Three Things: Look Over There, Not at Trump’s Failures [UPDATE-1]

[NB: Updates will appear at the bottom of this post. /~Rayne]

Trump’s Thursday morning tweet stirred up people more than his average tweets do — which is saying a lot since his average tweets are pretty annoying.

But this one crossed a line by suggesting a potential violation of the Constitution.

This tweet could be taken in isolation, but it really shouldn’t be. There were other things which Trump wanted us to ignore so he lobbed a massive turd in the punch bowl.

From what was he trying to redirect our attention?

~ 3 ~

You probably already know these two facts about COVID-19:

— The U.S. passed the 150,000 benchmark this week; Americans are 23% of the total COVID-19 deaths globally;

— Herman Cain, business man, Tea Party activist, and 2016 GOP presidential candidate died of COVID-19 today after more than a month in ICU. Cain had attended Trump’s Tulsa rally and did not wear a mask.

All these deaths including Herman Cain’s are due to Donald Trump’s gross negligence and malfeasance.

A Vanity Fair article published today also suggests that Trump did nothing about COVID-19 because it initially impacted blue states most heavily.

In other words, Trump committed and continues to commit political genocide.

Herman Cain was collateral damage.

Is it possible that Trump had been informed of Cain’s death before the public was notified, and wanted to get out in front before the public focused heavily on Cain’s death by COVID-19?

~ 2 ~

Economic data released Thursday showed a dramatic -10% drop in quarterly GDP, equivalent to -32.9% annualized rate. It’s the worst drop ever recorded in U.S. GDP.

The unemployment rate tracks with this plummet, with 47.2% Americans unemployed as of the end of June.

None of this had to happen. It was entirely preventable had Trump dealt effectively with COVID-19 beginning in Jan-Feb but killing off blue state voters and blaming their governors was more important to him for his re-election prospects than protecting the country’s economic well being.

~ 1 ~

After multiple repeated attempts to delay or obstruct their release, the Ghislaine Maxwell papers were released as ordered by Judge Loretta Preska on Thursday evening.

Papers can be found via this link to Courtlistener.

Courthouse News’ Adam Klasfeld made a first pass through the documents and filed a report.

In two separate tweets, Klasfeld noted the documents are not entirely new material.

… Multiple documents in the #MaxwellFiles data dump tonight are either old documents or previously released, making the rounds as though new. …

… Some old documents have nuggets of newly unsealed information contained within them, but the files themselves are being rediscovered as though new. …

Also noted: Maxwell lied to the court.

There will be more analysis and more bullshit thrown in the air by the White House and proxies to obscure details in the papers apart from content further compromising former president Bill Clinton and other Democrats like former governor Bill Richardson. You can bet those points will be boosted to fuzz the links between Trump, Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s lawyer Alan Dershowitz, Jeffrey Epstein, and Ghislaine Maxwell.

Some of the obscuring may already have begun with Trump’s fascistic tweet.

~ 0 ~

Trump doesn’t have the power to delay elections. We went all through this back in April when it came up. What should happen now — and we should look for it and insist on it — is that journalists should get every Republican on record about Trump’s election delay tweet.

We as citizens should be asking them as our congressional representatives where they stand on the election delay suggested by Trump, since Congress and not the Executive Branch has the power to delay the election.

We should also check with our state election officials since they can mess with the conduct of the elections. Recall after delaying their primary because of COVID-19, Kentucky shut down all but one voting place for its primary in the most populated portion of Louisville, attributing the change to pandemic safety.

States could do this for the general election which will already have been affected by the U.S. Postal Service’s Trump-crony slow down of first class mail.

Work on this now before the tangerine hellbeast in the White House tweets out something outrageous to throw us off our mission to ensure a safe, secure, and timely general election.

This is an open thread.

UPDATE — 10:00 A.M. ET —

Hearing now underway this morning:

NIAID Director Dr. Fauci along with CDC Director Dr. Redfield & HHS ADM Giroir will appear before Select Committee on COVID Oversight beginning at 9:00am ET to discuss the urgent need for a National Strategy to contain COVID-19.

Live stream at

Joe Biden must be watching the hearing:

Republicans are doing their best to whitewash Trump’s failures — nauseating, I must say. I do feel for Rep. Walorski (Republican, IN-02) who is trying to discourage anti-vax propaganda with her line of questioning, might be the only GOP questioning of late which hasn’t been intended to prop up Trump.

137 replies
  1. Rayne says:

    I didn’t even point out the onslaught of crap Trump is shoveling our way also obscures the parallels between Russia’s attempt to destabilize Belarus with private military personnel, and DOJ+DHS using paramilitary to destabilize blue cities and states.

    Has any journalist asked AG Barr or DHS’s Wolf if any of the personnel assigned to Operation Legend in Portland and now to other cities are foreign nationals?

    EDIT: Hearing now underway this morning —

    NIAID Director Dr. Fauci along with CDC Director Dr. Redfield & HHS ADM Giroir will appear before Select Committee on COVID Oversight
    beginning at 9:00am ET to discuss the urgent need for a National Strategy to contain COVID-19.

    Live stream at

    • Rayne says:

      Oh fuck me, the clown is up and trying to claim that protests increase COVID-19 cases. Fauci isn’t able to cite numbers.


      • Rugger9 says:

        Channeling the old “Scenes We’d Like to See” department of Mad Magazine, I would love to see a witness like Fauci return the favor to Gym Jordan by retorting how he did nothing to protect the wrestlers at OSU. The resulting meltdown would be comedy gold.

    • Brianm0122 says:

      I would like to know if any of those paramilitary are contractors, i.e., XE/Blackwater…

      • Rayne says:

        Excellent question. And if contractors — like ZTI — how many were foreign nationals, did they have work permits, how were they screened, under what contract were they paid, so on.

      • Mary Ramsay says:

        Blackwater became Xe then Academi, which, like Triple Canopy, is part of the Constellis Group. Another major player appears to be Paragon Systems, formerly Securitas. But there are dozens and dozens of others contracted to provide security personnel and training to the DHS and its multiple constituent parts, of which the Federal Protective Service is but one. According to its 2015 annual report, the FPS had only around 1300 direct employees (I assume these would be admins, trainers, and specialists, not the agents deployed to the streets) nation-wide, and nearly 14,000 Protective Security Officers (contractors) accounting for 70% of its budget, or just over 1 billion dollars.

        Whether the agents sent onto the streets of Portland were FPS is unknown, but if they were, then they were almost certainly contractors. It’s known that CBP and the US Marshals Service participated, but I am not sure of the extent to which they use contract PSOs.

        Rayne asked about citizenship and training. Most private security outfits contracting with the vast DHS security apparatus require PSO applicants to have US citizenship or residency, a pulse, and not much else. On a lark (while somewhat more than tipsy, at 2 in the morning), I took a sample FPS PSO multiple choice practice exam without studying for it and scored 92%, well above the cut-off of (if memory serves) 70%.

        • john in denver says:

          The Fact Sheet from the FPS says
          FPS employs more than 1,300 federal staff. Approximately 1,000 of those employees are law enforcement security officers, criminal investigators, and police officers – all of whom are initially trained at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center. FPS also procures more than 13,000 contract guard staff to conduct security screenings at federal buildings.

          Don’t know absolutely, but one acquaintance who sought a FPS contractor job said there was a screen for citizenship. And the job postings I’ve seen consistently include “Armed Security Officer Qualifications: At least 21 years old and a US Citizen. Valid FPS certification card “

  2. CD54 says:

    Good for you Rayne.

    Me (hopefully): Biden (pre-debate): I’m sorry. I just can’t agree to debate Donald Trump unless he testifies under oath about whether he raped any teenage girl with the assistance of Jeffrey Epstein. Should Donald Trump so testify and pass a polygraph test to prove he did not rape any teenager with the assistance of Jeffrey Epstein, I would be completely willing to debate Donald Trump about his abysmal record as President of our country.

    • BobCon says:

      Biden will not derail a debate with Trump. Trump and his crowd have been setting the bar so low for Biden’s competency that all Biden has to do is complete a couple of sentences and flash the Uncle Joe smile.

      Dave Weigel has been pointing out the trap that the Trump campaign has been setting for itself, as usual for the narcissist who can’t believe anyone belongs on the same stage as him.

      Biden did fine in his one on one debate with Sanders before Sanders dropped out. Trump has been reinforcing his base’s preconceptions about Biden with a few cherrypicked examples, but he is doing nothing to break Biden’s majority with this line of attack. And he is focusing more attention on his own incoherence along the way.

      Biden will not walk away from this opportunity to show people how stark the difference is between them.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        It’s hard to believe that Trump’s people would encourage debates with Biden. He is not Sleepy Joe, not by a long shot. He is not a fast talker or as sharp as, say, Warren, Harris, or AOC. But he’s a competent debater and he would be well-prepared. Trump would be neither: most high schoolers are better debaters than he is, and he never prepares. All he has is his smirk.

        He would have notes, but no teleprompter. If Trump panics and walks off the stage, he might as well resign. His people must think they can rig the format sufficiently to make up for that. One way might be for Trump to wear a hard-to-spot earpiece, like Bush Jr. was rumored to have worn. That still requires him to hear, process, and speak, hard for Trump at the best of times.

        • DrFunguy says:

          45 might just stalk him around the stage as he did one memorable (“No puppet! You the puppet!”) debate with HRC.

  3. CD54 says:

    Sorry, I forgot all about this:

    Biden Response: NFW! That was a horseshit fake polygraph all the way. Donald Trump is a teenage rapist. The evidence is OBVIOUS. Wake up you stupid “sheeple.”

    • Rugger9 says:

      Malignant narcissists can beat a polygraph because they are convinced they are telling the truth at a fundamental level, and there are no signals of doubt to alert the operator because there is no confusion over whether anything needs to be hidden. It’s one of many reasons polygraphs aren’t evidence and indeed are barred from use on employees with few exceptions. We have a poster reminding us of that restriction.

  4. harpie says:

    The Trump adcampaignistration is firing on all cylinders to stop certain people from voting, or even COUNTING.

      • Vicks says:

        How are they going to justify shutting it down early when in most areas responses are seriously down?
        We are in the middle of a pandemic after all.

        • puzzled scottish person says:

          One of the few things I (think I) know about American laws is that the census is constitutionally mandated (like the election) so there are, as far as I know, no get-out-of-jail cards.

          So, it has to be done, one way or another.

          Unless Trump is admiitting publically that he is too incompetent to do it, or he just doesn’t give a monkey’s.

          Both those things are clearly true but neither of them should sit well with voters.

        • Rugger9 says:

          The census is a Constitutional requirement and also says “persons” and not “citizens” to be counted. The 3/5 person clause was stripped out during reconstruction.

          This latest machination is gerrymandering by another name, and illegal.

        • DrFunguy says:

          But what is the remedy.
          ‘Sorry, we undercounted California so Texas gets a couple more seats…’
          I guess we fix it in 2030.

        • dude says:

          “Slow the census down!—if you find more, you count more. That’s the problem! Just do the burbs. People are nice and they answer the door.”

          “Slow the mail down!—if you mail more, you count more. That’s the problem! Just vote where we keep the polling stations open. Real voters show up and stand in line.”

          I detect a pattern.

  5. OldTulsaDude says:

    Trump, like all narcissists, is always trying to deflect personal shame, so my money is on a Maxwell deflection.

    • P J Evans says:

      He also knows he can’t win without a lot of cheating, and mail-in ballots can’t be changed without leaving traces, unlike so many voting machines. (His whining that mail-in isn’t the same as absentee doesn’t work well.)

      • MB says:

        I keep hearing there is literally no difference between “absentee” and “mail-in” ballots. But maybe one distinction to be made is that absentee ballots have to be requested first. I got a notice from the County of L.A. a few days ago stating “We are mailing every registered voter in L.A. County a Vote by Mail ballot for the November General Election”. So requesting a mail-in ballot is not necessary here. I believe in other states, making the request is still required. And when Trump fearmongers that foreign countries will be printing up ballots and sending them out to voters, it occurs to me that he probably considers California to be a foreign country for his intents and purposes…

        • P J Evans says:

          That’s because the primary was so effed up, with the new voting machines and the “voting centers”, that the state ordered it. (I’d switched to mail-in because of that, back in January.) Otherwise, you’d have to request it. Did you get a “check your registration” note from the county?

        • ducktree says:

          I received such a notice and, since I’ve been voting “absentee” in Los Angeles County for the last 10-15 years from the same address, thought – what a waste of postage… the USPS already has enough on its plate!

        • P J Evans says:

          I think they’re sending them to everyone, because this is the first time it’s been all vote-by-mail. There will be drop-off locations, too.

        • ducktree says:

          A few times in the past I’ve dropped the absentee ballot at my local polling place (it’s mere blocks away), and I may do so again for this general election due to the new efforts to impede delivery of the post.

    • Rayne says:

      That’s why there’s three things. I limit myself to three or I’ll be forever trying to document what Trump is trying to hide.

      • RacerX says:

        Point taken—I’ll split my vote between all 3 of those reasons, with a caveat that others exist.

      • Spencer Dawkins says:

        Rayne, I appreciate your prioritizing the distractions. Even if you’re young enough to include all of them, I’m not young enough to read all of them!

  6. Raven Eye says:

    Living in Oregon sometimes is both a blessing and a curse. We are cursed with a bunch of right-wing nutters (Oath Keepers, militias, open carry (male performance enhancement), Greater Idaho, the Bundys and their fellow travelers, outright white supremacists, etc.).

    But for voting; Oregon has been using mail-in for a long time … In 2000 Oregon was the first state in the nation to conduct a presidential election entirely by mail with about 80% of registered voters participating.

    What’s odd (odd for normal people, not odd for Trump) is that he claims that mail-in voting in 2020 will be”FRAUDULENT and INACCURATE”. So if he is reelected, it will be the result of fraud?

    Another thing to consider: Remember the concerns about totally digital voting systems? With mail-in voting the elections official ends up with boxes and boxes of original ballots. The actual pieces of paper, with the 3D impression of the pen in the bubbles, and probably fingerprints (though we need not go there).

    It does change the landscape for voter decisions, however. Mail-in and liberalized early voting means that last-minute factors may occur after most people have already voted. Some recent commentary talks about an “election season” rather than “election day”.

    The voter’s signature could be an issue. With early voting or walk-in election day polling, verifying identity may be easier. I’m going to contact my elections office and see if I can verify my signature. Frankly, I forget if my registration form has my normal signature (F.M. Last) or the “full” signature (First M. Last). Every vote is important this year, and you don’t want your mail-in or absentee ballot ending up in the wrong pile.

    • justlp says:

      I did this last year. My legal name is Elizabeth but I go by Lisa & try to sign things like my driver’s license & passport using Lisa so both names are present. I couldn’t remember which way I signed so went to registrars office to confirm. (I signed it Lisa).

    • P J Evans says:

      I am somewhat amused that Trmp thinks that absentee and mail-in votes are somehow different from each other. He’s voted absentee, though maybe he doesn’t remember that it was mailed in, and that there were various security features. (I don’t think he’s intelligent, and he’s also remarkably ignorant for someone who claims to be a college graduate.)

  7. MB says:

    I heard that Msgr. Gohmert is choosing to self-medicate with hydroxychloroquine while in quarantine. I’m at a loss to understand why he’s not demonstrating more faith in his beloved cult leader by self-medicating with bleach injections. It couldn’t hurt! (Or could it?)

    • Tom says:

      Congressmen should be expected to wear face masks in public just as they should be expected to wear pants.

        • Tom says:

          And Porky Pig too. My sister and I used to have long conversations decades ago on the general topic of perceptions of nudity in animated cartoon characters.

        • ducktree says:

          Now you’ve opened a sluice gate . . . don’t get me started on my ideas re: Popeye ~~~

        • Spencer Dawkins says:

          This may be the most open “open thread” I can remember, if we’ve gone to the Land of Pantsless Cartoon Characters.

          I like it!

    • blueedredcounty says:

      I thought the bleach injections and Lysol chasers weren’t effective unless you also dropped trousers, bent over, and spread your buttcheeks so sunshine can be blown up your ass.

  8. earlofhuntingdon says:

    In the middle of a pandemic, Trump’s HHS cuts out the CDC in SARS-CoV-2 data gathering. The CDC is traditionally the principal US agency involved in gathering and using such data. HHS contracts with a private firm, TeleTracking Technologies, which has no background in the field, on a no-bid basis. HHS later says it was bid, but has no evidence of it. It also misspells the name as “Tecnologies” in its database, which might frustrate some searches for it. Private firm imposes a proprietary layer between users and the data, What could go wrong?

    [FYI, URL edited to remove tracking. /~Rayne]

  9. posaune says:

    Update on my teenage son’s experience last week at ACLU camp (Advocacy Institute for Social Justice): he LOVED it, connected with hundreds of other teens across the country. Already planning for next summer’s camp. Curriculum was thoughtfully crafted: electronic home room every morning, classes, electives, keynote speaker every day, break out groups, social hours, etc. 12 hours per day! Those kids think Dale Ho is a rock star! My son helped organize the mental health affinity group, and this group is planning for a mental health rights presentation next year. They also had a talent show, and my son won a prize for his “Fly Me to the Moon” Sinatra impression. (Prize is lunch with the DC ACLU director!). These kids are SO enthused, activated and ready to hit the ground running. Such an insightful and promising project by ACLU. And to see my 16-yo son fully invested is everything I could want!

    • ducktree says:

      Thank you for sharing that inspiring “what I did last summer” story! It’s inspired another donation to ACLU.

      • posaune says:

        Thanks all for your comments re the ACLU camp.
        It was a “virtual” camp this year, due to cover, but in many ways, this worked better than the traditional in person camp. Kids had the opportunity to try more courses, switch sessions, etc. And, when the organizers opened the chat room every day, the kids texted SO much. I think they actually connected with more attendees than would have happened otherwise. And the days were more packed with sessions b/c no class-switch time necessary.

        • ducktree says:

          The ACLU once represented my cause many years ago in 88 Cal. Rptr. 2d 664, 74 Cal. App. 4th 1105 (re: compulsory arbitration for employment disputes).

          It’s all still an uphill slog, but right matters … Carry on! (:>

  10. Tom says:

    I’ve been taking some comfort from the fact that the polls are showing Joe Biden to be widening the gap between himself and the President, with the result that it is looking more likely that Biden will win by a strong and commanding majority in November. But I realize now that I’ve been naive and that the larger Biden’s margin of victory proves to be, the more likely it is that Trump will cry “Foul!” and claim that the Democrats have overplayed their hand, and that there is no possible way that Biden could have won so many votes by any fair and legitimate means, and that therefore the election was rigged just as he, Trump, had claimed it would be all along.

    I was also struck by something the President said during his press briefing yesterday. Referring to how he expected election night to go, he said: “I want to have the result of the election. I don’t want to be waiting around for weeks and months and literally, potentially, if you really did it right, years, because you’ll never know …” The President’s use of the phrase “if you really did it right” seemed to hint at how his mind has been considering the likelihood of his defeat in November; that is, if you ‘do things right’ and find a way to tie up the result of the election in court, you might find some way of delaying the inevitable, at least for a time. It’s as if Trump is signally that he is expecting to be defeated in November, but rather than simply vacating the White House next January as previous Presidents have done, he is talking as if the timing and circumstances of his departure are something that can be subject to negotiation.

    • P J Evans says:

      Funny, it hasn’t taken years in the past, when there was no fast way to get news from one side of the country to the other. Months, maybe – but the last time that happened was when the GOP sued to *prevent* votes from being counted, in 2000.

      • Tom says:

        Re: speed of communications in times gone by – Abraham Lincoln gave his first inaugural address around noon on March 4, 1861 in Washington, D.C. Thanks to the telegraph, people in San Francisco could read the text of the President’s remarks over their morning coffee the very next day.

        • P J Evans says:

          That’s why I said “no fast way” – the telegraph was the first fast way to get news across country.

        • Tom says:

          And as with today’s social media, during the Civil War era false and misleading information could spread rapidly from coast to coast thanks to the telegraph. This was something that concerned Lincoln, though he realized there wasn’t much he could do about it.

          During the war, Lincoln spent many evenings in the telegraph office over at the War Department. He enjoyed unwinding in the company of the young officers and clerks who were on duty in the evenings, and he would pore through the stacks of telegraphs and dispatches as they came in over the wires. This was mainly due to Lincoln’s desire be aware of changing situations at the fighting fronts, but I think he must have felt the same urge to stay on top of “breaking news” that we feel today.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Trump is a poster child for the I want it, I need it, I have to have it now Award. But he’s framing the issue as delay=fraudulent election. One or two week’s delay to verify and count all ballots, preferably paper ones, would be just fine. But the media wants its immediate Breaking News. Trump wants to cover his humiliation and to avoid the probable fate of Ghislaine Maxwell. The Dems should make hay with that.

    • Eureka says:

      YES, same re “if you really did it [sketchy litigation finessed by FedSoc lawyers] right”.

      Seems to establish that they are *already in talks about what to try and how to do it*, as well. (Trump is fatigued and much leakier as to his theory of mind of late, including references to what must be social acts/conversations even when he’s not ‘intending’ to discuss them.)

      Anyone heard from Don McGahn lately?

      • pasha says:

        i was wondering why the rnc has $20 million for legal assistance in its budget, much more than the dnc has budgeted.

        • Eureka says:

          If that’s their down payment (albeit line-item fictive) on stealing an election, imagine what they think their returns would be.

          They do have some irons in the fire already, like suing Pennsylvania to stop them from having mail ballot drop boxes and forcing them to have non-local poll watchers and such.

    • Stacey says:

      I think you’re seeing something of a pattern that he uses in most things: a) he ‘wins’ by tying anything up in litigation of some kind, and b) it really doesn’t matter which way a ball bounces with Trump, he’ll turn himself inside out to use it to his advantage. Meaning, if he barely looses he’ll scream to high heaven that it was rigged because it was so close and there are so many variables he can attack on…but, wait for it…if he looses by the HUGEST margin in the history of electoral politics he’ll still claim it was rigged because the margin has NEVER been that huge in an election. See, that’s the beauty of Trump’s world, no matter what the game is, some version of ‘tales, I win, heads, you loose’ is the rule he plays by.

      At the end of the day we all just need to stop pretending that he’s EVER making a legitimate argument about anything larger than his own egoic needs and shut him down with the same ‘boy crying wolf 12 times already’ attitude that our media should have adopted years ago!

  11. puzzled scottish person says:

    I know that I am a bear of little brain but why is the President of the United States, the most powerful president on the planet, complaining that he cannot do anything to stop the next election being stolen from him? I mean, he has the biggest, most powerful military, the biggest, most powerful intelligence services, the entire ‘deep state’ (they work for him, in case he hasn’t noticed’), the police (most of whom seem quite happy to beat up those nasty people-of-colour), never mind Fox, QAnon, etc, etc.

    Sorry, stupid question. Move along.

    • Rayne says:

      That’s a particularly bad question normalizing the use of federal law enforcement to protect an incumbent’s grip on office, even if you are being snarky.

      The states are responsible for the conduct of elections. Use of federal forces to police voting is a bad precedent and IIRC has only been used once by President Grant to prevent the KKK from interfering with Black Americans voting in certain locations not long after the Civil War.

      • puzzled scottish person says:

        Okay, sorry.

        I don’t want to normalize his use of police, etc but he seems to think he has them ‘on his side’. And that must have implications abroad is what I was trying to say.

        Albeit badly.

        I’m not trying to encourage him.

    • gmoke says:

      “I know that I am a bear of little brain but why is the President of the United States, the most powerful president on the planet, complaining that he cannot do anything to stop the next election being stolen from him?”

      Oh bear of little brain, you forget that it’s ALWAYS projection. Everything Trmp et alia accuses someone else of doing they are already doing, have already done, or are planning to do themselves. They are telling you how they will steal the next election. All those feared counterfeit ballots from other countries? They are being printed now and are all for Trmp.

      • P J Evans says:

        Good luck with that – every precinct has a different ballot. (In CA, they change the order of candidates so there’s no way to say “mark the first one” and have it be the same person, and mail-in ballots have a bar code on the back, as well as not being standard paper size.)

  12. Owen McNamara says:

    I have a question. It may be moot at this point but it’s been bugging me for weeks. The DHS goes into Portland, unannounced, with no identification, and proceeds to sweep up protesters without probable cause and haul them away to unknown destinations where they are…what? Arraigned? Released? Left to rot? Meanwhile the Governor and Mayor sat and watched this for at least a week, without exercising any attempt at curtailing this disgusting federal overreach by using their own local/state police? Pardon me in advance if I’m missing something obvious, but WTF?

    [Welcome to emptywheel. Please use a more differentiated username when you comment next as we have several community members named “Owen.” Thanks. /~Rayne]

    • Rayne says:

      Somebody from Portland area want to reply here? IMO the national media did a poor job covering the city+state response which may explain Owen’s perception.

      • Stacey says:

        I live in Portland, and my sense from the beginning was ‘why would the feds need to come to Portland to beat protestors? We have perfectly good local police that do that shit all the time!’

        I kind of think our local officials that would be our protectors in this situation have not done a good job of protecting us all along. I’m not sure the mayor getting pepper sprayed was met with much from the protestors that are normally involved in these actions, besides, ‘yeah, stings, doesn’t it? Welcome to our world, better late than never!’

        Our local authorities sort of had to switch sides to be in the role of protecting our First Amendment rights here.

        And another thing, I was so amazed to keep hearing news stories talking about how outrageous it was that protestors were getting beaten and sprayed for peacefully protesting, as though that isn’t what happens in pretty much EVERY protest in Portland.

    • MB says:

      I’m not from Oregon, but my understanding of the situation is that the protesters already had issues with the Portland police prior to the arrival of the feds, specifically with over-use of tear gas. Also, before he got outraged by the presence of the feds, Mayor Wheeler was ineffective in dealing with his own police force and was basically considered to be “part of the problem”. Then the feds arrived and Wheeler got religion, but is considered by most of the hardcore protesters to be an out-of-touch hypocrite.

      Also, I understand that the ultimate destination of the unmarked vans was the interior of the federal courthouse that they were “protecting”. This after blindfolding arrestees and driving around for a while, so that when they wound up inside a building, they didn’t know where they were. I understand they were basically treated as “catch and release” because there was no probable cause for arrest let alone arraignment.

    • greengiant says:

      Take away this on violence.
      Only one lawsuit I know of on the 10th amendment, yet federals went beyond guarding property to declare riots and clear the streets of Portland with violence.
      No one is reported to be “disappeared” beyond normal detain/arrest/booking cycles. People are not used to ICE type arrests and DOJ is not forthcoming with detailed arrest reports. To be sure the CBP were running through the streets and jumping out of vans chasing people before the “video”. Friday in the lawsuit to restrain the feds from attacking press and legal observers the judge suggested the feds wear football jerseys with big numbers.

      The Federals have withdrawn to be rapid response Thursday and Friday nights. The police have made a few daylight arrests for trespassing and such. Which is lot better than mystery gas and munitions shot into heads and torsos. Wolf and DOJ seem to have wised up, they report so many arrested, and so many charged. They don’t want to talk about false arrests. One example they picked someone up Thursday morning in a van, kept their phone and released them after 2 hours.
      Some historical links.

      Oregon’s lawsuit against the feds was denied for lack of standing.

      • Rugger9 says:

        As with everything about DJT, look at what he does as well as what he says, in this case refusing to remove the goons until all of the anarchists are cleaned out.

        So, OR has been undercut again, so given that many of these non-ID goons might be mercenaries (call them what they are), it’s time to arrest every one of them that haul people off in unmarked vans.

  13. Willis Warren says:

    Has anyone else verified the Vanity Fair story? they don’t have a great track record… looks like plumbing to me

    The 33% drop in GDP is almost certainly what they wanted ignored.

    • P J Evans says:

      It was noticeable, back in Feb and March, that blue states weren’t getting the help that red states were – even when the red states didn’t ask.

    • Rayne says:

      Do you have some particular problem with the Vanity Fair piece? Do you have a problem with Vanity Fair? Because the contributor, Katharine Eban, isn’t a lightweight noob. Take a look at the reaction in Twitter of other journalists to her article.

      What’s particularly telling is the absolute silence from the administration about that article. Nada. Nothing. No denials. They are literally planning to knock off Democratic voters by continuing their unwritten plan of gross negligence and malfeasance handling COVID-19.

      While spooky Victorian doll Jared K. may be the henchman for this political genocide, it’s Trump who is the key beneficiary and who continues to approve of his son-in-law’s work. And it’s Trump who’s spouting stuff to redirect attention, like his remarks about larger aid checks and now banning the app Tiktok.

      • Willis Warren says:

        Sure do, thanks for asking. Aside from VF’s horrible track record of producing scoops that seem too good to be true and never get verified, the specific problem I had was this paragraph that’s been tossed around as fact directly from Jared’s brain:

        Most troubling of all, perhaps, was a sentiment the expert said a member of Kushner’s team expressed: that because the virus had hit blue states hardest, a national plan was unnecessary and would not make sense politically. “The political folks believed that because it was going to be relegated to Democratic states, that they could blame those governors, and that would be an effective political strategy,” said the expert.

        • Rayne says:

          You have a problem with the way it was presented and yet the way Trump has systematically attacked blue state governors and actively undermined their ability to respond to COVID-19 tells you this goes all the way to the top, not just Kushner.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      The Vanity Fair piece is entirely consistent with how Jared Kushner and Trump’s White House operate: Secret meetings. Wholesale violations of the PRA. Ignoring the expertise of agencies whose purpose is to deal with these matters. Resorting, instead, to the mythological expertise of bankers and billionaires. Developing a basic plan that was no great shakes, but which would have saved lives, and which could have been better, had Trump not thrown away resources already in place – because they were Obama’a people. Violating routine protocols by not reality testing a massively expensive plan, meant to be rolled out on a national basis. Most damningly, ignoring the plan – and the safety and public health of all Americans – for partisan political reasons, because it would help people who might not vote for Donald Trump.

      That is a story of bottomless ignorance, incompetence, and abuse of power; of the ruthless misuse of resources, including time; and of genocide. The VF story may not be completely accurate. But it accurately reflects the priorities and characteristics of the mafia crime family that has been masquerading as the American government.

      • Willis Warren says:

        All of that is obvious from the death toll. My question is whether VF is a reliable source or just a place where the trump administration sends leaks to die

        • Rayne says:

          Perhaps VF is where leaks go because the only thing Trump appears to really care about is his appearance as an entertainer, devoting the most energy on TV ratings. So somebody made sure it went to VF which Trump doesn’t badmouth the same way he does NBC or CNN.

          Perhaps YOU aren’t the audience for that VF piece.

  14. General Sternwood says:

    >failure of leadership that costs lives every day.


    >failure of leadership that costs lives every hour of every day.


    >failure of leadership that costs an American life every minute

  15. Alan Charbonneau says:

    “We as citizens should be asking them as our congressional representatives where they stand on the election delay suggested by Trump, since Congress and not the Executive Branch has the power to delay the election”

    We can do that, but I’m not sure how much good it will fo. I’m in Texas and I wrote Cornyn & Cruz about Russian bounties & only Cornyn wrote back. It sounded like I expected it would with no direct condemnation of Trump or promises to fo anything. It was a Susan Collins statement of concern written with a twang.

    I then emailed Mr. “Chinese People Eat Bats” with a not-so-nice email demanding he publicly say something about the assault on Christopher David (aka Captain Portland), pointing out that Rand Paul spoke up about this unconstitutional abuse of power and he needed to do so as well. I have not heard back and I doubt that I will. If he can’t back a navy vet being clubbed and gassed on tv while clearly not threatening anyone, he’s more useless than ever. So I doubt he will say much more than about the “delay the election” trial balloon that his “Obviously he doesn’t have the power to do that,” and “ so all you guys in the press, your heads will explode” statements.

  16. Eureka says:

    Love, Ambassador Style: ~ “I want you to do us a favor”, Brazilian backscratch for Iowa reelection prospects version. Allegedly. :

    Ted Lieu: “The @realDonaldTrump Administration is the most corrupt in history. If allegations are accurate, @USAmbBR Todd Chapman must resign. His job is not to get a foreign country to help @realDonaldTrump’s campaign. We are investigating. [link to NYT]”


    House Democrats are demanding a reckoning from the U.S. ambassador to Brazil after news reports there said he was urging country officials to lower ethanol tariffs to help President Trump’s chances of reelection.

    In a letter Friday to Ambassador Todd C. Chapman, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Eliot L. Engel (D-N.Y.) and Western Hemisphere subcommittee Chairman Albio Sires (D-N.J.) cited a report in prominent Brazilian newspaper O Globo depicting Chapman telling Brazilian officials about “the importance for the [President Jair] Bolsonaro government of maintaining Donald Trump as U.S. President.” In the article, according to the letter, Chapman also communicated to Brazilian officials that it was important for their “government to do the U.S. a favor” by reducing ethanol tariffs, as those are important in the state of Iowa, a potential “key player” in 2020.

    Democrats demand answers from U.S. ambassador after reports he asked Brazil for favor to help Trump in 2020

  17. Eureka says:

    Brazil was also of mind separately because of this TikTok thing (but also related to Trump’s reelection prospects, FB allies, and shenanigans). While the BuzzFeed reporting seemed to indicate that Trump wants a win and so won’t hold out or_really_disallow an American company to buy it (e.g. MSFT as Kara Swisher reported weeks ago), it’s also worth bearing in mind that FB has been piloting its competitor, Reels, in Brazil since last November. And in early July, India got Reels after India banned TikTok. Consider also that old How to Hack an Election article which Rayne has reposted a number of times (Latin American social media and hacking operatives, also rumored in 2015 to have been working for Trump campaign; cf. Marcy’s post on Roger Stone’s warrants which included a Brazilian-named gmail and Facebook account, Falo Memo Tio, of interest in last four days of 2016 election). Anyway, some math might add in that direction as well. Trump might ‘let’ Microsoft buy it, but I’d bet the preferred route is to drive the data to FB’s IG’s Reels.

    I’ll add links later. Also feel we need an acronym for the axis of death driven by leaders in the US, Brazil, India, and Russia. Like NATO, but for murdering traders of ‘goods.’ Short on imagination at the moment, all I got is CRAP: Covid Right-wing Assassins Partnership.

  18. Jenny says:

    Thank you Rayne for the open thread. This is for all the dog lovers. Ringo rocks!

    Joni Ernst just attacked my dog – Theresa Greenfield for Iowa

    Janet Johnson on Twitter: 2:45 PM · Jul 31, 2020
    Great job, ⁦@joniernst⁩. You got me to contribute to Theresa again.

    Izzy Levy Twitter: 11:57 AM · Jul 31, 2020
    NEW: We’ve obtained the audio of ⁦@SenJoniErnst attacking Theresa’s dog by name.

    NOTE: THREAD with Dogs Stand with Ringo

    Kay Gogarty on Twitter: 10:19 AM · Jul 31, 2020·
    @JoniErnst, who yesterday REFUSED to answer reporters’ questions if she agreed with #Trump that the Election should be postponed, is now attacking her opponent’s (
    @GreenfieldIowa) dog #Ringo! How desperate can you get? My dogs Odie & Chester say #IStandWithRingo

  19. harpie says:

    Alexander Vindman has retired from the army:
    8:08 AM · Aug 1, 2020

    America has thrived because citizens have been willing to contribute their voices and shed their blood to challenge injustice… It is in keeping with that history of service that, at this moment, I feel the burden to advocate for my values and an enormous urgency to act. [Link to WaPo]

    Alexander Vindman: Coming forward ended my career. I still believe doing what’s right matters.
    August 1, 2020 at 8:00 a.m.

    After 21 years, six months and 10 days of active military service, I am now a civilian. I made the difficult decision to retire because a campaign of bullying, intimidation and retaliation by President Trump and his allies forever limited the progression of my military career. […]

    • harpie says:

      Distinguished career military patriot…
      attacked by Trump and his GOP
      and NOT protected by his chain of command.

    • Tom says:

      Chalk up another win for Vladimir Putin courtesy of your friendly neighbourhood Presi-dick Trump and his turd-mongering Trumpette toadies.

      • madwand says:

        Unfortunately this was a given the moment Vindman came forward. He would certainly piss off the administration, but also the brass. As an immigrant, Vindman IMHO possesses a far better grasp of American values than most. Too bad, an one can only wish him the best in the future, I am sure he will find a place to land.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Esper could not have refused a direct order from Trump not to promote Vindman. But if that’s how it went down, Esper should have resigned along with Vindman. He didn’t. He caved when he could have resigned with honor and walked into any of half a dozen good jobs. That’s being a coward.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Esper is a Cabinet appointee. Subject to Senate confirmation, he serves at the pleasure of the president. When given an order, he can obey, refuse and wait to be fired, or refuse and resign, announcing the reasons for his resignation under protest. Elliot Richardson and William Ruckelshaus come to mind. Esper chose to obey.

        • P J Evans says:

          Thing is, the president can fire officers – MacArthur comes to mind – but it’s usually okayed by the senior officers as well. The Secretary of Defense isn’t generally in that line of command.

        • Frank M says:

          I do not post much, but would wonder if a President Biden could recall Lt.Col. Vindman to active duty for 24 hours to promote him to full Colonel as recognition for his courage. He deserves the respect.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          He can fire Esper just as easily. Do you think Trump would ask for anyone’s opinion or consent, before firing anyone? He thinks that’s his special gift.

  20. OldTulsaDude says:

    The ultimate irony is that gerrymandering may turn out to be the cause of death of the Republican party because it eliminated the need to try to persuade independents and moderate Democrats with a reasonable alternative. Intense hatred can only be sustained for so long, and I sense the U.S. is tiring of those who will not govern.

  21. klynn says:

    Posted this on the Ben W. post. I think it fits here better.

    I have been thinking of Vindman’s courage while also considering why Pence was the VP choice in 2016. I’ve been trying to seek out solid resources that explore answering Michael Beschloss‘ pondering:
    “Mike Pence was picked and pushed by Paul Manafort. We still don’t really know why.“ (Jan 2019)

    This REALLY needs to be explored in-depth for this election. Have folks found good resources?

  22. Eureka says:

    Another Friday (and ongoing) item to distract from — I would really like to have heard the tone of voice, points of emphasis in the closing quote from Chris Murphy:

    Pelosi upbraids counterintel chief in private briefing over Russian meddling

    […] Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), who has already seen some of the intelligence surrounding the foreign election interference efforts, said he believes the administration and the intelligence community “needs to make public far more than they have.”

    “There are individuals who are openly inserting themselves into the 2020 election, and if we have confidence about their connection to foreign governments then the American public deserves to know that,” Murphy said. “I don’t know what the point is of collecting all this intelligence on foreign interference if you’re not ever prepared to tell the public what’s going on.”

    He added that “if the Russians are sending agents to the U.S. to interfere in the election, I don’t care whether they are working for Republicans or Democrats — there’s no reason for not making that information public.”

    • Rayne says:

      That last graf:

      He added that “if the Russians are sending agents to the U.S. to interfere in the election, I don’t care whether they are working for Republicans or Democrats — there’s no reason for not making that information public.”

      is particularly worrisome. He’s couched it carefully by making this a speculative statement using “if,” but that’s not what he means. He means there are agents here.

      We shouldn’t doubt this — Putin’s “chef” Yevgeny Prigozhin has had them here before. Given Prigozhin’s ties to Wagner Group and the recent arrest of Wagner Group personnel in Belarus, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if there were Wagner Group people here, too. Trump’s administration only worries about Muslims and brown people coming into the U.S., not white Russians after all.

      • Eureka says:

        Yeah I don’t know why this, the Brazilian ambassador story, and Pompeo’s activities (generally; re TikTok et al.; his latest limited natural rights speech, etc.) aren’t getting more airplay-scrutiny (yes, even with all things considered).

        Part of me thinks that statements such as Murphy’s — along with Biden’s limited remarks (thank jeebus he is getting briefings) — are set to not only do the public a solid but constrain what Ratcliffe might get away with should he ever really hold the Worldwide Threats hearing. At the same time, such glimpses of the intelligence pretty much foreclose Ratcliffe ever getting that done — unless and until he’s got master-pleasing, ginned-up fodder, perhaps as part of the October “surprise” package.

        Ah, shit, Ratcliffe and the Barr brigade are going to “come up with something” on the mail ballots, aren’t they. Whoever Putin’s got inside China is firing up their laser printers as we speak was firing up their laser printers as Barr spoke (that’s snark for whatever gov wants Trump in power could be doing the same damn thing, and in any country where receipts could be laundered through China, or “CCP” as they like to call it. Propaganda need not be a quality effort — they wouldn’t actually have to be properly formatted) . This telegraphic administration is such a fucking national security threat.

  23. P J Evans says:

    Since the USPS slowdown affects people’s mail-delivered meds and paychecks, as well as their incoming bills and outgoing payments, could the guys making the decision to slow deliveries be taken to court for any resulting deaths/injuries? (My sis gets her meds by mail. They’re what’s keeping her alive. She was having problems even before this with late deliveries.)

  24. Scott says:

    America has been shown to be powerless in the face of Trump’s breathtaking corruption and incompetence. It will be equally powerless to prevent Trump,Barr, Fox and the GOP from ratfucking the election.

    The worst Thanksgiving and Christmas ever loom ominously for the so-called “land of the free”

    [EDIT: In February you were asked to use a differentiated name; in May you were asked a second time and you have failed to make that change. Your comments are now moving to permanent auto-moderation until you change your username so that it is not confused with other community members who use some variant of “Scott.” /~Rayne]

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