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Reading: Trump was cued to his audience last Saturday

From Trump was cued to his audience last Saturday

CNN noticed that Trump was cued to the local audience last Saturday

“You have good genes, you know that, right?” Trump said at a recent campaign rally. “You have good genes. A lot of it is about the genes, isn’t it, don’t you believe? The racehorse theory. You think we’re so different? You have good genes in Minnesota.”

The President was speaking to a nearly all-White crowd in Bemidji, Minnesota, a city that’s about 80% White in a state that’s even more White.

It’s a small observation but an important one: One we’ve seen before.

The tack of playing racial politics by taking refuge in abstraction has a long history in Republican circles.

“You start out in 1954 by saying, ‘N****r, n****r, n****r.’ By 1968 you can’t say ‘n****r’ — that hurts you, backfires,” the Republican political operative Lee Atwater said in 1981. “So you say stuff like, uh, forced busing, states’ rights, and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now (that) you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is (that) Blacks get hurt worse than Whites.”

Trump and his defenders might say that the President was merely talking about genes. But depending on who was listening, he was talking about much, much more.

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Reading: White House-CDC tensions explode as Trump contradicts its leadership | Ars Technica

From White House-CDC tensions explode as Trump contradicts its leadership | Ars Technica

Ars details Thursday’s trump conceits in full, but I’m extracting just the health statements with the hope of spreading them far and wide.

But it was Redfield who worked the hardest to promote public health. Holding up his own face mask, he told the committee, “These are the most powerful public health tool we have.” He went on to repeat an earlier statement, that widespread use of masks for six to 12 weeks could bring the pandemic under control. “We have clear scientific evidence that they work,” he testified, saying they’re “more guaranteed to protect me against COVID than when I take a COVID vaccine.” His reasoning was that all vaccines fail to elicit an immune response at a measurable rate, whereas all masks provide at least some degree of protection.

Redfield also injected a large dose of reality when the topic shifted to vaccines. The Trump administration has appropriately begun planning for the widespread distribution of a vaccine as soon as one passes safety and efficacy trials. But the fact that current planning calls for distribution to begin just before the November presidential election has raised concerns about whether the timing might be motivated by politics rather than safety. And there’s clearly going to be a substantial gap between initial distribution and widespread availability.

Redfield decided it was time for the public to hear about the size of that gap. He said initial availability would be in the area of November-December but would only go to high-priority populations like health care workers and the elderly. The majority of the American public would probably have to wait for the third quarter of 2021.

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Reading: Trump Tells Agencies To End Trainings On ‘White Privilege’ And ‘Critical Race Theory’ : NPR

From Trump Tells Agencies To End Trainings On ‘White Privilege’ And ‘Critical Race Theory’ : NPR

I usually don’t want to be flip about trump’s waste of time, but this one begs for it. The wording of this directive reveals that the training is needed – even to understand the directive.

“All agencies are directed to begin to identify all contracts or other agency spending related to any training on ‘critical race theory,’ ‘white privilege,’ or any other training or propaganda effort that teaches or suggests either (1) that the United States is an inherently racist or evil country or (2) that any race or ethnicity is inherently racist or evil.”

“Structural” is not “inherent.” Discuss.

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Reading: AT&T backs Trump plan, demands “neutrality” on Facebook, Amazon, and Google

From AT&T backs Trump plan, demands “neutrality” on Facebook, Amazon, and Google

AT&T is exploiting trump-sown confusion by attempting to re-define “neutrality.”

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Reading: Transcript: ‘Fox News Sunday’ interview with President Trump | Fox News

From Transcript: ‘Fox News Sunday’ interview with President Trump | Fox News

Telling, all too telling.

WALLACE: No, I’m going to ask you a direct question about Joe Biden. Is Joe Biden senile?

TRUMP: I don’t want to say that. I’d say he’s not competent to be president. To be president, you have to be sharp and tough and so many other things. He doesn’t even come out of his basement. They think, “Oh this is a great campaign.” So he goes in, I’ll then make a speech, it’ll be a great speech, and some young guy, starts writing, “Vice President Biden said this, this, this, this.” He didn’t say it. Joe doesn’t know he’s alive, OK? He doesn’t know he’s alive. Do the American people want that, number one. Number two, I built the greatest economy ever built anywhere in the world; not only of this country, anywhere in the world. Until we got hit with the China virus. We got hit with the virus, shouldn’t have happened, and we had to close up, we saved millions of lives. Now we’ve opened it up, got to go back to school. We’re open. We’ve got to do things. We had the best job numbers we’ve ever had last month. We should have good ones coming up in two weeks. Look, I built the greatest economy in history, I’m now doing it again. You see the numbers; the numbers are through the roof. The Democrats are purposely keeping their schools closed, keeping their states closed. I called Michigan, I want to have a big rally in Michigan. Do you know we’re not allowed to have a rally in Michigan? Do you know we’re not allowed to have a rally in Minnesota? Do you know we’re not allowed to have a rally in Nevada? We’re not allowed to have rallies.

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Reading: Inside Trump’s Failure: The Rush to Abandon Leadership Role on the Virus – The New York Times

From Inside Trump’s Failure: The Rush to Abandon Leadership Role on the Virus – The New York Times

Gobsmacked.

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Reading: Donald Trump rushed to reopen America – now Covid is closing in on him

From Donald Trump rushed to reopen America – now Covid is closing in on him

Robert Reich, at The Guardian, is more on top of things than the current admin. We’re not adding jobs; we’re not even catching up to where we were:

The US economy isn’t roaring back. Just over half of Americans have jobs now, the lowest figure in more than 70 years. What’s roaring back is Covid-19. Until it’s tamed, the American economy doesn’t stand a chance

And it’s not getting better:

Brace yourself. Not only will the virus take many more lives in the months ahead, but millions of Americans are in danger of becoming destitute. Extra unemployment benefits enacted by Congress in March are set to end on 31 July. About one in five people in renter households are at risk of eviction by 30 September. Delinquency rates on mortgages have more than doubled since March.

An estimated 25 million Americans have lost or will lose employer-provided health insurance. America’s fragile childcare system is in danger of collapse, with the result that hundreds of thousands of working parents will not be able to return to work even if jobs are available.

This picture is too big for trump.

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Reading: US hits 40K COVID-19 cases in a day, experts brace for rise in deaths, Pence delivers an encomium to a virus

From US hits 40K COVID-19 cases in a day, experts brace for rise in deaths, Pence delivers an encomium to a virus

As Ars reports it, Pence’s encomium for a virus stirs up some deep deception.

“As we see the new cases rising—and we’re tracking them very carefully—there may be a tendency among the American people to think that we are back to that place that we were two months ago, that we’re in a time of great losses and great hardship on the American people,” Pence said. “The reality is we’re in a much better place.”

How so?

Pence also noted that though cases are increasing, deaths are decreasing. He noted that treatment and care have improved for severely ill patients and many new cases are seen in people under 35—who are at less risk of developing severe disease and dying.

There’s something both irresponsible and reality-denying about this. It certainly smacks of Trump’s trope, “just lay back and enjoy the ride.” But put a mask on, ok?

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Reading: Trump rally sign-up includes disclaimer about potential COVID-19 exposure | TheHill

From Trump rally sign-up includes disclaimer about potential COVID-19 exposure | TheHill

I have attend caucuses and primaries and city and county meetings and labor strikes and sit-down protests and anti-war and CND and anti-fascist demonstrations w/o a request for a liability release. These rallies must be risky.

Bah. Rally at your own risk. Admission of contagious situation.

The page for guests to sign up for free tickets to the event includes a disclaimer related to the virus.

“By clicking register below, you are acknowledging that an inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present,” the statement reads.

“By attending the Rally, you and any guests voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19 and agree not to hold Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.; BOK Center; ASM Global; or any of their affiliates, directors, officers, employees, agents, contractors, or volunteers liable for any illness or injury.”

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Reading: trump failing be an actual authoritarian

From trump failing be an actual authoritarian

Not exactly reassuring but this observation strikes a note that’s been subtonal for a while: he’s about looking big, and we’re his toys. A feckless, flailing president.

Trump has never been shy about his authoritarian impulses. He regularly voices admiration for dictators and has expressed his belief that Article II of the Constitution allows him to do “whatever I want.” Yet that authoritarianism has not manifested with as much force as some might have feared (or desired). Trump has exerted power aggressively in the realms where he is least restrained, most notably immigration enforcement, but he has not pushed far beyond that: There have been no jackboots deployed against dissidents, no shipping off of presidential enemies to Guantánamo Bay. And in some instances, such as the ongoing pandemic, Trump has largely declined to exert federal power at all—instead shrugging his shoulders and leaving the work of actually governing to the states.

All of which makes this past week an important cautionary tale for the election itself if Trump does, in fact, lose. The authoritarian instinct will still be there, of course. So will the flailing weakness, we suspect, and the effort to get his administration to take wildly inappropriate, even illegal steps. His degree of panic will presumably be even higher then than it is now, as will the stakes—which will be nothing less than the peaceful transition of power. We can only hope that, once again, the weakness will overwhelm the authoritarianism, the ineffectuality will triumph over the menace, and the president will emerge as a figure of contempt and ridicule, rather than of fear and consolidated power.