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QUOTE OF THE DAY
“[The testing plan] just went poof into thin air,” — a member of Jared Kushner’s virus testing team, on how the administration abandoned a national testing plan after seeing that coronavirus was hitting blue states hardest.
The $600 federal unemployment benefit expires today. Congress is still arguing how to replace it, with Democrats this week rejecting the GOP’s $200/week interim proposal. Millions of Americans will lose 50-75% of their income. The White House has signaled it might be willing to give up on its liability-shield demand to get a new emergency spending bill passed.
Conservatives rejected President Trump’s suggest to delay the election. The co-founder of the Federalist Society called it fascistic. Mitch McConnell and other leading Republican senators said no way. The president has not let up on his attacks on vote by mail.
The NBA restarted inside its Florida bubble with no positive tests and lots of nods to social justice. Players could wear messages instead of their names on their jersey. The week-old MLB season, on the other hand, is already turning into a fiasco, with positive tests everywhere and cancellations rampant.
Anthony Fauci says goggles or other eye coverings may help prevent transmission. He suggests they might be recommended soon. We’re well on our way to full Fury Road.
Hurricane Isaias is tracking to hit the East Coast of Florida. It’s over the Caribbean, and will likely dump a lot of rain on Florida and the Carolinas in the next few days.
VIEWS OF THE DAY
The election will not be delayed. But Trump is still torturing American democracy.
Donald Trump, whose selfishness is as long as the mighty Mississippi River and as deep as the Grand Canyon, will gladly maim American democracy to assuage his ego.
The election will not be delayed, thank god. His allies universally and brutally rejected that obscene idea. (“fascistic” — cofounder of the Federalist Society; “the single most anti-democratic statement any sitting president has ever made” —leading Trumpist intellectual; “Never in the history of the country….” — the top Senate Republican)
The election will not be delayed, but Trump will still cripple the credibility of the system to quiet his demons.
Trump’s delay-the-election tweet didn’t represent a strategy. Trump doesn’t play chess.
He plays 52-card pickup. Trump foments chaos and disorder, which in turns serves to undermine trust. Delay-the-election was chaff thrown up to distract from epically terrible economic news.
But there’s a theme to his pollution. The president has made it clear that he will corrupt anything to win reelection, and if that doesn’t work — and the polls suggest it won’t — he’ll do everything to cast doubt on the system and encourage his supporters to distrust it. None of this is for any principled reason: He simply wants to protect his ego.
His repeated, unfounded slurs against vote-by-mail will discourage millions from voting and will wrongly cast a shadow on mailed-in ballots. His refusal to say he’ll accept the election result, even though the calm transition of power has defined the American presidency, spreads anxiety and fear. He makes wild, false accusations about noncitizens voting. He allies with conspiracists who say coronavirus is a plot to harm his reelection. He targets companies for punishment because they won’t publish his campaign lies.
This monkeying with the system, combined with partisan vote manipulation and foreign meddling, might win him the election. But even if it doesn’t, it will leave Americans more mistrustful and divided. No matter who wins, a significant minority of Americans will stop believing in the integrity of the American political system. And that will be Trump’s fault. — DP
Why won’t Republicans spend enough to save the economy?
Amazingly, the worst economic news of the week wasn’t the historic decline in second quarter GDP. Nor was it today’s expiration of supplemental unemployment benefits, which endangers the economic security of tens of millions of families. It’s not even the 19th straight week of one million plus new filings for unemployment.
Rather it’s the tragic mismatch between what the economy needs and what Congress is willing to do.
Despite trillions in emergency spending this spring, the recovery is wheezing because the pandemic is still ravaging the nation. Consumer confidence is plunging. The situation was bad in March, but it’s worse now.
The government can stop the bleeding. The Treasury can borrow at trivially low rates, and the Fed stands ready to do whatever is needed. But the President and congressional Republicans are (desultorily) discussing a $1 trillion bill. That sounds like a lot by 2019 terms, but it falls trillions short of what every leading economist and forecaster say is needed. House Democrats passed a $3 trillion bill, and even that doesn’t have enough for schools.
A mingy emergency bill would mean that the small businesses that stayed afloat with PPP will close permanently, that state governments will slash spending and staff, that evictions will be rampant, and that when a vaccine does finally come, tens of millions will need to start from scratch, rather than pick up where they were. (Here’s a depressing essay about how one industry — local event venues — will literally disappear in the next couple months without emergency relief. Multiply times travel, times restaurants, times sports teams…..)
What’s so perverse about the Republican stinginess is that lavish spending is Trump and the GOP’s best campaign strategy. A recovering economy fueled by confident consumers is the surest way for them to win in November. Just spend Mitch, spend Donald, spend, spend, spend. It’s in your interest. And it will help the country too. — DP
Kushner thought the coronavirus would just own the libs, the virus didn’t get the memo
Vanity Fair’s Katherine Eban did a deep dive into the disaster that has been the White House’s response to the coronavirus, led largely by the President’s son-in-law Jared Kushner.
She uncovered that the response failed not only because of a mind-numbing incompetence (we all kind of knew about that), but also because of partisan political malice.
When the going got too tough for Jared and the team of Princeton-grad bankers he assembled to solve the pandemic, they threw in the towel, reassuring themselves that only Democrats would suffer in the pandemic.
From the story:
“Most troubling of all, perhaps, was a sentiment the expert said a member of Kushner’s team expressed: that because the virus had hit blue states hardest, a national plan was unnecessary and would not make sense politically. ‘The political folks believed that because it was going to be relegated to Democratic states, that they could blame those governors, and that would be an effective political strategy,’ said the expert.”
That logic may have swayed Kushner. “It was very clear that Jared was ultimately the decision maker as to what [plan] was going to come out,” the expert said.
Jared somehow thought that the coronavirus would politely avoid Florida after its long stay in New York — would kindly sidestep Texas and Arizona after ravaging California. The stupidity is shocking, but not as disturbing as the level of pain this White House is happy to allow anyone who is not “Trump people” to endure.
This White House’s cruel othering of people who didn’t vote for the President shouldn’t shock anyone. Trump is an openly racist person — othering people who are unlike/disagree with him is one of the few things he’s always been consistent about. Now we know that attitude is pervasive in this White House along political lines, and that it has been applied to this pandemic with deadly effect.
To Trump — and apparently his entire White House — America belongs to his followers. Everyone else can literally die. And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention, also, that this othering is something fascists do. —LL
BUSINESS & ECONOMY
Amazon won a major FCC approval for its $10 billion satellite internet plan. It intends to launch 3,236 Kuiper satellites, competing with Elon Musk’s Starlink, which is several years ahead.
Internal emails reveal how the big four tech companies thought about acquisition targets like Instagram and Ring. In general, they were unimpressed by the upstarts’s technology, but bought them to take advantage of their market share and momentum.
A track-by-track breakdown of the Easter eggs on Taylor Swift’s “folklore.” Including lots of details on the much discussed “teenage love triangle.”
Marvel has employed only two Black editorial staffers in the past 5 years. That’s why insiders are skeptical of its new pledges about diversity.
LISTEN OF THE DAY
Should students go back to the classroom? The question has been a hot topic as the US grapples with the ongoing fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. We sat down with Insider Audio’s Charlie Herman for a discussion about what the country needs to do to get kids back into their seats, and what happens if we fail. Click here to listen to the full conversation. — HB & DP
THE BIG 3*
Trump was recorded boasting about his plan to keep Confederate names on military bases. He was talking with Sen. Jim Inhofe, who put him on speakerphone in a DC restaurant, where they were overheard.
Arizona woman who recorded herself destroying a Target face-mask display regrets doing it. She has lost all her PR clients. And her husband filed for divorce. She blames it on a manic bipolar episode.
Tucker Carlson attacks President Obama as a “greasy politician” for his John Lewis eulogy. Shockingly, Obama used the civil rights icon’s funeral as an occasion to talk about…civil rights.
*The most popular stories on Insider today.