October 3, 2020

Trump Tests Positive, Hospitalized. Ten Days Ago, He Insisted: "It Affects Virtually Nobody"

"They were careless people . . . they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made."
– F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

I promised.

[Note: I'm going to post Covid-19 stuff solely at tested by research. . . . I may post non-baseball stuff again. For example, when Trump gets the virus . . .]
That's from March 31, 2020. I wrote "when" because it was simply a matter of time. I'm honestly surprised he has not contracted it three or four times by now.

(There are people who wonder if his positive test is fiction. That's certainly not out of the realm of possibility, but I'm assuming it's true. . . . But then I see a report today stating Trump arrived too late before Tuesday's debate to be tested. Was that deliberate? That's the problem with a venal, sociopathic, liar. Anything is possible.)

A lot has happened since that end-of-March post. On April 1, the United States reported a total of more than 200,000 cases and 4,076 deaths. Checking here near the end of the day on October 3, those numbers have increased to 7,600,846 cases and 214,277 deaths. The United States has still not announced a plan to deal with the pandemic. It's been obvious for many months the Trump administration will never bother with a plan.

The Post doesn't mind that Trump hasn't cared one goddamn bit about the deaths of 215,000 Americans, but if a "liberal" would be happy if Trump died (she is far from alone), that gets splashed on the front page.

Numerous Republicans, who disregarded all safety measures for months, are testing positive: Trump, Melanie Trump, Hope Hicks, Chris ChristieKellyanne Conway, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC).

They were entrusted with keeping the country safe and healthy. All of their actions — every single one — have demonstrated they didn't give a shit about a deadly disease spreading across the country until it shows up on their door step. Nothing, absolutely nothing, you read dissuades you from the clear impression that these are the worst fucking people you could imagine. It is impossible to muster an iota of sympathy for any of them. "It is what it is."

Recapping all the batshit insanity since Trump stood in front of the nation and stated "I don't take responsibility at all" would take me weeks to write. Instead, read William Saletan's "The Trump Pandemic" ("A blow-by-blow account of how the president killed thousands of Americans"), a devastating indictment of what we now know for sure (because of Bob Woodward's tapes) was Trump's deliberate abdication of leadership and deliberate spreading of misinformation.

And here is some things we learned in September 2020:

September featured one scandal after another stemming from Donald Trump's belief that the best way to handle the coronavirus pandemic is to "let a bunch of people get sick and die, and then deny that it's happening". And his lies are increasing.

Trump's vaccine czar owns $10 million in stock of company working with his team to develop a vaccine. The rapid coronavirus tests were plagued by poor communication, false results, and an alarming lack of planning. State health officials have no say in where the new tests are being sent, which has left facilities ill-trained in how to use them what to do with results.

The US death toll streaked past 200,000 (with an average of 1,000 deaths each day) and Trump gave himself an "A+". The virus has infected more than seven million Americans, put 40 million Americans ou tof work, permanently eliminated millions of jobs, and destroyed countless livelihoods. "We've done a phenomenal job, not just a good job, a phenomenal job." 

A Cornell University study that analyzed 38 million articles about the pandemic found that Trump was the "single largest driver" of falsehoods regarding the pandemic, responsible for more than one-third of the total misinformation.

Trump admitted on tape in March that he deliberately downplayed the danger of the virus. "I wanted to always play it down. I still like playing it down." He also said: "My fucking generals are a bunch of pussies". Woodward also quoted former Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats: "He doesn't know the difference between the truth and a lie." Dr. Anthony Fauci said Trump's "attention span is like a minus number". 

Fox News, which once howled incessantly about nonexistent "death panels", studiously ignored the fact of 200,000 Americans. Since September 1, Fox News complained about coronavirus health measures nearly five times as often as it reported the national death toll.

Trump said if you excluded blue states, the US death toll would look much better. Putting the callousness aside, the claim is wrong. If the US's death toll was only from red states, it would still be the second-most deaths in the world and 11% of global deaths.

Trump can say anything about Covid-19 and the media keeps treating his delusionalfact-free lies as if they are big news, putting them in headlines as truth.

An FBI background check raised "serious" concerns about Jared Kushner's security clearance level and it was reported that Kushner rejected federal help for Democratic-led states, saying pandemic shortages were "their problem". One person said: "It felt like Kushner was the president." Kushner rejected offers of help from corporations. Kushner also rejected a federal testing plan because he believed that the virus "was going to be relegated to Democratic states" and they could simply blame those governors.

Trump directed CDC to lie about a vaccine being available before the election and he refused to include the US in a global effort to develop and distribute a coronavirus vaccine. His administration rewrote the CDC's testing guidelines to discourage expanded testing, which were posted without undergoing proper scientific review and over the objections of CDC scientists. The document contained basic errors, such as referring to "testing for Covid-19", as opposed to testing for the virus that causes it. The information came a few days after reports of political appointees at HHS meddling with the CDC's weekly reports on scientific research. Trump admitted he's suppressing the number of positive cases by discouraging testing.

The number of people getting tested for Covid-19 is dropping while Trump touts herd immunity, a bit of "idiocy" which would kill millions of people. He also said thewvirus woul dsimply go away, a claim he has made at least 33 times (in February, March, April, May, June, July, and August). University of Michigan professor Justin Wolfers: "He's describing a massacre."

Olivia Troye, a lifelong Republican and Mike Pence's representative to the administration's coronavirus task force until recently, said Trump has a "flat-out disregard for human life". Trump "doesn't actually care about anyone else but himself" and during one task force meeting said "maybe this Covid thing is a good thing" because it meant he wouldn't have to shake hands with "these disgusting people" (his supporters).

Max Kennedy Jr. (grandson of former Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy) was the whistleblower that told Congress about the "dangerous incompetence" of Jared Kushner's coronavirus task force. Kennedy was told to "fudge" death data model. He likened the virus response to "a family office meets organized crime, melded with 'Lord of the Flies.'"

The CDC's school reopening guidelines were softened after a fringe group of medical quacks complained to Trump. The Tea Party Patriots also organized America's Frontline Doctors, a group associated with the Demon Semen doctor that Trump excitedly promoted in news conferences. (Virus cases were reported in 100 schools in New York City.)

Trump said the CDC director was "confused" or "misunderstood the questions" when his testimony to Congress about a vaccine and a distribution timeline ("third quarter 2021") differed from Trump's delusions. 

The Washington Post reported (but buried) that the Postal Service was going to send five face-masks to every household in America in April (they had a press release ready) but the White House plugged the plug. The Post has not published a follow-up and the New York Times and the Associated Press seem to have ignored it completely.

Kayleigh McEnany said details of Trump's healthcare plan (which he has been promising in "two weeks" for five years) are secret. "If you want to know, come work here at the White House."

An ICE detention center in Irwin CountyGeorgia, was described as "experimental concentration camps", where numerous women are given forced hysterectomies, an inhumane crime that has been an American tradition.

Trump's so-called eviction moratorium is mostly for show. ... The FDA hired Emily Miller, a gun-rights advocate and senior correspondent for One America News, as assistant commissioner for media relations and fired her 11 days later. ... Trump's 40 Biggest Broken Promises.

Trump went to Kenosha, where a teenaged vigilante killed two protestors after joking around with police, who told other militia and vigilante groups "we appreciate you guys". ... A Kenosha business owner refused to meet with Trump, so the business's former owner was found for a fake photo op.

Trump committed a felony when he told supporters in North Carolina to vote twice, which is itself a felony. Attorney General Bill Barr defended Trump, saying he didn't know if voting twice was illegal. Barr called the coronavirus lockdowns "the greatest intrusion on civil liberties" since slavery, mused about charging protestors with "sedition", and pressured the Justice Department to interfere with E. Jean Carroll's rape accusation against Trump. 

Yet another woman accused the president of sexual assault (there are now close to 30), but the media ignored it. Trump pointed out to Michael Cohen a certain "piece of ass" he wanted to have sex with; she happened to be Cohen's 15-year-old daughter.

The month was filled with reports of Trump (who revels in the killing of his enemies) inciting violence among white supremacist and vigiliante groups (who he called "Great Patriots!") to help him crush the left and Health and Human Safety spokesperson Michael Caputo praised white supremacists on a podcast, while the Department of Homeland Security confirmed that white supremacists are still the "most persistent and lethal" terrorist threat to the US, which has a long history of white supremacist paranoia.

A longtime GOP consultant said this election campaign "the most dangerous period since the Civil War". ... Trump supporters obstructed early voters at polling sites in Fairfax County, Virginia. ... Republicans are using threats, histrionic pledges and legislation to scare cities considering police reform and Trump ordered federal agencies to "defund" cities with protests against police violence, such as Portland, Seattle, New York City, and Washington, DC

A Fox News guest described accused murderer Kyle Rittenhouse as "a little boy out there trying to protect his community". (Rittenhouse actually lived in a different state.) Fox's Jeanine Pirro said Rittenhouse was "not a mass murderer" because "there were several times he could've continued shooting".

In 2019, Trump tweeted 657 times in direct response to a Fox News or Fox Business program 657 times. A former Fox & Friends producer: "People think he's calling up and telling us what to say. Hell no. It's the opposite. We tell him what to say." (Do you speak "Fox"?)

An ABC town hall showed Trump can't function outside the Fox News bubble; Trump took questions from voters (and liedliedliedliedlied) and was confused and incoherent,when he wasn't sounding foolish ("up-played", "herd mentality"). Laura Ingraham called it an "ambush" and a possible DNC plot.

Are right-wingers stupid or evil? Two writers voted evil and evil. But Trump is plenty stupid, since he says anarchists are throwing bags of soup and cans of tuna at police.

Trump also wants you dead. Psychologists Alan D. Blotcky and Seth D. Norrholm call Trump the "most psychiatrically disordered president in history". Noam Chomsky said he is a "sociopathic maniac" acting like a dictator in "a small country that has a military coup every couple of years. There is no historical precedent for this in a functioning democratic society." 

Psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton, who spent years studying Nazi Germany, called for mental health professionals to speak out about Trump's attempts to "own reality", which echoes the Nazis.

Trumpism is a cult. PTSD expert Seth Norrholm said Americans "are being psychologically abused" by Trump. Dr. Jonathan Reiner, a professor at GWU, accused Trump of "negligent homicide" for holding rallies during the pandemic ("somebody who through their negligence causes the death of other people").

Trump has handled his campaign finances like his businesses — ran them straight into the ground.
Trump poured $800 million down the drain with little results, he spent nearly half of the money on more fundraising, and much of the money remains mysteriously unaccounted for. Trump's campaign was hiding payments to a senior adviser because it could increase the amount of child support he would be required to pay in a child custody battle.

A Homeland Security whistleblower from the Office of Intelligence and Analysis said intelligence was suppressed to minimize Russian election interference, HHS Michael Caputo's deep ties to Russia "were so concerning that he became a target" of Robert Mueller's probe, and Rudy Giuliani collaborated with an "active Russian agent" to smear Joe Biden. And a mysterious payroll company with no employees owned by Giuliani received as much as $350,000 of taxpayer-backed PPP money.

Homeland Security gave $6 million in contracts to Berkeley Research Group, whose vice president of professional staff operations is Hope Wolf, the wife of Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf.

Robert Charrow, the general counsel at the Department of Health and Human Services, was accused of gutting testing rules to help his "special interest friends". He also led the push to ease rules ensuring the safety of coronavirus diagnostic tests.

The Pentagon funneled hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer money intended for medical supplies to defense contractors (who also received government bailouts). States desperately need $6 billion to distribute vaccines by early next year. The Pentagon gave $183 million to Rolls-Royce and ArcelorMittal for shipbuilding, $80 million to a Kansas aircraft business, and $2 million to a company that makes fabric for Army dress uniforms.

Melania Trump is a callous and horrid person. Less than three weeks after Melania Trump ordered the destruction of many long-standing trees in her renovation of the Rose Garden, the just-completed work is in need of repairs.

Author Richard North Patterson wondered if "democracy had embarked on a decline which might prove irreversible". He sees failure all around:
A lack of national cohesion and a sense of common citizenship. An economy wherein a prospering stock market disguised growing economic insecurity. Our deteriorating infrastructure and public finances. A widening political polarization. A corrupt campaign finance system which promoted plutocracy. An increasingly politicized judiciary. The burgeoning fundamentalism which infused a major party with theocratic tendencies and contempt for science. The anger and misinformation spawned by talk radio. An increasingly narcissistic mass culture which cheapened celebrity and displaced true achievement.
Well, sure, if you're going to nitpick.

The media's obsession with false equivalance ("both siderism") was constant. In early September, the Associated Press published an article that "perfectly captured everything that's gone wrong with political news reporting in the age of Trump". It began:
On the campaign trail with President Donald Trump, the pandemic is largely over, the economy is roaring back, and murderous mobs are infiltrating America's suburbs. With Democrat Joe Biden, the pandemic is raging, the economy isn't lifting the working class, and systemic racism threatens Black lives across America.
The article highlighted the "dizzyingly different versions of reality" offered by the two candidates, stating their "conflicting messages carry at least a sliver of truth, some much more than others." However, the article never told its readers which "version" of reality is accurate and it never revealed what "sliver of truth" is contained in Trump's cavalcade of lies. No, Biden and Trump are simply painting different portraits of America, one small part of the media's framing this campaign (and Trump's entire presidency) "as if it's a normal contest, where reasonable voters could go either way".

The media's collective decision to not tell the truth about Trump had left it playing a game of semantics, reporting on Trump's "claims" are "baseless", "false", and "inaccurate". He "misrepresents" or "falsely claims". They are simply afraid to call Trump a liar, fearing GOP attacks and cries of "liberal bias."

But it's also true that Trump and his allies simply overwhelm the press, by flooding the zone with shit. "The more Trump engages in corruption, bigotry, and demagoguery, the less attention each individual depravity receives. ... The more frequently Trump makes the same deviant remark — no matter how unhinged — the less attention it receives. ... This practice ends up normalizing Trump's monstrous behavior ... There's just too much shit."

Mid-month, we learned that back in 2016, at the height of the Republican primary season, CNN chief Jeff Zucker called Trump's lawyer Michael Cohen and suggested giving Trump a "weekly show" on CNN during the presidential campaign. Zucker also gave advice on how Trump could fight off the Republican challengers and deal with charges of being a "conman": 

Trump said: "History and culture, so important." But his comments over decades show he knows and understands nothing about history. He invented a Civil War battle so he could put a fake historical marker on one of his golf courses. Trump often presents false history as true, such as speaking of Frederick Douglass as if he were still alive (he died in 1895) stating that Andrew Jackson was "really angry" about the Civil War even though he had been dead for 16 years when it began. Trump wants to create the "1776 Commission" to "restore patriotic education" in US schools.

Trump referred to dead Americans soldiers as "losers" and "suckers" and canceled a visit to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery near Paris in 2018 because he feared his hair would get wet in the rain, and was incensed when he saw flags at half-staff after John McCain's death ("We're not going to support that loser's funeral. What the fuck are we doing that for? Guy was a fucking loser.") These allegations were confirmed by three other news organizations, including Fox News, and the Department of Defense. Contempt for other people is his governing strategy.

Trump mocks his Christian supporters behind closed doors. They are "full of shit", "hustlers" running "a racket", "fools" and "schmucks". Their religion is "bullshit". Trump's campaign ad claimed he "was nominated for the Noble Peace Prize" (the word is spelled "Nobel") and boasted he "has achieved PEACE in the MIDDLE EAST".

Trump called reports of him having "mini-strokes" was "FAKE NEWS", but no one in the media had reported on it. ... Trump says McDonald's fries are the secret to his tremendous hair. Trump was sent a news report stating a chemical found in McDonald's fries was found to regrow hair in mice. "No wonder I didn't lose my hair!" he tweeted.

Trump restricted access to TikTok and WeChat, two Chinese-owned mobile apps. ... Trump's scheme to bribe 33 million seniors with $200 gift cards is illegal. ... Trump finally visited California, where wildfires raged for weeks. Asked about climate change, he said: "It will start getting cooler. You just watch." A three-mile, privately-built section of border fence along the Rio Grande is in danger of overturning due to extensive erosion.

Trump's obsession with and hatred of Barack Obama goes back many years. Before he ran for office, Trump hired a "Faux-Bama" so he could film a video in which he "ritualistically belittled the first black president and then fired him".

Turning Point USA, a conservative youth organization based in Phoenix, paid teenagers to secretly post tens of thousands of pro-Trump disinformation to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Trump claimed Joe Biden was controlled by "dark shadows" (one of at least nine conspiracy theories being pushed by Trump) and his campaign created fake videos showing Biden supposedly falling asleep or cognitively impaired.

Republican representatives and organizations in Texas, Iowa, Oklahoma, and California used the a QAnon slogan on flyers promoting pro-Trump events. QAnon members believe Trump is secretly working to destroy a cabal of satanic high-ranking government officials who are operating pedophile rings. A Trump hotel in Miami will host an anti-vaccine conference on October 8-11 which will also include QAnon and anti-Semitic conspiracy promoters.

Senator Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, promoted a baseless QAnon conspiracy theory, saying she was "so skeptical" about the US Covid-19 death count. Those lies were also embraced and echoed by Republican Senator Thom Tillis.

A report from Department of Homeland Security employee Brian Murphy revealed "disturbing allegations of criminal behavior and abuse of authority" within the Trump administration. DHS was "completely warped by the president's distorted priorities" and ordered to distort intelligence reports Trump found too supportive of asylum seekers, to stop reporting on Russian operations and the threats posed by white supremacists.

At his rallies, Trump indulged in rambling, racist monologues about "good genes" and "good breeding", using some of the same language used by Adolf Hitler when talking about the "master race" and the Nazi's eugenics program. In 2018, Trump told a group of British businessmen that "you've all got such good bloodlines in this room" (because they were rich, successful white men, I guess). Trump also said women of color who serve in Congress should be prosecuted and he heaped more praise on the Confederacy, including the "incredible" Robert E. Lee. He calls his gatherings "protests against stupidity".

Trump has been exceptionally racist for his entire time in office. Trump compared police killings of Black men to a golfer choking and missing a three-foot putt.

Louis DeJoy, a wealthy Trump contributor, who was appointed (in an "irregular process") Board Chairman of the US Postal Service, is also the director of a Mitch McConnell Super PAC. A House Oversight Committee began investigating DeJoy's "deliberate sabotage of the Postal Service". He 
is refusing to cooperate.

More than 50,000 postal workers have taken time off for Covid-19-related reasons. The Postal Service sent voters in numerous states "false" information about mail-in voting and the Supreme Court revived Jim Crow voter suppression tactics (Poll Tax 2.0).

A New York Times op-ed from 2000 surfaced in which Trump called voting by mail "refreshingly democratic" and a top GOP election lawyer admitted: "After decades of looking for illegal voting, there's no proof of widespread fraud". FBI director Christopher Wray also shot down Trump's bogus theories about mass voter fraud, which he said does not, and has never, existed. In Trump's confusing mish-mosh of lies about voter fraud, what is proper in Florida is a "coup" in Nevada. At its core, the lies about voter fraud are used to disenfranchise Americans.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg died and at least 17 Republican senators are hypocrites about confirming a Supreme Court nominee during an election year. Trump said that Ginsburg's dying wish to not be replaced until after the election was likely a "hoax" invented by Democrats.

Trump admitted he's rushing to fill the vacant court seat because he needs nine judges to help him steal the election. "With the unsolicited millions of ballots ... you're gonna need nine justices up there, they're going to be very important."

Trump's choice, Amy Coney Barrett, is a member of a far-right cult (People of Praise) in which women (who were called "handmaids") are expected to live in "total submission" to their husbands. The day after news of Barrett's affiliation was published, the group scrubbed all mention of her from its website, something they also did in 2017 when Barrett was considered for the seat now occupied by rapist Brett Kavanaugh. Barrett is backed by the Judicial Crisis Network, a right-wing group which spent $27 million to block Obama's 2016 nominee, spent millions supporting Neil Gorsuch and Kavanaugh.

Trump can't help but publicly brag about his upcoming crime. He admitted he is counting on the courts to help him steal the election and abolish democracy. Republicans are attempting to restrict voting in several states, including Pennsylvania. Trump officials said they would no longer give Democrats election security briefings

The Atlantic reported that Trump's state and national legal teams are laying the groundwork to circumvent the results of the election in battleground states. The Trump campaign is discussing contingency plans to bypass election results and appoint loyal electors in battleground states where Republicans hold the legislative majority. (Nothing in the Constitution says electors have to be chosen by popular vote.) Citing rampant fraud, Trump would ask state legislators to set aside the popular vote and exercise their power to choose a slate of electors directly. A Trump-campaign legal adviser said the push to appoint electors would be framed in terms of protecting the people's will. In Pennsylvania, three Republican leaders have already discussed the direct appointment of electors among themselves, and one said he had discussed it with Trump's national campaign. Republicans control both legislative chambers in the six most closely contested battleground states.

Portland-area pro-Trump activists have been planning and training for violence, gathering weapons and ammunition and suggesting political assassinations

Trump refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses the election. "We're going to have to see what happens. ... Get rid of the ballots and ... there won't be a transfer, frankly, there'll be a continuation." Trump's undeniable intention to steal the election should have set off loud alarms in every newsroom in the country, but it did not. The Washington Post printed the news on page A4. The New York Times buried it on page A15. The press appeared to finally get the message the following day, but they acted shocked that Trump would do such a thing

Richard Hasen, one of the country's top election law scholars: "This is a five-alarm fire, folks. It's time to wake up." Julian E. Zelizer, a professor of American political history at Princeton University: Trump is "saying out loud what everyone has assumed he's been thinking…  The more he makes these arguments, the more he normalizes the fact that this can be part of the conversation."

Trump's "biggest fear" is having his tax returns released, which would lead to "a massive tax bill, penalties, fines and possibly even tax fraud". Well, on September 27, the New York Times began publishing a series of lengthy articles based on Trump's tax returns from more than two decades. The reporting paints a far different picture than the one Trump has been showing the world. 

Trump paid zero in income taxes from in 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014 by claiming his  businesses lost massive amounts of money. He paid only $750 in both 2016 and 2017. Trump has $421 million in debt coming due in the next few years and he could owe the IRS more than $100 million if he loses his audit battle. Trump also made some likely illegal write-offs, such as hundreds of thousands of dollars in "consulting fees" to his daughter Ivanka. (Robert Mueller was apparent afraid to investigate Trump's finances or interview Ivanka Trump.)

Trump is the only American president in history to refuse to release copies of his tax returns. He claims he cannot do so during the audit. IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig confirmed at a House Appropriations Subcommittee in April 2019 that Trump's claim is a complete lie.

The second major article shows that Trump is actually a massive failure at business, a populist fraud, and one of the biggest welfare queens of all-time. Despite inheriting $400 million from his father (a fact which smashes his "self-made man" fiction), he is approximately $1 billion in debt. Before "The Apprentice" came along, Trump was forced to hawk ring tones, cookies, laundry detergent, and mattresses.

Fox News saw "no indication of wrongdoing", with one host claiming "all of these things he's doing are things that probably all of us do, that most people do when they're filing their taxes". Sure, I mean how many Fox viewers don't write-off $70,000 for hair care?

Undocumented workers at Trump's Westchester County golf club pay more in taxes than Trump does. (They were not scared to show their returns to a reporter.) Jesus Lira said she was "angry, sad, confused. .... How is that even possible?"

Nick Akerman, a former federal prosecutor during the Watergate investigation, said the New York Times reporting on Trump's taxes suggests he could face time behind bars. "No question about it. And his daughter [Ivanka] could go to jail, too. Tax evasion is a five-year felony. ... [T]he more money that's stolen, the longer you go to jail. ... Once he's no longer a sitting president, he is subject to being indicted. ... Any decent prosecutor [could makea ] pretty viable [case]."

Trump wanted his daughter Ivanka as his running mate in 2016. Now she can be his prison mate. Rick Gates, then Trump's deputy campaign chairman: "We all knew Trump well enough to keep our mouths shut and not laugh." The campaign polled the idea — twice.

Not unrelated, a report on Trump's 2017 tax code revisions shows the super-wealthy made out like bandits. Trump's revisions overwhelmingly favored the top 7% of Americans (who saw their income increase by 20-37%) and he stopped going after rich people who either cheat on their taxes or don't bother to file at all. One of the Koch brothers saw an IRS criminal investigation disappear after Trump took office. William Koch lives one door away from Mar-a-Lago and takes in more than $100 million a year while paying $0 in taxes.

"A shit show". That was CNN's Dana Bash's summary of the first Trump-Biden debate. Her colleague Jake Tapper called it "a hot mess, inside a dumpster fire, inside a train wreck". It was a "disgrace ... the worst debate I have ever seen". The Washington Post called it "the worst presidential debate in living memory".

Trump constantly interrupted Biden and moderator Chris Wallace, ignoring every plea to follow the extremely basic rules. Fact-checking the debate was almost beside the point. Of course Trump unleashed avalanche of lies. because he's himself.

Stephen Colbert disagreed with the "shit show" description. "That is, first of all, an insult to both shows and the other word that I can't say because this is CBS. It's not exactly accurate, because at least after a 90-minute poop, you generally feel better."

Jonathan V. Last of the Bulwark said it was "a miniature, 90-minute version of the last 4 years: depressing, exhausting, full of craziness and lies. ... I cannot understand how anyone with an IQ over 80 could have watched this disgrace and not come away understanding that the president of the United States is a sociopath." ... Richard North Patterson remarked that Trump's "nakedly unshackled sociopathy virtually obliterated conventional political analysis."

Amanda Marcotte of Salon: "Biden showed up to do normal politician things, only to find himself trapped on stage with Trump, a shit-flinging monkey whose only purpose was to prevent anything resembling truth from slipping through and touching the ears of the public. ... Trump and his supporters no doubt imagine that his performance was a triumphant display of animalistic dominance. But like all bullies, their posturing is a thin disguise for the cowardice underneath. What was really on stage was a man so incredibly terrified of being held to account, even a little, and so fearful of the facts that he lashed out like a cornered rat at even the barest hint that his opponent might say things that are true."

Trump lied about everything -- everything except white supremacists and right-wing militias. He refused to condemn those racist groups when asked directly, something that stunned even 
Fox News. Brian Kilmeade: "Donald Trump blew the biggest layup in the history of debates by not condemning white supremacists. ... That's like, 'Are you against evil?'"

Trump refused to condemn white supremacists, instead telling them to "stand by" That message, interpreted by Proud Boys co-founder Joe Biggs as an order "to go f*ck them up" "makes me so happy". 

Republicans claimed to be alarmed at Trump's refusal to disavow the right-wing group
organization linked with white supremacy and acts of violence (which Trump and others have redefined as "self-defense"). The GOP also pretended to distance themselves from Trump's unwillingness to promise a peaceful transfer of power if he loses the election.

One voter in a virtual focus group said debating Trump was "like trying to win an argument with a crackhead". ... An exasperated Biden spoke for the nation, pleading : "Would you shut up, man?"

The New York Times Editorial Board stated Biden "exhibited remarkable restraint" given Trump's unwillingness to debate.
President Trump's performance on the debate stage was a national disgrace. ... Every American has a responsibility to look and listen and take the full measure of the man. Ignorance can no longer be a tenable excuse. Conservatives ... can no longer avoid the reality that Mr. Trump is vandalizing the principles and integrity of our democracy. ...

The debate was excruciating to watch for anyone who loves this country, because of the mirror it held up to the United States in 2020: a nation unmoored from whatever was left of its civil political traditions, awash in conspiratorial disinformation, incapable of agreeing on what is true and what are lies, paralyzed by the horror of a pandemic that has killed hundreds of thousands and beholden to a political system that doesn't reflect the majority of the country.

The debate featured one politician trying his best to do his job, trying to bring some normalcy to America's battered public square, and one politician who seemed incapable of self-control — petulant, self-centered, rageful.

After five years of conditioning, the president's ceaseless lies, insults and abuse were no less breathtaking to behold. Mr. Trump doesn't care if you think he's corrupt, incompetent and self-centered. He just wants you to think everyone else is just as bad, and that he's the only one brave enough to tell it to you straight. ...

Yet there was a new sense of desperation in Mr. Trump's performance. ... [H]e spent the debate as he has spent the past several months: claiming the election will not be legitimate unless he wins. ...

At one point the moderator, Chris Wallace of Fox News, asked Mr. Trump if he was willing to condemn the white supremacists and right-wing militants who have grown emboldened under his administration ... It was the slowest, fattest softball a president could be tossed. Once again, Mr. Trump whiffed. ...

Mr. Wallace later asked both candidates to commit to respect the outcome of the election. The fact that such a promise needed to be extracted in the first place is alarming. More ominous was that only one candidate, Joe Biden, agreed to it. Mr. Trump used the opportunity to warn of a "fraudulent election," falsely claiming that mail-in ballots would be corrupted — again, despite his own F.B.I. saying there is no evidence of any fraud in mail ballots. 
The entire world was "disturbed by Tuesday's reality TV extravaganza that pitted a ranting, raving president against a frustrated challenger who called him a 'clown' that was the worst leader the nation has seen". Times of India: "The US embarrassed itself before the world for 100 minutes. ... [The debate] culminat[ed] in implicit threats of election-linked racial conflagration" by Trump. The Guardian: "Mr. Trump lied, he blustered, he harangued and, above all, he interrupted. ... This dark, horrifying, unwatchable fever dream will surely be the first line of America's obituary." German publication Der Spiegel likened the televised debacle to a "car accident".

For a week before the debate, Trump said, numerous times, that Biden must be getting shots of performance enhancing drugs in his ass to allow him to speak coherently in public. He was 'strongly demanding" that Biden be drug-tested before the debate. In 2016, Trump called for Hillary Clinton to be drug-tested before a debate, for the exact same reason. Afterwards, the talk among wingnuts was that Biden had been wearing a hidden earpiece. Photoshopped images circulated on social media.
At a rally the evening following the debate, Trump told a crowd he had trounced Biden and claimed Biden was "canceling the [other] debates", something a candidate, of course, cannot do.

So that was a very partial list of September happenings. October promises to be no less eventful. the month began with a bang: Trump tested positive for the coronavirus.


johngoldfine said...

Today he locked himself in an airtight SUV with his long-suffering Secret Service detail, so that he could wander around Bethesda, waving to his cult-members.

allan said...

Jeff Mason (Reuters WH Correspondent): "Explanation from the White House: "President Trump took a short, last-minute motorcade ride to wave to his supporters outside and has now returned to the Presidential Suite inside Walter Reed." (@realDonaldTrump has COVID-19.)"

John Kemerer: "So last minute that he just so happened to have enough time to video tape and tweet his plan first?"

Kevin Liptak (CNN): "Seven months into global pandemic that's killed 200,000 Americans, Trump says he now "understands" COVID after contracting it, and then immediately gets into a car with a least 2 other people to wave at people"


They expect everyone else to be as stupid as they are.

allan said...

Aaron Rupar (Vox): "Trump had a pandemic rally (perhaps the last one) in northern Minnesota last Wednesday. Now coronavirus cases are on the rise there."

Trump is a one-man killing machine.