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QUOTE OF THE DAY
“No, I haven’t taken a test. Why the hell would I take a test?” – Joe Biden, responding to a question about whether he had taken the “person woman man camera TV” mental cognition test Trump keeps bragging about.
Beirut explosion blamed on huge stock of ammonium nitrate. 2,750 tons of the material was taken from an abandoned ship in 2014 and stored in a dockside warehouse. More than 100 people were killed and more than 4,000 wounded in the explosion. (Aerial footage of the devastation.)
Kris Kobach lost the Kansas senate primary.A more establishment Republican, Roger Marshall, beat him, making the seat safer for the GOP in November. Progressive Cori Bush upset longtime Democrat Rep. William Lacy Clay in a Missouri House primary. Missouri also voted to expand Medicaid to more than 230,000 people.
Negotiations continue on pandemic relief bill.Both Trump and McConnell signalled they’d accept an extension of the boosted $US600 unemployment benefit, but there are still wide gaps between the Democrats’ $US3.4 trillion bill and the Republicans $US1 trillion proposal.
Chicago public schools will go online only in the fall, abandoning hybrid plan. Of the major public school districts, only NYC is still trying to have a full, in-person fall semester.
DC congresswoman demands Secret Service explain bizarre incident with two Black mums. They were going to the Mall to hang out with their babies. The Secret Service rammed their parked car, detained them, separated them from their crying kids, and explained nothing.
NYC will establish checkpoints for out-of-state drivers at bridges and tunnels. The mayor says the city will remind visitors of mandatory quarantine rules and collect contact tracing forms.
VIEWS OF THE DAY
How bad will the wave of evictions be?
Mitch McConnell and Trump seem to have capitulated on extending the $US600 unemployment benefit, which implies that Republicans will also accept a renewal of the federal eviction moratorium. That moratorium, which expired July 24, protected the one-third of renters whose landlords have federally-backed loans from being evicted during the pandemic.
That’s a huge relief for millions of households, but colossal numbers of renters whacked by the pandemic and job losses are still facing imminent eviction. The question is: Will there be an eviction wave and a surge in homelessness?
Surveys suggest that more than 20 million US households aren’t able to keep up with their rent. A number of states have imposed temporary restrictions on evictions because of COVID. (Here’s a good state-by-state chart.) But some of those temporary holds have expired or will expire soon, and evictions have surged in places where moratoriums have ended. In Wisconsin, according the Washington Post, eviction filings spiked 42% in the first two weeks of June.
But we may still skirt a mass-scale eviction catastrophe. A renewed federal moratorium and an extension of the $US600 unemployment benefit should protect many families. Also, eviction only makes sense for landlords if they can briskly fill the empty apartment. The pandemic, unlike a traditional recession, doesn’t give landlords that opportunity for a reset. Landlords understand that no pool of new tenants exists to replace those who are evicted, not even at lower prices. There are no immigrants arriving to fill apartments. Americans aren’t moving for jobs, and if they are moving, they are moving back in with their parents or kids.
Tenants may avoid eviction en masse, but that doesn’t mean they will avoid uncertainty and stress. Even un-evicted, they’re in a much more precarious position. They may be months in arrears, which means the sword of eviction will still be dangling over their head – especially because moratoriums will expire before the economy recovers. – DP
Republicans really want Susan Rice to be Biden’s VP pick so they can obsess about Benghazi.
When al-Qaeda militants attacked the US embassy in Benghazi on September 11, 2012 – killing four people, including Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens – the Obama administration initially lied about the source of the attacks.
Susan Rice, the UN ambassador, was the face of the administration when she went on the Sunday talk show circuit that week to say the attack on the embassy was the result of spontaneous protests over a little-seen Youtube video that slandered the Muslim prophet Mohammad.
In 2014, leaked emails from then-deputy national security adviser for strategic communications Ben Rhodes showed the administration was well-aware the Benghazi attack was previously planned and had nothing to do with that Youtube video. Though the administration denied that’s what the emails actually said, any rational reading of them in context can only determine that the administration sent Rice to lie on TV.
In the heat of a reelection battle where Obama was bragging about killing Osama bin Laden, and having his own ambassador murdered by al-Qaeda was not a good look. So they lied.
And boy did the Republicans make them pay. For the next four years, you’d have thought Hillary Clinton personally ordered al-Qaeda to attack the embassy based on the interminable congressional hearings rehashing Benghazi, which ultimately found no wrongdoing.
Yes, it was a terrible security failure and Susan Rice represented the Obama administration in lying about it. Both of those things are bad. And the Trump campaign reportedly wants Rice to be Biden’s VP pick so they can play the old Benghazi numbers for the base.
But those lies don’t matter in 2020, not when Trump is president.
While the flames from a devastating explosion in downtown Beirut still burn, Trump is flagrantly lying about intelligence he says determined the mysterious explosion was actually an attack.
“I’ve met with some of our great generals and they just seem to feel that it was not a – some kind of manufacturing explosion type of event. This was a – seems to be according to them, they would know better than I would, but they seem to think it was an attack. It was a bomb of some kind,” Trump said Tuesday.
Officials in Trump’s own Defence Department told CNN they have no idea what Trump is talking about.
This matters a lot, because if that explosion were an attack of any kind, the Mideast military chess pieces – including US forces – would be scrambling across the board.
The President of the United States saying that he has senior military officials telling him this was an attack can only be reasonably called a lie – possibly because he’s a compulsive liar, but also possibly to distract the public from the abject tragedy that his administration has been, in the heat of a reelection bid. – Anthony Fisher
The Biden campaign has abandoned door-to-door canvassing. Is that a mistake?
The 2020 election will test all kinds of theories about campaigning (Do rallies matter? What about conventions?) but maybe the most consequential test is: How valuable is door-to-door campaigning?
Politico shares this extraordinary statistic today. In the past week, the Trump campaign has knocked on 1 million doors. The Biden campaign has knocked on…zero.
Biden has abandoned in-person campaigning because of COVID, believing that it would seem irresponsible to send random volunteers to blow their germs on Democratic voters at a time when Biden is taking the pandemic so seriously that he barely leaves his house. The Democrats are counting on getting better at remote canvassing: They will use phone calls, text messages, social media, leaflets, and more to fill the personal void.
The Trump campaign is betting that the front-door approach will do what it has always done in the past, which is gin up enthusiasm and remind people to vote. They expect that their voters aren’t scared enough by COVID to be turned off by a stranger at the door. (A masked stranger? Unmasked? Are Trump folks canvassing in masks? Apparently they’re offered masks, but are they wearing them? Let us know! [email protected]).
Door-to-door politicking has survived longer than door-to-door vacuum-cleaner selling because it works, which is why the Trump campaign is digging into it. But Biden’s surrender on neighbourhood canvassing is probably necessary, given the reality of the pandemic and how he needs to show he’s taking it seriously.
So this is a situation where both campaigns might be making the right choice, and where that hurts Biden.– DP
Only red states can count votes, got it?
At his Tuesday press conference, Trump – who has been discrediting the results of the election by bashing mail-in voting for weeks now – said that mail-in voting was ok for Florida. Why? Because it’s been run by two successive Republican (Trump-supporting) governors.
“Florida is a well-run state,” Trump said. He described the state’s absentee ballot as done “extremely professionally.”
Of course, we know Florida has had massive problems with voting rights. For example, even though Floridians voted to give felons the right to vote, the state’s Republican-led government tacked on a provision that requires felons to pay off all court fees before they can register. This has turned into a massive brawl in the state, attracting lawyers and activists from all over the country. Basketball legend Lebron James donated $US100,000 to help felons with their fees.
Only red states, got it? Only the states where Trump could win – where there are governors who support him – can accurately count votes. Are you getting the message? Trump is the least subtle man in the Americas, so it’s quite clear. While our rules say he cannot cancel the election, he will do and say anything he can to poison it.
In fact, when it comes to the election, focusing on what Trump can and cannot do according to the law borders on naivete. It does not capture the damage he is doing with the tools he has. The President may not be able to violate the precise letter of our rules by, say, postponing the election, but he violates them in spirit, and he can cripple the system through which they are expressed. He is already doing this in word and in deed. This is not something that could happen in a few months, or may happen if we aren’t diligent, it is happening to us right now. – Linette Lopez
BUSINESS & ECONOMY
Ex-WeWork CEO Adam Neumann is trying to sell his San Francisco house for $US27.5 million. Look inside the legendary “Guitar House.”
12 books on leadership and success Jeff Bezos thinks you should read. One of them is Sam Walton’s biography, which makes sense. OTOH, another is the novel “The Remains of the Day.”
The FBI searched Jake Paul’s Calabasas, Calif. house this morning. It’s not clear why they had a search warrant. Paul has been widely criticised for throwing a huge, maskless party there a few weeks ago.
There’s going to be a reality TV show about the Hype House called “The Hype Life.” It’s going to show how the 20-odd stars in the TikTok collective live in their Hollywood mansion.
So writing SOS on the beach really works.Stranded on a deserted island in Micronesia, 3 men wrote SOS on the sand, and were spotted by a rescue plane.
THE BIG 3*
“[It] felt like we were inside an animal.”Astronaut Bob Behnken describes what it was like to plunge to earth inside the Crew Dragon landing capsule.
Arkansas BLM protester brings a flamethrower to a demonstration. The BLM group had been confronted by an armed, white supremacist militia.
Ashton Kutcher said Ellen “never pandered to celebrity.” Now he’s getting dragged by fans.
*The most popular stories on Insider today.
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