Trump’s plan to steal the presidential election is simple, brilliant

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The involvement of the Secretary of HUD and in pushing a dubious product at the highest levels should give Americans no comfort at night about their health and safety during a raging pandemic.” — an unnamed administration official, discussing President Trump’s fascination with Oleandrin, an unproven new COVID treatment being flogged by two of his advisers. 


michelle obama december 2018

NBC / Contributor / Getty Images

The all-virtual Democratic Convention starts tonight, and will be on from 9-11 pm ET. Michelle Obama and Bernie Sanders have prime speaking slots. Republican John Kasich will also get a platform to excoriate Trump. 

Postal Service crisis deepens, with seven states preparing to sue the Trump administration. They want to stop USPS cuts that they say will undermine mail-in balloting, which President Trump says is his intention. Speaker Pelosi summoned the House back into session to investigate the USPS controversy. 

White supremacist groups clashed with BLM protesters in Portland and elsewhere. Extreme right groups including the Proud Boys and American Wolf showed up with sticks, paintball guns, and pepper spray, and fought with BLM demonstrators. At least two shots were fired in Portland. 

Operation Warp Speed won’t reach most Americans by January 2021. Even in the best case, most Americans wouldn’t get a vaccine until March.


donald trump

Trump’s plan to steal the election is simple and brilliant

President Trump is now being explicit about why he wants to deny funding to the US Postal Service. He wants to reduce the impact of mail-in votes by hurting the Postal Service’s ability to deliver them in time for the votes to be counted.

As far as election-rigging schemes go, this one is simple and brilliant.

It does not involve hacking or fraud. It doesn’t involve dumping boxes of ballots in rivers. It doesn’t involve payoffs to corrupt election officials. It doesn’t involve illegal gerrymandering or physical vote suppression. It doesn’t involve rewriting election laws. It doesn’t even involve the election system at all!

Instead, it takes advantage of existing election laws, Trump’s successful undermining of confidence in mail-in voting among GOP voters, and Trump’s control of an otherwise unrelated arm of the federal government — the Postal Service.

Behold the brilliance and simplicity:

First, as Insider’s Grace Panetta reports, Trump’s bogus but frequent claims that mail-in voting involves massive fraud has made Republican voters less comfortable with vote-by-mail than Democratic voters. This and other factors may lead to more Democrats voting by mail than Republicans.

Meanwhile, as Panetta also reports, laws in Michigan, Florida, Wisconsin and other key battleground states require that mail-in ballots be received by Election Day to count. If the ballots arrive late, the votes don’t count.

Meanwhile, a loyal Trump supporter now runs an organization that can determine when ballots arrive — the US Postal Service — and he is already reducing the speed with which the USPS delivers mail.

Voila! —HB

Chrissy Teigen covid 19 test

Cheap, mediocre COVID tests could be the pandemic’s magic bullet. 

COVID testing, like almost every aspect of the American response to the pandemic, has been a disaster. Tests are expensive and exceedingly slow. You don’t get your results back for days — or even weeks — meaning you’re very likely to spend your most contagious hours spreading the virus as you wait for a result. Plus they’re hard to get, so only a tiny fraction of the people who should be tested actually are tested.  

But finally, finally, there’s a great, attainable, new idea for revolutionizing testing — a new testing protocol could stop the pandemic cold, and bring us the benefits of a vaccine without a vaccine. The basic notion is that we should mass produce very cheap, very fast, and somewhat inaccurate at-home COVID tests, and millions of us should take them daily. The architect of this plan is Harvard epidemiologist Michael Mina, who’s outlined his case in the New York Times, the Atlantic, and in a podcast interview with me, among other places. 

The technology exists. A few small companies have developed COVID saliva tests that you can do in 15 minutes at home. (The tests — essentially a strip of treated paper — works a bit like home pregnancy tests.) In Mina’s scenario, we would mass produce these tests, which would cost $1 to $5 each, and tens of millions of us would take them every day — any kid before going to school, any worker before heading to the office. If you tested positive, you’d get the result immediately and you stay home. This would break chain after chain of transmission, and crush the pandemic as effectively as a vaccine. 

So why aren’t we doing this? The FDA won’t approve the cheapo tests because they’re not as accurate as the gold-standard PCR tests. They use a different, less precise method, and only catch people with a higher level of circulating virus. But Mina points out that this is actually the strength of these cheap tests — which are more “contagiousness” tests than “diagnostic” tests. 

The gold-standard PCR tests catch tons of people way past their contagious period, when they have tiny amounts of coronavirus RNA but aren’t actually infectious. The cheap tests catch virtually everyone who’s actually contagious. More importantly, it catches them immediately, and while they’re at home, so they know they’re sick in 15 minutes, not days later when they’ve been out spreading the disease. Most importantly, it doesn’t require massive infrastructure and a lab, just some of your own spit and a strip of paper

Mina told me he’s getting calls from top officials around the world — “crown princes” — about trying this out, and he knows the idea has made its way to Jared Kushner’s office. The US is practically the only country that has enough community spread where this kind of mass home testing makes sense. Other countries accomplish the same crackdown with vigorous contact tracing. 

The US should crash course the cheap-test program immediately by funding the small companies to scale up production, and should pilot it in a city that’s experiencing an outbreak. How quickly could they bring rates down if they had half the population of Miami taking a daily test? If that works, do it nationwide. It would cost billions a week, but the pandemic costs way, way more. Until we get a vaccine, this is the best idea we have for getting back towards normal. —DP

The latest wicked — utterly wicked — twist in the Trump administration’s policy of expelling migrant children.  

The Trump administration is diabolical sometimes. Today brings the usual cascade of horrors aimed at immigrants. The administration is raising the cost of naturalization by 80%, and also reducing fee waivers, punishing immigrants who have earned the right to become Americans.

And as the New York Times discovered, Trump’s immigration officials have hired a private company to detain hundreds of migrants secretly in hotels, outside the formal detention system, so they’re not subject to the rules protecting them from maltreatment. Most or perhaps all of these detainees are children, some of them babies, and they are held in hotels before being rapidly expelled back to their home countries or handed over to Mexican child welfare officials. 

But that’s not the truly diabolical part. The diabolical part is that the administration is deporting these hotel children without assigning them identification numbers. As the Times reports, “Searching for the children has been made nearly impossible because they are not being assigned identification numbers that would normally allow families to track their locations in the highly regulated federal detention system.” 

You can argue about whether secret hotel detentions and summary expulsions are fit and proper American policies. 

Imagine if these were your children. You cannot argue — as a human being, as an American — that it is right to multiply the terror of children and the fears of their parents by intentionally hiding their identity, and making it impossible for their parents to find them. 

What possible purpose does this negligence serve, except to dehumanize these innocent children, and make their lives and the lives of their parents more miserable? This policy is evil. —DP

2016 Democratic convention

Crowds cheer as Hillary Clinton delivers her keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia on July 28, 2016.

Michael Robinson Chavez/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Pouring one out for the real DNC and RNC 

The Bizarro Democratic National Convention starts this week in “Milwaukee.” 

There will be a video control room and a podium set up in Cream City, but none of the delegates will be there, nor will almost all the political reporters. Even Joe Biden will not be leaving the cozy confines of Delaware. The DNC conceded months ago that the event would be nearly all-virtual, so they’ve had some time to plan. 

Republicans (or more specifically, Trump) still held out hope for a massive in-person convention as recently as last month. As a result, the RNC (which runs this Friday through next Monday) will likely be more a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants experiment in nightly television.

I’m a political journalist, so I pay more attention to these absurd quadrennial displays of hyper-partisan navel-gazing more than the average American (and that’s to their credit). But I’ve got to admit, I’m irrationally bummed out that the Democratic and Republican National Conventions aren’t happening this year. 

I would have liked to have seen whether dissident Bernie Sanders supporters would truly play ball with the victorious establishment this time around — rather than storm the press tent in anger like they did in Philadelphia four years ago.

I’m wondering if Trump supporters would have put together a more despicable RNC-adjacent event than the one headlined by Milo Yiannopoulous that tried to sell Islamophobia, white nationalism, and the alt-right as part of a gay rights agenda.

Protests are a big part of every convention, but with such political and social unrest as we’ve seen this year, I’d have been curious to see exactly who showed up — and how the city, the police, and the protests would make it all work. Instead, the coronavirus pandemic has forced the conventions to go “virtual” — a word that’s now synonymous with online communication, but which Oxford also defines as an adjective meaning “almost or nearly as described.”

Virtual conventions aren’t really conventions. They’re just “almost.”— Anthony Fisher


FILE PHOTO: Former Uber Technologies Inc. CEO and co-founder Travis Kalanick stands on a balcony above the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) during the company's IPO in New York, U.S., May 10, 2019. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

Former Uber Technologies Inc. CEO and co-founder Travis Kalanick at NYSE during the company’s IPO in New York


Travis Kalanick allegedly threw a party during the California COVID spike. The Uber founder and former CEO’s LA party was allegedly smaller than the ones he threw before the pandemic, but it was still a party. 

Pepperoni prices have spiked 50%. Pizza demand is way up, but the pandemic has constrained pork production. 


Lionel Messi is demanding to leave Barcelona, the only club he’s ever played for. Barcelona is a mess, and was humiliated 8-2 by German rival Bayern Munich over the weekend, so the greatest soccer player ever wants to finish his career elsewhere.

Philadelphia’s annual Naked Bike Ride has been canceled because of the pandemic. It usually draws thousands of naked riders, and honestly sounds very painful.


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nike vaporfly

Marathon runners wearing Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next% running shoes.

Marco Verch

Ex-“Ellen” staffer compares show environment to “The Devil Wears Prada.” A grueling barrage of humiliation, cruelty, disrespect.

Nike’s Vaporfly shoes are so fast that runners sponsored by other companies are wearing them. And blacking out the Nike logos. The Vaporflys have been involved in every major running triumph since 2016. 

Obama has privately wondered if Biden could “f — k things up.” According to Politico, the former president is worried his veep doesn’t have a warm enough connection with voters, and could blow the election. 

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