September 5, 2020

Posted by orrinj at 6:32 PM


A video claimed to show an 'antifa war camp' in Portland. It's actually a shelter for homeless people during the COVID-19 pandemic. (The Associated Press, 9/05/2020)

A video widely shared across right-wing media claims to show a 'war camp' for antifa agitators in Portland. The video captured dozens of blue tents spread across two parking lots in SE Portland.

This claim is false. The two adjacent lots shown in the video are temporary homeless camps for unhoused Portland residents, according to two nonprofits that helped install them. The campsites were set up in April, predating racial justice protests that have persisted nightly in Portland since late May.

Posted by orrinj at 6:27 PM


Person Who Drove Car Through Crowd of Black Lives Matter Protesters in Times Square Released Without Charges (COLIN KALMBACHER, Sep 5th, 2020, Law & Crime)

The New York City Police Department (NYPD) has interviewed the man they believe is responsible for driving his car through a crowd of Black Lives Matter protesters in Times Square on Thursday night. The man was reportedly released without charges.

According to Gothamist, the car's license plates are registered to "pro-NYPD activist" Hakim Gibson. The Associated Press cited the Gothamist when reporting the same.

Posted by orrinj at 6:21 PM


The Mask-Defying Church at Center of Disastrous Maine Wedding Linked to 3 Deaths, 144 Virus Cases: The wedding at the Big Moose Inn has now been linked to three deaths and 144 coronavirus cases. But the pastor who officiated it doesn't seem bothered. (Kelly Weill, Sep. 05, 2020, Daily Beast)

Maine's biggest COVID-19 outbreak is linked to a wedding officiated by the pastor of a distancing-defying church who says masks are part of a "socialistic platform." Now more than 144 COVID-19 patients have been linked to the event, and three people are dead.

Todd Bell is pastor of the Calvary Baptist Church in Sanford, Maine. Famous for flying between ministries in multiple states on his private plane (God "burdened" his heart to do airplane ministry, he says), Bell flew in to officiate a rural Maine wedding on August 7.

That wedding is the nexus of 144 COVID-19 cases, including three that resulted in deaths, Maine officials said Friday. One of the deceased, an 83-year-old woman, did not even attend the wedding, but contracted the virus from a guest. None of this appears to be stopping Bell from doing business as usual in his church, calling on worshippers to trust "God, not government" as the pandemic progresses.

...that counsels disregard for your neighbors?

Posted by orrinj at 6:13 PM


Making an American: a review of One Mighty and Irresistible Tide: The Epic Struggle Over American Immigration, 1924-1965 by Jia Lynn Yang (Melody S. Gee (August 27, 2020, Commonweal)

The Johnson-Reed Act of 1924 is where Yang begins her story of this forty-year battle over immigration. In meticulous detail, she reveals how a seemingly singular historical event, like one law's ratification, is actually a confluence of circumstance, personal agenda, and public emotion. The passage of the Johnson-Reed Act, for instance, converged with the reemergence of the Ku Klux Klan, public anti-Semitism from prominent figures like Henry Ford, a post-World War I industrial depression, a steady rise in Japanese immigration, and lingering anxieties about white racial purity. All this pushed President Calvin Coolidge to impose severe immigration quotas based on the 1890 census, as well as a literacy test, immigrant-targeted taxes, and a ban on immigration from nearly all countries in Asia. The 1924 law relied on false nostalgia for a census that only seemed to depict a homogenous, Northern European-descended nation: in reality, 15 percent of the nation were immigrants in 1890. [...]

One Mighty and Irresistible Tide is a history of immigration discourse as much as it is a history of immigration law. Yang skillfully traces the ways in which words betray collective fears and insecurities. In the early twentieth century, politicians spoke of immigrants with dehumanizing detachment. They were, as Labor Secretary James J. Davis wrote in 1924, no longer the "beaver-men" of his lineage who had built up the country, but hordes of "rat-men" who needed to be weeded out if they could not be "assimilated," "absorbed," or "submerged" into American culture. Yang writes that immigrants were seen as invaders of the "American bloodstream"; as bent nails, too flimsy to build the state; or as weeds to be culled, lest they "choke or stunt" the American crop. Lawmakers worried that other nations would treat the United States as a "trash basket of all creation," dumping their least desirables who would then become dependent wards of the state. By the 1950s, Yang writes, the very definition of race had changed, as the idea of biological distinctions among races was abandoned after World War II and the horrors of eugenics. "Ethnicity," "cultural roots," and skin color began to make their way into discourse in what Yang calls a "rewiring of race in America." Such a shift made it possible for most European immigrants and their children to be seen as simply "white." By the time Eisenhower was president, lawmakers were using the term "refugee" to bring in survivors of natural disasters in Europe and people fleeing the Cuban Revolution.

Since 1965, Yang notes, the number of immigrants in the United States has quadrupled, despite the imposition of overall caps on numbers. However, this influx hasn't been marked by greater welcome or less prejudice. It is, in the end, a story of new vocabulary and how we made exceptions to the rules: refugees, asylum seekers, amnesty grantees, and family-reunification cases.

Today, many of our immigration anxieties seem unchanged from 1924. We fear the loss of resources, language, culture, and identity. We fear invasion and subversion. Immigration itself still seems to threaten an Americanness largely invented or misremembered. In light of the stories that Yang brings to life, we can more clearly see that new dehumanizing language ("illegals"; "aliens"; "anchor babies"; "terrorists") and policies (Muslim bans, border-detention camps, family separation) are also human creations. One Mighty and Irresistible Tide asks us to consider who is shaping immigration legislation; with what words and motivations they persuade; and how we too write the story with our words, our votes, or our silence.

Posted by orrinj at 4:09 PM


Multiple boats in distress, sinking at Trump Boat Parade on Lake Travis (CBS Austin, September 5th 2020)

Multiple 911 calls have been made regarding boats being in distress, some sinking at the 'Trump Boat Parade' scheduled for Saturday afternoon on Lake Travis, according to the Travis County Sheriff's Office.

Posted by orrinj at 2:41 PM


Trump and Russia echo each other in presidential race (Chris Megerian, Sep. 4, 2020, LA Times)

An hour into his rally Thursday night in a Pittsburgh suburb, President Trump slammed states that have expanded mail-in voting, a familiar target for his reelection campaign.

"These mail-in ballots are a disgrace, and they know it," he scoffed.

But Trump isn't alone in trying to undermine faith in absentee ballots. U.S. officials say a Russian disinformation campaign is pushing the same disruptive message to Americans four years after the Kremlin sought to help Trump win the White House.

A Homeland Security intelligence bulletin issued hours before Trump spoke in Latrobe, Pa., warned that a Moscow-backed operation involving state media and proxy websites had "denigrated vote-by-mail processes, alleging they lack transparency and procedural oversight, creating vast opportunities for voter fraud."

U.S. officials say Russia's operation includes false allegations that Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden's health is failing and that he acted improperly in Ukraine when he served as vice president. Trump has made the same allegations.

The overlap in messaging between Trump's rhetoric and Russian disinformation in some ways echoes the symbiotic relationship between the president's first White House bid and Russian intelligence services in the 2016 election.

...why shouldn't Donald and Vlad be identical?

Posted by orrinj at 2:30 PM


Trade deficit soars to 12-year high despite Trump's promises to wipe it out (JAKE JOHNSON, SEPTEMBER 5, 2020, Salon)

[N]ew figures released by the Commerce Department on Thursday--nearly four years after Trump's victory in the 2016 presidential election--show that the trade deficit soared to a 12-year high in July due in large part to a surge in imports, bringing the total negative trade balance in the first seven months of 2020 to $340 billion.

"Trump pledged to eliminate the trade deficit and end job outsourcing, but the overall 2020 deficit is on track to be larger than when he took office, and his Labor Department has certified more than 300,000 American jobs were lost to outsourcing and imports during his presidency," Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch, said in a statement.

Wallach noted that the 300,000 job-loss number is likely an underestimate given that it only "reflects the number of workers whose trade-related job losses were approved for Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) retraining and other benefits."

Posted by orrinj at 12:10 PM


Posted by orrinj at 11:31 AM


How Donald Trump Helped Kneecap the Robert Mueller of Latin America: Two television stars-turned-presidents pledged to drain the swamp. Then they joined forces to kill a powerful anti-corruption commission in Guatemala. (Aaron Glantz & Anayansi Diaz-Cortes, Sep. 05, 2020, Daily Beast)

"Look what happened in reality. It's a transaction where both parties seek to win something," Velásquez told Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting. "You help us by ending this persecution ... and we will help you."

Like the alleged Ukraine quid pro quo that sparked Trump's impeachment last year, the details can appear confusing-but ultimately, Velásquez says, the exchange was simple: Trump withdrew U.S. support for an international anti-corruption force that was investigating Morales and his family. Morales offered Guatemala's material support for policies at the heart of Trump's re-election bid.

Velásquez's anti-corruption force "was a bargaining chip," a senior policy adviser in the State Department told Reveal.

Posted by orrinj at 9:59 AM


Sarah Sanders calls Trump admin colleague a 'liberal, aggressive, foulmouthed Jew' in memoir (Matthew Chapman, 9/05/20, Raw Story)

On Saturday, Business Insider reported that former White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders blasts one of her former colleagues as a "liberal, aggressive, foulmouthed Jew from New York City," in her memoir.

Posted by orrinj at 8:59 AM


Cadet Bone-Spurs reports for duty: He thinks America's war dead are "losers": Trailing in the polls and sneering at fallen warriors, Donald Trump dreams of a new civil war, fought by buffoons (LUCIAN K. TRUSCOTT IV, SEPTEMBER 5, 2020, Salon)

Donald Trump is surrounded by suckers and losers. Every night when he goes to bed in the White House, they're all around him. There is a hillside full of "losers" a couple of miles away across the Potomac River, buried at Arlington National Cemetery. The names of 58,000 "losers" are engraved into the black marble wall of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial only a mile away down Constitution Avenue. 

There are memorials to more suckers and losers on the Mall. The Korean War Memorial is just across the reflecting pool near the Lincoln Memorial. It pays homage to the 36,000 "losers" and "suckers" who died and the tens of thousands more who served in that conflict. The World War II Memorial is a short distance away, just off 17th Street, not far from the South Lawn of the White House where Trump spoke on the last night of his convention last week. The World War II memorial

The Vietnam Women's Memorial on the Mall depicts three uniformed women with a wounded soldier, another of Trump's "losers," the kind of disabled soldier Trump has said he doesn't want to participate in any of his parades because seeing such a "loser" might make people uncomfortable. 

Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic did us the favor this week of reminding us what Donald Trump really thinks of the active duty men and women currently serving in our armed forces, and of the veterans who served before them. "Why should I go to that cemetery? It's filled with losers," he quotes Trump as saying in 2018 when he refused to visit the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery near Paris. Trump blamed rain that day for the cancellation of his visit, claiming that his "helicopter couldn't fly." He claimed that the Secret Service agents who protect him wouldn't drive him to the ceremony at the cemetery. "Neither claim was true," Goldberg reminds us in The Atlantic. "In a separate conversation on the same trip, Trump referred to the more than 1,800 marines who lost their lives at Belleau Wood as 'suckers' for getting killed," Goldberg reports.

"Losers" and "suckers." That's what Trump calls the men and women who have given their lives in war defending this country and fighting against the forces which would destroy us. He's done it before. 

Posted by orrinj at 8:52 AM


Republicans vs. Imaginary Biden: Fighting a far left opponent despite not having one (Nicholas Grossman, Sep 5, 2020, ArcDigital)

His policies are moderate and relatively pro-market. As with Obama, the socialist left doesn't like Biden. Some denounce him as a tool of Wall Street.

He's an old white Catholic man with an established blue color image -- originally from Scranton, rode the train to Delaware to be with his kids, jokes in The Onion about washing his trans am -- which doesn't make for a good culture war enemy.

He supports some social justice -- for example, speaking in favor of peaceful Black Lives Matter protesters -- but proposes increasing, not defunding, police budgets, and speaks out against looting and rioting.

On race and gender, he is, again, an old white man. The social justice left backed other candidates in the primary. At the first debate, Kamala Harris tried to cancel him as a racist. Katie Halper, Ryan Grim, and other left media figures who amplified Tara Reade's accusation tried to cancel him as a rapist. Critics of social justice joined in, aiming to prove the flaws in #BelieveWomen by holding those who said it, including Biden, to their own standard. Sensing an opportunity to hurt Biden, loud parts of the online right and left piled on.

The attacks on racial issues went nowhere -- Obama's VP a racist? -- and Reade's accusations lost credibility the more reporters looked into them. Biden won the nomination earlier and more easily than Hillary or Obama.

Joe Biden is, in short, not the Left. And Democratic voters' decision to back him over more left-wing options -- of both socialist and social justice varieties -- shows that the party isn't dominated by the Left either.

It's essentially the GOP presidential primary of 1992: Pat Buchanan vs GHWB.

Posted by orrinj at 8:11 AM


Review Of Federal Charges In Portland Unrest Show Most Are Misdemeanors (Ryan Lucas, 9/05/20, NPR)

As of Aug. 28, the U.S. Attorney's Office for Oregon had charges outstanding against 74 people in connection with the Portland unrest.

Of those cases charged, 11 are for citations and 42 are for misdemeanors, meaning that more than 70% of the total charged cases are not felonies.

"A citation is the least serious of a charge, it's really more of a ticket," said Lisa Hay, the federal public defender for Oregon.

The misdemeanor cases are almost evenly divided between class A and class C misdemeanors.

A class C misdemeanor is one step above a citation, and is punishable by no more than one month in jail. In Portland, at least 19 people face class C misdemeanor charges for allegedly failing to comply with a lawful order.

"That might be somebody who's in front of the federal courthouse, on the sidewalk, and an order is issued to disperse, and they didn't disperse or they didn't move away quickly enough," said Hay.

The class A misdemeanor cases in Portland have typically involved an alleged assault of a federal officer but without physical contact. Such a case could involve, for example, verbally abusing an officer or pretending to throw an object.

These sorts of misdemeanors are punishable by no more than one year in prison.

Steve Kanter, a law professor and former dean at Lewis and Clark Law School in Portland, said the federal government's decision to arrest and charge people for offenses like failing to comply with a lawful order suggests that law enforcement officer were acting in a selective manner "to control and chill expression and activity."

Posted by orrinj at 7:40 AM


Trump campaign going dark in Arizona, cancels planned TV blitz (Jim Small -September 4, 2020, AZ Mirror)

Donald Trump's re-election campaign is going off Arizona airwaves after the Labor Day holiday, and may not resume television advertising in the Grand Canyon State until early voting begins in early October.

On Thursday, records filed with the Federal Communications Commission by Phoenix-area television stations showed that the Trump campaign cancelled all of its ads between Sept. 8 and Sept. 14. The air time totaled approximately $580,000 in the Phoenix media market, which includes most of the state except for the areas surrounding Tucson and Yuma.

A campaign spokeswoman confirmed Trump was suddenly going dark in a state where he has consistently trailed Democratic challenger Joe Biden in the polls -- a state that has only voted for a Democratic presidential candidate once since 1948.

He's already lost the election; it's just a matter of trying to hold onto enough red states to not look like McGovern or Dukakis.

Posted by orrinj at 7:37 AM


Trump mocks Joe Biden mask-wearing just as new research shows stricter compliance could save 120,000 lives in US over next 4 months (Raw Story, September 5, 2020)

Trump's statement--part of a broader defense of his administration's coronavirus response--came one day before the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IMHE) at the University of Washington announced its latest projection, which warns that under the most likely scenario, just over 410,000 people in the U.S.--and 2.8 million globally--will have died from Covid-19 by Jan. 1. Such an estimate means more than 220,000 additional coronavirus-related deaths in the U.S. alone during the remainder of 2020.

The best-case scenario, which assumes a near-universal adoption of face masks, is just under 290,000 coronavirus-related deaths in the U.S. by the end of the year--120,000 less than the current projection.

Under the worst-case scenario, which has the potential to occur if public health mandates are eased prematurely in favor of a so-called "herd immunity" approach, over 620,000 people in the U.S. will have succumbed to the disease by the start of 2021.

Posted by orrinj at 7:26 AM


Every time Trump has attacked American veterans or military families (James Pasley, Oct 30, 2019, Business Insider)

Serving in the military provides no protection from President Donald Trump's ire.

Trump has never served in any capacity. He received five military deferments -- one for bone spurs, and four for education -- during the Vietnam War.

But he's repeatedly disparaged the late Sen. John McCain, dragged his former officials, and told four-star generals they're overrated.

In the last few years, he's also started calling veterans who have been critical of him "Never Trumpers," which he has said are "human scum."

Here are 16 veterans or military families that Trump has disparaged.

Posted by orrinj at 7:20 AM


Pilot 'Sully' Tells Voters to Reject Trump for His 'Contempt' for Veterans in Atlantic Story (BRENDAN COLE, 9/5/20, Newsweek)

The Air Force veteran who won global renown for landing a jetliner on the Hudson River after it was disabled by a bird strike, has urged Americans not to vote for Donald Trump following a report that the president had disparaged U.S. soldiers who had fought in WW1. [...]

In a twitter thread on Friday evening, Sullenberger said that both he and his father had volunteered for service during wartime, and that he believed "serving a cause greater than oneself is the highest calling, whether in the military or in civilian life."

That's where you lose the Right.

Posted by orrinj at 7:16 AM


Trump: US has seen 'no proof yet' of Navalny poisoning (AFP, 9/05/20)

US President Donald Trump said Friday that he had not yet seen proof that Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny had been poisoned as stated by Germany.

Posted by orrinj at 7:04 AM


The paradox of Graham Greene - searching for peace in the world's warzones: a review of Russian Roulette: The Life and Times of Graham Greene by Richard Greene (Nicholas Shakespeare, The Spectator)

Greeneland is commonly a frontier zone in the back of beyond where the pervading smell is the police station; the usual time of day the pink-gin hour on the veranda; the only certainties those possessed by children. Over the border posts, God and the Devil wheel like vultures, and a loose fence separates the good man from the bad. For the rest of his life, Greene was attracted to this torrid region like a bluebottle.

A paradox of Greene is his constant buzzing after a borderland which might promise not only escapist thrills but equilibrium -- and where, like his double agent Maurice Castle in The Human Factor, 'he could be accepted as a citizen without any pledge of faith, not in the City of God or Marx, but the City called Peace of Mind'. Yet it was in his unsettled personality always to take sides, 'even if my choice might only be for a lesser evil'. Hence his frequently incendiary remarks about America's foreign policy, such as this corker involving Panama's pock-marked dictator, Manuel Noriega: 'If I have to choose between a drug dealer and United States imperialism, I prefer the drug dealer.'

It was an article of Greene's congested faith that relationships with individuals were more important than those with countries. Even so, Greene routinely betrayed or declined involvement with those closest to him -- his wife, his two children, his lovers. 'I wish I could stop being a bastard,' he wrote to Catherine Walston, his most passionate mistress. Unsurprisingly, this streak of disloyalty, which he interpreted with characteristic perversity as a virtue in others, contributed to regular bouts of self-loathing and thoughts of suicide.

It was easier to help strangers -- which maybe explains his generosity towards underdogs and dissidents, and, most controversially, his stubborn loyalty to Philby, under whom he had served in wartime intelligence. Still, Richard Greene questions the moral principle behind it: 'It suggests a failure of imagination; one cannot put a value on the pains of people one has never met, and that is what novelists claim to do in their art.' Likewise, he finds dubious Greene's argument for the moral equivalence of crimes committed by the East and West. 'Even allowing for the outrages of American foreign policy, it is hard to equate them with those of Stalin and his successors.' Perhaps Greene's deeper flaw was to confuse his preeminence as a writer with a degree of political thinking he did not possess.

It's that same moral vacuousness as E.M. Forster--If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country--which made so many intellectuals collaborators with the Soviets.  Of course, Greene was so empty-headed he didn't even understand his own books, which left him wingeing at critics who correctly read his texts, like Heart of the Matter.

Posted by orrinj at 6:54 AM


Trump supporters plotted trip to Kenosha to 'pick people off': feds (Brad Reed , 9/04/20, Raw Story)

Local news station WISN reports that Missouri residents Michael Karmo and Cody Smith were arrested by federal agents in a hotel parking lot this week after the FBI learned on Tuesday that they were driving to Kenosha armed with a large cache of weapons.

According to WISN, agents searched the men's vehicle and hotel room and found "an Armory AR-15 assault rifle, a Mossberg 500 AB 12-Gauge shotgun, two handguns, a silencer, ammunition, body armor, a drone and other materials."

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Officials also say that the two men were planning to travel to Portland, Oregon after their Kenosha stop, where they had pledged to "take action" if the city moved forward with defunding its police department.

According to a criminal complaint filed against them, both Karmo and Smith "are part of the 417 2nd Amendment Militia of Missouri" and that they "went to Kenosha to attend President Donald Trump's rally."

Posted by orrinj at 6:49 AM


Fox News confirms report on Trump's troop bashing on Twitter -- but on-air claims story is debunked (BOB BRIGHAM, SEPTEMBER 5, 2020, Raw Story)

Fox News on Friday became the latest publication to confirm President Donald Trump's contempt for Americans who serve in our armed forces.

The network joined the Associated Press and The Washington Post in confirming the reporting, which originally appeared in The Atlantic.

But soon after Fox News confirmed the report on Twitter, the reporting was referred to as "debunked" and a "hoax" on the Fox News show "The Five."

Posted by orrinj at 6:46 AM


After anti-Semitic content, GOP candidate has post removed for inciting violence (JEFF AMY, 9/04/20, AP) 

Facebook removed a photo illustration showing a Republican congressional candidate in Georgia posing with a rifle next to three Democratic House members, saying Friday that it violated the social media platform's policy against inciting violence.

The illustration, a montage of four photos, was posted Thursday by Marjorie Taylor Greene, a candidate who has previously courted controversy with her support of a baseless conspiracy theory involving US President Donald Trump and her inflammatory remarks about two Muslim congresswomen.