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Friday, July 31, 2020

What Happened to Stacey Abrams Will Happen to Joe Biden

"Look alive, America: What happened to Stacey Abrams is about to happen nationally.

If you recall, the 2018 Georgia gubernatorial race was rife with voter suppression, voter disinformation, and finally the downright theft of an election by Brian Kemp, the secretary of state and Republican candidate. Kemp used his authority as secretary of state to control the allocation of resources, ballots, and election day procedures in one of the most egregious abuses of electoral power ."
What Happened to Stacey Abrams Will Happen to Joe Biden

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Trump’s October Surprise: A Vaccine for Covid-19? | The Nation

"What do we have to lose by rushing a vaccine into production? A longer pandemic, a colossal waste of money—and the risk of undermining public confidence in all vaccines.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Nation believes that helping readers stay informed about the impact of the coronavirus crisis is a form of public service. For that reason, this article, and all of our coronavirus coverage, is now free. Please subscribe to support our writers and staff, and stay healthy. 
The time it takes to develop an effective vaccine is ordinarily denominated in years. For some pathogens, like HIV, a vaccine has proven to be elusive after almost four decades. Yet President Donald Trump clearly expects a vaccineagainst SARS-Cov-2 (the virus that causes the disease Covid-19) to be available this year. Even some scientists, such as Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, only hedge a bit, pushing the window of availability into early 2021. There has been enormous hype about the candidate products in the pipeline, with almost a billion dollars in federal money flowing to the maker of one of the widely touted vaccines, the biotech company Moderna, which has never brought a product to market, while the chief medical and financial officers of the firm have made tens of millions from trading in options on the company’s stock. With the nation’s response to Covid-19 an utter failure, the hopes of many have been redirected to the promise of a vaccine that will arrive like a Christmas present, neatly wrapped and tied with a glistening bow. No one wants to wake up Christmas morning to see nothing under the tree for them.
The hype about a SARS-Cov-2 vaccine is so intense, it’s almost inconceivable that the White House won’t roll out something in October as a boost to its fortunes at the voting booths the next month. In fact, leading scientists have warned of an October surprise, in which, despite insufficient data, the president could instruct Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn to issue an Emergency Use Authorization, circumventing the normal approval process for vaccines for the sake of political expediency. Right now, we have preliminary data on safety and immunogenicity (i.e., whether a vaccine can produce an immune response of some kind—not necessarily protective against the disease) for several of the vaccine candidates. But the larger trials needed to determine whether these agents actually are effective against SARS-Cov-2 are just beginning. They will enroll tens of thousands of patients each and will provide the needed critical information to guide the FDA in evaluating these vaccines.
Will we have this information by October? Well, that all depends on how fast the trials enroll, and how quickly the measures by which these vaccines will be evaluated—new infections—accumulate in each study to allow a comparison between the number of infections among vaccine and placebo recipients. It is also very possible that this first generation of vaccines either do not perform at all, or only perform well enough that the difference in new infections between them and placebos is hard to discern. With so much riding on the success of a vaccine, the temptation for some—including new companies like Moderna and ancient universities like Oxford, which are new to this game—to overstate their findings will be almost irresistible.
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News reports on many of the vaccine candidates this spring and summer have hyped them as promising breakthroughs, although this is obviously misleading without efficacy data from larger trials. At this point, all we know about the candidates that are progressing to this new phase of study are that they produced no ill effects and can raise some degree of immune response—none of which means that these vaccines are going to be protective against SARS-Cov-2. If the financial temptation for companies to overstate their results is strong, the political incentive for Trump’s people to torture the data until it confesses and tells them what they want to hear is even more powerful. The president desperately needs good news among all the bad Covid-19 news he has generated for the past six months.
It is crucial that the data from these studies be evaluated properly. In fact, that data should be held to an even higher standard today, given the multiple motives for manipulation. The FDA should empanel a group of outside experts to review each of the studies, drawn from the best scientists in the country working on immunology, virology, vaccine development, and statistical sciences. We should demand a commitment from FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn that he will not circumvent proper scrutiny of trial results to please the White House, and explicit assurance that the approval process will proceed by the book and in the open, not via an Emergency Use Authorization decided in-house at the agency. Each company should be required to share its data with outside scientists to verify any in-house analyses they may do. There are precedents for this kind of data sharing in the industry—and this is a prime case for sharing data for reanalysis by others.
What do we have to lose this fall? We could put a vaccine on the market without rigorous evaluation, with open questions about its safety and efficacy. Beyond proving that a vaccine works in clinical trials, we need wide uptake in order to achieve that vaunted herd or community immunity we’ve all come to know about, in which enough people are vaccinated and protected against the virus that it finds only dead ends when it seeks to spread among us. Skepticism and outright denialism about vaccine safety and efficacy existed way before Covid-19, resulting in poor coverage by vaccines for some diseases and among some communities. Uncertainty about the data or the specter of political manipulation of results will only undermine public confidence, just when we need it most.
In addition, the logistical and resource requirements to scale up production of a new vaccine, and then deliver it widely and equitably across the United States and the world, will be monumental. Even with a vaccine that is rigorously evaluated and shows some real efficacy, the challenges will be acute. But imagine all this effort going into a vaccine with dubious effects. Not only would that be a colossal waste of time and money; with little protection against the virus, people may decide they are safe and can stop practicing social distancing or wearing masks. When the truth comes out, the reputation of all vaccines will suffer a tremendous hit, as will the scientific community and the industry that went along with the scheme. If people get infected because they thought they were protected—if we don’t stop the Trump administration from juking the stats to give them a political victory this fall—we should all hang our heads in shame.
I’ve seen this before on a smaller scale, in the early days of the AIDS epidemic, with investigators using after-the-fact subgroup analyses to find some subset of people for whom an ineffective drug worked—not out of malice or desire to deceive, but because they were swept up in the need for hope in a time of desperation. This fall, we need to remain vigilant to ensure that Trump’s desperate need to win in November doesn’t produce the sound and fury of an announcement of a new vaccine for SARS-Cov-2—but signifying nothing for the public health."

Trump’s October Surprise: A Vaccine for Covid-19? | The Nation

PolitiFact | The long history of racism in the US presidency

Joe Biden stated on July 22, 2020 in a town hall:
No U.S. presidents elected before Donald Trump were racist.


"At a town hall meeting, a home care provider spoke to former Vice President Joe Biden about racist rhetoric targeting Asian Americans during the pandemic. Biden responded by leaning into racism allegations against President Donald Trump.

"We’ve had racists, and they’ve existed, they’ve tried to get elected president. He’s the first one that has," Biden said July 22.

Biden’s pointed statement was memorable for a few reasons: Not only was he calling the sitting president a racist, but Biden also asserted that no other racists held the office before Trump.

Historians say this is wrong. Various presidents since the country’s founding can be considered racist, whether because they enslaved Black people, held racist beliefs, or used racist rhetoric.

Multiple early presidents, including Thomas Jefferson, enslaved Black people. Andrew Jackson forced Native Americans from their lands, causing migrations in which many died. Andrew Johnson sought to undermine Reconstruction in the South after the Civil War. Woodrow Wilson, a Southerner with nostalgia for the antebellum South, re-segregated the federal government. Still others privately used racial slurs or believed whites were the superior race.

"If Mr. Biden wanted to call the president a racist, he should have done so and left it at that," said H.W. Brands, a history professor at The University of Texas at Austin. "Bringing in history confuses the issue."

Not everyone sees eye-to-eye on who they consider racist. Nikki Brown, an Africana studies professor at the University of Kentucky, said a person’s race may play a role in which presidents they view as racist.

White people might look for red flags like using racial slurs as a sign that someone is racist, Brown said, while Black people and other people of color may also point to a politician who "supports laws that treat African Americans as inferior or unworthy."

Whatever definition you use, many presidents can be considered racist.

The most obvious category would be presidents who personally enslaved people. Historians generally consider 10 of the first 12 presidents to fall into this category. (The exceptions were John Adams and his son John Quincy Adams of Massachusetts.)

Most of these presidents were born in the slavery-era South. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, William Henry Harrison, and John Tyler were born in and represented Virginia. Andrew Jackson was born in South Carolina and represented Tennessee; Zachary Taylor, who owned 100 people, was born in Virginia and resided in Louisiana; and James K. Polk was born in North Carolina and resided in Tennessee. Martin Van Buren was from New York, where slavery lingered after formal abolition.

By the standard of enslaving people, "the first 60 years of the U.S. republic would have been run by racists," Brown said.

Within the category of presidents who enslaved people, some historians see gradations of racism.

For instance, Washington not only enslaved people but also, as president, moved some of them to and from the then-capital of Philadelphia every few months. "Pennsylvania had passed a law ensuring the freedom of enslaved people who resided in the state after a period of time," said Saint Louis University historian Lorri Glover. This gambit "re-set the clock on their bondage and precluded their freedom."

On the other hand, Washington was initially opposed to Black troops during the Revolutionary War but changed his mind during the war, and he later said that his favorite unit was one that was half Black, said Paul Finkelman, the president of Gratz College in Pennsylvania who has written extensively about slavery. Washington also freed his enslaved people and set them up with land.

Historians paint his contemporary, Jefferson, more negatively. In his writings, Jefferson "said that Blacks are inferior" and tried to justify it scientifically. While Jefferson claimed not to sell enslaved people except in limited cases, he regularly wrote to his plantation managers asking them to sell enslaved people because he needed the money, Finkelman said. And in her book, "Founders as Fathers," Glover detailed the stark contrast between how Jefferson treated his acknowledged white family and his unacknowledged family with Sally Hemings, who was enslaved.

A later president who enslaved people, Andrew Jackson, also worked for the forced relocations of Native Americans, during which many died.

The roots of the federal takeover of Indian lands, often undergirded by notions of white superiority, dated back to the first five presidents, Glover said. Subsequent presidents continued Jackson’s approach. "Polk opened Texas, and, if he'd had his way, would have opened California too, to cotton planting with slaves," said Jason M. Opal, a McGill University historian.

John Tyler went so far as to join the Confederate government 16 years after he left the White House.

Lesser known presidents like Millard Fillmore have racist pasts, too. Though he was a New Yorker who didn’t enslave anyone, Fillmore "said absolutely horrible things about Black people," Finkelman said.

Fillmore signed the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, which "made it possible to literally kidnap free black people in the North, bring them before a compliant federal commissioner, and drag them into slavery," Finkelman said.

"Freedmen Voting in New Orleans," a 1867 engraving. Andrew Johnson worked to undercut civil rights laws after the Civil War. (New York Public Library/Wikimedia Commons)

"After the Civil War, arguably the most racist president, historians say, was Andrew Johnson. A Southerner who succeeded the assassinated Abraham Lincoln, Johnson proceeded to undercut anti-discrimination policies in the South and was a pioneer in articulating "white victimhood," Opal said.

"His racism is most tragic in American history, because it led to a true failure of Reconstruction," Finkelman said.

Theodore Roosevelt held racist views reflected in his policies of imperialism. Roosevelt "embraced his racism, believing it the solemn duty of the most civilized — white — race to uplift the rest," said Jeffrey A. Engel, director of the Center for Presidential History at Southern Methodist University.

At the same time, Roosevelt was sympathetic to immigrants and had lunch with the Black leader Booker T. Washington, an invitation that shocked Southern white leaders, Finkelman said.

Woodrow Wilson, a Southerner by upbringing, re-segregated large portions of the federal government, down to separate bathrooms in federal buildings. Wilson also held a White House screening of the pro-Ku Klux Klan film "Birth of a Nation," which dovetailed with his nostalgia for the Confederacy. Wilson once wrote that "domestic slaves were almost uniformly dealt with indulgently and even affectionately by their masters."

Oswald Garrison Villard, a contemporary liberal journalist, wrote that Wilson’s administration "has allied itself with the forces of reaction, and put itself on the side of every torturer, of every oppressor, of every perpetrator of racial injustice in the South or the North."

As open racism became less socially acceptable from politicians in the latter half of the 20th century, presidents’ legacies on race became more complicated. Presidents held racist views privately yet delivered legislation to advance equality at the same time.

Lyndon B. Johnson used a racial slur for Black people frequently, according to his biographers, including when Johnson nominated Thurgood Marshall to the Supreme Court instead of a less-famous black judge.

Johnson was a "good ol’ boy from Texas, so of course he was racist. He just didn’t govern like one, which frankly strikes me as more important," Engel said. Johnson fought for and signed the century’s most far-reaching civil rights laws.

Richard Nixon was captured on tape making numerous racist remarks, said John J. Pitney, Jr., a Claremont McKenna College political scientist. Yet Nixon’s legacy on civil rights was fairly robust, advancing the desegregation of schools and affirmative action in employment.

So what about Trump? Trump challenged Biden’s remark that he was racist and compared his record with Abraham Lincoln, who signed the Emancipation Proclamation that freed enslaved Black people in Confederate states.

Symone Sanders, a Biden campaign senior adviser, sought to clarify Biden’s remark: "There have been a number of racist American presidents, but Trump stands out — especially in modern history — because he made running on racism and division his calling card and won."

As a businessman and politician over the years, Trump has made various statements that have been condemned as racist.

• In the 1970s, the U.S. Justice Department sued Trump and his father for refusing to rent apartments to Black people. Trump Management filed a countersuit against the U.S. government before reaching an agreement in 1975. (The Trumps said the agreement was not an admission of guilt.) 

• After the first Black president in U.S. history was sworn into office, Trump repeated the false conspiracy theory that Barack Obama was born in Kenya.

• When Trump announced his presidential candidacy in June 2015, he said, "When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best." He added, "They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people."

• As president in 2017, Trump said there were "very fine people, on both sides," in reference to neo-Nazis and counterprotesters in Charlottesville, Va.

• When speaking with lawmakers about immigration from Haiti, El Salvador and African countries in 2018, Trump reportedly said, "Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?" He denied saying it in a tweet.

• In July 2019, Trump tweeted that four congresswomen of color should "go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came." All of them are American citizens, and three were born in the U.S.

• Later that month, the president called Maryland’s 7th congressional district, which is majority Black, a "disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess" and wrote that "no human being would want to live there."

• Trump has referred to the novel coronavirus as the "kung flu" and "China virus" throughout the pandemic.

In 2019, the Pew Research Center found that 56% of Americans say Trump has worsened race relations, compared with only 15% who say he’s made progress.

Biden said that no presidents who came before Trump were racist.

Historians agree that various presidents can be considered racist. That includes those who enslaved Black people, those who used racist rhetoric and those who held beliefs that white people were superior to other races.

Biden’s campaign later clarified the comment, but his original words are wrong.

We rate Biden’s history False."

PolitiFact | The long history of racism in the US presidency

Virus-Driven Push to Release Juvenile Detainees Leaves Black Youth Behind - The New York Times

After an initial decrease in the youth detention population since the pandemic began, the rate of release has slowed, and the gap between white youth and Black youth has grown.
Olivia Alford, left, a high school student, protested with her family in Pontiac, Mich., this month in support of a classmate who was jailed because of a probation violation for failing to complete her virtual homework.
Olivia Alford, left, a high school student, protested with her family in Pontiac, Mich., this month in support of a classmate who was jailed because of a probation violation for failing to complete her virtual homework.
WASHINGTON — Black youth detained in juvenile justice facilities have been released at a far slower rate than their white peers in response to the coronavirus, according to a new report that also found that the gap in release rates between the two groups had nearly doubled over the course of the pandemic.
The report, released this month by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, illustrates one more disparity the coronavirus has exacerbated for Black children, who are disproportionately funneled into the juvenile justice system. At the outset of the pandemic, juvenile public defenders and youth advocates worked to free thousands of children from detention facilities as public health officials warned that correctional institutions were becoming virus hotbeds.
Judges and state leaders have taken measures to halt intakes of low-level offenders and to send nonviolent and vulnerable detainees home. But the Casey report, based on a survey of juvenile justice agencies in 33 states, found that many Black children ages 10 to 17 had been left behind. In February, before the coronavirus was widespread in the United States, the white release rate was about 7 percent higher than the Black release rate, the report found; by May, that gap rose to 17 percent.
“It’s clear that the juvenile justice system does not value Black life even during a worldwide public health pandemic,” said Liz Ryan, the president and chief executive of Youth First Initiative, an advocacy group that campaigns against youth incarceration. “Juvenile detention agencies’ inaction during Covid-19 has exacerbated racial disparities and is utterly irresponsible and disgraceful.”
Nate Balis, the director of the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Juvenile Justice Strategy Group, said the push to release young people from confinement had lost momentum since showing initial results. The organization tracked a significant 27 percent decrease in the youth detention population since the pandemic began, and admission rates dropped proportionately by race among Black, white and Latino youth. But after a surge of releases in March, they tapered off in April and May, and Black youth remained overrepresented in detention, partly because their release rates had stalled.
“In the months since the pandemic emerged in March, the disparities in detention that disadvantage Black youth have gotten worse, solely because Black youth have been released at a slower rate than their white peers,” the report said.
The survey did not include explanations for why young people remained detained. Judges and law enforcement officials who opposed calls for juvenile release argued that some low-level offense categories did not capture the dangerous nature of the crimes, and that many youth were better off in state custody because they risked returning to unstable home lives and unsafe neighborhoods.
Proponents of release countered with data showing that juvenile crime had declined 71 percent since 1997, and the number of incarcerated youths had dropped 59 percent.
“Based on what the data has been showing us for years, there’s no reason to believe that the kids who are there today are there for major offenses,” Mr. Balis said. “Especially during the pandemic, especially in this moment of heightened awareness of racial disparity in this country, every system needs to be looking at their data and figuring out what stands in their way.”
In Maryland, which released at least 200 juvenile offenders during the pandemic after the state’s chief judge signed an order encouraging courts to do so, population and admissions rates have plummeted so much that two juvenile facilities have closed. But advocates say that Black youth who remain in the system have misperceptions stacked against them.
“We’ve seen prosecutors and judges argue that Covid isn’t killing young people in large numbers, thereby downplaying the other long-term consequences of this devastating disease,” said Jennifer L. Egan, the chief attorney in the juvenile division for the Maryland Office of the Public Defender in Baltimore, which filed an emergency petition that prompted the high court’s order this spring.
“We also know that racism leads people to underestimate the pain experienced by Black people,” she added.
Juvenile justice groups say efforts to release more young people as the virus resurges must focus on the officials who are making decisions about youth releases.
In May, a Michigan judge ordered a 15-year-old girl back to juvenile detention in May, saying she violated probation terms by skipping her school’s remote-learning coursework. The case, first reported by ProPublica, caused a national outcry, and the judge’s decision is being reviewed by the state’s Supreme Court.
The virus continues to sweep through juvenile facilities. According to data collected by the Sentencing Project, which has tracked the number of reported cases in juvenile facilities each week since March, coronavirus case counts among detained youth has surged in recent weeks, following the national trend. The group has recorded a total of 1,310 coronavirus cases among youth and 1,550 among detention staff since March.
“You can’t incarcerate a virus,” said Joshua Rovner, a senior advocacy associate at the Sentencing Project.
“We should be happy that many youth are being released who should have never been there in the first place,” he said. “I don’t want to minimize the fact that white youth are benefiting from that, but the data speak for itself: All of our kids are not being treated equally.”
Virus-Driven Push to Release Juvenile Detainees Leaves Black Youth Behind - The New York Times

Morgan Freeman reads Rep. John Lewis’ last words

Morgan Freeman reads Rep. John Lewis’ last words

Trump faces rare rebuke from GOP for floating election delay

NEW YORK (AP) — President Donald Trump repeatedly tests the Republican Party’s limits on issues including race, trade and immigration. On Thursday, he struck a boundary.
GOP officials from New Hampshire to Mississippi to Iowa quickly pushed back against Trump’s suggestion that it might be necessary to delay the November election — which he cannot do without congressional approval — because of the unfounded threat of voter fraud. They reassured voters that the election would proceed on the constitutionally mandated day as it has for more than two centuries.
Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley was especially blunt: “All I can say is, it doesn’t matter what one individual in this country says. We still are a country based on the rule of law, and we want to follow the law.”
New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu vowed his state would hold its November elections as scheduled: “End of story.” Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., who leads the House Republican Conference, said, “The resistance to this idea among Republicans is overwhelming.”
The top Republicans in the House and Senate, who have spent the past four years championing Trump in Congress, also distanced themselves from the notion of a delayed election.
It was a rare rebuke for Trump from his fellow Republicans, but one that might not last. There was little conservative opposition to Trump’s broader push to raise questions about the legitimacy of the Nov. 3 election, including his suggestion later Thursday that a delayed result because of mail-in ballots would be a sign of fraud.
The simple reality remains that Republicans up and down the ballot this fall need Trump’s fervent base on their side to have any chance of winning.
The dynamic has forced Trump-backed politicians to walk a delicate balance as they condemn the president’s most erratic behavior and ideas while trying not to upset his die-hard loyalists. At the same time, many Republican leaders are struggling under the weight of health, economic and social crises that the Trump administration has failed to contain.
The government announced Thursday that the U.S. economy plunged by a record-shattering 32.9% annual rate last quarter as the pandemic forces a wave of layoffs that shows no sign of abating.
Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves, in an interview with The Associated Press, said he feared “a new wave of economic downturn” as he grapples with pressure to institute a second stay-at-home order as coronavirus infections in his state surge. The first-term Republican governor said he would do “everything possible” to avoid another shutdown but could not rule out the possibility.
Reeves encouraged Trump to embrace a reelection message focused on his ability to revive the nation’s economy, a familiar suggestion from frustrated Republican officials, though the president has shown little interest in adopting a consistent message.
Reeves said he opposes any plan to change the election date: “I don’t personally think a delay in the election at this point in time is necessary.” But he said he remained “100% committed to doing everything possible” to help Trump beat Democratic rival Joe Biden in November.
“I don’t believe that the president is losing significant support from Republicans,” Reeves said.
Indeed, Trump confidant Jerry Falwell Jr., the president of Liberty University, said he would support Trump’s call to delay the election “until things are normal so people can walk in.”
“If it takes a few more months, then so be it,” Falwell said in an interview, raising the prospect of limiting the president’s powers if the delay extends beyond his first term.
There have been a handful of moments that strained the GOP’s allegiance to Trump since he emerged as his party’s unlikely presidential nominee four years ago, yet his party has increasingly acquiesced to his turbulent leadership as his presidency progressed.
Just weeks before the 2016 election, several elected officials, including then-House Speaker Paul Ryan, publicly turned their back on Trump after he was caught admitting to sexual predatory behavior in an “Access Hollywood” video. Less than a year later, the Republican National Committee rebuked the president after he claimed there were “very fine people” on both sides of a deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. And Republican leaders briefly raised concerns last year when Trump was caught pressuring Ukrainian leaders to investigate Biden — an episode that would ultimately lead to his impeachment.
There have been a series of lower-profile flashpoints over the last four years that prompted modest concerns from Republicans that were quickly forgotten, and the latest debate over the election date may soon fall into that category.
Trump cannot change the election date without the approval of Congress, and policymakers in both parties made clear they would oppose such a move. Trump’s ultimate goal, however, may have less to do with the election date than undermining the results of the election if he loses.
Current polls suggest that Trump is trailing Biden by a significant margin in several swing states.
The president did not deny that he was trying to cast doubt about the election results when asked directly during Thursday’s press briefing. Instead, he repeatedly cited the prospect of voter fraud, which is virtually nonexistent in U.S. politics.
“I don’t want to delay. I want to have the election. But I also don’t want to wait for three months and then find out that the ballots are all missing, and the election doesn’t mean anything,” Trump said, warning of the possibility of “a crooked election.”
Back in New Hampshire, a swing state where Trump hosted a virtual event Thursday night, Sununu said the president’s comments about the election date would not affect his continued support for Trump’s reelection.
“Look, the president says things and tweets things all the time,” the governor said. “I don’t know what his thought process is there. I can only speak for New Hampshire, and we have a great system.”
Trump faces rare rebuke from GOP for floating election delay

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Breonna Taylor: Who She Was, How She Died, Why Justice Is Overdue | The ...

Wake Up This is a wonderful ad

Opinion | You have echoed lies and defended demagoguery. It must sting to still be defending Trump. - The Washington Post

Opinion | You have echoed lies and defended demagoguery. It must sting to still be defending Trump.

"What a tremendous burden it must for you to still be defending President Trump. You have called yourself a constitutional conservative for decades, but now you sit silently as the president pushes to move this year’s election because he might lose. Even some Republican senators are speaking up. Why aren’t you?

Trump remembers how you ran interference for him when he claimed unlimited powers under Article II of the Constitution, so he thinks you will stay quiet. Remember your silence after Charlottesville? You eventually mustered the nerve to claim Trump never preached moral equivalence between torch-carrying Nazis and protesters. How unthoughtful it was of David Duke to expose you by praising the president’s putrid performance and thanking Trump for his “honesty and courage to tell the truth.” The former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard even bragged to reporters that Charlottesville represented a “turning point” for white nationalism. “We are going to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump,” Duke proclaimed. “That’s why we voted for [him].”
Ouch. That one had to sting, but you kept on defending Donald.
If you had a political soul after that shameful stunt, the Cold Warrior in you would have been as sickened by Trump’s retreat from Germany as U.S. strategists were over his ceding of Syria to Vladimir Putin, handing Moscow a foothold in the Middle East for the first time since 1973. No country was a closer ally during the Cold War than West Germany, and no nation is more critical to Europe’s future now than a unified Germany. Undermining the U.S.-German alliance because of an ignorant misunderstanding of NATO’s dues structure undermines the historic work that Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush completed throughout the Cold War’s final years.
But there you are, silently supporting a demagogue who sits by while intelligence suggests Russia’s leader put bounties on the heads of young American troops. Trump instead plays Putin’s apologist by declaring the United States equally guilty.
“Well, we supplied weapons when they were fighting Russia, too,” Trump said of our efforts to liberate Afghanistan from the Soviet invasion some 40 years ago.
Did any part of you cringe when Trump leaned once again on the crutch of moral equivalency, ignoring the glaring fact that the U.S.S.R. was America’s sworn enemy during our “twilight struggle” against communism? Maybe not. Maybe Trump has you figured out and knows what a frightened political soul you are, and remembers that you remained mute when he defended Putin’s killing of journalists and political rivals almost five years ago. “Our country does plenty of killing also,” candidate Trump told me when I repeatedly pressed him on “Morning Joe” to criticize Putin’s murderous ways. He wouldn’t then when the victims were Russian reporters, and he won’t now when the targets are young American heroes in uniform.
I know Trump’s devotion to Putin deeply disturbs you, but somehow you swallow that bile and keep running cover for them both. How hard it must have been to keep all of that down when Trump’s foreign policy advisernational security advisercampaign chairmandeputy campaign chairmanpersonal lawyerpolitical consultant and attorney general were all busted for lying to federal investigators or Congress about their contacts with Russians. But you still kept your head down and marched in a single formation behind Trump.
When it was revealed that Russia’s interference in the 2016 campaign was “sweeping and systematic,” you shrugged your shoulders. You later learned that Russian nationals with connections to the Kremlin promised Trump’s family dirt on Hillary Clinton, and that they were excited to learn it was part of “Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.” You remained motionless, numb to it all, when federal investigators later revealed that Russia’s GRU began hacking Clinton-related email accounts hours after Trump announced this: “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.”
By this time, you began mindlessly regurgitating the former reality TV host’s propaganda about the “Russian hoax,” and hoped Americans would be stupid enough to ignore the mountains of damning evidence against Trump. Your singular focus turned to the Steele dossier’s most lurid tales, and you believed then, and now, that Christopher Steele’s fantastical claims could erase a multitude of Trump’s sins. You repeated the lies of Attorney General William P. Barr and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey O. Graham when they falsely claimed the FBI’s investigation began with Steele’s dossier. And you kept repeating this idiotic defense even after it became painfully evident that Trump’s team welcomed Russia’s interference in American democracy and then tried to cover it up. You still refuse to criticize the Trump team’s use of material stolen by Russia during the last month of the campaign, just like you and your president continue turning a blind eye to any Russian bounties.
None dare call it treason, but perhaps one day they will."

Opinion | You have echoed lies and defended demagoguery. It must sting to still be defending Trump. - The Washington Post

Portland protesters vow to stay on the streets as federal agents prepare...

Obama delivers eulogy for John Lewis, makes impassioned call for voting ...

Obama delivers eulogy for John Lewis, makes impassioned call for voting ...

President Trump doubled down in defense of doctor who promotes hydroxych...

A Half-Century After Wallace, Trump Echoes the Politics of Division - The New York Times

A Half-Century After Wallace, Trump Echoes the Politics of Division - The New York Times

Opinion | John Lewis: Together, You Can Redeem the Soul of Our Nation - The New York Times

"Though I may not be here with you, I urge you to answer the highest calling of your heart and stand up for what you truly believe.

Mr. Lewis, the civil rights leader who died on July 17, wrote this essay shortly before his death, to be published upon the day of his funeral. Editorial Page Editor Kathleen Kingsbury wrote about this piece and Mr. Lewis’s legacy in Thursday’s edition of our Opinion Today newsletter.
While my time here has now come to an end, I want you to know that in the last days and hours of my life you inspired me. You filled me with hope about the next chapter of the great American story when you used your power to make a difference in our society. Millions of people motivated simply by human compassion laid down the burdens of division. Around the country and the world you set aside race, class, age, language and nationality to demand respect for human dignity.
That is why I had to visit Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington, though I was admitted to the hospital the following day. I just had to see and feel it for myself that, after many years of silent witness, the truth is still marching on.
Emmett Till was my George Floyd. He was my Rayshard Brooks, Sandra Bland and Breonna Taylor. He was 14 when he was killed, and I was only 15 years old at the time. I will never ever forget the moment when it became so clear that he could easily have been me. In those days, fear constrained us like an imaginary prison, and troubling thoughts of potential brutality committed for no understandable reason were the bars.
Though I was surrounded by two loving parents, plenty of brothers, sisters and cousins, their love could not protect me from the unholy oppression waiting just outside that family circle. Unchecked, unrestrained violence and government-sanctioned terror had the power to turn a simple stroll to the store for some Skittles or an innocent morning jog down a lonesome country road into a nightmare. If we are to survive as one unified nation, we must discover what so readily takes root in our hearts that could rob Mother Emanuel Church in South Carolina of her brightest and best, shoot unwitting concertgoers in Las Vegas and choke to death the hopes and dreams of a gifted violinist like Elijah McClain.
Like so many young people today, I was searching for a way out, or some might say a way in, and then I heard the voice of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on an old radio. He was talking about the philosophy and discipline of nonviolence. He said we are all complicit when we tolerate injustice. He said it is not enough to say it will get better by and by. He said each of us has a moral obligation to stand up, speak up and speak out. When you see something that is not right, you must say something. You must do something. Democracy is not a state. It is an act, and each generation must do its part to help build what we called the Beloved Community, a nation and world society at peace with itself.
Ordinary people with extraordinary vision can redeem the soul of America by getting in what I call good trouble, necessary trouble. Voting and participating in the democratic process are key. The vote is the most powerful nonviolent change agent you have in a democratic society. You must use it because it is not guaranteed. You can lose it.
You must also study and learn the lessons of history because humanity has been involved in this soul-wrenching, existential struggle for a very long time. People on every continent have stood in your shoes, though decades and centuries before you. The truth does not change, and that is why the answers worked out long ago can help you find solutions to the challenges of our time. Continue to build union between movements stretching across the globe because we must put away our willingness to profit from the exploitation of others.
Though I may not be here with you, I urge you to answer the highest calling of your heart and stand up for what you truly believe. In my life I have done all I can to demonstrate that the way of peace, the way of love and nonviolence is the more excellent way. Now it is your turn to let freedom ring.
When historians pick up their pens to write the story of the 21st century, let them say that it was your generation who laid down the heavy burdens of hate at last and that peace finally triumphed over violence, aggression and war. So I say to you, walk with the wind, brothers and sisters, and let the spirit of peace and the power of everlasting love be your guide.

John Lewis, the civil rights leader and congressman who died on July 17, wrote this essay shortly before his death."
Opinion | John Lewis: Together, You Can Redeem the Soul of Our Nation - The New York Times

Trump says he didn't ask Putin about Russian bounties on U.S. troops

Trump says he didn't ask Putin about Russian bounties on U.S. troops

Facebook's Zuckerberg is right about TikTok and China. He's spectacularly wrong too

Facebook's Zuckerberg is right about TikTok and China. He's spectacularly wrong too

Commentary: The leader of the world's most powerful social network failed to defend himself and his company.

- 07:11

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg appeared by video conference before a congressional subcommittee Wednesday.


Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO and co-founder of Facebook, wants us to look at him differently. He wants us to imagine what the world would be like if  people much worse than the benevolent leader he is were running the world's largest social network.

"China is building its own version of the internet focused on very different ideas, and they are exporting their vision to other countries," he said Wednesday in his opening statement before a House of Representatives antitrust subcommittee, a not so subtle dig at one of his biggest competitors, the Chinese social networking app TikTok.

 "As Congress and other stakeholders consider how antitrust laws support competition in the US," Zuckerberg said, "I believe it's important to maintain the core values of openness and fairness that have made America's digital economy a force for empowerment and opportunity here and around the world. … Many other tech companies share these values, but there's no guarantee our values will win out."

I'll say it so no one else has to: Thank you, Mark Zuckerberg, for not being the boogeyman.

Now playing: Zuckerberg: If we don't keep innovating, someone will...

Also, thank you for not being Kim Jong-un, Lex Luthor or the digital Wicked Witch of the West. And considering his self-destructive social media use, I'm even thankful you're not Elon Musk.

But is this how far we've sunk in our national discourse around Facebook that its savvy and shrewd CEO believes his best course of action is to hope Congress will treat him differently because he says he's not the Dr. Evil of the internet?

There shouldn't just be daylight between Zuckerberg and our modern-day villains. Facebook's CEO should be a good guy.

I'm disappointed to see Zuckerberg and this new Batman-at-the-end-of-The-Dark-Knight shtick, acting as though he's the misunderstood hero whose redemption is around the corner