I don’t know when or if I’ll get to a writeup today, but this afternoon Trump supporting terrorists breached the United States capitol in an attempt to carry out a coup. The president encouraged this action.
“What is the cost of lies?” asked Valery Legasov in HBO’s brilliant Chernobyl mini-series.
It wasn’t a rhetorical question. Legasov had an answer: “It’s not that we’ll mistake them for the truth. The real danger is that if we hear enough lies, then we no longer recognize the truth at all.”
Trump campaign manager Steven Bannon put it a little more succinctly when he summarized how to enact his alt-right agenda: “Flood the zone with shit.”
And so here we are, four years later, with a significant portion of the country unable to recognize truth – that Joe Biden won the election. 50 days after the 2020 election and Donald Trump is still claiming that he won, still filing lawsuits seeking to overturn the election, and encouraging congress to reject the results of the electoral college, which has already voted. These lies have been lucrative for Trump. He has raised over $250 million SINCE the election by telling supporters the funds are going to the legal fight to keep him in office. That’s a lie. The funds have been split between the Republican Party and a Trump PAC. As for the campaign funds themselves, Jared Kushner was operating a shell company to mask where over $600 million of the campaign’s money went. We do not know where all of it was spent, but we do know a large amount of that was directed to Trump family members.
Trump has now pardoned multiple people convicted of lying to the FBI in order to protect him during the Mueller probe – Mike Flynn, Paul Manafort, Roger Stone, George Papadopoulos, Alex Van der Zwaan. He pardoned 4 Blackwater mercenaries convicted of murdering over a dozen Iraqi civilians, including a nine year old boy who was shot in the head. He pardoned two border patrol agents convicted of shooting an unarmed man in the back. He pardoned Jared Kushner’s father. Charles Kushner arranged for a prostitute to sleep with his brother in law. Kushner filmed the act then sent it to his own sister. Why? To prevent her from testifying against him. He has pardoned multiple former Republican congressmen convicted of embezzlement and securities fraud. He is using the pardon power to protect those who obstructed the Mueller investigation to save him, to help personal friends, and to excuse the sorts of financial crimes he himself has been accused of.
The White House has been extremely opaque regarding their own Covid-19 infections. Every outbreak has been broken by the media, rather than released by the White House. We recently learned the head of White House security has been suffering from a severe case of Covid-19 for months. One foot and part of his other leg have been amputated. He’s currently running a GoFundMe to pay his medical bills. His boss claims to be one of the richest people on the planet and could wipe out his debt in an instant. He will not do so.
Trump’s political appointees at the CDC went to great lengths to lie about the state of the pandemic. Redfield himself instructed staff to delete an email from a Michael Caputo advisor seeking to alter the CDC’s weekly Morbidity and Mortality report. Caputo and his aid also sought to downplay the use of masks, alter data to promote the use of hydroxychloroquine, and to promote herd immunity over effective countermeasures. Why? To service Donald Trump’s lies about the virus.
Following other departments which have been instructed not to cooperate with the transition process, Betsy Devos told career staff to “be the resistance” against the Biden administration. Yesterday, staff at the White House were given instructions about how their jobs would wind down and about their last days in the building. (This is the normal process). A memo went out today telling them all to ignore those instructions entirely. The implication is that Donald Trump might still be the president.
States have not received their requested amounts of the Pfizer vaccine as Pfizer has said they have a large amount of the vaccine sitting idle in a warehouse. Why? The Trump administration did not instruct Pfizer on where to send the vaccine.
Trump tweeted out a video of a Texas elector saying that Chief Justice Roberts got into a shouting match regarding one of Trump’s bullshit lawsuits. The claim was that Roberts knew Trump’s case was sound but was killing it for… reasons. The Texas elector got this story from the alt-right media. And they got it from an anonymous post on 4-chan from someone claiming to be a Supreme Court clerk. At any point in that chain from “journalist” to president, the story would have fallen apart under the most basic fact checking. The Supreme Court has not met in person since the beginning of March.
Trump is touting a “report” from sycophant Peter Navarro. I’ll note that in Navarro’s books he was unable to find anyone in the field of economics who agreed with his ideas so he invented one, using an anagram of his own name. The report contains several disproven claims about how Trump actually won the election. Philip Bump did an excellent takedown here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/12/18/this-might-be-most-embarrassing-document-created-by-white-house-staffer/#click=https://t.co/7WflP1PIdk
Russia has undertaken the largest intrusion into US government computer systems in history. As usual, Trump responded to the revelation by calling the information itself into question but also saying it may have been China. It was not. The White House had a statement drafted announcing Russia’s responsibility for the hack. Trump stopped the statement from being released. Trump also said China may have been the country which hacked DNC email systems, said he didn’t see why it would be Russia who interfered in the 2016 election, and said it was fake news that Russia had paid bounties on US troops in Afghanistan. At every turn, Trump has gone to great lengths to say Russia has committed no wrong.
We now have seen the scope of the Michael Flynn pardon and as expected, it’s extremely broad. Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI but we knew there were other crimes the prosecutors hadn’t proceeded with. The pardon covers ALL crimes committed by Flynn uncovered by the Mueller investigation. General Flynn, formerly National Security Adviser and head of the military’s Defense Intelligence Agency, is now openly calling for Donald Trump to suspend the Constitution, throw out the election, and hold a new election conducted by the military. You may recognize this action as a coup. The president’s first national security adviser is calling for a coup.
Unsealed Department of Justice documents revealed an investigation into someone who was offering a bribe to Donald Trump in exchange for a pardon. While the documents do not reveal who the target of the investigation is, former UAW president Gary Jones fits what we do know. President Trump said the investigation was “fake news” apparently not understanding that the media did not uncover the investigation at all. We only know about it from the court documents themselves.
Rudy Giuliani has asked for a pardon to pre-empt any prosecutions arising from the work he’s been doing with foreign nationals and spies. Trump is also considering pardoning Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, Donald Trump Jr., and Eric Trump, more commonly known as his family. Note that people who have not committed federal crimes do not need pardons.
Speaking of, Ivanka Trump was deposed yesterday in a civil case regarding the inauguration. There are multiple investigations into the inauguration, both civil and criminal. In this case, it’s a civil case related to the inauguration funneling money into Trump’s DC hotel which artificially inflated the prices it charged the inauguration. We have known about this issue for years via emails from inauguration organizer Stephanie Wolkoff who wrote at the time about concerns that the rates the Trump Hotel was charging were illegal.
The president’s lawyer, Joe diGenova, called for the execution of cybersecurity expert Chris Krebs. Krebs issued a statement that the election was secure and there were no signs of massive voter fraud. Trump fired him for telling the truth. Now Trump’s lawyer is saying Krebs should be drawn and quartered then shot. diGenova later said these comments were “sarcastic” and “made in jest.” They were not.
Another government officer who says there was no massive voter fraud is Attorney General Bill Barr. Barr last month secretly appointed investigator John Durham as a special counsel to investigate the Russia investigation. Durham so far has found no evidence at all of wrongdoing. Despite this, Trump is now considering firing Barr for saying the election was not fraudulent.
The Trump administration argued before the Supreme Court on Monday that undocumented immigrants should not be included in census apportionment. This concept has been tested numerous times and failed each and every time. The Constitution is quite clear on who counts in the census – everyone. They will lose this case.
Trump’s lawyers and allies continue to fail over and over again in court. They have to date lost 40 cases and won 1. This does not stop them from filing more. It is difficult to express how incompetent all of these lawyers are. Former Trump campaign lawyer Sidney Powell issued a filing to the court to day which was simply a PDF where she had not filled in any forms. She has filed a suit in Michigan alleging irregularities in Edison County. Michigan does not have an Edison County. She’s confused Edison County with Edison Township, which is not in Michigan, but rather Minnesota. All of this is derived from a dataset she filed earlier in Michigan using information from places in Minnesota. Why the confusion? The person who assembled the data confused the state abbreviations for the two states, MI and MN. In yet another new filing, Powell accused election officials in Arizona of not following the required guidelines set up by the board of elections in Georgia. In a Wisconsin suit, Powell fired on behalf of plaintiff Derrick Van Orden. Slight problem – Van Orden never agreed to be a plaintiff in the suit.
As these cases continue to fail, the Trump campaign insists they have plenty of evidence in the form of affidavits about fraud. Several of those “witnesses” are now testifying and their evidence of fraud includes: election officials asking people to distance, observers wearing BLM apparel with rhinestones, and the room being hot. They are essentially parading every moron conspiracy theorist they can find in front of the microphones and claiming this constitutes evidence.
Trump gave a 46 minute speech today detailing what he claims is proof of election fraud. Every single claim he’s made has already been debunked, ranging from a communist conspiracy theory to have machines flip votes (hand counts have proven this did not happen), suspicious ballot dumps going for Biden (The spikes in tallied votes come from cities, with relatively massive populations, turning in their results), dead voters (every single instance has been proven wrong), etc..
Steve Mnuchin is planning on clawing back unspent PPP funds at the end of the year. The law required not doing this until 2026. He made the mistake of asking Congresswoman Katie Porter if she was a lawyer. She is. After receiving her law degree from an obscure school called Harvard, Porter clerked at the appellate level before entering into private practice and teaching law school for eight years.
Republican senator and Trump ally Ron Johnson spoke to the former chairman of the Brown County Republican Party. Johnson told Mr. Becker he was well aware of the fact that Biden won the election and there was no widespread voter fraud. Johnson, formerly a conduit for a Russian disinformation campaign about Joe Biden, said he couldn’t admit Biden won publicly because it would harm him politically among Trump supporters.
Dr. Jordan Keeperman is a Nevada doctor who recently began working in a Covid-19 ICU at Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno. He posted a picture of himself wearing PPE a few weeks ago with a story about the number of patients he’d recently seen who had died of the disease. He purposefully chose as a background a new ward which had yet to open so as to avoid any patient privacy issues. A twitter account accused him of taking the picture at a fake hospital and that Keeperman had never seen any Covid-19 patients. The President of the United States of America retweeted this bullshit accusation about Dr. Keeperman and added that Nevada also had fake election results. The president is directly attacking front line responders to the pandemic and saying they are lying about the virus.
And not a single Republican will say anything about his doing so.
I’ll obviously have thoughts regardless of what ends up happening, but Donald Trump just announced to the world that he has won the election and will be asking the Supreme Court to stop the tallying of votes.
The threat that is Donald Trump has never endangered the nation on this level before.
Madison Cawthorn is a Republican House candidate who spoke at their convention. He’s published an attack website that included a criticism of a reporter who “quit his academia job in Boston to work for non-white males, like Cory Booker, who aims to ruin white males running for office.” The website has since been changed. At the time of publication, Cawthorn had not offered a statement.
The New York Post piece about Hunter Biden’s laptop was written by a journalist who refused to attach his name to the story because he doubted the veracity. One of the women whose name was attached had never had an article published in the paper before and previously worked for Sean Hannity. The Republicans are thinking this story is the “Clinton’s emails” of 2020 but it does not appear that anyone cares in the least. Among many other stories, Giuliani is claiming the hard drive which he’s had a copy of for quite some time has child pornography on it – a fact he has conveniently not mentioned until two weeks before the election. Right-wing media has alleged the laptop is now part of a money laundering investigation. They’re likely correct. What they’re leaving out is that Giuliani is the one under investigation. DNI Ratcliffe announced the laptop is definitely not part of any foreign disinformation campaign. The FBI contradicted him and have not reached that conclusion.
The Trump campaign accused Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer of promoting the assassination of president Trump because she displayed a sign saying “86 45.” 86 does not mean to kill. Both Trump and the campaign have been viciously attacking Whitmer just days after a right wing terrorist group was arrested for planning to kidnap her.
The Department of Justice is continuing to argue in court that when President Trump said “she’s not my type” of E. Jean Carroll, who is accusing him of rape, that he was acting in his official capacity as president and therefore should be defended by government lawyers, not his own personal lawyers. The goal here is to claim immunity to have the lawsuit tossed. Needless to say, denying an accusation of rape has nothing at all to do with the job of the president.
The New York Times has dropped another Trump tax story. Despite his claims of being tough on China, the president used a shell corporation to hide a Chinese bank account. His companies have been pursuing licensing deals in China which have not been previously disclosed.
The White House is looking into cutting off funding for all manner of government services which it has deemed “anarchist” cities. There are zero cities in the US experiencing any form of anarchy. What the president wants is for police to be more brutal with and arrest more protesters.
Lawyers have been unable to find the parents of 545 children who were separated at the border due to Trump’s kidnapping policy. The program was implemented without any sort of tracking system and parents were deported with absolutely no record of how to get in touch with them. Unable to complete the tasks themselves, Department of Justice lawyers eventually said that ACLU lawyers, along with other groups, should track down the parents themselves – which they’ve done. This should be one of the biggest stories in US political history.
Trump is considering firing FBI director Christopher Wray because Wray will not publicly announce that Hunter and Joe Biden are under investigation. If that sounds familiar, it’s because it is the exact same demand Trump made of the Ukrainian government which is what he was impeached over.
DNI Ratcliffe is trying to declassify a document, originated by House Republicans, that concludes Russia did not interfere in the 2016 election on Trump’s behalf. This directly contradicts the finding of every US intelligence agency, the very groups Ratcliffe oversees. The Director of National Intelligence is not supposed to be a partisan position but Ratcliffe has been taking actions solely to benefit the Trump campaign.
Rudy Giuliani was taken in during a stunt for Sacha Baron Cohen’s new Borat movie. Giuliani has correctly pointed out that he was not taken in by Cohen himself and that he recognized him interrupting an interview. The interview itself was the setup. He ended up alone in a hotel room with an actress he thought was a Russian journalist. This is the president’s personal lawyer, placed in a compromising position by two actors. He is a massive national security threat from foreign agencies who are far more skilled at spycraft than Borat.
Intelligence agencies last year warned the president that Rudy Giuliani was being targeted by Russian intelligence to be a conduit for the election disinformation. This week the New York Post published information they received from Giuliani which is now being investigated by the FBI under suspicion that Russia was behind the story. The story is extremely fishy and even if the source of the information is accurate, what The Post published was stolen data from Hunter Biden. The data includes an email about a meeting between Joe Biden and a Ukrainian businessman set up by Hunter Biden. The Biden campaign says this never happened, which is verifiable. The Post also published a private text conversation, again stolen, between Hunter and his father while Hunter was in rehab. Hunter Biden was worried about the mistakes he’d made in his life harming his father’s political career. Joe Biden responded that the only thing that mattered to him was his son’s recovery and that he loved him. The Republican Party thinks that sentiment is damaging to Joe Biden. The stolen files included pictures of Hunter Biden using drugs. Republican Congressman Paul Gosar tweeted out one of the pictures, mocking Hunter Biden for using drugs, just as Donald Trump attacked him during the first debate. This is the current state of the Republican Party. They are devoid of empathy to a point of thinking attacking a candidate’s son for a drug addiction is a good political strategy. With the US nearing 220,000 Covid-19 deaths, the Trump campaign thinks attacking Hunter Biden is a good closing argument.
Speaking of Giuliani, the president’s lawyer, the “cybersecurity expert” ended a Zoom meeting but left the live feed running. He then proceeded to mock Asians. Yes, really.
The White House has cited a petition calling on the government to fully open businesses to develop herd immunity. The petition includes well known medical experts such as Dr. Person Fakename, I.P. Freely, and Dr. Johnny Bananas. Dr. Fakename could not be reached for comment.
As he publicly downplayed the severity of the pandemic, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow was privately telling investment groups that the pandemic would be catastrophic, prompting his friends to sell off their investments.
President Trump is again bragging that federal law enforcement agents killed a suspect instead of arresting him. The officers appear to have lied about the suspect pulling a gun (he was armed but the weapon was in a pocket after he was shot) and witnesses now say they did not even announce themselves as law enforcement. The president of the United States is praising extrajudicial killings by police.
Trump extended his best wishes to the Kamala Harris staffer who contracted Covid-19 but added that was more than Harris did for him. He’s lying. Harris publicly wished him well.
Multiple times this week, president Trump attacked Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer after the FBI arrested a Trump-supporting terrorist group planning on kidnapping and executing her. He has called her a dictator, said that all of Michigan’s Covid-19 restrictions needed to be removed, and twice tonight led his rally crowd in a chant of “lock her up.” The president, who often encourages violence by his supporters, is openly siding with a terrorist group who planned to take out a governor because of Covid-19 safety measures.
Twice this week the president tweeted out material from The Babylon Bee, a satirical website, thinking it was real. One of the obviously fake articles was about Twitter shutting down to avoid spreading the New York Post article. It included a bit about Twitter programmers being unable to lift a hammer and therefore programming a robot to attack their own servers. The president thought this was a true story.
Trump said on Twitter that he had declassified all information relating to the Russia investigation. He’s done this in the past which resulted in reporters requesting said information. As in the past, the Department of Justice is arguing in court that the president saying he has declassified the information does not mean that the president has declassified the information. Fed up with Trump’s lies, the judge has ordered the Department of Justice to consult with the president about whether he actually issued such an order and return to court with the response.
Similar to what happened to Dr. Fauci recently, the Trump campaign is using an ad featuring Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Mark Milley without his permission and in uniform, which is a violation of the UCMJ. And like the ad featuring Fauci, the Trump campaign is not taking down the ad featuring Milley.
Yesterday the president twice tweeted out about a conspiracy theory from the right-wing depths of Twitter. This conspiracy claims that Iran was holding Osama bin Laden and the entire JPCOA (the Iran nuclear deal) was a cover for paying Iran to send bin Laden, or perhaps a body double, to Pakistan so that the Obama administration could then kill him and receive the credit for it. The originator of this conspiracy theory also says that Obama and Biden then arranged for the assassinations of every member of Seal Team Six who participated in the bin Laden raid. Trump has always been a conspiracy theorist. For a decade he insisted Obama was a Kenyan and that his investigative team had found very interesting things regarding his birth while they were in Hawaii. (He made this up.) He said global warming was invented by China to harm American businesses. And now he’s saying that Biden was involved in killing a Seal Team, several of whom are currently active on social media, in order to cover up a fake bin Laden raid. Donald Trump is completely disconnected from reality. Your Republican friends don’t care about this. They will vote for him anyway. Republican politicians di not care about this. They need his signature. The media has barely mentioned this. It’s simply baked in that Trump believes bullshit conspiracy theories and it’s treated as normal. It isn’t. It never has been. You want to support him? Then you should be able to defend the fact that he thinks Ted Cruz’s father helped kill JFK and that Biden ordered a Seal Team killed.
The New York Times published another financial bombshell. The short version – Trump has been doing political favors for his club members and those he does business with. The White House’s response to this story was that Eric and Donald Trump Jr. now run the company. This sort of corruption has been constant throughout this administration, beginning with the inauguration itself.
The Trump campaign is running an ad with quotes from Dr. Anthony Fauci make it appear Fauci was praising Trump’s handling of the pandemic. His quote was referencing other government officials. Fauci has never endorsed a candidate and does not want to appear to endorse one this year. He has asked the Trump campaign to stop using his words in the ad. The Trump campaign is refusing his request.
The Republican Party in California is setting up ballot dropboxes which appear to be official government ballot collection boxes. They are not. The state has determined this is illegal and sent a cease and desist letter to the Republicans. The party is ignoring the order and continuing to use them.
Former White House doctor, now Congressional candidate, Ronny Jackson did an event with Donald Trump where he declared that Joe Biden has some form of dementia. He’s previously said that Biden must be taking “memory enhancing” drugs to perform as well as he had.
The Department of Justice is suing former Melania Trump aid Stephanie Wolkoff for violating an NDA by publishing a book about Melania. Trump frequently uses NDAs for government employees which is absolutely illegal. Aside from classified information, a government employee has a first amendment right to reveal whatever information they’d like. They will lose this case, but it’s yet another example of Trump viewing the DoJ as his personal legal team.
Trump publicly declared that he had declassified all materials related to the Russia investigation. Reporters responded by requesting said information. The Department of Justice is arguing Trump saying he declassified the materials does not count as declassifying them. This has happened before. The DoJ argues that Trump’s tweets are official orders and that they are NOT official orders depending on which argument is more convenient for them.
The Justice Department’s investigation into what several Republicans called a massive scandal regarding the unmasking of names in intelligence reports has concluded that no one unmasked any names improperly. There have been several investigations into those who investigated Trump that the right has been banking on to justify Trump’s claims of a mass conspiracy against him. All of them so far have found nothing of the sort.
The Trump administration is asking the Supreme Court to allow it to immediately end census collection efforts despite a large number of non-respondents.
The president went to Walter Reed in November of last year. They said it was for part of his routine physical which makes no sense at all as the entire physical can be completed at the White House. We’ve now learned that the doctors working on Trump had to first sign an NDA. Two doctors refused and were not allowed to interact with him. Unusual does not cover this. NDAs against government employees are not actually legal, but Trump frequently uses them anyway. The doctors who signed them could be released from them, but it would likely require a legal battle.
Despite dozens of people contracting Covid-19 in the White House, the president continues to mock people for wearing masks. Immediately after the vice-presidential debate, Mike Pence was photographed with his prep team, none of whom wore a mask.
Elliott Broidy was previously one of the GOP’s finance officers alongside convicted felon Michael Cohen and Steve Wynn, accused of sexual harassment and assault. Broidy was previously caught paying off a Playboy model to keep quiet about an affair via money transferred by Michael Cohen. Sound familiar? Broidy is now set to plead guilty to using his political ties to Trump to aid Malaysian and Chinese interests.
The president multiple times this week said that the treatment he received from Regeneron is a “cure” for Covid-19 and that he’ll be making it readily available for free to every American with help from the military. Every word of this is bullshit. Regeneron isn’t even the name of the treatment. It’s the name of the manufacturer. The treatment is still in clinical trials. Less than 10 people nationwide have received it outside of those trials. If the treatment did cure Covid-19 and there was a way to pay for it for everyone, the company is not capable of manufacturing anywhere near the needed doses.
After the Rose Garden event which likely spread Covid-19 to dozens of people, the president met with several gold star families – those who have lost someone to wartime military service. The president said he couldn’t cancel the event because so many of the families insist on hugging and kissing him, implying they may have been the source of his infection.
Several men were arrested in a plot to kidnap and assassinate Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer over the state’s Covid-19 restrictions. The White House response to the arrests was that Whitmer was sowing discord. President Trump attacked her for not being sufficiently grateful for the arrests then said she was doing a terrible job and needed to fully reopen the state – the exact same claims made by the terrorists. Fox News anchor Laura Ingraham said several times today the men looked like antifa members, not Trump supporters. This is a lie. Several of them posted frequently about Trump on social media and several attended the anti-lockdown protests including the one where armed men overtook the Michigan capitol. These men are Trump supporting terrorists.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is saying he may release more of Hillary Clinton’s emails which is sure to damage her chances of being elected president next month. Every unclassified email the State Department possesses is already freely available on the State Department website. Pompeo is aware of this but said that maybe they’ll find some more. Pompeo’s job is to represent the country in all of our foreign relations. Threatening to release Clinton’s emails in an effort to sway the election obviously has nothing to do with this.
Following the huge expose of Trump’s taxes, the New York Times has revealed a large loan Trump gave his 2016 campaign likely violated the law. One of Trump’s businesses deducted the cost of the loan which isn’t legal. It was also personally backed by one of his business partners which would legally count as a contribution which was never disclosed.
Adding to warnings from HHS and DHS officials, we’ve learned officials at the Department of Justice warned their superiors about the physical and psychological damage from a family separation policy. They were warned and went forward with them regardless.
The CDC wanted to issue a recommendation for everyone on public transportation to wear masks. Like so many other issues, their safety recommendations were overruled by the White House.
Despite having recently hosted an event responsible for spreading Covid-19 to dozens of people, the White House has invited TWO THOUSAND people to an event tomorrow.
Today I’m covering the stories you may have missed in the slurry of Covid-19 news but I want to address last week’s debate. The reaction I saw from independents and moderate conservatives was largely the same – this is awful and both candidates are awful.
Argumentum ad temperantiam. It’s one of the basic logical fallacies you learn when you study such things. There are several names and it’s related to several other fallacies, but essentially it’s the argument that when presented with two opposing ideas, the truth is in the middle of them. If two people argue the location of the US capital, with one person saying DC and another saying Los Angeles, surely the answer must be somewhere in the midwest. This tendency of us to average viewpoints is so strong it’s used in marketing – offer three options when you want to increase demand for the middle option. You will sell more than if you only offered that one option.
You see this everywhere in politics, especially in political journalism. It’s what leads to the “both parties are basically the same mindset.”
And it’s absolutely, demonstrably wrong.
Trump was at his most unhinged during the debate. He lied constantly. He delved into multiple conspiracy theories. He showed absolutely no understanding of the issues or even what a president does. He remains ignorant and incompetent, just as he has been his entire life. Biden made one factual error that I’ve seen, which was a trade statistic that was true in 2019. He had supported stances, which are fleshed out on his website. There was absolutely no comparison between the two. But our brains want to insist things are normal. So when they see Trump’s blathering insanity, we rationalize it by assuming both candidates are this way.
They are not. Trump is vile and cruel. Biden is one of the most empathetic candidates in history. Trump remains woefully unqualified for his office. Biden, like Clinton before him, was eminently qualified.
Enough with the “both sides” talk. You aren’t choosing between two sides of the same coin. You’re choosing between a monster and a good man.
News has nearly 24-7 been focused on Trump’s Covid-19 diagnosis so here are some stories you may have missed over the last week:
The Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe, who lied about his resume specifically regarding intelligence experience, is declassifying documents about Clinton and the Russia investigation. The argument here is that Hillary Clinton blamed Russia for hacking her and working with Trump which led to the entire Russia investigation. The source in one of the releases we’ve seen so far? Russian intelligence. Our own intelligence community rejected this obviously fake information as obviously fake information. But Republicans are running with it, saying there would have been no investigation were it not for Clinton’s scheming. It is not possible to understate how ridiculous this is. While I don’t think this will play any factor at all in the election, the Republican Party is spreading KNOWN Russia disinformation to attack Hillary Clinton four years after she lost the election. Vote accordingly.
The White House was pressuring the CDC to downplay the risks of sending children to school during the pandemic. There have been numerous stories confirming the White House has been interfering with the scientific conclusions of the CDC. Dr. William Foege, a previous CDC director, privately wrote current CDC Director Robert Redfield urging him to resign due to his lack of pushback against Trump’s anti-science views.
Former Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale is allegedly cooperating with an investigation into the campaign’s finances. Parscale himself has been accused of embezzlement and domestic violence.
Federal law enforcement officers were directed to speak sympathetically of Kyle Rittenhouse, the teenager accused of murdering two people at a protest.
Trump’s former National Security Adviser General McMaster has said the president is aiding and abetting Putin’s efforts to undermine the election.
Trump said he has declassified all of the documents related to the Russia investigation. He did the exact same thing two years ago. After the first declaration, journalists requested the documents which they have a legal right to. The Department of Justice argued that the president tweeting he had declassified a document did not mean that the president had declassified a document. Undoubtedly, that will happen again. When Trump says he has declassified these documents, he is lying.
A federal judge recently ordered that the census could not move their deadline for collecting data from October 31 to September 30. Response rates are still low, exacerbated by the pandemic. Commerce Secretary Ross wanted to end collection efforts at the end of this month, despite the fact that we know a large number of people have not yet responded. Today the Census Bureau announced they want to stop collecting on October 5. There is a technicality here the Commerce Department may be relying on in that the original order merely undid moving the deadline to September 30. The judge ordered the Commerce Department to explain what happened here and one government lawyer said there was no paper trail and the tweet announcing the change was the only thing written about the new policy. It’s unlikely the judge finds this acceptable, but watch this space.
The defense team for Michael Flynn submitted documents which were altered. The documents in question were memos from Peter Strzok and they had handwritten dates that were added and/or changed. (Strzok produced the original documents for comparison.) Flynn’s lawyers may not be the ones who changed the memos, but they were definitely altered by someone.
Twitter has added yet another disclaimer to one of the president’s tweets attacking mail-in voting. He said that mail-in ballots cannot accurately be counted. This is a lie. There are multiple states where mail-in ballots are the ONLY way to vote and they have been conducting their elections without issue for years. The primary source for attacking the integrity of the US election is the president.
CDC Director Redfield was overheard on the phone saying of White House coronavirus advisor Scott Atlas, “everything he says is false.” Redfield admitted to the statement. Dr. Atlas, who has zero experience in virology, epidemiology, or public health, has largely replaced Drs. Fauci and Birx at meetings and in public appearances of the task force. Atlas has pushed for removing Covid-19 restrictions and using herd immunity to stop the spread of the virus instead. Waiting for herd immunity will result in millions of deaths. Atlas has falsely claimed that children are not affected by the virus, among other lies.
The Trump campaign and its surrogates accused Hunter Biden of receiving $3.5 million from Yelena Baturina, the wife of former Moscow mayor Yury Luzhkov. Hunter Biden’s connection to the company is in dispute (a Biden lawyer said Hunter had nothing to do with the company’s founding) but regardless of that, there’s an issue that keeps coming up in the Trump smears of Hunter Biden. The COMPANY received $3.5 billion. Hunter Biden did not. When there isn’t a pandemic, I work for a large multi-billion dollar corporation. When that company receives money, an entire zero dollars of that goes to me personally. (I’ve been looking into changing that but so far the board has not expressed interest.) As every accusation Donald Trump makes about someone turns out to actually be something he’s done, Trump tried to develop properties in Moscow working with Luzhkov in the 90s. This is yet another business relationship Trump was pursuing in Russia without disclosing anything about it.
Channel 4 News in the UK (a publicly owned station separate from the BBC) got ahold of a database from the 2016 Trump campaign. 3.5 million African American voters are labeled as “deterrence.” (The label was not solely used for black voters.) Brad Parscale, who ran the 2016 digital operation, testified before congress that the campaign never targeted African Americans. That appears to have been a lie. Ads ran to discourage black voter turnout.
The New York Times has received several years’ worth of the president’s taxes. I want to note that almost immediately, right wingers began circulating that publishing this data or even possessing it is a violation of the Privacy Act of 1974. This isn’t true. The act criminalizing releasing certain private records. That only applies to a government agent releasing the records. The article does not identify the source – it may be any number of people from outside the government. Even if this did come directly from someone at the IRS, that employee committed a crime, but the New York Times has not. Issues like this have long since been settled law thanks to The Pentagon Papers case.
As to the meat of the article, it reveals several details about the president’s financial situation:
- In 11 out of 18 years, the president paid zero federal income tax. In two of those years, he paid $750. Trump in the past has attacked Romney and Obama for their effective tax rates which we now know are orders of magnitude higher than Trump’s.
- Nearly every business the president owns is losing a gargantuan amount of money.
- The president is receiving a large amount of money from foreign sources, including foreign governments.
- He has roughly half a billion in personally backed loans coming due in the next two years. His income stream does not support any ability to pay these loans. Every commercial bank but Deutsche Bank has refused to loan Trump any money for some time now. The commercial division at DB flagged him as a risk and stopped giving him loans. The personal division at DB flagged him as a risk but continued to loan him money, despite his default on a $600+ million loan from the bank. We do not currently know why DB overrode their own internal process saying not to loan money to Trump. The bank has recently been found guilty of laundering $20 billion for sanctioned Russian entities.
- Trump used numerous questionable and outright illegal deductions. He deducted $750,000 in consulting fees paid to Ivanka while she was an employee of the company. He deducted the legal expenses incurred by Donald Trump Jr during the Mueller investigation. (Jr’s role in the Mueller investigation was solely related to his campaign activities and therefore cannot be deducted.)
- Trump deducted $70,000 in hairstyling expenses (it’s ok to laugh.) Such deductions have been explicitly rejected by the tax court system.
In summation, the president typically pays almost nothing in federal income taxes, is likely using illegal deductions, has large business entanglements with foreign countries, and is massively in debt with no revenue to repay those debts and no banks willing to refinance it.