Tuesday, June 30, 2020

CNN: One graphic explains why Americans are facing an EU travel ban

Mod: How could it have gotten this bad?

One graphic explains why Americans are facing an EU travel ban (CNN link): US tourists will be excluded from visiting the European Union after the bloc finalized its list of 15 safe countries for travel to member states on Tuesday. The EU has formally agreed a set of recommendations for the nationalities of travelers that should be allowed to enter its borders, effective from July 1 -- and the US is not included.

And while US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has stressed the "importance" of reconnecting the US and EU during the coronavirus pandemic, one graphic shows exactly why European countries are shutting Americans out.

The two curves clearly show the EU and US heading in opposite directions in dealing with the Covid-19 outbreak. New confirmed daily cases in the EU peaked around mid-March and are on a clear downward trend, with cases below 10,000 for more than a month. In the US, new cases are on a steep upward trajectory.

Many European countries went into a strict lockdown early, and EU nations have been reopening gradually and cautiously as their cases numbers decline.

Health experts have repeatedly warned that some states in the US were reopening far too soon, while some administration officials said US President Donald Trump and his aides were "in denial" about the seriousness of the pandemic.

Mod: More at the link. It doesn't get much prettier.


AP sources: White House aware of Russian bounties in 2019, a full year earlier than has been previously reported

Mod: Not that anyone should be all that surprised, but the Trump admin's denial that Donald knew anything about Putin putting bounties on the heads of American military has now been further exposed as being patently untrue.

AP sources: White House aware of Russian bounties in 2019 (AP News link): Top officials in the White House were aware in early 2019 of classified intelligence indicating Russia was secretly offering bounties to the Taliban for the deaths of Americans, a full year earlier than has been previously reported, according to U.S. officials with direct knowledge of the intelligence.

The assessment was included in at least one of President Donald Trump’s written daily intelligence briefings at the time, according to the officials. Then-national security adviser John Bolton also told colleagues he briefed Trump on the intelligence assessment in March 2019.

The White House did not respond to questions about Trump or other officials’ awareness of Russia’s provocations in 2019. The White House has said Trump was not — and still has not been — briefed on the intelligence assessments because they have not been fully verified. However, it is rare for intelligence to be confirmed without a shadow of a doubt before it is presented to top officials.

The revelations cast new doubt on the White House’s efforts to distance Trump from the Russian intelligence assessments.

The AP reported Sunday that concerns about Russian bounties were also included in a second written presidential daily briefing earlier this year and that current national security adviser Robert O’Brien had discussed the matter with Trump. O’Brien denies he did so. The officials who spoke to the AP also said they were looking closely at insider attacks — sometimes called “green-on-blue” incidents — from 2019 to determine if they are also linked to Russian bounties.

Mod: Much more at the link.


Monday, June 29, 2020

Donald can't remember security briefings, or hear people scream "White Power" on videos. Could it be Dementia?

Mod: Donald says he never heard anyone tell him the Russians are paying the Taliban bounties to kill American soldiers. He also claimed he never heard "White Power!" screamed on a video tweet of his read by millions. Is he lying? Sure. It is an explanation that millions of Americans might accept. But could it also be dementia? Well, read on.

Both videos linked here.
Does Donald Trump have frontotemporal dementia? President's 2019 impromptu hospital visit sparks speculations (MEAWW.com link): Social media is abuzz with theories about President Donald Trump's supposedly failing health. On the eve of his 74th birthday, users have been tweeting about Trump possibly suffering from a very serious disease of the brain that has impaired his speech and sensory-motor skills. The hashtag #TrumpIsNotWell has been trending with Twitter users posting video evidence, like the time he couldn't drink water out of a glass with one hand, backed by medical hypotheses.

The hashtag began trending as the Twitterati speculated over the President's visit to the Walter Reed Hospital, back in November 2019, fuelled by tweets from actor, Ken Olin. "Why were we never told the reason President went to Walter Reed Hospital a few weeks ago? Perhaps, #TrumpIsNotWell!" he tweeted.

The trip to the hospital had been for an unscheduled doctor's visit, reported The Washington Post, piquing the curiosity over Trump's health status on social media. However, a memo released by the White House squashed any 'speculations' about a treatment for a medical emergency. Details about the impromptu check-up remained shrouded in mystery as Trump avoided the public for two days, while the White House conveniently dodged any questions about the President's health.

Now, eight months following his sudden and secret visit to the doctors, rumors about his health, particularly pertaining to brain diseases and other psychological issues, have surfaced. A prominent theory that has also been meticulously broken down and backed by medical corroboration is that Trump suffers from either frontal lobe dementia or apraxia (a speech disorder).

"Trump has frontotemporal dementia. You literally can’t make this up......Like the definition and him are best EXACT," a user wrote in a tweet. An attachment about the 'PSP form of Frontotemporal Dementia' has also gone viral, in which the symptoms of the disease have been compiled by an unidentified neurologist in a rather detailed and compelling collage.

A person suffering from the PSP form of frontotemporal dementia possesses stiffness and awkwardness in gait, poor judgment, loss of empathy, socially inappropriate behavior, lack of inhibition, repetitive and compulsive behavior, inability to concentrate or plan, frequent abrupt mood changes, speech difficulties, problems with balance or movement and memory loss.

Mod: A lot more at the link.


Only 5% of Americans in Survey Say Things Are Going Very Well

Mod: I'm not sure there has been as much winning as Donald had originally promised.

Only 5% of Americans in Survey Say Things Are Going Very Well (MSN link):  Americans are downbeat as coronavirus cases spike in many states and the economy is mired in recession, a new CBS poll shows. Only 5% said things in America are going “very well,” against 40% who said they’re going “very badly,” according to the survey, taken June 23-26. Another 19% said things were “somewhat well” and 36% said “somewhat badly.”

Most Americans said that, as they look back a few months, the Trump administration wasn’t ready to deal with the coronavirus outbreak when it started in early 2020, according to a CBS News poll. Some 72% judged the administration “unprepared” against 28% who said it was “prepared.”

The poll results were released on a day when U.S. virus cases have exceeded 2.5 million, and deaths are over 125,000, in both cases the world’s highest. The U.S. has set records this week for daily cases, a contrast to European countries that have almost stamped out Covid-19 for now. Administration officials tie rising cases to increased testing. Health experts disagree.

Almost half, 49%, said the virus outbreak would get worse over the summer. The remainder was split between those who think it will get better and those who expect it to stay about the same. The CBS poll said assessments of how President Donald Trump has handled the virus outbreak continue to slip, to 41% now from 47% in mid-April and 53% in late March.

It also showed that wearing a face mask in public, recommended by most public health officials as a way to slow the spread of Covid-19, has become partisan, with Republicans less inclined to don a mask. The people surveyed said they trusted their gut on the mask issue more than anything: Of those who use masks, 86% said they were guided by “their own assessments.” Of those, 78% also said they took the word of medical and health professionals and 24% said they followed Trump’s guidance.

Trump knew about Russian bounties on US military much earlier than he’s letting on: Ex-RNC head (Raw Story link): Appearing on MSNBC on Monday morning, former Republican National Committee head Michael Steele claimed he had no doubt that Donald Trump was aware that Russia was paying out bounties for the killings of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan.

Speaking with “Morning Joe” hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, the former RNC head was asked if Donald Trump thinks Americans are “stupid” for telling them he was out of the loop on the intelligence reports. “I will take up that challenge and say they did brief him,” Steele replied. “I do not believe that something as important and severe as this was left untold to the President of the United States.”


Sunday, June 28, 2020

Nepotism Barbie Said Federal Employees Should Be Hired Based on Skills ... Everyone Had the Same Reaction

Mod: Like her daddy, Princess Ivanka has never been celebrated for having any real powers of personal introspection.

Vapid Ivanka Says Federal Employees Should Be Hired Based on Skills and Everyone Has the Same Reaction (Political Flare link): One would think that at this point there would be some kind of little buzzer that might go off in Ivanka’s sculpted head that would warn her about tweeting shit that is just so patently hypocritical, oblivious, and self-satisfied.

video link
And yet Ivanka wouldn’t be Ivanka if she had such a filter, she would be doing something worthwhile in her life rather than simply repeating her father’s crimes. She wouldn’t be putting out tweets discussing the qualifications for employment in the federal government that she could never meet in a million years.

According to Indy100.com:

Trump is set to sign the executive order on Friday outlining the government’s new hiring process, with Ivanka, who is the co-chair of the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board making the case that the new direction will help create a more inclusive and talented workforce. She is quoted by AP as saying:

video link
"We are modernizing federal hiring to find candidates with the relevant competencies and knowledge, rather than simply recruiting based on degree requirements. We encourage employers everywhere to take a look at their hiring practices and think critically about how initiatives like these can help diversify and strengthen their workforce."

I have an idea about how one can diversify and strengthen a workforce! Hire people with degrees and lots of good experience, from outside the family!

The White House released her “formal statement,” which is odd, since Ivanka doesn’t have any real position other than being the “daughter” of the president.


The Lincoln Project releases brutal new anti-Trump ad on Putin’s reported bounty for killing of US troops

'Bounty' link here
Mod: The word is Donald Trump is apparently very angry about this ad, so if you could please forward it everywhere.

Lincoln Project releases brutal new anti-Trump ad on Putin’s reported bounty for killing of US troops (Raw Story link): The Lincoln Project, the effort of top former GOP strategists to defeat Trump in the 2020 election, released a hard-hitting new ad on Saturday. “In the last year, flag-draped coffins have returned from Afghanistan. Now we know Vladimir Putin pays a bounty for the murder of American soldiers,” the narrator says.

Donald Trump knows too — and does nothing,” the ad continues. “Putin pays the Taliban cash to slaughter our men and women in uniform and Trump is silent.”  The ad has a brutal ending that questions the president’s loyalty. “When Trump tells you he stands by the troops, he’s right. Just not our troops,” the narrator concluded.

Trump admits it: He's losing (Politico link): Donald Trump knows he's losing. The president has privately come to that grim realization in recent days, multiple people close to him told POLITICO, amid a mountain of bad polling and warnings from some of his staunchest allies that he's on course to be a one-term president.

Trump has endured what aides describe as the worst stretch of his presidency, marred by widespread criticism over his response to the coronavirus pandemic and nationwide racial unrest. His rally in Oklahoma last weekend, his first since March, turned out to be an embarrassment when he failed to fill the arena.

What should have been an easy interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity on Thursday horrified advisers when Trump offered a rambling, non-responsive answer to a simple question about his goals for a second term. In the same appearance, the normally self-assured president offered a tacit acknowledgment that he might lose when he said that Joe Biden is “gonna be your president because some people don't love me, maybe."

Mod: More at the link.


Saturday, June 27, 2020

Real Treason: Trump administration refused to respond after learning Russia offered bounties to kill US troops

Mod: This is clearly called treason. Trump betrayed our troops to the enemy. There is no more serious crime than that.

Trump administration has refused to respond after learning Russia offered bounties for killing US troops (Raw Story link): President Donald Trump has refused to authorize any response after being briefed that Russia was offering bounties for the killing of U.S. troops, according to a bombshell new report in The New York Times.

American intelligence officials have concluded that a Russian military intelligence unit secretly offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing coalition forces in Afghanistan — including targeting American troops — amid the peace talks to end the long-running war there,” the newspaper reported, citing “officials briefed on the matter.”

“The United States concluded months ago that the Russian unit, which has been linked to assassination attempts and other covert operations in Europe intended to destabilize the West or take revenge on turncoats, had covertly offered rewards for successful attacks last year,” The Times explained.

Islamist militants, or armed criminal elements closely associated with them, are believed to have collected some bounty money, the officials said. Twenty Americans were killed in combat in Afghanistan in 2019, but it was not clear which killings were under suspicion.”

Trump was offered options to respond, but has taken no action. “The intelligence finding was briefed to President Trump, and the White House’s National Security Council discussed the problem at an interagency meeting in late March, the officials said.

Officials developed a menu of potential options — starting with making a diplomatic complaint to Moscow and a demand that it stop, along with an escalating series of sanctions and other possible responses, but the White House has yet to authorize any step, the officials said,” the newspaper explained.

“Any involvement with the Taliban that resulted in the deaths of American troops would also be a huge escalation of Russia’s so-called hybrid war against the United States, a strategy of destabilizing adversaries through a combination of such tactics as cyberattacks, the spread of fake news and covert and deniable military operations.”


Friday, June 26, 2020

Trump’s planned weekend golf trip ruined by New Jersey’s new COVID-19 restrictions

Mod: You'd think it would have something to do with the thousands of people who are dying due to the out of control pandemic he did so little to handle. But no such luck.

Trump’s planned weekend golf trip ruined by New Jersey’s new COVID-19 restrictions (Raw Story link): President Donald Trump’s planned trip to his golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey has been canceled. Per CNN’s Kaitlan Collins, the White House has announced that the president will not be traveling to Bedminster this weekend because New Jersey has placed new quarantine restrictions on Americans coming into the state who have visited COVID-19 hot spots such as Florida, California, Texas, and Arizona.

“He was supposed to leave this afternoon, but wasn’t going to follow a required quarantine for those who have been in states with rising cases,” Collins reports.

Trump earlier this week visited Arizona, which has seen COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations surge in recent weeks. During the president’s visit, he held an indoor rally at a megachurch in which very few attendees wore face masks or practiced social distancing.


Thursday, June 25, 2020

The New York Times: Biden Takes Dominant Lead as Voters Reject Trump on Virus and Race

 A new Lincoln Project ad linked here.
Mod: Joe Biden has to be the most fortunate candidate ever. He has an opponent who daily insists on beating the crap out of himself.

Biden Takes Dominant Lead as Voters Reject Trump on Virus and Race (The New York Times link): Joseph R. Biden Jr. has taken a commanding lead over President Trump in the 2020 race, building a wide advantage among women and nonwhite voters and making deep inroads with some traditionally Republican-leaning groups that have shifted away from Mr. Trump following his ineffective response to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new national poll of registered voters by The New York Times and Siena College.

Mr. Biden is currently ahead of Mr. Trump by 14 percentage points, garnering 50 percent of the vote compared with 36 percent for Mr. Trump. That is among the most dismal showings of Mr. Trump’s presidency, and a sign that he is the clear underdog right now in his fight for a second term.

Mr. Trump has been an unpopular president for virtually his entire time in office. He has made few efforts since his election in 2016 to broaden his support beyond the right-wing base that vaulted him into office with only 46 percent of the popular vote and a modest victory in the Electoral College.

But among a striking cross-section of voters, the distaste for Mr. Trump has deepened as his administration failed to stop a deadly disease that crippled the economy and then as he responded to a wave of racial-justice protests with angry bluster and militaristic threats. The dominant picture that emerges from the poll is of a country ready to reject a president whom a strong majority of voters regard as failing the greatest tests confronting his administration.

Mod: More at the NYT link.


Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Trump ripped for making America ‘plague pariahs’ as EU considers travel ban: ‘We are the pity of the world’

Mod: If you were planning on taking a tip to Europe anytime soon, you'll might care to rethink it. They don't want you around any time soon.

Trump ripped for making America ‘plague pariahs’ as EU considers travel ban: ‘We are the pity of the world’ (Raw Story link): President Donald Trump was harshly criticized after it was reported that the European Union is considering a ban on travel from the United States due to the COVID-19 risk.

EU nations may close their borders to US travelers as they seek to reopen their economies to tourism because of how Washington has handled the pandemic, The New York Times reported Tuesday, citing unnamed European officials,” Reuters reported Tuesday.

“One official involved in talks among European Union members about who should be allowed to visit the bloc shared draft lists of acceptable travelers — Americans were not on them.”

The president was blasted for his coronavirus response following the report.


Tuesday, June 23, 2020

What Matters: Trump is kidding and people are dying

Mod: Who made The Joker president?

Trump is kidding and people are dying (CNN link): The White House says President Donald Trump is just kidding around when he complains too many coronavirus tests are inflating the numbers. Ha ha. LOL. They should be telling him people are getting killed. That's not opinion. States that followed his advice and led the way to reopen first are seeing spikes in new infections -- more than 4,000 in one day in Florida.

The percentage of positive tests in Florida is going up, not down. Hospitalizations in Miami are up, according to Mayor Francis Suarez, who spoke at a news conference announcing a new mask rule -- anywhere in public, including outdoors -- in the city.

People are dying who don't need to die. The US death toll is more than 120,000. At what point does the country's leader have to take responsibility for sustained avoidable death that occurs on his watch? The conversation should shift from what the government is or isn't doing to how much responsibility they have for so many deaths.

Not that Trump is at all focused on coronavirus. Instead he's humiliated that not enough people showed up in Tulsa -- only about 6,000 supporters ignored public health advice and came to his indoor rally over the weekend.

We know there were infected people at the rally because two of Trump's infected campaign staffers were there.

He should be explaining why Covid-19 numbers in Europe are shrinking when in parts of the US they're exploding. He'll be in Arizona on Tuesday and Wisconsin on Thursday for smaller events, but aides are scrambling to make sure the events look full.

The more important story in Arizona is the state's infection rate. Arizona has been adding cases by the thousands every day for the last 12 days.

Mod: Much more at the link.


Monday, June 22, 2020

American Research Group: Trump Approval at 38% with 58% Disapproving of his job as president

Mod: I'm not sure the effects of the Tulsa catastrophe have kicked in yet, which could mean Trump will soon be looking at a 38% approval as the good old days.

American Research Group: Trump Approval at 38% - 58% Disapprove (ARG link): A total of 38% of Americans say they approve of the way Donald Trump is handling his job as president and 58% say they disapprove of the way Trump is handling his job according to the latest survey from the American Research Group. In May, 40% approved and 57% disapproved.

When it comes to Trump's handling of the economy, 40% of Americans approve and 58% disapprove. In May, 37% approved and 59% disapproved. Among Americans registered to vote, 38% approve of the way Trump is handling his job as president and 58% disapprove.

On Trump's handling of the economy, 39% of registered voters approve and 58% disapprove. Of the 38% saying they approve of the way Trump is handling his job, 62% rate the national economy as excellent, very good, or good, 47% say the national economy is getting better, 84% say they expect the national economy to be better in a year, 82% rate the financial situations in their households as excellent, very good, or good, 29% say the financial situations in their households are getting better, and 71% say they expect the financial situations in their households will be better in a year.

Of the 58% saying they disapprove of the way Trump is handling his job, 77% rate the national economy as bad, very bad, or terrible, none say the national economy is getting better, 33% say they expect the national economy to be better in a year, 2% say the financial situations in their households are getting better, and 17% say they expect the financial situations in their households will be better in a year.

The results presented here are based on 1,100 completed interviews conducted among a nationwide random sample of adults June 17 through 20, 2020. The theoretical margin of error for the total sample is plus or minus 3 percentage points, 95% of the time, on questions where opinion is evenly split. Overall, 38% of Americans say that they approve of the way Donald Trump is handling his job as president, 58% disapprove, and 4% are undecided.


New Lincoln Project ad trolls Trump’s Tulsa rally: ‘Smaller than expected — but you’ve probably heard that before’

Mod: The thing I find remarkable about these Lincoln Project ads is that they just mercilessly troll Benedict Donald. This is not your parents' presidential politics.
Lincoln Project out with video mocking Trump’s Tulsa rally: ‘Smaller than expected — but you’ve probably heard that before’ (Raw Story link): The Republican-led group “The Lincoln Project” is out with a new video mocking President Donald Trump for his Tulsa, Oklahoma rally that failed to deliver the excited crowd that was promised.

... ad video link here
There were over 1 million people who RSVP’d to the Trump rally, but they struggled to make it to 6,200 rally-goers, according to the Tulsa Fire Department. The video cites headlines calling the Trump rally a “dud.”

“You’ve probably heard this before, but it’s a lot smaller than we expected — and it sure wasn’t as big as you promised,” the video says, showing Trump’s small hands making a little gesture.

It’s a troll that goes back to one of the first GOP debates where Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) insulted the then-candidate for being so obsessed with his hand size he frequently sent photos of his hands through the mail.

“Look at those hands, are they small hands?” Trump said, holding them up for the audience to see. “And, he referred to my hands — ‘if they’re small, something else must be small.’ I guarantee you there’s no problem. I guarantee.”


Sunday, June 21, 2020

TikTok Teens and K-Pop Fans Say They Sank Trump Rally

Mod: Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale did a lot of initial bragging about the one million reservations they got for yesterday's MAGA rally fiasco. He never checked where they came from.

TikTok Teens and K-Pop Stans Say They Sank Trump Rally (The New York Times link): President Trump’s campaign promised huge crowds at his rally in Tulsa, Okla., on Saturday, but it failed to deliver. Hundreds of teenage TikTok users and K-pop fans say they’re at least partially responsible.

Brad Parscale, the chairman of Mr. Trump’s re-election campaign, posted on Twitter on Monday that the campaign had fielded more than one million ticket requests, but reporters at the event noted the attendance was lower than expected. The campaign also canceled planned events outside the rally for an anticipated overflow crowd that did not materialize. Tim Murtaugh, the Trump campaign’s spokesman, said protesters stopped supporters from entering the rally, held at the BOK Center, which has a 19,000-seat capacity. Reporters present said there were few protests.

TikTok users and fans of Korean pop music groups claimed to have registered potentially hundreds of thousands of tickets for Trump’s campaign rally as a prank. After @TeamTrump tweeted asking supporters to register for free tickets using their phones on June 11, K-pop fan accounts began sharing the information with followers, encouraging them to register for the rally — and then not show.

The trend quickly spread on TikTok, where videos with millions of views instructed viewers to do the same, as CNN reported on Tuesday. “Oh no, I signed up for a Trump rally, and I can’t go,” one woman joked, along with a fake cough, in a TikTok posted on June 15.

“It spread mostly through Alt TikTok — we kept it on the quiet side where people do pranks and a lot of activism,” said the YouTuber Elijah Daniel, 26, who participated in the campaign. “K-pop Twitter and Alt TikTok have a good alliance where they spread information amongst each other very quickly. They all know the algorithms and how they can boost videos to get where they want.”

Many users deleted their posts after 24 to 48 hours in order to conceal their plan and keep it from spreading into the mainstream internet. “The majority of people who made them deleted them after the first day because we didn’t want the Trump campaign to catch wind,” Mr. Daniel said. “These kids are smart and they thought of everything.”