senator told The New York Times Sunday that Graham was suggesting that a woman who held Barrett’s conservative views could succeed, and he wasn’t setting preconditions for all women.

    Graham last month said something similar about African Americans. He deemed they could “go anywhere” in his state — provided they’re “conservative, not liberal.” That would eliminate a place in the state for Jaime Harrison, Graham’s Black Democratic rival for his Senate seat.

    “I care about everybody,” Graham claimed in remarks that were part of a televised interview of both candidates. “If you are a young African American, an immigrant, you can go anywhere in this state. You just need to be conservative, not liberal,” he pointed out.

    Graham’s latest jaw-dropping statement on women triggered a wall of shocked criticism.

    Harrison was one of the first to snap back. He reviewed Graham’s dictates concerning Blacks and women, and asked: “Any other requirements we should know about, Lindsey?”…

    More backlash atl.

  117. tomh says

    Prominent Republicans accuse Texas GOP of ‘attempt to disenfranchise thousands of voters’
    By Neena Satija

    Prominent Republicans have joined Democrats and voting rights groups to oppose a GOP lawsuit attacking “drive-through” voting in Harris County, home of the country’s fourth-largest city of Houston.

    In a brief submitted Sunday night, Ben Ginsberg, one of the nation’s most powerful election lawyers whose former law firm has represented the Trump 2020 campaign, urged U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen to ignore a bid from Texas Republicans to throw out more than 120,000 ballots cast by voters from their cars. He was joined by Joe Straus, the former longtime Republican speaker of the House for the Texas Legislature.

    In a remarkable rebuke of members of their own party, Ginsberg and Straus, through their attorney, accused the plaintiffs in the lawsuit of a “last-minute attempt to disenfranchise thousands of voters.”
    […]

    “It is hard to imagine a scenario more damaging to the public’s confidence in a fair election than a last-minute order from a federal judge throwing out the votes of over 100,000 voters for no reason other than that those voters relied on a state election official’s reasonable interpretation of a state election statute,” Straus and Ginsberg’s attorney wrote…

    Hanen, who was appointed to the federal bench by former president George W. Bush, will hear arguments in the case Monday morning.

    Whoever loses will appeal to the 5th Circuit, one of the most right-wing in the country, which includes 5 Trump appointees.

  118. says

    SC @164, all the best people.

    SC @160, one of my relatives called me last night to try to convince me that something Rudy Giuliani was saying about Hunter Biden was a good enough reason to vote for Trump. I understand the sense of relief that there are no Thanksgiving communal meals happening this year — or none I will attend anyway. Disinformation and cult-like brainwashing has penetrated deeply into the populace.

    tomh @159, “Caravans of President Trump’s supporters blockaded the Mario M. Cuomo Bridge and the Garden State Parkway on Sunday, snarling traffic on two of the busiest highways in the New York metropolitan area just two days before Election Day.”

    Another aspect of these vehicle caravans is that they function as voter suppression.

  119. says

    GOP lawyer: ‘My party is destroying itself on the Altar of Trump’

    The nation’s leading Republican election lawyer is publicly warning his GOP brethren about the dangers of their misguided partnership with Donald Trump.

    Election lawyers are generally not widely recognized by the public. […] these attorneys rarely become household names.

    With this in mind, the typical American voter probably has no idea who Ben Ginsberg is, though it’s also probably fair to say Republican officials know him and his work extremely well.

    Remember the Bush v. Gore case? Ginsberg was the Bush campaign’s general counsel. Remember the Swiftboat vets who smeared John Kerry in 2004? Ginsberg helped lead their legal team, too. Remember the Franken-Coleman Senate contest in Minnesota that took months to resolve in 2009? Ginsberg was the Republican incumbent’s lawyer. Remember Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign? Ginsberg was his lawyer, too.

    […] One of the first hints that Ginsberg was displeased with his party’s anti-voting efforts came in early September, when he wrote a Washington Post op-ed, criticizing Donald Trump’s unsubtle attempts to “undermine confidence in the credibility of election results,” and explaining that recent GOP claims about voter fraud are baseless.

    Three weeks later, Ginsberg wrote another Washington Post op-ed, arguing that Trump’s refusal to commit to a peaceful transfer of power was problematic for everyone, including members of his own party.

    Last week, Ginsberg co-authored another Washington Post op-ed, defending the U.S. electoral system from Trump’s attacks, and arguing, “[T]he president’s attempt to undermine the election is a self-serving assault on a fundamental American system. It should be condemned across party lines.”

    And for good measure, Ginsberg has yet another Washington Post op-ed in today’s print edition, which is arguably the hardest hitting opinion piece to date.

    President Trump has failed the test of leadership. His bid for reelection is foundering. And his only solution has been to launch an all-out, multimillion-dollar effort to disenfranchise voters — first by seeking to block state laws to ease voting during the pandemic, and now, in the final stages of the campaign, by challenging the ballots of individual voters unlikely to support him. This is as un-American as it gets.

    The piece went on to argue that the incumbent president’s re-election strategy is increasingly built on a foundation of “disenfranchising” just enough voters to win.

    Ginsberg concludes, “My party is destroying itself on the Altar of Trump. Republican elected officials, party leaders and voters must recognize how harmful this is to the party’s long-term prospects. My fellow Republicans, look what we’ve become. It is we who must fix this. Trump should not be reelected. Vote, but not for him.”

    Remember, this isn’t just some random GOP attorney who’s worked for a few candidates. We’re talking about the nation’s leading Republican election lawyer for decades, publicly warning his GOP brethren about the dangers of their misguided partnership with Donald Trump.

    I’ve spent months marveling at the number of Republicans who’ve stepped up to denounce Trump, endorse Joe Biden, or both. Seeing Ben Ginsberg join the ranks is among the most surprising to date.

  120. says

    Trump doubles down on conspiracy theory about doctors, hospitals

    It was nine days ago when Donald Trump added a new conspiracy theory to his campaign pitch, telling supporters in Wisconsin that “doctors” and “hospitals” are over-classifying coronavirus deaths in order to “get more money.” As part of his unscripted line of attack, the president added, in reference to alleged hospital corruption, “Think of this incentive.”

    As we discussed soon after, the allegations are not only baseless, they’re also targeting the front-line medical professionals who’ve earned the nation’s gratitude. It wasn’t long before the American Health Association, the nation’s largest group of doctors, issued a statement making clear that Trump’s completely wrong.

    And yet, there was the president again on Friday, telling a Michigan crowd that the pandemic death toll in the United States is evidence of a scam perpetrated by American medical professionals. NBC News reported:

    “I mean our doctors are very smart people. So what they do is they say, I’m sorry, but everybody dies with Covid,” Trump said. “But in Germany and other places, if you have a heart attack or if you have cancer, you’re terminally ill, you catch Covid, they say you died of cancer, he died of heart attack.”

    [Trump] added, “When in doubt, choose Covid…. [I]t’s like $2,000 more. So you get more money.”

    For Trump, the benefit of the conspiracy theory is obvious: if medical professionals are pulling a scam, the administration’s failed response to the coronavirus pandemic doesn’t look quite as bad. Common sense may suggest that more than 230,000 fatalities in the United States is proof of a catastrophic response, which makes Trump’s allegation all the more politically appealing: [he] would have Americans believe the figure isn’t real.

    It wasn’t long before Joe Biden was slamming the president’s conspiracy theory, and Barack Obama did the same. But as the New York Times noted, no one was quite as incensed as medical professionals themselves.

    “The suggestion that doctors — in the midst of a public health crisis — are overcounting Covid-19 patients or lying to line their pockets is a malicious, outrageous and completely misguided charge,” Susan R. Bailey, the president of the American Medical Association, said in a statement on Friday. “Rather than attacking us and lobbing baseless charges at physicians, our leaders should be following the science and urging adherence to the public health steps we know work — wearing a mask, washing hands and practicing physical distancing,” she added.

    Team Trump doesn’t seem to care. On ABC News’ “This Week” yesterday, Jason Miller, a senior adviser to [Trump’s] re-election campaign, told George Stephanopoulos there are “independent things” bolstering Trump’s claims.

    Reality tells a very different story, but in the presidential race’s closing days, Trump is nevertheless comfortable wrapping up the campaign by trying to smear hospitals and medical professionals.

    Postscript: It’s tough to know how Trump comes to believe the various conspiracy theories he embraces, but it’s worth noting for context that he may have picked up on this one from conservative media.

    Link

  121. says

    From MediaMatters: “Fox is behind Trump’s conspiracy theory that doctors are inflating the coronavirus death count to make money”

    […] since the early days of the pandemic, Trumpist media figures, including those on Fox, have tried to minimize the impact of the virus and the scale of the president’s failure by arguing the recorded death count is actually overstated. They claim that the number of deaths has been significantly inflated due to the inclusion of people who died after testing positive for the disease but also had underlying conditions.

    Trump has seized on a particularly sinister variant of that conspiracy theory — that doctors and hospitals are deliberately fudging the numbers in order to make more money off the dead. The fever-swamp talking point appears to have originated on Fox.

    In April, fact-checkers at USA Today, Factcheck.org, and PolitiFact all traced viral misinformation about hospital payments and the COVID-19 death count back to an April 8 appearance on Fox News’ The Ingraham Angle by Dr. Scott Jensen, a Republican state senator from Minnesota and family physician. Jensen offered the standard right-wing narrative that federal guidance for counting COVID deaths is too broad, resulting in inflated figures. But he then invoked the hospitals’ financial incentives, saying:

    I would remind him that anytime health care intersects with dollars, it gets awkward. Right now, Medicare has determined that if you have a COVID-19 admission to the hospital, you’ll get paid $13,000. If that COVID-19 patient goes on a ventilator, you’ll get $39,000, three times as much. Nobody can tell me after 35 years in the world of medicine that sometimes those kinds of things impact on what we do.

    According to the fact-checkers, no evidence has emerged suggesting that medical personnel are fabricating COVID-19 cases.

    FactCheck.org reported that in an interview, “Jensen said he did not think that hospitals were intentionally misclassifying cases for financial reasons.” But USA Today’s report a few days later in April points out that Jensen had written on Facebook that “increasing the number of COVID-19 deaths may create an avenue for states to receive a larger portion of federal dollars” due to higher Medicare reimbursement rates for COVID-19 patients. And on a return visit to Ingraham’s program on April 13, he argued that “the counting of the cases will be critical” and that if New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo or New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio “can increase those numbers, and they both talked about doing that, then they’re going to be able to get more of the dollars.”

    “So last week I think we were criticized for talking about money, but the fact of the matter is, this is about money,” Jensen concluded.

    As Factcheck.org noted, Jensen’s interview “generated a frenzy of headlines on social media suggesting that hospitals may have a financial motivation when it comes to classifying cases or deaths as related to COVID-19.” The talking point also spread to other pro-Trump fever-swamp outlets like One America News and the Gateway Pundit blog and made an appearance in the coronavirus conspiracy video Plandemic.

    The bogus narrative returned to Ingraham’s program over the summer. Dr. Ramin Oskoui, one of Ingraham’s regular “Medicine Cabinet” coronavirus guests, argued on her July 17 broadcast that the Department of Health and Human Services should “audit every COVID death and every COVID diagnosis of every hospital.”

    “Remember, we’re paying bonus money to patients who are intubated for COVID and who are diagnosed as having COVID in the hospital,” Oskoui said. “That’s coming to hundreds of millions of dollars. I think so the American people don’t get cheated, these hospitals need to be audited, every single one of them, every single case.”

    Ingraham hosts one of Trump’s favorite programs. He tweeted in response to her show at least 51 times over a two-year span, the fifth-highest total of any program. And her misinformation-filled show has particularly influenced his response to the coronavirus, specifically his obsession with the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine as a potential cure and his distaste for facemasks as a way to slow its spread.

    In fact, Trump so appreciates Ingraham’s commentary on the coronavirus that she has twice visited the White House to advise him and top members of his administration on the federal response. And on one of those appearances, she brought along another familiar face from Trump’s television: Oskoui.

    Link

    This is what we’re up against. This kind of misinformation, supposedly backed up by “experts,” is repeated and repeated and repeated.

  122. says

    Mail delays worsened over the last three days in critical battleground states

    The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is operating under a judicial order to report its on-time performance every day, and those reports are trending badly in some key battleground states. For the third day in a row, on Sunday it reported moving fewer ballots on time than the previous day,

    That puts ballots in the system at risk of not being received in time in 28 states that require ballots be received on or before Election Day. The USPS reported moving 97% of ballots on time Wednesday, then 93% on Friday, and 91% on Saturday. That’s at a national level. In battleground states, the on-time rate is below 90% and in some of these states, it’s disastrously low. In central Pennsylvania, the on-time rate for ballots was just 62% on Saturday. Atlanta’s was just 64%, same as ballots processed in Maine and New Hampshire. Less than half—43%—of ballots were on time Saturday in Colorado. Colorado conducts its elections by mail, sending ballots to everyone, with some in-person early voting. Ballots there must be received by Election Day. “Arizona, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Carolina, the rest of Pennsylvania and parts of Texas and Florida were under the 90% mark as well,” CNN reports.

    […] The mail problem isn’t news to Miami-Dade residents, though. As of Friday, 70,000 of them who had requested mail-in ballots had cancelled them to vote early in person.

    In some areas nationally, the USPS has set up processes where ballots are postmarked and taken directly to elections offices, not going through the regular mail process. Judge Emmet Sullivan and Stanley Bastian of the Eastern District of Washington—the federal judges who have taken on oversight of the mail—are considering what other steps can be taken to get all the ballots delivered in those states where they have to be on Tuesday. That included mail collection on Sunday on some routes, early collections on Monday and Tuesday, and carriers checking “every residential mailbox” for outgoing ballots. Some post offices will set up drop-off areas for ballots, all to be directly delivered to elections offices.

    At this point, there should not be any more ballots going in the mail—last Tuesday was really the deadline for that. If you’ve got a ballot at home, don’t mail it. Take it to a drop box or your local elections office. As you’re making your GOTV calls, be sure to advise voters that it’s too late to rely on the regular mail.

    It’s another motivating factor for voters—we’ve got to elect Democrats to oust Trump’s saboteurs at the USPS, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, and the board of governors who have happily worked to destroy the institution.

  123. says

    WTF?

    Topeka police have told news outlets that a man shot three people on Saturday night because he thought they were stealing Trump campaign signs. Who was shot and who shot them remains a mystery—for some unknown reason. The Topeka Capital Journal reports that one person was taken by ambulance to the hospital some time after 11 PM with “gunshot wounds that were considered potentially life-threatening.”

    Two other people arrived by way of private vehicle at the hospital a short while later to be treated for gunshot wounds. However, police were unable to provide any more information as to the severity of those injuries. No more information was available, including what the hell happened and who the hell is shooting at people over campaign signs. The whole thing is very suspect.

    Link

  124. says

    From George Takei:

    Every GOP congressperson and cabinet member should be asked before Tuesday if Donald Trump legally can declare himself the winner of the election before states like PA and MI have even counted millions of mail-in ballots.

    Scared little man will spend election night hiding behind a big wall

    Insert your “Donald Trump builds a wall” joke here. Trump is out doing marathon days of rallies in the lead-up to the election, but for election night itself he plans to be holed up in the White House, behind a big wall reportedly being put up on Monday to protect him from even the sight of the protesters all but guaranteed to gather outside the White House.

    Just as during last summer’s Black Lives Matter protests, federal authorities plan to put up a “non-scaling” wall around the White House, CNN reports. This will increase the fortification of the White House and limitations on movement in the area Trump has kept in place since those protests, during which he had peaceful protesters violently cleared from Lafayette Square so he could have a photo op.

    Trump has already canceled plans for an election night party at his Washington, D.C., hotel, opting instead to stay at the White House, a decision with some serious loser stink.

    In 2008, when Barack Obama was elected president, elated locals flooded the streets outside the White House in celebration. Trump definitely doesn’t want to see that if he loses early. And if it remains too close to call with millions of mail-in ballots uncounted in key swing states and he’s trying to declare victory as part of a plan to delegitimize the counting of ballots expected to go against him, he similarly wants to clamp down on pushback.

    Basically, Trump is a scared little man planning to hide from the people as he desperately clings to power at whatever cost.

  125. says

    Former Trump official plotted how to continue family separation even after judge’s order blocking it

    The widespread separation of families at the southern border under the zero tolerance policy in 2018 didn’t end because Trump administration officials felt like ending it. It ended because of the combined forces of mass public outrage and a federal judge’s nationwide injunction, which ordered reunification of all families within 30 days.

    But the House Judiciary Committee said in an expansive report released last week that as an unprepared administration was scrambling to meet the judge’s deadline (it didn’t, by the way), Custom and Border Protection’s (CBP) top official was plotting how to go around the federal judge’s court order in order to continue ripping families apart.

    […] as federal agencies including Health and Human Services (HHS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) were attempting to reunite children and parents that the administration had ripped apart with no intention of ever reuniting, then-CBP commissioner Kevin McAleenan was just days after federal judge Dana Sabraw’s order “looking for ways to continue family separations,” the report said.

    “On June 29, 2018, CBP headquarters asked all Border Patrol chiefs and deputies to identify how many parents could be prosecuted and quickly reunited with their children in CBP custody each day,” investigators found. “In other words, CBP thought it could technically comply with the court order by separating families for only short periods of time.” Studies have shown that even short periods of detention can have long term effects on children.

    […] Other findings from the report reveal that this despicable cabal of criminals began plotting family separation just days after impeached president Donald Trump’s inauguration, and that when they did begin “piloting” the policy, they failed to inform HHS agency Office of Refugee Resettlement that it would be carrying out this crime at the southern border.

    […] “Unfortunately, only one department, HHS, meaningfully cooperated with the committee’s investigation,” investigators said. “Although relevant DHS and DOJ emails, memos, and documents were released publicly through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests or leaks to the press, these departments provided little pertinent documentation directly to the committee. Despite this lack of cooperation, the documents that were provided or otherwise made available to the committee are revelatory.”

    […] “While we may never know the full extent of the damage inflicted by the Trump administration’s family separation policy,” the report concluded, “it is evident—as a result of this investigation and public reporting—that it was driven by an administration that was willfully blind to its cruelty and determined to go to unthinkable extremes to deliver on political promises and stop migrants fleeing violence from seeking protection in the United States.”

    These children and parents need justice—and that begins by voting the officials who inflicted this lifelong trauma on them out of office.

  126. says

    A Christian Foster Home Had a Troubling Past. Trump Gave It Millions to House Immigrant Kids Anyway.

    Last year, in the wake of a surge of asylum seekers fleeing violence in Central America, the United States government held a record 69,550 immigrant children in government facilities. The vast majority of them arrived at the border without parents or guardians, though some were taken from their families during the Trump administration’s brutal family separation campaign. Lawyers, watchdogs, and journalists raised alarms about the multiple traumas faced by these children, including neglect, medical deprivation, and sexual abuse.

    […] poor federal oversight and new rules favoring conservative Christian providers mean that children could end up in shelters that actively impose their religious beliefs—and that have troubling records of improper and excessive discipline.

    Over the past 15 months, for example, the Department of Health and Human Services has paid more than $87 million in taxpayer-funded grants to Sunny Glen Children’s Home in San Benito, Texas, to build and operate a 380-bed shelter for unaccompanied child migrants. Sunny Glen is a small group foster care home run by the Churches of Christ, a network of autonomous evangelical churches […] teaches strict adherence to the New Testament, particularly with regard to gender roles. […]

    A review of the licensing database maintained by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services by Mother Jones and Type Investigations revealed 140 deficiencies at Sunny Glen since 2016, including 17 after HHS first awarded its federal grant in July 2019. Thirty of Sunny Glen’s 140 citations were rated as high risk. Three of those high-risk deficiencies involved violation of a state standard prohibiting “restraints that obstruct child’s airway.” Four others involved other prohibited physical or corporal punishments, including slapping, shaking, holding down children’s heads, and pushing a child against a wall. In one reported incident from May 2017, video footage “depicted two staff members administering a supine restraint on a youth; one staff on top of child and the other staff was holding down youth’s legs,” with “no caregiver monitoring child’s breathing while the youth’s face was pushed down to the ground by a caregiver’s hand.”

    […] The Sunny Glen grant is particularly troubling given the often traumatic experiences unaccompanied child migrants face on their journeys north. When HHS takes custody of unaccompanied child migrants, it is legally required to place them promptly in the “least restrictive” setting and provide them with proper developmental, medical, mental health, and educational care. […]

    an explosive recent report from the Government Accountability Office found that HHS has failed to properly vet these smaller state-licensed facilities receiving money to shelter immigrant children under the department’s Office of Refugee Resettlement. The watchdog report found that during 2018 and 2019, the agency failed to properly monitor whether grantees were complying with state licensing requirements and investigate whether state regulators had cited them—like Texas regulators have cited Sunny Glen—for any performance or compliance issues.

    […] DeLauro cited other ORR facilities she had visited, where she found “kids under guard,” with “no freedom of movement,” poor medical and mental health care, and substandard educational curricula.

    […] The grants to Sunny Glen are also part of a pattern of preferential treatment for conservative Christians and the continued reversal of nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people by the Trump administration. […]

    Trump’s HHS has taken several other steps to expand the ability of federally funded religious organizations to impose their beliefs on the people they serve or to deny service to people based on their religion. Those have included a proposed 2019 regulation to relieve grantees from having to comply with certain nondiscrimination requirements—thus permitting federally-funded grantees to discriminate against the people they serve based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, or religious beliefs.

    […] The Churches of Christ have made clear their position on LGBTQ issues; in 2017, when Texas passed a law allowing foster and adoption care agencies to discriminate based on religion, Churches of Christ-affiliated adoption and foster care agencies celebrated. […]

    In an April 2019 presentation at the Church of Christ in College Park, Texas, Palmer said, “What we strive to do [at Sunny Glen] is take children who were not afforded what God designed for them to have. They don’t have a loving mother that’s submissive to the leadership of a husband in the home.” To provide for the children, many of whom come from abusive situations, Palmer said, “our desire is to inject and expose these children, who come from very dark places of past, to the light—and not the light of good people who love him—but the light of Jesus Christ.”

    […] Under Trump administration rules, Sunny Glen could impose its religious views—on gender roles, on punishment, and more—on the children housed at New Day. “Vulnerable children relying on the government for safe shelter should never be forced to pray, participate in religious activities, or believe in a faith that is not their own,” said Maggie Garrett, vice president for public policy at Americans United for Separation of Church and State. […]

    For now, with the border closed due to COVID-19, HHS says just 30 children are housed at New Day. But the grant requires the government to continue paying Sunny Glen to maintain staffing should a surge once again create an urgent need to shelter unaccompanied minors. “It essentially comes down to a per day rate,” said the former Obama administration official—and if the rate were $200-$250 per day for hundreds of beds, “you get to $87 million pretty quickly.”

  127. says

    Ian Dunt is livetweeting Johnson in the Commons.

    …Extraordinary situation in which a historically foolish and irresponsible prime minister will face attacks from his own MPs for not being foolish or irresponsible enough.

    He has tidy hair, so we really must be fucked.

    Liam Fox jumps up to gibber about making sure the “cure is not worse than the disease”. It’ll be all the smallest brains on parade today. A Greek chorus of utter tools.

    Sammy Wilson, DUP, says this is an announcement of defeat, “daily doses of doom-laden data”. Seems to believe that covid is spread by people failing to believe harder that it can be ignored.

    I mean, Brexit must have some explanatory function here. If you spend years believing that customs borders are a matter of faith, then it’s not such a substantial step to believe the same of a pandemic.

    It is actually mad. Not in a general political way, but a specific medical way. It is madness. An objectively insane proposition.

    Just so dispiriting to watch this. Johnson just isn’t up to it. Not on the detail, not on the principle, not on the sense of basic responsibility which the moment entails. It’s really no more complex than that.

    It’s really to this country’s immense disadvantage that he should bein power when a pandemic hit. We’ve all got mixed views on previous prime minister. But I can’t think of a single one who would have done a worse job….

  128. says

    SC @193, except for the description of Boris Johnson’s hair, Ian Dunt’s description sounds so much like he is describing Trump: “Johnson just isn’t up to it. Not on the detail, not on the principle, not on the sense of basic responsibility which the moment entails. […]

    It’s really to this country’s immense disadvantage that he should be in power when a pandemic hit. We’ve all got mixed views on previous prime minister. But I can’t think of a single one who would have done a worse job….

    From Daniel Dale’s coverage of Trump’s latest spewings and blathering rhetoric:

    Lying about the pandemic. Falsely describing Biden’s policies. Baselessly alleging election fraud. Rewriting history. Making misleading economic boasts. Fabricating accomplishments. Lying about trivial nonsense.

    Trump says Twitter is rigging the election by having “boring” trending topics about Trump instead of exciting things like others’ “affairs” and “scandals.”

    Trump has spent months lying to try to undermine confidence in this election. Here’s a quick list of 16 of the false things he has said before, fact checked: [see video at the link]
    https://twitter.com/ddale8/status/1323298035716263938

  129. says

    Pelosi at ceremony marking number of US coronavirus deaths: ‘It’s almost incomprehensible’

    Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Monday called the U.S. coronavirus death toll “almost incomprehensible” while speaking at an art installation paying tribute to the dead.

    “It’s almost incomprehensible that here in America this would happen,” Pelosi said Monday at the ceremony, where celebrity chef Jose Andres and Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) also made remarks at the DC Armory Parade Ground in front of RFK Stadium in the nation’s capital.

    “But thank you for giving us this optic, this visual manifestation of it, not only the lives – how horrible all these are, but the families, the families, the communities, that have lost, maybe 1,000 health care providers,” she added. “Health care providers, they risk their lives to save lives and now here they are, here they are in this display.”

    […] “Suzanne Firstenberg and her husband, Doug, and their children have faith. They believe that the arts will send a message to make the change that is necessary. They believe that this impression will inspire people, will make them sad, but also make them strong to say, ‘What can we do to stop this?’” Pelosi said. […]

  130. says

    Sounds like they are warning people against traveling to a third-world country experiencing a lot of upheaval … but it is the USA:

    Australians are being warned not to travel to the U.S., but not just because of COVID-19.

    New travel alerts enacted by Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade urge citizens to avoid the U.S. during the presidential election and inauguration. The U.S. now has been given the highest alert status on Australia’s rating scale — a level four “do not travel.”

    “Take precautions to keep safe during the election season,” the advisory reads, noting that violent crime, especially gun violence, is more common in the U.S. than in Australia.

    Warning travelers of the potential for violence, the alert notes that widespread protests and demonstrations have occurred across the U.S. since May, some of which are still continue.

    The department also mentions that the election could lead to increased terrorism-related activity.

    “The US has a heightened risk of terrorist attacks,” the alert continues. “Terrorists may use vehicles, knives, homemade bombs, and poisons or toxins. Be alert, particularly in public places and at events.” […]

    Link

  131. says

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

    * In their final national general-election polls of the 2020 cycle, the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found Joe Biden leading Donald Trump, 52% to 42%, among registered voters, while the latest Fox News poll showed the former vice president with a slightly smaller lead, 52% to 44%, among likely voters.

    * In Iowa, the final Des Moines Register/Mediacom poll shows the incumbent president pulling away from Biden, 48% to 41%, after showing the two tied in September. In the state’s closely watched U.S. Senate race, meanwhile, the same survey found incumbent Sen. Joni Ernst (R) leading Theresa Greenfield (D), 46% to 42%.

    * In Pennsylvania, which may very well decide the 2020 race, the final Washington Post/ABC News poll found Biden ahead of Trump, 51% to 44%. The final New York Times/Siena poll showed Biden leading, 49% to 43%, while the final Muhlenberg College poll found the former vice president up, 49% to 44%. Meanwhile, a new Monmouth poll, released this morning, found Biden ahead 51% to 44% in a high-turnout model, and 50% to 45% in a low-turnout model. […]

    * In North Carolina, the final NBC News/Marist poll found Biden up by six, 52% to 46%, while the final CNN poll showed Biden up, 51% to 45%. In the state’s closely watched U.S. Senate race the NBC survey found Cal Cunningham (D) with a surprisingly large lead over incumbent Sen. Thom Tillis (R), 53% to 43%, while CNN’s poll showed Cunningham with a much smaller advantage, 47% to 44%.

    * In Wisconsin, another key 2020 battleground, the New York Times/Siena poll showed Biden with a double-digit lead, 52% to 41%, while the final CNN poll found Biden with a smaller advantage, 52% to 44%.

    * In Arizona, where Democrats are cautiously optimistic despite the state’s traditional GOP leanings, the New York Times/Siena poll found Biden leading Trump, 49% to 43%, while the final CNN poll showed Biden ahead, 50% to 46%. The CNN poll, meanwhile, also found Mark Kelly (D) ahead of appointed incumbent Sen. Martha McSally (R), 52% to 45%.

    * In Michigan, CNN poll found Biden leading Trump, 53% to 41%, and in the state’s U.S. Senate race, the same survey showed incumbent Sen. Gary Peters (D) with a similar lead over John James (R), 52% to 40%.

    * And while I can appreciate why top-of-the-ticket races will be on the minds of many this week, don’t forget the critical significance of state legislative races, especially this year, given the degree to which the outcomes will shape political landscapes for the rest of the decade. As NBC News reported over the weekend, “While the presidential race swallows up all the oxygen, down-ballot races could define North Carolina politics — and those in Pennsylvania, Arizona, Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan and even Texas — for the next decade. That’s because the winner will have the power to redraw state electoral maps now that the 2020 census is done.”

    Link

  132. says

    At campaign’s end, Trump revives ‘The Snake’

    There’s something oddly perfect about Donald Trump reviving “The Snake” as the 2020 campaign comes to a close.

    Like a band on a farewell tour, Donald Trump is bringing back hits he hasn’t played in a while as the 2020 campaign wraps up. The Hill reported overnight:

    […] Trump revived his use of a late left-wing activist’s song called “The Snake” during a rally in North Carolina on Sunday while warning supporters his opponent would undo his immigration policies. Trump recited the song’s lyrics at his Hickory, N.C., rally. Trump once regularly recited “The Snake” at his rallies to warn about what he saw as the ills of immigration but the president hasn’t used it since February. He said Sunday that supporters had asked him to reprise it.

    If you never saw a Trump stump speech from 2016, you may not appreciate just how much [he] enjoys reading — or more accurately, performing — the parable.

    As regular readers may recall, the story is simple: a “tender woman” rescues a “vicious snake,” who repays her generosity by biting her. When the dying woman asks why, the snake explains with a grin, “Oh shut up, silly woman. You knew damn well I was a snake before you took me in.”

    As the Washington Examiner noted a while back, “During the campaign, Trump regularly recited the poem as a cautionary tale against allowing Syrian refugees to take advantage of American generosity.” And while that certainly explains the president’s fascination with the parable, as we’ve discussed before, it’s hard not to notice the parallels between the ballad and Trump’s own presidency.

    Indeed, part of me has long wondered when Trump might acknowledge his scandals, failures, and unpopularity by declaring with pride, “Oh shut up, silly country. You knew damn well I was a snake before you took me in.”

    Postscript: It’s worth noting for context that “The Snake” was a 1963 song written by civil-rights activist Oscar Brown. One of his daughters tried to get Trump to stop using the lyrics. [Trump] apparently doesn’t care.

  133. says

    Oh, FFS.

    […] Trump amped up the fear-mongering to his rally-goers in North Carolina by baselessly claiming that the SCOTUS decision on Pennsylvania heightens the risk of voter fraud.

    “You know that puts our country in danger. Do you know what can happen during that long period of time, Pennsylvania? Do you know what can happen?” Trump said. “Number one: cheating can happen like you’ve never seen. This is their dream. They are known for it. The Philadelphia area is known for it.”

    The President added that “what can happen during that long period of time is a disgrace” before urging supporters to get their ballots in before Nov. 3 so that they can be counted before then. (Note: Trump is saying this on the eve of Election Day, and states often take days to count every ballot.)

    Trump — whose SCOTUS pick Amy Coney Barrett was recently confirmed to the court after a rushed confirmation process — went on to complain about being tired of the Supreme Court making “horrible political decisions.” […]

    From Aaron Rupar:

    “What a horrible thing that they’ve done … I’m going to start getting into it, because they’re hurting our country very badly” — Trump on SCOTUS ruling that some ballots can be tallied after election day
    […]
    “It is indeed fading away, because you can’t have a scandal if nobody writes about it” — Trump has spent a good chunk of his speech in Fayetteville whining that the media isn’t covering Hunter Biden’s (purported) emails to his liking

  134. says

    So Far, Trump’s ‘Army’ Of Poll Watchers Looks More Like a Small Platoon

    Despite appeals from the president and his son, few of his supporters have shown up to watch early voting. One explanation: The task is just too boring.

    Donald Trump Jr. looked straight into a camera at the end of September as triumphant music rose in a crescendo. “The radical left are laying the groundwork to steal this election from my father,” he said. “We cannot let that happen. We need every able-bodied man and woman to join the army for Trump’s election security operation.”

    It was an echo of what his father, […] Donald Trump, has said in both of his presidential campaigns. At a September campaign rally in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, [Trump] encouraged his audience to be poll watchers. “Watch all the thieving and stealing and robbing they do,” he said. “Because this is important.”

    But the poll-watching army that the Trumps have tried to rally hasn’t materialized. Although there’s no official data, election officials across the country say that they have seen relatively few Republican poll watchers during early voting, and that at times Democratic poll watchers have outnumbered the GOP’s. In Colorado and Nevada, where the Trump campaign was particularly active in recruiting poll watchers, its efforts largely petered out. […]

    Fizzle.

  135. says

    From Mike Pompeo:

    We are deeply concerned by reports of election irregularities, politically motivated arrests, and violence during Tanzania’s elections last week. We urge authorities to fully address concerns of irregularities and will review allegations of the use of force against civilians.

  136. says

    European officials are aghast at US election chaos.

    This kind of just says it all. America, once the bastion of democratic principles and the Leader of the Free World ™ has fallen so far down the rabbit hole under Trump that European officials are literally aghast at what is happening over here. This, after four years of Trump shitting all over our Western allies, tearing up all our international agreements, promoting “America First” foreign policy that leaves everyone else out in the cold, and cozying up to the world’s worst dictators.

    “We don’t want anything to do with your fucked-up election. Keep us out of it, please,” said one European official. […]

    Link

  137. says

    Lynna @ #196:

    SC @193, except for the description of Boris Johnson’s hair, Ian Dunt’s description sounds so much like he is describing Trump:…

    I was thinking the same thing. The parallels are so clear.

  138. lumipuna says

    Not political, but Finnish news are now reporting the court proceedings of a bizarre 2014 finance incident that allegedly involved attempts to literally launder fake moneybills with a “special detergent”. (link in Finnish)

    https://yle.fi/uutiset/3-11626742

    A Finnish businessman apparently paid 664,000 euro to buy millions of fake US dollars from South Africa. He brought the bills to Finland and was subsequently charged with money forgery. It’s uncertain what exactly happened, but the man was eventually acquitted because a) the fake bills fetched from SA were too unconvincing to be a realistic tool of crime and b) the man seems to have been aware of this while making the purchase. That is, even though the court agreed that there was no credible motivation for this purchase other than passing the fake money as real.

    The fake bills were not only generally low quality, but also smudged with some kind of “black goop”, the ostensible reason for which isn’t entirely clear. Possibly it was some attempt on the part of SAfricans to defraud or extort the Finnish man, who was supposedly instructed to launder the money with a “special detergent” that was provided with the bills.

  139. says

    Reuters – “U.S. judge weighs bid to void 127,000 votes cast at drive-through sites in Texas”:

    A federal judge in Texas will consider on Monday whether Houston officials should throw out about 127,000 votes already cast in the U.S. presidential election at drive-through voting sites in the Democratic-leaning area.

    U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen was set to hear an emergency bid at 10:30 a.m. local time (16:30 GMT) by a Republican state legislator and others who accuse Harris County Clerk Chris Hollins, a Democrat, of exceeding his constitutional authority by allowing drive-through voting as an alternative during the coronavirus pandemic.

    The lawsuit was brought on Wednesday by plaintiffs including state Representative Steve Toth, conservative activist Steve Hotze, and judicial candidate Sharon Hemphill.

    The Texas Supreme Court, a state court, on Sunday rejected a nearly identical bid by the same plaintiffs to halt drive-through voting in Harris County. The same court also previously denied similar challenges brought by the Texas Republican Party and the Harris County Republican Party.

    Harris County, home to the city of Houston and about 4.7 million people, is the third-most populous county in the United States. It currently has 10 drive-through polling sites, which are available to all voters.

    Sarah and Dan Jones were among the protesters outside of the federal courthouse in Houston on Monday morning, and brought their four children, ages 10 to six months.

    They voted at a drive-through site a few weeks ago and found out Saturday their ballots were being challenged, they said.

    “I’ve never felt so important in my life,” said Sarah Jones, 32. “Harris County can make or break Texas.”

    Both voted for Biden. Dan Jones, 38, said he also voted for Hemphill, one of the plaintiffs.

    “I voted for her and she’s trying to get my ballot thrown out,” he said.

    A lawyer for Hotze, Jared Woodfill, said on Sunday the plaintiffs may eventually take their fight all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

    Hundreds of legal challenges have been brought in the months leading up to the Nov. 3 election over how Americans can cast their ballots. Democrats have generally tried to ease access to mail-in and other alternatives to in-person voting, while Trump has repeatedly made unfounded attacks on mail-in voting, claiming it leads to fraud.

    Hanen was appointed by President George W. Bush, a Republican.

    Groups including the American Civil Liberties Union are asking to intervene in the litigation, saying the plaintiffs want to undermine the election and suppress votes.

    “They are simply trying to see what frivolous argument they can make to try and invalidate votes,” Harris County’s top administrator, Democrat Lina Hidalgo, said on Sunday.

    Michael Morley, a professor of election law at Florida State University, said he believes that the county has a strong legal basis under state law for implementing alternative voting methods during the pandemic.

    “Even if the court disagreed, however, a remedy would most likely be purely prospective – prohibiting continued use of these mechanisms while still counting votes already cast,” he said.

  140. says

    CNN – “Supreme Court rules in favor of Black Lives Matter organizer”:

    The Supreme Court wiped away a lower court opinion related to Black Lives Matter protests that critics argued would chill the speech rights of demonstrators and dismantle civil rights era precedent that safeguards the First Amendments’ right to protest.

    The lower court allowed a Louisiana police officer to move forward with lawsuit to hold the organizer of a Black Lives Matter protest, DeRay McKesson, accountable for injuries the officer sustained in 2016 when he was hit by a heavy object. McKesson himself did not hurl the object; the person who did is still unidentified.

    In an unsigned order, the justices sent the case back down to the lower courts to further review Louisiana law holding that before getting to important constitutional questions, more guidance from state courts is necessary.

    Justice Amy Coney Barrett did not participate in the decision, the Supreme Court’s public information officer said, because she was busy preparing for oral arguments. Justice Clarence Thomas dissented.

    The officer from the Baton Rouge Police Department, who is using a pseudonym, did not attempt to sue the still unidentified rock thrower for damages, but instead, Mckesson, the organizer of the event. The officer suffered from a brain injury, loss of teeth, and a head injury.

    The case explores the reach of the First Amendment when it comes to civil rights protests and it comes as the country is reeling from renewed demonstrations after the death of George Floyd in Minnesota.

    A federal appeals court allowed the suit to go forward in a decision that stunned civil liberties communities who argued that if the opinion is left on the books it would chill the speech rights of protesters and dismantle civil rights era precedent that safeguard’s the First Amendment’s right to protest. The Supreme Court has held that lawful protestors cannot be held liable when someone within their ranks commits unlawful activity.

    “The Supreme Court has long recognized that peaceful protesters cannot be held liable for the unintended, unlawful actions of others,” said American Civil Liberties Union National Legal Director David Cole, who is representing McKesson. “If the law had allowed anyone to sue leaders of social justice movements over the violent actions of others, there would have been no Civil Rights Movement. The lower court’s ruling is a threat to the First Amendment rights of millions of Americans.”…

  141. says

    “The something could be warning Defendants that perhaps those votes are in jeopardy, and maybe they should shut it down.

    The something could be granting injunctive relief on those votes for tomorrow.

    The something could be grumping about it but denying relief.”

  142. says

    Marc Elias:

    “BREAKING: Minnesota Federal Court REJECTS latest effort to postpone Minnesota Congressional Election.

    Another victory for @AngieCraigMN and the voters of MN-2.”

    “BREAKING: Philadelphia Court REJECTS Republican’s latest effort to block mail ballots.”

  143. says

    Follow-up to comments 191 and 192.

    A stomach-churning report from a non-profit legal organization says that more than half of migrant children interviewed in 2019 by advocates said they were detained by Customs and Border Protection for days longer than the 72 hour maximum allowed under law (though children should never be in detention, period). “The average length of stay in CBP custody for the children we spoke to was 10 days,” Americans for Immigrant Justice said in the report.

    Children reported being fed largely inedible food—including rotten items—in crowded, freezing cold facilities. Despite many kids arriving in wet clothes, CBP gave them nothing beyond Mylar “blankets,” the report said. “This isn’t new,” AI Justice children’s legal program director Jennifer Anzardo Valdes told The Washington Post. “We have been documenting CBP abuse for years, and they have done nothing to really change their treatment of the children in the facilities.”

    AI Justice’s report, “Do My Rights Matter? The Mistreatment of Unaccompanied Children in CBP Custody,” continues to confirm the abuses that advocates say have plagued these facilities for years. We’ve known officials have unlawfully detained children for days at a time. We’ve known officers have verbally and physically tormented children. We’ve known these conditions are deadly. But what this report provides is one of the most comprehensive looks into our nation’s inhumane detention system yet.

    “Felipa, from Guatemala, was 17 at the time of her apprehension and spent five days in the perrera,” which translates to “dog kennel” and describes the physical conditions children are jailed in. “She said during her interview: ‘They gave us water, but it tasted like Clorox. I got sick because of the water that I was drinking,’” the report said. But when Felipa asked if she could see a doctor, she was threatened with even more detention. “They said that if I went to medical, I would have to stay detained for longer,” she said in the report.

    “Most of the children we interviewed said they went hungry at the border facility,” the report continued, including CBP officers giving mothers completely inappropriate food items to feed to their babies. The report described other children going without food because what they were served was sometimes still frozen, or rotten.

    “We spoke to 11 teens who were placed in CBP detention facilities with their babies,” the report said. “Of the 11, only four reported receiving age appropriate food for their infants. Instead, their babies were given the same food the older children received, which consisted of burritos, for example, which were often frozen or not cooked properly. This resulted in some of the babies vomiting or having diarrhea.”

    CBP was given emergency humanitarian funds by Congress to address this exact issue, but the out-of-control agency instead illegally spent the cash on a canine program, dirt bikes, and computer network upgrades, the Government Accountability Office found earlier this year. […]

    “Aside from telling children the United States was not their country, CBP officers often insulted children based on their nationalities, telling them their countries were worthless,” the AI Justice report said, finding 895 children, many of them indigenous, reported verbal abuse. “While physical abuse was not reported as often as verbal abuse, it was still the experience of many detained minors,” the report continued. “Children reported being kicked, grabbed, pulled, pushed, dropped and slapped.”

    In one instance, officials accused a 16-year-old teen who had arrived to the U.S. with his two younger cousins of trafficking them. When officers weren’t getting the answers they wanted out of the boy, one tried to beat it out of him.

    “They were accusing me of something that wasn’t true,” the boy said in the report. “It eventually got to a point where they hit me. They told me that I was the father of the children and that I was trafficking them. … They told me that I was going to be put in jail for 10 years and that I was going to go back to Guatemala.”

    The Post reports that an agency spokesperson claimed in response to the report that “CBP treats those in our custody with dignity and respect and provides multiple avenues to report any misconduct,” and that it takes “all allegations seriously and investigate all formal complaints.” Pure fiction. The American Civil Liberties Union said in September that “[a]ccording to data obtained by the American Immigration Council in 2017, the agency took ‘no action’ in 95.9 percent of complaints filed against the agency between 2012 and 2015. Despite independent advisory panel recommendations issued in 2016, CBP has still not fixed its disciplinary system.” […]

    Link

    Crimes. Criminal actions against children have been documented.

  144. says

    From Wonkette: Guy Who Wanted To Kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer Over COVID Orders Scared Of Getting COVID In Jail

    In early October, Kaleb Franks was one of several “Wolverine Watchmen” militia members arrested for plotting to “Liberate Michigan” by kidnapping Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer. It was one of several planned governor-nappings thwarted last month, because apparently it is just a widely held belief among Republicans that if you kidnap the governor of your state, all of the COVID-19 restrictions they put into place become null and void. […]

    Franks, a 26-year-old former heroin addict who went by the moniker “Red Hot” in online chats with the rest of the alleged attempted kidnappers, was denied bond last month due to his previous convictions for cocaine and home invasion.

    US Magistrate Judge Salley Berens said at the time that Franks posed a danger to the community and denied him bond based on his participation in staking out Whitmer’s home; his statements that he was “in for anything as long as it’s planned”; and his participation in procuring illegal and untraceable firearms. Franks was one of the men who thought he was going to pick up explosives and tactical gear only to find themselves arrested by the FBI in a sting operation.

    […] Franks’s lawyer filed court documents arguing he should be let out of jail because he’s not a real threat and “has diabetes and high cholesterol, takes insulin daily and fears contracting COVID-19 in jail.”

    To be clear — this guy and his friends were going to kidnap the Governor of Michigan because they were mad about the COVID-19-related restrictions she was enacting. They were so mad at Whitmer for trying to keep people from getting COVID-19 that they were plotting to go to her vacation house and kidnap her, a thing they had to know was a crime. And now this guy wants to not be in jail because he has underlying conditions and is afraid he will get COVID-19.

    […] Franks’s attorney, also argued that he is not a flight risk because he owns his own house, had a good job and lives with people who support him. These things, of course, did not prevent him from planning to kidnap the governor of Michigan.

    Graham also argued that Franks should be let out because of how he is a former heroin addict who turned his life around and is now a guy who doesn’t do heroin […]

    Is he saying that going from heroin addict to militia guy plotting to kidnap the governor of Michigan is a positive trajectory? I feel like it is not! I’ve known some very nice heroin addicts in my day, but not a lot of pleasant militia guy kidnappers. […]

    Graham’s other gambit is claiming the plot to kidnap Gov. Whitmer was too stupid and unworkable to really be a crime. […]

    There are many lessons to be learned here, but probably the main one is that if you have the kind of underlying conditions that would make it less likely for you to survive a COVID-19 infection, you should probably avoid trying to kidnap the governor of Michigan for enacting regulations meant to reduce the transmission of COVID-19, because then you will end up in jail where contracting COVID-19 from another inmate is both possible and likely.

    Link

  145. says

    From Wonkette: “GOP Fully Owns Whatever Trump’s Thugs Do Next”

    RNC Chair Ronna Romney McDaniel humiliated herself more than usual Sunday. During an interview on CBS’s “Face The Nation,” host Margaret Brennan asked McDaniel about the MAGA thugs in Texas who tried to run Joe Biden’s campaign bus off the road. […]

    Trump is a thuggish gangster posing as the president so he tweeted a video of the incident with the all-caps message: “I LOVE TEXAS!” Brennan told McDaniel that the tweet “appears to be an act of intimidation endorsed by the president,” […]

    McDaniel, who’s an empty shell hollowed out by Trumpism, claimed she “hadn’t seen that part of the video.” […]

    MCDANIEL: Certainly you don’t want harm. And we shouldn’t be hurting other people. The president would not endorse that.

    He already did! But if his original tweet was too subtle for McDaniel, who must’ve struggled in her comparative literature classes, Trump made his position clearer and grosser later on Sunday. The FBI released a statement confirming it’s investigating the Friday incident because of how obviously illegal it was. President Law and Order declared that “these patriots did nothing wrong” and the FBI should focus instead on all the imaginary crimes his apparently diseased mind just makes up. […]

    Fox News host Jeanine Pirro praised the goons Trump calls “patriots” on her show Saturday night after guest Newt Gingrich raved about the “energy” of Trump cultists.

    PIRRO: Well, it is — it is stunning. And what’s even more stunning is what was just trending and that is there’s a Biden bus and it’s surrounded by pickup trucks on a highway all with Trump signs. I mean, it is ordinary Americans just taking this election into their own hands and — and getting out there and being real clear on what they stand for.

    Yes, what they “stand for” is attempted vehicular homicide.

    […] Trump campaign spokesman Jason Miller claimed he was more concerned with “downtown Washington businesses having to board up their windows in anticipation of lawless, violent Biden supporters rioting and looting on Tuesday night.” There’s obviously no evidence this will happen, just as there’s little evidence that every rioter, looter, and anarchist is a Biden supporter. It’s people in MAGA hats waving Trump flags who are blocking traffic and trying to run other vehicles off the road (a serious crime). […]

    Sunday night, at Trump’s superspreader Miami ally, Senator Marco Rubio didn’t hold back from celebrating MAGA thuggery.

    LITTLE MARCO: I saw yesterday a video of these people in Texas. Did you see it? All the cars on the road, we love what they did.

    This is the guy who tweets random Bible verses whenever what remains of his conscience bothers him. […]

    Link

  146. says

    New York Times link

    “America has never needed its postal workers more.”

    […] Thousands of postal workers nationwide have tested positive for coronavirus, and at least 101 have died. […]

    Postal workers, accustomed to their work being seen as crucial but ultimately boring, have found it now being politicized. Customers will hand over their ballots, then linger at the counter with insistent questions. “Are you going to lose my ballot?” “Is it going to end up in the trash?” […]

    Postal workers bristle at the accusation that they might be mishandling citizens’ ballots. The employees of the Postal Service, unlike those at private companies, aren’t judged on whether they bring in more revenue or cut costs. Their mandate is to uphold what they call their universal service obligation, a commitment to deliver mail to and from every part of America, whether at the bottom of the Grand Canyon or at the top of the Rocky Mountains. […]

    “When you get into interesting times like we’re living in now, that sense of reliability, predictability — that no matter what, the mail is going to come to the door — has become comforting to people,” says Daniel A. Piazza, the chief curator of the Smithsonian National Postal Museum. “You realize very quickly that when other things break down, this keeps going.”

    There is only one Postal Service, but election rules are different in every state. Some states will count every ballot that is postmarked by the day of the election; others will count only those that have made it all the way to election offices. Some states, including Florida, began counting votes weeks ago. In an election testing the foundation of democracy, none of this could have happened without the postal workers on the ground. […]

  147. says

    More from the thread @ #219:

    “If I thought plaintiffs had standing, I would deny the injunction as to votes that have already taken place. ”

    So he’s making this bullet proof.

    “I also would not enter an injunction because I don’t find it timely. This has been happening at least since September, when the Harris County Commissioner’s Court allocated money.”

    “I also do not find the voting to be illegal. These are registered voters who gave their ID.”

    “I find when you balance the harms, it weighs against granting relief.”

    “If I had found standing, I would *probably* enjoin tomorrow’s voting.”

    “Three other points:”

    (a) “If I were voting tomorrow, I would not vote through a drive-through to make sure my vote would be valid.”

    (b) “I am going to order you to maintain records of who votes drive-through tomorrow.”

    (c) “I am denying the motions to intervene because I am dismissing the case.”

    So, non-lawyer followers, why did Hanen say what he would have done had be found standing?

    His point is: if the Fifth Circuit says I’m wrong about standing, I want them to know what I thought on the merits.

  148. says

    […] Speaking at a rally in Atlanta on behalf of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and Democratic Senate candidates in Georgia, Obama expressed incredulity at Trump’s suggestion on Sunday that he may try to have Fauci removed from his post at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases following the 2020 general election.

    “One of the few people in this administration who’s been taking this seriously all along and what’d he say? His second-term plan is to fire that guy,” Obama said.

    “They’ve already said they’re not going to contain the pandemic. Now they want to fire the one person who can actually help them contain the pandemic,” he continued. “So Georgia, if you think they’ve done a bad job at managing COVID so far, basically what they’re telling you now is you ain’t seen nothing yet.”

  149. says

    Guardian world liveblog:

    The Labour party in the UK has asked the cabinet secretary to “undertake an urgent and swift investigation” into the vaccines taskforce chief after it was claimed she showed US financiers “official sensitive” government documents at a $200-a-head conference last week.

  150. says

    “…OK – I said the case was over. I meant here. The Plaintiffs can still appeal to the Fifth Circuit under the procedures I outlined earlier.

    Given Hanen’s ruling, I would expect all appeals to be summarily dismissed. But this is gonna have to play out.”

  151. says

    Twitter – “Several people have been injured in Vienna, Austria, following reported shooting, police say”: “Authorities say that several people have been injured in central Vienna following reported exchanges of gunfire. According to reports, the incident may have taken place near the vicinity of a synagogue. Residents are being told to avoid ‘all public places’ within the area.”

  152. tomh says

    If the Republicans couldn’t even get this Houston vote suppression effort past a right-wing ideologue like Hanen, it shows just how stupid their arguments were. Even the Trump-laden 5th Circuit may not want to embarrass themselves by taking this on.

  153. says

    tomh @229, that’s what I was thinking. And to add to your analysis, Judge Hanen is popular with Texas Republican. He’s not just a “right-wing ideologue,” as you rightly point out, but he is also a favorite with the GOP in general. Even he gave that stupid trumpian voter-disenfranchisement case the boot.

    In other news, this is from Kentucky:

    A slide show once shown to cadets training to join the Kentucky State Police includes quotations attributed to Adolf Hitler and Robert E. Lee, says troopers should be warriors who “always fight to the death” and encourages each trooper in training to be a “ruthless killer.”

    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/31/us/kentucky-state-police-hitler.html

  154. says

    When the Trump administration gave a well-connected Republican donor seed money to test a possible COVID-19-fighting blood plasma technology, it noted the company’s ‘manufacturing facilities’ in Charleston, South Carolina. Plasma Technologies LLC is indeed based in the stately waterfront city. But there are no manufacturing facilities. Instead, the company exists within the luxury condo of its majority owner, Eugene Zurlo.

    Zurlo’s company may be in line for as much as $65 million in taxpayer dollars; enough to start building an actual production plant, according to internal government records and other documents obtained by The Associated Press.

    […] another in a series of contracts awarded to people with close political ties to key officials despite concerns voiced by government scientists. Among the others: an ill-conceived $21 million study of Pepcid as a COVID therapy and more than a half billion dollars to ApiJect Systems America, a startup with an unapproved medicine injection technology and no factory to manufacture the devices.

    In addition, a government whistleblower claimed that a $1.6 billion vaccine contract to Novavax Inc. was made over objections of scientific staff. […]

    From the Associated Press.

    More at the link.

  155. says

    A video heavily made the rounds online over the weekend, featuring Joe Biden saying, “Hello, Minnesota!” while in Florida. The problem is, the video was doctored and isn’t true.

    NY Daily News link

    Falsified video of Joe Biden appearing to forget what state he’s in racks up 1 million-plus views.

    The original video clip was shot during a rally in Minnesota in which Biden called out, “Hello, Minnesota!” when he greeted supporters. Signs behind him were altered to make it look as if he were shouting those words in Tallahassee, Florida.

    […] The falsified video in itself contained plenty of clues that it had been doctored. The most glaring one, AP said, was that he was wearing a heavy jacket, commensurate with Minnesota’s frigid weather. In Tallahassee he wore just a suit jacket because it was, well Florida.

    Twitter labeled it as “manipulated media,” and but at that point it had already racked up more than a million views, CNN reported. The user deleted the video soon afterward.

    It seemed one of many attempts by the Trump camp to paint Biden as mentally incompetent for office, CNN noted. However, every attempt to do so has been patently false, either warping an existing image or document, or fabricating something entirely.

  156. says

    The Lily – “Women represent only one-third of expert voices in coronavirus media coverage, study shows”:

    The novel coronavirus has not only economically sidelined women, but it has also siloed their voices in media coverage, according to a new study.

    The Global Institute for Women’s Leadership released a study Friday that showed women’s voices and expertise have been largely missing from coverage about the pandemic in articles published between March 1 and July 31.

    An analysis of more than 146,800 coronavirus-related articles from 15 major news sources in the United States, Britain and Australia showed that women were only a third of all those quoted about the pandemic and were only a quarter of those quoted on topics of epidemiology and public health.

    The findings of the analysis confirms that we have a long way to go until women are viewed as experts in multiple spheres, experts said.

    The lack of gender diversity across media leads to a lack of diversity in sourcing, said Radhika Parameswaran, a professor of journalism at Indiana University at Bloomington whose research interests include gender, media and cultural studies.

    “It takes some extra time to go out of that way of thinking and find another voice. Someone who’s frequently quoted, it becomes an easy option,” she said. “Media professionals need to seriously channel their thinking, and it’s not something you can do on deadline.”

    Analysis by the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership proved that repetition of sources appeared to be an issue that also shrank the number of female experts quoted in articles. For every mention of a well-known woman STEM expert in a coronavirus news story, there were 19 mentions of their male counterparts.

    Women were, however, over half of those quoted in articles related to child care and domestic violence, and more than a third in education-related clips. Fewer than 1 in 6 were quoted for financial and economic stories, according to the review.

    The study’s results are a reflection of what society — and the media — thinks about women, said Ayleen Cabas-Mijares, assistant professor of journalism and media studies at Marquette University.

    “Only 33 percent of newsrooms are female. … These are things that are systematic,” she said. “They are just not innocent assumptions about the capabilities of women. It just shows how strong these cultural assumptions are of putting people in boxes.”

  157. says

    Weird voter suppression efforts are ongoing:

    […] just now I got a call on my mobile from a Pennsylvania number, 717-945-7018. (I know, likely spoofed.). An automated recording In a female voice said: “This is a test. Stay safe and stay inside. Stay safe.”

    Link

    More at the link.

  158. says

    Donald Trump is worried about going to jail if he loses. Yeah, ya think?

    In a piece describing Donald Trump’s incessant whining to his staff about election woes and his staff’s continued efforts to gaslight him into thinking he’s ahead in the polls rather than face another one of his screaming fits, the Trump whisperers at The New York Times bring us this tidbit from inside Trump’s team: “In unguarded moments, Mr. Trump has for weeks told advisers that he expects to face intensifying scrutiny from prosecutors if he loses. He is concerned not only about existing investigations in New York, but the potential for new federal probes as well, according to people who have spoken with him.”

    Yeah. Ya think? Ya THINK? […]

    More at the link.

  159. says

    Mehdi Hasan:

    A is for antisemitism
    B is for bone saw
    C is for coronavirus
    D is for disinfectant
    E is for ‘enemies of the people’
    F is for family separation
    G is for golf
    H is for hydroxychloroquine
    I is for impeachment
    J is for judges…

    My A to Z of the Trump years:…

    Link to the full listing. (He didn’t even have to search for an entry for Q!)

  160. says

    From Wonkette: Hannity Poll Guy Has Most Perfect Polls, Will Scream VOTER FRAUD! Just In Case He’s Wrong

    The Trafalgar Group has consistently served as a rare source of good polling news for Donald Trump. Even when Rasmussen shows Joe Biden curb stomping Trump, Trafalgar is there for him with polls that seem to just really accurately reflect the voting preferences of the most racist members of a 1950s Alabama subdivision.

    Trafalgar’s chief pollster is Robert Cahaly, who the Wall Street Journal credits with correctly predicting the 2016 election’s gruesome outcome. […]

    Cahaly appeared on an extra-special weekend edition of Sean Hannity’s show, his bowtie securely fastened and his beard trimmed to Kentucky colonel standards. He stood by his prediction that Trump will win Pennsylvania. He’s less confident, however, that the president can overcome Sleepy Joe’s massive voter fraud operation. […]

    CAHALY: The way I look at Pennsylvania is unfortunately, I think [Trump’s] four or five to overtake the voter fraud that’ll happen there.

    Apparently, Biden’s combination Vote Fraud Manipulator/Weather Dominator maxes out at five points.

    CAHALY: It’s very systematic in Pennsylvania.

    There’s no evidence of voter fraud in Pennsylvania. Your Republican Nana’s being fed lies.

    CAHALY: I think it’s achievable to get to four or five, but I think that’s the margin he needs to have in Pennsylvania to survive …

    It’s unclear if Cahaly believes Trump actually had a five-point winning margin in 2016, which Democratic voter fraud reduced to 0.72 percent. If so, that’s pretty half-assed fraud. […]

    There’s no way Trump is going to carry Pennsylvania by five points. He’s barely averaging a five-point lead in South Carolina. But sure, dude, whatever.

    HANNITY: You’re issuing a prediction that … saying he will win but they’ll steal it? Is that what you’ll predicting.

    Even Hannity struggled not to laugh.

    CAHALY: I’m saying he better win by four or five percent to make sure he actually gets the victory. That’s the margin he needs to avoid what they will systematically do.

    Who the fuck is “they”? I swear this shit wasn’t on primetime television when I was growing up. Goofballs in tinfoil hats — who still smartly avoided bow ties — might rant to a call-in radio talk show while we all laughed, but they didn’t spread baseless conspiracy theories to millions of radicalized old white people, which includes the president of the United States.

    Hannity tried to reassure Cahaly that friendly neighborhood poll watchers would keep everything legit.

    HANNITY: There are poll watchers everywhere. They are lawyers on the ground. Both sides have them.
    Yes, Trump’s team will try to toss out ballots and Biden’s team will remind courts that the Constitution exists.

    Hannity asked Cahaly how he thought Trump was doing in other swing states, such as Wisconsin, Michigan, and Minnesota. (The last one is not a swing state.)

    CAHALY: We have him up in Michigan. We had him a little bit down in Wisconsin.

    Biden is up by an average of 8.2 points in Wisconsin. Cahaly promised that Trafalgar would have another BS Wisconsin poll out before the election.

    CAHALY: In Minnesota, we have him a little bit down but we still have Kanye getting 3.3 percent of the vote. When you run it without Kanye, [Trump’s] winning.

    OK, Kanye West isn’t winning 3.3 percent of any vote at any time anywhere. However, if this were true, then Jared Kushner’s reported abuse of West’s fragile mental health would’ve backfired and cost Trump Minnesota’s 10 electoral votes. That’s about the level of competence we’ve come to expect from Kushner’s evil.

    Cahaly has whined that he’s not accepted as a legitimate pollster, but now he’s willing to make baseless accusations of systemic voter fraud to justify his crap polls. That’s more than just scuzzy. It further destabilizes our democracy.

  161. says

    From Lindsey Graham, as he was interviewed by Maria Bartiromo on Fox News:

    MARIA BARTIROMO: Thank you very much for being here. Do you have the momentum?

    GRAHAM: Yeah, I think I do. Number one, my opponent has raised more money than anybody in the history of the United States Senate. Liberals all over the country hate my guts because I stood up for Kavanaugh, I’m helping Trump, I need to close the money gap at Lindsey Graham dot com. […] But the momentum is real and let me tell you why …

    You know all of the liberal media is following me around. Help Me! Lindsey Graham dot org. I’ve got everybody in the country on the liberal side trying to take me out ’cause I’m helping the president, I stood up for Kavanaugh and I got Amy Barrett confirmed through the process. […] If they win they will lock our country down like Europe. That is definitely on the ballot. Lindsey Graham dot org. Help me keep the Senate…Dot com, I’m sorry!

    Oooff, that’s painful.

  162. says

    More re #228 – CBS – “Gunmen open fire in Vienna, killing 1 and wounding 15”:

    Multiple suspects armed with rifles opened fire in Vienna on Monday, killing one and wounding 15 others across six locations in the city, authorities said. One of the suspects was fatally shot by officers, police said.

    Interior Minister Karl Nehammer called the incident an apparent terror attack, Reuters reported. “We have brought several special forces units together that are now searching for the presumed terrorists. I am therefore not limiting it to an area of Vienna because these are mobile perpetrators,” Nehammer told broadcaster ORF.

    Police said the incident began near the Seitenstettengasse synagogue around 8 p.m. local time. It’s unclear if the synagogue was a target of the violence. Police urged residents to keep away from the area and to avoid using public transit, saying shots were fired in the busy Inner City district.

    Cellphone footage captured what appeared to be a gunman shooting a victim at point-blank range. Another video showed a similarly dressed alleged attacker opening fire. The city’s mayor, Michael Ludwig, said 15 people were hospitalized, with seven suffering serious injuries, the Associated Press reported.

    Rabbi Schlomo Hofmeister said he saw one person firing shots in the street below his window. “They were shooting at least 100 rounds just outside our building,” Hofmeister told the AP.

    Austria’s chancellor, Sebastian Kurz, condemned the shootings, pledging that police would take decisive action against the “repulsive terror attack.”

    French President Emmanuel Macron expressed his support for the country on Twitter, writing that his country shares Austria’s shock and sadness. France has faced its own surge of violence in recent weeks, most recently when three people were killed in a knife attack at a French church.

    Police in the neighboring Czech Republic said they planned to check travelers moving between the two countries as a precaution, BBC News reported.

  163. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Rachel Maddow sometimes shows local papers in her monologue. One she showed tonight is on my table downstairs. Need to pick up my jaw from the floor.

  164. says

    David Roberts, Vox:

    One of the most disorienting things about this election is that American democracy is at stake & it really seems like the bulk of the population — even the bulk of the politically engaged population — does not understand the stakes.

    A second Trump term would not just be more chaos & bad tweets. Much of the first term has been grinding against institutional barriers that are barely holding; in a second term, they would crumble. The damage would be far greater, far faster, than the first term.

    It’s not exaggerating to say a second term would put future elections — I mean having them at all — in question. Law enforcement would become more explicitly a tool of Trump & his party, at all levels. The few remaining competent/knowledgeable professionals would leave.

    Whatever restraints law & precedent put on Trump’s deregulatory push would crumble in the face of stacked courts; the modern regulatory state would be completely dismantled. What remains of our relationships w/ other democracies would crumble as we edge closer to fascism.

    This is all to say nothing of what Covid will look like completely unrestrained, w/ no federal efforts to slow it. The right-wing violence Trump has been steadily encouraging would increase; political opponents would face real physical danger.

    I could go on & on. I realize this thread is pointless — clueful people already know; those who don’t know are beyond clues at this point — but I’ve got a lot of nervous energy to burn off.

    The cops are *on Trump’s side*. It’s increasingly explicit. Just imagine four more years of this being encouraged & legally defended.

  165. says

    John Morales @ #255, I considered posting parenthetically that “I prefer the fun spelling for the colloquial expression, John Morales,” but figured I needn’t bother because you probably wouldn’t be a snotty asshole on such a stressful night.

    Alas! :D

  166. chigau (違う) says

    “John Morales wouldn’t be a snotty asshole on such a stressful night.”
    um, what?

  167. John Morales says

    :)

    Yeah, I’m not very good at towing the line. No real raisin date.

    But at least you know I’m following the thread…

    My birthday in two days. I’ll be 60. In 2016, my present was Trump’s win.

    Stress? What stress?

    Anyway, here in Oz:
    Could we push coronavirus cases in Australia back down to zero — and stay there?

    It’s taken almost five months, millions of people going into lockdown, and a significant amount of sacrifice.

    But on Sunday, for the first time since June, Australia achieved a day with no locally acquired cases of COVID-19.

  168. says

    Harris County Clerk Chris Hollins:

    Today was a huge win for democracy. 127,000 drive-thru votes cast in Harris County will be counted! Since the hearing this afternoon, I have consulted with my legal team and multiple election law experts who have reiterated the legality of drive-thru voting.

    This evening, Judge Hanen issued his order upholding drive-thru voting during the Early Voting period. He also stated his view that the tents that house most of the drive-thru voting centers would not qualify as “buildings,” which are required for Election Day polling places.

    My job is to protect the right to vote for all Harris County voters, and that includes those who are going to vote on Election Day. I cannot in good faith encourage voters to cast their votes in tents if that puts their votes at risk.

    In order to allow for drive-thru voting on Election Day while ensuring that all votes will be counted, the only drive-thru voting center on Election Day will be at Toyota Center.

    The Toyota Center DTV site fits the Judge’s definition of a “building”: it is “a structure with walls and a roof” and “a permanent structure.” It is thus unquestionably a suitable location for Election Day voting.

    I know that drive-thru voting is a safe and convenient option for Harris County voters, but we also have 800 walk-in voting centers available for Election Day that we have worked tirelessly to make safe for voters and election workers.

    Please use [site] to find a voting center near you that has a short wait time. If you have a disability, sickness, or physical condition that makes you unable to enter a walk-in voting center, you are entitled to use curbside voting at any of those locations.

    Let’s continue our record-breaking turnout in Harris County! Your vote is your voice, and Tuesday is your last chance to cast your ballot. There are still a million voters left–make sure we see you at the polls!

    Polls are open until 7PM on Tuesday, and you are entitled to vote as long as you are in line by 7PM. We hope to keep lines short, but regardless, STAY IN LINE after 7PM to make sure you can participate in our democracy.

  169. Dave, ex-Kwisatz Haderach says

    Good luck America! Canada is rooting for ya, and not for entirely unselfish reasons. A resounding smackdown of Trump would help put the lid back on some of our own far-right assholes.

  170. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Checked the status of my ballot. It will be counted this evening. Senator Dick Durbin is up for re-election, and the R candidate for Senator is the Lake County sheriff. The local connection didn’t get the R my vote.

  171. lumipuna says

    Good morning, America. Right about now it’s a Tuesday everywhere in the world. Have a nice Tuesday, everyone.

  172. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Here in Lake County, it is expected that 80% of the total ballots will be mail-in or early voting, with 75% total turnout expected, breaking the previous mark set in 2008 when Obama was on the ballot.

  173. says

    Here’s a link to the Guardian US election liveblog.

    From there:

    There’s a line of 50 people already at Grace Episcopal Church in West Palm Beach.

    Some people have been here since 5am.

    Why so early?

    “Because democracy is at stake,” said one voter at the front of the line.

    And here’s a link to the November 3 Guardian coronavirus world liveblog.

  174. says

    TPM – “Trump Camp Taunts Biden As He Visits Late Son’s Grave On Election Day”:

    As Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden visited the grave of his son Beau on Tuesday morning, Trump campaign national press secretary Hogan Gidley was asking if the nominee had “called a lid.”

    The abrupt question smacked of insensitivity as Biden began Election Day by attending church with his wife Jill Biden and two of their granddaughters at St. Joseph on the Brandywine in Greenville, Delaware.

    The Trump campaign has often invoked calling a “lid” — a term reporters use when a politician is done traveling for the day — as a way to mock Biden and paint him as a low energy candidate who rarely emerges from his “basement” to campaign.

    Biden’s son Beau died of brain cancer five years prior to his run for president and the Democratic nominee often visits the Roman Catholic Church where his son is buried while campaigning….

  175. tomh says

    @ #275
    The Houston case isn’t a slam-dunk yet. Somehow it ended up in front of almost the only 3 Democratic appointed judges on the 5th Circuit, 2 by Obama and 1 Clinton. Almost all the rest are appointed by Bush and (mostly) Trump.

    I still think they will want to avoid the embarrassment of trying to throw out 127,000 legal votes.

  176. tomh says

    NYT:
    November Surprise: Fewer Ballots Rejected by Election Officials
    By Michael Wines
    Nov. 2, 2020

    WASHINGTON — With absentee ballots flooding election offices nationwide, the officials processing them are tentatively reporting some surprising news: The share of ballots being rejected because of flawed signatures and other errors appears lower — sometimes much lower — than in the past.

    Should that trend hold, it could prove significant in an election in which the bulk of absentee voters has been Democratic, and Republicans have fought furiously, in court and on the stump, to discard mail ballots as fraudulent.

    In Fulton County, Ga., home to Atlanta, just 278 of the first 60,000-odd ballots processed had been held back. In Minneapolis, Hennepin County officials last week had rejected only 2,080 of 325,000 ballots — and sent replacement ballots to all of those voters. In Burlington, Iowa, the number of rejected ballots on Monday was 28 of 12,310. And of 474,000 absentee ballots received in Kentucky, barely 1,300 rejects remain uncorrected by voters, compared to more than 15,000 during the state’s presidential primary in June.

    The number of rejections could fall further. In those jurisdictions and many others, voters are notified of errors on ballots and can correct their mistakes, or vote in person instead.

    … As election officials tell it, a confluence of changes has made it easier for people to vote by mail since last spring, when many states were unprepared for the wave of mail ballots cast by people fearful of voting in person during a pandemic.
    […]

    …some states have rolled back confusing requirements. Minnesota no longer requires that absentee ballots be witnessed… In Kentucky, technological advances that have made it possible to track mail ballots enabled state officials to relax longstanding provisions, such as the requirement for multiple signatures, that were a major cause of past rejections…In Florida, where 1.3 percent of mail ballots were thrown out in 2018, the rejection rate on Monday was a bare 0.3 percent.
    […]

    In Florida and Georgia armies of workers for political parties, candidates and advocacy groups are pelting voters whose ballots were rejected with telephone calls and emails urging them to fix their mistakes…

    “In every county, we’re having massive efforts on the ground” to fix ballot mistakes, Mr. Smith said. “And we have never seen anything like that in any previous election.”

  177. says

    From the Guardian election liveblog:

    Judge orders sweep for any outstanding ballots at some Postal facilities

    A quick snap from Reuters here that US District Judge Emmet Sullivan has ordered the US Postal Service to conduct a sweep of some processing facilities to ensure no ballots have been held up, and that any discovered are immediately sent out for delivery.

    The order compels Postal Service inspectors or designees to conduct sweeps in Central Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Detroit, Colorado/Wyoming, Atlanta, Houston, Alabama, Northern New England, Greater South Carolina, South Florida, Lakeland, and Arizona.

    Many states require receipt of all mailed ballots by the end of Tuesday, although some will allow them to arrive for days afterwards provided that they are postmarked on or before Election Day itself.

    North Carolina election board to meet to consider extending polls – reports

    CNN are reporting that the North Carolina State Board of Elections says the board will meet at 1pm ET to consider extending hours at four voting locations.

    One polling place in Guilford County, one polling location in Cabarrus County, and two locations in Sampson County would be affected.

    Under state law the board may extend voting hours if polls are delayed in opening for more than 15 minutes or are interrupted for more than 15 minutes.

    Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the North Carolina State Board of Elections, told CNN one of the reasons the sites opened late was because of poll workers arriving late.

    Crucially, an extension of hours at even one of these locations would delay the reporting of results statewide, holding up the declaration of one of the battleground states that everybody has a keen eye on. But it’s clearly better to have slightly later results than to have people be deprived of the chance to cast their ballot.

  178. says

    Nerd @249, I like it when Maddow does that. I think it helps to keep track of attitudes across the nation. And, it usually is a good reality check that puts Trump down. Also, @266, that’s good news about your ballot.

    SC @272, Trump sounded really bad in that interview. His voice was raspy. He sounded tired and defeated. Meanwhile, my neighbors are flying a huge Trump flag on their porch.

    Rob @264, thank you. We appreciate your appreciation.

    John @260, Happy Birthday a couple of days early. May your present be hearing a sigh of relief heard round the world as Trump is voted out of office.

    SC @252, that was a particularly affecting, sincere presentation by Chris Hayes.

    SC @248, so now White House coronavirus adviser Deborah Birx is more strongly pleading for the Trump administration to take the coronavirus pandemic more seriously? I understand that she is deeply worried, but it is too late to get Trump to do anything right when it comes to the pandemic. Still, I’m glad to see Birx getting some media coverage.

  179. says

    Some excerpts from the Washington Post link to which SC referred in comment 248:

    A top White House coronavirus adviser sounded alarms Monday about a new and deadly phase in the health crisis, pleading with top administration officials for “much more aggressive action,” even as […] Trump continues to assure rallygoers that the nation is “rounding the turn” on the pandemic.

    “We are entering the most concerning and most deadly phase of this pandemic … leading to increasing mortality,” said the Nov. 2 report from Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force. “This is not about lockdowns — it hasn’t been about lockdowns since March or April. It’s about an aggressive balanced approach that is not being implemented.

    […] contradicts Trump on numerous points: While the president holds large campaign events with hundreds of attendees, most without masks, she explicitly warns against [the rallies]. While the president blames rising cases on more testing, she says testing is “flat or declining” in many areas where cases are rising. And while Trump says the country is “rounding the turn,” Birx notes that the country is entering its most dangerous period yet and will see more than 100,000 new cases a day this week.

    […] Birx’s daily missives go further [that what Fauci said recently], revealing how much the administration’s internal reports are in direct conflict with Trump’s public pronouncements that downplay the seriousness of the threat and erroneously suggest that few people are dying. They also speak to the increasing desperation of health officials to spotlight the risks of a pandemic that is forecast to take thousands more lives as the weather worsens unless people change their behaviors. […]

    The increasingly dire tone of Birx’s reports has gotten little traction, according to an administration official who works with her and spoke on the condition of anonymity to share sensitive information. “She feels like she’s being ignored,” the official said.

    Ya think? Trump found Birx easier to ignore than Fauci.

    […] The report hits hard on the worsening situation: “Cases are rapidly rising in nearly 30 percent of all USA counties, the highest number of county hotspots we have seen with this pandemic,” it said. “Half of the United States is in the red or orange zone for cases despite flat or declining testing.” […]

    What is “essential at this time point,” the report said, is “consistent messaging about uniform use of masks, physical distancing and hand washing with profound limitation on indoor gatherings especially with family and friends.

    […] Trump appears unpersuaded by such messages, convinced by new medical adviser Scott Atlas, a neuroradiologist with no infectious-disease experience, that allowing healthy people to return to daily activities without restrictions will hasten herd immunity and bolster the economy […]

    Trump plans to hold a large indoor gathering for 300 to 400 guests at the White House on Tuesday to watch the election returns, only a few weeks after a White House event to announce his Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett became a superspreader event. […]

    Birx’s report goes to pains to dispute Trump’s false claims that coronavirus cases are increasing only because of increases in testing. Monday’s report notes that although testing is flat, a rising number of tests are positive, suggesting “community spread is much worse […]

    […] bluntly stated, “this is not due to increased testing but broad and ever-increasing community spread.”

    That report added these words highlighted in bold: “There is an absolute necessity of the Administration to use this moment to ask the American people to wear masks, physical distance and avoid gatherings in both public and private spaces.” On that day, Trump held two large rallies, according to his public schedule, one in Michigan and one in Wisconsin.

    […] Unlike Fauci, a highly regarded civil servant who Trump has criticized as a “Democrat,” Birx was chosen by the administration to helm the response and has been lavishly praised in the past by Trump. […]

    Washington Post link

  180. tomh says

    Philadelphia officials report few polling place problems so far on Election Day, in contrast to claims on social media
    By Cat Zakrzewski

    Philadelphia officials said they had seen minimal problems at polling places throughout the city on Election Day.

    The city’s Election Task Force said in a news release that it had resolved 21 of the 25 incidents about which it had received reports as of noon. Officials said the “vast majority” of the complaints were related to alleged interference.

    Examples included instances in which entrances to polling places were partially blocked by construction or members of the press.

    The officials’ report contrasted sharply with accounts of polling places that conservatives were sharing widely on social media to suggest there were widespread problems with voting in the largest city in Pennsylvania, a pivotal state in the presidential election.

    Officials acknowledged the flurry of misleading tweets and posts.

    “The most ‘excitement’ the Task Force has seen so far today can be attributed to bad information or misinformation being shared on social media,” Jane Roh, spokeswoman for the Office of the District Attorney, wrote in a news release.

    The office disputed a tweet from Mike Roman, Trump’s election day operations director, that claimed there was a violation at a location in Northeast Philadelphia.

    “This tweet is deliberately deceptive,” the Office of the District Attorney wrote in a tweet.

  181. says

    “If you were waiting to see Trump’s elusive health care plan before Election Day, I have some bad news for you.”

    Former Sen. Al Franken joked this morning that there’s a clear downside if Joe Biden wins: “We may never see Trump’s health care plan.”

    […] It was on July 17 when [Trump] sat down with Fox News’ Chris Wallace and made a rather specific vow.

    “We’re signing a health care plan within two weeks, a full and complete health care plan… We’re going to sign an immigration plan, a health care plan, and various other plans. And nobody will have done what I’m doing in the next four weeks…. You’re going to find it to be a very exciting two weeks.”

    As we’ve discussed, two weeks went by, and the “full and complete” health care plan was nowhere to be found. On July 31, pressed for some kind of explanation, the president told reporters, “We’re going to be doing a very inclusive health care plan. I’ll be signing it sometime very soon. It might be Sunday [Aug. 2], but it’s going to be very soon.”

    On Aug. 3, Trump presented a new timeline: “I do want to say that we’re going to be introducing a tremendous health care plan sometime prior — hopefully, prior to the end of the month. It’s just about completed now.”

    August, naturally, came and went without the emergence of the elusive plan. In mid-September, the president balked at the idea that he was failing to follow through on his promise. “I have it all ready. I have it all ready,” Trump told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos, adding, “I have it all ready.”

    He did not have it all ready.

    A month later, [Trump] told CBS News’ Lesley Stahl his health care blueprint would be “announced very soon.” After Trump abruptly ended the interview, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany handed the “60 Minutes” anchor a thick binder that she said included the president’s health care plan. It didn’t.

    […] [Trump] claimed in September that 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.

    Those who thought it was at least possible the president would follow through on his commitments, and present voters with something to scrutinize ahead of Election Day, find themselves empty handed. I’d add just one thing to Franken’s joke, though: even if Trump wins, we’ll still never see his health care plan.

    Link

  182. says

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

    In Pennsylvania, arguably this year’s most important swing state, the final NBC News/Marist poll found Joe Biden leading Donald Trump, 51% to 46%, which is roughly in line with most of the recent data out of the Keystone State.

    * In Arizona, another key 2020 battleground that backed the Republican ticket four years ago, the NBC News/Marist poll found Trump and Biden tied, with each garnering 48% support.

    * In Florida, the final Quinnipiac poll showed Biden hanging onto his lead, 47% to 42%, over the Republican incumbent.

    * In Ohio, which has backed the eventual presidential winner in every election since 1964, the Quinnipiac poll found Biden with a slightly smaller advantage, 47% to 43%.

    * At the national level, meanwhile, the Quinnipiac poll found Biden with a double-digit lead over Trump, 50% to 39%.

    * Though the campaign obviously ends today, the New York Times reports that [Trump’s] political operation “is raising money for a prolonged political and legal fight long after Nov. 3 and recently began automatically checking a box to withdraw additional weekly contributions from online donors through mid-December — nearly six weeks after Election Day.”

    * After coming in close contact with someone who tested positive for the coronavirus, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) might not be able to vote: he requested an absentee ballot late last week, which is likely to be too late. That said, both of Georgia’s closely watched U.S. Senate races may end up going to run-off elections, which the Republican governor would be able to participate in.

    * The final FiveThirtyEight election forecast shows Biden with an 89% change of winning the presidential election. […]

  183. says

    Vying for “most egregious”:

    The most outrageous moves by the Trump administration are really hard to pinpoint or track or even rank at this point. But of course, today, on this most important, historic day, he’s pulling one of his most brazen stunts yet.

    The after party at the White House — which started as a 400-person event at his hotel and has now dwindled to a mere 250 attendees, all packed into one room amid a pandemic in a city that bans gatherings of more than 50 people — will be something to behold, even in its reduced form. Unsurprising, sure, but notably emblematic of not only Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S., but also his brazen disregard for human life and health — now a staple of his presidency.

    It’s Election Day. After four grueling years, things are coming to a head in the most symbolic, Trumpian ways. The President has indicated he hasn’t given any thought to his acceptance or concession speech. Some cabal of bad actors is placing robocalls with false information in several states, telling people to vote tomorrow. People are showing up armed to the polls. Court challenges could put the fate of mailed-in ballots in the balance. Melania Trump voted this morning, the only person in her polling site not wearing a mask.

    This party tonight is the icing on the Trump presidency’s shamelessness cake. He’s been stoking division for years. We wouldn’t expect much different on the day that will seal his and our collective fate.

    Link

  184. says

    Trump Campaign Sets Up ‘War Room’ In Taxpayer-Funded Building

    From Maggie Haberman:

    Per two sources, the campaign has a “war room” set up in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. Trump is also going to be briefed in the residence and the Oval Office throughout the day by officials.

    […] the building is taxpayer space and it’s not clear how this works out under the Hatch Act.

  185. says

    Cheating everyone, scamming everyone—that’s the trumpian way:

    Roughly 10,000 scandals later, it may be difficult to remember one of the key positions that Donald Trump celebrated in 2016: cheating the little guy. Even before he took that trip down the golden escalator, Trump had been involved in over 3,000 lawsuits. Some of those involved cheating people at his fake university, or his long history of racism at his properties. But many involved one of Trump’s more charming habits, that of signing a contract, then simply not paying when the job is done.

    Trump didn’t pay the cabinet maker who landed what was supposed to be a $400,000 contract for his casinos. He didn’t pay the plumber or the glass company who worked on his New York tower. He stiffed the company that put carpet in his hotel. He even shortchanged everyone from bartenders to dishwashers who worked at Mar-a-Lago or any of his other resorts. And Trump has repeatedly shorted cities and towns where hundreds of thousands appeared when his traveling circus drops by.

    So it should come as no shock that Trump is threatening to cheat one of the contractors who is working on his Dead End Superspreader Tour. What’s a little more surprising is that Trump is talking about this openly, because he apparently believes that cheating the little guy is one of the charming things he does that his supporters like. In fact, he thinks it such a winner, that he made it a regular part of his closing argument.

    On Saturday, Trump was in Bullhead, Arizona. When he took the stand, he was apparently unhappy with how the microphone made a short, and apparently singular, squeak. “Whoever did this microphone,” said Trump, “don’t pay him. You know I have a reputation for not paying, and it’s a false reputation. When someone does a lousy job, like a microphone that’s no good. Or like teleprompters that fly with the wind, I say ‘don’t pay them.’” Trump pointed up to the teleprompter and waved his hand around when he said that line, so apparently he was calling for that contractor to also eat their expenses for the day.

    Trump followed up by telling the crowd that the microphone operator was “probably a RINO.” That line came right after the one where he told them that RINOS are “the lowest form of human life.”

    But that wasn’t the end of it. Trump apparently thought this microphone thing was such a good line, that on the final night of campaign, he decided to try it out on his Wisconsin supporters. Trump made a show of complaining about the main microphone at his podium, walking across the stage to grab another, with the difference between the two being absolutely undetectable. Then, after getting a contractor up on stage, Trump went on to humiliate the man.

    ”He’s not nervous,” said Trump as the man hurried to “fix” a microphone that wasn’t broken in the first place. “I’ll give you the name of his company, never use that company.” Trump then went on to complain about how failing to pay his bills is regarded as a bad thing. “I won’t pay the bill of the company that does this crazy microphone, and they’ll do a story, ‘Trump is a horrible human being, he doesn’t pay a bill.’” […]

    Link

  186. says

    Donald Trump will spend this day in a secure room, inside a large federal facility, surrounded by a fence, inside an “unscalable” wall, backed by another fence, and ringed by 1,000 prison guards. So … just think of this as a dry run for the next decade.

    […] The prison guards thing is real. Trump’s violence whisperer, Attorney General Bill Barr, is once again sweeping through the dregs of the Department of Justice to find a thousand officers used in putting down prison riots and bringing them in to “defend the nation’s capital.” Presumably because they couldn’t think of anything less appropriate. […]

    The mere fact that Trump is not planning to appear on stage somewhere in front of a sea of red hats says everything about what he expects tonight. If he thought there was the least chance he’d be happy about tonight’s results, the Blue Angels would already be making practice runs over cities and teams would be applying gold leaf to the White House walls. It’s not happening.

    Meanwhile, Joe Biden will be in Delaware, at the same venue where he began his campaign with a group of people prepared to celebrate as hard as they can considering the walls of social distancing Trump’s incompetence has constructed around everyone. The number of unscalable walls and prison guards between Biden and the rest of the planet will be zero.

    […] Trump has already been running the idea of a 2024 run past Republican leaders. And since every single Republican official either sold out to Trump, or got kicked out of the pool, it’s not like they’re going to say no. If Trump wants to run in 2024, and he’s still out there going city to city, encouraging his fans to rough up anyone who doesn’t play along, exactly which Republican “leader” is going to get in his way?

    if Republicans want to avoid having to stand behind Trump again four years from now, there’s really just one good plan. It’s the one Trump is demonstrating today. Where he stays behind a wall, and a fence, surrounded by guards, for four more years. And 10 to 20 more after that.

    Link

  187. says

    Trump’s weird comments from today:

    I’m not thinking about concession speech or acceptance speech yet. Hopefully we’ll be only doing one of those two. Winning is easy. Losing is never easy. Not for me it’s not.

    We should be entitled to know who won on Nov. 3.

  188. says

    Guardian election liveblog:

    The Guardian’s Lois Beckett reports from Lansing, Michigan, where local Democratic officials are monitoring for problems with voter intimidation:

    A Michigan court sided with pro-gun groups and overruled the secretary of state’s attempt to ban the open carry of firearms at the polls, even in the wake of a high-profile alleged plot to kidnap Michigan’s Democratic governor.

    Since Michigan has seen so much armed protest this year, the ruling left people on edge. An analysis of right-wing militias and their potential for violence also found Michigan was at high risk for election-related militia activity.

    But by early afternoon on a sunny, warm Election Day, there had been no reports of major standoffs.

    “It seems calm” so far, state representative Sarah Anthony said.

    Anthony had spent the morning visiting polling places in South Lansing where large numbers of Black voters were expected to turn out, and so far, there had been no major issues, and no reports at all of armed men at the polls.

  189. says

    U.S. Representative for Massachusetts’s 7th congressional [Ayanna Pressley] out in Hyde Park doing the wobble. #ElectionDay is off to a fun start in Boston!

    https://twitter.com/Anaridis/status/1323628241719042051

    Video at the link

    Ah, yes. And compared to Trump ….

    “Donald Trump closes his re-election campaign with a supercut of himself dancing to a song about cruising for gay sex” is not an eventuality for which queer theory was prepared.

    https://twitter.com/benwritesthings/status/1323541104386605056

    Video at the link.

    I don’t know what that is, but it’s not dancing. It’s a display of tiny fists in restricted motion.

  190. says

    From Wonkette:

    […] Sean Hannity freaked out over Rep. Ilhan Omar encouraging people to vote in Minnesota. […] “NOT A JOKE: Ilhan Omar Tells Resideents ‘You don’t Have to be Registered too Vote’ in Minnesota'”

    Hannity, who is a joke, was either unaware that Minnesota has same-day voter registration, just like 22 other states — including Michigan! — or he was lying. We’re going to go with the second one, based on the history of his actions his entire life. Conservatives are so afraid of people voting. They know deep down that high turnout is never good for them, and 100 million citizens had already voted before polls opened today. […]

    Link

  191. says

    From Evan Hurst, writing for Wonkette: “Tired Sad Low-Energy Authoritarian Loser President Is Tired”

    Donald Trump is a grumpy boy today. He stayed up very late last night doing a very low-energy rally in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he called a Trump-supporting rapper named Lil Pump “Lil Pimp,” because he is an idiot who is also very tired and broken-brained.

    Then he had to tweet a video at 2:30 a.m. of himself “dancing” to the YMCA song for two solid minutes. No, we don’t know why. [See comment 297]

    So when Trump waddle-rolled out of bed to call in to “Fox & Friends,” it was to be expected that he sounded dejected and sad and SOOOOOOOO SWEEPY like an old bloated talking loser corpse.

    Listen to Trump VERY SWEEPY ‘SPLAIN that he is (zzzzzzzz) going to win and (zzzzzzzzz) don’t worry, he’s going to declare victory “only when there’s victory” because (zzzzzzzz) there’s “no reason to play games.”

    He is too VERY SWEEPY to play games, you see. (He will play games. Unless America landslides him so hard he’s utterly humiliated, in which case he’ll probably slink away to Russia in shame.)

    Trump said he thinks he has a really good chance of winning, firstly because he thinks all the polls (all of them, we guess) are “suppression polls,” and also because of “the tremendous crowd size.” As Barack Obama explained yesterday, Trump may still be fixated on crowd sizes maybe because there were very small crowd sizes at his childhood birthday parties.

    Here is the Ainsley Earhardt “Fox & Friends” idiot telling Trump how much she likes it that he says “I love you too” when somebody says “I love you” to him (???). After that, Trump said presidenting is hard because of “Shifty Schiff” and (zzzzzzzzz) “Crazy Nancy” and “Cryin’ Chuck Schumer,” who are very “mean” to him (zzzzzzzzzzz).

    Here is Brian Kilmeade telling Trump how mean Barack Obama has been to him, to which Trump responded (zzzzzzz) by whining that Fox News plays Obama’s speeches too much. Kilmeade defended Fox, saying Fox reports BOTH SIDES and that’s why they play Obama’s speeches. “Well in the old days they wouldn’t put Sleepy Joe Biden on every time he opened his mouth,” Trump grumbled, sadly. His point was that Fox News is just not very nice to him anymore. […]

    Link

    More at the link, including five video snippets.

  192. says

    Guardian election liveblog:

    The Guardian’s Kari Paul reports from Oakland, California:

    California is on track to set a record for number of votes cast in a national election, according to voting data firm Political Data, Inc.

    Early voting had already reached record levels before election day, with more than 11m Californians having cast ballots by the eve of 3 November. That means more than half of the state’s eligible voters had already cast ballots — 77% of the record number of votes in 2016.

    “It’s undeniable, absolutely factual, 100% we’re going to set a record in the total number of votes cast in an election in California,” said Paul Mitchell, vice president of Political Data.

    Many Americans are voting early and by mail in 2020 amidst the coronavirus pandemic, and California had already logged 1m votes as of two weeks ago — 13 times the 72,000 ballots cast at the same time in 2016, according to the secretary of state’s office.

    Vice presidential candidate and California native Kamala Harris tweeted in support of the “historic turnout‘ on Tuesday.

    [“12 million Californians cast their ballot before Election Day. Millions more will head to the polls today. Don’t slow down, California—keep up this historic turnout.”]

    Despite many early votes, it won’t necessarily be clear who wins as early as Tuesday night, said California policy site CalMatters. The state will accept ballots through 20 November as long as they were postmarked today. The state will announce a first count of votes at 8 pm PST on Tuesday.

  193. says

    From Jennifer Rubin, writing for the Washington Post:

    There has been much discussion about the need for healing and reconciliation once the vote-counting is complete and results certified. That’s a reasonable goal after a hard-fought election in polarized times. Our democracy cannot function when we constantly battle to eradicate and delegitimize the other side. Nevertheless, we fall into the trap of moral equivalence when we pretend the past four years have merely been a fight between two extreme parties, equally responsible for rancor and tribalism.

    Only one party has assaulted democracy, intentionally fanned ludicrous conspiracy theories, rationalized racism and xenophobia, and attacked objective reality. It is Republican officials who engaged in or enabled impeachable conduct and broke professional and constitutional oaths. It is Republican politicians, pundits, activists and operatives who compulsively lied and damaged our body politic. Right-wing outlets spread Russian disinformation and created a parallel political universe to deceive their audience, even if they knew at some level it was untrue. They insisted that Ukraine had interfered with our election, that covid-19 was like the flu, that voting fraud was prevalent and that President Barack Obama had spied on President Trump. They have never recanted these damaging falsehoods, nor have they shown any sign of changing course in their quest to distort reality and sow discord.

    […] when one side really has behaved in politically and morally repugnant ways and does not change its behavior, I for one am not ready to forgive, let alone forget.

    Likewise, I am not willing to let Republican politicians and officeholders — whether they are silent go-alongers such as Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) or active accomplices such as Attorney General William P. Barr — off the hook. It is for this reason that I think every Republican on the ballot who has stuck by Trump and Trumpism should be forced out of power and never again trusted with political power.

    We do not, however, need to carry around the weight of the past four years indefinitely. There is a way to release anger and to conduct the business of the country.

    First, those officials, politicians, activists and media figures who have done wrong must admit their transgressions and renounce past behavior. Reconciliation is not possible unless both sides acknowledge what has occurred. Truth is a necessary element of reconciliation; otherwise, amnesia breeds injustice and evades accountability, a critical element in democracy. Those who have broken the law (e.g., by perjuring themselves) or violated professional standards must be held accountable. Dishonest media outlets should be repudiated or ignored.

    […] we need to distinguish between that group of malefactors and ordinary Americans — our neighbors, our friends, our work colleagues. They might have made poor judgments and even voiced hateful views, but they do not cease to be our fellow citizens. […] we should listen, empathize and try to engage with them.

    […] let’s not forget that we have lives and relationships outside of politics.[…]

    Link

  194. says

    From former Democratic Senate leader Harry Reid:

    It’s very hard for me to say this because Lindsey and I have worked together on stuff. But when John McCain died, he just went to the dark side, was happy playing golf with Donald Trump…I hope that Lindsey loses.

    So do I.

  195. says

    Another Republican openly expresses regret:

    One Republican mayor in Michigan voiced his regret for voting […] Trump into office in 2016, saying Tuesday it was a “mistake” he will not repeat.

    “Trump is just bad for our country. He’s bad for the city of Sterling Heights, he’s bad for Macomb County, and I made a mistake,” said Mayor Michael Taylor, adding that he cast his vote for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden this year […]

    “I’m hearing from my neighbors and my friends who are saying ‘I just can’t stomach the guy anymore,’ ” he said, adding that residents have raised concerns about the president’s leadership and handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

    […] “I think Joe Biden is the candidate who can unify all of the Democrats, and he’s the candidate who can appeal to moderates and Republicans like me who don’t want to see four more years of President Trump,” Taylor told the Chicago Tribune. […]

    “If Macomb goes for Biden, forget about Pennsylvania, forget about Wisconsin, forget about Florida. It’s game over,” said Taylor.

    “We need strong leadership. […] And he’s more focused on his Twitter account,” Taylor said.

    Link

  196. tomh says

    Federal court orders ballot sweep of 12 USPS districts covering 15 states
    By Jacob Bogage and Christopher Ingraham

    A federal judge in Washington on Tuesday ordered U.S. Postal Service inspectors and law enforcement agents to sweep mail processing facilities in swing states and states with strict absentee ballot deadlines to search for misplaced votes.

    Timely ballot processing scores, which indicate the proportion of ballots sorted, postmarked and transported within a one- to three-day service window, have worsened in the run up to Election Day, according to data filed in federal court.

    The Postal Service also reported roughly 300,000 ballots nationwide received entry scans in processing facilities, but not exit scans, alarming voting rights advocates that a quantity of ballots equal to more than half the population of Wyoming could be caught up in the mail and miss submission deadlines.

    U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan for the District of Columbia ordered the additional “all clear” checks and increased supervision at the request of civil rights groups, including the NAACP and Vote Forward.

    Ah, Judge Sullivan, one of the good guys. When he gets done cleaning up the ballot mess he’ll have time to send Flynn to jail.

  197. tomh says

    USPS disregards court order to conduct ballot sweeps in 12 postal districts after more than 300,000 ballots cannot be traced
    By Jacob Bogage and Christopher Ingraham
    November 3, 2020 at 2:33 p.m. PST

    The U.S. Postal Service turned down a federal judge’s order late Tuesday afternoon to sweep mail processing facilities serving 15 states, saying instead it would stick to its own inspection schedule. The judge’s order came after the agency disclosed that more than 300,000 ballots nationwide could not be traced.
    […]

    But in a filing sent to the court just before 5 p.m., Justice Department attorneys representing the Postal Service said the agency would not abide by the order to better accommodate inspector’s schedules.

    “… Given the time constraints set by this Court’s order, and the fact that Postal Inspectors operate on a nationwide basis, Defendants were unable to accelerate the daily review process to run from 12:30pm to 3:00pm without significantly disrupting preexisting activities on the day of the Election, something which Defendants did not understand the Court to invite or require.”
    […]

    “This is super frustrating,” NAACP attorney Allison Zieve said. “If they get all the sweeps done today in time, it doesn’t matter if they flouted the judge’s order. They say here they will get the sweeps done between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m., but 8 p.m. is too late, and in some states, 5 p.m. is too late.”
    […]

    “Ballots will continue to be accepted and processed as they are presented to us and we will deliver them to their intended destination,” Partenheimer said.

    … In 28 states, election official must received by the end of election day to be counted…

    More than 65 million Americans have voted using absentee ballots, according to the United States Elections Project, and more than 27 million mail ballots remain outstanding.
    […]

  198. says

    A federal judge on Monday ordered the Trump administration to vacate a policy that allowed officials to deny green cards to immigrants who might need public assistance, such as food stamps and housing vouchers, saying it exceeded the authority of the executive branch. […]

    From the New York Times.

  199. says

    […] “Though network executives are reluctant to talk publicly about such a hypothetical and disturbing scenario, five people at various networks said on condition of anonymity that they fully expect the President’s Election Night remarks to be shown live virtually wall to wall.”

    The plan is to air Trump’s remarks live, whatever they may be, and then fact check them. After the damage is done.

    ”We are prepared to aggressively fact-check any effort by anyone to mischaracterize the status of the race or the results of the race prematurely,” NBC News president Noah Oppenheim has said.

    Okay, but how about not airing that mischaracterization? How about a five- or 10-minute delay on whatever Trump has to say to determine if it meets the lowest possible bar of responsibility? […]

    Link

  200. Pierce R. Butler says

    SC… @ # 316: U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan has ordered USPS to ‘be prepared to discuss the apparent lack of compliance with the court’s order’ at a noon hearing tomorrow.

    I hope he told them to bring Louis DeJoy – and told DeJoy to bring a toothbrush.

  201. tomh says

    If every state just did it like California there would be no problems. If it’s postmarked by election day, it’s counted if it’s received by Nov 20. How hard is that?

  202. says

    tomh @ #320, it’s absurd. Whether someone’s vote should be counted or not should never depend on something beyond their control, and especially not something that could be sabotaged for political purposes! They followed the rules. Their votes should obviously count.

  203. logicalcat says

    @322

    Thats not good. Of he underperforms in Florida because of latino votes (my people) im going to be sad.

  204. says

    logicalcat @ #323, sucks. Estoy harta de Florida, de verdad. (I hope that’s not insultingly wrong – I’m out of practice and just horrified at the state of my country.)

  205. Rob Grigjanis says

    I’m beginning to wish my family had emigrated to New Zealand in 1968 rather than Canada. I don’t want to live anywhere near, never mind next to, The Exceptional Shithole any more.

  206. Pierce R. Butler says

    John Morales @ # 329 – It doesn’t look so good from the inside either.

    As I type, extrapolating from the APNews electoral map (showing called states in blue and red, and projected states in cyan and pink), Biden will fall 24 e-votes short of the magic number. A turnaround in Florida or Texas could make the difference, but none of the big pinks (and damn few of the little ones) show any reason to expect that.

    Insert feelings-of-doom emoji here.

  207. PaulBC says

    From FiveThirtyEight

    MEREDITH CONROY
    NOV. 4, 1:53 AM
    With 82 percent of the estimated vote total in the race reported, The New York Times projects Minnesota’s 7th District for Republican Michelle Fischbach. Fischbach defeats Democratic incumbent Collin Peterson, who was the most vulnerable House incumbent seeking reelection in 2020. As my colleague Geoffrey Skelley explained, the 15-term congressman’s rural constituency has been growing increasingly red, and in Fischbach, he faced a formidable challenge; she served as the state’s lieutenant governor and, before that, as president of the Minnesota Senate. Moreover, she had strong financial backing, including early support from E-PAC, Republicans’ response to Emily’s List. E-PAC was launched in 2018 by Rep. Elise Stefanik to support female candidates in their primaries.

    So I guess it doesn’t matter if you hate Collin Peterson. He’s out anyway. The problem as far as I can tell is that a lot of Americans really want to vote for assholes.

  208. KG says

    Right now, projections show Biden on 221, Trump on 213. If these are correct, Biden has a number of ways to win even without Pennsylvania, but is far from safe. Unprojected so far: Alaska, Ariz., Ga., Hawaii, Maine (1 vote has gone to Biden), Mich., Nev., N.C., Pa., Wis. Trump, of course, has falsely claimed victory. Looks as though the Republicans will retain control of the Senate, Democrats of the House, though losing some ground.

  209. says

    Charles Gaba with a positive take:

    As of this writing it looks like Biden will win the popular vote by millions, the Electoral Vote by a small to decent margin, and Dems will net +1 to +4 in the Senate & will retain control of the House.

    If these all happen (including +3 in the Senate), what am I missing?

    Of course I wanted a massive blue wave, and it sucks that we lost a half-dozen of the seats we flipped in 2018, and flipping the Senate is a lot less likely now than we thought…but it’s still feasible. *If* it plays out as I describe above, we at least bought ourselves time.

    Re. Senate:
    —Maine still feasible thanks to IRV
    —GA going to at least 1, possibly 2 runoffs

    Again, each of these are shaky but each is possible.

    We’ll see about the Senate, but the WH is the main thing.

  210. stroppy says

    @ 340

    And yet there they are. But I think our fate really hinges on the unbelievably clueless, and they are legion.

  211. gwelliott says

    @340

    My question is “How can we fight that?”. Most of our arguments hinge on motivating people by enlightened self interest (as empathy seems to be a lost cause). What do you do when that motivation doesn’t work?

  212. stroppy says

    @343

    The solutions are probably long term (good luck with that). For instance it would help if teaching (effective) civics in k12 was made mandatory again.

    It’s a little too late for the FCC to reign in the propaganda machines that have proliferated since the Reagan era. But if you want to look at our undoing, start there and deal with that.

  213. says

    Taniel:

    What we know:
    —Some outlets called #AZ & #NE02 for Biden. If holds, WI, MI, & NV enough if he wins them.
    —Biden up 0.6% in NV. Many ballots in Clark.
    —Biden up 0.7% in WI. Not a big chunk left.
    —Biden down 0.5% in MI, but many blue precincts left.
    —PA, GA, NC are also uncalled.

    There are questions about whether the late ballots in Clark may skewer redder than usual, in this unusual year where Dems voted so quickly. Also I haven’t delved too much in PA because so much is missing; just keep in mind mail will be very different.

    Senate map seems harder for Dems to claw out of, but:
    —Only +1 Dem in called races so far
    —MI: GOP narrowly up but many blue precincts left
    —NC & ME: uncalled, Tillis & Collins in the lead
    —Perdue sits at 50.8%; *may* go under 50% (unclear).
    —GA special heads to a runoff

  214. says

    Wow:

    This is just incredible. In Atlanta, which will go a long way toward determining the outcome of Georgia, USPS failed to deliver a substantial number of mail-in ballots. Thousands and thousands of ballots.

    In South Florida, the USPS failed to deliver ~27 percent of the mail ballots.

    In Florida, Michigan and Wisconsin, ballots that arrive after Election Day are not counted, regardless of when they were post-marked. Pennsylvania *might* accept ballots up to three days after the election, but the Supreme Court *could* revisit that in the coming days.

  215. says

    I’ll repeat SC’s comment 352 because that’s exactly how I feel:

    No matter how this election comes out, it is a tragedy that millions of people want this authoritarian, anti-constitutional sociopath to remain in the Oval Office.

    It will take a long time to tamp down trumpism.

  216. says

    American voters show up in droves, push turnout to 120-year high

    Turnout reach levels unseen in over a century.

    […] voter turnout reaching a 120-year high in this year’s elections. CNBC, relying on NBC News data, fleshed that out in a little more detail this morning:

    At least 159.8 million Americans voted in the 2020 presidential election, according to NBC News projections Wednesday morning. The projected vote total marks a record high number of ballots cast in a presidential election and the highest voter turnout rate among eligible citizens since 1900.

    To be sure, population growth matters when examining the numbers. Or put another way, looking at the raw total of ballots cast is important, but it makes for difficult comparisons given that the size of the U.S. population is vastly larger than it was in generations past.

    But that’s where percentages come into play. CNBC’s report added, “Around 239.2 million Americans were eligible to vote in 2020, according to the U.S. Elections Project. NBC News’ projected 159.8 million ballots cast in 2020 would constitute about a 66.8% voter turnout rate among eligible citizens — the highest since 1900.”

    And it’s tempting to end the conversation on this satisfying note. American voters have a reputation for failing to make themselves heard, especially as compared to voting rates in other leading democracies around the world, so there’s reason to feel a degree of pride — whether one is satisfied with the election results or not — when the U.S. electorate shows up in ways none of have seen in any of our lifetimes.

    The fact that so many voters cast ballots during a deadly pandemic makes the projected totals that much more heartening.

    But […] it also serves as a reminder of the inherent flaws in the electoral college. Projections suggest the Democratic ticket will defeat the Republican ticket in the popular vote by millions of ballots, but as of this minute, we don’t yet know whether that will be enough to secure a victory for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

    It leads to the realization that the nearly 160 million Americans may hear a difficult message: “Congratulations on the historic turnout, but power is going to the candidate most of you didn’t vote for. Again.”

    That’s what Chris Hayes said.

    Our voting system remains deeply flawed, even when many participate in it. Indeed, the New York Times’ Farhad Manjoo took aim in his new column at the “terribly inefficient, inaccessible, unfair and just plain backward” our voting process remains.

    High turnout notwithstanding, the glaring lesson of this year’s election is that we cannot go on this way. From the endless lines to the pre-election legal wrangling to the president’s constant effort to undermine the process, every ballot cast this year was a leap of faith: Would it get there in time? Would it get there at all? Would they try to toss it out because you voted from a car? Would they throw it out because you signed your name carelessly? Would judges be called upon to alter the mail-in deadline after the election had already begun? Would you ever be able to find the one dropbox in your sprawling county? And, after all that, would anyone believe the count, anyway?

    I’m delighted to see turnout reach levels unseen in over a century, but those who see the results as proof that our voting system is fine the way it is are mistaken.

    Link

  217. says

    Trump is on track to lose the popular vote twice. That will make him the first president since 1892 to lose the popular vote twice is successive elections. He is a loser.

  218. says

    Why Trump’s Election Night speech was so indefensible

    […] The New York Times reported on Trump’s early-in-the-morning remarks at the White House:

    With no winner in the 2020 race and votes still being counted in several battleground states, President Trump entered the East Room of the White House at 2:21 a.m. on Wednesday and asserted without evidence that the election was being taken from him by “a very sad group of people.”

    “As far as I am concerned,” the president declared, “we already have won it.”

    The problem, of course, is that reality is indifferent to Trump’s “concerns” — and the evidence does not show that he’s “already won” the race.

    Indeed, the president’s remarks featured one false claim after another. Trump said people were trying to “disenfranchise” his supporters, but he didn’t say how, and the very idea is ridiculous. Trump listed a series of states that he claimed to be winning, none of which have been called, and some of which he may yet lose.

    He equated counting votes with perpetrating a “fraud.” He suggested vote-counting should continue, but only in states he thinks he might love. He announced his intentions to go to the U.S. Supreme Court, but Trump didn’t even try to explain why or what case he expects the justices to hear.

    It was, as a Washington Post report noted this morning, “an extraordinary assault on the integrity of the U.S. election system” from the sitting American president.

    It seemed almost fitting, in a tragic way, to see Trump, after brazenly lying to the nation for his entire term, lying once more on Election Night.

    The president’s lying, however, is likely to prove inconsequential. The Republican can say he’s already won as far as he’s concerned, but that only matters in his imagination. He was clearly trying to create the impression of a victory, likely hoping to delegitimize a possible defeat, but this was more of a tantrum than a meaningful presidential declaration.

    Not surprisingly, Joe Biden’s campaign wasted little time in pushing back.

    “The president’s statement tonight about trying to shut down the counting of duly cast ballots was outrageous, unprecedented, and incorrect,” Biden campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon said in a statement. “It was outrageous because it is a naked effort to take away the democratic rights of American citizens.”

    She added, “We repeat what the Vice President said tonight: Donald Trump does not decide the outcome of this election. Joe Biden does not decide the outcome of this election. The American people decide the outcome of this election. And the democratic process must and will continue until its conclusion.”

  219. says

    New Mexico will become the first state in the country in January to be entirely represented in the House of Representatives by women of color.

    The state is sending Rep. Deb Haaland back to the House after she became one of the first Native American women elected to Congress in 2018.

    Haaland will be joined by Democrat Teresa Leger Fernandez, who triumphed in the state’s 3rd Congressional District. Fernandez won an open seat left behind by Democratic Rep. Ben Ray Luján, who is the projected winner of the state’s open U.S. Senate seat, according to the AP.

    Republican Yvette Herrell, a member of the Cherokee Nation, unseated Democratic Rep. Xochitl Torres Small in the 2nd Congressional District.

    Link

  220. says

    Florida voters passed a ballot initiative for a $15 minimum wage.

    Scott Walker (Trump supporter, Republican) says that Biden’s lead in Wisconsin is too big to trigger a recount.

  221. says

    From Wonkette:

    […] the Squad endured. House Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, Rashida Tlaib, and Ilhan Omar all won reelection, despite serving as rightwing bogeywomen for the past two years. Ocasio-Cortez and Pressley’s seats might’ve been relatively safe but Tlaib and Omar were less so. […]

    They’re still here and if all goes well, Trump won’t be.

    There was a brief scare last night when it seemed like badass freshman Rep. Lauren Underwood might lose, but she’s holding on to a narrow lead in Illinois’ 14th District. Over in Kansas’ Third District, Rep. Sharice Davids decisively held off her Republican challenger. I’d already bragged about Lucy McBath’s anticipated win in Georgia’s Sixth, but I’ll do so again. It’s official! She defeated Republican Karen Handel by an even larger margin than last time. Huzzah!

    Here’s the new representative from Missouri’s First District, Cori Bush, addressing supporters after her victory last night. [Video is available at the link.]

    [snipped info about New Mexico, see comment 358]

    New York Democrats Ritchie Torres and Mondaire Jones both made history last night as the first openly gay Black men elected to Congress. Torres defeated homophobic jerk Rubén Diaz Sr. in June’s Democratic primary. […]

    https://www.wonkette.com/hey-some-democrats-we-like-won-their-races-last-night

    See Trickster’s comment 338 for news about Sarah McBride.

  222. says

    Re #354, it seems many of us are confused in the same way. I’m thinking the 20,000 number was with 95% of 97% of the vote in, so that’s not the final number, which they inexplicably have not yet produced even though all of the votes have been counted.

  223. says

    Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), a top ally of President Trump, broke from the president early Wednesday after Trump falsely declared victory at a press conference that came as many states were still counting ballots.

    Christie told news anchors presiding over ABC’s election night coverage that he disagreed with the president’s remarks, in particular with Trump’s baseless allegation that his political enemies were attempting to fraudulently take the election.

    “I talk tonight not as a former governor, but as a former U.S. attorney. There’s just no basis to make that argument tonight. There just isn’t,” said Christie, who previously served as U.S. attorney for New Jersey.

    “The argument won’t even start in Pennsylvania until tomorrow, or Thursday or Friday,” Christie added, referring to reports that Pennsylvania election officials in some of the state’s most populous counties had stopped counting ballots for the night. […]

    His remarks were echoed by former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum (R), another frequent political ally of Trump’s, on CNN.

    “I was very distressed by what I just heard the president say,” Santorum told CNN analysts and hosts of the network’s coverage.

    “The idea of using the word ‘fraud’ being committed by people counting votes is wrong,” he continued. “They’re counting the absentee and mail-in ballots right now. And some counties have stopped counting. Why have they stopped counting? Because it’s 2:48 in the morning!”

    Condemnations from the two allies of the president came as journalists and political pundits across numerous networks and media organizations roundly denounced the president’s remarks. […]

    Link

    Yeah, people denounced Trump’s remarks, but they still aired them on live TV.

  224. KG says

    SC@361,
    When they say all the votes have been counted, wouldn’t they just mean that in every place where votes are counted, that process has been completed? The total would still have to be tallied, checked and rechecked, and any anomalies dealt with – very carefully when the result is at all close, one hopes. I’d guess (I don’t know) that that is the source of the confusion.

  225. stroppy says

    … denounced Trump’s remarks…
    from what I’ve heard so far, largely as “unprecedented” instead of as a “bald-faced, and vicious attack on American Democracy by a known, dangerously psychopathic, lier, thief, scam artist, and bully striving to mold himself into an American Mussolini.”

  226. says

    KG @ #364, I think they meant all of the counties had finished their counting, and I think that means they’re checked at that level. I don’t believe the state produces an official tally until like next week sometime, but the counties post their totals to a site, and that’s what the media goes by. For some reason, some must not have done that yet. Also, Trump says he’s going to demand a recount if it’s under 1%, which he can do. The 20,000 Biden lead would be under 1%, but highly unlikely to change significantly in a recount. But maybe the lead is more or less than that with 100% in. I don’t know. I don’t know why the AP has had it stuck on 95% for several hours.

  227. says

    In Arizona, which turned blue last night, conservatives are cooking up a conspiracy theory that is already being called #SharpieGate.

    The gist is they believe poll workers gave Trump supporters Sharpie markers to fill out ballots, which then somehow invalidated their votes.

    This theory is of course bogus.

    Elections officials in Maricopa County, Arizona’s most populous county, explicitly say online that polling sites ‘use fine tip sharpies as they have the fastest drying ink’. [link to their site atl]

    #SharpieGate is essentially collective hysteria.

    Looks like major Republican activist [Matt Schlapp] is running with the easily debunked #SharpieGate nonsense now. He’s tweeted about it multiple times in the past hour, telling voters to call the Arizona attorney general.”

  228. KG says

    SC@367,
    There’s definitely something odd about the AP’s “% counted” figures: they have had Pennsylvania stuck on 64% (36% left to count) even as Trump’s lead has declined from 12.6% to 8%..

  229. KG says

    SC@368,
    According to FiveThirtyEight, ABC won’t call a state if the lead is under 1% – maybe AP has a similar rule.

  230. says

    MoJo – “Federal Judge Wants Louis DeJoy to Testify Under Oath About Mail Delays”:

    A federal judge excoriated lawyers for the United States Postal Service on Wednesday for failing to comply with a court order on Election Day requiring postal inspectors to conduct sweeps of processing plans to make sure mail ballots were sent on time. “In no uncertain terms, I’m not pleased about this 11th-hour development last night,” Judge Emmet Sullivan told Justice Department lawyers representing USPS. “You can tell your clients that—and someone might have a price to pay.”

    Sullivan said he wanted Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to sit for a deposition or appear before his courtroom under oath, saying that the failure to follow the court order starts “at the top of the food chain.” Samuel Spital of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, which is challenging USPS policies that have lead to major mail delays, said he might seek a contempt-of-court order against DeJoy next week.

    Last month, Sullivan ordered USPS to reverse policies implemented under DeJoy that led to major delays over the summer, such as prohibiting postal workers from making extra trips to deliver the mail. The Postal Service was slow to comply with the court order, and mail delays have gotten worse closer to the election, leading to fears that ballots will be rejected if they do not arrive on time. At least 30 states require mail ballots to be received by Election Day.

    Yesterday, there were media reports that 300,000 ballots were not delivered on time, but that number is misleading because USPS is sending ballots without scanning them to expedite delivery, according to the agency. The Postal Service said it had no time to complete the sweep Sullivan ordered yesterday, but did its own investigation and found only 13 missing ballots, which were subsequently delivered on time.

    Still, as of Election Day, there were nearly 27 million mail ballots that had been sent to voters but not mailed back. We don’t know if those voters dropped their ballots off, voted in person, or didn’t vote at all, but it’s still possible that thousands of votes could be rejected for arriving too late.

  231. says

    Trump asks election questions he ought to know the answers to

    Trump’s election night speech appeared designed to undermine confidence in his own country’s election system. His latest tweets were no better.

    Trump is incredibly ignorant.

    Donald Trump’s election night speech appeared designed to undermine the integrity of his own country’s election system. This morning, true to form, the president kept the offensive going via Twitter — with a series of missives the social-media company flagged as “misleading.”

    Let’s take them one at a time. […]

    “Last night I was leading, often solidly, in many key States, in almost all instances Democrat run [and] controlled. Then, one by one, they started to magically disappear as surprise ballot dumps were counted. VERY STRANGE.”

    This turns reality on its head. As everyone involved in the process expected — and encouraged the public to understand — preliminary Republican leads in the vote tallies would fall once election officials started counting early-voting and mail-in ballots, especially those cast in predominantly Democratic areas. This isn’t a “surprise,” and there’s nothing “magical” about any of it.

    If [Trump] finds this frustrating, he can blame GOP state legislators who refused to allow election officials to start counting the votes ahead of Election Day.

    That led to the second tweet on the subject:

    “How come every time they count Mail-In ballot dumps they are so devastating in their percentage and power of destruction?”

    This is likely because Democrats focused so heavily on encouraging their supporters to take advantage of voting by mail, while Trump spent months telling his supporters that postal balloting is a societal scourge. Or as MSNBC’s Hayes Brown put it, in response to the president, “Because you spent months telling your voters not to use mail-in voting, ya dunce.”

    These are not “ballot dumps” in any meaningful sense. These are legal ballots, cast through a legitimate process, which are proving “devastating” to the GOP ticket because they’re from voters who preferred Trump’s opponent.

    And then we were treated to this presidential tweet:

    “They are finding Biden votes all over the place — in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan. So bad for our Country!”

    “Finding” votes makes it sound as if these ballots were somehow lost. That’s absurd. At issue are ballots election officials had, but are just now counting, and which are benefiting Democrats — just as everyone has expected all along.

    I won’t pretend to know whether Trump understands the basics of the vote-counting process or is merely pretending to be confused as a way of deceiving his followers. Either way, the bottom line remains the same: the president’s efforts to undermine public confidence in the legitimacy of the process are indefensible. For an incumbent to argue that there’s something nefarious about counting votes says a great deal about his expectations for the outcome.

  232. says

    Details regarding the lawsuit filed by the Trump campaign in Michigan:

    These are not “ballot dumps” in any meaningful sense. These are legal ballots, cast through a legitimate process, which are proving “devastating” to the GOP ticket because they’re from voters who preferred Trump’s opponent.

    And then we were treated to this presidential tweet:

    “They are finding Biden votes all over the place — in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan. So bad for our Country!”

    “Finding” votes makes it sound as if these ballots were somehow lost. That’s absurd. At issue are ballots election officials had, but are just now counting, and which are benefiting Democrats — just as everyone has expected all along.

    I won’t pretend to know whether Trump understands the basics of the vote-counting process or is merely pretending to be confused as a way of deceiving his followers. Either way, the bottom line remains the same: the president’s efforts to undermine public confidence in the legitimacy of the process are indefensible. For an incumbent to argue that there’s something nefarious about counting votes says a great deal about his expectations for the outcome.

    Link

    From comments posted by readers of the article:

    I worked as an election inspector in a “blue” precinct in MI yesterday. Two challengers representing the MI GOP were present. They engaged in acts of election worker and voter intimidation — interrupting our conversations with voters, hovering over us as we tried to work, standing up and following voters through the process while scribbling notes and talking to each other (this seemed to happen more to voters of color and college aged students). They questioned and intimidated and slowed down the process. Officials had to be called in to intervene. They seem to have a well-oiled machine here, and will engage in mean-spirited and dubious if not illegal tactics to try to take the state.

  233. says

    Dave Wasserman:

    To my eye, Biden is likely hitting the targets he needs in PA counties to be on track to finish ahead. And recounts don’t typically overturn the margins we’re likely to see for him in MI/WI.

    If Biden does prevail in MI/PA/WI, then AZ/GA/NV wouldn’t matter to the outcome.

  234. says

    From Zach Wolf:

    Trump wants no more counting in PA, GA
    (where he’s ahead)

    He wants to continue counting in Nevada / Arizona
    (where he’s behind)

    He wants a REcount in Wisconsin
    (where all votes have been counted)

  235. says

    Follow-up to SC @374.

    It was Trump’s Justice Department (William Lickspittle Barr) who represented the Postal Service in informing Judge Sullivan that inspecting the sorting facilities, as ordered by the judge, would be too hard to do. So they didn’t do it. I wanted to emphasize that Barr is involved.

    From Wonkette:

    […] Sullivan issued the order for the sweep of sorting facilities after USPS data showed that, as of Monday, some 300,000 absentee ballots had been scanned as entering the system but hadn’t yet been scanned as delivered. The Washington Post notes a potential explanation for that: [as SC already noted up-thread]

    The agency said the quantity of those ballots that may have been misplaced was likely very low; postal officials ordered mail clerks to sort ballots by hand in many locations and items that were pulled out midstream for expedited delivery were not given an exit scan.

    “We know yesterday that if the sweeps were doing their job, mail that was identified as ballots and were in the system should have been pulled out and delivered, and it may be that affects what we see as the scores,” said Allison Zieve, an attorney representing the NAACP, which brought the lawsuit against the Postal Service with other civil rights groups.

    But Zieve went on to add that because the USPS hasn’t been entirely transparent, there’s still doubt as to how many ballots went missing. “[It’s] hard to know whether the numbers we saw today — the low [on-time delivery] scores for example in Atlanta and Central Pennsylvania — it’s hard to assess how big a problem that is.” And even a few hundred ballots that were sent in the mail but not delivered on time could make the difference in several of the close races for which we’re still waiting for results. […]

    Link

  236. says

    CNN – “A North Dakota state legislature candidate who died from Covid-19 appears to have won his election”:

    David Andahl, a North Dakota businessman and rancher, died October 5 after a battle with Covid-19. And about a month later, he appears to have been elected to the state House.

    The Republican candidate is projected to win one of two seats from among four candidates in the race for North Dakota’s 8th district. He received about 35.53% of the total votes, according to unofficial results from the state. Fellow GOP candidate Dave Nehring is projected to win the other seat, with about 40.72% of the vote.

    Andahl’s death in October had prompted questions about what would happen were he to win the election in November. North Dakota’s attorney general issued an opinion stating that the situation would be treated just as an official’s decision to step down or retire, meaning that the district’s Republican Party would appoint a representative to fill his vacant seat.

    His family announced that he had died of the virus in a statement on his campaign’s Facebook page last month. He was 55.

    Andahl’s death comes as North Dakota has been dealing with an alarming number of coronavirus cases. Cases in the state have been steadily climbing since mid-August and on Tuesday, North Dakota reached a peak in its seven-day average of new daily cases….

  237. says

    From Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, a Republican:

    I thought it [Trump falsely claiming that he won the election] was outrageous and uncalled for and a terrible mistake. I have often said, while we may have disagreements here and there, I said sometimes the president can be his own worst enemy. I think that was another example of it early this morning with the lashing out.

    Regardless of where you stand on this race and what party you are, and who you voted for, most Americans really want a free and fair election process and they want us to count the votes. I think they are doing that in every state, that they’re being very cautious to make sure we count all the absentee ballots and provisional ballots, there’s Republicans and Democrats overseeing the process.

    And to stir up all of this anger and frustration, I mean, I think is a really bad mistake for the president to make and, quite frankly, I think that’s what voters rejected in this race, was the divisiveness and the kind of anger on both sides.

  238. says

    Trump campaign says it is suing to temporarily halt Pennsylvania, Michigan vote counts as Joe Biden’s win in Wisconsin gets Democrat closer to 270 electoral votes.”

    He’s suing (or claiming to be suing – not sure if anything’s actually been filed) to halt counting in a state where he’s currently down tens of thousands of votes.

  239. tomh says

    Or if he wins NV and AZ, which he is leading and almost certainly will win, he doesn’t need Pennsylvania. This would be best since it would make the legal challenges there irrelevant.

  240. says

    Guardian world liveblog (linked @ #372 above):

    Brazil reported another 23,976 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the past 24 hours, and a further 610 deaths from Covid-19, the health ministry said on Wednesday. The country has now registered 5,590,025 infections since the pandemic began, while the official death toll has risen to 161,106, according to ministry data, in the world’s most fatal outbreak outside the United States.

    Irinej, the ageing patriarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church, the country’s largest Christian denomination, was hospitalised on Wednesday after testing positive for the coronavirus, his office said.

    Irinej, 90, was “routinely tested following an epidemiological assessment,” and remains “without symptoms and in excellent health”, a statement said.

    “His Holiness is hospitalised in a COVID hospital in Belgrade,” Irinej’s office said.

    On Sunday, Irinej attended the funeral of Metropolitan Amfilohije, the most senior cleric of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Montenegro, who died from Covid-19.

    Throngs of mourners, many without masks, gathered at Amfilohije’s funeral in Montenegro’s capital Podgorica, despite a rise in coronavirus cases.

    Joanikije, another prominent Montenegro bishop who attended the funeral, was diagnosed with “minor pneumonia,” his diocese said on Tuesday.

    Montenegro’s prime minister-designate Zdravko Krivokapic, Serbia’s president Aleksandar Vucic and Milorad Dodik, the Serb member of Bosnia’s presidency, also attended the funeral in Podgorica.

    So far 53,495 people have tested positive for Covid-19 and 850 have died in Serbia, a country of 7.2 million. Montenegro, with a population of 620,000, has so far reported 326 deaths and 20,581 infections.

    The Serbian Orthodox Church has about 12 million followers, mainly in Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia.

  241. Ichthyic says

    “it would make the legal challenges there irrelevant.”

    sadly no. the point of filing the state lawsuits to begin with is just to set the groundwork for appealing rulings up to SCOTUS.

    If this election DOESN’T get decided by SCOTUS, I will frankly be surprised.

  242. says

    Twitter, Facebook label Trump camp’s posts prematurely claiming victory in Pennsylvania

    Facebook and Twitter slapped labels on posts by President Trump’s allies prematurely claiming victory in Pennsylvania, though critics argued the social media platforms moved too slowly.

    Eric Trump, one of the president’s two adult sons, at roughly 3:30 p.m. ET tweeted: “We have won Pennsylvania!”

    At that time, more than a million mail-in ballots remained uncounted in a contest where Trump leads by just over 300,000 votes. Democratic nominee Joe Biden has been winning mail-in votes in Pennsylvania by a nearly 4-to-1 margin, suggesting many of the remaining mail-in ballots would favor the former vice president.

    Twitter appended a label noting that “official sources may not have called the race when this was tweeted” shortly before 4 p.m. ET based on the platforms civic integrity policy. But by then the tweet had spread widely on social media. The tweet has been shared over 30,000 times.

    White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany tweeted “VICTORY for President @realDonaldTrump in PENNSYLVANIA” at roughly the same time as Eric Trump’s post and the same label was applied.

    Facebook added a label saying “final results may be different from the initial vote counts, as ballot counting will continue for days or weeks after polls close” to the same McEnany post on its platform.

    Facebook reportedly had decided earlier not to label premature victory declaration at the state level, only at the national level. It later changed that policy, reportedly early Wednesday morning. […]

  243. tomh says

    @ 394
    PA will be irrelevant if Biden gets to 270 without it. I don’t know what your point is.

  244. says

    Trump campaign files with U.S. Supreme Court to stop late-arriving ballots from being counted

    The Trump campaign claimed it was filing suit to stop the vote count in Michigan, as it was staging a redux of the Brook Brothers riot of 2000 at a vote counting center in Detroit Wednesday. That’s a direct attempt to try to intimidate poll workers. The campaign is going a different route to stop the vote counting in Pennsylvania, with margins in the state shrinking. With 1.1 million ballots still outstanding, the Trump campaign filed this suit, then immediately declared victory. That’s both another attempt to intimidate, as well as telling the Supreme Court what they expect out of this.

    To recap the Pennsylvania situation, the state Supreme Court ordered a three-day extension to allow counting of ballots clearly postmarked on or before Election Day or that had missing or illegible postmarks “unless a preponderance of the evidence demonstrates that it was mailed after Election Day.” The U.S. Supreme Court deadlocked, 4-4 leaving the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling to stand. Last week, the SCOTUS rejected a request from Pennsylvania Republicans to fast-track a rehearing, but three of the court’s conservatives made it clear that they would welcome Republicans coming back if the vote is close enough, or Trump asks for it. […]

  245. says

    It’s Nov. 4 and COVID-19 isn’t just still with us, it’s actually worse than ever

    Donald Trump may have predicted that on Nov. 4 the coronavirus pandemic would no longer be an issue, but here’s a shocker—Trump was wrong. Marching millions of Americans to the polls to vote did not make the virus go away any more than any of the other “magic” Trump has suggested.

    […] on Election Day […] 1,200 Americans lost their lives on a day that scored just under previous records for highest day with 95,000 confirmed cases.

    […] Trump focused on fighting votes rather than disease. […]

    […] Wisconsin may have been a tight race at the ballot box, but it blew away all records for new [coronavirus] cases. Ohio might have stayed red, and Minnesota might have remained blue, but both states were funeral black as they set new records in the nation for COVID-19.

    […] If this were just a Midwestern surge, it might be addressable through actions at the state level. It’s not. States like Texas and Florida have returned to levels not seen since August, and Arizona is seeing an increase in cases and in deaths. This surge is so broad-based and so pervasive that it threatens to create a mountain of cases against which everything that has happened so far has been a foothill. Last week, the number of new cases in a single day broke 100,000 for the first time. […]

    […] Even if everyone around you is tired of wearing masks and socially distancing, keep your mask and keep your distance. It’s a lot easier to survive a bout of peer pressure than it is to be intubated.

    Support your local businesses, but do so in a safe way. Use curbside pickup at your local restaurant. Order from local bookstores and retailers. If you have to, put on your mask, go in for your carry out, and get out of there.

    Take advantage of any good weather days remaining in your area to have some outside chats, at an appropriate distance.

    Wash your hands. […]

    Avoid indoor spaces and gatherings of all types. That includes Thanksgiving. Remember: It doesn’t matter how good grandma’s pie might be if you’ve lost your sense of taste because of #@%@ing coronavirus. […]

    Don’t catch this thing. It’s really bad. The catalog of all the ways it’s bad is still growing, and we’re not going to understand for years all the damage that’s really been done. I know you’re tired. We’re all tired. But keep taking it seriously, and we will get through it.

    Remember, a vaccine is coming and—barring the intervention of the Supreme Court—it looks very much like President Biden is coming. Get through these next three months, and we’ll likely have both a national mask mandate, some of the first vaccines will be heading for first responders, and a national system of testing and contact management will genuinely be on the way. But if you want to see that, you have to be around to see that. By not catching COVID-19.

    Surprise, Donald: It’s Nov. 4, and I’m still talking about COVID-19!

  246. Ichthyic says

    “PA will be irrelevant if Biden gets to 270 without it. I don’t know what your point is.”

    the point is the lawsuits have nothing to do with who wins the electoral vote, and everything to do with Trump running this to SCOTUS to claim “fraud”.

    you KNOW he’s going to. stop pretending he won’t. why the FUCK do you think they rushed Amy into there to begin with?

  247. says

    From batshit bonkers Hair Furor:

    We have claimed, for Electoral Vote purposes, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (which won’t allow legal observers) the State of Georgia, and the State of North Carolina, each one of which has a BIG Trump lead. Additionally, we hereby claim the State of Michigan […]

  248. says

    In response to Trump’s statement, as shown in comment 404:

    States are not Trump’s to claim. The votes, which are being counted, decide who wins them.

    “Hereby” is the word Trump uses when he is trying to sound official while making a declaration he has no power to make. [from Daniel Dale]

  249. says

    Also from Daniel Dale:

    That is a FALSE tweet going viral among Democrats about 40,000 rejected mail ballots in Georgia’s DeKalb County, as @JessicaHuseman has pointed out. Here are the facts from the county itself: “Voters: there is incorrect info circulating regarding the number of DeKalb ballots that need to be cured by Friday. Currently, there are approximately 200 ballots that need to be cured and each voter is being contacted via phone or overnight mail.”

    Also:

    Less than 14 hours after Trump said “we won” Michigan, it’s clear Trump has lost Michigan.

    It’s not just Trump lying. It’s a whole ecosystem of lying.

    On Fox News, politics editor Chris Stirewalt says: “Lawsuits, schmawsuits. We haven’t seen any evidence yet that there’s anything wrong.”

  250. says

    From Kayleigh McEnany:

    VICTORY for President @realDonaldTrump in PENNSYLVANIA ‼️

    From Eric Trump:

    We have won Pennsylvania!

    From Daniel Dale:

    They have not won Pennsylvania.

    Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien says on a press call that “we are declaring a victory in Pennsylvania.”

    No. Wait for the votes to be counted.

  251. says

    From asshat Donald Trump:

    there was a large number of secretly dumped ballots as has been widely reported.

    From Daniel Dale:

    No.

    The “ballot dumps” people talk about on Twitter refer to moments in which we get a substantial number of newly counted votes from a particular state or county entered into (“dumped” into) the public totals.

    I think Trump is getting stupider by the minute.

  252. says

    Joe Biden’s prediction: “‘After a long night of counting, it’s clear we’re winning enough states to win 270 electoral votes to win the presidency,’ Biden told a small group of reporters at the Chase Center on the Riverfront in Wilmington, Delaware. ‘When the count is finished, we will be the winners,’ Biden said.”

    From NBC News:

    […] Donald Trump is being encouraged by aides and advisers to not give up on his shrinking odds of victory, with those in his orbit determined to push a range of allegations about voting irregularities as they hold out hope that the count somehow shifts in his favor.

    Campaign officials, along with White House senior adviser Jared Kushner and chief of staff Mark Meadows, huddled at the campaign’s Virginia headquarters Wednesday afternoon plotting strategy and legal battles ahead. Aides plan to make sure Trump is very visible in the days ahead performing presidential duties while his campaign tries to challenge results on multiple fronts.

    If Democrat Joe Biden’s leads in Arizona and Nevada hold, he will have enough Electoral College votes to win regardless of the outcomes in Pennsylvania and Georgia, where the contests also remained close. After Michigan was called by NBC News and other major news organizations as a win for Biden, Trump attempted to call the race for himself, something he can’t do. […]

    Ah, so Trump’s aides and advisors are encouraging him to act like a poo-flinging monkey.

    And what “presidential duties” do his aides plan to highlight? Tweeting?

  253. says

    From NPR:

    As the world’s attention remained on the American elections, Ethiopia seemed on the brink of war. Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed ordered an attack against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the state government in charge of Ethiopia’s northernmost region. Abiy accused the TPLF of attacking a federal military base in the overnight hours on Tuesday.

  254. says

    Well, crap. This is not good.

    The 7th Circuit brought back the Public Charge policy: “A federal appeals court has allowed a Trump administration rule that would deny green cards to immigrants who use public benefits like food stamps to go back into effect while it considers the case.”

    Star Tribune link. More at the link.

  255. says

    Update to comment 399

    Biden has 253 electoral college votes, and 70,426,860 votes. Trump has 214 electoral college votes, and 67,192,657 votes.

  256. says

    Humor/satire from Andy Borowitz:

    Hinting darkly that “there’s something going on,” Donald J. Trump has asked the United States Supreme Court to rule that Wisconsin is not a state.

    “I’ve been hearing strange things coming out of Wisconsin, which is a rigged hoax claiming to be a state,” Trump told reporters. “I think it’s disgraceful.”

    When asked by a reporter to explain Wisconsin’s admission to the Union, in 1848, Trump said, “Show me one person who saw that happen. You can’t, because they’re all dead. That’s very convenient and very cute.”

    Trump also said that Wisconsin had no right to call itself “the Badger State.”

    “First of all, it’s not a state,” Trump said. “Second of all, there are no badgers there. I’ve been there many, many times and have never seen a badger. Wisconsin should apologize to the entire badger race.”

    New Yorker link

  257. says

    On Wednesday afternoon, networks began calling Michigan for Joe Biden. This followed the Wisconsin call earlier in the day. When Fox News joined in a few hours after the rest, the call they’ve already made on Arizona means they’re showing Biden with 264 electoral votes. As soon as Nevada unloads some additional votes, Fox might actually be the first to call it for President-Elect Biden.

    Donald Trump clearly could not have this. So he decided to simply preempt the whole vote counting thing and just start … claiming states. “We have claimed, for Electoral Vote purposes, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, “ tweeted Trump. And Georgia. And North Carolina. And … “Additionally, we hereby claim the State of Michigan.” Because that’s how the system works, sugarbear. First claimed, first served. No takesy backsy. Oh, also note the royal “we.”

    It’s unclear exactly WTF Trump thinks he’s actually doing here. You can’t just “claim” states, no matter how simple that might make this game. However, Trump appears to be channeling Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés. Which is fitting, since they both like gold.

    Trump has not actually sallied forth to plant little Team Trump flags on the states he’s claimed. Yet. Though he does seem to think using the word “hereby” a lot, and fully spelling out “the State of …” makes this very official. […]

    Link

  258. says

    Guardian world liveblog:

    Londoners appear to have shrugged off the UK’s resurgent Covid-19 pandemic as they flocked to pubs and restaurants on Wednesday night, hours before the introduction of a new month-long lockdown across England.

    While the UK’s death toll from the coronavirus rose on Wednesday by 492, the most since mid-May, Soho was teeming with revellers seeking one last night out before lockdown.

    People will be ordered to stay at home from 00:01 GMT on Thursday to combat a surge in new infections that scientists say could, if unchecked, cause more deaths than a first wave that forced a three-month lockdown earlier this year.

    The UK has the highest official death toll in Europe from Covid-19 and is grappling with more than 20,000 new coronavirus cases a day. Scientists warned the “worst-case” scenario of 80,000 dead could be exceeded without action.

    Even before Wednesday, data from restaurant bookings service OpenTable showed a surge in demand for London eateries during the run-up to the new lockdown.

    Several English police forces used social media to urge people going out on Wednesday night to follow social-distancing rules.

    Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have their own lockdown policies and enacted tougher restrictions last month.

  259. says

    The Trump campaign’s desperate last stand in Pennsylvania included Rudi Giuliani. How desperate do you have to be to rely on Rudy?

    In a parking lot by a warehouse next to the Philadelphia airport, the Trump campaign made its last stand for Pennsylvania on Wednesday.

    Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani, Eric Trump, former 2016 campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, and former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi all gathered to declare the state for Trump and rage against those in the media and political worlds who have been conspiring against them.

    “We are going to file suit in Pennsylvania,” fumed Eric Trump, referring to a Supreme Court bid that the Trump campaign filed to try to invalidate ballots arriving in the state after Nov. 4. “This is rampant corruption, and it can’t happen,” he yelled at a staccato pace, before adding that his dad would win the state.

    Giuliani, playing with his glasses as he spoke, argued that Pennsylvania has “a reputation for dead people voting.”

    “We’re going to go look at just how many dead people voted here,” he said, before making a vague threat about filing a “national legal challenge.”

    But as Wednesday wears on, securing Pennsylvania looks to be a steeper and steeper climb for President Trump. Joe Biden has narrowed the margin between the two to 300,000 votes [it’s even less now], according to an AP tally, with an estimated 86 percent of the vote counted. The outstanding votes are from areas that tend to favor the Democratic party, fueling the hopes of Biden advisers who see a victory in the state. […]

    Giuliani continued, accusing Biden, not a member of the army of dead voters, of having voted 5,000 times in the Keystone State. And so halfway through Giuliani’s remarks at the hastily convened event, Fox News interrupted with an update: it was calling Michigan for Biden.

    “We are continuing to monitor Rudy Giuliani,” said Neil Cavuto. “You might have noticed that something happened for Joe Biden. Our decision desk has taken a look at Michigan and concluded Joe Biden has won Michigan and gets the 16 electoral votes.”

    Per Fox News’s count, which has already placed Arizona in Biden’s column, that leaves the former vice president with only six electoral votes outstanding to win, raising the question of why Giuliani and company found themselves in a parking lot outside of Philadelphia to begin with.

    Link

    From comments posted by readers of the TPM article:

    Giuliani, playing with his glasses as he spoke, argued that Pennsylvania has “a reputation for dead people voting.”

    As an actual walking corpse, rudy probably knows a thing or two about dead people and their voting habits.
    ———————–
    “Rudy Giuliani, Eric Trump, former 2016 campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, and former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi all gathered”

    I take it the A team is too busy polishing up their resumes. I wouldn’t trust any of these clowns to resolve a parking ticket.
    —————-
    Meanwhile, sitting at his desk in the Supreme Court offices and sipping from his sixth can of Miller Lite of the morning, Justice Bart is madly trying to reconcile an opinion about stopping the vote in Pennsylvania with one requiring a recount in Wisconsin.
    ——————-
    If anybody knows corruption, it’s Eric and Giuiani.