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Member since: Mon Sep 15, 2008, 09:33 AM
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GOP portrayal of urban mayhem doesn't always match reality

Source: AP

At almost every turn at the Republican National Convention, speakers from the president on down portrayed American cities like Portland, Oregon, New York and Chicago as lawless Democratic wastelands that have been overrun with violence, looting and destruction that is forcing residents to flee for safer locales.

The reality on the ground is much more nuanced.

In downtown Portland this week, tourists from Texas enjoyed gyros at a food cart, a couple from the suburbs soaked up the afternoon sun and a recent transplant from Indiana strummed an acoustic guitar outside a shuttered Apple store, in front of a mural that’s dedicated to Black people killed by police.

“It’s a pretty day and we feel just perfectly safe as long as we’ve got our masks on,” said Benjamin Green, a warehouse forklift operator from Beaverton, Oregon. “I don’t see why there’s any need to be scared to walk around out here.”

The picture of American cities overwhelmed by violence has become a central theme of the 2020 presidential race. In his convention acceptance speech Thursday night, President Donald Trump called for “law and order” and said the country can never allow “mob rule.” But for the most part that portrait doesn’t line up with reality.

Read more: https://apnews.com/6a983b159cb0a20468e0c0a19dd93a31

Who's Organizing the Lockdown Protests?

Source: NYT

The Daily Podcast

Across the United States, protests are erupting against orders to remain at home, close nonessential businesses and limit travel. So who is behind these protests? And what do they stand to gain

Background reading:

Conservative groups in a loose coalition have tapped their networks to drive up turnout at recent rallies and financed lawsuits, polling and research to combat stay-at-home orders.

Crowd sizes at the protests remain small -- ranging from a few dozen to several thousand at a rally in Michigan. Polls suggest that most Americans are in favor of cautious lockdown measures.

Jim Rutenberg, a writer-at-large for The New York Times.

Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/22/podcasts/the-daily/coronavirus-lockdown-protests.html

For more detailed information listen to the 28-minute Podcast.


Read the Complete Transcript here: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/22/podcasts/the-daily/coronavirus-lockdown-protests.html?showTranscript=1

Joe Biden for President Ad from "The Lincoln Project"

There first pro-Biden ad

Citi 1Q profit falls 46% as virus hits US, global customers

Source: AP

NEW YORK (AP) — Banking conglomerate Citigroup says first-quarter profit dropped 46% as it set aside billions to cover potentially bad loans. Citi set aside $7.03 billion for loan losses this quarter, up from $1.98 billion in the same period a year earlier. Citi is a large credit card issuer, focused primarily on consumers who keep and revolve a balance. Those customers are now at greater risk of default because many of them have lost their jobs. Citi also has a large international banking franchise and lends to companies around the globe, and some could default on their loans as business dries up.

Bank of America reported Wednesday that its quarterly profits dropped by 45% from a year ago, the latest major bank to say it took a hard hit from the coronavirus pandemic.

Like JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo, Bank of America had to set aside billions of dollars to cover potentially bad loans. Many of these loans were fine only weeks ago, but the pandemic has caused companies to shutter and millions of Americans to be put out of work.

The amount of money BofA set aside for loan losses nearly quintupled from a year ago, from $1.01 billion to $4.76 billion. The losses came from the bank’s consumer lending division — BofA is a large credit card issuer and has a massive consumer banking business. The bank also reserved for bad loans in its lending division to businesses.

Read more: https://apnews.com/66b6a574386b82357167e1d5b72fffbe

In nod to governors, Trump walks back total authority claim

Source: AP

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump said he’s open to some states “reopening” before federal social distancing guidelines expire at the end of month, as he appeared to back off his claim of absolute authority to decide when the time was right to act.

Hours after suggesting that the bipartisan concerns of governors about his assertion of power would amount to an insurrection, Trump abruptly reversed course Tuesday, saying he would leave it to governors to determine when and how to revive activity in their states. He said he likely would discuss his plans with governors on Thursday.

“The governors are responsible,” Trump said. “They have to take charge.”

Still, he insisted, “The governors will be very, very respectful of the presidency.”

Democratic and Republican governors had objected after Trump asserted Monday that he alone would determine when and how to reopen the economy, despite clear constitutional limitations on federal powers.

Trump said Tuesday he would authorize governors “of each individual state to implement a reopening — and a very powerful reopening — plan of their state at a time and in a matter as most appropriate.” Trump added that he would support moves by states that haven’t been hit hard by the outbreak to ease restrictions even before federal guidelines on social distancing expire April 30.

Read more: https://apnews.com/420a38ec14101eab70e07be367ee6422

Trump's narcissism is endangering his reelection. His own advisers admit it.

April 10, 2020 at 9:24 a.m. CDT
President Trump’s advisers are reportedly deeply worried that his narcissistic daily briefings on coronavirus are hurting his reelection chances. That’s revealing, in that it shows Trump’s unshakable faith in his ability to manipulate the news cycle with his magical reality-bending powers is not shared by his data-focused team.

But what’s even more revealing is what those advisers won’t say about these displays. This shows the limits on what constitutes acceptable criticism of Trump among those who have a big stake in his political success.

In short: It’s only okay to leak criticism of Trump for things that are perceived to harm him politically in the most superficial of ways, never mind the danger that his failings continue to pose to the country.

That Trump’s magical reality-bending powers are failing him is borne out by a new ABC News/Ipsos poll finding that only 44 percent of Americans approve of his handling of coronavirus, versus 55 percent who disapprove, a sizable swing from last week. A new CBS poll also finds this approval sliding into negative territory, as did this week’s CNN poll.

It turns out some Republicans — and some of Trump’s own advisers — agree with this, and are deeply worried about it.

A remarkably revealing New York Times report details these concerns, with a focus on how Trump’s daily coronavirus briefings are working against him.



Want proof that Republicans want to suppress voters? Just ask Trump.

We have heard the excuses for voter-ID requirements, opposition to vote-by-mail and voting-roll purges. It’s about voter fraud, you see. That is bunk, as President Trump essentially admitted Monday morning.

"The more people who vote, the worse Republicans will do"
Back to the more fundamental problem: Trump, lacking the filter most Republican operators have, blurts out the unseemly truth that the more people who vote, the worse Republicans will do. It is no wonder that Republicans — who disproportionately rely on the shrinking portion of the electorate that is white and older — have shifted into high gear since the Shelby County v. Holder decision invalidating “pre-clearance” in the 1965 Voting Rights Act. They need to extend the dominance of white voters as the electorate becomes more diverse and less amenable to messages of white resentment, antagonism toward government, racism and xenophobia.

"It is nothing less than a confession that voting suppression is essential to the Republican Party’s survival.
As was the case in the litigation against the administration’s travel bans, Trump’s own words are the best evidence of the underlying motives of right-wing actions. In those cases, Trump let on that the real reason for his travel ban was to exclude Muslims. Now, he confesses that the party needs to keep voting levels down or face devastating losses. It is nothing less than a confession that voting suppression is essential to the Republican Party’s survival.


THE REPUBLICAN LIE dating back to 1980. Now finally, the LIAR IN CHIEF blurts out the truth!

From the source: "Trump says Republicans would 'never' be elected again if it was easier to vote".


Trump admitted on Monday that making it easier to vote in America would hurt the Republican party.

He dismissed a Democratic-led push for reforms such as vote-by-mail, same-day registration and early voting as states seek to safely run elections amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The things they had in there were crazy. They had things, levels of voting that if you’d ever agreed to it, you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again,” Trump said during an appearance on Fox & Friends. “They had things in there about election days and what you do and all sorts of clawbacks. They had things that were just totally crazy and had nothing to do with workers that lost their jobs and companies that we have to save.”

Democrats often accuse Republicans of deliberately making it hard to vote in order to keep minorities, immigrants, young people and other groups from the polls. And Republicans often say they oppose voting reforms because of concerns of voter fraud – which is extremely rare – or concerns over having the federal government run elections. But Trump’s remarks reveal how at least some Republicans have long understood voting barriers to be a necessary part of their political self-preservation.

“I don’t want everybody to vote,” Paul Weyrich, an influential conservative activist, said in 1980. “As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.”



New (Wisconsin) warden uses old-school skills in desperate search

The rookie Department of Natural Resources warden had just popped the lid of his salad container when the radio squawked: a 13-year-old boy, missing.

The boy had run away from Edgerton Middle School after a dispute with his teachers — he swore at them before he ducked out of the school and headed into the swamp across the street. Principal Clark Bretthauser tried to follow, but lost him in the mucky underbrush.

The boy was clad only in a T-shirt and sweatpants. The temperature was 39 degrees Fahrenheit (3.89 degrees Celsius) and falling as the sun dipped toward the horizon; forecasts called for a snowstorm at nightfall.

Schumacher is 25. Growing up in southern Wisconsin, he fly fished and hunted “pretty much everything” — including deer with a musket. Inspired by an uncle who worked as a police officer, he majored in criminal justice at Madison’s Edgewood College. A post-graduation ride-along with a DNR warden showed him the way to a job that would combine police work with his love for the outdoors.

He spent two months training in the backwoods of northern Wisconsin, learning to track people in the wilderness without the aid of technology.

The most important lesson: Humans are lazy creatures. Animals will crawl under or go around obstacles. People will push them aside or plow through them. Everything in nature is vertical as it tries to reach the sun; if you see something horizontal, like a branch on the ground, chances are humans were there.

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