USA Downgraded from Democracy to Anocracy ("Part Democracy and Part Dictatorship") - Kottke.org

Jason Kottke:

Their analysis also places the US at “high risk of impending political instability (i.e., adverse regime change and/or onset of political violence)” and designates “the ongoing efforts of the USA executive to circumvent electoral outcomes and subvert democratic processes as an ‘attempted (presidential) coup’”.

This, plus yesterday’s terrorism alert from DHS about possible impending political violence from the right, makes it pretty clear that the US is headed for a Real Bad Time™, and there may not be much we can do about it.


Trump Fails to Ascend as God Emperor, Leaving Diehard Fans Adrift - Vice.com

Anna Merlan and Mack Lamoureux:

At least one group, the Proud Boys, has seized upon the void Trump’s departure has left in his followers' lives. On one of their official channels on Telegram they tell Trump fans “here is hope. Not for Trump to become president, but there is hope for our future. Abandon the GOP. Embrace the ultranationalist 3rd position.”

This is exactly what we should be worried about right now. White supremacist groups tend to use moments like this to recruit people, which is why it’s important to make sure they don’t have access to places where recruitment can happen.

Deplatforming isn’t just about getting the loud, obnoxious Nazi out of the bar. You want to make sure he doesn’t come back with his friends and start putting up flyers.


US police three times as likely to use force against leftwing protesters, data finds | The Guardian

Lois Beckett:

The statistics, based on law enforcement responses to more than 13,000 protests across the United States since April 2020, show a clear disparity in how agencies have responded to the historic wave of Black Lives Matter protests against police violence, compared with demonstrations organized by Trump supporters.

No one who watched what happened a week ago at the Capitol should be surprised by this.

Also very important:

The US Crisis Monitor previously found that, despite Trump’s rhetoric and the intense media coverage of property damage or violence during protests this summer against police violence, more than 93% of Black Lives Matter protests since April had involved no harm to people or damage to property.

How the U.S. Military Buys Location Data from Ordinary Apps - Vice.com

Joseph Cox:

The most popular app among a group Motherboard analyzed connected to this sort of data sale is a Muslim prayer and Quran app that has more than 98 million downloads worldwide. Others include a Muslim dating app, a popular Craigslist app, an app for following storms, and a "level" app that can be used to help, for example, install shelves in a bedroom.

The focus on Muslims by a US anti-terror organization seems incredibly bigoted, especially when ultra-conservative white American males tend to pose a far bigger threat to our safety than Muslims do.

Bigotry aside, it’s been a bad few days for data privacy. Last week, Apple’s new OS update gave Apple’s own services the ability to sidestep the APIs Apple requires firewalls and VPN software to use, and the same trick could be exploited (easily!) by a bad actor.

The VPN provider I use says they’re looking into it to see if they’re affected. I hope they aren’t, but I bet they are.

Developers also found Big Sur to be phoning home, sending identifiable information about every app you open to Apple’s servers, and the data wasn’t even transmitted securely over HTTPS. Apple claims they’re going to patch that up, but we’ll see.

I was also shocked to see that iMessage is no longer considered secure if you’re using iCloud backup. Apparently that’s old news, but it was new to me. At least we still have Signal.

In the meantime, I’m evaluating Linux-based laptops.


How to Avoid a Surprise Bill for Your Coronavirus Test - The New York Times

Sarah Kliff:

Congress wrote rules in March that aimed to make coronavirus testing free for all Americans. Patients, with or without insurance, have found holes in those new coverage programs. They’ve faced bills that range from a few dollars to over $1,000.

What a sad state of affairs. An explainer like this should not be necessary.

Also, I argue with the phrasing here. Did the patients find these holes? Or did the people profiting off the holes find and exploit them? If the patient found a hole, it’s likely they fell into it like a trapping pit.


Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner's children withdrawn from school after administrators raised concerns about adherence to Covid precautions - CNNPolitics

Kate Bennett:

In the wake of the complaints and requests to change their behavior -- to do things like wear face masks, social-distance and self-quarantine if exposed to someone with the virus -- Kushner and Trump withdrew their children, the source said.

Garbage humans. Absolute trash.


Newsom attended French Laundry party with more households than California advises during pandemic - SFChronicle.com

Alexei Koseff:

State guidelines limit gatherings, defined as “social situations that bring together people from different households at the same time in a single space or place,” to no more than three households. Representatives for Kinney and Newsom declined to specify how many households the diners represented, but did not dispute that it was more than three.

Even with Dems: restrictions for thee but not for me.

See also this dinner being held tonight for new members of the House that Nancy Pelosi said is “safe.”

Update: Dems canceled their in-person dinner.


Va. Republican Amanda Chase pushes baseless fraud claims after arrests of armed supporters - Virginia Mercury

Ned Oliver:

“I don’t do COVID, by the way,” she said to cheers from the crowd of about 100. “I’m the only legislator in the General Assembly who does not wear a mask.”

Everybody stand back, we got ourselves a badass here!

SMDH. Pure idiocy.


The first female recession: Women in Richmond and beyond are leaving the workforce in record numbers during COVID | richmond.com

Colleen Curran:

Women account for 52.6% of job losses between February and August, or 5.6 million jobs, according to data released this month by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Since February, there are 2.6 million fewer women in the labor force. In September, 617,000 women dropped out of the workforce, in comparison to only 78,000 men.

This is depressing and made even worse by Mark Meadows saying yesterday “we are not going to control the pandemic.” As I’ve said before, this is the future Republicans want: women beholden to men. The pandemic provides a path.


A shocking number of women dropped out of the workforce last month - CNN

Anneken Tappe:

About 617,000 women left the workforce in September alone, compared with only 78,000 men, according to government data released Friday. Half of the women who dropped out were in the prime working age of 35-44.

Saw this coming. This, combined with the backward-thinking SCOTUS nominee the GOP put forward, is going to set women back by decades, which is exactly what Republicans want. Barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen taking orders from men–that’s the ideal Republican woman. How depressing.


What If Trump Refuses to Concede? - The Atlantic

Barton Gellman:

According to sources in the Republican Party at the state and national levels, the Trump campaign is discussing contingency plans to bypass election results and appoint loyal electors in battleground states where Republicans hold the legislative majority. With a justification based on claims of rampant fraud, Trump would ask state legislators to set aside the popular vote and exercise their power to choose a slate of electors directly. The longer Trump succeeds in keeping the vote count in doubt, the more pressure legislators will feel to act before the safe-harbor deadline expires.

They have a plan. It’s not hypothetical.


Coronavirus pandemic sets women back amid unemployment, child care crisis - USA Today

Chabeli Carrazana:

In December 2019, when coronavirus was still but a distant headline in China, women surpassed men at 50.04% of the labor force.

It was a fleeting breakthrough.

Nearly 11 million jobs held by women disappeared from February to May, erasing a decade of job gains by women in the labor force.

In June, women regained 2.9 million positions, but those jobs, which are largely in the hospitality field, remain insecure as the spread of coronavirus forces new closures.

I wrote about this about a month ago. The pandemic is going to be absolutely crippling to American women.


The Deaths of 150,000 Americans Are on Trump’s Hands | The Nation

Elie Mystal:

That president, Donald Trump, will never pay for what he’s done. Oh, he might lose an election. He might even be compelled to leave office once he loses (though that is still kind of up in the air). But Trump will never be held criminally accountable for the deaths he has caused. We cannot calculate how many Americans would have died even if we did everything right versus how many Americans have died and will die because Trump has done everything wrong, but that number is large. The delta is monstrous.

I've been beating the criminal negligence drum for a while now. It's unconscionable that Trump and the GOP should be able to walk away from this disaster without being held to account.


Some Missouri health agencies received no COVID-19 money | The Kansas City Star

Katie Moore and Matthew Kelly:

In the past two weeks, Missouri has had the second highest rate of new cases in the country, second only to Connecticut, according to the COVID Exit Strategy.

Against this, local public health agencies across the state are trying to ramp up testing and contact tracing but say their hands are tied because the state delivered the federal aid not to them, but to their local county commissions. And the county commissioners in many places have held up the money.

Some counties have paid outside advisers to manage the funds, have put private businesses first or have considered just giving the money back to the federal government.

Red states gonna red state.


Senate adjourns without extending expiring unemployment benefits - Axios

Zachary Basu:

**The bottom line: **More than 30 million Americans could see their incomes drop 50%–75% when the unemployment benefits expire on Friday.

They won’t be back in Washington until Monday. What an utter, unconscionable failure by both Republicans and Democrats.


Prosecutor: No charges for officer in Michael Brown’s death - AP News

Jim Salter:

It was nearly six years ago that a grand jury declined to indict Darren Wilson, the white police officer who shot Brown, a Black 18-year-old. Civil rights leaders and Brown’s mother had hoped that Prosecuting Attorney Wesley Bell, the county’s first Black prosecutor, would reopen the case after he took office in January 2019.

This is a terrible decision. It’s horrifying in light of the current climate. Very interested to see what the reaction in Ferguson is going to be.


Trump abruptly ends briefing after being pressed over retweeting misinformation - CNNPolitics

Kevin Liptak:

When Trump was pressed by CNN's Kaitlan Collins about his words of support for a doctor who downplayed masks and suggested alien DNA was used in medical treatments, he cut the briefing short and stormed out.

Haha! Kaitlan Collins is a boss. IIRC, this isn't the first time that a tough question from a female reporter led to Trump bailing out of a press conference like a big angry baby.


Donald Trump begins rolling back DACA in defiance of the Supreme Court. - Slate

Mark Joseph Stern:

The Trump administration announced on Tuesday that it will continue to defy a federal court order compelling the full restoration of DACA, the Obama-era program that allows 700,000 immigrants to live and work in the United States legally. By doing so, the administration has chosen to flout a decision by the Supreme Court, effectively rejecting the judiciary’s authority to say what the law is.

But will anyone do anything besides grouse and point out there's an election in a couple months? Both sides are letting him get away with things like this. It's a bad precedent that's going to cause even more problems in the future.


“Defendant Shall Not Attend Protests”: In Portland, Getting Out of Jail Requires Relinquishing Constitutional Rights — ProPublica

Dara Lind:

Legal experts describe the move as a blatant violation of the constitutional right to free assembly, but at least 12 protesters arrested in recent weeks have been specifically barred from attending protests or demonstrations as they await trials on federal misdemeanor charges.

There's no way in hell I'd agree to this because it's constitutionally invalid.


The doctor behind a cognitive test Trump took says ‘it’s supposed to be easy’ - MarketWatch

Nicole Lyn Pesce:

“This is not an IQ test or the level of how a person is extremely skilled or not,” Nasreddine agreed in a call with MarketWatch. “The test is supposed to help physicians detect early signs of Alzheimer’s, and it became very popular because it was a short test, and very sensitive for early impairment.”

That Trump referred to some of these questions as "very difficult" is extremely troubling.


Can essential child care during Covid-19 offer a model to schools this fall? - CNN

Laura Jarrett:

Classrooms are limited to only nine children and sprayed down with an industrial-strength cleaning solution at least once a day.

If a child falls ill during the day – which Ramage says has happened only twice – there are "isolation rooms" and parents are called to come pick the child up. But so far, not a single case of Covid-19 has been reported.

Zero cases while caring for kids of essential workers, like folks who work in hospitals treating coronavirus patients. This is super interesting. But before we get too excited:

But safety comes with a steep cost, making all of these enhanced measures and protocols unrealistic for some school districts to put into practice on a large scale.

Our public schools in America are already severely underfunded, so it’s hard to see how this model could be rolled out nationwide without massive federal assistance. Republicans have already demanded that kids go back to school without offering any assistance with the effort, so it’s hard to imagine them suddenly getting on board with a massive funding initiative. Hell, they can’t even be arsed to pass a new stimulus package for the 30 million people who are still unemployed.


Missouri governor’s comments on coronavirus, McCloskeys raise eyebrows - St. Louis Post Dispatch

Jeremy Kohler:

“These kids have got to get back to school,” Parson told Cox. “They’re at the lowest risk possible. And if they do get COVID-19, which they will — and they will when they go to school — they’re not going to the hospitals. They’re not going to have to sit in doctor’s offices. They’re going to go home and they’re going to get over it.”

Parson has followed Trump’s lead on the coronavirus, and his state is starting to pay for it now. Missouri reported 846 new cases yesterday. A week prior, the state reported only 300 new cases. Parson has provided zero leadership, just like Trump, and is shrugging off any options for handling the virus that don’t directly relate to reopening the state’s economy as soon as possible.

And if that weren’t bad enough:

Parson also raised eyebrows by saying he would probably pardon Mark and Patricia McCloskey, the couple who pointed guns at protesters who marched by their mansion on One Portland Place, if they were to be convicted of crimes.

Older Children Spread the Coronavirus Just as Much as Adults, New Study Finds - The New York Times

Apoorva Mandavilli:

The findings suggest that as schools reopen, communities will see clusters of infection take root that include children of all ages, several experts cautioned.

I'm beating a dead horse here, but it is imperative that we separate the politics from the science. It will be hard on every single parent to keep kids home this fall, but opening schools will get a lot of people killed.


Federal Officers Deployed in Portland Didn’t Have Proper Training, D.H.S. Memo Said - The New York Times

Sergio Olmos, Mike Baker and Zolan Kanno-Youngs:

The memo, seemingly anticipating future encounters with protesters in other cities as the department follows President Trump’s guidance to crack down on unrest, warns: “Moving forward, if this type of response is going to be the norm, specialized training and standardized equipment should be deployed to responding agencies.”

Some part of the Trump regime jumped into action half-cocked with no plan? Shocker.


85 infants under age 1 tested positive for coronavirus in one Texas county - CNN

Faith Karimi:

In Texas' Nueces County, where Corpus Christi is located, the number of new coronavirus cases skyrocketed in July after a flattening trend. The virus has infected dozens of babies and local officials are urging people to wear masks and practice social distancing.

buT cHIldRen cAN't cATcH or TraNSmiT ah screw it, you get the point.