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Archives for Joe Martin (page 1 / 82)

What It Looks Like to Care for Separated Migrant Children

This isn’t heartbreaking or gut wrenching. This is legitimately traumatizing. As a parent, having my children kidnapped from me like this is my worst nightmare. America did this to parents who were fleeing violence and persecution, who came to the United States hoping to find safety. But modern Republicans are fiercely xenophobic and greeted them with terror and horror, by taking away their children.

This is what Republicans—and the evangelical Christians who enable them—stand for.

What It Looks Like to Care for Separated Migrant Children by Caitlin Dickerson, for The New York Times

Ms. Acevedo was just settling into the role when things suddenly became more chaotic, in the late summer of 2017. Unlike the teenagers she was used to working with, who had intentionally crossed the border alone, the separated children who began to arrive were inconsolable when they reached her. Each new one seemed to traumatize the rest all over again. “It was horrible,” she said. “We could not do work. It was just a classroom full of crying kids all day.”

Even after covering family separations for over a year, as an immigration reporter for the National desk at The New York Times, I was struck by how much they uprooted not only the lives of family members who were divided from each other, but also the people like Ms. Acevedo who were charged with caring for them. While she was on call, Ms. Acevedo had to be available 24-7. She often waited up after midnight to meet newly separated children arriving at her office, transported from the border by contract workers. She would be roused from bed by phone calls about children who refused to eat or leave their rooms until they were allowed to speak to the parents from whom they had been separated.

Ms. Acevedo was particularly good at soothing them during outbursts, which usually meant going from classroom to classroom and pulling up videos of songs from “Frozen” or “Moana” on her phone. It helped that she could identify with the children. She still remembers the day in first grade when she had to participate in a classroom discussion about family. She didn’t know how to say in English that she didn’t have any siblings, so she lied and said she had a brother.

Many of the parents of children on her caseload ended up being deported, ending any hope of a quick reunion. When that happened, she would meet with her fellow caseworkers and staff therapists, sometimes for hours, to discuss how to break the news to the child. They used pictures and puppets to illustrate the distance between the United States and countries like Guatemala. And they spoke in intentionally vague terms to avoid making false promises about when the children might be able to see their parents again, after learning the hard way that even those who were barely old enough to talk would latch on to any concrete expectation.

“We would have to say, ‘In many, many days you will be reunited with your parent, but we have to do a lot of paperwork,’ ” she told me, mimicking the soft voice she would use with an upset child. “The kids would still be like, ‘O.K., when am I going?’ They would start crying and it wasn’t just tears, it was screams.”

Parents who were in detention would call to ask whether they should give up their asylum claims, as Constantin’s father had. They said they had been promised they would get their children back. Ms. Acevedo would tell them she had received no such assurance from the federal government and could not advise them on how to proceed. “The parents would sign in desperation and then, the next thing you know, they would call me from their home country and say, ‘I’m here, where’s my child? Give me my child back.’”

This entry was tagged. Children Donald Trump Immigration Immigration Policy President2020

Living in Fear of COVID-19?

I keep hearing that people are tired of COVID-19, are tired of the uncertainty and “don’t want to live in fear”. Well, I’m tired of COVID-19 too. I’m tired of not knowing who’s going to get sick next, tired of not knowing when I can go back to church, tired of not knowing when I can go to a restaurant again or get a babysitter for date night.

But I vehemently disagree with the notion that masking up or maintaining social distance is the same as “living in fear”. I disagree with the idea that brave people should go about their lives like it’s 2019. There is a difference between living in fear and taking precautions.

I’m afraid of being bitten by a rattlesnake. So I wear shoes, not sandals, when I go hiking in the washes. I’m afraid of being turned into a pincushion by a cactus. So I don’t lean up against them when I want to relax. I’m afraid of heat exhaustion during the Arizona summer. So I limit my time outside during the daytime hours. If I do have to be outside, I wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses and carry a water bottle.

I’m aware of the dangers around me. But I don’t ignore them because I “don’t want to live in fear”. I take basic, sensible precautions and then get on with my life.

Life with COVID-19 is much the same. When I leave home, I bring my mask in addition to my sun hat. I wear it anytime that I’m indoors. And I stay 6 feet away from others, rather than crowding in close. That isn’t living in fear, that’s taking basic, sensible precautions.

The big difference with COVID-19 is that I can spread the disease several days before I’m showing any symptoms. And I can spread the disease even if I never show any symptoms. I’m not guaranteed to be healthy just because I don’t have a fever, don’t have the sniffles, and can breathe fine. As a result, my mask protects you from the risk that I’m sick and your sick protects me from the risk that you’re sick. It’s basic courtesy.

But the effects are counterintuitive. Imagine if I could get heat exhaustion because you’re not wearing a sun hat. I have my sun hat on, I’m drinking from my water bottle, I’m staying in the shade. But you’re standing out in the sun, hatless, and haven’t had a drink in 4 hours. And I get heat exhaustion. Weird, right? But that’s how COVID-19 works.

And that counter-intuitive reality is why none of us can get back to normal until all of us agree to take precautions. We’re not asking you to live in fear. We’re asking you to put on some shoes, put on a hat, and stop leaning up against the saguaro. Do it out of kindness for others, even if you’re not personally worried about getting sick.

Please.

This entry was tagged. COVID-19 Personal

Refugees Who Assisted U.S. Military Denied Entry Into U.S

Refugees Who Assisted U.S. Military Denied Entry Into U.S

They risked their own lives and the lives of their families to help American troops in Iraq. Their assistance saved the lives of American service members. You want to support the troops? It starts with supporting the people who support the troops.

Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant bias will result in more American soldiers being killed, in future conflicts. Once again, he’s either too mentally challenged to realize the consequences of his actions or he’s too self-centered to do what’s best for America and America’s allies.

Veterans and active-duty service members fear that the exclusion of those who assisted the military from resettlement is the real threat to national security because such cooperation will be harder to come by in future conflicts. More than 9,800 Iraqis were welcomed to the United States in 2016, according to State Department data. By the 2019 fiscal year, that was down to 465.

“If the message is sent that those who stepped up to help American service members were left behind, forgotten, and to die, then it’s going to significantly reduce the likelihood of people stepping forward in the future in other countries to help U.S. service members with their missions,” said Allen Vaught, a former captain in the Army who served in Iraq from 2003 to 2004.

Mr. Vaught has helped two Iraqis and their families resettle in Texas, his home state, where he served in the Legislature from 2007 to 2011. Two other translators who helped his squad were executed, Mr. Vaught said. He has spent years lobbying for the approval of a fifth who fled to Egypt in 2014 to escape retaliation from Iraqi militia groups. At least 110,000 Iraqis are waiting to be approved as refugees based on their assistance to the American authorities, according to resettlement organizations.

“Anyone who worked with U.S. forces had a scarlet letter,” Mr. Vaught said. “They had a mark on their head. And the way they killed them was gruesome. One of my translators was burned alive.”

“We’ve got a lot of things to make right,” he added.

This entry was tagged. Donald Trump Foreign Policy Immigration Iraq President2020

Refugee data on religion disappears as fewer persecuted Christians admitted to US

God loves the refugees who live among us. God wants us to love the refugees who live among us. These aren’t my words, these are God’s commands, from Deuteronomy 14. And, yet, under President Donald Trump the United States turns away almost all refugees and the President attacks the ones who already live here. This is an anti-Christian, anti-Biblical stance. And America’s Christians either silently agree (therefore allowing it to happen), or join in the attacks by treating Trump’s words as applause lines.

If you are a Christian, why would you vote for a man who opposes and oppresses the weak and the vulnerable? There is nothing in these policies that makes God happy or glorifies God.

Refugee data on religion disappears as fewer persecuted Christians admitted to US

by Emily McFarlan Miller, Jack Jenkins, for Religion News Service

The data showed a precipitous drop in recent years in the number of Christian refugees admitted to the U.S. from the 50 countries at the top of Open Doors USA’s World Watch List. The annual list tracks the places where Christians face the worst persecution.

President Donald Trump promised in his first days in office to make helping persecuted Christians a priority for his administration.

But the last numbers made available by the State Department — which Soerens downloaded Friday before they disappeared from the department’s website — show the number of Christians admitted from those countries dropped 83.2% from fiscal years 2016 to 2020.

Just 2,811 Christian refugees were admitted to the U.S. from the countries on the World Watch List in fiscal 2020, which ended last month. By contrast, 16,714 Christians from those countries were admitted to the United States in fiscal 2016, former President Barack Obama’s last full year in office.

This entry was tagged. Bible Christian Living Christianity Donald Trump Immigration Policy President2020

Turning Power of State Against Rivals, Trump Seeks Power of Authoritarians

No matter how much he talks about law and order, Donald Trump has no respect for the law. From his first day in office, he’s been interested in using the power of the Presidency to punish his enemies. Not for real violations of the law, but for merely opposing him. He doesn’t see a difference between Donald Trump, the individual, and the office of the President of the United States. He views any opposition to him personally as a crime against America and wants his opponents treated as traitors and criminals.

Turning Power of State Against Rivals, Trump Seeks Power of Authoritarians

by David Sanger, for the New York Times

President Trump’s order to his secretary of state to declassify thousands of Hillary Clinton’s emails, along with his insistence that his attorney general issue indictments against Barack Obama and Joseph R. Biden Jr., takes his presidency into new territory — until now, occupied by leaders with names like Putin, Xi and Erdogan.

Mr. Trump has long demanded — quite publicly, often on Twitter — that his most senior cabinet members use the power of their office to pursue political enemies. But his appeals this week, as he trailed badly in the polls and was desperate to turn the national conversation away from the coronavirus, were so blatant that one had to look to authoritarian nations to make comparisons.

He took a step even Richard M. Nixon avoided in his most desperate days: openly ordering direct, immediate government action against specific opponents, timed to serve his re-election campaign.

“There is essentially no precedent,” said Jack Goldsmith, who led the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel under President George W. Bush and has written extensively on presidential powers. “We have a norm that developed after Watergate that presidents don’t talk about ongoing investigations, much less interfere with them.”

“It is crazy and it is unprecedented,” said Mr. Goldsmith, now a professor at Harvard Law School, “but it’s no different from what he has been saying since the beginning of his presidency. The only thing new is that he has moved from talking about it to seeming to order it.”

This entry was tagged. Donald Trump Government President2020

Risks rise in West Wing

President Trump’s cavalier attitude to COVID-19 has put the lives of everyone in and around the White House at risk. This includes the White House staff, who make the beds, clean the house, prepare the food, etc. Donald Trump is a not a good man. A good man would treat those around him better, valuing their lives and health as highly as his own. I cannot fathom voting for a man with this little regard for those who serve him daily.

Risks rise in West Wing

Mike Allen, for Axios AM

White House aides have advised President Trump to avoid the Oval Office while he's still infected. But they’re making arrangements for him to work out of the Diplomatic Reception Room, and use it as a backdrop for future televised remarks, two White House officials tell Axios' Alayna Treene.

  • Why it matters: The preparations show that far from bunkering down in the residence until he's well, Trump is considering remaining active while he recovers from COVID.
  • Any Trump movement in the West Wing would create a series of risks for his staff.

A taste of Trump's attitude about the virus played out on live TV last evening as he returned by Marine One at sunset after three nights at Walter Reed: He walked up to a White House balcony, took off his mask for the cameras, put it in his jacket pocket, adjusted his suit, straightened his tie and lingered to give purposeful thumbs-ups and salutes.

  • "Don’t be afraid of Covid," he tweeted — the exact opposite of what any medical or public-health professional will tell you. "Don’t let it dominate your life. We have developed, under the Trump Administration, some really great drugs & knowledge. I feel better than I did 20 years ago!"
  • "Will be back on the Campaign Trail soon!!!" he added.

Reflecting widespread dismay among administration officials, a White House source told Axios' Alexi McCammond:

  • "It's insane that he would return to the White House and jeopardize his staff's health when we are still learning of new cases among senior staff. This place is a cesspool."
  • "He was so concerned with preventing embarrassing stories that he exposed thousands of his own staff and supporters to a deadly virus. He has kept us in the dark, and now our spouses and kids have to pay the price. It's just selfish."

The big picture: The White House — despite its infinite access to the best resources available — continues to respond to its own coronavirus outbreak about as recklessly as possible, Axios' Caitlin Owens writes.

  • The White House is doing only minimal contact tracing, and hasn't sought help from the CDC, the N.Y. Times reports (subscription)._ _The White House has decided not to trace the contacts of attendees at last weekend’s Rose Garden event celebrating the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.
  • Mayor Muriel Bowser said D.C. officials have been unsuccessful in trying to connect with the White House to assist with contact tracing: "We have reached out to the White House on a couple of different levels, a political level and a public health level."

Among those endangered by Trump's approach:

  • "The White House residence staff members are largely Black and Latino, and often elderly, according to Kate Anderson Brower, who compiled a trove of interviews with former staffers for her book ''The Residence,'" the WashPost reports. There are about 90 full-time ushers, butlers, housekeepers, valets, florists, engineers and cooks.
  • "For the Secret Service, a New Question: Who Will Protect Them From Trump?" says a N.Y. Times headline.
  • White House reporters are increasingly anxious and angry, Axios' Sara Fischer reports. N.Y. Times White House correspondent Michael Shear, who tested positive, tells Axios: "My wife has now tested positive for COVID. The collateral damage is going to be pretty significant, I think."

This entry was tagged. COVID-19 Donald Trump President2020

A Mess in Trump's Orbit

A reminder that Donald Trump’s presidency is a failure by his own standards and judged against his own promises. He’s a con man. He’s been a con man his entire life. He’s never accomplished anything other than burning through $400 million of inherited money and then getting bailed out by a reality TV show. He conned the American people four years ago and he’s trying to con them into giving him another four years in power.

A Mess in Trump's Orbit

by Jay Caruso, for The Monday Notice

And hey, remember those tariffs that were going to reduce our trade deficit? That deficit is at a 14-year high—more brilliance.

If not for the Federalist Society handing Trump a piece of paper and saying, “Appoint these individuals,” Mitch McConnell doing what was necessary to steer judicial nominees through to the courts and balance the federal judiciary, what outside of the Israel/UAE agreement and 2017 tax cuts did the president do?

There’s no wall. His tariffs have hampered the economy and crippled farmers in the midwest. He didn’t bring back manufacturing jobs. He didn’t bring back coal. He didn’t reform or repeal Obamacare. He’s alienated allies. He failed with North Korea. If he loses, he likely brings down four or five Republicans in the Senate with him. The regulations he eliminated were made via the executive branch, not legislatively, meaning a new president can reinstate them.

More importantly, he failed as a leader in the one crisis he faced. One in which affected senior citizens (read as “most likely voters”) more than anyone else. Trump’s constant downplaying of a deadly virus that hit seniors harder than any other age group created a gap between him and Joe Biden for which he may not recover. The demographic of older voters helped Trump gain his electoral victory in 2016. Without them, Trump can’t win.

This entry was tagged. Donald Trump Jobs President2020

In a First, New England Journal of Medicine Joins Never-Trumpers

This article hardly needs an introduction. When the NEJM, America’s foremost medical research publication, breaks with 200 years of precedent to say that you’ve completely botched a medical crisis, there’s really no defense. Donald Trump’s handling of COVID-19 is a national disgrace and is responsible for the death of people who wouldn’t have otherwise died. His disregard for the lives and health of Americans disqualifies him from being a pro-life candidate.

In a First, New England Journal of Medicine Joins Never-Trumpers

by Gina Kolata, for the New York Times

Throughout its 208-year history, The New England Journal of Medicine has remained staunchly nonpartisan. The world’s most prestigious medical journal has never supported or condemned a political candidate.

Until now.

In an editorial signed by 34 editors who are United States citizens (one editor is not) and published on Wednesday, the journal said the Trump administration had responded so poorly to the coronavirus pandemic that they “have taken a crisis and turned it into a tragedy.”

The journal did not explicitly endorse Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Democratic nominee, but that was the only possible inference, other scientists noted.

The editor in chief, Dr. Eric Rubin, said the scathing editorial was one of only four in the journal’s history that were signed by all of the editors. The N.E.J.M.’s editors join those of another influential publication, Scientific American, who last month endorsed Mr. Biden, the former vice president.

The political leadership has failed Americans in many ways that contrast vividly with responses from leaders in other countries, the N.E.J.M. said.

In the United States, the journal said, there was too little testing for the virus, especially early on. There was too little protective equipment, and a lack of national leadership on important measures like mask wearing, social distancing, quarantine and isolation.

There were attempts to politicize and undermine the Food and Drug Administration, the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the journal noted.

As a result, the United States has had tens of thousands of “excess” deaths — those caused both directly and indirectly by the pandemic — as well as immense economic pain and an increase in social inequality as the virus hit disadvantaged communities hardest.

The editorial castigated the Trump administration’s rejection of science, writing, “Instead of relying on expertise, the administration has turned to uninformed ‘opinion leaders’ and charlatans who obscure the truth and facilitate the promulgation of outright lies.”

This entry was tagged. COVID-19 Donald Trump President2020

Mike Pence’s Trumpian Makeover at the Vice-Presidential Debate

Mike Pence was supposed to be one of the good, solid, Christian conservatives who would surround Donald Trump and give him wise advice. Today, the only thing that distinguishes Mike Pence from Donald Trump is his calm demeanor. He sold his soul and jettisoned every principle that he once professed in order to gain the power of the Vice Presidency.

Mike Pence’s Trumpian Makeover at the Vice-Presidential Debate

by Susan Glasser, for the New Yorker.

Both Harris and Pence are younger and far more articulate politicians than their running mates, fully capable of holding their own in a televised argument that cleared the low bar of not degenerating into a food fight at a senior-citizens’ center. The debate seemed sort of normal—at least, after Trump’s frenetic performance of a week earlier. But the more I listened to Pence the more I realized that the Vice-President of 2020 is no longer the deeply conventional, if fervently right-wing, evangelical of four years ago. Or even the oleaginous Trump suck-up he has been for much of the Administration’s tenure. He has been changed, and radically so, by his association with the President, and Wednesday night showed something both new and disturbing: Pence has come to resemble a lower-decibel Trump, lying with a fluency and brazenness that might have shocked his former moralistic self.

Once presented as the acceptable public front for Trumpism to those who might be offended by the President’s grosser displays of ego and misogyny, this new Pence was ruder and cruder, and he spent much of the evening interrupting the two women with whom he shared the stage, refusing to listen when the moderator implored him to follow the rules, and simply seizing extra time to rebut Harris whether Page offered it or not. This Pence was not the Middle American cleanup man of this spring’s anxious coronavirus press conferences; he was nasty, an elbow-thrower who dropped snide references to Biden as a plagiarist, inserted random media-bashing into long-winded soliloquies, and peddled a pet Trump conspiracy theory about the 2016 campaign. Like the boss, he repeated falsehoods about the Democratic platform with abandon—they are going to raise your taxes “on day one” and “abolish” fossil fuels and eliminate fracking and allow taxpayer-funded abortions “up to the moment of birth”—all of which was not only untrue but so exaggerated beyond the actual Democratic platform that it was hard to imagine anyone but the most diehard Republican believing it. This sounded like Donald Trump talking, not Mike Pence. A quieter, less bombastic Donald Trump, to be sure, but Trump nonetheless.

This entry was tagged. Donald Trump President2020

For Trump, a Pattern of Denial, From the Virus to Russia to Climate Change

Donald Trump believes that any and all bad news makes him look bad. So he denies everything bad, ignores everything bad, and carries on as normal while the world burns around him. This is not a President that surrounds himself with good people, who help him to make good decisions. Because if there are good people around him, they are being ignored daily. If Nero fiddled while Rome burned, Trump writes self-congratulatory tweets while America burns.

For Trump, a Pattern of Denial, From the Virus to Russia to Climate Change

by David Sanger, for the New York Times

his presidency has in many ways been defined by his dismissal of many of the biggest threats facing the United States. His preoccupation with demonstrating strength or rearranging facts to reinforce his worldview has led him, time and again, to downplay, ignore or mock everything from climate change to Russian interference in the American political process.

Mr. Trump’s own Pentagon declared in a report last year that a warming climate was a major “national security issue” that could spur future instability around the globe, but to Mr. Trump it remains a theory, something to be stricken from government reports and explained away when the West erupted in wildfires.

His intelligence agencies have assessed that North Korea’s nuclear stockpile has expanded significantly on Mr. Trump’s watch. But to the president, that arsenal — which he said in 2017 might force him to take military action leading to “fire and fury like the world has never seen” — is hardly worth mention today. Asked about it, he invariably turns the conversation to his relationship with Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader.

The unremitting stream of cyberattacks by Russia, many aimed at the heart of the American political process, has preoccupied intelligence and military officials determined to keep Vladimir V. Putin from interfering in another election. But not Mr. Trump, who has said he has no reason to disbelieve the Russian leader’s denials that Moscow was involved.

On virtually every front, said Richard Haass, the president of the Council on Foreign Relations, Mr. Trump has embraced “denialism,” as if wishing problems away was a substitute for policy and action.

“The denialism is a pattern,” said Mr. Haass, who served several Republican presidents at the National Security Council and the State Department. “It is pervasive. And the fear among friends and allies is that all this is not limited to Trump but reflects how this country has not just changed, but changed for the worse.”

“They have put their security in our hands,” said Mr. Haass, the author of “The World: A Brief Introduction,” “and they are questioning that wisdom, at the same moment that our adversaries see us as divided and distracted.”

It is a distinctive pattern that began in the Trump administration’s first hours, when the new president bristled at photographs released by the National Park Service that suggested the crowds at his inauguration paled when compared with the turnouts for the swearing-in of some past presidents, including Barack Obama. Then came his search for three million fraudulent votes — all in the service of denying that he had lost the popular vote, even while winning the Electoral College.

Some of the moments were laughable, like the Sharpie used to alter National Weather Service maps of the course of Hurricane Dorian last year, all to justify Mr. Trump’s erroneous declaration that the storm was headed to Alabama.

It was great fodder for late-night comedians. Then, in March, as the virus emptied out offices and began to strike American cities, denialism went from deadly serious to simply deadly.

Mr. Trump’s own Department of Health and Human Services, with the help of the White House staff, had prepared for an influenza pandemic that many experts had viewed as inevitable. They had even run a monthslong exercise, code-named “Crimson Contagion,” that mapped out how the government needed to respond if a virus — somewhat different from the coronavirus — that originated in China came to American shores aboard direct flights, borne by tourists, students, business executives and returning Americans.

But the tabletop exercise missed one key element: a president who made it clear he didn’t want to hear news that imperiled economic expansion, especially in an election year.

“Nobody ever thought of numbers like this,” Mr. Trump said in mid-March, as his early story that the virus was under control began to collapse around him.

In fact, they had — it was simply that Mr. Trump did not want to acknowledge those numbers. He kept downplaying the casualties, saying he was sure that deaths would top out below 60,000 and creating a White House culture where mask-wearing was equated with weakness, rather than the pandemic equivalent of strapping on seatbelts.

Mr. Trump has also seemed incapable, or at least unwilling, to acknowledge the cost of denying reality. He continues to insist the economy will have a “V shaped” recovery, even though the Federal Reserve chairman he appointed, Jerome Powell, said on Tuesday that Americans should brace for a “longer-than-expected slog back to full recovery.”

This entry was tagged. COVID-19 Donald Trump Foreign Policy President2020 Pride

Why Republicans Should Vote For Joe Biden — He Has More Republican Values Than Trump

Why Republicans Should Vote For Joe Biden — He Has More Republican Values Than Trump

by Rob May

This post is for people with values, particularly the core values Republicans used to have, who think some things are more important than party loyalty, and those Republicans who feel like I do — that Trump may have crossed too many lines and that protecting those lines he crossed are more important than making sure the Republican party wins in November.

For example, I believe character matters for someone aspiring to be President. I was critical of Bill Clinton’s character for his personal behaviors, and I remain consistent in my values by being critical of Donald Trump’s character for similar behaviors. I believe that people with poor character should be voted out of office even if it means my party and my other ideas lose for 4 years — because my core value that “character matters for the role of President” goes beyond party loyalty. If you don’t have any values that supersede party loyalty, don’t waste your time reading this.

Warning: some of what you will read below will surprise you. Why? Because Trump is a master marketer — he’s world class at it. He has pulled the wool over the eyes of so many Republicans, and controlled the story to make sure things are in his favor. When I have shared some of the links, facts, and data that I cover below with Republican friends, they have been shocked. Manyhad no idea that some of Trump’s actions had led to such things.

My argument, in summary, is that I believe President Trump hasn’t made America great again. Instead he has taken steps to weaken America in economic and foreign policy which I will outline below. He has moved America towards Socialism.

I will also provide evidence that Trump isn’t for free trade, he isn’t religious, he doesn’t believe in limited government, he doesn’t support individual liberty, he is pro-choice, and he doesn’t have strong moral character, or any of the other core things Republicans have claimed (until 2016) to value. Rather than argue about core left vs right issues in this piece, I want to make the point that Biden is actually a better fit with core Republican values (1980–2016 Republican values). I will argue that Trump doesn’t care about you, only himself. And I will argue that the future of the Republican party is at stake and Trump is taking the party in a direction that will cause it to lose for a very long time, and that 2020 is the time to change course. Voting Trump out is best for the Republican party. Biden will be a weak one term President and the Republicans will win again in 2024.

There is a massive wave building of prominent Republicans who aren’t just denouncing Trump, they are voting for Biden. If you only watch Fox News, you probably haven’t seen this because they haven’t mentioned it. But it’s real, and I will write more about it below so that those of you wondering what you should do on election day will realize that if you choose to vote Democratic for the first time in your life, you aren’t alone. There are others, many others, who believe this has to happen to save the United States and the Republican Party.

This entry was tagged. Donald Trump Joe Biden President2020

White House Blocks New Coronavirus Vaccine Guidelines

Donald Trump wants to use his own medical expertise to certify when a coronavirus vaccine is ready. He wants to play the hero before election day, regardless of how many lives are put at risk by an unproven, poorly tested vaccine.

White House Blocks New Coronavirus Vaccine Guidelines

by Sharon LaFraniere and Noah Weiland, for the New York Times

Top White House officials are blocking strict new federal guidelines for the emergency release of a coronavirus vaccine, objecting to a provision that would almost certainly guarantee that no vaccine could be authorized before the election on Nov. 3, according to people familiar with the approval process.

… The struggle over the guidelines is part of a monthslong tug of war between the White House and federal agencies on the front lines of the pandemic response. White House officials have repeatedly intervened to shape decisions and public announcements in ways that paint the administration’s response to the pandemic in a positive light.

That pattern has dismayed a growing number of career officials and political appointees involved in the administration’s fight against a virus that has claimed more than 209,000 lives in the United States.

The vaccine guidelines carry special significance: By refusing to allow the Food and Drug Administration to release them, the White House is undercutting the government’s effort to reassure the public that any vaccine will be safe and effective, health experts fear.

“The public must have full faith in the scientific process and the rigor of F.D.A.’s regulatory oversight if we are to end the pandemic,” the biotech industry’s trade association pleaded on Thursday, in a letter to President Trump’s health secretary, Alex M. Azar II, asking for release of the guidelines.

… A main sticking point has been the recommendation that volunteers who have participated in vaccine clinical trials be followed for a median of two months after the final dose before any authorization is granted, according to a senior administration official and others familiar with the situation, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. Given where the clinical trials stand, that two-month follow-up period would all but preclude any emergency clearance before Election Day.

This entry was tagged. COVID-19 Donald Trump President2020

Judges Tell Trump His Officials Are Serving Illegally. He Does Nothing.

If you care about law & order, if you care about the rule of law, you should care about this story. Donald Trump appoints people to lead the government, in positions that require Senate confirmation. The Senate, which is controlled by Republicans, indicates that certain appointees are not qualified for the positions that President Trump appointed them to. The President, in violation of the law, ignores that. It is not Republican—it is not conservative—to put people in positions of power when those people are unqualified and cannot gain the support of the President’s own party.

Judges Tell Trump His Officials Are Serving Illegally. He Does Nothing

Lisa Friedman, for the New York Times

Holding a job unlawfully is not a reason to be fired in the Trump administration.

Last month, a Montana judge ruled that the acting head of the Bureau of Land Management, which holds sway over millions of acres of federal land, should be removed from his position because he was performing his duties illegally. The Interior Department’s response? Tweak his title.

Since March, William Perry Pendley is the third high-ranking administration official that the courts have found likely to be working in violation of the Federal Vacancies Reform Act, a 1998 law governing how a president may appoint temporary officials. Such findings have been bolstered by the Government Accountability Office and other agencies.

In each case the administration has responded with defiance.

… Farther down the leadership chain, the president’s penchant for filling high-level jobs without Senate confirmation was causing confusion long before the coronavirus pandemic.

“Confirmation hearings in the Senate are really important,” said Peter Jenkins, senior counsel for the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility.

“If they pass and get enough votes, it means they’re mainstream enough to satisfy both sides,” Mr. Jenkins said. By consistently bypassing the law, he said, “You get lower level, unqualified or fringe characters running the bureaus. The employee morale suffers, the performance of the agencies declines and the resources suffer.”

… The Federal Vacancies Reform Act bars acting agency officials from serving for more than 210 days without Senate confirmation. According to the Government Accountability Office, there were six violations of the act during the eight years of the Obama administration and eight so far during the Trump administration’s first term.

The Constitutional Accountability Center, a liberal research group, has identified 15 high-ranking Trump administration officials who are currently holding jobs in violation of the vacancies act.

This entry was tagged. Donald Trump Government President2020

Jewish leaders alarmed by Trump's support of 'racehorse theory'

President Trump really, really likes the eugenics arguments that were popular in the early 1900s. This makes him a racist. There’s no other way to describe someone who believes that one people group has “better genes” than another people group.

Jewish leaders alarmed by Trump's support of 'racehorse theory'

by Seema Mehtastaff, for the Los Angeles Times

President Trump has alarmed Jewish leaders and others with remarks that appeared to endorse “racehorse theory” — the idea that selective breeding can improve a country’s performance, which American eugenicists and German Nazis used in the last century to buttress their goals of racial purity.

“You have good genes, you know that, right?” Trump told a mostly white crowd of supporters in Bemidji, Minn., on Sept. 18. “You have good genes. A lot of it is about the genes, isn’t it? Don’t you believe? The racehorse theory. You think we’re so different? You have good genes in Minnesota.”

Rabbi Mark Diamond, a senior lecturer on Jewish studies at Loyola Marymount University, was stunned.

“To hear these remarks said at a rally in an election campaign for the presidency is beyond reprehensible,” said Diamond, the former executive vice president of the Board of Rabbis of Southern California.

“This is at the heart of Nazi ideology… This has brought so much tragedy and destruction to the Jewish people and to others. It’s actually hard to believe in 2020 we have to revisit these very dangerous theories.”

The Trump campaign did not respond to requests for comment.

Trump’s remark was not the first time that he has spoken favorably about the racehorse analogy, which has been embraced by white supremacists for decades. But these latest comments come as the country has been roiled over racial injustice and the protests against it. Trump has continued to make inflammatory remarks and his campaign has made blatantly racist appeals.

This entry was tagged. Donald Trump President2020 Racism

Former Republican National Security Officials for Biden

Maybe you’re supporting Donald Trump for President because Republicans are better at national security. If so, these Republicans would like to have a word with you.

Former Republican National Security Officials for Biden

We are former national security officials who served during the administrations of Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, and/or Donald Trump, or as Republican Members of Congress. We are profoundly concerned about the course of our nation under the leadership of Donald Trump. Through his actions and his rhetoric, Trump has demonstrated that he lacks the character and competence to lead this nation and has engaged in corrupt behavior that renders him unfit to serve as President.

For the following reasons, we have concluded that Donald Trump has failed our country and that Vice President Joe Biden should be elected the next President of the United States.

  1. Donald Trump has gravely damaged America’s role as a world leader. Trump has disgraced America’s global reputation and undermined our nation’s moral and diplomatic influence. He has called NATO “obsolete,” branded Europe a “foe,” mocked the leaders of America’s closest friends, and threatened to terminate longstanding US alliances. Other global leaders, friends and foes alike, view him as unreliable, unstable, and unworthy of respect.

This entry was tagged. Donald Trump Foreign Policy President2020

A new group of evangelical leaders forms in support of Biden

A new group of evangelical leaders forms in support of Biden

Sarah Pulliam Bailey, for The Washington Post

When he was pastor of a prominent megachurch in Orlando, Joel Hunter never told anyone how he voted, but like many White evangelical leaders, he picked Donald Trump in 2016. Trump was friendly with the conservative Christian community, and Hunter thought, “Well, let’s give it a shot.”

“Hillary Clinton never did reach out to the evangelical community,” Hunter said. “So I thought, we’re not going to have much of an influence or impact on policy with her, but we might with Trump.”

On Friday, Hunter will join other evangelicals who represent major Christian institutions to launch a group, Pro-life Evangelicals for Biden, describing the Democrat’s overall agenda as closer to what they call a “biblically balanced agenda,” even though they disagree with Biden on abortion rights.

… The group favoring Biden, set up by longtime evangelical leaders Ron Sider and Rich Mouw, includes several leaders who have since retired from major evangelical institutions. Among them is John Huffman, who was board chair of Christianity Today magazine, a lifelong Republican and former pastor to President Richard Nixon. He is planning to vote for a Democrat for the first time.

Huffman, who did not vote for either Trump or Clinton in 2016, decided to support Biden this time around because he said he has seen how few conservatives are willing to stand up to [Trump].

“I’m coming as an evangelical who is pro-life and prepared to say the Republicans don’t own ‘pro-life’ and they don’t own evangelical,” Huffman said.

Huffman said he knows several leaders of major evangelical institutions who would like to oppose Trump, but they will not because their supporters would pull funding.

“We feel like we are speaking for a lot of evangelical leaders who are as intimidated as senators who have to support the president for reelection,” Huffman said. “This man has demanded a kind of loyalty that is very much cult-like.”

The group for Biden also includes Jerushah Duford, the South Carolina-based granddaughter of late evangelist the Rev. Billy Graham, who said that she feels passionately about showing voters who describe themselves as “pro-life” that they can support a Democratic president.

Duford, who took in children through foster care for 10 years and adopted one of the kids she fostered, said she believes that economic policies that support mothers who want to carry a pregnancy to term help to lower the abortion rate.

“There are so many evangelicals who are one-issue voters and abortion is their issue. It is an issue that singlehandedly prevents them from voting for Biden,” she said. “I want to validate that struggle that people are having who care about pro-life issues.”

… Cizik, who advised President Ronald Reagan on his 1983 “Evil Empire” speech in front of evangelicals, said he supported Republican presidents for 32 years until 2016. He said the turning point for his advocacy was reading a quote from director of national intelligence Daniel Coats, who is an evangelical.

“To [Trump], a lie is not a lie,” Coats is quoted as saying in journalist Bob Woodward’s new book, “Rage.” “It’s just what he thinks. He doesn’t know the difference between the truth and a lie.”

Cizik cast his vote for Clinton in 2016, but he has never openly advocated for a presidential candidate until now.

“I blame my fellow evangelicals for not publicly challenging this man’s arrogance, lies and unconstitutional acts to subvert the election,” Cizik said.

… The group launching Friday said Biden’s policies are more consistent with “a biblically shaped ethic of life” than Trump’s.

“Poverty, lack of accessible health care services, smoking, racism and climate change are all pro-life issues,” the leaders said in a statement. “Therefore, we oppose ‘one issue’ political thinking because it lacks biblical balance.”

This entry was tagged. Christianity Donald Trump Joe Biden President2020

Compassion In Action

I want a President to have a baseline level of compassion and sympathy for those who are weak or vulnerable. I don’t see that in Mr. Trump, at all. I do see it in Mr. Biden. These two videos, released during the Democrat National Convention, vividly illustrate Mr. Biden’s ongoing commitment to personally help children who struggle with stuttering and stammering.

Brayden’s story

When Joe Biden met Brayden for the very first time.

Presidential Leadership: Compare and Contrast

President Donald Trump, at the first Presidential debate, on Tuesday, September 29, 2020.

Would-Be-President Joe Biden, at a rally in Michigan, on Friday, October 2, 2020.

Trump team plotted how to bust Biden in the debates

Donald Trump wasn’t rude in the first Presidential debate just because he’s a rude person. He was deliberately rude. He was trying to make Biden so uncomfortable and off balance that Biden would start to stutter. Mr. Biden stuttered as a child and worked very hard to overcome that. And Mr. Trump thinks that stuttering is both hilarious and a sign of mental incompetency. So he wanted to do everything he could to make Mr. Biden stutter during the debate.

No man with that streak of cruelty and maliciousness should ever be President. Shame on us if he wins a second term in office.

Trump team plots how to bust Biden in the debates

Nancy Cook and Gabby Orr, for Politico

The Trump team has been studying Biden’s idiosyncrasies in debates and other venues and preparing tactics for Trump, according to interviews with a dozen campaign aides, White House officials and outside advisers. Some have noticed the way he says, “C’mon, man,” whenever he feels frustrated, and they’re trying to identify words or phrases that trigger him to “reboot,” as one person familiar with the planning described it. Essentially, Trump aides are looking for ways to trip up Biden in an effort to spur an incoherent or unsatisfactory response — bolstering a key Trump argument against Biden built around his age.

[…] Aides have closely watched Biden’s debate against Paul Ryan in 2012 and the campaign speeches he gave when he was stumping for Hillary in 2016 for clues about his tics.

There’s some tension among the president’s advisers over whether it’s wise to try to trip up Biden so he stutters, or to box him in on issues.

One 2016 Trump campaign official said it’s a “calculated risk” to phrase things in such a way that might cause the former vice president to stammer in his response, acknowledging such a strategy could backfire if Trump deliberately appears to be messing with Biden's history of stuttering — an attribute Biden has used to demonstrate his ability to overcome challenges and his empathy for children in similar situations.

This entry was tagged. Debates Donald Trump Joe Biden President2020

Facing Grim Polls, Trump Leans Into Playing the Victim - The New York Times

More than a decade ago, Pitt had a football coach nicknamed “Not My Fault Walt” for his blame deflecting post-game interviews. It wasn’t an acceptable strategy for the head coach of a middling football program. And it shouldn’t be an acceptable strategy for a President of the United States.

A leader should be able to recognize his mistakes, learn from them, and do better in the future. Constantly throwing everyone else under the bus only shows the rest of us that you’re a narcissist who is unable to recognize any flaws in himself.

Facing Grim Polls, Trump Leans Into Playing the Victim

Maggie Haberman, for the New York Times

A day earlier, Mr. Trump was insisting, too, that he was being denied his due for his chaotic and widely panned debate performance. At a campaign rally that night in Duluth, Minn., he also complained that he had not received sufficient media coverage for nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize.

“We got nothing!” he told the crowd.

Over nearly four years in office, Mr. Trump has frequently changed his positions on issues, issued conflicting statements and shuffled through a revolving cast of staff.

The one constant has been the president portraying himself as a victim at every turn.

Be it congressional Democrats or Republican foes like the late Senator John McCain, the news media or the standards enforcers at Twitter, the impeachment inquiry or, now, the debate commission, Mr. Trump has repeatedly blamed others for problems and self-inflicted wounds, something he hopes will appeal to a shared sense of grievance among his supporters.

That instinct is now increasingly on display as he faces ominous polling showing him behind in his re-election campaign, a position that aides say is unfathomable for someone who has long staked his personal brand on “winning.” Mr. Trump, some advisers inside and outside the White House say, has telegraphed to them that he is scared of losing — and in particular, scared of losing to Mr. Biden, whom he does not respect.

Mr. Trump has taken to describing shadows on almost every wall: false claims that the election is “rigged” against him, complaints that the coronavirus pandemic was “unfair” to his record on the economy, insistence that people who disagree with him within his own government about policy matters are part of a concerted effort to undermine him.

He has lobbed accusations at Democrats who want more extensive public health measures, and who haven’t agreed to Republican terms on an aid package for people impacted by the coronavirus, usually saying they are trying to harm his re-election prospects.

Even the personal troubles of Mr. Trump’s former campaign manager, Brad Parscale, whom the president has attacked in private for months and whom Mr. Trump demoted over the summer, became a vehicle for assigning blame. When Mr. Trump was told a few days ago that Mr. Parscale had been detained by the police for allegedly threatening to harm to himself, the president ordered aides to write a statement blaming “Democrats” and “Republicans in name only” who had been critical of Mr. Parscale, according to two people familiar with what took place.

This entry was tagged. Donald Trump President2020