Tag Archives: covid-19

Trump infected, QAnon and other links

“You cannot expect the White House to exhibit any regard for the health of others. The president knowingly exposed his wife, his adult children, his staff, his donors, and his supporters in the Cleveland debate hall. He refused and forbade the most basic safety precautions in the close quarters of the West Wing and on Air Force One, except for testing, which was intended to protect him personally.” And since coming back from the hospital, he’s been removing his mask. Of course, he has the advantage of getting the world’s best healthcare. And doctors who keep contradicting themselves.

It’s alarming enough that people think Jewish bankers are behind various conspiracies. Now they’re claiming George Soros is part of QAnon; accusing a Jew of belonging to a cabal that drinks the blood of children is just a revised version of the classic blood libel against Jews (that they made Christian children’s blood into Passover bread). Fred Clark suggests the anti-Semitism is part of the appeal. Also the delusion of your own virtue in standing against the pedophiles: “they couldn’t straight up say, ‘no, we’re anti-BLM’ — they kind of had to grasp onto this other basically fake story to make it seem like they are the ethical crusaders.

The New Yorker, however, was able to independently confirm several of the assistant’s accusations. The allegation that she was required to work at Guilfoyle’s apartment while [Kimberly] Guilfoyle was barely clothed or naked was substantiated by several of the assistant’s confidants, including an eyewitness, who recalls being surprised by the sight. “It was provocative in a way that made you want to get away from this person,” the eyewitness told me.” Apparently Trump likes harassers even when they’re women.

I’m sorry, armed groups that insist they’re just patriotic citizens while discussing the Marxist conspiracy behind Black Lives Matter doesn’t pass the smell test. Neither does Rush Limbaugh’s claim that there’s a conspiracy to infect Republicans with the Trump virus. But of course, Limbaugh never passes the smell test. Ditto David Barton who claims government restrictions during the pandemic violate the Third Amendment.

Trump was originally overriding FDA rules that would make it impossible to deliver a COVID-19 vaccine before the election, though the White House has since reversed course.

Former congresswoman Michelle Bachmann says all the non-Christians and non-Jews moving into Minnesota have ruined it.

The Southern Baptist Conference has several hundred rapists in its hierarchy and done nothing to remove them. But they can sure move fast revoking the minister’s license of a man who endorsed Biden on social media. The SBC says this is nothing to do with politics, a claim Slacktivist dissects and dismembers.

U.S. intelligence sees a potential surge in extremist threats around election time. And Trump’s cool with that so long as it’s violence on his side.

Federal duck stamps now have to include hunting-related images. Which may reflect that Trump has no idea or ability to appeal to anyone outside his base. As Jamelle Bouie says, Trump’s really a bad politician as well as a bad president.

Matt Gaetz proposed his friend Joel Greenberg, a Florida official, run for Congress. Greenberg has now been indicted on sex trafficking.

I’ll end with a batch of good news. Kim Davis, the county clerk who refused to recognize legal same-sex marriage or let her subordinates do so, lost her job, then filed a religious freedom lawsuit. She lost, appealed to the Supreme Court and they’ve turned her down (though Alito and Thomas seem ready to overturn Obergefell). And with the Proud Boys banned from Twitter, gay groups have taken over their hashtag. And anti-Muslim bigot Laura Loomer’s run for Congress is tanking. And the IRS is investigating the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre for tax fraud.

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It’s not about feelings

I believe I’ve blogged before about the right-wing meme that tells “those who hate Trump” that Trump supporters felt exactly the same about Obama when “he went overseas and apologized for America,” when he said “America was no longer a Christian nation” (actually what he said was we’re not just a Christian nation) and told them all bathrooms would be genderless (no, not accurate). But they “bore him as much as we could. We waited and prayed for a president who would take a stand for America.”
The point of the meme, of course, is that Trump is Obama’s mirror image; he upsets liberals the way Obama upset conservatives. But that’s bullshit. You’ll notice they don’t cite Obama policies (except the alleged genderless bathrooms), only how he made them feel. He hurt their fee-fees by saying America had done bad things (which we have) and that America isn’t a Christian nation, which is correct. We’ve never been a Christian nation, just a nation with a Christian majority, which is not the same thing (and for most of our history it was conceived as a Protestant nation rather than Christian), and was a historical interpretation largely made up in the 1930s. The meme doesn’t suggest that Obama’s policies discriminated against Christians because he didn’t (except in the sense some conservatives think not getting what they want is anti-Christian). In short Obama saying that other countries can be as exceptional as ours and that other faiths are as American as theirs was seen as an attack.
Which may be the point of the meme. Living for years in a Bible Belt community, I’ve seen how many people think not embracing their worldview is anti-God. A world where they see black people shopping in “their” stores or women being independent and unsubmissive and gay people walking around openly is an attack. So if Trump creates a world we don’t like, that’s payback.
Then again, maybe it’s to suggest that all our objections to Trump policy — locking children in cages, separating them from their families, discriminating against Muslims, failing to be even minimally effective against the pandemic — are less about policy and about our own feelings being hurt, just like they were. We’re haters. We’re victims of “Trump derangement syndrome.” We’re the real crybabies so nobody needs to listen to us!
Or it could be both. Either way it’s a comforting lie to tell themselves so they can disregard the evidence they’re on the wrong side of history.

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According to Republicans, the Democrats are always bringing socialism to America.

My right-wing friends on FB have shifted from Oh No, Joe Biden to saying he’s fine but puppet-master Kamala Harris will bring socialism to America! But as the WaPo points out, stuff we now take for granted — Social Security, Medicare — was also going to bring socialism to America. The memes about how erasing college debt insults everyone who paid off their student loans would have been just as usable against the G.I. Bill decades ago (“My father fought in WW I then went to college on his own dime! Why are you dishonoring his hard work?”). But now, of course, this stuff is accepted as normal government services. Plus the older-skewing Republican base actually uses Social Security and Medicare and isn’t worried about paying off college debt.

While I didn’t shrug off all the comparisons between the Trump regime and dictatorships I’ve seen since 2017, I didn’t think we’d go as far toward tyranny as we have. At this point, I take articles like this one a lot more seriously. Ditto speculation about what happens if Trump refuses to admit he lost. The Prospect looks at how much damage he can do. And human pus-bag Roger Stone suggests Trump simply become dictator if he loses. I suspect this is mostly Stone pretending he’s a badass, but that’s not to say Trump wouldn’t try it. Yet we get arguments this is all the Democrats’ fault.

Oh, and Trump now wants to cut off federal funding from cities he doesn’t like.

In Pasco County Florida, the sheriff relied on a computer program to identify potential future criminals, then harassed them (yes, the article does mention Minority Report). Surprisingly the program didn’t focus on minorities primarily, it’s just a really bad idea.

Our country is trapped in a pandemic spiral which keeps us from getting control of the Trump Virus. Among the problems: a desire to return to normal, even when we can’t; refusing to make systemic changes; reacting rather than being proactive.

After the Charlottesville protests of several years ago, Donald Trump declared there were very fine people on the white supremacist side (supposedly not white supremacists but some nonexistent other group protesting there). Now Republicans are trying to  deny he said it.

“The core of the problem is that conservatives have decisively lost a lot of empirical debates. There was a time when conservative ideas about gender, race, genetics, and geology might have been true — they were open questions. But for the last hundred and fifty years or so, the evidence has been piling up on the other side, and, in more and more areas, the questions are basically closed. ”

The supposedly vast anti-Trump conspiracy.

“For most of its history, white evangelicalism in America was not opposed to selling children to rapists. ”

Creationism as conspiracy theory.

Trump claims diversity training is anti-American propaganda. Of course if you fantasize real Americans are all white, I suppose it is.

Media Matters reports a Texas assistant AG is a racist QAnon supporter. In a pleasant surprise, Texas’ response was to fire that sucker.

There’s nothing surprising in Trump declaring Americans who died for their country were losers, but it’s worth mentioning.

A white college professor built her career on claiming she was black.

So the Green Party screwed up in Wisconsin and didn’t get on the ballot. Their solution: with the help of Republican lawyers, file a lawsuit that may screw up the entire vote-by-mail process.

When Trump called on North Carolina Republicans to vote twice to prove how easy it is to cheat the system, he committed a crime. But AG William Barr says he has no idea what the law is.

Trump is determined to rush a Trump Virus vaccine into circulation regardless of safety and testing.

The players in the various Trump scandals often overlap. And it’s amazing how many new scandals they’re embroiled in. But hey, it’s not like their crooked boss is going to care if they’re dirty — he probably thinks that’s smart.

A grim story about the plight of the almost homeless.

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In other news, it’s still a sick sad world

A world where Kenosha Police Chief Daniel Miskinis explains those two people Kyle Rittenhouse allegedly shot and killed had it coming. And a church truck bringing water and snack for protesters is seized by the cops because, reasons.

Where some people would sooner have a white-run America than democracy. For example, this guy.

Another reason it’s a sick, sad world is that cops get a legal shield against being investigated or punished for wrongdoing that nobody else does. An appeals court, however, has removed protections for journalists and legal observers in Portland.

Another is that Republican moderates really are a dying breed.

People really are drinking bleach to cure the Trump Virus. Spoiler: it doesn’t work.

The Republican presidential candidate “is an entitled coastal elitist, an easily triggered snowflake who plays the victim card and constantly elevates feelings over thinking. Trump is a big spending, Constitution-disregarding, dictator-coddling, traditional values-disdaining, identity politics-embracing, cancel culture-advocating craver of safe spaces. There’s nothing Trump resembles so much as a stereotype of left wingers” But that doesn’t stop bad Republican arguments why he’s awesome.

Betsy DeVos pushed new college rules for handling sexual assault. They don’t look effective: colleges can’t take action over off-campus incidents and it takes a lot of harassment before a college has to respond. DeVos is a rape apologist, I’m sure this is intentional.

The Washington Redskins name has been controversial. Management’s treatment of women is awful too.

Fred Clark points out the scandal isn’t what’s illegal but what’s acceptable. Crooked religious conservative Ralph Reed, for example, remains in good standing.

Trump and his toadies are still working to stop voting by mail.

Many people on FB have told me Trump is the one who can stop the violence! Actually he’s in favor of some of it.

And they’ve been freaking out over Dems Are Socialists for a century now. Always wrong, never giving up. And continuing to whine that Democratic votes shouldn’t count.

I’m repeatedly told on Facebook that Democrat run cities and states are a living hell of lawlessness, but that’s not true.

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It’s the centennial of women’s suffrage—

Though as Vox points out, the history of women getting the vote is a messy one, with white suffragettes prioritizing their own right to vote over women (and men) of color (while not mentioned in the article, that cut both ways: black activists during Reconstruction were willing to back off support for women’s right to vote as a compromise toward securing their own). And of course, getting the vote didn’t end sexism —

Roy Edroso points out how the women of “the Squad” have been crushing their primary opponents but the media portray them as barely surviving. And while the initial attacks on Kamala Harris are mostly about race, they’re also going with She’s a Slut. While that’s a classic approach to squashing women, I have a feeling the party of confessed sexual harasser, adulterer and lover of porn stars Donald Trump will not be able to make an effective attack out of someone else’s sexual errors. Though Rush Limbaugh, of course, is trying.

Jordan Hester was a star bar manager in the Raleigh NC restaurant scene. This Indy piece says he was also a chronic abuser and rapist. The story has some depressingly familiar traits: women who aren’t at first willing to call it rape, a guy with a general fondness for dominating women, friendly gestures that turn nasty.

A Monica Hesse piece discusses how conservatives feel entitled to judge women’s clothes, abortions or their sex life but suddenly decide they’re not going to dictate and be all big government when it comes to masks: “You might believe that abortion is murder, but you cannot say that it is contagious and airborne, something you can catch or transmit unknowingly to others. You cannot argue that, upon choosing to have an abortion, a pregnant person walks into a grocery store and infects 50 other innocent shoppers with abortion. As clever and self-righteous as anti-maskers may believe themselves to be, public health concerns are completely different from individual medical procedures. But if that’s the comparison that anti-mask folks want to make — fine. Prepare to be judged and harangued the way women are for seeking abortions. And prepare to deserve it, because unlike what goes on inside a Planned Parenthood clinic, public health actually is the business of the public.”

Want to keep Internet misogynists at a distance? Tattoos work. But they remain convinced women who say they’re lonely are really getting lots of sex.

Some conservatives argue that as most women fail strength tests for the infantry or special forces, that proves women don’t belong there. A military captain makes the counter-argument that this proves women who pass deserve to fight. And as he says, if lots more women were passing, there’d be loud complaints about how the tests had obviously been made too easy.

Another look at Isaac Asimov, professed feminist and self-confessed dirty old man.

A woman with three kids by three different men is a right-wing nightmare (ditto a black man with three different kids by three different mothers). This white guy, however, brags about getting three women pregnant because he doesn’t like condoms.

By now Rep. Ocasia-Cortez’s slap down of colleague Ted Yoho for calling her a “fucking bitch” is old news. But this is still a good article on A-OC’s response and Yoho’s faux-pology that he insulted her because he loves his country. The Cut looks at how NYT portrays this as some elaborate media-manipulation by Ocasia-Cortez, for example putting quotes around ‘accosted and publicly ridiculed’ as if that was an interpretation rather than a fact.

“While it is a husband’s God-given right to use spanking as a form of discipline on his wife (with or without her consent), a husband should be wise in regard to the hostile culture we live in.” just part of a horrible article on the God-given right of husbands to enslave their wives.

The United States has pushed for the rights of women overseas in the past. Trump Secretary of State Mike Pompeo thinks the only rights we should care about are property and religious freedom. I’ll bet money that won’t include the freedom of the right to abortion, birth control, or religion other than right-wing Christianity.

Donald Trump’s proof he’s the women’s choice for president: He’s pardoning Susan B. Anthony! Which is not a bad thing, but it’s nothing that’s going to redeem him or make him less of a sexist and rapist, either.





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Bad ideas and bad behavior: some links

I’m not sure “ideas” is the term for Trump’s rant that if Biden/Harris wins, “they don’t want to have cows, they don’t want to have any form of animals.” And no fossil fuels so no energy, no cars, no planes! And cities will be rebuilt because “too much light gets through the windows … let’s rip down the Empire State Building,”
Possibly he’s sliding into dementia but it’s equally possible he’s doing what he’s always done, spewing bullshit and assuming he’ll never pay a price for it. Or both.

And of course, Trump never paid a price for his bullshit accusations Obama wasn’t born in the U.S. (which Republicans shrug off as Just Asking A Reasonable Question, even though it was never reasonable). So it’s no surprise Trump’s now questioning whether Harris meets the legal requirements to be VP. Newsweek should be embarrassed it published a column to the same effect, while insisting this isn’t at all a racist question. Libby Anne rips into it too. LGM points out that John Eastman also claims Harris is not a legitimate U.S. senator and by implication, an American citizen at all.

QAnon isn’t an idea as much as politically paranoid gibberish, but it shows how bad ideas can corrupt us. Though QAnonite Marjorie Taylor Greene doesn’t have far to go, as she believes Obama is a Muslim and there was no 9/11 attack on the Pentagon.

Well this will end well, I’m sure: Florida man (who happens to be sheriff) bans officers wearing masks and won’t let people wear masks in his offices.

A Durham restaurateur’s progressive appearance hid a world of abuse and bad management, according to an Indy article.

A woman, knowing she had the Trump Virus, went to her manicurist anyway because she just had to get her nails done. When the manicurist asked if she’d tested positive, the customer lied.

A good post on Snopes looks at why people embrace politically paranoid theories about child-sex trafficking rings. The anti-trafficking Polaris Project explains why this crap is part of the problem, not the solution (I wonder if this is why Trump has put $35 million to fight trafficking, though at least that’s a policy I can agree with)

Sen. Ron Johnson, of the Republican “let them die for the good of the economy” contingent says he hopes there’s no more Trump Virus release spending bills for the sake of future generations.

After Trump won, liberals got a lot of flack for supposedly living in bubbles and not understanding how the other half lives. Conservative bubbles get a different treatment.

The lingering influence of secession upon the right wing.

Some protesters dashed red paint around a prosecutor’s office. By charging them as a gang, the prosecutor could send them to jail for life.

A White House toady says Trump’s executive orders on pandemic relief funding are divinely inspired.

Trump thinks he belongs on Mt. Rushmore.

Sovereign citizens claim U.S. courts can’t try them because they’re admiralty courts illegally operating on dry land.

Tucker Carlson thinks it’s funny he mispronounces Kamala Harris’ name and refuses to correct himself.

Trump’s refusing to fund the U.S. Postal Service because then people can vote by mail. And his toady Postmaster General is helping him.

Yet another bad dude given a free pass by the Trump administration.

No, resisting “identity politics” is not the same as defying Hitler.

Remember the Portland slasher who bullied two Muslim women, then killed the guys who tried to defend them? He’s been convicted, and is still a white supremacist thug.

An Alabama Southern Baptist pastor said the invocation during an annual celebration of Klan founder Nathan Bedford Forest’s birthday. At Slacktivist, Fred Clark explains why the church seeking “a biblically based process to mitigate controversy surrounding this issue” is a bad idea.

Qualified immunity for cops who kill is a very bad idea. At the link, a judge rips into it (“Immunity is not exoneration.”).

Here’s a really bad idea: a church letting someone sexually attracted to children deal with his issues by working with children.

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The refrigerator didn’t use to be this crowded

But the Trump Virus fridge is another story. It’s difficult to find space when our latest deliveries arrive. Even with sliding shelves, it’s often difficult to get stuff out.It didn’t use to be like this. The fridge would be packed Friday night or Saturday morning when we made our shopping trip to Whole Foods or Sprouts. Then it would slowly open up during the week. Now, though, I keep slightly more milk, kefir and cheese on hand, among other things, just in case there’s a shortage. Which isn’t being overly cautious either — things I expect to buy sometimes turn up unavailable from Amazon or Target. TYG loves grated Parmesan and eats a lot of it on pasta, so we need a lot of it on hand (ditto feta, which is behind some of the items on top).

Another factor is that TYG is cooking quite a bit. She’s whipped up her own recipe for marinated grilled veggies with tofu, and so there’s always a big container in the fridge either marinating or grilled. Plus I cook my stuff, which TYG sometimes eats, but not always (depends on her schedule). The aluminum foil covers an apple pie, for instance.

Plus we both put in food orders rather than make one weekly shopping trip, so that sometimes leads to excess. Even with the pantry holding a lot of extra food, we’re almost at capacity. I may give some thought this weekend to seeing how we can rearrange things for better use of space.

But yes, this is a trivial problem to have these days.

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From Trump University to the Trump Virus and beyond!

“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.”

And when it didn’t, Trump could have turned things around for himself just by looking decisive and taking action; when it looked as if he was, his ratings inched upwards. Which is why, as Camestros Felapton points out, the idea COVID-19 is a conspiracy against Trump is nuts: “As a plot against Trump, a pandemic would be a terrible idea: all Trump would need to do is look presidential, let experts speak and pat them on the back… In short, as a plot against Trump, a pandemic would only undermine Trump’s popularity if Trump was actually a uniquely bad president.” And now Republicans want to cut the $600 unemployment payments by two-thirds. To say nothing of Trump wanting to gut Social Security. Or sending out storm troopers to Portland, and possibly other cities.

“Donald Trump has many weapons at his disposal if he wants to try to cling to power after an election loss, but the general impression that he’s a figure of stability is not one of them.” However one Christian columnist suggests you think of it this way: Trump may be a sleaze but he appoints lots of non-carnal people so think of yourself as voting for them! An alternative theory: “He’s their strongman that God has given them to protect them. So, again, the ends justify the means here. But I think it’s important to understand that the appeal of Trump to evangelicals isn’t surprising at all, because their own faith tradition has long embraced this idea of a ruthless masculine protector.”

Plus, of course, they can count on Trump to nominate someone like Brett Kavanaugh.

“America is a great and noble country founded on the proposition that all mankind is created equal. We have always struggled to live up to that promise, but no country has ever done more to achieve it,” says Tom Cotton, who’s very, very upset that the NYT’s 1619 project about how racial inequality has always been baked into the US, might be taught in schools. But no, despite giving lip service to the dream of equality, many of the Founders were indeed slaveowners, and others were willing to compromise with slavery — the 3/5 clause gave the “slave power” a lot of political clout because that’s what it took to get buy-in on the Constitution from the South. The book Dark Bargains is a good source on this, just as  The Negro President and This Vast Southern Empire show the influence of the slave power on the federal government and foreign policy.

And just as Republicans reject history, they’re also becoming more openly anti-science and anti-vaccination. This doesn’t end anywhere good.

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I feel vaguely guilty about disengaging

So I “took a break” from three people on FB recently. This doesn’t technically unfriend them, it simply blocks me from seeing their posts unless I visit their home page.

One of them, who regularly spews forth right-wing BLM Bad, Trump Good, Democrats Bad talking points had one of those shared posts I see a lot explaining how awesome Trump is. Don’t we realize he gets up before dawn and works until midnight, just for the good of America? Don’t we realize that becoming president cost him $2 billion (actually what he claims is not that he lost money but that he’d have made another $2 billion in private life — which is not true). How can we look at this old man and not respect him as we would our own grandfathers? And you know, if you overlook the fact neither of my grandfathers were narcissistic sociopaths, that’s a valid point.

The second one posted a similar rant, credited online to Steve Harvey (it’s actually an 80-year-old white dude). Followed by a swarm of comments from other readers (Bengazi! Socialism! Emails! Spying on Trump!).  The third specifically equated BLM to the KKK, because saying “police should not have a free pass to kill black people without penalty” is just like “black people must accept white domination or die!” I posted responses, politely, on all three, but then I took the break. I feel conflicted, because it feels like I should speak up when people spew this crap. But then again, it’s unlikely I’m going to change their minds, and other people’s right-wing FB posts is not the most effective way to make a difference. And if I respond to every single bit of bullshit, I’d feel like a troll.

Sometimes I’ve wondered if the people who post this nonsense aren’t trolling people like me. But Dahlia Lithwick, in reviewing Mary Trump’s book, suggests it’s the same thing that’s protected Trump his entire life: admitting they’ve sided with a narcissistic sociopath because of party or racism or misogyny or because Trump looked so kickass on The Apprentice is just too hard so they’ll persuade themselves and/or us that that’s totally not the case. They backed a winner!

Meanwhile the winner continues failing in the fight against the Trump Virus. New Zealand’s getting back to normal; we’re nowhere near it and we have many more deaths to come thanks to Trump and his party (unlike some nations, the thought of actually spending enough money to tide people over horrifies Republicans) Even though some of them are seeing the light it’s too late for forgiveness. If Trump is re-elected, his pandemic performance deserves being impeached again.

It’s not about our international standing, which is something I’ve seen articles bring up. Lots of nations that are not power players on the world stage do a good job taking care of their people. But Republicans, from Trump to Moscow Mitch to Gov. Kemp, are failing at that too. It was thinking about the sheer scope of this disaster, all the wasted and ruined lives and the wasted time … I just couldn’t deal with the bullshit, and I hate shouting obscenities. So I left.


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I drink Trump’s tears like a fine wine

Apparently he’s feeling pretty damn crappy because he built the greatest economy we’ve ever had, re-election was a slam dunk and then the Trump Virus came along spoiled everything! As if that wasn’t delusional enough, he keeps bringing up the he (allegedly) aced his test for dementia as if that was an accomplishment. Dude, if you feel the need to emphasize that, it’s not a good sign.

But if Trump’s miserable, I’m at least a little bit happy. His administration has reduced Immigration’s printing capability so thousands of immigrants who’ve earned green cards, and paid the relevant fees aren’t getting their cards. Documents they’re required to have at all times. Wouldn’t you know when this administration does something clever, it would have to be evil as well? But it fits with Trump’s vision for the election: as he doesn’t have the brains to fight the pandemic, he’s running on racism as that’s his happy place. He sure can’t run on the economy.

And along with ignoring the Russian bounties on US soldiers, Putin’s Poodle encouraged the CIA to give Russia intel in return for … nothing. Interesting, given he generally obsesses about how our actual allies are, in his view, taking advantage of us.

Meanwhile, swimming in Trump’s wake, we have the QAnon believers trying to win elected office. Like I said last week, this is a bad thing. The pandemic is also stoking militant extremism. And Trump dismissing the virus as a serious threat for so long has just encouraged his followers to do the same. The Texas Lt. Gov., who claims he’s willing to die to keep the economy open, has now decided he knows more about COVID-19 than Dr. Fauci. Fox News bigot Laura Ingraham insists Fauci’s trying to help Democrats. Arizona Republican Rep. Andy Biggs says that as Fauci insists on contradicting Trump, the president should disband the task force.

November can’t come soon enough.


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