Daily Blog for July 2020

Stories on and under the headlines for July 31

Trump’s plan to jiggle to Covid stats should be terminal for his 2020 Election chances
  • Why Trump cannot delay the election – plus the truth about mail-in voting
  • COVID-19 Hospital Data System That Bypasses CDC Plagued By Delays, Inaccuracies

127 thoughts on “Daily Blog for July 2020

  1. Why Won’t Democrats Just Come Out for Legalizing Marijuana?

    It’s popular. It’s the right thing to do. But as with so many key issues, Biden keeps pressuring the party to pull its punches.

    Marijuana-themed US flag. (Bill Clark / CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

    Some political issues are hard to wrestle with. Some are easy. Legalizing marijuana is easy.

    A Pew Research Center survey found last fall that Americans back legalization by a 67-32 margin. The numbers spike among Democrats, 78 percent of whom favor ending this form of prohibition. But there’s also majority support—55 percent—among Republicans. Among voters under age 30, support for legalization is sky-high.

    Enthusiasm for legalization extends far beyond the large number of Americans who are recreational users of marijuana to include millions of people who recognize, as does the American Civil Liberties Union, that “Marijuana Legalization Is a Racial Justice Issue.”

    “Marijuana has been a key driver of mass criminalization in this country and hundreds of thousands of people, the majority of whom are Black or Latinx, have their lives impacted by a marijuana arrest each year,” ACLU policy analyst Charlotte Resing explained last year, while Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign argued, “Legalizing marijuana is about more than just allowing recreational use, or the potential medicinal benefit, or the money that can be made from this new market. It’s about undoing a century of racist policy that disproportionately targeted Black and Latino communities. It’s about rebuilding the communities that have suffered the most harm.”

    See, easy.

    Except for the Democratic Party. When the party’s task force on criminal justice reform released its policy recommendations this week, legalization was off the agenda. That was just one example of the caution that permeates the 110-page document submitted to the Democratic National Committee’s platform drafters by the six task forces that were set up in May by presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his chief rival for the party’s nomination, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. The task force recommendations on issues ranging from health care and the environment to immigration and economics tend toward compromise at a point when the former vice president should be presenting a dynamic vision of what comes next.

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  2. Trump Manages to Wear a Mask and Undercut Mask-Wearing at the Same Time

    President Donald Trump finally wore a mask in public during a visit to Walter Reed Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland on Saturday. Photo: Chris Kleponis/Polaris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

    The absurd drama of Donald Trump finally acting like a normal human being by wearing a mask — a public health measure to combat the spread of the pandemic coronavirus he resisted from the moment he announced it three months ago, and then mocked others for following — came to an end on Saturday as the president took part in a carefully staged photo-op during a visit to Walter Reed Military Medical Center in Maryland.

    But before Trump posed for the cameras, lumbering slowly down a hospital corridor flanked by masked military officers — an image his senior campaign advisors seemed to think was the coolest thing since the “Reservoir Dogs” title sequence — the president made a point of undercutting the public health advice once more.

    On his way to the hospital, Trump stopped to tell reporters that he was not endorsing the sort of routine mask-wearing mayors and governors have been begging Americans to embrace to curb the spread of Covid-19, as the death toll neared 135,000.

    Masks, the president said as he left the White House, “have a time and a place.” Specifically, Trump explained, “when you’re in a hospital,” as he would be, “talking to a lot of soldiers and people that in some cases just got off the operating tables.”

    In other words, the president made no effort to cast the wearing of masks as an inconvenient but necessary precaution to take in non-medical settings, like grocery stores or restaurants, where his supporters have been filmed day after day refusing to cover their faces, while loudly insisting that health orders intended to combat the pandemic are some sort of Democratic hoax.

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  3. Fox News Achieves Peak Gaslighting by Claiming Trump Never Called Mexicans Rapists

    Trump “didn’t say that,” two hosts lied while shaking their heads

    Fox News hosts Juan Williams and Jeanine Pirro. FoxNews/Screencap

    When Donald Trump announced that he was running for president in June of 2015, he made it extremely clear what he thought about immigration and, in particular, Mexican immigrants. But if you tuned into Fox News on Friday, you would have witnessed a gaslighting for the ages.

    Most of the panel on the Fox News program The Five either shook their heads no or voiced an objection when co-host Juan Williams spoke the easily searchable truth that Trump called Mexican immigrants entering the country “rapists” during his presidential announcement speech.

    “And if you’re talking about who likes division, President Trump pushes buttons of division and polarization, quite regularly,” Williams said. “I think you’ll remember he started his campaign by going after Latin immigrants. He said Mexicans were rapists and thieves.”

    Co-hosts Greg Gutfeld, Jesse Watters and Jeanine Pirro all shook their heads in disagreement, while some repeated, “No, [Trump] didn’t.” And Watters tried to downplay the severity of the president’s past racist remarks by reminding the Fox audience that Trump also said, “some [Mexicans] are good people.”

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  4. Fox host’s writer quits after racist and sexist online comments revealed

    * Blake Neff was one of Tucker Carlson’s top writers
    * CNN investigation found comments posted under pseudonym

    One of Fox host Tucker Carlson’s top writers has resigned after a CNN investigation found he was posting racist and sexist comments online under a pseudonym.

    Under the name “CharlesXII”, Blake Neff regularly posted offensive language on an online forum called AutoAdmit.

    In June, for example, Neff wrote, “Black doods staying inside playing Call of Duty is probably one of the biggest factors keeping crime down.” Neff also harassed a woman on the forum, revealing facts about her personal life and encouraging other users to post private information about her.

    In an internal memo sent to staff, Fox News confirmed Neff is no longer with the broadcaster. “We want to make abundantly clear that Fox News Media strongly condemns this horrific racist, misogynistic and homophobic behavior,” read the memo. “Neff’s abhorrent conduct on this forum was never divulged to the show or the network until Friday, at which point we swiftly accepted his resignation.”

    Carlson has called Neff a “wonderful writer”. In an interview with Dartmouth’s alumni magazine, Neff said: “Anything [Carlson is] reading off the teleprompter, the first draft was written by me.”

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  5. Robert Mueller breaks his silence and condemns Trump for commuting Roger Stone’s sentence

    US special counsel defends his investigation into allegations of corruption during 2016 election

    *Former special counsel Robert Mueller has broken his silence in a Washington Post story castigating Donald Trump for commuting Roger Stone’s prison sentence and defending his two-year investigation. Photograph: Alex Brandon/AP *

    The former special counsel Robert Mueller made a rare move on Saturday to publicly defend his two-year investigation into allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia in the 2016 election – and to castigate Donald Trump’s decision to commute Roger Stone’s prison sentence.

    Mueller wrote an opinion article for the Washington Post [paywall] published under the headline “Roger Stone remains a convicted felon, and rightly so”.

    “The work of the special counsel’s office – its report, indictments, guilty pleas and convictions – should speak for itself,” he wrote.

    “But I feel compelled to respond both to broad claims that our investigation was illegitimate and our motives were improper, and to specific claims that Roger Stone was a victim of our office …

    “Stone was prosecuted and convicted because he committed federal crimes. He remains a convicted felon, and rightly so.”

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  6. Useful Idiots: True Anon’s Liz and Brace on Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein

    Plus, Matt Taibbi and Katie Halper break down reactions to the much-debated “A Letter on Justice and Open Debate” published by Harper’s

    In this week’s quarantine episode of our Useful Idiots podcast, hosts Matt Taibbi and Katie Halper are joined by Liz Franczak and Brace Belden, co-hosts of the podcast True Anon.

    For the “Democrats Suck” segment, Matt submits a recent action supported by many Dems to restrict the removal of American troops from Afghanistan, a move that was supported by Donald Trump. “This is a classic example of everything I hate about both parties frankly, but the Democrats most of all,” says Matt. “You get a face full of social issues and anti-Trump stuff and whatever else is hot on MSNBC that day, but when they actually go to D.C., what politicians do 99% of the time is reward the people who fund their campaigns, and nobody does that more directly that the people who sit in the Armed Services Committee.”

    Katie and Matt also dive into the reaction to the open letter published by Harper’s, titled “A Letter on Justice and Open Debate,” which has become a contentious touchstone in media circles. Matts describes it as the “letter everyone is wigging about,” and Katy says the goal is to “cancel cancel culture.”

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  7. Administration Reassures Public Trump Won’t Actually Commit Basic Act of Humanity

    Trump said he would grant “Dreamers” a path to citizenship with an executive order. He can’t

    Trump can neither end DACA nor make it permanent, he’s once again just blowing smoke

    In an interview with Telemundo’s José Díaz-Balart, President Trump said that he is planning to sign an executive order on immigration that will include “a road to citizenship” to “Dreamers” covered by the Obama Administration’s DACA protections. But that is a lie. The president does not have the power to make unilateral action like that via executive order. And further, White House Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere released a statement after the interview clarifying that the executive order will address merit-based immigration but not DACA recipients.

    During the bizarre interview, Díaz-Balart asked Trump why is he so “laser-focused on deporting” DACA recipients, which is when Trump baselessly claimed that he is not deporting DACA recipients and would instead create opportunities for them to obtain citizenship. Even while he was lying, though, the president couldn’t even keep straight that the action he was talking about was an executive order and not a bill — a term reserved for legislation that has gone through Congress.

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  8. Trailing Jamaal Bowman by 25 Points, Rep. Eliot Engel Sues to Be Able to Challenge Absentee Ballots

    Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., votes at a school near his home on June 23, 2020, in the Riverdale neighborhood of the Bronx borough of New York City. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

    More than two weeks since New York’s Democratic primaries, Jamaal Bowman maintains a double-digit lead over Democratic Rep. Eliot Engel, who has filed a preemptive lawsuit preserving his campaign’s right to challenge the validity of absentee ballots.

    With all 50,575 in-person ballots counted, Bowman, a former middle school principal backed by Justice Democrats and the Democratic Socialists of America, leads Engel by more than 12,600 votes. Absentee ballots, meanwhile, are still being counted, with delays caused by the historic number of absentee ballots cast because of the coronavirus pandemic — around 765,000 distributed in New York City alone. The Board of Elections has said it is not sure how long it will take to finish counting absentee ballots, though the Bowman and Engel campaigns say they’ve been told that it will take until early August.

    In New York’s 16th Congressional District, there are more than 12,000 outstanding ballots in the Bronx and 27,382 in Westchester, according to election officials. (Among in-person voters, Bowman got around 15,000 votes in each county, while Engel received 9,607 votes in Westchester and 8,405 in the Bronx.) Westchester County officials expect they will begin counting absentee ballots for the congressional race by Monday. The Bronx County Board of Elections did not respond to a request for comment, but Bowman is leading absentee ballots there, according to his campaign.
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    Jerry Goldfeder, a longtime election law expert in New York City, is representing Engel’s campaign in the lawsuit, which was filed on July 1. Engel’s campaign is seeking the ability to oversee the absentee ballot-counting process and the right to contest those ballots. Bowman’s campaign has said the lawsuit would unnecessarily prolong the campaign and could disenfranchise voters.

    Given Bowman’s 25-point lead, a substantial portion of the 40,000 absentee ballots would have to be invalidated for the race to tip in Engel’s favor — a highly unlikely scenario. It is not unusual for campaigns to file such lawsuits in close races, but it’s less common when the gap is so large. “We recognize that Mr. Bowman’s lead is substantial, but when the outstanding ballots are well more than three times that margin, it is also clear that primary voters deserve a clear and accurate count (with ballots in question examined fairly by each campaign), however long that requires,” Engel spokesperson Tom Watson said in a statement.

    “The right to vote is absolutely central to our democracy,” he added. “Furthermore, we need to make sure we get this mail-in ballot process right, especially ahead of November’s critical presidential election. During an era when voting rights are under attack by reactionary forces around the country, here in New York the will of our Democratic voters must be preserved, whatever the outcome.”

    Watson said the purpose of the lawsuit was to make sure the campaign had access to the ballot-counting process and to ensure that every ballot is counted. “It can go both ways, you can contest it to be included as well as contest it to be excluded,” he said. “In theory, you wouldn’t want all this to happen behind a curtain, where you’re accepted or not accepted, and there is no access to that process.”

    Jamaal Bowman Set to Oust Rep. Eliot Engel in Major Progressive Power Grab

    At a July 7 hearing, Bowman’s campaign had the chance to respond to Engel’s suit, and the state Board of Elections said it didn’t expect to have full results from mail-in ballots until sometime in August. Bowman’s campaign said it doesn’t expect much to come of the suit, given the margins of Bowman’s in-person vote count and early absentee results from the Bronx.

    “Eliot Engel’s unnecessary lawsuit would not only further delay the results for our district, but could also wind up disenfranchising voters,” Bowman campaign manager Luke Hayes said in a press release Wednesday. “We’re not going to stand by and let that happen, which is why we built a legal team to take on these challenges and make sure every single vote is counted.”

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  9. Fauci says he hasn’t briefed Trump in two months as Covid-19 cases rise

    President said public health expert ‘made a lot of mistakes’ while nearly 3.2 million have contracted the coronavirus

    *Dr Anthony Fauci looks on as Donald Trump speaks in Washington DC on 15 May. Photograph: Drew Angerer/Getty Images *

    Donald Trump says Dr Anthony Fauci is “a nice man, but he’s made a lot of mistakes”. Fauci says he last saw Trump on 2 June and has not briefed him in two months.

    The president was speaking to the Fox News host Sean Hannity. The most senior non-political member of the White House coronavirus taskforce and America’s top public health expert was having lunch with the Financial Times.

    Meanwhile, nearly 3.2 million coronavirus cases have been recorded in the US and almost 133,000 people have died. More than 60,000 new cases were confirmed on Thursday, the latest in a succession of unwelcome records.

    States which reopened early, Arizona, Texas and Florida prominent among them, are facing steep rises in cases and crushing pressure on testing and hospital beds. Early hotspots, such as California, New York and New Jersey, are pausing or modifying reopening, or considering re-entering lockdown.

    “I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say we have a serious ongoing problem, right now, as we speak,” Fauci said. “What worries me is the slope of the curve. It still looks like it’s exponential.”

    He continued: “I think we have to realise that some states jumped ahead of themselves. Other states did it correctly. But the citizenry didn’t listen to the guidelines and they decided they were going to stay in bars and go to congregations of crowds and celebrations.”

    Fauci put that down, in part, to a very American problem with authority. It is one the president seems to share.

    “A lot of them said don’t wear a mask, don’t wear a mask,” Trump told Hannity about advisers including Fauci. “Now they are saying wear a mask. A lot of mistakes were made, a lot of mistakes.”

    Many observers charge that Trump has made them, by refusing to wear a mask or consider a national mandate and by declining to “listen to my experts” in general. The president told Fox News he would probably wear a mask to visit Walter Reed hospital on Saturday. But he also mocked Joe Biden, his presumptive opponent in November, for wearing a “massive” mask in public.

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  10. Two-thirds of country now disapproves of Trump’s handling of pandemic, new poll finds

    Do you approve or disapprove of the way Donald Trump is handling the response to the coronavirus (COVID-19)?

    Two-thirds of Americans now disapprove of President Trump’s response to the coronavirus, his worst marks to date, according to a new ABC News-Ipsos poll.

    The poll released Friday finds that 67 percent disapprove of Trump’s handling of the pandemic, while 33 percent approve.

    Trump’s disapproval number has jumped nine points since mid-June, a period that has coincided with a resurgence in coronavirus cases, particularly in states in the South and West.

    While Democrats have always been highly skeptical of Trump’s performance, his standing has slipped among independents and Republicans, according to the poll.

    Trump’s disapproval among independents has risen to 73 percent, up from 59 percent in the June poll. Meanwhile, 78 percent of Republicans approve of Trump’s handling of the virus, compared with 90 percent in mid-June.

    The poll also finds that 59 percent of Americans believe the push to reopen the economy is moving too quickly. There is a wide gulf in perceptions on that question based on party affiliation. Eighty-four percent of Democrats believe things are moving too quickly, compared with 26 percent of Republicans.

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  11. There’s No Such Thing as Pandemic Austerity for Billionaires

    As families face food insecurity and homelessness, lobbyists, massive corporations, and the American war machine are living large.

    Spencer Platt/Getty Images

    Donald Trump’s response to the coronavirus from the very start was more or less willful neglect, and lately, according to White House officials, he’s banking on that strategy for reelection. The administration’s plan, current and former staffers recently told The Washington Post, is to force the country to reopen in the hopes that going back to offices and restaurants will mean that no one notices a pandemic is still raging. “They’re of the belief that people will get over it, or if we stop highlighting it, the base will move on and the public will learn to accept 50,000 to 100,000 new cases a day,” one staffer said.

    That could be setting the stage for a kind of slow-motion apocalypse: If things continue in this vein, the public will have to accept not just more Covid deaths but also widespread hunger and homelessness. Recently, the Institute for Policy Studies estimated that food insecurity in the United States has doubled since the start of the pandemic, with Black and Latinx households hit hardest, and a spokesperson for the organization Feeding America called the surge in demand at food banks “unprecedented and unlike any challenge that we’ve faced in food bank history in the United States.” (Feeding America also estimates that 40 percent of people now visiting food banks are first-time recipients of food assistance.) Things are well on track to get even more dire: As federal and state-level eviction moratoriums expire over the coming months, as many as 23 million renters could face eviction by the end of the summer, according to a new analysis from the Aspen Institute. Meanwhile, Senate Republicans continue their crusade to end pandemic unemployment benefits at the end of this month. “We should help people when they’re down and out. And we have. But we have to be careful,” Alabama Senator Richard Shelby said. “Somebody’s going to have to pay this debt some day.”

    Of course, it’s not much of a surprise at this point that this kind of budget hand-wringing all but vanishes when it comes to certain other expenditures. For example, there seems to be plenty of money in the coffers—over $740 billion, to be exact—for the Pentagon. A bill to authorize the annual defense budget, now idling while the Senate is in recess, so far has overwhelming bipartisan support, save for a last-ditch effort by a few Congress members, led by Bernie Sanders, to cut that amount by 10 percent. (Trump, perpetually drowning in a culture war of his own making, has threatened to veto the bill because it requires renaming Army bases currently named after Confederates, but war hawks have bravely vowed not to let that happen. “If it came to overriding a veto, we’d probably override the veto,” Iowa’s Chuck Grassley said this week. What a relief!)

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  12. Opinion – What Mary Trump’s book and the ‘Trump v. Vance’ case have in common

    The Supreme Court building in Washington on Thursday. (Andrew Harnik/AP)

    What do a gripping family tell-all book and a momentous Supreme Court decision have in common? Quite a lot, it turns out.

    The book, to be published next week, comes from Mary L. Trump, a clinical psychologist who happens also to be niece of Donald Trump, the president of the United States. It describes how Donald Trump has been protected by institutions his entire life.

    Trump v. Vance, the Supreme Court case decided Thursday, illustrates how the president has pushed those protections to the limit — and how they’re about to end.

    Mary Trump’s ”Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man” tells a remarkable story, the broad strokes of which many already knew. Mary Trump offers a tale of what she calls “malignant” family dysfunction, and how it produced a malignantly dysfunctional president.

    It’s an unsparing and relentlessly detailed account. Her professional judgments about the president’s indisputable narcissism and, perhaps, sociopathy dovetail with those that other experts have reached before. Yet it’s not the possible diagnoses that give Mary Trump’s book its punch. It’s the factual detail — detail that only a family member could provide.

    According to the book, Donald Trump paid someone to take the SAT for him. He also tried to trick his mentally declining father into signing a codicil that would have stripped his siblings of their inheritances. Her specifics all lead to the same brutal conclusions: “the sum total of who my uncle is,” she says, consists of “lies, misrepresentations, and fabrications.” He’s “incapable of growing, learning, or evolving.” He lacks true competence, his “real skills” being “self-aggrandizement, lying, and sleight of hand.” His own sister, a former federal appellate judge, thinks of her brother as a “clown,” unsuited for office. (Kayleigh McEnany, the White House press secretary, called ”Too Much and Never Enough” “a book of falsehoods.”)

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  13. What 9 GOP Campaign Consultants Really Think About Republicans’ Chances in November

    The mood in MAGA-land: “Every shred of evidence points to a likely ass kicking”


    Shooting rubber bullet grenades at protesting priests. Catastrophically botching the pandemic response, resulting in a public health and economic calamity. Tweeting “white power” memes. Ranting in front of empty arenas about how he navigated a “slippery ramp.” Being MIA while his Russian benefactors put out a hit on American soldiers in Afghanistan.

    The last 3 months have been a political dumpster fire for President Trump, and the flames have engulfed Republicans up and down the ballot. But while pockets of Republican resistance have roasted Dear Leader, elected officials in D.C. and their svengalis in the consultant class have remained steadfast.

    These swamp creatures were never the biggest Trumpers in the first place — his initial campaign team was an assortment of d-listers and golf course grunts rather than traditional GOP ad men. So why, as Trump’s numbers plummet, are these establishment RINOs continuing to debase themselves to protect someone who is politically faltering and couldn’t care less about them?

    I reached out to nine of my former allies and rivals who still consult for Republican candidates at the highest levels of Senate and House races, some who have gone full MAGA and others for whom the president is not their cup of tea. I asked them to speak candidly, without their names attached, to learn about the real behind the scenes conversations about the state of affairs. How is the president’s performance impacting their candidate? Are there discussions about either storming the cockpit or gently trying to #WalkAway from Trump? And finally, why in the hell aren’t they more pissed at this incompetent asshole who is fucking up their life?

    What I found in their answers was one part Stockholm Syndrome, one part survival instinct. They all may not love the president, but most share his loathing for his enemies on the left, in the media, and the apostate Never Trump Republicans with a passion that engenders an alliance with the president, if not a kinship. And even among those who don’t share the tribalistic hatreds, they perceive a political reality driven by base voters and the president’s shitposting that simply does not allow for dissent.

    As one put it: “There are two options, you can be on this hell ship or you can be in the water drowning.”

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  14. ‘It’s like night and day’: Trudeau’s and Trump’s Covid-19 responses fuel wildly different outcomes

    The US president stokes division as the virus rages, while the prime minister of Canada – where the outbreak appears to be stabilizing – has fostered a shared sense of duty

    * Donald Trump celebrated the Fourth Of July at Mount Rushmore, while Justin Trudeau harvested vegetables on Canada’s national holiday. Composite: AFP/Getty Images/Reuters *

    Donald Trump marked the Fourth of July with an apocalyptic speech at Mount Rushmore in which he stoked partisan grievance and deployed racist dog whistles, ignoring calls for unity as coronavirus cases surge.

    Three days earlier, Justin Trudeau chose a more low-key location to celebrate Canada’s own national holiday. The prime minister and his family were photographed harvesting vegetables at an Ottawa food bank farm.

    Unlike Trump and most of his supporters, they all wore face-masks as they sorted through bundles of broccoli.

    The appearances by the two image-conscious leaders were emblematic of two wildly different leadership styles during the pandemic, which have helped one country slow the virus – and plunged the other into its worst health crisis in recent history.

    As the US blew past 3 million infections on Wednesday, Trudeau expressed cautious optimism that Canada had stabilized the outbreak, and took a rare public jab at the Trump administration’s efforts during the pandemic.

    Canada has handled coronavirus outbreak better than US, Trudeau says
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    “We were able to control the virus better than many of our allies, particularly including our neighbour,” Trudeau said.

    Trump has declared that a “tremendous victory” over the virus is imminent, despite a record rise in cases, a boiling culture war over face masks and faltering efforts to re-launch the economy.

    In contrast, new coronavirus cases in Canada have continued to decline this week amid cautious optimism from public health officials that a gradual re-opening of the country is possible.

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  15. Facebook Fuels Its Users’ Ignorance With Lies

    It’s time to stop clicking on the ads.

    Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg looks down as a break is called during his testimony before a joint hearing of the Commerce and Judiciary Committees in April 2018. (Andrew Harnik / AP Photo)

    ou’d have had to be some kind of evil genius to imagine something as terrible for the world as Facebook. With an estimated 2.6 billion users and $70 billion in annual profits, it is the most effective purveyor in history of right-wing hate, lies, and incitement against vulnerable people and the planet.

    Is Facebook’s malevolence driven by a thirst for profit or politics? As with Fox News, alas, that’s a false choice, as the two reinforce each other. Facebook makes its money—as newspapers used to—by selling eyeballs to advertisers. But before local news started collapsing, thanks partly to the advertiser exodus to Facebook and Google, newspapers used this model to fulfill their responsibilities to educate readers and hold those in power to account. Facebook does the opposite: It narrows its users’ interests and fuels their ignorance with lies and misinformation.

    Every so often, Mark Zuckerberg will issue a statement that implies he is sorry and that Facebook will try to do better. Of course, it never does. According to a study reported by the watchdog website Popular Information, during the first 10 months of 2019, “politically relevant disinformation was found to have reached over 158 million estimated views, enough to reach every reported registered voter in the US at least once.” That pace was accelerating, and guess what: “Most negative misinformation (62%) was about Democrats or liberals.”

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  16. Program Note:

    Starting tonight at 8 p.m. I’ll be doing a one hour show playing some new cuts and some not so new. It’s been a while and I’ve got all this new fancy gear so I have to do something.

    The plan is to make this a weekday program for now and keep it at an hour. Some of the long time listeners have been asking to hear my voice again which was described in “Internet Radio Streaming” magazine as “geese farts on a muggy day”.

    I’m calling this “Rolling My Own” so grab something cold to drink and take an hour break from this mess of a world.

    1. I haven’t heard geese farting on a muggy day so I have to assume they have a dulcet tone. I’m looking forward to hearing it, but the trick for me is remembering to tune in.

      How’d the premiere go?

      1. Only one faux pas. I said I’d play 2 Ray LaMontagne songs and forgot the second one. There will be another tonight and I may try playing the hour twice to give listeners in distant time zones a chance to hear, maybe 4 a.m.?

        As for my voice the air pollution (ozone) is approaching critical levels. If I go outside for a while it takes a hour or two inside before my lungs recover.

        1. You do pretty well during these Mercury retrograde periods.

          Another chance to hear it sounds good to me in the same time zone, too.

          Also having pollution problems. Wearing a mask when I’m alone in the yard, helps somewhat but not quite enough. Eh.

          1. As for the air, for me it’s been a compounding problem with everyday worse than the day before. Oh, the joys of aging! I haven’t smoked in 20 years but this air is like breathing cotton. Maybe I will try a mask outdoors when I’m just walking the dog, my neighbors think I’m nuts anyway. 😉

            Maybe I’ll replay at 5 a.m. EDT. That would be 10 in London and early evening for our other side of the world listeners in Japan and Australia.

            I get up at 5 because well, my dog so there’s some sense to be found in there somewhere. I will start that next Monday since I refuse to work on the weekends.

            A person has to draw the line somewhere. Am I right?

            Stay safe CC.

  17. The Republicans Take America on a Death March

    Trump, Ron DeSantis, and Betsy DeVos are willing to sacrifice thousands of American lives for nothing more than political points.

    Late last month, Carsyn Leigh Davis turned 17 in an ICU bed in Naples, Florida. Two days later, at 1:06 p.m. on June 23, she died at a children’s hospital across the state, in Miami, where she’d been transferred for last-ditch “heroic efforts” at saving her life. She was the latest of 3,281 deaths in the state from Covid-19 at the time; as I write this, less than two weeks later, the toll is now 3,841.

    Davis—an honors student and Special Olympics volunteer with multiple lifelong medical conditions, whose parents were “a nurse and physician’s assistant”—had attended a large Pentecostal church party “with 100 other children” 13 days before her death, according to the Miami-Dade County medical examiner’s report. “She did not wear a mask. Social distancing was not followed.”

    Several days after that party, when she turned gray and exhibited life-threatening blood-oxygen levels, Davis’s parents put her on her grandfather’s oxygen tank and dosed her with hydroxychloroquine, the dubious drug that President Trump pushed (and claimed to be taking) to stave off Covid-19. On the strength of the president’s endorsement, millions of his supporters, including adherents to QAnon conspiracy theories, have made runs on hydroxychloroquine. In fact, after rushing her dying daughter to the hospital, Davis’s mother grew furious when the doctors refused to give the girl more hydroxychloroquine. Davis’s mother also refused to let the doctors put her daughter on a ventilator, according to the medical examiner’s report. Three days later, as Davis flagged, the doctors declared the ventilator a necessity, but even after intubation, “her best O2 saturation was low 70s”; the concentration of oxygen in her blood remained fatally low, and she never recovered.

    Keeping churches open—as well as beaches, restaurants, and dividend-yielding commerce—has been a big priority for Ron DeSantis, who, as Florida’s fourth consecutive Republican governor, serves two key constituencies: rich people in general, and one aged West Palm Beach snowbird heir in particular. In that spirit, DeSantis has resisted calls from medical experts and Florida residents to return to quarantine measures or shutdowns of nonessential businesses.

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  18. Trump Campaign Ads Mislead Viewers About Black Protesters Who Stopped Violence

    Protesters demanded justice for George Floyd in Washington, D.C. on May 31. Photo: Samuel Corum/AFP via Getty Images

    Through deceptive editing, two recent campaign ads for President Donald Trump falsely portray law-abiding Black Lives Matter protesters who acted to prevent violence as dangerous thugs plotting to “unleash a wave of violent crime in our cities.”

    The Trump campaign ads mislead viewers by distorting the meaning of video recorded during a protest in Washington, D.C. on May 31 by Safvan Allahverdi, a reporter for Turkey’s state-owned Anadolu news agency.

    As Allahverdi explained in a Twitter caption for his 92-second clip, the incident he caught on camera that day showed black protesters taking it upon themselves to head off trouble, by tackling and disarming a white man clad in black who was using a hammer to break up pieces of the sidewalk into potential projectiles.

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  19. ‘Disappointing’ Zuckerberg meeting fails to yield results, say Facebook boycott organizers

    Civil rights groups say company did not commit to concrete plan to address hate speech and misinformation

    * Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, above, and Sheryl Sandberg met with members of a coalition of civil rights groups. Photograph: Eric Risberg/AP *

    The organizers behind a major advertiser boycott of Facebook have called a meeting with Mark Zuckerberg and other executives “disappointing”, saying the company failed to commit to concrete solutions for addressing hate speech and misinformation on the platform.

    Officials at Facebook, including Zuckerberg, the CEO, and Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer, met with members of the coalition of civil rights groups over video chat for an hour on Tuesday to discuss the largest boycott in Facebook history, which has gained the support of more than 1,000 of its advertisers, including Unilever, Coca-Cola, and Starbucks.

    Facebook showed up to this meeting expecting a grade A for attendance
    Rashad Robinson

    But the company offered little in terms of concrete solutions, said Rashad Robinson of the Color of Change, one of the groups calling on advertisers to suspend spending as part of the campaign, known as Stop Hate for Profit.

    “Facebook showed up to this meeting expecting a grade A for attendance,” he said. “Attendance alone is not enough. At this point we were expecting some very clear answers to the recommendations we put on the table, and we did not get that. We did not get to the heart of these problems.”

    Those recommendations include putting someone with civil rights expertise in the C suite at Facebook, submitting to regular third-party audits of hate and misinformation, and removing the political exemptions that allow some public figures to bypass hate speech rules on the platform. The opposition to political exemptions has intensified in recent weeks after Donald Trump appeared to call for shooting protesters, a post flagged as inappropriate on Twitter but left up without action on Facebook.

    The campaign also demands Facebook find and remove public and private groups focused on white supremacy, antisemitism, violent conspiracies, Holocaust denialism, vaccine misinformation, and climate denialism.

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