The Deputy Director of the federal force arresting people in Portland addressed the arrest of a person seen in a viral video last week. CBP agents are seen grabbing the person who did not appear to be doing anything illegal and taking them away in an unmarked van. We now know why they were targeted. This person was earlier in a crowd next to someone shining a laser pointer at the agents. They wanted to question them. Rather than speaking to them there on the street, they took them to a federal courthouse where they were questioned for 20 minutes. Kris Cline, the deputy director of the Federal Protective Service, said this was perfectly legal. He is egregiously wrong on two counts. Firstly, he said this was not an arrest. The Supreme Court has ruled on situations exactly like this. This person was arrested. Secondly, the agents do not have probable cause to do anything other than ask questions simply because this person was nearby someone who is alleged to have committed a crime. This is also explicitly addressed by the Supreme Court. The people heading up the federal police action in Portland are either unaware of some very basic concepts of what they’re doing or they’re choosing to ignore them.
The president, both in live remarks and tweets, has commented this week about how the US response is the best or nearly the best in several metrics. He’s lying. 25% of confirmed global cases are in the US. The US is the tenth WORST country in the world for per capita cases. I didn’t check tonight to see how many countries are doing better in this category, but it’s above 170. Over 170 countries have a lower per capita infection rate than the US. The US has now had more confirmed cases than any country in the world in the past week. Per capita, that’s 7th worst in the world. (Take that, Montenegro!) 25% of global deaths have occurred in the US. Per capita, that falls into the same rank as total cases – 10th worst in the world. As far as recent deaths, the United States looks slightly better – second worst instead of worst, behind Brazil. The current daily death rate, which is increasing, is 11th worst in the world. As they once tried to pretend the pandemic was not happening, Republicans are now trying to pretend the pandemic has been handled well in the United States. It is difficult to understate how wrong this is. We are not merely doing worse than other industrialized democracies, we are doing worse than nearly every country on the planet.
The day after press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Trump is tested multiple times a day for the coronavirus, the president said he has never been tested more than once a day. It’s not clear which one of them is lying.
The president directed the ambassador to the United Kingdom to ask them to move the British Open to his failing golf course. This alone would be one of the biggest presidential scandals in history, but it’s barely a blip on anyone’s radar right now due to the dozens of other Trump scandals. Trump did absolutely no divestment from any of his private businesses and funnels taxpayer money to them, promotes them from official platforms, and encourages foreign governments to patronize them. Republicans are fine with that.
With unemployment assistance set to expire next week, the Republicans have no idea what they’d like to do about that other than cutting aid by 83%. Several of them have spoken about how they can’t pay people to stay home from work when paying people to stay home from work is the entire point of the program. We will absolutely not overcome this pandemic without giving money to people for not working. There are no other options. The longer this process is delayed, the worst the situation will be and the more it will cost to fix it. Notably, this concept of fiscal responsibility was not present when the Republicans passed a huge tax cut which blew a massive hole in the deficit.
Trump is still bragging about performing “well” on the Montreal Cognitive Assessment he took in 2018. He again said some of the questions are harder than identifying a drawing of a horse, but he’s finally offered a specific example of a “difficult” question – being able to recite 5 words which had been read to him. This test measures cognitive decline, primarily in dementia patients. Anyone without a severe brain issue should be able to achieve a nearly perfect score. The president thinks it’s good that his doctors were surprised he did well.