Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Last Call For Clown Hall

Trump's Tuesday town hall meeting and interview with ABC's George Stephanopolous did not go well, even by Republican debate spin standards, from people like former McConnell aide and CNN GOP contributor Scott Jennings.

Donald Trump's town hall with ABC News did not go well, although I give him credit for agreeing to a road game in a hostile gym. The President had a few decent moments in Philadelphia Tuesday, but the event showed he is simply better in a pugilistic debate with an opponent than he is in addressing individual voters in a "townhall" format. 
Not that the negative interactions were all his fault. This was billed as a conversation with "uncommitted" voters, which is, charitably, baloney. Most of the questions were hostile, and several of the questioners quite clearly have no intention whatsoever of voting for Trump. 
It actually speaks to a larger question about the American electorate -- is there really anyone uncommitted at this point? There is no ambivalence about Trump. You love him or you hate him. And some people who love him are going to vote against him, because they are exhausted. And some people who hate him are going to vote for him because they see his opposition as unhinged and ridiculous. 
Trump also had to fight off relentless badgering from ABC's chief anchor George Stephanopoulos. This is Stephanopoulos' job, I guess, and Trump often says things that are so ridiculous that he invites the badgering. But this format was supposed to be about Trump and the voters and it was frequently about Trump and the anchor. This show should've been unmoderated.

If that's the best the GOP can spin it, it was an unmitigated disaster, and it was.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And the first one comes from Paul Tubiana.

Paul, take it away.

TRUMP: Hi, Paul.

TUBIANA: Mr. President, I voted for you in 2016. I’m a conservative, pro-life and diabetic. I’ve had to dodge people who don’t care about social distancing and wearing face masks.

I thought you were doing a good job with the pandemic response until about May 1st. Then you took your foot off the gas pedal. Why did you throw vulnerable people like me under the bus?

TRUMP: Well, we really didn’t, Paul. We’ve worked very hard on the pandemic. We’ve worked very hard. It came off from China. They should have never let it happen.

And if you looked at what we’ve done with ventilators, and now, frankly, with vaccines --we’re very close to having the vaccine.

If you want to know the truth, the previous administration would have taken perhaps years to have a vaccine because of the FDA and all the approvals, and we’re within weeks of getting it. You know, could be three weeks, four weeks, but we think we have it. Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, we have great companies and they're very, very close.

It’s been very... it’s a terrible thing, but if you look an example, are you from New York? Where are you from?

TUBIANA: Originally I’m from New York. I’ve lived in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

TRUMP: I see.

TUBIANA: For 18 1/2 years. This is the longest place I’ve ever lived.

TRUMP: Well, that’s very good. It’s a good place. But actually, if you look at what we’ve done for various things -- we built hospitals. New York, we took the convention center, converted it to 2,800 rooms. We brought in the ships. I wish they would have used it, because, frankly, they would have saved a lot of people had they used it.

As Steve M. points out, Trump going straight to a pile of tangentially related arguments, one on top of the other, is classic Gish Gallop. We'll see it in all three debates, most likely.

Maybe he won't be like that in the debates with Joe Biden. Maybe he'll be the nasty attack dog of the MAGA rallies. I think it's possible that his testosterone will get the better of him (or Biden will goad him) and he'll go on the attack. If so, that will hurt him. What much of America dislikes about him more than anything is his tone.

But if he restrains himself, low-info voters might conclude that he's done what he's done the past four years out of a sense of good judgment. He'll lie and lie and lie, and Biden will be forced to pick his spots in rebutting those lies, which means most of them will get through unchallenged.

I'm not really worried. Polls suggest that there aren't very many undecided voters, and Biden appears to be comfortably ahead in enough states to win. And the press seems fed up with Trump's bullshitting.

But Trump just might sound this way in the last few presidential events most voters will pay attention to, and it might help him some, even if he's telling the same lies he always tells.

Dubya's "Catapulting the propaganda" is now a full-blown Trump orbital space strike. He'll get 42% no matter what, but will her get the 5-6% more he needs to win the electoral college?

We'll see.

Deporation Nation, Con't

The hideous, inhuman treatment of ICE detainees in the COVID-19 era by the Trump regime is far, far worse than you've imagined. These people are monsters, full stop.

A nurse who worked at an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention center in Irwin County, Georgia and four lawyers representing clients there are claiming that immigrant women are routinely being sent to a gynecologist who has left them bruised and performed unnecessary procedures, including hysterectomies.

Yeah, you read that right. "Unnecessary hystorectomies".  You know, goddamn Nazi-era sterilization procedures.

The doctor, who three lawyers identified as Dr. Mahendra Amin, practicing in Douglas, Georgia, has continued to see women from the Irwin County Detention Center for the past several years despite complaints from his patients.

Amin was the subject of a Justice Department investigation in 2015 for making false claims to Medicaid and Medicare. As a result, he and other doctors involved paid $525,000 in a civil settlement, according to the Justice Department.

The lawyers identified the doctor after a whistleblower complaint to the Inspector General for the Department of Homeland Security was filed by Dawn Wooten, who worked as a nurse inside the facility. She said in the complaint that detainees were not getting Covid-19 tests and other needed medical care. The complaint was first reported by the Intercept.

Wooten worked full time as a licensed practical nurse at the Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla, Georgia, until being demoted in July.

The complaint cites both allegations from unnamed detained immigrants and Wooten.

The facility houses immigrant detainees in the custody of ICE, which is a part of the Department of Homeland Security. It also houses inmates for Irwin County and the U.S. Marshals Service.

Project South, Georgia Detention Watch, Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights and South Georgia Immigrant Support Network filed the complaint on behalf of detained immigrants at the center and Wooten.

Wooten was demoted in July from a full-time nurse to “as-needed” after missing work because she had coronavirus symptoms. She said she believes the demotion was in retaliation for raising coronavirus protocol concerns, according to the complaint.

She also said that there was not enough active testing of the immigrant detainees for the coronavirus and that the facility was not “reporting all these cases that are positive,” meaning the number of cases at the facility was possibly much higher than that reported by ICE.

Kids in cages, separated, deporting toddlers, now we have forced sterilization. I tell you what, these guys are headed for The Hague, but only if we kick them out of power first.

Getting The Band Back Together

The GOP is absolutely up to their old voter suppression tricks on a national level, and they've been attacking the integrity of the vote since it became obvious that COVID-19 was going to make voting by mail easier.They've been coordinating a national bag of dirty tricks for months, and the effort is being spearheaded by our old friend, Dubya-era voter suppression expert Hans von Spakovski and his merry crew of assholes over at the Heritage Foundation.

Starting in early spring, as the coronavirus took hold, a conservative lawyer at the forefront of raising alarms about voting by mail held multiple private briefings exclusively for Republican state election officials, according to previously unreported public records.

The lawyer, the Heritage Foundation’s Hans von Spakovsky, is a leading purveyor of the notion that voter fraud is rampant, claims that have been largely discredited.

Among the participants in these meetings has been an official from the office of Georgia’s secretary of state; the secretary, Brad Raffensperger, recently elevated concerns about voter fraud by contending that 1,000 Georgians had voted twice in elections this year.

GOP congressional staffers and a Trump administration appointee have also joined in these meetings, which were open to officials from states across the country, including Missouri and Nevada, the records show. No Democratic state election officials appear to have been invited.

The “goal” of the meetings, held remotely, is to “gather the chief state election officials together to strategize on advancing their shared goal of ensuring the integrity of the elections they administer in their home states,” an invitation to an early August event reads.

Most of the states declined to comment on the meetings, and it’s not clear what specifically was discussed. Von Spakovsky is highly influential in conservative circles. He has sent invitees copies of his published essays pushing for in-person voting and culling voter rolls as absentee balloting expands amid the pandemic, a situation that von Spakovsky argued will “make fraud far easier.”

The meetings come as voting access has become one of the central flashpoints of the upcoming presidential election. More Americans are expected to vote by mail this year than ever before because of the health risks posed by COVID-19. President Donald Trump has repeatedly and baselessly asserted that mail-in voting is rife with problems. Echoing von Spakovsky, he asserted on Twitter in July that the upcoming presidential vote will be the “most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history.”

Experts have said voting by mail carries little risk of fraud. Since it is widely believed that more Democractic voters will vote by mail than Republicans, von Spakovsky’s proposals, if adopted, could suppress Democratic turnout in one of the most consequential presidential elections in a generation.

Secretaries of state, who oversee statewide voting and work with county election officials, have broad leeway to act in ways that can limit or expand the franchise. While most are partisan elected officials, they are expected to carry out policies that benefit everyone.

The Heritage Foundation did not make von Spakovsky available for an interview and didn’t address detailed questions about the meetings. In a statement, the nonprofit’s media director, Greg Scott, said election security was “crucial to our country’s future.”

“The Heritage Foundation is committed to making sure elections are free and fair,” he said. “Every eligible voter’s vote should be counted and not canceled out by fraudulent acts.”

So now we know where Trump is getting his bad info on "rampant voter fraud" from, the same Dubya/Nameless One jackasses who were doing the same 15 years ago.

They're definitely up to no good.


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