Not the Right Kind of Monster, Says the Racist [UPDATE-2]

[NB: Check the byline, thanks! Updates at bottom of post. / ~Rayne]

It was just a matter of time before Republicans honed their eye teeth and sharpened their claws, coalescing around a single line of attack after Joe Biden announced he’d selected Kamala Harris as his running mate.

Harris is a dirty radical leftist! Harris is an Obama centrist! they snarled across social media, grasping at any point to prove to Democratic Party voters that Harris isn’t their kind of candidate.

Harris will defund the police! Harris is a cop! they growled in more posts and tweets from the right and their horseshoe left proxies, whipping up vortices of volatility in messaging about Harris’s identity.

But Newsweek solved that yesterday by publishing this piece of racist bullshit to which I won’t link:

Not only is this racist ogre’s argument wrong, the contributor was a former candidate who lost the Republican primary for California Attorney General in 2010 when Kamala Harris won.

Newsweek failed to point out this conflict of interest upfront; in for a penny, in for a pound, though, as Newsweek had already failed to spike the piece.

Early this morning Newsweek’s editor offers an explanation and it is just as bad as Eastman’s:

Newsweek’s editors claim it wasn’t birtherism (racism focusing on a candidate’s birth place), but a 14th Amendment issue (racism focusing on a candidate’s parents’ birth place).

It’s still racism. There’s no excuse for running Eastman’s racist op-ed. Period.

It’s bad when right-leaning Axios says the op-ed is baseless and hypocritical since Eastman didn’t have any problem with Ted Cruz’s candidacy in 2016.

Justin Fox at Bloomberg Opinion definitively takes apart Eastman’s monstrous argument in case there’s any doubt, replete with excerpts about the drafting of the 14th Amendment. This is what Newsweek should have sought before approving Eastman’s racist crap.

~ ~ ~

Eastman likely picked up his cue from USAToday’s fact-checking article addressing an earlier Facebook entry which cast doubt about Harris’s eligibility (not linking to the entry):

USAToday said they reached out to this Facebook poster. They never mention whether they had any luck making contact.

I doubt they could.

The poster’s last name, Sciuridae, means squirrel in Latin; the last name doesn’t match the username in the Facebook URL for the post, aseckora. The post looks — well, squirrelly.

The post’s timing doesn’t make sense — it’s dated August 2 when Biden didn’t announce his running mate until Tuesday August 11.

While USAToday did a thorough job shooting down the Facebook post’s false claims, it doesn’t look good that it didn’t resolve the source of the claims.

Whatever triggered Newsweek’s unacceptable choices isn’t rational. A once-respected news organization has now become cursed by its terminal adherence to bothsides-ism, giving a platform to racism.

~ ~ ~

In the manga work, “Death Note,” by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata, the character L Lawliet describes the targets of his detective work:

“… There are many types of monsters that scare me: Monsters who cause trouble without showing themselves, monsters who abduct children, monsters who devour dreams, monsters who suck blood… and then, monsters who tell nothing but lies. Lying monsters are a real nuisance: They are much more cunning than others. They pose as humans even though they have no understanding of the human heart; they eat even though they’ve never experienced hunger; they study even though they have no interest in academics; they seek friendship even though they do not know how to love. …”

While their adored tangerine-tinted president abducts children from the parents and cages them, sucks resources from taxpayers’ government services, lies about the spread of pandemic and the reasons why Americans are dying, the right-wing will argue again and again that Harris is some kind of monster. These arguments will be propelled even further by their trollish minions to flood the zone.

They’ll ignore the logical inconsistency of their claim Harris is not eligible as an immigrants’ child though their fearless and feckless leader is an immigrant’s child, too, and the grandson of a then-Canadian brothel owner to boot.

We can see the challenge isn’t immigrant parentage. We can see their problem.

The real problem for the right-wing isn’t that Harris is some kind of dread bugaboo or a feared bugbear.

It’s that Harris isn’t one of their kind.

She’ll never be qualified to be a white supremacist monster.

UPDATE-1 — 6:45 P.M. ET —

The monster in the White House just referred to Eastman’s piece-of-shit racist op-ed.

This is why this argument must be repudiated strongly. Average Americans have taken this man’s word on face value too often — like the man who poisoned himself with HCQ or the people who sickened themselves drinking disinfectant after Trump promoted both as means to treat COVID-19.

These same people will accept on faith this racist’s racist lawyer’s bad opinion because he said it from the presidential podium.

UPDATE-2 — 8:00 P.M. ET —

This observation is key:

It’s on Newsweek for platforming Eastman’s racist bullshit, validating it as equal to any counter argument.

It’s on other entities like USAToday which fact checked another birther’s claims but did not call it out forcefully as racism. The words race, racist, racism never appear in their article.

As I’ve said before: Get comfortable with calling out racism. I’m talking to you white people. Recognize, call it out, shame it.

The reason why Trump had any chance of winning in 2016 and again in 2020 is racism. Until you, white people, make it socially, morally, ethically unacceptable to be racist, Trump and his kind of monster will continue to acquire and hold power.

It’s not enough to just nod your head. Silence is approval. Silence is complicity. You must be anti-racist if you want the monsters dead.

Newsweek was overtly racist by publishing Eastman’s racist screed.

USAToday piece is what happens when white people just nod their heads and don’t openly acknowledge racism at work.

Which media outlets recognized the next generation birtherism as racism?

192 replies
  1. Rayne says:

    Get comfortable with calling out racism. I’m talking to you white people. Recognize, call it out, shame it.

    The reason why Trump had any chance of winning in 2016 and again in 2020 is racism. Until you, white people, make it socially, morally, ethically unacceptable to be racist, Trump and his kind of monster will continue to acquire and hold power.

    It’s not enough to just nod your head. Silence is approval. Silence is complicity. You must be anti-racist if you want the monsters dead.

    • Ruthie says:

      I would add that misogyny also played a huge role in 2016. Of course, in that regard the choice of Harris affords R’s a twofer: misogyny and racism in one!

    • rip says:

      You are absolutely correct, Rayne. We (white, somewhat entitled) people should be calling out racism and bigotry in any form – as long as we don’t believe in it and practice it.

      My problem is even recognizing it in myself. I feel like I’m a very liberal white older male who has never had a reason to not get along with anyone, whatever race, gender, color, etc. But I don’t think I know how my subconscious actions can cause harm to others.

      I think it involves sensitivity training. I’m not too old to learn.

    • Eureka says:

      Dolly says, “Don’t be a dumbass” (video clips and article link below):

      billboard: ““As soon as you realize that [something] is a problem, you should fix it. Don’t be a dumbass. That’s where my heart is. I would never dream of hurting anybody on purpose.” –@DollyParton on removing the word “Dixie” from Dollywood. The full cover story ➡️ …”

      billboard: “”Of course Black lives matter. Do we think our little white asses are the only ones that matter? No!” –@DollyParton on supporting the #BlackLivesMatter movement and protests. Check out the full cover story here:…”

      She is very clever (per usual) in her use of words and explanation, invoking ~ what God puts in her heart (given breadth of her audience).

      • LaMissy says:

        Dolly Parton is both a patriot and a hero. She spends millions a year to provide books to kids who are growing up in poverty as she did. She’s never forgotten her roots.

    • JamesJoyce says:

      John Leland said it best..

      “Whenever men resort to sword or law imposing a system of beliefs on others it will not withstand the the light or truth.”

      America has a belligerent narcissist addict, as a leader.

      Trump’s entire learned behavior is how to leverage using any tactic necessary, including any discrimination; to extract a buck and or maintain power.

      He is an addict.

      We suffer the consequences and causal realities of dysfunctional learned behavior enabled by enablers.

      This is all
      achieved by ?.

      Roger B. T. was wrong. Black colored skin humans are not inferior.

      This was a lie.

      Power Addicts dependent on race baiting, innuendo and outright lies regardless or gender, race, color, creed or religion are just like viruses seeking hosts to exploit.

      Make sure you wash your hands and protect yourself from the viruses and all the appurtenant diseased thinking offered.

      Powers addicts engaged in manipulations and racism for personal gain are diseased.

    • Tracy Lynn says:

      I did this back when people rioted after the verdicts in the trial of the cops who beat Rodney King. I was having coffee with a friend ( a good friend, I thought), when I mused out loud, “What the heck is wrong with the white people in this country?” I was referring to the people who were advocating that the police and National Guard be brought in to put down the riots. My friend got very upset with me. I did try to explain that I meant that white people were in a different place than most people of color and that they will never have to worry about being stopped by a cop for the offense of driving while black or brown. I dug myself into a hole and my friend left in a huff. We never talked or communicated again. Would I do it again? I would, knowing that I will probably lose a friend/family member. But honestly it hurt for a long time after.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        I agree with your take on Axios. Personally, though, I would not rate the NYT opinion pages as dark blue. At best, its schizophrenic. Nor would I still rate Newsweek as dark blue, or rate the Economist as left of center. I would rate NPR as right leaning. And I would move both references to the WSJ as a category to the right. But your point about Axios seems correct.

        • BobCon says:

          The problem with that kind of chart, of course, is that there is no weighting. The New Yorker isn’t to the left in the way the Federalist is to the right. A more resonable take would be the New Yorker to the slight left and the WSJ editorial page three categories to the right of where the current far right slot is, and Epoch Times another stage farther right than that.

          The disclaimer that they measure bias but not accuracy pretty much gives the game away. The fact the the CEO is a former Mitch McConnell staffer does too.

        • Vicks says:

          Perhaps it’s just the times in which we are living but I don’t think that there many news outlets that have been able to consistently report on politics and remain in the center.
          For what it’s worth, I believe Real Clear Politics is right of center and BBC, NPR News, and USA Today left.
          I don’t read much from Bloomberg but I think CSM is one of the few that is able to cover topics in depth and stay neutral

      • Nehoa says:

        I was going to question some of the “lean left” news outlets, but then I remembered that “facts have a liberal bias”. Truth in a way does too. The search for truth through science says, “I/we are not sure about something. Is there a way to find out? To validate or disprove?” Extremely threatening to the current powers that be that rely on the current orthodoxy. This played out big time as science questioned the established churches of Europe several hundred years ago.

      • milestogo says:

        That “all-sides” graphic and many like it are mostly bullshit. They make an assumption on center and go from there. My take is the so-called center should be above the left-most category. It is here in sane Europe.

        • Rayne says:

          This isn’t Europe. Shouldn’t have to point that out. This means the political spectrum is different and not centered where you would like it to be. Your definition of “sane Europe” is also questionable; Hungary, Italy, increasingly Germany, Poland, and pre-Brexit are going right.

          The bigger problem is that the underlying politics of the U.S. have been dragged right since the 1980s by application of the Overton window until it hit the wall. They don’t match the media in that the media’s business model changed to chase attention, not politics. What’s represented in media isn’t necessarily politics but bullshit grabbing clicks, or in the case of broadcast media, artificially positioned content.

          The right-wing in this country will learn what the gap between politics and media means the hard way. There’s a reason Bari Weiss and Bret Stephens have been extremely unpopular at NYT-Opinion as just one example.

      • joel fisher says:

        Lately, I’ve had an entertaining time reading “The Bulwark” from some right wingers in the “Never Trump” camp. In the right of center publications chart above there needs to be a separate group of non-filth conservatives as it wouldn’t be fair to lump “The Bulwark” in with the other right wing, lying scum. That I can bring myself to read conservative thought with approval bothers me in the sense that I worry what will happen to a coalition of ordinary Democrats, super lefties, never-Trumpers, and assorted Trump-haters of all stripes. It’s hard to imagine this bunch holding together long enough to do anything more than turn Trump out of office. FWIW, the non-Trump GOP is debating what should happen to their party if Trump loses badly: burn it down or pick up the pieces and go on. Might be something for the left to think about because a number of the anti-Trump coalition will be heading for the exit on Nov. 4.
        And another thing: “vortices of volatility” is the coolest phrase I’ve read recently, better than “vortexes of volatility” would have been and that would have been pretty cool, too.

        • Rayne says:

          LOL Thanks. I’m afraid my reference to being caught between the monstrous Scylla (Trump) and Charybdis (right-wing vortices of volatility) might have been too subtle.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Yes. Lazlow, give Allen’s wiki entry a read, for example. Allen grew up in Orange County, CA. His father was neoconservative and spokesperson for the arch-conservative John Birch Society. Allen, however, describes his household as “normal and ‘apolitical.'” Fish have no conception of the water they swim in.

    • PhoneInducedPinkEye says:

      C’mon, even their name sounds like a focus-grouped noun for a racist executive dating service. They have done a ton of stenographic work for this admin.

  2. earlofhuntingdon says:

    If Newsweek were a shadow of its former self, Eastman’s conflict of interest alone would have nixed running this OpEd. That it didn’t says all we need to know about Newsweek, its current owners and managers.

  3. harpie says:

    Adam Klasfeld retweeted Kurt Eichenwald:
    5:42 PM · Aug 12, 2020

    It is beyond disgusting that @Newsweek has allowed its pages to be used as the opening shot of birtherism 2.0. I have been embarrassed by many things my former employer has done and become, but this is the first time I have seen racism appear in its pages. In the *office*, yes.

    The first response to this tweet refers to those currently running Newsweek as “South Korean”, “right-wing” “evangelical”. Eichenwald confirms. Any idea if this is true?

  4. harpie says:
    10:21 AM · Aug 13, 2020 [I’ve added the numbers]

    1] This is settled legal question.
    2] The article misstates the case law.
    3] You did not disclose the author’s personal interest.
    4] Your editor, whom you claim is a “published constitutional scholar” literally published his first and only piece in the St. Thomas Law Journal this year. Fail.

    Here is the bio of the editor on the Eastman piece, [link] [Federalist Society, etc.]
    Meanwhile, Josh Hammer’s article in the St. Thomas Law journal is basically about why judicial supremacy (i.e., obeying what the Supreme Court decides is the law) is not required in the aftermath of Obergfell (the case that legalized gay marriage)

    Carter Page like the article, though! Screenshot here:
    8:37 AM · Aug 13, 2020

    • Rayne says:

      It cracks me up thinking even John Yoo wouldn’t have written this crap Eastman wrote. They must have scraped the bottom of the right-wing legal beagle barrel for an opinion.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      As the cited material suggests, there’s a big gap between a general OpEd and a legal [medical or similar professional] opinion, even one for general consumption. A lawyer is required to have a minimum knowledge of the law, and where opinions about it lie: mainstream, arguable, and batshit crazy, that is, having no rational legal basis.

      Eastman’s is the latter. He makes that clear by refusing to disclose how extreme or motivated by personal animus his views are. Newsweek has a legal department. Among other things, it should have been asked for a rough characterization of these views, so that its editors could decide whether or not to publish it, and, if so, with what caveats. It failed on that, too.

      • milestogo says:

        Add to that there failure to disclose Eastman’s primary loss for the pleasure of losing to Harris for the CA AG spot.

  5. sls642 says:

    Anyone know of a response to this tripe that people can sign onto which is floating around? I looked in the usual places and couldn’t find anything. Alternatively, does anyone have an email address for Ms. Cooper to tell her what sane people actually think? And concurrently, what a hot mess Newsweek has become.

    .I agree with Rayne that white people have a moral obligation to call out racism when they see it. Silence is complicity.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Curiously, Eugene Volokh denies that there was a racist element to his “friend and fellow law professor” John Eastman’s OpEd. He concedes only that Eastman was legally incorrect. His concern about whether the immigration status of Harris’s parents prevented her from being a “natural-born citizen” was not well-founded. So not well-founded, in fact, that it was an absurdist fantasy.

      “Some have argued, I think quite wrongly, that such attention to Harris’ qualifications is connected to her race.” Volokh’s explanation is unpersuasive, not least because he ignores the unprecedented racial and gender aspects of Harris’s nomination, which is what elicited Eastman’s OpEd. I would find Volokh’s argument credulous, were he not a member in good standing of the Federalist Society.

      • Rayne says:

        Volokh’s enabled racism by validating Eastman’s argument as a matter of correctness rather than out-and-out racism.

        They weren’t having these tedious arguments of legal correctness when John McCain and Ted Cruz were running for president, neither of whom were born inside the Fifty States. We can see why.

        • Geoguy says:

          “They weren’t having these tedious arguments of legal correctness when John McCain and Ted Cruz were running for president, neither of whom were born inside the Fifty States. We can see why.” Fun facts: Barry Goldwater and George Romney weren’t born in the United States either. Goldwater was born in Arizona Territory and Romney was born in Mexico. I can’t think of any Democratic contenders where natural born citizenship was even a question.

        • Rugger9 says:

          Well, aside from Obama. However, McCain was born in the Canal Zone, then US territory and was given a mulligan for that.

          Cruz on the other hand was born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada (i.e. NOT the USA or its possessions) and his parents never filled in the then-current immigration forms that would have made his “native born” intention by his parents clear. Cruz was/is a dual citizen and so far as I know has never dropped his Canadian side. I myself could be a dual citizen as well (my grandfather was Canadian) but that vanished when I joined the military as an officer.

          For those who don’t understand the plain language of the 14th Amendment Section 1 first sentence:
          “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.”
          There is no quibbling about ancestry or any other consideration floated by the Kamala-haters. The main reason the MSM is even letting this go is that they want a horse race to make money and have something to talk about. We’ll see how Chuckles handles this on his shows.

          Also in the 14th Amendment Section 2, this has to do with the census and who counts, noting that there are no non-taxed Native Americans currently AFAIK:
          “Representatives shall be apportioned among the several states according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each state, excluding Indians not taxed.”

          Persons, not citizens are cited here and since “citizens” is used elsewhere this is intended to include everyone residing in a given state, and the exception noted in this section has to do with states in rebellion, which is not applicable here.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Yep. Eastman is sponsoring racism – via birtherism – and xenophobia. He is attacking Harris indirectly, through the immigration status of her parents: a woman from South Asia, and a Black man from Jamaica, whose forebears built so many English fortunes.

          Her parents were young students at what was then the top public university in America. They defined the American dream. But like the Krell, they forgot – rather, they succeeded despite – one deadly danger: America’s color bar.

          Eastman wants to resurrect that and keep it strong. His is not a sideshow, it is a central strand of American culture. Stephen Miller’s presence inside the Oval Office is testament to that.

      • graham firchlis says:

        And yet, his constitutional analysis appears accurate to me. Anyone have another take?

        Of course this is bigotry. But Volokh’s refusal to engage on that basis doesn’t per se invalidate his constitutional argument.

        • graham firchlis says:

          No what, exactly? I see above, and note no substantive distinction from Volokh’s essay. Please elucidate.

        • Rugger9 says:

          Read the 14th Amendment, first sentence as I posted above. There is no wiggle room for Eastman’s argument since Kamala Harris is a native-born citizen, or Volokh trying to justify it. Full stop.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          As Rayne notes, it’s the use to which Volokh puts his analysis that counts against him. His reasoning is plain white, no vanilla extract, because that’s all he needs. The law on this point is so beyond dispute that Volokh’s primary case citation is over a hundred years old. He doesn’t mention that a law school dean – albeit at Chapman – would know that. If he did, it might suggest that Eastman’s argument was specious and not made in good faith.

          Yet, good faith is what Volokh offers and grants to Eastman. He calls him a “friend and fellow professor.” He writes only to correct an error in a colleague’s argument. He denigrates the idea that Eastman’s opinion might have been racist.

          That’s the ivory tower’s version of racism: genteel and rational, but more damaging to society than having an armed and bearded fat man shouting at a Michigan state trooper. That’s because Volokh reinforces Eastman’s voice and preserves his space on the cultural platform. It’s a voice that has more in common with James Buchanan than Kamala Harris.

        • Rayne says:

          This: “Yet, good faith is what Volokh offers and grants to Eastman. He calls him a “friend and fellow professor.” He writes only to correct an error in a colleague’s argument. He denigrates the idea that Eastman’s opinion might have been racist.

          Exactly. Volokh reinforces the normalization and institutionalization of racism by treating this as just a disagreement of opinion between two friends.

          Fuck that. Volokh is racist, too, when he can’t call it out and instead gives it equal time.

          This is where it gets uncomfortable for a lot of white people, because all the white supremacy underpinning they’ve never noticed supporting the lives they live is about to be punctured. But that nice lawyer was just pointing out difference of interpretation! except that difference is about brown peoples’ identity as Americans, not white people, and that nice lawyer swept that under the carpet for his “friend and fellow professor.”

      • graham firchlis says:

        My cite of Volokh’s article was concise in response to the specific request by commentor sls642 for an immediate rebuttal to Eastman. I could have added commentary on Volokh’s essential racism, but assumed his Reactionary positions are well known. My bad.

        IMHO, using one bigot to undercut the position of another is especially sweet, far more useful – and more fun – than citing someone perceived by the other as Scary Left. I have often delighted in using the work of their associates to undermine my wrongheaded opponents.

        As for his denial of Eastman’s bigotry – and his own – I set it aside from his constitutional law argument. One does not inherently taint or absolve the other. I can be repulsed by the gratuitous racist content while simultaneously accepting as valid the driving directions given me by Bubba Redneck on how to get from Possum Hollow to Tickbite Bottoms.

  6. MB says:

    Eastman checks all the boxes:

    Box 1: Chairman of the Board of National Organization for Marriage

    Box 2: Law-clerked for Clarence Thomas

    Box 3: Regular legal commentator on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show

    Box 4: Ran for California Attorney General, but lost the Republican primary

    Box 5: Member of FedSoc in good standing

    Box 6: Testified to House in 2013 about “IRS abuses” during Obama admin

    Box 7: Testified to Senate to 2014 about Obama’s suspension of deportation of immigrants as being unconstitutional

    Box 8: Testified to House in 2015 about “birthright citizenship” (!!)

    With all these boxes checked, such a “well-qualified” ideologically pure conservative’s conservative writes a racist column for a once-proud news magazine, now doing business online only, whose current owners are South Koreans who have “broken away” from the Unification Church.

    Just as an aside, the politics of the Unification Church (when Moon was alive and afterwards) is basically to the right of Attila the Hun. Go read Steven Hassan’s reminisces of his time in that organization in his new book The Cult of Trump – it’s an eye-opener.

    Personally, I think Newsweek was trying to scoop the NYT for their publication of the Tom Cotton op-ed. Looks like they succeeded!

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Newsweek supposedly became independent of IBT sometime in 2018. But that doesn’t answer the question who is funding it now, and what role it plays in influencing stories and editorial content.

    • What Constitution? says:

      John Eastman is also the guy who, as Dean of Chapman University Law School in Orange County, CA (before losing his primary run for Cal AG), offered John Yoo sanctuary in the form of a “sabbatical” appointment at Chapman when the firestorm of reactions to Yoo’s heinous torture memos made things uncomfortable at Boalt Hall in Berkeley during the W administration. Disgraceful — but Eastman’s co-clerk for Justice Thomas was, wait for it, John Yoo, and Eastman shamelessly celebrated Yoo’s advocacy of war crimes as a presidential perk.

      The stench persists. Yoo’s tenure prevented Boalt from shedding him and now he’s back playing Wormtongue to Trump over a new spate of “absolute power” sycophancy; Eastman has kicked around second tier reactionary “policy” alleys and likely had to shop quite a bit to come up with the shell of what was once a decent news magazine to publish a similarly absurd screed as “advocacy” notwithstanding that he had published exactly the opposite “legal position” as recently as 2016. But here they are, together again.

    • Rayne says:

      Thanks. That excerpt from Death Note was just so perfect, there was no other choice but to use it. I should spend more time in manga; at least the monsters own their monstrousness.

  7. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The USPS had already cut back on its mail sorting operations by consolidating the number of sorting and distribution centers. Louis DeJoy is now cutting and reducing the hours of staff who operate that mail sorting equipment. He is removing sorting machinery (large, long old IBM machine-like reading and physical sorters) from distribution centers – with no apparent attempt to reuse it anywhere. And he is removing collection boxes from the streets. (MSNBC)

    Given the players and their public comments, this is entirely intended to make it harder to count the vote. They are hoping that because their lawlessness is so blatant, they can commit it with impunity.

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      I keep waiting for Louis DeJoy to announce that he’s outlawing apple pie.

      Dear Lord, I’d love hear James Carville drawl with acid contempt, “It’s the impunity, stupid.”

      Because I honestly think that’s what 85% of this election comes down to.
      It’s post-partisan in the sense that so many people are fed up with the impunity.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      The USPS is beginning to tell states it can’t meet mail delivery plans for mail-in voting this election. In Pennsylvania, for instance, a key swing state.

      Bullshit. The total number of mail-in ballots is less than 1% of annualized first-class deliveries. It’s less than 1% if you count mailed out and mailed in ballots together. And those are usually mailed a month or more apart; their flow rates are different. The USPS also routinely gears up for election volumes every two years, just as it gears up for the annual volume of Christmas mail and packages.

      Whatever the USPS’s problems are, they’re not really about the volume of mail represented by mail-in ballots.

      • P J Evans says:

        They have the equipment, if DeJoy figures out that he can’t get rich from delaying the mail, and that Trmp can drop him faster than a hot potato. (He’s already been outed on his investments, which should have gotten him kicked out of the position to start with.)

        • bmaz says:

          Yes.Think this is what is not being reported enough.Not just slowing it down, but actively dismantling it.

        • Rugger9 says:

          I wonder what sort of “efficiency” was gained or improved by removing the high-speed sorting machines and replacing them with nothing (sort of like how DJT would replace Obamacare). After all, that is what DeJoy is saying his purpose for dismantling the USPS is, so perhaps he can explain that (and his several conflicts of interest and cash payouts).

        • P J Evans says:

          It’s corporate-raider efficiency: work everyone to death while looting the business, then sell the remains to some venture capitalist and make more money.
          But this time, he’s doing it to an institution that everyone knows and likes, and the pushback is starting.

      • graham firchlis says:

        It isn’t the total volume, but the peak flow on top of a greatly elevated baseline service demand.

        Don’t know about the system as a whole, but at my little post office they routinely increase staffing and overtime for election season, tax returns and yearend holiday crush.

        Postmistress to carrier, they are already stressed from the Covid shopping, no overtime or staffing up allowed. They are presently at choke flow. The ballots don’t seem like much, but without expanded human handling capacity deliveries will back up.

        Delayed jolly holly cards are one thing. Interfering with an election is entirely another, what bonfires and pitchforks were made for.

        • P J Evans says:

          They’re delaying prescription meds, which are definitely do-not-delay items.
          It’s “efficiency” in killing the USPS, not in anything else.

      • Eureka says:

        Later in that thread, Bunch links his newsletter where he says he is going to vote in person. Funny coincidence, we had already been having that conversation, strategizing… considering all of the contingencies (like drastically reduced polling places)… another option is to get the mail ballot early and turn it in to the respective county seat if the Trump Campaign, RNC, et al. succeed in their suit to disallow our ballot drop boxes.

        Meanwhile, the RNC is sending mailers (even to Independents) saying, ~ “We see you haven’t gotten your mail-in ballot yet…do so ASAP”. Not sure whether to call that rich, or continued botched messaging where the left hand knows not what the right is blathering to Fox News. However it is _decisively_ pathetic that an ever- growing number of citizens of the United States of America have to make **tactical plans** to vote. [While not divorced from civil rights denials targeted at Blacks and others (and allies) by place and time — the racism is the point — this particular grab, at scale, is un-American even by founders’ -eye-view standards.]

        Pennsylvania SoS Kathy Boockvar is seeking an extension of the receipt deadline to three days after the election for mailed ballots to be counted. Lawrence asked a guest from (not PA) USPS if that was enough time; I can say, per prior elections, Nope. It would help substantially, but still disenfranchise many — with “many” presumably being a far greater number than in the past, given the current trajectory of DeJoy’s dismantling. I have to say, video of blue mailboxes being trucked away in the bright of day is jarring.

        USPS says Pennsylvania mail ballots may not be delivered on time, and state warns of ‘overwhelming’ risk to voters

        • YinzerInExile says:

          I, like you, am in Eastern Pennsylvania, and we woke up to the find the same article in this morning’s Inquirer, which sparked the same discussion in our house. Our original plan had been to vote as early as possible by mail, with the expectation that even with high volumes, our ballots would have plenty of time to get to the local election office in Philadelphia; then we thought we would get mail-in ballots but drop them off at City Hall ourselves; finally, this morning, we started to think about just voting in person . . . although we have no idea where our polling location will turn out to be, if (as in June) the City closes three-quarters of the traditional locations.

          I do note that there was another article in the Inquirer, on Monday, about the possibility of Philadelphia County and other more populated Pennsylvania counties setting up “satellite election offices”, that would be valid places to both obtain and return absentee ballots in advance of the election, effectively creating de facto early voting in Pennsylvania. (I’d link to the story, but I’m kind of new around here, and there are so many conventions about linking that I don’t want to trip over one inadvertently.) There are, though, plenty of logistical hurdles to setting these satellite offices up and staffing and supplying them, and of course I would expect some Republican litigation to try to block this plan.

          I suppose that I’m left with the lingering feeling that, while what is happening now is quite different than the kind of voter suppression tactics to which Black Americans have been subject for generations, it begins to be easier to appreciate directly the sense of powerlessness that comes from being targeted by someone in a position of authority with the express purpose of denying you your chance to choose your own leaders and hold them to account for their actions. Republican voter suppression tactics have always struck me as deeply unpatriotic and cynical, but that was on an intellectual level; this is visceral. And it hurts.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Lucky you’re not in Ohio. Its Sec’y of State has decided that county boards of elections may only provide ONE collection box each for their county. Republican voter suppression efforts have become like Ahab hunting the White Whale of representative democracy. That didn’t work out so well for Ahab or his crew.

        • Tom says:

          Yes, I’ve been thinking of the American electorate as Moby Dick, turning in anger against their tormentor and staving in the side of Trump’s “Pequod” to send him and his scurvy crew to the bottom, with perhaps Mitt Romney in the role of Ishmael as the sole survivor.

        • Rayne says:

          Yes, America’s white voters are finally seeing and confronting voter suppression because it’s now targeting them. If only they’d been more awake and sensitive to minorities who have been marginalized for so long, pressing for better legislation at state and federal level, so that no one was suppressed or had less proportional representation, they might not find themselves in this mess now.

          All the holes in the system are very obvious because the boat is swamping everyone, not just those in steerage.

        • Eureka says:

          Thanks, Yinzer, for adding about the satellite election office plans — I was going to note that myself, to Attn: Philly Metro for potential options (all five counties but Chester have plans, and Delco already has a couple set up). (Out Three Rivers way, they are ‘thinking about it.’) Like you say, it would be de facto early voting; it would also replicate in-person voting, as they intend to print ballots on demand for one to complete and turn in. We’ll see what happens.

          Of course one tactical issue that I’m sure you’re also hedging over chez vous is that if we request our mail ballots, we are basically obligated to vote with them (else, in person would be by provisional ballot). We’ve still got some hem-haw time with ample cushion, for now…

          One thing I was getting at in my comment, to complete the biological metaphor, is that this is a *shape change*: the size and scaling of this operation is (apparently, as we are learning in America) one difference between “polite” (sic) racism and fascism.

          Yes, it hurts.

    • harpie says:

      The linked AMAZING graphic is [supposedly] from the American Postal Workers Union:
      Cheryl Rofer Retweeted
      1:28 PM · Aug 13, 2020

      absolutely baller content from the postal workers union

      Take action to protect USPS and our elections [link]

      And then follow, uplift, and donate to the @APWUnational who are absolute heroes rn [link]

      Here’s the link to the site in the screenshot, but I haven’t been able to find the actual graphic there, yet..:

    • Raven Eye says:

      Can’t the Secretaries of State (individually or collectively) sue the Postmaster General?

      Years ago when I worked for a county elections official (that duty was one among many in his portfolio) he explained that even the county’s Board of Supervisors had to tread lightly when he presented his election year budget and plans. He could go directly to the Secretary of State if he felt he wasn’t getting sufficient support to conduct a good election. He was totally committed to getting people registered, and making it possible for them to vote.

  8. harpie says:

    Here’s Aaron Rupar with video of Trump’s answer:
    6:10 PM · Aug 13, 2020

    Holy shit. Trump pushes a baseless, birther-style theory about Kamala Harris that holds she’s not a citizen because birthright citizenship isn’t a thing.

    “I just heard it today that she doesn’t meet the requirements … I have no idea if that’s right.” [VIDEO]


    TRUMP: So, I just heard it today that she doesn’t meet the requirements, and by the way, the lawyer that wrote that piece is a very highly qualified, very talented lawyer. I have no idea if that’s right. I would have assumed the Democrats would have checked that out before she gets chosen to run for Vice President. But that’s a very serious you’re saying that they’re saying that she doesn’t qualify because she wasn’t born in this country.

    • harpie says:

      Here’s a transcript of [what I can hear of] the question:

      Reporter: I have two questions. The first one domestic politics. There are claims
      TRUMP: Can’t understand a word. [Reporter is wearing a mask]
      R: There are claims circulating in social media that Kamala Harris is not eligible to be to run for Vice President because she was an anchor baby. Do you or can you definitively say whether or not Kamala Harris is eligible legal meets the legal requirements to run as Vice President?

  9. BobCon says:

    One of the things that really sucks about the political press’s coverage of this is there is a whole backstory to this stuff that they know but won’t expose.

    They pretend that this simply emerged out of the blue with Eastman. They have been told a hit job was coming before Harris was even nominated, they were told to look for it and may have even gotten a prepublication copy. They may have even been shopped it before Newsweek finally took it. Trump obviously knew it was coming, and was prepped to launch it today after publication.

    The press knows who is spreading this, or they can easily find out, but they stick to the polite fiction that there is no machinery behind it.

    This is exactly how Corsi spread birtherism, and the press was complicit in hiding the cynical mechanisms for spreading that racist theory too. It’s long overdue for them to be honest about their complicity, although I won’t hold my breath.

    • Rayne says:

      Yep. That date on the Facebook post sure looks like it was being pushed AND that somebody knew the candidate was Harris before Tuesday.

  10. Chris.EL says:

    What a terrific point of view!

    ” … and then, monsters who tell nothing but lies. Lying monsters are a real nuisance: They are much more cunning than others.” …
    Trump reflecting on himself:
    … “It sort of is curious. A man works for us, with us, very closely, Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx, also highly thought of, and yet they’re highly thought of but nobody likes me,” Trump said.

    “It can only be my personality. That’s all,” Trump added. …

    This statement from the president of the United States, an individual purportedly having years of experience in business and life, and he still doesn’t get it.

    No one likes to be lied to.

    I think Trump’s biggest problem is he simply does not have one woman that loves him; and he knows it.

    • Vicks says:

      “I think Trump’s biggest problem is he simply does not have one woman that loves him, and he knows it”
      Trump would never allow himself to that vulnerable.
      What if they told him he wasn’t really pulling off the tan in a can look?
      I sometimes get the feeling he is channeling a teacher or someone he believes cared about him in his childhood when he uses that Jewish grandmother/Bubbe voice to explain things.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Trump has had sex as many times as he can count, but he’s not capable of loving anyone. The women he let’s near him are there to suggest his own beauty, power, and magnetism, but they don’t come close if he can’t manipulate and control them. That would explain his close bond with Jeffrey Epstein, and why Epstein had so many other clients like him among the bent, wealthy, and devoid of love.

      I’ve given up caring where it comes from, but the guy is a sociopath incapable of empathy and positive feeling toward anyone. He denigrates those feelings, replacing them with sadism. If you don’t respect someone else and their interests, you don’t negotiate with them, you ignore or crush them. Fortunately, Trump’s not very good at that either, but in this job, he has lots of help. It is essential that he and the GOP be thrown out of government.

    • Valley girl says:

      I can’t see the full the woman who asked Trump the question about Kamala Harris, but she has the same general look as the woman from OANN, and if so, the question was a plant.

        • Chris.EL says:

          **not meaning to offend** being sarcastic here:
          Naaaww, Trump wouldn’t do that! Stage an interaction? Next he’ll be quoting someone … “Sir, is it true…”

          Can you just see the color drain from his face if he came face to face with Senator (and former Attorney General of California) Harris and had to actually SPEAK to her? D.T.’s brain would fall down and go boom.

        • BobCon says:

          The mainstream press knows who it is, and their willingness to pick up on the question and their unwillingness to expose the game says a lot about them, too.

          The way so much of the mainstream press messaging is “questions raised” rather than “staged Q + A” is Swift Boating and Birtherism redux. They’ll do enough reporting to the side to maintain plausible deniability, but they’re wedded to this garbage.

      • EricB says:

        I spent half an hour failing to discover who asked the question. The WH transcript doesn’t identify questioners, and the YouTube videos I found don’t show the press.

        A reporter “just asking” about a racist conspiracy is responsible for promoting the conspiracy.

        • Rayne says:

          Well that reeks. Right up there with the old Jeff Gannon softball routine although back in the Bush years we could see and identify Gannon.

          Somebody in the WH press corps knows who it was.

        • Valley girl says:

          Yes. I looked at some of the news reports, also trying to figure out who asked the question and it was always “A reporter asked…” . So, MSM complicit b/c “who” asked the question is important too, imo. Who asked the question is a big part of the story, and how it was orchestrated.

        • Rayne says:

          My gods…ANCHOR BABY??? After Trump has spawned four anchor babies himself??? When we still don’t have all the details behind Melania’s “immigration”?

          So totally fucking racist.

        • Chris.EL says:

          … spawn of four …
          hmm, DonJr., Eric, Ivanka, Tiffany*, Barron…

          Anyone else thinkin’ DonJr. will happily step into daddy’s shoes? Would a felony conviction prevent DonJr. from running for public office?
          *heard Tiffany was in law school?

          Am I alone in wondering what sort of personality Barron will emerge with after the pressure cooker of daddy dearest, Melania, Melania’s parents and the White House?
          off topic … Monstrous effort to get Flynn cut free before election … wonder if Flynn has special electorate data manipulation powers …
          they sure seem to want him ON DECK.

        • harpie says:

          Here’s a transcript of [what I can hear of] the question:

          Reporter: I have two questions. The first one domestic politics. There are claims
          TRUMP: Can’t understand a word. [Reporter is wearing a mask]
          R: There are claims circulating in social media that Kamala Harris is not eligible to be to run for Vice President because she was an anchor baby. Do you or can you definitively say whether or not Kamala Harris is eligible legal meets the legal requirements to run as Vice President?

  11. notjonathon says:

    Eastman also apparently wrote an opinion in 2016 claiming that Canadian-born Rafael Cruz was absolutely qualified by birth to serve as President, utterly refuting the entire basis of his argument that Harris might possibly in some teensy weensy way be in part subject to some other jurisdiction and thus not wholly subject to US law at birth.

  12. Eureka says:

    Kamala Harris is a Howard grad like I am. Let me school you about what that means. | Jenice Armstrong

    I was at Howard University at the same time that Sen. Kamala Harris was.

    She arrived on campus in 1982. I was a sophomore. I didn’t know her. But like her, I attended liberal arts classes in Douglass Hall — named after the abolitionist Frederick Douglass — and walked across the same fabled Yard that so many African American historical figures have.

    So, when people question her blackness, I point to that experience.

    You can’t be surrounded by that much blackness and not have emerged having been deeply influenced. I know I was. Being on that campus for four years affected my entire worldview. More than anything, it gave me confidence. I knew that even in a country with a history of being hostile to people who looked like me, I could achieve.

      • Eureka says:

        Yep, and wrapping with the bragging rights and all really humanizes the whole, historic thing. Makes you root for her in a more familiar way, besides how we are all rooting for Biden/Harris (in an often desperate way) to save our country. Sort of makes it fun!

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Not to mention that outside the fabled ebony tower is Metro DC. From DC NE to G’town, from Maryland to the No. Virginia suburbs, it’s a stark reminder of the racial dimensions of wealth, class, and power.

  13. graham firchlis says:

    I was raised with bigotry of all sorts, in a dominionist all white church in an insular white flight community in the 50s. From kindergarden through highschool, not a single black child ever enrolled.

    Then our senior civics class teacher assigned an essay on racism. A very quiet girl of Japanese ancestry wrote about her family’s persecution, interned during WWII. We were unaware, and shocked. She was brave enough to talk about the loss of the family farm built over generations, sold for pennies on the dollar, acreage now farmed by a rich white family corporation, how she was raised poor and in fear it would happen again, fear that she and her siblings and parents still lived with. Stirred our thinking.

    That summer I left the church, opening a rift with my family that has only deepened and will never heal. An early start at Berkeley led to new friends and exhilarating new experiences. Owsley acid, Kesey parties, civil rights protests, Free Speech Movement and quite like the transition from black and white conformist Kansas to the technicolor wonders of Oz, my conciousness opened in ever more glorious ways.

    I’ve been priveleged to travel the world, and I can testify that people everywhere are pretty much the same even operating within the superficial constraints of thier culture. Almost all of them are basically good and kind and honest. The crooks, too, come in all colors.

    This hetero old white man is repulsed by and abhors bigotry in every form and direction. It is a societal rot that diminishes us all. Calling it out is imperative. People can change for the better, but often need help to do so.

    • BayStateLibrul says:

      Wish there were more people in the world like you.
      Sadly, 40% of the country is fucked up.
      I wake up every day and say to myself and my wife. “Fuck, this isn’t America anymore.”
      I’m preparing for a worse case disaster from November 3 to
      January 20 2021.
      God save the Commonwealth.

      • graham firchlis says:

        Not everyone has been as fortunate as I. My landing in a place and time as I did, surrounded by a rich ferment of protest led by an extraordinary array of wise and patient mentors, was well out of the ordinary. I doubt I could have progressed otherwise, not as far or as fast. I count myself as very very lucky.

        Afraid your estimate is low. Pew did a survey some years ago, asking respondents a series of questions designed to tease out a variety of bigotries. Can’t find the cite, Pew on line is huge, but IIRC and I do they documented at least one overt common bigotry in 70%. And that’s just what people admitted; the total is likely higher.

        For hatred aggregators like Trump and the Republican Party, this means they can ascend to power by organizing and uniting a numerical minority. Make no mistake, a large share of the electorate will decline admitting their bigotry but feel unable to support widespread progressive change.

        November through January will be horrible, no doubt. The Radical Reactionaries in the Senate intend to add another 70 or so District Court judges, solidifying a Reactionary majority at that level as they have the Circuit courts.

        Worst case, if RBG has to step down the RR could convince both Thomas and Alito to do the same. They could then unilaterally install three new 40ish Reactionary justices, establishing a regime that will persist for generations.

        It took the Radicals 50 years to get from the Great Society to Trump Dystopia. It will take sustained organized effort to break free.

        Gird your loins, and GOTV.

  14. Tom says:

    The racist inspired attack on Senator Harris smacks of desperation. All it demonstrates is that, once again, there is no gutter so low that Trump and his supporters won’t get down on their bellies and crawl in it in order to cling to power. Their shot locker is empty and all they can do is fling mud. In any case, NPR news reports this morning that the Biden/Harris lead in the polls is expanding, that Trump’s approval rating is down to 39%, and he’s losing support among white voters.

    • Rayne says:

      The error made in 2016 was assuming respondents were honest and open, and that a representative spectrum of the voting population responded. Pollsters won’t get straight answers to questions like, “Are you misogynist?” or “Are you racist?” or “Would you rather vote for a white man, a black man, a white woman, a black woman? Pick your preferred candidate.” Most Americans don’t like to be called misogynist or racist — they’ll get upset about being labeled one or both. But they’ll still make misogynist or racist choices.

      We can’t assume that polls showing Trump is losing support among white voters is accurate. We have to vote and GOTV as if the vote is within margin of error. Especially with all the layers of voter suppression, from gerrymandering to post office disruption.

      • Tom says:

        Yes, Rayne, you’re right about people sometimes concealing their true political leanings. I think of one of my male colleagues from back when I was working in child protection services. He always seemed to go along with the prevailing left-of-centre political sentiments commonly expressed at our workplace. But one day I was riding with him in his car and I was surprised to hear he had tuned in to some right-wing talk radio show going on about the evils of gun control and Big Government. “Do you listen to that stuff?” I asked him, with some surprise. “Oh, what they have to say makes a lot of sense to me, Tom,” he replied.

  15. harpie says:

    via bmaz and replying to Jim Sciutto:
    7:00 AM · Aug 14, 2020

    With all due respect, the attack isn’t just on Harris. It’s an attack on the citizenship of every first generation American. Do not ignore it. Expose it. Fight it.

    Full disclosure – I’m a first generation American.

    harpie and four siblings…
    all first generation AMERICAN.

    I was an 8 year old AMERICAN when I witnessed
    our proud and excited parents also become AMERICAN.

    • Rayne says:

      That. All that. I also recognize the attack because like Obama, my father’s birth certificate was issued in Honolulu — when Hawaii was a territory, not a state. Is my father, a brown man of mixed race, less American because his birth certificate was like Obama’s?

      Irritating that there’s no concern about Russian birth tourism in Sunny Isles, Florida while this shit storm rages over Harris’s eligibility.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Amen. And that Russian birth-tourism is at least a bi-coastal thing. La Jolla does quite a good trade in it, too. I suspect it’s anywhere that hubby can easily fly in and out of, while mummy and the odd retainer or family members bask in the sun for a few months, then visit a worldclass hospital for a short stay.

      • Rugger9 says:

        The Russian birth tourism has been going on for some time, and south FL is a known hot spot. It’s almost as if DJT is turning a blind eye to it.

  16. Jenny says:

    Thanks Rayne.

    Should anyone be surprised at the out of the gate attacks on Senator Harris? No – because she is a woman, a woman of color and a threat to the GOP. Old energy, old patriarchal system finally being exposed and breaking down which has been steeped into our society/world for way too long.

    Dolly Parton said it best.
    “I understand people having to make themselves known and felt and seen,” Parton said. “And of course, Black lives matter. Do we think our little white asses are the only ones that matter? No!”

  17. P J Evans says:

    If they’re going to claim that children of immigrants can’t be citizens: one of my great-grands came down from Canada with the rest of his family, at the age of 13 (and we’re still not entirely sure he was naturalized when his father was). That would mean my grandmother, born in Kansas, wasn’t a citizen. And her husband, whose grandparents came from England, would qualify only because his father was born after they were naturalized.

  18. harpie says:

    Considering the President’s “concern” about Harris’ eligibility to serve as Vice President, this is kind of a delicious IRONY coming today, [also unsurprising, though scary]:
    9:43 AM · Aug 14, 2020

    NEWS: GAO has concluded that Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf and Acting Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli were invalidly appointed and are *ineligible* to serve in their current roles. […]

    • harpie says:

      Here’s Steve Vladeck, who’s an expert on this:
      9:50 AM · Aug 14, 2020

      Holy cow: The *GAO* has determined that Chad Wolf was not lawfully named the Acting Secretary of Homeland Security, and that @HomelandKen (who already is using an inappropriate title) wasn’t lawfully appointed even to his *proper* position at DHS.

      This is a remarkably big deal.

      To clarify, the opinion concludes that Cuccinelli was not lawfully named as the “senior official performing the duties of the deputy secretary” (he’s already not the Acting Deputy). Nothing in the opinion calls into doubt his current position as principal deputy director of CIS.

        • Rugger9 says:

          IANAL, but doesn’t that mean that every one of their orders is also bogus after their expiration, and that legal protection via qualified immunity is removed for everyone that followed those orders?

          Even if it is not necessarily a criminal matter, I would expect that the civil side could have a field day with this lack of actual authority, especially given how “ignorance of the law is no excuse”. Wolf and Cuccinelli would be expected to know they were out of time as “acting”, and AG Barr should have reminded them and DJT to deal with it. Law and order, my tush.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          This is part of the chaos cloud that follows Trump like the dust cloud that follows Pig Pen. It serves Putin’s and China’s interests equally well, as would drugging an opponent before entering the ring against him.

    • P J Evans says:

      It goes back to Nielsen changing the succession, and doing it only in the section involving disasters, not the section involving resignation. So McAleenan wasn’t her legal successor, and thus couldn’t appoint anyone.

  19. Troutwaxer says:

    “Cthulhu, meanwhile, claims that as a superior being, he has the right to destroy the world and eat all human souls. “I’ve lived for multiple billions of years. My naps usually last longer than the entire history of vertebrates on your planet. You can trust that I know what food smells like.”” – Newsweek, covering both sides of the issue.

    • Rugger9 says:

      Back in the day Newsweek had been a more liberal operation (IIRC it was owned by ABC, but I may be wrong) but this helps to highlight the point that even if reporters might have a more leftward bent even in the age of access journalism, the editors are more rightwing than ever. Look at how Sinclair is doing their “must-run” Epshteyn messaging.

      • MB says:

        According to Wikipedia regarding Newsweek ownership:

        1933-61: independent
        1961-2010: Washington Post
        2010-13: Daily Beast
        2013-18: IBT Media
        2018-present: “independent”, again…

        I suspect your ABC ownership conjecture was actually the time period that the Washington Post ran it…

  20. Rugger9 says:

    And, has anyone heard the GOP leadership push back on DJT? Collins, Gardner, McSally, Buehler, Buehler, Buehler? I haven’t.

    Thanks to MB above for correcting the Newsweek ownership timeline.

  21. earlofhuntingdon says:

    HuffPost’s S.V. Date was the reporter who asked Donald Trump at his presser yesterday, if he regretted lying so often to the American People. Twenty thousand times and counting, about both stupid and immensely consequential things. Knocked speechless, Trump cut Date off and turned to another reporter – who asked about the payroll tax. WTF did that second reporter not repeat Date’s question? And the next reporter, and the next.

    • What Constitution? says:

      That’s exactly what I was yelling at the screen. How can the reporters in that room be so bumfuzzled that they don’t do the most obvious thing when the guy at the podium flatly ignores a critical question like that? There needs to be pushback — by the people in the room, and if they won’t do that, by the people watching such a charade calling them out for encouraging the continuous disregard for the truth.

  22. Mosey says:

    At least one Canadian columnist thinks that Harris is right leaning enough that she could , if she was Canadian, become the leader of the Conservative Party of Canada :
    Obviously the Rs in America have no choice but to use smear the active so that the base won’t really look at her record and say hey, she’s actually not so bad.
    Biden/Harris, if elected, will be a very good moderate republican administration imho.

  23. Savage Librarian says:

    We need you, Kamala,
    Oh, yes we do,
    We’re glad Shamala
    gave birth to you!

    We want a Momala
    swelling status blue,
    Yes, Kamala
    boosts our view!

    • Savage Librarian says:

      Oops, so sorry! Edit request, if possible. Should be Shyamala for Kamala’s mom. Apologies!

  24. P J Evans says:

    One thing that occurred to me: if they’re going with “children of immigrants aren’t citizens” – that should also apply to Trmp and his kids, too. Especially if citizenship goes through the father: his mother was an immigrant, his father was the child of an immigrant, and two of his wives were immigrants.

  25. Alan Charbonneau says:

    I read that Biden was impressed by Tammy Duckworth, “…but his lawyers feared she would face challenges to her eligibility because she was born overseas.“ and “ While Mr. Biden’s team believed Ms. Duckworth was eligible for national office, campaign lawyers feared that it would take just one partisan judge in one swing state to throw the whole Democratic ticket off the ballot.”

    With Trump playing dirty, their concerns may be valid — one Naomi Rao type judge deliberately twisting the law to hurt Biden and help Trump

  26. Dana says:

    Eastman’s motive may have been a grudge against Harris, but Trump’s staff picked it up and showed it to him, and he is running with it for attack reasons heavily laced with his trademark racism.

    • Eureka says:

      I’ll raise the ante and call the “grudge” a fig leaf for even more naked racism, i.e., why Eastman, of all hacks, was selected to be the public narrator of this particular hit job.

      In other words, I’d call it a motive for picking him to be the author, rather than a personal motive for him to attack Harris, due to their past loose association. Why would that distinction matter? While the _logical_ basis of any actual grudge versus her (as opposed to GOP primary voters/GOP opponent) is a stretch, wound-licking and honor-reclaiming are justified, per American/Western cultural rules, to place him in the attack space.

      Call it a case of the gutturally “justified narrator”; compare the fake reliable, disinterested, or honorable one (gagging on “Mike Flynn’s” 2016 pro-Erdogan’s-interests op-ed here).

      The purpose was to recycle this racist attack to POTUS’ lips; while we’ve focused on the décor layers of the proximate messenger(s) — and in any case, such people _should_ be held accountable for their actions — the producers remain invisible to the public at large.

      • Savage Librarian says:

        Yes, it definitely had that targeted vibe to it. That is the age we live in with social media and selfies. But it’s genesis probably began with the inception of language, communication and storytelling. We’re so steeped in it, dependent on the social bonds, and intrigued by the technology and what it can accomplish, that we lose ourselves in the tricks and power plays. We forget what is left out, both unintentionally and by design.

        DB ran this story that shows how awareness is growing and people are stepping up to meet some of the challenges:

        “Men Are Broken. Geena Davis Is Trying to Fix Them.” – Marlow Stern, 8/13/20

        “The Oscar-winning actress and humanitarian talks about fighting for a more inclusive Hollywood, steamy sex scenes with Brad Pitt, and the most toxic male of all.”
        “Davis, 64, also founded the Bentonville Film Festival—one of the most inclusive film festivals in the world, and the only one to offer its winners full distribution. The sixth edition of the fest, a mix of virtual and limited-capacity in-person screenings running Aug. 10-16, is its most diverse outing yet, with 80 percent of the films directed by women and 65 percent of them by Black, Indigenous and other people of color.”

        • Eureka says:

          Aw, and I just missed a broadcast of A League of Their Own, too. I am hoping these changes make many aspects of the film industry less aversive — including the finished products and all they evoke. (And, gross: recalling the whole Weinstein era and the commodification of actresses with all of the “red carpet” product and media tie-ins … Ellen Barkin has written a lot about that on her twitter.)

      • Dana says:

        What do you mean by “selected?” There’s seems to be a whole lot of speculation in your comment.

        • Eureka says:

          “Seems” you need to take a look at where it’s founded — and reference to the (let’s say) less complicated case of the Flynn-Turkey op-ed was a clue [for an inverse as to authorship, see Manafort’s aborted effort to rehabilitate his rep (though I am not suggesting the Eastman piece was ghostwritten, merely pointing to an ecosystem of “selection” practices: cf. coverage of Tom Cotton’s more recent invited NYT op-ed, or, indeed, the means by which Whitaker, then Barr, came to be hired by the Trump admin.)] — and how (especially) right-wing media projects, including smear campaigns, work. Swift boating, birtherism, Clinton Cash … it goes on and on and on. See also the text and discussion of Newsweek’s “apology” immediately below. And see the comments below that, and elsewhere, about who gets selected to appear and ask questions at WH briefings (there’s that wholly forthright ecosystem. Again).

        • Dana says:

          None of that answers the question about Eastman. Some commissioned pieces does not mean all pieces are commissioned. You seem to be reasoning backward from your foregone conclusion. In the interim, I came across this 2015 exchange between Eastman and Linda Chavez. He has had a bee in his bonnet about birthright citizenship for a long time. It does not appear that anyone “selected” him. Between his predisposition dating from at least 2006 and his plausible grudge, he probably wrote this piece entirely on his own initiative.

        • Dana says:

          Actually it is people who kneejerk jump on a bandwagon simply because it is their side’s bandwagon that look bad. I favor skepticism and impartial evaluations of all the available information.

        • Rayne says:

          I used the words racist and racism or derivatives like anti-racism 23 times in my post and updates and he’s asking what my point is.

          Not to mention using the word racist in the post title.

          ~eye roll~

        • Dana says:

          What exactly do you think I am disputing? I am only disputing the speculation that Eastman was “selected” to write his piece. Who cares who i am? You should be able to respond without ad hominem, ie an attempt to disqualify the speaker instead of addressing the speaker’s arguments..

        • Eureka says:

          Note for posterity and the cheap seats, readers here are smart enough to know that there are many varietals of the “ad hominem” attack, of which you’ve deposited a few during your “J’accuse! J’accuse!” debase-the-speaker stint. Cloaking in Concern and Rationality is just that: rhetorical cud.

        • Rayne says:

          Ri-ight. Sure.

          Surely just a coincidence that Ted Cruz — born in Canada, son of a Canary Islander — announced his candidacy for POTUS on March 23, 2015, not quite six months before Eastman wrote the article referred to in first sentence, first graf of that Claremont Review interview; his candidacy had been expected since early 2013.

          Bet if we go back to 2006 we’ll likewise find rumblings about other individual(s) who were first generation Americans born in U.S. who may have been rumored to be candidates for POTUS.

          Funny how his bee-riddled bonnet only buzzes at certain times.

        • Dana says:

          Actually the bee in his bonnet buzzes rather regularly. You have not actually supported the original assertion that Eastman was “selected” to write this piece. What are you actually contesting? I agree his arguments are wrong, and judging from his entire body of work, his conclusions are predetermined and he works backwards from there rather than following ALL the facts to there logical conclusion. It is equally backwards to speculate about rumblings in 2006, and then draw a conclusion based on the speculation rather than the actual rumblings.

        • Rayne says:

          My point is and has been rather obvious, Dana. But I’ll spell it out for you because you are literally whitewashing what Eastman has done.

          Eastman is only worried if someone brown is eligible for office through birthright citizenship.

          It’s the racism. It’s racist. Eastman is a fucking racist.

          And you are doing exactly what Volokh did — ignoring the racism which is the fucking point of Eastman’s buzzing, providing cover by changing the subject.

          This is so much like Gamergate it’s not funny. “It’s about ethics in gaming journalism” was bullshit. It was pretext to harass the fuck out of women. This is the same playbook: “It’s about the 14th Amendment and eligibility” is pretext to contest, bully, and marginalize only those candidates who are brown.

        • P J Evans says:

          Thanks, Rayne! (I’d reached the “who are you and what makes you such an expert that you know what others think” stage.)

        • Dana says:

          I whitewashed nothing. I only disputed the speculation that he was “selected.” His history going back to at least 2006 indicates he probably wrote it on his own initiative.

          I don’t have any idea about anything called “Gamergate.”

          We don’t need conspiratorial speculation about being “selected” to write the piece.

          About the assertion he has question the birthright citizenship of only brown people. Do we know that as a fact? Did he questions Obama’s citizenship?

        • Rayne says:

          Look, Mr. 13-comments-to-date, we’re done. You are still trolling with this whitewashing trash. And now you’re “sea lioning.” Go away.
          Cartoon: The Terrible Sea Lion by David Malki-Wondermark

        • Ginevra diBenci says:

          Dana, I am trying to keep an open mind. But I can’t figure out what your point is here, other than that your skepticism and objectivity trump whatever Eureka and others are saying. It would seem to reduce to a difference regarding the meaning of “selection”; I wonder if you are confused or purposely misreading the usage of it here.

        • Dana says:

          I am only saying the whole “selection” speculation should have been left out. We should stay firmly anchored to facts. I am not understanding why there is any emotional trigger here.

        • P J Evans says:

          Maybe you should have read this site for a few weeks longer to find out how people comment. So far, you appear to be Just Another Troll.

        • Dana says:

          I am now being called a “troll” who is “sealioning” and should have observed how people comment here before commenting. It all sounds like this site wants to be just another silo. I made one assertion, that given the available information, the speculation that Eastman was “selected” to write his piece was unwarranted. That’s it. The emotional response suggests a lack of toleration for any dissent, no matter how slight. Kinda ironic, actually. The overreaction also suggests a sideways admission that there is no firm basis for the “selection” speculation. Aren’t we all sick to death of speculation magically taken as fact?

  27. harpie says:

    NEWSWEEK says “We apologize”:

    Editor’s note, 8/14:
    This op-ed is being used by some as a tool to perpetuate racism and xenophobia. We apologize. The essay, by John Eastman, was intended to explore a minority legal argument about the definition of who is a “natural-born citizen” in the United States. But to many readers, the essay inevitably conveyed the ugly message that Senator Kamala Harris, a woman of color and the child of immigrants, was somehow not truly American.

    The op-ed was never intended to spark or to take part in the racist lie of Birtherism, the conspiracy theory aimed at delegitimizing Barack Obama, but we should have recognized the potential, even probability, that that could happen. Readers hold us accountable for all that we publish, as they should; we hold ourselves accountable, too. We entirely failed to anticipate the ways in which the essay would be interpreted, distorted and weaponized.

    As we said in our earlier note, this essay was an attempt to examine a legal argument about the difference between “natural born” and “naturalized,” the latter being ineligible to hold the office of president. In the days since the op-ed was published, we saw that it was being shared in forums and social networks notorious for disinformation, conspiracy theories and racist hatred. All of us at Newsweek are horrified that this op-ed gave rise to a wave of vile Birtherism directed at Senator Harris. Many readers have demanded that we retract the essay, but we believe in being transparent and are therefore allowing it to remain online, with this note attached.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      A short apology for printing Eastman’s original comment and the predictable controversy that followed might have had some value. But this extended defense is both a denial and an extension of the controversy.

      Newsweek is not examining a legitimate “minority legal argument.” The law has been clear for over a century: Kamala Harris is a natural born citizen and meets the qualification to be president or vice president. Newsweek’s purported surprise that the controversy took place is no more credible. It establishes only that its management is not minimally competent or acting in good faith.

      • Rugger9 says:

        Indeed, the tell here is that nowhere in this “apology” does Newsweek clearly state that the 14th Amendment birthright citizenship applied to Kamala Harris, instead opting for saying they are “publishing a minority view” (bothsides!) that they’ll leave up with this note attached as if the truth of the matter is even debatable. US Senator Kamala Harris is a native-born US citizen from Oakland, by the action of the 14th Amendment, full stop.

        It would be one thing if Kamala Harris had at any time in her life acted on her potential multi-state status, but there are no examples of this anywhere in her CV. That the RWNJ editor of Newsweek is leaving this to a “debate” is bullcrap.

  28. Valley girl says:

    I just discovered (accidentally) that the reporter who asked the question is from VOA. This Guardian article led me to click on a tweet the article linked.

    Reading down a few replies is this:
    Robert Mackey
    Replying to
    Is the reporter who asked about this today a Newsweek colleague?
    Christina Zhao
    Replying to
    Robert Mackey
    Aug 14
    Replying to
    Thanks. That turns out to have been an error in another report. She is with VOA.

    Based on this it looks like my speculation that she was from OANN was wrong. I know next to nothing about the current state of VOA, however.

    From Guardian article:
    ~~Some Newsweek staff had publicly slammed the decision to run the oped. Christina Zhao, a New York news editor, tweeted: “This is an inflammatory and racist op-ed that should never have been published. That is my opinion.”~~

    (=non-apology as it has not been removed)

  29. harpie says:

    From yesterday’s WH political rally:
    5:59 PM · Aug 15, 2020

    The President is given a chance to denounce birtherism 2.0 [VIDEO]

    …to which Mackey responds:
    6:58 PM · Aug 15, 2020

    Notice that Trump’s first response to a question about the racist smear on Kamala Harris’s citizenship is “I have nothing to do with that.”

    Here’s the pinned tweet of the Federalist Society crackpot [EASTMAN] who published the smear (on a Newsweek op-ed page run by another FedSoc loon): [screenshot Trump quoting Eastman on FOX in July and Eastman retweeting and thanking Trump.]

    • Eureka says:

      I’m just here to add some thick, wet highlighter to that last bracketed statement, with Trump and Eastman doing the perfunctory do-si-do (though the whole thing is glorious, preemptive denial and all).

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