Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Undecided voters describe Trump as a 'crackhead,' 'arrogant' in post-debate focus group

Mod: Kind of unfair to crackheads if you think about it.

Undecided voters describe Trump as a 'crackhead,' 'arrogant' in post-debate focus group (The Week link): The first presidential debate left undecided American voters in agreement about at least one thing: President Trump's negativity. Republican consultant and pollster Frank Luntz asked his focus group to use one word to describe the president and basically "every single word was negative," observed Politico's Tim Alberta.

One respondent from Wisconsin called Trump obnoxious and un-presidential, while a Pennsylvania voter said he behaved like a "crackhead." Others described the president as being "un-American" and "arrogant."

In all, from 17 voters in swing states, 15 used negative words and just two used positive words or phrases to describe the president (that is, if you consider "an ass but a confident ass" to be a compliment).

The focus group's opinion of the debate tracks with a CBS poll, which found that 83 percent of debate watchers believed the tone of the evening to be "negative" while 17 percent thought it was "positive." Which raises the question: What debate were those 17 percent watching?

Trump blasted for ‘avalanche of lying’ in brutal takedown by CNN fact-checker (Raw Story link): CNN fact-checker Daniel Dale provided a brutal dose of reality after President Donald Trump constantly misled Americans with his false claims during the first 2020 general election presidential debate.

CNN’s Wolf Blitzer introduced Dale by recapping that, in his opinion, “clearly this debate was an embarrassment for the United States of America — a clear embarrassment.”

“How much was fact?” Blitzer asked. “How much was false?”

“Well, it depended Wolf on who we were listening to,” Dale replied. “I think it’s important for us as journalists to say when both sides are not alike — and they were not alike tonight,” he explained. “We had an avalanche of lying from President Trump,” he continued. “Biden, conversely, made at least a couple false or misleading claims, but honestly, he was largely accurate.”

“There were times during this debate, Wolf, when President Trump’s every line — specifically on mail voting — almost every single thing he said during that concluding section of the debate was inaccurate,” Dale noted.

“And the other thing that stood out to me, Wolf, was these were largely false claims the president has made before. These weren’t one-time slips or gaffes or errors — these have been fact-checked and he keeps saying them and they’re still wrong,” Dale concluded.

Video: ‘He’s Putin’s puppy’: Biden rips Trump — and the president freaks out

 Video clip here
Mod: The way this so-called president howled and ranted was nuts, but who did he actully convince? Is that really what anyone would ever want in the leader of the free world?

‘He’s Putin’s puppy’: Biden rips Trump — and the president freaks out and breaks the debate rules (Raw Story link): Former Vice President Joe Biden invoked President Donald Trump’s subservience to Russian President Vladimir Putin during the first 2020 general election presidential debate.

“With regard to being weaker, the fact is I have gone head to head with Putin and made it clear to him we’re not going to take any of his stuff,” Biden said.

“He’s Putin’s puppy! He refuses to say anything to Putin about the bounty on the heads of American soldiers,” Biden charged.

At that point, Trump interrupted to distract by talking about Hunter Biden.

Mr. President, your campaign agreed to both sides would get two-minute answers, uninterrupted,” moderator Chris Wallace noted. “Your side agreed to it and why don’t you observe what your campaign agreed to as a ground rule, okay, sir?”

“He never keeps his word,” Biden interjected.

Mod: Best line of the night - “Will you shut up, man?” Biden said, lowering his head. “This is so unpresidential.”

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Unprepared: Trump looking for 11th-hour reset but mostly shuns debate prep

Mod: The 'Orange Never Ready Bunny' spent way more time on the golf course this month than he did preparing for tonight's debate. For a guy who doesn't know much this could be a problem. 

Trump looking for 11th-hour reset but mostly shuns debate prep (CNN link): Clubby reinforcements have been summoned. A stack of flashcards -- question on front, response on back -- is at the ready. A binder has been dutifully collated. Whether any of that helps President Donald Trump deliver a winning debate performance on Tuesday remains to be seen. Heading into this year's inaugural general election showdown, Trump has written off formal preparations as unnecessary given the daily demands of the job and instead hopes his brawling instincts and an unguarded embrace of personal attacks will carry him through.

Efforts to focus the preparation-averse Trump on the upcoming debate have occurred in sporadic bursts, including one 30-minute session last weekend. This past Sunday they resumed with a short question-and-answer period utilizing the flashcards campaign advisers prepared to try and hone what have so far been unwieldy attempts to define Democratic rival Joe Biden. Trump did less than two hours of prep total, a person familiar told CNN.

New revelations about Trump's taxes also forced aides to begin devising ways for the President to address the matter when it inevitably arises on Tuesday. So far, Trump's response has been a contradictory mixture of claiming the report, published in The New York Times, is false while also insisting the information used to prepare it was obtained illegally.

Trump team demanded Chris Wallace ‘never mention’ 200K COVID deaths at debate: Biden campaign (Raw Story link): Biden campaign deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield on Tuesday claimed that President Donald Trump’s team asked debate moderator Chris Wallace not to mention the number of people who have died from COVID-19 during his presidency.

Bedingfield revealed the detail of debate negotiations after the Trump campaign reportedly demanded that Democratic candidate Joe Biden’s ears be inspected for listening devices, a conspiracy theory that was quickly repeated on Fox News.

“If we’re playing that game then the Trump team asked that Chris Wallace never mention the number of COVID deaths once during the debate,” Bedingfield said, according to reports.

In Miami, Spanish-language ads by Jeb Bush operatives liken Trump to Castro, Maduro, Kim Jong Un, Putin

Mod: There is one thing you can say about Donald Trump, he sure knows how to make Republican enemies.

In Miami, Spanish-language ad by anti-Trump Republicans likens the president to Castro (Miami Herald link): A group of political operatives with ties to former Republican Florida Gov. Jeb Bush pledged a month ago to “surgically target” small groups of voters around the state to help Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

Part of that strategy includes running TV ads focused on reaching Latino voters in Miami-Dade County.

Republican Voters Against Trump, an anti-Donald Trump super PAC, will begin airing a TV ad on Tuesday in Spanish that compares the president to Venezuelan leader Nicolás Maduro, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Russian President Vladimir Putin and former Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

Dictators. Communists. Enemies of freedom and America, but friends of Donald Trump,” the ad says, while playing images of violence in Venezuela and Trump’s meeting with Kim Jong Un. “Remember, dictators lie to you first and then ruin lives to get whatever they want.”

The anti-Trump ad being released this week includes side-by-side images of Trump standing beside Putin at the 2019 G20 summit in Japan and Castro standing beside former Soviet Union leader Nikita Khrushchev during the Cuban Missile Crisis. The minute-long spot will run for the next week in the Miami market, and additional ads could run in the coming weeks.

Republican Voters Against Trump has pledged to spend $8 million to $10 million on TV, social media, and digital ads. The ad comes as other groups backing Biden, notably former New York mayor and presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg, begin spending millions on get-out-the-vote efforts in Florida.

Revealed: Trump campaign strategy to deter millions of Black Americans from voting in 2016 (Channel 4 News link): Channel 4 News has exclusively obtained a vast cache of data used by Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign on almost 200 million American voters.

It reveals that 3.5 million Black Americans were categorised by Donald Trump’s campaign as ‘Deterrence’ – voters they wanted to stay home on election day.

Tonight, civil rights campaigners said the evidence amounted to a new form of voter “suppression” and called on Facebook to disclose ads and targeting information that has never been made public.

The ‘Deterrence’ project can be revealed after Channel 4 News obtained the database used by Trump’s digital campaign team – credited with helping deliver his shock victory to become president four years ago. Vast in scale, it contains details on almost 200 million Americans, among more than 5,000 files, which together amass almost 5 terabytes of data – making it one of the biggest leaks in history.

Monday, September 28, 2020

He paid more in hush money for affairs than in taxes: Trump blasted for cheating the IRS for decades

Digging for taxpayer gold
Mod: I guess that is why Trump never released his taxes. He didn't pay any. And as far as leaving the presidency, he can't afford it. As one observer quipped, "I think we are his GoFundMe."

He paid more in hush money for affairs than in taxes: Trump blasted for cheating the IRS for decades (Raw Story link): President Donald Trump was revealed as a tax fraud in a New York Times report Sunday evening. The report detailed the two years that Trump paid taxes; he only paid $750 each year. The self-described billionaire shows that he has nearly $500 million in debt.

Trump has built his career on the idea that he is one of the country’s best businessmen. He even founded the show “The Apprentice” to promote his business expertise and pick the next big business expert. The Times reported Trump has earned more money by pretending to be a businessman than he has made actually developing business. Ironically, Trump attacked former President Barack Obama for only paying 20% in taxes in 2012. Trump paid far less.

In 2016, Trump campaigned on the idea that a businessman in the White House was what America needed to rebuild an economy that former President Barack Obama had already rescued from what was, at the time, the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. That crisis has since been revealed by the high unemployment due to Trump’s failure to handle the coronavirus pandemic.

Trump was mocked and attacked for stealing from the American taxpayer with millions in refunds, hefty hair-do fees, Ivanka Trump’s makeup costs, paying off affairs and sexual harassment allegations and so many more scams. Trump’s supporters tried to claim that it was an example of the president’s “genius.”

Trump has been writing off money he gave to Ivanka by calling her a ‘contractor’ (Raw Story link): President Donald Trump’s taxes are being reported by the New York Times revealing ways in which his daughter Ivanka has been getting millions from her father and avoiding paying the proper amount of tax on it.

The report detailed that Trump has tried to write-off things like family vacations while claiming to be a billionaire with nearly half a billion dollars in debt.

Gift taxes are when a living person gives over $15,000 to a person, and Trump has given Ivanka much more than that. But to get around it, he calls his money to her “contractor fees,” which she declares as “income.” She’s also had nearly $100,000 in fees for her hair and makeup paid by the president for years.

Mr. Trump has written off as business expenses costs — including fuel and meals — associated with his aircraft, used to shuttle him among his various homes and properties,” said the Times.

“Likewise, the cost of haircuts, including the more than $70,000 paid to style his hair during ‘The Apprentice.’ Together, nine Trump entities have written off at least $95,464 paid to a favorite hair and makeup artist of Ivanka Trump.”

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Obamas are 'most admired' man and woman in world: poll

Mod: In case you were at all concerned, the chronically low-rated Don Trump fell all the way to #15.

Obamas are 'most admired' man and woman in world: poll (The Hill link): Former President Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama now hold the top spots for most admired man and woman in the world in the British data firm YouGov’s annual poll released on Tuesday.

Barack Obama ousted Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates from the most admired title for the first time since YouGov started conducting the survey in 2014. Gates now holds second place for most admired man, followed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in third.

Michelle Obama is ranked number one for women for the second year in a row. Angelina Jolie, who previously held the top spot, was ranked second in Tuesday’s survey, followed by Queen Elizabeth II.

According to YouGov, the 2020 study was the largest conducted thus far, with more than 45,000 people in 42 countries and territories surveyed.

The group said that it determines rankings based on respondents’ answers to two questions: whether the respondent admires the figure and if the respondent admires the specific figure most of all.

YouGov reported that Barack Obama’s rise to first place in the survey was accompanied by President Trump’s fall to 15th place. This comes as the former president and first lady have both criticized Trump for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, as well as his overall policy record.

In his address last month at the Democratic National Convention, Barack Obama gave a rare direct rebuke against Trump, labeling the current administration as a threat to American democracy.

“I am also asking you to believe in your own ability — to embrace your own responsibility as citizens — to make sure that the basic tenets of our democracy endure,” he said in the speech. “Because that’s what's at stake right now. Our democracy.”

“This administration has shown it will tear our democracy down if that’s what it takes to win,” the former president added.

Days earlier, Michelle Obama issued direct attacks against President Trump’s character and record in her convention speech, saying that Trump “simply cannot be who we need him to be for us.”

Saturday, September 26, 2020

A Supreme Madness: How Amy Coney Barrett's People of Praise Group Inspired 'The Handmaid's Tale'

Mod: Yesterday Donny Orange Bananas announced his pick for a new Supreme Court Justice. The choice, which was Ms. Barrett as many expected, is as strange as Mr. Trump himself.

How Amy Coney Barrett's People of Praise Group Inspired 'The Handmaid's Tale' (MSN/Newsweek link): Amy Coney Barrett, a favorite to be President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, is affiliated with a Christian religious group that served as inspiration for Margaret Atwood's dystopian novel, The Handmaid's Tale.

Barrett, a devout Catholic, and her husband both belong to the People of Praise group, current and former members have said, according to The New York Times. Their fathers have served as leaders in the group.

The group, which was founded in South Bend, Indiana in 1971, teaches that men have authority over their wives. Members swear a lifelong oath of loyalty to one another and are expected to donate at least 5 per cent of their earnings to the group.

How People of Praise inspired 'The Handmaid's Tale'

Members of People of Praise are assigned to personal advisers of the same sex—called a "head" for men and "handmaid" for women, until the rise in popularity of Atwood's novel and the television series based on it forced a change in the latter.

Atwood herself has indicated that the group's existence motivated her to write The Handmaid's Tale, set in the fictional Gilead, where women's bodies are governed and treated as the property of the state under a theocratic regime.

"I delayed writing it for about three years after I got the idea because I felt it was too crazy," Atwood told The New York Times Book Review in 1986.

'Then two things happened. I started noticing that a lot of the things I thought I was more or less making up were now happening, and indeed more of them have happened since the publication of the book."

She added: "There is a sect now, a Catholic charismatic spinoff sect, which calls the women handmaids. They don't go in for polygamy of this kind but they do threaten the handmaids according to the biblical verse I use in the book—sit down and shut up."

Moderator: Much more at the link. Below is an article that also came out before yesterday's big announcement. But there is news.

Supreme Court frontrunner Amy Coney Barrett hid her membership in the religious group that inspired hit TV show The Handmaid's Tale (Daily Mail link): Amy Coney Barrett and her husband Jesse are members of People of Praise, a small group that teaches that wives have to obey their husbands in everything.

Barrett, 48, concealed her membership from what has been described as a 'Big Brother' religious group from senators when she was before the Justice Committee in 2017. 

Barrett is Donald Trump's favorite to fill the Supreme Court seat left vacant by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Trump previously nominated her to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

The People of Praise religious group inspired the hit TV show The Handmaid's Tale, which depicts a dystopian world where women are oppressed.

All male and single female member of People of Praise are assigned a personal advisor of their own sex, originally called 'heads' for men and 'handmaids' for women. The 'handmaid' title was dropped after the runaway success of the Hulu series and replaced with 'woman leader.'

Democratic senators are almost certain to bring up her affiliation if she is to be nominated and goes before the Justice Committee later this year.

Friday, September 25, 2020

Video: Lindsey Graham collapses into whiny tirade on FOX about how “everyone hates him”

Video link here
Mod: Apparently it is all starting to become a bit too much for Lindsey.

Lindsey Graham collapses into whiny tirade on FOX about how “everyone hates him” (Occupy Democrats link): On Thursday morning, surprisingly vulnerable Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) threw a tantrum about how his opponent is raising too much money and that everyone “hates his guts,” which is the first true statement the Trump lapdog has said in quite a while.

“My opponent will raise almost $100 million, Ainsley, in the state of South Carolina. The most money ever spent in the history of the state on a Senate race was by me in 2014, when I spent $13 million…He raised six million dollars from the time Justice Ginsburg passed away, within 72 hours!” mourned Graham.

Graham’s seat is suddenly very vulnerable as his Democrat challenger, Jamie Harrison, claws his way up the polls and posts stunning fundraising numbers. Just last week, Harrison raised $1 million in a single day and raised more money in August than Graham did in every month since March combined.

Polls show that the two are locked in a dead heat, which is a surprise for the deep-red South Carolina.

But Graham is right — everybody hates him. Graham is disliked by the MAGA crowd for his prior disloyalty towards the president, having foolishly disparaged him after Trump trounced the 2016 GOP field and hilariously read out Graham’s phone number at a campaign event.

Since Trump took office, Graham has played both the part of the sycophantic lapdog while trying to keep up his pretensions at being a “pRiNciPleD RePuBlIcAn,” leading him to break with the President far more often than his base deems acceptable.

In addition, he has publicly flip-flopped on several major issues, most recently on the nomination of a Supreme Court Justice during an election year. Graham even unwisely bragged that his rivals should “use his own words against him,” which they are eagerly taking him up on. Having firmly established himself as untrustworthy and unprincipled while systematically making an enemy out of all non-Republican voters with his outrageous Trump bootlickery, Graham is right to be worried.

Sierra Madre Tattler

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Hitler killed 214,361 Americans during World War Two - Donald Trump is catching up fast

Mod: If there is one individual who holds the record for killing Americans, it is Adolph Hitler. But that is about to fall. Pandemic Donald is moving up fast.

The U.S. COVID-19 toll equals a death every 1.5 minutes, 8 plane crashes a day, or 67 9/11 attacks (The Week link): After the U.S. hit 200,000 recorded COVID-19 deaths on Tuesday, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden called it "a staggering number that’s hard to wrap your head around," adding that "behind every COVID-19 death is a family and community that will never again be the same. There's a devastating human toll to this pandemic — and we can't forget that."

From Quora link
But "our biology is working against us" when it comes to computing this new grim death toll, Sarah Elizabeth Richards reports at National Geographic. "Researchers say our brains aren't wired to make sense of big numbers."

Maybe it helps to break it down into smaller pieces. "The number of dead is equivalent to a 9/11 attack every day for 67 days," The Associated Press notes. "It is roughly equal to the population of Salt Lake City or Huntsville, Alabama," being wiped out in seven months. "The tally means a U.S. death has happened every 1.5 minutes, on average, since the first official fatality in late February," Richards adds. "It means we have lost 1,450 plane loads full of people."

"If you think about it like that, assuming there are 138 seats in a classic 737, that would mean eight planes have crashed on U.S. soil every day," David Kessler, a Los Angeles-based grief specialist, tells National Geographic. "Can you even imagine that?"

People can also become less compassionate as an amorphous tragedy grows too big to be personal, adds Paul Slovic, a psychologist at the University of Oregon. "Our feelings are very strong for one person in danger, but they don't scale up very well." To keep from getting numb, try to focus on the loss of individual people, not the politics or the fight over face masks, Kessler advises. "We're not talking about Juan's mother or Susan's brother."

Mod: I think my comparison works better.

Sierra Madre Tattler

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Cuban-American columnist slams Trump’s fraud on Florida supporters: Tried to make money off the Castro regime

Mod: A week or so back there was a lot of talk about the Florida race tightening in the polls, much of it due to Cuban Americans rallying to the so-called anti-Castro hardliner Donny Bananas. That story is now no longer operative.

Cuban-American columnist slams Trump’s fraud on Florida supporters: He tried to make money off the Castro regime (Raw Story link): On Tuesday, writing for the Miami Herald (link), Cuban-American columnist Fabiola Santiago, a refugee of the Castro regime, slammed President Donald Trump for courting Miami’s conservative Cuban community with anti-socialism rhetoric — when he spent a good portion of his business career trying to make money off the communist state.

“[Trump] may peddle the hard line to his Republican Cuban-American supporters in Miami, but when he looks south of the city, he only sees dollar signs,” wrote Santiago. “He promises that he won’t do business until Cuba is free of the Castro brothers’ regime — and prohibits Americans from traveling to the island — but Trump and his team have been chasing business opportunities in Cuba for the past decade.”

“A new Miami Herald report has unearthed more proof of how seriously Trump tried to gain a foothold in Cuba, despite the U.S. embargo that’s in place,” wrote Santiago. “Documents show that the president applied to register his Trump trademark in Cuba in 2008 so he could conduct business and invest in real estate. His plans included not only erecting a Trump Tower in Havana and putting a golf course in Varadero and other possible sites, but building casinos as well.”

Cuban-American voters in Florida have always been among the most Republican-friendly subset of the Latino community, driven by local Republican leaders’ years-long efforts to tie Democratic policy to socialism.

“If Fidel or Raúl Castro had let him develop Cuba, Trump would be praising them like he does Vladimir Putin and other nefarious dictators,” wrote Santiago. “Playing both sides proves that Trump is a terrific huckster. And it sure puts another spin on what Trump said during an early fundraiser at his Doral resort in 2016. ‘We’re tough on Cuba ‘cause they’re not doing the right thing for our people,’ Trump said, and Cuban Americans applauded him. A Freudian slip, perhaps?”

Sierra Madre Tattler

Financial Times: Facebook vows to restrict users if US election descends into chaos

Mod: What if Trump calls for his armed extremist followers to take to the streets if he loses? Will Facebook then behave more responsibly than the President

Facebook vows to restrict users if US election descends into chaos (Financial Times link): Facebook has said it will take aggressive and exceptional measures to “restrict the circulation of content” on its platform if November’s US presidential election descends into chaos or violent civic unrest.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Nick Clegg, the company’s head of global affairs, said it had drawn up plans for how to handle a range of outcomes, including widespread civic unrest or “the political dilemmas” of having in-person votes counted more rapidly than mail-in ballots, which will play a larger role in this election because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“There are some break-glass options available to us if there really is an extremely chaotic and, worse still, violent set of circumstances,” Mr Clegg said, though he stopped short of elaborating further on what measures were on the table.

The proposed actions, which would probably go further than any previously taken by a US platform, come as the social media group is under increasing pressure to lay out how it plans to combat election-related misinformation, voter suppression and the incitement of violence on the November 3 election day and during the post-election period.

It also comes as concerns mount that even US president Donald Trump himself could take to social media to contest the result or call for violent protest, potentially triggering a constitutional crisis.

“We have acted aggressively in other parts of the world where we think that there is real civic instability and we obviously have the tools to do that [again],” Mr Clegg added, citing the previous use of “pretty exceptional measures to significantly restrict the circulation of content on our platform."

Facebook is bracing for what is likely to be a highly polarising election, and remains in the spotlight after it failed to catch attempts by Russia to manipulate the 2016 US vote.

Fears exist Mr Trump could try to interfere in the process this time, since he has already refused to commit to accepting the outcome, arguing it could be rigged and sought to delegitimize postal voting.

Mod: More available at the link.

Sierra Madre Tattler

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Video: Lincoln Project delivers damning super cut of all the times Trump has shamelessly sucked up to Putin

video link here
Mod: So what does Vladimir Putin have on Fred Trump's enormous trust fund tot?

Lincoln Project delivers damning super cut of all the times Trump has shamelessly sucked up to Putin (Raw Story link): The Lincoln Project on Tuesday released a damning super cut showing how often President Donald Trump has shamelessly sucked up to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The new video, which features Britney Spears’s “Oops, I Did It Again” as its soundtrack, begins with Trump refusing to say whether he believed that the Russian government was responsible for poisoning Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

“Uuuuhhhh, we’ll talk about that at another time,” the president said this week of Navalny’s poisoning.

It then cuts to a clip of Trump’s infamous Helsinki press conference with Putin in 2018 in which he absolved the Russian president of any responsibility for interfering in the 2016 elections. “President Putin, he just said it’s not Russia,” Trump said. “I will say this, I don’t see any reason why it would be.”

It then shows assorted clips of Trump complaining that Russia was thrown out of the G-8 after it illegally annexed Crimea, praising Putin for winning an election that many observers have called illegitimate, and describing overall what Putin has done for Russia as “really amazing.”

Sierra Madre Tattler