Sheesh. What a day. It began last night, while I was writing last night’s letter, when shortly after midnight we learned that Alexei Navalny, outspoken critic of Vladimir Putin’s government, has apparently been poisoned. He collapsed in pain on an airplane after drinking tea at Russia’s Tomsk airport. The plane made an emergency landing, meeting medics who raced Navalny to the hospital, where he is gravely ill. The poisoning is a chilling reminder of Putin’s tactics just days after the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 election established that the Trump campaign invited his influence into our affairs.
Indeed, it was quite a day. Putin's MO for years has been to poison his rivals, which is an interesting choice given he expends so much energy demonstrating how "manly" he is (poison being, supposedly, the female choice for murder). But perhaps my favorite takeaway is Senator Duckworth's new moniker for Trump: coward-in-chief. That he is.
I thought Biden's speech was extraordinary, not just for him--his stutter can be a problem when he is talking extemporaneously because of techniques people with stutters use to work around words that are problematic--but for anyone. I applaud his speechwriters, who really got the tone right. And he delivered it beautifully. It had all the things missing from a Trump experience: heart, warmth, passion, compassion, empathy. We know that Biden has an ego--you can't be a politician without a healthy dose of self-love. But he knows how to bend his ego to humanitarian ends and he has learned over his long career in politics that it really isn't about him. It's about all of us.
The Dems' convention theme was hope.
The Republicans' will be fear.
I have never been so moved emotionally by a speech. Another meaningful thing-did anyone one else notice at the end of his speech how he just stared into the camera with those eyes full of compassion, without a smile on his face? I thought is was very significant though probably just a technical accident. There was a video out recently about the power of just looking into the eyes of another person without talking. Eyes are the windows to the soul ❤️🙏
Meanwhile, Trump projecting election fraud so early and so vehemently tells us that he, his team and Putin are really up to something.
Every day, all day. Exhausted from this man. In Florida, and I assume other states, it is illegal for law enforcement to be in a polling location in uniform unless called by the SOE or the officer is there to vote.
Also involved in this Wall scheme of Bannon's is Erik Prince. Founder of the notorious/shady Blackwater Security, and another of Trump's circle who met with a Russian operative secretly in the Seychelles and lied about the meeting. And who is the brother of Betsy DeVos, Trump's education secretary who is working hard to destroy public education and shift funds to private schools. I had not known this until I saw Prince's name come up as one of the board of directors or something, for this wall project, and the name rang a bell. I found much of this on The Daily Beast. Sigh.
Oh, and Kolfage was also planning to "rent" his list of suckers, I mean donors, to Republican politicians for fundraising, and planning to get 50% of the funds they raised. Kris Kobach, general counsel for the We Build the Wall project, apparently used the list in his failed bid for the Senate in Kansas. Does this corruption have no limits at all?
I just hope Biden, should he get in, doesn't pull an Obama and let all of this go. Trump and all of his people need to be held accountable.
And how many times can Trump appeal the same ruling, when even the Supreme Court has ruled against him? Why can't we just see the tax returns.
Yeah, I'll take the message of hope any day over the fear which Trump pushes and which he manifests. I'm not a big Biden fan, and certainly not a fan of the DNC (the committee, that is), but I'll be voting for Biden-Harris.
Trump’s “business” model has always been to fleece the rubes. Whether the rubes are the ladder climbing nouveau riche lusting after a gold plated bathroom in a Trump tower condo, or down-on-their-luck strivers signing up to learn how to be a real estate wheeler-dealer at Trump U, Trump knows the rubes will get googoo-eyed at the Trump glitz and tinsel. The Trump presidency (surprise :) ) has turned out to be one long con game, which Bannon understood from the get go. Bannon’s slipshod attempt as a wannabe Trump “player” is rather pathetic. First off, such small change? It sounds like he got less than a million $$, hardly worth going to prison over. Secondly, he couldn’t parlay his Trump connections into a bigger, flashier con than a phony wall scheme? Foreign governments would pay Bannon many millions to whisper in Donny’s ear. As a conman, Bannon falls short. When you think about it, just about every one of Trump’s mafia lieutenants has turned out to be nothing more than a clumsy, petty thief. Manafort, Stone, Gates and now Bannon - just a bunch of small-time felons. Like Trump.
Sheesh. What a summary. I am in awe of your ability.
I was reading Peggy Noonan's WSJ article today and seemed like we were watching different programs. Thanks for confirming I was not going nuts. The Democrats nailed it. Now, we need to bring it home on November 3rd.
I am beginning to think that, given Trump's shockingly poor performance and his even worse strategic and tactical judgement, his very bad polling numbers and the successful Democratic Convention and the closing judicial net around him and his people (Bannon + many others, his taxes, his financial frauds etc), Putin has abandoned support for Trump and will concentrate on generating election chaos in order to undermine people's confidence in institutions and will look to consolidate his gains over the last few years. The poisoning of Navalny could not be effected without Putin's permission .....if it was done "independently" then Putin is weakening in the eyes of his Oligarchs and this is not a good sign for him and a precurser of "troubled" times for all as the internal battle for political succession takes off fully.
Hospital "treatment" for Russian political opponents has always been a very sombre affaire and the "doctors" are now saying both that he is too weak to be transported to a real specialist clinic in Germany.....and that they can't find any poison in his system! Putin needs absolute control of his internal sphere to face a resurgent America under Biden...and will brook no manifestation of opposition and will silence those that try to oppose.
Dear Heather, Thank you for your wonderful work. Your letters are sometimes the only way I can face the news on some days.
Though I know you are already up until dawn most nights putting this letter together, I do have one small request of you to carry out sometime.
If you have any way to contact that remarkable young man Brayden Harrington, please let him know that he nailed it. Having an inkling how much effort that performance must have cost him, he clearly already has the kind of perseverance that will take him anywhere. Kudos!
Yesterday was a particularly strange day, wasn't it? I wasn't shocked by Steve Bannon's arrest, but I thought it was unusual that law enforcement felt the need to go out to sea to arrest him on a boat. Were they concerned he was fleeing the country? And then, of all ironies, he was arrested by postal inspectors?! Oy vey, you can't make this shit up.
I wasn't aware that Trump's lawsuit about kicking people off Twitter was still active. I really don't understand how the President can justify limiting the audience on a forum he clearly uses for official pronouncements, but he's at it nonetheless. I check out what Trump says on Twitter because I find it irritatingly funny, but I have never wanted to give him the tacit support of following him. Now I've found a work-around. Instead of following Trump on Twitter, I follow @TheIdiotDonald: “What Donald Trump would say if he was an idiot. All his tweets retweeted. Now you can read them without giving him the satisfaction of being followed.”
Finally, even though HCR didn't address this issue in her post, I've been particularly concerned about Trump's constant harping on the idiotic notion that mail-in voting will unleash a torrent of voter fraud. At one of his recent events he was even drawing out a scenario of illegal aliens crowded around a kitchen table filling out stacks of mail-in ballots. WT-actual-F?! I understand that he can say stuff like this because of first amendment protections, but I think an argument can be made for a shouting-fire-in-a-crowded-theater exception. The President of the United States, for better or worse, is by the very nature of his office a human bullhorn. Somebody needs to take his batteries away and steer him back to the big shiny box of crayons that he loves to chew on.
Perfect recap of an incredibly busy day. It seems as though the days are becoming more sensational with no end insight. Heather, do you feel Trump is nearing the end of the days of being able to try to hide his association with the decline/corruption of this country?
"Fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy night." Margo Channing said it best.
"Sheesh" indeed...one of those days where there are so many stories to take in that one easily gets overwhelmed. I find I have to kind of take things in doses, then cogitate on each one, and gird myself for the next one. It will only get worse as events swirl toward Election Day. As inspiring and hopeful I felt Biden's address--and indeed the whole convention--was, I can't shake the creeping feeling that Trump will still SOMEHOW manage to jerry-rig the system so much that he'll succeed in staying in the White House. (His niece in an interview with Rachel Maddow basically said that there is no way in hell that Trump will willingly leave the White House, no matter the results. She bases this on knowing him as well as anyone. He simply does not accept defeat. We should expect a "bataille royale".) It is all the more important that so many people turn out to vote against him that the election results will be absolutely incontrovertible, no matter how much he petulantly rages and tweets. The next 80 days or so are going to test us ALL. Last night gave me some hope that we've got this. Thanks again, Heather, for all you do!
Thank you again Professor Richardson - a wonderful Letter today.
A couple of questions for the room: Who is watching the polling places for the Democrats? To whom can we send donations?