Thursday Reads: Grim Reaper Trump

Good Morning!!

The Grim Reaper

Mary Trump’s book was released on Tuesday, and the court affirmed her right to freedom of speech, so she is now speaking out about her the horrific family that produced Donald Trump. She’ll be interviewed tonight by Rachel Maddow–that should be interesting. She gave an interview to The Washington Post’s Ashley Parker yesterday: Mary Trump says the U.S. has devolved into a version of her ‘incredibly dysfunctional family.

Mary L. Trump, President’s Trump’s niece, said that watching the country’s leadership devolve into “a macro version of my incredibly dysfunctional family” was one of the factors that compelled her to write her book, “Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man.”

In an interview Wednesday with The Washington Post, Mary Trump said she blames “almost 100 percent” her grandfather, Fred Trump — the family patriarch whom she describes as a “sociopath” in her 214-page memoir of sorts — for creating the conditions that led to Trump’s rise and, ultimately, what she views as his dangerous presidency.

Much like in her extended family, Mary Trump said, a similar dynamic is now playing out on the national stage, with Trump simultaneously possessing “an unerring instinct for finding people who are weaker than he is,” while also being “eminently usable by people who are stronger and savvier than he is” and eager to exploit him.

Cemetery Gates, Marc Chagall

Assessing the current moment, in which Trump has amplified racism and stoked the flames of white grievance and resentment, Mary Trump said that the president is “clearly racist,” but that his behavior stems from a combination of upbringing and political cynicism.

“It comes easily to him and he thinks it’s going to score him points with the only people who are continuing to support him,” she said.

Mary Trump said that growing up in her family, her experience was one of “a knee-jerk anti-Semitism, a knee-jerk racism.”

“Growing up, it was sort of normal to hear them use the n-word or use anti-Semitic expressions,” she said.

Read the rest at the WaPo.

It seems that the majority of Americans are finally waking up to the truth about Trump. After what happened in 2016, I won’t feel confident until after the election, but things are looking very bad for a second Trump term. Here’s the latest:

NBC News: Biden opens up 11-point national lead over Trump in NBC News/WSJ poll.

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden holds a double-digit lead nationally over President Donald Trump, with 7 in 10 voters saying the country is on the wrong track and majorities disapproving of the president’s handling of the coronavirus and race relations.

Those are the major findings of a new national NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll that comes 3½ months before the presidential election, amid a pandemic that has killed about 140,000 people in the U.S. and during protests and debates over race across the country.

Colonial Graveyard at Lexington, MA, Frederick Childe Hassam

The poll shows Biden ahead of Trump by 11 points among registered voters, 51 percent to 40 percent, which is well outside the poll’s margin of error of plus or minus 3.3 percentage points.

Biden’s lead in last month’s poll was 7 points, 49 percent to 42 percent.

In addition, the poll shows Democrats enjoying an intensity advantage heading into November, and it has Trump’s job rating declining to 42 percent — its lowest level in two years.

“The atmosphere and the attitudes toward Donald Trump are the most challenging an incumbent president has faced since Jimmy Carter in 1980 and Lyndon Johnson in 1968,” said Democratic pollster Peter Hart, whose firm conducted the survey with Republican pollster Bill McInturff of Public Opinion Strategies.

Nate Cohn at The New York Times: Even if the Polls Are Really Off, Trump Is Still in Trouble.

With Joe Biden claiming almost a double-digit lead in national polls, one question still seems to loom over the race: Can we trust the polls after 2016?

It’s a good question. But for now, it’s not as important as you might guess. If the election were held today, Mr. Biden would win the presidency, even if the polls were exactly as wrong as they were four years ago.

Edouard Manet, The Funeral

The reason is simple: His lead is far wider than Hillary Clinton’s was in the final polls, and large enough to withstand another 2016 polling meltdown.

This is not to say that President Trump can’t win. There are still nearly four months to go until the election — more than enough time for the race and the polls to change. The race changed on several occasions over the final months in 2016. And this race has already changed significantly in the last four months. According to FiveThirtyEight, three months ago Mr. Biden held a lead of only about four points.

Read more at the NYT link.

Yesterday, Trump demoted campaign manager Brad Parscale and replaced him with Bill Stepian, the guy who helped Chris Christie with Bridgegate. The Daily Beast: Trump Campaign Chief Was Edged Out ‘Weeks Ago.’ Now He’s Officially Demoted.

President Donald Trump has removed Brad Parscale as his campaign manager, installing instead Bill Stepien, his former second-in-command, in the role. Parscale had held the position since February 2018.

Parscale will remain a part of the campaign as a senior adviser overseeing digital operations, per a Facebook post from the commander-in-chief….

Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, delivered the news, according to ABC.

Graveyard, Ernest Lawson

The move was the culmination of multiple elevations and additions to Team Trump earlier this year that amounted to alleviating Parscale of certain key responsibilities, even if he remained at the time as a campaign manager in title. For instance, Stepien and Jason Miller, another top Trump 2020 official who previously worked as a senior aide on the 2016 team and Trump presidential transition, had for weeks largely taken the helm on strategy, with Parscale generally focusing on duties that the president tweeted on Wednesday evening would remain in his portfolio after the demotion, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

In substance and assignments, “this ‘shakeup’ happened weeks ago,” one of these individuals said. “Difference [tonight] is that it’s now official in everyone’s titles.”

Of course Jared is really the one in charge of the campaign.

Trump’s planned convention in Florida keeps shrinking. Axios: RNC to restrict attendance at Florida convention amid coronavirus surge.

The Republican National Committee will move to significantly limit attendance at its nominating convention events in Jacksonville, Fla., next month, party chairwoman Ronna McDaniel wrote in a Thursday letter to members, Politico reports.

What’s happening: Only delegates will be able to attend the convention on the first three nights. On the fourth night, when President Trump will give his acceptance speech — which may take place outdoors — delegates will be able to bring a guest, while alternate delegates will also be permitted to attend.

— “Adjustments must be made to comply with state and local health guidelines,” McDaniel wrote. “I want to make clear that we still intend to host a fantastic convention celebration in Jacksonville.”

— Florida’s coronavirus outbreak has continued to worsen in recent weeks. The state reported 15,299 new coronavirus cases on Sunday — a single-day record for any state</blockquote

By Diana Salina-Sandoval

The coronavirus pandemic continues to worsen, while Trump refuses to do anything to help states where the virus is raging out of control. The latest alarming coronavirus stories:

NBC News: Russia is attempting to steal coronavirus vaccine research, U.S., U.K. and Canada claim.

Hackers from Russia’s intelligence services have attempted to steal information related to COVID-19 vaccine development from the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, British officials said Thursday.

A group called “APT29, also known as “the Dukes” or “Cozy Bear” has been using malware to target various groups across the three countries, the United Kingdom’s National Cyber Security Centre said in a statement.

It said the United States’ National Security Agency agrees with the assessment.

This is a breaking news report. Please check back for updates.

The Atlantic: A Second Coronavirus Death Surge Is Coming. There was always a logical explanation for why cases rose through the end of June while deaths did not.

There is no mystery in the number of Americans dying from COVID-19.

Despite political leaders trivializing the pandemic, deaths are rising again: The seven-day average for deaths per day has now jumped by more than 200 since July 6, according to data compiled by the COVID Tracking Project at The Atlantic. By our count, states reported 855 deaths today, in line with the recent elevated numbers in mid-July.

By William Bell Scott

The deaths are not happening in unpredictable places. Rather, people are dying at higher rates where there are lots of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations: in Florida, Arizona, Texas, and California, as well as a host of smaller southern states that all rushed to open up.

The deaths are also not happening in an unpredictable amount of time after the new outbreaks emerged. Simply look at the curves yourself. Cases began to rise on June 16; a week later, hospitalizations began to rise. Two weeks after that—21 days after cases rose—states began to report more deaths. That’s the exact number of days that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has estimated from the onset of symptoms to the reporting of a death.

Many people who don’t want COVID-19 to be the terrible crisis that it is have clung to the idea that more cases won’t mean more deaths. Some Americans have been perplexed by a downward trend of national deaths, even as cases exploded in the Sun Belt region. But given the policy choices that state and federal officials have made, the virus has done exactly what public-health experts expected. When states reopened in late April and May with plenty of infected people within their borders, cases began to grow. COVID-19 is highly transmissible, makes a large subset of people who catch it seriously ill, and kills many more people than the flu or any other infectious disease circulating in the country.

CNN: As Trump refuses to lead, America tries to save itself.

President Donald Trump isn’t leading America much as its pandemic worsens. But that’s not stopping Walmart — along with Kroger, Kohl’s, and city and state leaders and officials — from making the tough decisions that the President has shirked.

The Graveyard, by Uko Post

Given Trump’s approach, if the country is to exit the building disaster without many more thousands dead, it will fall to governors, mayors, college presidents and school principals, teachers and grocery store managers to execute plans balancing public health with the need for life to go on.

There were growing indications Wednesday that such centers of authority across the country are no longer waiting for cues from an indifferent President whose aggressive opening strategy has been discredited by a tsunami of infections and whose poll numbers are crashing as a result.

More school districts — in Houston and San Francisco, for example — are defying the President’s demand for all kids to go back to class in the fall.

Head over to CNN to read more examples of state and local leaders acting on their own.

It’s just another sad and frustrating day in an American held hostage by Trump’s dysfunctional “presidency.” Hang in there, Sky Dancers! We will survive this somehow.

They ALL Suck

We have gone through the Mirror to a new perverse American Wonderland.

The true lessons from the last two elections have been pretty clear.  Voting for “throwing the bums out” just brings worse bums into play.  Also, voting for relative unknowns hoping that will change the direction of the country because of their ‘outsider’ status doesn’t work either.  Sooner or later, they all become part of the problem.  The current crop of new faces is a pretty good indication that voters should be using better criteria than change, hope, not part of the DC establishment, and talks a good talk.  I wake up feeling like Alice who went through the looking glass into some perverse alternate reality.  The problem is that there really seems like there’s no way back.

The displeasure is obvious in the polls.  For the last two elections, folks voted for ‘outsiders’ and got even more dysfunctional government.  This latest crop of newbie politicians seems to come in with a ready-made interest group on their coattails. The interest of the general populace isn’t even in the equation any more.  We’re worried about unemployment, paying for expensive basics like food, health care, and gas at the pump while the current crop of elected officials just keep inventing surreal crises that simply feed their base’s interests and their donor’s pockets.

Right now, the majority of voters are screaming none of the above. Congress and the White House are hopelessly out of touch with the priorities of the electorate.  When the public says its concerned about the economy, it doesn’t mean they are obsessed with the Standard & Poor’s downgrade of US debt instruments.  I told you that after they got their tax cuts for billionaires through, raters would do that during the debt ceiling fight, right? 

The Tea Party and the White House seemed to be in cahoots–despite seemingly being at odds with each other– to funnel what’s left of US wealth into the Wall Street Gambling Casino by either giving tax breaks to businesses who flee the country for higher stakes or rich people that buy ‘financial innovations’ that create risk and volatility in markets . This all happens along with funneling federal projects straight to them through no-bid government contracts and privatization schemes.  These things also enrich market parasites like brokerage firms and insurance companies.  I don’t get why people don’t connect these charades with the dismal economy and vote their interests.  Maybe it’s because there’s really no one to vote FOR any more.  There are only folks to vote against.  Angry people do not make good decisions as a general rule.

President Obama has gotten no bounce from his reelection campaign announcement, with his job approval rating dropping by 7 percentage points since January, his personal popularity at a career low and 57 percent of Americans disapproving of his handling of the economy. Yet he leads the potential GOP field.

There are chances for the Republicans in next year’s elections, with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, in particular, nipping close to Obama in the latest ABC News-Washington Post poll. Economic pessimism, its highest in two years amid soaring gas prices, raises serious political peril for the president. But he benefits from two factors: personal approval that, while down, still exceeds his job rating, and substantial doubts about the opposing party’s lineup.

Forty-three percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents say they’re satisfied with the choice of candidates for the GOP nomination for president next year, compared with 65 percent satisfaction with the field at exactly this point four years ago. Nearly as many leaning-Republicans are dissatisfied with the field as are satisfied, and far more have no opinion of their potential candidates: 17 percent now vs. 3 percent at this point in 2007.

If those three are my choices, I’d rather opt out of the election and the country.  This is dismal!  No one is really satisfied with the presidential line-up.  I don’t know about you but my choices at the local level have been abysmal for years.   If there’s one candidate that really looks like they could actually make a change, a group of anti-abortion nuts, businesses, or other niche interest group comes out of the woodwork to tank them.  Our political system is like the proverbial septic tank letting the worst float to the top.

Obviously, money drives races any more.  It’s unlikely we can get that changed unless every state starts a ballot initiative for some kind of campaign finance reform.  Politicians are like crack addicts that are unlikely to go to rehab and more likely to sound like Charlie Sheen and his ‘winning’ chimera.  The problem is that now we have narrow interests funneling money into advertisements–ala swiftboating–that look like the message come from grass roots movements but are they really are the same old, same old that bring the same old, same old to Washington.  It’s only a new face. It is not a new person or an agenda of real change.

I’m still amazed to find any one that doesn’t see the astroturf in the Tea Party with the now obvious funding of the Koch Brothers and the like.  I’m sure that the investigation into all those ‘little’ donors to OFA will turn out finding yet another, perverse form of bundling. As Caro from Make Them Accountable believes, it’ll probably show that a bunch of Goldman Sachs people bought prepaid debit cards and had a hey-day.  The media is so corporate any more that they won’t focus on the jobs crisis, they’re running with the political pack to funnel more public assets to their stockholders.  Only the farthest reaches of Internatlandia appear to still be on the good side of the New American Looking Glass.

What a mess!  I’m beginning to think we’re just on the verge of the collapse of the empire and there’s not much we can do about. The last ten years have been all about the wrong things.  Just today, the UK Guardian released information on the relationship between big Oil and the Blair government’s decision to invade Iraq.  I’m just assuming that there’s a Dubya/Cheney set of meetings and memos there too.  More proof to support our well-founded skepticism of any motive but obscene profit-seeking from the already powerful and wealthy. We know that entire Iraq debacle was as contrived as ignoring the policies that would create jobs and growth and actually do something about the federal debt and deficit.  The emphasis recently on tax cuts has simply exacerbated all the problems but is still held up as the panacea.  The arm waving and speeches are just distractions from the real agenda.  Sadly, some folks still want to believe that those fresh faces really are more than just masks.

It’s like we’ve all gone through the mirror to some evil wonderland.   Help, we’ve fallen through and we can’t get up or out!

This American Life

My thoughts appear to be a bit disjointed today so I thought I’d paste together some links I found over morning coffee and let you all hash them over.

First, from the annals of No kidding … yes, you are a young con (artist), I offer up this you tube of some newbie conservative boys. They call themselves the ‘young cons’ and they prove, once again, that young privileged white boys can’t rap. Hide your young!

Next up, is the answer to my question why aren’t we hearing anything about POTUS and his Poll numbers anymore? Well, according to Rasmussen: “Overall, 54% of voters say they at least somewhat approve of the President’s performance so far. Forty-six percent (46%) disapprove.”

obama_index_june_5_2009The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Friday shows that 34% of the nation’s voters now Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as President. Thirty-four percent (34%) Strongly Disapprove giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of 0. That’s the highest level of strong disapproval and the lowest overall rating yet recorded (see trends).

We continue also to see an erosion of support from left blogistan as David Sirota asks: Whither the sacred campaign promise? Is it just possible that one of these guys will eventually say that some of us were right one day?

But then behavior by President Obama suggests a more systemic assault on the campaign promise is under way.

It started in December, when he was asked why he was making Hillary Rodham Clinton his chief diplomat after criticizing her qualifications and promising Democratic primary voters that his views on international relations were different than hers. He responded by telling the questioner “you’re having fun” trying “to stir up whatever quotes were generated during the course of the campaign.” The implicit assertion was that anyone expecting him to answer for campaign statements must just be “having fun” – and certainly can’t be serious.

A few months later, in reversing a 5-year-old commitment to support ending the Cuban embargo, Obama offered no rationale for the U-turn other than saying he was “running for Senate” at a time that “seems just eons ago” – again, as if everyone should know that previous campaign promises mean nothing.

At least that was a response. After the New York Times recently reported that “the administration has no present plans to reopen negotiations on NAFTA” as “Obama vowed to do during his campaign,” there was no explanation offered whatsoever. We were left to recall Obama previously telling Fortune magazine that his NAFTA promises were too “overheated and amplified” to be taken literally.

It’s true that politicians have always broken promises, but rarely so proudly and with such impunity.

I’m just going to leave the last word to Stevie Wonder:

People keep on learnin’
Soldiers keep on warrin’
World keep on turnin’
Cause it won’t be too long

Powers keep on lyin’
While your people keep on dyin’
World keep on turnin’
Cause it won’t be too long

I’m so darn glad he let me try it again
Cause my last time on earth I lived a whole world of sin
I’m so glad that I know more than I knew then
Gonna keep on tryin’
Till I reach the highest ground