Thursday Open Thread: SCOTUS Decisions on Trump Financial Records and Other News

Claude Monet, “Cliff Walk at Pourville,” 1882

Good Morning!!

BREAKING News: As I write this, we are waiting for a momentous decision from the Supreme Court on whether Trump must reveal his tax returns and business financees. MSNBC just announced that the court has decided by a 7-2 vote that Trump is not immune from a subpoena for his records from the grand jury in New York City. According to Pete Williams, the effect of this is that the fight goes back to the state court where Trump can continue to fight the release of the information. Williams says that in both cases–the one in New York and the one from Congress–Trump has no immunity from these subpoenas. Trump’s taxes must be turned over to the grand jury immediately, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll get to see them. Now Trump has to go back to court and make the same kinds of arguments that any regular person could make. Read the full decision here.

Pete Williams now reporting on the second decision. SCOTUS again sends it back to lower courts with guidance on how Congress can get the financial records. It would require a specific legislative purpose. The upshot is that Congress won’t be getting the tax returns any time soon. Williams says neither case will be resolved before the election.

Brace for a Trump tantrum on Twitter.

Now back to my original post.

Another day dawns in an American in crisis. Yesterday the U.S. reported 60,000 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 and passed a new milestone of 3,000,000 total diagnosed cases. Of course the numbers are actually much higher, because of our inadequate testing and contact tracing. PPE shortages are popping up again and the federal government is doing nothing about it. Unemployment is still shockingly high and about a third of U.S. households missed rent or mortgage payments in July.

Edward Henry Potthast, Brighton Beach

It didn’t have to be this way and the reason for all these failures is Donald Trump. At USA Today, Ira Shapiro writes: As COVID cases top 3 million, it’s past time to end the catastrophic Trump presidency.

Our country is living through a tragedy of unthinkable magnitude.

COVID-19 has hammered the world, but America — with 4.25% of the world’s population — has suffered a quarter of its cases and fatalities….

It is no secret why. America’s tragedy results from the largest failure of presidential leadership in our history. Donald Trump threw out the pandemic response playbooks left by his predecessors; weakened the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; refused to acknowledge the seriousness of the virus; promised its early disappearance; fantasized about miracle cures; and then, after a series of uninformed television briefings, chose to declare victory and pronounce the problem over.

He defied the warnings of public health experts and showed contempt for social distancing and wearing masks. He has created misunderstandings and sowed division by encouraging Americans to rebel against the reasonable public health measures put in place by their governors and mayors. He’s trying to end insurance coverage for millions, and on Tuesday, as America set a record for new daily cases, he began to officially withdraw the United States from the World Health Organization.

Shapiro says we can’t wait six months to be rid of “an increasingly unhinged” Trump. It’s obvious that Republicans in the Senate will do nothing to inhibit Trump’s insanity, so he argues that Americas governors should call for Trump to resign, though he admits this is unlikely.

How much worse does it have to get before those with the power to do something about this tragedy decide to act?

Of course it’s not just Trump’s response to the virus that is damaging our country. His kowtowing to Russia is horrifying. Just Security has the latest: Trump Pushed CIA to Give Intelligence to Kremlin, While Taking No Action Against Russia Arming Taliban.

President Trump’s actions in the face of the Russia-Taliban arms program likely signaled weak US resolve in the eyes of Putin and Russian military intelligence.

Three dimensions of Trump’s response are described in detail in this article, based on interviews with several former Trump administration officials who spoke to Just Security on the record.

First, President Trump decided not to confront Putin about supplying arms to the terrorist group. Second, during the very times in which U.S. military officials publicly raised concerns about the program’s threat to U.S. forces, Trump undercut them. He embraced Putin, overtly and repeatedly, including at the historic summit in Helsinki. Third, behind the scenes, Trump directed the CIA to share intelligence information on counterterrorism with the Kremlin despite no discernible reward, former intelligence officials who served in the Trump administration told Just Security….

The failure to push back on the weapons program signaled to Putin that he could press further, said Michael Carpenter, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense with responsibility for Russia in the Obama administration. “When Western powers fail to push back, the Kremlin keeps prodding and probing — until it meets resistance, or until the costs for President Putin and his regime exceed the perceived benefits,” Carpenter wrote in Just Security on Friday.

What we now know is that President Trump not only failed to push back against Russia’s arming the terrorist group. That extraordinary act of omission was coupled with the president’s effort to push the CIA to cooperate with Russia by providing U.S. intelligence to the Kremlin on counterterrorism operations despite getting nothing in return, according to former officials.

Read the rest at the Just Security.

Pablo Picasso – Two Women Running on the Beach

More from The Daily Beast: CIA Kept Giving Intel to Russia, Got Nothing Back.

It is not unusual for the agency to share intelligence, particularly intelligence on imminent threats, even with hostile intelligence agencies. Intelligence agencies maintain liaison relationships in part to ensure their operations don’t escalate into open conflict. Pompeo, as well as his predecessor in the Obama administration, John Brennan, have both acknowledged working with Russia on shared counterterrorism goals.

But after the Russians’ 2016 election interference, and then the 2018 Sergei Skripal poisoning, the counterterrorism-sharing effort appeared egregious to some in the intelligence community. That’s a renewed concern given recent and unconfirmed intelligence that the Russians paid Taliban elements to kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

The order to share intelligence was a standing directive, Polymeropoulos said, encouraging the intelligence agencies to share whenever possible. “You roll your eyes, you shrug, but you gotta do this,” he said. He did not believe the intelligence-sharing harmed U.S. interests; instead, it appeared naive. Pushing back on it would not have been appropriate: “It would feed into the ‘Deep State’ narrative” of security services going rogue to shank Trump, he said.

But agency leaders, both Pompeo and his successor, current CIA Director Gina Haspel, knew of internal dissatisfaction. “Leadership was well aware of the unanimity in view that this was a waste of time,” Polymeropoulos said, “but it doesn’t matter, because it’s [administration] policy. We had to still go through with it.”

Click the link for more details.

I’m going to post this right now for anyone who wants to discuss the SCOTUS decisions. I’ll add more stories on this as they become available.

Oops it’s Wednesday Reads

Good afternoon….

Didn’t realize today was Wednesday.

Here is a few updates to get despondent about:

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Scientists have warned that doctors may be missing signs of serious and potentially fatal brain disorders triggered by coronavirus, as they emerge in mildly affected or recovering patients. Neurologists have published details of more than 40 UK Covid-19 patients whose complications ranged from brain inflammation and delirium to nerve damage and stroke. The cases add to concerns over the long-term health effects of Covid-19, which have left some patients breathless and fatigued long after they have cleared the virus, and others with numbness, weakness and memory problems. Follow the link in bio to find out more about the brain disorders that are emerging in some patients.

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Nice to know employers now have a say in their employees’ birth control because of Bronze Age bedtime stories. Thanks SCOTUS and @gop ✌️#thedailydon

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#SayTheirNames #BlackTransLivesMatter From our friends @CHNGE 🖤

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Scientists in Italy are investigating the mysterious appearance of pink glacial ice in the Alps. The effect is caused by algae and is a natural phenomenon that occurs during the spring and summer periods. Normally, ice reflects more than 80% of the sun’s radiation back into the atmosphere, but as algae appear, they darken the ice so that it absorbs the heat and melts more quickly. More algae appear as the ice melts more rapidly, giving them vital water and air and adding red hues to the white ice. The algae, known as Ancylonema nordenskioeldii, has also been seen in Greenland, where the ice is also melting.

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BREAKING: The Supreme Court decided against reproductive freedom today in 𝘛𝘳𝘶𝘮𝘱 𝘷. 𝘗𝘦𝘯𝘯𝘴𝘺𝘭𝘷𝘢𝘯𝘪𝘢. They ruled that virtually any employer can deny their employees health insurance coverage of birth control just because they have personal objections. The Supreme Court just gave the Trump administration the green light to attack our birth control coverage. 𝗘𝘃𝗲𝗿𝘆 body should have access to birth control—no matter where you work or go to school. The personal beliefs of your boss or school should NEVER get in the way of your reproductive freedom. Today’s decision is an attack on that very freedom.

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A cartoon by Tom Cheney. #NewYorkerCartoons

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Tuesday Reads: Florida Is The Pandemic Epicenter

Good Morning!!

Florida is now  “the number one hotspot” for Covid-19. Even though the coronavirus is running rampant in Florida, but the state is planning to reopen schools in next month. CNN: Florida will require schools to reopen in August despite a surge in coronavirus cases.

The state’s Commissioner of the Department of Education, Richard Corcoran, issued an emergency order on Monday requiring all “brick and mortar schools” to open “at least five days per week for all students.”

Florida, which initially avoided the worst of the pandemic in its first few months, now has the third-highest number of coronavirus cases in the US at 206,000 and counting.

Under the order, schools must reopen in full to “ensure the quality and continuity of the educational process, the comprehensive wellbeing of students and families and a return to Florida hitting its full economic stride.”

School districts will need to submit a reopening plan that satisfies the requirements of the new emergency order to the Department of Education.

School openings also will need to be consistent with safety precautions as defined by the Florida Department of Health and local health officials and be “supportive of Floridians, young and adult, with underlying conditions that make them medically vulnerable,” according to the order.

The order appears to follow President Donald Trump’s wishes. He tweeted, “SCHOOLS MUST OPEN IN THE FALL!!!” which Corcoran retweeted late Monday after announcing the emergency order.

USA Today reports that Florida educators are questioning the order: Can Gov. DeSantis force Florida schools to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic? Some school leaders seem doubtful.

The emergency order, issued by state Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, appeared at first to undermine the push by many teachers and some school board members to keep classes online when the school year begins.

Though the order says schools can remain closed if county health officials deem reopening too dangerous, a Corcoran spokeswoman heaped doubt on that possibility.

“Logically, I don’t think they could say schools aren’t safe if they are allowing people to be out in public,” Department of Education spokeswoman Cheryl Etters told the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, part of the USA TODAY Network.

But as concern about the order spread online Monday, some school leaders across the state said: Not so fast.

Opening schools under current conditions “could be catastrophic,” said Karen Resciniti, president of the Martin County Education Association in Florida. Most educators in her district are hesitant to return to the classroom, even if social distancing is followed and masks are required, she said.

Meanwhile, Trump is planning to hold the Republican National Convention in Jacksonville, FL in late August. CNN: Republican National Convention will test Jacksonville attendees daily for coronavirus.

The Republican National Convention in Jacksonville, Florida, will feature daily coronavirus testing for those attending the event, which will be centered on President Donald Trump accepting the Republican nomination at a 15,000-person arena.

Erin Isaac, the spokeswoman for the host committee of the Jacksonville portion of the convention, said in an emailed memo on Monday that “everyone attending the convention within the perimeter will be tested and temperature checked each day.”

When reached by CNN on Monday night, Isaac repeated that attendees would be tested for Covid-19 and not just receive a more simple health screening.

A party official said the GOP will be laying out more information on how the testing and other health protocols will work as the convention gets closer.

The schedule is unclear for the Jacksonville portion of the convention, but if Republicans stick to the itinerary they previously planned, Trump will give his acceptance speech there at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena on August 27, the last day of the convention.

The news comes on the heels of Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn saying on Sunday that it was “too early to tell” whether Florida will be a safe place for the convention next month due to a surge in Covid-19 cases in the state.

“I think it’s too early to tell,” Hahn, a member of the White House coronoavirus task force, told CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union.” “We’ll have to see how this unfolds in Florida and around the country.”

Jacksonville is requiring people to wear face masks in public, but the article doesn’t say whether they will be required at the convention.

The Des Moines Register reported yesterday that Chuck Grassley has decided not to attend the convention because of concerns about the virus. I wonder how many other elderly Republicans will decide not to go.

On July 4, The New York Times described the mess that Trump has created by moving the convention from Charlotte, NC to Jacksonville: How the Republican Convention Created Money Woes in Two Cities.

The abrupt uprooting of the Republican National Convention from Charlotte to Jacksonville has created a tangled financial predicament for party officials as they effectively try to pay for two big events instead of one.

Tens of millions of dollars have already been spent in a city that will now host little more than a G.O.P. business meeting, and donors are wary of opening their wallets again to bankroll a Jacksonville gathering thrown into uncertainty by a surge in coronavirus cases.

Organizers are trying to assuage vexed Republicans who collectively gave millions of dollars for a Charlotte event that has mostly been scrapped. The host committee there has spent virtually all of the $38 million it raised before the convention was moved, leaving almost nothing to return to donors, or to pass on to the new host city.

In Jacksonville, fund-raisers are describing the process as the most difficult they have ever confronted: Florida has been setting daily records for new virus cases, freezing money as donors wait and worry about the safety risks of the pandemic.

Big donors are hesitant to support the Jacksonville event.

“I don’t want to encourage people getting sick,” said Stanley S. Hubbard, a Minnesota billionaire who has donated more than $2 million to help Republicans, including President Trump, since the beginning of the 2016 election.

Mr. Hubbard, who donated $25,000 to the R.N.C.’s convention account in 2018, is hesitant to give to the Jacksonville host committee because he thinks it is ill advised to hold the convention in the midst of a pandemic. “Unless this thing goes away, I think it’s a bad choice,” he said.

The threat of the virus and the complicated financial entanglements are just the latest problems to beset an event that Mr. Trump upended last month, after concluding that Charlotte could not guarantee the celebratory coronation he covets. The sudden acrimonious split with Charlotte — and the scramble in Jacksonville to organize in weeks an event that typically takes years — has produced mounting confusion about what the convention will look like and who will pay to help stage it.

Organizers are not holding their breath for generous contributions from big donors, like Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire casino owner, who has given to host committees in the past but has not indicated he plans to support the Jacksonville event. Instead, they are working down long lists of donors who might be willing to give smaller amounts.

With the coronavirus out of control in Jacksonville and in Florida as whole, you have to wonder if Trump is really going to get his big moment on stage.

The New York Times also has a story on how Florida became the current epicenter of the virus: As the Virus Surged, Florida Partied. Tracking the Revelers Has Been Tough.

Miami’s flashy nightclubs closed in March, but the parties have raged on in the waterfront manse tucked in the lush residential neighborhood of Belle Meade Island. Revelers arrive in sports cars and ride-shares several nights a week, say neighbors who have spied professional bouncers at the door and bought earplugs to try to sleep through the thumping dance beats.

They are the sort of parties — drawing throngs of maskless strangers to rave until sunrise — that local health officials say have been a notable contributing factor to the soaring number of coronavirus cases in Florida, one of the most troubling infection spots in the country.

Just how many parties have been linked to Covid-19 is unclear because Florida does not make public information about confirmed disease clusters. On Belle Meade Island, neighbors fear the large numbers of people going in and out of the house parties are precisely what public health officials have warned them about.

“We have hundreds of people coming onto this island,” said Jeri Klemme-Zaiac, a nurse practitioner who has lived in the neighborhood for 25 years. “This is how this is spreading: People have no regard for anyone else.”

The city of Miami and the Miami-Dade Police Department shut down a party at the house just before midnight on Wednesday, a spokesman for the department said. Officers kicked out perhaps a hundred people, estimated Rita Lagace, who lives next door and saw the attendees reluctantly depart. She predicted the festivities would soon return: Targeting loud parties has always been a game of whack-a-mole in Miami, a city famous for its dazzling nightlife.

Contact tracing efforts are not going well:

The state’s contact tracers, already overwhelmed by the surging number of new cases, have found it especially difficult to track how the virus jumped from one party guest to the next because some infected people refused to divulge whom they went out with or had over to their house.

“We are starting to encounter a fair amount of pushback from younger folks when you call them up and say, ‘We want to know everyone who was at your party,’” said Dr. J. Glenn Morris Jr., director of the Emerging Pathogens Institute at the University of Florida in Gainesville, a college town where local officials have begged students to stop partying. “There’s very much a sense of, ‘That’s none of your business.’”

One more horror story out of Florida:

The Washington Post: A high-risk Florida teen who died from covid-19 attended a huge church party, then was given hydroxychloroquine by her parents, report says.

At just 17, Carsyn Leigh Davis had already experienced more challenges than most people face in their entire lives. From age 2, she battled a host of health issues, including cancer and a rare autoimmune disorder. But not once did Carsyn let the serious ailments get her down, her family said.

So when the high school student from Fort Myers, Fla., died last month after contracting the novel coronavirus, her death — which marked Lee County’s youngest virus-related fatality at the time — sent shock waves through the community. Touching tributes to Carsyn, often pictured smiling broadly, poured forth and thousands of dollars were donated to GoFundMe campaigns.

But it turns out Carsyn’s mom may have deliberately exposed her to the virus and then given her Trump’s favorite remedy.

A medical examiner’s report recently made public, however, has raised questions about Carsyn’s case. The Miami-Dade County Medical Examiner found that the immunocompromised teen went to a large church party with roughly 100 other children where she did not wear a mask and social distancing was not enforced. Then, after getting sick, nearly a week passed before she was taken to the hospital, and during that time her parents gave her hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malarial drug touted by President Trump that the Food and Drug Administration has issued warnings about, saying usage could cause potentially deadly heart rhythm problems.

Carsyn’s case, which gained renewed interest on Sunday after it was publicized by Florida data scientist Rebekah Jones, drew fierce backlash from critics, including a number of medical professionals, who condemned the actions taken by the teen’s family in the weeks before her death. Florida has more than 206,000 reported cases of coronavirus and 3,880 deaths as of early Tuesday.

Read the rest at the WaPo.

I’ll post more reads in the comment thread. What stories have you been following?

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.