But in a very real sense people such as Stahl and Fauci actually are the chief opponents Trump must contend with in the campaign’s final days. They are the figures he perceives to be standing in the way of his effort to conduct this campaign in an entirely invented universe that he’d hoped to manufacture for this very purpose.
Trump unloaded on Stahl at a rally on Tuesday night, showing that he’s still stewing about an interview he did with “60 Minutes,” which is set to air on Sunday but apparently went very badly....
Yet The Post reports that what really angered Trump was Stahl’s aggressive questioning about his attacks on Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) and his disputes with Fauci, as one person with knowledge of the interview noted. And there’s this:
Stahl also told him during the interview that allegations about [Joe] Biden’s son Hunter were not verified and that the Obama administration did not spy on the Trump campaign. Many of the questions were about the coronavirus pandemic and his handling of it, said the person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the interview frankly.
Trump was so upset about the interview that “he complained about it all day,” reports The Post, and his aides believe his public anger “might actually boost the ratings of a tough interview.”
Why might this have enraged Trump? Because Trump has gone to tremendous lengths to manufacture precisely the illusions that Stahl apparently sought to puncture, yet these efforts are failing.
Nothing is going according to plan
Right now, Trump is loudly calling on Attorney General William P. Barr to launch some sort of investigation into the new Hunter Biden pseudo-revelations about emails supposedly discovered on his laptop. This whole scandal is based on largely unverified accusations and false premises.
But the point for our purposes here is that Trump is angrily demanding that top officials in his government announce actions that make this “scandal” seem real. Stahl pointed out that the story is unverified, which is 100 percent correct, but this isn’t what was supposed to happen.
You see, this story was supposed to be “verified” by now, or seem verified. Yet there are no indications that Barr will deliver, and most news organizations are treating it with great skepticism.
Similarly, Trump had expected that Barr would produce major revelations in his “review” of the origins of the Russia investigation, which would make the bogus “Obamagate” scandal seem true, thus proving that his opponent, Joe Biden, belonged to a criminal administration.
But Barr has let it be known that no report is forthcoming in time for the election. Stahl pointed out that the Obama administration didn’t spy on Trump’s campaign, which is true. But this was supposed to be “verified” by now, or seemverified.
Campaigning in a fictional universe
Oddly, it’s almost as if Trump has assumed all along that he can’t win a reality-based argument and a fair election against Biden. Instead, he set about using the government to manufacture fictions that would define the parameters within which this campaign would unfold...
No outcome in which Trump loses the election is legitimate, he now claims. Millions of mail ballots will be coming from who knows where, Trump insists, so how can you trust the counting of them? This means full-scale manipulation in the war over who appears to win the vote count is justified.
And to this day, the entire GOP is required to play along with the illusion that Trump mostly vanquished the coronavirus through his spectacular leadership. The crowning conclusion to this was to be Trump’s success in bulldozing a vaccine through in time for his reelection.
But that too fell apart, cases are again on the rise and Fauci is telling the American people hard truths about what lies ahead. That’s exactly why Trump is raging at him, and Stahl, too, sought to burst this illusion.
It’s doubtful that Trump will end up releasing the full footage of the Stahl interview. But if he does, my bet is that it will dramatically illustrate his rage at Stahl for deflating his fictional universe. The one that by now was supposed to seem true.
Pope Francis has said that gays deserve an apology from Christians for the way they have been treated. He also said apologies were owed to other groups marginalized by the church, such as women and the poor.
More than 50 former intelligence officials signed a letter casting doubt on the provenance of a New York Post story on the former vice president's son.
Excerpt Ignore the bullshit story below left:
From The Bulwark: I once went hunting with my uncle as a young man. During our walk through the woods we encountered a raccoon that had become enmeshed in a small length of rusty barbed wire. The raccoon was trying to gnaw off its own leg while also alternately furiously attacking the barbed wire. The results were bloody and unsuccessful.
Will Trump get away with this? Trump Blames ‘Fauci And These Idiots’ For His Own Coronavirus Ineptitude or this? Trump administration facing new investigation over political interference at the CDC and FDA
Misogyny helped Trump in 2016, and he wants to repeat by attacking Gretchen Whitmer — but so far it's not working
Summary of Jennifer Rubin's Wash. Post column on John Cornyn and Republicans like him who ‘deserve to lose’ for fear of standing up to Trump
If Trump is going to ask Biden to reveal info about his family…
Another surprise victory is unlikely to happen again if this election is looked at from the same perspective of neuroscience that I used to account for the surprising outcome in 2016. Briefly, that article explained how our brain provides two different mechanisms of decision-making; one is conscious and deliberative, and the other is automatic, driven by emotion and especially by fear. Trump’s strategy does not target the neural circuitry of reason in the cerebral cortex; it provokes the limbic system. In the 2016 election, undecided voters were influenced by the brain’s fear-driven impulses—more simply, gut instinct—once they arrived inside the voting booth, even though they were unable to explain their decision to pre-election pollsters in a carefully reasoned manner.
In 2020, Trump continues to use the same strategy of appealing to the brain’s threat-detection circuitry and emotion-based decision process to attract votes and vilify opponents.
But fear-driven appeals will likely persuade fewer voters this time, because we overcome fear in two ways: by reason and experience. Inhibitory neural pathways from the prefrontal cortex to the limbic system will enable reason to quash fear if the dangers are not grounded in fact. The type of street violence Trump rails against now was not the norm during the Obama and Biden years. Nor was fear that Biden would turn the U.S. into a socialist state an issue even a year ago. On the contrary, Biden defeated the self-described “democratic socialist” candidate Bernie Sanders in the presidential primaries.
A psychology- and neuroscience-based perspective also illuminates Trump’s constant interruptions and insults during the first presidential debate, steamrolling over the moderator’s futile efforts to have a reasoned airing of facts and positions. The structure of a debate is designed to engage the deliberative reasoning in the brain’s cerebral cortex, so Trump annihilated the format to inflame emotion in the limbic system.
The New York Post’s front-page article about Hunter Biden on Wednesday was written mostly by a staff reporter who refused to put his name on it, two Post employees said.
Bruce Golding, a reporter at the Rupert Murdoch-owned tabloid since 2007, did not allow his byline to be used because he had concerns over the article’s credibility, the two Post employees said, speaking on the condition of anonymity out of fear of retaliation.
Coming late in a heated presidential campaign, the article suggested that Joseph R. Biden Jr. had used his position to enrich his son Hunter when he was vice president. The Post based the story on photos and documents the paper said it had taken from the hard drive of a laptop purportedly belonging to Hunter Biden.
Many Post staff members questioned whether the paper had done enough to verify the authenticity of the hard drive’s contents, said five people with knowledge of the tabloid’s inner workings. Staff members also had concerns about the reliability of its sources and its timing, the people said.
The article named two sources: Stephen K. Bannon, the former adviser to President Trump now facing federal fraud charges, who was said to have made the paper aware of the hard drive last month; and Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, who was said to have given the paper “a copy” of the hard drive on Oct. 11.
Mr. Giuliani said he chose The Post because “either nobody else would take it, or if they took it, they would spend all the time they could to try to contradict it before they put it out.”
Paranoid Trump compiling enemies list of conservatives who are turning on him: Summary of Daily Beast report This will be a diversion until he loses. After that we may look back and think that we thought he was off-the-rails cray-cray then but he could end up so unmoored from reality Pence will have to initiate the 25th Amendment.
If President Donald Trump loses his reelection bid in November, it will be in part because of his fundamental misunderstanding of the beliefs of "suburban women," whom he has tried to win back with a series of bizarre and racist appeals that seem more targeted to a stereotype from the 1950s and 1960s than the American women who actually live in those areas today.
Many of the female voters who have abandoned Trump recoil from his divisive language and disapprove of both his handling of race relations and the pandemic. But he has tried to convince them to support him through a campaign of fear and xenophobia, with claims about the Democratic agenda that plunge deep into the realm of the ridiculous and would be believed only by the most naïve, low-information voters.
The history of prophetic movements tells us that if Trump fails to secure a second term, a variety of reactions are possible. Some will blame him and begin to withdraw their identification. Others will fight the cognitive dissonance and blame dark powers. The prophets will develop a new timeline for the restoration. Some Christian nationalists may for a time refuse to "stand down," but eventually they will develop other perspectives. There is no one-size-fits-all method of de-conversion from a religious or ideological position. The best way to limit post-election violence would be to give his supporters a face-saving way to back down from their prophecy-inflated reality. It may not work all at once, but it's the first step in beginning to heal the schisms upon which Trump has so cannily capitalized.
Watchdog group accuses Amy Coney Barrett of “unconscionable cruelty” in teen rape case - she is truly Aunt Lydia from Handmaid's Tale
‘Worst American President’: New York Times Flames ‘Racist Demagogue’ Trump Summary from Huffpost.
Above images from The NY Times
The nation's top political reporters actually focused on the extreme contrast between the candidates, not spectacle
Breaking news: Trump claims that his $421 million debt is “tiny.” He apparently owes more than twice that amount
WASHINGTON – NBC moderator Savannah Guthrie prodded President Donald Trump Thursday during his town hall when talking about him retweeting conspiracy theories, saying he's not just "someone's crazy uncle."
Guthrie pressed Trump on his penchant for tweets that spread disinformation, including one post he retweeted that contained a conspiracy theory that former Vice President Joe Biden and President Barack Obama orchestrated a cover-up that included the Navy SEAL Team Six faking the death of terrorist Osama bin Laden.
"That was a retweet. That was an opinion of somebody and that was a retweet. I'll put it out there. People can decide for themselves. I don't take a position," Trump said in defending his tweet.
"You're the president," Guthrie responded. "You're not someone's crazy uncle who can retweet whatever. USA Today
Six takeaways from Trump and Biden's dueling town halls - they are really false equivalents - The Hill
1. Trump’s smorgasbord of misinformation and false choices — deftly called out
2. Biden had the steady showing he needed with the clock ticking down
3. Trump steps into another non-denouncing minefield — on QAnon
4. Biden opens the door further on court-packing and says he’ll confirm a stance soon
5. Trump’s last negative test before his coronavirus diagnosis: Still clear as mud
President Trump spoke positively about an extremist conspiracy-theory group, expressed skepticism about mask-wearing, rebuked his own F.B.I. director and attacked the legitimacy of the 2020 election in a televised town hall forum on Thursday, veering far away from a focused campaign appeal. Instead, he further stoked the country’s political rifts as his Democratic opponent, Joseph R. Biden Jr., pushed a deliberate message anchored in concerns over public health and promises to restore political norms.
Mr. Trump’s defensive and combative performance came on a night that was supposed to feature a debate between him and Mr. Biden, but that morphed into a long-distance study in contrasts on different television networks after the president declined to participate in a virtual debate.
On the central issue of the election, the coronavirus pandemic, the two candidates appeared to inhabit not just different television sets but different universes. Mr. Biden has made the full embrace of strict public health guidelines the centerpiece of his candidacy, while Mr. Trump has continued to defy even the recommendations of his own government on matters as basic as the use of masks — a pattern that persisted in their opposing events on Thursday.
Mr. Biden lashed virtually every aspect of the president’s handling of the health crisis, including his language on masks.
“The words of a president matter,” Mr. Biden said. “When a president doesn’t wear a mask or makes fun of folks like me when I was wearing a mask for a long time, then, you know, people say, ‘Well, it mustn’t be that important.’”
In perhaps his most incendiary remarks, Mr. Trump repeatedly declined to disavow QAnon, a pro-Trump internet community that has been described by law enforcement as a potential domestic terrorism threat. The president professed to have no knowledge of the group, and as a result could not disavow it, but then demonstrated specific knowledge of one of its core conspiracy theories involving pedophilia that is entirely false.
"You're the president," the Today show anchor told Trump about his false Osama bin Laden tweets. "You're not someone's crazy uncle who can retweet whatever."
The World Health Organization said the antiviral drug remdesivir — one of the many drugs President Donald Trump was given to treat his coronavirus infection — has “little to no effect” on mortality for patients hospitalized with the coronavirus, CNN reported.
The WHO looked at four therapeutics in a study covering more than 11,000 coronavirus patients in 30 countries. Along with remdesivir, the study analyzed the use of hydroxychloroquine; a combination of the anti-HIV drugs lopinavir and ritonavir; and interferon.
“For each drug in the study, the effect on mortality was disappointingly unpromising,” WHO said. The study hasn’t been published in a peer-reviewed journal but the WHO published the results themselves.
The disappointing result differs from an earlier study in the U.S. that found that remdesivir shortens recovery time by about a third in those hospitalized with serious illness.
— Liza Hearon