Thursday, August 27, 2020

-Don Jr. on robocalls to voters who may have heard otherwise, from someone

In the alternate reality of the GOP convention, the pandemic is behind us, abortion is the gravest problem this nation faces, and President Trump is both a guardian of the Constitution and a wonderful person “when the cameras are off.” Just take it from his immediate family and the folks on his payroll! 

  • Speakers at the RNC’s third night asked viewers to look past everything they’ve ever seen Donald Trump do or say, and vote for the imaginary Donald Trump who gives a shit about people. White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany recalled the time Trump accomplished the bare minimum by calling her on the phone after her preventative double mastectomy, Kellyanne Conway insisted that behind the scenes, Trump is a great supporter of women, actually, and Lara Trump testified that contrary to all available evidence, the Trumps are “warm and caring,” “hard workers,” and “down to earth.” 
  • Addressing a maskless crowd at Fort McHenry, Vice President Mike Pence recounted a fictional triumph over the virus that, after six months, continues to kill 1,000 Americans every day. In Pence’s long-winded fantasy, “President Trump marshalled the full resources of our federal government from the outset. He directed us to forge a seamless partnership with governors across America in both political parties.” (Fact check: Hahahaha.) Pence repeatedly referred to the clusterfuck of crises unfolding under his boss’s watch as “a time of testing,” an interesting phrase to emphasize the same week the CDC carries out Trump’s demand to...slow down testing
  • In RNC World, the Category 4 hurricane bearing down on the Gulf Coast was a blip on the radar, and neither the police shooting of Jacob Blake nor the Trump-supporting teen who gunned down protesters in its wake merited a mention at all. (Never mind the fact that just two nights before Republicans celebrated a couple that pointed guns at BLM protesters as heroes.) When speakers alluded to the violence in Wisconsin, it was only to blame it on Radical Antifa Socialist President Biden from the future. Here’s Mike Pence: “The hard truth is, you won’t be safe in Joe Biden’s America.”

The harder truth is, prefacing a dumb lie with “the hard truth is” doesn’t make it less of a lie.

  • Take it away, Joe. “The problem we have right now is we’re in Donald Trump’s America. He views this as a political benefit to him. He’s rooting for more violence, not less, and it’s clear about that. What’s he doing? He’s pouring gasoline on the fire. This happens to be Donald Trump’s America.” But don’t take Biden’s word for it—Kellyanne admitted the same thing this morning. 
  • Meanwhile, out here in Pence’s “nation of miracles,” another one million Americans filed initial unemployment claims in the last week. CDC Director Robert Redfield attempted to explain away the alarming new testing guidelines without actually fixing them. And in the latest proof that Trump’s coronavirus response has been completely nonpartisan and utterly unpoliticized, the Justice Department sent letters to exclusively Democratic governors requesting data on coronavirus deaths in nursing homes. 

To cap off this garbage week of corruption and lies, Trump will accept the party’s nomination from the White House tonight. Come watch with us in the Crooked Groupthread if you’re feeling masochistic; either way, let whatever you’re feeling drive you over to to help make sure tonight is the beginning of the end. 68 days. 

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Even setting aside the GOP convention, it’s been a revolting 24 hours. After a 17-year-old drove across state lines with a semi-automatic rifle and killed two protesters, the chief of police in Kenosha, WI, blamed the victims for having been out after curfew, and offered this breathtakingly passive characterization of their murderer: “[he] was involved in the use of firearms to resolve whatever conflict was in place.” Over on Fox News, Tucker Carlson suggested that Trump-inspired vigilante terrorism is to be expected: “How shocked are we that 17-year-olds with rifles decided they had to maintain order when no one else would?” Right-wing luminaries like Ben Shapiro seized on the Wisconsin DOJ’s statement that Jacob Blake had a knife in his car to justify police shooting him seven times in the back. And self-made man Jared Kushner had this to say about NBA players’ wildcat strike in protest of Blake’s shooting: “I think the NBA players are very fortunate that they have the financial position where they're able to take a night off from work.” It’s a lot. Here’s Chris Webber, saying it right: “If not now, when?”

Officials at the Department of Homeland for Security spent years trying to make President Trump care about right-wing domestic terrorists, to no avail. Former DHS official Elizabeth Neumann, who recently threw her support behind Joe Biden, told Politico that the Trump administration’s single-minded focus on restricting immigration diverted DHS leadership’s attention from all other matters. The constant changes of leadership didn’t help, either. White House officials couldn’t even be interested in using the phrase “domestic terrrorism,” until they realized they could deploy it against left-wing protesters. The Trump administration froze funding for an Obama-era office focused on fighting violent extremism, and has yet to produce promised annual briefings on domestic-terrorism threats, or a plan to address them. It’s an incredibly damning backstory to this very bleak week, and another compelling reason to get to work

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Starbucks has pledged to make sure employees have time off to vote in November. Over 700 companies have now joined the Time to Vote coalition.

Wastewater testing at the University of Arizona successfully detected a coronavirus outbreak before it spread out of control.

The Supreme Court of Virginia has thrown out a lower court’s injunction against Richmond’s removal of Confederate statues.

It’s a small silver lining, but Hurricane Laura took down a Confederate statue in Louisiana’s Calcasieu Parish, two weeks after officials voted not to remove it.

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