Tuesday, August 25, 2020

-Jerry Falwell, Jr., the MLK of resigning in disgrace over a sex scandal

Night one of the Republican National Convention fused creepy demonstrations of devotion to Donald Trump, imaginary right-wing grievances, and approximately zero indication of how Republicans propose to suppress the coronavirus, fix the broken economy, or address any of the public’s myriad needs. 

  • The award for blind worship goes to Donald Trump Jr.’s girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle, who screamed Orwellian babble such as “President Trump believes in you. He emancipates and lifts you up to live your American Dream. You are capable. You are qualified” at viewers for over five minutes. So intense and crazed was Guilfoyle’s fascist performance art that it inspired the “Guilfoyle challenge” which pretty much speaks for itself. (This may or may not explain why Jr. appeared on stage shortly thereafter misty-eyed and drenched in sweat.) Anyhow, as George W. Bush famously whispered upon the conclusion of Trump’s first inaugural address, “That was some weird shit.”
  • As with most Trump events, this one was shot through with culture-war fantasies. But none of Monday’s speakers typified that tendency more than the McCloskeys, better known as the St. Louis personal-injury lawyer couple whose sole claim to prominence in the GOP is having waved guns at Black Lives Matter protesters. “They want to abolish the suburbs altogether by ending single-family home zoning. This forced rezoning would bring crime, lawlessness and low-quality apartments into now thriving suburban neighborhoods.” Lies? Check. Overt racism? Also check!
  • Speaking very generously, the night was “light on policy,” and the best way to see just how bereft of ideas the GOP has become is to read this speech from Nikki Haley, who’s frequently touted as one of Trump’s most substantive surrogates. Littered between rants about socialism and “cancel culture,” Haley was mostly at pains to insist America is not racist, but was also too scared to say the words “Confederate flag” because so many of Trump’s supporters love them some confederacy. Then this morning she had to affirm that she still disapproves of Trump’s response to the 2017 white supremacist march on Charlottesville, VA, saying only, “There have been times where the president and I don't necessarily agree on the style.” What’s the stylish way to say Nazis are very fine people?

If you’re wondering how they intend to keep up this charade for four straight nights, the answer is “easily, and soon with an added dose of law-breaking.”

  • Tonight the convention will feature an address from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who will be speaking live from Jerusalem, violating two basic standards—that the country’s top diplomat shouldn’t be engaged in campaign politics, or do partisan work while representing the country abroad—at once! Melania Trump will also speak from the Rose Gardenand we’ll also hear from Eric Trump, who is currently trying to dodge legal trouble in New York (see below).
  • They’ll have the culture war stuff covered, too, with the help of Nicholas Sandmann, the Covington Catholic high school student who became a folk hero on the right after a video of him puffing his chest in the face of a tribal elder went viral. And don’t sleep on this speaker who promoted an antisemitic conspiracy theory warning that Jews intend to enslave the “goyim.”

What does this parade of Trump family members, hardcore loyalists, and white resentment totems have to do with fixing the country’s spiraling crises? Absolutely nothing at all. And that’s the whole point. If Trump could boast about having responded even halfway competently to the coronavirus pandemic or ensuing economic collapse, he’d make that the centerpiece of his convention. What he’s arranged instead amounts to a quiet admission of his failure, and a recognition that his only hope for re-election is in making just enough people in just the right states angrier still about imaginary crises.

A new episode of Missing America is out NOW! This week’s Ben talks to an anonymous Hong Kong activist about the perilous daily marches and protests taking place in Hong Kong, and they sound the alarm on the dangers of a growing authoritarian power. New episodes are out on Tuesdays—subscribe and listen wherever you listen to podcasts.

New York Attorney General Letitia James has asked a court to enforce subpoenas for documents and testimony she sent to the Trump Organization, including its titular head Eric Trump, pursuant to a wide-ranging civil investigation of the organization’s myriad alleged fraud schemes. Court documents suggest James has amassed evidence of hundreds of millions of dollars worth of financial improprieties, including the failure to report $100 million in loan forgiveness as income. The organization, including Eric, has followed the president’s lead in trying to stonewall the investigation with dilatory tactics and dubious and vague assertions of privilege. In her filings, James alludes to the existence of a federal criminal investigation of these same matters, apart from the Manhattan DA’s ongoing probe of the president’s fraudulent financial practices, raising speculation that Eric Trump has refused to testify to avoid implicating himself in criminal conspiracies. That speculative inference matches recent New York Times reporting on Trump’s other son Don Jr., who believes the family will be prosecuted if Trump loses in November.

  • Police in Kenosha, WI, responded with violence after demonstrators protesting the shooting of Jacob Blake defied an 8 p.m. curfew and set fire to cars and buildings. Gov. Tony Evers (D-WI) has said he will call up more Wisconsin National Guard members. 
  • FDA Commissioner Steven Hahn has acknowledged that he made inaccurate claims about the demonstrated effectiveness of convalescent plasma (pronounced: plasma) as a COVID-19 treatment, in comments that were seemingly meant to help President Trump politically.
  • After telling the Senate he’d had no contact with the Trump campaign, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy admitted to the House that he’d indeed got word to the Trump campaign that its attacks on the Postal Service were not helpful. 
  • Jerry Falwell, Jr., resigned as president and chancellor of Liberty University after inadvertently letting it get out there that he and his wife are into cuckoldry (and also paying the men who cuckold him with Liberty University money). It’s a tale we couldn’t possibly have imagined up ourselves, and former Rep. Katie Hill (D-CA) has some important thoughts on the matter.  
  • Marjorie Taylor Greene, the Republican QAnon-fanning House candidate from Georgia, also called the white supremacist march on Charlottesville a false flag operation. Naturally, Trump has invited her to watch him deliver his renomination speech at the White House on Thursday.
  • Former RNC Chairman Michael Steele has joined the anti-Trump Lincoln Project.
  • Hope Hicks made millions of dollars in the two years between her stints at the Trump White House, including via paid speaking gigs on Wall Street, making us question, for the very first time, whether her attacks on Hillary Clinton during the 2016 campaign were on the level. Anyhow, don’t give former Trump officials money.
  • Dunkin’ and Harpoon Brewery have joined forces to make such beverages as Harpoon Dunkin’ coffee porter, Harpoon Dunkin’ Boston kreme stout, and Harpoon Dunkin’ jelly donut IPA. It’s about fucking time.

The State Department official in charge of enforcing decorum and customs at official events when the U.S. hosts foreign dignitaries resigned amid complaints of workplace violence, drinking, and racist outbursts, according to a leaked internal watchdog report. The official, Sean Lawler, would “crack a horse whip in the office" placing officials who worked with him "in fear of physical harm.” Lawler also referred to a gay subordinate named Kyle as “Kylie,” took umbrage at Japanese diplomats who “looked like gay porn stars,” and referred to a group of Turkish nationals who visited his office as “dirty.” The report comes to light amid mounting evidence that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has had one department watchdog fired, and driven another from his job shortly thereafter, to conceal or pre-emptively cast doubt on the myriad corruption and workplace-misconduct scandals that have defined Pompeo’s tenure at the State Department.

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Senate Democrats’ Select Committee on the Climate Crisis has issued this HUGE report on the need for swift climate action and how to overcome the political forces arrayed against it. The report calls for net-zero emissions by 2050, and enjoys the backing of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who has left the door open to abolishing the filibuster if necessary to pass climate legislation.

LeBron James’s anti voter-suppression initiative will partner with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund to spend millions of dollars to recruit poll workers who will staff black precincts in November.

The GoFundMe for Jacob Blake has raised over $1 million since Monday.

What Ady said.

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