Sep 25 2020

The Sturmabteilung

I am very serious.

Thousands of Proud Boys plan to rally in Portland, setting up another clash in a combustible city
By Cleve R. Wootson Jr., Washington Post
September 25, 2020

Thousands of members of the far-right Proud Boys plan to mass at a park here on Saturday afternoon, setting up another clash of liberal and conservative extremes in a city that has become the public front line for combustible — and deadly — political conflict.

The so-called Western chauvinist group espouses pro-Trump, police-friendly rhetoric, but its members have a reputation for sparking fights with the far left that devolve into mayhem. After four months of steady protests in this city, its choice to bring an armed, extremist crowd from all corners of the country to the Pacific Northwest again turns Portland into an ideological battlefield, a place where speech has crossed a dangerous line into violence.

President Trump has fanned the flames, saying that Portland and other Democratic cities condone lawlessness; he has ordered federal agents to take a stand against protesters and to make arrests, creating us-versus-them standoffs that appear bent on pitting the right against the left and characterizing it as good against evil.

Proud Boys chairman Enrique Tarrio said in an interview with The Washington Post that his group is making a stand for free speech in a place he believes encourages leftist riots and has sparked political violence against conservatives and law enforcement in other American cities.

“It’s the epicenter for all this. It goes beyond free speech right now. Portland has franchised these riots across the country,” Tarrio said, saying he hopes his event spurs authorities to take more action against demonstrators. Other cities “see these things happening, and they’re like: ‘We can do this here too.’ Portland leads by example.”

But Portland’s protesters said groups like the Proud Boys have been at the center of the summer’s worst recent conflicts, which some worry could be dwarfed by whatever happens Saturday.

“It just puts a very bad feeling in my stomach,” said Dustin Brandon, who attended Wednesday’s demonstration and has been at Black Lives Matter protests here since George Floyd was killed in May. “Everybody knows what’s happening September 26th in Portland, Oregon, and it’s not a good feeling. I’ve been here for every other time they’ve shown up, and it’s just gotten worse and worse and worse. … I just hope there’s no more bloodshed.”

Portland police, who broke up a protest that devolved into a riot on Wednesday, said their main plan is to keep the ideologically opposed groups as far away from each other as possible on Saturday. Left-leaning groups have planned a counter protest a few miles from Delta Park, where the Proud Boys plan to rally. Police also have encouraged event attendees to leave their guns at home.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) said Friday that the state police and county sheriff’s office would oversee the response to the protests Saturday and would be dispatching additional law enforcement to the area to patrol highways looking for people coming to town to “cause trouble.”

“People have come to Portland, time and time again, from out of town looking for a fight, and the results are always tragic,” Brown said. “Let me perfectly clear, we will not tolerate any kind of violence this weekend. Left, right or center, violence is never a path toward meaningful change. … Those stoking the flames of violence, those coming to Portland looking for a fight, will be held accountable.”

City officials this week denied the Proud Boys’s permit request for the park gathering, citing covid-19 safety concerns at the public park. Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler blasted the Proud Boys in a tweet on Wednesday: “Some in these groups and many who associate with them embody and empower racism, intolerance and hate. Those are not Portland values, and they are not welcome.”

Tarrio balked at the mayor’s words and said the rally will go on as planned.

“We did the right thing and asked for a permit,” he wrote on the social media sit. “Portland parks denied our permits citing 50 person max due to COVID. Lol … terrorists have been rioting across the city for 4 months … I’m sure they followed these guidelines.”

At the bottom of the post he included an image of the U.S. Constitution. “Here is the only permission I need.”

The Proud Boys are one of several predominantly White right-wing groups that have surfaced publicly since Trump’s election. Vice News creator Gavin McInnes started the group in 2016, though he has since distanced himself from the organization and its increasingly violent reputation.

The Proud Boys describe themselves as a “Western chauvinist” fraternal group that believes in ending welfare, closing the borders and strict adherence to traditional gender roles. They believe that White culture — and White men, in particular — are under attack from a world consumed by political correctness. The first step of becoming a member is reciting a loyalty oath that includes the phrase “I refuse to apologize for creating the modern world.”

The group latches onto controversial causes that larger segments of the right embrace — such as unwavering support for police, Islamophobia and fighting the removal of Confederate statues. But the Proud Boys also use coded language and irreverent humor to mask beliefs that are more sinister. Proud Boys networks spent the past week spreading memes and videos mocking the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

That nuanced stance has allowed the Proud Boys to grow even as other groups were vilified following the deadly “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, said Brian Levin, the director of the Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino.

“When you mix a combination of the shrouded and overt bigotry along with their propensity for violence and showing up at the most incendiary events, it really is a significant and growing risk,” Levin said. “It’s especially volatile when you overlay this political season where the election is considered a battleground in a civil war.”

Tarrio described the organization he chairs as a group of unapologetic Trump supporters who wield humor to poke at a society hobbled by political correctness. During his interview with The Post, he said he was at an Ikea in his home state of Florida, shopping for a shelf while wearing a shirt that said “Kyle Rittenhouse did nothing wrong,” a nod to the White teen accused of killing two people in Kenosha, Wis., during demonstrations after police shot a black man. But Tarrio said even the most triggering speech does not justify violence.

“When they go out on the streets and they’re like ‘bash the fash’ and ‘punch a Nazi,’ I believe they truly believe they’re doing good — ridding the world of this evil,” Tarrio said. “Then you get a situation like the shooting of Jay. One of my guys got ran over two weeks ago. They’ve thrown explosives at me.

“There’s genuine concern about police brutality, and it’s something people should protest, but (the Black Lives Matter) movements are getting co-opted and then it starts going in another direction: ‘Oh well, we’ve got to take down the statues, we’ve got to take this person’s name down, we’ve got to go protest in front of this person’s house,’” he said, referring to what some consider liberal efforts to erase America’s past.

Tarrio said the Proud Boys does not promote violence, but it does actively protect itself. He said the rally in the park is intended to be nonviolent, but he encouraged his members to bring fire extinguishers because “antifa thugs” have thrown fireworks and even molotov cocktails during conflicts. He also encouraged them to bring bear mace — the harsh irritant that witnesses said was deployed right before Reinoehl shot Danielson in Portland.Tarrio described the organization he chairs as a group of unapologetic Trump supporters who wield humor to poke at a society hobbled by political correctness. During his interview with The Post, he said he was at an Ikea in his home state of Florida, shopping for a shelf while wearing a shirt that said “Kyle Rittenhouse did nothing wrong,” a nod to the White teen accused of killing two people in Kenosha, Wis., during demonstrations after police shot a black man. But Tarrio said even the most triggering speech does not justify violence.

“When they go out on the streets and they’re like ‘bash the fash’ and ‘punch a Nazi,’ I believe they truly believe they’re doing good — ridding the world of this evil,” Tarrio said. “Then you get a situation like the shooting of Jay. One of my guys got ran over two weeks ago. They’ve thrown explosives at me.

“There’s genuine concern about police brutality, and it’s something people should protest, but (the Black Lives Matter) movements are getting co-opted and then it starts going in another direction: ‘Oh well, we’ve got to take down the statues, we’ve got to take this person’s name down, we’ve got to go protest in front of this person’s house,’” he said, referring to what some consider liberal efforts to erase America’s past.

Tarrio said the Proud Boys does not promote violence, but it does actively protect itself. He said the rally in the park is intended to be nonviolent, but he encouraged his members to bring fire extinguishers because “antifa thugs” have thrown fireworks and even molotov cocktails during conflicts. He also encouraged them to bring bear mace — the harsh irritant that witnesses said was deployed right before Reinoehl shot Danielson in Portland.

Some more background.

Revealed: pro-Trump activists plotted violence ahead of Portland rallies
by Jason Wilson and Robert Evans, The Guardian
@jason_a_w
Wed 23 Sep 2020

Leaked chat logs show Portland-area pro-Trump activists planning and training for violence, sourcing arms and ammunition and even suggesting political assassinations ahead of a series of contentious rallies in the Oregon city, including one scheduled for this weekend.

The chats on the GroupMe app, shared with the Guardian by the antifascist group Eugene Antifa, show conversations between Oregon members of the Patriots Coalition growing more extreme as they discuss armed confrontations with leftwing Portland activists, and consume a steady diet of online disinformation about protests and wildfires.

At times, rightwing activists discuss acts of violence at recent, contentious protests, which in some cases they were recorded carrying out. At one point, David Willis, a felon currently being sued for his alleged role in an earlier episode of political violence, joins a discussion about the use of paintballs.

Where other members had previously suggested freezing the paintballs for maximum damage, Willis wrote: “They make glass breaker balls that are rubber coated metal. They also have pepper balls but they are about 3 dollars a ball. Don’t freeze paintballs it makes them wildly inaccurate” [sic.]

Where other members had previously suggested freezing the paintballs for maximum damage, Willis wrote: “They make glass breaker balls that are rubber coated metal. They also have pepper balls but they are about 3 dollars a ball. Don’t freeze paintballs it makes them wildly inaccurate” [sic.]

Another prolific poster is Mark Melchi, a 41-year-old Dallas, Oregon-based car restorer who claims to have served as a captain in the US army.

Melchi has been recorded leading an armed pro-Trump militia, “1776 2.0” into downtown confrontations in Portland, including on 22 August. At several points in the chat he proposes violence in advance of those confrontations, and appears to confess to prior acts committed in the company of his paramilitary group.

In advance of the 22 August protest, Melchi wrote: “It’s going to be bloody and most likely shooting, they’re definitely armed… so let’s make sure we have an organized direction of movement and direction of clearing or other Patriots will be caught in the possible cross fire. When shit hits the fan.”

He advised other members to ignore weapons statutes, writing, “I saw someone say bats, mace, and stun guns are illegal downtown. If you’re going to play by the books tomorrow night, we already lost. We are here to make a change, laws will be broken, people will get hurt… It’s lawlessness downtown, and people need to be prepared for bad things.”

Following these comments, several rightwing demonstrators were recorded using gas and bats on 22 August, where Melchi and his militia were also present.

In other remarks ahead of the day, Melchi draws on what he claims is his group’s history of traveling to multiple states to engage in violence at protests.

“My Group 1776 2.0. Has been fighting Antifa in Seattle, Portland, for months”, Melchi writes, adding “this won’t be a simple fist fight. People will get shot, stabbed and beat.”

He also claims police cooperation in interstate violence, writing “Yes, going after them at night is the solution… Like we do in other states, tactical ambushes at night while backing up the police are key. You get the leaders and the violent ones and the police are happy to shut their mouths and cameras.”

Melchi nevertheless recommends that members disguise themselves to avoid the consequences of homicide.

“We must be ready to defend with lethal response… Suggest wearing mask and nothing to identify you on Camera…to prevent any future prosecution.”

Although some members are connected with extremist groups or militias, on the whole they describe themselves as “patriots”, and they express no clear ideology beyond a hatred of the left, and a preparedness to use violence. The shared allegiances expressed in the group are mostly to the police, the United States and Donald Trump, a person whom some say they are prepared to kill for.

Ahead of 22 August, a user “Paige” says “I’m waiting for the presidential go to start open firing”.

Melchi, the militia leader, responds, “Well Saturday may be that go lol”.

Alex Newhouse, the digital research lead at the Center for Terrorism, Extremism, and Counterterrorism at the Middlebury Institute, said of the group that “the main mechanism that makes these communities so dangerous is the incessant desensitization to the idea of political violence”.

Newhouse said that the ideas expressed in the group were entrenched in “extreme nationalism – that a few strong men with guns can together take out an evil that is at once imagined as an existential threat, and pathetically weak”. Newhouse added that the group’s discussions “fit within a broader trend of rightwing extremists becoming more accelerationist over time”.

The chatlogs became fractious at the peak of Oregon’s recent wildfire emergency. While some members said they had gone to rural areas to “hunt” imagined antifa arsonists, others became concerned about the dangers.

As early as 9 September, the baseless idea that the fires were a coordinated arson attack was treated as settled fact, with Melchi writing: “People have officially died from these Antifa Fires. I’d shoot them on site” [sic], and another user, Dub, responding: “Yes sir if I see them they are getting dropped where they stand.”

Raise the flag! The ranks tightly closed!
The SA marches with calm, steady step.
Comrades shot by the Red Front and reactionaries
March in spirit within our ranks.

Clear the streets for the brown battalions,
Clear the streets for the storm division!
Millions are looking upon the swastika full of hope,
The day of freedom and of bread dawns!

For the last time, the call to arms is sounded!
For the fight, we all stand prepared!
Already Hitler’s banners fly over all streets.
The time of bondage will last but a little while now!

Raise the flag! The ranks tightly closed!
The SA march with quiet, steady step.
Comrades shot by the Red Front and reactionaries,
March in spirit within our ranks

Sep 25 2020

Cartnoon

Not a funny one.

Sep 25 2020

The Breakfast Club (Courage To Change)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:00am (ET) (or whenever we get around to it) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

This Day in History

ine black students escorted into Little Rock’s Central High School; President Woodrow Wilson collapses; Author William Faulkner born; TV’s Barbara Walters and movie actor-producer Michael Douglas born.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

So much of life is what you roll and where you land.

Mark Hamill

Read the rest of this entry »

Sep 24 2020

Pondering the Pundits

Pondering the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news media and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Pondering the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Eugene Robinson: Our justice system values wallboards over Black lives

If we can’t have a murder trial, at least Breonna Taylor’s death shows us where to target our anger.

There was no justice for Breonna Taylor, so there was no peace Wednesday night on the streets of Louisville.

It is no surprise that the Louisville police officers who burst into Taylor’s apartment in the middle of the night and shot her dead escaped murder charges.

But the one indictment that was handed down by the grand jury actually makes the outcome feel worse. One officer was charged with “wanton endangerment,” a minor felony ranked alongside shoplifting, for stray shots he fired that entered an adjacent apartment but didn’t hit anyone. No one was charged with anything, not even a misdemeanor, for firing the bullets that ended Taylor’s life. There will be literally zero accountability for Taylor’s killing: The other two officers involved weren’t even fired.

How can that be? Do we have a justice system that values wallboard over human flesh? Or is this true only when the flesh in question belonged to a 26-year-old Black woman whose death can be written off as collateral damage? [..]

Why is Breonna Taylor dead? At every step of the way, the legal system treated her as if she didn’t matter.

The city of Louisville has agreed to pay Taylor’s family a reported $12 million in compensation for her death. The Civil War was supposed to have ended the time in America when Black bodies had only monetary value. At least the price has gone up.

Leana S. Wen: We’ve reached 200,000 deaths. Our response has gotten even worse than it was at 100,000.

As covid-19 has claimed another 100,000 lives, daily infections have risen, we have gotten worse at using the mitigation tools we have and the CDC’s credibility has eroded.

The United States has reached the grim milestone of 200,000 deaths from covid-19. We are in a much worse place than we were when we crossed the 100,000-death threshold in May.

Why? Start with the numbers. In late May, we had about 20,000 new infections per day. Now we are at double that, with around 40,000 new daily infections. This is a high baseline to have entering the fall and winter, when the combination of quarantine fatigue and cold weather could drive people to congregate indoors and substantially increase transmission.

In addition, restrictions keep getting lifted, even in states with surging infections. The nearly 2 million students returning for in-person instruction will surely lead to more outbreaks, as some college towns are already emerging as new coronavirus hot spots. In 27 states, the number of infections this week is higher than it was last week. In 14, the test positivity rate is in the double digits, which means the true infection rate is much higher.

Max Boot: Trump is the worst threat to our democracy since the 1930s

Trump just made clear he will hold on to power by any means necessary.

It is not simply the casting of ballots that makes a democracy. Many dictatorships have faux elections that change nothing. The real test of a nation’s political system is whether politicians respect the will of the voters — and in particular whether the most powerful leader, the one in control of the armed forces, willingly gives up power after losing an election. This is a test that countries such as Belarus and Zimbabwe have failed, and that the United States has passed, in good times and bad, for more than two centuries. Indeed, few presidents are even asked about their willingness to give up power because the answer is so obvious.

That is no longer the case. Asked on Wednesday whether he would commit to a “peaceful transfer of power,” President Trump did not say yes. He said: “Well, we’re going to have to see what happens.” He then said we should “get rid of the ballots” — presumably he meant mail-in ballots, but it wasn’t clear — and then ended with these chilling words: “There won’t be a transfer, frankly. There’ll be a continuation.” [..]

No U.S. president has said anything like this before. Ever. This by itself should be disqualifying. Even if Trump had been the best president in our history — rather than the worst — this refusal to play by the democratic rules should, all by itself, guarantee his electoral defeat.

Amanda Marcotte: Trump just can’t keep a secret — especially when it comes to his plans to stage a coup

President Stable Genius tells lots of lies — but keeps telling us the truth about his evil election schemes

Donald Trump is escalating. Wednesday afternoon, under questioning by Brian Karem of Playboy, Trump offered what the mainstream news outlets are calling a “failure to commit” to a “peaceful transfer of power.” One might also call it “threatening a coup”.

The first time Karem asked Trump whether he would commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses the election, Trump pulled his usual move, pretending that the fate of our democracy is like a reality-show cliffhanger: “Well, we’re going to have to see what happens.”

But Karem was dogged and asked him again: “Do you commit to making sure that there’s a peaceful transferral of power?”

That’s when Trump let the cat out of the bag: “Get rid of the ballots, and you’ll have a very — we’ll have a very peaceful, there won’t be a transfer, frankly. There’ll be a continuation.”

“The ballots are out of control,” Trump continued, making crystal clear that he resents those gosh-darn ballots and the way they allow American citizens the (theoretical) right to choose their own leaders. [..]

Trump is going to attempt to stage a coup if he loses. (And right now, FiveThirtyEight gives him a 77% chance of losing a fair election.) There is no use dancing around this or using euphemisms.

Sep 24 2020

Full Interviews

More to it than I thought. Unedited.

John Bolton

Jim Clyburn

Jill Biden

Rudy Giuliani

Valerie Biden Owens

Mary Trump (Audio Only)

Bakari Sellers

Peggy Noonan

Corey Lewandowski

David Marcus

Anthony Scaramucci

Valerie Jarrett

Yusef Salaam

Carol Moseley Braun

So like over 12 Hours of stuff.

Sep 24 2020

Cartnoon

Frontline on the election from 9/23/20..

Sep 24 2020

The Breakfast Club (Listen Well)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:00am (ET) (or whenever we get around to it) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

This Day in History

Patricia Hearst gets prison time; Author F. Scott Fitzgerald born; ’60 Minutes’ premieres; Baseball’s Dodgers play last Brooklyn game; Muppets creator Jim Henson born; Children’s author Dr. Seuss dies.

Breakfast Tunes

Gale Eugene Sayers (May 30, 1943 – September 23, 2020)

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

To listen well is as powerful a means of communication and influence as to talk well.

John Marshall

Read the rest of this entry »

Sep 23 2020

A Mixed Result

Better than nothing I suppose, but I think they’re all guilty as hell.

I’ll bet I’m not the only one dissatisfied. I predict protests, big ones.

Actions of officer who killed Breonna Taylor ruled ‘justified;’ Another charged with wanton endangerment
By Mark Berman, Marisa Iati, Abigail Hauslohner and Keith McMillan, Washington Post
September 23, 2020

A grand jury in Jefferson County, Ky., has charged Brett Hankison, a former Louisville police detective, with three counts of wanton endangerment in the first degree. Hankison, one of the officers involved in the March 13 shooting death of 26-year-old Breonna Taylor, was fired by the department in June, with a termination letter saying he “wantonly and blindly” shot 10 times into Taylor’s apartment.

Taylor’s name became a rallying cry for policing overhauls and racial justice as the Black Lives Matter movement swept the United States this summer.

  • The grand jury did not announce any charges against the other officers involved in Taylor’s death, and did not anticipate doing so in the future, said Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron (R), who, like Taylor, is black.
  • Cameron said the state’s investigation determined the officers’ use of force was justified because they had been fired upon first, by Kenneth Walker, who was Taylor’s boyfriend. There were no body cameras in use to corroborate this, according to Cameron. Walker has sued Louisville police and disputed their version of events.
  • Cameron said the state investigation did not determine who fired the fatal shot. He said he asked the FBI crime lab to investigate as well, and it determined Det. Myles Cosgrove fired the shot that killed Taylor.
  • Cameron said the investigation uncovered one witness who heard the detectives identify themselves, disputing earlier reports that a “no-knock” warrant was being served.
  • National Guard units are reporting to Louisville, and the city will be under a 9 p.m. curfew as officials prepare for the possibility of protests after Cameron’s announcement. Louisville Police Chief Robert Schroeder said police will seek to protect the public “while also ensuring the constitutional right for people to express their feelings in a lawful and peaceful manner.”

Sep 23 2020

Pondering the Pundits

Pondering the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news media and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Pondering the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt 

Arwa MahdawiDonald Trump has a grievance against New York – and it tells you a lot about his presidency

If a city isn’t on the US president’s side, it will suffer. His latest move is to designate New York an ‘anarchist jurisdiction’, which would be hilarious if his motivations weren’t so sinister

America’s official Anarchy List didn’t appear out of nowhere. A few weeks ago, Donald Trump published a memo requesting the DoJ identify cities “permitting anarchy”; this is the axis of evil they came up with. According to the US attorney general, William Barr – the guy who recently likened coronavirus lockdown orders to slavery – the leaders of these cities have cut police funding and given a green light to violence. In order to combat this supposed lawlessness, the government has threatened to block federal funds; in the case of New York that means revoking up to $7bn (£5.4bn). Since a not insignificant portion of that money goes towards the city’s police department, the Trump administration is, rather ironically, threatening to defund the police.

You know what anarchists do when bullied by the government? Prepare lawsuits, of course. New York’s governor, Andrew Cuomo, along with the leaders of Portland and Seattle, the other anarchist cities, has promised to sue the Trump administration if it attempts to follow through on withdrawing federal funds. Which it probably won’t: this latest move is less about lowering city budgets than it is about raising liberals’ hackles and pandering to Trump’s base. Threatening to do something unconstitutional and illegal is Trump’s way of reminding voters that he’s the law-and-order candidate. And, of course, it’s a distraction from the fact that the US is nearing 200,000 Covid-19 deaths..

Robert Reich: For RBG it was all principle, for Mitch McConnell it’s all power

Robert Reich on why Ginsburg and McConnell represent the opposite poles of public service today

People in public life tend to fall into one of two broad categories – those who are motivated by principle, and those motivated by power.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died Friday night at the age of 87, exemplified the first.

When he nominated her in 1993, Bill Clinton called her “the Thurgood Marshall of gender-equality law,” comparing her advocacy and lower-court rulings in pursuit of equal rights for women with the work of the great jurist who advanced the cause of equal rights for Black people. Ginsburg persuaded the Supreme Court that the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection applied not only to racial discrimination but to sex discrimination as well.

For Ginsburg, principle was everything – not only equal rights, but also the integrity of democracy. Always concerned about the consequences of her actions for the system as a whole, she advised young people “to fight for the things you care about but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.”

Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, exemplifies the second category. He couldn’t care less about principle. He is motivated entirely by the pursuit of power.

Amanda Marcotte: CDC scandal gets worse: This is why Trump can’t be trusted with a coronavirus vaccine

Even if there’s a safe vaccine someday soon, Trump will definitely find a way to screw it up completely

September has featured one scandal after another stemming from Donald Trump’s belief that the best way to handle the coronavirus pandemic is to let a bunch of people get sick and die, and then deny that it’s happening. First, journalist Bob Woodward started to releasing recordings in which Trump said he “wanted to always play it down” and admitted he had deliberately lied to the public about how serious this virus really is. Then, in a town hall for ABC News, Trump confessed that his real strategy was to let the virus run loose to create herd immunity — or rather “herd mentality” which would be “herd developed,” to quote the president accurately — even though that would literally kill millions of Americans. Then the New York Times published a new exposé revealing that Trump officials had overruled medical researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, forcing the agency to publish misleading and dangerous information designed to discourage people who have been exposed to the virus from being tested.

None of this, it’s critical to underline, is good for Trump’s re-election campaign. Polling shows that only 35% of Americans approve of Trump’s handling of the pandemic, which is the same percentage of Americans who would probably say they’d still love Trump if he nuked their hometowns. Polls also show that because of Trump’s malice and incompetence, 69% of Americans have little to no confidence in the safety or efficacy of a vaccine that he may announce. Only 9% of Americans say they have a great deal of confidence in Trump. Even his own supporters know he’s a liar and a fraud: They’ve entrusted him with the nuclear codes, but don’t trust him with a vaccine.

Jamelle Bouie: Down With Judicial Supremacy!

The Supreme Court was never meant to be the only arbiter of the meaning of the Constitution.

Beyond the obvious — that liberals need some way to respond to President Trump as he moves to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg — what does it mean that mainstream Democrats are considering once unthinkable ideas like adding seats to the court?

Perhaps, as some conservatives argue, it’s evidence that Democrats aren’t as committed to the norms of American democracy as they claim to be. Perhaps, as some hopeful liberals believe, it’s evidence that Democrats are finally beginning to buck the timid institutionalism that so often shapes their politics.

I take a different perspective. If Democrats are willing to treat a Republican-dominated Supreme Court as a partisan and ideological foe, if they’re willing to change or transform it rather than accede to its view of the Constitution — two very big ifs — then they’re one important step along the path to challenging judicial supremacy, the idea that the courts, and the courts alone, determine constitutional meaning.

Susan E. Rice: A Divided America Is a National Security Threat

Political polarization is a “force multiplier” that deepens other threats and cripples our ability to combat them.

While foreign policy has barely figured in the presidential campaign, national security is plainly on the ballot. If everything feels chaotic and dangerous, it’s because we face a remarkable convergence of security challenges.

Traditional definitions of national security center largely on external, military threats to U.S. sovereignty and territorial integrity posed by hostile states, like the former Soviet Union. In recent decades, many Americans have come to appreciate what experts have grudgingly and gradually acknowledged: that national security threats are best understood as anything that can kill or severely harm large numbers of Americans, devastate our economy or upend our way of life. [..]

I have long viewed domestic division as our greatest national security vulnerability. Political polarization is a “force multiplier” that worsens other threats and cripples our ability to combat them. Stoked by leaders who profit from divisive politics, our polarization prevents us from effectively confronting vital challenges, from the pandemic and its economic consequences to climate change; from the rise of white supremacist groups, which account for the bulk of domestic terrorism, to reforming our immigration system.

Sep 23 2020

About the CDC

Frankly it’s harder and harder to trust them. First it was hiding the cases and fatalities records. Then it’s been changing the guidance on School openings, Aerosol Transmission, and Testing (I’m sure there are some other things I’m leaving out, it’s not a comprehensive list).

Now the CDC Director Robert Redfield has been caught red handed watering down the Smithfield Sioux Falls Report at the direction of Sonny Perdue, the Secretary of Agriculture.

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