Wednesday, September 16, 2020

-The mental acuity candidate at the top of his game

After admitting in taped interviews that he had lied to the American public about the true threat of coronavirus, President Trump’s plan to mitigate the political fallout seems to be to, uh, continue doing that. 

  • Trump appeared at an ABC News town hall in Philadelphia, PA, on Tuesday night, and was so well-prepared that Fox News’s Laura Ingraham later characterized basic questions from undecided voters as “an ambush.” Trump lied nonstop for 90 minutes about everything from the coronavirus to his nonexistent health-care plan. In one particularly triumphant moment, Trump tried to blame Joe Biden for not implementing a national mask mandate (fact check: Joe Biden is not president), before claiming that the jury was still out on whether face masks are good (fact check: the jury is very much in). 
  • In fact, CDC Director Robert Redfield told senators today that masks are “the most powerful public-health tool” the U.S. has against coronavirus, and might even provide more guaranteed protection than the eventual vaccine. That vaccine may only be 70 percent effective, and in contrast to Trump’s dubious (and concerning) town-hall claim that “we’re within weeks of getting it,” Redfield predicted that the country would have enough vaccine doses to actually return to “regular life” by the third quarter of 2021. Trump then contradicted Redfield’s timeline a few hours later. We will pause here for a good long stare into the middle distance.
  • And we’re back! Even more alarming than Trump’s lies about a vaccine (which a majority of Americans reasonably find very alarming) are his lies about what would happen without one. On Tuesday night Trump once again claimed that the coronavirus would eventually “disappear” without a vaccine or aggressive containment measures, thanks to the magic of herd mentality immunity, even after host George Stephanopoulos pointed out that such a strategy would lead to many more unnecessary deaths. This came after Trump denied ever publicly downplaying the virus, in spite of his own recorded admission: “I actually, in many ways, I up-played it.” 

Trump “up-played it” so hard that his political appointees got caught trying to alter CDC reports undermining his message that everything was fine.

  • Top HHS communications official Michael Caputo will take a 60-day medical leave after accusing CDC scientists of “sedition” in a Facebook rant, and his top aide Paul Alexander will leave the department altogether. Alexander sought to alter and delay CDC coronavirus reports that he thought would make Trump look bad, and tried to control what Dr. Anthony Fauci could say in public appearances. 
  • In his latest instance of non-political up-playing, Trump took credit for the Big Ten Conference’s announcement that its football season would resume at the end of October after all, reversing its earlier decision. Trump has been pressuring the league to play for the boost he thinks it’ll give him in key swing states, without regard for the danger it would pose to student athletes. One university president denied that Trump had anything to do with the decision, but the Big Ten itself sees players’ exposure as so inevitable (and apparently acceptable) that it has plans to study the cardiac effects of the virus on infected athletes

Donald Trump has no case to make for his own reelection that isn’t an outrageous lie, and in the process of propagating those lies, he continues to undermine coronavirus measures that would protect American lives and advocate for policies that do the opposite. The good news is, we have another option. 48 days.

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President Trump has tasked the White House budget chief with eliminating diversity-training programs that mention systemic racism. Acting OMB Director Russell Vought wrote in a memo that President Trump had ordered him to find and cancel any “un-American propaganda training sessions”; namely, those that included any discussion of white privilege or critical race theory. In an interview with the right-wing website The Federalist, Vought said he would produce “detailed guidance for federal agencies” containing “buzzwords” they should look out for in their own diversity curriculums. Congratulations to whichever White House creep came up with the pitch, “what about McCarthyism, but more racist?”

Someone forgot to tell the kids about the Holocaust. A new study by the Claims Conference found that nearly two-thirds of American young adults between ages 18 and 39 are unaware that six million Jews were killed in the Holocaust. Almost a quarter said they thought the Holocaust was a myth, or had been exaggerated, or weren’t sure. Nearly half couldn’t name a single concentration camp or ghetto, and one in eight said they hadn’t heard of the Holocaust at all. Eleven percent of respondents, somehow, thought Jews had caused the Holocaust. Considering that the president’s re-election campaign is currently running an ad that smacks of Nazi propaganda, and the RNC is supporting antisemitic QAnon candidates, and ICE facilities appear to be cribbing from Nazi sterilization practices (which they, by the way, cribbed from us), this would maybe be a good educational blind spot to fix.

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An Ohio judge has slapped down a GOP plan to only allow one ballot drop box per county. 

A lab-made antibody treatment has shown early promise in reducing the rate of coronavirus hospitalizations. 

Delaware state senate candidate Sarah McBride is poised to become the first openly transgender state senator, after winning her Democratic primary on Tuesday.

Like the tweet says, please, a moment of appreciation for this queen.

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