July 2020 News

 

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Editor's Choice: Scroll below for our monthly blend of mainstream and alternative July 2020 news and views.

Note: Excerpts are from the authors' words except for subheads and occasional "Editor's notes" such as this.

July 31

Top Headlines

john lewis officialFinal Words From John Lewis

Virus Victims, Responses

U.S. Law, Courts, Crime

2020 U.S. Elections, Politics

nba logoRacial Disputes, Political Protests

mike pompeo portraitWorld News

 

Top Stories

Roll Call, Coronavirus relief talks stuck on scope of aid, Lindsey McPherson and Niels Lesniewski, July 31, 2020. Negotiations on a coronavirus relief bill have yet to enter the policy give-and-take stage as Republicans remain focused on a short-term measure that Democrats say is worthless and delaying progress toward a much-needed broader aid package.

The federal enhanced unemployment benefit of $600 per week formally expires Friday but has effectively already lapsed since most states aren’t sending out checks this week. Negotiators have spent the past few days arguing about the amount and duration of an enhanced unemployment extension and whether they should pass a stopgap measure while continuing discussions about a broader deal.

Republicans did not offer a plan to address the expiring provision until Monday, when it was included in one part of eight coronavirus bills totaling roughly $1 trillion in aid.

Democrats offered their plan on unemployment months ago, passing a nearly $3.5 trillion relief package in the House in May that would have extended the $600 per week federal benefit through the end of the year.

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, who along with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, has been negotiating with Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer on behalf of President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans, said at the White House press briefing Friday that he and Mnuchin “made no less than four different offers to Democrats” on a short-term extension of enhanced unemployment, as well as a statutory eviction moratorium that also expired this month.

Democrats rejected those offers, saying they want to reach agreement on a broader package that also addresses other needs like state and local funding and food assistance.

“Let's sit down and get this done,” Pelosi said Friday at her weekly press briefing. “Let's recognize people need $600. Let's recognize state and local need help with allaying the money they have spent to fight the virus and the revenue loss.”

The California Democrat noted that Senate Republicans don’t have the votes to pass any of the proposals they offered. She accused the GOP of feigning interest in passing a temporary extension of the $600 benefit after previously opposing that amount to save face politically.

She also criticized a one-week extension as "worthless" when negotiators aren't close to a deal, saying that such a stopgap is typically only used to give lawmakers time to finalize bill text and cost estimates once they have agreement in principle.

us mail logoPelosi noted that Republicans have shown no interest in providing any money for state and local – Democrats want nearly $1 trillion – food assistance, election administration or the Postal Service, all of which are top Democratic priorities.

Democrats want $3.6 billion in election assistance funding and to require states to provide for mail-in voting due to the pandemic, but Trump has been especially critical of that, even saying Thursday he’d prefer to delay the election than have voters mail in their ballots because he thinks the process is susceptible to fraud.

Pelosi questioned Trump’s motives in wanting to delay the election, saying, “Did he learn that from [Russian President Vladimir] Putin or something?”

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washington post logoamerican flag upside down distressWashington Post, Economy shrinks at fastest quarterly rate on record, Rachel Siegel and Andrew Van Dam, July 31, 2020 (print ed.). Between April and June, the nation’s gross domestic product plunged by 9.5 percent — or an annual rate of 32.9 percent — as the pandemic punished workers and businesses. Data released by the Commerce Department on Thursday is another reminder of the pain felt this year as the nation went into an economic shutdown.

The second quarter report on gross domestic product covers some of the economy’s worst weeks in living memory, when commercial activity ground to a halt, millions of Americans lost their jobs and the nation went into lockdown. Yet economists say the data should also serve as a cautionary tale for what’s at stake if the recovery slips away, especially as rising coronavirus cases in some states have forced businesses to close once again.

washington post logoWashington Post, Analysis: Did a third of the economy really vanish in just three months? Andrew Van Dam, July 31, 2020 (print ed.). We explain the GDP numbers. The Commerce Department opened today’s announcement of second-quarter economic growth with an eyeball-blistering observation: “Real gross domestic product (GDP) decreased at an annual rate of 32.9 percent in the second quarter of 2020.”

That 32.9 percent represents the loss of a third of the economy. Let that sink in. Now let it wriggle back out again — it is not exactly true. Why? The Commerce Department reports quarterly GDP at an annual rate to allow easy comparisons to other time periods. Remove the annualization, and we see the economy contracted a still-abysmal 9.5 percent

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump floats idea of delaying November election as he ramps up attacks on voting by mail, John Wagner and Amy Gardner, July 31, 2020 (print ed.). The Constitution grants such power to Congress, not the president. President Trump has claimed without evidence that mail-in balloting will have fraudulent results and has suggested it would hurt Republicans at the ballot box.

donald trump twitterThe U.S. Constitution gives the power to regulate the “time, place and manner” of elections to the U.S. House and Senate, with Congress also empowered to alter the rules. Nowhere is the president granted such power.

In addition, the Constitution spells out a hard end to a president’s term on Jan. 20 in the year following a presidential election.

Trump’s tweet came shortly after a report was released showing the U.S. economy shrank 9.5 percent from April through June, the largest quarterly decline since the government began publishing data 70 years ago, and the latest, sobering reflection of the pandemic’s economic devastation.

It was not clear from Trump’s tweets whether he intends to ask Congress to move the date of the election or if he believes he can act on his own.

washington post logoWashington Post, Obama issues call to action in eulogy for Lewis, links Trump to foes of civil rights in 1960s, John Wagner and Paul Kane, July 31, 2020 (print ed.). Former president Barack Obama likened the recent federal push to use force against protesters to the attitudes fostered by men such as George Wallace.Former president Barack Obama delivered a call to action in his eulogy Thursday of John Lewis, urging Congress to pass new voting rights laws and linking President Trump to the racist Southern leaders who fought the civil rights activist’s efforts in the 1960s.

Obama, speaking for 40 minutes at the pulpit once led by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., tied Lewis’s early life as a Freedom Rider to the protests that followed the killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police. He likened the ensuing clearing of Lafayette Square, with tear gas against peaceful protesters, to the same fights Lewis waged.

“Bull Connor may be gone, but today we witness with our own eyes police officers kneeling on the necks of Black Americans,” the nation’s first Black president said at Lewis’s final memorial service. “George Wallace may be gone but we can witness our federal government sending agents to use tear gas and batons against peaceful demonstrators. We may no longer have to guess the number of jelly beans in a jar in order to cast a ballot, but even as we sit here there are those in power who are doing their darndest to discourage people from voting.”

ny times logoNew York Times, Live Updates: U.S. Will Likely Have Vaccine by Early 2021, Fauci Reassures Congress, Staff reports, July 31, 2020. As he and other health experts testify before Congress, Dr. Anthony Fauci also pointedly cast doubt on efforts to develop a vaccine by Russia and China.

Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline are the latest to take funds from Operation Warp Speed in exchange for millions of doses of an experimental vaccine. New York City will reopen its schools only if the city maintains a test positivity rate below 3 percent. Here’s the latest.

Final Words From John Lewis

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: Together, You Can Redeem the Soul of Our Nation, John Lewis, right,July 30, 2020, July 31 print ed. Though I am gone, I urge you to answer the highest calling of your heart and stand up for what you truly believe.

john lewis officialWhile my time here has now come to an end, I want you to know that in the last days and hours of my life you inspired me. You filled me with hope about the next chapter of the great American story when you used your power to make a difference in our society. Millions of people motivated simply by human compassion laid down the burdens of division. Around the country and the world you set aside race, class, age, language and nationality to demand respect for human dignity.

That is why I had to visit Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington, though I was admitted to the hospital the following day. I just had to see and feel it for myself that, after many years of silent witness, the truth is still marching on.

Emmett Till was my George Floyd. He was my Rayshard Brooks, Sandra Bland and Breonna Taylor. He was 14 when he was killed, and I was only 15 years old at the time. I will never ever forget the moment when it became so clear that he could easily have been me. In those days, fear constrained us like an imaginary prison, and troubling thoughts of potential brutality committed for no understandable reason were the bars.

When historians pick up their pens to write the story of the 21st century, let them say that it was your generation who laid down the heavy burdens of hate at last and that peace finally triumphed over violence, aggression and war. So I say to you, walk with the wind, brothers and sisters, and let the spirit of peace and the power of everlasting love be your guide.

Mr. Lewis, the civil rights leader who died on July 17, wrote this essay shortly before his death, to be published upon the day of his funeral.

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: John Lewis Believed America Would Survive Trump, Michelle Goldberg, July 31, 2020 (print ed.). He told us to keep the faith. It’s not easy. There was something saintly about Lewis, whose funeral was held on Thursday. What’s striking in accounts of his youthful encounters with snarling, murderous white supremacy is not just his courage, but also his calm and otherworldly clarity.

Virus Victims, Responses

washington post logoWashington Post, Live Updates: U.S. reports 1,400 coronavirus deaths in a day — about one per minute, Staff reports, July 31, 2020 (print ed.). GDP figures show record contraction of U.S. economy. WHO warns against increase in cases linked to Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday. Here are some significant developments:

Johnson & Johnson launched human trials of its potential novel coronavirus vaccine in the United States on Thursday after an encouraging study showed that a single shot of the vaccine appeared to protect monkeys against infection. Other vaccine technologies currently in the last stages of U.S. human testing require two doses to be given weeks apart.

Congress is “nowhere close to a deal” on a new coronavirus relief bill, meaning that 20 million Americans are likely to stop receiving emergency unemployment benefits after this week. Negotiations have reached an impasse, with Democrats and Republicans blaming each other for the deadlock.

Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert, said states such as Ohio, Tennessee, Indiana and Kentucky are seeing a subtle but worrisome uptick in positivity rates. That suggests they “may be getting into the same sort of trouble” as hot spots in the South that were quick to reopen, Fauci warned.

washington post logoWashington Post, More Live Updates: Getting coronavirus tests back in 2 to 3 days ‘not possible at this time,’ House panel is told, Staff reports, July 31, 2020. The death toll in the United States from the novel coronavirus surpassed 150,000 on Friday, according to data gathered by The Washington Post; Pandemic’s weight falls on Hispanics and Native Americans, as deaths pass 150,000; More than 40 percent of total U.S. coronavirus cases were reported in July.

While the disease continues to affect the oldest among us, other trends have surfaced. In recent weeks, Hispanics and Native Americans have made up an increasing proportion of deaths from covid-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus. It now accounts for nearly 20 percent of all deaths among those groups, higher than any other race or ethnicity in recent weeks, according to a Post analysis of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

On Friday morning, three of the Trump administration’s top health officials — Infectious-disease expert Anthony S. Fauci, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert R. Redfield and Brett P. Giroir of the Department of Health and Human Services — were pressed by a Democratic-led House panel about the ongoing crisis.

 washington post logoWashington Post, Jobless claims increase for the second week in a row; 1,434,000 new claims filed, Eli Rosenberg, July 31, 2020 (print ed.). For the week ending July 25, new jobless claims inched up again, after months of falling, reflecting new pressure in the labor market.

President Donald Trump officialThe number of new unemployment insurance claims rose again last week — the second week in a row after months of declines — a concerning sign about the pressure that the pandemic is exerting on the labor market anew.

About 1.43 million people filed claims last week, up by about 12,000 from the previous week’s jobless claims, which was also revised upward, according to the Department of Labor.

The number of workers continually claiming unemployment insurance also rose, by about 867,000 workers to 17 million for the week ending July 18, up from 16.1 million for the week ending July 11. That statistic lags by a week.

Another 830,000 new claims were filed for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, the benefits offered to gig and self-employed workers.

washington post logoWashington Post, White House open to stimulus without ‘liability shield,’ breaking with McConnell, Jeff Stein and Erica Werner, July 31, 2020. The Senate majority leader has said he will not approve a stimulus package without a “liability shield,” but top White House officials say they do not see it as essential.

ny times logoNew York Times, The Risk That Students Could Arrive at School With the Coronavirus, James Glanz, Benedict Carey and Matthew Conlen, July 31, 2020. As schools grapple with how to reopen, new estimates show that large parts of the country would probably see infected students if classrooms opened now.

Based on current infection rates, more than 80 percent of Americans live in a county where at least one infected person would be expected to show up to a school of 500 students and staff in the first week, if school started today.

In the highest-risk areas — including Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Nashville and Las Vegas — at least five students or staff would be expected to show up infected with the virus at a school of 500 people.

The high numbers reflect the rapid spread of the virus in those areas, where more than 1 in 70 people are estimated to be currently infected.

At the same time, smaller, isolated groups of students face a much lower risk. Some schools are considering narrowing classes down to small “pods,” with students who mainly come in contact with their teacher and each other. While the chance of having an infected person at the school would stay the same, the risk of exposure within those pods would be much lower.

If they remain isolated from the rest of the school — a tall order — 10-person pods in every part of the country would be unlikely to include an infected person in that first week.

washington post logoWashington Post, Analysis: Governors who took strict measures see better political outcomes, Amber Phillips, July 31, 2020. Much about the coronavirus is putting us in unprecedented political territory, but one thing is becoming evident: Keeping the coronavirus in check, even via strict measures, is so far a political winner.

A look at recent polling of nine governors — five Republicans and four Democrats from states that are polled frequently because they will likely be determinative in the 2020 election — shows that the governors who instituted face-mask requirements, urged social distancing and reopened more slowly than other states have seen a jump in their approval ratings.

By contrast, the governors who eschewed public health experts’ advice and reopened quickly — as President Trump urged — have seen their approval ratings drop, by double digits in some cases. The polling underscores a pretty simple reality: Most voters want the coronavirus under control above all else. They seem to be willing to be told to wear masks in the summer heat, gretchen whitmer o smile Customto avoid large crowds and to avoid going to school or work. In fact, voters have rewarded those politicians who have limited their movement. Polls show that most Americans are still scared they or a family member will get sick.

Democratic governors Gretchen Whitmer in Michigan, right, Roy Cooper in North Carolina, Tom Wolf in Pennsylvania and Tony Evers in Wisconsin — all states that will play a role in the 2020 presidential election — have approval ratings in the high 50s to mid 60s this summer, all after taking restrictions that went beyond many of their Republican counterparts to control the coronavirus.

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Palmer Report, Opinion: Turrns out Donald Trump and Jared Kushner let everybody die on purpose, Ron Leshnower, July 31, 2020. Throughout his 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump promised he would hire the “best people.” He never told us that meant the best people for screwing things up. As we have seen over the past three-and-a-half years, Trump’s ideal underling is someone who shares his toxic blend of stunning immorality and gross incompetence. As an alarming new report reveals, Jared Kushner fits this profile even more than we knew.

On Thursday, Vanity Fair detailed a Kushner-led White House plan for an “aggressive, coordinated COVID-19 response.” If carried out properly, it would have positioned the United States in a far safer, prosperous, and advantageous position today against this pandemic. Instead, the plan, which was always legally dubious, wound up being so sloppily executed that, bill palmer report logo headeraccording to one participant in the program, it “went poof into thin air.”

A cornerstone of the plan involved purchasing one million coronavirus tests, manufactured in China and funneled through the United Arab Emirates. In typical Trumpian fashion, Kushner’s team neglected to follow several critical steps aimed at preventing waste, fraud, and abuse with federal government procurements. Only after the White House received the tests and distributed them to states through FEMA, government labs discovered that all one million tests were “contaminated and unusable.”

jared kushner djtBureaucratic confusion reigned for three months as a shady company with close ties to the UAE’s ruling family demanded payment for 3.5 million tests through an invoice (misspelling its own name) to the tune of $52,500,000. During this period, the virus exploded throughout the United States, sickening 2.4 million Americans and claiming 123,331 lives.

The other part of Kushner’s secret charge was to implement a grand plan for coordinated testing at the federal level. Such a plan would have unified the nation in battling COVID-19 effectively while preventing state and local governments from competing for limited supplies and resources. Instead, Kushner gave up “for reasons that remain murky.”

Although some details of this story remain unclear, an expert told Vanity Fair that a member of Kushner’s team confirmed a chillingly hyper-partisan motive. Trump and his advisors believed that COVID-19 was mainly a blue-state problem, and so they decided their best bet was to scrap a national plan in favor of later blaming Democratic governors for failing (hands tied behind their back) to control the virus.

Kushner is among the very worst of Trump’s “best people” — a cadre of perversely unqualified, morally depraved, and colossally inept minions committed to implementing a destructive and deadly “America Last” policy on all constituents. On Election Day, we must send a resounding message that the Trump administration is what needs to go “poof into thin air.” America deserves better than this genocidal carnival barker and his parade of sad clowns.

washington post logoWashington Post, Live Updates: House panel to grill top health officials on national strategy to address pandemic, Staff reports, July 31, 2020. England postpones easing restrictions as jair bolsonaro brazilinfections surge; Brazil’s Bolsonaro, right, says he has ‘mold’ in his lungs after having covid-19; House panel alleges ‘incompetent negotiating’ cost Trump administration $500 million on ventilators.

With the coronavirus death toll soaring in the United States, three of the Trump administration’s top health officials are expected to be pressed by a Democratic-led House panel on whether there is a national plan to address the ongoing crisis.

In joint testimony submitted in advance of the Friday morning hearing, infectious-disease expert Anthony S. Fauci, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert R. Redfield and Brett P. Giroir of the Department of Health and Human Services recount work that has been done thus far in response to the pandemic. The three officials also renew a warning about the difficulties ahead if the virus is still spreading during flu season.

U.S. Law, Courts, Crime

washington post logoWashington Post, Death penalty overturned for Boston Marathon bomber, Maria Sacchetti and Mark Berman, July 31, 2020. A federal appeals court has set aside the death penalty for the man convicted of planting a pair of bombs that killed three people and maimed or injured dozens of others at the 2013 Boston Marathon.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit found that a lower court judge did not adequately explore the impact of the extensive pretrial publicity on the jurors who recommended the death sentence for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. The case will go back to the lower court for additional hearings, but the court’s overturning of the death sentences being does not mean that Tsanaev will have an opportunity to get out of prison.

“Just to be crystal clear,” the court wrote, “Dzhokhar will remain confined to prison for the rest of his life, with the only question remaining being whether the government will end his life by executing him.”

washington post logoWashington Post, Flynn case to be reheard by full federal appeals court in D.C., Ann E. Marimow, July 31, 2020 (print ed.). Michael Flynn Harvard 2014A federal appeals court in Washington will take a second look at a judge’s effort to scrutinize the Justice Department’s decision to drop its case against President Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn, right.

The full U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit agreed Thursday to revisit U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan’s plan to examine the politically charged matter, reviving the unusual case testing the limits of the judiciary’s power to check the executive branch.

The court’s brief order set oral argument for Aug. 11.

emmet sullivan 2012Sullivan, left, requested a rehearing by a full complement of judges after a divided three-judge panel ordered him to immediately dismiss the case and said Sullivan was wrong to appoint a retired federal judge to argue against the government’s move to undo Flynn’s guilty plea.

Judge Neomi Rao, writing for the majority, found “this is not the unusual case where a more searching inquiry is justified.”

In his dissent, Judge Robert L. Wilkins said it was unprecedented and premature for the appeals court to shut down Sullivan’s review. Sullivan, he wrote, should have an opportunity to evaluate the Justice Department’s change of heart.

lynn, 61, was the highest-level Trump adviser convicted in special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election. Flynn initially pleaded guilty and cooperated with Mueller’s inquiry.

Instead of proceeding to sentencing, Attorney General William P. Barr in January ordered a review of Flynn’s case. He then moved to drop the prosecution, saying new evidence showed the FBI interview of Flynn was conducted without “any legitimate investigative basis.” Therefore, any lies Flynn told about his contacts with Russia did not amount to a crime.

In May, Sullivan refused to go along with the government’s request to end the criminal case against Flynn, who twice pleaded guilty to lying to federal agents about his contacts with Russia’s ambassador in Washington before Trump took office in 2017.

Instead, Sullivan asked retired federal judge John Gleeson to argue against the Justice Department’s request, prompting Flynn’s attorneys to take the rare step of asking the appeals court to intervene midstream. They also accused Sullivan of bias.

The judge then retained a high-profile trial lawyer to represent him before the appeals court.

The order from the court Thursday said lawyers on both sides should be prepared to address whether Flynn had “ ‘no other adequate means to attain the relief’ ” he sought from the appeals court.

The initial ruling against Sullivan from the three-judge panel in late June cut short his plans to hold a hearing to examine the government’s decision.

 

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Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Investigative Special Report, Ghislaine Maxwell lawsuit documents unsealed and they are bad news for Donald Trump and Bill Clinton, Wayne Madsen, left, July 31, 2020. The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit denied accused international underage sex trafficker Ghislaine Maxwell's appeal of a decision by U.S. District Court Judge Loretta Preska to order the unsealing of over 2000 pages of documents related to the lawsuit against Maxwell brought against her by one of her and the late Jeffrey Epstein's trafficking and abuse victims, Virginia Roberts Giuffre.

In 1999, Giuffre, after having been recruited at the age of 15 by Epstein and Maxwell to perform sex acts, recounted how she was forced to have sex with Britain's Prince Andrew, Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, “model scout” Jean-Luc Brunel, and “many other powerful men, including numerous prominent American politicians, powerful business executives, foreign presidents, a well-known Prime Minister, and other world leaders."

Giuffre was recruited as a "slave" by Maxwell while she was employed as a towel girl at Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago club (shown above) in Palm Beach, Florida, where Epstein and Maxwell were well-known habitués.

washington post logoWashington Post, Epstein accuser alleged in newly unsealed deposition that Ghislaine Maxwell was his partner in abuse, Rosalind S. Helderman and Shayna Jacobs, July 31, 2020. Maxwell, a longtime companion of the now-deceased financier, has called accuser Virginia Giuffre a liar. A woman who has accused deceased financier Jeffrey Epstein of years-long abuse that began when she was a teenager alleged in a newly unsealed deposition that his former partner, Ghislaine Maxwell, was both his chief accomplice and a participant in the sexual abuse.

Maxwell, who was arrested earlier this month and charged with trafficking minors, had fought unsuccessfully to keep the court documents under seal. She has pleaded not guilty.

The unsealed court documents stem from a defamation suit she settled for an undisclosed sum in 2017 with the woman, Virginia Giuffre, who has alleged that she was forced to have sex with Epstein and his friends. She has claimed that Maxwell recruited her to serve as a traveling masseuse for Epstein after spotting her working a summer job as a locker room attendant 20 years ago at Mar-a-Lago, President Trump’s private estate.

Prince Andrew, Virginia Roberts and Ghislaine Maxwell, 2001Ghislaine Maxwell, right, with the United Kingdom's Prince Andrew and Virginia Roberts (married name Giuffre, a former Mar-a-Lago towel girl), center, in 2001.

Giuffre’s deposition was among several hundred pages of records unsealed by judicial order late Thursday.

In her testimony, which she gave in 2016, Giuffre describes Maxwell and Epstein as a toxic team that repeatedly exploited her, emphasizing that Maxwell “brought me in for the purpose of being trafficked.”

“You have to understand that [Epstein] and [Maxwell] are joined at the hip, okay?” Giuffre said, when asked about who Maxwell sent her to for sex.

“Jeffrey was just as a part of it as she was,” Giuffre said. “[Maxwell] was just as a part of it as he was.”

At another point, she said of Maxwell: “She’s the one who abused me on a regular basis. She’s the one that procured me, told me what to do, trained me as a sex slave, abused me physically, abused me mentally. She’s the one who I believe, in my heart of hearts, deserves to come forward and have justice happen to her more than anybody. Being a woman, it’s disgusting.”

Maxwell, the daughter of the late media tycoon Robert Maxwell, has denied her claims.

“Virginia is an absolute liar and everything she has said is a lie,” she said in a 2016 deposition. “Therefore, based on those lies I cannot speculate on what anybody else did or didn’t do … everything she said is false.”

The unsealed documents also included emails exchanged between Epstein and Maxwell in January 2015. The timing of the missives appear to contradict a claim from her lawyers earlier this month, who in seeking to have released from jail on bond, told a judge that she’d had no contact with Epstein in a decade.

In the emails, Epstein wrote to Maxwell that [she] had “done nothing wrong” and urged her to “start acting like it.”

He told her to “go outside, head high, not as an escaping convict,” adding: “go to parties. deal with it.”

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan have alleged that Maxwell recruited and groomed victims and participated in abusing them with Epstein. She was also charged with lying in a deposition in her lawsuit with Giuffre about whether she knew Epstein was having sex with minors. A judge has ordered that deposition also be made public, but Maxwell has appealed the decision.

Ghislaine Maxwell, longtime associate of Jeffrey Epstein, charged in sex abuse case. [Donald Trump, his future wife Melanie Kraus, Epstein (who claimed he introduced Kraus to Trump, and Maxwell are shown in a 2000 photo at right.]

Epstein was arrested last year on federal sex trafficking charges for alleged abuses of underage girls in New York and Florida, but he died by suicide in a Manhattan federal detention center before he could stand trial.

 2020 U.S. Elections, Politics

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: Trump Might Try to Postpone the Election. That’s Unconstitutional, Steven G. Calabresi ( co-founder of the Federalist Society and a professor at Northwestern University’s Pritzker School of Law), July 31, 2020 (print ed.). He should be removed unless he relents.

I have voted Republican in every presidential election since 1980, including voting for Donald Trump in 2016. I wrote op-eds and a law review article protesting what I believe was an unconstitutional investigation by Robert Mueller. I also wrote an op-ed opposing President Trump’s impeachment.

Democratic-Republican Campaign logosBut I am frankly appalled by the president’s recent tweet seeking to postpone the November election. Until recently, I had taken as political hyperbole the Democrats’ assertion that President Trump is a fascist. But this latest tweet is fascistic and is itself grounds for the president’s immediate impeachment again by the House of Representatives and his removal from office by the Senate.

Here is what President Trump tweeted:

With Universal Mail-In Voting (not Absentee Voting, which is good), 2020 will be the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history. It will be a great embarrassment to the USA. Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 30, 2020

The nation has faced grave challenges before, just as it does today with the spread of the coronavirus. But it has never canceled or delayed a presidential election. Not in 1864, when abraham lincoln 1860 matthew brady cooper unionPresident Abraham Lincoln (left, shown in 1860) was expected to lose and the South looked as if it might defeat the North. Not in 1932 in the depths of the Great Depression. Not in 1944 during World War II.

So we certainly should not even consider canceling this fall’s election because of the president’s concern about mail-in voting, which is likely to increase because of fears about Covid-19. It is up to each of the 50 states whether to allow universal mail-in voting and Article II of the Constitution explicitly gives the states total power over the selection of presidential electors.

Election Day was fixed by a federal law passed in 1845, and the Constitution itself in the 20th Amendment specifies that the newly elected Congress meet at noon on Jan. 3, 2021, and that the terms of the president and vice president end at noon on Jan. 20, 2021. If no newly elected president is available, the speaker of the House of Representatives becomes acting president.

President Trump needs to be told by every Republican in Congress that he cannot postpone the federal election. Doing so would be illegal, unconstitutional and without precedent in American history. Anyone who says otherwise should never be elected to Congress again.

washington post logoWashington Post, Mail backlog increases fears of delays in ballot delivery, Michelle Ye Hee Lee and Jacob Bogage, July 31, 2020. Postal employees are warning that new procedures put in place by a Trump ally could undermine their ability to deliver ballots in time for the election.

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: All the president’s ‘Suburban Housewives,’ Monica Hesse, July 31, 2020. President Trump’s retrograde appeals to suburban women reveal who he thinks is entitled to the American Dream.

As if dragging the country into a tiki-torched, kidney-pool HGTV show nobody asked for, President Trump this week introduced his Twitter followers to the “Suburban Lifestyle Dream,” which can best be described as — let him explain:

“I am happy to inform all of the people living their Suburban Lifestyle Dream that you will no longer be bothered or financially hurt by having low income housing built in your neighborhood,” he wrote on Twitter. He was referring to his desire to repeal a fair housing rule — signed into law in 1968 and strengthened under the Obama administration — that was created to make sure federal funds didn’t support discriminatory housing practices. But he was also continuing an imagined dialogue with a very specific group of voters.

ny times logoNew York Times, Obama’s Call to Abolish Filibuster Puts Further Spotlight on the Tactic, Carl Hulse, July 31, 2020 (print ed.). In the middle of the election season, Democrats hopeful of capturing the White House and Congress intensify their talk of ending the filibuster to thwart Republican opposition.

ny times logopaul krugmanNew York Times, Opinion: The Nightmare on Pennsylvania Avenue, Paul Krugman, right, July 31, 2020 (print ed.). Trump is the kind of boss who can’t do the job — and won’t go away. Such bosses have the reverse Midas touch — everything they handle turns to crud — but they’ll pull out every stop, violate every norm, to stay in that corner office. And they damage, sometimes destroy, the institutions they’re supposed to lead.

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: Trump Has Been Comparing Himself to Nixon. That’s Hooey, John W. Dean ( White House counsel under Richard Nixon), July 31, 2020. The former president could only dream of wielding the police powers Mr. Trump has seized for himself.

ny times logoNew York Times, Herman Cain’s Death Hits Close to Home for Republicans, Jeremy W. Peters, Updated July 31, 2020. Mr. Cain’s publicly dismissive attitude about the pandemic reflected the hands-off inconsistency of many Republican Party leaders.

herman cain wMr. Cain, right,a former business executive and candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, had an irreverent, confrontational style that mirrored the president’s own brand of contrarian politics. In his more recent role as a public face for the president’s re-election campaign, he became an emblem of Trump-supporting, mask-defiant science skeptics, openly if not aggressively disdainful of public health officials who warned Americans to avoid large crowds, cover their faces and do as much as possible to limit contact with others.

His view was shared by many conservatives, who have applied a hard-nosed, culture-war mentality to the virus, the most serious public health crisis in a century.

Mr. Trump wrote in praise of Mr. Cain on Twitter on Thursday, calling him “a Powerful Voice of Freedom and all that is good.”

Racial Disputes, Political Protests

washington post logoWashington Post, Live Updates: Calm returns to Portland as federal forces pull back, Staff reports, July 31, 2020. ACLU blasts DHS over ‘intelligence reports’ gathered on reporters covering Portland; Taylor Swift rebrands merchandise after a Black-owned business accuses her of copying their logo; Nearly 300 people shot in Minneapolis this year, the highest in five years.

 washington post logoWashington Post, With the words on their backs, NBA players take a stand, Ava Wallace, July 31, 2020 (print ed.). Each player reportedly can pick from 29 options if they want their jersey to display a social justice message instead of their name. Here is what they picked.

nba logoAs the NBA resumed its season Thursday at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex outside Orlando, the absence of fans inside the league’s bubble was far from the only noticeable difference. Changes were made to the courts as well, with “Black Lives Matter” printed in block lettering near the center of the floor.

But perhaps the most significant aesthetic differences for this experimental conclusion of the season were the jerseys on players’ backs.

In the wake of widespread protests this spring and summer sparked by the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and others, the league and its players’ union agreed on a list of social justice messages players can choose to put on their jersey in lieu of their last name. The messages will be displayed above the number during the first four days of the season restart, after which players can choose to either simply go back to displaying their last name or keep both the social justice message and their last name on their jersey.

  • Washington Post, Live updates: NBA returns in bubble as players kneel for anthem, Staff reports, July 30, 2020. Pro basketball relaunches with a nod to social justice.

washington post logous dhs big eagle logo4Washington Post, DHS had ‘intelligence reports’ on journalists covering Portland unrest, Shane Harris, July 31, 2020 (print ed.). A Homeland Security office has disseminated three reports on tweets written by two journalists who published leaked, unclassified documents. Current and former officials described it as an alarming use of a system meant to share information about suspected terrorists and violent actors.

washington post logoWashington Post, Live updates: Former KKK leader David Duke permanently banned from Twitter, Staff reports, July 31, 2020. Tulsa allowed a Black Lives Matter message to remain — until a pro-police group asked for its own street painting; With the words on their backs, NBA players take a stand; Trump ordered federal forces to quell Portland protests. But the chaos ended as soon as they left.

World News

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Washington Post, Pompeo clashes with lawmakers over troop withdrawal in Germany and watchdog firing, John Hudson, July 31, 2020 (print ed.). Lawmakers grilled the mike pompeo portraitnation’s top diplomat, right, on an array of issues, including the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw 12,000 troops from Germany and Pompeo’s firing of the department’s internal watchdog, who had been investigating alleged wrongdoing by him and his wife.

german flagThe top Democrat on the committee, Sen. Robert Menendez (N.J.), said the U.S. administration had “abetted” Russian President Vladimir Putin by withdrawing the troops from Germany.

He also took aim at the central focus of Pompeo’s tenure, Iran, noting that the country “is much closer to a nuclear bomb than when you came into office,” and criticized Pompeo’s “maximum pressure campaign” for failing to stop Iran’s aggressive actions in the Middle East.

 ny times logoNew York Times, U.K. Officials’ New Trump Dilemma: What if He Loses? Mark Landler, July 31, 2020. If Joe Biden wins over President Trump, Britain would face someone who opposed Brexit, would look out for Ireland and may care little about a trade deal.

Few countries have worked harder than Britain to please President Trump. But now, with Mr. Trump trailing in the polls to former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., British officials are waking up to an unsettling prospect: The president they tried so hard to accommodate may be out of power next year.

washington post logoWashington Post, Egypt’s women are rising up against sexual violence. Others are still being jailed for TikToks, Sudarsan Raghavan, July 31, 2020. Scores of women are holding abusers accountable. Other women are getting jailed for their attire and dancing.

 

July 30

Top Headlines

Virus Victims, Responses

Law, Courts, Crime

2020 U.S. Elections, Politics

Racial Disputes, Political Protests

Inside DC

More On Virus Victims

World News

 

Top Stories

Palmer Report, Opinion: Federalist Society co-founder turns loudly against “fascist” Donald Trump, Bill Palmer, July 30, 2020. If you’re not familiar with the Federalist Society, it’s a group that argues for a far-right conservative interpretation of the Constitution. One of its co-founders, Steven Calabresi, has been a defender of Donald Trump up until now. Calabresi attacked Robert Mueller’s probe and argued against Trump’s impeachment. But now he’s changed his mind and he’s arguing in favor of Trump’s ouster.

bill palmer report logo headerIn a new op-ed (Trump Might Try to Postpone the Election. That’s Unconstitutional), Calabresi says that his mind was changed today when Donald Trump posted a tweet threatening to postpone the November election. Trump has zero ability to even try to do this, as the Constitution clearly assigns that power to Congress, and we all know Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi isn’t going to postpone the election. But even Trump’s empty threat is enough for Calabresi to conclude that Trump is a “fascist.”

Calabresi is calling for Donald Trump to be impeached by the Democratic House again, and this time removed by the Republican Senate. There is still no indication that Republicans are willing to remove Trump. However, GOP leaders like Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy quickly confirmed that the election will take place on schedule no matter what, thus shutting down Trump’s deranged fantasy.

washington post logoWashington Post, Public health experts issue urgent call for change of course as U.S. economy tanks, Carol Morello, July 30, 2020. At an evening news briefing, President Trump tried to swat away the raft of bad news about the economy and the disease, which he referred to as the “China virus” and compared to a plague. But he offered several misrepresentations.

washington post logoWashington Post, Stop using retail workers as mask police, union leader says, Kim Bellware, July 30, 2020. Store employees in the United States are increasingly caught between inconsistent mask rules and customers who are confused, angry — and even violent.

Virus Victims, Responses

washington post logoWashington Post, Pandemic kills off a century-old paper plant, and a region reels, Peter Kendall | Photos by Lauren Justice, July 30, 2020. Wisconsin narrowly voted for Trump in 2016. Now the pandemic has hit one of its biggest industries: paper.

ny times logoNew York Times, Aboard the Diamond Princess, a Case Study in Aerosol Transmission, Benedict Carey and James Glanz, July 30, 2020. A computer model of the cruise-ship outbreak found that the virus spread most readily in microscopic droplets light enough to linger in the air.

washington post logoWashington Post, Coronavirus relief talks hit impasse on Capitol Hill, Erica Werner, Jeff Stein, Seung Min Kim and Rachael Bade, July 30, 2020 (print ed.). A meeting between top White House officials and Democratic leaders ended with no agreement on extending emergency unemployment benefits that expire Friday or on reviving a moratorium on evictions that lapsed last week.

Negotiations on a new coronavirus relief bill hit an impasse on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, leaving no clear path forward even as millions of Americans face a sudden drop in unemployment benefits, and the economy teeters on the brink.

us senate logoA meeting between top White House officials and Democratic leaders ended with no agreement on extending emergency unemployment benefits that expire Friday or on reviving a moratorium on evictions that lapsed last week. That means some 20 million jobless Americans will lose $600 weekly enhanced unemployment benefits that Congress approved in March, which could send the economy reeling.

After a day of meetings, all parties declared their differences all but irreconcilable. Democrats shot down the idea of a short-term fix for unemployment insurance and the eviction moratorium, which President Trump had announced earlier Wednesday he would support. And the two parties remained far apart on a larger bill, with Democrats standing by their wide-ranging $3 trillion proposal even as Republicans struggled to coalesce around a $1 trillion bill released by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Monday.

Each side said the other was to blame for the failure. Paying the price will be the unemployed at a moment of deep uncertainty and fear, with coronavirus cases spiking and states pulling back on reopening as deaths near 150,000 in the United States. The talks could get back on track in coming days, but the signs Wednesday were not promising.

More than 20 million Americans remain unemployed and have been receiving a $600 weekly emergency unemployment payment that Congress approved in March, on top of whatever benefit their state offers. That extra federal benefit runs out Friday.

Democrats want to extend the extra jobless payment at its current level. The Senate GOP bill released Monday proposes cutting it to $200 weekly until states can phase in a new system that would aim to replace 70 percent of a worker’s wages before unemployment.

ny times logoNew York Times, Herman Cain, Former Presidential Candidate, Dies at 74, Aimee Ortiz, July 30, 2020. Mr. Cain, a business executive who sought the Republican nomination in 2012, had been hospitalized with the coronavirus in the Atlanta area.

herman cain wHerman Cain, the former Republican presidential candidate and business executive who was recently hospitalized with the coronavirus, has died. He was 74.

His death was announced on his website and social media accounts. Early this month, he said he had been hospitalized in the Atlanta area.

Mr. Cain, the former chief executive of Godfather’s Pizza, tested positive for the virus after he attended President Trump’s indoor rally in Tulsa, Okla., on June 20.

“We knew when he was first hospitalized with COVID-19 that this was going to be a rough fight,” Dan Calabrese, the editor of Mr. Cain’s website, said in the post announcing his death. “He had trouble breathing and was taken to the hospital by ambulance.”

republican elephant logo“Although he was basically pretty healthy in recent years, he was still in a high-risk group because of his history with cancer,” Mr. Calabrese noted.

Mr. Cain ran as a Republican candidate in the 2012 presidential election, but dropped out of the race after he was accused of sexual misconduct, which he denied. His platform included a 9-9-9 tax plan: a flat 9 percent individual income tax rate, a 9 percent corporate tax rate and a 9 percent national sales tax.

Last year, Mr. Cain withdrew his name as one of Mr. Trump’s picks for the Federal Reserve Board, following the re-emergence of accusations of sexual harassment.

ny times logoNew York Times, A Viral Epidemic Splintering Into Deadly Pieces, Donald G. McNeil Jr., July 30, 2020. There’s not just one coronavirus outbreak in the United States. Now there are many, each requiring its own mix of solutions.

Each state, each city has its own crisis driven by its own risk factors: vacation crowds in one, bars reopened too soon in another, a revolt against masks in a third.

“We are in a worse place than we were in March,” when the virus coursed through New York, said Dr. Leana S. Wen, a former Baltimore health commissioner. “Back then we had one epicenter. Now we have lots.”

To assess where the country is heading now, The New York Times interviewed 20 public health experts — not just clinicians and epidemiologists, but also historians and sociologists, because the spread of the virus is now influenced as much by human behavior as it is by the pathogen itself.

Not only are American cities in the South and West facing deadly outbreaks like those that struck Northeastern cities in the spring, but rural areas are being hurt, too. In every region, people of color will continue to suffer disproportionately, experts said.

While there may be no appetite for a national lockdown, local restrictions must be tightened when required, the researchers said, and governors and mayors must have identical goals. Testing must become more targeted.

Law, Courts, Crime

washington post logoWashington Post, Barr says he won’t wait until post-election to reveal findings on 2016 probe, Matt Zapotosky and Karoun Demirjian, July 30, 2020 (print ed.). Democrats fear the presidential race could be upended by a late revelation about the results of U.S. Attorney John Durham's examination of the FBI’s 2016 investigation into President Trump’s campaign.

Attorney General William P. Barr reiterated this week that he will not wait until after November’s election to release whatever U.S. Attorney John Durham finds in his examination of the FBI’s 2016 investigation into President Trump’s campaign, raising fears among Democrats that Barr and Durham could upend the presidential race with a late revelation.

john durhamRepublicans have been eagerly awaiting Durham’s findings — hopeful that the prosecutor Barr handpicked last year to investigate the investigation of possible coordination between Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russia will validate their fierce criticisms of the bureau. Democrats, meanwhile, have worried that the Connecticut U.S. attorney is aiding a political stunt designed to undercut an investigation that dogged Trump’s presidency.

As the election draws near — and much of what Durham is doing remains a mystery — both sides have grown increasingly anxious, with liberals fretting over an October surprise, and Republicans wondering whether Durham’s work could push into the next administration.

John Durham has a stellar reputation for investigating corruption. Some fear his work for Barr could tarnish it.

Barr, below left, has repeatedly and stridently attacked the Russia investigation — saying that what happened to Trump was “one of the greatest travesties in American history” — while hinting vaguely that he is “troubled” by what he knows Durham has found. That has drawn accusations from Democrats and legal analysts that he is inappropriately william barr new otalking about an ongoing case and prejudging its outcome.

“There’s a real danger, in fact an urgent threat, that anything the Department of Justice does will be timed to aid the president,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D- Conn.) said in an interview, adding, “Barr has proven ready, willing and able to distort, distract and deceive.”

At a hearing Tuesday before the House Judiciary Committee, Barr was quizzed briefly by both sides on the matter but offered little to satisfy his questioners.

Barr recently told Fox News he expected developments in Durham’s investigation “hopefully before the end of the summer.” He has said that Durham is mainly focused on uncovering criminal wrongdoing but that he expects “there will be public disclosure in some form of report.”

Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D-Fla.) asked Barr: Would he “commit to not releasing any report by Mr. Durham before the November election?”

“No,” Barr responded.

Justice Department policies and tradition generally counsel against taking steps in an investigation close to an election such that they might affect the outcome. But the guidance is vague and difficult to reconcile with an investigation like Durham’s — which apparently is not focused on any political candidates, though it has been seized on by politicians and involves law enforcement’s treatment of Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

Exactly what Durham is focused on is not clear. He has publicly questioned the cause the FBI had to open the 2016 investigation, noting in a 2019 statement that he disagreed with some of the Justice Department inspector general’s conclusions about “predication and how the FBI case was opened.”

djt michael cohen

Reuters, U.S. lets ex-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen publish book while serving sentence at home, Karen Freifeld and Jonathan Stempel, July 30, 2020. Michael Cohen, above left, the former personal lawyer and fixer for Donald Trump, will be allowed to publish a book critical of the U.S. president before the Nov. 3 election while completing his criminal sentence at home, under an agreement filed on Thursday.

The agreement between Cohen’s lawyers and federal prosecutors also frees Cohen to engage with news organizations and use social media, as he serves the remainder of his three-year term for campaign finance violations and other crimes in home confinement.

“There shall be no specific media provision” governing Cohen’s activities, according to the agreement, which requires approval by U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein in Manhattan.

Cohen, 53, had served about one year of his prison term before being sent home to his Manhattan apartment in May, because of the risk of contracting COVID-19 behind bars.

Federal authorities returned him to prison on July 9, one week after Cohen tweeted he was close to finishing his book, when Cohen questioned their new requirement that he agree to steer clear of media.

But Hellerstein ordered his release last week, saying the return to prison amounted to government retaliation against Cohen’s desire to exercise his First Amendment rights.

The judge gave both sides a week to negotiate a media provision that is “consistent with the First Amendment but yet serves the purposes of confinement.”

Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018 to campaign violations tied to hush money payments to pornographic film actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who claimed they had affairs with Trump.

He also pleaded guilty to evading taxes on more than $4 million in income and making false statements to a bank.

Trump has denied having the encounters with Daniels and McDougal, and called Cohen a “rat.”

washington post logoWashington Post, High court again splits on virus-related election issue, Robert Barnes, July 30, 2020. The Supreme Court shut down a lower court’s decision that cited the pandemic as reason to ease the rules on gathering signatures for a ballot initiative. The Supreme Court on Thursday shut down a lower court’s decision that cited the coronavirus pandemic as reason to ease the rules on gathering signatures for a citizens ballot initiative.

The case from Idaho was the latest example of the high court deferring to state officials, rather than lower-court judges, in how to deal with election-related issues caused by the outbreak of covid-19.

The justices put on hold a lower-court order that Idaho officials either put on the ballot an education initiative promoted by a group called Reform Idaho or allow the group to gather signatures electronically, although the deadline had passed.

It is unclear exactly how the court’s vote broke down, although at least five of the nine justices had to agree with the action.

Arizona Republic, Police arrest former activist suspected of Arizona Democratic Party headquarters arson, Yvonne Wingett Sanchez, July 30, 2020 (print ed.). Phoenix police have arrested matthew eglerMatthew Egler, a Democratic activist who party officials say has had a long and troubled history with the Maricopa County Party over the years, for the fire that destroyed Arizona Democratic Party's headquarters last week.

The fire ruined historical political memorabilia and party infrastructure ahead of Tuesday's primary election.

After a nearly weeklong investigation, Phoenix police on Wednesday identified Egler, 29, of Peoria, in connection with the fire set to the party's headquarters. The fire occurred after midnight on Friday, last week.

In announcing the arrest, police released footage of a dark car parked near the north side of the building, and a person lighting the fire outside of the building. As the fire grows, the person walks back to the car.

Egler appeared on Wednesday before a Maricopa County commissioner for his initial appearance. He is being held on $75,000 bail; his arraignment is scheduled for Aug. 4 — election day — according to the sheriff's office.

In a document released by the Maricopa County Superior Court, police cited in a probable cause statement Egler's posts on social media admitting his involvement with the fire and his anger with the Maricopa County Democrats.

He had been previously volunteering for the county Democrats, according to the probable cause statement, but had been banned from volunteering "due to the nature of his previous behaviors."

Egler reached out to the county Democrats about getting involved in his district, but was not allowed to volunteer. The Arizona Secretary of State's Office confirmed Wednesday he is still a registered Democrat.

A review of a Twitter account he maintains shows Egler, in recent days, posting videos of starting fires, complaining about local party leadership, and ultimately claiming that he "bombed" the office.

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Investigative commentary: Formerly sealed documents in Maxwell-Epstein case ordered released, Wayne Madsen, left, July 30, 2020. Judge Loretta Preska of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York has ordered released sealed documents from a 2016 defamation lawsuit brought by Virginia Roberts Giuffre against Ghislaine Maxwell, the now-indicted former assistant to international underage female sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein.

Although the civil case was settled in 2017 it generated a number of documents, including emails, as well as depositions by Giuffre and other abuse victims. Maxwell sought to block the release of the sealed documents on the grounds that they would embarrass her. Judge Preska ruled, "the court finds any minor embarrassment or annoyance resulting from Ms. Maxwell's mostly non-testimony ... is far outweighed by the presumption of public access."

jean luc brunelThe sealed documents reportedly provide additional details concerning the activities of Epstein; Maxwell; and Jean-Luc Brunel, right, the French owner of two Epstein-financed modeling agencies, Karin Models and MC2 Model Management. Brunel is the subject of an international criminal investigation involving the FBI and French National Police. Brunel has not been seen in public since the suspicious Manhattan jail cell death of Epstein in August 2019. Brunel was named in Giuffre's lawsuit against Maxwell. Giuffre said Epstein had bragged to her in claiming that he had slept with over 1,000 of "Brunel's girls."

In 1989, Brunel and his brother, Arnaud Brunel, founded the Next Management Company modeling agency, a subsidiary of the Next Management Corporation, which was founded the previous year as a New York corporation.

Steven Mnuchin The individual listed as the New York Department of State process or agent for the Next Management Corporation is none other than Steven Mnuchin, left, Donald Trump's Secretary of Treasury. Mnuchin, in typical Trump administration fashion, has denied knowing that he was the agent for the Brunel brothers' company or even having ever met either of the Brunels.

However, WMR conducted a search of the New York Department of State (DOS) corporation filings and discovered Mnuchin listed as the DOS Process for not only Next Management Corporation but its follow-on identity, Next Time Corporation. Mnuchin cannot honestly claim he had no knowledge of a business relationship with the Brunels that spanned at least a decade.

washington post logoWashington Post, Ghislaine Maxwell’s lawyers say transcripts were leaked illegally, Shayna Jacobs, July 30, 2020 (print ed.). The accusation came as hundreds of pages of court records germane to the Jeffrey Epstein case were set to be made public Thursday.

2020 U.S. Elections, Politics

washington post logoWashington Post, This Republican implosion has been a long time coming, E.J. Dionne Jr., July 30, 2020 (print ed.). It should now be clear to everyone: The Republican Party is incapable of ej dionne w open neckgoverning. Sure, this sounds partisan. In fact, it’s an analytical reflection based on what is happening right before our eyes.

You would think that with our nation facing its most profound economic crisis since the 1930s, married to a public health disaster and growing unrest over racial injustice, the party that controls the White House and the U.S. Senate would get serious.

Instead, the Senate’s Republican majority and the Trump White House are in chaos, unable to produce a coherent relief bill to keep the economy from spiraling further downward.

Republicans admit this.

“It’s a mess,” said Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) of the party’s own ramshackle proposal. “I can’t figure out what this bill’s about.”

A telltale sign of the Republicans’ flight from responsibility is that they waited until the last minute before launching their haphazard scramble because they were hoping to avoid having to do anything.

washington post logoWashington Post, Trailing badly in polls, Trump points to ‘hidden’ voters and ‘silent majority’ as path to victory, Toluse Olorunnipa, July 30, 2020 (print ed.). Researchers and political analysts say the differences between this year and 2016 are stark — making it unlikely that unexpected voters alone will be enough to change the president’s fortunes.

washington post logoWashington Post, Much of recession’s damage could be permanent unless Congress acts, Heather Long, July 30, 2020. The recovery looked promising in June, but it has stalled in July. Many economists have urged lawmakers to “go big” on the next relief bill.

washington post logomichael gerson file photoWashington Post, Opinion: Trump has made Republicans complicit in his revolt against American principles, Michael Gerson, right, July 30, 2020. President Trump dissembles with great frequency, but he generally lacks the sharpness and subtlety to successfully deceive. He will lie to your face, but he has trouble concealing his intentions.

Take this recent Trump tweet: “I am happy to inform all of the people living their Suburban Lifestyle Dream that you will no longer be bothered or financially hurt by having low income housing built in your neighborhood.”

As a policy matter, Trump is referring to a change in fair-housing rules. During the Barack Obama era, localities that received federal housing funding were required to address any biased practices that concentrated low-income housing in small geographic areas. The Trump administration has lifted that requirement.

But Trump did not merely declare this revision. His language laid bare his motivating biases. He was “happy” to make the announcement. Rather than being a distressing duty, exclusion seems to gladden his dreary day.

The president then embraced the capitalized, perhaps trademarked “Suburban Lifestyle Dream” — which I assume is like the American Dream, but with nicer lawns and fewer minority neighbors. These suburban dreamers will no longer be “bothered” by fellow citizens they consider unsightly. As if this pledge weren’t crass enough, Trump assured the suburbanites they will no longer be “financially hurt” by sharing their parks and neighborhoods with, you know, those people. The president may have ruined the economy through pandemic negligence, but his urgent priority seems to be the protection of suburban property values from predatory diversity.

We can be confident this tweet was racist rather than classist because it came in a certain context. Trump was fresh from refusing to attend John Lewis’s memorial events, and tweeting a supporter yelling “White power!”, and passing along videos of Black people assaulting White people, and playing down police violence against African Americans, and defending Confederate monuments and place names, and supporting right-wing groups carrying Confederate flags as they marched on state capitals, and observing that “people love” the Confederate flag.

This could be an inflection point in our history. The unblinking eye of social media has revealed the persistence and horrors of racial injustice. The nation seems to have reached a critical mass of disgust and conscience.

This is the main reason that Republicans — in the Oval Office, in the Senate, in the House — must lose, and lose decisively. Trump has made national Republicans fully complicit in his revolt against American principles. Party loyalty now consists of defending the indefensible. By the nature of our constitutional order, a firm decision against bigotry is an entry-level commitment of American politics. Trump’s pervasive influence among Republicans has necessitated their repudiation.

Racial Disputes, Political Protests

washington post logoWashington Post, Three former presidents embrace the struggle for rights. The current one suggests delaying the election, Marc Fisher, July 30, 2020. In a country cleaved by political differences, paralyzed by a pernicious virus and suffering from a plunging economy, the funeral of civil rights icon and longtime lawmaker John Lewis presented painful contrasts.

Three presidents spoke in poetry, paying tribute to a fallen hero who believed — often against evidence to the contrary, including the cracking of his skull by state troopers — that America was good, its people driven by love to do right by one another.

One president, the current commander in chief, did not attend the funeral of Rep. John Lewis but instead spoke of dark forces in the country and suggested that the United States not hold its next presidential election on time.

In a country cleaved by political differences, paralyzed by a pernicious virus and suffering from a plunging economy, Thursday presented painful contrasts. It was a day of soaring tributes to the first Black lawmaker to lie in state in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda, offered from the pulpit of the mother church of the modern civil rights movement. And it was a day of pointed reminders that the nation is struggling, even after 244 years, to define itself, to decide what freedom and equality will mean.

  • Washington Post, Documenting John Lewis’s last public appearance, Paul Kane and John Wagner, July 30, 2020. Obama issues call to action in eulogy for John Lewis, links Trump to 1960s foes of civil rights.

bo john lewis eulogy cspan

Media Matters, Commentary: Right-wing media attack Barack Obama's eulogy for John Lewis, Jason Campbell, July 30, 2020. After the first Black president eulogizes a civil rights hero (above), conservatives lash out: “Barack Obama is a national disgrace”

Former President Barack Obama delivered a eulogy today for Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), commemorating the civil rights icon and longtime member of the House of media matters logoRepresentatives. Obama praised Lewis’ history of promoting civil rights and called for action to continue the late congressman’s legacy, including ending the Senate legislative filibuster and passing a new Voting Rights Act.

Right-wing media was quick to criticize Obama’s eulogy, claiming the former president had politicized the event. Some conservative media personalities mocked Obama and derided his speech as a campaign event for presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden. Even following a solemn funeral in which this country’s first Black president praised the legacy of a champion for civil rights, right-wing media continued to demonstrate its shameless hatemongering.

Sean Hannity spent large chunks of his radio show complaining about Obama's eulogy, including accusing the former president of lying and claiming that voter suppression is a myth even though multiple Republican figures have admitted otherwise. Sen. Lindsey Graham told Hannity that “Donald Trump has done more to help the people they're talking about at the funeral than President Obama did.”

trump family

washington post logojennifer rubin new headshotWashington Post, Opinion: Trump’s racist housing tweet is par for his family, Jennifer Rubin, right, July 30, 2020. Donald Trump and his father defended their family’s real estate empire from housing discrimination claims in the 1970s. The Post reported in 2016:

In October 1973, the Justice Department filed a civil rights case that accused the Trump firm, whose complexes contained 14,000 apartments, of violating the Fair Housing Act of 1968.

The case, one of the biggest federal housing discrimination suits to be brought during that time, put a spotlight on the family empire led by its 27-year-old president, Donald Trump, and his father, Fred Trump, the chairman, who had begun building houses and apartments in the 1930s. . . .

Many whites were relocating to the suburbs, and minorities often moved in to rent or buy properties. Concern about the issue peaked following race riots that broke out across the country after the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Amid growing evidence that landlords were refusing to rent to minorities, Congress acted one week after the King assassination by passing the Fair Housing Act of 1968, which banned such discrimination.

As is the case in many housing discrimination lawsuits, “White testers were encouraged to rent at certain Trump buildings, while the black testers were discouraged, denied or steered to apartment complexes that had more racial minorities, according to the testimony.” Trump’s defense was that he did not want to rent to people on welfare, “black or white.” The suit, eventually resolved by a settlement, may have taught Trump the wrong lesson — and fixed an antiquated view of the suburbs in his mind.

Fast forward to Trump’s floundering presidential reelection campaign. The Post reported: “The Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) Rule, promulgated by the Obama administration in 2015, sought to strengthen [anti-discrimination laws] by requiring local governments receiving federal money to draft plans to desegregate their communities.” Knowing Trump’s background, it was little surprise that “Trump moved last week to repeal that rule, with language that appeared to hark back to an era of Whites distancing themselves from Black Americans.”

washington post logoWashington Post, Prosecutor will not charge officer who shot and killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Jessica Wolfrom and Reis Thebault, July 30, 2020. Wesley Bell said his office conducted an independent reexamination of the case and determined there was not enough evidence to bring charges. But the investigation “does not exonerate Darren Wilson,” he added.

Inside DC

washington post logoWashington Post, Lawmakers said aviation companies laid off workers even as they took Cares Act funds, Lori Aratani and Ian Duncan, July 30, 2020 (print ed.). An analysis by the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis found that more than $500 million in federal funds went to four companies that have laid off more than 7,500 workers.

Democratic lawmakers have launched an investigation into whether four aviation contractors violated provisions of the Cares Act by laying off thousands of workers, despite receiving millions of dollars from the government to keep workers on the job.

An analysis by the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis found that more than $500 million in federal funds went to four companies that have laid off more than 7,500 workers.

On Wednesday, lawmakers sent letters to the companies, including three that provide catering services to airlines: Flying Food Fare, Gate Gourmet and Swissport. A fourth, G2 Secure Staff, provides services to airports including baggage handling, wheelchair assistance and pre-departure screening, according to its website.

“Congress created this program to ‘preserve aviation jobs’ by providing wage assistance to companies in exchange for keeping workers on the payroll,” lawmakers wrote. “Giving payroll support to companies that engaged in mass layoffs is not only contrary to congressional intent, but also wastes taxpayer dollars by covering the cost of payroll for employees that have already been laid off.”

washington post logoWashington Post, Senate hearing for Pentagon nominee canceled just before start, Dan Lamothe and Seung Min Kim, July 30, 2020. The nomination of a retired general for a senior civilian position in the Trump administration was cast into doubt Thursday when his confirmation hearing was canceled just before it was scheduled to begin amid signs that he did not have enough Anthony Tata resized 2013Republican votes.

Anthony J. Tata, shown in a 2013 photo at right, who was nominated by President Trump to be undersecretary of defense for policy, has faced opposition from Democrats for inflammatory past remarks that included calling President Barack Obama a “terrorist leader.” Trump had pressed the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.), for a hearing, despite rising objections to Tata’s background.

One defense official familiar with the process, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, said that once Inhofe and the administration mark esperfigured out late Wednesday that Tata did not have the votes needed, “there was no need” to go through a difficult hearing.

Tata has served since this spring as a senior adviser to Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper, left, in an unconfirmed capacity, despite Esper’s pledge to shield the Defense Department from partisan politics.

Jonathan Rath Hoffman, the chief Pentagon spokesman, said Thursday afternoon that the Defense Department was looking forward to Tata having the opportunity to share his “experience and success” with the Armed Services Committee, and that he will remain with the department as a senior adviser.

World News

ny times logoNew York Times, Rising Seas Could Menace Millions Beyond Shorelines, Study Finds, Brad Plumer, July 30, 2020. As global warming pushes up ocean levels around the world, scientists have long warned that many low-lying coastal areas will become permanently submerged.

ny times logoNew York Times, U.S. Will Cut 12,000 Forces in Germany, Thomas Gibbons-Neff, July 30, 2020. Defense Department officials say the redeployments will enhance American security and its ability to respond to threats. Allies and some in Congress see it as punishment for Germany. 

The United States is cutting back its deployments in Germany by nearly 12,000 troops and shifting some of those forces around the continent, including relocating some units to Belgium and Italy, Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper announced on Wednesday.

german flagAbout 6,400 troops are set to return to the United States.

The move is certain to rankle European leaders and anger both Democratic and Republican lawmakers who see the United States troop presence on the continent, especially in Germany, as a cornerstone of post-World War II order.

The Pentagon’s decision to cut American troops in Germany from roughly 36,000 to about 24,000 is in keeping with President Trump’s “America First” approach and his deep-seated drive to bring home U.S. forces from wars started after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

washington post logoWashington Post, Ex-Marine gets nine years in a Russian jail over drunken incident he says he can’t remember, Robyn Dixon, July 30, 2020. Trevor Reed is the latest American to get a tough prison sentence in a Moscow court.

Former U.S. Marine Trevor Reed was convicted of endangering Russian police with violence and sentenced to nine years in prison by a Moscow court Thursday, over a drunken incident he says he does not remember.

Reed, 29, traveled to Moscow last summer to spend time with his girlfriend, Alina Tsybulnik, and to study Russian. But a night out that went horribly wrong saw the Texan arrested last August while drunk and taken into custody.

Reed attended a party for his girlfriend’s colleagues on Aug. 15 where he was encouraged to drink a large amount of vodka, according to a statement posted by Reed’s family on a website about his case. “He has no memory of the evening past drinking vodka and being asked to toast many times,” the statement said. In the early morning hours of Aug. 16, he shared a ride home with some people from the party, became nauseated and asked to stop the car. Police said he resisted arrest as officers tried to calm him down during an argument with two women.

More On Virus Victims

ny times logoNew York Times, Teachers Are Wary of Returning to Class, and Online Instruction Too, Dana Goldstein and Eliza Shapiro, July 30, 2020 (print ed.). Union are threatening to strike if classrooms reopen, but are also pushing to limit live remote teaching. Their demands will shape pandemic education.

  • New York Times, Trump Says He Did Not Ask Putin About Suspected Bounties to Kill U.S. Troops, Charlie Savage, Michael Crowley and Eric Schmitt, July 30, 2020.

ny times logoNew York Times, U.S. Surpasses 150,000 Coronavirus Deaths, Far Eclipsing Projections, Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs, July 30, 2020. The national toll shows how difficult predicting the virus — or human behavior — can be. President Trump and leading experts have at times said that deaths would be much lower. The United States’ leading authority on infectious disease expressed hope in April that no more than 60,000 people in the country would die from the coronavirus. A revered research center predicted a few weeks later that the figure would be just over 70,000 people by early August. When the number of deaths shot up in May, President Trump said that anywhere between 75,000 and 100,000 people could die.

On Wednesday, the nation’s death toll surpassed 150,000.

That the figure, based on a New York Times database, has soared so soon and so far beyond those estimates illustrates how difficult it can be to accurately forecast the spread of the virus, or the way citizens and politicians will respond to it.

ny times logoNew York Times, Lawmakers, United in Their Ire, Lash Out at Big Tech’s Leaders, Cecilia Kang and David McCabe, July 30, 2020. The chiefs of Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook faced withering questions from Democrats about anti-competitive practices and from Republicans about anti-conservative bias.

 

July 29

Top Stories

Virus Victims, Responses

2020 U.S. Elections, Politics

Political Protests

Law, Crime, Courts

Inside DC

World News

 Media News

 

Top Stories

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ny times logoNew York Times, Trump Falsely Claims That Much of U.S. Is ‘Corona Free,’ July 29, 2020 (print ed.). President Trump made claims about the trajectory of the virus that clash with his own administration’s assessments and again defended a discredited drug. Federal officials distributed a new report which found that 21 states had outbreaks so severe that they were in the “red zone.”

djt hands up mouth open CustomThe Miami Marlins now have 17 cases within their traveling party and will stop playing games until at least Monday. A national teachers’ union said teachers may strike as a “last resort” if they don’t feel safe. Pilgrims to Mecca are finding a reconfigured hajj.

Democrats are pushing to extend a $600 weekly jobless benefit that Republicans want to reduce to $200.

President Trump returned to defending a discredited drug at a White House briefing Tuesday evening in which he also made claims about the trajectory of the virus that clash with his own administration’s assessments and bemoaned his low approval ratings.

The president defended sharing a version of a video promoting the use of the drug hydroxychloroquine that was deleted Monday night by Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, which all said that the video had violated their policies on sharing misinformation about the virus.

He claimed that “you can look at large portions of our country — it’s corona-free,” even as federal officials distributed a new report finding that 21 states had outbreaks so severe that they were in the “red zone.” Twenty-eight states were in the “yellow zone,” and only one state, Vermont, was in the “green zone.”

And he lamented that health officials in his administration, including Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, were more popular than he is. “He’s got this high approval rating,” Mr. Trump said. “Why don’t I have a high approval rating — and the administration — with respect to the virus?”

ny times logoNew York Times, Deaths Top 150,000 in the United States, Staff reports, July 29, 2020. An average of about 1,000 virus-related deaths a day have been reported over the past week, the worst rate since early June; President Trump said governors should proceed with reopening despite a federal report that said 21 states were in a “red zone;.Federal officials urged states to take aggressive action to slow the spread of the virus while the president talked up nonexistent “virus-free” areas. Big retailers are mandating masks, but enforcement is an issue; Representative Louie Gohmert, a Texas Republican who rarely wears a mask in the Capitol, tested positive for the coronavirus ahead of a planned trip with President Trump on Air Force One.

More than 150,000 people have died in the United States from the coronavirus, according to a New York Times database, as the rate of deaths continues to rise on the heels of ballooning infections and hospitalizations in many areas.

An average of about 1,000 virus-related deaths a day have been reported over the past week, the worst rate since early June, when the number of people dying seemed to be falling. Now, daily death counts are rising in 24 states and Puerto Rico.

The nation’s overall death toll reached the grim figure on Wednesday, five months after the first reported virus death in the United States in February. The nation passed the 50,000 mark on April 27 and 100,000 on May 27, a milestone whose approach The Times commemorated by filling its front page with names of the dead.

During the early peak of the U.S. epidemic in late April, the national death toll was driven by a surge in New York State, which at the worst was reporting about 1,000 deaths a day, roughly half the national total at that time.

These days, the toll is being felt much more widely across many states, especially in the South, while New York is reporting about 16 deaths a day on average. For example, more than 2,100 deaths have been reported in the past week in Texas, the state with the highest recent death toll relative to its population, followed by Arizona and South Carolina.

The trend in virus deaths generally lags the trend in infections, reflecting the delays between when people test positive, when they die and when those deaths are reported. Daily death tolls kept falling for a while after daily case reports began to climb significantly in June. Since early July, though, the death numbers have been rising, while infection reports have begun to level off at around 65,000 a day.

louis gohmertRepresentative Louie Gohmert, left,a Texas Republican who has frequently refused to wear a mask in the Capitol, tested positive for coronavirus on Wednesday ahead of a planned trip with President Trump on Air Force One, officials familiar with the matter said.

The results immediately sent a shudder through the Capitol, where Mr. Gohmert has actively participated in multiple congressional hearings this week, including Tuesday’s Judiciary Committee session with Attorney General William P. Barr.

Lawmakers and Mr. Barr were seated more than six feet apart during the hearing, but reporters spotted an unmasked Mr. Gohmert outside the hearing room exchanging words with Mr. Barr and in close proximity to him. He also participated in a hearing held by the Natural Resources Committee on Tuesday, without wearing a mask.

republican elephant logoMr. Gohmert is among a group of House Republicans who have pointedly refused to wear masks in many instances while in the Capitol in recent weeks despite warnings from public health experts and an outbreak in his home state. He told CNN last month that he did not wear a mask because he did not have coronavirus.

Democrats were furious at the news, and both parties spent Wednesday morning scrambling to retrace Mr. Gohmert’s steps. The House Judiciary Committee was waiting for official guidance from Congress’s attending physician. It is a daunting task since Mr. Gohmert is a frequent schmoozer who could have come into close contact with dozens of fellow lawmakers and aides this week alone.

Members of Congress have been flying weekly between Washington and their home states — some of which are experiencing serious outbreaks — and they are not required to be tested. Mr. Gohmert only received a test because he was scheduled to be in proximity to the president.

washington post logoWashington Post, Pelosi makes mask wearing mandatory for anyone on the House floor, Paul Kane and Colby Itkowitz, July 29, 2020. The House speaker announced the order following news that a lawmaker tested positive for the coronavirus.

washington post logoWashington Post, Coronavirus relief talks hit impasse on Capitol Hill, Erica Werner, Jeff Stein, Seung Min Kim and Rachael Bade, July 29, 2020. A meeting between top White House officials and Democratic leaders ended with no agreement on extending emergency unemployment benefits that expire Friday or on reviving a moratorium on evictions that lapsed last week.

Negotiations on a new coronavirus relief bill hit an impasse on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, leaving no clear path forward even as millions of Americans face a sudden drop in unemployment benefits, and the economy teeters on the brink.

A meeting between top White House officials and Democratic leaders ended with no agreement on extending emergency unemployment benefits that expire Friday or on reviving a moratorium on evictions that lapsed last week. That means some 20 million jobless Americans will lose $600 weekly enhanced unemployment benefits that Congress approved in March, which could send the economy reeling.

After a day of meetings, all parties declared their differences all but irreconcilable. Democrats shot down the idea of a short-term fix for unemployment insurance and the eviction moratorium, which President Trump had announced earlier Wednesday he would support. And the two parties remained far apart on a larger bill, with Democrats standing by their wide-ranging $3 trillion proposal even as Republicans struggled to coalesce around a $1 trillion bill released by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Monday.

Each side said the other was to blame for the failure. Paying the price will be the unemployed at a moment of deep uncertainty and fear, with coronavirus cases spiking and states pulling back on reopening as deaths near 150,000 in the United States. The talks could get back on track in coming days, but the signs Wednesday were not promising.

More than 20 million Americans remain unemployed and have been receiving a $600 weekly emergency unemployment payment that Congress approved in March, on top of whatever benefit their state offers. That extra federal benefit runs out Friday.

Democrats want to extend the extra jobless payment at its current level. The Senate GOP bill released Monday proposes cutting it to $200 weekly until states can phase in a new system that would aim to replace 70 percent of a worker’s wages before unemployment.

djt super tan july 4 2020

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Trump retweeted a video with false covid-19 claims. One doctor in it has said demons cause illnesses, Travis M. Andrews and Danielle Paquette, July 29, 2020. Immanuel, who appeared in a video that was retweeted by President Trump but banned by social media companies, is known for making outlandish claims.

After social media companies removed a viral video showing doctors spreading unsubstantiated information about the novel coronavirus, a phrase inspired by one doctor’s past claims began trending on Twitter: demon sperm. It turns out Stella Immanuel has a history of making particularly outlandish statements — including that the uterine disorder endometriosis is caused by sex with demons that takes place in dreams.

The video showed a group that has dubbed itself America’s Frontline Doctors, standing on the steps of the Supreme Court and claiming that neither masks nor shutdowns are necessary to fight the pandemic, despite a plethora of expertise to the contrary. It was live-streamed by the conservative media outlet Breitbart and viewed more than 14 million times — fueled by a tweet by Donald Trump Jr. and multiple retweets by President Trump, which have since been deleted.

Facebook, YouTube and Twitter have removed the various iterations of the video. Twitter told The Washington Post that they were “in violation of our covid-19 misinformation policy.”

As the Daily Beast’s Will Sommer first noted, Immanuel has asserted that many gynecological issues are the result of having sex with witches and demons (“succubi” and “incubi”) in dreams, a myth that dates back at least to the “Epic of Gilgamesh,” a Sumerian poem written more than 4,000 years ago. She falsely claims that issues such as endometriosis, infertility, miscarriages and STIs are “evil deposits from the spirit husband.”

djt i dont take responsibility at all

 washington post logoWashington Post, Trump calls GOP’s virus bill ‘semi-irrelevant,’ Erica Werner, Seung Min Kim and Jeff Stein, July 29, 2020 (print ed.). Legislation gets rocky reception as multiple Senate Republicans criticize provisions ranging from stimulus payments to Pentagon spending

President Trump brushed off the new $1 trillion Senate GOP coronavirus legislation as “sort of semi-irrelevant” Tuesday, dismissing its significance just a day after Senate Republican leaders overcame contentious internal divisions to roll it out.

At the Capitol, meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) disavowed a key Trump administration priority in the bill — funding for a new FBI headquarters — while the second-ranking GOP senator suggested that Congress might be unable to make a deal in time to avert the expiration of emergency unemployment benefits on Friday.

Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) said Congress might have to pass a stand-alone extension of the unemployment benefits, a piecemeal approach that administration officials have floated but that Senate Republican leaders had avoided publicly embracing before now.

Virus Victims, Responses

washington post logoWashington Post, Live Updates: U.S. nears 150,000 deaths as Trump asks why Fauci has higher approval, Staff reports, July 29, 2020. Young people are infecting older family members in shared homes; Arizona school districts provide liability waiver to parents.

As the coronavirus death toll approached 150,000 in the United States, President Trump questioned why he isn’t as popular as Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert. “He’s got this high approval rating,” Trump told reporters at the White House, claiming that he had implemented many of Fauci’s recommendations. “So why don’t I have a high approval rating?”

Fauci, meanwhile, warned that even while the outbreak in the Sun Belt might finally be leveling off, the number of positive tests was rising in the Midwest. “We just can’t afford, yet again, another surge,” he said Tuesday, as the United States reported more than 1,000 coronavirus fatalities for the second day in a row and Florida, Arkansas, Oregon and Montana recorded their highest single-day death tolls yet.

Here are some significant developments:

  • Twitter deleted a video filled with false information about the coronavirus — featuring a doctor who blames an illness on demon sperm — that had been retweeted by Trump and his son. Donald Trump Jr.’s account was limited, and he accused the company of “censoring” conservatives.
  • Teachers may go on strike “as a last resort” if forced to return to unsafe classrooms in the fall, American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten said Tuesday.

washington post logoanthony fauci CustomWashington Post, Virus live updates: Fauci said Midwest could face same surge as Southern states, Staff reports, July 29, 2020 (print ed.). Selfridges luxury department store chain to cut 14 percent of workforce in Britain; NFL, faced with another league’s outbreak, says it knows ‘this is going to be hard;’ To contain new outbreak, Belgium reimposes social distancing measures; Maine governor rips Republicans for caring ‘more about Massachusetts money’ than local lives.

2020 U.S. Elections, Politics

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Americans are suffering. Trump offers them a doctor who warns of sex with demons, David Von Drehle, July 29, 2020 (print ed.). I guess there is no point in expressing my strong view that the president of the United States should not, in the midst of a deadly pandemic, pass along medical advice that undermines public health officials without good reason to believe that it comes from a qualified authority. The president doesn’t care.

And I suppose it’s pointless to say to my Christian brothers and sisters in Trump’s dwindling camp that a man who raises the profile of a heretical preacher is not a friend of the faith. Many so-called evangelicals who stick with Trump gave up on evangelism — that is, winning people over through selfless acts of love and charity — long ago.

So, let me speak to those Republicans cowering in closets and hiding under stairs in Washington and the state capitals, muttering prayers that Trump might somehow calm the flames that threaten to consume them.

Run away. Close your eyes and duck your heads and sprint as fast as you can away from Trump. Claim amnesia. Say you’ve been hiking the Appalachian Trail. Blame your spirit spouse — whatever.

A fury is building in Middle America that has nothing to do with Russia or impeachment or “Access Hollywood.” It’s rising among people who managed to look past all of that to find something they liked about the president. And now he’s repaying them with a stubby middle finger in their faces.

mary trump

washington post logoWashington Post, Mary L. Trump, president’s niece, says she’ll do ‘everything in my power’ to elect Biden, Michael Kranish, July 29, 2020 (print ed.). Speaking at a Post Live event, the best-selling author, right, acknowledged that she had not obtained permission to use a series of incendiary quotes from her aunt in which Donald Trump was referred to as a “clown” who would never get elected.

washington post logoWashington Post, As Trump demurs, an unimaginable question forms: Could the president reach for the military in a disputed election? Missy Ryan and Paul Sonne, July 29, 2020 (print ed.). President Trump’s refusal to commit to accepting the results of the November election, paired with his penchant for plunging the military into the partisan fray, has prompted scholars and legal experts to ask a once-unthinkable question: How would the armed forces respond if pulled into a disputed election?

Speculation about whether the military could be asked to play a role in events following the 2020 presidential vote has intensified in the wake of the Pentagon’s involvement in the government’s response to demonstrations against racism and police brutality.

“If the president is willing to thrust the military leadership into so damaging a set of circumstances during the protests, just imagine what he would be willing to do if he wants to prevent an electoral outcome that would be damaging to him,” said Kori Schake, director of foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute. “So yes, they should be absolutely worried about it.”

As the election approaches, the president has once again declined to say he would accept its results. “I have to see,” he said during a Fox News interview this month. “I’m not going to just say yes. I’m not going to say no. And I didn’t last time either.”

Political Protests

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Trump’s crackdown sputters as ‘phased withdrawal’ from Portland begins, Greg Sargent, July 29, 2020. The Trump administration and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) have agreed to something of a cease-fire in their battle over President Trump’s insistence on keeping federal law enforcement in Portland. As so often happens in such situations, Trump’s armies are withdrawing while declaring victory.

But, based one what we know now, it appears Trump’s lieutenants have agreed to something of a climb-down, though it appears local officials have also made concessions.

During an interview, Brown used some interesting language to describe this truce, telling me that Trump’s acting homeland security secretary, Chad Wolf, left, had agreed to a “phased chad wolfwithdrawal” from the city.

If it seems jarring to hear the phrase “phased withdrawal” being applied to U.S. law enforcement’s actions with regard to an American city, that’s because it is: Those law enforcement battalions have been in Portland in direct defiance of Brown and Portland’s mayor, Ted Wheeler.

The terms of this cease-fire are somewhat murky. Brown put out a statement earlier saying that federal officers had agreed to “withdraw from Portland.”

But Wolf told reporters that Department of Homeland Security officers in Portland — many of whom appeared to be redeployed from immigration enforcement — would “remain” on standby until they were assured that Oregon State Police had secured the embattled Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse.

washington post logoWashington Post, Armed conservative groups are deploying to the front lines of the culture war, Joshua Partlow, July 29, 2020 (print ed.). Across the country, armed civilians have surged into public view — marching on statehouses, challenging Black Lives Matter protests, chasing Internet rumors — and bringing the threat of lethal force to local politics.

Before his political awakening this spring, Peter Diaz lived a quiet life near this leafy liberal bastion at the base of the Puget Sound. He ran a tree-trimming service and a business that built office cubicles. He was 37 and had never voted.

Now he has formed his own political party and is the leader of American Wolf, a roving band of civilians who have anointed themselves “peacekeepers” amid months of tense protests over racism and policing. In the name of law and order, members of his informal group have shot paintballs at demonstrators and carry zip ties and bear spray as they look for antifascists. Diaz has done “recon” in Minneapolis and Seattle’s “autonomous zone,” and drove his American Wolf mobile home to Mount Rushmore to celebrate Independence Day with President Trump.

America’s summer of anxiety and rage has swept up men like Diaz, energizing conservatives who are deploying to the front lines of the culture war. Across the country, conservative armed civilians have surged into public view — marching on statehouses, challenging Black Lives Matter protests, chasing Internet rumors — and bringing the threat of lethal force to local politics. Their emergence has prompted congressional hearings on the surge in anti-government militias and domestic extremism and has alarmed researchers who track hate groups.

Unlike the old image of militiamen as fringe elements motivated by a desire to overthrow the federal government, these groups often rally in defense of the president and see themselves as pro-government allies of local law enforcement.

washington post logoWashington Post, ‘Umbrella Man’ went viral breaking windows at a protest. He was a white supremacist trying to spark violence, police say, Jaclyn Peiser, July 29, 2020. Minneapolis police identified the man on Monday as an affiliate of a white supremacist group who allegedly sought to “incite violence" at the protest, according to a search warrant affidavit.

With an umbrella in his left hand and a hammer in his right, the man in black lobbed his weapon so nonchalantly into an auto parts shop’s windows that it surprised many others in Minneapolis marching nearby in a May 27 protest after George Floyd’s death.

Soon after the abrupt attack, the mostly calm demonstration near a police precinct erupted into looting and arson — the first fire in riots that eventually caused $500 million in damage and left two people dead, the Associated Press reported.

For weeks afterward, activists and Internet commenters homed in on a viral video of the figure nicknamed “Umbrella Man,” speculating that his intent was actually to turn the peaceful protests destructive.

On Tuesday, Minneapolis police identified him as an affiliate of a white supremacist group that allegedly sought to “incite violence,” according to a search warrant affidavit filed in the Hennepin County District Court. The Star Tribune first reported of the warrant. The 32-year-old man has not been charged.

The news comes amid rising fears of right-wing agitators purposefully stoking violence at protests. Last month, federal prosecutors charged supporters of the right-wing “boogaloo boys” movement in incidents including the killing of a security officer at a federal courthouse and plotting firebombs and explosives at a government building and peaceful protests — all with the aim of stoking racial conflict.

Theories that white supremacist groups may have been involved in the “Umbrella Man” case arose soon after video of him vandalizing the business began circulating widely on social media. Many falsely identified the man as a St. Paul police officer, causing the department to release surveillance footage showing the officer during the time of the protest.

washington post logoWashington Post, Viral video shows NYPD officers forcing protester into unmarked van, Allyson Chiu, When an unmarked Kia minivan screeched to a stop near protesters marching in Manhattan on Tuesday evening, the demonstrators’ surprise swiftly gave way to alarm. Several New York Police Department officers wearing T-shirts and shorts spilled out of the van and grabbed one of the protesters, dragging her toward the vehicle, according to videos filmed by bystanders.

The videos of the chaotic scene, which bore a marked similarity to the controversial tactics used by federal officers to detain demonstrators in Portland, Ore., quickly went viral. Protesters who witnessed the incident described it as a “kidnapping,” while a number of New York’s elected officials, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), decried the officers’ actions and demanded further explanations from the NYPD.

“Our civil liberties are on brink. This is not a drill,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. “There is no excuse for snatching women off the street and throwing them into unmarked vans.”

The police department confirmed in a statement on Twitter that its officers had used an unmarked van in the arrest, adding that the woman who was taken into custody was “wanted for damaging police cameras during 5 separate criminal incidents in & around City Hall Park.”

In an email to The Washington Post, authorities identified the protester as 18-year-old Nikki Stone, who has also been referred to online as Nicki. Police said Stone is facing charges of criminal mischief related to the five incidents.

Law, Crime, Courts

ny times logoNew York Times, Barr Clashes With House Democrats Over Protests and Russia Inquiry, Nicholas Fandos and Charlie Savage, July 29, 2020 (print ed.). Attorney General William Barr vigorously defended the federal response to protests and his interventions in the cases of Roger Stone and Michael Flynn. Democrats tried to portray Mr. Barr as a dangerous errand boy for the president, in what became a hostile election-season oversight hearing.

william barr hand out

washington post logoWashington Post, Analysis: Five takeaways from Barr’s contentious hearing, Amber Phillips, July 29, 2020 (print ed.). Attorney General William P. Barr came ready to defend himself from critics’ accusations that he is using the Justice Department to help President Trump politically.

1. He is all in as a partisan player. By now, Barr has established himself as a loyal defender of Trump, willing to make decisions that at the very least give the appearance that Barr is doing Trump’s personal bidding. Barr denies politics play a role in his decisions while leading the Justice Department.

Inside DC

washington post logoWashington Post, U.S. to limit work permits as it considers ending DACA program, Maria Sacchetti, July 29, 2020. The federal government will limit work permits for undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children to one year instead of two.

washington post logoWashington Post, Ex-CIA director writes in upcoming memoir that Trump blocked access to records and notes, Shane Harris July 29, 2020. John Brennan says the CIA refused to let him see classified files as he wrote his book, breaking with decades of tradition in dealing with former directors.

john brennan twitterIn the fall of 2018, when former CIA director John Brennan, left, decided to write his memoir, he asked the agency for his official records, including his notes and any documents that he had reviewed and signed that were classified. The CIA, where Brennan had worked for nearly 30 years, said no.

It was a break with decades of tradition. The CIA routinely lets former directors review classified files when writing books about their careers. Their manuscripts are scrutinized to ensure they don’t expose any national secrets.

After months of “haggling,” Brennan learned that the CIA was following the orders of the man he had spent the previous two years publicly excoriating — President Trump, who in August 2018 “had issued a directive . . . that purportedly forbids anyone in the intelligence community from sharing classified information with me.”

CIA LogoBrennan recounts his battles with the president in the memoir he eventually wrote, with limited access to unclassified and heavily redacted material: “Undaunted: My Fight Against America’s Enemies, at Home and Abroad.” The Washington Post reviewed portions of the book, which is scheduled to be published on Oct. 6.

Trump’s directive appears tailored to one of his most prominent critics. In tweets, op-eds and television appearances, Brennan has denounced Trump as a unique threat to U.S. national security and democracy, once labeling his comments at a joint news conference in Helsinki with the president of Russia as “treasonous,” a comment that even some of Brennan’s friends and fellow Trump detractors said went too far.

washington post logoWashington Post, House Democrats grill Census director on Trump order to exclude undocumented immigrants from apportionment, Tara Bahrampour, July 29, 2020. Director Steven Dill­ingham told the House Oversight Committee that he had no advance notice of President Trump’s memorandum.

washington post logoWashington Post, Democrats and Republicans deliver lashing to big tech CEOs, Tony Romm, July 29, 2020. Democrats and Republicans criticized the executives of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google for wielding their market power to crush competitors and amass data, customers and sky-high profits.

The chief executives of Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook, four tech giants worth nearly $5 trillion combined, faced withering questions from Republican and Democratic lawmakers alike on Wednesday for the tactics and market dominance that had made their enterprises successful.

For more than five hours, the 15 members of an antitrust panel in the House lobbed questions and repeatedly interrupted and talked over Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Tim Cook of Apple, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and Sundar Pichai of Google.

It was the first congressional hearing for some time where Democrats and Republicans acted as if they had a common foe, though for different reasons. Democratic lawmakers criticized the tech companies for buying start-ups to stifle them and for unfairly using their data hoards to clone and kill off competitors, while Republicans questioned whether the platforms had muzzled conservative viewpoints and were unpatriotic.

“As gatekeepers to the digital economy, these platforms enjoy the power to pick winners and losers, shake down small businesses and enrich themselves while choking off competitors,” said Representative David Cicilline, Democrat of Rhode Island and chairman of the House Judiciary Committee’s antitrust subcommittee. “Our founders would not bow before a king. Nor should we bow before the emperors of the online economy.”

In response, Mr. Pichai, Mr. Zuckerberg, Mr. Cook and Mr. Bezos, who testified via videoconference because of the coronavirus pandemic, were forced to strike a more humble chord. They presented themselves as participants in enormously competitive and fast-changing digital marketplaces, and they evaded questions about the decisions that turned their companies into giants.

washington post logoWashington Post, Labor unions petition Transportation Dept. for a mandatory mask rule, Larry Willis, the president of the Transportation Trades Department, a coalition of 33 unions, wrote in the petition that the government needed to go beyond issuing guidance and set clear nationwide rules for the use of masks.

World News

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump says he has not spoken to Putin about alleged bounties on U.S. troops, John Wagner, July 29, 2020. The Trump administration has questioned the veracity of the intelligence. But some of the president's own senior intelligence officials viewed the information as credible enough to warn the Pentagon and allies.

Wayne Madsen Report, Investigative commentary: MbS, aided and abetted by Kushner, backing ISIL rebellion in Mozambique, Wayne Madsen, July 29, 2020. Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS), aided and abetted by his friend and facilitator in the West Wing of the White House, Jared Kushner, is actively backing an Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)-directed rebellion in Cabo Delgado, a majority Muslim province in northern Mozambique.

washington post logoChina FlagWashington Post, Hong Kong was a pandemic poster child. Now it’s a cautionary tale, Shibani Mahtani, July 29, 2020 (print ed.). A new outbreak and tougher restrictions are drawing scrutiny of quarantine exemptions that experts say jeopardized earlier progress.

Media News

Media Matters, Commentary: Tucker Carlson's coverage of Breitbart's "Frontline Doctors" video, Nikki McCann Ramirez, July 29, 2020. Tucker Carlson’s deceitful coverage of Breitbart's COVID-19 “Frontline Doctors” video. Late on July 27, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook removed a hyperviral video riddled with misinformation related to the novel coronavirus posted by the far-right media outlet Breitbart.

fox news logo Smallmedia matters logoPresident Donald Trump and other prominent conservatives had shared the video, and its removal sparked cries of censorship from conservatives, including Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who on Tuesday night covered the story through cherry-picked snippets, outlandish accusations, and misrepresentation.

Carlson opened his show by claiming that with “the ruthlessness of Chinese authoritarians but with double the self-righteousness,” technology companies had collaborated with Democrats to pull the video from social media, viewing it as “a threat to Joe Biden's campaign.” Carlson claimed out-of-control tech companies were wielding unchecked power to silence “a group of physicians giving a press conference about medical advances in the fight against COVID.” In reality, the video was a hodgepodge of largely debunked medical claims.

 

July 28

Top Stories

Trump Justice, Impeachment'

Virus Victims, Responses

Race, Brutality Protests

U.S. 2020 Elections, Politics

Inside Trump's White House

Law, Crime, Courts 

 

 

Top Stories

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washington post logoWashington Post, Economic relief talks ramp up as GOP unveils $1 trillion plan, Erica Werner, Jeff Stein and Seung Min Kim, July 28, 2020 (print ed.). McConnell, GOP leaders unveil $1 trillion package and Pelosi and Schumer meet with Mnuchin and Meadows as they face the expiration of jobless aid within days.

The prospects for a bipartisan deal remained far from certain as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) met late Monday with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows to begin formal negotiations.

The White House officials described the talks as productive and said they would resume on Tuesday, but Democrats left the nearly two hour meeting describing the initial GOP offer as inadequate.

The prospects for a bipartisan deal remained far from certain as Democratic leaders met with Trump administration officials to begin formal negotiations.

In the new GOP plan, Senate Republicans propose cutting weekly emergency unemployment benefits from $600 to $200 until states can bring a more complicated program online. The $600 weekly jobless benefit expires in a few days, and House Democrats have proposed extending it until January because the unemployment rate remains very high.

washington post logoWashington Post, Editorial: Let’s throw the kitchen sink at covid-19 and get back to normal by October, Editorial Board, July 28, 2020 (print ed.). Any day now, the United States will cross another grim threshold of death from the coronavirus: 150,000 people lost. By contrast, South Korea has lost 299 people, Germany 9,125. Per million population, the United States has lost 423.6, Germany 110 and South Korea 5.8. Behind these statistics lies the epic failure of President Trump and his administration to mount a national response in the face of catastrophe.

The experience of other nations in fighting outbreaks — even raging outbreaks — should make Americans realize: It doesn’t have to be this way. The United States could tamp down the wildfires of virus in two months. The methods are not a secret, and they are not rocket science. Two prominent public health experts have suggested that with a concerted effort, the United States could reach near normal by Oct. 1. Andy Slavitt, a former health care official in the Obama administration, and Peter Hotez, a professor and dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, have separately outlined how the United States might reach a point where schools and businesses can reopen.

Full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic

“Let’s say we threw the kitchen sink at COVID-19 in the U.S. Let’s say we started now with the goal of being open for business in October — meaning schools, in person voting, sports, everything. If we did everything. What would happen?” Mr. Slavitt wrote on Twitter.

Trump Justice, Impeachment

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 washington post logoWashington Post, Barr hearing live updates: Democrats press defiant attorney general on response to protests, intervention in high-profile cases, Karoun Demirjian, John Wagner, Felicia Sonmez and Devlin Barrett, July 28, 2020. Attorney General William P. Barr, shown above in a file photo, appeared Tuesday at a combative hearing of the House Judiciary Committee, where he is facing pointed questions from Democrats about the government’s response to protests across the nation over police brutality, his controversial interventions in high-profile cases and an array of other matters.

“Shame on you, Mr. Barr,” Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) said at one point early in the proceedings, expressing frustration.

Barr, who is appearing before the panel for the first time since Democrats took control of the House, defended the administration’s response to civil unrest in the country, saying, “Violent rioters and anarchists have hijacked legitimate protests to wreak senseless havoc and destruction on innocent victims."

Barr also told the committee he has not inappropriately intervened in Justice Department business, as Democrats contend. In a written statement to the committee, he alleged that Democrats have tried to “discredit” him since he vowed to investigate the 2016 FBI probe of possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign and that the media has been unfair in covering the unrest.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) confronted Barr over the federal response to protests, accusing the Trump administration of cracking down violently on Black Lives Matter demonstrators while turning a blind eye to anti-lockdown protests in states such as Michigan.

Jayapal mentioned a recent phone call Trump held with governors, during which the president said the way to deal with protests against police violence is to “dominate” the demonstrators, who he described as “terrorists,” and pledged to “activate” Barr as part of the federal response.

Jayapal noted that the federal government did not intervene, however, when some who had opposed coronavirus restrictions in Michigan made threats against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) and brought guns and a doll with a noose around its neck to protests outside the state capitol.

washington post logonorman eisen SmallWashington Post, Opinion: Trump wanted his Roy Cohn. In William Barr, he found his John Mitchell instead, Norman Eisen, July 28, 2020 (print ed.). Norman Eisen, right, served as an impeachment counsel to the House Judiciary Committee and is author of “A Case for the American People: The United States v. Donald J. Trump.”

“Where’s my Roy Cohn?” That was President Trump’s famous lament after then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation. But in Sessions’s eventual replacement, William P. Barr, Trump may have done even better — by his standards — than Cohn, the notoriously unscrupulous defense lawyer.

As Barr prepares to testify before the House Judiciary Committee for the first time as Trump’s attorney general, he has instead come to resemble another disgraced lawyer of the past: former attorney general John Mitchell, whose misplaced loyalty to President Richard M. Nixon outweighed the duty he owed to the Justice Department and the country.

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump’s lawyers say subpoena for his tax records is ‘wildly overboard,’ amounts to ‘harassment,’ Shayna Jacobs, July 28, 2020 (print ed.). President Trump's lawyers are pushing to kill a grand jury subpoena for his tax records by arguing that the Manhattan district attorney's order to produce documents is "wildly overbroad" and tantamount to "harassment," Justice Department log circularaccording to an amended lawsuit filed in federal court here on Monday.

The president’s latest attempt to shield his financial records comes as Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. seeks to accelerate his investigation into hush-money payments made to two women during the 2016 presidential campaign. It follows a major Supreme Court ruling earlier this month that found Trump’s status as a sitting president does not make him immune to investigation by local authorities.

Trump’s civil complaint seeks to block Vance from obtaining Trump’s records through a subpoena to his accounting firm, Mazars USA. His lawyers, barred by the Supreme Court’s 7-to-2 ruling from arguing presidential immunity, are focused now on challenging the subpoena’s legality.

ny times logoNew York Times, A National Guard officer at Lafayette Square will testify that the police used “excessive” force on peaceful protesters, July 28, 2020.In a prepared opening statement, Attorney General William P. Barr defends his response to “violent rioters and anarchists” and his actions to discredit “the bogus ‘Russiagate’ scandal.”

Virus Victims, Responses

ny times logoNew York Times, A Small Georgia City Plans to Put Students in Classrooms This Week, Richard Fausset, July 28, 2020 (print ed.). In-person classes without mask requirements are scheduled to resume in Jefferson, worrying some parents, students and teachers.

When Jennifer Fogle and her family moved from Indiana to Georgia 13 years ago, they settled in Jefferson, a small, handsome city an hour’s drive from Atlanta, because they had heard about the excellent schools. And until recently, they had little to complain about. The teachers are passionate and committed, and the facilities rival those found at some private schools.

But in recent days Ms. Fogle found herself uncharacteristically anxious, after learning that Jefferson City Schools planned to offer face-to-face instruction in the midst of a resurgent coronavirus pandemic that has seen thousands of new cases reported daily in Georgia.

As other districts around the state delayed their back-to-school days or moved to all-remote learning, Jefferson school officials announced that they were sticking with their Friday start date, one of the earliest in the nation. And while school officials said they would “strongly encourage” masks for students and teachers, they stopped short of making masks mandatory.

Race, Brutality Protests

washington post logojohn lewis officialWashington Post, Lawmakers, Biden honor John Lewis as he lies in state at the Capitol, Paul Kane, Felicia Sonmez, Meagan Flynn and Michael Brice-Saddler, July 28, 2020 (print ed.). The late congressman made a final journey to the capital’s civil rights landmarks, pausing at the Lincoln Memorial, where he was the youngest speaker at the 1963 March on Washington.

washington post logoWashington Post, More federal agents sent to Portland as protests rise in other cities, Devlin Barrett, Nick Miroff, Marissa J. Lang and David A. Fahrenthold, July 28, 2020 (print ed.).  The Trump administration is sending more agents to Oregon, where protesters and local officials say tactics have inspired more clashes and re-energized protests across the nation.

washington post logoWashington Post, When Black Lives Matter came to white, rural America, Hannah Natanson, July 28, 2020 (print ed.). Mentored by an older generation of activists, three young women brought the protest movement to southern Virginia.

U.S. 2020 Elections, Politics

 ny times logopaul krugmanNew York Times, Opinion: The Cult of Selfishness Is Killing America, Paul Krugman, right, July 28, 2020 (print ed.). The right has made irresponsible behavior a key principle.

ny times logoNew York Times, Why Montana Is a Test Case for Democrats Winning the Senate, Jonathan Martin, July 28, 2020 (print ed.). The race between Steve Daines, the Republican incumbent, and Gov. Steve Bullock could prove crucial this year.

In the deeply polarized election of 2016, every state that supported President Trump backed Republican senators — and each state that Hillary Clinton carried voted for a Democratic Senate candidate.

But four years later, Democratic hopes for gaining a clear Senate majority depend in part on winning in conservative-leaning states where Mr. Trump may also prevail, even as he sags in the polls. In states like Alaska, Iowa, Georgia and here in Montana, Democrats are hoping their Senate candidates can outperform Joseph R. Biden Jr., their presumptive nominee.

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: Twilight of the Liberal Right, Michelle Goldberg, right, July 28, 2020 (print ed.). Conservatism always contained the seeds of authoritarianism. Anne Applebaum’s new michelle goldberg thumbbook, “Twilight of Democracy: The Seductive Lure of Authoritarianism, begins cinematically, with a party she threw at a Polish manor house to mark the dawn of the new millennium.

Applebaum’s husband was then the deputy foreign minister in Poland’s center-right government; she was a right-leaning journalist who would go on to write a Pulitzer Prize-american flag upside down distresswinning history of the Soviet gulag. Many of the guests came from the cosmopolitan anti-Communist intelligentsia. About half of them, she writes, no longer speak to the other half.

In “Twilight of Democracy,” Applebaum tries to understand why so many of her old friends — conservatives who once fancied themselves champions of democracy and classical liberalism — have become paranoid right-wing populists. “Were some of our friends always closet authoritarians?” she asks. “Or have the people with whom we clinked glasses in the first minutes of the new millennium somehow changed over the subsequent two decades?”

To Applebaum, today’s right, in both America and Europe, “has little in common with most of the political movements that have been so described since the Second World War.” Until recently, she writes, the right was “dedicated not just to representative democracy, but to religious tolerance, independent judiciaries, free press and speech, economic integration, international institutions, the trans-Atlantic alliance and a political idea of ‘the West.’” What happened?

washington post logoWashington Post, DeVos aide played role in helping failing for-profit colleges, texts and emails show, Danielle Douglas-Gabriel, July 28, 2020. New documents show that Diane Auer Jones, the Education Department's point person on higher education policy, was far more involved in helping the owner of the Art Institutes and Argosy University prop up the failing for-profit colleges than she told members of Congress.

Inside Trump's White House

washington post logoWashington Post, Lawsuit: Trump campaign shielded millions in payments, Michelle Ye Hee Lee, July 28, 2020. The complaint alleges that President Trump's campaign and an affiliated fundraising committee have not properly reported nearly $170 million in campaign spending that was done through firms that paid subcontractors on behalf of the campaign.

A legal complaint filed Tuesday with the Federal Election Commission alleges that the Trump campaign and an affiliated fundraising committee have not properly reported nearly $170 million in campaign spending that was done through firms that paid subcontractors on behalf of the campaign.

The Campaign Legal Center, which advocates for greater regulation of money in politics, alleged in the complaint that payments made by two firms that were set up and run by former campaign manager Brad Parscale should have been reported to the public because the ultimate recipients of the payments effectively worked for the campaign.

Under campaign finance law, campaign committees must publicly disclose the names of firms and people they are paying. These firms are not required to disclose payments they make to others as long as they are not simply acting as a conduit for payments to avoid public disclosure.

washington post logoWashington Post, GOP coronavirus bill replaces money for Pentagon projects Trump used for border wall, Erica Werner and Karoun Demirjian, July 28, 2020. The programs are part of $30 billion in defense spending that Democrats are already objecting to. Republicans are defending the spending as important to protect jobs and help the Pentagon cope with the effects of the coronavirus.

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump reportedly made unexpected first pitch announcement out of irritation with Fauci, Des Bieler, July 28, 2020. President Trump reportedly caught both White House aides and the New York Yankees by surprise when he said Thursday at a White House coronavirus briefing that he was accepting an invitation by the team to throw out a ceremonial first pitch and would do so on Aug. 15.

Trump backtracked from that plan on Sunday, saying in a tweet that he would not be able to throw out the pitch that day because a “strong focus on the China Virus, including scheduled meetings on Vaccines, our economy and much else” would prevent him from traveling to New York at that time.

By that time, White House staff had informed the Yankees that Trump had an unspecified prior engagement on Aug. 15, according to a report Monday in the New York Times. Trump did have a standing invitation to throw out a first pitch from Yankees President Randy Levine, whom he called a “great friend,” but nothing specific had been arranged.

When the president said he would throw the first pitch at an Aug. 15 Yankees game, he caught the White House and the Yankees off guard.

Trump’s comments from a White House podium happened to occur just hours before MLB’s coronavirus-delayed Opening Day was set to begin with a game between the visiting Yankees and the Washington Nationals. Throwing out the first pitch for that much-anticipated event was Anthony S. Fauci, the Trump administration’s top infectious-disease official.

Trump was irritated that Fauci was given the honor, the Times reported, citing an official familiar with his reaction. Not to be outdone, he reportedly told his staff to get in touch with the Yankees and take Levine up on his offer, but then the president went ahead and threw a curveball at the coronavirus briefing with his claim that he would take the mound on Aug. 15.

Palmer Report, Opinion: Turns out Donald Trump was lying about throwing out the New York Yankees first pitch, July 28, 2020. When Donald Trump announced that he would be throwing out the first pitch for the New York Yankees on August 15th, Palmer Report predicted that it would never end up happening. After all, the Yankees are all taking a knee this season, making clear what side of social justice they’re on – and it’s not Trump’s side.

bill palmer report logo headerWhen Trump announced days later that he was canceling his August 15th first pitch because he was going to have too many meetings that day, we got a good laugh out of it. Trump was clearly canceling for some other reason. Now it turns out the reason was more deranged than even we were expecting.

The New York Times is now reporting that the New York Yankees never invited Donald Trump to throw out the first pitch to begin with. He just made up the whole thing out of thin air, because he was jealous that Dr. Fauci had been invited to throw out the first pitch at a Washington Nationals game. It turns out Trump truly is that far removed from reality.

ny times logoNew York Times, Like Father, Like Son: President Trump Lets Others Mourn, Annie Karni and Katie Rogers, July 28, 2020. Mr. Trump rarely displays empathy in public, behavior that his friends and family say he learned from his father, a hard-driving disciplinarian. The Marble Collegiate Church on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan was packed with developers, politicians and New York celebrities, more than 600 in all, for the funeral of Fred C. Trump, the builder whose no-frills brick rental towers transformed Brooklyn and Queens.

Three of his four living children, who had grown up listening to the sermons of the church’s most famous minister, Norman Vincent Peale, offered loving eulogies to their father. Then it was Donald Trump’s turn.

He began by talking about himself.

He had learned of his father’s death, he told the crowd that day in June 1999, just moments after reading a front-page New York Times article about his biggest development to date, Trump Place.

“Donald started his eulogy by saying, ‘I was having the greatest year of my business career, and I was sitting having breakfast thinking of how well things were going for me,’” when he learned of his father’s death, said Alan Marcus, a former public relations consultant for the Trump Organization. “Donald’s eulogy was all about Donald, and everybody in Vincent Peale’s church knew it.”

Law, Crime, Courts 

Palmer Report, Opinion: New turn in Jeffrey Epstein – Ghislaine Maxwell case, Bill Palmer, July 28, 2020. The arrest of Ghislaine Maxwell isn’t just putting Jeffrey Epstein’s hideous crime spree back into public focus. It’s also serving as something of an opportunity to carry out the criminal case that should have played out against Epstein – perhaps having the potential to finally bring some measure of justice for his victims. It could also take down Epstein’s co-conspirators, whoever they may be.

bill palmer report logo headerTo that end, a judge has ordered that by tomorrow, several documents must be unsealed from an old lawsuit between Epstein and one of his victims. That evidence will include Maxwell’s testimony and her communications with Epstein. Interestingly, it’ll also include testimony from Epstein’s lawyer and friend Alan Dershowitz, who has been accused of participating in Epstein’s sex crimes.

It’s still not entirely clear where this is all headed. But Ghislaine Maxwell is facing seven felony counts related to underage sex trafficking, and she could end up cutting a deal against everyone else involved if the evidence gets ugly enough against her. So this is all headed somewhere.

 

July 27

Top Stories

Virus Victims, Responses

Race, Brutality Protests

U.S. 2020 Elections, Politics

Media News

 

Top Stories

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washington post logoWashington Post, America’s global standing is at a low point. The pandemic made it worse, Dan Balz, July 27, 2020 (print ed.). At home, President Trump’s handling of the pandemic has created division and confusion rather than a national strategy. The global community, is questioning the United States’ capacity for a leadership role at a time when the myriad crises call out for cooperation.

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washington post logoWashington Post, Why isn’t Trump showing greater effort to solve this? Ashley Parker and Philip Rucker, July 28, 2020 (print ed.). Supporters and foes agree that question dogs him. Trump’s shortcomings have perplexed even some of his most loyal allies, who increasingly have wondered why the president has not at least pantomimed a sense of command over the crisis or conveyed compassion for the millions of Americans impacted by it.

ny times logoNew York Times, Miami Marlins Outbreak Postpones 2 Games and Rocks M.L.B.’s Return, Tyler Kepner, July 28, 2020 (print ed.). At least 14 members of the team, including 12 players, have tested positive after playing three games in Philadelphia this weekend. The Yankees’ game at the Phillies was also called off.

major league baseball mlb logoThe return of Major League Baseball took a troubling turn on Monday when the league’s worst fear became reality: an outbreak of positive coronavirus tests within a team.

The Miami Marlins postponed their home opener against the Baltimore Orioles on Monday — four days after the season opener — after learning that 14 members of the team’s traveling party, including two coaches, had tested positive for the virus.

Virus Victims, Responses

washington post logoWashington Post, Live updates: First large-scale test of experimental vaccine begins in U.S., July 27, 2020. Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine enters Phase 3 trial; WHO chief calls coronavirus ‘the most severe’ health emergency the agency has ever declared.

The race to develop a vaccination against the novel coronavirus hit a major milestone Monday, with the launch of large-scale clinical trials that will test the effectiveness and safety of experimental vaccines developed by biotechnology company Moderna in collaboration with the U.S. government.

Half of the 30,000 participants are set to receive the shot, the other half a placebo. Other smaller-scale tests are underway around the world, but the U.S. trials are the most sweeping in scale, with more planned in the coming months.

The United States reported 59,737 new coronavirus infections on Sunday, pushing the total number of cases that have been reported since February past 4,217,000. Three states — Nevada, Texas and South Carolina — saw their seven-day averages for fatalities reach new highs. In the United States, at least 143,000 people have died of covid-19 to date, amounting to approximately one-fifth of the world’s death toll.

 washington post logorepublican elephant logoWashington Post, White House urges Congress to act on a slimmed-down stimulus bill to keep unemployment benefits flowing, Erica Werner and Jeff Stein, July 27, 2020 (print ed.). Pelosi has rejected this approach but deadline looms for expiring jobless benefits The president has failed, allies and opponents agree, at the one task that could help him achieve all of his goals — confronting the pandemic with a clear strategy and consistent leadership.

washington post logoWashington Post, A trial for vaccine researchers: Making sure black and Hispanic communities are included in studies, Carolyn Y. Johnson, July 27, 2020 (print ed.). Younger people of color die of the coronavirus at twice the rate of white people, and black, Hispanic and Native Americans are hospitalized at four to five times the rate of white people in the same age groups.

washington post logoWashington Post, Live updates: First large-scale test of experimental vaccine begins in U.S., July 27, 2020. Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine enters Phase 3 trial; WHO chief calls coronavirus ‘the most severe’ health emergency the agency has ever declared.

The race to develop a vaccination against the novel coronavirus hit a major milestone Monday, with the launch of large-scale clinical trials that will test the effectiveness and safety of experimental vaccines developed by biotechnology company Moderna in collaboration with the U.S. government.

Half of the 30,000 participants are set to receive the shot, the other half a placebo. Other smaller-scale tests are underway around the world, but the U.S. trials are the most sweeping in scale, with more planned in the coming months.

The United States reported 59,737 new coronavirus infections on Sunday, pushing the total number of cases that have been reported since February past 4,217,000. Three states — Nevada, Texas and South Carolina — saw their seven-day averages for fatalities reach new highs. In the United States, at least 143,000 people have died of covid-19 to date, amounting to approximately one-fifth of the world’s death toll.

washington post logoWashington Post, Perspective: With Trump on the sideline, nation’s governors must put aside political differences and lead on coronavirus, Robert McCartney, July 27, 2020. National Governors Association offers framework for coordinated effort to contain the disease.

robert obrien oCNN, Trump's national security adviser tests positive for Covid-19, Staff report, July 27, 2020. President Donald Trump's national security adviser, Robert O'Brien, right, has tested positive for Covid-19, according to an official familiar with what happened.

washington post logoWashington Post, Editorial: Schools are moving toward closing for the fall. That is not their fault, Editorial Board, July 27, 2020 (print ed.). Republicans’ pandemic blunders keep piling higher. The White House has made it unmistakably clear that it wants schools to open this year with full in-person instruction, and that nothing — least of all the science — should stand in the way.

But the actual decisions on whether to allow children back into the classroom are thankfully being made not by a president hellbent on making a political point, but by school officials who are listening to public health experts and consulting with members of their communities. Many of them are coming to the reluctant conclusion that the failure to contain the novel coronavirus — something that actually is the responsibility of President Trump’s administration — makes it unwise to return children to the classroom.

washington post logoWashington Post, As public schools go all virtual, parents eye private schools that plan to open their campuses, Perry Stein, July 27, 2020 (print ed.). While most of the region’s public school districts say their campuses will remain closed for the start of the fall semester, many private schools — which can charge more than $45,000 a year in tuition and fees — are still planning to bring students into classrooms for at least part of the week. It’s a situation that could exacerbate existing inequalities, with wealthier students attending classes in person at private schools, and everyone else using public schools’ distance learning, which left many students behind in their academics.

  • Washington Post, Places with highest daily reported cases per capita, July 27, 2020 (print ed.).Weekly trend of daily new reported cases per 100,000 residents.

ny times logoNew York Times, Coronavirus Live Updates: U.S. Nears National Peak as 18 States Set Single-Day Records, Staff reports, July 27, 2020 (print ed.). Friday was the fourth day running that the United States reported over 1,100 deaths. Pirate attacks are among the crime patterns shifting in the pandemic. New research sheds light on male vulnerability to severe Covid-19. South Carolina announced 80 new deaths on Saturday, a single-day record.

California. South Carolina. North Dakota, Kentucky. Hawaii. Those are among the 18 states that set single-day case records in the last week, putting the country on track to breaking a national single-day record for new coronavirus cases set less than two weeks ago.

More than 73,500 cases were reported on Friday, according to a New York Times database, approaching the country’s record of 75,697 cases, set on July 16. Since June 24, the seven-day average has more than doubled, to more than 66,100 on Friday from 31,402.

washington post logoWashington Post, About 4,000 federal employees say they contracted virus at work — and 60 have died, Eric Yoder, July 27, 2020 (print ed.). The total number of covid-19 claims for disability compensation or death benefits is expected to reach 6,000 within weeks. The report by the Labor Department’s inspector general assessed coronavirus-related trends in workers’ compensation programs including the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act, which covers the 2.1 million employees of executive branch departments and agencies plus the 630,000 employees of the semi-independent U.S. Postal Service.

Race, Brutality Protests

washington post logoWashington Post, Barr plans to mount a defiant defense of Trump in showdown with House Democrats, Matt Zapotosky and Karoun Demirjian, July 28, 2020 (print ed.). The attorney general is likely to face critical questioning today on his response to protests of police brutality across the nation.

Attorney General William P. Barr will tell the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday that President Trump has not inappropriately intervened in Justice Department business — even though Barr has more than once moved in criminal cases to help the president’s allies — and he will defend the administration’s response to civil unrest in the country, according to a copy of his opening statement.

washington post logoWashington Post, African American mayors lay out plan for police reform without ‘defunding,’ Tom Jackman, July 27, 2020 (print ed.). Peace Pact urges U.S. mayors to rethink budgets, police accountability and transparency.

In the movement to reform American policing, some of the most powerful players, with the most immediate options available, are the country’s mayors. They typically can hire or fire police chiefs, influence police departments to change policies, oversee city budgets, and negotiate collective bargaining agreements with police unions.

Realizing this, the nation’s black mayors gathered last month and devised a Peace Pact for Community Centered Policing. The plan outlined by the African American Mayors Association calls for providing transparency in policing, reevaluating police policies and union contracts, advocating for federal policy changes, improving community engagement, and creating city budgets reflecting community values.

ny times logoNew York Times, Cities in Bind as Turmoil Spreads Far Beyond Portland, Staff reports, July 27, 2020. The U.S. government exercised extensive authority in Portland, Ore., a city that has made it clear it opposes the presence of federal agents.

New protests in other cities are creating a dilemma for local leaders who had succeeded in easing some of the turbulence in their streets.

U.S. 2020 Elections, Politics

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump touts N.J. fraud case to attack mail voting. Local leaders say he’s not telling the whole story, Rosalind S. Helderman, July 27, 2020 (print ed.). Five days before the citizens of Paterson, N.J., selected new members of their city council in May, a postal employee in a neighboring town spotted something suspicious in a local post office: 347 mail-in ballots, bundled together.

Donald Trump Logo Make America Great AgainThe discovery kicked off weeks of tumult in New Jersey’s third-largest city, a densely populated and diverse community. Four men, including a city councilman, have been charged with fraud. Amid the controversy, the county election board disqualified 19 percent of ballots cast in the race.

The episode probably would have remained a local dust-up but for the sudden interest of President Trump, who has spent the past several months attacking voting by mail as a practice he says is susceptible to massive fraud. In recent weeks, he has seized on the situation in Paterson as the prime exhibit in the case he is making about why the November election will be “rigged,” as he has repeatedly put it.

But those involved in the Paterson case said the president is vastly oversimplifying what took place in a local election, using it to serve his own political purposes and overstating the extent to which problems in their city serve as some kind of national cautionary tale.

Palmer Report, Opinion: Baseball’s Miami Marlins just caused a huge problem for Donald Trump, Bill Palmer, July 27, 2020. When the NBA and NHL announced that their shortened seasons major league baseball mlb logowould be played in an isolated bubble which prevented players from coming into contact with anyone in the outside world, it seemed like a solid plan. When Major League Baseball attempted to start the season by having teams travel to each other’s cities for games, it felt iffy at best.

bill palmer report logo headerSure enough, just a few games into the season, a double digit number of Miami Marlins players, coaches, and employees have already tested positive for coronavirus. The Marlins are now canceling games, and MLB is trying to figure out whether nor it’ll have to cancel the entire season. So what does this have to do with Donald Trump?

Trump has been trying to sell Americans on the notion that the coronavirus threat has dissipated, or that it was all a hoax, and that it’s safe to do things like reopen schools and indoor places of business. But the Marlins just demonstrated that it’s not even safe for a baseball team to travel to a different city for games without catastrophic results – even when that team is taking all possible precautions.

If the baseball season gets canceled, or if it continues but results in even worse coronavirus outbreaks, it’ll blow a huge hole in Donald Trump’s narrative that everything is just fine. It’ll serve as a reminder to all Americans that Trump has made a complete mess of the pandemic, that it’s getting even worse, and that he’s lying about it. For Trump’s lies to stick, he needs things like sports games go to well – and instead they’re already going south.

washington post logojosh hawley missouriWashington Post, Sen. Hawley lays down new antiabortion marker for Supreme Court nominees, Robert Costa, July 27, 2020 (print ed.). “I will vote only for those Supreme Court nominees who have explicitly acknowledged that Roe v. Wade is wrongly decided,” said the member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, right.

washington post logoWashington Post, The ‘squad’ gears up for two tough primaries, David Weigel, July 27, 2020 (print ed.). Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D) is defending her seat against Brenda Jones, the Detroit City Council president she defeated by just 900 votes in 2018. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D) of Minnesota will face challenger Antone Melton-Meaux.Washington Post, Opinion: In just one month, Trump commits a new set of potentially impeachable offenses, Fred Hiatt, July 27, 2020 (print ed.).

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Reagan Foundation to Trump, RNC: Quit raising money off Ronald Reagan’s legacy, Karen Tumulty, July 27, 2020 (print ed.). The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute, which runs the 40th president’s library near Los Angeles, has demanded that President Trump and the Republican National Committee (RNC) quit raising campaign money by using Ronald Reagan’s name and likeness.

“It was simply handled with a phone call mid-last week to the RNC, and they agreed to stop,” Reagan Foundation chief marketing officer Melissa Giller said in an email Saturday.

What came to the foundation’s attention — and compelled officials there to complain — was a fundraising email that went out July 19 with “Donald J. Trump” identified as the sender and a subject line that read: “Ronald Reagan and Yours Truly.”

ronald reagan oThe solicitation offered, for a donation of $45 or more, a “limited edition” commemorative set featuring two gold-colored coins, one each with an image of Reagan and Trump. The coins were mounted with a 1987 photograph of Reagan and Trump shaking hands in a White House receiving line — the type of fleeting contact that presidents have with thousands of people a year.

“Friend,” the fundraising email purportedly from Trump said, “I just saw our new Trump-Reagan Commemorative Coin Sets and WOW, these coins are beautiful - I took one look and immediately knew that I wanted YOU to have a set. These aren’t any ordinary coins. They symbolize an important time in our Nation. This year, in addition to being re-elected as YOUR President, it also marks the 40th anniversary of our Nation’s 40th President, Ronald Reagan. Unfortunately, we already sold out of the first batch we had in stock. But I liked these coins so much that I asked my team to rush order another batch for my TOP SUPPORTERS ONLY.”

It cautioned: “I’ve authorized a very limited production of these iconic coins, which is why I’m ONLY offering them to our top supporters, like YOU. This offer is NOT available to the general public, so please, do NOT share this email with anyone.”

Proceeds from the coin sales went to the Trump Make America Great Again Committee, a joint fundraising operation that benefits both the Trump campaign and the RNC.

rnc logo*The joint committee website, where the coins were for sale, noted: “The President only authorized the production of 5,000 sets of these iconic coins, which is why we’re ONLY offering them to our TOP supporters.”

In the 1990s, both Reagan and his wife Nancy signed legal documents that granted the foundation sole rights to their names, likenesses and images. Of course, there are countless photos and videos of Reagan that are in the public domain. But the foundation claims power to block them from being used for commercial purposes and political endorsements. When Reagan Foundation officials were made aware of the Trump email solicitation, they decided “within seconds” to put a stop to it, said Giller.

Athough the RNC accepted the foundation’s demand regarding the fundraising emails, “we still have a lot of additional work,” Giller said. The foundation is looking into how many people might have seen the email and how many of the coin sets were sold, and may still decide to get lawyers involved, she added.

Real Clear Politics, Analysis: The (Unspoken) Reason the Left Now Wants Bass for VP, Bill Scher, July 27, 2020. Last week, in the race for the Democratic vice presidential nomination, the progressive activist wing appeared to make a sudden shift in its support: away from Sen. Elizabeth Warren and toward Rep. Karen Bass, right.

karen bass headshotOn Wednesday, Markos Moulitsas penned a Daily Kos post that was explicit about making that shift. United Farmworkers founder Dolores Huerta told the progressive publication Payday Report that, despite her support of Sen. Kamala Harris in the presidential primary, Democrats should “pray” that Joe Biden picks Bass because “I always think of the Bernie Bros and Bernie Sisters, and [Bass] would bring them to the table and the campaign.”

The embrace of Bass on the left is, on the surface, odd, because she is more of an inside player than outside agitator. As California Assembly speaker, she worked with Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on a plan to solve the state’s fiscal crisis that included spending cuts four times larger than new tax revenues. While she is a nominal sponsor of the “Medicare for All” bill introduced in the House, she does not insist that a single-payer system is the only path to universal health coverage. She told Vox last year: “Probably a difference I would have would be whether or not ... there was still an alternative for people that did not want to do Medicare-for-all. … I think it’s an important debate, and it doesn’t mean that everybody in the caucus is wedded one way or another.” Such ambivalence has long roused suspicion among die-hard single-payer supporters.

More recently, in the wake of the George Floyd protests, she positioned herself as a pragmatist when it comes to police reform. She said in a Washington Post interview that “Defund the Police” was "probably one of the worst slogans ever." While she quickly apologized and said on Twitter, "I would never mean to malign a movement of activists,” she soon after offered further pointed language directed towards progressive activists: “It is the role of an activist to push us as far as they can push us. It is our role to legislate, and that is a different role. ... We work on the inside, we know what is realistic. We are very committed to making a difference, and that is different than making a point. You can either make a point, or you can make a difference.” Those are fighting words to the average activist, who scorns the language of pragmatism as defeatist.

Palmer Report, Opinion: Everyone piles on as Melania Trump’s Rose Garden stunt goes off the rails, Bill Palmer, July 27, 2020. With the coronavirus continuing to ravage the United States in deadly and worsening fashion, the resulting economic impact continuing to worsen, and civil unrest in the streets, Donald Trump keeps finding new ways to show us how out of touch he is. He tweets about inane nonsense all day, then he goes golfing – a reminder to voters that he’s uniquely unfit for office. Now his wife is trying to compete with him on that front.

bill palmer report logo headerMelania Trump has announced that with the nation falling apart at the seams, she’s going to focus on… renovating the White House Rose Garden? Wait, that can’t be right. Except it is. The New York Times says that Melania is planning to install a new walkway and electrical equipment in the Rose Garden as an “act of expressing hope and optimism for the future.”

Wait, really? She’s that far out of touch? No one who’s trying to fend off a deadly virus, or trying to figure out how to make rent this month, or trying to figure out how not to get murdered by the police, cares about this kind of thing even a little bit. There’s a reason the name “Marie Antoinette” is trending right now. Melania may be even more derangedly out of touch than her husband.

Media News

washington post logoWashington Post, Congress prepares for epic clash with Big Tech, Tony Romm, July 27, 2020. Congress brought the country’s big banks to heel after the financial crisis, cowed a tobacco facebook logoindustry for imperiling public health and forced airline leaders to atone for years of treating their passengers poorly.

amazon logo smallNow, lawmakers are set to turn their attention to technology, channeling long-simmering frustrations with Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google into a high-profile hearing that some Democrats and Republicans hope will usher in sweeping changes throughout Silicon Valley.

On Wednesday, the industry’s four most powerful chief executives are set to appear, swear an oath and submit to a grilling from House lawmakers who have been probing the Web’s most recognizable names to determine whether they have become too big and powerful. The focus is antitrust, and the extent to which a quartet of digital behemoths — representing a nearly $5 trillion slice of the U.S. economy — has harmed competition, consumers and the country writ large.

washington post logomargaret sullivan 2015 photoWashington Post, Perspective: Media coverage of the 2016 campaign was a disaster. Now’s the last chance to get 2020 right, Margaret Sullivan, right, July 27, 2020 (print ed.). How did the news media mess up in the 100 days leading up to the 2016 presidential election? Let me count the ways.

Journalists relied too much on what opinion polls were saying and often presented a skewed interpretation of their meaning. That fed the sense that Hillary Clinton would be the inevitable winner.

They vastly overplayed the Clinton email story, particularly the “reopened investigation” aspect in October. Given Donald Trump’s background and behavior, the emphasis was astonishingly out of whack with reality.

News organizations failed to understand the tear-it-all-down mood of large segments of the voting public, or the racism and sexism that often fueled it.

ny times logoNew York Times, Did Hearst’s Culture Kill Hearst’s Biggest Magazine Story? Ben Smith, July 27, 2020. The workplace environment at the company’s magazine division was troubled under Troy Young. And it may not have been good for ambitious investigative journalism, either. 

 

July 26

Top Headlines

Fake News From TV Network?

Virus Victims, Responses

U.S. 2020 Elections, Politics

Race, Street Protests, Crackdowns

Personal Finance / Joblessness

 

Top Stories

covad 19 photo.jpg Custom 2

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump retreats as virus surges out of control, Philip Rucker, July 26, 2020 (print ed.). In a week of reversals, the president has bent to opposition — including from his President Donald Trump officialown party — on masks, tax cuts and the Republican convention.

Weakened politically by his response to the pandemic, Trump changed course after polls showed his positions did not align with public attitudes or — as was the case with the payroll tax cut — his Republican allies on Capitol Hill declined to advance his interests.

washington post logoWashington Post, As virus hit, Florida governor sidelined scientists to follow Trump, Cleve R. Wootson Jr., Isaac Stanley-Becker, Lori Rozsa and Josh Dawsey, July 26, 2020. The state’s crisis has revealed the shortcomings of a response built on shifting metrics, influenced by a few advisers and tethered to the Trump administration.

ron desantis oAs Florida became a global epicenter of the coronavirus, Gov. Ron DeSantis, left, held one meeting this month with his top public health official, Scott Rivkees, according to the governor's schedule. His health department has sidelined scientists, halting briefings last month with disease specialists and telling the experts there was not sufficient personnel from the state to continue participating.

"I never received information about what happened with my ideas or results," said Thomas Hladish, a University of Florida research scientist whose regular calls with the republican elephant logohealth department ended June 29. "But I did hear the governor say the models were wrong about everything."

As the virus spread out of control in Florida, decision-making became increasingly shaped by politics and divorced from scientific evidence, according to interviews with 64 current and former state and administration officials, health administrators, epidemiologists, political operatives and hospital executives. The crisis in Florida, these observers say, has revealed the shortcomings of a response built on shifting metrics, influenced by a small group of advisers and tethered at every stage to the Trump administration, which has no unified plan for addressing the national health emergency but has pushed for states to reopen.

washington post logoWashington Post, Virus deaths in the U.S. top 1,000 four days in a row, David Lynch, Meryl Kornfield and Marisa Iati, July 26, 2020 (print ed.). People with milder coronavirus cases have been reporting health issues for weeks after testing, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

The United States reported more than 1,100 coronavirus-related deaths on Friday, the fourth day in a row that the grim tally has been above 1,000. The recent run is the first time since late May that the daily number of deaths has been above 1,000 for the United States. More than 74,000 new infections were reported nationally on Friday, one of the highest single-day totals yet.

Here are some significant developments:

  • While millions of people are days away from losing unemployment benefits — and a federal eviction moratorium — a new stimulus package has been delayed. Senate Majority mitch mcconnell elevator getty croppedLeader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), right, said it may take several weeks to complete a deal.
  • Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert, said states hit hard by the virus in recent weeks needed to halt or walk back their reopenings as they grapple with surges of infections. During a live interview with The Post, Fauci also said a vaccine would likely not be “widely available” until “several months in” to 2021.
  • Many people with milder covid-19 symptoms continue to report health issues two to three weeks after testing,
  • The Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers that at least 77 hand sanitizer products may contain methanol, a toxic compound that can cause blindness or even possible death.

ny times logoNew York Times, Fires and Pepper Spray in Seattle as Protests Widen Across U.S., Mike Baker and Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs, Updated July 26, 2020. Weeks of violent clashes between protesters and federal agents in Portland, Ore., galvanized thousands of people to march through American cities.

One of the most intense protests was in Seattle, where a day of demonstrations focused on police violence left a trail of broken windows and people flushing pepper spray from their eyes. At least 45 protesters had been arrested as of early evening, and both protesters and police officers suffered injuries.

washington post logodana milbank CustomWashington Post, Opinion: Stop fretting about Trump and do something about it. Right now, Dana Milbank, right, July 26, 2020 (print ed.). Do this now.

Take a pause from President Trump’s latest outrage (sending federal police to foment violence in U.S. cities in hopes that it will help his flagging campaign) or inanity (“Person. Woman. Man. Camera. TV.”) — and do the only thing guaranteed to end the nightmare.

Go to Vote.org, or, if you are reading this in the dead-tree edition, type vote.org/am-i-registered-to-vote into your browser, spend 30 seconds entering your name, address and date of birth, and you’ll find out instantly if your voter registration is current. If not, follow the instructions to register.

Next, click this link or type vote.org/absentee-ballot into your browser, and sign yourself up to receive an absentee ballot for the November election. That takes about two minutes.

Finally, make sure your friends and family do the same. If they’re technology-challenged, help them through it or give them the phone numbers for their states’ elections offices, available election assistance commission Sealhere at the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, eac.gov/voters/election-day-contact-information.

Heck, do it even if you support Trump. Fine by me. If turnout is higher than in 2016 — if Americans truly have their say in November — then Trump doesn’t stand a chance. As he said himself this year, if you have higher “levels of voting … you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again.”

One hundred days from Sunday, the election will decide whether the madness subsides or accelerates.

Lawmakers so far haven’t provided states with the funds needed to prepare for the expected onslaught of mail-in ballots because of the pandemic; New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice estimates $2 billion to $4 billion would be needed to avoid a massive electoral crisis. And Trump, who is counting on chaos so that he can dispute unfavorable results, has publicly cast doubt on the security of mail-in ballots at least 50 times this year, The Post calculates. (He draws an essentially meaningless distinction between “mail-in” and “absentee” ballots.).

Underfunded state election offices mean we can expect serious backlogs with the distributing and tallying of mail-in ballots. This is why now is the time to request ballots, before the Democratic-Republican Campaign logossystems are overwhelmed. The Post’s Kate Rabinowitz and Brittany Renee Mayes this past week calculated that 76 percent of American voters can cast ballots by mail in the fall.

Several Republican-controlled states have imposed voter-suppression measures — purges of voting rolls, voter identification laws, closing polling places, restricting voting hours and limiting early voting — and those assaults on voting rights will disenfranchise many. Trump’s attacks on mail-in ballots, without which people would be forced to risk their health in long voting lines, could discourage many more.

But sufficiently massive turnout will overwhelm all voter suppression schemes — and the results will leave no doubt for Trump to exploit. The first registration and absentee-ballot deadlines are in about 60 days. Check your registration and get your absentee ballot — now.

Fake Virus 'News' From TV Network

sinclair broadcast logo custom

washington post logoWashington Post, Sinclair stations delay airing interview with ‘Plandemic’ researcher amid backlash, Meryl Kornfield, July 26, 2020. After facing intense scrutiny for planning to air a baseless conspiracy theory that infectious-disease expert Anthony S. Fauci helped to create the coronavirus, conservative TV broadcaster Sinclair Broadcast Group announced Saturday that it will delay the segment to edit the context of the claims.

Sinclair, which has 191 stations across the country, received backlash this week after “America This Week” host Eric Bolling interviewed Judy Mikovits, a former medical researcher featured in the debunked “Plandemic” conspiracy online film.

In the Sinclair interview, Mikovits claimed that Fauci “manufactured” the coronavirus and shipped it to Wuhan, China, where the outbreak originated. A chyron during the segment reads, “DID DR. FAUCI CREATE COVID-19?”

Mikovits and her lawyer Larry Klayman dropped other unfounded allegations during the show, including President Trump soft-pedaling relations with China because he has evidence of the country’s involvement with the inception of the virus.

The show was released online earlier this week before it was to be aired on local news channels. The segment was first reported by Media Matters, a left-leaning media watchdog. As of Saturday afternoon, the show was pulled from Sinclair websites.

Bolling, a former Fox News personality, did not challenge Mikovits’s assertions, calling what she said a “hefty claim.” He later told The Washington Post via text that he brought Fox News medical contributor Nicole Saphier on the show after to provide an He later told The Washington Post via text that he brought Fox News medical contributor Nicole Saphier on the show after to opposing viewpoint.

Saphier said during her interview that it was “highly unlikely” Fauci was responsible for the coronavirus.

anthony fauci CustomFauci, right, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has come under heavy criticism by some conservatives as he has stated positions opposite of the president over the virus and measures needed to contain its spread. Trump, while at times praising the doctor, also has been critical at times.

A Sinclair spokesperson did not respond to requests from The Post for comment, but the company issued a statement saying that it is not “aligning with or endorsing the viewpoints” aired in the segment, but adding that it is “a supporter of free speech and a marketplace of ideas and viewpoints, even if incredibly controversial.”

“We will spend the coming days bringing together other viewpoints and provide additional context,” the company later shared. “All stations have been notified not to air this and will instead be re-airing last week’s episode in its place.”

We hear your feedback regarding a segment on this week's "America This Week." At no juncture are we aligning with or endorsing the viewpoints of Dr. Mikovitz or Mr. Klayman or endorsing the "Plandemic" documentary. Full stop.

— Sinclair Broadcast Group (@WeAreSinclair) July 25, 2020

Based in Maryland, Sinclair owns and operates local news stations across the country and has endured criticism for its anchors parroting Trump’s remarks.

“As a propaganda machine, Sinclair is far more dangerous than OANN,” New York University professor Jay Rosen tweeted following the news of the interview with Mikovits. “Although it’s emerging a little more as itself lately, it is still for the most part a stealth network that operates through local 'community’ stations that present to the viewer as ABC CBS NBC & Fox affiliates.”

Mikovits did not respond to a request for comment but previously told The Post that her troubles stem from a cabal aimed at dismantling her career.

huff post logoHuffPost, Sinclair To Push Coronavirus Conspiracy Theory Via Massive Local News Network: Reports, Sara Boboltz, July 25, 2020. Sinclair Broadcasting Group, the local news behemoth that runs nearly 200 stations across the country, is reportedly set to promote a baseless and inflammatory conspiracy theory about the origin of the coronavirus on some of its channels.

Eric Bolling, a former Fox News host who now hosts a program for Sinclair called “America This Week,” spent several minutes on his latest show interviewing Judy Mikovits, a discredited scientist who is a central character in the conspiracy film “Plandemic,” Media Matters was first to report.

Virus Victims, Responses

ny times logoNew York Times, Coronavirus Live Updates: U.S. Nears National Peak as 18 States Set Single-Day Records, Staff reports, July 26, 2020 (print ed.). Friday was the fourth day running that the United States reported over 1,100 deaths. Pirate attacks are among the crime patterns shifting in the pandemic. New research sheds light on male vulnerability to severe Covid-19. South Carolina announced 80 new deaths on Saturday, a single-day record.

California. South Carolina. North Dakota, Kentucky. Hawaii. Those are among the 18 states that set single-day case records in the last week, putting the country on track to breaking a national single-day record for new coronavirus cases set less than two weeks ago.

More than 73,500 cases were reported on Friday, according to a New York Times database, approaching the country’s record of 75,697 cases, set on July 16. Since June 24, the seven-day average has more than doubled, to more than 66,100 on Friday from 31,402.

California's San Quentin prison (Aerial view by ABC-TV 7, San Francisco).

California's San Quentin prison (Aerial view by ABC-TV 7, San Francisco).

 washington post logoWashington Post, Guest Opinion: Inside San Quentin prison, you sit and wait until covid-19 comes for you, Joe Garcia, July 26, 2020 (print ed.). Joe Garcia is incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison, where he is a staff member of the San Quentin News and an editorial liaison for the Prison Journalism Project.

As a working prison journalist, I wanted to keep my eyes and ears wide-open. I wanted to detail everything going on around me as covid-19 raged out of control here. But a fog crept through me. Was it just a cold, a sinus infection, influenza — all things I’ve battled before? I woke to strange chills in the night; there was an acrid aftertaste along the back of my tongue. Maybe I just needed to pull out a blanket.

Is this what covid-19 feels like? My temperature had been normal every day. My breathing remained strong and clear. I wanted to believe that meant I was fine.

On June 22 and 23, everyone in my building, San Quentin’s North Block, lined up for covid-19 testing. I had just begun to feel weirdly awful. I overheard other guys describing the same things I was feeling. None of us wanted to alert the medical staff. So, you admit you’re sick? Well, let’s remove you from the few familiar comforts you have and throw you in an empty cell for a 14-day quarantine. That’s the protocol we all feared worse than covid-19.

Eventually, I did receive a notice informing me that I’d tested positive for covid-19 — one more number in a group that has now passed 2,000. Fifteen San Quentin inmates have died.

washington post logoWashington Post, Perspective: Media coverage of the 2016 campaign was a disaster. Now’s the last chance to get 2020 right, Margaret Sullivan, July 25, 2020. How did the news media mess up in the 100 days leading up to the 2016 presidential election? Let me count the ways.

Journalists relied too much on what opinion polls were saying and often presented a skewed interpretation of their meaning. That fed the sense that Hillary Clinton would be the inevitable winner.

They vastly overplayed the Clinton email story, particularly the “reopened investigation” aspect in October. Given Donald Trump’s background and behavior, the emphasis was astonishingly out of whack with reality.

News organizations failed to understand the tear-it-all-down mood of large segments of the voting public, or the racism and sexism that often fueled it.

  • Washington Post, Rep. Ted Yoho removed from board of Christian charity over his comments about Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

 california institution resized for women cal dept corrections rehab aerialAn aerial view of the California Institution for Women, right (California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation).

washington post logoWashington Post, Inmates witnessed a suicide attempt. They received coloring pages instead of counseling, Eileen Guo, July 26, 2020. Inmates at the California Institution for Women try to cope with the mental toll of the coronavirus.

On a morning in mid-May, Anna "C.J." Rugg, a 38-year-old transgender man who had tested positive for the coronavirus at the California Institution for Women, set his room in the medical isolation unit on fire.

"I made my room an inferno," he told The Washington Post by JPay, the inmate emailing system, and "laid down on the floor and waited for the smoke to get me."

Rugg had serious health issues and struggled with acceptance since coming out in prison as transgender, but it was the extra stresses of covid-19 measures that pushed him over the edge. “This lockdown is too much,” he wrote to Arlene Veronesi, a close friend and former cellmate. “I lost it. Don’t hate me.”

Even before the coronavirus pandemic, incarcerated individuals in California’s 35 state prisons faced poor mental health care. The situation is especially dire for the rapidly increasing number of female prisoners, who make up 4 percent of the state’s incarcerated population but 11 percent of suicides, according to 2016 figures. Seven women committed suicide between 2013 and 2016 at the California Institution for Women, a 1398-bed prison currently housing close to 1500 women; in 2018, a woman experiencing a psychotic episode waited hours for care, ripping out and swallowing her own eye before receiving treatment.

Multiple state audits of the prison have found slow response rates to mental health incidents as a major factor in suicides. A class-action lawsuit filed in 1990, on behalf of all of California’s incarcerated individuals receiving mental health services, is ongoing.

The pandemic has exacerbated the lack of mental health care at CIW. Inmates have refused tests, temperature checks and other measures meant to contain the virus’s spread to avoid being put in isolation, and four women have attempted suicide while in quarantine or isolation for the coronavirus. “Rather than treat[ing] their mental health,” the pandemic has shifted the entire correctional health care system’s priority to “basically just trying to keep people alive,” said Michael Bien, lead counsel in the class-action lawsuit.

When CIW’s first positive coronavirus test came back on April 6, correctional officials quarantined women to their own cells if they might have been exposed. Prison officials put whole housing units into lockdown and moved positive patients into separate medical isolation units.

But a number of inmates say that CIW staff never told them what was happening.

On the same day as the first positive test at CIW, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) issued guidance requiring all staff to wear face masks. It was “our first time seeing any staff in a mask,” Rianne Theriaultodom, an incarcerated woman who was in the medical isolation unit with Rugg, told The Post via JPay. This left the women “confused and terrified” about the disease’s progression in their facility.

  • Washington Post, Trump’s chief economic adviser says federal eviction ban will be extended, Meryl Kornfield and Marisa Iati, July 26,  2020.

U.S. 2020 Elections, Politics

washington post logoWashington Post, Spin, deride, attack: How Trump’s handling of Trump University presaged his presidency, David A. Fahrenthold, Joshua Partlow and Jonathan O'Connell, July 26, 2020 (print ed.). The judge was out to get him, he said. So was that prosecutor in New York, whom he called a dopey loser on a witch hunt. So were his critics, who he said were all liars. Even some of his own underlings had failed him — bad people, it turned out. He said he didn’t know them.

Donald Trump was in trouble.

Donald Trump Logo Make America Great AgainNow, he was trying to attack his way out, breaking all the unwritten rules about the way a man of his position should behave. The secret to his tactic: “I don’t care” about breaking the rules, Trump said at a news conference. “Why antagonize? Because I don’t care.”

That was 2016. He was talking about a real estate school called Trump University. Trump University, which shut down in 2011 after multiple investigations and student complaints, was treated as a joke by many of Trump’s political opponents — much as they treated Trump Steaks or Trump Vodka. But to those who knew the school well, it wasn’t a joke.

It was a premonition.

The saga of Trump University showed how far Trump would go to deny, rather than fix, a problem, they said — a tactic they have now seen him reuse as president many times, including now, in the face of a worsening pandemic. For months, President Trump promised something wonderful but extremely unlikely — that the virus would soon disappear.

washington post logornc logoWashington Post, House GOP’s pleas to RNC for financial help go unanswered, Rachael Bade, Josh Dawsey and Michelle Ye Hee Lee, July 26, 2020 (print ed.). House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has reached out to the deep-pocketed Republican National Committee and the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, as Democrats have been outraising Republicans by a significant amount.

washington post logoWashington Post, A month later, this New York City primary is still a train wreck and a warning to us all, Jada Yuan, July 26, 2020 (print ed.). New York City's hottest primary election is the 12th Congressional District.

democratic donkey logocarolyn maloney oIn one corner, you have Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, a pal of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s who has been in Congress since 1993 and was recently elected chair of the House Oversight Committee. In the other is Suraj Patel, a former Obama campaign staffer and attorney who has never held public office and helped run his family’s business constructing and franchising hotels in the Midwest before moving to New York in 2010.

Their contest has everything. The Upper East Side. The Lower East Side. A tenacious, white, wealthy 74 year-old Democratic incumbent. A 36-year-old Indian-American challenger who has taught at New York University’s business school and aims to be the state’s first South Asian representative in Congress.

Just 648 in-person votes are separating them, with 65,000 mail-in ballots still being counted. And an entire district of 718,000 people across three boroughs have no idea who their next representative will be — a full month after Election Day.

Veteran Rep. Carolyn Maloney is “pulling away” from Democratic rival Suraj Patel and smelling victory as mail-in votes were counted Thursday night to determine their nail-biting primary, a campaign spokesman said. “It’s all over but the celebration,” said Maloney spokesman George Artz.

Maloney, 74, first elected in 1992 and chairwoman of the House Oversight Committee, held a slim 648-vote lead over Patel in the June 23 machine count for the 12th Congressional District encompassing Manhattan’s East Side, the western Queens neighborhoods of Long Island City and parts of Astoria and Woodside and the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn.

But Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order making it easier for New York primary voters to vote via absentee ballot to reduce exposure at polling sites during the coronavirus pandemic. In the 12th CD, as it turns out, more than 65,000 absentee ballots are being counted — far exceeding the in-person voting. About two-thirds of the mail-in-ballots — 47,794 — were sent by Manhattan’s East Side voters.

Maloney comfortably won the larger Manhattan portion of the district while Patel easily carried Brooklyn and Queens. But she only led with 40.3 percent of the machine vote to Patel’s 38.75 percent, with the rest of the votes divided among two other candidates.

washington post logoted yoho oWashington Post, Rep. Ted Yoho removed from board of Christian charity over his comments about Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Colby Itkowitz, July 26, 2020 (print ed.). A Christian nonprofit organization that fights world hunger asked Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.), right, to resign from its board after he confronted a female colleague and then reportedly used a sexist expletive after Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) was out of earshot.

Bread for the World announced Yoho’s resignation in a statement on Saturday, saying that his “recent actions and words as reported in the media are not reflective of the ethical standards expected of members of our Board of Directors

Race, Street Protests, Crackdowns

Portland feds medium (Photo by Doug Brown of the ACLU of Oregon)

Photo by Doug Brown of the ACLU of Oregon

Associated Press via Washington Post, Portland officials declare riot as protesters breach fence around federal courthouse, Gillian Flaccus and Sara Cline, July 26, 2020 (print ed.). Police described via Twitter the “violent conduct of people downtown” as creating a “grave risk of public alarm.”

Authorities declared a riot early Sunday in Portland, Oregon, where protesters breached a fence surrounding the city’s federal courthouse building where U.S. agents have been stationed.

Police described via Twitter the “violent conduct of people downtown” as creating a “grave risk of public alarm.” Police demanded people leave the area surrounding the courthouse, around 1:20 a.m. Sunday, and said that those who fail to adhere may be arrested or subjection to teargas and impact weapons.

By 1:40 p.m., both federal officers and Portland police could be seen on the streets, surrounding the courthouse, attempting to clear the area and deploying teargas.

Protesters remained in the streets past 2:30 a.m., forming lines across intersections and holding makeshift shields, as police patrolled and closed blocks abutting the area. Multiple arrests were made, but it wasn’t immediately clear how many.

washington post logoWashington Post, Seattle police declare riot at renewed protests, Gregory Scruggs, July 26, 2020 (print ed.). Police said protesters set fire to a construction site for a juvenile detention facility and were throwing rocks, bottles and fireworks at officers.

The Seattle Police Department declared a riot on Saturday afternoon and used nonlethal weapons in an attempt to disperse a crowd of roughly 2,000 people in the Capitol Hill neighborhood marching in the city’s largest Black Lives Matter protest in more than a month.

The riot declaration came after protesters set fire to a construction site for a juvenile detention facility and as the police department reported that one person had breached the fencing surrounding the East Precinct, the site of nightly clashes in June that led to a nearly month-long protest occupation, and officers saw smoke in the lobby.

Police said protesters were throwing rocks, bottles and fireworks at the officers. As of 7:30 p.m. local time, the department had reported 25 arrests and three police injuries, including an officer hospitalized with a leg injury caused by an explosive. The department posted a photo of unused fireworks found at the scene to its Twitter feed.

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: The federal crackdown in Portland is ‘legal.’ That’s the problem with it, Garrett M. Graff (right, former editor of Politico magazine and the author of "Raven Rock: The garrett graff twitterStory of the U.S. Government’s Secret Plan to Save Itself — While the Rest of Us Die"), July 26, 2020 (print ed.). Department of Homeland Security officials are following the letter of the law — and flagrantly abusing its spirit.

When Americans worried about their nation veering toward dystopian authoritarianism, no one ever expected those nightmares to involve the Federal Protective Service. That’s in part because, before the post-apocalyptic images of officers in military gear waving flaming cans of smoke and wearing gas masks on the streets of Portland, Ore., few Americans knew the FPS existed at all.

Yet the force — which languished for years within the Department of Homeland Security, with depleted ranks and a dwindling budget — has suddenly become central to the Trump administration’s plan to assert federal power in America’s cities, against the wishes of local officials, in a ploy to demonstrate President Trump’s “law and order” credentials and further his reelection campaign. And officers assisting FPS are riding around in unmarked rental vans, snatching protesters off the streets with seeming disregard for civil liberties.

DHS, run by Chad Wolf, below left — a onetime Hill staffer turned lobbyist with no law degree, law enforcement experience or military background, who is in his eighth month as acting chad wolfsecretary — has become over the past two years a textbook example of what happens when legal structures built for good governance are hijacked.

Now, the Trump administration has transformed federal building guards into an intimidating catchall invading army. (Ironically, most of the federal officers giving the FPS a bad name aren’t even members of the tiny service — they’re agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Border Patrol who have been granted sweeping temporary powers to help the FPS patrol federal buildings and facilities.) “The scandal isn’t what’s illegal,” as the journalist Michael Kinsley once quipped. “The us dhs big eagle logo4scandal is what’s legal.”

The legal fudging in this episode begins at the top. Most of the key decision-makers at DHS hold their jobs because the administration has thumbed its nose at the Senate’s constitutional advise-and-consent role and has left key vacancies open for so long that officials have had to legally relinquish their “acting” title and are now referred to as “senior officials performing the duties.”

Like Wolf, Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli is also a temporary appointment, as is the general counsel, Chad Mizelle. The statutes that allow officials to serve in acting roles were crafted with the expectation that presidents would actually attempt to fill the jobs. But that’s not how Trump uses them — just one way his presidency has turned into a civics lesson in what’s possible if you ignore the spirit of the law and focus only on its letter.

 Personal Finance / Joblessness

washington post logoivanka trump goya pose resized july 14 2020Washington Post, Personal Finance Commentary: Ivanka Trump’s Find Something New career campaign is more hype than help, Michelle Singletary, July 26, 2020 (print ed.). People who’ve lost their jobs because of the coronavirus don’t need a new website. They need better guidance.

Two rich people have decided to tell millions of unemployed people that all they need to do to feed their families and put a roof over their heads is “find something new.”

White House adviser Ivanka Trump (shown at right in her recent promo of Trump allied Goya Foods), and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross are co-chairs of the American Policy Workforce Advisory Board, which this month launched the Find Something New ad campaign with a website aimed at helping people find a fresh career path.

The initiative didn’t go over so well on social media. In defense of the effort, the first daughter tweeted to one critic: “I suggest that you visit http://FindSomethingNew.org. This initiative is about challenging the idea the traditional 2 and 4 yr college is the only option to acquire the skills needed to secure a job. This work has never been more urgent.”

 

July 25

Top Headlines

Virus Victims, Responses

U.S. 2020 Elections, Politics

U.S. Law, Courts

Race, Brutality Protests

World News

 

Top Stories

washington post logomitch mcconnell elevator getty croppedWashington Post, McConnell says stimulus deal could take ‘weeks,’ which would put millions of people in limbo, Jeff Stein and Erica Werner, July 25, 2020 (print ed.). The temporary $600 weekly benefit expires next week, and Republicans are seeking a way to scale it back.

With days to go before enhanced jobless benefits expire, the White House and Senate Republicans are struggling to design a way to scale back the program without overwhelming unemployment agencies and imperiling aid to more than 20 million Americans.

ny times logoNew York Times, Coronavirus Live Updates: U.S. Nears National Peak as 18 States Set Single-Day Records, Staff reports, July 25, 2020. Friday was the fourth day running that the United States reported over 1,100 deaths. Pirate attacks are among the crime patterns shifting in the pandemic. New research sheds light on male vulnerability to severe Covid-19. South Carolina announced 80 new deaths on Saturday, a single-day record.

California. South Carolina. North Dakota, Kentucky. Hawaii. Those are among the 18 states that set single-day case records in the last week, putting the country on track to breaking a national single-day record for new coronavirus cases set less than two weeks ago.

More than 73,500 cases were reported on Friday, according to a New York Times database, approaching the country’s record of 75,697 cases, set on July 16. Since June 24, the seven-day average has more than doubled, to more than 66,100 on Friday from 31,402.

washington post logoWashington Post, A federal eviction moratorium is ending. Here’s what renters should know, Renae Merle, July 25, 2020 (print ed.). The end of the four-month moratorium puts 12 million renters at risk of eviction as the pandemic continues to surge.

For millions of America’s renters, there’s a cliff approaching. Enhanced unemployment benefits that have kept many afloat will expire soon. The recession triggered by the pandemic is expected to be deeper and longer than initially forecast as coronavirus cases surge across the country.

And this week, a federal moratorium that had protected an estimated 12 million renters from eviction for four months is expiring. Of the 110 million Americans living in rental households, 20 percent are at risk of eviction by Sept. 30, according to an analysis by the Covid-19 Eviction Defense Project, a Colorado-based community group. African American and Hispanic renters are expected to be hit hardest.

Virus Victims, Responses

 sinclair broadcast logo custom

huff post logoHuffPost, Sinclair To Push Coronavirus Conspiracy Theory Via Massive Local News Network: Reports, Sara Boboltz, July 25, 2020.  The conservative company owns a huge swath of the local news market in the U.S.

Sinclair Broadcasting Group, the local news behemoth that runs nearly 200 stations across the country, is reportedly set to promote a baseless and inflammatory conspiracy theory about the origin of the coronavirus on some of its channels.

Eric Bolling, a former Fox News host who now hosts a program for Sinclair called “America This Week,” spent several minutes on his latest show interviewing Judy Mikovits, a discredited scientist who is a central character in the conspiracy film “Plandemic,” Media Matters was first to report.

The episode was streamed online this week and is expected to air over an unknown number of Sinclair’s stations this weekend, according to Media Matters and CNN Business.

“Plandemic” is a 26-minute concoction that argues America’s top doctors ― particularly Dr. Anthony Fauci, a member of the White House’s coronavirus task force and the nation’s leading expert on infectious disease ― cannot be trusted to provide information on the crisis.

The film was banned from Facebook and YouTube when it started gaining traction earlier this year for providing false information on COVID-19.

Now, key elements of the conspiracy theory will be shown across Sinclair’s vast network of stations, which cover roughly 40% of the American market.

It’s not the first time the company’s conservative leadership has sought to use its platform to push unsubstantiated right-wing theories. In 2018, Sinclair instructed anchors to recite a “must-run” segment decrying the “troubling trend of irresponsible, one sided news stories plaguing our country.”

Mikovits told Bolling that she believes Fauci “manufactured the coronaviruses in monkey cell lines” and shipped them to Wuhan, China, where the illness was first detected.

Contrary to her claims, scientists believe the virus has a natural origin, having evolved to infect humans from bats by way of some unknown intermediary animal. Because Wuhan’s live animal markets bring together animals that would not otherwise normally mix, they provide the perfect environment for such a virus to emerge in the human population. The genetic makeup of the novel coronavirus is also not similar enough to any known human pathogen to have originated in a lab.

Mikovits is a known figure in the anti-vaccine movement whose body of work includes a study on chronic fatigue syndrome that was roundly criticized in the scientific community and abruptly retracted in 2011. She has since attempted to position herself as a victim whose work has been continually suppressed by “Big Pharma.”

U.S. 2020 Elections, Politics

washington post logojoe biden 2020 button CustomWashington Post, Biden predicts that Trump will try to ‘indirectly steal’ election, Annie Linskey, July 25, 2020 (print ed.). Joe Biden on Thursday night warned donors that President Trump will try to “indirectly steal” the 2020 election by making a case against mail-in ballots, a voting method that many are expected to use to avoid exposure to the novel coronavirus during November’s election.

The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee asked donors attending a virtual event to spread the word that “this president is going to try to indirectly steal the election by arguing that mail-in ballots don’t work.”

Trump will present mail-in ballots as fraud by making the argument that “they’re not real, they’re not fair,” Biden said.

Palmer Report, Opinion: Donald Trump has a lot less time left than you think, Bill Palmer, right, July 25, 2020. Two things that are equally true: 1) Donald Trump is so far behind in the polls right now bill palmerthat he’s currently on track to lose in a blowout so large that no amount of polling errors or cheating can make a difference. 2) There are still three and a half months until election day, and a lot can change before then. But that second one comes with something of an asterisk.

Yes, Election Day is November 3rd. But here’s the thing. Early voting starts, well, early. We’re less than two months away from the earliest of early voting. Why does that matter? Despite all the talk we hear about not getting complacent, the reality is that most voters love a winner. They like voting for someone they think is going to win anyway, because then they get to be on the winning team. When a candidate is heavily favored, they often win by more than that margin, not less.

bill palmer report logo headerIf Joe Biden is still ten to fifteen points ahead by the start of early voting, we’re going to start seeing a lot of folks locking in their votes early. Even if some weird last minute fluke like the 2016 Comey letter ends up making this a closer race in the end, some of Biden’s bandwagon votes will already be in the can. The bottom line is that Donald Trump has about two months to turn things around before the votes against him start getting locked in.

I know what you’re already thinking: this didn’t help Hillary Clinton in 2016. But that was a very different election for a number of reasons. First, Hillary was never as far ahead of Trump as Biden is right now. Not even close. Second, the media spent most of the 2016 election pretending it was a close race, even during the long stretches where it wasn’t. This time around, due to the sheer size of Biden’s blowout lead, the media is regularly talking about how much of a lead and momentum Biden has.

Of course this all largely comes down to whether you go start putting in the work now on voter registration and voter turnout, in order to start locking in votes for Joe Biden as soon as early voting gets underway. Biden is on track to win – in a huge blowout – but no side ever wins an election without putting in the work required to win.

  • Palmer Report, Opinion: This can’t be real, Bill Palmer, July 25, 2020. There’s no master plan here. “Person, woman, man, camera, TV” isn’t a viable slogan for reelection. Every time Trump talks about his cognitive test, he merely reminds voters that he’s facing serious questions about whether he’s going senile.

washington post logoWashington Post, Jon Ossoff, Georgia nominee for U.S. Senate, sidelined by coronavirus concerns, Colby Itkowitz, July 25, 2020. Jon Ossoff, the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate in Georgia, is self isolating while he awaits the results of a coronavirus test after his wife’s came back positive.

Ossoff and his wife, Alisha Kramer, an OB/GYN, are both experiencing symptoms, according to a statement from his campaign,

jon ossoff Custom“Jon has not held or participated in an in-person campaign event in over a month and will remain in isolation until medical professionals clear both him and Dr. Kramer,” campaign spokeswoman Miryam Lipper said.

Ossoff, right, is running against incumbent Sen. David Perdue (R) in one of a handful of competitive races around the country that Democrats hope to win in their effort to take control of the Senate. Cook Political Report rates the contest a toss-up.

Ossoff made his name in Democratic politics in 2017 in a hard fought special election for a House seat that Democrats had hoped to win to signal a repudiation of President Trump, even in long-held Republican districts. Ossoff ultimately lost 48 percent to 51 percent to Karen Handel, but Democrats seized upon the strong showing as proof of Trump’s vulnerability.

washington post logoWashington Post, Perspective: Media coverage of the 2016 campaign was a disaster. Now’s the last chance to get 2020 right, Margaret Sullivan, July 25, 2020. How did the news media mess up in the 100 days leading up to the 2016 presidential election? Let me count the ways.

Journalists relied too much on what opinion polls were saying and often presented a skewed interpretation of their meaning. That fed the sense that Hillary Clinton would be the inevitable winner.

They vastly overplayed the Clinton email story, particularly the “reopened investigation” aspect in October. Given Donald Trump’s background and behavior, the emphasis was astonishingly out of whack with reality.

News organizations failed to understand the tear-it-all-down mood of large segments of the voting public, or the racism and sexism that often fueled it.

  • Washington Post, Rep. Ted Yoho removed from board of Christian charity over his comments about Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Law, Courts

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump sued over plan to exclude undocumented people from representation, Tara Bahrampour, July 25, 2020 (print ed.). Multiple lawsuits were filed in response to a memorandum signed by the president Tuesday that called for an unprecedented change in how House seats are apportioned.

A flurry of lawsuits have been filed challenging President Trump’s directive to block undocumented immigrants from being counted in congressional apportionment.

The government watchdog organization Common Cause and several cities, groups and individuals filed a complaint, Common Cause v. Trump, on Thursday with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

The American Civil Liberties Union, New York Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Texas, and the law firm Arnold & Porter followed suit on Friday, filing a federal lawsuit on behalf of immigrants’ rights groups. The suit, New York Immigration Coalition v. Trump, was filed in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York.

New York Attorney General Letitia James, backed by 21 attorneys general across the country, also filed a suit Friday on behalf of a coalition of states, cities, and counties.

washington post logoWashington Post, Supreme Court rejects Nevada church’s argument against pandemic restrictions, Robert Barnes, July 25, 2020 (print ed.). The Supreme Court Friday night denied a Nevada church’s plea that the state’s coronavirus-related restrictions on houses of worship unlawfully treat them worse than the state’s famous casinos.

The vote was 5 to 4, with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and the court’s liberals in the majority. They did not give a reason for rejecting the emergency plea from Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley, a church in Dayton, Nev. That is not unusual in the court’s treatment of such petitions and in line with what the Supreme Court did in rejecting a challenge to California’s restrictions in May.

But the court’s four most consistent conservatives made their objections clear in three lengthy dissents.

Race, Brutality Protests

ny times logoNew York Times, Federal Agents Push Into Portland Streets, Stretching Limits of Their Authority, Mike Baker, Thomas Fuller and Sergio Olmos, July 25, 2020. Federal agents are venturing blocks from the buildings they were sent to protect. Oregon officials say they are illegally taking on the role of riot police.

After flooding the streets around the federal courthouse in Portland with tear gas during Friday’s early morning hours, dozens of federal officers in camouflage and tactical gear stood in formation around the front of the building.

Then, as one protester blared a soundtrack of “The Imperial March,” the officers started advancing. Through the acrid haze, they continued to fire flash grenades and welt-inducing marble-size balls filled with caustic chemicals. They moved down Main Street and continued up the hill, where one of the agents announced over a loudspeaker: “This is an unlawful assembly.”

By the time the security forces halted their advance, the federal courthouse they had been sent to protect was out of sight — two blocks behind them.

The aggressive incursion of federal officers into Portland has been stretching the legal limits of federal law enforcement, as agents with batons and riot gear range deep into the streets of a city whose leadership has made it clear they are not welcome.

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump made culture war campaign pitch by flexing federal power in Portland, Marissa J. Lang, Josh Dawsey, Devlin Barrett and Nick Miroff, July 25, 2020 (print ed.). The president seized a chance to appear as a field general in a wider American cultural conflict over racial justice. In Portland, he found a theater for his fight.

washington post logoWashington Post, Confederate memorials quietly removed from Virginia Capitol overnight, Gregory S. Schneider, July 25, 2020 (print ed.). Workers wielding power tools and huge rolls of bubble wrap carted a life-size statue of Robert E. Lee and busts of seven of his Confederate colleagues out of the Virginia Capitol late Thursday night and early Friday morning.

House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn (D-Fairfax) ordered the removals from the historic Capitol’s Old House Chamber, the room where rebel lawmakers met when Richmond served as the capital of the Confederacy.

“Virginia has a story to tell that extends far beyond glorifying the Confederacy and its participants,” Filler-Corn said in an emailed statement, condemning the Confederate ideology as based on maintaining slavery. “Now is the time to provide context to our Capitol to truly tell the Commonwealth’s whole history.”

She announced the formation of an advisory group to propose new types of memorials for the Thomas Jefferson-designed Capitol building.

The removals, under darkness and in secrecy, eliminated symbols that had largely escaped the recent public outcry over monuments to racial repression. Richmond’s Capitol Square has been tightly guarded over the past month and a half as protesters have gathered in the streets, night after night, spraypainting statues around the city and toppling some with ropes.

Filler-Corn said her role as Speaker gives her authority over decorations and furnishings in the House-controlled parts of the Capitol. Denslow hand-carried a letter to Northam (D) on Thursday informing him of the actions.

The removals took place late at night to prevent disruptions and keep the workers safe from any potential protests, Filler-Corn’s office said. A few reporters were allowed to watch part of the process under agreement not to publish until it was complete Friday morning.

With the state locked in a court battle over Gov. Ralph Northam’s plans to take down a grand statue of Lee on the city’s Monument Avenue, Filler-Corn took a page from Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney’s playbook and simply acted without announcing it first. Stoney has removed more than a dozen Confederate memorials around the city, though a court injunction has prevented him from getting one remaining statue, of Gen. A.P. Hill.

Also up for removal were busts of Stonewall Jackson, Gen. Joseph E. Johnston and Confederate president Jefferson Davis and vice president Alexander Stephens. In addition, workers took down a plaque honoring Thomas Bocock, who served as rebel Speaker of the House.

By far the most challenging task was removing the figure of Lee, a 900-pound bronze that stood on the spot where he accepted command of Virginia’s armed forces in 1861. That one came down last, around 4:30 a.m. Friday, Filler-Corn spokesman Jake Rubenstein said.

World News

washington post logoChina FlagWashington Post, China tells U.S. to shut consulate in Chengdu, in retaliation for Houston closure, Anna Fifield, July 25, 2020 (print ed.). The dispute over diplomatic facilities represents a new front in the broadening strategic contest between the world’s two largest economies.

While analysts here called the retaliation measured, they said there was no end in sight to a conflict that spans trade and technology, freedom of the press and religion, students and scientists, human rights and the race for a coronavirus vaccine.

“Even though the relationship is worsening, we have not yet reached the worst point,” said Cheng Xiaohe, a professor of international relations at Renmin University in Beijing. The bottom, he said, would be measured by two things: The closure of embassies in each country or military confrontation, whether intentional or accidental.

 

July 24

Top Headlines

Virus Victims, Responses

U.S. School Openings

Trump Watch

U.S. 2020 Elections, Politics

Environment / Jobs

Personal Health / Finance

 Race, Brutality Protests

World News

 

Top Stories

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Investigative Commentary: Mercenaries target American citizens in cities around the nation, Wayne Madsen, July 24, 2020. Supplementing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) paramilitary forces targeting peaceful protesters around the country are private security personnel contracted to DHS by Constellis, the mercenary company once known as Blackwater.

Founded by former Navy SEAL Erik Prince, Blackwater ran into hot water during the George W. Bush administration for committing the types of human rights abuses recently seen being used by DHS and Constellis mercenaries against protesters in Portland, Oregon. The snatching of innocent people off the streets of Portland by DHS mercenary contractors wearing camouflage uniforms without identification was de rigueur for Blackwater personnel in urban battlefields ranging from Iraq and Afghanistan to Pakistan and the Palestinian West Bank and Gaza.

washington post logoWashington Post, GOP struggles with overhaul of unemployment payments, Jeff Stein and Erica Werner, July 24, 2020. The temporary $600 weekly benefit expires next week, and Republicans are seeking a way to scale it back; The ongoing talks are one key reason for the surprising delay in the introduction of Republicans’ $1 trillion stimulus package.

The ongoing talks are one key reason for the surprising delay in the introduction of the GOP’s $1 trillion stimulus package. Administration officials and GOP lawmakers have said they want to cut but not outright eliminate enhanced federal unemployment benefits, but the final shape of the plan remains in flux.

Typically, state unemployment pays about 45 percent of a worker’s prior wages. In March, Congress approved a $600-per-week emergency bonus for every unemployed worker on top of that traditional payment, funneling hundreds of billions of dollars to newly jobless Americans as the novel coronavirus pandemic hit the country. 

ny times logoNew York Times, Trump Abruptly Cancels Florida Portion of G.O.P. Convention, Maggie Haberman, Patricia Mazzei and Annie Karni, July 24, 2020 (print ed.). “It’s not the right time,” President Trump said, citing the virus. He has spent weeks urging Florida and other states to reopen, even as cases have surged. He had moved the event from North Carolina because he wanted a big celebration. Now a key moment of his campaign has been thrown into limbo.

The surprise announcement threw one of the tent-pole moments of Mr. Trump’s re-election effort into limbo, with the president describing in vague terms how the Republicans would hold his renomination in North Carolina and do “other things with tele-rallies and online.” It was an ill-defined sketch of an August week that Mr. Trump once envisioned drawing huge crowds and energizing his struggling bid for a second term.

alexandria ocasio cortez resized yoho speech july 23 2020 house tv via ap

Real Clear Politics, AOC House Floor Speech: I Was Minding My Own Business And Rep. Yoho Called Me A "F*cking Bitch," Ian Schwartz, July 23, 2020 (video). Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), shown above on a still shot from House TV, blasted colleague Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL) for calling her a "f*cking b*tch" in an altercation Tuesday on Capitol Hill. However, Ocasio-Cortez said she wanted to make it clear that Yoho's comments "were not deeply hurtful or piercing" since she has experience in a working-class job and has ridden the subway.

Virus Victims, Responses

washington post logoWashington Post, Live Updates: Birx warns Florida, Texas and California are ‘three New Yorks’ as coronavirus deaths soar, Staff reports, July 24, 2020. South Texas hospital may begin rationing covid-19 care: ‘The situation is desperate,’ FDA says at least 75 brands of hand sanitizers may be toxic; Fauci says he and his family are receiving ‘serious threats’ against their lives.

As U.S. coronavirus cases surged past 4 million on Thursday, the number of daily covid-19-related deaths surpassed 1,000 for the third consecutive day. More than 500 of the fatalities were recorded in Florida, California and Texas, where the novel coronavirus is spreading at alarming rates. “What we have right now are essentially three New Yorks with these three major states,” Deborah Birx  palmer CustomWhite House coronavirus response coordinator Deborah Birx, right, said, a reference to the earlier epicenter of the U.S. outbreak.

With the virus spreading rapidly, President Trump abruptly canceled next month’s Republican National Convention events in Florida, a sign that his large, boisterous campaign rallies may be a thing of the past. The about-face is the latest reversal from Trump, who in the past week has begun enthusiastically promoting masks and acknowledging the gravity of the pandemic while conceding that schools may have to delay reopening.

washington post logoWashington Post, Bowser says people coming from coronavirus hot spots must quarantine for 14 days when arriving in D.C., Fenit Nirappil, July 24, 2020. D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) on Friday said people coming from coronavirus hot spots must quarantine for 14 days when arriving in the city.

She said the quarantine measure, which will begin Monday, will help the nation’s capital battle a recent increase in coronavirus infections. It comes in the same week the city expanded its mask requirements after noting a rise in the community spread of the virus since entering Phase 2.

She noted that Maryland and Virginia are exempt from the order.

Bowser issued an order Wednesday that requires people age 3 and older to wear a mask when they leave the house and are likely to come into contact with others. The order, which went into effect Thursday, indicated that violators could be fined up to $1,000, but city officials say few fines are expected.

D.C. on Friday recorded 78 new coronavirus cases and no deaths. The new cases brought the city’s seven-day average caseload to 76, its highest since June 8.

ny times logoNew York Times, Cases Are Surging Along the U.S. Gulf Coast, Staff reports, July 24, 2020 (print ed.). Alabama, California, Idaho and Texas recorded daily death records. Other states reported their highest daily case totals. Known cases surpassed four million in the United States. Here’s the latest.

washington post logoWashington Post, Virus Live Updates: U.S. nears 4 million coronavirus cases, Staff reports, July 24, 2020 (print ed.). Republicans scrap Trump’s demand for payroll tax cut as they cobble together draft coronavirus bill; Analysis: Most parents prefer delaying in-person school for their kids, poll finds.

The United States is rapidly approaching 4 million confirmed coronavirus infections, a grim milestone that will almost certainly be reached on Thursday. Despite the rosy picture painted by President Trump at his latest White House briefing, almost every metric shows just how badly America is losing its fight against the virus.

Positivity rates are at alarming levels in numerous states, hospitalizations are soaring, and more than 1,100 new coronavirus deaths were reported across the United States on Wednesday, marking the first time since May 29 that the daily count exceeded that number, according to Washington Post tracking. Texas alone reported a state-record 197 new fatalities, and the U.S. death toll now exceeds 140,000.

washington post logoWashington Post, 1.4 million more workers filed for unemployment benefits last week, Eli Rosenberg, July 24, 2020 (print ed.). For the first time in four months, the number of weekly unemployment figures rose to 1.4 million jobless claims, a troubling sign for the labor market that’s weathering a new round of closures as the pandemic spreads.

For the week ending July 18, about 109,000 more jobless claims were filed compared to the week prior, according to the Department of Labor. At least 16.1 million workers were continually Donald Trumpclaiming unemployment insurance for the week ending July 11, down from 17.4 million for the week ending July 4.

The numbers come as millions of unemployed workers are about to exhaust stimulus payments from two federal benefits programs whose expiration economists have warned could have dire effects on the economy.

An extra $600 a week in unemployment benefits that the federal government has offered to supplement more modest state unemployment benefits will end this week, as lawmakers wrangle over legislation that could extend it.

Including the new benefits available to gig workers and the self-employed, more than 53 million applications have been filed for some form of unemployment insurance during the pandemic.

washington post logoWashington Post, White House, GOP kill payroll tax cut, flounder over relief bill, Erica Werner, Seung Min Kim and Jeff Stein, July 24, 2020 (print ed.). Senate Republicans now plan to roll out bill next week after continued fighting over numerous provisions.

The White House and Senate Republicans on Thursday failed to reach an agreement on a broad coronavirus legislative package to offer Democrats as part of negotiations, stumbling over numerous provisions as different factions in the GOP bicker over the path forward.

Their continued impasse will push them right up against a deadline for expiring unemployment benefits at the end of next week.

Palmer Report, Opinion: This is alarming, Robert Harrington, right, July 24, 2020. Following a relative dip in deaths from coronavirus in the United States, thanks in part to large cities and Democratic robert harrington twittergovernors taking the pandemic seriously, the record has taken an alarming uptick. America has passed the thousand a day mark for coronavirus deaths two days in a row. This is why alleged violence in American cities has suddenly become the topic of distraction. Trump doesn’t want us to notice that people are now going to start dying by the thousands every day and not just the hundreds.

bill palmer report logo headerMeanwhile Donald Trump has created a problem in Portland, Oregon, where none previously existed. Peaceful Black Lives Matter protests were winding down there when Trump sent in federal troops in unlabelled body armor and rented vans to stir them up again. That way he could have an “emergency” talking point to distract away from coronavirus deaths.

Trump is proving once again that when an election is coming he can move quickly and move troops. Recall as Exhibit A, Trump’s deployment of troops in 2018 to America’s southern border when the “hordes” in caravans were marching north from Central America. That “emergency” evaporated the day after the election — just like this “emergency” will as well.

Meanwhile coronavirus is attacking and killing people in red states in record numbers. The folly of aping their lord and master by not wearing masks and not practicing social distancing is coming home to roost. (In a delectable instance of poetic justice, Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt caught coronavirus at Trump’s Tulsa rally.) And since America has now passed the ostensible 4 million mark of people infected, and is now rocketing its way to five million, the numbers are going to get increasingly alarming.

CDC Director Robert Redfield estimates that the number of coronavirus cases may be closer to 40 million than to 4. This suggests that the death toll could reach the million mark by the end of the summer, because 40 million sick people can easily infect 60 million more. I and every sane person hopes not. We will see. Trump, of course doesn’t care, unless it hurts his re-election chances.

ny times logoNew York Times, Who Gets the Covid-19 Vaccine First? Here’s One Idea, Gina Kolata, July 23, 2020. A weighted lottery gives everyone a chance at a drug or vaccine in short supply. But some have a better shot than others. When a coronavirus vaccine becomes available, who should get it first?

A preliminary plan devised by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this spring gives priority to health care workers, then to people with underlying medical conditions and older people. The C.D.C. has not yet decided whether the next in line should be Blacks and Latinos, groups disproportionately affected by the coronavirus.

But let’s suppose that health care workers and people with underlying medical conditions use up the first doses of the available vaccine. Should some be held in reserve for Black and Latino people? What about bus drivers and train conductors? Perhaps teachers or schoolchildren should get it so they can return to classrooms with peace of mind.

If shortages happen, most of the nation will have no chance to get the initial lots of a vaccine under the C.D.C.’s plan. And as the United States combats a soaring number of coronavirus cases, rising demand for drugs and maybe ventilators is expected. They, too, will need a fair system of distribution.

One solution that is starting to attract the attention of public health experts is a so-called weighted lottery, which gives everyone a chance at access, although some get a better shot than others.

Patients have accepted the results, even when they lost in the lottery and ended up being denied the drug, he added.

washington post logoWashington Post, Guest Opinion: Inside San Quentin prison, you sit and wait until covid-19 comes for you, Joe Garcia, July 24, 2020. Joe Garcia is incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison, where he is a staff member of the San Quentin News and an editorial liaison for the Prison Journalism Project.

As a working prison journalist, I wanted to keep my eyes and ears wide-open. I wanted to detail everything going on around me as covid-19 raged out of control here. But a fog crept through me. Was it just a cold, a sinus infection, influenza — all things I’ve battled before? I woke to strange chills in the night; there was an acrid aftertaste along the back of my tongue. Maybe I just needed to pull out a blanket.

Is this what covid-19 feels like? My temperature had been normal every day. My breathing remained strong and clear. I wanted to believe that meant I was fine.

On June 22 and 23, everyone in my building, San Quentin’s North Block, lined up for covid-19 testing. I had just begun to feel weirdly awful. I overheard other guys describing the same things I was feeling. None of us wanted to alert the medical staff. So, you admit you’re sick? Well, let’s remove you from the few familiar comforts you have and throw you in an empty cell for a 14-day quarantine. That’s the protocol we all feared worse than covid-19.

Eventually, I did receive a notice informing me that I’d tested positive for covid-19 — one more number in a group that has now passed 2,000. Fifteen San Quentin inmates have died.

Trump Watch

djt michael cohen

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New York Times, Judge Orders Cohen to Be Released, Citing Retaliation Over Tell-All Book, Benjamin Weiser and Alan Feuer, July 24, 2020 (print ed.). A judge agreed that federal officials had returned Michael Cohen to prison because he wanted to publish a book about President Trump. A federal judge on Thursday ordered that Michael D. Cohen be released into home confinement and said he should be allowed to finish writing a book that has been billed as a “graphic” tell-all memoir about Mr. Cohen’s former boss, President Trump.

alvin hellerstein SmallThe judge, Alvin K. Hellerstein, right, of Federal District Court, found that prisons officials had acted against Mr. Cohen because of his desire to write the book when they returned him to prison this month after he had been released on a medical furlough.

“I make the finding that the purpose of transferring Mr. Cohen from furlough and home confinement to jail is retaliatory,” the judge said. “And it’s retaliation because of his desire to exercise his first amendment rights to publish a book and to discuss anything about the book or anything else he wants on social media and with others.”

Mr. Cohen, the president’s former lawyer and fixer, sued U.S. officials on Monday night, claiming federal officials sent him back into custody to prevent him from completing the book. In court papers, he said the book would paint Mr. Trump as a racist and will offer revealing details about “the president’s behavior behind closed doors.”

mary trump cover

Palmer Report, Opinion: Mary Trump just beat Donald Trump again, Bill Palmer, July 24, 2020. Donald Trump did his best to try to keep his niece Mary Trump from releasing her tell-all book – but bill palmer report logo headeras is so often the case with Donald Trump, his best wasn’t very good. He failed in court, and her book ended up being released ahead of schedule. Mary Trump’s book debuted at #1 overall on the Amazon sales charts. Now it turns out Mary’s book sales were even stronger than we thought – and it hit Donald Trump where it hurts:

Here's something pretty cool: In one week, Mary Trump's book Too Much and Never Enough sold more hardcover copies than The Art of the Deal has in the 33 years since it was published.

— Tony Schwartz (@tonyschwartz) July 23, 2020 (primary author and co-author with Donald Trump of The Art of the Deal)

U.S. School Openings

washington post logoWashington Post, Outlook Commentary: As parents realize how badly the U.S. botched the next school year, we’re furious, Dana Stevens, July 24, 2020. We sheltered at home in part so schools could open safely. Then leaders did nothing.

The implicit bargain of the spring was that if everyone complied with the shutdowns, the isolation, the social distancing, the working-while-parenting disasters and the rest, the government would use that time to build enough testing, tracing and public health infrastructure so that students could safely go back to school in person in the fall.

Instead, having utterly failed to contain the virus, the administration is now employing the crafty tactic of attempting to draw attention away from the pandemic — as if we could be distracted out of noticing that we can no longer safely leave our homes, we have no functioning public institutions (libraries, museums, schools), we have lost more than 139,000 American lives, and we are well on our way into the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.

I can’t be the only parent who finds containing my anger about this to be a full-time job on top of the two I’m already performing poorly.

Early on, the administration shrugged its responsibility off onto the states, leaving Americans with a wildly inconsistent patchwork of policies that varied according to their governors’ political affiliations, the population’s trust in science and the degree to which their states had shut down, or not.

Now, with case numbers rising in 44 out of 50 states, the White House, abruptly abandoning its always spotty commitment to federalism, has begun issuing marching orders about opening schools full-time and on schedule, masks and social distancing be damned. In a classic bit of Trump gaslighting, not only has any hope for increased school funding dematerialized, but the administration is threatening to defund individual school districts if they don’t comply with the order to reopen.

What we chose as a country — or rather, what was chosen for us by an administration seemingly committed to chaos and entropy as governing principles — was to jeopardize the future of public education while prioritizing the opening of restaurants, bars and Home Depots, a chain the Trumpist governor of Florida has cited as a model for school openings, as if Americans had a long tradition of sending our children en masse to spend 40-plus hours a week in the aisle next to the garden tools.

Dana Stevens @thehighsign is the movie critic at Slate and a co-host of two Slate podcasts, the Culture Gabfest and Flashback. Her book "Camera Man: Buster Keaton, the Dawn of Cinema and the Invention of the 20th Century" is forthcoming in fall 2021.”

ny times logoNew York Times, Live Updates: New C.D.C. Guidance for Reopening Schools Takes a Political Tone, Staff reports, July 24, 2020. The agency issued a full-throated call to reopen schools, downplaying the health risks, after President Trump criticized its earlier recommendations. As the pandemic continues to grow globally, resurgences have hit places that were seen as models of how to respond to the virus. Here’s the latest.

cdc logo CustomThe top U.S. public health agency issued a full-throated call to reopen schools in a package of new “resources and tools” posted on its website Thursday night that opened with a statement that sounded more like a political speech than a scientific document, listing numerous benefits for children of being in school and downplaying the potential health risks.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published the new guidance two weeks after President Trump criticized its earlier recommendations on school reopenings as “very tough and expensive,” ramping up what had already been an anguished national debate over the question of how soon children should return to classrooms. As the president was criticizing the initial C.D.C. recommendations, a document from the agency surfaced that detailed the risks of reopening and the steps that districts were taking to minimize those risks.

“Reopening schools creates opportunity to invest in the education, well-being, and future of one of America’s greatest assets — our children — while taking every precaution to protect students, teachers, staff and all their families,” the new opening statement said.

The package of materials began with the opening statement, titled “The Importance of Reopening America’s Schools This Fall,” and repeatedly described children as being at low risk for being infected by or transmitting the coronavirus, even though the science on both aspects is far from settled.

washington post logoWashington Post, Outlook Commentary: Schools can’t open safely. Pretending they can only helps Trump’s gaslighting, Elizabeth Spiers, (chief executive of the Insurrection, a progressive digital messaging firm), July 22, 2020. Making teachers get sick can’t be an option.

As school districts prepare for the fall and the coronavirus continues surging across the United States, a new rallying cry is emerging, led (of course) by President Trump and his appointees: All schools must open for business as usual, no matter what.

Trump surrogates like Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos have backed him up in a bid to force people back to school and work in the hopes that the superficial appearance of pre-pandemic normalcy will help the president’s reelection campaign.

The apparent playbook dictates that the Trumpists pretend there is no meaningful risk, or to suggest, as Missouri Gov. Mike Parson did Friday, that even if children get the virus — which “they will when they go to school” — that any illnesses or deaths would be acceptable losses.

But no losses should be acceptable when they are entirely avoidable.

People Magazine via Yahoo Entertainment, Barron Trump's School Not Resuming Classes Like Normal This Fall Despite Trump's Push to Reopen, Sean Neumann, July 24, 2020. Despite President Donald Trump's push to have schools reopen their classrooms in the fall, his son Barron Trump won't be sitting in class full-time anytime soon.

The private St. Andrew's Episcopal School in Maryland — which the 14-year-old began attending after moving to Washington, D.C. — announced this week that while a final decision has yet to be made, it is planning not to fully reopen its campus in the fall because of novel coronavirus concerns.

The school shut down and switched to online learning in the spring.

In a letter to parents this week, St. Andrew's said it is preparing either to continue with online classes or to implement a hybrid plan for the next school year, which would use both e-learning and in-person classes by allowing groups of its students to return to campus in cycles, along with social distancing.
Related video: Trump now says some schools may need to delay reopening

"We are hopeful that public health conditions will support our implementation of the hybrid model in the fall," the school's letter says.

The school also told parents that it is "continuing to pay close attention to current guidance from state and county health officials, as well as the CDC, as the health status of our region evolves."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that kids 17 or younger make up about 6 percent of confirmed U.S. coronavirus cases — though that age range also makes up only about 0.2 percent (or 228 children) of all deaths, according to the Associated Press.

However, it remains unclear how easily children may spread the virus to other groups.

Oval Office officials, led by Trump, have strongly pushed for schools to reopen in the fall — even threatening to pull federal funding.

ny times logoNew York Times, Older Children Spread the Coronavirus Just as Much as Adults, Large Study Finds, Apoorva Mandavilli, July 18, 2020. The study of nearly 65,000 people in South Korea suggests that school reopenings will trigger more outbreaks.

In the heated debate over reopening schools, one burning question has been whether and how efficiently children can spread the virus to others.

A large new study from South Korea offers an answer: Children younger than 10 transmit to others much less often than adults do, but the risk is not zero. And those between the ages of 10 and 19 can spread the virus at least as well as adults do.

The findings suggest that as schools reopen, communities will see clusters of infection take root that include children of all ages, several experts cautioned.“There will be transmission,” Dr. Osterholm said. “What we have to do is accept that now and include that in our plans.”

Several studies from Europe and Asia have suggested that young children are less likely to get infected and to spread the virus. But most of those studies were small and flawed, said Dr. Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute.

The new study “is very carefully done, it’s systematic and looks at a very large population,” Dr. Jha said. “It’s one of the best studies we’ve had to date on this issue.”

“I fear that there has been this sense that kids just won’t get infected or don’t get infected in the same way as adults and that, therefore, they’re almost like a bubbled population,” said Michael Osterholm, an infectious diseases expert at the University of Minnesota.

The new study “is very carefully done, it’s systematic and looks at a very large population,” Dr. Jha said. “It’s one of the best studies we’ve had to date on this issue.”

“I fear that there has been this sense that kids just won’t get infected or don’t get infected in the same way as adults and that, therefore, they’re almost like a bubbled population,” said Michael Osterholm, an infectious diseases expert at the University of Minnesota.

More On Virus Victims, Responses

ny times logoNew York Times, 9-Day Waits for Test Results Threaten N.Y.C.’s Ability to Contain Virus, Joseph Goldstein and Jesse McKinley, July 24, 2020 (print ed.). “Honestly, I don’t even really see the point in getting tested,” said one New Yorker who has waited nearly two weeks, with still no results.

ny times logopaul krugmanNew York Times, Opinion: Why Can’t Trump’s America Be Like Italy? Paul Krugman, right, July 24, 2020 (print ed.). On the coronavirus, the “sick man of Europe” puts us to shame. Unfavorable demography and economic troubles are major Italian disadvantages. The ratio of seniors to working-age adults is the highest in the Western world. Italy’s growth record is deeply disappointing: Per capita G.D.P. has stagnated for two decades.

When it came to dealing with Covid-19, however, all these Italian disadvantages were outweighed by one huge advantage: Italy wasn’t burdened with America’s disastrous leadership.

ny times logoNew York Times, Editorial: Millions of Americans Are About to Lose Their Homes. Congress Must Help Them, Editorial Board, July 24, 2020 (print ed.). Here’s what can be done to help people avoid eviction.

U.S. 2020 Elections, Politics

washington post logoWashington Post, The twists and turns in Trump’s executive order on immigrants and the census, Salvador Rizzo, July 24, 2020. The president’s proposal to dilute undocumented immigrants’ political power gives a warped view of history.

ny times logoNew York Times, Election Updates: Biden Campaign Releases Full Video of Conversation With Obama, Staff report, July 24, 2020 (print ed.). President Trump assailed Representative Liz Cheney, a leading House Republican who has been accused of disloyalty. Michael Bloomberg’s gun control group is putting $15 million toward races in eight states.

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. leaned on his top surrogate Thursday morning, releasing a video conversation with President Barack Obama that cast the current occupant of the White House as unworthy in hopes of boosting Mr. Biden’s chances of replacing him.

Mr. Biden and Mr. Obama covered several topics in the wide-ranging, nearly 16-minute conversation, including President Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, health care, the economy and systemic racism.

“You can’t separate out the public health crisis from the economy,” Mr. Obama said. “If you want the economy growing, people have to feel safe.”

 ny times logoNew York Times, Ocasio-Cortez Upbraids Republican After He Denies Vulgarly Insulting Her, Luke Broadwater, July 23, 2020 (print ed.). Representative Ted Yoho apologized for the tone of a run-in with Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, but denied calling her a misogynistic pair of expletives. “Not an apology,” she responded.

alexandria ocasio cortez officialRepresentative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, right,  forcefully rejected a Republican colleague’s words of contrition on Wednesday after he declined to apologize for referring to her with a vulgar and sexist expletive, denying he had uttered the words.

Representative Ted Yoho, Republican of Florida, appeared on the House floor on Wednesday to express regret for injecting “strife” into Congress and being “abrupt” in a confrontation this week with Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, Democrat of New York.

“I rise today to apologize for the abrupt manner of the conversation I had with my colleague from New York,” Mr. Yoho said. “It is true that we disagree on policies and visions for America, but that does not mean we should be disrespectful.”

But a short time later, he added, “The offensive name-calling words attributed to me by the press were never spoken to my colleagues, and if they were construed that way, I apologize for their misunderstanding.”

Ms. Ocasio-Cortez lashed out at Mr. Yoho on Twitter after his speech, saying that he was refusing to take responsibility for his actions.

“I will not teach my nieces and young people watching that this an apology, and what they should learn to accept,” Ms. Ocasio-Cortez wrote. She said Mr. Yoho was lying when he described their interaction as a “conversation.”

“It was verbal assault,” she wrote. “This is not an apology.”

Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, a favorite of the progressive left and frequent target of Republicans, said on Tuesday that she had been the victim of “virulent harassment.”

ny times logoNew York Times, What a Decisive Biden Win Would Look Like, Nate Cohn, July 24, 2020. Republican structural advantages in the House, the Senate and the Electoral College would be in jeopardy. Recent national polls show that Joe Biden’s commanding lead has eroded longstanding demographic divisions that have favored Republicans, endangering their hold on a tier of states where the Democratic Party usually has little chance to prevail in federal elections, even Republican strongholds like Kansas or Alaska.

Remarkably, Mr. Trump’s lead among white voters has all but vanished. On average, he holds just a three-point lead among them, 48 percent to 45 percent, across an average of high-quality telephone surveys since June 1. His lead among white voters has steadily diminished since April.

In the long view, the president’s losses among white voters compared with his final standing in 2016 polls are broad, spanning all major demographic categories. In more recent months, the president’s losses have been somewhat narrower and concentrated among younger voters, according to the polls. Mr. Biden has made no gains among voters over age 65 at all since May, and as a result his once-distinctive lead among the group now looks similar to what one would expect in this national environment.

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: As Trump rages, open defiance of him is mounting. Here are 7 examples, Greg Sargent, July 24, 2020. In a revealing aside, President Trump told chief propagandist Sean Hannity on Thursday night that he traces much of the overwhelming enthusiasm for his reelection now sweeping the country back to his Mount Rushmore speech commemorating Independence Day.

“Since that time, it’s been really something," Trump told Hannity, before raging that fake polls are deliberately obscuring the mighty depth and reach of his support.

In that speech, Trump offered his canonical statement on the unleashing of federal law enforcement into cities, conflating protests against police brutality and systemic racism with a “far-left fascism” out to “take” our “national heritage” away from the “American people.”

At around the time Trump appeared on “Hannity,” all four Major League Baseball teams playing Opening Day games took a knee in solidarity with Black Lives Matter before the national anthem, flatly defying Trump’s relentless disparaging of the protests, and more broadly, the vision outlined in that speech.

Here’s a roundup:

Players take a knee. The support for Black Lives Matter at those baseball openings was remarkable, coming after Trump had fumed that any kneeling during the anthem would render the game “over for me.” This didn’t represent total defiance of Trump, since two of the four teams stood for the anthem itself.

Yet two teams did defy him by kneeling through it. And all four pointedly ratified the gesture of kneeling, while expressing organized support for the protests in numerous other ways. Trump cheerleader Rudolph W. Giuliani raged over this support for BLM, obviously seeing it as repudiation of Trump.

TheHill.com, Police investigating fire at Arizona Democratic Party headquarters, Staff report, July 24, 2020. Arizona authorities are investigating a fire at the state Democratic Party headquarters in Phoenix that caused significant damage Friday morning.

Flames and heavy smoke reportedly billowed out of the building around 1 a.m., with firefighters entering to search for anyone inside before dousing the blaze, The Arizona Republic reported.

Nobody was inside the headquarters at the time, and the Phoenix fire and police departments are working together to determine the fire's cause.

The damage appears to have been particularly bad on the north side of the building, where the Maricopa County Democratic Party keeps its offices.

Maricopa Democratic chairman Steven Slugocki said he thinks that all of county party's files, computers and phones were destroyed in the fire. "It's a devastating loss for us and I'm truly heartbroken," Slugocki said.

Slugocki said it is unclear how the damages will affect a virtual summer convention that was slated to take place Saturday with more than 700 Democrats from across Maricopa County expected to attend. "Maricopa County Democratic Party is not stopping at this office, we're still going to continue our work," Slugocki said, emphasizing his gratitude that no one was hurt from the fire. "We're going to find a way to rise above this and continue the work that we are supposed to be doing."

Race, Brutality Protests

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump’s move to deploy agents seen as political, Matt Zapotosky and Annie Gowen, July 24, 2020 (print ed.). Activists and officials fear either a political stunt or a crackdown as "Operation Legend" sends federal agents to Missouri, Chicago and Albuquerque.

Federal agents began descending in earnest on Kansas City, Mo., this week as part of an operation that will have them working with local detectives to interview suspects and witnesses and sift through evidence in an effort to quell violent crime, U.S. officials said.

The operation, in any other administration, might have been largely seen as inoffensive for a city that has experienced a massive spike in homicides from the prior year. But the timing — just after federal officers in military garb violently cracked down on racial justice demonstrators in Portland, Ore., and President Trump threatened to dispatch U.S. law enforcement to other cities — could hardly be worse.

In no small part because of Trump’s politically charged rhetoric, local activists and officials have come to view with suspicion the more than 200 agents sent to Missouri from the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Marshals Service and other federal agencies. Some officials said they were not consulted and do not know the precise plans. After the Trump administration announced Wednesday it would increase the federal presence in Chicago and Albuquerque, local officials there greeted the news icily.

The Guardian, Revealed: Rod Rosenstein advised there was no age limit on child separations, Stephanie Kirchgaessner, July 24, 2020 (print ed.). Former deputy attorney general’s 2018 conference call with US prosecutors in border states shocked some participants, Guardian learns. Rod Rosenstein, the former deputy attorney general, advised US attorneys implementing the 2018 zero-tolerance policy that there could be no blanket ban on prosecuting migrant parents who had children under the age of five, the Guardian has learned.

The comments on a conference call in May 2018 privately shocked some border state prosecutors because, in effect, it meant that no child was too young to be separated from its parents under the policy, which called for all migrants entering the US illegally to face criminal prosecution.

The family separations that followed are seen today by experts as one of the gravest domestic human rights violations to have occurred under the Trump administration.

The policy was in place for six weeks and resulted in the separation of 2,814 children from their parents and guardians, about 105 of whom were under the age of five and 1,033 under 10.

Rosenstein issued his guidance to US attorneys from states on the Mexican border about two weeks after the then attorney general, Jeff Sessions, issued an order that there would be an “escalated effort” to prosecute all illegal entries into the US along the southern border, according to sources familiar with the matter who spoke to the Guardian under the condition of anonymity.

Previously, under the Obama administration, most families who crossed the border illegally were detained together if they were arrested or were released pending an immigration trial, but were only separated if authorities deemed children to be in danger.

There were questions among the border state US attorneys at that time about how the zero-tolerance policy would be implemented and the conference call with Rosenstein sought to address those issues.

washington post logoWashington Post, Portland mayor tear-gassed alongside protesters by federal officers, Marissa J. Lang, July 24, 2020 (print ed.). As Mayor Ted Wheeler spoke, the thrum of the crowd was punctured with chants of “Quit your job!” Mayor Ted Wheeler choked on tear gas late Wednesday as he stood outside the federal courthouse in downtown Portland, where federal agents set off explosives and fired chemicals into a crowd of hundreds.

The Democratic mayor pressed a hand over his nose and mouth, already covered by a blue surgical mask, as a thick cloud of gas surged toward him. He had strapped on lab goggles to help protect his eyes, but still, the mayor said, his face burned and eyes watered.

“It’s hard to breathe — it’s a little harder to breathe than I thought,” Wheeler told The Washington Post while a man with a leaf blower turned the nozzle on the mayor to clear away any gas still hanging in the air. “This is abhorrent. This is beneath us.”

As Wheeler stood at the fence, he was heckled and insulted. Some demonstrators called for his resignation. Others, who had been tear-gassed by the Portland Police Bureau over the past eight weeks, shouted questions at the mayor.

Wheeler had come to the protest, he said, to stand with protesters in the face of what he has described as an “occupying force” — federal agents who were deployed by President Trump to a city that the president has described as “worse than Afghanistan.”

For days, Wheeler, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) and other state and local officials have demanded Trump withdraw the surge of federal officers from this Pacific Northwest city, where ongoing protests have continued nightly for more than 50 straight days. But little has changed.

World News

washington post logoWashington Post, Afghan airstrike kills civilians and Taliban supporters at prisoner’s homecoming, Pamela Constable and Aziz Tassal, July 24, 2020 (print ed.). Estimates of casualties ranged from eight to 45, with many of the dead possibly civilians.

The airstrikes were confirmed by the Afghan Defense Ministry, and unconfirmed reports indicated that as many as 45 people, including insurgents and civilians, had been killed or wounded. A spokesman for the governor of Herat, Jailani Farhad, said that the strikes had targeted at least six Taliban commanders who had carried out major assaults.

Environment / Jobs

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump administration says Alaska gold mine won’t cause major environmental harm, reversing Obama-era decision, Juliet Eilperin and Brady Dennis, July 24, 2020. The Pebble Mine, which would be the world’s largest, was halted by the Obama administration out of concern it would irreversibly damage the famous sockeye salmon fishery.

Personal Health / Finance

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Kim Kardashian West just performed a public service, Eugene Robinson, July 24, 2020 (print ed). I never thought I’d begin a column by praising Kim Kardashian West, but I do so today.

Arguably the world’s most famous-for-being-famous celebrity, Kardashian West performed a valuable public service this week by talking openly about the helplessness family members can feel when trying to cope with a loved one’s mental illness.

The person Kardashian West loves, and who is so publicly grappling with bipolar disorder, is her husband, musical genius Kanye West, who with grandiose and calamitous fanfare has launched what he claims is a campaign for the presidency.

washington post logoWashington Post, Personal Finance Commentary: Ivanka Trump’s Find Something New career campaign is more hype than help, Michelle Singletary, July 24, 2020. People who’ve lost their jobs because of the coronavirus don’t need a new website. They need better guidance.

Two rich people have decided to tell millions of unemployed people that all they need to do to feed their families and put a roof over their heads is “find something new.”

White House adviser Ivanka Trump and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross are co-chairs of the American Policy Workforce Advisory Board, which this month launched the Find Something New ad campaign with a website aimed at helping people find a fresh career path.

The initiative didn’t go over so well on social media. In defense of the effort, the first daughter tweeted to one critic: “I suggest that you visit http://FindSomethingNew.org. This initiative is about challenging the idea the traditional 2 and 4 yr college is the only option to acquire the skills needed to secure a job. This work has never been more urgent.”

 

July 23

Top Headlines

U.S. 2020 Elections, Politics

Virus Victims, Responses

Race, Brutality Protests

Climate Change / Race / Parks

U.S. Political Crime, Scandal

World News

 More On U.S. Politics, Elections

 

Top Stories

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Top Stories

washington post logoWashington Post, Editorial: Republicans are out of time. Congress must approve more coronavirus spending now, Editorial Board, July 23, 2020 (print ed.). House Democrats passed a comprehensive coronavirus relief bill in May. Republicans waited.

rnc logoNow, with federal economic aid expiring at month’s end, they cannot agree among themselves on a plan, let alone forge a compromise with Democrats. The GOP is out of time, and there is no reasonable alternative to continuing massive federal aid. Republicans must admit the obvious and get a bill passed, immediately.

As usual, the problem begins with President Trump, who has issued counterproductive demands, such as his bizarre idea to block funding for testing and for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the middle of a wildfire pandemic. Meanwhile, some within the Senate Republican caucus argue that the federal government should refuse to continue spending vast amounts on economic aid and virus suppression, pressing to reopen the economy instead. Left to sort out this GOP mess is Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), who should have forced negotiations sooner, and other Republicans who are more sensitive to reality.

Betsy DeVos club for growth

Betsy DeVos, a major Republican donor from a family of other huge donors, is show above in one of the advertisments by the conservative "Club for Growth" supporting her as Trump Education Secretary, a post where she has continually generated controversial policies.

washington post logoWashington Post, Fact Checker Analysis: Betsy DeVos’s claim that children are ‘stoppers’ of the coronavirus, Glenn Kessler, July 23, 2020.

“More and more studies show that kids are actually stoppers of the disease and they don’t get it and transmit it themselves, so we should be in a posture of — the default should be getting back to school kids in person, in the classroom.”

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, in an interview on “The Conservative Circus” (iHeart radio), July 16

Our eyes popped out when we first heard this comment by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, as she pressed the administration’s case for reopening schools in the fall with in-person classes.

Could children actually be “stoppers” of covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus? That would be great news — if true. The interruption of school threatens to create a learning deficit — and many parents may find it difficult to return to work if children are not in classes.

washington post logonfl logoWashington Post, D.C.’s NFL franchise to go by ‘Washington Football Team’ this season, delays permanent name change, Les Carpenter and Mark Maske, July 23, 2020. The decision comes near the end of a tumultuous month in which owner Daniel Snyder was forced to move away from the organization’s 87-year-old moniker under intense pressure from club sponsors.

Virus Victims, Responses

washington post logoWashington Post, U.S. tops 1,100 coronavirus deaths in a day for first time since late May, Staff report, July 23, 2020 (print ed.). Deborah Birx (shown in a file photo) says ‘open questions’ remain about risks among Deborah Birx  palmer Customchildren; Trump says he is ‘comfortable’ sending his son and grandchildren back to school.

The pandemic will change the way millions cast ballots. Here’s the state of absentee voting in the U.S.: 43 million voters will be automatically sent a ballot. States are expanding access to mail-in voting as a safer alternative, but for many, in-person voting remains the only option unless they can provide an approved reason not related to fear of the coronavirus.

washington post logoWashington Post, As virus deaths rise, Trump paints a rosy picture of America’s present and future, William Wan and Jacqueline Dupree, July 23, 2020 (print ed.). Experts warn the U.S. is reaching a tipping point toward uncontrollable transmission. The number of daily U.S. deaths surpassed 1,100 on Wednesday, for the first time since late May.

President Trump painted a wishful view Wednesday of the U.S. response to the coronavirus pandemic, in which existing treatments can almost cure patients flooding hospitals, all schools will safely reopen this fall, and the country’s soaring cases are confined to a handful of states.

But the rosy assessment he issued at a White House news briefing — alone at the lectern without any top public health experts — was undermined by the alarming reality that on Wednesday, almost every metric showed just how badly America is losing its fight against the virus.

The number of daily deaths on Wednesday surpassed 1,100, the first time that mark had been reached since May 29. And total deaths in the United States since the start of the pandemic increased to more than 140,000.

California on Wednesday passed New York in the number of total confirmed coronavirus cases, according to data tracked by The Washington Post, as the pandemic once concentrated in the Northeast continued to boom in the South and the West.

Media Matters for America, Criticism/Advocacy: Sinclair gives “Plandemic" conspiracy theorists a platform to spread their lies about Dr. Fauci and the coronavirus, John Whitehouse on coverage by Zachary Pleat with research from Alex Kaplan and Pam Vogel, July 23, 2020.

For years, Media Matters has covered the right-wing propaganda that Sinclair Broadcasting puts on local television channels across the country. The instance this week may have been the worst example yet.

larry klayman resized eric bolling judy mikovits sinclair pandemicThe latest example of Sinclair's America This Week features host Eric Bolling, shown at center in adjoining photo, interviewing Judy Mikovits, right, of the conspiracy theory video Plandemic and her attorney Larry Klayman, left, about their plans to sue Dr. Anthony Fauci. Bolling introduced the prerecorded interview by referring to Mikotivs as “an expert in virology” who previously “worked with Dr. Anthony Fauci.”

As Zach Pleat meticulously documented, Mikovits may be the most prominent COVID-19 conspiracy theorist in the country. She gained notoriety after she made multiple false and misleading claims about the coronavirus and public health in Plandemic. The viral video featured various lies, including about vaccines and the COVID-19 death count. She also reportedly made false claims about Fauci in the video, and defended a bogus bleach product as a treatment for the disease. YouTube, Facebook, and other platforms all removed Plandemic for violations of their terms of service.

Bolling didn't mention any of that, instead allowing them to peddle conspiracy theories, like accusing Fauci of having "manufactured the coronaviruses" and shipped them to Wuhan, China. (This, obviously, did not happen.)

When the interview was over, Bolling brought on a Fox News medical contributor to react. During that portion of the show, Bolling hypothesized -- again without evidence -- that China “accelerated the virus” while researching a vaccine and “it somehow leaked out of a laboratory.” Experts have long established that the novel coronavirus was not made in a lab and there is no evidence that it leaked from one.

Media Matters reported about this segment on Thursday. After outrage grew, Sinclair finally responded on Saturday, announcing first that it supported free speech even if it was "controversial."

Hours later, the company issued a statement that it would ask local stations to delaying airing this episode. This was too late. We already found that the segment aired on at least one local Sinclair station in West Virginia, and possibly more.

Sinclair has pushed far-right propaganda for years, and Bolling made his mark at Fox where he pushed birtherism and other conspiracy theories, before leaving Fox for Sinclair after allegedly sending explicit pictures to multiple colleagues. The only difference now is how many people might risk getting sick and even die because of them.

U.S. 2020 Elections, Politics

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: The risks of herd immunity to Trump’s corruption, E.J. Dionne Jr., right, July 23, 2020 (print ed.). We could all spend a lot of intellectual energy debating whether ej dionne w open neckPresident Trump’s failures are due primarily to corruption or incompetence, but it would be a waste of time.

Understanding that his incompetence flows from his corruption should animate the arguments against his reelection and inspire the work journalists do in making sense of the chaotic mess Trump has made of our government.

It won’t be easy. Trump has been involved in so many scandals and says so many reprehensible things that our country has developed a kind of herd immunity to the outrage that just one of his actions would have called forth in any previous administration. We have allowed Trump to fend off one scandal with . . . another scandal.

The key is seeing that Trump’s entirely selfish approach to the presidency has a measurable and material impact on the lives of citizens and on the policies he pursues — to the extent that he is interested in policy at all. He cares above all about his own finances, his ego, his ratings and escaping accountability. Everything else falls by the wayside.

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump’s assault on election integrity forces question: What would happen if he refused to accept a loss? Elise Viebeck and Robert Costa, July 23, 2020. President Trump’s relentless efforts to sow doubts about the legitimacy of this year’s election are forcing both parties to reckon with the possibility that he may dispute the result in November if he loses — leading to an unprecedented test of American democracy.

With less than four months before the election, Trump’s escalating attacks on the security of mail-in ballots and his refusal again this week to reassure the country that he would abide by the voters’ will have added urgency to long-simmering concerns among scholars and his critics about the lengths he could go to hold on to power.

“What the president is doing is willfully and wantonly undermining confidence in the most basic democratic process we have,” said William A. Galston, chair of the Brookings Institution’s Governance Studies Program. “Words almost fail me — it’s so deeply irresponsible. He’s arousing his core supporters for a truly damaging crisis in the days and weeks after the November election.”

Most legal experts said it is hard to envision that Trump would actually try to remain in office after a clear defeat by former vice president Joe Biden, considering the uproar that would follow such a challenge to U.S. democratic norms. Trump has previously said he offers up inflammatory ideas to provoke the media and his critics.

But his unwillingness to commit to a smooth transition of power has forced academics and political leaders — including, privately, some GOP lawmakers — to contemplate possible scenarios.

washington post logoWashington Post, The Lincoln Project understands that Trump’s enablers must pay a price, Max Boot, July 23, 2020 (print ed.). 

“The once-mocked ‘Never Trump’ movement becomes a sudden campaign force”

— Post headline, July 11

If you want any more evidence of the validity of that conclusion, look no further than the frenzied attacks on the Lincoln Project, a political action committee formed last year by four Republicans (George T. Conway III, Steve Schmidt, John Weaver and Rick Wilson) disenchanted with President Trump. With its razor-sharp videos, the Lincoln Project has drawn blood — and counterattacks mainly from the Trumpified right but also, surprisingly, from a section of the self-defeating left. Even Trump has inveighed against the Lincoln Project, in typically understated fashion, as “LOSERS” who are “a disgrace to Honest Abe.”

The attacks on the Lincoln Project’s finances are a thinly disguised attack on its tactics — which are to attack Trump and the GOP from a perspective likely to appeal to middle-of-the-road voters.

Right-wingers are especially perturbed that the group has targeted vulnerable Republican senators. How dare they?!? “The Lincoln Project has made itself a Democratic Party organization,” screams a headline in the Washington Examiner. This would seem to refute a charge heard from the far left — namely that the group is a bunch of unrepentant warmongers who haven’t really broken with the GOP.

ny times logoNew York Times, How to Reopen Schools: What Science and Other Countries Teach Us, July 23, 2020 (print ed.). The pressure to bring American students back to classrooms is intense, but the calculus is tricky with infections still rising in many communities.

More On Virus Victims, Responses

ny times logoNew York Times, U.S. Northeast, Pummeled in the Spring, Now Stands Out in Virus Control, Ellen Barry, July 23, 2020 (print ed.). In just over two months, the Northeast went from the country’s worst coronavirus hot spot to its most controlled. “It’s acting like Europe,” one expert said.

Six months since the coronavirus crisis was first detected in the United States, the Northeast stands in sharp contrast with the rest of the nation. Along the East Coast, from Delaware through Maine, new case reports remain well below their April peak. As of Wednesday, six of the country’s 11 states with flat or falling case levels are in that Northeastern corridor.

“It’s acting like Europe,” Dr. Ashish Jha, the director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, said of the Northeastern United States. Like Europe, the Northeast suffered a devastating wave of illnesses and deaths in March and April, and state leaders responded, after some hesitation, with aggressive lockdowns and big investments in testing and tracing efforts. Residents have largely followed rules and been surprisingly supportive of tough measures, even at the cost of economic pain.

 ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: Mask Up, America, Gretchen Whitmer (below left, governor of Michigan), July 23, 2020 (print ed.). Trump says it is “patriotic” to wear a face covering. He can back that up by issuing a nationwide mandate.

My state was hit hard by Covid-19. For many weeks, we had the nation’s third-highest number of deaths despite having only the 10th-largest population. As a result, we took some of the gretchen whitmer o horizontal Custommost aggressive measures in the country in the fight against the disease, and our hard work paid off. Our actions saved thousands of lives.

We are now working around the clock to restart our economy in a way that protects workers, businesses and families. But as people in Michigan and across the country begin to return to work, cases are rising again. To slow the rise and further protect our families from this virus, we need the Trump administration to issue a federal mask mandate.

When more Americans wear a mask in public, we can save lives and put ourselves in a better position to send our children back to school in the fall.

Governors of both parties in at least half of the states have issued mask orders to protect their residents. Kay Ivey in Alabama just required everyone to wear a mask in indoor spaces open to the public and outdoor public spaces where 10 or more people are gathered. In Michigan, I issued a similar order that also requires any business that is open to the public to deny entry to people who refuse to wear a face covering, with limited exceptions.

Race, Brutality Protests

washington post logojoe biden oWashington Post, Biden says Trump is America’s first ‘racist’ president, Colby Itkowitz and John Wagner, July 23, 2020 (print ed.). The former vice president, right, has repeatedly accused President Trump of stoking racism, or using words as a “dog whistle” to racists, but this appears to be the first time he has actually labeled the president himself that way.

ny times logoNew York Times, Derek Chauvin Charged With Multiple Tax-Related Felonies in Minnesota, Will Wright, Updated July 23, 2020. The former Minneapolis police officer and his wife were charged with filing fraudulent tax returns from 2014 through 2019.

Derek Chauvin, right, the former Minneapolis police officer accused of killing George Floyd, was charged with multiple tax-related felonies, prosecutors announced on Wednesday.

derek chauvin mug CustomMr. Chauvin and his wife, Kellie Chauvin, failed to file income tax returns and pay Minnesota income taxes, and underreported and underpaid income taxes, according to Washington County prosecutors. The investigation into six years of tax filings, prosecutors said, also showed that the Chauvins did not pay the proper amount of sales tax on a vehicle.

The charges against Mr. Chauvin and Ms. Chauvin, who filed for divorce days after Mr. Floyd’s death on May 25, come after an investigation by the Minnesota Department of Revenue and the Oakdale Police Department.

“Whether you are a prosecutor or police officer, or you are doctor or a realtor, no one is above the law,” the county’s chief prosecutor, Pete Orput, said in a statement.

Climate Change / Race / Parks

ny times logoNew York Times Magazine, The Great Climate Migration Has Begun; Where Will They Go? Abrahm Lustgarten | Photographs by Meridith Kohut, July 23, 2020. Research suggests climate change will cause humans to move in the millions. The Times Magazine partnered with ProPublica and data scientists to understand how.

Early in 2019, a year before the world shut its borders completely, Jorge A. knew he had to get out of Guatemala. The land was turning against him. For five years, it almost never rained. Then it did rain, and Jorge rushed his last seeds into the ground. The corn sprouted into healthy green stalks, and there was hope — until, without warning, the river flooded. Jorge waded chest-deep into his fields searching in vain for cobs he could still eat. Soon he made a last desperate bet, signing away the tin-roof hut where he lived with his wife and three children against a $1,500 advance in okra seed. But after the flood, the rain stopped again, and everything died. Jorge knew then that if he didn’t get out of Guatemala, his family might die, too.

This article, the first in a series on global climate migration, is a partnership between ProPublica and The New York Times Magazine, with support from the Pulitzer Center. Read more about the data project that underlies the reporting.

Even as hundreds of thousands of Guatemalans fled north toward the United States in recent years, in Jorge’s region — a state called Alta Verapaz, where precipitous mountains covered in coffee plantations and dense, dry forest give way to broader gentle valleys — the residents have largely stayed. Now, though, under a relentless confluence of drought, flood, bankruptcy and starvation, they, too, have begun to leave. Almost everyone here experiences some degree of uncertainty about where their next meal will come from. Half the children are chronically hungry, and many are short for their age, with weak bones and bloated bellies. Their families are all facing the same excruciating decision that confronted Jorge.

The odd weather phenomenon that many blame for the suffering here — the drought and sudden storm pattern known as El Niño — is expected to become more frequent as the planet warms. Many semiarid parts of Guatemala will soon be more like a desert. Rainfall is expected to decrease by 60 percent in some parts of the country, and the amount of water replenishing streams and keeping soil moist will drop by as much as 83 percent. Researchers project that by 2070, yields of some staple crops in the state where Jorge lives will decline by nearly a third.

Scientists have learned to project such changes around the world with surprising precision, but — until recently — little has been known about the human consequences of those changes. As their land fails them, hundreds of millions of people from Central America to Sudan to the Mekong Delta will be forced to choose between flight or death. The result will almost certainly be the greatest wave of global migration the world has seen.

washington post logoWashington Post, The Sierra Club denounces racism of founder John Muir, Darryl Fears and Steven Mufson, July 23, 2020 (print ed.). Muir, who fought to preserve Yosemite Valley and Sequoia National Forest, also referred to African Americans with a racist pejorative that many black people consider to be even more offensive than the n-word.

Race, Brutality Protests

washington post logoWashington Post, Portland mayor tear-gassed alongside protesters by federal officers, Marissa J. Lang, July 23, 2020. As Mayor Ted Wheeler spoke, the thrum of the crowd was punctured with chants of “Quit your job!” Mayor Ted Wheeler choked on tear gas late Wednesday as he stood outside the federal courthouse in downtown Portland, where federal agents set off explosives and fired chemicals into a crowd of hundreds.

The Democratic mayor pressed a hand over his nose and mouth, already covered by a blue surgical mask, as a thick cloud of gas surged toward him. He had strapped on lab goggles to help protect his eyes, but still, the mayor said, his face burned and eyes watered.

“It’s hard to breathe — it’s a little harder to breathe than I thought,” Wheeler told The Washington Post while a man with a leaf blower turned the nozzle on the mayor to clear away any gas still hanging in the air. “This is abhorrent. This is beneath us.”

As Wheeler stood at the fence, he was heckled and insulted. Some demonstrators called for his resignation. Others, who had been tear-gassed by the Portland Police Bureau over the past eight weeks, shouted questions at the mayor.

Wheeler had come to the protest, he said, to stand with protesters in the face of what he has described as an “occupying force” — federal agents who were deployed by President Trump to a city that the president has described as “worse than Afghanistan.”

For days, Wheeler, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) and other state and local officials have demanded Trump withdraw the surge of federal officers from this Pacific Northwest city, where ongoing protests have continued nightly for more than 50 straight days. But little has changed.

World News

charlotte dennett flight 3804 cover

Daily Clout, The Crash of Flight 3408: A Daughter's Loss Becomes An Expose of "Pipeline Politics," Naomi Wolf, July 23, 2020 (33:44 min. video). Daily Clout editor Naomi Wolf, a best-selling author, interviews author Charlotte Dennett on her new book, The Crash of Flight 3804: A Lost Spy, a Daughter’s Quest, and the Deadly Politics of the Great Game for Oil.

Washington Post, Nigerian aid workers rushed to help people during the pandemic. They were executed on video, Danielle Paquette and Ismail Alfa, July 23, 2020 (print ed.).  Suspected Boko Haram militants captured the men — all Nigerians who worked for international aid groups and the government — in a bid for ransom money, authorities say, and then executed them on camera.

“This is a message to the infidels who are using you to cheat and turn our people into unbelievers,” an unidentified voice said in Hausa, according to footage published by local media outlets.

washington post logoWashington Post, China vows to retaliate after U.S. orders it to close Houston consulate, Anna Fifield, July 23, 2020 (print ed.). The U.S. order is a dramatic escalation in a broad conflict that now encompasses trade and technology, freedom of the press and religion, and the coronavirus and the race for a vaccine.

China FlagThe United States has ordered China to close its consulate general in Houston by Friday, an abrupt move that opens up a new front in a battle for supremacy between the world's two biggest economies.

Beijing immediately vowed to retaliate for the "unprecedented escalation," leading to speculation it could order the closure of the U.S. Consulate in Wuhan, which has been shuttered since the coronavirus epidemic spread across the city in January.

The confrontation in the diplomatic sphere widens a conflict that already incorporated trade and technology, freedom of the press and religion, students and scientists, as well as the novel coronavirus and the race for a vaccine.

Analysts on both sides say that bilateral relations are at their worst since before 1979, when the United States formally recognized the People’s Republic of China.

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Commentary: Expulsion of Chinese consulate general from Houston linked to Tianwen-1 launch, Wayne Madsen, left, July 23, 2020. Acting like a Third World dictatorship, the Trump administration ordered the Chinese consulate general in Houston to close its doors on July 21.

In yet an additional breach of protocol, the Chinese mission, which is located at 3417 Montrose Boulevard and was opened in 1979, was given a mere 72 hours to close and vacate its employees from the premises.

The U.S. media has, once again, missed the mark on why the Chinese Consulate General in Houston was closed. The eviction in Houston took place a few days before China launched from its Wangchen spaceport on Hainan island the Tianwen-1 orbiter, lander, and rover mission to Mars.

U.S. Political Crime, Scandal

roy den hollander esther salas

ny times logoNew York Times, Suspect in Killing of Judge’s Son Is Tied to 2nd Slaying, Nicole Hong, William K. Rashbaum, Mihir Zaveri and Katherine Rosman, July 23, 2020 (print ed.). The killing of a men’s rights lawyer in California may have been carried out by Roy Den Hollander, above left, the suspect in the New Jersey shooting, officials say.

The two killings on opposite sides of the country were strikingly similar. A gunman showed up at the front door, posing as a delivery man, and opened fire.

One of the victims was Marc Angelucci, 52, a men's rights lawyer who was killed on July 11 outside his home in San Bernardino County, Calif. Eight days later, a shooter approached the New Jersey home of Esther Salas, a federal judge (shown above right), killing the judge’s son and leaving her husband seriously injured.

On Wednesday, the F.B.I. office in Newark said in a statement that agents had uncovered evidence linking Mr. Angelucci’s killing to Roy Den Hollander, who is also the primary suspect in the New Jersey shooting.

It was the first time that the authorities had publicly connected the two killings.

Mr. Den Hollander, 72, was found dead in the Catskills in New York on Monday in an apparent suicide, hours after the shooting at Judge Salas’s home. He was a self-described anti-feminist lawyer who wrote thousands of pages in online screeds denouncing women, including female judges.

On Wednesday, the F.B.I. did not publicly say what evidence had been uncovered. But the authorities investigating Mr. Den Hollander’s apparent suicide found a semiautomatic Walther pistol that was of the same caliber as the weapon used in both the California shooting and the New Jersey shooting, according to a law enforcement official briefed on the matter.

Investigators were conducting ballistics tests to determine whether that weapon was used in both attacks, according to law enforcement officials.

The authorities are investigating whether Mr. Den Hollander was seeking revenge against his enemies after receiving a terminal cancer diagnosis, according to a different law enforcement official. In a self-published book last year, Mr. Den Hollander said he learned in late 2018 he had a rare form of melanoma.

Although Mr. Den Hollander detailed extensive grievances against judges and others in his online writings, it was not clear whether he was planning more violent attacks.

washington post logoWashington Post, Retired Col. Kathy Spletstoser wasn’t able to stop Joint Chiefs vice chairman Gen. John Hyten from being confirmed. But she’s not done with him, Manuel Roig-Franzia, July 23, 2020 (print ed.). Spletstoser, who rose to the rarefied rank of full-bird colonel before retiring in 2019, fashioned herself as a fixer of broken things — systems and underperforming units and cultures.

She still sees herself that way.

kathryn spletstoserWhat Spletstoser, left, and her supporters perceive as broken, others see as whole, sturdy and vital: the parallel justice systems that generally seal the grievances of military personnel inside the confines of military institutions, and the legal doctrines and rulings that have long blocked service members from suing superior officers in civilian john hytencourts for claims deemed to be related to their military service, including sexual assault.

For Spletstoser, 52, embarking on what could be seen as her latest fix-it job has meant challenging one of America’s most powerful men — four-star General John E. Hyten, right. He is the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the military’s second-highest-ranking officer, and has recently been coordinating the military response to coronavirus pandemic as co-chair of Defense Department’s covid-19 task force.

Spletstoser has accused Hyten of sexually assaulting her more than half a dozen times while she was under his command and then retaliating against her — accusations that he has vigorously denied during a military investigation and in front of the U.S. Senate.

More On U.S. Politics, Elections

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: God Help Us if Judy Shelton Joins the Fed, Steven Rattner (former counselor to the Treasury Secretary during the Obama Administration), July 23, 2020 (print ed.). Trump’s latest unqualified nominee to the Federal Reserve Board must be rejected. Having failed in past attempts to put unqualified ideologues on the Federal Reserve Board, President Trump is giving it another try — and is closer to victory than previously.

The nominee in question — Judy Shelton, known for taking long-discredited positions on the monetary system — makes Mr. Trump’s earlier rejected choices seem almost conventional. Among other heretical stances, she has supported the abolition of the Federal Reserve itself, putting her in a position to undermine the very institution she is being nominated to serve.

djt chris wallace resized fox july 19 2020

washington post logoWashington Post, Passing a cognitive test doesn’t mean what Trump thinks it does, Ashley Parker and William Wan, July 23, 2020 (print ed.). Experts are puzzled by the president’s obsession with the Montreal Cognitive Assessment, which is normally administered only if someone may be experiencing dementia or other mental decline.

As President Trump and his team began attacking former vice president Joe Biden’s mental and physical fitness this summer, Trump began pondering his own cognitive abilities.

djt smiling fileAs part of his annual physical two years earlier, the president had taken the Montreal Cognitive Assessment — a 10-minute test designed to detect mild cognitive impairment such as the onset of dementia — and he believed he could weaponize his performance against Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.

During a private campaign meeting in the Cabinet Room in early June, Trump brought up the test unprompted. In an extended riff, he talked about how well he had done — boasting that he’d been able to remember five different words, in order — and suggested challenging Biden to take the assessment, saying he was certain the former vice president would not fare as well.

Since then, the president has been speaking about the test publicly, telling Fox News’s Sean Hannity in a July 9 phone interview that he’d “aced it,” and again on Sunday, when he told the network’s Chris Wallace (shown above during the interview) that he doubts Biden could answer all of the questions. On Wednesday evening, in another Fox News interview, Trump couldn’t resist revisiting what he said was the hardest part of the test — repeating the five words, in order.

Trump said he was first asked to repeat a set of words — “person,” “woman,” “man,” “camera,” “TV,” he said, offering a hypothetical example — and then, later in the assessment after some time had elapsed, he was again asked whether he remembered those same words, in order.

“And they say… ‘Go back to that question, and repeat them. Can you do it?’ ” Trump said, mimicking the doctors administering the exam. “And you go, ‘Person, woman, man, camera, TV.’ They say, ‘That’s amazing. How did you do that?’ I do it because I have, like, a good memory, because I’m cognitively there.”

But medical and public health experts stress that the cognitive exam is not what Trump seems to think it is — an indicator of IQ or a cudgel to be wielded against a political opponent like a debate challenge.

Experts say the president’s fixation on the Montreal Cognitive Assessment — or MoCA, as it is sometimes called — is particularly puzzling because the test is normally administered only if someone is concerned that they or their loved ones may be experiencing dementia or other cognitive decline. Getting a perfect score — as Trump has repeatedly claimed he did — merely signifies that the test-taker probably does not have a cognitive impairment as measured by the exam.

ny times logoNew York Times, Trump Defends Cognitive Testing Results on Fox News. Again, Katie Rogers, Updated July 23, 2020. President Trump tried to show his mental fitness — and disparage Joe Biden’s — by repeating a memory sequence: “Person. Woman. Man. Camera. TV.”

Palmer Report, Opinion: Donald Trump is in bigger trouble than we thought, Bill Palmer, July 23, 2020. Two weeks ago Dallas Morning News published a poll that had Joe Biden up by five points joe biden 2020 button Customin Texas. Since that time two other polls have pegged Donald Trump as being up by one point, and by two points, in the state. Now the new Quinnipiac poll says Biden is bill palmer report logo headerup by one point in Texas.

This helps establish that Texas really is in play in 2020. It’s not merely some pipe dream. Poll after poll is making clear that Texas is a toss up state. If Joe Biden can win Texas, it’ll leave Donald Trump with virtually no Electoral College path to victory.

Palmer Report, Opinion: Donald Trump goes on completely unhinged fifty-tweet tirade as it all falls apart for him, Bill Palmer, July 23, 2020. When Donald Trump adopted a new “tone” on Tuesday, consisting of subdued press briefings and no angry tweets, much of the media praised him for it. Palmer Report pointed out that it was all just an act to try to get his sinking poll numbers up, that he deserved no credit for it, and that he’d be back to his deranged self soon. Sure enough, here we are.

bill palmer report logo headerTrump has posted more than fifty nasty, childish, and unhinged tweets and retweets so far this morning. He’s attacking Democrats. He’s attacking Republicans. He’s retweeting some of his slimiest supporters he can find. This was all predictable, and it’s not difficult to figure out why he’s doing it.

Even though Donald Trump’s new “tone” landed him some praise from idiots like Chuck Todd, it clearly wasn’t enough to change the national conversation about how Trump isn’t suited for the job, and how the pandemic is killing us. So after just two days of caving to what his handlers wanted him to do, Trump is now back to doing it his way.

Nevermind that doing it his way is what got Trump into this mess where he’s down ten to fifteen points in his reelection bid, and he’s facing prison if he loses. He still thinks he’s smarter than everyone else, and that his way is going to magically work out for him. Throw in his increasing obsession with talking about how he’s not senile, and it becomes even more clear why he’s insisting on doing things his own idiotic way.

ny times logoNew York Times, Ocasio-Cortez Upbraids Republican After He Denies Vulgarly Insulting Her, Luke Broadwater, July 23, 2020. Representative Ted Yoho apologized for the tone of a run-in with Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, but denied calling her a misogynistic pair of expletives. “Not an apology,” she responded.

alexandria ocasio cortez officialRepresentative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, right,  forcefully rejected a Republican colleague’s words of contrition on Wednesday after he declined to apologize for referring to her with a vulgar and sexist expletive, denying he had uttered the words.

Representative Ted Yoho, Republican of Florida, appeared on the House floor on Wednesday to express regret for injecting “strife” into Congress and being “abrupt” in a confrontation this week with Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, Democrat of New York.

“I rise today to apologize for the abrupt manner of the conversation I had with my colleague from New York,” Mr. Yoho said. “It is true that we disagree on policies and visions for America, but that does not mean we should be disrespectful.”

But a short time later, he added, “The offensive name-calling words attributed to me by the press were never spoken to my colleagues, and if they were construed that way, I apologize for their misunderstanding.”

Ms. Ocasio-Cortez lashed out at Mr. Yoho on Twitter after his speech, saying that he was refusing to take responsibility for his actions.

“I will not teach my nieces and young people watching that this an apology, and what they should learn to accept,” Ms. Ocasio-Cortez wrote. She said Mr. Yoho was lying when he described their interaction as a “conversation.”

“It was verbal assault,” she wrote. “This is not an apology.”

Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, a favorite of the progressive left and frequent target of Republicans, said on Tuesday that she had been the victim of “virulent harassment.”

washington post logoWashington Post, Humor: Ted Yoho’s apology to AOC, offered as a masterclass, Alexandra Petri, July 23, 2020.

“I cannot apologize for my passion, or for loving my God, my family, and my country! I yield back!”

— Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.), apologizing(?) to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.)

You may wonder, “Ted, how did you get so good at apologizing?”

What can I say? It’s a gift. I’ve literally never done it before. Some (the recipient of my apology, technically) would say that I still haven’t! Welcome to my master class, where I’ll showcase just a few of the tricks that I employed in my apology on the House floor to my colleague from New York!

washington post logoWashington Post, Meatpacking workers file lawsuit against OSHA, Eli Rosenberg, July 23, 2020. The lawsuit accuses the agency of leaving the workers in imminent danger at the factory where they work, run by Maid-Rite Specialty Foods in Pennsylvania, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

 

July 22

Top Headlines

Virus Victims, Responses

Race, Brutality Protests

World News

U.S. Political Scandals

Media News

 

Top Stories

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Virus Victims, Responses

ny times logoNew York Times, Live Updates: Case Numbers Are Far Higher Than Reported in Parts of U.S., C.D.C. Says, Staff Reports, July 22, 2020 (print ed.). The European Union agreed to a $857 billion stimulus package to fight the pandemic recession that includes steps to help less wealthy countries. The deal sent a strong signal of solidarity even as it exposed deep new fault lines in a bloc reshaped by Britain’s exit. Here’s the latest.

cdc logo CustomThe number of people infected with the coronavirus in different parts of the United States is anywhere from two to 13 times higher than the reported rates for those regions, according to data released Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The findings suggest that large numbers of people who did not have symptoms or did not seek medical care may have kept the virus circulating in their communities. The study is the largest of its kind to date, although a subset of the data was released last month.

“These data continue to show that the number of people who have been infected with the virus that causes Covid-19 far exceeds the number of reported cases,” Dr. Fiona Havers, the C.D.C. researcher who led the study, said in an email. “Many of these people likely had no symptoms or mild illness and may have had no idea that they were infected.”

The researchers analyzed samples from people who had routine clinical tests, or were inpatients at hospitals, in 10 cities and states for evidence of prior coronavirus infection. The team released early data for six of the sites in June, and for all 10 locations Tuesday in the journal JAMA. They also released data from later times for eight sites to the C.D.C.’s website on Tuesday.

washington post logoWashington Post, Facing unrest on American streets, Trump turns Homeland Security powers inward, Nick Miroff and Matt Zapotosky, July 22, 2020 (print ed.). In Portland, Washington and other U.S. cities shaken by protests in recent months, the Trump administration has leaned on the considerable authority and assets of the Department of Homeland Security — an agency formed to prevent another Sept. 11, 2001, attack — to spearhead the federal response.

us dhs big eagle logo4Images of militarized Border Patrol agents clubbing protesters and stuffing them into unmarked vehicles have alarmed civil liberties advocates and administration critics, and the displays of government power echo tactics long associated with authoritarian rule.

Legal analysts say that while the department has broad authority to enforce federal laws, officers’ actions — especially in Portland, Ore. — seemed to be pushing the boundaries and pulling DHS into a domestic policing role.

“There’s a line that it certainly looks like they’ve crossed. And, if I may, it’s an important line because it’s the difference between federal law enforcement and a roving commission where you’re using these law enforcement officers to go out and restore what they deem to be order,” said Stephen I. Vladeck, a law professor at the University of Texas at Austin.

washington post logoWashington Post, A federal eviction moratorium ends this week, putting 12 million tenants at risk, Renae Merle, July 22, 2020 (print ed.). The expiration comes as the patchwork of state and local eviction bans are also starting to wind down and the enhanced unemployment benefits that have kept many renters afloat are scheduled to end.

Virus Victims, Responses

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump warns pandemic may ‘get worse before it gets better,’ Toluse Olorunnipa, July 22, 2020 (print ed.). Six months after the first U.S. coronavirus case was confirmed, President Trump’s attempt to re-engage with the pandemic and embrace public health guidelines marked a notable departure from his recent approach to the crisis.

While Trump continued to showcase his trademark boosterism with repeated praise of his administration, he also appeared to acknowledge that the virus he once said would soon disappear continues to pose a serious threat to the country, as well as to his reelection chances.

“It will probably, unfortunately, get worse before it gets better,” he said during the 30-minute briefing in which he spoke in subdued tones. “Something I don’t like saying about things, but that’s the way it is.”

That somber approach harked back to late March, when Trump warned of a “great national trial unlike any it has ever faced before” and predicted a “very painful two weeks” for the country.

 ny times logoNew York Times, Pfizer Gets $1.95 Billion to Produce Coronavirus Vaccine by Year’s End, Noah Weiland, July 22, 2020. Two pharmaceutical companies announced a nearly $2 billion contract for 600 million doses of a vaccine, with the first 100 million promised before the end of the year.

The Trump administration on Wednesday announced a nearly $2 billion contract with the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and a smaller German biotechnology company for up to 600 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine.

If the vaccine proves to be safe and effective in clinical trials, the companies say they could manufacture the first 100 million doses by December.

Under the arrangement, the federal government would obtain the first 100 million doses for $1.95 billion, with the rights to acquire up to 500 million more. Americans would receive the vaccine for free. Before it could be distributed, it would first need at least emergency approval by the Food and Drug Administration.

Large-scale safety and efficacy trials are to begin this month, with regulatory review set for as early as October.

The news on Wednesday came as something of a surprise. Unlike AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson and Moderna, which have also received funding from the U.S. government, Pfizer did not earn a contract for its initial research and development efforts — only for producing and distributing the doses.

At a congressional hearing on Tuesday with executives from five vaccine manufacturers, including Pfizer, some lawmakers raised concerns about the company’s decision to reject federal funds, suggesting it could lead to price-gouging and a lack of transparency.

“We didn’t accept the federal government funding solely for the reason that we wanted to be able to move as quickly as possible with our vaccine candidate into the clinic,” John Young, Pfizer’s chief business officer, said at the hearing.

Several of the executives, including Mr. Young, said that their companies would not sell a coronavirus vaccine at cost.

ny times logoNew York Times, The Pandemic Isn’t Bringing Back Factory Jobs, at Least Not Yet, Ana Swanson and Jim Tankersley, July 22, 2020. It’s a moment of reckoning for global supply chains. But that doesn’t mean companies are flocking back to the U.S.

Foreign-owned companies invested about half as much in the United States in 2019 as they did in 2016, the year before Mr. Trump took office. After increasing in the first two years of Mr. Trump’s presidency, the number of manufacturing jobs flatlined last year and fell sharply with the pandemic. As of June, there were nearly 300,000 fewer factory jobs in the United States than there were when Mr. Trump was inaugurated.

Race, Brutality Protests

washington post logoWashington Post, As Trump sends federal agents to Chicago, his toxic history there has city on edge, Kim Bellware and Mark Guarino, July 22, 2020 (print ed.). Severak state and local officials signaled their wariness about the intervention ordered by President Trump, who often disparages Chicago and politicizes its gun violence epidemic.

Federal agents will be deployed to Chicago for an anti-violence operation that is expected to bolster existing law enforcement efforts but won’t resemble the same heavy-handed tactics seen lori lightfoot twitter Customrecently in Portland, Ore., Mayor Lori Lightfoot, right, and a federal prosecutor in Chicago said Tuesday.

Although details on how many agents will be deployed to the city and when remain unclear, several state and local officials signaled their wariness at federal intervention ordered by President Trump, who frequently disparages Chicago and politicizes its gun violence epidemic.

Aggressive tactics used by federal agents to arrest protesters in Portland amid civil unrest have only deepened suspicions among Chicagoans that Trump will do whatever he can to project the image of a law-and-order president, even if it pushes the boundaries of civil liberties.

“We welcome actual partnership, but we do not welcome dictatorship,” Lightfoot (D) said during a news conference Tuesday. “We do not welcome authoritarianism, and we do not welcome the unconstitutional arrests and detainments of our residents, and that is something I will not tolerate.”

washington post logoWashington Post, Calls grow for federal officers to shed camouflage, Alex Horton, July 22, 2020. As authorities crack down on protests in Portland, Ore., military leaders, lawmakers and former government officials have intensified calls for federal officers to shed the camouflage and return to wearing uniforms that clearly identify them as law enforcement.

The mobilization of federal agents in military-style camouflage in recent days, and their use of unmarked vans to make arrests, has deepened confusion about which force is doing what.

Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.), a Marine Corps veteran who served in Iraq and a member of the House Armed Services Committee, said the Department of Homeland Security and other federal agencies should not allow their officers to wear camouflage.

“They need to stop this charade and stop pretending they’re the military. They need to put their ICE uniforms and CBP uniforms back on,” he told The Washington Post, referring to federal immigration officers and Customs and Border Protection.

The public has at turns mistaken police for soldiers since the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in late May triggered demonstrations and civil unrest. Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper was concerned about that conflation during protests in Washington last month, his chief spokesman, Jonathan Hoffman, said Tuesday.

“We want a system where people can tell the difference,” he said, adding that Esper has expressed those concerns within the Trump administration.

The blurring of the line between military and civilian law enforcement has been fueled in part by viral videos and photos of the DHS officers’ actions, former officials and lawmakers said.

“Unidentified military are kidnapping protestors in Portland,” the Lincoln Project, a political action group critical of President Trump, incorrectly told its Twitter followers. The group repeated the assertion in a tweet paired with a campaign video that received more than 9 million views.

“It’s not good for our democracy,” David Lapan, a former Marine officer who served as DHS spokesman under Trump in 2017, told The Post. “The public should not feel there is a militarized response to civil unrest.”

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Opinion: Our alternate reality Nazi leader, Wayne Madsen, left, July 22, 2020. A Nazi America is no longer the stuff of novels. In Philip K. Dick's novel, The Man in the High Castle and in the eponymous Amazon Prime miniseries, the Nazi Obergruppenführer who rules over the German Reich of North America is a U.S. military veteran named John Smith.

In order for him and his family to survive, Smith becomes Adolf Hitler's most loyal Nazi officer in the former United States and, in return for his fealty to the Reich, Smith quickly chad wolfrises in the ranks to become the chief Nazi overlord for a region extending from Gestapo headquarters in Manhattan to the Rocky Mountains neutral zone established between the Nazis and Imperial Japan's "Pacific States of America."

Dick's novel was an alternate history of the United States based on Hitler having won World War II. In our present alternate reality of a Donald Trump presidency turning into an autocracy, acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf, right, unconfirmed by the Senate, is trying to be everything John Smith was in Dick's novel.

washington post logoWashington Post, Portland’s ‘Wall of Moms’ faces off with federal officers at tense protests, Marissa J. Lang, July 22, 2020.  A thick wall of tear gas crept closer to the wall of moms in yellow shirts chanting, “Don’t shoot your mother,” as they faced off with federal agents during another night of nonstop protests.

As the gas enveloped the group late Tuesday, some began to cough. One mom ripped off her goggles in frustration — they didn’t seal around her eyes and the burning gas had seeped in. She rubbed her face and let out a groan, but she didn’t leave. Neither did hundreds of other self-identified moms who showed up at the latest round of protests to stand, arms linked, between armed federal agents and demonstrators.

In front of the federal courthouse, federal agents in tactical gear used batons to push back the moms in bike helmets. Dozens were tear-gassed. Some were hit with less-lethal bullets fired into the crowd.

Still, they stayed.

The fledgling collective, formed less than a week ago, has dubbed itself the Wall of Moms — and new chapters have already formed in cities around the country from St. Louis to New York, Chicago to Philadelphia and even in the nation’s capital. The groups have organized in anticipation of a national deployment of federal law enforcement personnel to Democratic-led cities — a nascent plan President Trump announced he was putting into action earlier this week.

 ny times logoNew York Times, ‘Occupy City Hall’ Encampment Taken Down in Pre-Dawn Raid by N.Y.P.D., Alan Feuer and Juliana Kim, July 22, 2020. Officers in riot gear cleared the makeshift camp in City Hall Park, which began as a protest against police abuses but then turned into a gathering of homeless people.

A phalanx of officers in helmets started closing in on dozens of protesters and homeless people shortly before 4 a.m., moving in lock-step behind a wall of plastic shields, according to bill de blasio 11 2 2013protesters and videos posted on social media.

Seven people were arrested after sporadic clashes erupted between officers and residents of the camp, officials said. New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio is shown at left.

A few protesters said the police had told them that they would be able to return to the park to retrieve their belongings. But when they went back everything — their water, clothing and personal effects — had been tossed into sanitation trucks, they said.

The occupation began on June 23 when about 100 people set up camp on a small patch of grass to the east of City Hall with the mission of bringing pressure on the City Council to cut the New York Police Department’s funding at an upcoming vote before the July 1 budget deadline.

washington post logoWashington Post, Updates: Trump says federal law enforcement agents on way to more U.S. cities, Matt Zapotosky, July 22, 2020. Ex-officer accused in killing of George Floyd also charged with tax crimes; Trump declares he will surge federal law enforcement in U.S. cities; House to vote on removal of Confederate statues from the Capitol.

President Trump announced Wednesday that he is sending more federal law enforcement agents into Chicago and Albuquerque, casting the effort as one meant to help fight crime while delivering a speech that appeared designed to score political points against Democratic leaders and burnish his law-and-order image.

Appearing at an event with top federal law enforcement officials and the family members of crime victims, Trump delivered fiery talking points that took direct aim at those who have advocated redirecting funding from law enforcement to other endeavors. He blamed the recent increases in violence in some cities on leaders who have endorsed such steps and said he planned to increase federal law enforcement’s presence to reduce crime.

The remarks seemed likely to exacerbate tensions between his administration and local officials and residents already wary of militarized U.S. officers roving their streets. Soon after he finished speaking, Chicago’s mayor accused Trump of seeking to distract from his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

But in large part because of the Trump administration’s aggressive, militarized response to protests over racism and police brutality, that normally cooperative relationship has been strained. The tension became particularly acute in recent days after Customs and Border Protection agents were caught on camera clubbing protesters and stuffing them into unmarked vehicles in Portland, Ore., and Trump threatened to send federal law enforcement agencies into Democratic-run cities, including New York and Chicago.

washington post logoWashington Post, Senate poised to defy Trump’s veto with order to change Confederate base names, Karoun Demerjian, July 22, 2020. The Senate will stand its ground on ordering the Pentagon to rename bases honoring Confederate generals, despite the White House’s threat to veto parallel legislation in the House.

There are 10 Army posts named for Confederate generals. While the House’s bill seeks to push the Pentagon to make the name changes within a year, the Senate’s bill — which is still under consideration — extends the deadline to three years.

The directive, which is part of both the Senate and House versions of a $740 billion military spending bill, topped a list of objections the White House made to the House’s legislation Tuesday, arguing it was an “effort to erase from the history of the Nation those who do not meet an ever-shifting standard of conduct.” A few hours later, the House passed its version of the defense bill anyway, by a veto-proof majority.July 22, 2020. The chamber finished debate on amendments without trying to strip the mandate from the bill, despite the White House threat to veto a parallel House bill over similar language.

The Senate will stand its ground on ordering the Pentagon to rename bases honoring Confederate generals, despite the White House’s threat to veto parallel legislation in the House.

There are 10 Army posts named for Confederate generals. While the House’s bill seeks to push the Pentagon to make the name changes within a year, the Senate’s bill — which is still under consideration — extends the deadline to three years.

The directive, which is part of both the Senate and House versions of a $740 billion military spending bill, topped a list of objections the White House made to the House’s legislation Tuesday, arguing it was an “effort to erase from the history of the Nation those who do not meet an ever-shifting standard of conduct.” A few hours later, the House passed its version of the defense bill anyway, by a veto-proof majority.

washington post logoWashington Post, Charles Evers 1922–2020: Brother of slain civil rights activist dies at 97, Olesia Plokhii, July 22, 2020. After Medgar Evers was assassinated in 1963, Charles Evers picked up his brother’s mantle by leading black voter registration efforts in Mississippi.

Charles Evers, the wayward older brother of slain civil rights activist Medgar Evers who picked up his sibling’s mantle by leading black voter registration efforts in Mississippi in the 1960s and who was elected the first black mayor of a mixed-race Mississippi town since Reconstruction, died July 22 in Brandon, Miss. He was 97.

In a statement, his family said that Mr. Evers died at the home of his daughter Charlene Evers-Kreel but did not give a precise cause. His death came five days after the passing of two other civil rights leaders, C.T. Vivian and Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.).

On June 12, 1963, Medgar Evers, the NAACP’s first field secretary in Mississippi, was assassinated in front of his home in Jackson, Miss., by a white supremacist with a high-powered rifle. The killing of the 37-year-old Evers was a galvanizing moment in the civil rights movement and its fight against discrimination in employment, housing and voting.

World News

washington post logoWashington Post, Taiwan says threat of military clash with China is ‘on the rise,’’ Gerry Shih, July 22, 2020. The Chinese military has been conducting exercises that simulate an invasion of the island 80 miles off China’s east coast.

washington post logoWashington Post, U.S., Britain change diplomatic immunity rules after fatal traffic crash, Karla Adam and Jennifer Hassan, July 22, 2020. The crash last August involved the wife of a U.S. official at a nearby air base who was able to leave the country rather than face prosecution for Harry Dunn’s death. Anne Sacoolas admitted at the time to driving on the wrong side of the road.

The United States and Britain have agreed to "new arrangements" surrounding immunity agreements that allowed the wife of a U.S. official to leave the country after being involved in a fatal traffic accident.

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said that the changes would mean that something similar cannot happen again.

Last August, Harry Dunn, 19, was killed when his motorcycle was struck by a car driven by Anne Sacoolas, police said.

Sacoolas, an American official’s wife, admitted driving on the wrong side of the road when she collided with Dunn. She claimed immunity and fled to the United States, despite having told British police she had no plans to return home.

At the time of the incident, Sacoolas was living with her husband near Royal Air Force Croughton, a station operated by the U.S. Air Force.

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump is determined to bring home U.S. military forces from somewhere, Karen DeYoung and Missy Ryan, July 22, 2020 (print ed.). When President Trump spoke with Pentagon leaders early last month about U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan, he was anxious for a hefty reduction by Election Day in November, according to U.S. officials familiar with the discussion.

Reminded that withdrawals below the current level of approximately 8,600 — about the same as when Trump first took office — were contingent upon still-unmet conditions outlined in the Department of Defense SealU.S.-Taliban deal signed early this year, he questioned whether U.S. forces in Syria could be decreased.

Not advisable, Trump was told of the approximately 800 troops there, most still engaged in fighting the Islamic State and keeping Russia, Iran and Turkey from expanding their reach.

“I am sure they’re going to stay in [Syria] until the end of the year, beyond the election, regardless of who wins,” a senior U.S. official said in the wake of the meeting. U.S. and foreign german flagofficials spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive troop withdrawal issue.

Just weeks later, Trump announced that he was reducing U.S. deployments in Germany by 9,500, from the current total of 34,500.

U.S. remains on the sidelines in Libya’s conflict as Russia extends its reach

Since taking office, Trump has been struggling to fulfill his 2016 campaign pledge to significantly reduce the nearly 200,000 American military personnel then overseas, already the smallest number in many decades.

U.S. Political Scandals

djt michael cohen

washington post logoWashington Post, Michael Cohen’s book to allege Trump made racist comments about Obama and Nelson Mandela, lawsuit says, Shayna Jacobs, July 22, 2020 (print ed.).  The book manuscript being drafted by President Trump's ex-lawyer Michael Cohen, above left, alleges that Trump has made racist comments about his predecessor Barack Obama and the late South African leader Nelson nelson mandela 2008 wMandela (shown at right in 2008), according to court filings made public Monday night that contend Cohen was sent back to prison this month as retaliation.

The filings from Cohen’s attorneys seek his immediate release from federal custody following his rearrest July 9, less than two months after he was allowed to serve the remainder of his sentence on home confinement because of the coronavirus pandemic.

His lawsuit alleges that Cohen’s First Amendment rights were violated when he was detained at the federal courthouse in Manhattan during a meeting with probation officers, who had asked him to sign a gag order prohibiting him from speaking to the media or publishing a book while serving the rest of his sentence.

washington post logoWashington Post, Government says Michael Cohen was returned to prison because he was ‘antagonistic’ with probation officials not because of Trump book, Shayna Jacobs, July 22, 2020. Michael Cohen, former personal attorney to President Trump, had his compassionate release rescinded and was sent back to federal prison because he was "antagonistic" in a meeting with probation officers and not to block him from writing a tell-all book about Trump, government lawyers argued Wednesday.

The U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan denied that anyone from the executive branch, “let alone a high-level official with any motive to prevent the release” of Cohen’s book, made the decision to send him back.

Cohen has sued the government, alleging that his return to prison was retaliation for writing an unflattering book about the president.

Ghislaine Maxwell, left, Donald Trump and future First Lady Melania Trump

Ghislaine Maxwell, left, Donald Trump and future First Lady Melania Trump

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump says he knew Jeffrey Epstein’s partner, Ghislaine Maxwell, and wished her well, Colby Itkowitz and John Wagner, July 22, 2020 (print ed.). Maxwell was arrested in early July on charges that she aided Epstein in his years-long sexual exploitation and abuse of underage girls. President Trump acknowledged Tuesday that he knew Ghislaine Maxwell, a longtime associate of sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, and said he wished her well.

Maxwell was arrested in early July on charges that she aided Epstein in his years-long sexual exploitation and abuse of underage girls. Last week, a federal judge denied her bail.

Epstein and Maxwell socialized with the super-elite, listing among their friends former president Bill Clinton, Britain’s Prince Andrew and Trump.

Trump and first lady Melania Trump are pictured with one or both of them on multiple occasions.

The president was asked about Maxwell during a news briefing on the coronavirus and what he thought about the possibility that she could work with authorities to turn over names of powerful men who also sexually abused underage girls.

“I wish her well, frankly. I’ve met her numerous times over the years, especially since I lived in Palm Beach, and I guess they lived in Palm Beach,” Trump said. “But I wish her well, whatever it is.”

Trump’s comments drew rebukes from Democrats, and even some Republicans expressed unease, including Rep. Chip Roy (R-Tex.).

“This is unacceptably obtuse for a woman accused of the most morally depraved of crimes, @realDonaldTrump,” Roy wrote in a Wednesday morning tweet. “She needs to be severely punished . . . and justice must be served for the girls she abused. For ALL involved.”

The reaction from Democrats was more pointed.

“Today, Donald Trump sent well wishes to Ghislaine Maxwell, who is charged with procuring underage girls to be sexually abused,” Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) tweeted Tuesday night. “Has he sent any well wishes to the families of the more than 140,000 Americans who have died during this pandemic?”

djt geraldo rivera resized

Palmer Report, Opinion: Geraldo Rivera goes completely bonkers with bizarre defense of Donald Trump and Ghislaine Maxwell, Bill Palmer, July 22, 2020. When Donald Trump offered well bill palmer report logo headerwishes yesterday to Ghislaine Maxwell, it set off a firestorm among the general public. Why was Trump trying to curry favor with a recently arrested alleged sex trafficker? What does she have on him, and just how afraid is he that she’ll give it up in exchange for a plea deal?

Then there’s Geraldo Rivera, who had an – ahem – different response to Trump’s words than everyone else did:

When asked @realDonaldTrump said he wished #GhislaineMaxwellArrested well. With media mob eager to see her lynched it was brave to weigh in. Fact: cases vs her are for crimes allegedly committed more than 25 years ago. She deserved bail & got solitary confinement: woke politics.

— Geraldo Rivera (@GeraldoRivera) July 22, 2020

What? Why? This is the second time in the past week that Geraldo has doubled down on defending Ghislaine Maxwell. Last time he insisted the evidence was weak (it isn’t). This time he’s insisting that the crimes don’t matter because they happened a long time ago (that shouldn’t matter in this kind of crime).

Is Geraldo just trying to stir up absurd controversy in the hope of keeping his long-fading career alive? Or does Geraldo, like Donald Trump, have a specific reason for trying to remain on Ghislaine Maxwell’s good side? This is as suspicious as it is ugly.

washington post logoWashington Post, New accuser alleges that ex-cardinal McCarrick orchestrated abuse involving other clerics, Michelle Boorstein, July 22, 2020. A lawsuit filed in New Jersey alleges that Theodore McCarrick and five other clerics abused the victim in the early 1980s, when he was between 11 and 16 years old.

theodore mccarrickEx-cardinal Theodore McCarrick, left, already laicized and the subject of a Vatican investigation, is accused in a newly filed lawsuit of orchestrating the abuse of minor boys by multiple other clerics at his New Jersey beach house in the early 1980s.

The lawsuit was filed Tuesday evening in New Jersey Superior Court by a man who alleges he was abused by McCarrick, former D.C. archbishop and until recently one of the country’s best-connected and influential Catholic clerics, and five other New Jersey clerics when the victim was between 11 and 16 years old. Four of them did so at the beach house, the suit alleges, when McCarrick was bishop of Metuchen, N.J.

The suit alleges that the boy needed money to pay for his Catholic education, and that one cleric — who had already sexually abused the boy — told him he needed to talk to “the boss,” and then introduced him to McCarrick, who then allegedly began abusing him.

Media News

washington post logoWashington Post, NPR may be ‘public’ radio, but it’s feeling the economic pain of the pandemic. More trouble lies ahead, Paul Farhi, July 22, 2020 (print ed.). NPR reporter Kelsey Snell would normally have spent last week covering Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell as the congressional correspondent for “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.” But it wasn’t a normal week for Snell or anyone else at NPR.

Instead, she was out of work — one of dozens in NPR’s 520-person Washington newsroom who are going on unpaid week-long furloughs at some point during this shutdown summer, under a cost-saving agreement between NPR’s management and its newsroom.

npr logo“Please support your local public radio station!” she tweeted before ducking out for the week.

For decades, the P in NPR stood for “public,” as in publicly supported, noncommercial radio and digital news. Yet with its growing dependence on corporate advertising, NPR has found itself on equally troubled footing as its for-profit competitors, all of them reliant on the same pool of advertising dollars that have dried up during the coronavirus pandemic.

A sharp downturn in “underwriting” — public broadcasting’s euphemism for its tasteful style of advertising — prompted NPR to adopt a package of pay cuts, furloughs and other concessions in April. Yet NPR will still show a deficit of about $10 million when its fiscal year closes in September, its widest in years, chief executive John Lansing said in an interview.

The new year starting in October figures to be even tougher. Without another round of givebacks, Lansing is projecting a deficit of $30 million to $43 million — by far the largest in NPR’s 50-year history.

 

July 21

Top Headlines

Virus Updates, Responses

Law, Crime, Courts

U.S. Political Scandals

Race, Brutality Protests

U.S. 2020 Elections, Politics

Trump, Maxwell, Epstein Watch

 

Top Stories

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ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: What You Don’t Know Can’t Hurt Trump, Paul Krugman, right, July 21, 2020 (print ed.).“Slow the testing down,” he said, and it’s happening. We’re paul krugmannow at the stage of the Covid-19 pandemic where Donald Trump and his allies are trying to suppress information about the coronavirus’s spread — because, of course, they are. True to form, however, they’re far behind the curve. From a political point of view (which is all they care about), their disinformation efforts are too little, too late.

Where we are: In just a few days millions of Americans are going to see a drastic fall in their incomes, as enhanced unemployment benefits expire. This calls for urgent action; but avoiding economic calamity was always going to be hard, because Republicans in general have balked at providing the aid workers idled by the pandemic need.

But now it turns out that there’s another obstacle to action: An intra-G.O.P. dispute over funding for testing and tracing of infected individuals. Even Senate Republicans support increased testing, which is desperately needed given our current situation: Surging cases have created a testing backlog, and test results are taking so long to come back that they’re effectively useless.

But Trump officials are opposed to any new money for testing. They’re barely even trying to offer excuses for their opposition, since Trump himself explained the strategy a month ago at his Tulsa rally: When you expand testing, he declared, “you’re going to find more cases, so I said to my people, ‘Slow the testing down, please.’”

washington post logoWashington Post, Mnuchin, Meadows head to Capitol Hill after Trump’s coronavirus budget plan is met with frosty reception, Erica Werner, Jeff Stein and Seung Min Kim, July 21, 2020. Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinWhite House desire for payroll tax cut and spending curbs was instantly confronted with bipartisan opposition. Top White House officials will head to Capitol Hill on Tuesday for a full day of meetings after some of President Trump’s priorities in the next coronavirus spending package were met with bipartisan resistance, prompting one GOP senator to call President Trump’s pitch a “first draft.” Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin is shown at right.

washington post logoWashington Post, Some school leaders in red states reject Trump’s push to reopen, Moriah Balingit, July 21, 2020. Even in communities where President Trump is popular, school leaders say they are listening to public health officials first and foremost.

washington post logoWashington Post, Biden to unveil $775 billion plan for child care, elder care, universal preschool, Annie Linskey and Matt Viser, July 21, 2020. “The pandemic has laid bare” the hardships caregivers face, his campaign said.

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump’s reelection effort has spent record $983 million, Michelle Ye Hee Lee and Anu Narayanswamy,July 21, 2020. At this point in 2012, the Obama campaign, Democratic Party and a joint fundraising committee had spent roughly half that amount.

Virus Updates, Responses

washington post logoWashington Post, Live Updates, U.S. marks another record-setting day as Trump complains about coronavirus case counting, Staff reports, July 21, 2020 (print ed.). Surgeon general argues against federal mask mandate, citing controversy over federal troops in Portland; reliminary trial shows new treatment prevents 79 percent of covid-19 patients from needing ICUs; Senate GOP coronavirus bill leaves out many priorities for Democrats and Republicans, but talks have just begun.

american flag upside down distressSunday marked the 41st straight day that the seven-day average for new daily coronavirus infections in the United States trended upward. Six months after the novel coronavirus reached America, more than 3.7 million cases have been detected, and at least 137,000 people have died. Globally, the global death toll has surpassed 600,000, fueled in part by recent surges in states such as Texas, Florida and California.

President Trump — who aides say no longer attends coronavirus task force meetings because he does not have time — showed himself to be particularly misinformed about the basics of the virus that has been ravaging the nation. He told Fox News host Chris Wallace on Sunday that “young people that would heal in a day” made up many of the new cases.

“They have the sniffles and we put it down as a test,” Trump said.

washington post logoWashington Post, ‘A very dark feeling’: Hundreds camp out in Oklahoma unemployment lines, Annie Gowen, July 21, 2020. In Oklahoma, where the jobless rate reached a record 14.7 percent in April, unemployment has pushed many to the point of desperation, with savings depleted, cars repossessed and homes being sold for cash.

washington post logoWashington Post, Florida teachers’ union sues over return to in-person classes, Matt Zapotosky, July 21, 2020 (print ed.). The Florida Education Association is suing the governor over an order that public schools open next month for in-person instruction, saying it would endanger educators. The move pulls the courts into an increasingly heated debate over school reopenings.

washington post logoWashington Post, Fact Checker Analysis: The distortions in Trump’s complaints about Fauci, Glenn Kessler, July 21, 2020. In interviews and public remarks, President Trump has the same three complaints about Anthony S. Fauci. But the president's recollections are off-base and inaccurate.

Washington Post, Analysis: As the pandemic surges, there are three scenarios of what happens next, Leana S. Wen, July 21, 2020. At least two Americans will die of covid-19 in the time it takes to read this op-ed. The mortality rate is climbing in 13 states as infections rise in more than 30 states.

As the pandemic surges, policymakers are asking how they can stop this explosive spread. I see three scenarios for what happens next:

1. Status quo. Texas, Florida and Arizona are among the states already on the brink of overwhelming their health-care systems. More and more intensive-care units will reach and exceed capacity. Arizona has already implemented “crisis standards of care” to ration its increasingly scarce resources.

2. Full shutdown. A full shutdown would mean that everyone in the entire country stays at home for four to six weeks. Those already infected would spread the virus only to their immediate households. If no one has additional contacts, we collectively starve the virus and stop transmission.

3. Whack-a-mole. However effective a full shutdown would be, many would say it’s too impractical. Some believe it may not be necessary.

Law, Crime, Courts

roy den hollander esther salas

ny times logoNew York Times, ‘Anti-Feminist’ Lawyer Is Suspect in Killing of Son of Federal Judge in N.J., Nicole Hong, William K. Rashbaum and Mihir Zaveri, July 20, 2020. Roy Den Hollander, above left, had openly seethed against the judge, Esther Salas, right. After the shooting at her home, he was found dead in an apparent suicide. The judge’s son, Daniel Anderl, died from a gunshot wound to the heart. Her husband, Mark Anderl, was shot multiple times and was in the hospital, according to her older brother.

Roy Den Hollander was a self-described “anti-feminist” lawyer who flooded the courts with seemingly frivolous lawsuits that sought to eliminate women’s studies programs and prohibit nightclubs from holding “ladies’ nights.”

In one of his most recent cases, he openly seethed against a federal judge in New Jersey, Esther Salas, whom he described in a self-published, 1,700-page book as “a lazy and incompetent Latina judge appointed by Obama.”

Mr. Den Hollander left the case, in which he challenged the male-only United States military draft, last summer, telling a lawyer who replaced him that he had terminal cancer.

On Sunday afternoon, Mr. Den Hollander showed up at Judge Salas’s home in North Brunswick, N.J., and fired multiple gunshots, killing the judge’s son and seriously wounding her husband, who is a criminal defense lawyer, investigators said. The judge, who was in the basement at the time, was not injured. Attorney Mark Anderl, his wife, U.S. District Judge Esther Salas, and their son, Daniel Anderl, are shown below.

Attorney Mark Anderl, his wife, U.S. District Judge Esther Salas, and their son, Daniel Anderl

Last American Vagabond, Investigative Commentary: Alleged Salas Family Assailant Previously Worked for US/Israeli Intelligence-Linked Firm, Whitney Webb, right, July 21, 2020. Alleged Salas whitney webb twitterFamily Assailant Previously Worked for US/Israeli Intelligence-Linked Firm. The alleged gunmen who killed the son of Esther Salas, the judge recently assigned to the Epstein-Deutsche Bank case, worked for a company of corporate spies and mercenaries with ties to intelligence and also to Deutsche Bank.

The news of the shooting of the husband and son of Esther Salas, the judge recently assigned to oversee the Jeffrey Epstein – Deutsche Bank case, caused shock and confusion while also bringing renewed scrutiny to the Epstein scandal just a week after Epstein’s main co-conspirator, Ghislaine Maxwell, was denied bail in a separate case.

deutsche bank logoThe case Salas is set to oversee is a class action lawsuit brought by Deutsche Bank investors who allege that Deutsche Bank “failed to properly monitor customers that the Bank itself deemed to be high risk, including, among others, the convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.” The case came after the New York state Department of Financial Services had settled with Deutsche Bank over the bank’s failure to cut ties with Epstein-linked accounts, resulting in Deutsche Bank paying a $150 million fine. Deutsche Bank, unlike other financial institutions, failed to close all of its accounts linked to Epstein until less than a month prior to his arrest last year, even though the bank had identified him as “high risk” years before.

Beyond the tragedy of Sunday’s shooting, which claimed the life of Salas’ only child, the quick discovery of the death of the main suspect, Roy Den Hollander, of a “self-inflicted” gunshot to the head before he could be arrested or questioned by authorities has led to speculation that there is more to the official narrative of the crime than meets the eye.

With law enforcement sources now claiming that Esther Salas was not the intended target of the attack and some media reports now suggesting that Den Hollander’s motive was related to his dislike of feminism, it appears there are efforts underway to distance Sunday’s tragic shooting from Salas’ recent assignment to the Epstein case, which occurred just four days before the tragic shooting.

The most likely reason for any such “damage control” effort lies in the fact that both U.S. law enforcement investigations and mainstream media reports have consistently downplayed the connections of Jeffrey Epstein’s sexual trafficking and financial crimes to intelligence agencies in the U.S. and Israel. Similarly, Roy Den Hollander previously worked for a New York firm has been described as a “private CIA” with ties to those countries’ intelligence agencies and, also, ties to Deutsche Bank.

Founded by Jules Kroll in 1972, Kroll Associates would later become known as the “CIA of Wall Street” and “Wall Street’s Private Eye” and was alleged to be an actual front for the CIA by CIA LogoFrench intelligence agencies, according to the Washington Post. Part of the reason for this nickname, which was once a boasting point for top Kroll executives, owes to the fact that the firm frequently hired former CIA and FBI officers, as well as former members of MI6 and Mossad.

K2 Intelligence, the successor to Kroll Associates founded by Jules Kroll and his son Jeremy in 2009, has similar hiring practices, counting former FBI and NSA officials among its ranks alongside former high-ranking members of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic intelligence agency. Kroll also boasted ties to the Bush family, with Jonathan Bush (George Bush Sr.’s brother) serving on its corporate advisory board, and Kroll was also employed by Bill Clinton’s first presidential campaign.

Though it is mainly involved in corporate security and investigations, Kroll has also frequently investigated targets of Washington foreign policy, including Saddam Hussein, and was also the company tapped to “reorganize” Enron in 2002.

Kroll Associates also has long been a subject of scrutiny for those that question the official narrative on the attacks of September 11, 2001, given that the company was put in charge of security for the World Trade Center complex from the 1993 bombing up through the 2001 attacks and has no shortage of ties to companies and individuals that profited from the attacks. Kroll itself experienced a “surge in business” following the events of 9/11, a day when its top executives all avoided going to work despite ostensibly providing security for the complex. (Continued at The Last American Vagabond site.)

U.S. Political Scandals  larry householder resized ohio file

DailyBeast, Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder Arrested in $60 Million Bribery Scheme, Pilar Melendez and Lachlan Markay, July 21, 2020. Householder, shown above, the first Ohio lawmaker in 60 years daily beast logoto win back the speakership, was arrested Tuesday in connection with a multimillion-dollar bribery scheme.

Ohio’s top state lawmaker conspired to funnel tens of millions of dollars from the state’s electric utility to his political allies in order to consolidate power over the state legislature and shepherd through a $1.5 billion bailout for the utility’s nuclear power plants, federal prosecutors alleged on Tuesday.

FBI logoThe FBI arrested Ohio speaker Larry Household, right, a Republican, and four alleged co-conspirators and leveled charges of racketeering and bribery related to the scheme. At a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, U.S. Attorney David DeVillers called it “likely the largest bribery [and] money laundering scheme ever perpetrated against the people of the state of Ohio.”

republican elephant logoAt the center of the scheme was Householder, who prosecutors say used a nonprofit “dark money” group called Generation Now to funnel money from the utility, First Energy, into state-level political contests. Householder’s goals, DeVillers said, were to pass and preserve a contentious bill to bail out two FirstEnergy nuclear plants, and “to build a power base for Larry Householder.”

After his arrest, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine called on the speaker to “resign immediately.”

“I am deeply concerned about the allegations of wrongdoing issued today by the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Every American has the presumption of innocence until proven guilty,” DeWine tweeted Tuesday. “Because of the nature of these charges, it will be impossible for Speaker Householder to effectively lead the Ohio House of Representatives; therefore, I am calling on Speaker Householder to resign immediately. This is a sad day for Ohio.”

ny times logoNew York Times, Andrew Gillum and the Long Shadow of the Florida Governor’s Race, Patricia Mazzei, July 21, 2020. The magnetic former Democratic nominee for Florida governor went from being a breakout political star to checking into rehab.' Andrew Gillum lost the Florida governor’s race in 2018. He then threw himself into growing a voter-registration organization, fund-raising for the Democratic Party and commentating for CNN.

Andrew Gillum, andrew gillum oright, sounded like a prophet. His words quick, his tone urgent, the man who nearly became Florida’s governor predicted in a podcast interview that the coronavirus would cripple the state’s tourism industry, hide in nursing homes and proliferate amid rampant misinformation.

It was a Thursday afternoon in early March. Several of his predictions would prove true: Florida now battles a dangerous surge in virus cases. But hours after the interview, the police would be summoned to a Miami Beach hotel room after a 911 call, and Mr. Gillum’s promising political career would begin to unravel.

He was found by the police shortly after midnight vomiting on the bathroom floor of Room 1107 at the Mondrian South Beach. Another man had been struggling to breathe after a possible drug overdose.

Prescription pills were spilled on the carpet. The police identified three clear plastic bags of what they suspected was crystal methamphetamine.

“Mr. Gillum was unable to communicate with officers due to his inebriated state,” the police report said.

Mr. Gillum, the 40-year-old former mayor of Tallahassee, denied using methamphetamines and apologized for being drunk. He called the other man a friend. Quick internet searches showed democratic donkey logothat the man was also an escort. Two days later, Mr. Gillum said he would check himself into rehab for alcoholism and depression.

The Miami Beach Police Department released this photograph of the hotel room where Mr. Gillum was found in March.

It was a stunning and swift fall for one of the Democratic Party’s brightest young political stars. One moment, his name was floated as a contender for the 2020 vice-presidential nomination. The next, his lawyer was battling leaked hotel room photographs of Mr. Gillum naked on the floor. Still, as Gov. Ron DeSantis in recent months resisted a few basic ways to control the pandemic, some in Florida wondered about a different fate for the state had Mr. Gillum won in 2018.

On Monday, Mr. Gillum surfaced for the first time since the hotel room incident to say he had left rehab and embraced talk therapy.

 Race, Brutality Protests

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: Trump’s Occupation of American Cities Has Begun, Michelle Goldberg, right, July 21, 2020 (print ed.). Protesters are being snatched michelle goldberg thumbfrom the streets without warrants. Can we call it fascism yet?

The month after Donald Trump’s inauguration, the Yale historian Timothy Snyder published the best-selling book “On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons From the Twentieth Century.” It was part of a small flood of titles meant to help Americans find their bearings as the new president laid siege to liberal democracy.

One of Snyder’s lessons was, “Be wary of paramilitaries.” He wrote, “When the pro-leader paramilitary and the official police and military intermingle, the end has come.” In 2017, the idea of unidentified agents in camouflage snatching leftists off the streets without warrants might have seemed like a febrile Resistance fantasy. Now it’s happening.

washington post logoWashington Post, U.S. prepares to deploy federal agents to Chicago as Trump threatens action in other cities, Nick Miroff and Mark Berman, July 21, 2020 (print ed.). The president defended the use of federal agents in Portland, Ore., where they have engaged in nightly clashes with racial justice protesters.

us dhs big eagle logo4Homeland Security officials said Monday they are making preparations to deploy federal agents to Chicago, while President Trump threatened to send U.S. law enforcement personnel to other Democratic-led cities experiencing spates of crime.

Trump made the pronouncement as he defended his administration’s use of force in Portland, Ore., where agents have clashed nightly with protesters and made arrests from unmarked cars. Calling the unrest there “worse than Afghanistan,” Trump’s rhetoric escalated tensions with Democratic mayors and governors who have criticized the presence of federal agents on U.S. streets, telling reporters at the White House that he would send forces into jurisdictions with or without the cooperation of their elected leaders.

“We’re looking at Chicago, too. We’re looking at New York,” he said. “All run by very liberal Democrats. All run, really, by the radical left.”

  • Washington Post, DHS authorizes personnel to collect information on protesters it says threaten monuments
  • Washington Post, Analysis: The deployment of armed enforcers within the U.S. is central to Trump’s politics

ny times logoNew York Times, On Portland’s Streets, Chaotic Scenes Continue Tradition of Protest, Mike Baker, July 21, 2020. The protests in Portland, Ore., have persisted even as Black Lives Matter demonstrations have waned in parts of the country. But some leaders in the Black community worry that violence could squander what should be a moment for racial justice.

With a ski helmet and goggles on her head, Allison Hyder said she had told her family members that she planned to stand at the rear of protests in downtown Portland. But, in the early hours of Tuesday, the grandmother of five found herself right up front, locking arms with other mothers dressed in yellow.

Standing with a pack of other protesters, she chanted in front of the boarded-up entrance to the federal courthouse. Even as some in the crowd began prying at the wood affixed to the courthouse, leaving Ms. Hyder uneasy about where things were headed, she remained resolute.

“I am the face of anarchy,” Ms. Hyder said. “The people of the U.S. need to know that moms, grandmas and nurses are out here in the middle of the night demanding rights for everybody.”

The demonstrations that have shuddered through Portland for 54 consecutive days have drawn out a complicated mix of emotions and grievances, and an array of people who are expressing them.

In a state with a deep history of racial-exclusion laws and spirited protest tradition, the Portland protests have persisted even as Black Lives Matter demonstrations have waned in parts of the country.

But some leaders in the Black community, grateful for a reckoning on race, worry that what should be a moment for racial justice could be squandered by violence. Businesses supportive of reforms have been left demoralized by the mayhem the protests have brought. The city’s mayor, Ted Wheeler, despised by many of the protesters, has now been fighting to have federal officers leave them alone.

Amid the Gordian knot of grievances and escalations, most everyone seems to agree about one thing: The combative deployment of camouflaged federal agents has only made things worse.

Protesters, some of whom identify with the loosely organized group known as antifa, see the unusual deployment of federal power as compelling evidence that their fears about rising fascism in the United States are justified.

On the streets, the scenes can resemble mayhem.

President Trump, in launching a law-and-order message for his re-election campaign, has embraced a dark portrayal of Portland as a lawless place filled with people who “hate our country.” His administration’s crackdown has brought armed officers from a wide variety of federal agencies to the streets of Portland, where they have been firing tear gas and pulling protesters into unmarked vans.

ny times logoNew York Times, Felony Charges Filed Against St. Louis Couple Who Pointed Guns at Protesters, Azi Paybarah and Aimee Ortiz, July 21, 2020 (print ed.). “It is illegal to wave weapons in a threatening manner,” a prosecutor in the city said.

Felony charges have been filed against a St. Louis couple who pointed guns at protesters marching past their home last month in an episode that was captured on video and drew the attention of a divided nation, including President Trump.

kimberly gardner circuit attorneyThe couple, Mark and Patricia McCloskey, were charged on Monday by the Circuit Attorney’s Office in St. Louis with unlawful use of a weapon, exhibiting. The charge is a Class E felony that carries a possible penalty of up to four years in prison.

The circuit attorney in St. Louis, Kimberly M. Gardner, right, said the couple created a dangerous situation involving “peaceful, unarmed protesters.”

U.S. 2020 Elections, Politics

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Another Trump failure: His campaign against voting by mail, Jennifer Rubin, right, July 21, 2020. President Trump is out of sync with supermajorities of Americans on jennifer rubin new headshota range of issues, from reopening schools to police reform to the Confederate flag. He operates in the right-wing media bubble, absorbing the utterly untrue pablum of talk radio and Fox News’s evening lineup (Disclaimer: I am an MSNBC contributor). It should therefore surprise no one that he is wildly out of step when it comes to voting by mail.

Pew Research released a poll Monday showing nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of Americans favor early voting or absentee voting for “any voter without requiring a documented reason, while a third say early and absentee voting should only be allowed with a reason.” Even 44 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaners — despite a steady diet of Democratic-Republican Campaign logosanti-absentee voting messages from their party’s leaders — remain in favor of no-excuse voting early or by absentee, along with 83 percent of Democrats or Democratic-leaners.

Likewise, 60 percent of voters say “changing election rules to make it easier to register and vote would not make elections any less secure, while 37% say that elections would be less secure if it were easier to register and vote. These views are little changed from 2018.” Nearly 60 percent of Republicans, however, have convinced themselves that making it easier to register and vote (without saying what the changes would be!) would make elections less secure.

ny times logoNew York Times, Georgia Democrats Choose Nikema Williams to Fill John Lewis’s Seat in Congress, Rick Rojas, July 21, 2020 (print ed.). Ms. Williams, the state party chairwoman and a state senator, is considered the overwhelming favorite in the general election this fall.

Palmer Report, Opinion: Donald Trump’s Republican National Convention pipe dream crashes and burns, Bill Palmer, July 21, 2020. Donald Trump cares so much about his own narcissism, and rnc logoso little about the lives of his own supporters, he’s still trying to figure out how to hold an in-person Republican National Convention during a worsening pandemic. Trump has already moved it from North Carolina to Florida – even though Florida is now the coronavirus epicenter of the world – simply because the state’s corrupt Governor Ron DeSantis will let him do whatever he wants.

bill palmer report logo headerBut even if DeSantis is willing to let Donald Trump murder people for political reasons, the local Sheriff isn’t. Mike Williams, the Sheriff for Duval County, where the convention would be taking place, is telling Politico that he and his officers “can’t pull it off” from a law enforcement or security standpoint. He says they’re not even close to having a plan for pulling it off.

This isn’t some partisan move; Sheriff Williams was elected as a Republican. He’s simply taking the side of reality, whereas Donald Trump is operating in a haze of delusional fantasy.

Considering how ugly things will get if Trump does hold an in-person Republican National Convention, he’s probably better off if it does get canceled. With the Sheriff throwing up his hands, the odds of it getting canceled just went up significantly. Of course Trump could try moving it to yet another city – but time is running short to even attempt such a move.

washington post logoWashington Post, ‘Woefully uninformed’: Kanye West slammed for saying Harriet Tubman ‘never actually freed the slaves,’ Allyson Chiu, July 20, 2020. West’s claim that Tubman “just had the slaves go work for other white people” came Sunday during his first campaign event since announcing his presidential bid on July 4.

When Toni Fulton and her sister jumped in the car Sunday for a roughly two-hour road trip through South Carolina to attend Kanye West’s first campaign event since the rapper declared he was running for president earlier this month, neither could predict what would await them at the venue in North Charleston.

But the last thing the Fultons expected was to find themselves angrily marching out of the event after being there for only 20 minutes.

The cause of their sudden exit? West declaring onstage that famed abolitionist Harriet Tubman, who has been called “the Moses of her people,” “never actually freed the slaves.”

“She just had the slaves go work for other white people,” West said. Loud groans and unintelligible murmuring immediately erupted from the large crowd of several hundred people who had kanye west resized headshotgathered at the Exquis Event Center. “Come on, man,” a voice shouted out.

Meanwhile, the Fulton sisters, who are black, decided they had seen enough. In a now-viral video capturing West’s comment, Toni Fulton made her exasperation with the Grammy Award-winning artist clear in a single statement. “Yo, we leavin’ right now,” she could be heard saying in the background of the short clip as it abruptly cut off.

“We’re young, black women and there weren’t a lot of us in the room,” Fulton, 30, told The Washington Post. “We know better than to be in a space that we’re not uplifted in. While he was saying a lot of crazy things that didn’t directly offend us, that was offensive and it wasn’t appropriate for us to be there anymore.”

Daily Beast, Opinion: Republicans Are Finally Turning Against Trump. Too Little, Too Late, Matt Lewis, July 21, 2020. They’re cowards, and it’s tempting to want to punish them. But I still want daily beast logoenough Republicans in there next year to counter President Biden.

Republican rats are slowly abandoning ship, as they finally break ranks over COVID-19 and mask-wearing. These Republicans aren’t heroes. Far from it. But purging them all from the republican elephant logoparty, as the Lincoln Project apparently wants to do, would be a mistake.

Before I get into all that, though, let’s not dismiss the significance of GOP attrition. If you’re looking for a barometer of Donald Trump’s re-election chances, this development is more telling than any poll.

These Republicans (who have their own pollsters) have demonstrated that they will go whichever way the wind is blowing. And it is now clear that Trump is running against the wind.

Roll Call, Cheney and Gaetz and Massie and Trump: House GOP tangled up over loyalty, Chris Marquette, July 21, 2020. GOP Conference chairwoman takes fire, and returns it. Hours after the first in-person House Republican Conference meeting in months erupted in tensions between Chairwoman Liz Cheney and several rank-and-file members, Cheney and other GOP leaders sought to present a united front, even as she stood by the positions that got her crossways with colleagues.

liz cheneyAt the Tuesday morning meeting, Cheney, right, was sharply criticized by Florida’s Matt Gaetz and others for not supporting Kentucky’s Thomas Massie in his primary, for not backing President Donald Trump strongly enough, and for showing support for Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, during the coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 140,000 Americans and counting.

Cheney said she respects Massie and looks forward to working with him and winning the majority come November.

ning meeting, Cheney was sharply criticized by Florida’s Matt Gaetz and others for not supporting Kentucky’s Thomas Massie in his primary, for not backing President Donald Trump strongly enough, and for showing support for Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, during the coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 140,000 Americans and counting.

Cheney said she respects Massie and looks forward to working with him and winning the majority come November.

According to a person in the room, the conference meeting started to get messy during its open-mic session. That’s when Massie and Gaetz lined up, with two mics set up in different parts of the room. Cheney called on Gaetz, who said he wanted to let Massie speak first. Cheney said, “That’s not how it works,” which set the stage for more tension.

Massie and Gaetz then called out Cheney for claiming their conference was united when she donated the maximum amount to Massie’s primary opponent, Todd McMurtry. Massie coasted to a win over McMurtry in last month’s primary. Cheney called Massie a “special case,” according to a member present in the room.

But Trump himself called for Massie’s defeat back in March, calling him a “third rate Grandstander” for forcing House members to come back to Washington that month for debate on a widely supported roughly $2 trillion coronavirus response and aid package. He also said Massie should be thrown out of the GOP.

Nevertheless, Freedom Caucus members, including Jim Jordan of Ohio and Chip Roy of Texas, jumped in to accuse Cheney of insufficient support for the president and too much support for Fauci.

  • Palmer Report, Opinion: GOP implodes as House Republicans begin attacking Liz Cheney, Bill Palmer, July 21, 2020.

Palmer Report, Opinion: Donald Trump’s Republican Party is in total freefall, Ron Leshnower, July 21, 2020. Rep. Ted Yoho’s unprovoked verbal assault against Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, alexandria ocasio cortez officialat right, on Monday morning was both unsettling and remarkable. On one level, it was a nasty attack against a fellow member of Congress simply for having a different view about an issue. But thanks to Yoho’s offensive parting shot, the incident also stands as yet another example of how brazenly sexist Donald Trump’s Republican Party has become.

bill palmer report logo headerWhen passing AOC on the Capitol steps, Yoho (below left) could have just said hello or ignored her, or he could even have asked her about the comment regarding poverty and unemployment in New York City that he found so offensive. Instead, Yoho approached AOC to make sure she knew she is “disgusting” and “out of your freaking mind,” according to reporting by The Hill, which wrote:

In a brief but heated exchange, which was overheard by a reporter, Yoho told Ocasio-Cortez she was "disgusting" for recently suggesting that poverty and unemployment are driving a spike in crime in New York City during the coronavirus pandemic.

"You are out of your freaking mind," Yoho told her.

Ocasio-Cortez shot back, telling Yoho he was being "rude."

He told her that she was "disgusting" and "out of your freaking mind," and as he walked away, Yoho added: "Fucking bitch."

This morning, AOC tweeted that the two had never spoken “before he decided to accost me,” and she told reporters yesterday that she never encountered such an “abrupt, disgusting kind of disrespect.” While the incident may indeed be peculiar on a personal level, it fits right into a larger, ugly phenomenon that began nearly four years ago.

ted yoho oAs Tufts University Professor Brian Schaffner detailed in a presentation to the American Political Science Association two years ago, there is a dark link connecting Trump, the 2016 election, and the expression of sexism by Republicans. After conducting surveys and analyzing the data, Schaffner found that the election made Republicans “more willing to endorse sexist statements.”

More disturbingly, the fact Trump won the election despite clear proof of his sexism (such as in the Access Hollywood tape) likely changed Republicans’ views about the prevalence of sexist attitudes among Americans. This, in turn, also empowered Republicans to feel “more justified” in expressing their pent-up sexism.

Apparently, the mere sight of AOC on the Capitol steps triggered Yoho’s misogyny. Then, when AOC dared speak out against Yoho’s gratuitous insults, he could no longer suppress his hateful feelings. Although this incident involved two members of Congress, it is really about the hostile male chauvinism that Trump inspires in others. This incident should be taken as an urgent reminder of why America must evict this Neanderthal clown from the Oval Office and flip the Senate blue this November.

Trump, Maxwell, Epstein Watch

djt knauss epstein ghislaine maxwell mar a lago getty full davidoff studios

Donald Trump, Melania Knauss [Trump], Jeffrey Epstein and Epstein's friend Ghislaine Maxwell, (left to right at Mar-A-Lago.
Davidoff Studios Photography / Getty Images

Palmer Report, Opinion: Donald Trump goes on bizarre bender about Ghislaine Maxwell during catastrophic press conference, Bill Palmer, July 21, 2020. By the time Donald Trump had finished stumbling through a prepared opening statement, we didn’t think his press briefing today could get much worse. After all, he sounded totally confused and barely there, as if he’d been ingesting far too much Lysol. But then Trump started taking questions, and the whole thing turned into a total meltdown – particularly when Ghislaine Maxwell’s name came up.

bill palmer report logo headerFor some reason a reporter asked Donald Trump whether he expected Jeffrey Epstein’s recently arrested associate Ghislaine Maxwell to rat out people like Prince Andrew. Trump responded by claiming that he hasn’t been following the Maxwell story, but that “I just wish her well, frankly.” He then rambled about Palm Beach for awhile, before repeating his assertion that “I wish her well, whatever it is.”

To be clear, Ghislaine Maxwell has been criminally charged for conspiring to help Jeffrey Epstein in the rape of underage girls. Why would Donald Trump be wishing her well? That’s a completely insane thing to say under the circumstances. It’s clear that Trump has no idea what to make of the Epstein-Maxwell mess, and that he’s concerned about where it might be headed.

jacob wohl screen Shot 2018 11 02 Custom

Palmer Report, Opinion: Jacob Wohl allegedly involved in Jeffrey Epstein – Ghislaine Maxwell coverup, Bill Palmer, right, July 21, 2020. We thought we were done writing about Jacob Wohl, above, a far bill palmerright clown who’s been caught making up one laughably absurd fake scandal after another about Donald Trump’s adversaries. But now Wohl is allegedly back in a big way – and if what’s being reported is true, it means he’ll almost certainly end up in prison for it.

bill palmer report logo headerBritish newspaper Daily Mail is reporting that Ghislaine Maxwell recently hired Jacob Wohl to smear Jeffrey Epstein’s victims. The newspaper further reports that proof of Wohl’s involvement is contained in documents filed in the criminal case against Maxwell. Wohl has a history of carrying out these kinds of smear campaigns. He also has a history of being almost hysterically bad at this kind of thing. If Maxwell recently hired him, it suggests that she reached a point of desperation where she was willing to try anything to stay out of prison – even a scheme that was highly unlikely to work.

In any case, if Jacob Wohl really has gotten himself financially involved in the Jeffrey Epstein – Ghislaine Maxwell coverup, it’s difficult to imagine him remaining out of prison. It’s one thing for him to have made up phony scandals about Robert Mueller and Nancy Pelosi, which largely just got laughed it. It’s another thing to get entangled with the hideous Epstein-Maxwell crime spree.

jacob wohl kristen spealman facebook

Daily Mail Online, EXCLUSIVE: Ghislaine Maxwell paid $25K to fake news purveyor Jacob Wohl to 'smear Epstein victims and to get prosecutor Geoffrey Berman fired in attempt to stall sex trafficking investigation against her,' Josh Boswell, July 21, 2020. Ghislaine Maxwell hired fake news purveyor Jacob Wohl to smear her and Jeffrey Epstein's alleged victims, a former friend has told DailyMail.com in an exclusive interview.

As part of a $25,000 deal made in June, Wohl and his lobbyist colleague Jack Burkman also allegedly pushed to get New York U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman, who had led Epstein's case, fired in order to stall or stop the criminal investigation into Maxwell.

Wohl and Burkman are far-right lobbyists who have become a laughing stock in DC after several failed attempts to smear top political figures including Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Nancy Pelosi, Ted Cruz, Robert Mueller and Dr. Anthony Fauci by paying women to make false claims of sordid affairs and drug-dealing.

One of the women they tried to use for their smear plots, Maryland model and paralegal Kristin Spealman (shown above in a Facebook photo with Wohl), told DailyMail.com the men had been hired by Maxwell, who currently faces trial over charges she and Epstein trafficked underage girls for sex.

Spealman, 36, said the lobbyists bragged to her they had been hired in early June for $25,000 to dig up dirt on Maxwell's alleged sex trafficking victims and to get Berman fired using Burkman’s supposed influence with Attorney General William Barr.

When contacted for comment Wohl told DailyMail.com that Maxwell ‘deserves representation’.

‘Every person, even those accused of the most odious of crimes, deserves representation and possesses the right to engage lobbyists to petition the government on their behalf,’ the 22-year-old said. ‘Otherwise, we cannot comment on client matters.’

Burkman similarly told DailyMail.com: 'All persons accused of crimes--however terrible--have the right to representation and representation in the court of public opinion.'

DailyMail.com has contacted Maxwell's lawyers for comment.

Federal documents filed this month show a company linked to Maxwell had hired Wohl and Burkman to lobby on ‘issues relating to US DOJ, Senate Judiciary, House Judiciary,’ DailyMail.com can exclusively reveal.

A form filed with the US Senate by Burkman’s company, J M Burkman & Associates, on July 3 under the Lobbying Disclosure Act shows Wohl and Burkman were hired by 'Granite Realty LLC,' a frequent misspelling of Granite Reality - the company linked to Maxwell.

Maxwell bought the house through Granite Reality LLC, of 155 Seaport Blvd, Boston MA, the address of Nutter McClennen & Fish, a law firm which has previously acted for her. It is the same address on the disclosure form.

The form lists Burkman and Wohl as lobbyists for 'Granite Realty,' described as a ‘real estate company’, and indicates the pair will be lobbying over ‘Issues relating to US DOJ, Senate Judiciary, House Judiciary.’

New York prosecutors say the firm is connected to Maxwell, with the LLC linked to her purchase of a New Hampshire house where she was arrested on July 2 - the day before Burkman’s lobbying disclosure was filed.

New Hampshire property records show Granite Reality paid $1,070,000 cash in December for the home, aptly named Tuckedaway.

kristin spealman facebookSpealman, shown in a modeling photo via Facebook at right, claimed Burkman bragged to her that he was ‘really good friends’ with Barr and had persuaded him to fire Berman.

On June 19, Barr did release a statement saying Berman would step down – though Trump had reportedly been considering removing the prosecutor for two years.

Berman at first refused to resign, then later capitulated when his deputy was announced as the new acting US attorney for the Southern District of New York.

Spealman claimed Burkman bragged to her that he was ¿really good friends¿ with Barr and had persuaded him to fire Berman. There is no evidence that Wohl or Burkman had any role in Berman's firing. There is also no evidence that Burkman and Barr have a close relationship.

‘The second part of their job was to discredit the [alleged] victims of Jeffrey Epstein and her,’ Spealman said.

‘I believed those girls, I felt like they were telling the truth and they were real victims.

‘I was disgusted with the things [Wohl and Burkman], were telling me. They were saying really bad things about them.

‘That’s their job now, to discredit these victims. Hopefully so that the charges go away or [Maxwell] wins.’

The lobbyists allegedly told Spealman their smear targets included Epstein accusers Virginia Giuffre, Sarah Ransome and Courtney Wild, the model said.In 2018 the young lobbyist and self-styled ‘renegade firebrand’ attempted his first high-profile smear, accusing former FBI chief Robert Mueller of sexual misconduct.

Mueller was serving as Special Counsel at the time, conducting an investigation into Russian meddling in the Trump 2016 campaign.

Wohl and Burkman held a botched press conference over the sexual misconduct claims in a shabby Holiday Inn, where the alleged victim failed to show up and Burkman gave a speech with his fly undone.

In another bungled smear this year, a woman accused Dr. Anthony Facui, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, of sexually assaulting her in a hotel room in 2014 when she was 20, only to recant the story 10 days later confessing that Wohl and Burkman paid her to make it all up.

Their attempt to throw muck at Senator Kamala Harris didn’t stick either. Sean Newaldass, 26, gave a press conference with the two lobbyists claiming he had an affair with Harris, but soon backtracked saying he was a paid actor and the only reason he made the claims was because the two lobbyists told him it was ‘performance art’ for a Spike TV show.

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Investigative Commentary: Fred Trump Sr. -- Nazi and war profiteer, Wayne Madsen, below left, July 21, 2020. According to informed sources familiar with Fred Trump Sr.'s construction and apartment rental and construction businesses during World War II, the father of Donald Trump was not merely a pro-Nazi and likely an agent for the German Gestapo and Abwehr military intelligence, but also a notorious war profiteer.

 

mary trump rverto Peter Serling Daily Beast 

Mary Trump (Illustration by The Daily Beast/Photo by Peter Serling).

Daily Beast, Mary Trump: What Really Shocked Me About My Family and the KKK, The New Abnormal with Molly Jong-Fast and Rick Wilson, July 21, 2020. The president’s niece joins The daily beast logoNew Abnormal to give us a peek behind the Trump family veil. From KKK rallies to Donald Trump’s sleeping habits, Mary Trump holds nothing back.

Mary Trump had a giant barrel of tea to spill about her family on today’s episode of The New Abnormal by The Daily Beast.

She claims her uncle Donald Trump “was protected at every turn from his incompetence, from his total inability to handle money.” And the Republican Party picked up where the media and the investment banks left off.

djt fred trump daily beast photo illustationRemember her grandfather Fred (shown at right with Donald), the family patriarch who got arrested at a Ku Klux Klan rally?

Mary was surprised by that news, but “not because my grandfather wasn’t anti-Semitic.”

Nope, Mary was shocked her grandfather took time away from making money to join a KKK event. But of course, he was “perfectly happy being racist and anti-Semitic in his own house and his place of work.”

Mary Trump held nothing back as she spoke with Rick Wilson and Molly Jong-Fast. She even commented on Trump’s sleeping habits, alleging that the late-night tweeter-in-chief doesn’t sleep because “because Daddy wouldn't approve.”

“So that’s maybe why he drinks 12 Diet Cokes a day and is up until three in the morning tweeting,” she said.

ny times logoNew York Times, Investigation: Trump’s Request of an Ambassador: Get the British Open for Me, Mark Landler, Lara Jakes and Maggie Haberman, July 21, 2020. Woody Johnson, the N.F.L. owner, Trump donor and ambassador to Britain, was warned not to get involved in trying to move the tournament to a Trump resort in Scotland, but he raised the idea anyway — and he failed.

donald trump money palmer report CustomThe American ambassador to Britain, Robert Wood Johnson IV, told multiple colleagues in February 2018 that President Trump had asked him to see if the British government could help steer the world-famous and lucrative British Open golf tournament to the Trump Turnberry resort in Scotland, according to three people with knowledge of the episode.

The ambassador’s deputy, Lewis A. Lukens, advised him not to do it, warning that it would be an unethical use of the presidency for private gain, these people said. But Mr. Johnson apparently felt pressured to try. A few weeks later, he raised the idea of Turnberry playing host to the Open with the secretary of state for Scotland, David Mundell.

In a brief interview last week, Mr. Mundell said it was “inappropriate” for him to discuss his dealings with Mr. Johnson and referred to a British government statement that said Mr. Johnson “made no request of Mr. Mundell regarding the British Open or any other sporting event.” The statement did not address whether the ambassador had broached the issue of Turnberry, which Mr. Trump bought in 2014, but none of the next four Opens are scheduled to be played there.

Still, the episode left Mr. Lukens and other diplomats deeply unsettled. Mr. Lukens, who served as the acting ambassador before Mr. Johnson arrived in November 2017, emailed officials at the State Department to tell them what had happened, colleagues said. A few months later, Mr. Johnson forced out Mr. Lukens, a career diplomat who had earlier served as ambassador to Senegal, shortly before his term was to end.

The White House declined to comment on Mr. Trump’s instructions to Mr. Johnson, as did the ambassador and the State Department.

Although Mr. Trump, as president, is exempt from a federal conflict of interest law that makes it a criminal offense to take part in “government matters that will affect your own personal financial interest,” the Constitution prohibits federal officials from accepting gifts, or “emoluments,” from foreign governments.

Experts on government ethics pointed to one potential violation of the emoluments clause that still may have been triggered by the president’s actions: The British or Scottish governments would most likely have to pay for security at the tournament, an event that would profit Mr. Trump.

It was not the first time the president tried to steer business to one of his properties. Last year, the White House chose the Trump National Doral resort in Miami as the site of a Group of 7 meeting. Mr. Trump backed off after it ignited a political storm, moving the meeting to Camp David before canceling it because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr. Trump also urged Vice President Mike Pence to stay at his family’s golf resort in Doonbeg, Ireland, last year during a visit, even though the vice president’s official business was on the other side of the country. That trip generated headlines for the golf club, but also controversy. And Mr. Trump has visited his family-owned golf courses more than 275 times since he took office, bringing reporters with him each time, ensuring that the resorts get ample news coverage.

ny times logotom friedman twitterNew York Times, Opinion: Trump’s Wag-the-Dog War, Thomas L. Friedman, right, July 21, 2020. The president is looking for a dangerous domestic enemy to fight. Some presidents, when they get into trouble before an election, try to “wag the dog” by starting a war abroad. Donald Trump seems ready to wag the dog by starting a war at home. Be afraid — he just might get his wish.

How did we get here? Well, when historians summarize the Trump team’s approach to dealing with the coronavirus, it will take only a few paragraphs:

“They talked as if they were locking down like China. They acted as if they were going for herd immunity like Sweden. They prepared for neither. And they claimed to be superior to both. In the end, they got the worst of all worlds — uncontrolled viral spread and an unemployment catastrophe.

“And then the story turned really dark.

“As the virus spread, and businesses had to shut down again and schools and universities were paralyzed as to whether to open or stay closed in the fall, Trump’s poll numbers nose-dived. Joe Biden opened up a 15-point lead in a national head-to-head survey.

“So, in a desperate effort to salvage his campaign, Trump turned to the Middle East Dictator’s Official Handbook and found just what he was looking for, the chapter titled, ‘What to Do When Your People Turn Against You?'

“Answer: Turn them against each other and then present yourself as the only source of law and order.”

 

July 20

Top Stories

Virus Updates, Responses

Law, Crime, Courts

Race, Brutality Protests

U.S. 2020 Elections, Politics

World News

 

Top Stories

covad 19 photo.jpg Custom 2

 

washington post logoWashington Post, The crisis that shocked the world: America’s response to the virus, Joel Achenbach, William Wan, Karin Brulliard and Chelsea Janes, July 20, 2020 (print ed.). How the world’s richest country got into this dismal situation is a complicated tale that exposes the flaws and fissures in a nation long proud of its ability to meet cataclysmic challenges.

american flag upside down distressSix months after the coronavirus appeared in America, the nation has failed spectacularly to contain it. The country’s ineffective response has shocked observers around the planet.

Many countries have rigorously driven infection rates nearly to zero. In the United States, coronavirus transmission is out of control. The national response is fragmented, shot through with political rancor and culture-war divisiveness. Testing shortcomings that revealed themselves in March have become acute in July, with week-long waits for results leaving the country blind to real-time virus spread and rendering contact tracing nearly irrelevant.

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump defends bungled handling of pandemic with falsehoods and dubious claims, Philip Rucker and Felicia Sonmez, July 20, 2020 (print ed.). The president was visibly rattled and at times hostile during a Fox News interview.

djt i dont take responsibility at allPresident Trump said in an interview aired Sunday that the rising number of U.S. deaths from the coronavirus “is what it is,” defended his fumbled management of the pandemic with a barrage of dubious and false claims, and revealed his lack of understanding about the fundamental science of how the virus spreads and infects people.

fox-news-logo Small.pngMaking one of his biggest media appearances in months — an hour-long, sit-down interview with “Fox News Sunday” anchor Chris Wallace — Trump was visibly rattled and at times hostile as he struggled to answer for his administration’s failure to contain the coronavirus, which has claimed more than 137,000 lives in the United States.

On a range of other topics, including the racial justice movement and the Confederate flag, the president positioned himself firmly outside the political mainstream. And Trump suggested he might not accept the results of November’s general election should he lose because he predicted without evidence that “mail-in voting is going to rig the election.”

ny times logoNew York Times, Trump Threatens to Send Federal Law Enforcement Forces to More Cities, Peter Baker, Zolan Kanno-Youngs and Monica Davey, July 20, 2020. As military-clad agents patrol Portland and head to Chicago, President Trump suggested that he would follow suit in New York, Detroit and other cities.

As military-clad agents patrol Portland and head to Chicago, President Trump suggested that he would follow suit in New York, Detroit and other cities. Governors and other officials compared his actions to authoritarianism and vowed to pursue legislation or lawsuits to stop him.

Palmer Report, Opinion: Turns out Joe Biden has John Kasich up his sleeve, Bill Palmer, July 20, 2020. We’re in truly odd times. Some of the best TV ads for Joe Biden have been produced by john kasichRepublican groups who are trying to get rid of Donald Trump. Now a Republican who ran for President just four years ago is set to endorse Joe Biden at the Democratic National Convention.

bill palmer report logo headerJohn Kasich, right, the former Governor of Ohio, is set to endorse Biden during the convention. Kasich didn’t make much of a dent nationally when he ran in the 2016 Republican primary race for president – but he could help put Biden over the top in Ohio. This same AP article reveals that Kasich is one of several high profile Republicans who will campaign for Biden.

This comes after Carly Fiorina, another 2016 Republican candidate for president, endorsed Joe Biden last month. There’s no word yet on whether Fiorina will speak at the convention or campaign for Biden.

Virus Updates, Responses

washington post logoWashington Post, Live Updates, U.S. marks another record-setting day as Trump complains about coronavirus case counting, Staff reports, July 20, 2020 (print ed.). Surgeon general argues against federal mask mandate, citing controversy over federal troops in Portland; reliminary trial shows new treatment prevents 79 percent of covid-19 patients from needing ICUs; Senate GOP coronavirus bill leaves out many priorities for Democrats and Republicans, but talks have just begun.

President Donald Trump officialSunday marked the 41st straight day that the seven-day average for new daily coronavirus infections in the United States trended upward. Six months after the novel coronavirus reached America, more than 3.7 million cases have been detected, and at least 137,000 people have died. Globally, the global death toll has surpassed 600,000, fueled in part by recent surges in states such as Texas, Florida and California.

President Trump — who aides say no longer attends coronavirus task force meetings because he does not have time — showed himself to be particularly misinformed about the basics of the virus that has been ravaging the nation. He told Fox News host Chris Wallace on Sunday that “young people that would heal in a day” made up many of the new cases.

“They have the sniffles and we put it down as a test,” Trump said.

washington post logomitch mcconnell elevator getty croppedWashington Post, Endangered GOP senators under pressure as Senate considers new virus measures, Seung Min Kim, Rachael Bade and Erica Werner, July 20, 2020 (print ed.). Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, right, faces competing demands from the president and GOP senators, including some up for reelection in states hit hard by the virus.

washington post logoWashington Post, Florida teachers’ union sues over return to in-person classes, Matt Zapotosky, July 20, 2020. The Florida Education Association is suing the governor over an order that public schools open next month for in-person instruction, saying it would endanger educators. The move pulls the courts into an increasingly heated debate over school reopenings.

washington post logoWashington Post, Bad poll numbers push Trump to bring back coronavirus briefings,Toluse Olorunnipa and Josh Dawsey, July 20, 2020. The move to resume the news conferences comes as the president has struggled to turn the country’s attention away from the pandemic and economic devastation months before voters head to the polls.

Law, Crime, Courts

Attorney Mark Anderl, his wife, U.S. District Judge Esther Salas, and their son, Daniel Anderl

Attorney Mark Anderl, his wife, U.S. District Judge Esther Salas, and their son, Daniel Anderl, are shown above.

washington post logoWashington Post, Federal judge’s son killed, husband shot by gunman disguised as delivery driver, Tim Elfrink and Devlin Barrett, July 20, 2020. U.S. District Judge Esther Salas was not harmed in the shooting, which the FBI, U.S. Marshals and New Jersey authorities are now investigating.

A gunman dressed as a delivery driver shot and killed the son of a federal judge and wounded her husband at their New Jersey home on Sunday, law enforcement confirmed to The Washington Post.

U.S. District Judge Esther Salas was not injured in the shooting, which the FBI, the U.S. Marshals Service and local authorities are investigating.

The gunman showed up to Salas’s home in North Brunswick, N.J., wearing an outfit described to police as a FedEx uniform, law enforcement said. Both Mark Anderl, 63, a defense attorney and former Essex County assistant prosecutor, and Daniel Anderl, 20, a student at Catholic University in D.C., were shot after one of them opened the door for the gunman around 5 p.m., ABC News reported.

“He was shot through the heart,” North Brunswick Mayor Francis “Mac” Womack (D) told ABC News of Daniel Anderl.

Salas’s son died and her husband was rushed to the hospital for surgery, the Associated Press reported. Mark Anderl is now in stable condition, Womack told NJ Advance Media.

The FBI said it is looking for one suspect. The Marshals Service said it is also investigating, adding in a statement to HuffPost that the agency “is responsible for the protection of federal judicial officials and we take that responsibility very seriously.”

Authorities have not given any indication of a motive in the shooting. Womack, who is friends with Salas and her husband, told ABC he wasn’t aware of any specific threat against the judge.

“As a judge, she had threats from time to time, but everyone is saying that recently there had not been any,” Womack said.

Salas, 51, was New Jersey’s first Hispanic woman to serve as a U.S. district judge. President Barack Obama nominated her for the position in 2010, and she was confirmed by the Senate in 2011. Salas previously served as a magistrate judge for the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey. Among her major cases was the following, filed this month:Deutsche Bank Investors Sue Over Epstein Ties, Stock Drops.

djt michael cohen

Palmer Report, Opinion: Michael Cohen just took his big swing at Donald Trump and Bill Barr, Bill Palmer, July 20, 2020. When Michael Cohen, above left, was taken back to prison earlier this month, he was reportedly told that he could only stay out of prison if he signed a document agreeing not to publish his tell-all book about Donald Trump. At the time, Palmer Report predicted that Cohen would take legal action on the basis that his return to prison was politically motivated.

bill palmer report logo headerSure enough, Rachel Maddow reported on-air tonight that Michael Cohen has filed suit against Donald Trump’s Attorney General Bill Barr, alleging that Barr put Cohen back in prison specifically to try to keep him from publishing his book. Considering how obvious it is what’s going on here, and the fact that there’s apparently a paper trail involved, Cohen has a strong chance of winning.

Of course this isn’t just about whether Michael Cohen remains in prison. He’s already tweeted that his book is essentially finished, and that he expects it to be published in September. Cohen’s handlers can go ahead and publish the book whether he’s locked up at the time or not. And as we’ve seen with Mary Trump, John Bolton, and others, Donald Trump has no ability to magically stop a book from being published.

Ghislaine Maxwell, left, Donald Trump and future First Lady Melania Trump

Ghislaine Maxwell, left, Donald Trump and future First Lady Melania Trump

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Investigative Commentary: Trump's dirty secrets closet slowly opening, Wayne Madsen, July 20, 2020. The more one peers into Donald Trump's closet of past and present relationships, the more one discovers that Trump's association with the late pedophile and investor Jeffery Epstein and his consort, Ghislaine Maxwell, went beyond the mere social and involved shady business operations.

Former Fox News Chief White House Correspondent Ed Henry, left, and Fox prime time stars Tucker Carlson, center, and Sean Hannity (Fox News screenshots).

Former Fox News Chief White House Correspondent Ed Henry, left, and Fox prime time stars Tucker Carlson, center, and Sean Hannity (Fox News screenshots).

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Fox News faces allegations of sexual harassment, rape, Erik Wemple, July 20, 2020. For the past few years, Fox News has kept telling us that it learned its lesson: The culture of sexual harassment that started with longtime chief Roger Ailes and extended to disgraced former anchor Bill O’Reilly and others had been addressed. New, accountable lines of authority were drawn up; a new HR apparatus was in place; a so-called Workplace Professionalism and Inclusion Council (WPIC) sprung into action.

fox news logo SmallHas it all done any good? Not according to a fresh lawsuit brimming with horrific allegations.

cathy areu left jennifer eckhartOn Monday, former Fox Business associate producer Jennifer Eckhart, shown at right in the adjoining photo, and former Fox News guest Cathy Areu, at left, brought a complaint against the network claiming yet more misconduct that key executives allegedly failed to thwart. The complaint, filed by Douglas Wigdor and Michael Willemin of Wigdor LLP, includes misconduct allegations directed at former host Ed Henry, prime-time mainstays Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity (portrayed above) and media correspondent/host Howard Kurtz.

The most disturbing allegations relate to Henry, a former Fox News host and correspondent who had a stormy tenure at the network. Henry was suspended for roughly four months in 2016 after carrying on an extramarital relationship with a Las Vegas hostess on company time. He returned to work and again climbed the hierarchy, becoming a co-host of the morning program “America’s Newsroom.”

Earlier this month, however, Fox News announced it had fired Henry over sexual misconduct allegations the network received on June 25. “Based on investigative findings, Ed has been terminated,” said top Fox News officials in a memo to colleagues. The conduct in question took place “years ago,” said the memo. At the time, Wigdor told the media that the firm wasn’t in a position to “share any further information.”

Now the other shoe has dropped. The complaint is detailed and not suitable for republication in a family newspaper such as this one.

Ed Henry, former Fox chief white house correspondentIt begins with a caution in red ink: “TRIGGER WARNING: THIS DOCUMENT CONTAINS HIGHLY GRAPHIC INFORMATION OF A SEXUAL NATURE, INCLUDING SEXUAL ASSAULT.” It then alleges that Henry “preyed upon, manipulated and groomed Ms. Eckhart starting at the young age of 24, by exerting his abuse of power over her and her career. Mr. Henry not only leveraged this imbalance of power for control over his victim, Ms. Eckhart, but asked her to be his ‘sex slave’ and his ‘little whore,’ and threatened punishment and retaliation if Ms. Eckhart did not comply with his sexual demands.”

According to the document, Henry raped Eckhart at a hotel where the network puts up visiting employees. Eckhart was “helpless and restrained in metal handcuffs, as Mr. Henry preformed sadistic acts on her without her consent that left her injured, bruised and battered with bloody wrists.”

Included in the complaint are alleged text messages between Henry and Eckhart — messages that “establish Mr. Henry’s delusions and prove his violence,” according to the complaint. “Gona make you my little whore again,” reads one of them. Fox has denied allegations against others accused.

Race, Brutality Protests

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: On the eve of John Lewis’s death, a cruel Supreme Court blow to his legacy, Ruth Marcus, right, July 20, 2020. On the day before John Lewis died, the Supreme Court made ruth marcus twitter Customclear that the life’s work of the Democratic congressman from Georgia remained unfinished. Lewis marched and protested and suffered brutal beatings to help make the vote available to all citizens; President Lyndon B. Johnson introduced the Voting Rights Act of 1965 eight days after the young Lewis was clubbed on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala. In the years after, Lewis campaigned and lobbied and pressed to see that the right enshrined in that measure was translated into reality for millions who were disenfranchised. He made enormous progress — just not enough.

That cruel fact was brought home Thursday, when the justices rebuffed an effort to restore voting rights to nearly a million felons in Florida who have served their sentences and, under an amendment to the state constitution adopted in 2018, should have had their franchise restored. But the Florida legislature, backed up by the state Supreme Court, interpreted the amendment — which conditioned the restoration of voting rights “upon completion of all terms of sentence, including parole or probation” — to include payments of fines, fees and restitution.

A federal-district court barred Florida from enforcing the law while it was being challenged, allowing felons who had served their sentences to register to vote in November. The judge said the state’s “pay-to-vote system” requiring people to pay fines they could not afford amounted to an unconstitutional poll tax. But the full 11th Circuit — where seven of the 12 active judges are Republican nominees, including six Trump-appointed judges, stepped in to lift that order, no explanation given. On Thursday, the Supreme Court refused to get involved.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor, joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan, stated the consequences clearly in the first sentence of their dissent: “This Court’s order prevents thousands of otherwise eligible voters from participating in Florida’s primary election simply because they are poor.” In short, they added, “Under this scheme, nearly a million otherwise-eligible citizens cannot vote unless they pay money.”

This is even worse than it sounds. First, not only can most of those affected not afford to pay the required amount, the Florida system is so messed up that the state can’t even tell people what they owe and won’t even be able to begin to do so until 2026. Meanwhile, voting while ineligible is itself a crime, meaning that those who guess wrong about how much they owe could be open to prosecution.

Second, as Sotomayor pointed out, the court’s refusal to intervene “continues a trend of condoning disfranchisement.” In a 2006 case, Purcell v. Gonzalez, the court outlined the principle that courts should not change voting rules too soon before the actual election. “Ironically, this Court has wielded Purcell as a reason to forbid courts to make voting safer during a pandemic, overriding two federal courts because any safety-related changes supposedly came too close to election day,” Sotomayor wrote, referring to the court’s actions earlier this year in election disputes from Wisconsin and Alabama. “Now, faced with an appellate court stay that disrupts a legal status quo and risks immense disfranchisement — a situation that Purcell sought to avoid — the Court balks.”

This is a court whose conservative majority appears serenely unconcerned by the kind of restrictions on the right to vote that Lewis worked so hard to dismantle. Consider the sad litany of cases: In 2013, Shelby County v. Holder cut out the heart of the Voting Rights Act, the requirement that certain states and jurisdictions with a history of discrimination submit voting changes for advance approval from the Justice Department.

“The Supreme Court has stuck a dagger into the heart of the Voting Rights Act,” Lewis lamented. “Those justices were never beaten or jailed for trying to register to vote. They have no friends who gave their lives for the right to vote. I want to say to them, Come and walk in my shoes.” In the aftermath of Shelby County, states have seized the opportunity to shut down polling places, limited online and same-day registration, curtailed early voting hours and instituted voter identification requirements.

But as Thursday’s action illustrates, Shelby County was no outlier. In 2018, Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute upheld Ohio’s system for purging voters from the rolls after they failed to vote, a tactic that disproportionately affects minority and low-income voters. Voter purges in other states, notably Georgia and Wisconsin, have intensified since.

washington post logoWashington Post, 12 officers injured, 2 protesters arrested in Seattle as multiple businesses vandalized, Timothy Bella, July 20, 2020. As a large, peaceful protest against police brutality and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement marched through downtown Seattle on Sunday afternoon, police said a separate, bat-wielding group showed up and began vandalizing businesses and injuring officers with fireworks.

At least a dozen Seattle police officers were hurt, with one requiring treatment at a hospital, while the violent group of demonstrators also caused “a significant amount of property damage to government buildings and private businesses,” the Seattle Police Department said in a news release. Two protesters were arrested.

The department shared photos of shattered glass and spray paint reading “F--- ICE” covering the front of the Seattle Municipal Court building. Police tweeted that two precincts were vandalized with broken windows and said protesters targeted one precinct by throwing “a device into the lobby that ignited a small fire.” The fire was quickly extinguished.

washington post logoWashington Post, Federal officials dismiss Portland leaders’ calls to leave city as clashes with protesters continue, Marissa J. Lang, Maria Sacchetti and Emily Gillespie, July 20, 2020 (print ed.). A top Homeland Security official on Sunday said the agency will maintain a heavy presence in Portland — and send reinforcements to other U.S. cities if violence surged — as the mayor of Oregon's largest city implored federal agents to stand down amid escalating clashes with protesters.

Kenneth Cuccinelli, acting deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, said the agency had deployed tactical units from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Customs and Border Protection to help defend federal buildings and officers in the Pacific Northwest city. He said DHS had expanded its numbers in other cities as well, including Washington, D.C., as demonstrations escalated in recent months.

washington post logoWashington Post, Radio host accuses Roger Stone of using racial slur in radio interview, Rachel Weiner and Manuel Roig-Franzia, July 20, 2020 (print ed.). President Trump’s longtime confidant was arguing with a black journalist over his commutation when a voice that sounded like his was heard uttering a pejorative.

U.S. 2020 Elections, Politics

washington post logofox news logo SmallWashington Post, Opinion: The president is very proud he can count backward, James Downie, July 20, 2020. If Trump wants to know why his poll numbers have shifted so radically, his advisers can play back his interview on this week’s edition of “Fox News Sunday.”

kanye west resized headshotPalmer Report, Opinion: Kanye West suffers psychotic break as his “presidential campaign” unravels, Bill Palmer, July 20, 2020. Earlier today we brought you the news that Kanye West, shown above, had produced precisely zero signatures to get his name on the ballot in South Carolina by the deadline, meaning he won’t be on the ballot in the state. This came after Kanye held a “campaign rally” in the state and spent much of the time ranting incoherently and crying.

bill palmer report logo headerWhether Kanye understands it or not, he’s not actually running for president. The media shouldn’t be covering his imaginary “campaign” as if it were a real campaign. Instead we should be talking about Kanye getting the psychological help he needs. Tonight he’s suffering some kind of psychotic break on Twitter that has us worried about his safety.

Right now Kanye West is tweeting things like this at his mother-in-law Kris Jenner: “Kriss don’t play with me you and that calmye are not allowed around my children Ya’ll tried to lock me up.” He tweeted this about his wife Kim Kardashian: “Kim was trying to fly to Wyoming with a doctor to lock me up like on the movie Get Out because I cried about saving my daughters life yesterday.” He also tweeted random search results for Halle Berry and Jennifer Lawrence for no apparent reason. He claimed that “NBC locked up Bill Cosby.” He’s now in the process of deleting some of the tweets in question.

Again, we urge the media to stop indulging Kanye West by treating his mental breakdown as if it were a real presidential campaign. This poor guy needs professional help. We hope he gets it.

Palmer Report, Opinion: The Lincoln Project just destroyed Lindsey Graham, Bill Palmer, July 20, 2020. When Donald Trump tweeted a photo of himself wearing a mask today, Lindsey Graham bill palmer report logo headerposted a tweet congratulating him for it. At the time, Palmer Report opined that it was like watching a babysitter congratulating a toddler for finally pooping in the toilet after months of having crapped all over everything. It turns out we weren’t the only ones who saw it that way.

The Lincoln Project destroyed Lindsey Graham with this tweet:

It turns out @realDonaldTrump does have a White House pet.

— The Lincoln Project (@ProjectLincoln) July 20, 2020

World News

washington post logoWashington Post, The lights go out on Lebanon’s economy as financial collapse accelerates, Liz Sly, July 20, 2020 (print ed.).An oasis of prosperity and relative stability during the past decade of Middle East turmoil, Lebanon is facing an economic implosion as its government, its banks and its citizens run out of foreign currency simultaneously.

“You can expect that if violence continues in other parts of the country, the president has made no secret of the fact that he expects us where we can cooperate or have jurisdiction to step forward and expand our policing efforts there to bring down the level of violence,” Cuccinelli said in an interview Sunday.

Palmer Report, Opinion: Joe Biden just dropped the hammer, Bill Palmer, July 20, 2020. Several days ago we brought you the news that Joe Biden, as the presumptive 2020 Democratic nominee for President, had begun receiving presidential security briefings. This meant that Biden was about to learn what all was going on behind the scenes in terms of foreign election interference.

bill palmer report logo headerTo the surprise of no one, it turns out Russia is once again looking to meddle in the presidential election. But here’s where it gets interesting. Joe Biden released a hard hitting statement this evening, vowing that if he wins, he’ll harshly punish Russia or any other nation that tried to meddle with the election. Biden is talking about sanctions and other retaliatory measures that could crush the economy of any offending nation.

This is notable because, as the polls currently stand, Joe Biden is very likely to become President. Even if various foreign nations try to meddle in the election on Donald Trump’s behalf, the odds are that it wouldn’t be enough to put Trump over the top.

 

July 19

Top Stories

2020 U.S. Elections, Politics

Virus Victims, Responses

 U.S. Law, Courts, Protests

More On 2020 U.S. Politics, Race

  • New York Times, 2 Republican Senators Post Photos of Elijah Cummings in John Lewis Tributes
  • Washington Post, Opinion: A civil rights giant passes the baton, Michele L. Norris
  • Washington Post, Opinion: John Lewis practiced what he preached. We are a better nation for it, Jonathan Capehart
  • Washington Post, Editorial: How John Lewis caught the conscience of the nation, Editorial Board
  • Washington Post, How to remember John Lewis, Eugene Robinson

 

Top Storiescovad 19 photo.jpg Custom 2

washington post logoWashington Post, Administration opposes new funds for testing, tracing, and CDC in virus relief bill, Erica Werner and Jeff Stein, July 19, 2020 (print ed.). The White House stance has angered some GOP senators, officials said, and some lawmakers hope to ensure that the money stays in the bill.

The Trump administration is trying to block billions of dollars for states to conduct testing and contact tracing in the upcoming coronavirus relief bill, people involved in the talks said Saturday.

USTR seal Custom 2The administration is also trying to block billions of dollars that GOP senators want to allocate for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and billions more for the Pentagon and State Department to address the pandemic at home and abroad, the people said.

The administration’s posture has angered some GOP senators, the officials said, and some lawmakers are trying to push back and ensure that the money stays in the bill. The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to reveal confidential deliberations, cautioned that the talks were fluid and the numbers were in flux.

The negotiations center around a bill Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is preparing to unveil this coming week as part of negotiations with Democrats on what will likely be the last major coronavirus relief bill before the November election.

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump declines to say whether he’ll accept Nov. election results, Felicia Sonmez, July 19, 2020. In an interview on “Fox News Sunday,” he claimed without evidence that mail-in voting could “rig” the outcome of the election.

In a wide-ranging interview with “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace, the president also continued to play down the severity of the coronavirus crisis in the country, declined to say whether he is offended by the Confederate flag and dismissed polls showing him trailing former vice president Joe Biden by a significant margin.

The interview comes as the 2020 campaign has been upended by the pandemic, which has claimed more than 137,000 lives in the United States. Most in-person events have been canceled, and both political parties are planning to hold smaller-scale conventions to limit the spread of the virus.

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump demands payroll tax cut while GOP eyes benefit cuts for unemployed, Jeff Stein and Erica Werner, July 19, 2020. One scenario would cut benefits back from $600-per-week to between $200 and $400.

djt hands up mouth open CustomPresident Trump sought to draw a hard line on the coronavirus relief bill Sunday, saying it must include a payroll tax cut and liability protections for businesses, as lawmakers prepare to plunge into negotiations over unemployment benefits and other key provisions in coming days.

“I would consider not signing it if we don’t have a payroll tax cut,” Trump said in an interview on “Fox News Sunday.” Democrats strongly oppose a payroll tax cut, and some Republicans have been cool to it, but Trump said “a lot of Republicans like it.”

Trump also said “we do need some kind of immunity” in the bill. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has repeatedly insisted the legislation must include liability protections for businesses, health-care providers, schools and others. Democrats oppose this, too.

ny times logoNew York Times, Inside Trump’s Failure: The Rush to Abandon Leadership Role on the Virus, Michael D. Shear, Noah Weiland, Eric Lipton, Maggie Haberman and David E. Sanger, July 19, 2020 (print ed.). Beginning in mid-April, the White House embraced overly rosy projections to proclaim victory and move on, a Times investigation found. Even amid a chorus of warnings, President Trump and a small group of aides pushed responsibility for the fight against the pandemic to the states.

Each morning at 8 as the coronavirus crisis was raging in April, Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, convened a small group of aides to steer the administration through what had become a public health, economic and political disaster.

Seated around Mr. Meadows’s conference table and on a couch in his office down the hall from the Oval Office, they saw their immediate role as practical problem solvers. Produce more ventilators. Find more personal protective equipment. Provide more testing.

But their ultimate goal was to shift responsibility for leading the fight against the pandemic from the White House to the states. They referred to this as “state authority handoff,” and it was at the heart of what would become at once a catastrophic policy blunder and an attempt to escape blame for a crisis that had engulfed the country — perhaps one of the greatest failures of presidential leadership in generations.

Over a critical period beginning in mid-April, President Trump and his team convinced themselves that the outbreak was fading, that they had given state governments all the resources they needed to contain its remaining “embers” and that it was time to ease up on the lockdown.

washington post logoWashington Post, Live Updates: U.S. daily records fall repeatedly as virus’s spread continues unabated, Derek Hawkins and Hannah Knowles, July 19, 2020 (print ed.). Twenty states and Puerto Rico are reporting seven-day averages in coronavirus deaths that are more than 25 percent greater than at the end of June, another sign that the surge in fatalities, which health officials warned was coming, has arrived — and will only intensify in the coming weeks.

Arizona on Saturday reported a single-day high in new deaths, as North Carolina, Georgia, Wisconsin and Missouri announced record-high new cases. A day earlier, the country set another record for daily coronavirus infections, with states reporting a combined 76,403 new confirmed cases — more than double the amount the country was reporting daily during the initial surge of cases in the spring.

Here are some other significant developments:

The Toronto Blue Jays said they are “in the process of finalizing the best home location for the remainder of the 2020 season” after the Canadian government barred the team from playing home games at their ballpark in Toronto amid concerns about the coronavirus. The announcement comes just days before Opening Day in Major League Baseball; the Blue Jays’s home opener is July 29 against the visiting Washington Nationals.

The Food and Drug Administration on Saturday reissued an emergency use authorization to Quest Diagnostics for a coronavirus test to be used in pool testing, which involves combining samples from several people and testing them all at once. If the batch comes out positive, then the patients would be retested individually, But if the batch is negative, everyone is cleared. It is the latest effort by the FDA to conduct testing faster while conserving resources as cases rise. The test, known as an RT-PCR test, is a fast and widely used method for detecting genetic material from the virus.

A federal appeals court blocked a lower-court ruling that would have allowed the Republican Party of Texas to proceed with its planned in-person convention in downtown Houston. Mayor Sylvester Turner (D) said the event poses too great a health risk with infections in the area spiraling out of control. “In the middle of a pandemic, the doors remain locked,” Sylvester said of the appeals court’s decision.

New guidelines in California will bar schools in 32 hot-spot counties from reopening in the fall unless they meet strict standards for preventing the spread of the coronavirus. In Iowa, Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) said the state’s schools must resume in-person instruction.

washington post logoWashington Post, Analysis: John Lewis harnessed his history to be a moral compass for both parties, Paul Kane, July 19, 2020. Obama, McConnell, Pence and others pay tribute to Lewis. Through biography and his own charm, the civil rights leader and congressman cast the type of long shadow that every Oval Office occupant — except President Trump — felt comfortable sitting under.

john lewis officialPresident Barack Obama headed inside the Capitol for the traditional bipartisan luncheon that follows every inauguration when someone handed him a copy of their ticket to the history-making event and asked for his autograph.

“It’s because of you, John,” the first black American president wrote to Rep. John Lewis on Jan. 20, 2009.

Lewis, who died Friday night after a six-month battle with pancreatic cancer, had that kind of moral clout in a Capitol that increasingly lacks a true compass. The words “civil rights icon” became synonymous with Lewis over his nearly 34 years in Congress, always harking back to his days leading marches in the 1960s as a top lieutenant in the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s team.

Lewis harnessed his own history, beaten by state troopers in Selma, Ala., as he and other peaceful protesters tried to march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, and turned it into a moral calling on Capitol Hill. Every year, he led dozens of members of Congress to a weekend pilgrimage to Selma that served as an educational retreat to learn of the civil rights struggle and culminated with a soul-replenishing trip with Lewis across the bridge where he had nearly died in 1965.

2020 U.S. Elections, Politics

washington post logoWashington Post, Poll: Biden leads by double digits as pandemic takes toll on Trump, Dan Balz and Scott Clement, July 19, 2020. Joe Biden is more trusted on pandemic, race relations, crime and safety, according to a Post-ABC News poll.

joe biden 2020 button CustomPresident Trump faces a significant challenge in his bid to win reelection in November, with former vice president Joe Biden holding a double-digit lead nationally and the president’s approval ratings crumbling amid a spreading coronavirus pandemic and a weakened economy, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll.

The survey portrays an embattled president whose fortunes have declined markedly since the coronavirus arrived in the United States months ago. Trump’s prospects for winning in November appear to depend heavily on his ability to rally an enthusiastic core base of supporters and on convincing a broader swath of a largely skeptical public that he is dealing effectively with the pandemic.

Biden leads Trump 55 percent to 40 percent among registered voters. That compares with a 10-point Biden lead in May and a two-point edge in March, at a time when the pandemic was just beginning to spread rapidly in parts of the country. Among those who say they are certain to vote, Biden’s lead stands at 11 points.

washington post logoWashington Post, From ‘Sleepy Joe’ to destroyer of ‘American way of life,’ Trump’s attacks on Biden make dystopian shift, Michael Scherer and Josh Dawsey, July 19, 2020 (print ed.). joe biden shirtsleevesPresident Trump has launched a slash-and-burn campaign against an exaggerated caricature of his Democratic opponent, casting former vice president Joe Biden as a destroyer of basic freedoms and a threat to voters’ safety who would “let terrorists roam free” and “abolish the American way of life.”

His new dystopian vision, with militant and extreme language not typical in American politics, marks a sharp departure from Trump’s previous effort to cast Biden as “Sleepy Joe,” an establishment politician with deteriorating mental abilities. It marks the latest effort, orchestrated by Trump’s advisers, to shift the conversation from rising coronavirus infections and deteriorating public support for the president’s pandemic response.

In new advertising, tweets and public statements that began to appear earlier this month, Trump has argued that the presumptive Democratic nominee, right, is a harbinger of chaos and destruction, depicting a fantastical scarecrow largely divorced from reality.

Palmer Report, Opinion: Donald Trump is having a really terrible day, Shirley Kennedy, July 19, 2020. At least there is some good news in politics today: Donald Trump’s approval rating continues to tank as his disapproval rating has moved to 61%. Politico reported on two polls: NBC News/Wall Street Journal and Quinnipac University. We know we cannot rely fully on polls, but they do give us some guidelines. At least we do not pretend they mean nothing, as Trump’s campaign does. The Trump campaign believes the polling numbers mean little because “Trump runs stronger” if Biden is “defined.”

bill palmer report logo headerIf you have been watching television lately, you have seen the Trump’s campaign ads that “define” Biden. One of these commercials alleges that Biden is the reason black people are in jail, and the other claims that Biden wants to defund the police. Both are ludicrous. Trump made the mistake of submitting to an interview with Chris Wallace, who is a real journalist unlike the talking heads to whom Trump typically grants interviews.

As soon as the words that Biden wants to defund the police were out of Trump’s mouth, Chris Wallace said, “No, sir. He does not.” Wallace further stated that Fox never received the alleged evidence that the Biden-Sanders platform called for defunding police, “Because there is none.” One might think Trump would tire of being repeatedly embarrassed, but that seemed to be the least of his worries during the Wallace interview, as he continued to claim that Biden is senile, Fauci is wrong, and more white than black people have been killed by police. All these ridiculous claims have failed to help Trump.

republican elephant logoAs Trump’s campaign continues its quest to “define” Joe Biden, Politico correctly points out that Biden is becoming more defined, but not in the way the Trump campaign wishes. For example, Politico discussed Biden’s approval numbers. Last week’s Quinnipac poll shows Biden with a 45% favorable rating, which is up from the June rating of 42%. Similarly, the NBC News/WSJ poll resulted in a 44% approval rating for Biden, up from 37%. Biden is becoming more defined—in a positive way. At the same time, Trump’s net unfavorable ratings—61% (Quinnipac) and 54% (NBC/WSJ)—are telling. The numbers for both candidates can be linked directly to coronavirus and its unabated spread throughout the country.

Trump still claims that if we test less, we will have fewer cases, continuing to downplay the virus in the face of over 140,000 deaths. Wallace debunked that as well, telling Trump that “testing is up 37% and cases are up 194%.” AZ Central said that through Wallace, Fox News “finally gave Americans the Donald Trump interview they deserve.” Now, it is up to us to give Americans a president we deserve.

Virus Victims, Responses

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: I’m a GOP governor. Why didn’t Trump help my state with coronavirus testing? Larry Hogan, right, July 19, 2020 (print ed.). Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) says that President Trump (shown in a recent file photo with heavy make-up) played down the severity of the coronavirus outbreak, leaving states to come up with their own testing strategies and supplies.

larry hogan o headshot CustomMy wife, Yumi, and I stood on the tarmac, waiting in cloth masks, on the morning of April 18. Finally, a Boeing 777 landed and taxied to the far corner of Baltimore-Washington International Marshall Airport. It was the first Korean Air flight ever to land at BWI, but it didn’t have a single passenger aboard. The crew of five had flown 14 hours, straight from Seoul.

The plane was filled with 500,000 test kits for my state, where the coronavirus had already infected 12,308 Marylanders and killed 463 of them. The numbers were still climbing, and we would never be able to contain them without mass testing. “Anybody that wants a test can get a test,” President Trump had declared the previous month. In reality, only 2,252 Americans had been tested at that point in March. Across the country, my fellow governors were desperately pleading for help on testing. But in early April, Trump said it was the states’ job.

Yumi was born and raised in South Korea, a country that had, by then, erected a well-coordinated testing regime. So, with nowhere else to turn, Yumi and I asked President Moon Jae-in for help. He arranged the sale of a half-million test kits from LabGenomics, one of the world’s leading medical testing firms, for $9 million. It was a bargain considering the $2.8 billion in revenue we projected the pandemic would cost Maryland.

republican elephant logoNow the kits had arrived. The crew members came down together, walked over and stopped six feet away. Yumi bowed, and the crew bowed in return. Following their lead, so did I. Then a caravan of Maryland National Guard trucks escorted by the Maryland State Police drove the tests from the airport to a refrigerated, secure warehouse at an undisclosed location. The federal government had recently seized 3 million N95 masks purchased by Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker. We weren’t going to let Washington stop us from helping Marylanders.

This should not have been necessary. I’d watched as the president downplayed the outbreak’s severity and as the White House failed to issue public warnings, draw up a 50-state strategy, or dispatch medical gear or lifesaving ventilators from the national stockpile to American hospitals. Eventually, it was clear that waiting around for the president to run the nation’s response was hopeless; if we delayed any longer, we’d be condemning more of our citizens to suffering and death. So every governor went their own way, which is how the United States ended up with such a patchwork response. I did the best I could for Maryland. Here’s what we saw and heard from Washington along the way.

washington post logoWashington Post, L.A. mayor warns city ‘on the brink’ of new stay-home order, Derek Hawkins and Felicia Sonmez, July 19, 2020. With coronavirus cases rising across the country and the U.S. death toll topping 137,000, President Trump on Sunday dismissed concerns about the spike in infections, telling Fox News that “many of those cases shouldn’t even be cases.”

“Many of those cases are young people that would heal in a day,” the president told Fox News host Chris Wallace in an interview. “They have the sniffles, and we put it down as a test.”

While young people make up an increasing share of new cases, the virus has affected people in all age groups. A surge of infections is driving deaths back up again after months of decline, and hospitals in hard-hit states such as Florida, Texas and Arizona are facing an influx of patients that health officials say could soon overwhelm medical systems. Nationwide, hospitalizations were on track to exceed their previous peak of roughly 60,000, reached in the pandemic’s early months.

Trump’s remarks came after another week of grim data highlighting the uncontrolled spread of the virus. Infections rose in states from every region of the country, with more than a dozen states on Saturday reaching record highs in their seven-day averages for new daily cases.

ny times logoNew York Times, Editorial: Doing Schoolwork in the Parking Lot Is Not a Solution, Editorial Board, July 19, 2020 (print ed.). In a pandemic-plagued country, high-speed internet connections are a civil rights issue. When Autumn Lee, a pre-med junior at the University of New Mexico, needs to download lectures or class assignments, she hops in her car and drives 45 minutes to the McDonald’s nearest to her town of Sanders, Ariz., to connect to reliable Wi-Fi from her car.

After the university sent students home because of the coronavirus pandemic, Ms. Lee grew frustrated with what she said is expensive and data-restricted internet service in Sanders, an unincorporated village of fewer than 1,000 people in eastern Arizona. Relying on her smartphone data plan wasn’t much of an alternative. “It took one or two hours to watch a 20-minute lecture,” she said. “I just got so frustrated, I figured there had to be another way.” So she made the 40-mile trek several times each week — and she’ll likely have to keep doing it now that the school has canceled nearly all in-person classes for the fall.

Like Ms. Lee, many other Americans sheltering from Covid-19 are discovering the limitations of the country’s cobbled-together broadband service. Schooling, jobs, government services, medical care and child care that once were performed in person have been turned over to the web, exposing a deep rift between the broadband haves and have-nots.

Those rifts are poised to turn into chasms, as the global pandemic threatens another year of in-person schooling for American children. Large public-school districts like Los Angeles and Prince George’s County in Maryland, as well as a variety of colleges and universities, from Hampton to Harvard to Scripps, have canceled in-school instruction at the start of the coming year. Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday announced rules that would require the vast majority of schools in California to begin the year remotely, meaning millions of pupils will need a reliable internet connection throughout the day for instruction. Additional districts that are going online only at the start of the year include Nashville, Houston and Atlanta.

washington post logoWashington Post, ‘I’m scared’: Black people — many of them immigrants — make up less than 2 percent of Maine’s population but almost a quarter of its coronavirus cases, Maria Sacchetti, July 19, 2020. Immigrants and refugees help power Maine, America’s oldest and whitest state, by picking blueberries, packing meat and tending to the elderly far from the fancy resorts on Vacationland’s rocky coast.

But in a state that has one of the lowest rates of coronavirus infections, a pattern has emerged: Black Mainers — many of them immigrants — have been infected at disproportionate rates, accounting for approximately 23 percent of the cases in a state where they are less than 2 percent of the population.

washington post logoWashington Post, First Person Fears: ‘No mask, no entry. Is that clear enough? That seems pretty clear, right?’ Lori Wagoner, As told to Eli Saslow, July 19, 2020. A 63-year-old asthmatic store clerk wonders what she should do when she sees customers who are violating her state’s mask mandate and putting her life at risk.

washington post logoWashington Post, Live Updates: Halfway through the year, the pandemic is only intensifying in many states, Hannah Knowles, Derek Hawkins and Jacqueline Dupree, July 19, 2020. With coronavirus cases rising across the country and the U.S. death toll topping 137,000, President Trump on Sunday dismissed concerns about the surge of infections, telling Fox News that “many of those cases shouldn’t even be cases.”

“Many of those cases are young people that would heal in a day,” the president told Fox News host Chris Wallace in an interview. “They have the sniffles and we put it down as a test.”

Coronavirus infections rose in states from every region of the country over the past week, with more than a dozen states on Saturday reaching record highs in their seven-day averages for new daily cases.

Georgia, Missouri, Wisconsin, North Carolina and Kentucky reported new single-day case records on Saturday, while states from Vermont to North Dakota to Oregon showed significant increases in their weekly averages, according to tracking by The Washington Post.

More than 20 states are reporting seven-day averages in coronavirus-related deaths that are higher than at the end of June, underscoring the turnaround since May and June, when deaths declined nationally — which Trump had touted as a sign of progress.

Here are some other significant developments.

  • The Trump administration is trying to block billions of dollars for states to conduct testing and contact tracing in an upcoming coronavirus relief bill, people involved in the talks said Saturday. The administration is also trying to block billions that GOP senators want to allocate for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the people said.
  • A growing number of Americans disapprove of Trump’s handling of the pandemic. Currently, 38 percent approve of his handling, and 60 percent disapprove.
  • A study from South Korea could bolster those who argue that reopening classrooms in much of the United States is too risky, suggesting that while children under 10 are less likely to spread the coronavirus, those between ages 10 and 19 will spread it similarly to adults.
  • Georgia’s presentation of its coronavirus data is again under scrutiny, with a viral tweet pointing out how the color-coding of a government map has evolved. At the beginning of the month, for instance, a county needed at least 5,959 coronavirus cases to be colored red in the state’s map of the outbreak. Now, a county needs at least 9,597 — with the result that no other county has newly joined the four that have been colored red since July 1, even as the state’s cases have jumped by more than 37 percent in that period.

U.S. Law, Courts, Protests

washington post logoWashington Post, Oregon sues federal agencies for allegedly violating protesters’ rights, Emily Gillespie and Rachel Siegel, July 19, 2020. The legal action comes after days of intensifying clashes between the Trump administration and Portland officials, who have accused federal agencies of heavy-handed tactics that inflame unrest and threaten citizens.

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Trump’s agents are sweeping peaceful citizens off the streets. This is not America, Ruth Marcus, right, July 19, 2020 (print ed.). Something terrible, something dangerous — ruth marcus twitter Customand, yes, something unconstitutional — is happening in Portland, Ore. It must be stopped.

“Federal law enforcement officers have been using unmarked vehicles to drive around downtown Portland and detain protesters since at least July 14,” reports Oregon Public Broadcasting. “Personal accounts and multiple videos posted online show the officers driving up to people, detaining individuals with no explanation of why they are being arrested, and driving off.”

The report continues: “The tactic appears to be another escalation in federal force deployed on Portland city streets, as federal officials and President Donald Trump have said they plan to ‘quell’ nightly protests outside the federal courthouse and Multnomah County Justice Center that have lasted for more than six weeks.”

More On 2020 U.S. Politics, Race, Lewis

ny times logomarco rubio official.jpg SmallNew York Times, 2 Republican Senators Post Photos of Elijah Cummings in John Lewis Tributes, Christina Morales, July 18, 2020. Marco Rubio and Dan Sullivan were each trying to honor Mr. Lewis on social media when they mistakenly posted photos of Mr. Cummings, a Black congressman who died in October. Senator Marco Rubio later acknowledged having used an incorrect photo in a Twitter tribute to Representative John Lewis, who died on Friday.

Like thousands of other Americans, Senators Marco Rubio, right, and Dan Sullivan took to social media on Saturday to mourn the death of Representative John Lewis, a venerated figure of the civil rights movement.

“It was an honor to know & be blessed with the opportunity to serve in Congress with John Lewis a genuine & historic American hero,” Mr. Rubio said in a tweet on Saturday afternoon. “May the Lord grant him eternal peace.”

Except the photo Mr. Rubio posted was not of Mr. Lewis, but of another congressman: Representative Elijah E. Cummings, who died in October. Mr. Rubio also used the photo of himself with Mr. Cummings as his Twitter profile picture for a brief time.

Mr. Sullivan, Republican of Alaska, also memorialized Mr. Lewis with a photo of Mr. Cummings. In the picture he posted to his Facebook account, Mr. Sullivan is standing beside Mr. Cummings in front of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington.

“Congressman Lewis’ courage and principled leadership helped guide America through one of the most challenging periods in its history, calling our country to live up to its ideals with justice and equality for all people regardless of color and creed,” Mr. Sullivan wrote.

  • Washington Post, Opinion: A civil rights giant passes the baton, Michele L. Norris
  • Washington Post, Opinion: John Lewis practiced what he preached. We are a better nation for it, Jonathan Capehart
  • Washington Post, Editorial: How John Lewis caught the conscience of the nation, Editorial Board

 

July 18

Top Stories

U.S. Law, Courts, Protests

Virus Victims, Responses

2020 U.S. Elections, Politics

World News

 

Top Storiescovad 19 photo.jpg Custom 2

washington post logoWashington Post, Live Updates: U.S. daily records fall repeatedly as virus’s spread continues unabated, Derek Hawkins and Hannah Knowles, July 18, 2020. Twenty states and Puerto Rico are reporting seven-day averages in coronavirus deaths that are more than 25 percent greater than at the end of June, another sign that the surge in fatalities, which health officials warned was coming, has arrived — and will only intensify in the coming weeks.

Arizona on Saturday reported a single-day high in new deaths, as North Carolina, Georgia, Wisconsin and Missouri announced record-high new cases. A day earlier, the country set another record for daily coronavirus infections, with states reporting a combined 76,403 new confirmed cases — more than double the amount the country was reporting daily during the initial surge of cases in the spring.

Here are some other significant developments:

The Toronto Blue Jays said they are “in the process of finalizing the best home location for the remainder of the 2020 season” after the Canadian government barred the team from playing home games at their ballpark in Toronto amid concerns about the coronavirus. The announcement comes just days before Opening Day in Major League Baseball; the Blue Jays’s home opener is July 29 against the visiting Washington Nationals.

The Food and Drug Administration on Saturday reissued an emergency use authorization to Quest Diagnostics for a coronavirus test to be used in pool testing, which involves combining samples from several people and testing them all at once. If the batch comes out positive, then the patients would be retested individually, But if the batch is negative, everyone is cleared. It is the latest effort by the FDA to conduct testing faster while conserving resources as cases rise. The test, known as an RT-PCR test, is a fast and widely used method for detecting genetic material from the virus.

A federal appeals court blocked a lower-court ruling that would have allowed the Republican Party of Texas to proceed with its planned in-person convention in downtown Houston. Mayor Sylvester Turner (D) said the event poses too great a health risk with infections in the area spiraling out of control. “In the middle of a pandemic, the doors remain locked,” Sylvester said of the appeals court’s decision.

New guidelines in California will bar schools in 32 hot-spot counties from reopening in the fall unless they meet strict standards for preventing the spread of the coronavirus. In Iowa, Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) said the state’s schools must resume in-person instruction.

washington post logoWashington Post, It’s not only coronavirus cases that are rising. Now covid deaths are, too, Griff Witte and Ben Guarino, July 18, 2020 (print ed.). For weeks this summer, it was a seeming paradox of the coronavirus pandemic: cases in the United States were rising but deaths were falling.

To the Trump administration, this was evidence that its strategy for combating covid-19 was working. To medical experts, it was only a matter of time before the trajectory changed.

And now it has. Nationwide, deaths have begun to rise again. In some of the worst-hit states, especially across the South and the West, new death records are being set daily. As a virus-scarred summer wears on, public health specialists say the numbers are almost certain to continue to climb.

“Even if we could magically lock everyone in their room and no one transmits to anyone, we would still be seeing an increase in deaths for the next several weeks,” said Catherine Troisi, an epidemiologist with UTHealth School of Public Health in Houston.

That grim assessment came as the United States on Friday set another record for total cases, with more than 76,000 — including a new high of nearly 15,000 in Texas alone.

More than 900 people died, matching a death count of recent days that has consistently hovered just below 1,000. That is well beneath the toll during the virus’s most devastating stretch, in April, when 2,000 or more people were dying daily nationwide. But it is also well above the totals earlier this month, when the average number of daily deaths dropped below 500.

More than 136,000 people in the United States have died of covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

The recent increase in fatalities follows a nationwide surge in cases that has brought the country record numbers of new infections. Public health experts have long said that the death count is a lagging indicator — with patients typically taking two to three weeks after diagnosis to succumb — and that the number of new deaths would inevitably follow the case count higher.

ny times logojohn lewis officialNew York Times, John Lewis, Towering Figure of Civil Rights Era, Dies at 80, Katharine Q. Seelye, Updated July 18, 2020. On the front lines of the bloody campaign to end Jim Crow laws, with injuries to prove it, Mr. Lewis was a stalwart of the civil rights movement. In 1986, he was elected to the House, where he became known for his relentless pursuit of justice. Colleagues called him “the conscience of the Congress.” 

Representative John Lewis, right, a son of sharecroppers and an apostle of nonviolence who was bloodied at Selma and across the Jim Crow South in the historic struggle for racial equality and who then carried a mantle of moral authority into Congress, died on Friday. He was 80.

His death was confirmed by a senior Democratic official.

He announced on Dec. 29 that he had Stage 4 pancreatic cancer and vowed to fight it with the same passion with which he had battled racial injustice. “I have been in some kind of fight — for freedom, equality, basic human rights — for nearly my entire life,” he said.

On the front lines of the bloody campaign to end Jim Crow laws, with blows to his body and a fractured skull to prove it, Mr. Lewis was a valiant stalwart of the civil rights movement and the last surviving speaker at the historic March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963.

More than a half-century later, after the killing in May of George Floyd, a Black man in police custody in Minneapolis, Mr. Lewis welcomed the resulting global demonstrations against systemic racism and the police killings of Black people. He saw those demonstrations, the largest protest movement in American history, as a continuation of his life’s work, though his illness had left him to watch from the sideline.

ny times logoNew York Times, U.S. Reports a Record 75,600 New Daily Cases, Staff reports, July 18, 2020 (print ed.). The number has more than doubled since June 24, when the country registered 37,014 cases after a lull in the outbreak. As cases have soared, more than half the states have enacted mask orders. Here’s the latest.

State and local leaders issued dire warnings on Thursday as new case reports in the United States surged above 75,000 nationwide for the first time and as deaths continued to trend upward.

“If you do the math, it is easy to see why the alarm,” said Barbara Ferrer, the public health director in Los Angeles County, Calif. With community spread rampant, she warned that the more than 4,000 new cases the county registered on Thursday “could lead to over 18,000 infected people in a few weeks.”

“And this is just from one day of new cases,” Dr. Ferrer said. “Without aggressive action on the part of every person, we will not get back to slowing the spread.”

More than 75,600 cases were reported on Thursday, according to a New York Times database, the 11th time in the past month that the U.S. daily record was broken. The previous single-day record, 68,241 cases, was announced last Friday.Four states — Idaho, Nevada, Oregon and Texas — set single-day case records on Thursday. And three states set single-day death records on Thursday — Florida, South Carolina and Texas — with Florida and Texas alone combining for more than 300. 

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump faces distrust, rising disapproval on virus, poll finds, Scott Clement and Dan Balz, July 18, 2020 (print ed.). As cases rise across the country, a Washington Post-ABC News poll found that the president is disconnected from the public on key issues. Americans’ views of President Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic have deteriorated djt smiling filesignificantly as cases rise across the country and personal fears of becoming infected persist, a Washington Post-ABC News poll finds.

The Post-ABC poll shows 38 percent of Americans approve of his handling of the outbreak, down from 46 percent in May and 51 percent in March. Sixty percent disapprove, up from 53 percent in May and 45 percent in March.

More than half of the public — 52 percent — now disapproves “strongly” of Trump’s handling of the outbreak, roughly double the percentage who say they strongly approve of his efforts and an increase from 36 percent in strong disapproval since March.

U.S. President Trump, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak meet at the White House on May 10, 2017. U. S. media were forbidden access by Trump's team permitted Russian media access (Tass Photo).

U.S. President Trump, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak exchange pleasantries at the White House on May 10, 2017. U. S. media were forbidden access by Trump's team permitted Russian media access (Tass Photo).

washington post logoWashington Post, Biden warns Russia, China are meddling in U.S. election, Matt Viser, July 18, 2020 (print ed.). Joe Biden, citing intelligence briefings that he is now receiving, warned Friday night that Russia and China were both actively engaged in trying to sow doubt in the American electoral system.

joe biden headshot“We know from before and I guarantee you I know now because now I get briefings again,” the presumptive Democratic nominee said during an evening fundraiser. “The Russians are still engaged in trying to delegitimize our electoral process. Fact.”

“China and others are engaged as well in activities that are designed for us to lose confidence in the outcome,” he added.

democratic donkey logoBiden has warned in the past about Russian interference, but it was perhaps the former vice president’s bluntest warning to date about a potential replay of the 2016 election.

The U.S. government in recent weeks has started briefing the presidential campaigns and the national parties about election threats from foreign adversaries, The Washington Post reported last month. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence is spearheading the effort, and National Counterintelligence and Security Center Director William Evanina is leading the briefings.

U.S. Law, Courts, Protests

washington post logoWashington Post, Portland officials decry aggressive tactics of federal agents in their city, Emily Gillespie, Devlin Barrett, Katie Shepherd and Mark Berman, July 18, 2020 (print ed.). City officials demanded the Trump administration remove what they described as heavy-handed federal agents who have been grabbing protesters off the streets.

Department of Defense SealCity officials on Friday demanded the Trump administration remove what they called a heavy-handed army of federal agents who have been grabbing protesters off the streets — tactics that federal officials defended as legal and necessary to quell ongoing unrest.

The fight between the White House and the left-leaning city government intensified Friday amid videos and firsthand accounts of mysterious federal agents driving around in unmarked rental minivans and detaining protesters.

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler referred to the federal agents as Trump’s “personal army” and said they should leave the city.

us dhs big eagle logo4“This is part of a coordinated strategy of Trump’s White House to use federal troops to bolster his sagging polling data, and it is an absolute abuse of federal law enforcement officials,” Wheeler said. “As we were starting to see things de-escalate, their actions last Saturday night and every night since have actually ratcheted up the tension on our streets.”

Portland, a city with a long history of clashes between protesters and law enforcement, has been gripped for roughly 50 days by unrest since the death of George Floyd after he was arrested by police in Minneapolis. While other cities saw flashes of such conflict, Portland’s clashes have been more intense and persistent.

Acting secretary of homeland security Chad Wolf traveled to Portland this week to supervise the federal actions there, and he sharply criticized local law enforcement for not getting tough with “violent anarchists.” Wolf told Fox News on Thursday night that he offered law enforcement assistance to the mayor and local leaders but was asked to “pack up and go home,” which he said is “just not going to happen on my watch.”

One widely shared video showed two men in military garb on the street at night taking a young man wearing all black into custody. On the video, the two agents do not answer shouted questions before putting the man into an unmarked minivan and driving away.

One protester, 29-year-old Mark Pettibone, described being grabbed by several men in green military fatigues and generic “police” patches on their clothing in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Pettibone said he did not know whether the men were police or far-right extremists, who frequently don militarylike outfits and harass left-leaning protesters in Portland.

ny times logoNew York Times, Ginsburg Says Her Cancer Has Returned, but Is ‘Fully Able’ to Remain on Court, Adam Liptak, July 18, 2020 (print ed.). The justice announced she had begun chemotherapy in May after the discovery of a lesion on her liver. ustice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said Friday that she had had a recurrence of cancer, but had been undergoing chemotherapy that had shown “positive results” and would remain on the court.

“I have often said I would remain a member of the court as long as I can do the job full steam,” she said in a statement issued by the Supreme Court. “I remain fully able to do that.”

Justice Ginsburg, left, who is 87, said she had begun a course of chemotherapy on May 19, after “a periodic scan in February followed by a biopsy revealed lesions on my liver.”

ruth bader ginsburg scotus“Immunotherapy first essayed proved unsuccessful,” she said. “The chemotherapy course, however, is yielding positive results. Satisfied that my treatment course is now clear, I am providing this information.”

She said a scan this month showed the liver lesions had been significantly reduced. “I am tolerating chemotherapy well and am encouraged by the success of my current treatment,” she said.

Justice Ginsburg is the senior member of the court’s four-member liberal wing. Were she to leave the court, President Trump would have the opportunity to nominate a third justice, joining Justices Neil M. Gorsuch and Brett M. Kavanaugh. A successful nomination would almost certainly move the court further to the right.

Justice Ginsburg has had surgery for lung cancer and radiation treatment for pancreatic cancer in recent years. She has also had surgery for early-stage pancreatic cancer in 2009 and treatment for colon cancer in 1999.

Goya Foods President and CEO Robert Unanue, applauds, as President Trump signs an Executive Order on the White House Hispanic Prosperity Initiative in the Rose Garden at the White House on July 9, 2020.

Goya Foods President and CEO Robert Unanue, applauds, as President Trump signs an Executive Order on the White House Hispanic Prosperity Initiative in the Rose Garden at the White House on July 9, 2020.

NBC News, Latinos boycotting Goya say it's not about politics. It's about standing against Trump's 'hate,' Raul A. Reyes, July 18, 2020. “Puerto Ricans, Dominicans and Mexican Americans — we made that company," one former customer said. "It hurt me, coming from Goya."

When Ricardo Alvarado went grocery shopping this week, he had a list of items to buy, but he steered clear of anything from Goya Foods. “I was using their beans, but I found a different brand," he said. "I switched olive oil, too, and I bought my own spices, not theirs."

A performing artist based in New York City, Alvarado is boycotting Goya Foods. “As long as I’m helping my community, I will do my part. It’s important that we show unity and solidarity.”

The CEO of Goya Foods, Robert Unanue, plunged the company into turmoil last week when he praised President Donald Trump at an event announcing the White House Hispanic Prosperity Initiative. “We’re all truly blessed, at the same time, to have leader like President Trump who is a builder,” Unanue said.

He compared the president to his grandfather, a Spanish immigrant who founded the company in 1936.

News of Unanue’s words spread quickly, and hashtags like #Goyaway and #BoycottGoya trended on social media.

For Alvarado, boycotting Goya Foods is personal. “I know the company employs a lot of Latinos and is very charitable,” he said, “but with everything that is going on with this administration and the border, the family separations and DACA, for Goya to step up and support him [Trump] for his work just blew my mind.”

“There is so much hate against our communities,” Alvarado said. “And the face of that hate is Trump. I feel like Goya is supporting hate, by supporting Trump.”

As far back as Cesar Chavez’s boycotts of grapes during the 1970s, consumer campaigns have been a way for Latino communities to amplify their voices. But the Goya episode feels different to many Latinos, because it come at a time when the nation is politically polarized and some Latinos report feeling under siege.

ivanka trump goya pose resized july 14 2020The “Boycott Goya” movement, some Latinos say, is more about taking a stand against the president’s bigotry than about punishing a once-beloved brand.

Valerie Halsema, a teacher in Los Angeles, said that she relates to both sides of the Goya issue. “I support the boycott, but I also support his [Unanue’s] right to say what he wants. If he wants to say that, go for it," said Halsema, "but anytime you take a stance, there are consequences, and I’m not sure he was ready for it.”

Halsema noted that “where I would draw the line is death threats, harassment and people trying to totally shut someone down.” The idea of the boycott is a good one, she believes, because “Donald Trump has not exactly been a champion of people of color. He’s been so divisive. I would say I support the boycott — and free speech.”

Unanue’s comments have led to public figures like Lin Manuel-Miranda, chef José Andrés, actor John Leguizamo, former Democratic presidential hopeful Julián Castro and Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez,D-N.Y., to express support for a Goya boycott or criticize Unanue’s comments.

That led to pro-Goya tweets from Trump and his daughter Ivanka Trump (as illustrated above and below) that have kept the controversy brewing.

So far, Unanue is standing by his words. In an interview on “Fox and Friends” last week, he likened the backlash to “suppression of speech.” Speaking on “The Ingraham Angle,” he said: “We have the opportunity to either do well, or to destroy. And let’s do well.”

Host Laura Ingraham asked Unanue if he planned on apologizing for standing with Trump, and he replied: “Hell, no. Hell, no.”

Goya Foods has, in a sense, participated in a boycott itself, when the company led other corporations in withdrawing support for the Puerto Rican Day Parade in 2017. That year, parade organizers were honoring Puerto Rican nationalist Oscar López Rivera, whose sentence for seditious conspiracy was commuted by President Barack Obama.

Several national Latino advocacy groups have weighed in on Unanue’s recent remarks. In a statement Friday, the Hispanic Federation called the comments “both painful and insulting.” The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) called Unanue’s words “insensitive, calloused and disrespectful to the workers and consumers who buy Goya Foods products.”

For Melinda Colón Cox, president of the Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey, the decision to issue a statement regarding Goya Foods was complicated by the fact the company is based in her state, and the organization likely has some members with strong ties to the company.

“When an issue like this arises, we take it very seriously and we do our best to look at the full perspective of views based on the available facts,” Colón Cox said.

djt goya resized oval office Virus Victims, Responses

washington post logoWashington Post, Biden calls for flexible school openings, Matt Viser, July 18, 2020 (print ed.). The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee announced a plan for schools to reopen based on local coronavirus conditions, a contrast with President Trump’s declarations that all schools should reopen completely.

Joe Biden on Friday released a new plan on how public schools should approach reopening this school year, contrasting sharply with President Trump’s message that every school in the nation should reopen completely or risk having its funding cut.

joe biden 2020 button Customiden urged caution, saying that each district should make its own decisions based on local conditions, and that schools in areas with high infection rates should not reopen too soon. He also called on Congress to pass new emergency funding to help the schools.

The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee also released a new video, recorded from his basement in Wilmington, Del. He was joined by his wife, Jill, a longtime educator.

“This year, back to school is going to look very, very different,” Biden says in the video. “And we know how hard it’s going to be for families all across the country.”
Jill Biden adds, “Teachers are tough. But it’s wrong to endanger educators and students. We need a better plan.”

Biden argued that the federal government should develop clearer standards to help local districts decide when and how to reopen, including how low the infection rates should be, what a maximum safe class size is, and who should return to classrooms first if schools can’t accommodate all students.

democratic donkey logo“The current lack of clarity is paralyzing for schools,” the Biden plan says.

Biden also warned that without an infusion of federal funds, districts will struggle to pay for added health protections and may be forced to lay off teachers. He called on Congress to allocate emergency funding to help schools reconfigure classrooms, improve ventilation, and take other steps to allow for social distancing within their buildings.

He says he supports $58 billion in school funding, which is the amount that has been approved by the House but not the Senate, and called for at least an additional $34 billion. The Washington Post reported this week that Republicans were looking at funding of between $50 billion and $100 billion, with one person familiar with the talks saying the target was about $70 billion.

washington post logoWashington Post, Live Updates: The world’s 9 biggest brick-and-mortar retailers now require face masks in U.S. stores, Staff reports, July 18, 2020. The nine largest brick-and-mortar retail companies, which the National Retail Federation ranks based on global sales, have adopted new policies to require customers to wear masks inside U.S. stores.

covad 19 photo.jpg Custom 2Costco began enforcing masks on May 4, but two months passed before other top retailers followed suit. Walmart, Inc. seemed to have triggered a corporate landslide this week with its announcement on Wednesday that masks would be required in its namesake stores and Sam’s Club locations.

Seven more of the largest brick-and-mortar retailers in the U.S. announced similar policies within two days: Kroger, CVS Health, Walgreens, Target, Albertsons Companies (which owns Safeway, Tom Thumb, and Acme, among other brands). Lowe’s and Home Depot both announced mask requirements Friday.

Here are some significant developments:

The number of new infections reported each day is reaching dizzying new heights. On Friday, the daily U.S. caseload topped 75,000, according to data tracked by The Washington Post.
Covid-19 deaths in the United States have begun to rise again. In some of the worst-hit states, especially across the South and the West, new death records are being set daily. Public health specialists say the numbers are almost certain to continue to climb.

washington post logoWashington Post, Rancor between scientists, Trump allies threatens virus response, Philip Rucker, Laurie McGinley, Josh Dawsey and Yasmeen Abutaleb, July 18, 2020 (print ed.). This anthony fauci Customweek’s remarkable character assault by some top White House advisers on Anthony S. Fauci, right, the nation’s leading infectious-disease expert, signified President Trump’s hostility toward medical expertise and has produced a chilling effect among the government scientists and public health professionals laboring to end the pandemic, according to administration officials and health experts.

cdc logo CustomAs novel coronavirus cases surge out of control coast to coast, the open rancor between the scientific community and a White House determined above all to resuscitate the economy and secure a second term for Trump threatens to further undermine the U.S. response, which already lags behind those of many other developed nations.

A chorus of voices — including Fauci; Robert R. Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; and even Mick Mulvaney, the White House chief of staff during the start of the pandemic — has been speaking out publicly and with increasing urgency about the crisis in ways that contradict or undermine Trump. Some of them have sharply criticized testing capacities and efficiencies, suggested that everyone wear masks and warned of the virus spread worsening.

Palmer Report, Opinion: Donald Trump waves the white flag, Bill Palmer, July 18, 2020. Most polls show Donald Trump somewhere between ten and fifteen points behind Joe Biden nationwide. Trump has been behind all along, but his numbers keep getting worse. One of the big reasons is that Trump has handled the coronavirus crisis in such dishonest, negligent, deranged, and deadly fashion.

Now Trump has a plan for turning things around: he’s giving up. That’s right, Trump is simply giving up on the coronavirus crisis. This is according to one of Trump’s own advisers, who is telling the Washington Post that Trump “doesn’t want to be distracted by it.” No, really. Trump now sees a deadly pandemic as a distraction.

This of course raises the question of just what Trump is trying to avoid being distracted from. Golf? Grifting? Sitting in bed and hate-watching cable news? Whatever is going on here, Trump has decided that his best strategy going forward is to wave the white flag on the pandemic entirely, and hope that doing so is somehow the key to helping him climb out of the huge hole he’s in. What a deranged monster.

washington post logoWashington Post, Lawmakers press SBA, Treasury officials on Cares Act transparency and loan forgiveness, Aaron Gregg, July 18, 2020 (print ed.). In an oversight hearing Friday morning lawmakers pressed top federal officials for clarity on the administration’s small business bailout programs, which remain in a state of flux as coronavirus cases spike in several Southern and Southwestern states.

sba logo new Custom CustomIn just a few chaotic months after the coronavirus economic crisis set in, the SBA scaled up to process more small business assistance than in its entire 67-year history combined, SBA officials have said. But committee chairwoman Nydia Velázquez, D-NY, said the programs could have done more to address the smallest and neediest businesses. And the chaotic way in which program rules and regulations were communicated has led some borrowers and lenders to step back from the program, she said.

In prepared remarks, SBA administrator Jovita Carranza pushed back on the assertion that her agency has been less than transparent, and detailed the SBA’s efforts to better reach small and disadvantaged businesses.

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: The horror story of how the Trump administration has handled PPP loans, Colbert I. King, right, July 18, 2020 (print ed.). A Post in-depth analysis of data on $517 billion in colbert king 2003emergency small-business loans handed out by President Trump’s team at the Small Business Administration uncovered errors so numerous that White House boasts of the PPP’s economic impact are nothing more than spin and hot air.

The analysis found the SBA claimed that many companies had “retained” far more workers than they actually employed. “In some cases,” the article said, “the agency’s jobs claims for entire industries surpasses the total number of workers in those sectors.”

washington post logoWashington Post, Treasury, SBA should forgo verifying how loans were spent, Mnuchin says, Aaron Gregg, July 18, 2020 (print ed.). Lawmakers question Trump administration officials over handling of $600 billion Cares Act lending program.

steven mnuchin wTreasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, left, suggested Friday that the government should consider forgiving all taxpayer-backed small loans under the federal Paycheck Protection Program without verifying how the funds were used, a decision that could wipe away debt for millions of small businesses but would also substantially increase the risk of fraud.

The Treasury Department and Small Business Administration are grappling with how to handle millions of applications for loan forgiveness, a process that includes verifying that most of the funds were actually used to pay employees as required under the Cares Act. But Mnuchin seemed to suggest during a congressional hearing Friday that a case-by-case approval process should be waived entirely for loans below a certain threshold.

“One of the things we’ll talk about is should we just have forgiveness for all the small loans … I think that’s something we should consider,” Mnuchin said when asked by Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) how the process might be simplified.

washington post logoWashington Post, State Department releases cable that launched claims that coronavirus escaped from Chinese lab, John Hudson and Nate Jones, July 18, 2020 (print ed.). The full cable does not strengthen the claim that an accident at the lab allowed the virus to escape, nor does it exclude the possibility. However, skepticism of the accident theory has increased in the scientific community.

2020 U.S. Elections, Politics

washington post logoWashington Post, The Troll: A fake flag burning at Gettysburg was only his latest hoax, Shawn Boburg and Dalton Bennett, July 18, 2020 (print ed.). Adam Rahuba, a former concert promoter, works part-time as a food-delivery driver and a DJ. At 38, he spent most of the past year staying on a friend’s couch in a small town north of Pittsburgh.

A Washington Post investigation found that Rahuba is also the anonymous figure behind a number of social media hoaxes — the most recent played out in Gettysburg on Independence Day — that have riled far-right extremists in recent years and repeatedly duped partisan media outlets.

Rahuba once claimed that activists were planning to desecrate a Confederate cemetery in Georgia, The Post found. He seeded rumors of an organized effort to report Trump supporters for supposed child abuse. And he promoted a purported grass-roots campaign to confiscate Americans’ guns.

djt maga hatThese false claims circulated widely on social media and on Internet message boards. They were often amplified by right-wing commentators and covered as real news by media outlets such as Breitbart News and the Gateway Pundit.

The hoaxes, outlandish in their details, have spurred fringe groups of conspiracy-minded Americans to action by playing on partisan fears. They have led to highly combustible situations — attracting heavily armed militia members and far-right activists eager to protect values they think are under siege — as well as large mobilizations of police.

The Facebook page @LeftBehindUSA promoted a purported flag burning at Gettysburg on the Fourth of July. (Obtained by The Washington Post)
Since the election of President Trump, Rahuba’s hoaxes have focused on leveraging fears of antifa, loosely affiliated activists who oppose fascism and have sometimes embraced property damage and violent protest. His July 4 hoax, a purported burning of the American flag, was billed as an antifa event. Hundreds of counterprotesters, including skinheads, flocked to Gettysburg National Military Park to confront the nonexistent flag burners.

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: The Trump campaign takes grift to the next level, Karen Tumulty, July 18, 2020 (print ed.). There has long been an element of grift to political campaigns. The guys who make the ads and the media buyers get rich by paying themselves a percentage of the amount that is spent on advertising. The same is true for those who put together the direct-mail operation. As one political consultant explained it to me: “It’s sort of like getting to grade your own homework.”

But there has never been anything quite like the racket that President Trump appears to have going.

In two days alone during March, the president’s reelection effort forked over roughly $380,000 of its contributors’ money to his hotels for “facility rental/catering services.” The Trump Organization told my colleague David Fahrenthold that this paid for a “donor retreat” to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla. A source familiar with the arrangement explained to Fahrenthold that the figure had to be broken into 43 separate payments, because Mar-a-Lago can’t handle credit card transactions of more than $10,000.

  • Washington Post, Analysis: Trump may finally face the political consequences of his untrustworthiness, Eugene Scott, July 18, 2020 (print ed.). Americans are concerned about the state of the country, given the coronavirus pandemic — 60 percent disapprove of President Trump's handling of the outbreak, according to a Washington Post-ABC survey.

World News

washington post logoindia flag mapWashington Post, As India skyrockets past 1 million coronavirus cases, a mystery surrounds the death toll, Joanna Slater and Niha Masih, July 18, 2020 (print ed.). Experts say government data on deaths is certain to be incomplete in a country where a large majority of people die in rural areas and without attention, making them less likely to be tested. Already there are signs that coronavirus deaths are being missed or misreported.

washington post logoWashington Post, Israel’s West Bank annexation stalls, for now, amid pandemic and political distractions, Steve Hendrix, July 18, 2020 (print ed.). After months of buildup, Israelis and Israel FlagPalestinians had come to think of July 1 as “annexation day,” when Israel would proceed with its plan to formally absorb Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank into Israel proper.

But more than two weeks later, with both Israel and its key backer, the Trump administration, preoccupied by spiking coronavirus infections, no plan has emerged, leaving some here to wonder whether annexation day will ever come.

 

 

July 17

Top Stories

Virus Victims, Responses

Race, Police Brutality Protests

U.S. 2020 Elections, Politics

U.S. Law, Courts

#MeToo Probe Of DC NFL Team

U.S. Police Brutality, Race Protests

Media / Security / Free Speech

 

Top Storiescovad 19 photo.jpg Custom 2

ny times logoNew York Times, Analysis: Coronavirus Drug and Treatment Tracker, Jonathan Corum, Katherine J. Wu and Carl Zimmer, July 17, 2020 (print ed.). We rated 20 coronavirus treatments for effectiveness and safety. Details below.

washington post logoWashington Post, Disappearance of covid-19 data from CDC website spurs outcry, Lena H. Sun and Amy Goldstein, July 17, 2020 (print ed.). Governors joined calls for a delay of a plan to shift control from the agency as the Trump administration pledged to make the information available to the public.

ny times logoNew York Times, U.S. Reports a Record 75,600 New Daily Cases, Staff reports, July 17, 2020. The number has more than doubled since June 24, when the country registered 37,014 cases after a lull in the outbreak. As cases have soared, more than half the states have enacted mask orders. Here’s the latest.

State and local leaders issued dire warnings on Thursday as new case reports in the United States surged above 75,000 nationwide for the first time and as deaths continued to trend upward.

“If you do the math, it is easy to see why the alarm,” said Barbara Ferrer, the public health director in Los Angeles County, Calif. With community spread rampant, she warned that the more than 4,000 new cases the county registered on Thursday “could lead to over 18,000 infected people in a few weeks.”

“And this is just from one day of new cases,” Dr. Ferrer said. “Without aggressive action on the part of every person, we will not get back to slowing the spread.”

More than 75,600 cases were reported on Thursday, according to a New York Times database, the 11th time in the past month that the U.S. daily record was broken. The previous single-day record, 68,241 cases, was announced last Friday.Four states — Idaho, Nevada, Oregon and Texas — set single-day case records on Thursday. And three states set single-day death records on Thursday — Florida, South Carolina and Texas — with Florida and Texas alone combining for more than 300.

mary trump

Dr. Mary Trump, clinical psychologist, niece of Donald J. Trump, and author of a best-selling book about her family released on July 14 after the family failed to stop it via a court fight that resulted in a New York state court ruling July 13 enabling her to publish the book and speak publicly about it (Photo by Peter Serling via Simon & Schuster).

washington post logoWashington Post, Mary Trump says the U.S. has devolved into a version of her ‘incredibly dysfunctional family,’ Ashley Parker, July 17, 2020 (print ed.). The president’s niece tells The Post his “clearly racist” behavior stems from a combination of upbringing and political cynicism. Her book about her family — which was published Tuesday and became an instant bestseller — so worried family members that the president’s brother unsuccessfully tried to block its publication in court.

djt i dont take responsibility at allMary L. Trump, President’s Trump’s niece, said that watching the country’s leadership devolve into “a macro version of my incredibly dysfunctional family” was one of the factors that compelled her to write her book, “Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man.”

In an interview Wednesday with The Washington Post, Mary Trump said she blames “almost 100 percent” her grandfather, Fred Trump — the family patriarch whom she describes as a “sociopath” in her 214-page memoir of sorts — for creating the conditions that led to Trump’s rise and, ultimately, what she views as his dangerous presidency.

Much like in her extended family, Mary Trump said, a similar dynamic is now playing out on the national stage, with Trump simultaneously possessing “an unerring instinct for finding people who are weaker than he is,” while also being “eminently usable by people who are stronger and savvier than he is” and eager to exploit him.

djt goya resized oval office

ivanka trump goya pose resized july 14 2020Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Investigation: The Goya Foods-Jeffrey Epstein-Donald Trump connection? Wayne Madsen, left, July 17, 2020. While government ethics experts railed against Ivanka Trump and her father, The Donald, shamelessly tweeting endorsements for Goya Foods, the media missed the confluence that exists between Goya Foods and Mr. Trump's one-time partner in sodomizing underage girls, the late Jeffrey Epstein.

On July 10, at a White House event, Goya Foods chairman Robert Unanue heaped praise on Trump. That, in turn, resulted in Trump and his daughter using the taxpayers' money to tweet product endorsements for Goya Foods in exchange for Unanue's pro-Trump comments.

On July 14, Ivanka tweeted a photograph of her holding up a can of Goya black beans, with the bi-lingual comment, "If it’s Goya, it has to be good. Si es Goya, tiene que ser bueno." (Excerpted from full investigative column.)

U.S. Race, Police Brutality Protests

washington post logoWashington Post, Portland protesters say federal officers in unmarked vans are detaining them, Katie Shepherd, July 17, 2020. Mark Pettibone, 29, said he does not know who arrested him or whether it legally qualifies as an arrest. Legal scholars are questioning whether the detentions in Oregon are constitutional.

When several men in green military fatigues and generic “police” patches sprang out of an unmarked gray minivan in front of Mark Pettibone in the early hours of Wednesday morning, his first instinct was to run.

He did not know whether the men were police or far-right extremists, who frequently don militarylike outfits and harass left-leaning protesters in Portland, Ore. The 29-year-old resident said he made it about a half-block before he realized there would be no escape.

Then, he sank to his knees, hands in the air.

“I was terrified,” Pettibone told The Washington Post. “It seemed like it was out of a horror/sci-fi, like a Philip K. Dick novel. It was like being preyed upon.”

He was detained and searched. One man asked him if he had any weapons; he did not. They drove him to the federal courthouse and placed him in a holding cell. Two officers eventually returned to read his Miranda rights and ask if he would waive those rights to answer a few questions; he did not.

And almost as suddenly as they had grabbed him off the street, the men let him go.

Pettibone said he still does not know who arrested him or whether what happened to him legally qualifies as an arrest. The federal officers who snatched him off the street as he was walking home from a peaceful protest did not tell him why he had been detained or provide him any record of an arrest, he told The Post. As far as he knows, he has not been charged with any crimes.

His detention, which was first reported by Oregon Public Broadcasting, and videos of similar actions by federal officials driving around Portland in unmarked cars have raised alarm bells for many. Legal scholars questioned whether the detentions pass constitutional muster.

“Arrests require probable cause that a federal crime had been committed, that is, specific information indicating that the person likely committed a federal offense, or a fair probability that the person committed a federal offense,” Orin Kerr, a professor at University of California at Berkeley Law School, told The Post. “If the agents are grabbing people because they may have been involved in protests, that’s not probable cause.”

Virus Victims, Responses

ny times logoNew York Times, Analysis: Coronavirus Drug and Treatment Tracker, Jonathan Corum, Katherine J. Wu and Carl Zimmer, July 17, 2020 (print ed.). We rated 20 coronavirus treatments for effectiveness and safety. (Continued from above.)

The Covid-19 pandemic is one of the greatest challenges modern medicine has ever faced. Doctors and scientists are scrambling to find treatments and drugs that can save the lives of infected people and perhaps even prevent infection. Below is an updated list of 20 of the most-talked-about treatments for the coronavirus, including some of the most promising, interesting and potentially harmful. We also included a warning about a few that are just bunk.

The F.D.A. has not fully licensed any treatment specifically for the coronavirus, but it has granted emergency use authorization to a few. For the current status of vaccine development, see our Coronavirus Vaccine Tracker.

What the Ratings Mean: We rate each treatment based on the scientific evidence for its effectiveness and safety. We’ll update and expand the list as more evidence emerges.

STRONG EVIDENCE: The treatment has been demonstrated to be effective and safe, either through a robust clinical trial or widespread use by doctors. The strongest trials are randomized controlled trials, in which some people get a treatment and others get a placebo.

PROMISING EVIDENCE: Early evidence from studies on patients suggests effectiveness, but more research is needed. This category includes treatments that have shown improvements in morbidity, mortality and recovery in retrospective studies, which look at existing datasets rather than starting a new trial.

TENTATIVE OR MIXED EVIDENCE: Some treatments show promising results in cells or animals, which need to be confirmed in people. Other treatments have produced different results in different experiments, raising the need for larger, more rigorously designed studies to clear up the confusion.

NOT PROMISING: These treatments show mixed evidence that suggests that they do not work.

INEFFECTIVE AND POSSIBLY HARMFUL: These treatments were once seriously considered for Covid-19 but have not held up under scientific scrutiny, proving to be ineffective or even harmful.

PSEUDOSCIENCE OR FRAUD: These are not treatments that researchers have ever considered using for Covid-19. Experts have warned against trying them, because they do not help against the disease and can instead be dangerous. Some people have even been arrested for their false promises of a Covid-19 cure.

Filter the list of treatments:

1) Remdesivir, made by Gilead Science, was the first drug to get emergency authorization from the F.D.A. for use on Covid-19. It stops viruses from replicating by inserting itself into new viral genes. Remdesivir was originally tested as an antiviral against Ebola and Hepatitis C, only to deliver lackluster results. But preliminary data from trials that began this spring suggested the drug can reduce the hospital stays of people with severe cases of Covid-19 from 15 to 11 days. These early results did not show any effect on mortality, though retrospective data released in July hints that the drug might reduce death rates among those who are very ill.

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: The Next Disaster Is Just a Few Days Away, Paul Krugman, right, July 17, 2020 (print ed.). Millions of unemployed Americans face imminent catastrophe. To paul krugmanunderstand the cliff we’re about to plunge over, you need to know that while America’s overall handling of Covid-19 was catastrophically bad, one piece — the economic response — was actually better than many of us expected.

The CARES Act, largely devised by Democrats but enacted by a bipartisan majority late in March, had flaws in both design and implementation, yet it did a lot both to alleviate hardship and to limit the economic fallout from the pandemic.

Enhanced unemployment benefits have been a crucial lifeline to tens of millions of Americans. Unfortunately, all of those beneficiaries are now just a few days from being thrown overboard.

ny times logoNew York Times, After the Recent Surge in Coronavirus Cases, Deaths Are Now Rising Too, Lauren Leatherby, July 17, 2020. The reopening and relaxing of social distancing restrictions in some states may be contributing to the first noticeable nationwide increase in coronavirus fatalities since April, when the pandemic initially peaked.

The number of cases in late June surged higher than during the outbreak’s first peak. At this same time, daily Covid-19 fatalities decreased slightly, leading President Trump to proclaim that deaths were “way down.” But that divergence may have come to an end last week, when the average number of new deaths per day began steadily rising again.

washington post logoWashington Post, Sun Belt hospital officials fear hitting a breaking point if surge doesn’t slow, Griff Witte and Rachel Weiner, July 17, 2020 (print ed.). Outbreaks of the novel coronavirus threaten to overwhelm medical centers and exhaust doctors, nurses.

In California, doctors are ­shipping patients as many as 600 miles away because they can’t be cared for locally. In Florida, nurses are pouring in from out of state to reinforce exhausted medical workers. And in Texas, mayors are demanding the right to shut down their cities to avoid overwhelming hospitals.

In a nation gripped by a record number of coronavirus cases — with severe outbreaks across multiple states and regions — medical systems are increasingly showing the strain, with short­ages of critically needed personnel, equipment and testing.

And officials on Thursday said they are concerned that hospitals will soon hit a breaking point if the trajectory of ever-growing caseloads doesn’t change.

“We can withstand a surge. We can withstand a disaster. But we can’t withstand a disaster every single day,” said Jason Wilson, associate medical director of the emergency department at Tampa General Hospital. “How many jumbo jet crashes can you handle before you run out of capacity? That’s what we’re facing.”

washington post logoWashington Post, Georgia governor forbids cities, counties from requiring masks as cases surge, Meagan Flynn, July 17, 2020 (print ed.). Gov. Brian Kemp’s order voids existing mask mandates in more than a dozen cities or counties, while also extending other social-distancing restrictions statewide.

brian kemp 2019 CustomThe governor, right, had previously tried to ban cities and counties from passing any coronavirus restrictions that went further than Georgia’s guidelines. But many cities, including Atlanta, defied him by passing mask mandates anyway, arguing it was essential to flatten the curve. Kemp’s new order “strongly encourages” masks.

Local officials who had issued mask mandates as hospitals filled up were outraged Wednesday night as Kemp overrode their judgment. The order came on the same day Georgia recorded its second-highest number of coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic, logging 3,871 cases and 37 deaths.

Law, Courts

The Telegraph, US government executes third man in a week after 17-year hiatus, Staff report, July 17, 2020. A week that marked the return of capital punishment by the US government after a 17-year hiatus ended on Friday with a third execution of a federal prisoner,according to a reporter serving as a media witness.

Dustin Lee Honken, a convicted murderer, was pronounced dead at 4:36 p.m local time after an executioner injected him with a powerful barbiturate at the federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana, the media witness said in a report circulated to news outlets. Efforts by President Donald Trump’s administration to resume executions were underway soon after the Republican took office.

His administration has now completed as many executions in a few days as happened in the preceding 57 years. Lawyers for the condemned men amassed legal challenges,which include arguments that the US Department of Justice’s new one-drug lethal-injection protocol breaches a constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishments. These arguments have been rejected twice this week in overnight rulings by a 5-4 majority in the Supreme Court. Honken, 52, was a dealer in illegal methamphetamine when he and his girlfriend murdered five people in Iowa in 1993,including a government informant and two girls aged 10 and 6. He was convicted in 2004.

ny times logoNew York Times, D.A. Accuses Trump of Delay ‘Strategy’ in Fight Over Tax Returns, Benjamin Weiser and William K. Rashbaum, July 17, 2020 (print ed.).The Manhattan district attorney told a judge that by refusing to comply with a subpoena, the president is effectively putting himself above the law.

irs logoThe Manhattan district attorney’s office accused President Trump on Thursday of purposely dragging out a court battle over a subpoena seeking eight years of his tax returns in an attempt to effectively shield himself from criminal investigation.

The office is seeking the president’s personal tax returns and those of his family business, the Trump Organization, as part of an investigation into hush-money payments made in the run-up to the 2016 election. The president has been fighting the subpoena for nearly a year.

“What the president’s lawyers are seeking here is delay,” Mr. Dunne said. “I think that’s the entire strategy here.”

2020 U.S. Elections, Politics

ny times logoNew York Times, Biden Banks $242 Million as Big-Name Donors Write Huge Checks, Shane Goldmacher, July 17, 2020 (print ed.). Joe Biden is relying on some of his party’s wealthiest donors to cut President Trump’s financial edge, new filings show.

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. raised tens of millions of dollars in the last three months from major donors who gave more than $100,000, relying on some of the joe biden 2020 button CustomDemocratic Party’s deepest pockets to sharply shrink President Trump’s financial advantage, according to new federal filings.

Mr. Biden’s campaign announced on Thursday that he entered July with $242 million in the bank, up from less than $60 million at the beginning of April. He still has less money than Mr. Trump, who reported $295 million, but the cash gap is suddenly far less daunting.

Mr. Biden’s biggest benefactors in the second quarter of 2020, when he became the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, represent a who’s who of billionaires and influencers in Silicon Valley, Hollywood, Wall Street and beyond. Among those who gave at least $500,000 were Laurene Powell Jobs, the philanthropist and widow of Steve Jobs; Meg Whitman, a former Republican candidate for governor of California and now the chief executive of the streaming company Quibi; George Soros, the billionaire progressive financier; Jeffrey Katzenberg, the Hollywood producer; and Dustin Moskovitz, a co-founder of Facebook.

Mr. Biden had previously announced that he narrowly edged Mr. Trump in total fund-raising with their parties in the last full three months, $282 million to $266 million. New Federal Election Commission filings released late Wednesday shed the first light on the biggest contributors powering Mr. Biden’s financial turnaround, from a candidate who struggled to raise money in the primaries to one now outpacing the incumbent president.

ny times logoNew York Times, A Club of G.O.P. Political Heirs Push Back on Trump, Mark Leibovich, July 17, 2020 (print ed.). Mitt Romney, right, Larry Hogan and Liz Cheney — descendants of sometimes rebellious or resolute Republicans of the past — are dissenting voices on President Trump.

mitt romney wOne of the presumed takeaways of President Trump’s victory in 2016 was that he had struck a blow against political dynasties in America.

He demolished the early Republican favorite, Jeb Bush, the son of the 41st president and brother of the 43rd, and then vanquished the wife of the two-term 42nd president.

But even as Mr. Trump’s takeover of his party is largely complete, a trio of heirs to the old guard have been among the most prominent dissenting voices.

A high-profile club of elected Republicans — all descendants of the Republican establishment of the past, whether rebellious or resolute — has emerged as a kind of shadow conscience of the party during these days of turmoil.

anthony scaramucci salt conference 2016 croppedPalmer Report, Opinion: Anthony Scaramucci just hit Donald Trump where it hurts, Bill Palmer, July 17, 2020. Things didn’t work out so well for Anthony Scaramucci when he briefly tried running Donald Trump’s disastrous White House. But Scaramucci has always excelled in his day job as a financial wizard, and now he’s putting those skills to good use when it comes to ousting Trump from office.

bill palmer report logo header Scaramucci, right, is now helping with fundraising for the Lincoln Project, a Republican group whose main goal is to replace Donald Trump with Joe Biden in November. Mooch explained to Bloomberg: “The economy’s in shambles as a direct result of his decision making and the politicization of a health-care crisis. And so for all those reasons, he’s obviously incompetent and so we’ve got to seek his removal.”

The last thing Donald Trump needs right now is for the Lincoln Project to become even stronger and more resourceful, yet Scaramucci is intent on making that happen.

This comes after Anthony Scaramucci mocked Kanye West’s imaginary presidential bid, while also poking fun at his own notoriously short White House tenure: “According to my calculations @kanyewest’s presidential aspirations lasted one full Scaramucci.”

Palmer Report, Mary Trump fires back at Donald Trump, Bill Palmer | 11:44 pm EDT July 17, 2020. Earlier today, Donald Trump finally worked up the nerve to launch an inevitable attack on his niece Mary Trump. He falsely accused her of a crime, claimed she was lying about various things, and labeled her a “seldom seen niece.” Now Mary is firing back, and she’s certainly gotten the better of the exchange.

bill palmer report logo headerIf you’re wondering, this is in reference to the 5.23 million viewers that Mary Trump received while on the Rachel Maddow show last night, compared to the 5.11 million viewers that Donald Trump received during his highest profile appearance on the Sean Hannity show. For being a “seldom seen niece,” Mary sure managed to be seen by a lot of people last night.

#MeToo Probe Of DC NFL Team

washington post logoWashington Post, Investigation: 15 women accuse then-Redskins employees of sexual harassment, Will Hobson and Liz Clarke, July 17, 2020 (print ed.). The allegations of harassment and verbal abuse raised by the women, who all worked for the team, span most of Daniel Snyder’s tenure as owner, running from 2006 to 2019. Among the men accused are three members of Snyder’s inner circle and two longtime scouts.

nfl logoA few months after Emily Applegate started working for the Washington Redskins in 2014, she settled into a daily routine: She would meet a female co-worker in the bathroom during their lunch breaks, she said, to commiserate and cry about the frequent sexual harassment and verbal abuse they endured.

They cried about the former chief operating officer’s expletive-laced tirades, Applegate said, when she recalled him calling her “f-----g stupid” and then requesting she wear a tight dress for a meeting with clients, “so the men in the room have something to look at.” They cried about a wealthy suiteholder who grabbed her friend’s backside during a game, Applegate said, and the indifference the team’s top sales executive displayed when she complained.

But most of all, Applegate said, they cried about the realization their dream job of working in the NFL came with what they characterized as relentless sexual harassment and verbal abuse that was ignored — and, in some cases, condoned — by top team executives.

Applegate is one of 15 former female Redskins employees who told The Washington Post they were sexually harassed during their time at the club. The other 14 women spoke on the condition of anonymity, citing a fear of litigation because some signed nondisclosure agreements with the team that threaten legal retribution if they speak negatively about the club. The team declined a request from The Post to release former female employees from these agreements so they could speak on the record without fear of legal reprisal. This story involved interviews with more than 40 current and former employees and a review of text messages and internal company documents.

dan snyder headshot espnTeam owner Daniel Snyder, right, declined several requests for an interview. Over the past week, as The Post presented detailed allegations and findings to the club, three team employees accused of improper behavior abruptly departed, including Larry Michael, the club’s longtime radio voice, and Alex Santos, the team’s director of pro personnel.

In a statement, the team said it had hired D.C. attorney Beth Wilkinson,  left, and her firm, Wilkinson Walsh, “to conduct a thorough independent review of this entire beth wilkinsonmatter and help the team set new employee standards for the future.”

“The Washington Redskins football team takes issues of employee conduct seriously. … While we do not speak to specific employee situations publicly, when new allegations of conduct are brought forward that are contrary to these policies, we address them promptly,” the team said.

The allegations raised by Applegate and others — running from 2006 to 2019 — span most of Snyder’s tenure as owner and fall into two categories: unwelcome overtures or comments of a sexual nature, and exhortations to wear revealing clothing and flirt with clients to close sales deals. Among the men accused of harassment and verbal abuse are three former members of Snyder’s inner circle and two longtime members of the personnel department:

Michael, senior vice president of content and “the voice of the Washington Redskins.” Seven former employees said Michael routinely discussed the physical appearance of female colleagues in sexual and disparaging overtones. In 2018, Michael was caught on a “hot mic” speaking about the attractiveness of a college-aged intern, according to six former employees who heard the recording. Michael declined an interview request and retired Wednesday.

washington post logoWashington Post, Analysis: Five takeaways from The Post’s story on alleged sexual harassment, Les Carpenter, July 16, 2020. As owner Daniel Snyder, below left, prepares to rename nfl logoWashington’s NFL team amid extreme pressure and the franchise’s minority owners are actively seeking to sell their shares, several women have detailed dan snyder redskins comrepeated instances of sexual harassment that have lingered around the organization for some time.

In interviews with The Post, 15 former female employees described numerous incidents in which executives and scouts made unwelcome overtures or comments of a sexual nature and in some cases were encouraged to wear revealing clothing and flirt with clients to close sales calls.

“I am done with the NFL,” one of the women said, adding that the team “has killed any dream of a career in pro sports.”

1. The team environment tolerated frequent sexual harassment and verbal abuse of female employees....

U.S. Law, Courts

djt michael cohen

washington post logoWashington Post, Analysis: Michael Cohen is asked to sign agreement that may violate First Amendment rights, lawyers say, Tom Hamburger, July 17, 2020 (print  ed.). The former Trump "fixer" is back in federal prison after refusing to agree not to write a tell-all book.

Michael Cohen, above left, President Trump's former personal attorney, is back in solitary confinement at a federal prison facility in Otisville, N.Y., and legal scholars across the political spectrum are expressing alarm about his treatment.

Their objections center on a Federal Bureau of Prisons agreement Cohen was asked to sign last week that he and his lawyers say would limit the ex-Trump ally's ability to work on books, including a forthcoming tell-all about the president.

Cohen's return to jail last week is likely to open yet another legal front for a man who once described himself as Trump's loyal “fixer” but later offered testimony implicating the president in possible crimes.

Since May, Cohen had been on a novel coronavirus pandemic-related furlough from jail, living at home in New York City. Last week, he went to New York's federal courthouse to attend what he thought would be a routine meeting with probation officers to discuss the conditions of his home confinement.

washington post logoWashington Post, Justice Dept. carries out second federal execution after another late-night, divided Supreme Court ruling, Mark Berman, July 16, 2020. The Justice Department on Thursday carried out the second federal execution this week, following another set of Supreme Court orders issued in the dead of night saying the lethal injection could proceed.

Justice Department log circularFederal officials in Indiana executed Wesley Purkey, 68. He was pronounced dead at 8:19 a.m., they said. Purkey was convicted in 2003 of raping and murdering 16-year-old Jennifer Long, and had also killed Mary Ruth Bales, an 80-year-old woman, court records show.

Asked if he wanted to make a statement before the lethal injection, Purkey apologized to both Long’s family and his daughter, saying he “deeply” regretted the pain he caused to all of them. His final words addressed his imminent execution.

“This sanitized murder really does not serve no purpose whatsoever,” he said, according to the pool report. “Thank you.”

Purkey’s death by lethal injection came two days after federal authorities executed Daniel Lewis Lee, who was sentenced to death for his role in killing a family of three, at the same penitentiary in Terre Haute, Ind.

 washington post logoWashington Post, Analysis: Roberts’s Supreme Court power hinges on Trump’s reelection, but not in the way you might think, Robert Barnes, July 17, 2020. A Biden presidency would probably give the chief justice more clout.

A Democratic-appointed justice would have given the left a dominant role on the court for the first time in half a century. When the court split ideologically in such a makeup, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg – released this week from a hospital after a possible infection – would be the senior member in the majority, not the chief justice.

Roberts is a savvy operator on the court no matter its makeup. Still, he remains in the central position so long as the justices a reelected Trump would replace are conservatives or the ones a President Biden would replace are liberals.

Associated Press via Yahoo News, Hawley seeks civil rights probe in case of St. Louis couple, Jim Salter, July 17, 2020 (print ed.). U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley, right, on Thursday urged Attorney General William Barr to launch a federal civil rights investigation of St. Louis' elected prosecutor, accusing her of abuse of power in her investigation of a white couple who wielded guns while defending their home during a protest.

josh hawley missouriMark and Patricia McCloskey are under Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner's scrutiny for the June 28 confrontation when several hundred protesters marched by their $1.15 million mansion. The couple accused protesters of knocking down an iron gate marked with “No Trespassing” and “Private Street” signs.

The McCloskeys, both in their 60s, emerged with weapons — him with a long-barreled gun, her with a small handgun.

Their actions, captured on video and viewed by millions, drew praise from some who said they were legally defending their home, but scorn from others who said they risked bloodshed by displaying the weapons. Photos emerged as memes on both sides of the gun debate.

Gardner's office was still investigating, but no charges have been filed. Hawley, a Missouri Republican, wrote in a letter to Barr that Gardner abused her power in seizing the couple's guns, investigating them and pursuing a possible indictment. He called her actions “an unacceptable abuse of power and threat to the Second Amendment.”

“There is no question under Missouri law that the McCloskeys had the right to own and use their firearms to protect themselves from threatened violence, and that any criminal prosecution for these actions is legally unsound,” Hawley wrote. "The only possible motivation for the investigation, then, is a politically motivated attempt to punish this family for exercising their Second Amendment rights.”

Gardner, in a statement, said, “I am deeply disappointed that a U.S. Senator would intervene in a local matter that is under investigation.”

U.S. Race, Police Brutality Protests

washington post logoWashington Post, Defense secretary effectively bans Confederate flags from military bases, Dan Lamothe, July 17, 2020. The decision comes amid a nationwide discussion about racism that also has prompted calls to change the names of 10 military installations.

Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper effectively banned the display of the Confederate battle flag on U.S. military installations on Friday, saying in a memo that the “flags we fly must accord with the military imperatives of good order and discipline, treating all our people with dignity and respect, and rejecting divisive symbols.”

The memo does not explicitly mention Confederate banners, but states that the American flag is the “principal flag we are authorized and encouraged to display.”

“Flags are powerful symbols, particularly in the military community for whom flags embody common mission, common histories, and the special, timeless bond of warriors,” Esper wrote in his memo, obtained by The Washington Post. “As Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, a veteran of the Second World War, once wrote about the United States flag: 'It is a symbol of freedom, of equal opportunity, of religious tolerance, and of good will for other peoples who share our aspirations.”

The decision comes amid a nationwide conversation about race and racism that was spawned in May by the killing of a black man, George Floyd, in police custody. But the discussion in the Pentagon began before that, after the Marine Corps commandant, Gen. David Berger, announced in April that he was banning the public display of the Confederate battle flag from Marine bases.

Esper said in his memo that in addition to the American flag, several other flags are authorized, including those of U.S. states, territories and the District of Columbia, military services, general officers, Senate-confirmed presidential appointees, the POW/MIA flag, U.S. allies and partners, and organizations like NATO in which the United States is a member.

washington post logoWashington Post, Anti-vaccination activists fuel black mistrust of medical establishment as covid-19 kills people of color, Peter Jamison, July 17, 2020. The memory of the horrific Tuskegee syphilis study makes some African Americans suspicious of a coronavirus vaccine.

The message came to Erik Underwood early this summer: Robert F. Kennedy Jr. wanted him to stand by his side at a rally on the steps of the Colorado Capitol in Denver.

Underwood, an African American entrepreneur coming off a failed U.S. Senate bid in Colorado’s Democratic primary, had long revered the Kennedy family for its legacy of civil rights activism. But until recently he would not have guessed the cause that would bring him together with a member of that dynasty on a Sunday in June.

Kennedy, one of the nation’s leading anti-vaccination activists, was in Denver to oppose a bill tightening the state’s exemptions from immunizations for schoolchildren. After months of discussion with vaccine skeptics, Underwood had adopted Kennedy’s cause as his own. Despite the overwhelming consensus of doctors and scientists who say vaccines are safe for most people of every race, Underwood now believed that the drugs not only were dangerous but also posed a special threat to black children.

“I see this as an injustice for everybody,” he said, “especially for the black community.”

The bill ultimately passed, but not before debate over it showcased a remarkable new alliance between the anti-vaccine movement and black leaders in Colorado. Among those who testified against the bill, alongside Kennedy and white parents, were a local NAACP leader and a prominent Black Lives Matter activist.

The dynamics on display in Denver have nationwide implications as scientists race to create a vaccine for the deadly coronavirus, which has taken a disproportionately steep toll on people of color. Although African Americans stand to be

AP via Washington Post, C.T. Vivian (1924–2020): Civil rights leader who worked alongside King dies at 95, Desiree Seals and Michael Warren, July 17, 2020. The Rev. C.T. Vivian, an early and key adviser to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. who organized pivotal campaigns in the civil rights movement and spent decades advocating for justice and equality, died Friday at the age of 95.

Vivian began staging sit-ins against segregation in Peoria, Illinois, in the 1940s — a dozen years before lunch-counter protests by college students made national news. He met King soon after the budding civil rights leader’s leadership of the 1955 Montgomery bus boycott, and helped translate ideas into action by organizing the Freedom Rides that eventually forced federal intervention across the South.

Vivian boldly challenged a segregationist sheriff while trying to register Black voters in Selma, Alabama, where hundreds, then thousands, later marched across the Edmund Pettus Bridge.

U.S. 2020 Elections, Politics

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: For the next six months, we’re trapped on a leaking ship captained by a fool, Eugene Robinson, July 17, 2020 (print ed.). This is the awful reality of our situation.

This election is not about politics, ideology or even red vs. blue tribal identity. At this point, it’s about our collective survival.

I believe that Joe Biden will be a good president if he is elected, and that circumstances will present him with the opportunity to be a truly great president, if he’s able. But any functioning adult would be an improvement over Trump, because he is not in fact a functioning adult. As his niece, Mary L. Trump, explains at length in her new book, he is more like a damaged child.

His callousness and refusal to admit error led us to where we are now with covid-19 — beset by worsening, out-of-control spread of the virus at a time when other industrialized countries are cautiously returning to normal. There is nothing we can do about his past mistakes. But look at what the president is doing now — pushing hard for a nationwide reopening of schools with in-person classroom instruction, just like before the pandemic. If viruses had imaginations, that would be covid-19’s fondest dream.

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: The entire foundation of Trump’s appeal in 2016 has been swept away, Michael Gerson, July 17, 2020 (print ed.). Whenever President Trump’s likely loss of the 2020 election is mentioned, many respond, in hope or in fear: “But 2016 . . .” The effect is to impute almost magical populist powers to the president. Anyone who pulled off such a political miracle can presumably perform one again.

Yet Trump won by mortal means. Like any elected president, he won by shaping a narrative that fit the public mood. In this effort, Trump and his allies made three successful arguments:

• Things can’t get any worse. According to Trump, the United States was a “third-world country” and a “dumping ground for everyone else’s problems.” “For those suffering and hurting, I say: Give Donald J. Trump a chance. I will fix it. What do you have to lose?”

• Governing is actually easy. In Trump’s view, politicians had failed because they were invariably “clowns” and “stupid.” America could be turned around by an inexperienced outsider without much difficulty.

• Moral leadership doesn’t really matter. “We’re not electing a pastor in chief,” said Jerry Falwell Jr. Many values voters put their entire emphasis on policy and judicial appointments, not on presidential character.

None of these propositions that helped elect Trump in 2016 can be credibly maintained in 2020. The entire foundation of the president’s previous appeal has been swept away.

washington post logoWashington Post, Analysis: 10 House seats most likely to flip in November, Amber Phillips, The political environment is not what Republicans were hoping for going into this election, but they have a chance to pick up a few seats.

While Republicans may have gotten a boost in confidence by winning a competitive, Democratic-held seat in a special election in California, for now it looks like the House majority isn’t in play. Republicans appear to have a chance to just pick up a handful of seats, rather than the more than 30 required to take back the majority.

As these rankings published Friday, nonpartisan election handicapper Cook Political Report moved 20 House races in favor of Democrats, adding that it is unheard of for them to move so many at once in favor of one party.

Media / Security News

washington post logoWashington Post, Analysis: Twitter just proved it can’t keep the accounts of global leaders safe, Cat Zakrzewski, July 17, 2020 (print ed.). The massive Twitter breach yesterday wasn't just disruptive. It was a sobering reminder that even the most powerful social networks are vulnerable to attacks.

The hack impacted everyone from Joe Biden to Elon Musk, raising new concerns about Twitter’s ability to keep global leaders’ accounts safe. It's sure to have wide-ranging implications for the service that has become a core communication channel in American society, disseminating everything from President Trump's rockets to corporate news.

twitter bird Custom“The problem is that we all rely on Twitter as this public space that is safe and secure, and we know that the tweets that someone like a Joe Biden is sending out are authentic,” Harper Reed, an entrepreneur who served as the 2012 Obama campaign’s chief technology officer, told me. “Twitter has proven to us that may not be true.”

Accounts belonging to prominent billionaires and politicians began posting similar messages yesterday afternoon asking for money to be sent to cryptocurrency accounts, Rachel Lerman, Joseph Marks and I reported. The messages received thousands of likes before they were taken off Twitter, and in some instances, they were posted again from the same account.

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: Do Progressives Have a Free Speech Problem? Michelle Goldberg, July 17, 2020 (print ed.). The illiberal left is a lot less threatening than the right. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

An acquaintance came to me a few weeks ago with the rough draft of a letter about free speech and asked me to sign. I declined, in part because it denounced “cancel culture.” As I wrote in an email, the phrase “‘cancel culture,’ while it describes something real, has been rendered sort of useless because it’s so often used by right-wing whiners like Ivanka Trump who think protests against them violate their free speech.”

A little later my acquaintance came back to me with a new version, which didn’t mention “cancel culture.” Like the people who wrote the letter, I think left-wing illiberalism is a problem, though I’ve mostly stopped writing about it since Donald Trump was elected, because it seems like complaining about a bee sting when you have Stage IV cancer.

So I signed. The statement, published in Harper’s Magazine as “A Letter on Justice and Open Debate,” spawned takes and countertakes, most of them, despite my modest effort, about “cancel culture.” nefit enormously from a vaccine, they remain distrustful of a medical establishment with a history that includes the Tuskegee syphilis study and surgical experiments on enslaved people — not to mention the ongoing disparities they confront in the U.S. health-care system.

daily beast logoDaily Beast, Fox News Staffers Erupt Over Network’s Racism: Bosses ‘Created a White Supremacist Cell,’ Lachlan Cartwright, Lloyd Grove, Andrew Kirell, Noah Shachtman, Justin Baragona, July 17, 2020. A heated early-June phone call between Fox execs and Black staffers was just the beginning of an internal revolt against racism at the network, insiders told The Daily Beast.

Four days after Fox News aired a particularly tone-deaf graphic connecting the killings of Black men—including George Floyd and Martin Luther King Jr.—to stock market gains, many of the network’s Black staffers took part in a phone call with company brass to confront Fox’s increasingly racist and hostile rhetoric towards the protests against police brutality.

It did not go well.

fox news logo SmallThe call on June 9 lasted more than 90 minutes and included Fox News Media CEO Suzanne Scott, President Jay Wallace, and HR chief Kevin Lord, people familiar with the matter told The Daily Beast. It was led by Scott, who is white, and Marsheila J. Hayes, the vice president of diversity and inclusion at Fox Corporation, who is Black.

It was almost immediately rife with tension. One staffer directly asked why Bret Baier—the anchor of the network’s key weekday news broadcast, Special Report, which aired the offensive graphic—was not on the call, nor any other white on-air talent. (Baier had previously apologized for the “major screw-up,” noting that, because the show bears his name, “the buck stops with me.” Fox News also apologized for the “insensitivity” of the infographic, adding that it “should have never aired on television without full context.”)

Other participants on the call expressed anger and distress about rampant racism at Fox, both on- and off-air.

 

July 16

Top Stories

Virus Victims, Responses

Trump / Courts

 2020 U.S. Elections, Politics

U.S. Law, Courts

U.S. Police Brutality, Race Protests

Media / Security News

World News

 

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washington post logoWashington Post, Live Updates: Russia tried to steal research on potential vaccines, Staff reports, July 16, 2020. U.S., Britain and Canada say, Russia-linked hackers targeted vaccine research, officials in U.S., U.K. and Canada say; In forthcoming book, Md. Gov. Hogan accuses Trump of ‘constant heckling’ and shifting blame on pandemic.

An intelligence bulletin from American, British and Canadian officials indicates that a Russian hacking group targeted organizations that are working on possible coronavirus vaccines. The report, revealed Thursday, alleges that the hackers — who “almost certainly operate as part of Russian intelligence services” — attacked academic groups and labs that are involved in vaccine research.

Meanwhile, with the total number of reported U.S. coronavirus infections rapidly approaching 3.5 million, Walmart, Kroger, Kohl’s, Alabama, Montana and the city of Tulsa came out in favor of mandatory face coverings Wednesday, suggesting that science was beginning to prevail over partisan debate.

Here are some significant developments:

After several days of headlines about the White House’s attempts to discredit him, Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert, said in a Wednesday interview that it was time to “stop this nonsense” and focus on the virus “rather than these games people are playing.”

larry hogan o headshot CustomNearly 66,000 new virus cases were reported nationwide Wednesday. It marked the 37th consecutive day that the seven-day average of new U.S. infections has trended upward, according to data compiled by The Washington Post.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, right, criticized fellow Republican, President Trump, over his handling of the public health crisis in an essay published Thursday adapted from a forthcoming book. Hogan wrote that he procured test kits directly from South Korea because it “was clear that waiting around for the president to run the nation’s response was hopeless.”

washington post logoWashington Post, Georgia governor forbids cities, counties from requiring masks as cases surge, Meagan Flynn, July 16, 2020. Gov. Brian Kemp’s order voids existing mask mandates in more than a dozen cities or counties, while also extending other social-distancing restrictions statewide.

brian kemp 2019 CustomThe governor, right, had previously tried to ban cities and counties from passing any coronavirus restrictions that went further than Georgia’s guidelines. But many cities, including Atlanta, defied him by passing mask mandates anyway, arguing it was essential to flatten the curve. Kemp’s new order “strongly encourages” masks.

Local officials who had issued mask mandates as hospitals filled up were outraged Wednesday night as Kemp overrode their judgment. The order came on the same day Georgia recorded its second-highest number of coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic, logging 3,871 cases and 37 deaths.

ny times logoNew York Times, As Cases Rise in 41 States, Officials Scramble to Contain the Outbreak, Staff reports, July 16, 2020 (print ed.). Alabama saw its most deaths in a day, Oklahoma’s governor tested positive and Houston’s public schools will start the year virtually.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, condemned attacks from President Trump’s aides and urged officials to focus on the virus. The total number of cases in the U.S. passed 3.5 million, according to a Times database. Here’s the latest.

As the U.S. outbreak increased in 41 states over the past two weeks and reached 3.5 million total infections on Wednesday, according to a New York Times database, governors and mayors across the nation have scrambled to respond, issuing new mask orders, limiting the size of gatherings and preparing for things to get much worse in the coming weeks.

In another cautionary effort, several large school districts said Wednesday that they would open the school year with online classes only, bucking pressure from President Trump and his administration to get students back into classrooms as quickly as possible. 

washington post logoWashington Post, Another 1.3 million workers file new jobless claims last week, Eli Rosenberg, July 16, 2020. About 1.3 million workers filed for unemployment insurance for the first time last week — the 17th straight week that new claims exceeded 1 million as the coronavirus pandemic continues to drag down the economy.

USTR seal Custom 2Nearly 17.4 million workers were continually claiming unemployment insurance for the week ending July 4, the Labor Department said. And 14.3 million more people were claiming Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, the program newly created for self-employed or gig workers who are out of work at the moment, bringing the total number of people on all programs to 32 million unemployed.

“What we’re seeing is continued, historic elevated rates of job loss in the United States,” said Nick Bunker, an economist at Indeed Hiring Lab. “We’ve seen sustained elevated rates of job loss, and that’s continued as we hurdle toward the expiration of several programs that have propped up the economy.”

Jobless claims are still nearly double the worst weeks in previous economic crises, including 665,000 during the Great Recession and 695,000, the previous record, from 1982.

washington post logoWashington Post, White House tells the unemployed to ‘Find Something New’ in ad campaign, Hamza Shaban, July 16, 2020 (print ed.). The initiative — complete with a virtual roundtable featuring Apple CEO Tim Cook — was swiftly derided as “tone-deaf” on social media.

Ivanka Trump, left, urged out-of-work Americans to “find something new” Tuesday as part of a new jobs initiative designed to tout the benefits of skills training and career paths that don’t require a college degree.

But the effort — complete with a website, advertising campaign and virtual roundtable featuring Apple CEO Tim Cook and IBM chair Ginni Rometty — was swiftly derided on social media as “clueless” and “tone-deaf” given the pandemic, recession and Trump’s own familial employment history.

“This initiative is about challenging the idea the traditional 2 and 4 yr college is the only option to acquire the skills needed to secure a job,” President Trump’s eldest daughter and White House adviser said in a Twitter post. “This work has never been more urgent.”

Virus Victims, Responses

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washington post logoWashington Post, White House distances itself from Navarro op-ed heavily criticizing Fauci, John Wagner and Meryl Kornfield, July 16, 2020 (print ed.). Peter Navarro, the president’s trade adviser,said Anthony Fauci has been “wrong about everything” in an op-ed that also echoed White House talking points questioning the nation’s top infectious-disease official.

republican elephant logoPresident Trump on Wednesday chided trade adviser Peter Navarro for having written an extraordinary op-ed for USA Today in which he heavily criticized Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease official, over his handling of the coronavirus crisis.

“He made a statement representing himself. He shouldn’t be doing that,” Trump said of Navarro as he spoke with reporters before departing the White House for an event in Georgia.

The president’s comments were part of a concerted effort by the White House to distance itself from the 0p-ed — which had the headline “Anthony Fauci has been wrong about everything I have interacted with him on” — in which Navarro laid out several disagreements with Fauci, a prominent member of the White House coronavirus task force.

That effort came despite moves in recent days by Trump and others in the White House to raise questions about Fauci’s credibility, including the distribution to reporters of a list of instances in which they alleged Fauci had been incorrect about aspects of the pandemic.

washington post logoWashington Post, Top health official violated federal contracting rules, HHS inspector general finds, Yasmeen Abutaleb, July 16, 2020. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma spent more than $6 million on politically-connected contractors to help raise her profile and do communications work.

washington post logoWashington Post, White House says stimulus package ‘must’ include Trump proposal on payroll tax cut, Erica Werner and Jeff Stein, July 16, 2020. President Trump thinks that such a tax cut would prove popular and help the economy, but lawmakers in both parties are not convinced. A showdown could complicate passage of the next stimulus package.

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Palmer Report, Opinion: Kayleigh McEnany just stepped in it, Bill Palmer, July 16, 2020. When Donald Trump’s White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, right, goes to the podium to hold a press briefing, she’s supposed to clean up his messes, and spin the media narrative in his favor. When she says something that makes Trump’s controversies even more controversial, it means she’s failed.

bill palmer report logo headerToday she failed.

When Kayleigh McEnany was discussing the question of whether to reopen schools, she said this: “The science should not stand in the way of this.” No really, she said this, on live national television. This is the general message that Donald Trump and his regime have been implying all along. But when you’re pushing total BS, the point is to keep it convoluted enough that your detractors can’t simply point to something as dumb as “The science should not stand in the way of this” because then they can pick it apart.

washington post logoWashington Post, Analysis: The first governor to contract the coronavirus was also among the most cavalier about it, Aaron Blake, July 16, 2020 (print ed.). The coronavirus pandemic has for the first kevin stitttime infected one of the nation’s governors. Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) says he was “pretty shocked” to have that distinction.

But Stitt, right, has also been among the most cavalier about the threat posed by the virus. The most visible example of Stitt’s attitude toward the virus came last month, when he encouraged President Trump to hold a rally in Tulsa even as health officials balked. Stitt then attended the rally while, like the vast majority of people there, declining to wear a mask.

  • Washington Post, Virginia adopts first coronavirus safety rules for workplaces in the country after labor groups decry White House inaction, Eli Rosenberg, July 15, 2020. The move, which will require employers to adhere to a set of policies to keep workers safe, comes after months of inaction from the Trump administration, the state said.

Mediaite, ‘They’re All Cowards’: Spurs Coach Popovich Shreds Texas Leaders Over Pandemic Response, Says Team is Safer in Florida, Sarah Rumpf, July 16, 2020. ‘They’re All Cowards’: Spurs Coach Popovich Shreds Texas Leaders Over Pandemic Response, Says Team is Safer in Florida.

Gregg Popovich is well known for not doing two things: losing games and holding his tongue. The outspoken San Antonio Spurs head coach lived up to his reputation during a media nba logosession Thursday, calling out Texas state leaders as “cowards” for their handling of the coronavirus pandemic and saying that he feels that his team is safer in Florida.

The Spurs, like other NBA teams, are currently in what the league has deemed the “bubble” in Orlando, Florida, quarantined to their hotel rooms, gyms, and courts, and practicing for an upcoming end to the 2019–20 season, like none other in history.

Coronavirus cases have been spiking in a number of areas around the country, including both the Spurs’ home state of Texas, and Florida where they are now. A reporter for a San Antonio CBS-TV station asked Popovich what he thought about those outbreaks, and he responded by calling the bubble “one of the safest places you could be.”

greg abbott CustomWearing a black t-shirt that said in all-capital letters “VOTE: YOUR LIFE DEPENDS ON IT,” Popovich turned his comments to the situation in Texas.

“We’ve been all over the map in Texas,” he said. “Nobody knows what the hell’s going on. You know, we have a lieutenant governor [Dan Patrick] who’s decided he doesn’t want to listen to [Dr. Anthony] Fauci and those people anymore.”

“Well, that makes a lot of sense,” Popovich added, the sarcastic tone clear in his voice. “Come on. How safe can that be?” Popovich called the messaging coming from state leaders “ridiculous,” and turned his criticism towards Gov. Greg Abbott, left.

Trump / Courts

Politico, Trump vows ongoing battle against N.Y. subpoena for tax returns, Josh Gerstein and Kyle Cheney, July 16, 2020. The judge initially sounded inclined to handle the next phase of the case with what he called greater “alacrity” than the two sides proposed, but he eventually acceded to their suggestion, which calls for Trump to file a new version of his lawsuit against the DA by July 27 and for an exchange of written pleadings through Aug. 14. No date for a future hearing was set.

President Donald Trump officialOne of the politically urgent questions posed by the case is whether Vance’s lawyers will get their hands on Trump’s financial records in advance of the November election and, if so, how far in advance. Grand jury submissions are typically kept secret, but the information can be made public if charges are filed.

No one on the nearly 40-minute call Thursday made any reference to the election, but Dunne did say that further delay in the case meant it was possible some individuals might escape justice because the statute of limitation could expire.

The precise scope of Vance’s probe is unclear, but it is believed to involve questions about how Trump’s business recorded so-called hush money payments made to women who were considering making statements during the 2016 campaign about their alleged sexual encounters with Trump. It may also encompass claims former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen has made that Trump’s companies routinely inflated real estate valuations when applying for loans and deflated them when trying to shrink tax bills. (Trump has said Cohen was lying to seek to reduce a prison sentence he was facing.)

Marrero sounded puzzled by the suggestion in at least one concurring Supreme Court opinion that Trump should have the opportunity to question Vance’s need for the information. The judge noted that nearly 10 months ago he received a declaration from one of Vance’s prosecutors detailing the scope of the investigation and that office’s need for the information.

After receiving the filing, part of which remains under seal, Marrero concluded that Vance had “a sufficient basis” to issue the subpoena.

Dunne said he doubted there was any need for any further showing on that front from his office, but Consovoy said the president or at least his attorneys should be able to see the now-secret part of what Vance’s office said a year ago had led them to demand access to the president’s taxes.

“We do think discovery is important,” Consovoy said.

However, Dunne insisted that even that request was suggesting the president an advantage over the typical litigant who challenges a similar subpoena. “A person like that, if he doesn’t like a subpoena, he doesn’t get to take the DA’s deposition,” Vance’s aide noted.

washington post logoWashington Post, Analysis: Two crimes benefited Trump’s campaign in 2016. The president has worked to block scrutiny of those schemes, Rosalind S. Helderman, July 16, 2020 (print ed.).  A porn star was paid to keep silent about her alleged dalliance years earlier with a presidential candidate, which a judge has agreed was an illegal violation of campaign finance laws. 

republican elephant logoThe private emails of Democrats were stolen and published, which prosecutors have said was an illegal intervention into the U.S. political system by foreign operatives.

The two crimes were undertaken to help Donald Trump’s campaign in 2016. They led to the indictment or conviction of 13 men, including Trump’s personal attorney.

But for nearly four years, Trump has bullied, browbeaten and litigated his way out of efforts to pin down whether he roger stone hands waving no credit from stone cold Customhad involvement in or knowledge of the illicit actions that were undertaken to help his presidential campaign.

Legal experts said his commutation last week of the sentence of confidant Roger Stone, left, who had been convicted of lying to Congress about his efforts to interact with WikiLeaks while it was publishing the hacked Democratic emails, was part of a pattern in which Trump flexed the powers of his office and his platform to evade scrutiny of his actions.

It is a pattern that vexed special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, who devoted substantial space in his report on election interference to Trump’s tactics but ultimately declined to come to a conclusion as to whether they constituted crimes, an ongoing source of frustration to Democratic lawmakers and some legal experts. And it has emerged as an issue for Trump’s reelection as critics accuse him of corrupting the government and the justice system to serve his personal needs.

2020 U.S. Elections, Politics

washington post logojennifer rubin new headshotWashington Post, Opinion Here are the reasons Trump is losing so badly, Jennifer Rubin, right, July 16, 2020. The 15-point lead for former vice president Joe Biden in the Quinnipiac poll released Wednesday seemed to many Democrats too good to be true. Then a NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll dropped, showing an 11-point lead for Biden.

Even if you think the polls will narrow as the election gets closer (a good bet) or that President Trump will start acting like a normal president (a bad bet), it is instructive to see why Biden has these big margins and how they correlate with Trump’s increasingly bizarre antics and fractured rhetoric.

In sum, the price of appealing so heavily to his far-right, white, evangelical and mostly male base is that Trump has alienated everyone else.

ny times logoNew York Times, Biden Banks $242 Million as Big-Name Donors Write Huge Checks, Shane Goldmacher, July 16, 2020. Joe Biden is relying on some of his party’s wealthiest donors to cut President Trump’s financial edge, new filings show.

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. raised tens of millions of dollars in the last three months from major donors who gave more than $100,000, relying on some of the joe biden 2020 button CustomDemocratic Party’s deepest pockets to sharply shrink President Trump’s financial advantage, according to new federal filings.

Mr. Biden’s campaign announced on Thursday that he entered July with $242 million in the bank, up from less than $60 million at the beginning of April. He still has less money than Mr. Trump, who reported $295 million, but the cash gap is suddenly far less daunting.

Mr. Biden’s biggest benefactors in the second quarter of 2020, when he became the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, represent a who’s who of billionaires and influencers in Silicon Valley, Hollywood, Wall Street and beyond. Among those who gave at least $500,000 were Laurene Powell Jobs, the philanthropist and widow of Steve Jobs; Meg Whitman, a former Republican candidate for governor of California and now the chief executive of the streaming company Quibi; George Soros, the billionaire progressive financier; Jeffrey Katzenberg, the Hollywood producer; and Dustin Moskovitz, a co-founder of Facebook.

Mr. Biden had previously announced that he narrowly edged Mr. Trump in total fund-raising with their parties in the last full three months, $282 million to $266 million. New Federal Election Commission filings released late Wednesday shed the first light on the biggest contributors powering Mr. Biden’s financial turnaround, from a candidate who struggled to raise money in the primaries to one now outpacing the incumbent president.

brad parscale bill stepien

ny times logoNew York Times, 2020 Election Updates: Who Is Bill Stepien, Trump’s New Campaign Manager? Staff reports, July 16, 2020. Mr. Stepien, above right, replaces Brad Parscale, above left, less than a month after President Trump’s sparsely attended Tulsa rally. Polling suggests that Joe Biden would win if the election were held today — even if the polls are as wrong as they were in 2016.

Bill Stepien, a longtime political operative and deputy campaign manager for Mr. Trump, was promoted Wednesday night, replacing Brad Parscale as campaign manager nearly a month after the president became angry with him over a sparsely attended rally in Tulsa.

In Mr. Stepien, Mr. Trump gets an operative with a data obsession, having kept a color-coded map of New Jersey on his office walls when he worked for Chris Christie, the state’s former governor. He’s been described as both shrewd and ruthless, a Machiavelli guided by vote-share spreadsheets.

While Mr. Parscale at times seemed to seek the spotlight himself — and even spent campaign funds promoting his own Facebook page — Mr. Stepien prefers to operate behind the scenes.

“He will bring a very low-key style; he’s not looking to be self-promotional,” said Mike DuHaime, a longtime Republican political operative in New Jersey who has known Mr. Stepien since he was a teenager.

Mr. Stepien and Mr. Parscale addressed staff members at the campaign headquarters in Virginia for about 30 minutes on Thursday morning, with a misty-eyed Mr. Parscale reminiscing about how he had built the operation, “from five people to what it is today,” according to a person in the room.

In a statement, Mr. Stepien said that Mr. Trump and Mr. Parscale “have built an unprecedentedly strong campaign based on data and technology and Brad will remain heavily involved.”

Mr. Stepien is no stranger to rough-and-tumble politics. Mr. Christie fired him over the so-called Bridgegate scandal, which embroiled the governor’s administration after it came to light that officials had closed down access lanes to the George Washington Bridge to punish a political opponent. While Mr. Stepien denied involvement and was never criminally charged, there were indications that his hands weren’t entirely clean.

Mr. Christie ultimately said he had lost trust in Mr. Stepien, citing a “tone and behavior and attitude of callous indifference” in Mr. Stepien’s emails that “made me lose my confidence in Bill’s judgment.”

But the two have since reconciled, and Mr. Christie said he spoke to Mr. Stepien multiple times a week.

New York Post, Christie Bridgegate aides had a romance, Bob Fredericks, March 27, 2014. Two Chris Christie aides embroiled in Bridgegate had a hot and heavy romance before the scandal exploded, it was revealed yesterday, as the New Jersey governor claimed that the entire mess ruined his appetite.

One of them, former chief of staff Bridget Ann Kelly, had been dating another close associate of the governor, the report said. Kelly, 41 — who sent the infamous e-mail stating “time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee” — and ex-Christie campaign manager Bill Stepien, 36, became an item in April 2013.

They remained together until weeks before Kelly and ­David Wildstein, a Christie appointee to the Port Authority, allegedly decided to create a traffic nightmare in Fort Lee last September to punish its mayor for not supporting the governor’s re-election bid.

Related story: Business Insider, Report Claims Two Key Players In Bridgegate Scandal Were Involved In A 'Personal Relationship,' Brett LoGiurato, March 27, 2014.

ny times logoNew York Times, Supreme Court Allows Restrictions on Voting by Ex-Felons, Adam Liptak, July 16, 2020. The case concerned a Florida state law that limited the sweep of a voter initiative meant to allow former prisoners to vote.

The Supreme Court allowed Florida on Thursday to bar people with felony convictions from voting unless they have paid court fines and fees.

The court’s brief, unsigned order gave no reasons, which is typical when the justices consider emergency applications. It left in place an appeals court’s stay of a trial judge’s ruling that Florida’s voting restrictions were unconstitutional.

In dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan, said the order “continues a trend of condoning disfranchisement.”

“This court’s order prevents thousands of otherwise eligible voters from participating in Florida’s primary election simply because they are poor,” Justice Sotomayor wrote.

In 2018, Florida’s voters amended the state’s Constitution to end the disenfranchisement of people convicted of felonies, except for murder and rape, “upon completion of all terms of sentence, including parole or probation.”

The next year, the state’s Republican-controlled Legislature enacted a law that defined that phrase to include the payment of fines, restitution, costs and fees.

Civil rights groups and voters affected by the law sued, saying that it would require hundreds of thousands of citizens of the state to pay money to vote, in violation of equal protection principles and the 24th Amendment, which barred poll taxes. They added that the state had been unable to calculate how much potential voters owed.

Judge Robert L. Hinkle, of the Federal District Court in Tallahassee, ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, entering a preliminary injunction, and a unanimous three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, in Atlanta, affirmed that ruling. Florida officials sought a stay of that second ruling while their appeal moved forward, and the full appeals court granted it on July 1 in a three-sentence order without explanation. The appeals court will hear arguments in August.

djt super tan july 4 2020

washington post logoWashington Post, GOP convention in Florida will be scaled back next month, Josh Dawsey, July 16, 2020. A letter from RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel announced limits on rnc logoadmittance to the convention, which will include indoor and outdoor venues.

Admittance will be limited to only regular delegates for the first three days of the convention — or about 2,500 people. For the final day, when the president attends, delegates will get a guest, and alternate delegates can also attend — or 6,000 to 7,000 people.

In the letter, McDaniel says the changes are to comply with Florida rules after the party moved most of the convention from North Carolina.

washington post logoWashington Post, Lawmakers, inspector general demand answers on Census Bureau political appointees, Tara Bahrampour, July 16, 2020. The timing of the appointments and the two men’s relative lack of census experience, raised concerns that the White House was trying to influence the outcome of the count.

washington post logoWashington Post, Young farmers and farmers of color have been shut out of federal assistance during the pandemic, Laura Reiley, July 16, 2020. The federal government’s PPP and CFAP relief programs leave out beginning farmers even as the coronavirus decimates their primary sales outlets.

ny times logoNew York Times, Election updates: A poll shows Joe Biden 13 points ahead of President Trump in Pennsylvania, Staff reports, July 16, 2020 (print ed.).  Mr. Biden leads Mr. Trump 53 percent to 40 percent among registered voters in Pennsylvania, the Democrat’s largest lead in any public poll of the state this year, according to a Monmouth University poll released Wednesday.

The poll shows Mr. Biden with a 10-point lead among voters 65 and older, a stark reversal from Mr. Trump’s 10-point victory among the same demographic in 2016.

joe biden 2020 button CustomIn other news: With one contentious intraparty Senate battle behind them in Alabama, Republicans are now looking next door to Georgia, where President Trump is scheduled to visit on Wednesday and meet with the two Senate candidates fighting for his supporters even as his own political standing in the state appears shakier than ever.

Georgia has started drifting away from Mr. Trump in recent weeks, the latest sign of how imperiled his re-election hopes are — and how his unpopularity is endangering his party’s chances of holding onto the Senate. In 2016, he won the state by five percentage points. But a series of recent polls have shown that a tight race is developing between Mr. Trump and former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. Some polls, including one released by Fox News late last month, show Mr. Biden beating the president in the state.

The fact that Mr. Trump would feel the need to visit to Georgia, where he will deliver remarks on rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure in Atlanta, instead of one of the states he so narrowly won in 2016, is further evidence of how his mishandling of the coronavirus and failure to alleviate the country’s anger over racial inequality have left him vulnerable.

Candidates for House and Senate must file new fund-raising reports Thursday, and Republicans are bracing for another round of filings that show Democrats building a financial advantage in some key races.

The reports will cover the period from April 1 through June 30. Ahead of the deadline, some Democratic candidates for Senate have announced their quarterly hauls, including Jaime Harrison of South Carolina ($13.9 million), Amy McGrath of Kentucky ($17.4 million) and Gov. Steve Bullock of Montana ($7.7 million). Now their Republican opponents must open up their books, too.

U.S. Law, Courts

djt michael cohen

washington post logoWashington Post, Analysis: Michael Cohen is asked to sign agreement that may violate First Amendment rights, lawyers say, Tom Hamburger, July 16, 2020. The former Trump "fixer" is back in federal prison after refusing to agree not to write a tell-all book.

Michael Cohen, above left, President Trump's former personal attorney, is back in solitary confinement at a federal prison facility in Otisville, N.Y., and legal scholars across the political spectrum are expressing alarm about his treatment.

Their objections center on a Federal Bureau of Prisons agreement Cohen was asked to sign last week that he and his lawyers say would limit the ex-Trump ally's ability to work on books, including a forthcoming tell-all about the president.

Cohen's return to jail last week is likely to open yet another legal front for a man who once described himself as Trump's loyal “fixer” but later offered testimony implicating the president in possible crimes.

Since May, Cohen had been on a novel coronavirus pandemic-related furlough from jail, living at home in New York City. Last week, he went to New York's federal courthouse to attend what he thought would be a routine meeting with probation officers to discuss the conditions of his home confinement.

washington post logoWashington Post, Justice Dept. carries out second federal execution after another late-night, divided Supreme Court ruling, Mark Berman, July 16, 2020. The Justice Department on Thursday carried out the second federal execution this week, following another set of Supreme Court orders issued in the dead of night saying the lethal injection could proceed.

Justice Department log circularFederal officials in Indiana executed Wesley Purkey, 68. He was pronounced dead at 8:19 a.m., they said. Purkey was convicted in 2003 of raping and murdering 16-year-old Jennifer Long, and had also killed Mary Ruth Bales, an 80-year-old woman, court records show.

Asked if he wanted to make a statement before the lethal injection, Purkey apologized to both Long’s family and his daughter, saying he “deeply” regretted the pain he caused to all of them. His final words addressed his imminent execution.

“This sanitized murder really does not serve no purpose whatsoever,” he said, according to the pool report. “Thank you.”

Purkey’s death by lethal injection came two days after federal authorities executed Daniel Lewis Lee, who was sentenced to death for his role in killing a family of three, at the same penitentiary in Terre Haute, Ind.

Bloomberg, Deutsche Bank Investors Sue Over Epstein Ties, Stock Drops, Jennifer Bennett, July 16, 2020. Deutsche Bank AG allegedly misled investors about anti-money-laundering deficiencies and didn’t “properly monitor” customers it considered “high risk,” such as Jeffrey Epstein, investors said in New Jersey federal district court.

deutsche bank logoThe bank didn’t tell investors it hadn’t fixed disclosure control problems and wasn’t keeping an appropriate eye on clients like convicted sex offender Epstein and two other banks involved in past financial misconduct scandals, investors alleged Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.

Adding Epstein as a client in 2013 “was a critical mistake and should never have happened,” Deutsche Bank said in a July 7 message to staff. A bank spokesperson told Bloomberg News it had spent almost $1 billion to improve AML controls.

The bank’s share price fell 4.49% May 13 after news broke that the Federal Reserve had criticized its U.S. operations, including its AML and other control procedures, the investors said. The share price dropped 1.31% July 7 after New York’s state financial services department fined Deutsche Bank $150 million for “neglecting to flag numerous questionable transactions from accounts associated with Epstein,” Danske Estonia, and FBME Bank, the would-be class complaint said.

Deutsche Bank “signaled to investors” in 2017 that its then-new, now-departed general counsel would “further ensure” its “mitigation of its prior AML and other control function failures,” the complaint said. The bank touted its AML remediation efforts in subsequent Securities and Exchange Commission filings, the investors said.

The bank warned investors of “generic, boilerplate” control risks but didn’t disclose “relationships with, and lax monitoring of, customers” like Epstein that Deutsche Bank had “itself deemed to be high risk,” the complaint said.

U.S. Police Brutality, Race Protests

washington post logoWashington Post, St. Louis prosecutor receives death threats as Trump defends couple who pointed guns at protesters, Meagan Flynn, Tom Jackman and Ben Guarino, July 16, 2020 (print ed.). St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner (D) accused President Trump and Missouri’s Republican governor of playing politics with a local criminal investigation.

kimberly gardner circuit attorneyThe prosecutor investigating the St. Louis couple who aimed guns at protesters says she has received racist attacks and death threats that have worsened as President Trump has thrown his support behind the couple.

mike parson“This is a modern-day night ride, and everybody knows it,” St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner (D), right, said in an interview with The Washington Post, referring to the terroristic forays of the Ku Klux Klan into African American neighborhoods in the 19th and 20th centuries. “And for a president to participate in it, in the larger context of racism and cronyism, is scary.”

Mark and Patricia McCloskey, a white couple who say they were afraid for their lives as protesters marched through their neighborhood on June 28, pointed guns at the multiracial group of demonstrators — an incident that politicians and commentators have made a focal point of the nation’s culture war.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, left, said Tuesday that Trump would be “getting involved” in the case of the St. Louis couple, who are under review for potential criminal charges.

Both the president and Republican governor have offered impassioned defenses of Mark and Patricia McCloskey, who went viral after brandishing guns at protesters on the private street outside their mansion. 

George Floyd, left, and Derek Chauvin

George Floyd, whose death in Minneapolis helped spark many protests this spring, is shown at left in a file photo and at right under a policeman's knee.

washington post logoWashington Post, New police video reveals George Floyd’s desperate pleas before his death, Holly Bailey, July 16, 2020 (print ed.). A white police officer pulled his gun within 15 seconds of encountering George Floyd in a parked vehicle in May, prompting the 46-year-old black man to cry, panic and beg officers not to kill him during a harrowing ordeal revealed in police body camera videos released Wednesday.

The footage, captured by cameras worn by two of the four officers charged in Floyd’s May 25 death, presents an even more desperate scene than previously known. Floyd appeared visibly shaken and scared of police, whom he called “sir” and “Mr. Officer.” He moaned and begged for his life after they pinned him to the ground, a white officer’s knee at his throat for more than eight minutes.

The videos, made available to the public by a Hennepin County judge, were filed as evidence in the former officers’ criminal case and presented for viewing in court just hours before Floyd’s family filed a wrongful-death civil suit against the city of Minneapolis and the four police officers charged in his death. The family accused the officers of violating Floyd’s constitutional rights and the city of turning a blind eye to a culture of excessive force and racism in its police force that allowed the encounter with Floyd to happen.

The federal lawsuit did not specify damages sought. Ben Crump, an attorney for the Floyd family, said the lawsuit is seeking compensation “that makes it financially prohibitive for police to wrongfully kill marginalized people — especially Black people — in the future.”

"It was not just the knee of officer Derek Chauvin on George Floyd's neck," Crump said in an afternoon news conference, referring to the former Minneapolis police officer charged in Floyd's murder. "But it was the knee of the entire Minneapolis Police Department on the neck of George Floyd that killed him."

The body camera videos, roughly a half-hour each, add to the cellphone footage posted to social media by bystanders that shows Floyd's dying moments on a South Minneapolis street corner. That footage sparked one of the largest and most sustained series of protests in American history, transforming the nation's conversation on issues of race and police violence.

Mediaite, WATCH: Mary Trump Claims ‘Virulently Racist’ Donald Trump Has Used N-Word, Anti-Semitic Slurs, KJ Edelman, July 16, 2020. Mary Trump claimed that she has heard her uncle, President Donald Trump, use the N-word and anti-Semitic slurs in a new interview with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Thursday night. A preview clip of the interview aired on the Thursday evening edition of NBC Nightly News.

“I have to press you on it a little bit just to ask if the president, if your uncle, was an exception to that in your family or if he — if you heard — you ever heard him express either his anti-Semitic slurs or other sentiments like that,” Maddow asked the president’s niece, who is on a book tour for her tell-all Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man. “Or do you mean this was an ambient thing in your family but you can’t say you ever heard it from him or did you hear it from him, too?”

“Oh yeah, of course I did,” Mary said. “And I don’t think that should surprise anybody, given how virulently racist he is today.” Maddow then had Trump specifically confirm one-by-one that she had heard her uncle use both the N-word and anti-Semitic slurs.

The 55-year-old psychologist started her press tour for her book this week after a judge ruled that she was allowed to speak freely about it. In its first day, the book sold almost 1 million copies.

In excerpts from her book, she has accused Trump of cheating on his SATs, detailed how he was humiliated and “destroyed” by his father, and explain how Trump’s sister, Maryanne Trump Barry, mocked her brother for running in the 2016 election and for only going to church for PR purposes.

In Mary’s first interview with ABC News on Tuesday, she said she initially supported him but now wants him to resign. She also said he’s “utterly incapable of leading” and needed to “stop this” and “make up” for not acting sooner.

Media / Security News

washington post logoapple logo rainbowWashington Post, Apple wins victory against E.U. as court rules it does not have to pay $14.8 billion in back taxes, Michael Birnbaum, July 16, 2020 (print ed.).  An appeals court crimped the European Union’s aggressive antitrust enforcement effort against the tech giant.

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Investigative commentary: Michael Pack, Bannon pal in charge of US broadcasting, okays resumption of jamming, Wayne Madsen, July 16, 2020. Michael Pack, the friend and colleague of neo-fascist Steve Bannon now installed as the chief executive officer of the U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM), is intent on returning the shortwave radio bands to the era of the Cold War by jamming the broadcasts of "communist" radio stations in China and Cuba.

The USAGM was formerly known as the Broadcasting Board of Governors. Although many foreign broadcasters abandoned the shortwave bands and migrated to the Internet, in many poor countries around the world shortwave radio remains the primary method by which those without access to the Internet receive news, sports, and entertainment.

Pack is noteworthy as the founder of Manifold Productions, Inc., a film production company that has produced right-wing propaganda fare, including a puff piece documentary on Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas.

Mediaite, Photographer Catches Topics in Kayleigh McEnany’s Briefing Binder: Obama, Hate, Golf, Mueller, Lies, LGBT and More, Reed Richardson, July 16, 2020. A Reuters photograph of White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany’s vast briefing binder offered a peek behind the curtain of the Trump administration’s messaging priorities.

Taken from the side of the White House briefing room podium, the photograph catches McEnany, right, opening the book, exposing dozens of alphabetized tabs with short category names. During her tenure, McEnany has developed a reputation for flipping open her briefing book after a particularly confrontational question and reading verbatim from pre-written responses, which often included canned attacks on the press or praise from allies.

In the photo takayleigh mcenany white house file Customken at Thursday’s White House briefing, McEnany’s tabs include a number evergreen topics, but several recent ones as well. “Covid” and “Test” as well as “PPE,” “Masks,” “CDC,” and “Cases” suggest a healthy amount of prepared remarks on the raging pandemic. But also included in the binder were more ephemeral topics, like “Goya” about the controversy over the Trump-led counter-backlash to a liberal boycott of the food company, “Mary” which, presumably, refers to the president’s niece and her damning tell-all book, and “Hogan,” which likely alluded to Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s scathing Washington Post essay condemning Trump’s pandemic response. Also included were notable files on former President Barack “Obama,” as well as subjects used to frequently criticize Trump like “Golf,” “Russia,” “Hate,” and a misspelled “Meuller.”

But many of the tabs spoke to this White House’s favorite boogeymen, with categories such as “Media,” “Lies,” “China,” “BLM,” “Privil” suggesting white privilege, and one simply labeled “Absurd.” “Statues” was also included as was “LGBT.” Notably, one tab was labeled “Karl,” which might be an oppo brief against ABC News White House correspondent Jon Karl, who has frequently clashed with Trump at press conferences.

Finally, in what appeared to be the last tab, at the bottom of the book, was one labeled “Wins.”

World News

ny times logoNew York Times, Critics say both the Polish campaign and the vote were plagued with irregularities and fraud, Marc Santora, July 16, 2020. Amid a flurry of filings to the Supreme Court, the main opposition party called for the election to be declared invalid.

Supporters of the mayor of Warsaw, joined by scores of Polish voters and rights groups, raced on Thursday to file legal challenges to the validity of Sunday’s presidential election, which he narrowly lost to the incumbent, President Andrzej Duda.

polish flag wavingThe rush to file the complaints was the result of a new electoral code passed by the government in May, cutting the time to file such challenges from 14 days to three.

In lodging the official protests with the nation’s Supreme Court, supporters of the mayor, Rafal Trzaskowski, were not expecting to overturn the result of the election, given the margin of defeat of nearly half a million votes.

Their object was more to expose what they said was a pattern of political interference that marred the country’s closest election since the end of communist rule in 1989 and to delay the certification of the vote long enough for it to be declared invalid.

 

July 15

Top Stories

Virus Victims, Responses

 2020 U.S. Elections, Politics

Race, Police Brutality News

Law, Courts, Crime

Media / Trump Watch

U.S. Crime

 

Top Storiescovad 19 photo.jpg Custom 2

 ny times logoNew York Times, Live Updates: U.S. Hospital Beds Fill and Businesses Close as July Resembles March Amid Surge, Staff reports, July 16, 2020 (print ed.). The Trump administration ordered hospitals to bypass the C.D.C. with key virus data. Childhood vaccination rates worldwide continue to plunge. Walmart and Sam’s Club will begin requiring that all customers wear masks in U.S. stores, starting on Monday. Here’s what you need to know:

  • 65,000 new cases were reported on Tuesday in the United States.
  • Walmart will require all customers to wear masks.
  • Some of the biggest U.S. school districts are in counties where infection rates are high.
  • In the U.S., renewed lockdowns, closed schools and uncertain federal support cloud hopes of a rapid rebound.
  • The virus complicates an ideological clash between China and the United States.
  • Declining childhood vaccination rates could pose a threat ‘greater than Covid-19 itself,’ the W.H.O. warns.

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: In op-ed, ex-CDC directors slam Trump for politicizing science, Tom Frieden, Jeffrey Koplan, David Satcher and Richard Besser, July 15, 2020 (print ed.). Four former directors of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention co-wrote an op-ed published by The Washington Post. The administration is undermining public health.cdc logo Custom

As America begins the formidable task of getting our kids back to school and all of us back to work safely amid a pandemic that is only getting worse, public health experts face two opponents: covid-19, but also political leaders and others attempting to undermine the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

As of this date, the CDC guidelines, which were designed to protect children, teachers, school staffers and their families — no matter the state and no matter the politics — have not been altered. It is extraordinary for guidelines to be undermined after their release. Through last week, and into Monday, the administration continued to cast public doubt on the agency’s recommendations and role in informing and guiding the nation’s pandemic response.

The four of us led the CDC over a period of more than 15 years, spanning Republican and Democratic administrations alike. We cannot recall over our collective tenure a single time when political pressure led to a change in the interpretation of scientific evidence.

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Investigative Commentary: Dispatch from a disease-infected third world petit-tyranny, Wayne Madsen, left, July 15, 2020. In times past, this editor has written about journalists who face knocks on the door by state security agents and long periods of interrogation and imprisonment by dictatorships around the world. I have signed petitions to free imprisoned journalists from countries like Turkey and eSwatini to Turkmenistan and Honduras.

strategic culture logoOn July 3, 2020, WMR reported that the Justice Department under Trump's porcine law enforcement hatchet man, William Barr, sought and received a court order for this editor's phone, social media, and e-mail records.

What is not a coincidence is that on July 14, 2020 -- Bastille Day in France, which is fitting -- two FBI agents knocked on this editor's door inquiring about the Strategic Culture Foundation (SCF), a popular Russia-based website for alternative news and views that has been publishing on thr web for some ten years. It turns out that hours before the feds came to the door, their third visit during the anti-press Trump administration, SCF published an article by this editor titled, "Donald Trump's Genocidal Acts Against Humanity."

washington post logoWashington Post, Walmart will require face masks at all U.S. stores, Hannah Denham and Taylor Telford, July 15, 2020. The orld’s biggest retailer cited the resurgence of covid-19 cases and need for consistency across its 5,000 locations for the policy, which takes effect Monday.

Virus Victims, Responses

ny times logoNew York Times,Trump Administration Strips C.D.C. of Control of Coronavirus Data, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, July 15, 2020 (print ed.). Hospitals have been ordered to bypass the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and send all patient information to a central database in Washington, raising questions about transparency.

The Trump administration has ordered hospitals to bypass the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and send all Covid-19 patient information to a central database in Washington Dr. Robert Redfield, Director of Centers for Disease Control beginning on Wednesday. The move has alarmed health experts who fear the data will be politicized or withheld from the public.

The new instructions were posted recently in a little-noticed document on the Department of Health and Human Services website. From now on, the department — not the C.D.C. — will collect daily reports about the patients that each hospital is treating, the number of available beds and ventilators, and other information vital to tracking the pandemic. CDC Director Robert Redfield is shown at right.

HHS logoOfficials say the change will streamline data gathering and assist the White House coronavirus task force in allocating scarce supplies like personal protective gear and remdesivir, the first drug shown to be effective against the virus. But the Health and Human Services database that will receive new information is not open to the public, which could affect the work of scores of researchers, modelers and health officials who rely on C.D.C. data to make projections and crucial decisions.

“Historically, C.D.C. has been the place where public health data has been sent, and this raises questions about not just access for researchers but access for reporters, access for the public to try to better understand what is happening with the outbreak," said Jen Kates, the director of global health and H.I.V. policy with the nonpartisan alex azar o cropped CustomKaiser Family Foundation.

“How will the data be protected?” she asked. “Will there be transparency, will there be access, and what is the role of the C.D.C. in understanding the data?”

News of the change came as a shock at the C.D.C., according to two officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter. Michael R. Caputo, a Health and Human Services spokesman called the C.D.C.’s system inadequate and said the two systems would be linked. The C.D.C. would continue to make data public, he said. [Caputo is a hard-right, longtime Republican operative named this year to boost political messaging for HHS Secretary Alex Azar, right.]

“Today, the C.D.C. still has at least a week lag in reporting hospital data,” Mr. Caputo said. “America requires it in real time. The new, faster and complete data system is what our nation needs to defeat the coronavirus, and the C.D.C., an operating division of H.H.S., will certainly participate in this streamlined all-of-government response. They will simply no longer control it.”

ny times logoNew York Times, A Resurgence of the Virus, and Lockdowns, Threatens Economic Recovery, Jim Tankersley and Ben Casselman, July 15, 2020. Hopes for a rebound are endangered by prolonged closures of schools, renewed state restrictions on business and fears of a difficult autumn and winter.

djt hands up mouth open CustomFor months, the prevailing wisdom among investors, Trump administration officials and many economic forecasters was that after plunging into recession this spring, the country’s recovery would accelerate in late summer and take off in the fall as the virus receded, restrictions on commerce loosened, and consumers reverted to more normal spending patterns. Job gains in May and June fueled those rosy predictions.

But failure to suppress a resurgence of confirmed infections is threatening to choke the recovery and push the country back into a recessionary spiral — one that could inflict long-term damage on workers and businesses large and small, unless Congress reconsiders the scale of federal aid that may be required in the months to come.

The looming economic pain was evident on Tuesday as big companies forecast gloomy months ahead.

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: Mass Death Is Not Inevitable, Donald G. McNeil Jr. (a science reporter for The New York Times who has covered epidemics since 2002), July 15, 2020. Some say we’re doomed. But science and public spending have saved us from pandemics worse than this one.

Nearly 140,000 Americans have been lost to coronavirus, and many experts fear the deaths will only accelerate in the fall as cold weather forces us indoors. By year’s end, half as many Americans may have died as did in the four years of World War II.

And yet we are still arguing over how to prevent this — each state struggling over how much lockdown to impose and what its governor can make its citizens do.

ny times logoNew York Times, Editorial: Congress, Do Your Job: Help Americans Without One, Editorial Board, July 15, 2020 (print ed.). Federal aid is about to lapse even as the coronavirus crisis rolls on. Unemployment benefits provide people who lose jobs with a little help for a little while. The money is not really enough to live on, by design: People are supposed to find a new job.

During an economic crisis, however, people can’t find jobs. They need money to live on.

Congress recognized this reality in March when it responded to the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic by increasing unemployment benefits. But the expansion expires at the end of this month, even as the pandemic continues to rage. Congress, after dragging its feet for months, has all but run out of time to prevent a lapse in the distribution of extra aid.

washington post logoWashington Post, Live Updates: California backtracks on reopening as rise in coronavirus cases spreads beyond Sun Belt, Staff reports, July 15, 2020 (print ed.). With cases of the novel coronavirus soaring, the West Coast is shutting down — again. California on Monday banned indoor dining and shuttered movie theaters and bars. Hair salons and gyms in particularly hard-hit counties were also told to close. Meanwhile, Oregon cracked down on gatherings of more than 10 people and made masks mandatory statewide.

President Donald Trump officialOther states may soon follow. The Sun Belt has been hit hard, but coronavirus case numbers in other parts of the country — including Colorado, Kentucky, Montana, North Dakota and the District of Columbia — have also risen sharply over the past week. The entire country reported 57,000 new infections on Monday for a total of 3.3 million cases, with at least 132,000 deaths linked to covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, since the start of the pandemic.

Here are some significant developments:

  • Los Angeles, San Diego and Atlanta — three of the nation’s largest school districts — will hold classes online when the new school year begins.
  • As Florida’s growing coronavirus caseload continues to shatter records, Miami “is now the epicenter of the pandemic,” Lilian Abbo, an infectious-disease specialist from the University of Miami Health System, warned on Monday. “What we were seeing in Wuhan six months ago, now we’re there.”
  • Senior Trump administration officials said Monday that new treatment options for covid-19 could be available months before a vaccine, but meeting demand will pose a challenge. Glass makers are already scrambling to produce the billions of medical-grade vials that will be needed to deliver a vaccine.
  • More than 5 million people have lost their health insurance during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new study from the health-care advocacy group Families USA.
  • President Trump highlighted a game show host’s criticism of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday, the latest example of how he has undermined his government’s response to a worsening public health crisis.

ny times logoNew York Times, Live Updates: Trump Administration Abandons Plan to Strip Student Visas, Staff reports, July 15, 2020 (print ed.). The policy would have stripped international college students of their visas if their coursework was entirely online. Amazon, Kroger and other big U.S. retailers have ended some pandemic pay raises for essential workers. Here’s the latest.

The Trump administration has walked back a policy that would have stripped international college students of their U.S. visas if their coursework was entirely online, ending a proposed plan that had thrown the higher education world into turmoil.

The policy, announced on July 6, prompted an immediate lawsuit from Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and on Tuesday, the government and the Ron De santis ouniversities reached a resolution, according to the judge overseeing the case.

The agreement reinstates a policy implemented in March amid the pandemic that gave international students flexibility to take all their classes online and remain legally in the country with student visas.

Meanwhile, Florida (whose Gov. Rick DeSantis is shown at right) broke its record for most deaths in a single day, and Republicans are rethinking their convention there. People in England will be required to wear masks inside shops and supermarkets.

Oklahoma added 993 cases on Tuesday, a single-day record for the state, and Florida, Utah and Alabama all broke their records for most deaths in a single day.stability in the U.S.

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: The bill is coming due for those who sold their souls to Trump, Jennifer Rubin, right, July 15, 2020. Between President Trump’s Rose Garden rant on Tuesday (which jennifer rubin new headshotMary L. Trump should definitely include in the paperback version of her book delving into her uncle’s erratic behavior) and the White House’s excuse that it never authorized trade representative Peter Navarro to write a screed attacking the world’s leading infectious-disease expert, it has become a wee bit difficult for in-house lackeys, elected Republicans and card-carrying members of the right-wing media to keep up the pretense that Trump and his administration are functioning normally — or even functioning at all.

Increasingly, the White House operates not so much as the head of the executive branch but as a site for Trump’s personal and political breakdowns.

It is hard to see that any official business is performed in an administration obsessed with covering Trump’s lies, catering to his ego, attacking his opponents and providing emotional refuge for those whose identity depends on venerating the Confederate flag and excusing systemic racism. There is almost no actual policy happening and no rationale for the administration’s continued existence.

Let’s turn, then, to the Senate Republicans who voted to acquit him (that would be everyone except Utah Sen. Mitt Romney), the House Republicans who mouthed Russian propaganda in his defense and the horde of right-wing pundits and media figures who both financially sustain and humiliate themselves with never-ending rationalizations for a president who struggles to complete a sentence, let alone think through complex policy matters.

The elected Republicans should be confronted at every turn by mainstream media and voters.

  • Do you think President Trump is fit even to complete his term?
  • Do you regret supporting his exoneration in the Ukraine scandal?
  • How can you support a president who clings to the Confederate flag and defends the killing of African Americans by police by saying more white people are killed?

2020 U.S. Elections, Politics

ny times logopeter baker twitterNew York Times, Trump Turns a White House Press Conference Into a Meandering Monologue, Peter Baker, right, July 15, 2020 (print ed.). The president spoke in the Rose Garden for 63 minutes. He spent only six of those minutes answering questions from reporters. In theory, President Trump summoned television cameras to the heat-baked Rose Garden early Tuesday evening to announce new measures against China to punish it for its oppression of Hong Kong. But that did not last long.

President Trump on Time Magazine's cover Feb. 27, 2017What followed instead was an hour of presidential stream of consciousness as Mr. Trump drifted seemingly at random from one topic to another, often in the same run-on sentence. Even for a president who rarely sticks to the script and wanders from thought to thought, it was one of the most rambling performances of his presidency.

He weighed in on China and the coronavirus and the Paris climate change accord and crumbling highways. And then China again and military spending and then China again and then the coronavirus again. And the economy and energy taxes and trade with Europe and illegal immigration and his friendship with Mexico’s president. And the coronavirus again and then immigration again and crime in Chicago and the death penalty and back to climate change and education and historical statues. And more.

“We could go on for days,” he said at one point, and it sounded plausible.

At times, it was hard to understand what he meant. He seemed to suggest that his presumptive Democratic challenger, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., would get rid of windows if elected and later said that Mr. Biden would “abolish the suburbs.” He complained that Mr. Biden had “gone so far right.” (He meant left.)

ny times logoNew York Times, For Sessions, No Amount of Campaigning Could Overcome Trump in Alabama, Elaina Plott, July 15, 2020 (print ed.). He beat back tears. He said he let his family down. He declared of politics, “This chapter of my life is closed.” But he would not criticize his former boss, and even said President Trump could win in November.

jeff sessions ag oJeff Sessions, right, spent his final days on the campaign trail reiterating his support for President Trump’s agenda, reminding voters of his efforts to curb illegal immigration while attorney general and emphasizing how, as a senator, he had endorsed Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign at a time when few others in Washington would.

But in the end, it wasn’t enough. And in truth, after Mr. Trump endorsed Mr. Sessions’s opponent, it probably never was.

On Tuesday, Mr. Sessions fell far short in the Alabama Senate Republican runoff election to Tommy Tuberville, a former Auburn University football coach whose platform was largely a blanket promise to support the president at all times. Mr. Tuberville celebrated the results that evening at the Renaissance Hotel in Montgomery.

“People in Alabama voted against Jeff Sessions because Donald Trump told them to,” said Angi Stalnaker, a Republican strategist in Alabama.

republican elephant logo“They wanted to please the president,” Ms. Stalnaker said. “This was never about Tommy Tuberville.”

Mr. Tuberville now advances to the November general election, where he will face Senator Doug Jones, a Democrat.

Mr. Sessions fought back tears as he addressed reporters on Tuesday evening at the Hampton Inn in Mobile. He was joined on the makeshift stage by his wife, children, and grandchildren, and he thanked him for their support during the campaign.

Congratulating Mr. Tuberville, Mr. Sessions added that he had “no regrets” about his recusal. He had “followed the law,” he went on, and “saved the president’s bacon in the process.”

Nearly two years after Mr. Trump pushed Mr. Sessions out of his administration, the former attorney general still would not criticize the president, even in defeat. If Mr. Trump “gets on message, and stays on it,” he said, “I think he’ll be in a position to come back and win this election” in November.

ny times logoNew York Times, Trump to Weaken Environmental Rules to Speed Infrastructure Permits, Lisa Friedman, July 15, 2020. President Trump on Wednesday is set to unilaterally weaken one of the nation’s bedrock conservation laws, the National Environmental Policy Act, limiting public review of federal infrastructure projects to speed up the permitting of freeways, power plants and pipelines.

epa general logoIn doing so, the Trump administration will claim hundreds of millions of dollars of savings over almost a decade by significantly reducing the amount of time allowed to complete reviews of major infrastructure projects, according to two people familiar with the new policy.

The White House confirmed that the president plans to announce the final changes to the rule at an afternoon event at the U.P.S. Hapeville Airport Hub in Atlanta. Mr. Trump will make the case that lengthy permit processes have held up major infrastructure projects across the country, including a lane expansion to Interstate 75 in Georgia.

ny times logoNew York Times, Kansas Congressman Is Charged With Voter Fraud, Will Wright, July 14, 2020. Representative Steve Watkins, Republican of Kansas, was charged with three felonies related to voter fraud on Tuesday, shortly before a televised debate in which he dismissed the accusations involving a municipal election as a political move.

The district attorney of Shawnee County, Mike Kagay, charged Mr. Watkins with three felonies: interference with law enforcement by providing false information, voting without being qualified and unlawful advance voting. Mr. Watkins was also charged with failing to notify the state motor vehicle agency of a change of address, a misdemeanor.

Mr. Watkins changed his voter registration address to a UPS store last year before voting in a City Council race that was decided by 13 votes, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported.

During the primary debate on Tuesday night, Mr. Watkins, a first-term representative, said that he had accidentally put his mailing address instead of his physical address on his voter registration form and that he had corrected the error as soon as he became aware of it.

Mr. Watkins, a military veteran, was narrowly elected to a reliably Republican district in 2016. His Republican opponents this year, Dennis Taylor and Jake LaTurner, took different approaches when asked about the charges during Tuesday’s debate.

ny times logornc logoNew York Times, Election Live Updates: Republicans Plan to Move Convention Events Outdoors, Staff reports, July 15, 2020 (print ed.). Joseph R. Biden Jr. announced a $2 trillion clean energy plan in a speech in Wilmington, Del. “We’re still a country in crisis,” he said, criticizing President Trump’s leadership during the pandemic.

Race, Police Brutality News

washington post logoWashington Post, Analysis: In a pair of interviews, Trump highlights white victimhood, Philip Bump, July 15, 2020 (print ed.). President Trump waved away concern about the rate at which black people die at the hands of police with a comment that amounted to “white lives matter, too.” Asked about police brutality against black Americans, Trump says ‘more white people’ are being killed.

The fundamental premise of the Black Lives Matter movement, agree with it or not, is straightforward: Too many black Americans die at the hands of police each year, a function of racism embedded in the system of law enforcement in this country. There’s no claim of primacy; it’s not the case that protesters with the movement demand that black Americans get exceptional treatment when confronted by law enforcement. Instead, it demands that they not be treated exceptionally, that being black not correlate with a higher risk of death when being detained.

This premise and its correlating demands and assertions have been the subjects of robust debate for more than five years, including in the past several weeks after the death of George Floyd while being restrained by a police officer in Minneapolis. There’s certainly nuance to the subject that demands close attention. It’s the sort of thing that poses a complex challenge to elected leaders, given its overlap with the complicated issues of race and power.

Most elected leaders, anyway. In an interview with CBS News’s Catherine Herridge on Tuesday, President Trump waved away concern about the rate at which black people die at the hands of police with a comment that amounted to “white lives matter, too.”

Law, Courts, Crime

Legal Schnauzer, Opinion: Rogue judges run rampant around the country, but many of them escape punishment because of lax disciplinary systems and little media scrutiny, Roger Shuler, July 15, 2020. It must be impossible to write an article about court corruption without focusing on at least one Alabama judge. That seems to be the take-home lesson from a piece at Reuters under the headline, "Special Report: Thousands of U.S. judges who broke laws, oaths remained on the bench." Heck, even the dateline is from Alabama.

Write reporters Michael Berens and John Shiffman:

MONTGOMERY, Alabama (Reuters) - Judge Les Hayes once sentenced a single mother to 496 days behind bars for failing to pay traffic tickets. The sentence was so stiff it exceeded the jail time Alabama allows for negligent homicide.

Marquita Johnson, who was locked up in April 2012, says the impact of her time in jail endures today. Johnson’s three children were cast into foster care while she was incarcerated. One daughter was molested, state records show. Another was physically abused.

“Judge Hayes took away my life and didn’t care how my children suffered,” said Johnson, now 36. “My girls will never be the same.”

Fellow inmates found her sentence hard to believe. “They had a nickname for me: The Woman with All the Days,” Johnson said. “That’s what they called me: The Woman with All the Days. There were people who had committed real crimes who got out before me.”

In our experience, judges often get away with such brazen unlawfulness; Hayes did not:

In 2016, the state agency that oversees judges charged Hayes with violating Alabama’s code of judicial conduct. According to the Judicial Inquiry Commission, Hayes broke state and federal laws by jailing Johnson and hundreds of other Montgomery residents too poor to pay fines. Among those jailed: a plumber struggling to make rent, a mother who skipped meals to cover the medical bills of her disabled son, and a hotel housekeeper working her way through college.

How did Hayes explain such judicial hackery? He blamed it on, well, ignorance of the law -- and he was a judge:

Hayes, a judge since 2000, admitted in court documents to violating 10 different parts of the state’s judicial conduct code. One of the counts was a breach of a judge’s most essential duty: failing to “respect and comply with the law.”

Despite the severity of the ruling, Hayes wasn’t barred from serving as a judge. Instead, the judicial commission and Hayes reached a deal. The former Eagle Scout would serve an 11-month unpaid suspension. Then he could return to the bench. This week, Hayes is set to retire after 20 years as a judge. In a statement to Reuters, Hayes said he was “very remorseful” for his misdeeds.

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump to continue legal battle over tax returns after Supreme Court defeat, Shayna Jacobs, July 16, 2020 (print ed.). President Trump intends to pursue his legal fight against the Manhattan district attorney over access to his tax records, according to a court filing.

irs logoTrump recently lost his bid to have the grand jury subpoena tossed on the grounds that as sitting president he has absolute immunity from state court proceedings. The Supreme Court decision last week favored efforts by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., whose office was investigating Trump and his business over hush money payments made to two women during the 2016 presidential campaign, including to pornography actress Stormy Daniels.

Vance’s office, which is facing a looming statute of limitations should he decide to pursue a felony case, suggested it would not allow the new matters to drag on. It said in Wednesday’s filing that it could enforce the subpoena immediately but would give the president until July 27 to file his new claims before doing so.

 ghislaine maxwell new york post Custom

Last American Vagabond, Investigative Commentary: The Maxwell Family Business: Espionage, Whitney Webb, right, July 15, 2020. Excerpted below: Ghislaine Maxwell is hardly the only whitney webb twitterMaxwell sibling to continue their father’s controversial work for intelligence, with other siblings carrying the torch specifically for Robert Maxwell’s sizable role in the PROMIS software scandal and subsequent yet related hi-tech espionage operations.

Many were surprised to learn earlier this month that the key co-conspirator in Jeffrey Epstein’s intelligence-linked sexual blackmail operation, Ghislaine Maxwell, had been in hiding in New England since Epstein’s arrest and subsequent “suicide” last summer. Her recent arrest, of course, has returned attention to the Epstein scandal and to Ghislaine’s ties to the entire operation, in which she played a central and crucial role, arguably more so than Epstein himself.

Ghislaine was first reported to be living in New England at the mansion of her alleged boyfriend Scott Borgeson on August 14th of last year.

Though Maxwell is believed to have stayed there until purchasing the nearby New Hampshire home where she was arrested, attention from her presence on the East Coast was immediately and sensationally re-directed to the West Coast when, a day later on August 15th, the New York Post published a picture allegedly depicting Maxwell reading a book on “CIA operatives” at an In-N-Out Burger in Los Angeles, California. The photo (shown above, one of several ostensibly at the locale) was later revealed to have been photoshopped and a fake, but ultimately served its purpose in distracting from her actual location in New England.

While the media frenziedly covered the fake In-N-Out Burger photo, the appearance of an unexpected visitor nearby Borgeson’s mansion succeeded in largely slipping under the radar. On August 18th, Ghislaine’s sister Christine was spotted “packing up a number of bags” into a SUV just a few miles from Borgeson’s “secluded beachfront” home. Christine, who currently lives and works in Dallas, Texas, declined to comment on why she was visiting the exact area where Ghislaine was allegedly hiding at the time.

Out of the seven Maxwell siblings, Ghislaine Maxwell has undoubtedly received the bulk of media scrutiny both in recent years and arguably ever since the suspected homicide of the family robert maxwell with papers filepatriarch, Robert Maxwell (a press lord shown in a file photo at left), in 1991. In the years since his death, Robert Maxwell’s close ties to Israeli intelligence and links to other intelligence agencies have been documented by respected journalists and investigators including Seymour Hersh and Gordon Thomas, among others.

While Ghislaine’s own ties to intelligence have since come to light in relation to her critical role in facilitating the Jeffrey Epstein sexual blackmail operation, little, if any attention, has been paid to her siblings, particularly Christine and her twin sister Isabel, despite them having held senior roles at the Israeli intelligence front company that facilitated their father’s greatest act of espionage on Israel’s behalf, the sale of the bugged PROMIS software to the U.S. national laboratories at the heart of the country’s nuclear weapons system.

Not only that, but Christine and Isabel later became directly involved with technology-based business ventures that directly involved Ghislaine during the very period she worked with Epstein on behalf of Israeli and U.S. intelligence to ensnare powerful U.S. political and public figures in a sexual blackmail scheme involving minors. At the time, Ghislaine described her profession to a number of newspapers as “an internet operator.” Then, after this venture’s multi-million dollar sale to a competitor, Christine and Isabel became involved with successors to the PROMIS software scandal that were closely tied to U.S. intelligence and Israeli intelligence, respectively.

Ghislaine herself also became involved in these affairs, as did Jeffrey Epstein following his first arrest, as they began courting the biggest names in the U.S. tech scene, from Silicon Valley’s most powerful venture capital firms to its most well-known titans. This also dovetailed with Epstein’s investments in Israeli intelligence-linked tech firms and his claims of having troves of blackmail on prominent tech company CEOs during this same period.

With Ghislaine’s name and her ties to intelligence now inking their way back into the media sphere, detailing the decades-long course of these technology-focused espionage operations and their persistent ties to the Maxwell sisters demands the attention it deserves, as the need to air out the real Maxwell family business – espionage – is now greater than ever before. (Continued at The Last American Vagabond site.)

washington post logoWashington Post, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg hospitalized for possible infection, Mark Berman, July 15, 2020 (print ed.). Ginsburg, 87, is expected to remain hospitalized for a few days and will be treated with antibiotics, the Supreme Court said.

Media / Trump Watch

Palmer Report, Opinion: Donald Trump’s second try is also a failure, Robert Harrington, July 15, 2020. I won’t quote the word salad that Donald Trump disgorged in “answer” to one of Sean Hannity’s softball questions. But when, in late June at Trump’s so-called “town hall meeting,” Hannity lobbed Trump the softest of softballs, slow and underhand, about his priorities for his second term, Trump treated his audience and posterity to a verbal rhapsody, with theme and variation on the word “experience,” that not only made no sense in and of itself, but had nothing remotely to do with the question. It was what a Rorschach test would be if it were rendered in words instead of ink blots, and it is what he’s doing more of these days, with fewer consequences from his rabid fan club.

bill palmer report logo headerEven so, there must have been enough blowback from memes, tweets and good old-fashioned eleven o’clock news reporting that this laziest of all presidents actually did something approaching work in order to fix it. It’s easy these days to imagine Hannity and Trump plotting the question and answer in advance on one of their nightly private phone chats. Because when Hannity asked the question a second time Trump actually had an answer this time — of sorts.

With weeks to prepare a good answer, he instead came up with a pallid one that, while making ostensible sense, fell far short of what it could have been. “Well, first of all I didn’t know I was criticized for that answer,” Trump began, because we all know how he has no idea what his critics say about him.

Donald Trump Logo Make America Great AgainTrump continued, “First of all we are going to defeat the invisible enemy, and we’re well on our way, and, as I told you, the mortality rate is tenfold down, we’re going to rebuild the economy, we’re going to bring back jobs from all of these foreign lands that have stolen our jobs on horrible trade deals, we’re going to continue to make great trade deals, we’re going to finish rebuilding our wall, it’s going to be almost complete by the end of this year, or shortly thereafter, it’s made a tremendous difference, you see we’re doing record numbers on the border, very few people are able to get through … we’ve rebuilt the military, 2.5 trillion dollars, we’re fixing up the VA for our vets …” and so on. More about “protecting the second amendment.” More about adding more judges and justices. More about lowering drug prices, and so on.

Trump was clearly reading from a checklist. One that he and Hannity had probably prepared together. It was easy to tell because he’d adopted the same bored, slightly singsong voice he always has when he’s called upon to read something like a list, or a teleprompter or a book. It was just another weary con from the Conman-in-Chief.

But what’s really remarkable about it is how lacklustre and impoverished it was. This is Trump at his best defending his record and making promises for his second term, when it was in fact a laundry list of failures and lies.

washington post logoWashington Post, The conservative alternative to Twitter wants to be a place for free speech for all. It turns out, rules still apply, Rachel Lerman,July 15, 2020. A crackdown by Twitter and Facebook against messages from President Trump that the companies said violate their policies is fueling Parler’s rise. But the site is quickly discovering the limits of free expression.

ny times logoNew York Times, Bari Weiss Resigns From New York Times Opinion Post, Edmund Lee, July 15, 2020 (print ed.). In a letter posted online Tuesday, she cites “bullying by colleagues” and an “illiberal environment.”

Bari Weiss, a writer and editor for the opinion department of The New York Times, has resigned from the paper, citing “bullying by colleagues” and an “illiberal environment.”

In a nearly 1,500-word letter addressed to A. G. Sulzberger, the publisher, Ms. Weiss offered a deep critique of Times employees and company leadership, describing a “hostile work environment” where co-workers had insulted her or called for her removal on Twitter and in the interoffice communications app Slack.

After working at The Wall Street Journal and Tablet, an online magazine of Jewish culture and politics, Ms. Weiss joined The Times as an Op-Ed staff editor and writer in 2017 as part of the paper’s effort to broaden the ideological range of its opinion staff after President Trump’s inauguration.

U.S. Crime

ny times logoNew York Times, Dismemberment Killing of Tech C.E.O. ‘Looks Like Professional Job,’ Michael Gold, William K. Rashbaum and Daniel E. Slotnik, July 15, 2020. Fahim Saleh, 33, had founded several technology companies, including a motorcycle ride-hailing company in Nigeria.The killer, dressed entirely in black and wearing a black mask, followed the young technology entrepreneur from the elevator of his luxury condo building into his apartment.

Then he used an electrical stun gun to immobilize the entrepreneur, Fahim Saleh, detectives believe. Some time after, the assailant killed Mr. Saleh, decapitated him and dismembered his body with an electric saw.

 

July 14

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Top Stories mary trump

Dr. Mary Trump, clinical psychologist, niece of Donald J. Trump, and author of a best-selling book about her family released on July 14 after the family failed to stop it via a court fight that resulted in a New York state court ruling July 13 enabling her to publish the book and speak publicly about it (Photo by Peter Serling via Simon & Schuster).

NBC News, Mary Trump's book reveals Trumpworld's web of lies — and the enablers who protect it, Nina Burleigh (author of The Trump Women: Part of the Deal), July 14, 2020. Trump’s niece becomes the first family member to openly break ranks, but only the latest critic to face threats for doing so. There's no doubt Mary Trump's uncle knows what she knows about him.

Lawsuits, nondisclosure agreements and emotional or financial blackmail kept the lid on the secrets of Trumpland for years. But the political career of President Donald Trump, a self-described billionaire, has brought an increase in attention. Now as more and more insiders bust out their own books, Trump and his attorneys are playing an increasingly wild and desperate game of whack-a-mole to keep dissidents, including some very close to home, silent.

mary trump coverIn Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the Most Dangerous Man, officially released on Tuesday, Trump's niece, Mary Trump, becomes the first family member to openly break ranks but only the latest of many critics to face threats for doing so.

Mary Trump's book is the literary equivalent of an ambulance siren.

The book is the literary equivalent of an ambulance siren. Mary Trump (Peter Serling / Simon and Schuster;, a clinical psychologist, describes her uncle as a man whose personality was damaged early by his sociopathic father, Fred, and his fragile, absent mother, Mary Anne, and whose retinue of enablers have allowed him to fail up while shielding his profound impairments from the public eye.
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The book's shocking bits have already been picked over and reported: She was a secret source for family financial documents behind The New York Times' investigation that revealed that a "potential tax fraud" enriched the Trump siblings; Trump paid someone to take his SAT test; Trump ogled and praised her breasts.

But the disturbing thesis of the book has gotten less attention so far because it is too complex for a bullet point or a tweet. Mary Trump argues that her uncle has been "institutionalized" his entire life, from his father's rigid house to military school to the Trump Organization and now the White House. In Washington, he is, for the first time in his life, subject to close scrutiny but still surrounded by enablers who have everything to lose if he is exposed as a fake and a fraud.

"The walls of his very expensive and well-guarded padded cell are starting to disintegrate," she writes. "The people with access to him are weaker than Donald is, more craven, but just as desperate."

These desperate people will use whatever means are at their disposal — courts, lawyers, intimidation, loss of employment and even, apparently, prison — to bolster Trump's increasingly fragile facade. She writes that the president's own siblings find him odious and ridiculous by turn and that they knew he was unfit for office but still kept quiet — and even tried to silence her in court.

washington post logoWashington Post, Live Updates: California backtracks on reopening as rise in coronavirus cases spreads beyond Sun Belt, Staff reports, July 14, 2020. With cases of the novel coronavirus soaring, the West Coast is shutting down — again. California on Monday banned indoor dining and shuttered movie theaters and bars. Hair salons and gyms in particularly hard-hit counties were also told to close. Meanwhile, Oregon cracked down on gatherings of more than 10 people and made masks mandatory statewide.

Other states may soon follow. The Sun Belt has been hit hard, but coronavirus case numbers in other parts of the country — including Colorado, Kentucky, Montana, North Dakota and the District of Columbia — have also risen sharply over the past week. The entire country reported 57,000 new infections on Monday for a total of 3.3 million cases, with at least 132,000 deaths linked to covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, since the start of the pandemic.

Here are some significant developments:

  • Los Angeles, San Diego and Atlanta — three of the nation’s largest school districts — will hold classes online when the new school year begins.
  • As Florida’s growing coronavirus caseload continues to shatter records, Miami “is now the epicenter of the pandemic,” Lilian Abbo, an infectious-disease specialist from the University of Miami Health System, warned on Monday. “What we were seeing in Wuhan six months ago, now we’re there.”
  • Senior Trump administration officials said Monday that new treatment options for covid-19 could be available months before a vaccine, but meeting demand will pose a challenge. Glass makers are already scrambling to produce the billions of medical-grade vials that will be needed to deliver a vaccine.
  • More than 5 million people have lost their health insurance during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new study from the health-care advocacy group Families USA.
  • President Trump highlighted a game show host’s criticism of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday, the latest example of how he has undermined his government’s response to a worsening public health crisis.

Race, Police Brutality News

washington post logoWashington Post, Partially blinded by police: Video evidence undermines official accounts of injuries at protests, Meg Kelly, Joyce Sohyun Le