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
Is there anything they won't do to try to win? Pro-Trump ‘Scam PAC’ sites shut down by FBI for possible fraud
Psychiatrist Judith Herman: Trump’s collapse in the polls has “undeniably” made him more “dangerous”
Are you worried that Trump may become even less restrained once he's out of the White House?
The problem is as soon as he's out of the White House, he faces multiple [possible] criminal charges, as well as civil liabilities. And that's not going to go anywhere — that's going to progress. And, I mean, I do have enough trust in our institutions. Or hope, I guess, might be a better word, to think that there will be a reckoning. Now, what will happen to his mental status under those circumstances? I think it's not going to be pretty. I mean, it's already not pretty.
But when do you say if someone veers over into psychosis, right? What's the judgment call? And that's not a judgment call that one can make from a distance. I mean, in that sense — I think most of the time the Goldwater rule is perfectly appropriate. Don't make diagnoses from a distance. Ordinarily, we have our patient's permission and all that, but what we can assess from a distance is dangerousness. And when the person in the most powerful office in the world is floridly and undeniably dangerous, I think we have to take it seriously. We also have to hope that any crazy military orders that he gives will not be followed.
Can Trump outrun the virus?
Trump plants more seeds for refusing to concede – falsely claims ‘tens of thousands’ of ballots are ‘fraudulent’
Does Donald Trump believe his lies? Or is this all some type of performance?
I wonder if Rupert Murdoch is responsible for putting this on top of the Fox News website. They are sure hyping the Hunter Biden story.
A week after White House officials met with scientists endorsing herd immunity, dozens of other researchers called it “a dangerous fallacy unsupported by scientific evidence.”
“Promoting the concept of ‘herd immunity’ as framed in a recently circulated document as an answer to the COVID-19 pandemic is inappropriate, irresponsible and ill-informed,” said the heads of the Infectious Diseases Society of America and the HIV Medicine Association, which respectively represent more than 12,000 infectious disease experts and 6,000 HIV/AIDS specialists, in a statement Wednesday.
In another joint statement on Wednesday, 14 prominent public health organizations declared that “the suggestions put forth by the Great Barrington Declaration are NOT based in science” and they would “haphazardly and unnecessarily sacrifice lives.”
“The declaration is not a strategy, it is a political statement,” wrote the groups, which included the American Public Health Association, the Association of Public Health Laboratories, and the Johns Hopkins Center for Public Security. “It ignores sound public health expertise. It preys on a frustrated populace. Instead of selling false hope that will predictably backfire, we must focus on how to manage this pandemic in a safe, responsible, and equitable way.”
And a group of 80 researchers is countering the Great Barrington Declaration with an open letter of its own: the John Snow Memorandum, named for the 19th-century physician who tracked the source of a cholera outbreak in London and is considered a founder of modern epidemiology.
In the letter, the signatories acknowledged that there has been “widespread demoralisation and diminishing trust” in the face of ongoing restrictions in countries that have failed to adopt “adequate provisions to manage the pandemic and its societal impacts.”
But society cannot simply allow the virus to spread unchecked in large groups of people, argued the letter, which was led by 30 researchers and signed by 50 others spanning public health, epidemiology, medicine, health policy, and other disciplines.
Excerpt: Recovering from an illness gives you a lot of time to reflect. When my husband was taken to Walter Reed as a precaution, I spent much of my time reflecting on my family. I also thought about the hundreds of thousands of people across our country who have been impacted by this illness that infects people with no discrimination. We are in unprecedented times—and with the election fast approaching, it has been easy to get caught up in so much negative energy.
It also cheered me to think of all the people I have met across our country and the world—and the goodness and compassion that exists if you seek it out. Our country has overcome many hardships and much adversity, and it is my hope COVID-19 will be another obstacle we will be able to tell future generations we overcame—and learned from in the process.
I encourage everyone to continue to live the healthiest life they can. A balanced diet, fresh air, and vitamins really are vital to keep our bodies healthy. For your complete well-being, compassion and humility are just as important in keeping our minds strong. For me personally, the most impactful part of my recovery was the opportunity to reflect on many things—family, friendships, my work, and staying true to who you are.
As one of Trump’s conspiracy theories bites the dust, he moves on to new pseudo-scandals, Max Boot, WaPo
On Tuesday, Trump retweeted lunatic claims that Obama and Biden “may have had Seal Team 6 killed” and that Osama bin Laden was still alive and living in Iran. On Wednesday, Grenell was hyping a front-page story in Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post claiming that “smoking gun” emails (allegedly obtained from a computer repair shop in Delaware) show that Joe Biden met an adviser to the Ukrainian energy company Burisma at his son Hunter’s request. The Post wrote that this meeting occurred “less than a year before the elder Biden pressured government officials in Ukraine into firing a prosecutor who was investigating the company.”
That is false — and quite possibly part of a Russian disinformation campaign. The Ukrainian prosecutor wasn’t actually investigating Burisma. He was, in fact, complicit in corruption — which is why Biden demanded, on behalf of the U.S. government and the international community, that he be fired. The Biden campaign also denies that the meeting described by the Murdoch tabloid ever took place.
But facts don’t matter in the Hunter Biden conspiracy theories any more than in the “unmasking” story. The strategy is, as former Trump strategist Stephen K. Bannon once said, to “flood the zone with shit” to distract attention from Trump’s real wrongdoing. The real scandal is that Trump and his cult followers hurl so many insane accusations — and never recant or apologize. While claiming to be a victim of McCarthyism, Trump is, in fact, its foremost modern practitioner. His mentor, Joseph McCarthy’s henchman Roy Cohn, would be proud of him.
Kamala Harris corners Amy Coney Barrett on climate change, she set her up and then got her to show what a Trump sycophant she is
Trump’s treatment for covid-19 has been largely cloaked in secrecy, but among the little we do know is that his doctors basically opened the medicine cabinet and dumped a little of everything into their patient. The treatments have run the gamut from A to Z — literally: antivirals to zinc. They’ve lowered Trump’s temperature and raised his blood-oxygen level, while chemically tweaking him from sinuses to stomach.
Even after the president returned to the White House from the hospital, his docs continued to pump in dexamethasone, a steroid normally given to covid-19 patients struggling for life on a ventilator. Its purpose is to tamp down an overly intense immune reaction known as a cytokine storm but, in this case, it may be ramping up the chaos known as Donald Trump.
Lewis Gordon, who heads the philosophy department at the University of Connecticut, said Trump was perpetuating a notion of superiority among white people.
“Most people who hear Trump’s ramblings don't have the history to know that his words are those of racists," Gordon said. "Today, Trump can say ‘gene’ – that some have ‘good genes’ – and it is implying superiority. Since all racism stems from narcissism, Trump is appealing to the narcissists in the crowd who believe anything they do is superior. They believe they are born with better genes.”
The White House maintains that Trump is not racist.
“Donald Trump’s record as a private citizen and as president has been one of fighting for inclusion and advocating for the equal treatment of all,” White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Matthews told The Washington Post last month. “Anyone who suggests otherwise is only seeking to sow division.”
Yes, Biden should pack the court: It's time to fight back against Mitch McConnell's power-grabs, by "Digby" Parton
Fox News: Minnesota coronavirus cases traced to Trump, Biden campaign events: reports (but mostly Trump rallies)
Ignoring faith means ignoring the parasitic ramifications of the anti-Roe project.
Former Trump official details how difficult it was to protect America during the last 4 years — because of the ‘chaos’ president... Trump made it hard for me to protect America. How could I vote for him again? How could anyone?
My job was to keep Americans safe and Trump was my biggest obstacle. He ignored white nationalist violence, ignored COVID-19, and nearly started a war.
Viewed through the dark lens of a fully nihilistic or totalitarian aesthetics, where the work of art transcends all ordinary morality — and if Donald Trump had a theory of aesthetics, that would be it — even the cruelty and recklessness of his performance is an aspect of its brilliance. From the beginning, Trump told us that he could commit murder in public without alienating his supporters. Many of us understood that as a figure of speech. His greatest and most malicious accomplishment in public life (so far) has been to prove, on a grand scale, that it was literally true.
To cite another example, there is no viable argument that the partnership between Trump and Stephen Miller, his most notably sadistic adviser, has been politically successful. Almost all of their vindictive anti-immigrant agenda has been wildly unpopular, and much of it has been abandoned or thrown out by the courts. But as a theatrical display of faux-macho dominance, fueled by shared bitterness and unconcealed racial resentment, the Trump-Miller act has been immensely satisfying to its intended audience.
To suggest that Trump is fundamentally a salesman, a con man and a performer is certainly nothing new. He has been shaped by the worlds of New York real estate, tabloid publicity, professional wrestling and reality TV, where bullshit is everything and even the physical reality of land, buildings and human bodies is a disputable afterthought. But some people seem to get stuck on an imaginary dichotomy or contradiction between Trump as showman and Trump as wannabe tyrant, as if his oft-expressed desire to seize full power and rule forever were not in itself an aspect of the performance.
We didn’t have a mascot at Dominican, only an emblem: veritas. But truth is not monolithic – it is informed by our belief systems
Why are people turning on Trump in 2020?
Earlier this week, I got another email regarding a poll, this time commissioned by Republican Voters Against Trump, a group for which I am the political director. We asked about 350 undecided voters a similar open-ended question to see what was preventing them from voting for Donald Trump. The result?
Two-thirds of those who had an answer to that question said he’s a racist/arrogant/unintelligent jerk who “doesn’t represent the country well,” “lies,” and is “unfit to do the job.”
Some verbatims, just for your enjoyment’s sake:
“He is a horrible human being”
“He is incredibly rude”
“Terrible representative for our country”
“He’s sexist and racist”
“He’s an idiot”
Remember these are the undecided voters.