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USA style thread#1 - miscellaneous happenings - C C - Sep 30, 2020

Anti-Trump attack ads might actually be helping him, Democratic group finds

EXCERPTS: . . . The outfit, called Fellow Americans, was launched without public fanfare in early 2020 [...] In June, at the height of the Black Lives Matter protests, Fellow Americans released a digital ad condemning Trump’s now infamous march across Lafayette Square, using scary clips of tear gas and the sounds of flash bangs as Trump held a Bible aloft outside of St. John’s Church. The spot changed almost no minds about Trump or the protests, according to testing responses among various voter subgroups.

“We assumed it would be a mover spot, and it just wasn’t,” McIntosh said. The video had the adverse effect of pushing away not just moderate voters, but also many Democratic-base voters, particularly young people, who find politics tiresome and irrelevant to their lives...

[...] What did resonate? A spot called “Protest & Vote.” The video featured upbeat music, brightly colored graphics, and images of nonviolent protests, with former president Obama urging activists to both register to vote and take to the streets. The ad made no mention of Trump or Biden. The spot worked, its creators said, because it adopted a series of themes and images that have been shown to resonate among young people, African Americans, and a subgroup of disengaged voters they call “struggling skeptics.” It was optimistic, showcased diverse faces, tied current fights to historical struggles, and avoided the Beltway political debates that consume a news media growing ever more detached from the voting public...

[...] Fellow Americans partnered with two firms -- Civis Analytics and Swayable -- for what it called “creative pretesting.” ... this is the first presidential cycle in which creative testing has crept into mainstream Democratic practice...

[...] “We are at this critical moment when people are looking at empirical evidence about whether messages work, and in politics, you still have poll-testing of messages, which is bullshit,” Swayable CEO James Slezak told me. “A pollster calls people up and says, ‘If I said this, what would you say? Would this message be persuasive?’ But there is no science that can predict how persuasive it will be. In a drug trial you don’t give a drug to a 1,000 people and ask them if they get better the next day. You have a test group and a control group. You run experiments, measuring certain things in a structured protocol that actually proves it can cause an impact.”

[...] Dutta told me that this kind of testing works like a focus group at a much larger scale [...] to measure specific outcomes and bypass the gut assumptions that usually fuel ad making. ... Dutta cited one Hillary Clinton ad called “Mirrors,” which showed young girls looking in the mirror, intercut with Trump making sexist comments about various women. The assumption in Brooklyn was that it would [ up...] negative views of Trump. “I thought it was one of those powerful spots,” Dutta said. “It made me cry. But it turns out ... it actually created huge backlash amongst undecided voters. And it made them more likely to support Trump. It just goes to prove that we have all these embedded biases as Democrats.”

Among those biases: that Trump’s loathsome personal qualities are enough to rally Democrats to vote against him in November. That bet proved to be a miscalculation by the Clinton campaign in 2016, and according to Fellow Americans, voters are largely rejecting messages that go after Trump personally rather than issues like his administration’s response to the pandemic. Its testing, particularly around coronavirus messaging, revealed that personality-focused attacks on Trump, specifically ads using Trump’s image or voice, were almost useless. [...] Fellow Americans found, and messages that featured Trump or rising death tolls or administrative failure had the adverse effect of reaffirming their skepticism of the political process.

[...] Its best-performing ads had a few things in common: They were optimistic; they included President Obama; they used simple facts and figures; or they starred regular people rather than politicians. Messages about Biden performed best when they avoided Trump contrasts or featured testimonials from young people who portrayed him as a bridge builder and focused on his unifying message... (MORE - details)

The Return of the Chaos Candidate

EXCERPTS: Donald Trump never liked the nickname. Back when he was a New Yorker and a newly minted Republican and generally considered a political oddity, Jeb Bush branded him on live television. According to the former Florida governor, Trump was “the chaos candidate.” It fit then, and it still fits now: The first Trump vs. Biden debate marked the return of the chaos candidacy.

Though no one who knew him well expected Trump to change because of a trifling factor such as living in the White House for nearly four years, the incumbent president was in classic form Tuesday night. For 98 minutes, he belittled and bullied and berated both his opponent and the moderator -- so much so that he made the debate painful to watch. But what was roundly condemned may have been the plan.

Trump trails former vice president Joe Biden [...] Figuring he needed a strong showing to close the gap, the campaign studied every Biden debate since 1972. The strategy they came up with entailed having Trump rely on his improv ability rather than employ a structured game plan.

There were just a handful of goals for Trump, a source familiar with the debate prep told RCP: Knock Biden off his talking points by answering questions from moderator Chris Wallace of Fox News and then posing another one to his opponent. Force him to own up to the less popular parts of his own record. Push the centrist Democrat to own the policy agenda of those on his left flank. “The more Joe stutters and stumbles and makes mistakes and says things that just don't resonate or make sense,” the source told RCP the day before the debate, “the more we're winning.”

If that approach wasn’t already apparent, it became obvious within the first few minutes when a discussion about the Supreme Court turned into a question about Obamacare.

[...] "The party is me. Right now, I am the Democratic Party," Biden insisted.

"And they’re going to dominate you, Joe. You know that," Trump shot back.

It was a redux of what Republicans have long argued, namely that Biden’s moderation is a sham and that the former vice president is little more than a Trojan horse for more progressive ideologies. At one point, after Trump accused Biden of embracing “socialized medicine” and signing off on “the manifesto” of a former Democratic rival, an incredulous Biden replied, “I’m not going to listen to him. The fact of the matter is I beat Bernie Sanders.”

This was a rare denunciation at a moment when Democrats have tried to bind up the partisan wounds of a divisive primary. Trump saw it as an opening to take advantage, declaring that Biden had “just lost the left.” Two minutes later, both men were shouting that the other was the real “liar.”

Much of the debate was wasted with this kind of jawboning, and little policy was actually discussed in detail. But as Trump was trying to peg Biden as a radical, he only succeeded in chasing the Democrat to the center. The Green New Deal? Biden said he didn’t support it. Rioting in the streets? Biden condemned violence. Defunding the police? Biden said he would increase funding. Just as Republicans struggled to define Biden over the summer, Trump was all over the place throughout the night. His punches didn’t land as hard as they did four years ago, and his new opponent was not as easily demonized as Hillary Clinton. But the president never stopped interrupting, which at some point became the issue itself.

[...] The debate continued for several more minutes. More barbs and more personal attacks followed. Both candidates regularly interrupted, and they kept doing so even as Wallace tried to bring the night to an end. “We are going to have to leave it there,” the moderator said, even as Trump kept speaking. “It has been an interesting hour and a half.”

More than anything, the 98 minutes marked the return of Trump as the chaos candidate... (MORE - details)

RE: USA style thread#1 - miscellaneous happenings - C C - Sep 30, 2020

As rats swarm California cities, Gov. Newsom bans popular poison to protect wildlife

EXCERPTS: California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill Tuesday that seeks to protect mountain lions and other wildlife from being poisoned by a popular form of pesticide. The move raises questions about how the state will manage its growing urban rat population, which some experts say is surging due to the spread of homeless camps across California.

Newsom signed Assembly Bill 1788, which bans, with few exceptions, the use of what are known as "second generation anticoagulant rodenticides" until state pesticide regulators develop plans to ensure they're not harmful to wildlife.

[...] In recent years, the megalopolis of Los Angeles County has seen skyrocketing cases of a rodent-borne disease called typhus. State environment officials last year, meanwhile, faced a major public relations crisis when they announced they planned to set out the poisons to control rats that had taken over the Sacramento CalEPA building courtyard it shares with a daycare center's outdoor playground.

Environmental groups were furious, and in response, the state agreed to use another type of poison. The building houses the Department of Pesticide Regulation, which in 2014 prohibited the use of the poisons to anyone but state-certified pest control operators.

Newsom signed the [new] bill just weeks after the National Park Service announced that biologists in the Santa Monica Mountains had found a dead mountain lion and a dead bobcat that had been killed by the poisons. The cougar was the sixth mountain lion wearing a GPS-tracking collar to die from the poisons in a years-long study in the region... (MORE - details)

RE: USA style thread#1 - miscellaneous happenings - Syne - Oct 1, 2020

Typhus? Yep, Cali is joining the third world.

RE: USA style thread#1 - miscellaneous happenings - C C - Oct 1, 2020

PhRMA calls Trump's ban on anti-racism training "harmful"

INTRO: Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) said in a statement Thursday that President Trump's executive order that appears to block federal contractors from holding anti-racist programs or diversity training is "ill-conceived and harmful" and asked that it be rescinded.

Why it matters: PhRMA president and CEO Stephen Ubl warned that the order puts "improper bureaucratic hurdles and restrictions on speech" within private companies that have contracts and grants with the federal government, jeopardizing "meaningful dialogue on the values for which this nation stands."

Context: Trump moved to halt federal agencies' anti-racism training in early September, then expanded the ban to federal contractors. The order suggests these sessions promote "radical ideologies that divide Americans by race or sex."

What they're saying: “The biopharmaceutical industry is doing everything it can to find vaccines and therapeutics to help end a pandemic that has had a disproportionate impact on Black and Brown communities," Ubl wrote in a statement Thursday... (MORE)

RELATED: Critical race theory is a classic Marxist divide and conquer tactic

Governor Newsome vetoes California bill requiring ethnic studies as a graduation requirement

RELEASE: Gov. Gavin Newsom late Wednesday vetoed a bill that would have made ethnic studies a California high school graduation requirement, citing controversy over the model curriculum. Assemblyman Jose Medina, a fellow Democrat, criticized the veto of his bill as “a failure to push back against the racial rhetoric and bullying of Donald Trump.”

Newsom said he supports the ethnic studies concept, but cited ongoing discussions and revisions on what should be included in the classes. An early version of the model curriculum last year “was insufficiently balanced and inclusive and needed to be substantially amended,” he said in his veto message. And Newsom said he believes the latest draft, which is under review, “still needs revision.”

The bill would have required high schools to provide ethnic studies starting in the 2025-26 school year and made ethnic studies a high school graduation requirement starting in the 2029-30 school year. Newsom said “hundreds” of individual schools have already adopted their own curriculum. Newsom previously signed a bill into law making ethnic studies a requirement to graduate from the California State University system.

Medina said failing to extend the requirement to high school is “a missed opportunity” and “disservice” to students, promising to try again next year. He noted that the Trump administration has threatened to punish schools that include an anti-bias curriculum. “In order to build racial justice in this state and country, all of our students need to learn the real history of America — and that history includes the diverse experiences and perspectives of people of color,” Medina said.

But the American Jewish Committee applauded the veto while saying it agrees with the need for such a requirement. “We appreciate Governor Newsom’s insistence on developing balanced and inclusive educational materials,” said Richard Hirschhaut, director of the group’s Los Angeles region, in a statement. “It is worth taking the time to get this right.

RE: USA style thread#1 - miscellaneous happenings - Secular Sanity - Oct 2, 2020

He also signed the state's historic reparations bill into law. 

AB-3121 Task Force to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans.

RE: USA style thread#1 - miscellaneous happenings - Syne - Oct 2, 2020

Critical race theory is not just anti-racism or diversity training. It's a political ideology that is, itself racist and breeds racial resentment. If pharma doesn't like the strings attached to government contracts and grants, they can do business without taxpayer money. And mentioning vaccines sounds like extortion, which is what we've come to expect from vile leftists.

And apparently they can't wait to teach white kids to feel guilty for nothing they've done and black kids to feel hopeless victims regardless of anything they can do. And a bill to study reparations is virtue-signalling and promulgates the racist notion that black people somehow can't overcome something none of them has experienced. Seeking to make people feel oppressed is evil.

RE: USA style thread#1 - miscellaneous happenings - C C - Oct 3, 2020

Australians Watching American Politics: ???!!!!***$%%#

EXCERPTS (Damien Cave): . . . Australians used to talk about American politics the way they talk about sport — they followed the ups and downs, marveled at the competitor, and tried to game out who would win. This year? It’s more like the discussion of a car wreck involving a neighbor or an uncle.

For months, friends and even strangers have been asking if my relatives are healthy, worried they may have perished in the American coronavirus catastrophe. And this week, after a debacle of a debate and the news that President Trump and Melania Trump had tested positive for the coronavirus, I saw and heard more than just empathy — also shock, dismay, fear, heartbreak and just head-shaking alarm.

I emailed Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s office right away seeking comment — and got nothing, at least for the moment. My guess: The power-brokers in Canberra were also trying to lift their jaws off the ground.

[...] When I asked Hugh White, a professor of strategic studies at the Australia National University, how he felt watching the debate, he said two emotions came to mind: dismay and sadness. “Specifically, it renewed my bewilderment that over 40 percent of Americans are willing to contemplate a vote for Trump,” he said. “What does that say about their views of the presidency?”

He added that the policy-free back and forth also “reinforced my sense that Biden is indeed a very weak candidate, whose only claim to the presidency, as he himself acknowledged, is that he isn’t Donald Trump.” And, he said, “it deepened my anxiety that the election result will be contested and chaotic.” (MORE - details)

RE: USA style thread#1 - miscellaneous happenings - Syne - Oct 3, 2020

Ah, the ignorance of foreigners.

RE: USA style thread#1 - miscellaneous happenings - C C - Oct 3, 2020

Twitter warns users over Donald Trump death threats

INTRO: While some are wishing for US President Donald Trump's speedy recovery, others are celebrating his positive Covid-19 diagnosis online, even going as far as wishing for his death. However Twitter has spoken out, warning its users against making death threats and saying any tweets that "wish or hope for death, serious bodily harm or fatal disease" will prompt the social media giant to remove the the posts. The stance has created backlash on the platform, with other Twitter users quick to point out how others have had no such response when they have received death threats... (MORE - details)

North Korea's Kim wishes Trump a speedy recovery after coronavirus diagnosis

INTRO: North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong Un sent President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump a "message of sympathy" on Friday night after learning had been diagnosed with COVID-19.

Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), North Korea's state media outlet, reported the news as Trump was making his way from the White House to Walter Reed Medical Center while suffering from symptoms including a fever, cough and fatigue less than 24 hours after testing positive for the virus.

"In the message he [Kim] said he heard the sudden news that the president and the first lady of the U.S. have been tested positive for corona virus," the KCNA report states. "He offered his sympathy to the president and the first lady. He sincerely hoped that they would be recovered as soon as possible. He hoped they will surely overcome it. He sent warm greetings to them." (MORE)

[...] South Korea's Yonhap news agency said it was the first time Kim had sent well wishes to a world leader who tested positive for the novel coronavirus... (MORE - details)

Why 'doomsday' nuclear planes have taken to the skies in the US

INTRO: America's doomsday planes are in the air following news that the nation's commander-in-chief, President Donald Trump, has Covid-19.

Two US Navy E-6B Mercury nuclear war command posts were observed in flight Friday, one on each coast of the United States. They were initiating the "Take Charge and Move Out" (TACAMO) defence protocol – essentially dispersing the command and communications facilities needed to control the US nuclear arsenal.

These aircraft are activated by the Pentagon when it is deemed necessary to communicate with the US Navy's secretive nuclear missile submarines, stealth bombers and missile silos. The move underscores the potential severity of the situation.

The President of the United States is also the commander-in-chief of the nation's armed forces, including its nuclear forces. The incapacitation of whoever holds this position could be seen as an opportunity by potential belligerents. Covid-19, which has so far killed 200,000 US citizens, is particularly deadly among older sufferers. President Trump is 74 years old... (MORE - details)

RE: USA style thread#1 - miscellaneous happenings - C C - Oct 3, 2020

National chairman of "Proud Boys" is Latino

SUMMARY POINTS: Enrique Tarrio is serving as the Florida state director of a political support group Latinos for Trump, can reveal.

A spokesman for the Trump campaign told that neither Tarrio nor his ‘Latinos for Trump’ are affiliated with the president’s official ‘Latinos for Trump Coalition’.

Tarrio is the national chairman of the Proud Boys, the 'white supremacist'{*} group who Donald Trump told to 'stand back and stand by' at Tuesday's debate. can reveal that Tarrio, ran for congress as a Republican earlier this year.

Tarrio, 36, has been pictured with Trump confidant Roger Stone who is a Proud Boys member, the president's son Don Jr, and GOP Senator Ted Cruz. Cruz co-sponsored a Senate resolution based on a petition written by Tarrio to designate the left wing group Antifa as a 'domestic terrorist organization'.

Tarrio posted a selfie of him and Donald Trump Jr. online with the caption: 'Blurry but at least we spoke about the rampant censorship of conservatives'.

Tarrio is a Cuban American from Miami who was promoted from president of his city's Proud Boys chapter to become the group's national chairman in 2018. ...... RELATED: Who is Enrique Tarrio?

- - - footnote - - -

{*} "... its members represent a range of ethnic backgrounds, and its leaders vehemently protest any allegations of racism. ... law enforcement officials denied that it was their intent to classify the entire group in this manner [ties to white nationalism] and ascribed the mistake to a misunderstanding."

Michigan Supreme Court strikes down governor's emergency Covid powers

INTRO: The Michigan Supreme Court ruled Friday that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer had no authority to issue or renew executive orders relating to Covid-19 beyond April 30. The Democratic governor extended the state's coronavirus emergency declaration by executive order April 30 after the Republican-controlled Legislature advanced a bill that would not have renewed the original declaration. Whitmer cited the Emergency Management Act of 1976 (EMA) and the Emergency Powers of the Governor Act of 1945 (EPGA) as authority, with two lower courts subsequently dismissing legal challenges to her actions.

But the Michigan Supreme Court Friday ruled that Gov. Whitmer did not possess the authority under the EMA to re-declare a state of emergency or disaster based on the pandemic and that the EPGA was an "unlawful delegation of legislative power to the executive branch in violation of the Michigan Constitution."

"Accordingly, the executive orders issued by the Governor in response to the Covid-19 pandemic now lack any basis under Michigan law," the justices' opinion reads.

Whitmer issued a statement condemning the ruling. "Today's Supreme Court ruling, handed down by a narrow majority of Republican justices, is deeply disappointing, and I vehemently disagree with the court's interpretation of the Michigan Constitution," she said. "Right now, every state and the federal government have some form of declared emergency. With this decision, Michigan will become the sole outlier at a time when the Upper Peninsula is experiencing rates of Covid infection not seen in our state since April."

As of Friday night, Michigan had reported 139,996 cases of coronavirus and 7,110 deaths, according to John Hopkins University. Whitmer noted that the court's ruling would not take effect for at least 21 days and that her emergency declaration and orders would remain in place until then... (MORE)