مغلوب ساختن پیشی جستن سهام op-ed توسط فاکس نیوز’ ناپولیتانو هشدار داد که پلیس فدرال در پورتلند در حال توتالیتر

صبح روز چهارشنبه به عنوان او اغلب می کند رئیس جمهور دونالد مغلوب ساختن پیشی جستن شروع روز خود را با به اشتراک گذاشتن یک سری از لینک ها و توییت در توییتر — همیشه بیشتر وسواس با شکل دادن به برداشت عمومی از واقع حاکم است.

اما یک صدای جیر جیر به طور خاص گرفتار برخی از ناظران چشم و از بقیه ایستاده بود.

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مغلوب ساختن پیشی جستن را بازتوییت کرد پست زیر از واشنگتن تایمز:

بر خلاف بسیاری از تبلیغات رئیس جمهور معمولا سهام این قطعه به شدت انتقادی از دولت او. در op-ed, Andrew Napolitano excoriated رئیس جمهور فدرال آمريکا و درمان آنها از غیرنظامیان در پورتلند, اورگان:

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آخر هفته گذشته بدون اطلاع و یا محلی با رضایت وزارت امنیت داخلی ایالات متحده فرستاده می شود تیم ها از عوامل ندیده در کنترل جمعیت و با پوشیدن لباس نظامی خستگی — بر روی پورتلند خیابان. لباس خود را با مته سوراخ هیچ دولتی و اداری و یا شخصی به نام فقط کلمه “پلیس” در نوار پوشش. آنها بر شهر فرود آمد در بینام و Suv ها و شروع به گرفتن مردم یکسره کردن خیابان ها بدون توجه به فرد حضور قانونی یا رفتار شخصی.

با توجه به حساب یک قربانی او در راه رفتن مسالمت آمیز در منطقه مرکز شهر رعایت هرج و مرج زمانی که پنج مرد نقاب دار در خستگی خارج شد بینام SUV برداشت او کشیده و او را به ماشین. آنها گره خورده است دست خود را با پلاستیک پشت سر خود را. آنها کشیده کلاه خود بیش از چهره اش. آنها او را نگه داشته و به مدت دو ساعت و سپس او منتشر شد. آنها در زمینه اتهامات علیه او.

آنها تا به حال هیچ پایه و اساسی برای این آدم ربایی است.

آن را یک آدم ربایی, نه بازداشت. بازداشت قانونی است محدودیت مشروع اقتدار دولت به موجب حکم صادر شده توسط قاضی به طور خاص نامگذاری این فرد دستگیر و یا به موجب احتمالی علت جرم شخصا رعايت دستگیری افسران. نه از این مورد بود در پورتلند.

و برخی از قربانیان حتی کمتر خوش شانس از کسانی که ربوده شده است. آنها حمله با اسپری فلفل و ضربه با nonlethal انفجار گلوله که بی حس کردن درد نکنه و disorient. این گلوله می تواند به چشم آسیب قلب و کبد است. من تو را دیدم یک تصویری از یک مرد جوان سوار یک دوچرخه به دور از هرج و مرج است. در عین حال او مورد حمله قرار گرفت توسط پنج تن از این فدرال.

ناپولیتانو گره خورده است این اقدامات به طور مستقیم به تهمت و اشاره کرد: “در دوشنبه DHS اذعان کرد که این اراذل و اوباش هستند آن پلیس و گفت: رفتار آنها به نحوی خواهد ثبات را به مرکز شهر پورتلند. این عبارت که اقدام DHS وزیر چاد گرگ استفاده می شود — به تقلید از رئیس خود — که قانون و نظم است.'”

او نتیجه گرفت: “این است چگونه توتالیتاریسم آغاز می شود. فدرال ادعا می کنند که اموال فدرال نیاز به حفاظت و مردمی اختصاص داده شده برای انجام این کار نیاز به کمک. زمانی که کمک برسد و این کار را با تعجب تحت پوشش تاریکی و محافظت شده توسط ناشناس ماندن. سپس تقویت ضرب و شتم و دستگیری و آسیب معترضان به دلیل کارفرمایان خود در واشنگتن را تایید نمی کند از معترضان’ message.”

آن را سخت قانع کننده سرنوشت مورد در حال حاضر دولت است. پس چرا رئیس جمهور به اشتراک گذاری آن ؟

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ممکن است تا به حال هیچ ایده آنچه که او انجام شده بود. او ممکن است اشتباه تیتر و مقاله را بخوانید. این روشن نیست که اگر وجود دارد هر کسی در کاخ سفید که اطلاع و یا تلاش برای اصلاح رئیس جمهور اشتباه های یک صدای جیر جیر.

اما نگران کننده دیگر امکان. رئیس جمهور ممکن است به اشتراک گذاشته اند داستان آگاهانه در هدف. آن است که بعد از همه, هنوز در خوراک توییتر خود در زمان نگارش این ساعت پس از او برای اولین بار به اشتراک گذاشته شده آن است. شاید او به اشتراک گذاشته آن را به عنوان یک هشدار و یا یک تهدید. او را دوست دارد دیده می شود به عنوان یک حزب جدا شوند. او ممکن است را دیده اند ناپولیتانو تیز انصراف خود را از استبدادی تاکتیک و فکر کردم: “این کسی است که به من می شود.”

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Make this horchata cold brew to add some sugar and spice to your morning

During the height of summer, I tend to drink iced coffee from sunrise to just before dinner. While I tend to like my cold brew like jet fuel on ice, occasionally I want something to cut both the bitterness and the caffeine. Enter the horchata cold brew. 

Horchata de arroz — which is a traditional drink in Mexico and Guatemala — is made by soaking, straining, and sweetening rice and water. Mixed with cold brew concentrate, it adds a little sugar, spice, and creaminess to the blend (don’t forget to add your cold brew ice cubes, too!). 

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Plan ahead. Both the horchata and the cold brew concentrate need time to sit overnight, but trust me, it’s worth the wait. 

Horchata Cold Brew

Horchata

1 ½  cups of uncooked long grain white rice
¼ cup of sliced almonds, toasted
2 cinnamon sticks 
3 ½ cups of lukewarm water
½ cup of brown sugar
2 cups of milk — whole or almond 

Cold Brew Concentrate

1 ½  cups coffee beans, coarsely ground
4 ½ cups of water

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For the horchata, place the rice, 1 cup of water sliced almonds, and cinnamon sticks in a high-powered blender or spice mill and pulse until the mixture is coarsely ground. You can also use a mortar and pestle if you prefer, but it’ll just take a little extra time and elbow grease. Transfer to a large bowl, add the remaining water, and cover — allowing the mixture to chill in the refrigerator overnight. 

The next morning, add the milk and brown sugar to the mixture, then strain it through a cheesecloth or fine-mesh sieve into a pitcher for storage. 

For the cold brew concentrate, combine the ground coffee beans and water in a large mixing bowl and allow it to sit, covered, for at least 12 hours. Use a cheesecloth or similar fabric to line a fine-mesh sieve, then strain the mixture into a large pitcher. 

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Add ice to a glass, followed by ½ cup of horchata and ½ cup of cold brew concentrate. Give it a quick stir then garnish with powdered cinnamon. 

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Clyburn Says Trump “Is Mussolini”: “I Don’t Think He Plans to Leave the White House”


Rep. James Clyburn speaks during a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. on July 31, 2020.
Rep. James Clyburn speaks during a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. on July 31, 2020.
ERIN SCOTT/Getty Images

House Majority Whip James Clyburn likened President Donald Trump to Italian fascist Benito Mussolini on Sunday, insisting the commander in chief has no plans to leave the White House if he loses in November. During an interview Sunday morning on CNN’s State of the Union, host Dana Bash asked the South Carolina Democrat about a PBS interview that aired Friday in which he said “Trump thinks that the American people will be duped by him, like the people of Germany was duped by Adolf Hitler.” When Bash asked whether Clyburn really though Trump “is comparable to Adolf Hitler,” the No. 3 House Democrat did not shy away from comparing the president to a brutal totalitarian although the historical reference changed. “I feel very strongly that this man has taken on strong-arm tactics. And I feel very strongly that he is Mussolini,” Clyburn said. “Putin is Hitler.”

Clyburn went on to explain that he thinks Trump will try to cling on to power. “I believe very strongly that this guy never had any idea about being—want to peacefully transfer power. I don’t think he plans to leave the White House. He doesn’t plan to have fair and unfettered elections,” Clyburn said. “I believe that he plans to install himself in some kind of emergency way to continue hold onto office.” Clyburn went on to call on Americans to “wake up” because history is full of warning sings. “I know a little bit about history, and I know how countries find their demise. It is when we fail to let democracy and the fundamentals of which is a fair, unfettered election. And that’s why he is trying to put a cloud over this election, floating the idea of postponing the elections,” Clyburn said.

Trump has received lots of pushback, including from fellow Republicans, after his tweet last week in which he suggested postponing the presidential election. Speaking on CNN’s State of the Union, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson insisted the election date would not change. “It’s not helpful for the president to think out loud in a public fashion and express some frustration,” Hutchinson said. “Obviously, as everyone has indicated, there shouldn’t be any change in the date of the election. That is historic. It is constitutional. It is required. And it’s up to the states to conduct fair elections with integrity.” Although Trump later appeared to backtrack and say that he didn’t want to change the date of the election he has refused to outright say whether he would accept the results of the election. “I have to see,” Trump said in an interview with Chris Wallace last month. When pressed on whether he would accept the results, Trump refused to give a straight answer. “No, I’m not going to just say yes,” Trump said. “I’m not going to say no, and I didn’t last time either.”

For more of Slate’s news coverage, subscribe to What Next on Apple Podcasts or listen below.

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FLASHBACK: Republicans attacked Biden for predicting Trump would delay this year’s elections

Former Vice President Joe Biden this past April predicted that President Donald Trump would try to delay the 2020 election in order to avoid a humiliating loss — and now the president has proven Biden’s prediction to be very prescient.

Trump on Thursday floated delaying the 2020 election until the end of the novel coronavirus pandemic so that Americans could “properly, securely and safely vote.”

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This came months after Biden told a fundraiser that he believed the president would try to come up with some excuse to postpone the election until a time when the political climate was more favorable.

“Mark my words I think he is gonna try to kick back the election somehow, come up with some rationale why it can’t be held,” Biden said.

At the time, many conservatives attacked Biden for being alarmist and suggested that was trying to dishonestly instill unfounded fears among voters about the president’s authoritarian ambitions.

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“Former vice president Joe Biden’s unfounded accusation Thursday that President Trump wants to delay November’s election was not only clearly over the line but also unmasks how low the supposedly moderate Biden will go to win,” wrote Henry Olsen in the Washington Post.

“Some within Democratic Party circles hold fervently to the idea President Trump will arbitrarily decide to postpone the election,” scolded columnist Byron Williams of the Winston-Salem Journal. “This belief fits neatly into a narrative ascribed to the president. As they see it, his penchant for authoritarianism makes him America’s Hitler incarnate.”

“Joe Biden is off his rocker to make such an irresponsible allegation without any evidence,” wrote GOP Rapid Response Director Steve Guest.

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And Trump-defending attorney Jonathan Turley chided Biden for fanning a “conspiracy theory” about Trump delaying the election in a column for The Hill.

“The ultimate conspiracy theory was declared by the presumptive Democratic nominee, Joe Biden, who warned that he was certain Trump plans to delay the election this fall,” Turley wrote. “It is a conspiracy theory utterly without factual or constitutional support, yet his warning was deemed a ‘prediction’ by Politico in a recent article.”

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“Black Is King” continues Beyonce’s immortalizing of the Black American experience through art

There are times when a person doesn’t realize how drained, hot and thirsty she is until she sees water. “Black Is King” triggers that realization in its opening with a wide shot of a river, its gentle current carrying a basket. The biblical allusion to the story of Moses is plain to see, only in this context the untethered basket is a visual metaphor for a people . . . but also, for escape.

Filming for “Black Is King,” Beyoncé Knowles-Carter’s visual album accompaniment to her 2019 release “The Lion King: The Gift,” took place in the second half of last year after the film’s release but before the culture at large erupted with protests in the name of Black Lives Matter.

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It arrives at a time of unfortunate inevitability for any social justice movement, when forces align against it to disrupt its progress, at a moment when demonstrations of empathy are teetering over the line into something like an obsession with footage of Black suffering.

That river answers all of this along with the surrounding images of lush forests cutting to shots of people in bright colors, faces tilted skyward; a tight shot on the visage of an elegant elder; then an aerial gaze from over the ocean, floating in to shore where Beyoncé awaits in a diaphanous white gown. “Bless the body, born celestial,” she says in voiceover, “beautiful in dark matter.”

A few beats later she adds, “You are welcome to come home to yourself. Let Black be synonymous with glory.”

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Here, one of the world’s most recognizable artists uses the framework of an established story created by one of Earth’s most recognizable brands to create, as the press materials read, “a celebratory memoir for the world on the Black experience.” But its arrival at the end of a particularly brutal July for the planet and for Black Americans in particular provides a much-needed reminder that abundance and greatness is as much our birthright as anyone else’s.

The Disney+ debut of “Black Is King” comes at the end of a month that opened with the debut of the movie version of “Hamilton,” and though they may be thematically dissimilar what they have in common is a familiarity of story and sound. Those most likely to be drawn to see “Hamilton” probably had every line and verse of the soundtrack memorized before seeing the play.

The BeyHive and “Lion King” obsessives have had a year to listen to “The Gift,” not to mention embrace and uplift the empowerment themes beating in the heart of songs like “Brown Skin Girl,” which became last summer’s tribute to women whose complexions have long been diminished by a colorism- infected culture – and by that I mean Eurocentric Western culture as a whole – that favors fairer skin tones.

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But it’s another experience to see its melody and poetry informing a debutante’s ball where women with deep cocoa-toned complexions spin in elegant floor-length gowns as Beyoncé herself playfully swans around in a separate scene that also features Lupita Nyong’o, Naomi Campbell, models Aweng Ade-Chuol, and Adut Akech alongside her former Destiny’s Child bandmate Kelly Rowland and her daughter Blue Ivy.

This is a loving embrace of a segment of women popular culture tends to overlook, evocative of the film as a whole.

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“Black Is King” zooms between South Africa and Western Africa as well as leaping between New York, Los Angeles, and locations in London and Belgium. And if this stylistic jet-setting feels dizzying, then you haven’t been keeping up with the ubiquitous nature of Black culture. Beyoncé may be highlighting an international roster of artists in her music on an album that pulses with Afro-pop vibes, but the seamless intermingling of tradition, present and future tells the viewer: Black is worldwide and like the jaunty song says, it is “a mood 4 eva.”

Given the disparate styles with which “The Lion King” is transformed into a metaphor for a people’s story, and the fact that its story drives the plotting of “Black Is King,” there will no doubt be some temptation to deem it less original in execution than 2016’s “Lemonade.” That visual album took the world by surprise and became that spring’s anthem for Black womanhood, as well as a means of metabolizing and voicing the long subsumed anger that Black women are forced to hold back.

But “Black Is King” is as carefully realized a construct as Beyoncé’s previous videos and visual albums with the sort of vibrant cinematography and international scope tailor made for the Disney brand. (Her Netflix film “Homecoming” provides a revealing window into her process, and could be useful prerequisite viewing for this new work.)

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The film further burnishes Beyoncé’s reputation as a thoughtful visual artist alongside her unmatched skills as a stage performer. And while “Black Is King” demonstrates a vision of crystalline precision, its tamed sprawl of dancers, actors, musicians and scenery demonstrates the artist’s curation prowess above all.

Although she is listed as the director, Beyoncé credits longtime collaborator Kwasi Fordjour as co-director alongside Ghanaian-Dutch filmmaker Emmanuel Adjei, hip-hop artist and filmmaker Blitz Bazawule and Belgian artist Pierre Debusschere.

But from the opening frames the true superhuman of the piece is costume designer Zerina Akers who, it must be noted, shares her credit with no one. (Surely it must have taken a legion of hands to string countless pearls into crowns and transform Beyoncé into a singular galaxy of sparkle rendered in sequined, beaded, and rhinestone-encrusted bodysuits and gowns. And this only references a couple of outfits among scores of them.)

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Few individuals can pull together a diaspora’s worth of imagery, music and styles, and unify them in a way that reads one way to the wider audience and can be viewed very differently to another. But what we see and hear only works because an army of talent coalesces around a single creative force.

Indubitably in the coming days there will be a cascade of analysis of the hidden symbolism and cultural references embedded within “Black Is King.” One obvious tip of the hat is a Busby Berkeley homage placing the performer at the center of a spinning mandala of synchronized swimmers in a pool outside of a mansion. The entire scene is a gaudy flex, and as if to drive that point home, the diva’s husband Jay-Z co-stars in that sequence.

But its materialist opulence is precisely the point – this kind of Hollywood Golden Era grace was never afforded to Black people back in the day, and if Beyoncé can make that part of her visual festivity alongside rapier-sharp rhymes and Afro-futurist tableaux, then why not?

A dust storm comes into play near the end of the film’s 85-minute run, an acknowledgement of trials and shadows Black folks have always faced, endured and come through. As it is filmed and staged even this has a stunning beauty to it and is an appropriate segue into a climactic resolution that fits the Disney story, and it would feel equally as appropriate if “Black Is King” weren’t connected to that existing intellectual property.

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But so what if it is? “The Lion King” is a tale of stolen legacy, mending, and restoration – the same motifs that color the history of the people to and of whom “Black Is King” speaks.  

“We have always been wonderful. I see us reflected in the world’s most heavenly things. Black is king . . . we were beauty before they knew what beauty was.”

To see this is to witness that truth take shape, and it is a proud and beautiful sight.

“Black Is King” is now streaming on Disney+.

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How COVID-19 could upend geopolitics

I don’t trust you.

Don’t take it personally. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a friend or a stranger. I don’t care about your identity or your politics, where you work or if you work, whether you wear a mask or carry a gun.

I don’t trust you because you are, for the time being, a potential carrier of a deadly virus. You don’t have any symptoms? Maybe you’re an asymptomatic superspreader. Show me your negative test results and I’ll still have my doubts. I have no idea what you’ve been up to between taking the test and receiving the results. And can we really trust that the test is accurate?

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Frankly, you shouldn’t trust me for the same reasons. I’m not even sure that I can trust myself. Didn’t I just touch my face at the supermarket after palpating the avocados?

I’m learning to live with this mistrust. I’m keeping my distance from other people. I’m wearing my mask. I’m washing my hands. I’m staying far away from bars.

I’m not sure, however, that society can live with this level. Let’s face it: trust makes the world go around. Protests break out when our faith in people or institutions is violated: when we can’t trust the police (#BlackLivesMatter), can’t trust male colleagues (#MeToo), can’t trust the economic system to operate with a modicum of fairness (#OccupyWallStreet), or can’t trust our government to do, well, anything properly (#notmypresident).

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Now, throw a silent, hidden killer into this combustible mix of mistrust, anger, and dismay. It’s enough to tear a country apart, to set neighbor against neighbor and governor against governor, to precipitate a civil war between the masked and the unmasked.

Such problems only multiply at the global level where mistrust already permeates the system — military conflicts, trade wars, tussles over migration and corruption. Of course, there’s also been enough trust to keep the global economy going, diplomats negotiating, international organizations functioning, and the planet from spinning out of control. But the pandemic may just tip this known world off its axis.

I’m well aware of the ongoing debate between the “not much” and “everything” factions. Once a vaccine knocks it out of our system, the coronavirus might not have much lasting effect on our world. Even without a vaccine, people can’t wait to get back to normal life by jumping into pools, heading to the movie theater, attending parties — even in the United States where cases continue to rise dramatically. The flu epidemic of 1918-1919, which is believed to have killed at least 50 million people, didn’t fundamentally change everyday life, aside from giving a boost to both alternative and socialized medicine. That flu passed out of mind and into history and so, of course, might Covid-19.

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Or, just as the Black Death in the fourteenth century separated the medieval world from all that followed, this pandemic might draw a thick before-and-after line through our history. Let’s imagine that this novel virus keeps circulating and recirculating, that no one acquires permanent immunity, that it becomes a nasty new addition to the cold season except that it just happens to kill a couple of people out of every hundred who get it. This new normal would certainly be better than if Ebola, with a 50% case fatality rate if untreated, became a perennial risk everywhere. But even with a fatality rate in the low single digits, Covid-19 would necessarily change everything.

The media is full of speculation about what a periodic pandemic future will look like. The end of theater and spectator sports. The institutionalization of distance learning. The death of offices and brick-and-mortar retail.

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But let’s take a look beyond that — at the even bigger picture. Let’s consider for a moment the impact of this new, industrial-strength mistrust on international relations.

The future of the nation-state

Let’s say you live in a country where the government responded quickly and competently to Covid-19. Let’s say that your government established a reliable testing, contact tracing, and quarantine system. It either closed down the economy for a painful but short period or its system of testing was so good that it didn’t even need to shut everything down. Right now, your life is returning to some semblance of normal.

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Lucky you.

The rest of us live in the United States. Or Brazil. Or Russia. Or India. In these countries, the governments have proven incapable of fulfilling the most important function of the state: protecting the lives of their citizens. While most of Europe and much of East Asia have suppressed the pandemic sufficiently to restart their economies, Covid-19 continues to rage out of control in those parts of the world that, not coincidentally, are also headed by democratically elected right-wing autocrats.

In these incompetently run countries, citizens have very good reason to mistrust their governments. In the United States, for instance, the Trump administration botched testing, failed to coordinate lockdowns, removed oversight from the bailouts, and pushed to reopen the economy over the objections of public-health experts. In the latest sign of early-onset dementia for the Trump administration, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany declared this month that “science should not stand in the way” of reopening schools in the fall.

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Voters, of course, could boot Trump out in November and, assuming he actually leaves the White House, restore some measure of sanity to public affairs. But the pandemic is contributing to an already overwhelming erosion of confidence in national institutions. Even before the virus struck, in its 2018 Trust Barometer the public relations firm Edelman registered an unprecedented drop in public trust connected to… what else?… the election of Trump. “The collapse of trust in the U.S. is driven by a staggering lack of faith in government, which fell 14 points to 33% among the general population,” the report noted. “The remaining institutions of business, media, and NGOs also experienced declines of 10 to 20 points.”

And you won’t be surprised to learn that the situation hadn’t shown signs of improvement by 2020, with American citizens even more mistrustful of their country’s institutions than their counterparts in Brazil, Italy, and India.

That institutional loss of faith reflects a longer-term trend. According to Gallup’s latest survey, only 11% of Americans now trust Congress, 23% big business and newspapers, 24% the criminal justice system, 29% the public school system, 36% the medical system, and 38% the presidency. The only institution a significant majority of Americans trust — and consider this an irony, given America’s endless twenty-first-century wars — is the military (73%). The truly scary part is that those numbers have held steady, with minor variations, for the last decade across two very different administrations.

How low does a country’s trust index have to go before it ceases being a country? Commentators have already spent a decade discussing the polarization of the American electorate. Much ink has been spilled over the impact of social media in creating political echo chambers. It’s been 25 years since political scientist Robert Putnam observed that Americans were “bowling alone” (that is, no longer participating in group activities or community affairs in the way previous generations did).

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The coronavirus has generally proven a major force multiplier of such trends by making spontaneous meetings of unlike-minded people ever less likely. I suspect I’m typical. I’m giving a wide berth to pedestrians, bicyclists, and other joggers when I go out for my runs. I’m not visiting cafes. I’m not talking to people in line at the supermarket. Sure, I’m on Zoom a lot, but it’s almost always with people I already know and agree with.

Under these circumstances, how will we overcome the enormous gaps of perception now evident in this country to achieve anything like the deeper basic understandings that a nation-state requires? Or will Americans lose faith entirely in elections, newspaper stories, hospitals, and public transportation, and so cease being a citizenry altogether?

Trust is the fuel that makes such institutions run. And it looks as though we passed Peak Trust long ago and may be on a Covid-19 sled heading downhill fast.

Globalization unravels

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The global economy also runs on trust: in financial transactions, the safety of workplace conditions, the long-distance transport of goods, and the consumer’s expectation that the purchased product will work as advertised.

To cause a breakdown in the global assembly line, Covid-19 didn’t have to introduce doubt into every step in this supply chain (though it would, in the end, do something like that). It only had to sever one link: the workplace. When the Chinese government shut down factories in early 2020 to contain the pandemic — leading to a 17% decline in exports in January and February compared to the previous year — companies around the world suddenly faced critical shortages of auto parts, smartphone components, and other key goods.

The workplace proved a weak link in the global supply chain for another reason: cost. Labor has traditionally been the chief expense in manufacturing, which, from the 1990s on, led corporations to outsource work to cheaper locations like Mexico, China, and Vietnam. Since then, however, the global assembly line has changed and, as the McKinsey consulting firm explains, “over 80% of today’s global goods trade is [no longer] from a low-wage country to a high-wage country.”

Labor’s centrality to the location of manufacturing had been further eroded by the growth of automation, which, according to economists, tends to surgeduring downturns. As it happens, both artificial intelligence and robotization were already on the rise even before the pandemic hit. By 2030, up to 20 million jobs worldwide will be filled by robots. The World Bank estimatesthat they will eventually replace an astounding 85% of the jobs in Ethiopia, 77% in China, and 72% in Thailand.

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Then there are the environmental costs of that same global assembly line. Moving freight contributes 7% to 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions, with air transport being the most carbon intensive way to go. (Add to that, of course, the carbon footprint of the factories themselves.)

If all that doesn’t change the minds of CEOs about the benefits of globalization, then national security considerations might. The pandemic exposed how vulnerable countries are in terms of key commodities. Because China is responsible for producing more respirators, surgical masks, and protective garments than the rest of the world combined, countries began to panic when Covid-19 first hit because they no longer had sufficient national capacity to produce the basic tools to address the spreading pandemic themselves. The same applied to essential drugs. The United States stopped producing penicillin, for instance, in 2004.

The threat of infection, the spread of automation, the environmental impact, the risk of foreign control: the global assembly line just doesn’t seem to make much sense any more. Why not relocate manufacturing back home to a “dark factory” that’s fully automated, doesn’t need lights, heating, or air conditioning, and is practically pandemic-proof?

The current pandemic won’t spell the end of globalization, of course. Corporations, as the McKinsey report points out, will still find compelling reasons to relocate manufacturing and services overseas, including “access to skilled labor or natural resources, proximity to consumers, and the quality of infrastructure.” Consumers will still want pineapples in winter and cheap smart phones. But capitalists eyeing the bottom line, in combination with Trump-style nationalists insisting that capital return home, will increasingly disassemble what we all took for granted as globalization.

The world economy won’t simply disappear. After all, agriculture has persisted in the modern era. It just employs an ever-diminishing segment of the workforce. The same will likely happen to global trade in a pandemic age. In the early part of the last century, surplus labor no longer needed on the farms migrated to the cities to work in factories. The question now is: What will happen to all those workers no longer needed in the global assembly line?

Neither the international community nor the free market has a ready answer, but authoritarian populists do: stop all those displaced workers from migrating.

Wall world

From the moment he descended that Trump Tower escalator into the presidential race, Donald Trump’s effort to seal off the U.S. border with Mexico has been his signature policy position. That “big, fat, beautiful wall” of his may be simplistic, anti-immigrant, xenophobic, and mistrustful of the world — and may never really be completed — but unfortunately, he’s been anything but alone in his obsession with walls.

Israel pioneered modern wall building in the mid-1990s by sealing off Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, followed by a 440-mile-long barrier to wall off the West Bank. In 2005, responding to a wave of migrants escaping wars and poverty in North Africa and the Middle East, Hungary built new bulwarks along its southern borders to keep out the desperate. Bulgaria, Greece, Slovenia, and Croatia have done the same. India has fenced off the Kashmir region from Pakistan. Saudi Arabia has constructed a 600-mile barrier along its border with Iraq.

In 1989, there were about a dozen major walls separating countries, including the soon-to-fall Berlin Wall. Today, that number has grown to 70.

In this context, the novel coronavirus proved a godsend to nationalists the world over who believe that if good fences make good neighbors, a great wall is best of all. More than 135 countries added new restrictions at their borders after the outbreak. Europe reestablished its internal Schengen area borders for the first time in 25 years and closed its external ones as well. Some countries — Japan and New Zealand, in particular — practically walled themselves off.

Even as the pandemic fades in certain parts of the world, many of those new border restrictions remain in place. If you want to travel to Europe this summer, you can only do so if you’re from one of a dozen countries on a European Union-approved list (and that doesn’t include Americans). New Zealand has had only a handful of cases over the last few months (with a high of four new cases on June 27th), but its borders remain closed to virtually everyone. Even a “travel bubble” with nearby Australia is off the table for now. Japan has banned entry to people from 129 countries, including the United States, but there’s an exemption for U.S. soldiers traveling to American military bases. A recent outbreak of coronavirus at such garrisons on the island of Okinawa may well prompt Tokyo to tighten its already strict rules further.

And such border restrictions are potentially just the beginning. So far, the pandemic has unleashed an everyone-for-themselves spirit — from export restrictions on essential goods to a feverish competition to develop a vaccine first. The United Nations has made various pleas for greater international cooperation, its secretary general even urging a “global ceasefire” among warring parties. The World Health Organization (WHO) attempted to organize a global response to the virus at its annual meeting. However, the Trump administration promptly announced that it would be pulling out of the WHO, very few combatants observed a Covid-19 ceasefire, and there is no coordinated international response to the pandemic outside of the community of scientists sharing research.

So, is this to be the future: each country transformed into a gated community? How long can a sense of internationalism survive in Wall World?

Rebuilding trust

Conservatives used to make fun of the left for its penchant for relativism, for arguing that everything depends on context. “If you ask me what the biggest problem in America is, I’m not going to tell you debt, deficits, statistics, economics,” former Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan said in 2011, “I’ll tell you it’s moral relativism.” Once upon a time, the rightwing railed against deconstructionists who emphasized interpretation over facts.

What, then, to make of the Republican Party today? So many of its leaders, including the president, don’t believe in the science behind either climate change or Covid-19. Many of them embrace the most lunatic conspiracy theories and some current congressional candidates even believe, by way of the far-right conspiracy theory QAnon, that a cabal of satanic child molesters in Hollywood, the Democratic Party, and various international organizations controls the world. In July, Donald Trump achieved the dubious milestone of telling more than 20,000 lies during his tenure as president. In other words, speaking of relativism, the Republican Party has put its trust in a man untethered from reality.

And then along came that pandemic like lighter fluid to a brushfire. The resulting conflagration of mistrust threatens to spread out of control until nothing is left, not the nation-state, not the global economy, not the international community.

In this pandemic era, a fire somewhere is a fire everywhere, for the virus cares nothing about borders. But the key to restoring trust must begin where the trust deficit has grown largest and that certainly is the United States. Not only have Americans lost faith in their own institutions, so, it seems, has everyone else. Since 2016, there has been a 50% drop in the world’s trust in the United States, the largest decline ever in the US News and World Report‘s Best Countries survey.

And the reason the United States has the worst record dealing with the coronavirus is quite simple: Donald Trump. He is the leader of an ever-diminishing proportion of the public that continues to believe the coronavirus is a hoax or refuses to comply with basic precautions to prevent its spread. A scofflaw president who refuses to mandate the use of facemasks (even after officially donning one for his Twitter feed) inspires a scofflaw minority that puts the majority at risk.

Restoring trust in this country’s public health system and governance must begin with a competent system of testing, contact tracing, and quarantine. Yet the Trump administration still refuses to take this necessary step. Senate Republicans have pushed for $25 billion to help establish testing and tracing systems at the state level, but the president actually wants to eliminate even this modest amount from the budget (along with additional funds for government agencies tasked with addressing the pandemic).

Americans increasingly mistrust their institutions because growing numbers of us believe that we derive ever fewer benefits from them. The Trump administration has typically done its best to make matters disastrously worse, only recently, amid the pandemic and with millions unemployed, demanding that the Supreme Court gut the health insurance provided by the Obama administration’s Affordable Care Act. The bulk of the stimulus funds passed by Congress went to wealthy individuals and corporations — and the president’s men didn’t even exercise due diligence to prevent nearly $1.4 billion in stimulus checks from being mailed to dead people.

The next administration (assuming there is one) will have a massive clean-up job restoring faith of any sort in such an unequal, broken system. After addressing the acute crisis of the pandemic, it will have to demonstrate that the rule of law is again functioning. The most dramatic proof would, of course, be to throw the book at Donald Trump and his closest enablers. They have violated so many laws that trust in the legal system will be further weakened unless they’re tried and punished for their crimes, including their willingness to sacrifice American lives in staggering numbers in pursuit of The Donald’s reelection.

In 1996, Bill Clinton spoke of building a bridge to the twenty-first century. Two decades into this century, Donald Trump has effectively torn down that bridge and replaced it with a (still largely unbuilt) wall reminiscent of the fortifications of the Middle Ages. Covid-19 has only reinforced the insular paranoia of this president and his followers. The path back to trust, at both a domestic and international level, will be difficult. There will be monsters to battle along the way. But in the end, it’s possible for us to take this country back, create a just and sustainable global economy, and rebuild the international community.

You and I can do this. Together.

Trust me.

Copyright 2020 John Feffer

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کنوانسیون ملی حزب جمهوری خواه در شارلوت بسته خواهد شد به مطبوعات


Balloons fall after Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump spoke and accepted the party nomination on the last day of the Republican National Convention on July 21, 2016, in Cleveland, Ohio.
بالن سقوط پس از انتخابات ریاست جمهوری نامزد دونالد مغلوب ساختن پیشی جستن صحبت کرد و پذیرفته حزب نامزدی در آخرین روز از کنوانسیون ملی حزب جمهوری خواه در جولای 21, 2016 در کلیولند اوهایو است.
جیم واتسون/گتی ایماژ

ما در حال حاضر می دانستم که کنوانسیون ملی حزب جمهوری خواه در شارلوت بود و واقعا مدرج-بازگشت امر با توجه به کروناویروس محدودیت. اما در حال حاضر به نظر می رسد مانند آن را نیز می تواند اولین کنوانسیون در تاریخ مدرن بسته شود به مطبوعات. اگر چه به نظر می رسد این مسئله هنوز مورد بحث اگر با برنامه پیش بروید به عنوان برنامه ریزی شده به این معنی خواهد بود وجود دارد هیچ روزنامه نگاران در اتاق هنگامی که نمایندگان به طور رسمی رای به renominate جمهور دونالد مغلوب ساختن پیشی جستن. “ما در حال برنامه ریزی برای تمام شارلوت فعالیت بسته می شود را فشار دهید: جمعه, مرداد 21 – دوشنبه 24 با توجه به سلامت و محدودیت ها و محدودیت ها در جای خود در دولت” سخنگوی این کنوانسیون گفت: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, که برای اولین بار به گزارش اخبار بود که بعد از تایید توسط دیگر رسانه های خبری. “ما خوشحال به شما اجازه می دانم که اگر این تغییرات اما ما در حال کار در درون پارامترهای تنظیم قبل از ما توسط دولت های محلی و دستورالعمل در مورد تعداد افرادی که می توانند در حوادث.”

این خبر پس از کنوانسیون ملی حزب جمهوری خواه رفته است از طریق بسیاری از تغییرات در هفته گذشته. مغلوب ساختن پیشی جستن قبلا گفت: این کنوانسیون برگزار خواهد شد در جکسون ویل فلوریدا به جای شارلوت به دلیل coronavirus محدودیت. اما در اواخر ماه گذشته مغلوب ساختن پیشی جستن اوراق جکسون قصد دارد که نگرانی این بود کم حضور داشتند. “من در تیم من و من گفت: زمان برای این رویداد درست نیست. آن را نه تنها حق” مغلوب ساختن پیشی جستن در آن زمان گفت. “به کنوانسیون این زمان مناسب نیست.”

حتی اگر مطبوعات نمی شود مجاز به حضور در چندین بخش از کنوانسیون رسیدگی خواهد شد livestreamed از جمله رای گیری به طور رسمی renominate مغلوب ساختن پیشی جستن. با توجه به محدودیت فضا تنها 336 نمایندگان رای خواهد داد در این کنوانسیون به نمایندگی از بیش از 2500 رسمی نمایندگان.

چندین روزنامه نگاران صحبت می کرد تا در برابر توقیف مطبوعات در این کنوانسیون از جمله آسوشیتد پرس گزارش خبرنگار Zeke میلر که مشخص می شود آن را به عنوان “بیمار توصیه می شود.” اما او بعد از پیشنهاد این تصمیم ممکن است و در عین حال تغییر و نوشتن در توییتر که مقامات “هنوز در حال کار از طریق فشار دهید گزینه های پوشش.” نیویورک تایمز’ مگی Haberman با اشاره به این که مغلوب ساختن پیشی جستن در تلاش است تا آن را هر دو راه بودن “عصبانی در coronavirus مربوط به تعطیلی و با استفاده از پوشش آنها ارائه به مطبوعات نوار.” Haberman بعد اضافه شده است که حتی اگر Aug 21-23 خواهد بود بسته به مطبوعات آن هنوز مشخص نیست چه خواهد شد این طرح برای 24th که رای دادن به renominate تهمت برگزار خواهد شد.

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The second pandemic: Pollution

The links between the global coronavirus pandemic and ecological issues — particularly pollution — have given rise to much speculation and many controversies. Air pollution has been blamed for aggravating COVID-19 symptoms and for promoting the spread of the disease. One North American study shows a correlation between chronic levels of particle matter and mortality from COVID-19.

Although sanitation measures have increased the use of disposable and plastic products, the scale of the epidemic crisis and the massive halt in production and transportation of material goods has contributed to a significant reduction in pollution, which no public policy has managed to achieve before. For several weeks, everyone was taking in — through sight and breath — noticeably cleaner air. The global collapse of GDP is parallel with reduced emissions of CO2 and climate-change-causing substances.

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Despite the daily morbidity counts of COVID-19 deaths, other indicators reported that lives had been saved through reduced economic activity. It should be remembered that, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), air pollution is responsible for the premature death of 5 to 9 million people a year in the world. Yet it’s been reported that greenhouse gas emissions and pollution have fallen sharply in the major industrial regions, by 30 to 40% in China, Northern Italy, Paris, and more widely in Europe. Marshall Burke of Stanford University has attempted to quantify how decreased pollution in China has influenced the reduction in mortality, and estimates that two months of confinement reduced the excess mortality due to pollution by about 75,000 individuals. History offers examples of large-scale crises that interrupted ordinary polluting activities. During the Second World War, for example, it again became possible to catch salmon in the River Seine even though these fish had been gone for at least 50 years.

It is, of course, too early to make an accurate assessment of the effects of the decrease in pollution linked to the pandemic. Moreover, the global aggregates are not very significant — and probably inaccurate — at the scale of regions heavily affected by the virus. And while the atmospheric pollution decreases, people stuck at home by the confinement measures are suffering from poor air quality due to chemicals contained by furniture, textiles, and cleaning products, a paradox in itself. It would be audacious to make a definitive judgement on the overall impact of the policies of containment and reduction of economic activity.

This unprecedented episode has proven that proactive and robust actions can transform our daily behaviors and environments, from city to the countryside, invalidating decades-worth of arguments that there’s no alternative to neoliberal globalization and its frenzied consumerism. Public policy still exists, and is not powerless in the face of the ideology of growth.

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The response to the global coronavirus crisis has given us a lesson in how we could plan to deal with the public health danger of pollution in the future, with equally if not more deadly effects. The coronavirus has certainly stunned with its violence; it replays the plague narrative and the great epidemic fears of the past such as cholera or the “Spanish flu”, and it has struck people’s minds by its suddenness. Although in comparison its effects may not be immediately apparent, pollution is indeed a global scourge, but one that could be curbed by ambitious and long-term policies, including public education.

Everyone is aware of the cyclical nature of the decrease in pollution resulting from the policies to contain the virus. It isn’t difficult to anticipate that once the danger has apparently passed, governments would revive their stance on certain polices: support for economic activity and technological surges. Numerous historical examples show how periods of crisis and the cessation of certain pollutions during these times — particularly during wars — were followed by even more dramatic revivals afterwards. It was the case during what the French call the “glorious thirty” (1945-1975) – perhaps more aptly dubbed the “polluter thirty” – when economic growth, whatever its consequences on the environment, was seen as synonymous with progress and liberty. Similarly, after the 2008 financial crisis and the Chinese rebound, economic activities restarted with renewed verve and provoked new pollutions, erasing the progress made in reducing pollutions as a result of the recession. History shows how much the path taken by our societies over the last two centuries, based on policies that intended to be progressive, has led to the destruction of our planet.

However, a structural overhaul of this paradigm must emerge. We must rethink our economic and social structures, as well as our production methods, to limit our deleterious footprints on the world. This would lead us to a newfound relationship with nature, allow us to abandon extractivism, and begin to approach new and better resources. This would also lead to dismantling many industries that are not essential, especially chemicals that supply luxury consumption. The new paradigm would subject the economic to the social and cultural spheres. It would create a way of life that uses less energy and is more respectful of all forms of life. It would no longer tolerate the degradation of the environment and would finally put an end to the chronic pandemic of pollution.

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Support from a distance: How to find and see a remote therapist

If you are anxious, stressed, or depressed about the coronavirus pandemic, you’re in good company. Many of us could use some professional counseling right now, but social isolation practices have made therapists’ offices inaccessible just about everywhere. The solution? Teletherapy. 

Teletherapy (or “telemental health”) is therapy conducted through video conferencing. Right now, it may be the safest way to receive counseling.  Typically, you won’t need to purchase any special equipment or software; if your computer or phone has a front-facing camera and a microphone, you have everything you need.

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But talking to a therapist in front of a screen may seem weird, especially for those of us who are used to in-person healthcare. As a clinical psychologist, part of my work lately has been helping assuage concerns and answer questions about teletherapy, and letting people know what to expect. I’ve assembled a list of common questions I hear from patients about the process.

Is teletherapy as good as face-to-face therapy?

Overall, the science says yes. In several studies comparing teletherapy and face-to-face therapy, clients’ symptoms improved equally with both types of treatment for a variety of problems. These may include depression, trauma, and panic attacks.

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Clients sometimes wonder whether they’ll be able to bond with a new therapist through video chat. Fortunately, research indicates that ­the so-called working alliance – the strength of the emotional bond and working relationship between therapist and client – is equally strong in teletherapy and face-to-face therapy.

Will my insurance cover it?

Possibly. Some insurance companies covered teletherapy before the pandemic and others are adding coverage in response to it. To find out if you’re covered, check your benefits booklet and look for a section labeled “telehealth.” If you need help, call the customer service or member services number on the back of your health insurance card.

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How do I find a therapist if I do have insurance coverage?

I recommend Psychology Today, a search tool that can filter therapists by clinical specialty, therapy modality, insurance network participation, and availability for online sessions. This site will suggest therapists near your zip code, but for teletherapy, you will likely be able to see anyone licensed in your state. Feel free to expand your search beyond your zip code.

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Personal referrals to therapists can also come from friends, neighbors, colleagues, or your primary care doctor. Avoid seeing your best friend or family member’s therapist, however. Therapists will typically decline to work with new clients who are close with their existing or recent clients.

You can also use the provider search tools on your health insurance company’s website or call the company’s member services number and ask for their assistance.

How do I find a therapist if I don’t have insurance coverage?

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If you don’t have health insurance, or if your plan does not cover teletherapy, you can pay out of pocket. If money is tight, you can often find private practitioners who offer lower prices based on client need; look for terms like “reduced fee,” “sliding scale,” or “scholarship sessions” on their websites.

Open Path Psychotherapy Collective lets you search online for therapists offering sessions between $30 and $60, after paying a one-time $60 membership fee. They ask that clients only use their service if they are either uninsured or unable to afford their in-network mental health benefits.

Some community resources also provide inexpensive or free counseling to those with financial limitations. To learn about options in your area, call 2-1-1 or visit 211.org. The National Alliance on Mental Illness also offers a huge list of resources for free and low-cost services, including online/teleconference support groups, crisis lines, and warmlines (for non-emergency support).

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What if I don’t have a private space to talk?

For those who live with family members or roommates, social distancing has made privacy scarce. You can collaborate with others in your household, or get creative with your living space, to reserve a time and place for therapy. If you don’t have a room to yourself, you can use a walk-in closet, a basement, or even a parked car. To create sound insulation in any space, do what therapists do: place a white noise source outside the door. You can use a fan or any device with a free white noise app. Person Centered Tech offers additional advice about preparing your space for teletherapy.

What are the downsides?

Technology glitches can interrupt sessions occasionally, especially if you don’t have a strong internet connection. It can also be harder for therapists and clients to see each other’s body language and facial expressions.

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Teletherapy isn’t a good fit for every problem or every person. Clients who are uncomfortable and unfamiliar with video conferencing technology may find the experience less valuable. And many (though not all) therapists also advise against telehealth for more severe mental health conditions, like psychosis.

* * *

Humans are social animals, so it’s natural that social distancing will take a toll on us.

But remember that distancing need only be physical, not mental. Your support network, friends and therapists alike, are still there for you — in many cases, just a few clicks away.

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Donald Trump is doomed, and he knows it: But will he go out with a whimper or a bang?

Donald Trump is doomed, and he knows it — in the limited, animalistic way he ever knows anything. His electoral prospects are dwindling toward the mathematical vanishing point, and his historical legacy is now sealed. There is no possible future in which he will not be remembered as the most catastrophically corrupt and incompetent U.S. president of the past 100 years, and quite possibly ever. If it’s any consolation to him, the damage he has done is enormous, and as Paul Rosenberg explored for Salon this weekend, it may never be undone.

No, I will not pause to listen to your sermon about “overconfidence,” or your superstitious lamentations about the lingering trauma of 2016. I was there too, and it was nothing like this. In fact, I wrote two articles that year — after attending the Republican and Democratic conventions, respectively — arguing that it felt like Trump was winning and that the Hillary Clinton campaign seemed clueless. 

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But all of us who covered that campaign were torn between what we could feel was happening, on a sort of electrical level, and the normative logic that suggested only one plausible outcome. So the first response to your demand for wolfsbane and incantations is that the dynamics of 2020 are completely different, and the second is that I’m not running Joe Biden’s campaign — which is a good thing for both of us — and if the Democrats find a way to screw up an election that’s been handed to them on a silver platter, wrapped in crinkly designer paper with a Godiva chocolate on top, then the whole party should definitely be sold off for scrap but it won’t be my fault.

Everything about Trump’s behavior in recent weeks or months speaks to this dawning, if childlike, half-awareness that he is staring right in the face of doom, defeat and failure. He has played chicken with those things his entire life, and has convinced himself — and to a large extent, the rest of us — that he can evade them through sheer cunning and the most brazen, shameless forms of salesmanship, which he mistakes for intelligence. None of that is working now, and his desperation is palpable. 

It seems clear that Trump believed he could suppress or prevent the coronavirus pandemic through sheer force of will, and when that failed he believed he could use his dipshit Jedi mind-tricks to convince people that it either didn’t exist or didn’t matter. He believed that the Black Lives Matter protests were playing into his hands, and that out there in what he regards as “real America,” people remained hypnotized by the same provincial, racist anxiety and terror that was so potent from the late 1960s well into the ’90s. (To be fair, numerous mainstream observers shared that view at first, and I don’t mean to suggest that political current no longer exists.)

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He believed his ludicrous Bible-clutching photo-op in front of St. John’s Church would cause patriotic moms and dads in the heartland to weep and swoon at his godly power. (In fact, I believe a great many devout Christians, including some conservative evangelicals, felt profoundly insulted, and not for the first time.) He believed his Keystone Kops pseudo-military intervention in Portland, Oregon — mail-order fascism on the cheap, as Salon columnist Lucian K. Truscott IV has put it — would be a display of macho dominance that would make the notional “suburban housewives” he both desires and despises go wobbly in the knees. 

Donald Trump still believes that he can grab ’em by the you-know-what, and until now has avoided coming to grips with the reality that he is a morbidly obese 74-year-old man with a spray-on tan and an ingeniously structured hairdo that could be dubbed the Sat-on Beehive. At this point, his erotic allure is limited to sad-sack middle-aged men with expensive divorces, expensive pickups, lowered expectations and too many guns. He may hold the title of commander in chief, for now — and let’s not underestimate the danger in that — but he’s more like the incel in chief.

None of it’s working even a little, and after last week’s report that the U.S. economy contracted at an annual rate of nearly 33 percent in the second quarter — which is three times worse than the second-worst quarter recorded in the 73 years that such statistics have been collated — the Trumpian narrative has been reduced to shameless buck-passing and whining about the unfairness of fate, which is the behavior of losers, and of abuse victims who have grown up into abusers. A massive economic recession, more likely a depression, and what could well be 180,000 to 200,000 Americans dead by Election Day are not the kinds of headlines from which a presidency recovers. Trump and his shrinking band of courtiers can blame Barack Obama and Tony Fauci all they want, but the delusional zeal of the early Trump era has vanished, and what’s coming off those people now is the flop-sweat of desperation.

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Trump’s supposed Republican allies, while still fearful of his fanatical voter base, have begun to back away from him, none too subtly. Needless to say, that has nothing to do with any version of political principle or any respect for “democratic norms”; the Republican Party left those things by the roadside a generation ago. For so-called leaders like Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy, the issue now is simply survival: Their immediate task is to limit the damage of what they clearly understand will be a November bloodbath, and then to position themselves amid the ugly intra-party power struggle that is sure to follow. Their union with Trump was always a marriage of convenience, and they always knew no actual loyalty was involved on either side. Now that the convenience has evaporated, it probably feels good — in a small-minded, sadomasochistic register — to be the ones dumping Trump rather than the other way around.

I’m quite sure that McCarthy and McConnell, along with many other prominent Republicans, cannot wait to be rid of Donald Trump and are already rehearsing various death-of-Stalin monologues that range from “well, he expressed the true greatness of America but” to “honestly, I never really knew the guy.” What they may discover, however, is that the Republican Party after Trump is something like John Hurt’s character in “Alien” after the face-hugger falls off. He seems fine and normal! But as the robot scientist knows, he’s been impregnated with something awful, and once it gets a decent feed down there in the gummy darkness, it’s bustin’ out. 

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The remaining questions about Donald Trump are all much larger than he is, which is nothing new. One of the most striking peculiarities of this bizarre era is that such a small person, with such a limited understanding of reality, could command the national stage and a massive proportion of the media’s attention for the better part of five years. All by itself, that fact does not speak well of the condition of American civil society, let alone “democratic discourse.” Yet at the same time, the monotonous narcosis of the Trump years has also provoked a vigorous reaction, visible in different parts of society in different ways: #MeToo feminism, Black Lives Matter, the 2018 midterms, the upsurge of left-wing or “socialist” politics catalyzed by the Bernie Sanders campaign, which the Democratic Party has been startled to discover it cannot control or contain.

Will Trump try to delay or cancel the election? Will he try to rig the election by sabotaging the Postal Service or claiming premature victory based on partial results, or both? If and when he loses, will he protest that the whole thing was rigged and unfair, and announce that he’s staying in the White House indefinitely while Bill Barr investigates Democratic voter fraud? I don’t want to underestimate the inherent danger of this situation: We have a deeply wounded and profoundly delusional person at the head of the federal government, who is convinced that the world is unfairly stacked against him and does not care whether the things he says have any relationship to reality.

So, yes, Trump could try to do any or all of those things. But remember that he’s a “sniveling coward,” in the immortal words of Ted Cruz (who arguably turned out to be an even bigger one), not to mention profoundly ignorant and totally incompetent. Ultimately, I don’t think Trump has anywhere near the courage, the confidence or the means to pull off any version of a coup with success. He’d need a posse of powerful allies — not just Barr, who might enjoy giving it a whirl, but Republican leaders in Congress, the military brass, the Secret Service and the FBI, the Supreme Court and, most important of all, the top one-tenth of the one percent in the investment and banking class.

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You won’t catch me claiming that “democratic institutions” or the “rule of law” will rescue us from Donald Trump. That manifestly has not happened, and any such hope rested on a set of charmingly old-fashioned assumptions in the first place. None of the people I just mentioned are greatly concerned with that stuff, but all of them — especially the last group, the financial and corporate overlords who control all the wealth and most of the power in our society — do not much care for chaos and disorder, and have seen about enough of it over the last four years. 

No doubt Wall Street feels some collective concern about the potential cost of a Democratic presidency, especially under current social conditions — but Joe Biden, the longtime “senator from MasterCard,” was the Democrat the Mr. Monopoly crowd wanted all along. After the disastrous meltdown of the Trump presidency, they’ll welcome Biden with open arms, along with helpful dossiers of potential Cabinet nominees.

As Donald Trump has secretly known all along — stupid, injured manchild that he is — none of the people in the privileged classes of New York or Washington or California who pretended to love and admire him truly understood his greatness, and now that the waves are crashing over the bow they’re scurrying off the deck. He’ll be left at the end with the losers and incels and rubes in the red hats — stricken, lonely people who looked to him as a savior and for whom he feels only contempt. People he probably hates more than he hates Muslims or Mexicans or Black people, and possibly even more than he hates himself.

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