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OPINION

Topics for Final Presidential Debate Announced and Boy Will Donald Trump Be in Trouble

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NBC News White House Correspondent Kristen Welker has just announced the topics for the final presidential debate next week on October 22 in Tennessee.

There are six topics, most of which are policy-driven topics, where Trump routinely is challenged. They were chosen by Welker, and released through the Commission on Presidential Debates, as the Associated Press reports.

They are: Fighting COVID-19, American Families, Race in America, Climate Change, National Security, and Leadership.

Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic has been panned by Republicans and Democrats alike, and his approval rating on the issue, which most Americans place as the most important, is 57.4% disapprove, and just 39.8% approve, according to FiveThirtyEight‘s analysis.

The President may be a Republican but he’s never been a “family values” Republican as his sexual misconduct can attest.

Trump fails miserably on race. His handling of the Black Lives Matter protests elicited angry charges of fascism.

The President is a science and climate change denier who claims windmills cause cancer, pulled out of the Paris agreement, and expanded oil and gas drilling into areas never before seen, including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. His decision to open the Eastern Seaboard to offshore drilling was criticized even by Republicans.

During the first debate when climate change was a topic Trump criticized that California has not “cleaned” its forests. (Most of California’s forests are federal lands, not state property.)

The President has no national security plans, and is widely known for having no interest in receiving what were once known as Daily Intelligence Briefings. In the Trump White House those are now just “intelligence briefings,” and Trump receives on average just four per month. His last intel briefing was more than three weeks ago, on September 22.

As for leadership, well, here’s what Republican Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska told 17,000 of his constituents recently:

“The United States now regularly sells out our allies under his leadership, the way he treats women, spends like a drunken sailor.”

He also said he did not think Trump’s leadership during the coronavirus pandemic has been “reasonable or responsible, or right.”

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OPINION

Trump Is a Threat to Democracy – Even if He Loses: Signorile

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This article first appeared in Michelangelo Signorile’s Substack newsletter. To see the article in its original location or to subscribe, click here.

Here we’ve been for almost four years, worried that Donald Trump will destroy us if he wins re-election in two weeks.

But what about if he clearly and decisively loses? Prepare yourself for the fact that none of us is going to be able to take a vacation — even if he does accept the loss and vacates the White House in January.

Right now, Trump is projecting an air of invincibility. “We are going to win,” he told his campaign staffers yesterday. Later he told reporters, “I’m not running scared. I think I’m running angry. I’m running happy and I’m running very content ’cause I’ve done a great job.”

But this seems like damage control meant to stop the media from continuing to focus in on his rallies over the weekend, in which he pondered what would happen if he lost (“Maybe I’ll have to leave the country”) and begged suburban women for their votes (“Suburban women, please like me”).

According the Associated Press, quoting three campaign and White House officials, “Trump himself has alternated between disbelief and anger at the idea that he could lose to a candidate whom he views as washed up and incompetent.”

He’s freaking out. Even Trump, who often seems so out of touch with reality, sees what’s happening quite clearly. My hunch is that he knows it’s highly unlikely that he can turn things around this late in the game by switching positions, reaching out to women and people of color and others he’s losing badly, since voters are locked in and many despise him. And if he even tries, he’ll depress and possibly enrage his own base.

Another politician in such dire straits might just take that chance — certainly we’re seeing some GOP senators doing that, moving away a bit from Trump, though it’s likely far too late — but for Trump, a loss of support among his base after his re-election bid failed would be a loss of what he sees as a protective mass movement that will do anything for him.

Trump has got to be worried about investigations and prosecutions, and would no longer have the Justice Department, the military or the pardon power to wield as tools. And even if he tries to pardon himself for any crimes, which would ultimately go to the courts — or enacts the scenario his former fixer Michael Cohen envisions, in which he steps down in the lame duck, and Mike Pence briefly becomes president and pardons him — that won’t protect him from state charges.

To read the remainder of this article, visit Michelangelo Signorile’s Substack newsletter.

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OPINION

Trump Plants More Seeds for Refusing to Concede – Falsely Claims ‘Tens of Thousands’ of Ballots Are ‘Fraudulent’

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President Donald Trump is building on his stunning remarks from last month, when he repeatedly refused to promise a peaceful transition of power should he lose re-election. Trump is the first United States president to ever refuse to honor centuries of accepted conduct.

Trump on Thursday falsely claimed there have already been “tens of thousands” of “fraudulent” ballots in this election.

“Look at these ballots that are being — tens of thousands of ballots are already fraudulent,” he told Fox News Business’ Stuart Varney. “I want to see a fair election. That’s all I’m asking for is a fair election.”

That’s actually not what he’s asking for, as evidenced by the massive voter intimidation and election interference campaigns he and his supporters have been waging.

“Under what circumstances would you concede?” Fox News Business’s Stuart Varney asked Trump during a telephone interview, as Raw Story reported.

“All I want is a fair election,” Trump claimed.

“So, it’s your judgement as to whether it’s fair or not as to whether you would concede?” Varney, a top Trump supporter, asked.

“Stuart, they always talk about the friendly transition,” Trump replied.

That’s false.

The term has always been “peaceful transition,” not “friendly transition.”

It’s an important distinction with a difference.

Trump is again making up “facts” so he can then use that to later defend his indefensible actions.

“They spied on my campaign and they got caught,” the President continued, lying. There was no spying on his campaign. Even the Dept. of Justice agrees, after it quietly closed down the false “unmasking” probe after finding no evidence of wrongdoing or criminal activity by anyone in the Obama administration.

“They tried to overthrow the president of the United States and they got caught,” Trump continued, again, a ludicrous lie. “And then they stand up so innocent and they say, ‘Will you, you know, do a fair transition?’ Well, they didn’t do a fair transition.”

Again, the term is “peaceful,” not “fair.”

Fair is subjective. Friendly is subjective. Peaceful is not.

“You’re implying if you don’t think it’s fair, you won’t leave the White House,” Varney pointed out, “which means you won’t concede.”

“I’m not saying anything!” Trump replied. “I’m saying this. I think everybody says it. You have to have a fair election. Look at these ballots that are being — tens of thousands of ballots are already fraudulent. I want to see a fair election. That’s all I’m asking for is a fair election.”

“But you know when they talk about a friendly transition, they spied on my campaign,” he added.

“If it wasn’t a friendly transition when you walked into the White House, does that mean that you’re not going to allow a friendly transition if Joe Biden walks into the White House?” Varney pressed.

Trump went on to claim, “people broke the law, people spied on my campaign and they act so innocent.”

“And we have all the evidence. We have so much evidence,” he insisted, which if it were true Attorney General Bill Barr, who has been acting as Trump’s personal attorney, would have brought charges.

Watch:

 

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OPINION

Trump to Get On-Camera ‘Medical Evaluation’ by Hydroxychloroquine-Pushing Fox News Doc

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There are many questions swirling around President Donald Trump and his current health status: When did he first test positive for coronavirus? When was his last negative test? Why is the White House using a rapid test to claim people are coronavirus-free when it’s designed only for those with coronavirus symptoms? What is Trump’s current viral load? Why won’t Trump or his doctors say if he has currently tested negative?

The list is long.

None of those questions are expected to be answered tonight, when a pro-Trump hydroxychloroquine-pushing Fox News doctor who has made questionable and just plain false coronavirus claims will examine President Trump on the conservative cable network’s show hosted by Tucker Carlson.

Fox News recently won a court case by arguing reasonable viewers should not believe what is said on Carlson’s show.

This morning, just 25 days before Election Day, the network announced “President Trump is scheduled to make his first on-camera interview appearance on Friday since he announced last week that he tested positive for the novel coronavirus.”

Notice even Fox doesn’t say “since he tested positive for the novel coronavirus.” It says “since he announced.”

Because the Trump administration refuses to level with the American people about the health of their president.

“The interview will take place on ‘Tucker Carlson Tonight’ at 8 p.m. ET. Dr. Marc Siegel will conduct a medical evaluation and interview during the program.”

That is Fox News contributor Dr. Marc Siegel.

Media Matters reports that Siegel has appeared nearly 300 times on Fox News, as of Sept. 29, to discuss coronavirus, and says he “regularly pushes coronavirus misinformation, downplays the severity of the crisis, and discards science in favor of right-wing talking points.”

“In the past,” Bloomberg adds, Dr. Siegel “has speculated without evidence that [Joe] Biden is using speed and Adderall before debates, said it’s ‘almost impossible’ for people under 70 to die from Covid-19, and argued that Speaker Nancy Pelosi should ‘stop pontificating’ about Trump’s health.”

Siegel once even attributed a decline in coronavirus deaths to a coronavirus“vaccine on the horizon” that has not been released.

“Rather than reveal his medical records to reporters the traditional way in 2016, Trump dictated a letter to his doctor and shared it during a TV appearance with Dr. Oz,” Bloomberg reminds Americans.

As for the medical evaluation – not “medical examination,” well, why should Americans trust the word of a physician who “repeatedly compared COVID-19 to the flu and said concern about the pandemic was being exaggerated to attack President Donald Trump politically, then he became among the first Fox personalities to push hydroxychloroquine as a supposed miracle treatment,” as Media Matters reported last month.

What else has Dr. Siegel said about the deadly virus that to date has killed nearly 215,000 people in the United States? Some excerpts from Media Matters’ extensive report:

  • On February 17, Siegel said he “can’t believe how well” the Trump administration is handling the coronavirus response, adding: “The proof is in the pudding. We have 15 people in the United States with it. That’s it. No one has died.”
  • Three days later, Siegel described Trump’s leadership on the coronavirus as “tremendous” and said the administration is “spreading confidence.”
  • On March 6, Siegel said the “worst-case scenario” for coronavirus is “it could be the flu.”
  • On March 8, Siegel agreed with Fox & Friends Weekend co-host Pete Hegseth after he said, “I feel like the more I learn about this, the less there is to worry about.” Siegel responded, “I was about to say the same thing.”
  • On April 20, Siegel cited unreliable antibody testing data to claim: “The death rate is much, much lower than we’ve been talking about if you think about all these asymptomatic cases versus the tragic 600 that passed away. … We’re talking about a virus that for most cases is dramatically mild, we’re talking about a lower fatality rate than we thought.”
  • On July 7, he said schools need to reopen because “the risk to teachers is so much lower than it is to doctors.”
  • On the same day, Siegel said, “The spread among the young is not what is leading to the deaths or hospitalizations.” Recent research has shown this is false: During the time period Siegel made this remark, young people were catching and spreading the disease and may have later passed it on to older, more vulnerable populations.
  • Siegel pushed Trump campaign talking points falsely labeling Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris as “anti-vaxx,” ignoring that the Trump administration has been undermining scientists in the federal government while promising a viable vaccine by Election Day, which is fueling skepticism toward the president’s claims.
  • On August 6, Siegel spun Trump’s falsehoods on the risk of coronavirus to children on one of Fox’s “straight news” shows: “I can’t interpret” what Trump meant when he said children are “almost immune” from coronavirus.

What will Americans learn tonight about the health of their President? Probably whatever Trump says is the “truth.”

Here’s what MSNBC’s Chris Hayes said last night:

 

 

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