Clearly South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham thinks there is no need to hide his racism any longer. Hear him for yourself. Support his opponent Jamie Harrison if you have no interest in returning to what Graham believes were better days.
If you are not familiar with Professor Heather Cox Richardson, she teaches at Boston College. Her Letters from an American are daily posts carefully crafted with links to sources. I am reposting what she posted on October 2, 2020 with my own emphasis added to some of her observations.
October 2, 2020
|Heather Cox Richardson||6 hr||248||76|
Today’s media was consumed with news of the spread of coronavirus to the president and First Lady, as well as concern over the degree to which it has spread to other people associated with the White House. A number of those who attended the Rose Garden announcement of Trump’s nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court have tested positive. That number includes the Trumps, Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC), Senator Mike Lee (R-UT), and Fr. John Jenkins, president of Notre Dame. Also infected are Ronna McDaniel, the chair of the Republican National Committee, and at least three journalists who have attended White House events in the past week.
And tonight, presidential adviser Kellyanne Conway reported that she, too, has tested positive.
As I write this, just before midnight, Trump’s campaign manager Bill Stepien has just announced he, too, has tested positive for the coronavirus.
Five minutes after midnight (sorry for breaking the midnight rule again), we learned that 11 staffers from the Cleveland debate also tested positive.
We will not learn of infections among the Secret Service.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has tested negative, as have Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden.
This evening, medical professionals transferred the president to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center “out of an abundance of caution.” He walked from the helicopter under his own power, and posted a short video to his Twitter account assuring viewers that he is doing “very well.” He remains in charge; power has not transferred to Vice President Mike Pence.
Aside from the personal implications of the spread of this illness—and let’s remember that there are 46,459 other Americans who have contracted the coronavirus in the last day– this major news story has huge implications for the upcoming election. It also illustrates how the administration’s secrecy and lies take away our ability to make informed decisions about our own lives, as well as about the nation.
The Trump entourage has refused to wear masks, social distance, or follow the advice of public health experts for reducing the spread of the virus. Now it appears that White House officials deliberately withheld information about their condition, directly endangering other people who acted on the presumption that the Trump people weren’t infected. The Washington Post reported that Secret Service agents, who risk their lives to protect the president, are angry and frustrated: “He’s never cared about us.” The 30-50 Republican donors who met with Trump Thursday night at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, are “freaking out,” one report noted. Tickets had cost up to $250,000, and Trump met privately with about 19 people for 45 minutes. Trump knew his adviser Hope Hicks had tested positive when he left for the club, but he went anyway. He did not wear a mask.
Reporter Chris Wallace of the Fox News Channel, who moderated Tuesday’s debate and so was one of those the Trumps’ entourage endangered, revealed today that Trump arrived too late on Tuesday for a COVID-19 test, as the venue required. Instead, there was an “honor system.” Organizers assumed the people associated with the campaigns would not come unless they had tested negative. Trump’s people arrived wearing masks, which they had to have to enter the auditorium, but then removed them shortly after sitting down, and refused to put them back on. During the debate, Trump mocked Biden for his habit of wearing a mask.
The campaign did not tell the Biden camp that Hicks, who attended the debate, had tested positive for coronavirus the day after the event. The Biden organization learned it from the newspapers. The White House did not even tell former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who spent four days in close quarters with Hicks and Trump, helping the president prepare for the debate. He, too, learned the news from the media.
This crisis shows how the administration’s refusal to share information and its insistence on its own version of reality creates confusion that leaves Americans vulnerable and anxious. Its history of secrecy and lies means that few people actually trust anything its spokespeople say. It was striking how many people did not believe the Trumps were actually sick when the news broke; we are so accustomed to Trump’s lies that many people thought he was simply looking for a way out of future debates.
The constant lies—about coronavirus and virtually everything else—destabilize the nation because we cannot know what the truth really is. And if we don’t know what is actually happening, we cannot make good decisions. Today the editorial board of the Washington Post warned that the White House simply must let us know the truth about the president’s health so that we know who is actually running national security, the economy, and the election on our behalf.
That plea did not appear to make much of an impression on the White House: it did not bother to tell Pelosi, who is third in line for the presidency, that Trump was being helicoptered to Walter Reed Hospital.
And so we are facing a pandemic spreading through the upper ranks of the government just before an election with little faith that we will learn the truth about what is happening. That, just as much as the infections in the administration, is a crisis.
To its credit, the Biden campaign has identified this crisis and is doing its best to restore our sense of a shared reality, based in our history and our better principles. Rather than expressing outrage that the Trump camp exposed him and his wife and guests to coronavirus, Biden offered his best wishes for Trump and the First Lady, as did his running mate Kamala Harris. Biden’s campaign pulled all its negative ads out of respect for the president’s illness (the Trump campaign refused to follow suit).
Biden spoke in Michigan today, assuring the audience that “We can get this pandemic under control so we can get our economy working again for everyone.” But, he emphasized, “this cannot be a partisan moment. It must be an American moment. We have to come together as a nation.” He promised to get rid of the toxic partisanship that is keeping us all off balance. “I’m running as a Democrat,” he said, “but I will… govern as an American president. Whether you voted for me or against me, I will represent you… and those who see each other as fellow Americans who just don’t live in red states or blue states but who live in and love the United States of America. That’s who we are.”
To an increasingly weary country, he offered hope that we really can heal the nation’s ills. “There’s never been a single solitary thing America’s been unable to do. Think of this. Not once. Not a single thing we’ve not been able to overcome when we’ve done it together. So let’s get the heck up. Remember who in God’s name we are. This is the United States of America,” he said. “There’s nothing beyond our capacity.”
Secret Service: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-seemed-to-defy-the-laws-of-science-and-disease-then-the-coronavirus-caught-up-with-him/2020/10/02/5b4c5232-04bf-11eb-897d-3a6201d6643f_story.html
3/ Some might see these more as mild policy-based criticisms and contrasts — nothing like the personal invective and false smears we hear from the president, the nastiest major party candidate in US history. But you be the judge!
“This cannot be a partisan moment. It must be an American moment.” Joe Biden ends remarks following announcement that Donald and Melania Trump tested positive for COVID-19: “God bless you, and God protect the First Family and every family that is dealing with this virus.”
Chris Wallace just said on Fox that Trump arrived too late in Cleveland to have been tested by the clinic and that there was an “honor system” for the candidates to have arrived after already testing negative.
23 POSITIVE COVID TESTS: 1+2. President & Melania Trump 3. Bill Stepien, Trump campaign mgr 4. Hope Hicks 5. Kellyanne Conway 6. Sen. Mike Lee 7. Sen. Thom Tillis 8. Ronna McDaniel 9. Notre Dame Pres. Jenkins 10-12. Three WH reporters 13-23. Eleven staffers frm Cleveland debate
The most powerful people in The White House.
The Friday Photo
Decatur High School, Decatur, GA
Students walked out or took a knee on Wednesday because #enoughisenough. I stood with them and for them.
“They May Have Been Phony in the Past But They Are Very Real Now” Sean Spicer on employment numbers released on March 10, 2017
“I’m not in the job of having evidence” Kellyanne Conway on CNN, March 13, 2017
Sean Spicer said Trump used air quotes when accusing President Obama of “wire tapping” (sic, Trump’s misspelling) phones at Trump Tower. Spicer rolled that explanation out on the same day that the Department of Justice asked for an extension from Congress for producing evidence to support Trump’s Twitter claims. March 13, 2017
What is the core belief that Trump supporters and followers hold that allows them to accept being lied to, day after day, by Trump and everyone in his administration? What does he offer to them that makes being lied to over and over again worth it? These are hard questions that must be asked, and squishy campaign-speak answers aren’t acceptable any longer.
What I’m reading about last night (link to the address is below from the New York Times):
WAPo: “In describing his bleak vision of a ruined United States exploited by foreigners, Mr. Trump wrote a series of checks he almost certainly cannot cash.”
The ugliest moment in the 60-minute address came when Mr. Trump announced the formation of an office on “Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement,” and then introduced families of people allegedly murdered by illegal immigrants. It was an appeal to raw prejudice and fear that will do nothing to promote the national unity he claims to be seeking. (emphasis added)
WAPO: Fact checking demonstrates that Trump continues to take credit for things he didn’t do, including the sourcing for DAPL pipeline materials
NYT: Did Bannon and Miller talk Trump away from a pivot on immigration during lunch yesterday?
Jay Bookman at the Atlanta Journal Constitution on pouring money into the military,
“In short, this is not a carefully thought-out strategy from the Trump administration, based on consultation with the experts and our allies. Instead, the man who took five draft deferments to avoid fighting in Vietnam, the man who says that he knows better than the generals how to defeat ISIS and who claims he understands the military because he attended a military-themed boarding school, is offering a military strategy fueled largely by his own deep personal insecurities.”
The duties that the Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Director of National Intelligence include participating in discussions and decision-making in the National Security Council. Trump has decided that they don’t need to attend unless specifically asked. Their job every day, all day, is to protect our country. They’ve been told to wait in the hall.
Who will be attending National Security Meetings?
Trump’s strategist, Steve Bannon, who does not go through any confirmation process with the Senate, as Cabinet and other high-ranking officials are required to do, is now a member of the National Security Council. Two men with military and diplomatic experience were sent to the hallway to make room for Bannon.
What are Bannon’s politics in addition to anti-Semitic and misogynist views? In August of last year he told reporter Ronald Radosh,“Lenin wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.” Trump is giving his chief strategist free rein to do that.
The millions of people who have filled our country’s streets, airports, Congressional offices, and jammed phone lines, are doing their part to protect the Constitution and our government from the hands of those who are determined to destroy all of it.
This saying has been circulating since the election, and I understand the thinking behind it.
It also reminds me of the passenger-heroes of Flight 93, who overtook hijackers on their September 11, 2001 flight, forcing the plane to crash in a Pennsylvania field instead of its intended metropolitan target.
If your plane has been hijacked, and you know it is on a suicide mission, do you sit by idly? Or, do you organize and try to regain control of the plane, putting it on its right course?
The Friday Photo
January 13, 2017
I did some checking on definitions last night. Carl Bernstein, who, with fellow reporter Bob Woodward, earned a Pulitzer Prize for the Washington Post after uncovering and reporting the Watergate break-in and resulting coverup, tagged Donald Trump’s campaign manager and staffer Kellyanne Conway, as the incoming administration’s Propaganda Minister. Bernstein bestowed that title following her complex and unsuccessful verbal gymnastic routine with Anderson Cooper over Trump’s media event on Wednesday.
I googled Propaganda Minister and the second listing was:
Jospeh Goebbels served Adolf Hitler as the Reich Minister of Propaganda of the Third Reich.
Another word getting lots of use in recent months is gaslighting. Wikipedia definition: Gaslighting or gas-lighting is a form of manipulation through persistent denial, misdirection, contradiction, and lying in an attempt to destabilize and delegitimize a target. The online resource goes on to offer examples: Sociopaths and narcissists frequently use gaslighting tactics. Sociopaths consistently transgress social mores, break laws, and exploit others, but typically are also convincing liars, sometimes charming ones, who consistently deny wrongdoing. Thus, some who have been victimized by sociopaths may doubt their own perceptions. Some physically abusive spouses may gaslight their partners by flatly denying that they have been violent.
Gaslighting may occur in parent–child relationships, with either parent, child, or both, lying to each other and attempting to undermine perceptions. Gaslighting also occurs in examples of school bullying. The word gaslighting is often used to describe the tactics of the President-elect. Teenvogue, of all places, had an excellent editorial on Trump’s tactics.
There were LOTS of things said during Trump’s “press conference” today that either conflict or contradict what he has said or Tweeted in the past, or were simply outrageous. A few of the highlights:
1. Trump made all kinds of claims about removing himself from any business conflicts, or rather his attorney did in an eye-glaze-over statement. He also said he could manage to run the government and his companies too.
2. The President-elect almost stomped his feet while trying to make CNN reporter Jim Acosta quit asking a question, finally resorting to “You’re fake news.”
3. Despite statements from Congressional Republicans that they aren’t prepared to repeal and replace ACA in the near future, Trump said all that would be happening soon.
4. He wants a report on hacking within 90 days from US intelligence agencies. Didn’t he get a report last Friday?
5. Trump asserted that, he “will be the greatest job producer that God ever created.” That’s a pretty bold statement. Will Trump singularly receive confirmation that he has hit that mark? Will it be Tweeted so everyone can see it? And what happens if things aren’t going well and God decides we need a course correction?
6. Only the media wants to see his tax returns. Um, no, lots of Americans want to see them.
7. Of his Cabinet choices, Trump said, “generally they are smart.” I sure wish he would identify the ones he thinks aren’t so smart.
8. Trump says the wall on the Mexican border will be built, and he isn’t willing to wait on the funding from Mexico. He wants American taxpayer dollars sunk into it now.
9. After a rambling event that included shouting at a reporter, Trump was asked what will happen if his sons don’t do well with running the family businesses. He gestured towards the stacks of papers that are supposed to demonstrate some type of disconnection between the President-elect and his businesses, and then, pointing to his sons, said, “You’re fired.”
Except Trump also said he won’t know what is happening with his family companies because his sons aren’t going to discuss them with him. How can Trump fire anyone if he is in the dark?
Kellyanne Conway, former campaign manager for Donald Trump, told CNN that people should stop judging the President-elect by his words, and instead judge him by his heart.
OK. Let’s use his actions as a measure of his heart.
Trump mocked a reporter who is physically disabled.
Beauty pageant contestants said he would walk into dressing rooms while they were nude and not excuse himself immediately.
The President-elect has been taken to court by contractors he refuses to pay.
He agreed to a settlement of $25M in lawsuits brought against the defunct Trump University including a penalty due to the state of New York for claiming to operate a “university” when it wasn’t one.
Trump cheated on his first wife, Ivana Trump, with the woman who became his second wife, Marla Maples.
Although he has five children, Trump refuses to do any of the physical care of his children.
Trump picked a fight with Khizi and Ghazala Kahn, whose son was killed in military action.
If we let Trump’s actions serve as the measure of his heart, that isn’t any more encouraging than his words or Tweets.
The public intelligence report on Russian interference in our Presidential election last year was released from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence yesterday. It is less than 25 pages long in content.
Reading this is where the work of being an engaged citizen begins. Showing up at the voting booth isn’t enough.
Trumps cuts the diplomatic corps loose
Last night a report from the The New York Times was making the rounds about an edict from the incoming Trump administration that all politically appointed ambassadors are to leave their overseas posts by Inauguration Day. This directive runs counter to previous administrations of both parties.
Trump didn’t understand until he met with President Obama after the election that the incoming administration has to staff the West Wing. Now he is rushing to have our country’s representatives to allies like Japan, Britain, and Germany vacate their offices on January 20th. While it can take months to get ambassadors confirmed, I’ll venture that Trump gets someone cherry-picked by Vladimir Putin in place right away.
On the other hand, this positions the Democratic Party and voters to hold the Trump Administration responsible from day one on diplomatic actions.
In the mean time, or worse, for the long run, does Trump plan to handle our diplomatic relations with late-night Tweets?
White House Press Briefings
Last week Trump staffers said they didn’t like having White House press briefings broadcast live. Instead, they want the media to report out on the briefings.
In a world of fake news, and Trumpsters’ proclivity to gaslight, that makes sense- why let the public hear the briefing for ourselves when the Trump administration can hope that the media simply parrots whatever was said by his staffer? I enjoy listening to the questions and hearing the answers myself. Robert Gibbs, Obama’s first press secretary, had a good sense of humor and enjoyed word play. His briefings were interesting and sometimes entertaining. Trump doesn’t seem to enjoy the company of people who are witty, or use big words. But I’ll still listen.
Last Thursday I drove to Hendersonville, North Carolina for an annual event called Life Is A Verb Camp. On the way home Sunday afternoon I opted for less interstate and more two lane roads.
In addition to the fall-colored leaves I saw lots of Trump/Pence signs, which really didn’t surprise me as a fellow Southern rural citizen. What had been floating around in the back of mind for a long time began to move more to the front of my thoughts; how are the polls capturing the rural voter? Are they getting to us at all? Am I underestimating the urban turnout?
Last week Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight polling and punditry kept setting aside the poll numbers at a certain point in his figuring, which dogged me about who people say they will vote for and what they will do in the privacy of the voting booth.
Last night Van Jones put his finger on what I was thinking: white-lash. It has been a large and unspoken element in the room on top of the anti-Muslim, anti-LGBTQ, anti-Semitic, anti-woman, my version of Christianity is the only one, anti-choice, denying access to affordable health care, putting profits before our natural resources, loosening gun control laws, and the list goes on and on.
I live among the voters who showed up in force at the polls and elected Donald Trump and Mike Pence; white rural Americans.
It should not be a surprise to readers of Rural and Progressive that I write from a perspective that there are two Americas, an urban and a rural America. Many rural Americans harbor some level of racism. I’ve heard it and seen it. For some people that has been the unspoken driver behind opposition to all-things Obama. And it brought people out in force to elect a TV personality whose favorite line is, “You’re fired.”
Yesterday white rural America told Donald Trump and Mike Pence, “You’re hired.”
I may live in rural America, but the not so subtle racism and divisive values espoused by Trump and Pence are not my values. And they aren’t the values of every rural American.
I’m no less proud of being a Hillary supporter today than I was yesterday, because I believe in a country where diversity is valued and celebrated. That’s the country I will continue to help build.
Yesterday Donald Trump served up a word salad about the rate increases rolling out for 2017 coverage under Obamacare. It raised the question among reporters and pundits about whether Trump even understands the most basic premise of Obamacare.
Trump told Fox News, as Tweeted yesterday by Sopan Deb at CBS, “Well, I don’t use much Obamacare because it is so bad for the people….”
What Trump fails to understand (about this and pretty much anything else in a real world), is that he ISN’T using Obamacare, nor are any of his companies, because coverage through the Affordable Care Act isn’t offered to companies. Instead, individuals buy the coverage themselves.
Trump doesn’t know “he” isn’t using Obamacare at all. He doesn’t understand the very basics of how the plan works or who can use it.
Instead, as reported by Huffington Post, David Feder, General Manager at the resort Trump owns in Miami where the Republican nominee trotted out this absurdity, approximately 95 percent of the employees there are covered by insurance offered by Trump’s company. It isn’t a skimpy plan either, according to a review of a policy shared with an analyst.
So Trump thinks he’s paying for Obamacare, but he doesn’t use it much, “because it is so bad for the people and they can’t afford it.” He is spending more money on coverage, but not using it. And yet the “people” interviewed are “happy with their health coverage.”
Trump served up a word salad with a side of crazy yesterday.
What started after the 2008 election with the election of a black man to the White House, threatens to come full circle to a full-on “take back the government” uprising if Hillary Clinton is elected. Jimmy Arno of Georgia is just one of many who say they will be, I don’t know, marching to Washington, D.C., to lead some type of revolution if the election doesn’t go their way. Militia member Charles Keith Cobble claims they screen their fanatic members to make sure they aren’t KKK folks, but really, this type of “background check,” as Cobble calls it, is a farce.
In his conversation with Ryan Lentz of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project, Adam Ragusea of GPB rightly makes note that white people carrying guns are usually called militia members, and brown people are called terrorists.
The fear gripping white people, primarily poorly educated, lower-income men (I am making a broad statement and I am not going to go down a rabbit hole with anyone on it), started with racism, and now it has expanded to include women. Donald Trump fed this type of mindset. He started with birtherism, and has woven in a complete and utter disrespect for women into his mixture of hatred and fear.
It bears repeating: we withstood the resignation of one President, and a 5-4 Supreme Court vote for another one. Electing Hillary Clinton will not be the worst thing to happen to this country. And it certainly won’t be worth starting a civil war over.
As a historian, I am a believer in hearing things for yourself and reading primary documents. Ezra Klein has excerpts from last night’s debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
Ford Motor Company had to fact check Trump on September 15th (below),
followed by some of the greatest hits from the debate:
And perhaps my favorite
I filled out the survey. It reminded me that I needed to order a Hillary/Kaine yard sign, and make another modest donation to the campaign.
Over the weekend Donald Trump demonstrated his lack of, well, connection to other humans, by Tweeting that the murder of Dwayne Wade’s cousin was exactly why black voters should support him.
Today he was spinning trumped-up (no pun intended, but it sure is easy) terrorists conspiracy theories about Huma Abedin, a key staffer to Hillary Clinton.
This stuff isn’t new. Michele Bachmann tried to discredit the native-born American in 2012. The slurs were so unpalatable that Senator John McCain took to the floor of the Senate to defend Abedin.
McCain deserves credit for the times when he has stepped up to speak the truth to the birthers, “Obama’s a Muslim”, and their cronies. What he said in 2012 merits repeating.
The Friday Photo
July 22, 2016
He’s back, and he’s spot on (I can’t top this with a photo.)