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QUOTE OF THE DAY
“When we take the court and represent Milwaukee and Wisconsin, we are expected to play at a high level, give maximum effort and hold each other accountable. We hold ourselves to that standard, and in this moment, we are demanding the same from our lawmakers and law enforcement.” –The players of the Milwaukee Bucks, after deciding not to play their game against the Orlando Magic due to the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
President Trump will accept the GOP nomination tonight in a White House speech. He’ll speak on the South Lawn of the White House to a crowd of 1,500. Wednesday night’s message, amplified by VP Mike Pence, was law and order. The crowd at Pence’s speech was not tested for COVID, and mingled maskless with Trump and Pence.
Kenosha was quieter last night, and armed counterprotesters stayed away. The FBI is going to investigate the shooting of Jacob Blake by a Kenosha officer, and state officials have charged a 17-year-old Trump supporter with the murder of two protesters. Strikes have spread through the world of professional sports, and the NBA playoffs appeared on the brink of collapse but seem to be back on track after a meeting among players this morning. Many players wanted to end the season unless team owners and the league take more tangible action to oppose police violence and systemic racism.
TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer has resigned. The company has been besieged since Trump demanded that it sell its US operations or be banned here. Mayer, who is also leaving as COO of parent company ByteDance, indicated that the political environment and possible forced sale have made the job not what he signed up for.
More than one million new unemployment claims again this week. Claims have stayed high after briefly dipping below 1 million. More than 58 million people have filed for unemployment since the pandemic started. Speaker Pelosi and Trump Chief of Staff Meadows are meeting today for the first time since relief bill talks collapsed in early August.
Hurricane Laura has weakened to Category 1 after making landfall in Louisiana. The storm is one of the most powerful ever to hit the US. Winds have dropped to 85 miles per hour, though it will still bring an enormous, life-threatening storm surge into coastal Louisiana and Texas.
VIEWS OF THE DAY
Law and Order for thee, but not for me
Law and Order was a big theme at the Republican National Convention on Wednesday, with keynote speaker Vice President Mike Pence touting the President’s dedication to cops – those who walk the “thin blue line.”
This is rich. Trump and a slew of people around him have a long history of violating the law, breaking rules, ignoring things like subpoenas, and lying under oath. Here’s a list of just some of the people the supposedly “law and order” president has surrounded himself with or defended:
- The president’s campaign head, Steve Bannon, allegedly ran a scam bilking money from Trump supporters who want a wall built on the border with Mexico.
- The president’s other campaign head, Paul Manafort, was convicted of bank fraud, tax fraud, and other crimes.
- The president’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn plead guilty to lying to law enforcement and the president has still fought for him.
- The president’s friend and and advisor, Roger Stone, was convicted of lying to law enforcement and got his sentence commuted by the president.
- The president’s son, Eric Trump, has refused to comply with subpoenas from the NY Attorney General, Leticia James, about the Trump Organisation’s financial statements.
- The president also defended violent white supremacists because they were “very fine people.”
- The president’s staff constantly violates the Hatch Act, trying to blur the lines between what is and is not part of our permanent governmental structure. That seems fine.
- The president’s daughter Ivanka Trump has done government work from her personal email address. – Linette Lopez
A quick glossary of terms to get you through America right now
Things are confusing in America these days, so we thought we’d put together a short glossary of terms that should be clarified.
Athletes did not “boycott” because of Jacob Blake’s shooting in Kenosha, Wisconsin. They were “striking”: A boycott is when consumers intentionally do not but a product. By contrast, the athletes who did not play yesterday are workers who provide Americans with a service. That service is not something Americans are entitled to, it is a luxury offered to a functioning society where people can gather civilly and play by a set of rules. Nothing about our society over the last few days (or months) suggests we are capable of that, and there has been little work done in Washington to change those conditions, so the workers decided not to work. That is a strike.
“Opportunity zones” are looking less like a boon for poor neighbourhoods and more like a “billionaire tax break”: I only mention this because Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner pushed back on striking athletes in a CNBC interview, citing all his father-in-law has done for minority urban communities. Kushner listed opportunity zones as one of those achievements, but based on reporting by ProPublica, it looks like those programs are more beneficial for people like him than the communities they are intended to serve.
The 17 year-old who murdered protesters in cold blood on Tuesday night was not part of a “militia” he was part of a “terrorist organisation”: Any organisation that openly encourages people to commit violence against or inspires someone to murder people exercising their First Amendment right should be called a terrorist organisation. Full stop.
Don’t call it an “economic aid package.” Call it an “economic stability package”: Using the word “aid” to describe a bill that will ensure the entire economy doesn’t go to hell seems wrong. Aid is something you give to someone else, this package is for all Americans so that the economy doesn’t drop out on us – and that’s all of us. It seems like the White House is starting to understand that, as after twiddling its thumbs since May. Chief of Staff Mark Meadows wants to restart bill negotiations with House Democrats.
Joe Biden is against defunding the police: There’s no vocabulary lesson there, it just bears repeating after Vice President Mike Pence cynically claimed the opposite in his RNC speech last night. It was just one among a litany of calumnies. – LL
The RNC is starting to sound like a right-wing Youtube video
As I wrote in my latest column, watching the Republican National Convention has felt like falling into an algorithmically-driven rabbit hole of right-wing YouTube.
The four-day political pageant even kicked off Monday night with a speech by a prominent conservative YouTuber Charlie Kirk.
The 26-year-old Turning Point USA co-founder with close ties to the Trump White House called the president the “bodyguard of Western civilisation.” Whatever Kirk meant by “Western civilisation” isn’t exactly clear, but the term is an obsession of right-wing YouTubers like Dennis Prager, “Intellectual Dark Web” celebrities like Jordan Peterson, and the recently banned by YouTube alt-right philosopher Stefan Molyneux.
When Georgia State Rep. Vernon Jones spoke at the RNC of the Democrats’ keeping Black people on their “mental plantation,” I felt like I was listening to Candace Owens, the YouTube star and Trump favourite who started “Blexit” to convince Black people to abandon the Democratic Party.
Patrica and Mark McCloskey – best known for drawing their guns on Black Lives Matter protesters outside their St. Louis home – called congressional candidate and protest organiser Cori Bush a “Marxist liberal activist” during their RNC speech. Granted, Bush is a Democratic Socialist, but the McCloskey’s deliberate and repeated invocation of Marx made me think of “cultural Marxism” – an obsession of conspiracy theorists like former InfoWars editor-at-large Paul Joseph Watson.
There’s nothing particularly novel about hearing these things at an overtly partisan and propagandistic event. Conservatives don’t like socialism, they like their “culture,” and they can’t understand why more Black people won’t vote for them.
What’s striking is how these phrases, which are repeated like mantras on right-wing YouTube, have made it to the big kids’ table at the RNC.
Hearing these phrases and bugaboos sprinkled throughout RNC speeches feels in some sense like a callback to their original sources. And they may be deliberate or inadvertent signals to young conservatives.
The message: We know who the conservative thought leaders are in the Trump era, and we watch their videos, too. – Anthony Fisher
BUSINESS & ECONOMY
Abbott has won approval to market a $US5, 15-minute COVID test. Testing experts say that this kind of fast, cheap test could allow millions to safely get back to school and work before a vaccine is available.
Amazon opened the first Amazon Fresh grocery store. The Woodland, California, store -the first of probably many – will offer national and private-label Whole Foods brands, a “Dash” cart that will allow customers to skip checkout, and same-day delivery for Prime customers.
26 Disney theme-park foods you can make at home.Mickey-shaped waffles are easy. The Dole Whip – also not so hard.
THE BIG 3*
The Lakers and Clippers voted to end the NBA playoffs at a contentious meeting about the response to the Blake shooting. LeBron James left early, demanding more social-justice reform efforts from owners. The vote was not official, and other teams want the playoffs to continue.
People are selling guns on Facebook by pretending they are selling stickers. They are skirting Facebook’s ban on private gun sales by displaying stickers with prices and gun brand names.
*The most popular stories on Insider today.
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