September 3, 2020

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ON THE RECORD.....

This week, I joined more than 100 aides of the late Sen. John McCain, including former chiefs of staff, senior legislative and campaign workers and some of the senator’s longest-serving staff to endorse John’s friend and colleague, former vice president Joe Biden, for president. We did not do so lightly, but we have no reservations about our decision. We are convinced that Biden’s election is in the national interest. —  Mark Salter, who served as a staff aide and speechwriter for Sen. John McCain.

"Let's put them in jail. Let's stop them from, truly, at least some of these males, going out and getting 10 other women pregnant and having small children. Let's put them away. At some point, we have to stop being politically correct. I don't care what race, I don't care how old they are. If there's a threshold that they cross. These people have to be warehoused, no recreational time in jails. We put them away for the rest of their lives so the rest of us can be better.” — Kenosha Sheriff David Beth, showing how racism runs deep through the Kenosha County, Wisconsin law enforcement community.

“They condemn law breakers while breaking the law.“ — Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) on Trump giving his Republican convention speech on the White House lawn.

“But so I think, I think it would be, I think it would be very, very, I think we’d have a very, very solid, we would continue what we’re doing, we’d solidify what we’ve done, and we have other things on our plate we want to get done.” — Trump, in an interview with the New York Times, when asked about his second term agenda if re-elected.

“We will make America great again—again.” — VP Mike Pence, admitting the contradiction at the core of Donald Trump’s argument for re-election.

“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, making the case on Fox News that the killings of peaceful protesters will benefit Trump politically.

Just got attacked by an angry mob of over 100, one block away from the White House. Thank you to @DCPoliceDept for literally saving our lives from a crazed mob. — Senator Rand Paul. Video of “crazed mob” here.

“Nobody outside of the Beltway really cares." —.Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, scoffing at concerns that President Trump and other top officials were abusing federal offices and property for political gain.

“You know, I want to see the first woman president also, but I don’t want to see a woman president get into that position the way she’d do it, and she’s not competent. They’re all saying ‘we want Ivanka.’ I don’t blame them.” — Trump, saying his daughter Ivanka Trump would make a better president than Sen. Kamala Harris.

“Unfortunately with Kamala, we are going to see that this disgusting part of our culture and society is alive and well and thriving and feels emboldened under Trump.” — Karen Finney about the conservative media provocateurs who are trying to humiliate, downgrade, and diminish Kamala, using everything from rank sexism to more heinous unfounded allegations of play-for-work promiscuity..

“We must not become a country at war with ourselves. A country that accepts the killing of fellow Americans who do not agree with you. A country that vows vengeance toward one another. But that is the America that President Trump wants us to be, the America he believes we are. What does President Trump think will happen when he continues to insist on fanning the flames of hate and division in our society and using the politics of fear to whip up his supporters? He is recklessly encouraging violence.” — Joe Biden 

“Do you seriously wonder, Mr. President, why this is the first time in decades that America has seen this level of violence? It’s you who have created the hate and division.” — Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler (D)

“It looks like the virus is not as deadly as the mainstream media first made it out to be.” — From the Twitter account formerly used by the late Herman Cain, who died after being hospitalized for more than a month with the COVID-19 infection. 

Laura Ingraham: ”Who do you think is pulling Biden's strings?"
Trump: "People you've never heard of. People that are in the dark shadows.” Video

"Biden is using.. Biden is using Mafia talking points. The mob will leave you alone if you give them what they want" — Trump

“The president’s never seen that video. — McEnany, about a video (of a Trump supporter in a pickup truck shooting paintballs at the protesters) that Trump retweeted.

"Black Lives Matter is a Marxist organization. The first time I ever heard of Black Lives Matter, I said, 'That’s a terrible name. It’s so discriminatory. It’s bad for Black people. It’s bad for everybody.'” — Trump on the Laura Ingraham show, about a group that is attempting to combat police brutality and racial injustice.

“He keeps telling us if he were president you would feel safe. Well he is president, whether he knows it or not. Does anyone think there will be less violence in America if Donald Trump is reelected?” — Joe Biden

"Do you seriously wonder, Mr. President, why this is the first time in decades that America has seen this level of violence? It's you who have created the hate and the division. And now you want me to stop the violence that you helped create. What America needs is for you to be stopped so that Americans can come together. … I’d appreciate that either the president support us or stay the hell out of the way.” — Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler.

“I disagree with a lot of what he said. I get along with him, but every once in a while, he’ll come up with one that I say, ‘Where did that come from?’ I inherited him. He was here. He was part of this huge piece of machine.” — Trump on Fox News, questioning the value of Dr. Anthony Fauci to the White House coronavirus task force.

The “biggest headwind” preventing Big Ten football from happening this fall is “Democrats” — not the coronavirus pandemic. — Trump

“Fires are burning, and we have a president who fans the flames rather than fighting the flames. Donald Trump looks at this violence, and he sees a political lifeline. — Joe Biden

‘The numbers that you’ve been hearing — 180,000-plus deaths — are real deaths from COVID-19. Let there be no confusion about that, it’s not 9,000 deaths from COVID-19, it’s 180-plus-thousand deaths,” — Dr. Anthony Fauci, pushing back against a Qanon post retweeted by President Trump that falsely claiming only about 9,000 people had “actually” died from the coronavirus.

“They can do 10,000 great acts, which is what they do, and one bad apple or a joker — a choker — choker. Shooting the guy in the back many times ... There's a whole big thing there, but they choke just like in a golf tournament, they miss a 3-foot …” — Trump comparing Jacob Blake, the Kenosha, Wis., man shot 7 times in the back by police, to a golfer missing a putt.

“If President Trump and his administration had done their jobs early on with this crisis, American schools would be open, and they’d be open safely.” — Joe Biden (video) declaring the closure of schools due to the pandemic to be a “national emergency.” 

“I think I did win the popular vote. There was tremendous cheating in California. There was tremendous cheating in New York and other places.” — Trump, in an interview on Fox News, still falsely claiming he won the popular vote in 2016.

“The comments and tweets over the past few days, including a retweet of a 2019 video clearly intended to further inflame racial tensions, are simply jaw-dropping.” — Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) accusing Trump of attempting to “further inflame racial tensions” with his response to unrest in American cities.

 

POLITICAL ADS.....

Keep Up | Joe Biden For President 2020: https://youtu.be/C3UsWMbUpF4

Trump’s New Hampshire speech in 104 seconds | The Lincoln Project: https://twitter.com/ProjectLincoln/status/1300543313443991552

James Madison never signed the Declaration of Independence | The Lincoln Project: https://twitter.com/ProjectLincoln/status/1298805100975198209

You don’t need to be black to be outraged. You need to be American and be outraged. | The Lincoln Project: https://twitter.com/ProjectLincoln/status/1300108216051871745

#OpenLetterToRepublicans | Don Winslow: https://twitter.com/donwinslow/status/1300191230328856576

He’s seriously unraveling. #TrumpIsNotWel | The Lincoln Project: https://twitter.com/ProjectLincoln/status/1300932048299778048

Irony is dead. | The Lincoln Project: https://twitter.com/ProjectLincoln/status/1300922493784342528/photo/1

No one is safe in Donald Trump's America | The Lincoln Project: https://twitter.com/ProjectLincoln/status/1300905344693153796

Be Not Afraid | Joe Biden For President 2020: https://youtu.be/LgHXJ3rdOn0

Unbelievable. | The Lincoln Project: https://twitter.com/ProjectLincoln/status/1299795007923261442

IN THIS ISSUE

FYI

1. Andy Borowitz: Hundreds of R.N.C. Attendees Test Positive for Delusion
2. Trump’s Republican convention was an ocean of falsehoods
3. Trump spins baseless tale of ‘thugs’ flying to protests
4. Now in Government Food Aid Boxes: A Letter From Donald Trump
5. Trump praises right-wing supporters, rails against protesters after unrest in Portland
6. No bounce in support for Trump as Americans see pandemic, not crime, as top issue: Reuters/Ipsos poll
7. U.S. Faces A ‘Perfect Storm’ Of Political Violence Heading Into November Election
8. ‘Red Mirage’ followed by ‘Chaos’ predicted
9. Latest Effort to Recall Oregon Gov. Kate Brown Falls Short
10. HHS bids $250 million contract to 'defeat despair and inspire hope' on coronavirus
11. Justice Dept. Never Fully Examined Trump’s Ties to Russia, Ex-
12. Trump Has Made 500 Visits To His Properties While In Office
13. Biden snags 'Keep America Great' domain in latest act of Trump trolling
14. False robocall warns Detroit voters to 'beware of vote by mail'
15. White House says it is creating 'very large' dossier on Washington Post journalist and others
16. Trump Shifts Focus Away from Post Office
17. White supremacists and militias have infiltrated police across US, report says
18. The Republicans’ Newest Plan to Derail Voting Rights
19. Biden's GOP endorsements show the cracks in Trump's coalition
20. Twitter removes QAnon supporter's false claim about coronavirus death statistics that Trump had retweeted
21. Top Colorado RNC official spread conspiracy theories and made Islamophobic and sexist comments
22. Room rentals, resort fees and furniture removal: How Trump’s company charged the U.S. government more than $900,000
23. Trump’s IRS Commissioner Has Made Hundreds Of Thousands From Trump Properties While In Office
24. George W. Bush Cabinet secretaries and administration officials endorse Biden
25. Facebook takes down Russian operation that recruited U.S. journalists, amid rising concerns about election misinformation
26. Anti-Trump GOP group led by Jeb Bush aide will spend millions in Florida to help Biden
28. Trump's campaign has been taking cash from neo-Nazi and white supremacist leaders
29. Georgia likely removed nearly 200k from voter rolls wrongfully, report says
30. Rep. Clay Higgins (R-LA) says on Facebook that armed demonstrators 'won't walk away' from Louisiana protests
31. U.S. says it won’t join WHO-linked effort to develop, distribute coronavirus vaccine
32. Last 24 hours reveal the stark differences between Trump and Biden
33. Republicans are flooding the internet with deceptive videos and Big Tech isn't keeping up
34. Facebook takes down Russian operation that recruited U.S. journalists, amid rising concerns about election misinformation
35. Ernst Suggests Iowa Doctors Falsifying COVID Cases For Money
36. Why Trump is playing up fears of violence
37. Millions could die if Trump listens to the adviser he hired from Fox’s green room
38. The DAILY GRILL
39. From MEDIA MATTERS (They watch Fox News so you don't have to)
40. From the Late Shows

OPINION

1. Robin Abcarian: Trump’s dire warnings are not about Biden’s America. They’re about his America
2. Mark Leibovich: Trump Says Some Really Strange Things. Republicans Say No Comment, Again.
3. Peter Baker: Trump Embraces Fringe Theories on Protests and the Coronavirus
4. Charlie Warzel: Welcome to the R.N.C.’s Alternate Universe
5. David Crowand and Kiran Stacey: Why is the ‘anti-vaxxer’ movement growing during a pandemic?
6. Philip Bump: Nearly every claim Trump made about Biden’s positions was false
7. Adam Nagourney: No Bushes, Reagans, Cheneys or McCains: Who Is Missing at Trump’s R.N.C.
8. Paul Waldman: After all this death, Trump is still treating the pandemic as a PR problem
9. Bill McKibben: On Climate Change, We’ve Run Out of Presidential Terms to Waste
10. Jonathan Chait: Trump Sabotaged Coronavirus Testing to Keep Numbers Low
11. Mike Barnicle: A Sick President Scrambles to Spread His Contagion of Fear
12. Richard North Patterson: RNC 2020: Virtual Unreality
13. Jamelle Bouie: Kenosha Tells Us More About Where the Right Is Headed Than the R.N.C. Did
14. The Washington Post Editorial: Global freedom would suffer grievous harm in a second Trump term
15. Tim Miller: The Pathetic Both-Sidesism of Republican Inc.
16. Ishaan Tharoor: In Trump, much of the world sees an act that’s wearing thin
17. Jonathan V. Last: The Chaos President Has America in Chaos
18. Charlie Sykes: The Essence of Late Stage Trumpism
19. Ezra Klein: Can anything change Americans’ minds about Donald Trump?
20. Jonathan Chait: Trump’s Reelection Campaign Is Corrupting the Entire Federal Government

FYI

1. Andy Borowitz: Hundreds of R.N.C. Attendees Test Positive for Delusion

An outbreak hit the 2020 Republican National Convention this week as hundreds of attendees tested positive for delusion.

While public-health experts have yet to determine the extent of the outbreak, the episodes of attendees exhibiting magical thinking bordering on the hallucinatory appear to be widespread.

Davis Logsdon, who studies delusional epidemics at the University of Minnesota’s School of Medicine, said that multiple R.N.C. participants professed to see things “that are not actually there,” such as a strong economy, a successful coronavirus response, and an immigration policy brimming with kindness.

In another worrying symptom, Logsdon said that attendees who tested positive were unable to see things that were clearly in their line of vision. “One participant on Monday was shouting for more than six minutes despite the presence of a microphone inches away from her,” he said.

While scientists tried to get their arms around the extent of the outbreak, containing the spread of delusion at the R.N.C. will be “challenging,” Logsdon warned.

“The most successful treatment for delusion is facts, and these patients have built up an immunity to those over the course of many years,” he said. https://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report/

2. Trump’s Republican convention was an ocean of falsehoods

Fact-checking President Trump’s acceptance speech at the GOP convention: He ended the Republican National Convention with a tidal wave of tall tales, false claims and revisionist history. Here are 25 claims by the president that caught our attention. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/08/28/fact-checking-president-trumps-acceptance-speech-2020-rnc/ * Daniel Dale‘s fact check video of the speech is at https://twitter.com/KFILE/status/1299198518905786373

The third night offered yet another cascade of false claims, especially in Vice President Pence's speech. Here are 20 statements that caught our attention. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/

Fact-checking the second night of the 2020 Republican National Convention: Night 2 featured another tsunami of untruths. Here's a roundup of 19 statements. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/08/26/fact-checking-second-night-2020-republican-national-convention/

Fact-checking the first night of the 2020 Republican National Convention. The 2020 Republican National Convention kicked off with a fire hose of false claims. Here's a round-up of 19 statements. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/08/24/fact-checking-first-night-2020-republican-national-convention/

3. Trump spins baseless tale of ‘thugs’ flying to protests

Donald Trump is recycling a baseless conspiracy theory to claim that recent protests have been orchestrated by powerful people in “dark shadows” intent on undermining his reelection prospects.

The claims first took root on Facebook and Twitter earlier this year after racial justice protests swelled across the country following the deaths of Black Americans in police custody. Thousands of social media users shared posts suggesting a covert network was coordinating the protests and rioters were descending on communities across the country.

Trump appeared to amplify those unfounded conspiracy theories in an interview with Fox News host Laura Ingraham that aired Monday night, suggesting that protests in Washington during the Republican National Convention were orchestrated by unspecified forces.

“We had somebody get on a plane from a certain city this weekend. And in the plane, it was almost completely loaded with thugs wearing these dark uniforms, black uniforms with gear and this and that,” said Trump, adding that the matter is under investigation. https://apnews.com/1935c7eee45066d8926af7b4189ed15d

4. Now in Government Food Aid Boxes: A Letter From Donald Trump

Millions of Americans who are struggling to put food on the table may discover a new item in government-funded relief packages of fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy and meat: a letter signed by President Donald Trump.

The message, printed on White House letterhead in both English and Spanish, touts the administration’s response to the coronavirus, including aid provided through the Farmers to Families Food Box Program, a U.S. Department of Agriculture initiative to buy fresh food and ship it to needy families. https://www.propublica.org/article/now-in-government-food-aid-boxes-a-letter-from-donald-trump

5. Trump praises right-wing supporters, rails against protesters after unrest in Portland

Donald Trump on Sunday praised a pro-Trump caravan of activists whose presence appeared to contribute to violent clashes Saturday in Portland, Oregon.

The day after a man was shot and killed in confrontations between Black Lives Matter protesters and Trump supporters in Portland, he assailed only the anti-racism demonstrators.

In a tweet, Trump shared a video of the pro-Trump caravan driving into Portland and labeled its members "GREAT PATRIOTS!" In another tweet, he referred to protesters in Washington, D.C., as "Disgraceful Anarchists" and said, "We are watching them closely."

"The big backlash going on in Portland cannot be unexpected after 95 days of watching and incompetent Mayor admit that he has no idea what he is doing," Trump said in one tweet. "The people of Portland won't put up with no safety any longer. The Mayor is a FOOL. Bring in the National Guard!” https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/donald-trump/trump-rails-against-protesters-following-unrest-portland-n1238808

6. No bounce in support for Trump as Americans see pandemic, not crime, as top issue: Reuters/Ipsos poll

Trailing Biden in most national opinion polls since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus this year, Trump has sought to change the subject from a pandemic that has killed more than 180,000 Americans, blaming Black Lives Matters protesters for violence in the cities and accusing Biden of being weak on crime.

But the poll showed the majority — 78% — remain “very” or “somewhat” concerned about the coronavirus. Nearly 60% said Trump is at least partly responsible for the protracted school and business closures due to the virus, as well as for the high number of coronavirus cases in the United States. More than 6 million Americans have been infected with the virus, more people than in any other country.

By contrast, most Americans do not see crime as a major priority and do not think it is increasing in their communities, the poll showed.

Only about 8% of American adults listed crime as a top priority for the country, compared with 30% who said it was the economy or jobs, and 16% who said it was the healthcare system. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-election-poll-idUSKBN25T1I3

7. U.S. Faces A ‘Perfect Storm’ Of Political Violence Heading Into November Election

Law enforcement and other authorities used force while intervening in nearly 400 Black Lives Matter protests since police killed George Floyd in May, according to new data that paints the clearest portrait yet of the historic unrest that’s swept across the U.S. this summer.

Figures from the U.S. Crisis Monitor offer a bleak forecast of escalating political violence heading into a contentious election. While most of the protests have been nonviolent, police or other authorities intervened in about 725 Black Lives Matter protests in the U.S. between May 24 and Aug. 22, sometimes using force — including tear gas, rubber bullets, or beating demonstrators with batons, data shows. There were also over 100 instances of government violence directed against the media during this period.

On top of that, the Crisis Monitor ― a joint effort of the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project, a nongovernmental organization, and the Bridging Divides Initiative at Princeton University ― identified over 100 instances of non-state actors, including at least 20 distinct far-right militia groups, intervening in Black Lives Matter demonstrations, sometimes violently, since May 24.

There were also dozens of cases of individual perpetrators, some linked to white supremacist groups like the KKK, driving vehicles into Black Lives Matter demonstrators. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/violence-protests-united-states-data_n_5f4d4430c5b697186e39b2cb

8. ‘Red Mirage’ followed by ‘Chaos’ predicted

Hawkfish, the political data agency funded by Michael Bloomberg, is predicting “chaos” as the presidential election votes are tallied.

“We believe that on Election Night, we are going to see Donald Trump in a stronger position than the reality actually is,” Hawkfish CEO Josh Mendelsohn said, calling the phenomenon a “red mirage.”

That’s because Trump will win “potentially in a landslide” from in-person Election Day votes, “but lose a week later” as mail ballots are counted. https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=7&v=RL6syYcykdo&feature=emb_logo

9. Latest Effort to Recall Oregon Gov. Kate Brown Falls Short

Three petitions were filed this year by Oregon Republicans to recall Gov. Kate Brown (D). All have fallen short of gathering the necessary signatures. https://www.wweek.com/news/state/2020/08/31/latest-effort-to-recall-gov-kate-brown-falls-short-oregon-republicans-announce/

10. HHS bids $250 million contract to 'defeat despair and inspire hope' on coronavirus

As the presidential election fast approaches, the Department of Health and Human Services is bidding out a more than $250 million contract to a communications firm as it seeks to “defeat despair and inspire hope” about the coronavirus pandemic, according to an internal HHS document obtained by POLITICO.

The document lists the goals of the contract: “defeat despair and inspire hope, sharing best practices for businesses to operate in the new normal and instill confidence to return to work and restart the economy,” build a “coalition of spokespeople” around the country, provide important public health, therapeutic and vaccine information as the country reopens, and give Americans information on the phases of reopening.

The winning contractor will work with HHS’ assistant secretary for public affairs, an office now headed by Trump campaign alum Michael Caputo. https://www.politico.com/news/2020/08/31/hhs-contract-coronavirus-despair-hope-406361

11. Justice Dept. Never Fully Examined Trump’s Ties to Russia, Ex-Officials Say

The Justice Department secretly took steps in 2017 to narrow the investigation into Russian election interference and any links to the Trump campaign, according to former law enforcement officials, keeping investigators from completing an examination of President Trump’s decades-long personal and business ties to Russia.

The special counsel who finished the investigation, Robert S. Mueller III, secured three dozen indictments and convictions of some top Trump advisers, and he produced a report that outlined Russia’s wide-ranging operations to help get Mr. Trump elected and the president’s efforts to impede the inquiry.

But law enforcement officials never fully investigated Mr. Trump’s own relationship with Russia, even though some career F.B.I. counterintelligence investigators thought his ties posed such a national security threat that they took the extraordinary step of opening an inquiry into them. Within days, the former deputy attorney general Rod J. Rosenstein curtailed the investigation without telling the bureau, all but ensuring it would go nowhere. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/30/us/politics/trump-russia-justice-department.html

12. Trump Has Made 500 Visits To His Properties While In Office

Trump made his 500th visit to one of his properties since becoming president when he went to the Trump hotel in Washington today to meet with political donors ahead of his speech at the Republican National Convention. This milestone is stunning even for a presidency that has been defined by corruption, self-dealing, and abuse of power. 

After promising on the campaign trail that he would put his assets in a blind trust if elected, Donald Trump went back on that commitment just before taking office. He promised instead that a wall of separation would be maintained between the presidency and his businesses. That statement also turned out not to be true. Instead of erecting a firewall, Trump did the exact opposite and has persistently used the presidency to promote and enrich his businesses. Five hundred visits later, he has successfully channeled millions of dollars in political, special interest, and taxpayer money into his own pockets.  

Trump has visited or stayed at one or more of his properties on 394 separate days since becoming president. That figure amounts to almost one third of his time in office at one of his properties, or well over a year of his presidency. https://www.citizensforethics.org/trump-500-visits-trump-properties/

13. Biden snags 'Keep America Great' domain in latest act of Trump trolling

After trolling Republicans throughout their convention, the Biden campaign has pulled its final act of the week: acquiring the web domain KeepAmericaGreat.com.

When Trump launched his reelection campaign last year, he rolled out the “Keep America Great” as its official new slogan with great fanfare. But the Biden campaign recently learned the web domain was available and snagged it.

The site now lays out a top-to-bottom rebuke to the Trump administration, including his handling of coronavirus. “Promises Made, Promises Kept Broken,” the site’s home page screams. “Trump isn’t looking for a second term,” it charges. “He’s looking for a do-over.” https://www.politico.com/news/2020/08/27/biden-domain-trump-403941

14. False robocall warns Detroit voters to 'beware of vote by mail'

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson is warning Detroit voters of a "racially charged" and false robocall that appears to be discouraging mail-in voting ahead of the November election. 

The recording tells voters that their personal information will be part of a public database that will then be used by police to track down people with warrants or debt, according to a recording Benson posted Thursday to Twitter. https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/politics/2020/08/27/benson-blasts-robocall-warning-detroit-voters-beware-vote-mail/3444856001/

15. White House says it is creating 'very large' dossier on Washington Post journalist and others

The White House said that it was compiling a "very large" dossier on a Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post reporter and others who it said are a "disgrace to journalism and the American people."
The astonishing revelation about the White House's efforts to discredit reporter David Fahrenthold came after The Post requested comment for a Thursday story he wrote with two colleagues. The story, co-bylined by reporters Josh Dawsey and Joshua Partlow, detailed how Trump's company "charged the U.S. government more than $900,000" for hotel rooms fees among other services at Mar-a-Lago.

In a statement, White House spokesperson Judd Deere accused The Washington Post of "blatantly interfering with the business relationships of the Trump Organization" and demanded "it must stop."

"Please be advised that we are building up a very large 'dossier' on the many false David Fahrenthold and others stories as they are a disgrace to journalism and the American people," Deere said. https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/27/media/white-house-dossier-journalists/

16. Trump Shifts Focus Away from Post Office

President Trump is shifting his focus from the U.S. Postal Service in his concerns about potential fraud in mail-in voting, claiming problems with mailed ballots lie with local elections officials who are “going to count them wrong.”

Said Trump: “It’s not the post office … it has nothing to do with the post office.”

He added: “The problem is when they dump all these ballots in front of a few people who are counting them, and they’re going to count them wrong. The post office is not to blame.” https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/aug/27/white-supremacists-militias-infiltrate-us-police-report

17. White supremacists and militias have infiltrated police across US, report says

White supremacist groups have infiltrated US law enforcement agencies in every region of the country over the last two decades, according to a new report about the ties between police and far-right vigilante groups.

In a timely new analysis, Michael German, a former FBI special agent who has written extensively on the ways that US law enforcement have failed to respond to far-right domestic terror threats, concludes that US law enforcement officials have been tied to racist militant activities in more than a dozen states since 2000, and hundreds of police officers have been caught posting racist and bigoted social media content.

The report notes that over the years, police links to militias and white supremacist groups have been uncovered in states including Alabama, California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia.

Police in Sacramento, California, in 2018 worked with neo-Nazis to pursue charges against anti-racist activists, including some who had been stabbed, according to records.

And just this summer, German writes, an Orange county sheriff’s deputy and a Chicago policeman were caught wearing far-right militia logos; an Olympia, Washington, officer was photographed posing with a militia group; and Philadelphia police officers were filmed standing by while armed mobs attacked protesters and journalists.

And yet US agencies lack a national strategy to identify white supremacist police and root out this problem, German warned. Meanwhile, popular police reform efforts to address “implicit bias” have done nothing to confront explicit racism. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/aug/27/white-supremacists-militias-infiltrate-us-police-report

18. The Republicans’ Newest Plan to Derail Voting Rights

There’s good and bad news for states and municipalities fighting the Trump administration’s efforts to slow the Postal Service and stymie the election. The good news is that there’s an alternative way for voters to deliver their ballots without mailing them back or going to a polling place. They can place them in a so-called drop box, secure receptacles where ballots are collected by election officials. Think of a return box at your local library.

The bad news is that Trump and the Republicans are going after those, too. Last weekend, the president tweeted that drop boxes were a “voter security disaster” that are “not Covid sanitized. A big fraud!” (Twitter flagged the post for spreading misinformation that could dissuade people from voting.) https://washingtonmonthly.com/2020/08/28/the-republicans-newest-plan-to-derail-voting-rights/

19. Biden's GOP endorsements show the cracks in Trump's coalition

Joe Biden is attracting more crossover endorsements from prominent members of the opposing party than any other presidential candidate from either side in decades. That doesn't guarantee the former vice president victory in November, but history suggests it could signal a lasting break in the Republican coalition that provides new opportunities to Democrats for years to come. https://www.cnn.com/2020/09/01/politics/us-election-biden-gop-endorsements/index.html

20. Twitter removes QAnon supporter's false claim about coronavirus death statistics that Trump had retweeted

Twitter on Sunday took down a tweet containing a false claim about coronavirus death statistics that was made by a supporter of the baseless QAnon conspiracy theory -- a post that President Donald Trump had retweeted earlier in the day.

The tweet -- which has been replaced with a message saying, "This Tweet is no longer available because it violated the Twitter Rules -- from "Mel Q," copied from someone else's Facebook post, claimed that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had "quietly" updated its numbers "to admit that only 6%" of people listed as coronavirus deaths "actually died from Covid," since "the other 94% had 2-3 other serious illnesses."

That's not what the CDC said.

As of Sunday at 4 p.m. ET, Twitter had not removed a second tweet, also retweeted by the President on Sunday, that spread the same false claim. The second tweet, by Trump campaign adviser Jenna Ellis, linked to an article on the right-wing website Gateway Pundit that was based on the QAnon supporter's tweet. https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/30/politics/twitter-coronavirus-deaths-false-claim-qanon-trump/

21. Top Colorado RNC official spread conspiracy theories and made Islamophobic and sexist comments

Randy Corporon, a Tea Party activist, was recently installed Republican National Committee official for the state of Colorado has a history of spreading conspiracies and making sexist and Islamophobic comments.

On his radio show, Corporon falsely claimed former President Bill Clinton had an illegitimate son and that Chelsea Clinton wasn't his biological daughter in 2019. He spread the conspiracy that Barack Obama's birth certificate wasn't born in Hawaii and his real father wasn't Barack Obama Sr. He also asserted Obama had a fake Black accent and falsely suggested he was a Muslim.

In other posts, Corporon shared a fake news story the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville in 2017 that killed one woman was "a complete set up" days after the rally took place. And he pushed the debunked "Clinton Body Count" conspiracy that alleges the Clintons ordered the assassinations of close associates and speculated they assassinated the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/28/politics/kfile-colorado-rnc-official-spread-conspiracies/index.html

22. Room rentals, resort fees and furniture removal: How Trump’s company charged the U.S. government more than $900,000

Trump has now visited his own properties 271 times as president, according to a Washington Post tally — including a visit Thursday, when he met with GOP donors at his D.C. hotel.

Through these trips, Trump has brought the Trump Organization a stream of private revenue from federal agencies and GOP campaign groups. Federal spending records show that taxpayers have paid Trump’s businesses more than $900,000 since he took office. At least $570,000 came as a result of the president’s travel, according to a Post analysis.

Now, new federal spending documents obtained by The Post via a public-records lawsuit give more detail about how the Trump Organization charged the Secret Service — a kind of captive customer, required to follow Trump everywhere. In addition to the rentals at Mar-a-Lago, the documents show that the Trump Organization charged daily “resort fees” to Secret Service agents guarding Vice President Pence in Las Vegas and in another instance asked agents to pay a $1,300 “furniture removal charge” during a presidential visit to a Trump resort in Scotland.

In addition, campaign finance records have provided new details about the payments the Trump Organization received from GOP groups, as a result of the 37 instances in which Trump headlined a political event at one of his properties. Those visits have brought the company at least $3.8 million in fees, according to a Post analysis of campaign spending records. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-company-secret-service-spending/2020/08/27/9331bd86-de36-11ea-8051-d5f887d73381_story.html

23. Trump’s IRS Commissioner Has Made Hundreds Of Thousands From Trump Properties While In Office

Charles Rettig, the Trump-appointed IRS Commissioner who has refused to release President Trump’s tax returns, has made hundreds of thousands of dollars renting out Trump properties while in office, according to documents obtained by CREW. Last year Rettig said it was his decision whether to turn over Trump’s tax returns to Congress, under the supervision of Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.

An analysis of Rettig’s personal financial disclosures for the last two years shows Rettig making $100,000 – $200,000 a year from two units at Trump International Waikiki. Trump made a detour to visit the property during a trip to Asia in his first year in office—a priceless promotional appearance for the business he still profits from as president. Rettig bought a 50% stake in the units in 2006, three years before the property opened, likely benefiting the future-president, whose company got 10% of total pre-sales. https://www.citizensforethics.org/charles-rettig-trump-properties/

24. George W. Bush Cabinet secretaries and administration officials endorse Biden

Former Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez and former Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman, who both served in the George W. Bush administration, endorsed Joe Biden on Thursday. They joined the more than 225 Bush administration officials who have endorsed the Democratic nominee as part of the organization 43 Alumni for Joe Biden. Other big names include Bush's director of national intelligence John Negroponte and EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman. https://www.axios.com/carlos-guiterrez-ann-veneman-endorse-biden-2ac8c3e8-817e-498e-840c-9814a9510199.html

25. Facebook takes down Russian operation that recruited U.S. journalists, amid rising concerns about election misinformation

Facebook removed a network of fake accounts and pages created by Russian operatives who had recruited U.S. journalists to write articles critical of Democratic nominee Joe Biden and his running mate, Sen. Kamala D. Harris, in an apparent bid to undermine their support among liberal voters.

Facebook said it caught the network of 13 fake accounts and two pages early, before it had a chance to build a large audience — an action that the company said was evidence of its growing effectiveness at targeting foreign disinformation operations ahead of the 2020 election. The takedown emerged as a result of a tip from the FBI and was one of a dozen operations tied to the Russian Internet Research Agency or individuals affiliated with it that Facebook has disrupted since the last presidential election, when IRA-backed pages amassed millions of views on the platform. The pages had about 14,000 followers. https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2020/09/01/facebook-disinformation-takedown/

26. Anti-Trump GOP group led by Jeb Bush aide will spend millions in Florida to help Biden

An anti-Trump Republican group led by a former aid to Gov. Jeb Bush will spend millions targeting independent and “soft” Republican voters in Florida, the Miami Herald reports.
The campaign is dubbed “Project Orange Crush.” https://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics-government/article245376785.html

27. Timeline: The 106 times Trump has downplayed the coronavirus threat

Donald Trump gambled very early and often on the idea that the coronavirus outbreak wouldn’t turn out to be nearly as severe as some health officials warned it could get.

The thrust of Trump’s statements about the virus has been almost relentlessly optimistic, which is a marked contrast to those of some health officials who prefer that people be overly prepared rather than underestimate the threat. Trump has frequently suggested that the United States is winning the battle against the virus, and he has regularly promoted the idea that it could suddenly disappear.

Even as Trump has occasionally adopted health officials’ more cautious tone about what lie ahead, though, the optimism that dominated his early response hasn’t completely disappeared.

For a timeline of Trump’s commentary downplaying the threat go to https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/03/12/trump-coronavirus-timeline/

28. Trump's campaign has been taking cash from neo-Nazi and white supremacist leaders

During the 2016 campaign, you may recall, there was often a notable press reluctance to acknowledge that many of Donald Trump's supporters were raging white supremacists. (The most infamous case was a PBS story profiling a Trump volunteer worker that somehow managed to avoid noting the prominent neo-Nazi and white supremacist symbols tattooed on both hands.)

Ah, the old days, when such things were even controversial. Welcome to 2020, when Donald Trump is getting campaign donations from prominent neo-Nazis and there's apparently not even a glimmer of thought that gosh, maybe Typhoid Hitler might not want to cash those particular checks. https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2020/8/31/1973833/-Trump-s-campaign-has-been-taking-cash-from-neo-Nazi-and-white-supremacist-leaders

29. Georgia likely removed nearly 200k from voter rolls wrongfully, report says

The state of Georgia has likely removed nearly 200,000 Georgia citizens from the voter rolls for wrongfully concluding that those people had moved and not changed the address on their voter registration, when in fact they never moved, according to a new report released on Wednesday. https://www.cnn.com/2020/09/02/politics/georgia-voter-rolls-report/index.html

30. Rep. Clay Higgins (R-LA) says on Facebook that armed demonstrators 'won't walk away' from Louisiana protests

In a Facebook post Tuesday that featured a picture of Black men carrying assault-style weapons and other tactical gear, Higgins, R-Lafayette, said that anyone arriving in the state "aggressively natured and armed" would have a "one way ticket."

"I'd drop any 10 of you where you stand," said the post, which was removed not long after appearing on Higgins' official campaign account. "Nothing personal. We just eliminate the threat. We don't care what color you are. We don't care if you're left or right. if you show up like this, if We recognize threat...you won't walk away.”

"We don't want to see your worthless ass nor do we want to make your Mothers cry," Higgins wrote. https://www.theadvocate.com/acadiana/news/article_77138836-ecc4-11ea-a8d0-772b482469cb.html

31. U.S. says it won’t join WHO-linked effort to develop, distribute coronavirus vaccine

The Trump administration said it will not join a global effort to develop, manufacture and equitably distribute a coronavirus vaccine, in part because the World Health Organization is involved, a decision that could shape the course of the pandemic and the country’s role in health diplomacy.

More than 170 countries are in talks to participate in the Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access (Covax) Facility, which aims to speed vaccine development, secure doses for all countries and distribute them to the most high-risk segment of each population. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/coronavirus-vaccine-trump/2020/09/01/b44b42be-e965-11ea-bf44-0d31c85838a5_story.html

32. Last 24 hours reveal the stark differences between Trump and Biden

In one of the most revealing 24 hours of the general election and the sprint to Election Day, one presidential nominee condemned violence and destruction from all sides of the political spectrum.

“Violence will not bring change, only destruction. It's wrong in every way. It divides instead of unites,” Joe Biden said Monday in Pittsburgh.

The other presidential nominee seemed to defend violence from the right.

“One nominee has demanded better policing practices. “The violence we’ve seen again and again and again of unwarranted police shootings and excessive force,” Biden said.

The other compared Blake’s shooting to a golfer missing a putt.

“They can do 10,000 great acts, which is what they do, and one bad apple or a joker — a choker — choker. Shooting the guy in the back many times ... There's a whole big thing there, but they choke just like in a golf tournament, they miss a 3-foot …” https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/meet-the-press/last-24-hours-reveal-stark-differences-between-trump-biden-n1238967

33. Republicans are flooding the internet with deceptive videos and Big Tech isn't keeping up

A series of deceptively edited and misleading videos shared by prominent Republicans have run up millions of views across Facebook and Twitter in just the past few days. And while both companies have pledged to combat misinformation, their responses to these videos followed a familiar pattern: often they act too late, do too little, or don't do anything at all.

A fact-check of the four recent videos and a look at the action the two companies took regarding them is at https://www.cnn.com/2020/09/01/tech/trump-facebook-twitter-fact-check/index.html

34. Facebook takes down Russian operation that recruited U.S. journalists, amid rising concerns about election misinformation

Facebook removed a network of fake accounts and pages created by Russian operatives who had recruited U.S. journalists to write articles critical of Democratic nominee Joe Biden and his running mate, Sen. Kamala D. Harris, in an apparent bid to undermine their support among liberal voters. https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2020/09/01/facebook-disinformation-takedown/

35. Ernst Suggests Iowa Doctors Falsifying COVID Cases For Money

Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst (R) seemed to embrace on Monday a thoroughly-discredited QAnon conspiracy theory about U.S. deaths from COVID-19 being a mere fraction of what has been reported. As Amie Rivers of the Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier reported, Ernst said she was “so skeptical” of the official death count when asked by an attendee if the government was over-reporting coronavirus deaths.

“They’re thinking there may be 10,000 or less deaths that were actually singularly COVID-19,” Ernst said, seemingly referring to the debunked conspiracy theory that only around 6% of COVID-19 deaths were due to the virus. “I’m just really curious. It would be interesting to know that.”

Going even further, however, Ernst also suggested that doctors were intentionally falsifying coronavirus cases in order to receive more money for caring for the patient. https://iowastartingline.com/2020/09/01/ernst-suggests-iowa-doctors-falsifying-covid-cases-for-money2/

36. Why Trump is playing up fears of violence

President Trump and his allies are trying to depict protests over racial injustice as a law-and-order campaign issue, attacking Democratic leaders, refusing to condemn deadly vigilante violence and touting a purportedly tranquil “Donald Trump’s America.” Former Vice President Joe Biden has accused Trump of inciting violence for political gain.

Against the backdrop of a still-raging coronavirus outbreak, the White House has offered the clearest signal yet of a calculated GOP strategy of exploiting voter fears of violence as the campaign against Biden enters the final stretch and Trump trails in the polls.

The strategy closely resembles the one Trump employed, unsuccessfully, in the 2018 midterm election, when he spent weeks warning of “caravans” of migrants trying to reach the U.S. border with Mexico. This time, the effort is aimed at portraying urban Democratic strongholds as threatening and lawless. https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/newsletter/2020-08-31/violence-fears-protests-trump-todays-headlines

37. Millions could die if Trump listens to the adviser he hired from Fox’s green room

White House coronavirus adviser Scott Atlas is urging President Donald Trump to allow the virus to spread through the country’s population in order to build “herd immunity,” and the administration has already taken steps in that direction, according to a Monday report from The Washington Post. Public health experts inside and outside the government warned the Post that a “herd immunity” strategy may prove ultimately ineffective if people who recover from COVID-19 can become reinfected. And it could result in a staggering death toll -- a Post analysis found that “it may require 2.13 million deaths to reach a 65 percent threshold of herd immunity.” https://www.mediamatters.org/fox-news/millions-could-die-if-trump-listens-adviser-he-hired-foxs-green-room

38. The DAILY GRILL

On Aug. 25, a grid of the four photos, featuring bloodied and bandaged police officers, was circulating widely on Facebook with more than 1,200 shares and 56,000 views. The post claims, the officers were injured by Democrats and Black Lives Matter rioters over the weekend in Portland, Seattle and nearby cities.

VERSUS

The officers in the photos weren’t injured at U.S. protests — in fact, they were on the other side of the world. The four photos in a post being shared on social media show police officers who sustained injuries in various parts of Australia in 2006, 2009, 2012 and 2019.

 

Donald Trump says all the time, "they spied on my campaign." He ad-libbed during his Thursday night convention speech to add the phrase into his prepared remarks. And he tweeted it last week as a rebuttal to former President Barack Obama's convention address. "They are coming after me because I am fighting for you, that's what's happening," Trump said while accepting the GOP nomination. "It's been going on from before I even got elected. And remember this, they spied on my campaign and they got caught. Let's see now what happens.”

VERSUS

That is not what happened … but Trump's exaggerated retelling has become so ubiquitous that it's taken as fact among his political allies and right-wing media cheerleaders. — CNN Fact Check

 

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence has informed the House and Senate Select Committees on Intelligence that it'll no longer be briefing in-person on election security issues, according to letters obtained by CNN. Instead, ODNI will primarily provide written updates to the congressional panels, a senior administration official said. The abrupt announcement is a change that runs counter to the pledge of transparency and regular briefings on election threats by the intelligence community.

VERSUS

"This is a shocking abdication of its lawful responsibility to keep the Congress currently informed, and a betrayal of the public's right to know how foreign powers are trying to subvert our democracy. This intelligence belongs to the American people, not the agencies which are its custodian. And the American people have both the right and the need to know that another nation, Russia, is trying to help decide who their president should be. The ODNI had requested the opportunity to brief the intelligence committees and the full US House of Representatives in mid-September and has now cancelled those briefings and said it would hold no others. This is shameful and -- coming only weeks before the election -- demonstrates that the Trump Administration is engaged in a politicized effort to withhold election-related information from Congress and the American people at the precise moment that greater transparency and accountability is required," — Representatives Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff

39. From MEDIA MATTERS (They watch Fox News so you don't have to)

Fox News' support for violent right-wing vigilantism is as horrifying as it was inevitable. Throughout this period, Fox has been laser-focused on finding instances of violence, blaming them on the protesters, and castigating Democratic mayors and governors for failing to stop them. The network has bombarded its viewers -- including the president -- with images of burning buildings and civil unrest. At times using weeks-old footage and other misinformation tactics, Fox personalities have inflated the scope of the damage to depict a nation on the brink, denouncing the supposed threat posed by “antifa" agitators, Black Lives Matter activists, and statue-toppling vigilantes -- even demanding that violent protesters be treated as “domestic terrorists.” And they have sought to use that demagoguery to shore up Trump’s faltering campaign, warning that civilization itself will be on the ballot in November. https://www.mediamatters.org/tucker-carlson/fox-news-support-violent-right-wing-vigilantism-horrifying-it-was-inevitable 

Fox News' support for violent right-wing vigilantism is as horrifying as it was inevitable.Amid a quasi-fascist rant Wednesday night, Fox News host Tucker Carlson responded to murder charges against a pro-Trump teenager who crossed state lines and shot to death two protesters in Kenosha, Wisconsin, by asking, “How shocked are we that 17-year-olds with rifles decided they had to maintain order when no one else would?” Several other Fox personalities have similarly downplayed or seemingly excused the deadly Tuesday night confrontation. https://www.mediamatters.org/tucker-carlson/fox-news-support-violent-right-wing-vigilantism-horrifying-it-was-inevitable

Fox Nation host Tomi Lahren called LeBron James “sick” for “aiding and abetting lawless thugs”: You are aiding and abetting lawless thugs who will ONCE AGAIN burn, loot and destroy our nation. Sick sick sick sick! https://twitter.com/TomiLahren/status/1298758315296665601

Fox News personalities and right-wing conservatives are pushing a New York Post story published over the weekend alleging widespread mail-in ballot fraud by an anonymous whistleblower and “top Democractic operative.” The Post claims the whistleblower “says voter fraud, especially with mail-in ballots, is no myth. And he knows this because he’s been doing it, on a grand scale, for decades.” The article claims the publication vetted the whistleblower’s purported longtime career working as a consultant, rigging various municipal and federal elections throughout New Jersey, and as a mentor to “at least 20 operatives in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.” However, the story fails to provide corroboration or a second source for any of the numerous accusations of mail-in ballot fraud that follow. https://www.mediamatters.org/voter-fraud-and-suppression/fox-pushing-ny-post-story-alleging-widespread-mail-ballot-fraud

40. From the Late Shows

Has Donald Trump Blocked Eric's Number? | The Late Late Show with James Corden: https://youtu.be/AZXDi-kuFTw

Jerry Falwell Jr.'s Link To Trump Is Far More Troubling Than His Sex Scandal | The Late Show with Stephen Colbert: https://youtu.be/f474duoaJcU

What is QAnon? If you don’t know, now you know | The Daily Show: https://twitter.com/TheDailyShow/status/1298100786254057472

After Four Nights Of Nonsense At The RNC, We're Getting Off This Emotional Roller Coaster | The Late Show with Stephen Colbert: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q6mJzTYF-wc

RNC 2020 & Kenosha: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO):
https://youtu.be/rBu0BRTx2x8

OPINION

1. Robin Abcarian: Trump’s dire warnings are not about Biden’s America. They’re about his America

Trump’s performance over the past 3½ years has made it clear that his greatest passion is himself, which means he is loyal only to those who are loyal to him, a group that includes his white base and selected international despots. His tax cuts have benefited the very richest, his wall on the Southern border remains unfinished, an entirely foreseeable pandemic caught him unawares, the economy has tanked, millions of Americans are unemployed and schools, most of them anyway, are shuttered.

He does not even pretend to be the president of all of us, and his best argument against Biden is downright nonsensical. (I want to say “craven,” but I am in danger of overusing that word when I write about Trump.)

If Biden is elected, Trump predicts, the country will explode with the kind of racial unrest and protests against police brutality that we saw this summer after a white police officer choked the life out of a Black man, George Floyd.

It’s a neat and cynical trick: Vote for me because what’s happening on my watch is unacceptable.

Between now and election day, I expect Trump will double down on the absurd claim that he’s been a champion for Black Americans.

He’s shown no regard for truth in the past. Why would anyone expect him to start now? https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2020-08-29/trumps-dire-warnings-are-not-about-biden-theyre-about-trumps-american

2. Mark Leibovich: Trump Says Some Really Strange Things. Republicans Say No Comment, Again.

Even by the whiplash standards of a Trump news cycle, the president said some startling things in an interview with Laura Ingraham on Fox News on Monday night.

To name a few: A plane “almost completely loaded with thugs” wearing black uniforms had come to Washington last week to disrupt the Republican National Convention. The president’s opponent in the 2020 campaign, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., was being controlled by “people that you’ve never heard of, people that are in the dark shadows.” Police officers like the one in Kenosha, Wis., who shot an unarmed Black man seven times last week — leaving him paralyzed from the waist down — have a hard time with pressure and so “they choke, just like in a golf tournament, they miss a three-foot.”

It has become customary when reporting on President Trump to point out the obvious. These would all be rather astonishing claims coming from any other president or major candidate for the office.
But they were hardly astonishing enough for any leading House or Senate Republicans to have anything to say about it. None cared to comment, at least not the dozen or so The New York Times tried to reach on Tuesday.

This is also a familiar pattern: Mr. Trump saying something incendiary while his fellow Republicans say nothing.

“If the leader comments, I’ll be sure to pass it along,” said Scott Sloofman, a spokesman for Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader. As of late Tuesday afternoon, there was nothing to pass along. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/01/us/politics/trump-republicans.html

3. Peter Baker: Trump Embraces Fringe Theories on Protests and the Coronavirus

In a concentrated predawn burst, the president posted or reposted 89 messages between 5:49 a.m. and 8:04 a.m. on Sunday morning, on top of 18 the night before, many of them inflammatory comments or assertions about violent clashes in Portland, Ore., where a man wearing the hat of a far-right, pro-Trump group was shot and killed Saturday after a large group of Mr. Trump’s supporters traveled through the streets.

In the weekend blast of Twitter messages, Mr. Trump also embraced a call to imprison Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York, threatened to send federal forces against demonstrators outside the White House, attacked CNN and NPR, embraced a supporter charged with murder, mocked his challenger, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., and repeatedly assailed the mayor of Portland, even posting the mayor’s office telephone number so that supporters could call demanding his resignation.

One of the most incendiary messages was a retweet of a program from the One America News Network, a pro-Trump channel that advances extreme theories and that the president has turned to when he feels that Fox News has not been supportive enough. The message he retweeted Saturday night promoted a segment accusing demonstrators of secretly plotting Mr. Trump’s downfall.

“According to the mainstream media, the riots & extreme violence are completely unorganized,” the tweet said. “However, it appears this coup attempt is led by a well funded network of anarchists trying to take down the President.” Accompanying it was an image of a promo for a segment titled “America Under Siege: The Attempt to Overthrow President Trump.”

Mr. Trump likewise reposted messages asserting that the real death toll from the coronavirus is only around 9,000 — not nearly 183,000 — because the others who died also had other health issues and most were of an advanced age. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/30/us/politics/trump-protests-violence-coronavirus.html

4. Charlie Warzel: Welcome to the R.N.C.’s Alternate Universe

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned covering the daily information wars of the Trump era is that a meaningful percentage of Americans live in an alternate reality powered by a completely separate universe of news and information.

Some are armed with their own completely fabricated facts about the world while others, as the journalist Joshua Green wrote in this section in 2017, rearrange our shared facts “to compose an entirely different narrative.” There is little consensus on the top story of the day or the major threats facing the country. You will have noticed this if you’ve ever watched a congressional hearing and flipped between CNN or MSNBC and Fox News. The video feed is the same but the interpretation of events is radically different.

Personally, I’ve never seen a clearer demonstration of the Two Universes phenomenon than this week’s Republican National Convention.

For three nights, in a shameless display of loyalty to President Trump, the party has conjured up what my colleague Frank Bruni described as an “upside-down vision” of the world. Theirs is a universe in which the coronavirus pandemic is largely in the rear view (on Aug. 25, 1,136 Americans died from the virus) and where, according to Representative Matt Gaetz, radical Democrats threaten to “disarm you, empty the prisons, lock you in your home and invite MS-13 to live next door.” A universe where the existential dangers of climate change pale in comparison to those of cancel culture — even as the West is ravaged by blackouts and wildfires and the Gulf Coast is slammed by a devastating hurricane. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/27/opinion/trump-rnc-conspiracy-theories.html

5. David Crowand and Kiran Stacey: Why is the ‘anti-vaxxer’ movement growing during a pandemic?

Greer McVay insists she is “not an anti-vaxxer — not at all.” She is up to date with her own immunizations and had her son vaccinated when he was a child. But she fears the development of a vaccine for the coronavirus is being dangerously rushed, in part to improve President Trump’s prospects ahead of the presidential election in November.

“This situation is different, because of the politics that have been injected into the process and the speed at which they’re developing the vaccines,” says McVay, a communications consultant from California and a supporter of the Democratic party. “Frankly, I don’t trust this president. It just gives me pause.”

McVay, 53, is one of a growing number of “vaccine hesitant” Americans who have not previously identified with the anti-vaxxer movement, which has traditionally been dominated by libertarian Republicans and those on the left who preach the benefits of alternative medicine over pharmaceuticals. “I don’t fall into either category,” she says.

Rather, McVay fears that Trump will put pressure on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to quickly approve a vaccine before the election. She cites as evidence the FDA’s decision to allow the use of hydroxychloroquine — a disproved drug touted by the president — to treat the virus before it performed a U-turn after several studies showed the medicine did not benefit patients.

She is also mistrustful of Operation Warp Speed, a sprawling federally funded effort that has paid billions of dollars to drug companies — including $1.2 billion to AstraZeneca and $1.6 billion to Novavax — to manufacture hundreds of millions of doses of their vaccine “at risk” or without full clinical trials in advance of definitive data. “The way that they are expediting the process is by doing things concurrently,” she says. “They’re beginning manufacturing before they’ve even completed the trial.” https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2020-08-20/why-anti-vaxxer-movement-growing-during-coronavirus-pandemic

6. Philip Bump: Nearly every claim Trump made about Biden’s positions was false

President Trump isn’t running against Joe Biden, not really. The former vice president may occupy the Democratic Party line on the presidential ballot, but it isn’t Biden that Trump’s rhetoric describes.

Trump is instead running against a straw man whom he describes as a Trojan horse for socialists and communists. Trump is running against someone who holds positions that aren’t held by Biden himself — and if Trump convinces enough Americans that Biden and that straw man are one and the same, he might just win more votes.

In his speech accepting the Republican Party’s nomination, Trump outlined a series of positions that he claimed are held by Biden but that, overwhelmingly, are not. It is, of course, not a new political tactic to stretch reality to cast your opponent in a negative light, but it is unusual to simply fabricate an opponent out of whole cloth. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/08/28/nearly-every-claim-trump-made-about-bidens-positions-was-false/

7. Adam Nagourney: No Bushes, Reagans, Cheneys or McCains: Who Is Missing at Trump’s R.N.C.

The Republican National Convention has been a four-day procession of police officers, soldiers, religious leaders, mothers, White House aides, Trump family members and up-and-coming party stars, all singing the praises of President Trump. But one group seems to have been left out of the show: the once-dominant Republican establishment that ruled before Mr. Trump.

The appearances on Thursday evening of some current Republican leaders — in particular, Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, and Kevin McCarthy, the House minority leader — served as a reminder of who had largely not been given a spot on the stage.

There were no Bushes, Cheneys, Bakers or Doles. There were no former Republican presidents or vice presidents, or prominent former cabinet members like Condoleezza Rice, who were part of Republican White Houses over the decades leading to Mr. Trump’s election. Indeed, two names were barely mentioned over roughly 10 hours of convention speeches and video: Bush and Reagan. (And never mind anyone named McCain.)

Their absence seems to be the final signature on the divorce between the old guard and Mr. Trump, as well as proof, if it were still needed, of how much he has taken over the party. And the feeling is mutual. The old guard — the elected officials, cabinet members and political operatives — has shown little interest in being part of the Trump pageant, and Mr. Trump has had little interest in having it join his show. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/27/us/politics/trump-rnc-missing-former-presidents.html

8. Paul Waldman: After all this death, Trump is still treating the as a PR problem

The American death toll from the coronavirus pandemic is now just under 180,000, with about 1,000 new deaths every day. But if you’ve been watching the Republican convention, you’ve seen it described in the past tense, as though it’s behind us and the only question is whether President Trump’s handling of it was superhuman or merely spectacular.

And in his administration, the pandemic is treated as a public relations problem. Instead of fighting the pandemic itself, officials are working to shape the pandemic narrative.

Two stories that have emerged in the past couple of days provide a vivid illustration of how the Trump administration sees this crisis.

First, this week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a new guidance on coronavirus testing. The CDC now says that even if you’ve been in contact with someone who has tested positive for covid-19, unless you’re showing symptoms, you don’t need to get tested. Don’t bother.

Where did this incredibly ill-conceived idea come from?

The White House, that’s where. As The Post reports, the change “was directed by the White House’s coronavirus task force, alarming outside public health experts who warn the change could hasten the disease’s spread.”

Among those with input on the decision was Scott Atlas, the newest member of the task force. Atlas, a physician who comes from the conservative Hoover Institution, is an expert in neither infectious diseases nor public health; he was hired because Trump saw him in his frequent appearances on Fox News. Atlas has claimed falsely that children are at “zero risk” for contracting covid-19 and argued that college sports should resume.

During the Republican convention the pandemic is spoken about in the past tense. Trump’s depraved denial and incompetence are portrayed as masterful decisiveness.

Meanwhile, nearly 1,000 Americans continue to die every day from this virus, every one of them at least in part the responsibility of a president who cares only about whether he can change the media narrative of his failure. It is a crime against America, and everyone who works for Trump is being asked to help him get away with it. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/08/27/after-all-this-death-trump-is-still-treating-pandemic-pr-problem/

9. Bill McKibben: On Climate Change, We’ve Run Out of Presidential Terms to Waste

The working definition of the ongoing brain seizure that is 2020 is either that Coloradans are being told by state authorities to install smoke-resistant “safe rooms” in their houses, or that Californians now must weigh what kind of mask to wear. An N95 mask helps to filter out harmful particulates from the wildfire smoke that is overwhelming the Golden State, but many come with an exhalation valve to keep the wearer from overheating, and that valve can spread the coronavirus. Luckily, according to the ABC affiliate in San Francisco, “There’s a pretty simple fix: you can wear a cloth or surgical mask over the N95.”

If Joe Biden and Kamala Harris take over the White House, in January, they’re going to be dealing with an immediate and overwhelming climate crisis, not just the prospective dilemma that other Administrations have faced. It’s not coming; it’s here. The luxury of moving slowly, the margin for zigging and zagging to accommodate various interests, has disappeared. So, if the Democrats win, they will have to address the pandemic and the resulting economic dislocation, and tackle the climate mess all at the same time. Any climate plan must be, in some way or another, the solution to the current widespread loss of jobs.

‘That will not be easy, because, although the interests that keep us locked into the use of fossil-fuels are weakening, they remain strong. A remarkable new investigation by the Guardian documented how the gas industry—utilities, drillers, and unions—is spending huge sums to insure that cities don’t start encouraging homeowners to use electricity. (Part of the story documents the industry’s successful campaign to overwhelm efforts by activists in Seattle who are affiliated with 350.org, which I helped found.) But the effort to keep fossil-fuel executives out of the White House is growing: last week, even the veteran centrist John Podesta, who chaired Hillary Clinton’s 2016 Presidential campaign, was joining hands with the Sunrise Movement to demand a public pledge from the Biden team to shun oil-industry lobbyists and executives. In a Democratic Administration, however, the role of unions would be as important as the power of companies—and, so far, the building trades have done what they can to block efforts to keep fossil fuels in the ground.

The damage from rapidly rising temperatures comes in many forms. The California fires are a dramatic example, but a new study from researchers at the University of Arkansas details a more insidious threat: rising oceans push water tables higher, flooding inland areas.

A new study shows that Greenland lost record amounts of ice in 2019—and by record amounts, the researchers mean a million tons of ice per minute. Every second, enough water melted to fill seven Olympic-sized pools. A separate study indicated that Greenland may have passed a point of no return: even a retreat to the temperature levels of the past few decades would not be enough, at this point, to prevent the country’s eventual melt. “The ice sheet is now in a new dynamic state,” a researcher explained.
https://www.newyorker.com/news/annals-of-a-warming-planet/on-climate-change-weve-run-out-of-presidential-terms-to-waste

10. Jonathan Chait: Trump Sabotaged Coronavirus Testing to Keep Numbers Low

In July, Trump announced at a rally, “You know testing is a double-edged sword … Here’s the bad part: When you do testing to that extent, you’re going to find more people; you’re going to find more cases. So I said to my people, ‘Slow the testing down please.’”

His defenders insisted he was kidding. A reporter offered Trump the chance to make this defense. He did not. When asked, “But did you ask to slow [testing] down?” Trump shrugged and replied, “If it did slow down, frankly, I think we’re way ahead of ourselves, if you want to know the truth. We’ve done too good a job, because every time we go up, with 25 million tests, you’re gonna find more people, so then they say, ‘Oh, we have more cases in the United States.’” Of course this is also perfectly consistent with Trump’s oft-stated belief that the pandemic is a perception problem, and that pretending it doesn’t exist will help him politically.

Reporters have repeatedly confirmed that Trump has applied this pressure behind the scenes. Dan Diamond reported in March that the White House “did not push to do aggressive additional testing in recent weeks, and that’s partly because more testing might have led to more cases being discovered of coronavirus outbreak, and the president had made clear — the lower the numbers on coronavirus, the better for the president, the better for his potential reelection this fall.”

And in July, Katherine Bean reported that during internal meetings, “Trump also feared that more testing would only lead to higher case counts and more bad publicity.”

There has been a weird reluctance to take Trump’s comments seriously or literally. But the accumulation of evidence is quite clear. Trump’s public comments, reports of his private position, and the reports by officials of the latest change all point to the same conclusion: Trump is overruling public-health officials and sabotaging coronavirus testing because he believes keeping the case counts misleadingly low will make him look better. https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/08/trump-cdc-coronavirus-testing-keep-numbers-low.html

11. Mike Barnicle: A Sick President Scrambles to Spread His Contagion of Fear

Before last night’s neon obscenity—a Trump rally on the South Lawn of the American White House—the 2020 Republican National Convention was close to cartoonish in its attempt to scare the country into voting for Donald J. Trump. It began as dark comedy with a cast of family members, supplicants, incompetents, political ne’er do wells and loud worshippers of a guy who never really believed he’d win on that long-gone night in November 2016 but now thinks he belongs on Mount Rushmore. 

As each day melted into the next, though, there were no laugh-lines. Only the specter of a dark hand with a gun and a knock on your door, the mob empowered by Democrat radicals come to take your life, your dreams.

By the time that Donald emerged from the White House—think about it, the White House—to deliver his convention speech on Thursday night, you could feel the nuts and bolts holding together this nearly 245-year-old republic loosening with each assault on a form of government that has stood through civil war, depressions, injustice and the stain of racism. 

Now here he was, an accidental president who stumbled into the job and is scrambling to hold on to it, despite the disasters on his watch. He is an expert on very few things but is a genius in recognizing the disease of resentment and bitterness in people who feel left behind and left out. Trump is a social arsonist who sets the fire and is warmed watching it grow.

Making fear contagious is his specialty. He does not dwell on the virus that attacked America while he denied it, the racial disparities he barely acknowledges, the millions of unemployed who have lost jobs, hope and a piece of dignity. It is what it is. https://www.thedailybeast.com/a-sick-president-scrambles-to-spread-his-contagion-of-fear

12. Richard North Patterson: RNC 2020: Virtual Unreality

Though Donald Trump preens like an ersatz Mussolini, to compare his convention to fascist theater from the 1930s would be to stretch responsible historical analogy. But they share a depressingly familiar fusion of lies, anger, paranoia, erasures of reality, toxic insularity, and blind fervor for a nihilistic leader who brooks no dissent.

Over four evenings, we witnessed a cult of personality rooted in mythologizing a mendacious pseudo-populist so irretrievably self-obsessed that he is redefining our democracy by inflaming the basest instincts of his followers. Yet his party portrayed this narcissistic bully as “the bodyguard of Western civilization.”

The classic authoritarian narrative sweetens fear and anger with faux-nostalgia for an Edenic fatherland, beset by alien forces bent on extinguishing public safety and cultural virility—which, of course, can only be rescued by a leader whose singular gifts empower his indomitable will. So it is with Trump, and the hallucinatory portrait of America his captive party presented starting on Monday night.

But the inescapable nadir came on Thursday—Trump himself.

First, Trump misappropriated the most iconic American symbol, the White House, as the setting for a blatantly divisive, dishonest, and self-celebratory political speech. He spoke on the South Lawn, with the building behind him bathed in light and fronted with a plethora of American flags, conflating patriotism with Trump’s stunning assertion of proprietorship. Among the human props in his audience were uniformed police; his speech hailed the presence of officers from the Department of Homeland Security.

At moments one imagined a virtual Nuremberg rally, with Trump as America’s Leni Riefenstahl. Near the climax of the speech, he turned to point at the White House, glowing and white, and said mockingly to Democrats: “We’re here, and you’re not.” It was hard to know what was more distasteful—the words themselves, or Trump’s pleasure in uttering them. https://thebulwark.com/rnc-2020-virtual-unreality/

13. Jamelle Bouie: Kenosha Tells Us More About Where the Right Is Headed Than the R.N.C. Did

What happened in Kenosha was a tragedy. Rittenhouse should not have been there, and we should agree — all of us — that the shooting should not have happened. We should also be troubled by police action, or the lack thereof, against armed militias. Tacit support from Kenosha police (at one point, an officer thanks the group for being there) almost certainly contributed to the permissive environment that led to the shooting. It is reminiscent, in that way, of the events in Charlottesville in 2017, where an official review found that law enforcement failed to “maintain order” and “protect public safety” leading to fights, skirmishes and the vehicular murder of a protester.

Earlier this summer, as the first protests against the death of George Floyd unfolded, President Trump took to Twitter to warn of consequences for those who damaged property. “These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen,” Trump tweeted on a Friday morning in May. “Any difficulty and we will assume control, but when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”

Although Trump backpedaled in the face of criticism — claiming, implausibly, that he was making a descriptive statement of what would happen if looting began — his meaning was clear enough: that “looters,” however defined, would and should be shot.

The bully pulpit matters. Presidential rhetoric matters. Rittenhouse was a fan of the president — he took a front-row seat at a January rally in Des Moines — but that connection is less important than the atmosphere created by Trump’s words. A president who speaks of shooting people in the street — who elevates those who threaten to shoot people in the street — cannot be separated from the individual who does, eventually, shoot people in the street. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/28/opinion/kenosha-kyle-rittenhouse-trump.html

14. The Washington Post Editorial: Global freedom would suffer grievous harm in a second Trump term

Aspiring strongmen who are dismantling democratic institutions in their countries have been embraced by Mr. Trump and welcomed to the White House, sometimes rupturing bans imposed by his predecessors. This sordid parade has featured Abdel Fatah al-Sissi of Egypt, Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil, Prayut Chan-ocha of Thailand, Viktor Orban of Hungary and Andrzej Duda of Poland; the Philippines’ Rodrigo Duterte turned down Mr. Trump’s invitation. At the same time, Mr. Trump has shunned democratic leaders attempting to resist the Russians or Chinese — most notably Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who has never received a White House invitation after resisting Mr. Trump’s demand for a politicized investigation of Joe Biden. This month, Mr. Trump has done nothing to help the Belarus democratic movement seeking to overthrow the longtime dictator of a nation Mr. Putin seeks to dominate.

The democratic leaders of South Korea and Japan, the two most important U.S. allies in East Asia, have been whipsawed by Mr. Trump’s insistence on sweeping trade concessions and vast increases in subsidies for U.S. bases on their territories. They watched with dismay as Mr. Trump meanwhile proclaimed his “love” for North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, a Chinese client, and scaled back U.S. military exercises with South Korea.

Mr. Trump has campaigned for democracy only in nations where he has other political interests, such as Venezuela, whose Cuba-allied regime is despised by many Florida voters. Even there his advocacy has been feckless. After an attempted uprising by a U.S.-backed opposition leader failed last year, Mr. Trump wrote him off, and he has recently expressed interest in meeting dictator Nicolás Maduro.

For all this, the greatest damage Mr. Trump has done to the cause of democracy has come at home. His assaults on the U.S. media and courts, attempts to politicize Justice Department investigations, and bald efforts to manipulate voting in November’s election threaten to degrade what has been the world’s strongest democracy while offering a model for budding authoritarians around the world. His disregard for science and restrictions on immigration have weakened the chances that the United States will win the race to develop new technologies. His incessant lying has helped to create a political culture in which wild conspiracy theories flourish and there is no consensus on basic facts, making informed legislative debate and compromise all but impossible.

Though damaged, U.S. democracy and the global cause of freedom so far have survived Mr. Trump’s term in office, in large part because they have the determined support of millions of citizens. Yet there should be no question that in a second Trump term, they would suffer grievous and perhaps irreversible harm. If the 21st century is to be a time in which human societies are grounded in individual freedoms, rather than dominated by an all-powerful state, Mr. Trump must be defeated. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/08/28/global-freedom-would-suffer-grievous-harm-second-trump-term/

15. Tim Miller: The Pathetic Both-Sidesism of Republican Inc.

On Sunday, Donald Trump described a vigilante Trump Truck caravan whose purpose was to instigate #war on the streets of Portland through attempted vehicular homicide as GREAT PATRIOTS.

Later in the day former Vice President Joe Biden issued a considered statement that unequivocally condemned the violence in Portland “whether on the left or the right” and called on us not to become a country that “accepts the killing of fellow Americans who do not agree with you” or “vows vengeance against one another.”

So there’s one candidate who wants vengeance and another who wants not-vengeance.

There’s one who eggs on his most radical supporters and another who calls them out.

There is one candidate who repeatedly, time and again, speaks and acts responsibly. Another who fires off screeds that demonstrate that he is at best mentally unstable and at worst attempting to incite violence against political foes.

All of this is an inconvenient truth for the Republican political class. They avoid it at all costs because their livelihoods depend on ensuring that they remain seen in public as True Republicans. And in the current climate, True Republicans are no longer interested in small government or balanced budgets or originalism. True Republicans are defined—entirely—by their fealty to Donald Trump.

This is not an exaggeration. They actually put this in writing. Last week.

And here’s what Trump says the message is when it comes to Black Lives Matter, protests, and civil unrest:

When is Slow Joe Biden going to criticize the Anarchists, Thugs & Agitators in ANTIFA? When is he going to suggest bringing up the National Guard in BADLY RUN & Crime Infested Democrat Cities & States? Remember, he can’t lose the Crazy Bernie Super Liberal vote!  — Donald J. Trump August 30, 2020
…His problem is interesting. He must always be weak on CRIME because of the Bernie Sanders Radical Left voter. If he loses them, like Crooked Hillary did, he is “toast”, and many will vote for me because of TRADE (Bernie was good on trade). Joe MUST always be weak on crime!  — Donald J. Trump August 30, 2020

Now this is . . . hard to parse. So rather than deal with the particulars, the Republican political class just blows right by it and instead pretends that the election 64 days from now actually pits Trump against Antifa or against the mayor of Portland.

But here’s the deal: Antifa and Mayor Wheeler aren’t on the ballot. Joe Biden is.
https://thebulwark.com/the-pathetic-both-sidesism-of-republican-inc/

16. Ishaan Tharoor: In Trump, much of the world sees an act that’s wearing thin

Last week’s Republican National Convention saw a blizzard of misinformation. President Trump’s acceptance speech Thursday was itself “a tidal wave of tall tales, false claims and revisionist history,” according to The Washington Post’s Fact Checker, which cited more than two dozen significant falsehoods in that address.

Trump and his allies warned, with classic demagoguery, of the prospect of a Joe Biden presidency with defunded police departments and invasions of the suburbs. They also conjured a kind of alternate reality, wrote my colleague, Toluse Olorunippa, one where “the coronavirus has been conquered by presidential leadership, the economy is at its pre-pandemic levels, troops are returning home, and the president is an empathetic figure who supports immigration and would never stoke the nation’s racial grievances.”

That is not the America that actually exists. Critics can credibly claim that Trump has goaded hard-line supporters into taking violent action against protesters. All the while, the United States inches toward 200,000 coronavirus-related deaths, maintains the highest number of infection cases in the world and has seen its economy crash by a third of its GDP. But none of this may matter for a president who sees stoking the country’s polarization as a pathway to reelection. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2020/08/31/trump-rnc-world-reaction/

17. Jonathan V. Last: The Chaos President Has America in Chaos

Before he fancied himself the LAW & ORDER president, Donald Trump was the chaos candidate. The guy who didn’t care about norms. The guy who was going to break a bunch of stuff on purpose and even more stuff on accident. They guy who was beloved by his cult of supporters not in spite of his penchant for demagogic incitement, but because of it.

And Donald Trump is not the man standing in the breach preventing America from descending into anarchy.

He is a pyromaniac campaigning for the office of fire marshal.

He did this. He told us he was going to do it. And for a nontrivial percentage of his supporters, this is why they voted for him.

There is no reason to believe that a second Trump term would be a boon for either law or order. https://thebulwark.com/the-chaos-president-has-america-in-chaos/

18. Charlie Sykes: The Essence of Late Stage Trumpism

Welcome to the Daily Countdown. We have 62 days to go until the election; and then 78 days after that until Inauguration Day

Think of today as the perfect symbol of Late Stage Trumpism boiled down to its essence: of incompetence, demagoguery, tribalism, and the flirtation with violence. And, of course, the weirdness.

Trumpism has long since jettisoned values like truth, character, respect for norms, and the rule of law. Those are for cucks and losers. So now we are seeing Trumpism distilled to its fundamental nature; a feral clinging to power, even if that means abusing the levers of government, stoking a race war, or inciting his followers to engage in vigilantism.

Over the last few days, you could sense the mood of near-panic among anti-Trumpers as they came to grips with the reality that he might actually pull out another electoral win. And, as we enter September, that remains a very real possibility.

But this Late Stage Trumpism has a decadent, desperate feel to it as it exposes itself. It strips bare the pretense that what we are seeing is somehow normal. And for Senate Republicans, it is a stark dramatization of what they have wrought by their refusal to hold the president accountable when they had the chance. https://thebulwark.com/newsletter-issue/the-essence-of-late-stage-trumpism/

19. Ezra Klein: Can anything change Americans’ minds about Donald Trump?

On August 27, 2019, President Donald Trump held a 41.3 percent approval rating and a 54.2 percent disapproval rating, according to FiveThirtyEight’s poll tracker. During the 365 days that followed, Trump became the third president impeached by the House of Representatives; America assassinated Iranian general Qassem Soleimani; more than 200,000 Americans died from the disease caused by the novel coronavirus; the unemployment rate rose from 3.7 percent to 10.2 percent; the US banned incoming travel from Europe, China, and Brazil; an estimated 12 million people lost health insurance coverage; Trump pardoned Roger Stone, who was facing jail time for dirty tricks on the president’s behalf; and George Floyd’s murder sparked a nationwide movement protesting for racial justice — to which officials responded by tear-gassing demonstrators in Lafayette Park in Washington, DC, so Trump could pose for a photograph holding a Bible.

That is, of course, a bitterly incomplete list of a grimly consequential year in American history. But you’d never know it simply by following Trump’s poll numbers. On August 27, 2020 — one year later, and the day Trump used the White House as a backdrop for his convention speech — FiveThirtyEight had Trump at 42.2 percent approval and 54.3 percent disapproval. Everything had happened, and politically, nothing had mattered. Or, at the least, not much had changed.

“It’s really remarkable,” says Jennifer Victor, a political scientist at George Mason University. “The stability of Trump’s numbers are almost unbelievable.”

They’re also unique. According to Gallup’s presidential approval database, President Ronald Reagan’s numbers bounced from a high of 68 to a low of 35 percent during his tenure. George H.W. Bush peaked at 81 and bottomed out at 29. Bill Clinton ranged between 73 and 37 percent. George W. Bush touched 90 percent and fell all the way to 25 percent. Barack Obama’s band was narrower but still stretched from 40 percent to 67 percent. https://www.vox.com/2020/9/2/21409364/trump-approval-rating-2020-election-voters-coronavirus-convention-polls

https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/PAYEMS

20. Jonathan Chait: Trump’s Reelection Campaign Is Corrupting the Entire Federal Government

Last week, President Trump broke precedent, if not the law, by staging his convention at the White House. “The fact is, I am here,” he announced, gesturing at the White House behind him. “What is the name of that building?”

This moment was not merely pregnant with symbolism. It was the blueprint for a pillar of Trump’s reelection strategy, which is to turn the federal government into an apparatus for his reelection campaign.

There has been a flurry of recent reports on new and unprecedented government activity. All of these developments follow the same theme.

Events are moving quickly, and we do not have perfect information about what all this means. It may add up to less than what it appears at the moment. Many times before, career officials or even political appointees have reeled back Trump’s most corrupt or dangerous orders.

But there is a pattern in all these events: They describe recent actions by the federal government; they all serve the purpose of enabling Trump’s election; and they all conscript the power of the federal government in novel ways.

It has the appearance of coordinated action — as if Trump has ordered every arm of the government to generate whatever tools can be placed at the disposal of his reelection. https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/09/trumps-campaign-government-corruption-justice-homeland-security-department-vaccine-fda-hhs-slush-fund.html

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