Trump’s Destruction of Government Is Personal

I wanted to put up a longer post this morning addressing last night’s stream of Hatch Act violations and nepotistic displays ignored by criminal hypocrites passing for the GOP political party’s convention.

Unfortunately I have to be away from the desk for much of this morning, sorry. Feel free to use this open thread to share your observations about RNCC 2020: WTAF Round 2.

While you have at it without me I’m meeting with my elderly parents. My father has had some recent health events which have been under observation, aren’t getting better, and may need surgery.

The problem is the speed with which an elderly person with two residences — one in Florida, one in Michigan — can get the care they need during a pandemic if their health records are spread across north and south.

The physician who saw him yesterday wants records but they’re at a different location.

“Don’t mail them, whatever you have your care provider do,” they told my parents.

Now they have to wait for records in Florida, a state which is still wrestling with COVID-19 cases, to be sent to Michigan. Will they be transferred promptly and securely to this new physician in Michigan, where sorting machines have been removed and service slowed? Who knows?

My folks have been able to rely on mail to ship records back and forth for decades between residences, knowing they would arrive securely in a reasonable period of time.

But it’s not like it’s a cancer drug or insulin or some other medical resource needed expeditiously, one might think.

Imagine, though, it’s records of a heart ailment. Or a brain lesion. Or some other threat to health which if not treated appropriately might result in disability or death.

I won’t get any more specific but that’s what’s in these records which need to be shared between two entirely different, unconnected hospital systems.

U.S. Postal Service handling these records would have been just fine until this summer when Louis DeJoy took over as Postmaster General.

~ ~ ~

There’s an upside to this mess. It’s not much in that it won’t assure my dad’s health will improve.

But Donald Trump’s criminality and general fucked-up-edness has cost him two conservative voters.

My mother is FURIOUS about Trump. RABID. She makes me look like a goddamn fluffy kitten about Trump.

And this bullshit about COVID-19 being out of control was the capper for her. She’s a retired health care professional who knows all of this could have been prevented by one man had he done the job he was supposed to do.

Now, with this distrust of the mail system, at a time when she needs it most? Mom is LIVID.

I don’t dare discuss it with my dad because of his health.

I don’t dare get into detail with Mom about Trump because my god, her blood pressure.

If something worse should happen to my dad because of Trump’s screwing with government services we need, I wouldn’t put it past her to sue the ever-living fuck out of Trump appointees.

And I will help her, gladly. It’ll be the first time we’ve agreed on politics most of my adult lifetime.

~ ~ ~

This is supposed to be a government of, by, and for the people. Not for banksters, not for cronies, not for foreign adversaries who’ve compromised elements of our leadership.

It’s time to take it back to save our own lives.

It’s time to do it for the memory of 178,410 COVID-19 victims our country has lost as of this morning because of Trump.

Again, this is an open thread.

109 replies
  1. Rayne says:

    Want to do something constructive today about this U.S. Postal Service mess? Check out Celeste_P’s twitter thread — has a script included for calling your senators.

    If you have one or two GOP senators, your calls are the most important ones to make because it’s their votes on the Delivering for America Act HR 8015 or the HEROES Act which will make or break the aid and repair for USPS.

    If you have one or two Democratic senators, thanks them for supporting the USPS. They’ve got your back.

    • J R in WV says:

      Sorry to hear about your father’s health issues.

      I had to deal with my father’s serious health issues (leukemia, COPD caused by chemo) along with my brother. Dad lived in WV, was treated at M D Andersen Cancer Center in Houston TX. Now I hate Texas!

      Best wishes going forward!


      • Rayne says:

        Thanks, JR. I’ve heard good things about M D Andersen – sorry about the Texas part. I’ll get to hate Florida as it’s likely whatever happens will be handled there. I just hope my mom knows what she’s doing choosing Florida+COVID over Michigan+snow.

  2. Jenny says:

    Thank you Rayne. Interesting how politics has come into play with your parents. I am sending you and your parents good vibrations. Nothing more important than love caring for the individuals who cared for you.

    • Rayne says:

      Thanks, Jenny, much appreciated. I am so worried for families and individuals who aren’t as fortunate as ours — this situation isn’t good but so many Americans without jobs, without health care, facing eviction or foreclosure right don’t need the additional hassle of USPS dysfunction.

      It’s only a matter of time when this deliberate destruction of the USPS results in Americans’s deaths.

  3. Raven Eye says:

    This, from Politco: “Meadows dismisses Hatch Act concerns at RNC: ‘Nobody outside of the Beltway really cares’

    Meadows may have made a misstep when he invoked Obama’s name:

    “Nobody outside of the Beltway really cares. They expect that Donald Trump is going to promote Republican values and they would expect that Barack Obama, when he was in office, that he would do the same for Democrats,”

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Sure, Mark, everybody is as stunningly ignorant and voraciously criminal as your boss. Not. It’s just politics is a false, exculpatory, self-serving meme. But it’s not like telling you anything goes anywhere. The House’s collective IQ went up a notch just by virtue of yours not being in the mix.

    • pjb says:

      This is a rather stupid and pointless question, but I am weirdly curious. If Chad Wolf has been determined to be illegitimately acting as DHS head, were those people actually naturalized during the RNC reality show last night?

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      “…Meadows, who ran a sandwich shop before succeeding in real estate, made a splash just months after taking office in 2013 by becoming an informal leader of a “suicide caucus” and primary architect of a 16-day government shutdown in a failed attempt to defund Obamacare.”

      Well, who doesn’t think that running a sandwich shop and ‘succeeding in real estate’ before shutting down the US government doesn’t form a sound basis for policy expertise and leadership in the world’s largest economy?
      What could possibly go wrong…?

      As for the naturalized citizens who were televised: the feature was almost certainly propaganda; naturalized citizenship merely the bug.

  4. gmoke says:

    “Nobody outside of the Beltway really cares.”

    You lieberals don’t get it. All of this was principled civil disobedience in the tradition of Martin Luther King Jr and Henry Thoreau. Besides, don’t you know laws don’t appy to Republicans?! /snark

    Of course, everybody should know by now that only Republicans are real USAmericans, the only ones who should legally be allowed to vote and hold office, but the truly sovereign citizens are corporations, my friend.

    • Leading Edge Boomer says:

      Republicans are experts at exclusion. My sister says you cannot be a christian unless you are a republican. I am neither so I’m good.

      • Rayne says:

        Wait, where was that in the Bible? Because everything I learned in the Bible from Christ taught me to be a moneychangers’-table-flipping socialist.

        • P J Evans says:

          She probably also believes that all those teachings about feeding the hungry and caring for the sick apply only to people whose views match her own.
          Not kidding: there are churches that teach that the Golden Rule only applies to people who are members.

  5. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Trump’s destruction has been personal for him, too. He needs it to stay out of prison, but it’s also the only thing that makes him feel whole.

    • John Lehman says:

      Think you’ve nailed the whole psychology of the administration “desperadoes”. Dillinger, Bonnie and Clyde.
      Sadly humorous.

  6. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Nice graphic. Hurricane Laura coming ashore as Cat. 4 sometime tonight. Up to 20′ storm surge – labeled as “unsurvivable”. A 6′ surge is considered catastrophic.

    People evacuating beyond Austin, TX, because evac centers – practicing social distancing – have half their normal capacity. Every Republican president seems to create their own Katrina, so they can do nothing about it but aid developers afterward. Meanwhile, the GOP convention obliviously carries on.

  7. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The Kenosha P.D. can turn out like the Spartans at Thermopylae to clear a park across from a courthouse, but it can’t competently handle an alleged felony assault arrest. They’re happy to thank and share a little water on a hot night with white supremacists carrying AR-15s, but, damn, those DFHs have to git outta that park.

    • harpie says:

      So this tweet was posted at 11:03 PM · Aug 25, 2020, [I’m guessing that might be ET, and not Kenosha’s CT] and is written in the present tense…pretty much “live”? do you think?

      • harpie says:

        I should probably take this to Rayne’s previous post, because I have a feeling I’ll be obsessing about this today…

    • Rayne says:

      This is a pattern. Police kill a Black person => local residents protest and are egged on into rioting by police => armed white supremacists show up => local residents are injured or killed by either police or white supremacists, both of which work cooperatively to incite further violence.

      It’s a shake down by organized crime whether state-sanctioned police or their brethren in white supremacist organizations.

      • viget says:

        Folks, it’s not an accident, that’s for sure. Pretty sure these are domestic terror ops, possibly egged on by foreign social media actors.

        • Ginevra diBenci says:

          Who needs foreign social media actors when we have a president, AG and entire political party willing to drum up a thrill-kill brigade of White anti-protesters? The rhetoric of “violence” when applied to property damage has surely played a role in surging these guys with their guns to places where people are simply expressing grief and loss and justifiable anger. There was no reason for a teenager from Antioch, IL to be in Kenosha last night. None. And I don’t believe he would’ve been there if not for the administration’s exploitation of these situations for their own self-serving political ends.

        • pasha says:

          i read on daily kos today that the 17 year old had been identified as present at a trump function, standing behind trump on the stage.
          had he graduated from the police academy first, the murders could have been “normalized”

        • P J Evans says:

          Sitting in the front row, actually, in Des Moines.
          What I keep wondering is, did his parents pay for his trip to Des Moines, or do they let him do whatever he wants and just hand him money when he wants?

  8. Tom says:

    Someone has probably already had this thought, but in light of the recent Falwell scandal perhaps Liberty University should rename itself Libertine University.

  9. Leading Edge Boomer says:

    Do your parents’ medical operations in MI and FL have online portals? Medication lists, lab tests, and procedure results should be available there. Print out what is needed or post it to the other portal to supply info to the other medic. Hope that helps.

    My primary is in Santa Fe and I have a specialist in Denver, since there are none in Santa Fe and two in Albuquerque who their patients apparently hate. Also, CU Med Ctr is in another league from UNM Hospital. I make sure each gets info posted at the other portal.

    • P J Evans says:

      I get copies of the reports from tests, and I make sure that my primary-care guy gets the results – by email.

    • Rayne says:

      Thanks. I know you mean well, and if the information was that simple, my dad already has a copy he keeps on a flash drive.

      What they need isn’t available through a portal for printing. I can’t elaborate any further without violating my father’s privacy.

  10. Rwood says:

    This is the truth of it. There are two groups within trump-world, the first are those that know and understand the fantasy world they have created in order to exploit their followers, and the second, who are the willing rubes who believe them.

    This WaPo opinion piece did a good job of explaining it I thought:

    “There has been plenty of commentary about how Trump’s insatiable thirst for praise and attention has caused him to watch Fox News at all hours of the day. But that narcissism comes at a cost: He has begun to believe the narrative that has been handcrafted to make him feel better. Like a tinpot despot consuming state news and attending carefully orchestrated displays of fealty, Trump’s steady diet of Fox News (complemented with a side of political rallies designed to make him feel like a political messiah) has warped his thinking. As a result, he continues to preach only to the converted — a much smaller part of the population than he realizes.”

    This “Convention” is just one big gaslighting event aimed at that second group. The rest of us are on the outside looking in.

    • Chris.EL says:

      *hello open thread*

      was reflecting on Comrade Melania’s choice of uniform for her address to the RNC (she seems to opt for telegraphing through her clothes).

      Don’t know about Slovenia but a search on her name revealed this from google:

      “Melanija Knavs was born in Novo Mesto and grew up in Sevnica, in the Yugoslav republic of Slovenia. She worked as a fashion model through agencies in Milan and Paris and moved to New York City in 1996. Her modeling career was associated with Irene Marie Models and Trump Model Management.”

      Found this notable: never heard of “Trump Model Management,” but doesn’t it seem like something set up to provide “models,” move them around, and take in money?

      Nice, clean, fresh, young money?

    • Stephen Calhoun says:

      If I get what you’re saying, Trump is gaslighting his own self!?!

      Digby yesterday reported the following quote.

      “The more chaos and anarchy and vandalism and violence reigns, the better it is for the very clear choice on who’s best on public safety and law and order.” — Kellyanne Conway

      • harpie says:

        Here’s Aaron Rupar with the video [I haven’t checked Conway’s exact quote/wording.]:
        10:24 AM · Aug 27, 2020

        “The more chaos and anarchy and vandalism and violence reigns, the better it is for the very clear choice on who’s best on public safety and law and order” — Kellyanne Conway makes a case that the killings of peaceful protesters will benefit Trump politically [VIDEO]

  11. Desert Dave says:

    Any chance Trump will issue a pardon for Kyle Rittenhouse, the teenage blue lives matter superfan who killed two protestors and maimed a third in Kenosha while “defending” a gas station? Or even just taunt us with his deliberations on the possibility of taking this corrupt action? Sounds like law enforcement on the scene let Kyle and his Armalite walk right on by despite the crowd insisting he had just committed murder. Maybe the officers recognized Kyle as a fellow traveler from his participation in their youth cadet training program. Maybe he won’t even need a pardon. Bet Trump wishes there was time to get him a speaking slot. The McClusky’s look like balding hamsters next to Kyle’s commitment to the cause.

    • Tom says:

      What really bothers me is that young Rittenhouse is reported to be only 17 years old! Was he an active member of a local militia group? If so, why did they accept him instead of telling him to go home? How many other teenagers are out there in the same position? Are these militia groups in the business of recruiting what amounts to child soldiers?

      • P J Evans says:

        He was already a “blue lives” supporter, it appears from his social media presence. It’s possible they knew him from online, but someone like him would know all the buzzwords to get acceptance.

  12. Savage Librarian says:

    The Fixer

    With Putin as his favorite crony,
    (Vlad had him at his first hellos,)
    The Fixer’s hoary ceremony
    cascades from icy hush up pillows.

    His barkers, with their Coney
    Island ritual bellows,
    know their games are phony
    as the love found in bordellos.

    Akin to Falwell matrimony
    with surprising bedfellows,
    Trump trails at being tony,
    like molded cherry salad jellos.

    Yankee Doodle macaroni,
    crammed with gobs of tart morellos,
    Tosses us his stale baloney,
    Then Donald fetes all his goodfellas

    • Chris.EL says:

      re: Vlad’
      Have a vague recollection (viewed months ago) of a video of Trump at what appeared to be some type of dinner. Vlad’ and Melania were there as well, though not seated together.
      Trump made a gesture intended for Vlad’ to see; a gesture I can only interpret to be sexual in nature, along the lines of “she’s good in the sack” or “don’t you agree she’d be good…” Hands thrusting, that sort of thing.

      To me, a lewd gesture of that nature in public, about his own wife, to a major head of state was incredibly appalling!

      Just another illustration for me of Trump’s character deficiencies!!!

  13. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Hurricane Laura already labeled as being in the top five, perhaps the top three, hurricanes ever to hit the Gulf Coast. Comparisons with Katrina are Not exaggerations. Unprecedented high-water levels far inland, major destruction and dislocation predicted.

    • P J Evans says:

      Latest forecast says it may have winds of 150mph at landfall. Borderline Cat5, I think. Fortunately it won’t do much to NOLA – their forecast is maybe 3 inches of rain. Winds look to be 30 to 60mph – there’s a very tight gradient on that side, so it will vary across the metro area.

      • madwand says:

        Latest 150MPH and 940 millibars the eye still offshore. Possible could be a cat five at landfall.

        • P J Evans says:

          I emailed my uncle in Houston and said I hope he stays safe (and his son, who’s in Little Rock).

  14. Chris.EL says:

    Courtesy of

    … “The lyrics were written by Johnny Mercer after the film made the tune popular. According to Mercer, he had not yet seen the movie when he wrote the lyrics but was aware that it was a romantic, somewhat haunting story.” …
    Without the internet I never would have learned about Johnny Mercer’s work!

    Film “Midnight In the Garden of Good and Evil” showcases a lot of Johnny Mercer’s songs. Directed by Clint Eastwood. Eastwood’s quite a music buff.

  15. P J Evans says:

    It’s come out that the changes to CDC regs were made without consulting Fauci – that was the day he had surgery. He is Not At All Happy – especially since they claimed he’d been consulted.

  16. Nehoa says:

    Starting a second severe lockdown at midnight tonight, my reaction to the GOP “convention” is that they are trying to promote a narrative that just won’t ring true to most of the country. They ignore the pandemic, they promote the memories of the pre-pandemic economy, try to say that they are an inclusive party. None of that is true. By not addressing what people are really worried about head on, they will feel, in their gut, that the GOP is not going to be able to deal with these issues.
    The network viewership is irrelevant, both for the DNC and the RNC. The viewers are the believers. The margins may read/watch the on-line outlets, and they will sense the differences. Even the older, white Fox viewers will say, “I don’t want to die in a nursing home from the virus! I want my checks and meds to arrive on time. I want my daughter to be able to travel to see me. I don’t care about the “dozens” in cities across America who have died in the protests. I care about the thousands of old people like me who have died in my state. Am I at risk? Seems like it.” Maybe, “Shouldn’t be shooting so many black people.” If they are decent.

  17. CD54 says:

    Hey Rayne,

    Has anybody approached the USPS hose-job from the angle that it was just originally an attempt to kneecap the Census — targeted localities; arbitrary cut-off date; discriminatory residents definition; whored-out Census political control and management?

    Maybe the vote by mail contamination is just a “fortunate, Republican” byproduct of a Census ratfucking operation which started way back before the summer.

    P.S. Thanks for all of your voice and effort (and disgust and anger). Every one of these criminal scumbags belongs in a concrete cell for the next decade, at a minimum.

  18. harpie says:

    I just read this thought provoking thread by Julian Sanchez because Marcy linked to one of the tweets in it:
    5:46 PM · Aug 26, 2020

    So, years ago I quite accidentally injected the phrase “epistemic closure” into political discourse. This became a buzzword for five minutes, but a lot of people misunderstood it as effectively just a pretentious synonym for “stuck in an echo chamber” or “closed-minded.”

    And that’s not quite how I originally used the phrase (which at the time thought was just… two words used descriptively, not some new buzzword). Originally, I used it to mean you had an *ideology and media ecosystem* that would enable you to reject new contrary information.

    So an “echo chamber” just means you never hear any contrary information. The idea of “epistemic closure” was that you WOULD hear new and contrary information, but you have mechanisms in your belief system that reject anything that might force you to update your beliefs. […]

    • harpie says:

      Sanchez thinks that die-hard Trump supporters use their catch-phrases as a mechanism for “rejecting out of hand” any new/contrary information

      “Deep State”, “Fake News”, “The Swamp”.

      […] I think these overlapping mechanisms are pretty critical to the resiliency of Trump support among his admirers, despite a constant flow of new information that, to the rest of us, counts as overwhelming and ever-clearer proof of his radical unfitness.

      It’s not that they never encounter any of this information, but that there are mechanisms in place that effectively judo-flip it into confirmation of the preexisting narrative, rather than new contradictory data. […]

    • harpie says:

      Sanchez wonders what, if anything one can do to counteract this:

      […] One thing worth considering is that closed belief systems like this tend to be strong but brittle. That is, it’s hard to make a crack in the firewall, but if you DO make a crack, often the whole edifice crumbles with surprising speed. And the crack can be something small. […]

      He recounts hearing a talk by a North Korean refugee whose complete belief in his Leaders’ goodness and infallibility was undermined by one small fact they asserted which he KNEW PERSONALLY to be incorrect.

      That was the crack in the edifice for this man.

      It seems to me it would only work if it’s PERSONAL.

      [Rayne…Maybe your mother is an example of this.]

      The whole thing is a good read…worth considering.

      Honestly, it probably doesn’t make sense for *political campaigns* to waste too much effort messaging to the true believers, but for friends & family who still have the energy to argue, it’s worth thinking about how to target the closure mechanisms—the ideological immune system. […]

      • Rayne says:

        My mom has never cared for Trump. I haven’t asked her why she didn’t like him, suspect it’s his relationship with women in general. But his handling of COVID is in her wheelhouse as a health care professional; everything he has done has been the exact opposite of what health care professionals would do to control infection.

        Is it personal for my mom? I think if it’s about his attitude toward women, it always has been.

        A key reason why Trump won in 2016 is that too many white women voted for him. We need to ask ourselves why so many women suffer from internalized oppression because until that’s broken, they’ll continue to vote for misogynist pigs like Trump.

        • harpie says:

          heh…look what just showed up on Laura Rozen’s twitter [haven’t read it yet]:

          Is Kenosha a Warning for the Biden Campaign? Listening to swing state voters in Arizona and North Carolina.

          Sarah Longwell AUGUST 27, 2020 11:32 AM

          n Wednesday night I remotely conducted two focus groups, one in North Carolina and one in Arizona.

          The demographics of the groups were the same. Both consisted of 2016 Trump voters. Both were composed of six white, college-educated women (those prized suburban women you hear so much about). And both were made up of voters who rated the president as doing a “very bad job.” […]

          I hope things have smoothed out a bit for your parents.

        • Chris.EL says:

          grocery shopping, came to view a sixty +/- year old woman wearing a “Make America …” facemask. Had to raise my hand to block it from view. Aarrgh!!

          What is going to become of this country if trump wins AGAIN????

          LORDY LORDY LORDY !!!!!

          Complete extrapolation here but if he gets another term HE WON’T LEAVE.
          I had never heard of Trump Model Management until yesterday.

          News stories from August 2016 report young women were brought into the US and told to lie about their reasons for being here. They were coming to work as “models” but were skirting acquisition of the proper WORK visas.

          One girl was as young as 14.

          One model relayed the exorbitant price she paid for a crummy studio shared with many other models and learning to write “clean up yourself please” in Russian! Bums would pee in the window well – it would splash on her.
          Is this an Epstein connection?

          The business appears to have shut down concurrently with the inauguration in 2017. Maybe that’s what Madam Melania was doing; wrapping things up in New York.

          They have gotten so good at covering their tracks.

        • Rayne says:

          In re: HE WON’T LEAVE — he’s already cheating a number of different ways, from messing with primaries, to post office destruction, to harassing states, to allowing Americans to die of COVID to keep them from voting.

          His first win wasn’t legitimate; there was no way to validate the elections in states which were very tight, like Michigan, and we know his campaign manager gave a Russian operative voter data for a reason, in addition to +140 other unreported contacts between Trump’s campaign and Russian assets/agents/proxies.

          His next “win,” should one be declared, is already illegitimate if the votes tallied are as tight as they were in 2016 because of how much tampering he has done between the post office and COVID.

          If Trump “wins” he will be unleashed altogether and a civil war would not be out of the question. It’s not an easy thing to say but given how openly his proxies are shooting Americans and how Trump and his minions have deliberately chosen not to address COVID, they are already attacking and killing Americans. At the current rate of 1100-1200 deaths per day, the toll will exceed 300,000 by the end of the year. They’d think nothing of taking out another 2-3x that figure since they’ve killed 180K already without breaking a sweat.

          Americans need wrap their head around this and consider whether Trump and his regime are worth that much death.

          In re: Trump Modeling Management — keep looking. Like this guy’s connection:

        • Nehoa says:

          If Trump refuses to leave the WH after losing the election, or not winning it by the end of his term (at which point the Speaker of the House becomes President), Pelosi has suggested that they fumigate him out. That is actually a very practical, non-confrontative approach. She is the new occupant, and wants a tenting of the place to get rid of termites and other vermin. Trump is welcome to stay, if he likes, with the other vermin.

        • vvv says:

          Is it just me or does ivanka look more like tiffany than her current self? And what kind of father would let their daughter sit next to someone like that guy? Or sit next to Tevfik Arif …

        • Chris.EL says:

          … never have there been so many blondes together at an event in such need of root touch-ups! *Snark*

          Saw a photo from many years back: the donald in middle; cupped in his left arm, Melania in black satin dress with open lattice/ribbon* at the waist. D.T.’s right arm wrapped around Ivanka’s waist (her nipple showing through light beige satin dress with white lace).

          This photo was taken before D.T. started the daily orange makeup; he has reddened patches on his pale face…

          * i get a dominatrix vibe from Melania.

          well, there it is…

        • Chris.EL says:

          *hello open thread*
          [I miss my mom every day, hope the medical care is helping your folks!]

          not a fan of raunchy xxx rated music but apparently Cardi-B pushed back when fans of Melania Trump criticized Cardi-B.

          (To me M.T. is fair game since she ventured into politics by addressing the RNC and the nation/world!) She can’t cry, ‘…but I’m the first lady! Respect and defer to me!’

          Curious to know how many photos have been taken of M.T., where they were published, and how much money she made. Without evidence of modeling work, WHAT was she doing?

          The full frontal nude twitter photo of M.T. on Cardi-B’s page is going to be hard to live down, IMHO.

      • BobCon says:

        One good case study is the Iraq War. For years, the GOP stuck to its position that it was working no matter what evidence — when the war turned into a grim stalemate with the US forces retreating more and more into fortifified enclaves, that was proof everything was going well because it meant the enemy was desperate to beat us. Rising US casualties were a sign of how important the war was to the other side.

        And then, support broke and the GOP put it all into the memory hole. The GOP convention this week, if they mention it, they argue that the war is proof the US ahould stay out of the world at large. One form of closure gets replaced by another.

    • harpie says:

      This is the part that Marcy linked to:

      I bring this up now, because the Trump ecosystem has developed a pretty sophisticated set of epistemic closure mechanisms that work to reject new information that might otherwise pose a problem. Like this…

      [LINKS TO: Republican Voters Against Trump Ad from former Trump DHS official, Elizabeth Newmann]

      It is extraordinary, and as far as I know unprecedented, how many of Trump’s own former appointees & senior officials have come out to say “this guy is unfit for office, and in fact a serious threat to U.S. national security.” You’d think people might find that hugely alarming.

      This doesn’t seem to give supporters much pause, though. Not (just) because they don’t become aware of it, but because there’s a mechanism that enables supporters to reject this sort of testimony out of hand: The “Deep State.” […]

  19. harpie says:

    Fair warning: I am just going to get this out: RANT

    I am SO FURIOUS about all of these “life-long Republican” 2016 Trump voters coming out of the wood work with their endorsements of Biden.


    – -My [at the time] 83 year old mother SAW THIS TRAIN WRECK COMING from the beginning.


    – -She has SUFFERED EXTREME ANXIETY AND LONELINESS because of Trump’s criminal negligence on the pandemic.

    ANY person who FOR WHATEVER REASON just could NOT vote for Hillary Clinton, [ESPECIALLY those in the national security world who think so GD MUCH of themselves, but SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER] CAUSED my mother’s SUFFERING.

    I will NEVER forgive them.
    Yes, this is personal.

    End Rant

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Yes, it has the whiff of rats leaving the ship just before the funnel disappears. I don’t doubt their disdain for Donald Trump, but the time to speak out was during the impeachment – and every day before and after it.

      I would not reject their voices in helping to rid us of Trump. But I would not devote a New York minute to reaching across the aisle afterwards, unless they want to become full converts. But, as the Democrats already have Rahm Emanuel. Bloomberg, De Blasio and others, that parking lot seems full.

      • P J Evans says:

        It’s nice that these people are seeing the light now, but if it took them more than three years to figure it out, they weren’t even trying to see what others were seeing – and talking about – four years ago.
        (IMO, “pro-life” is much more general than “anti-ab*rtion”, which is what the GOP-T is and has been for the last 40 years. Real pro-life would be trying to prevent pandemics, would be trying to cut inequality, would be trying to make sure people had food and shelter in a *government-caused* crisis, and would have tried to prevent the crisis in the first place.)

        • BobCon says:

          One thing that is interesting to me is that these defections don’t lead the press to write “GOP in Disarray” stories they they would if similar numbers of Obama officials were turning on Biden.

          Referencing the idea of epistemic closure from the previous thread, the media is so wedded to a trope of “Trump supporters still support Trump” that they see these defections as a sign of strength, not weakness — now the party is even more united behind him, they think, and that’s what matters.

          it’s always possible that the impact is small. But reporters need to ask themselves the basic question of how close 2016 was and how close 2020 might be. Their closure won’t let them see the evidence in those terms, though.

        • harpie says:

          …they weren’t even trying to see what others were seeing.– -Exactly.

          …and wrt: “pro-life”: …like Elizabeth Neumann, who’s video came out recently with much fanfare:

          5:36 PM · Aug 26, 2020

          Holy shit. This is Trump’s **own** political appointee in charge of threat prevention (!!!) at DHS saying Trump has made the country less safe.

          And she says his rhetoric is indirectly tied to some violent attacks of past few years. This was his own expert in charge of this!

          Neumann [from video]:

          Hi, I’m Elizabeth Neumann. I am first and foremost a follower of Jesus Christ. I’m a wife and a proud mom. I voted for Trump in 2016 primarily because of the pro-life issue. […]

  20. earlofhuntingdon says:

    When considering the damage done by Hurricane Laura, useful to keep in mind that southern LA and TX are home to the highest polluting petrochemical facilities on the planet. Plants, and raw material and waste storage facilities are all at risk of collapse. It is much worse than when hurricanes hit NC and industrial hog waste pits by the hundreds collapse and overflow into the watershed.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      LA and the feds allow many chemicals used and stored there to be deemed “proprietary” and not subject to disclosure. Chemicals used in fracking are treated that way – despite that they are pumped or leak into groundwater. First responders, therefore, might not know what they’re encountering, nor would state and federal EPAs – or the people they serve – as they try to clean and respond to the aftermath.

  21. earlofhuntingdon says:

    There’s an argument among the political elite that Joe Biden should not debate with Donald Trump because Trump has shown no regard for the truth. The latter is self-evident and a dramatic understatement, and not a reason to avoid a debate.

    I don’t think the debates are going to move most voters one way or the other. Like devotees of a barnstorming fundamentalist preacher, Trump’s base is his forever. The opposite is not true, but I don’t see a debate as moving them much.

    It’s possible that Joe might make an embarrassing gaffe or two, but nothing dramatic. But his genuineness, thinking, and public speaking skills are so far ahead of Donald Trump’s that a debate could only showcase them – and the different ways that he and Trump see America.

    • Tom says:

      I’d like to see Trump called out on his lies face-to-face without having the option of simply walking away when the questions get too tough, as he’s done at his press briefings.

    • Epicurus says:

      It isn’t a debate in any sense of the word. It’s more a timed power point presentation. Biden would make a tactical mistake in debating for two reasons. One, Biden would play by the rules and Trump never does. The whole time would just be Trump slandering Biden. Biden should never give Trump that one-on-one opportunity in front of a national audience. Two, the “moderators” neither moderate nor control. Trump would just insult and ignore them to have his way. Let the Harris-Pence debate serve as proxy. Pence is more confined than is Trump in behavior and Harris will be less confined than Biden. Let Pence take potshots at Biden and let Harris skewer both Pence and Trump. Biden just has to say Trump is a draft dodger, is afraid to release his tax returns, cheats on his wife, and he Biden doesn’t want to waste time in a tantrum “debate” with a proven coward.

      Rule one for adults and kids. Never accept “dares”. Nothing good comes from it.

      • BobCon says:

        Biden was able to handle Sarah Palin just fine. He knows as well as anyone how to play to cameras with a smirk and wink to undercut a bloviating hack.

        Chris Wallace and Jonathan Swan have made it clear that Trump can’t handle serious questioning or pushback, and I think Biden will be able to provide it. And he has two advantages.

        One is that he is not restricted by the sexism that Clinton faced in 2016 which severely constrained her ability to strike back. The second is that Trump has been spending months lowering the bar that Biden has to clear.

        I don’t expect pundits to see Biden-Trump as Kennedy-Nixon (the real 1960 debates weren’t so decisive). But I don’t see any reason why Biden should duck them as Pelosi suggested.

        • Stephen Calhoun says:

          Hopefully Biden is getting expert advice about how to adapt his natural communicating style to meet the demands of an unfettered and aggressive opponent. The goal would be to learn two or three tactics which get under Trump’s skin.

          (Google returns a bunch in response to the search, “how to get under Trump’s skin.”)

          An election debate is theatre. I would advise Biden to pull out a card every time Trump lies, call it the ‘report card,’ and just mark it each time Trump lies. Biden needs to utilize a big enough card.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      One argument is that debates would legitimize Trump. The presidency and the press have already done that, thanks. Another is that debates should be held hostage until Trump releases his tax returns. That would be never: we’ll have to pry them out of his small, cold hands. The purpose, though, is not to get the tax returns, but to bore in on why Trump refuses to provide them.

      Trump’s base and those helping him cheat to win don’t care about his taxes – but nothing will stop them from screaming about getting Joe’s returns, or fuller copies of his medical physicals. More to the point, if there were a Democratic plan to embarrass Trump about his returns – instead of looking like they have a plan – there would already be some evidence a marketing blitz had been readied. I would add that the House has been consistently slothful about pursuing Trump’s tax returns, until NY’s efforts started getting traction.

      Which takes me back to the utility of the debates in showing how much more capable Joe Biden is at speaking, thinking, feeling, and doing than Donald Trump. That won’t affect the Don’s base. But it might increase Democrats’ urgency to get out and vote – and to prepare for when Trump fails to lose gracefully.

    • Marinela says:

      Yes, Biden should probably debate Trump. The concern I have, who is actually going to be in the audience? In 2016 presidential debates, I was horrified when the audience members were applauding Trump, like his responses were intelligent or addressing any of the questions. I know it was a show he orchestrating, staged, he knew his audience. The failure of the Hillary campaign to balance that and of the news, moderators, to be fair and understand who they allow to sit in.
      That audience did not represent America, so at the time Trump played with an artificial advantage.
      Trump is a coward, he is not going to debate if the debate is equal footing.
      Plus because of COVID, should probably be no audience, just the two of them.
      No applause for Donny.

  22. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Father says Jacob Blake handcuffed to hospital bed.

    It’s a longstanding problem, having prisoners or alleged felons handcuffed while in a hospital bed. The stories of that happening to women about to deliver their babies are heartrending. I hadn’t heard before about police cuffing an alleged felon to his hospital bed, after their bullets rendered him a paraplegic. It’s not as if either class of detainee is going to scamper down the fire escape.

  23. harpie says:

    At the protest outside the White House:
    10:29 PM · Aug 27, 2020

    There’s a small group chanting at 16th and Constitution and for some reason the Secret Service police just brought out a bunch of riot gear

    They’re milking milling about, coming closer to the people outside the fence, and it’s having the predictable effect of encouraging people to kick the fence [photo]

  24. Eureka says:

    Rayne, I hope it works out (or has already), I can imagine what you’re talking about. Thinking of you and your parents and hope all with Dad’s care is OK.

    • Rayne says:

      Thanks, Eureka. It’s pretty iffy right now. I think there will be surgery involved which is really disheartening. At his age anesthesia is so much harder on his body and brain, could merely set off speedy decline.

      He’s definitely not the same 85-year-old I had to scold out of a tree last year. He’d been climbing up over my head to mark branches for the arborist. There’s no way he could climb a step stool this week.

      • Eureka says:

        (Sigh, hugs, empathy for you and your family at once)

        I’m sorry to hear that and understand why you’re concerned. There are so many factors outside of our control, but I do know you all will do everything you can to help things go the best that they can and that it will be enough.

        [You probably have the same kind of parents everybody else has or had: ones that don’t listen. But at least your mom is there.]

        Adding: my grandmother would be out tarring the second story roof at her (then) age … I know what you mean.

        • Rayne says:

          Thanks, harpie. I try to keep in mind while this situation isn’t good, my family is fortunate to have a good health care advocate in my mom and enough resources to have choices.

  25. Jenny says:

    Still being an open thread. Saw this last night. More exposure about Kenosha Police.

    Jacob Blake Shooting Shines New Light on Death of Michael Bell, Killed by Kenosha Cops in 2004

    In light of the police shooting of unarmed African American father Jacob Blake, we look at the past misconduct of the Kenosha police department. In 2004, Kenosha police killed white 21-year-old Michael Bell in front of his mother and sister. The Kenosha Police Department conducted its own review of the incident, and within two days completely exonerated the officers. Bell’s father, Michael Bell Sr., commissioned an independent inquiry that found the police account of the incident to be forensically impossible. “It was really hard for me to believe that a uniformed person would do that,” says Michael Bell Sr., who claims the Kenosha police department “covered up the true facts of the case.

    Michael Bell:
    I want your listeners to understand that the police in Kenosha had changed their testimony 19 times. Eyewitness testimony never changed once. The officer who killed my son actually changed his testimony six times. And so that’s the problem that’s going on right now here in Kenosha, is that even though we fought for an independent investigation, all that investigation is going to go back to a district attorney who has been ignorant of all of the facts of the Michael Bell case. And so I am very worried about whether justice is going to be served in the Jacob Blake case.

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