Tuesday, June 30, 2020


We know that the right has concluded it needs a new message on the coronavirus pandemic when they're talking up mask-wearing on Fox News.
“Fox and Friends” co-host Steve Doocy implored President Donald Trump on Tuesday morning to start wearing a mask in public, marking another instance in which a conservative pushed back on Trump’s refusal to do so.

During an interview with Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel, Doocy asserted that Trump, who more likely than not was watching “Fox and Friends” at that very moment, would “set a good example” by wearing a mask.

“He’d be a good role model,” the Fox News host said. “I don’t see any downside to the President wearing a mask in public.”

Doocy emphasized his point again near the end of the interview.

“I think by wearing masks, you can keep the economy open,” Doocy said. “And closing things are the last thing anybody wants to do.”

“MAGA should now stand for ‘Masks Are Great Again,'” he joked.
And a Fox doctor is also reading off the new script, if somewhat reluctantly (he prefers social distancing).

I said last night that Republicans fear an electoral bloodbath because older voters see the party as reckless (and literally life-threatening for them) on the subject of the virus. But there's also this:
A federal face mask mandate would not only cut the daily growth rate of new confirmed cases of Covid-19, but could also save the U.S. economy from taking a 5% GDP hit in lieu of additional lockdowns, according to Goldman Sachs.

Jan Hatzius, Goldman’s chief economist, said his team investigated the link between face masks and Covid-19 health and economic outcomes and found that facial coverings are associated with sizable and statistically significant results.

“We find that face masks are associated with significantly better coronavirus outcomes,” Hatzius wrote in a note to clients. “Our baseline estimate is that a national mandate could raise the percentage of people who wear masks by 15 (percentage points) and cut the daily growth rate of confirmed cases by 1.0 (percentage point) to 0.6%.”
The plutocrats thought they could compel a premature economic reopening all across the country and the public would simply live with the consequences (or quietly die with them). They thought the money would roll back in and they could move the Overton window so no one would ever talk about lockdowns again. But the virus in raging in California, Arizona, Texas, Florida, and other states. Hospitals are filling up. Elected officials are reversing course on reopening. Much of the country is still justifiably terrified. And the evil tax-and-spend Democrats might sweep the elctions in November. What's a plutocrat to do?

We told these idiots from Day One that the economy would do better in the long run if the lockdowns persisited until caseloads were very low, and until testing and tracing were robust. But that message was ignored.

Goldman prefers to push masks rather than a serious testing/tracing infrastructure or more cash outlays to idle workers -- goodness gracious, we can't spend any more tax money fighting this, can we?

But masks are good. Unfortunately, it's too late -- the angriest right-wingers are dug in on the idea that mask requirements are an anti-American form of subjugation.

For years now, the plutocrats could have seen danger coming from the right's tolerance of conspiratorialism, but they missed the signals. Now we have much of the GOP base believing insane theories and a conspiracy-monger in the White House. Now America is a global pariah state -- which also isn't economic advantageous for the rich. Heckuva job, plutocracy.


NBC News reports:
President Donald Trump set off a "five-alarm fire" in the White House on Sunday morning after he retweeted a video of one of his supporters saying "white power," according to two White House officials.

The video remained on the president's Twitter page, where he has 82 million followers, for more than three hours because White House officials couldn't reach him to ask him to delete it, the two officials said. The president was at his golf club in Virginia and had put his phone down, the officials said.
Are they really telling us that the president of the United States might be unreachable at times when he's golfing? Are they telling us that if, for instance, hijacked planes were headed toward a New York skyscraper, the Pentagon, and some other target in D.C., the president might be incommunicado for several hours because he left his iPhone in his locker? Seriously?

Did the Secret Service agents accompanying Trump also leave their phones in the locker room? What about Lindsey Graham? He was with Trump -- did he not have his cell with him either?

This comes at the same time that Carl Bernstein is reporting on Trump's disdain for U.S. allies such as Germany's Angela Merkel and excessive fondness for strongmen such as Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has become one of Trump's favorite phone friends.
By far the greatest number of Trump's telephone discussions with an individual head of state were with Erdogan, who sometimes phoned the White House at least twice a week and was put through directly to the President on standing orders from Trump, according to the sources....

On some occasions Erdogan reached him on the golf course and Trump would delay play while the two spoke at length.
To be fair, if any White House would have an unreachable president, it would be this one -- Trump might leave his phone in a locker and staffers might be too stupid to try calling his Secret Service detail or golf partner. (Maybe someone should have called Erdogan and asked him to reach the president.)

But The Washington Post has a different account of what took place:
Senior staffers quickly conferred over the phone and then began trying to reach the president to convey their concerns about the tweet. White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, son-in-law Jared Kushner and other senior advisers spoke with president, said several people familiar with the discussions....

Roughly three hours later, the president gave the go-ahead to delete his incendiary tweet — moved, in large part, by the public calls from Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, the Senate’s only black Republican, to do just that, aides said.
In this version, aides did reach him -- but he insisted on leaving the tweet up for several hours (because it seemed to him like such a solid piece of lib ownage that he couldn't understand why he should take it down), and finally they had to scramble to find one of the few black people he respects, Tim Scott, who changed his mind.

This is the version of the story they think makes them look better.


Reporters at yesterday's gaggle missed an opportunity to troll the president, or at least to troll his trollish press secretary.
Speaking on “Fox & Friends” Monday morning, McEnany said Trump hadn’t heard the “white power” shout but never condemned the language, saying, “His point in tweeting out that video was to stand with his supporters, who are oftentimes demonized.”

She was more explicit during a news conference later in the day, saying that while Trump did listen to the video before sharing it on Twitter, “he did not hear that particular phrase.”
My question at that moment woud have been: "So, should the American people be concerned that the president might have a hearing problem?"

Monday, June 29, 2020


Politico reports that Mitch McConnell is concerned about virus spread.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reiterated Monday that Americans should continue to wear masks, emphasizing that there is “no stigma” associated with them....

In a floor speech, McConnell said the United States is currently in a “middle ground” between lockdowns and life before the pandemic, and encouraged the adoption of “new routines.”

“We must have no stigma — none — about wearing masks when we leave our homes and come near other people,” McConnell said. “Wearing simple face coverings is not about protecting ourselves. It is about protecting everyone we encounter.”

McConnell added that it’s the responsibility of individuals, small businesses, employers and “all levels of government” to take the necessary public health precautions to prevent the spread of the virus.
McConnell's chief concern isn't the virus. It's his Senate majority. He's seen the numbers:

If even a solid majority of Republicans approve of mask-wearing, then the president's steadfast rejection of them is out of step with public opinion.

Republican presidential candidates typically carry older voters by solid margins, and in his first campaign Mr. Trump bested Hillary Clinton by seven percentage points with voters over 65. He won white seniors by nearly triple that margin.

Today, Mr. Trump and Mr. Biden are tied among seniors, according to a poll of registered voters conducted by The New York Times and Siena College. And in the six most important battleground states, Mr. Biden has established a clear upper hand, leading Mr. Trump by six percentage points among the oldest voters and nearly matching the president’s support among whites in that age group.
Why would many seniors be abandoning Trump? Here's a possible explanation: They're afraid to die. They see Trump's flippant rejection of masks, and the adoption of an anti-mask stance by many Americans in imitation of Trump, as a life-or-death issue.

McConnell is afraid Trump will drag down Republican Senate candidates in November and turn the Senate over to the Democrats. So is Marco Rubio ("everyone should just wear a damn mask," he recently said). So is Lamar Alexander ("it would help if from time to time the president would wear one to help us get rid of this political debate that says if you’re for Trump, you don’t wear a mask, if you’re against Trump, you do"). And even though they're not in the Senate, Liz and Dick Cheney are also desperate to persuade voters that Republicans aren't anti-mask absolutisits.

The president, of course, believes he knows more about politics than people who've spent decades in the business. They'll never persuade him that he needs to change course.

Can McConnell, Rubio, and the rest persuade voters that Republicans aren't hostile to masks? Maybe they need to take that up with Fox News, talk radio, and the key sites of the online right. Maybe they need to talk Mark Zuckerberg into cracking down on Facebook mask skeptics and conspiratorialists.

None of that will happen, of course, so they're doomed -- Trup will never, ever wear a mask, and mask hostility will continue to be indelibly associated with conservatism and the GOP. (Also, mask refusers will be responsible for more and more outbreaks, which will cause continued harm to the economy, and thus to the party that runs most of the government.)

Republicans let this happen. I hope their party pays dearly for it on Election Day.


Breaking news:
The Supreme Court on Monday struck down a Louisiana law that could have left the state with a single abortion clinic.

The vote was 5 to 4, with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. voting with the court’s four-member liberal wing but not adopting its reasoning. The chief justice said respect for precedent compelled him to vote with the majority.
I predicted this last October, when the Court agreed to take the case:
... ... does John Roberts really want GOP-appointed Supreme Court justices blamed for a sudden massive decrease in abortion availability a few months before a presidential election?

I think this raises the possibility that Roberts will join with the Court's liberals to say, "Hey, this is just like the Texas law, so I'm going to shock you by upholding precedent and striking it down."

... Roberts doesn't want potential Democratic voters angry and riled up, and he'll be pleased if Republican voters' takeaway is "We need to reelect Donald Trump because we obviously need even more right-wing justices on the Supreme Court." If I'm right, he'll take the heat -- the angry tweets from President Trump, the calls for his impeachment on Fox and talk radio -- if it leads to a Trump win and thus puts more Federalist Society corporatists on the bench. The right-wing judicial establishment has been playing the long game for years, and Roberts knows that an election year is a good time to fake being a centrist, even if the man who'll directly benefit from the fakery, Donald Trump, doesn't get it.
At the time I also predicted that Roberts would join with the liberals to uphold Obamacare, for the same reason -- but I didn't know then that the ruling will come after the election. For that reason, as I said last week, I'm more apprehensive about a possible overturn, especially because that ruling bears directly on the real reason the GOP Five are on the Court -- not to help the right win the culture wars, but to defend the interests of the rich and large corporations.

And speaking of which....

The president has broad authority to dismiss the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Supreme Court ruled Monday in a 5-4 decision along ideological lines.

In the case of Selia Law v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the justices were asked to determine whether the director of the CFPB can only be removed before the end of their term “for cause” ― meaning some form of documented misconduct ― or if the president should be able to fire the director “at will,” even for nakedly political reasons.

In an opinion written by Chief Justice John Roberts, the five conservative justices held that those restrictions on the president’s authority to remove the head of an executive branch agency are unconstitutional.

The political significance of the case has always been much greater than the technical question at its core. Ever since Congress created the CFPB in 2010, the financial industry has been trying to disarm and destroy the agency.
Trump, Fox News, and the rest of the right will howl for the head of John Roberts, but he's still doing what he was put there to do.

Sunday, June 28, 2020


A preacher in Troy, New York, is giving away an AR-15 -- again.
Grace Baptist, which is [led] by alt-right wing pastor Rev. John Koletas, has given away assault rifles at least twice before, once in 2014 and again in 2017. Six years ago, the giveaway was in response to New York's SAFE Act and stricter gun laws. The church says it is doing another gun giveaway Monday night.
This is not a joke.

Fun fact:
Touching a ham was required to enter.
Yes, really:
As always, there will be a slice of ham (the Bible word is swine) outside the front church doors.

Everyone entering the building for the service is required to touch the ham before entering the building.

Anyone refusing to touch the ham outside the front church doors is not permitted to enter the building.
Your first reaction is probably that this is anti-Semitic, although:
GBC reserves the right to allow any Orthodox or Hasidic Jew to enter without touching the ham.
A Vice article written at the time of the first giveaway probably explains the reason for this:
When it was time for the raffle, Pastor Koletas announced that the church retained the right to disqualify any winner with questionable character.

“If your name is Hussein, or Karim, or Mohammad, you may not qualify! ..."
There's also a sermon excerpt on the church's Fabook page titled "Every Muslim Is a Terrorist" -- although Koletas does think Muslims have better ideas about how women should dress than Americans do. (This is from the unfortunately named Twitter account @FakeSermon, which publishes real clips of Koletas and other preachers.)

Koletas prides himself on having black attendees at his church, but he's deeply into racial provocation. Here he is defending his use of the N-word.

Here, too (and oh yeah, he thinks the Pope is the Antichrist).

And here's a sermon excerpt at Facebook that I can't embed:

In it, he says:
You're cool because you're acting like a bunch of blacks coming from the jungles of Africa and Caribbean and Egypt, and you're listening to their music that's destroyed you. That's why you like your rock and roll. That's why you like your country music with the metal twang. Yeah, you know where that comes from? Straight from Africa, straight from Egypt, straight from Caribbean. And Its ruined American society. One of the first things to go in any nation is their music. The first thing to go in your life, the first thing to go in the church's life, is usually the music. That's why you don't like the music. "It's not moving enough for me, Pastor. It's not emotional." Yeah, you want to go back in the jungles of Africa and dance to the jungle beat like they did, and just let your body just jiggle and move like a bunch of wild natives.
Yeah, this guy has issues, as a local columnist noted in 2017:
... the Rev. John Koletas ... has identified a national problem that never would have occurred to me, not in a million years.

Koletas mentioned it in his sermon last Sunday. If you want to give it a listen, it's on the church's website.

"The problem we're having in America — you listen to me good — the black churches, they don't preach against fornication, they don't preach against adultery no more, they don't preach against gambling no more, they don't preach against liquor no more."

At this point, it's worth wondering how Koletas knows so much about what's preached in the thousands of black churches out there. He wasn't done, though.

"They don't preach against heresy no more. And so you have — listen to me good — black America sitting in black pews who are rebelling against God. And it's coming out of the church pews into the streets."

Sadly, Koletas wasn't done.

"They don't preach about personal responsibility. They don't tell them how to get a job. They don't tell them to live right with God. And so what you see is a bunch of thugs out there that are blaming everybody else."
And more recently:
In a recent sermon, he denounced the officer who killed George Floyd in Minneapolis as "evil," but then linked post-protest violence as being caused by "a bunch of savages who have let their sins run rampant."
So you can understand why there were Black Lives Matter protesters at the church today.

The gun giveaway is tomorrow night.

What a country.

(Hat tip: Joshua Holland.)


Funny how this sort of thing keeps happening.
On Sunday morning, the president of the United States once again showed his racist leanings by retweeting a video of one of his supporters chanting “white power.”

“Thank you to the great people of The Villages. The Radical Left Do Nothing Democrats will Fall in the Fall. Corrupt Joe is shot. See you soon!!” Trump wrote in a quote tweet of the video.

The video showed pro and anti-Trump protesters from a community in Florida screaming obscenities at each other. Less than 10 seconds into the video, a man in a golf cart with “Trump 2020” signs could be heard loudly yelling “white power” at least twice.

Trump's quote tweet has been removed, but the original tweet is still up:

This doesn't seem like an account Trump would follow.


I can imagine Trump searching his own name on Twitter and discovering a tweet that piques his interest, but Trump's name doesn't appear in the tweet.

Deputy press secretary Judd Deere says, "President Trump is a big fan of The Villages. He did not hear the one statement made on the video. What he did see was tremendous enthusiasm from his many supporters."

It may or may not be true that the shouts of "white power" were overlooked by Trump, but I suspect that whoever brought this video to Trump's attention -- probably Dan Scavino (the "caretaker of Trump’s explosive Twitter feed," according to Politico) -- noticed them and still believed that the video would be a fine addition to Trump's feed. It's hard to believe he (or whichever aide found this) missed the "white power" shouts.

For most of Trump's presidency, this video might have hit a certain sweet spot: His fans could bond over the generic pro-Trump sentiments that make up most of the video, then the hated liberal media would point out the racist moments, Trump would reluctantly take down the retweet, and the fans would bond again, this time over their hatred of the liberal media.

But after the death of George Floyd, this kind of thing lands differently, even for many heartland whites, in a way it hasn't since Charlottesville.

And yet Team Trump went for it. Maybe they think there was a net gain in base loyalty earlier this month when Trump campaign adviser Mercedes Schlapp retweeted a video in which a chainsaw-wielding man in Texas chased away anti-racism protesters while using the N-word. But it's an especially bad time for this sort of thing -- unless the Trumpers are trying to lose in November.

Saturday, June 27, 2020


Troy Nehls, the sheriff of Fort Bend County in Texas, is running for the congressional seat of fellow Republican Pete Olson, who's not seeking reelection. There'll be a runoff in mid-July to determine the GOP candidate for this seat -- in the primary, Nehls won 40.5% of the vote, while his challenger, Kathaleen Wall, won 19.4%.

That margin suggests that Nehls is in a good position to win the runoff, as do his endorsements from the Houston Chronicle and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. And if he wins the runoff, he has a good shot of becoming a congressman. The district is less GOP than it was when Tom DeLay held this seat, but the Republican won in 2018, a Democratic wave year.

But Nehls is clearly looking for a little something extra to put him over the top.

And so...
The sheriff of Ft. Bend County, Texas is accusing a US postal worker of throwing his campaign mailers in the dumpster.

Sheriff Troy Nehls is a republican candidate running for Texas’ 22nd Congressional District. He said the postal worker was caught on video throwing a stack of his campaign mailers in the trash.

“Some patriots nearby heard a noise when she tossed them in & went to investigate,” Nehls tweeted. “They found a stack of them and called me. No wonder people are skeptical of mail in voting.”

As the news story notes, "The video is not close enough to the incident to confirm the sheriff’s accusation." That's putting it mildly. It's impossible to tell what's happening in the video.

But not to fear:
The sheriff shared a picture of his fliers in the dumpster:

Well, the sheriff shared a picture of his fliers in a dumpster. We have no idea if it's the same dumpster. We have no idea whether the fliers were found there or placed there by Nehls or one his campaign workers. Conveniently, they're face-up.

But ... but ... mail-in ballot fraud!

This story has shown up at a number of right-wing sites -- Red State Nation (not to be confused with RedState), Free Republic, Canada's Post Millennial, Reddit's r/Conservative. Nehls's original tweet has been retweeted or liked more than 39,000 times.

This will be believed without the slightest skepticism by people who think every New York Times, Washington Post, and CNN news story is "fake news."

All those deeply reported stories? Completely made up. This? Gospel truth.

Friday, June 26, 2020


These people are monsters.
The Trump administration asked the Supreme Court late Thursday to overturn the Affordable Care Act — a move that, if successful, would bring a permanent end to the health insurance program popularly known as Obamacare and wipe out coverage for as many as 23 million Americans.

In an 82-page brief submitted an hour before a midnight deadline, the administration joined Republican officials in Texas and 17 other states in arguing that in 2017, Congress, then controlled by Republicans, had rendered the law unconstitutional when it zeroed out the tax penalty for not buying insurance — the so-called individual mandate.

The administration’s argument, coming in the thick of an election season — as well as a pandemic that has devastated the economy and left millions of unemployed Americans without health coverage — is sure to reignite Washington’s bitter political debate over health care.
This seems like terrible politics at this moment -- but of course the president's reelection strategy is "please the base and no one but the base." I don't think the administration was required to file any kind of brief in this case -- the Trumpers wanted to go on record in opposition to Obamacare.

You may be thinking, Surely they won't throw millions of people off their healthcare coverage just before an election -- especially now.
According to the Thursday report from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, 487,000 Americans took advantage of the special enrollment period on Healthcare.gov after losing their healthcare plans, likely among the millions of Americans who lost their jobs during the pandemic. The numbers mark a 46 percent increase from enrollments in April and May 2019.
But remember that this case won't be decided before the election, as Reuters noted a few months ago.
The court is expected to hear arguments and decide the case in its next term, which starts in October and ends in June, meaning a ruling is not likely before the Nov. 3 election in which Trump is seeking a second term in office.
Recent woke-ish rulings from the Court haven't persuaded me that it's moderating. The Court's majority agrees on one thing above all: making life better and better for plutocrats, either directly or by tinkering with our voting systems in order to elect more Republicans (who also have the same prime directive). Large corporations are comfortable with immigrants and LGBT people these days; the recent non-conservative rulings don't conflict with the main reason the GOP Five are on the bench.

The Supremes decided a while back not to hear the Obamacare case on an expedited basis because the GOP majority didn't want to motivate the Democratic base with a ruling striking down Obamacare before the election, or demotivate the Republican base with a ruling upholding it.

But after the election, all bets are off. I worry that it might be an ideal time to strike down the Affordable Care Act.

I think it depends on the makeup of the Senate next year. The last time I wrote about this, it seemed likely that the Senate would either stay Republican or be barely Democratic, with Joe Manchin as the swing vote. Under those circumstances, it seemed highly unlikely that the Senate could pass Medicare for All, and that an incrementalist alternative to Obamacare wouldn't even be allowed to be as good as Obamacare, according to the Supreme Court. It seemed likely that the Court would drop this ruling as a flaming turd on the new president's doorstep, just as his term was beginning, on the assumption that healthcare coverage would get worse on his watch and he'd be blamed. Win-win for the corporatist sociopaths: They pay less in taxes for health coverage and Democrats suffer at the ballot box in 2022 and possibly 2024.

But a new Senate with a larger Democratic majority -- which now seems possible -- might give the GOP Five pause. If the new Senate eliminates the filibuster, a very progressive alternative to Obamacare might be possible. In that case, the Supremes and their corporate overlords might want to preserve the status quo, out of fear of a possible alternative.

Could a Senate with new Democrats from states like North Carolina and Montana actually pass a progressive healthcare bill? I have my doubts, but the Supremes might have more faith in Democrats' ability to make real change than I do.

If it's a Republican Senate along with President Biden and a Democratic House, I think the ACA is going down. The same is true if Trump wins reelection -- a Trump victory after the year he's had will be proof that Republicans can do whatever they want because they're electorally bulletproof (or have been made so by gerrymandering, the Electoral College, and funny business on tne part of the Barr Justice Department, Facebook, foreign saboteurs, and local Republican election supervisors).

So we need a Democratic sweep to at least save the ACA. Vote the party line in November.


Peggy Noonan, who's been negative about Trump for a while, criticizes him again today in a column titled "The Week It Went South for Trump." She believes Trump is mishandling the coronavirus pandemic and racial justice protests -- no, really? ya think? -- and is also bad at politics.
His long-term political malpractice has been his failure—with a rising economy, no unemployment and no hot wars—to build his support beyond roughly 40% of the country. He failed because he obsesses on his base and thinks it has to be fed and greased with the entertainments that alienate everyone else. But his base, which always understood he was a showman, wanted steadiness and seriousness in these crises, because they have a sense of the implications of things.

He doesn’t understand his own base. I’ve never seen that in national politics.

Some of them, maybe half, are amused by his nonsense decisions and statements—let’s ban all Muslims; let’s end this deadbeat alliance; we have the biggest, best tests. But they are half of 40%, and they would stick with him no matter what. He doesn’t have to entertain them! He had to impress and create a bond with others.
Does she really believe that Trump says and does all these things strictly to entertain? Does she believe he doesn't take them seriously?

As he said when asked about whether his assertion that we'd have fewer COVID-19 cases if we didn't test so much was a joke, "I don't kid." Trump understands that all his provocations are theater, but that doesn't mean they're not serious. Trump believes provocations are policy. The best reason to support any policy is to triumph in the war against the libs. That's Trump's understanding of policy -- decide which people you hate, beat them, and bingo -- good policy.

Trump's biggest fans feel the same way. At the other extreme, there are 2016 Trump voters who are now so disillusioned that they won't vote for him again, though they're only a small portion of his base.

Noonan thinks he's alienated a larger chunk of his electorate than I do -- or maybe we don't see alienation the same way:
The other half of his base is mortified by his antics and shallowness. I hear from them often. They used to say yes, he’s rough and uncouth and unpolished, but only a rough man can defeat the swamp. Now they say I hate him and what he represents but I’ll vote for him because of the courts, etc.
Yup, they'll vote for him. That means, on some level, they fall for Trump's act as well. What's the line separating "nonsense decisions and statements" from acts demonstrating that Trump is a "rough man" taking on "the swamp"? From my perspective, it's all the same performative politics of resentment.

(And by the way, Peggy: You write for The Wall Street Journal. You are the swamp, and so are most of you're Masters of the Universe readers.)

Trying to overturn Obamacare, sinking the country deeper in debt to give more tax cuts to the rich, filling the federal bench with inexperienced ideologues -- I guess that was the serious stuff, because Noonan and her base won't get hurt by the consequences of these acts, and Trump might have been reelected. But everything the GOP does is the politics of resentment -- Trump just raised the volume beyond the pain threshold, and wouldn't stop even when serious crises hit.

And now it's all threatening Republican voters in an election year. Now it's serious. Before, when it was just Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin claiming there were terrorists and immigrants under every bed, it was just fine.

Your side is reaping what it sowed, Peggy. This is not an act. It's your politics, and even a few of your longtime voters have a sense that it's killing America.

Thursday, June 25, 2020


The Washington Post's Greg Sargent published this today:
Trump is in deep trouble, new polls show. But he has one hidden advantage.

President Trump is trailing badly in the battleground states that will decide his reelection. Yet a sizable majority of swing state voters approves of his handling of the economy, which will pose one of our biggest challenges in the next four years.

What explains this continuing disconnect? What explains the lingering advantage on the economy underlying it?

That disconnect is clearly evident in new polling from the New York Times and Siena College. Joe Biden has double-digit leads in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, three states Trump snatched in 2016, and meaningful single-digit leads in three key Sun Belt states, suggesting an expanding map.

Yet this poll also finds that across these six battlegrounds, 56 percent of voters approve of Trump’s handling of the economy. This is glaring, given Trump’s terrible ratings on other epic challenges such as the coronavirus (41 percent) and race relations (34 percent).

Why is this advantage on the economy persisting for Trump, even as we’re mired in the worst recession in nearly 100 years, and even as Trump and Republicans are resisting new economic rescue efforts amid widespread misery?
I think Sargent is looking at this the wrong way around.

The key point is not that Trump still has this advantage -- the key point is that it clearly isn't an advantage anymore. It wasn't much of an advantage even in the world before the coronavirus, before double-digit unemployment, and before George Floyd was killed -- Trump was losing to Joe Biden long before all that, even though he consistently got good marks on the economy.

But now, when voters approve of Trump's performance on the economy, yet prefer his challenger by a 51%-to-41% margin, they clearly they have other things on their minds.

Obviously, I don't agree with the public's assessment of Trump's economic acumen. Sargent is right about why the public believes this is a strength of his:
One key reason for this advantage, strategists told me, is lingering perceptions of Trump as a competent businessman. The rub is that those perceptions fused with years of good pre-coronavirus economic news on Trump’s watch, the way mixing two epoxy substances transforms them into a solid.
Sargent says that Democrats are concerned.
Democratic strategists I spoke to say they’re taking this problem seriously. If approval on the economy is the only thing buoying Trump, then successfully eroding that would potentially doom him.

What’s more, if the best-case scenario for Trump is that the coronavirus and mass protests fade — leaving behind a more conventional economic argument — then undercutting this advantage is crucial.
Mass protests might fade -- but the coronavirus? It's raging -- the Covid Tracking Project reported 41,939 new positive tests today. Three weeks ago, the number was 20,788. Hospitalizations are increasing in Sunbelt states, where there seems to be no willingness to impose public health restrictions. An increase in deaths is almost certain to follow.

Americans wrongly believe that Trump is good with money -- but they know that the economy is in the virus's hands right now. They give Trump awful marks for his handling of the pandemic.

Trump's reelection numbers were poor when the economy was good and the rest of life in America didn't seem so bad. Now his reelection numbers are godawful. He'll probably still have positive ratings on his economic stewardship even if he loses in a landslide.


We know that President Trump believes in the Power of Positive Thinking, so if you have less testing for the coronavirus you'll have fewer cases, and you'll develop a positive mental attitude about the virus, and then it will go away, like magic.
Rallying the faithful in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Saturday night, President Trump opined that “testing is a double-edged sword,” explaining that “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.’”

The president confessing to a deliberate effort to sabotage Covid-19 testing would, of course, be a huge scandal, so his senior staff immediately began explaining that he was just joking. But on Tuesday in an impromptu interview, Trump said, “I don’t kid,” and in a tweet that morning he reiterated what appears to be his real view, which is that whether or not he has actually been sabotaging testing, he kind of wishes he was because all case growth, in his opinion, is an artifact of testing.

... In the earliest days of the outbreak in the United States, Trump quipped that he didn’t really want to see sick passengers onboard the Grand Princess cruise ship come ashore for treatment because “I like the numbers where they are.”
Trump isn't kidding about any of this. Trump believes that if you deny an unpleasant reality, then it ceases being reality.

This is good to know when Trump is trailing by 14 points in the most recent head-to-head election poll, and also trailing by double digits in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, while losing by smaller margins in Florida, Arizona, and North Carolina.

There's no question that Trump has little or no interest in preserving America's system of democracy if it stands in the way of him getting what he wants. There's no question that America is going through several crises that Trump could use as an authoritarian pretext for postponing or canceling the November election. There's no question that his attorney general would back him up if he did that, and that Senate Republicans would do nothing, and that his own appointees on the federal bench are quite likely to back him up.

But I continue to believe that we don't have to worry about a canceled or postponed election, because even if the polls remain awful for Trump all the way into the fall, he simply won't believe them. Not believing them, you see, makes them untrue. That's the Power of Positive Thinking.

The Trump campaign recently sent a threatening cease-and-desist letter after CNN released a poll Trump didn't like. Back in June 2019, Trump fired several pollsters who working for his campaign because the numbers then showed Biden with a substantial lead.

I think we'll have an election, but only because Trump thinks he can banish bad news through the sheer force of his mind and his will. I think he'll believe he can win even if he's 20 points down in late October. He'll lash out at everyone who tells him he's losing -- and, yes, he'll cry fraud after the votes are counted. But I think he'll allow the election to happen, because bad polls are like high numbers of coronavirus positives: If you don't report the bad news, it doesn't exist.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020


Michael Goodwin of the New York Post, a reliable Republican hack, tells us that President Trump can save his campaign if he just makes a few adjustments.
To get four more years, his campaign needs good luck, a more disciplined candidate and a better message.
"A more disciplined candidate"! Oh yeah, that'll happen (sarcasm emoji).
To get back on track, honing and delivering an appealing message is essential. It must center around giving disaffected supporters and other fence-sitters an affirmative reason to give the president a second look.

... a framework that is strong and smart is required for the president to re-energize his campaign, and a friend recently sent along just such a Big Idea. It is the right response to the ­destruction of statues and the anarchic chaos erupting around the country.

The author is Thomas Klingenstein, chairman of the Claremont Institute....

His proposal is that the platform and rhetoric should revolve around the promise to “Preserve the American way of life.”

Writing in Claremont’s “The American Mind,” Klingenstein summarizes the dominant postwar culture as one where most people “believed we were the shining city on the hill, marked out to show the rest of the world that people can govern themselves. We saw ourselves as one people with a single culture, which was directed by a creed (expressed most notably in the Declaration), supported by the Judeo-Christian ethos, all flavored by our particular history.”

He says that creed is now ­under assault by “multiculturalism,” which sees society “not as a community of rights-bearing individuals with a shared understanding of a national good, but as a collection of cultural identity groups, ranked in order of victimhood.”

Having described the opposing forces, he suggests compromise is not possible: “Multiculturalism involves a way of life that cannot exist peacefully with the American way of life any more than could Communism or the antebellum South.”
That's right -- Goodwin thinks the way to win over "fence-sitters" is with sour jeremiads denouncing those who seek a just and multi-racial society -- in other words, the same angry message Republicans have been feeding us for decades. And denouncing multiculturalism is supposed to work for Trump at a time when 44% of Americans have a "very favorable" opinion of Black Lives Matter and another 22% have a "somewhat favorable" opinion, according to that new New York Times/Siena poll.

Oh, and if you're even thinking of voting for a Democrat, for any office, you're voting for pure evil, according to Klingenstein.
A vote for a Democrat at any level must be seen as a vote for the multicultural project to destroy America.
Yup -- a vote for any Democrat at any level will hand America over to the evil multiculturalists! That message is certain to win over fence-sitters.

It's not clear why Goodwin (or Rush Limbaugh) thinks Trump's use of this rhetoric would be a game-changer, because it sounds like rhetoric Trump is already using. Here's an account of Trump's appearance before a group of young supporters in Phoenix yesterday:
Trump declared the students in the audience as the cultural defenders of not only his movement but also of American values as a whole, portraying Democrats as intolerant and “totalitarian.” He applauded the student activists in the crowd “who stand up for America and refuse to kneel to the radical left,” bashing the mainstream media and accusing “vicious” Democrats of stifling dissent....

The president condemned the removal of monuments for slave owners and Confederate leaders as a destruction of American history. He called the audience “smarter” than Democrats, who he said require “absolute conformity.”

“They hate our history, they hate our values, and they hate everything we prize as Americans,” the president said. “Our country didn’t grow great with them. It grew great with you and your thought process and your ideology. The left-wing mob is trying to demolish our heritage, so they can replace it with a new oppressive regime that they alone control." ...

“If you give power to people that demolish monuments and attack churches and seize city streets and set fire to buildings, then nothing is sacred and nothing is safe,” Trump said....

“This is the choice of two futures,” he said. “The left’s vision of disunity and discord, or our vision of equal opportunity and equal justice.”
American carnage! Yeah, that'll turn around Trump's campaign.


Extraordinarily bad news for President Trump from the polling unit of The New York Times.
Joseph R. Biden Jr. has taken a commanding lead over President Trump in the 2020 race, building a wide advantage among women and nonwhite voters and making deep inroads with some traditionally Republican-leaning groups that have shifted away from Mr. Trump following his ineffective response to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new national poll of registered voters by The New York Times and Siena College.

Mr. Biden is currently ahead of Mr. Trump by 14 percentage points, garnering 50 percent of the vote compared with 36 percent for Mr. Trump. That is among the most dismal showings of Mr. Trump’s presidency, and a sign that he is the clear underdog right now in his fight for a second term.
Shortly after the Times posted the poll story, this clip appeared on Fox & Friends.

STEVE DOOCY: Okay, straight to a Fox News alert on this Wednesday: Armed protesters took over the area around that Wendy's in Atlanta where Rayshard Brooks was shot and killed by police, Brian.

BRIAN KILMEADE: Starting to think this is a trend. In Wisconsin, a state Democratic senator attacked while recording protesters near the state's capitol building.... Carpenter says he may have a concussion after ten people piled on, punching and kicking him. He got hit in the head, hit in the neck, kicked in the ribs.

AINSLEY EARHARDT: And more unrest in our nation's capital as protesters burn an American flag....
The Trump campaign -- and many observers -- think the unrest in America might still lead Trump to victory. Obviously it's not too late -- Mike Dukakis led George Bush by 17 in July 1988, just after that year's Democratic convention; Dukakis went on to win only ten states and lose the popular vote by 8 points.

But Trump continues to make the wrong connection between the troubles in America and his electoral chances. He thinks he can run as the law-and-order candidate.

But all this is happening on his watch. The coronavirus is spreading across America. The economy is struggling.

And he does nothing to make life better. One respondent to the Times poll seems like a reachable voter Trump has clearly lost:
Lindsay Clark, 37, who lives in the suburbs of Salt Lake City [and] voted for a third-party candidate in 2016, said she was hard-pressed to name something she really liked about Mr. Trump, eventually settling on the idea that he expressed himself bluntly.

“I was just trying to think if I could think of something off the top of my head that I was like, ‘Yes, I loved when you did that!’” she said of Mr. Trump. “And I kind of just can’t.”
Just stamping your foot and demanding an end to unrest doesn't work if you're seen as having the power to do something about it. In The Washington Post earlier this month, historian Kevin Kruse explained that a law-and-order message worked for Richard Nixon in 1968, when he was out of office, but not in the 1970 midterms or in his 1972 reelection bid:
To be sure, Nixon did rely heavily on the theme of “law and order” as the Republican presidential candidate in 1968....

The message worked, but only because Nixon was the outsider running against the incumbent vice president, not the sitting president. The call for “law and order” is a complaint that those tasked with upholding the law and maintaining order have failed at the job and need to be replaced.

... But once he was president, that critique no longer worked.

Nixon learned this the hard way in the 1970 midterm elections. He spent the fall campaigning across the country for GOP candidates, with the “law and order” message front and center. “From Missouri to Tennessee to North Carolina and Indiana,” a reporter noted in late October, “he urged more respect for police, plugged the virtues of Republican congressional candidates and asked ‘the silent majority of America to stand up and be counted against violence and lawlessness.’ ” The president urged Americans “in the quiet of the polling booth” to vote for Republicans and thereby strike a blow against politicians who “condoned lawlessness and violence and permissiveness.”

This time, the appeal fell flat. Republicans lost 10 seats in the House and, more significantly, lost a large number of governor’s races across the country, including almost all the Midwest. The Los Angeles Times captured the rebuke well in a headline: “Silent Majority Speaks Out, Rejects Law-And-Order Alarm, Votes Liberal.”

An astute politician, Nixon learned the lesson immediately. “The White House has already begun a campaign to alter President Nixon’s image in preparation for the 1972 elections,” the Boston Globe reported just a week after the midterm defeat. “Law and order, the principal issue of the disappointing 1970 campaign, will be soft-pedaled.”

... the issue faded away, with Republican Sen. Jack Miller of Iowa observing how the issue “has certainly gone on the back burner.”

Nixon won a landslide reelection that year, of course, but not because of any concerted appeal to the “law and order” crowd. Rather than highlight divisions and court controversy, the incumbent president emphasized the changes he had made in foreign policy and his promise to end the war in Vietnam, as well as an assortment of other domestic issues.
It could be argued that Nixon's 1972 campaign isn't a good model -- there was more ticket-splitting back then (Nixon won 49 states that year, but Congress remained Democratic), and now it's more important to try to motivate your party's base than to win over centrists.

Karl Rove's approach in 2004 was to try to turn out the GOP base. But the message that year was: Bush has done a good job. After 9/11, Bush kept you safe.

In the ad above, Bush is portrayed as strong but empathetic, a reassuring figure in a dangerous world.

Can you think of a time when President Trump has ever seemed empathetic or reassuring when dangers lurked? I kind of just can’t.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020


Here's a Dallas Morning News story about the rising number of coronavirus infections in Texas and the governor's response.
Gov. Greg Abbott sternly warned Texans of “rampant” spread of coronavirus that took the state to a new high Tuesday of more than 5,000 new cases in a single day.

Saying Texans should stay home unless they have a good reason to venture out, Abbott late Tuesday afternoon gave local officials more powers to limit public gatherings during the upcoming Fourth of July weekend.

He expanded the ability of mayors and county judges to restrict outdoor gatherings of over 100 people -- down from the previous limit of more than 500 people in outdoor gatherings. Previously, this applied only to outdoor gatherings over 500 people. Abbott also told the Texas Health and Human Services Commission to enact emergency rules that provide strict health and safety standards and procedures related to COVID-19 for child care centers in Texas. The decrees were based on data showing an increase in COVID-19 transmission stemming from large gatherings and child care centers, the governor’s office said....
Over at Free Republic, they're having none of this.
Good luck with that here in Texas. People are done with it. We may see this in a certain few counties where the largest cities are, but everywhere else will be getting back to normal... whether the government likes it or not.


Abbot became a p***y this week, either he is part of "cheap labor express" or he has been threatened.

Either way, Trump will most likely lose Texas and the election now, since mail-in voting during the general election will probable be the outcome of all of this ...


I guess we’re learning that the virus operates on ITS TERMS, not our terms. In other words, we get tired of trying to control the spread - it just comes right back, and even worse.
(Yes, it's simply impossible to do anything that slows the spread of the virus! So why even try?)
Notice they never put the numbers IN CONTEXT. Fear mongering the unfortunately works so well with Sheeple
(On the right, all you need to do to get nods of agreement is to include the word "sheeple" in whatever you post. Invoking the "sheeple" is all the proof you need that you're right.)
Are they counting positive antibody tests in the new cases stat, anyone know?


Jack Windsor wmfd tv explained to DeWine about the increase in the number of positive tests. People who have been quarantined have had numerous tests to get out of seclusion.

7 positive tests from 1 person

It is not 7 new positive cases.

DeWine shrugged it off.
(This is a conspiracy theory I'm not familiar with, and I'm not sure I want to know about it.)
No public gatherings for fireworks??

Time to protest with pyrotechnics


Cases are one thing, hospitalizations are another.

How many new hospitalizations?
(Hospitalizations in Texas have recently risen 60 percent in a week, since you asked.)
Hospitals are testing all admissions.

A positive goes on the books as the cause for admission.

People are going in for elective procedures and the staff is listing them as CV.

Of course the numbers are going up.


... I mean, you lock people away for a couple of months then are shocked when cases rise as people resume their semi-normal lives. What, dear governor did you think would happen? That the virus would just "give up" and go somewhere else? There is no "somewhere else"!! People who haven't been exposed because they've been ordered under involuntary house arrest by the governor(s) haven't been exposed to the virus so they haven't developed any antibodies for natural immunity. This isn't hard to figure out, governor(s)!

Recall that the whole idea was to slow down the infection rate so as not to overload our healthcare system ... remember? Well, the healthcare system today, even with the "surge" of new cases (the direct result of the deliberate action of the governors to isolate even healthy people, is not in any danger of being "overloaded." (As an aside, it's clear that the wearing of masks/daylong snot rags and the fictional "benefits" of (anti)-social distancing mandated by most of the governors aren't doing a damn thing to "stop the spread of the virus". Can't you see that, governor?!)

Easier to understand is why the Democrat/Left governors are continuing to behave this way. They clearly want to retard economic growth and sustain an ultra-high, though irrational, sense of fear, anxiety, distrust and anger among Americans just long enough to get the Democrat/Left Party to the 2020 election.


Good. I have a strong feeling the rise is due to increased testing. I also believe that people being admitted to a hospital for other reasons are being tested for Covid. If they show a positive result that is counted as a Covid diagnosis sans the actual reason for admission.



... Who gives a rip if someone gets sick for a couple days, or how many.

99.5% will recover


And there is always BHT (butylatedhydroxytouluene) which disables most lipid coated viruses including the corona virus, influenza, shingles and herpes amongst many others. Suggested starting dosage is anywhere from 250mg to 450mg can be doubled for several days, but suggested to remain in the 500mg range or below. For better absorption it is recommended to dissolve BHT first in oil, olive oil will do nicely and to speed up dissolving a few seconds in a microwave or set the container with the oil solution in a hot water bath. Why dissolving in oil first? BHT will only dissolve in either oil or alcohol and by going this route it will speed up absorption and you get by using smaller amounts of it.

One suggested way is to take 200ml (milliliter) of olive oil and dissolve 18 gm of BHT, or 277.782 grains if you using a powder scale used for re-loading. Each tsp. depending on its size should give you approx. 450 mg of BHT. It is better to be pro-active by taking BHT, even so BHT will still kill the virus but it cannot cure any of the other problems which the virus may have created. I hope they come up with a vaccine, but would not hold my breath. More detailed info upon reply.


Maybe the Dems are seeding the virus throughout the population.
Everyone is in a conspiracy against Real Americans. Democrats. A very conservative governor. Even hospitals. Don't they understand that nearly everyone walks away from COVID-19 without a scratch, and the ones who don't had it coming? But as one poster says, all this will be going on "just until Trump is out of office, then the miracle happens, and the virus 'magically' goes away!"

They believe all this. They believe that everything in life they don't like is fakery generated by evil conspiratorialists. The belief in the tolerability of the virus is theological -- shutting down the economy is bad, a crisis in Trump's reelection year is bad, so they can't believe what the rest of us believe. They have to believe an enemy made all this up specifically to hurt them, out of malice. And people they used to regard as allies are in on the conspiracy, if they don't agree with the nothing-to-see-here-move-along narrative.

This is the dominant voting bloc in America. I don't know how sane people can continue to live in coexistence with these folks.


I still haven't watch the full fourteen minutes of Donald Trump in Tulsa explaining his slow walk down the ramp at West Point, but I was surprised by the obsessive (if revisionist) level of detail even in The Washington Post's three-minute highlight reel.

If this was a matter of great shame to Trump, why did he want us to think about it for a quarter of an hour? Why did he want to milk every moment for laughs?

The laughs were the point. Trump has learned over the years -- particularly, I think, from Howard Stern -- that a comic doing a routine about being a loser can make an audience believe he's a winner. Comedy can be an act of aggression and dominance (the comic is holding forth and making other people react), even when the comic is talking about falling prey to forces beyond his control. We all know that Trump wanted to get back on the road because he craves the adulation of crowds -- but I wonder if this is specifically what he craves, the power of being a comic and having an audience in your control, even if you're talking about the rest of your life being out of your control. (In a typical speech, Trump complains about the media and the Democrats and everyone else who's mistreating him.)

I once saw Rodney Dangerfield perform live, before a crowd that included a lot of aspiring comics. Dangerfield's entire act, for decades, was about his status as a lifelong loser and about being mistreated by life. But he lashed out at these forces in his comedy, especially the night I saw him, in a way that seemed defiant, even though every punch line portrayed him as a chump and a failure. The gathered comics cheered him as if he was the God Emperor of Comedy. Howard Stern's fans treated him the same way -- the King of All Media, they used to call him, even though, on the surface, he was self-deprecating and self-hating.

Trump's not a bad comic. He's pretty good with inflections, though he uses the same few in every monologue (and that's what we should call them -- they're monologues, not speeches). His timing is good. His material is reprehensible, especially because he's not a comic. He's supposed to be a president. He's supposed to effectively carry out policies that are good for the citizens of the country. He's supposed to solve problems. He's supposed to serve the people. He's supposed to try to unite the country.

Trump can't do any of that, and doesn't want to do most of it -- but he can riff. He needs to riff. In Tulsa, he needed to concoct an aggressive series of riffs on his failure to walk normally down a ramp, because he believed that getting laughs about that embarrassment would convert the failure into dominance. As far as the faithful were concerned, it worked.

Monday, June 22, 2020


Michael Tomasky is concerned about William Barr and the election:
Daily Beast columnist Michael Tomasky is warning Democrats to beware of Attorney General Bill Barr’s last-ditch effort to save President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign by springing last-minute indictments of former law enforcement officials involved in probing Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Specifically, Tomasky speculates that Barr is pushing for prosecutor John Durham to allege that Russia was actually working to get Hillary Clinton, not Trump, elected in 2016....

“So Democrats need to start saying right now that Durham is engaged in a phony investigation that is an attempt by Barr to rig the election,” he writes. “They need to say it and say it and say it. And then, when Durham issues his report or indictments, public opinion, or the important slice of it anyway, will be conditioned to believe that it’s all a scam.”
It certainly wouldn't surprise me if that's what Barr has in mind. But why would it work?

Consider where we are right now. A deadly disease is rampant. The economy is in the toilet. Unaccountable police officers brutalize with impunity.

And we're supposed to care about yet another attempt to smear Hillary Clinton? Or former law enforcement officials most Americans can't identify?

Sure, this would be catnip for a certain segment of voters: people who are already 100% certain to vote for Donald Trump. If this is what Barr is up to, he's yet another Trumper who thinks that making Trump superfans into mega-ultra-super-duper-fans will actually translate to more Trump votes in November. (Newsflash: They can only vote once each.)

For all its flaws, the press has quite steadfastly stuck to the story the intelligence community initially told us about Russia and the 2016 election: The Russians interfered because they wanted Donald Trump to win. I know it's easy to imagine Hillary-haters in the media seizing on one more chance to take a swipe at her, but I think they'll question Barr and Durham's deviation from the original story, primarily because all of their intelligence sources will.

In the end, it doesn't matter. Nobody wants to see this happen except Fox-addled Republican voters. They'll cheer. No one else will care.


CNN reports:
Swaths of empty blue seats and a vacant overflow venue in Oklahoma have led President Donald Trump's aides to begin debating what his signature campaign rallies will look like going forward, people familiar with the matter say.

Ahead of the President's visit on Saturday to Tulsa, there had been tentative plans to announce another rally for the near future, perhaps as early as the next two weeks.

Now, it remains unclear when -- and how -- Trump will move forward with his flagship political events. Some advisers suggested it could be weeks or even months before Trump attempts another rally, though as of Monday morning no decisions had been made on how to proceed.
So it's possible that the humiliation of Tulsa saved lives by altering Trump's plans?

Well, maybe not as many lives as it could have saved.
When the President speaks Tuesday in Phoenix it will be to a group of young supporters, not a rally, though aides are now working to ensure that event appears full.
That appearance will take place at Phoenix's Dream City Church, and if you think that will be a safer venue, well, here are a couple of photos from the church to disabuse you of that notion.

Such great news for the state of Arizona that the campaign is "now working to ensure that event appears full."

As the CNN story notes, one reason for the Tulsa rally was to "improve the mood of a mostly homebound President." Many people are paid large salaries from your tax dollars to improve Trump's mood every day -- the Executive Branch is largely non-functional, but this is a matter that White House aides take very, very seriously, as do campaign staffers -- so, yes, there'll be more rallies. The CNN story explains:
Few people around Trump believe rallies will be eliminated altogether. But the empty seats and vacant overflow lot in Tulsa were an indication that their formula needs rethinking amid a continuing pandemic and an altered political landscape.

There are discussions about finding outdoor venues where supporters might feel safer convening, the people familiar said. One campaign source suggested holding more airplane hangar rallies, a common feature of Trump's last campaign that allowed him to visit a location without ever leaving the airport.
I suppose a hangar with natural air flowing through it is a bit less risky, but I'm looking at this photo of a 2017 hangar rally and I wouldn't say it looks safe. Epidemiologists, correct me if I'm wrong.

They have to do this to protect Trump's fee-fees. They have to make him feel loved by the masses -- even if it kills people.

Sunday, June 21, 2020


NBC News reports:
The president was fuming at his top political aides Saturday even before the rally began after his campaign revealed that six members of the advance team on the ground in Tulsa had tested positive for COVID-19, including Secret Service personnel, a person familiar with the discussions said.

Trump asked those around him why the information was exposed....
Prior to that, CNN told us the same thing:
... the President was informed six campaign staffers in Tulsa had tested positive for coronavirus ahead of his scheduled arrival.... After initially dismissing the revelation, a source familiar with his reaction said Trump erupted when it was subsequently reported in the media....
If Trump is upset that this was reported, does that mean he assumes that the media won't be informed, and won't inform the public, when people linked to him test positive? And if that's the case, will we eventually learn that the virus was more widespread in his White House than we were ever told?

I don't believe Trump himself has been infected, but it leads me to wonder whether we'll be told if he is -- or if Mike Pence or a cabinet member or top adviser tests positive. As I said back in March, I assume we won't be told right away if Trump tests positive -- if he's mildly ill and recuperating, or even if he's seriously impaired for a while but likely to recover, I think his staff will make up a non-medical excuse for his absence from public appearances and just hope he recovers quickly.

I don't think Trump believes anything he considers shameful is anyone's damn business -- and he would think getting is shameful. I don't know if they could really cover up a serious Trump illness, but I suspect they'd try.


Yesterday I said I was worried about the media's nonstop, days-long coverage of President Trump's rally in Tulsa. Today the reviews are in, and they're terrible. Here's the main New York Times story:
President Trump’s attempt to revive his re-election campaign sputtered badly on Saturday night as he traveled to Tulsa for his first mass rally in months and found a far smaller crowd than his aides had promised him, then delivered a disjointed speech that did not address the multiple crises facing the nation or scandals battering him in Washington.

The weakness of Mr. Trump’s drawing power and political skills, in a state that voted for him overwhelmingly and in a format that he favors, raised new questions about his electoral prospects for a second term at a time when his poll numbers were already falling....

While the president’s campaign had claimed that more than a million people had sought tickets for the rally, the 19,000-seat BOK Center was at least one-third empty during the rally. A second, outdoor venue was so sparsely attended that he and Vice President Mike Pence both canceled appearances there.
And then there were the kids.
President Trump’s campaign promised huge crowds at his rally in Tulsa, Okla., on Saturday, but it failed to deliver. Hundreds of teenage TikTok users and K-pop fans say they’re at least partially responsible....

TikTok users and fans of Korean pop music groups claimed to have registered potentially hundreds of thousands of tickets for Trump’s campaign rally as a prank. After @TeamTrump tweeted asking supporters to register for free tickets using their phones on June 11, K-pop fan accounts began sharing the information with followers, encouraging them to register for the rally — and then not show.

The trend quickly spread on TikTok, where videos with millions of views instructed viewers to do the same.... “Oh no, I signed up for a Trump rally, and I can’t go,” one woman joked, along with a fake cough, in a TikTok posted on June 15.
Was this really what lowered attendance? There's an alternate theory:

That was a Fox News poll, by the way -- once again, Fox's polling unit was reporting results that don't jibe with the channel's (and Trump's) usual propaganda.

But if the press is reporting that the Trump campaign was humiliated by amateur online pranksters, that's a change. The coverage of Trump himself hasn't been very good lately, or at least not since he speculated that ingesting household cleaning products might be the secret to avoiding COVID-19. (I think that's when his freefall really began.) However, the press has continued to respect the Trump campaign, with its bottomless bank account and (many reporters still believe) hidden army of rural and suburban white voters who allegedly aren't being counted by pollsters but might overwhelm Joe Biden on Election Day. The campaign claims to have an unbeatable data-mining operation, and much of the media believes this -- but it now appears that this unstoppable digital machine had sand thrown in its gears by a bunch of fifteen-year-olds with iPhones.

And the poor Trumpers! They have two messages that seem contradictory: that the vast majority of America thinks the way they do and that Trump's rallies are the safe space where they get to talk and behave the way they want, free of interference from the hated media, the deep state, big-city liberals, antifa, Black Lives Matter, George Soros, Bill Gates ... you know the rest. The TikTok and K-pop teens appear to have invaded their sanctuary, and they're claiming that in-person activists invaded it as well, although that seems unlikely.
Tim Murtaugh, a spokesman for the Trump campaign, falsely blamed the small numbers on “radical protesters” and the news media who he said had frightened away supporters. But there were few protests in the area and no sizable effort to block entrances, and there was a strong security presence.
If the real America is overwhelmingly Trumpist, and Trump fans are much tougher than left-leaning protesters -- cops, bikers, and gun owners vs. snowflakes and soy boys -- then how could the Trumpers have been outfought?

The only enemy the campaign seems not to want to blame is the coronavirus -- which might be the real culprit. But it's an enemy Trump doesn't want to fight.

This is an embarrassing moment, and the headlines are terrible. CNN: "Sick Staff and Empty Seats: How Trump's Triumphant Return to the Campaign Trail Went from Bad to Worse." Wasington Post: "Trump Rallies in Red-State America — and Faces a Sea of Empty Blue Seats."

This moment seems like January 16, 1992, when Maureen Dowd, then a reporter for The New York Times, wrote a story that painted a huge L for "loser" on George H.W. Bush's forehead.
After roaming far and wide and enjoying many foreign adventures, President Bush came back to New Hampshire today. And like Ulysses and other famous travelers before him, he found the home front a mess.

Mr. Bush quickly surveyed the damage and did what any self-respecting politician would do: He begged. He boasted. He posed with -- and petted -- a cow. He tried to look on the bright side, or as he put it, to play the role of "Mrs. Rose Scenario" searching for "the rainbow out there." ...

Necessity being the mother of political invention, the President put aside his statesman's mien and presented himself as down-home, domestic George Bush, a candidate who understands the pain of a state that has plunged from prosperity to austerity since 1988.

"Message: I care," he told an audience at the Exeter Town Hall....

Mr. Bush scampered back to the Tex-prep persona that worked for him in 1988. He suddenly began talking about "bidness" and quoting country music lyrics at every stop.

"I would remind you of another country-western song by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band: 'If you want to see a rainbow, you've got to stand a little rain,'" he told his audiences. At one point, the President seemed so giddy at resuming his fighting campaign demeanor that he called the band "the Nitty Ditty Nitty Gritty Great Bird."
The election might have been over at that moment.

The Trumpers will fight back, of course. Even before the rally, the right was claiming that Democrats were using the virus to hurt the president. Here's an American Spectator post from Friday:
Any remaining doubt that curbing President Trump’s campaign rallies was a key goal of the Democratic response to COVID-19 should be quelled by the Democrats’ antic opposition to Saturday’s Trump rally in Tulsa. They began with shrill fear-mongering, despite data showing that daily case rates have plateaued nationally and death rates are declining....

The point is to find some pretext to stop President Trump from communicating directly to the American people while his campaign team uses the rallies to register voters and continue to grow Trump’s support using its advantage in digital technology....

They know the Trump campaign’s competitive edge in digital technology gave it a significant advantage over the Biden operation while the pandemic interrupted the campaign. Moreover, they justifiably worry that this edge will become even more deadly if they are unable to prevent the president from launching a new series of rallies.
(Friday was the worst day for new cases in America in nearly two months. Virus transmission is not at a plateau anymore.)

The Trumpers might also try to use the TikTok story to go after -- don't laugh -- vote by mail. That idea is showing up in the comments for this Breitbart post.
Democrats [DemonRats] say... " Claims of election cheating with mail in ballots are a made up lie by the Trump Administration"

Then, they go and request tickets to a rally, that they never use, all to effect the outcome of this rally.

Oh sure, they can be trusted to NOT cheat in an election. These idiots just proved the point they cannot be trusted.


Democrats shooting themselves in the foot yet again. Proving without doubt that cheat-by-mail is real. Cheating is in their DNA.
And because TikTok is a Chinese company, the Breitbartniks think this was a Chinese government operation.
We had a whole Russian investigation into buying Facebook ads.

The coordination through Tiktok doesn't happen without Chinese government cooperation. With that said, ANYTHING that any China based company does has to pass through the government....

Nothing the Democrats say or do regarding this election can be trusted. Mail in voting, even polls are suspect and this proves it.

VoterID for ALL voting now.
But I thought Trump was the first president who intimidated the Chinese! That's what the Trumpers have been telling us for years, isn't it?

Teenagers, the Chinese, Black Lives Matter, and the DemonRAT Party all got the better of us in Tulsa! Therefore ... we're #1! Reelect Trump! Somehow, that's not an impressive message.