Monday Reads

Vintage Botanical Print - Sweet Orange - The Graphics Fairy

Good Day Sky Dancers!

I’m waiting for my new computer to come today and I spent three days resurrecting this one with huge nearly endless chk dsk runs so I’m back on line with more than a phone now.  Thanks to all of you that helped me. The new one is not top of the line but it will be reliable which is really what I need right now.  These things always happen to me during summer breaks when I don’t get a class and on Fridays.  I just seem to have that kind of karma.

I’ve been doing my horticulture class and fighting the continual rain that appears to want to specifically drown my slips and seedlings.  I’ve been spending a good deal of the last few days pulling my containers out of or under the house. So, in tribute to what I hope starts bearing fruit in my side and back yard I’m sharing antique botanical prints.

100+ Free Farmhouse Printables- Botanical Sets | Harbour Breeze Home

I continue to feel like we’ve entered some alternate evil time line. I tried hard to avoid news coverage of Trump’s racist screeds on the weekend we traditionally celebrate Independence.  The strangest–and perhaps most horrific–thing he said was that American values started with Christopher Columbus.  We started out as a colony not a colonizer so that was confusing history with I have no idea what and it also continues to glorify the perpetrators of mass enslavement and genocide.  He also continues to fully embrace the legacy of the lost cause.   This is painful to live through.

Today, the Daily Beast characterized this strategy as a “Hail Mary.”  The only thing I see in it is a huge shout out to White Christian Nationalists. Asawin Suebsaeng writes  “Trump Advisers Wonder: ‘Is the Statue Shit Going to Work?’ ”

With four months left to salvage his re-election campaign against presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden, President Donald Trump has decided to pivot heavily to culture-war bluster and hard-right posturing. A major part of that pivot appears to be turning his anger on people who don’t like the same statues he does and comparing those enemies to Nazi “fascists.”

Shockingly, there are some in Trump’s political orbit who aren’t convinced this tactic will move voters as much as the president seems to think it will. They see the “pivot” as Trump simply continuing to rile up a conservative base that will not, by itself, deliver him a second term.

But for now, Trump isn’t listening, telling a crowd at Mount Rushmore in South Dakota on Friday night that “This left-wing cultural revolution is designed to overthrow the American Revolution.”

Two individuals close to the president told The Daily Beast last week that they believe devoting so much time and energy to defending lifeless statues—a kick that started with sticking up for ones honoring racist dead Confederates—will likely fail to help rejuvenate his sagging 2020 campaign and close the wide polling deficits that former Vice President Biden has opened up.

Both sources independently said they intended to gently implore Trump to take a different approach. One of the sources said they had already told Trump in recent days that making statue fetishization a cornerstone of the re-election pitch amounted to a “distraction” that wouldn’t help move the necessary votes into the president’s column by the election in November.

This Gallup poll indicates it’s doing him no good.

 President Donald Trump’s approval rating is holding steady at a lower level after a sharp drop in late May and early June, with 38% of Americans currently approving of the job he is doing.

Vintage Botanical Art Prints – discoverprints

I cannot figure out how those 38% arrived at that conclusion either.  But this warning stands out to me.  “Don’t gorge on polls that show Biden ahead. COVID and voter suppression boost Trump’s odds” via Jason Sattler at USA today.

► No poll can account for the toxic mix of voter suppression, COVID-19 and a president of the United States willing to use every power at his disposal to prevent Americans from voting. 

The pandemic that’s now sending the U.S. economy back into a medical coma for the second time in months has already crushed voter registration. Despite the White House admitting that we’re likely to face a potentially worse second wave in the fall, Trump has declared a holy war on his favorite method of casting a ballot: mail-in-voting, which he has called his “biggest risk” to getting reelected.

Though voting by mail is even more secure than voting in-person, Trump is desperate to get voters to have to wait in lines to vote. Why?

“Trump’s re-election strategy appears to depend on cutting off channels for voters to have polling places and then sending operatives and right-wingers to intimidate and suppress voters in person,” says Ben Wikler, chair of the Wisconsin Democratic Party.

The only thing getting me to a brief state of smile is the Anti-Trump Republicans in the Lincoln Project.  They really get him and they really get to him.  This is from NBC News: “How Lincoln Project anti-Trump Republicans got into his head. Spoiler alert: It was easy. With clever ads and searing social media attacks, the group has drawn notice. But what that means for the election is up in the air.”

The group has particularly targeted Washington and swing states like Wisconsin, Michigan, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. It has also spent hundreds of thousands against Republican Senate candidates in states like Arizona, Iowa and Montana.

June was its biggest month by far for expenditures in the 2020 cycle, with the group spending more than $1.46 million. Its largest donors through March included the hedge funder Andrew Redleaf, Walton family heir Christy Walton and venture capitalist Ron Conway.

“Trump is his own worst political enemy at times,” Weaver said. “And there’s no doubt that he has given us rocket fuel by engaging with us. I mean, it’s hard to claim we’re irrelevant if they’re constantly attacking us.”

While the group isn’t one of the better-funded PACs, it has been able to take advantage of the members’ large combined social media followings and prevalence on cable news.

Galen said the Lincoln Project sees itself as “a pirate ship” that, because it isn’t aligned with any party, is able “to be extremely nimble” and is not subject to “a lot of hemming and hawing” over decision-making.

Recent ads mocked Trump for his smaller-than-promised crowd at his rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma; ridiculed him over the latest controversy over Russian bounty intelligence; and lampooned his handling of the coronavirus response.

These Vintage Botanical Illustrations Will Have You Gaping in ...

The Coronavirus Response is a big focus of both campaigns according to WAPO.  Trump’s popularity in the states where the virus is out of control is falling like a lead balloon.

The Trump and Biden presidential campaigns now see the coronavirus response as the preeminent force shaping the results of November’s election, prompting both camps to try to refocus their campaigns more heavily on the pandemic, according to officials and advisers of both campaigns.

Advisers to presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden see the covid-19 crisis as perhaps the clearest way yet to contrast the former vice president with President Trump, using the stumbling response and renewed surge in cases as ways to paint Trump as uninformed, incapable of empathy and concerned only about his own political standing.

Trump’s advisers, by contrast, are seeking ways to reframe his response to the coronavirus — even as the president himself largely seeks to avoid the topic because he views it as a political loser. They are sending health officials to swing states, putting doctors on TV in regional markets where the virus is surging, crafting messages on an economic recovery and writing talking points for allies to deliver to potential voters.

The goal is to convince Americans that they can live with the virus — that schools should reopen, professional sports should return, a vaccine is likely to arrive by the end of the year and the economy will continue to improve.

Botanical – Squash vine – Italian (4) | Vintage Printable at ...

Trump’s support is  falling in states where the virus is rampant.  This is from Bloomberg:“Trump’s Support Is Withering in Areas Where Virus Cases Are Rising”.

Coronavirus is skyrocketing in Republican-leaning Sunbelt and interior states, where shifting attitudes about the virus and President Donald Trump’s handling of it could spell more trouble for his re-election effort.

New cases have exploded in particular in Arizona and Florida, battlegrounds Trump must retain to win re-election. Jacksonville, Florida, where the president relocated the Republican National Convention, had the fastest-growing rate of coronavirus of any metropolitan area in the U.S. for the week ended July 4, according to Evercore ISI.

The convention site was changed after Roy Cooper, the Democratic governor of North Carolina, balked at holding a gathering in Charlotte, as planned since 2018 when it was the only city to officially submit a bid, at full capacity.

The slide in support for Trump occurred as the president stopped talking about the virus and masks to focus instead almost entirely on reopening, a risky gamble that so far appears to be backfiring.

Botanical – Squash – Italian (12) | Vintage Printable at ...

I have to agree with Jennifer Rubin this morning.  Trump has no idea what our country is about. It isn’t about waving the Confederate Flag certainly!

The reactionary ethos of the backward-looking Trump and his ilk is antithetical to our national spirit and foundational values.

Trump and his ignorant media handmaidens understand none of this (or pretend not to). They define America by whom they want to be in it, not understanding that the country’s shifting composition is what gives expression to and perfects the ideals of our country in each new generation. To the Trump cult, progress itself is a danger; a free and independent media that exposes and challenges the powerful is their enemy. This cowering, timorous band of self-defined victims seems perpetually enraged at their countrymen who threaten their warped interpretation of America.

None of their fractured history and constitutional illiteracy bear any resemblance to America’s founding creed or to the words of some Americans Trump wants to memorialize in stone. It’s the words and ideas, not the visage, that should be celebrated. We would do better to build fewer statues and more libraries and schools.

Let’s hope for a better Independence Day in 2121.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Sunday Reads: Draft dodgers don’t get to salute!

This is such an important statement.

With that in mind…

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So overwhelmed with grief who is in the fucking mood? Reposted from @ashleighchubbybunny @jacenopenny ⁣ ⁣ ⁣ [Image description: Tweet saying, “Everybody’s different, but personally, I’d be EMBARRASSED to celebrate America two days after the body of a US soldier was found dismembered and bludgeoned for speaking up about being sexually assaulted & not to mention the literal other human remains found in the process????”]

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“L.A. Liberty” (1992) by Pacita Abad. Abad's ‘Immigrant Experience’ series was produced in the early 1990s when the artist was living in Washington D.C. These works combined Abad's Social Realist inclinations with a new trapunto technique that she was developing – presenting complex and kaleidoscopic depictions of the immigrant experience. Every stitch and painted surface evokes the overwhelming strangeness of a new place. Within Abad's paintings are narratives of personal aspiration, shared suffering and common humanity that have gained renewed poignancy. Presented by @SilverlensGalleries as part of the Woven section at Frieze London 2019. #PacitaAbad #FriezeLondon

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Today we’re reflecting on what true reproductive freedom means. It means committing to addressing systemic racism. It means dismantling oppressive systems. And it means eradicating racial disparities in healthcare. We won’t have freedom for 𝘢𝘯𝘺 body until there’s freedom for 𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗿𝘆 body. None of us can be free until all of us are free.

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If You Know You Know… Art by #AyandaMabulu #BlackMadonna #art #artistsoninstagram #blm #blacklivesmatter

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Damn it. Now I want bagels of truth.

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At the same time that the United States declared “liberty” as an inalienable right, hundreds of thousands of enslaved people were being denied that right. Racial hierarchy (e.g. white supremacy) has existed in this country since before its inception and remains deeply ingrained in our society. Today, take the time to realize the depth of this racial oppression. Instead of celebrating our history, learn about it and reflect on actions you can take to dismantle systemic racism

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Did y’all see Shaun King try and take credit for that image…

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Today we remember the mission that piqued our curiosities and drove our perseverance to pursue further exploration of the Red Planet. 🚀 Our Sojourner rover landed on July 4, 1997, after hitching a ride aboard the Mars Pathfinder mission. Its innovative design became the template for future missions. The rover, named after civil rights pioneer Sojourner Truth, outlived its design life 12 times. This panoramic view of Pathfinder's Ares Vallis landing site shows Sojourner rover in the distance. Image Credit: NASA/JPL #countdowntomars #perseverance #pathfinder #curiosityrover #opportunityrover #marsrover #theredplanet #NASA

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And, this draft dodging bone spurs asshole needs to stop acting like he’s a war hero or some other kind of tiny prick wannabe big shot:

What an insult to service men and women…the same military he allows Putin to put a bounty on…it is disgusting.


Lazy Caturday Reads

Betty Grable 1933

Good Morning!!

Trump gave a horrifying hate- and lie-filled speech last night at his super-spreader party at Mount Rushmore. His face was bright red and he was sweating profusely as he slurred and mispronounced numerous words as he struggled to read the Stephen Miller’s creation from the teleprompter.

The New York Times: Trump Uses Mount Rushmore Speech to Deliver Divisive Culture War Message.

President Trump delivered a dark and divisive speech on Friday that cast his struggling effort to win a second term as a battle against a “new far-left fascism” seeking to wipe out the nation’s values and history.

With the coronavirus pandemic raging and his campaign faltering in the polls, his appearance amounted to a fiery reboot of his re-election effort, using the holiday and an official presidential address to mount a full-on culture war against a straw-man version of the left that he portrayed as inciting mayhem and moving the country toward totalitarianism.

Eartha Kitt 1953

“Our nation is witnessing a merciless campaign to wipe out our history, defame our heroes, erase our values and indoctrinate our children,” Mr. Trump said, addressing a packed crowd of sign-waving supporters, few of whom wore masks. “Angry mobs are trying to tear down statues of our founders, deface our most sacred memorials and unleash a wave of violent crime in our cities.”

Mr. Trump barely mentioned the frightening resurgence of the pandemic, even as the country surpassed 53,000 new cases and health officials across the nation urged Americans to scale back their Fourth of July plans.

Instead, appealing unabashedly to his base with ominous language and imagery, he railed against what he described as a dangerous “cancel culture” intent on toppling monuments and framed himself as a strong leader who would protect the Second Amendment, law enforcement and the country’s heritage.

The scene at Mount Rushmore was the latest sign of how Mr. Trump appears, by design or default, increasingly disconnected from the intense concern among Americans about the health crisis gripping the country. More than just a partisan rally, it underscored the extent to which Mr. Trump is appealing to a subset of Americans to carry him to a second term by changing the subject and appealing to fear and division.

Trump’s weird obsession with saving Confederate statues was front and center in the speech as he made this strange announcement:

During the speech, the president announced he was signing an executive order to establish the National Garden of American Heroes, a vast outdoor park that will feature the statues of the “greatest Americans to ever live.”

I guess that will be the new incarnation of the “beautiful wall” that never gets built.

The Daily Beast: Trump Uses Mount Rushmore Event to Sic Supporters on ‘Evil’ Protesters.

President Donald Trump devoted his Fourth of July weekend speech at Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota on Friday night not to uniting the country for Independence Day, but to trying to own the libs who take issue with the Confederate statues he sees as vital to American culture.

Elizabeth Taylor 1961

“There is a new far-left fascism that demands absolute allegiance,” Trump proclaimed to supporters who came out to see him in spite of the recent surge in coronavirus cases in the United States. “This left-wing cultural revolution is designed to overthrow the American Revolution,” the president said, before repeatedly going on to compare himself and his supporters to Patriots during the American Revolution—and protesters to members of the British Army.

Speaking as if preparing his political supporters for battle, he said, “Just as patriots did in centuries past, the American people will stand in their way, and we will win, and win quickly.”

“Their goal is not a better America. Their goal is to end America,” he said of the “radical left” who he claimed is intent on “indoctrinating our children.”

“We will not be tyrannized, we will not be demeaned, we will not be intimidated by bad, evil people,” he said.

It was non-stop projection.

Covid-19 is getting closer to Trump. During the event it was revealed that Donald Trump Jr.’s girlfriend has contracted the virus and Done Jr. will self-quarantine. CNN: Kimberly Guilfoyle — Donald Trump Jr.’s girlfriend and top Trump campaign official — tests positive for coronavirus.

Kimberly Guilfoyle — the girlfriend of Donald Trump Jr. and a top fundraiser for the Trump campaign — has tested positive for coronavirus, according to a top official for the committee she leads.

“After testing positive, Kimberly was immediately isolated to limit any exposure,” said Sergio Gor, chief of staff for the Trump Victory Finance Committee. “She’s doing well, and will be retested to ensure the diagnosis is correct since she’s asymptomatic but as a precaution will cancel all upcoming events. Donald Trump Jr was tested negative, but as a precaution is also self isolating and is canceling all public events.” [….]

Mia Farrow 1965

Guilfoyle was not with the President and Donald Trump Jr. has so far tested negative, the person familiar with the matter said. That source said Guilfoyle had not had recent contact with the President, but she was in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and was backstage for his rally there and, was also at his event in Phoenix….Guilfoyle and Trump Jr. had been in the upper Plains region hosting high-dollar fundraisers for several days, people familiar with the matter said.

Guilfoyle has “been with a lot of the campaign donors” in recent days, one source familiar with the matter said.

Billed as a “Mountain West Ranch Retreat,” one event occurred in Gallatin Gateway, Montana, from Tuesday until Thursday, according to one of the people.
Another event was billed as the “Rapid City Roundup Retreat” in Rapid City, South Dakota, from Thursday to Friday.

The people said Guilfoyle was not seen wearing a mask during the events.

Yesterday NBC reported on the latest White House strategy for not dealing with the coronavirus pandemic: ‘We need to live with it’: White House readies new message for the nation on coronavirus.

After several months of mixed messages on the coronavirus pandemic, the White House is settling on a new one: Learn to live with it.

Administration officials are planning to intensify what they hope is a sharper, and less conflicting, message of the pandemic next week, according to senior administration officials, after struggling to offer clear directives amid a crippling surge in cases across the country. On Thursday, the United States reported more than 55,000 new cases of coronavirus and infection rates were hitting new records in multiple states.

Lauren Bacall 1930s

At the crux of the message, officials said, is a recognition by the White House that the virus is not going away any time soon — and will be around through the November election.

As a result, President Donald Trump’s top advisers plan to argue, the country must figure out how to press forward despite it. Therapeutic drugs will be showcased as a key component for doing that and the White House will increasingly emphasize the relatively low risk most Americans have of dying from the virus, officials said.

Low risk of dying? Not for the elderly or people of color. I guess that’s the point though.

Business Insider has more reporting on the administration’s efforts to keep Americans in the dark about the pandemic: The White House repeatedly denied the CDC permission to brief the public on the coronavirus, report says.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was denied permission by the White House to brief the public about the coronavirus crisis, a source at the agency told Yahoo News.

As the coronavirus swept through the US, it was the White House coronavirus task force led by Vice President Mike Pence, and fronted with increasing frequency by President Donald Trump, that took the lead in briefing the public about the crisis.

Earlier in the year the CDC had given frequent briefings on the pandemic. But then it fell abruptly silent, with no public briefings held between March 9 and June 12.

A CDC spokesperson, speaking anonymously to Yahoo, confirmed that the agency “slowly but surely took a backseat” to the coronavirus task force.

“We continued to ask for approval” from the White House to hold briefings, the CDC spokesperson told Yahoo News. “We were not given approval. Finally, we just stopped asking.”

More stories to check out, links only:

Catherine Deneuve and Françoise Dorléac 1960

CNN: 2 Texas counties urge residents to shelter in place as hospitals reach capacity.

CNN: Coronavirus is surging in Florida — and so is anxiety over Trump’s chances with senior voters.

CBS News: 105 University of Washington students in frat houses test positive for coronavirus.

Tucson.com: As COVID-19 explodes in Arizona, Sonora to close border to nonessential travel.

CNN: At least 8 Secret Service agents stuck in Phoenix with coronavirus after Pence trip.

The New York Times: New Administration Memo Seeks to Foster Doubts About Suspected Russian Bounties.

Foreign Policy: White House to Interview Defense Officials in Perceived Loyalty Test.

USA Today: Trump will host a scaled-back July 4th party at White House as coronavirus cases spike.

The Washington Post: The big factor holding back the U.S. economic recovery: Child care.

The Washington Post: Facebook is working to persuade advertisers to abandon their boycott. So far, they aren’t impressed.

I hope you all enjoy your Independence Day and the rest !f the long weekend!


Independence Weekend Reads

Rick Beerhorst Into Her Book

Good Afternoon!!

I’m filling in for Dakinikat. She is having serious computer problems and it looks hopeless. She will have to find a way to buy a new computer. If anyone can help, she could really use some donations.

I’m getting a very late start–so this will be brief. Tomorrow is Independence Day, but this year it is being celebrated on July 3–today. The annual 4th of July concert and fireworks display on Boston Common was cancelled, and there will be a “virtual concert” tomorrow night. I assume other cities have also called such huge gatherings because of the coronavirus pandemic.

But Trump has to have his childish events so he can fill up the empty whole inside him with narcissistic supply. His last mass rally in Tulsa bombed and I hope his events today and tomorrow will also be massive failures.

Tonight he’ll be in South Dakota for a super-spreader event at Mount Rushmore.

CNN: Trump set for another massive event during national pandemic.

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump head to Mount Rushmore National Memorial on Friday to celebrate an early Fourth of July at a gathering of an estimated 7,500 people during a global pandemic.

No social distancing is planned for the event despite the record-high new coronavirus cases in the United States. And the event takes place amid environmental concerns over the use of fireworks in the dry land and as the country engages in a reckoning over its own monuments and racist history.

“We told those folks that have concerns that they can stay home, but those who want to come and join us, we’ll be giving out free face masks if they choose to wear one. But we won’t be social distancing,” Republican Gov. Kristi Noem said during a Monday appearance on Fox News.

There may be health screening for ticketed guests in one area, according to recreation.gov. A recording on the park’s main telephone line Monday said: “There are no social distancing requirements in place at this time.”

Native Americans are not happy about the Trump event.

The Yellow Books, 1887, Vincent Van Gogh

The Independent: ‘It’s going to cause an uproar’: Sioux president says Trump not welcome to visit Mount Rushmore.

The president of the Oglala Sioux tribal council has said that Donald Trump should not attend Mount Rushmore’s fourth of July fireworks celebration in South Dakota on Friday.

President Julian Bear Runner cited health fears over the coronavirus and also said that Mr Trump’s attendance is an insult to Native Americans on whose stolen land it was built.

“Trump coming here is a safety concern not just for my people inside and outside the reservation, but for people in the Great Plains. We have such limited resources in Black Hills, and we’re already seeing infections rising,” Mr Bear Runner said in an interview with The Guardian.

Several Native American groups are planning to stage protests over the president’s scheduled appearance, the newspaper reported.

“It’s going to cause an uproar if he comes here. People are going to want to exercise their first amendment rights to protest and we do not want to see anyone get hurt or the lands be destroyed,” Mr Bear Runner added.

Politico: ‘Complete disaster’: Trump’s fraught ties with Native Americans on display at Mount Rushmore.

Trump is planning to visit Mount Rushmore on Friday to kick off Independence Day weekend with a glitzy fireworks display and a military flyover — and has run into strife and contention over his decision to celebrate at a national landmark built on land stolen from Native Americans at the same time the country is reassessing the offensiveness of such monuments.

LÜBECK ORPHANAGE (1894) Gotthardt Kuehl

In the days before his visit, some Native American leaders called for destruction of the massive sculpture — built in the Black Hills on land taken from the Lakota tribe to honor several presidents they say were hostile to Indigenous people.

And protesters are expected to greet Trump on his trip and express Native Americans’ broader grievances. Tribal leaders have criticized the president for what they describe as harmful policies, delayed and watered-down measures to help their community and his offensive language.

“Symbolically, he’s been a complete disaster for most people who follow Indian affairs,” said Matthew Fletcher, a member of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians and director of the Indigenous Law and Policy Center at Michigan State University.

Tomorrow Trump will put on a tasteless military display in Washington DC, with flyovers in some cities. I heard we’re getting one in Boston. Instead of supporting and protecting our troops, Trump uses them as pawns in his endless desire for attention while refusing to condemn his pal Putin for putting bounties on the heads of American soldiers in Afghanistan.

ABC News: Despite pandemic, Trump promoting July 4th fireworks in DC over mayor’s objections.

President Donald Trump is promoting a big July Fourth celebration and fireworks display in the nation’s capital this weekend, with administration officials expecting large crowds on the National Mall and nearby, despite the mayor’s objections the event may spread the coronavirus.

The dispute comes amid spikes in coronavirus cases around the country – with over 50,000 COVID-19 cases reported in just one day this week.

Madame de Pompadour (1756) Francois Boucher

“We’ve communicated to them that we do not think this is in keeping with the best CDC and Department of Health guidance. But this event will take place entirely on federal property,” D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said in a news conference.

The city is currently in phase two of its reopening plan, which encourages its residents to continue to engage in social distancing, keep wearing a mask, and to avoid congregating in confined space with more than 50 people.

But Bowser said since she does not have jurisdiction over federal land, she could only urge D.C. residents to exercise caution this weekend, advising people to stay home if they don’t think they can remain physically distanced from others.

The Washington Post: Trump to hold Fourth of July gathering at Mount Rushmore as coronavirus surges.

The Washington Post: Fourth of July in Washington includes fireworks, military flyovers and protests.

Even as local officials are discouraging people from joining the traditional Fourth of July festivities on the Mall out of fear that crowds could spread the novel coronavirus, President Trump has decided the tradition will continue and, come Saturday, fireworks will light up the skies of the nation’s capital, the Interior Department said Wednesday.

The year’s festivities also will include flyovers by the Air Force’s Thunderbirds and the Navy’s Blue Angels, and a showing of World War II aircraft such as the P-51 Mustang fighter and the B-29 bomber.

It’s unclear how many people will show up for America’s freedom celebration, but those who do will be joined downtown by scores of protesters.

The protests spurred by George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police in May are expected to continue this weekend and draw large crowds. As many as 20 protests are scheduled for Saturday, and they could extend through the night.

Anyone who goes to either of these event is nuts IMHO.

More reads to peruse today:

READING (CLARA) (CIRCA 1865) FEDERICO FARUFFINI

The Hollywood Reporter: ‘Awards Chatter’ Podcast — Hillary Rodham Clinton (‘Hillary’)

The New York Times: Splitting 5-4, Supreme Court Grants Alabama’s Request to Restore Voting Restrictions. Not good.

Politico: Supreme Court blocks judge’s order loosening Alabama voting requirements due to virus

Newsweek: How Trump Could Lose the Election—And Still Remain President | Opinion

The Daily Beast: Mary Trump: You Can’t Gag Me Because Settlement Was a ‘Fraud’

HuffPost: America Spends Billions To Get The Best Intel In The World But Can’t Make Trump Read It.

The Daily Beast: Trump Whines He’s Not Getting Praised for a Recovery With 25 Million People Still Out of Work

David Rothkopf at New York Review Daily:

Politico: The week that shook the Trump campaign

The New York Times: Why June Was Such a Terrible Month for Trump<

The New York Times: Federal Officials Turn to a New Testing Strategy as Infections Surge.

Paul Krugman: Trump’s Virus Is Spreading, and His Economy Is Stalling

The Atlantic: The Week America Lost Control of the Pandemic

Robin Wright at The New Yorker: To the World, We’re Now America the Racist and Pitiful

Have a great weekend and stay safe!


Thursday Reads

Good Morning!!

If feels as if the long weekend has already begun. The Fourth of July is traditionally a time when the Boston area empties out as people head to the Cape or New Hampshire. I just hope that people will be careful about crowding the beaches. Fortunately, bars won’t be opened here until phase 4, so that is one advantage we have. Yesterday, Gov. Charlie Baker warned Massachusetts residents: ‘No Victory Laps From COVID-19′: Gov. Baker Urges Social Distancing Over July 4 Weekend. NBC10:

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker on Wednesday urged residents to practice social distancing over the Fourth of July weekend, saying people should continue to take the coronavirus pandemic seriously to prevent a resurgence of cases.

“We have a big weekend coming up, it’s the Fourth of July, and I really hope people continue to take things seriously,” Baker said during a press conference at the Greater Boston YMCA.

“There are no victory laps from COVID… It’s not going to take the summer off,” he said, urging people to continue wearing masks and practicing social distancing and hygiene….

The governor said key metrics in the state’s efforts to contain the virus were continuing to trend downward. The state on Tuesday reported no new coronavirus deaths, the first time that’s happened in months.

“The continued fight against the virus depends almost completely and exclusively on all of us maintaining our vigilance and continuing to do the things that have made such a big difference in Massachusetts.”

Yesterday, the U.S. exceeded 50,000 new cases of Covid-19 for the first time. The Washington Post:

The United States reported 52,789 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, the largest single-day total since the start of the pandemic. President Trump speculated in a Fox Business interview that the virus was “going to sort of just disappear” at some point.

Experts say that is unlikely, unless an overwhelming majority of people are infected and develop immunity, which could lead to millions of deaths, or through the successful development and deployment of a vaccine. There is a chance the coronavirus will never go away, some experts have warned.

Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease expert, attributed rising case numbers in the United States at least partially to the fact lockdown measures were more lenient than those in some European countries that have since managed to turn the tide on the virus.

More than 800,000 new coronavirus cases were detected in the United States in June. At least 125,602 deaths have been reported since the start of the pandemic.

CNBC reports on an alarming study of coronavirus deaths from Yale researchers: Official U.S. coronavirus death toll is ‘a substantial undercount’ of actual tally, Yale study finds.

The number of confirmed U.S. deaths due to the coronavirus is substantially lower than the true tally, according to a study published Wednesday in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Using National Center for Health Statistics data, researchers at Yale University compared the number of excess U.S. deaths from any causes with the reported number of weekly U.S. Covid-19 deaths from March 1 through May 30. The numbers were then compared with deaths from the same period in previous years.

Researchers found that the excess number of deaths over normal levels also exceeded those attributed to Covid-19, leading them to conclude that many of those fatalities were likely caused by the coronavirus but not confirmed. State reporting discrepancies and a sharp increase in U.S. deaths amid a pandemic suggest the number of Covid-19 fatalities is undercounted, they said.

“Our analyses suggest that the official tally of deaths due to Covid-19 represent a substantial undercount of the true burden,” Dan Weinberger, an epidemiologist at Yale School of Public Health and a lead author of the study, told CNBC. Weinberger said other factors could contribute to the increase in deaths, such as people avoiding emergency treatment for things like heart attacks. However, he doesn’t think that is the main driver….

The 781,000 total deaths in the United States in the three months through May 30 were about 122,300, or nearly 19% higher, than what would normally be expected, according to the researchers. Of the 122,300 excess deaths, 95,235 were attributed to Covid-19, they said. Most of the rest of the excess deaths, researchers said, were likely related to or directly caused by the coronavirus.

Meanwhile, Trump claimed yesterday that the virus will magically disappear. CNN: Trump’s aides debate a new virus approach as President claims it will ‘disappear.’

A divide has emerged inside President Donald Trump’s inner circle over whether he should turn his attention back to the coronavirus pandemic or continue to focus on reopening the economy, sources familiar with the matter tell CNN.

As cases surge in dozens of states, Trump has remained mostly silent on the matter, focusing instead on protecting statues and stoking racial and cultural divisions. While others in his administration — including Vice President Mike Pence — make appeals for Americans to continue socially distancing and wear masks, Trump again suggested Wednesday the virus would “disappear.”
That has led to concerns, even among some of his own aides, that Trump appears disengaged from a deadly crisis that continues to grip the nation.

Gee, no kidding.

Several of Trump’s top aides, including chief of staff Mark Meadows and son-in-law Jared Kushner, have begun to worry about the President’s chances to win reelection, advisers familiar with the matter said — fears borne out by a steady stream of public polls showing Trump trailing his election rival, Joe Biden, by double digits. Both Meadows and Kushner have urged a focus on the economy over the public health emergency.

Some of Trump’s political advisers believe he has suffered grave political damage due to the pandemic, which has caused widespread economic hurt and death. Even as Trump and others in the White House project optimism that the economy will surge closer to the election, Trump’s handling of the pandemic has drawn rebukes — particularly as cases begin to spike.

“There is a fair amount of concern,” one adviser said, describing the President as “frustrated” by recent polling indicating Biden could win the November election by a wide margin.

Trump couldn’t possibly care less about the pandemic, about Russia paying to kill American troops or about actually doing the job of POTUS. All he seems to care about is being cheered at rallies, protecting statues of racists, and playing golf. Windsor Mann at The Bulwark: Donald Trump Is All Done Caring. An excerpt:

Trump is not interested in the actual job of the presidency. He’s interested in the attention the presidency affords him.

After his election, he discovered that running for president was easier and more fun than being president. Which is why he continued to hold campaign rallies even after he was elected. He wasn’t campaigning for anything. He just liked hearing crowds screaming his name. Unlike most politicians, who campaign in order to govern, Trump campaigns as a way to avoid governing.

By the same token, his politics are an extension of his ego—which is why, at his rallies, he tells the crowds how big his crowds are and not what his policies are. Trump says he’ll hold rallies after he wins the 2020 election, too—even though he will be ineligible to run for the presidency again.

Instead of holding rallies for the purpose of getting elected, Trump wants to get elected so he can keep having rallies….

Twitter performs for Trump the same function as his rallies. Because he’s the president, he can tweet something mean, false, and/or nonsensical and, instead of cheers, get instantaneous likes and retweets—validation in milliseconds. After tweeting “CHINA!” in May, he got 236,000 retweets and 797,000 likes. Tweeting while you watch Fox & Friends, it turns out, is even more gratifying than shouting at the TV. When you tweet, the whole world listens to you, and some people even applaud….

The problem for Trump is that his presidency has no point. It is as devoid of purpose as his days are of work. He doesn’t want to make America great. He wants America to make him feel great.

Still, the bad news keeps coming for Trump. Every time he claims that the Russian bounty story is a “hoax,” someone in the intel community leaks more details. Now we have the name of a guy who received payments. The latest from The New York Times: Afghan Contractor Handed Out Russian Cash to Kill Americans, Officials Say.

KABUL, Afghanistan — He was a lowly drug smuggler, neighbors and relatives say, then ventured into contracting, seeking a slice of the billions of dollars the U.S.-led coalition was funneling into construction projects in Afghanistan.

But he really began to show off his wealth in recent years, after establishing a base in Russia, though how he earned those riches remained mysterious. On his regular trips home to northern Afghanistan, he drove the latest model cars, protected by bodyguards, and his house was recently upgraded to a four-story villa.

Now Rahmatullah Azizi stands as a central piece of a puzzle rocking Washington, named in American intelligence reports and confirmed by Afghan officials as a key middleman who for years handed out money from a Russian military intelligence unit to reward Taliban-linked fighters for targeting American troops in Afghanistan, according to American and Afghan officials.

As security agencies connected the dots of the bounty scheme and narrowed in on him, they carried out sweeping raids to arrest dozens of his relatives and associates about six months ago, but discovered that Mr. Azizi had sneaked out of Afghanistan and was likely back in Russia. What they did find in one of his homes, in Kabul, was about half a million dollars in cash.

Click the link to read the rest.

More bad news for Trump:

NBC New York: Jeffrey Epstein Confidante Ghislaine Maxwell Arrested, Sources Say.

The Washington Post: New York court sides with publisher of explosive book by President Trump’s niece.

The New York Times: Biden Outraises Trump for Second Straight Month, With $141 Million June Haul.

Stanley Greenberg at The Atlantic: Believe the Polls This Time. These aren’t Hillary Clinton’s numbers. Biden has a wide lead because the landscape has changed.

I hope all you Sky Dancers have a great Independence Day weekend. Please stay safe!