"What we've never seen before is a president say, 'I'm going to try to actively kneecap the Postal Service to [discourage] voting,'" Barack Obama said in a podcast interview.'That's sort of unheard of' »
Thursday afternoon, Marla Maples, the television personality best known as Donald Trump’s second wife, shared an Instagram photo from notorious anti-vaxxer Robert F. Kennedy Jr. of Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates cracking up like a cartoon villain. “We get rid of cash and coins,” the overlaid text reads. “We give you a chip. We put all your money in your chip. If you refuse a vaccine, we turn off the chip and you starve!”“Education is key...Ask questions...Dig deeper…,” Maples wrote over the Instagram Story, which bore the vague header: “The digitalized economy?” If users dug deeper, clicking through to the original post, they could find two clips from an uncited video. The footage splices clips of Bill Gates talking about access to vaccination—playing, for unclear reasons, on a vintage IBM monitor—with disembodied commentary accusing the Microsoft co-founder of seeking “control over our identities...control over our transactions...and even control over our bodies.” Maples, who dabbles in wellness influencing, has periodically mentioned the global pandemic to her Instagram following of 114,000—recommending Vitamin C IV drips, morning prayer, and an idiosyncratic hand-washing method, in which she pours a mug of water on her hands without soap. But Tiffany Trump’s mother has stayed largely quiet on the political dimensions of the virus, including how her ex-husband has handled it. Her Thursday post, spotted by CNN’s Betsey Klein, fed into the unfounded, but widely-held belief that Bill Gates has hatched a plot to implement tracking devices on billions of people under the guise of a COVID-19 vaccine. (Maples did not respond to requests for comment). The conspiracy has taken off particularly among right-wing COVID truthers (despite the fact that Trump personally asked Gates to be his science adviser). Kennedy shared the post with the exhortation to “Follow the Corbett Report !”—a far-right-leaning website ranked “Tin Foil Hat” on Media Bias Fact Check’s conspiracy scale. The Corbett Report claims to cover topics from “9/11 Truth and false flag terror to the Big Brother police state, eugenics, geopolitics, the central banking fraud and more.” Lewis Hamilton, the Formula One racing driver with 18.3 million Instagram followers, shared several stories in late July pushing the Gates theory. A YouGov poll of Republicans from late July found that 44 percent believe the conspiracy, while just 26 percent identified it as false. How QAnon Became Obsessed With ‘Adrenochrome,’ an Imaginary Drug Hollywood Is ‘Harvesting’ from KidsFake Jeffrey Epstein Flight Logs Lead QAnon Crazies to Target Chrissy Teigen and BeyoncéConspiracies about Bill Gates’ involvement in the global pandemic have swirled in online circles since early March. Gates has been sounding alarms about viral outbreaks for years, once warning in a 2015 TED Talk that the next global catastrophe was “more likely to be a highly infectious virus, rather than a war.” In the early weeks of closures in the United States, the video spurred baseless theories that Gates had orchestrated the virus himself. Those theories were disseminated in part by high-profile figures, who shared the claims on social media. A March report from NBC News’ Brandy Zadrozny identified one such viral video on the Instagram accounts of Cedric the Entertainer, Gary Owen, D.L. Hughley, and Derrick Lewis. The video overlooked the fact that public health officials, including an Ebola researcher in the Obama administration, have made similar claims for years. But the conspiracies quickly mutated over time. By March 19, the claim had shifted away from the mad scheme to infect the world with respiratory illness, to the notion that Gates planned to insert microchips in would-be vaccine patients to monitor and control their behavior, like that Wallace and Gromit short where an evil penguin controls Wallace’s trousers. A Reuters fact check of the conspiracy theory found that, by March 31, the claim had been shared at least 1,000 times on Facebook and 3,600 times on Twitter. Most of the posts linked to a blog from biohackinfo.com, a website run by two “do-it-yourself biohackers” who write under the aliases CyphR and Glyph. The article claimed Gates planned to “launch human-implantable capsules that have ‘digital certificates’ which can show who has been tested for the coronavirus and who has been vaccinated against it.” Their sole evidence came from a Reddit ‘Ask Me Anything’ Gates participated in on March 18, in which he discussed digital contact tracing. ‘Bill Gates Wants Us to Get It’: The Deranged Scene at Trump’s Ford Factory TourGates addressed the conspiracy theories about him in a recent interview with Bloomberg Businessweek, saying, “It’s strange. They take the fact that I’m involved with vaccines and they just reverse it, so instead of giving money to save lives, I’m making money to get rid of lives. If that stops people from taking a vaccine or looking at the latest data about wearing a mask, then it’s a big problem.”For privacy advocates, digital contact tracing—technology that tracks and monitors COVID-19-positive patients to mitigate outbreaks—has inspired legitimate concerns over how the digital surveillance works, how much data will be collected, and where it may go. Earlier this week, the crime blotter app Citizen launched its contact tracing function, SafeTrace, to immediate ire from data security professionals. But data companies don’t need to insert microchips into users’ skin to follow people around—if they have location services enabled on their phone, those companies already do. Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
Editors and executives at Newsweek, a formerly prestigious and popular magazine that in recent years has suffered from self-inflicted wounds and even a criminal investigation of its business practices, are once again digging themselves out of a public relations hole.Newsweek Editor-in-Chief Nancy Cooper and the magazine’s recently-hired opinion editor, Trump-backing conservative activist and attorney Josh Hammer, apologized on Friday after nearly a week of defending a right-wing law professor’s op-ed questioning Sen. Kamala Harris’ U.S. citizenship and her eligibility to be Joe Biden’s running mate.“This op-ed is being used by some as a tool to perpetuate racism and xenophobia. We apologize,” read the editor’s note that replaced their earlier detailed defense of the op-ed. “[T]o many readers, the essay inevitably conveyed the ugly message that Senator Kamala Harris, a woman of color and the child of immigrants, was somehow not truly American.”Cooper didn’t respond to email and text messages from The Daily Beast, with which Newsweek was partnered from 2010 to 2013 when IAC, The Daily Beast’s parent company, sold the money-losing magazine to IBT Media’s owners, Etienne Uzac and Johnathan Davis. The two entrepreneurs have a close and controversial financial connection to a charismatic South Korean evangelical minister named David Jang, touted by some of his followers as the messiah.Hammer—a former Ted Cruz aide and member of the Federalist Society and the right-leaning Claremont Institute, who joined Newsweek in May after writing for Ben Shapiro’s Daily Wire—declined to comment, telling The Daily Beast in a brief phone conversation, “I’m not interested in speaking. Thank you.”And then hung up the phone.Several of Newsweek’s journalists were alarmed by Hammer’s arrival because of his hyper-partisan leanings—and especially because former Trump adviser and Breitbart CEO Steve Bannon, perceived as a Hammer ally, apparently continues to hope that he will one day buy the magazine.The Newsweek Media Group’s CEO Dev Pragad and its chief content officer Dayan Candappa—who joined the magazine in 2016 after he was fired from Reuters amid sexual harassment allegations—could not be reached.“The updated editor’s note that tops the op-ed attached here is our response to your query,” Newsweek spokesman Ken Frydman texted The Daily Beast. “Please note that both editor’s notes were written by Nancy Cooper and signed by Josh Hammer. Not the other way around, as you suggested. Also, Josh Hammer denies having Steve Bannon’s contact information.”The essay—by Chapman University law professor John C. Eastman, also a Claremont Institute denizen, and headlined “Some Questions for Kamala Harris About Eligibility”—prompted widespread disgust both inside and outside Newsweek, as well as letters demanding a retraction from members of the magazine’s staff for its whiff of birtherism and racism; it was predictably weaponized by Donald Trump and his supporters.During a Thursday press conference/campaign rally in the White House briefing room, a reporter asked Trump about social media rumors—apparently stoked by Newsweek—that Harris was “an anchor baby” and thus ineligible to run.“I heard it today that she doesn’t meet the requirements,” Trump answered. “I have no idea if that’s right. I would have thought, I would have assumed, that the Democrats would have checked that out before she gets chosen to run for vice president.”Cooper and Hammer’s apology—which acknowledged that “we should have recognized the potential, even the probability, that this could happen”—nevertheless fell far short of staffers’ demands that the magazine retract and remove Eastman’s supposedly erudite exploration of 19th century Supreme Court rulings.Those ancient high court decisions, Eastman claimed, raised “a significant challenge” to Harris’ American citizenship and eligibility to run as the Democratic vice presidential nominee, even though she was born in Oakland, California, to a Jamaican father and Indian mother.“To see this piece run on Newsweek’s website was beyond devastating,” London-based Newsweek correspondent Chantal Da Silva tweeted on Thursday, as members of the magazine’s London bureau sent an anguished and angry letter to top editor Cooper demanding that the essay be taken down. “It is inaccurate and it is dangerous. Journalism should be about informing, not inflaming and certainly not about spreading baseless claims that can only fuel the flames of racism and hatred.”Christina Zhao, a New York-based senior breaking news editor, tweeted: “This is an inflammatory and racist op-ed that should never have been published. That is my opinion.”In their note of apology, Cooper and Hammer persisted in disagreeing.“Many readers have demanded that we retract the essay,” they wrote, “but we believe in being transparent and are therefore allowing it to remain online, with this note attached.”Senior Newsweek reporter Jason Lemon tweeted: “I’m glad to see my employer Newsweek issue this apology over the op-ed questioning Harris’ eligibility to be VP. But deeply disappointed it was published in the first place.”However, a prominent former Newsweek staffer, who asked not to be further identified, quipped that the magazine’s owners and upper management “are probably loving the clicks and the fact that it’s an editorial controversy unrelated to Jesus and Seoul.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
U.S. President Donald Trump, who has used belittling nicknames to describe his opponents throughout his political career, toyed with a name change on Friday for his Democratic rival in the Nov. 3 election, Joe Biden. Unable to hold his signature large campaign rallies because of the pandemic, Trump brought about 300 police officers who support his re-election bid to the open area outside the clubhouse at his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf club. Trump polled the crowd on whether he should stick with "Sleepy Joe" or change his nickname to "Slow Joe."
The Democratic and Republican conventions will lack for crowds but not television coverage. The standard political gatherings that were to unfold for the Democratic Party in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and for the GOP in Charlotte, North Carolina, will be largely virtual, constrained by the coronavirus. The Democratic meeting will be virtual, with Biden planning to make his acceptance speech from Wilmington, Delaware.
Former President Barack Obama criticized President Donald Trump on Friday for attempting to stall funding for the U.S. Postal Service.
The Democratic Party has “inclusion” in its platform. So why are there no Muslim speakers in the Democratic National Convention’s primetime lineup—and only a handful of Latinx voices? That’s a question activists and organizers are putting out on the front lawn in the days leading up to the Democratic National Convention, when the party will officially anoint former Vice President Joe Biden to become the nominee after nearly a week of hoopla.The convention lineup features plenty of party luminaries, longtime Biden loyalists, and even two adjacent Republicans. But it’s thin on top spots for some of the most consequential constituencies the party’s “big tent” promises to embrace. “It doesn’t track that every other day I get an email from the Democratic Party saying how important the Latino vote is. But when they can show us that we matter, we don’t get a seat at the table,” Julissa Arce, an immigrant rights activist, told The Daily Beast. The four-day event includes only three Latinx headliners and entirely leaves off Muslim Americans, each making up a complex, diverse group of individuals who Biden is hoping to turn out in record numbers. The lack of adequate representation, some Democratic activists contend, is even more pressing, and flat-out shocking, when attempting to present a strong front against President Donald Trump.To have “as many Republican speakers as Latinos, it just doesn’t send a great message,” Sawyer Hackett, a senior adviser to Julián Castro, told The Daily Beast, approximating about those scheduled to appear. Castro, the only Latino candidate to seek the party’s 2020 nomination, did not make the cut.The virtual nature of the event during coronavirus has forced officials to limit the number of guests and amount of time allocated for general zest. In previous cycles, the convention program spanned six hours each night over four total nights. This year, each night will only be two hours in length, representing 16 hours less time for guests to speak. Helping do that are three preeminent Latinx Democrats: Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY).They’ll share the week with other notable leaders, from former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, to former Secretaries of State Hillary Clinton and John Kerry. A host of Biden’s old presidential rivals—Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg—will also speak.But they also come alongside visible so-called NeverTrumpers Michael Bloomberg, the former Republican mayor of New York City, and Ohio’s former Republican governor John Kasich, with whom members of Biden’s inner circle have worked throughout the general election.The calls for further diversity come amid news reports that have brought the apparent deficiency into public view. Business Insider reported on Tuesday that Ocasio-Cortez, one of the top stars in the progressive wing, will only have “60 seconds to deliver remarks.” Ocasio-Cortez, a DNC official told The Daily Beast, is nominating Sanders, with each nominator receiving one minute of speaking time. Prior to that, Newsweek published a detailed story headlined, “Why high-profile Latino Democrats won't speak at Biden's virtual convention.”The Democratic National Convention Committee did not return a request for comment.“The thing that’s really painful about it is that this is the Latino invisibility that a lot of us are fighting against in every area of American life,” Arce said.On Friday, a senior member of Biden’s campaign sought to explain itself—and soothe wounds. “There has been a lot of excitement & questions about the upcoming convention. I’m here to share that Latinos will represent, with important voices from around the nation that showcase our community’s strength & resilience. But, this isnt like a typical convention,” Cristóbal Alex, a senior Biden adviser, tweeted on Friday. “For starters, we aren't going to have 10 hours of speeches per day. This is 2 hours per night with a goal of reaching voters across the nation, including Latino voters. Thats why @JulianCastro has a role.”Alex noted several other Latinx voices who will have additional roles in the convention conversation: Long Beach City Mayor Robert Garcia, Victoria Neave, Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-TX), Rep. Filemon Vela (D-TX), California’s Secretary of State Alex Padilla, former Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, Nevada state Sen. Yvanna Cancela, Texas state Rep. Victoria Neave, and Biden co-chairman Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. He also exclaimed that singer Prince Royce will be performing, and that DNC Chairman Tom Perez has kept the convention afloat. But that roster hasn’t fully satisfied some activists who contend they feel isolated from the biggest election event of the cycle. Those concerns became more pronounced when contrasted with Bloomberg, the billionaire former Republican, in particular. “The lack of real representation was highlighted days ago, and somehow they had enough time and found enough space to add billionaire Mike Bloomberg,” Hackett said, adding that he has not “been shy” about saying more members of the Latinx community should be promoted.When Bloomberg’s press shop made it public that he would have a speaking slot on Thursday afternoon, some Democrats already started airing concerns about how a major party donor worth billions was able to get some virtual air time. One civil rights organization, Muslim Advocates, was especially displeased. The organization filed a lawsuit in 2012 against the New York City Police Department, which Bloomberg oversaw at the time, for its surveillance program targeting Muslims. That he never apologized during his short lived presidential run created further upset over the decision to present him prominently on the national stage. Other advocates point to Trump as a more existential threat, noting that his immigration ban halted primarily Muslim immigrants from entering the country. At the Democratic National Convention in 2016, one of the most memorable moments came when Khizr Khan, a Gold Star father whose son died during the Iraq War, delivered a passionate address criticizing Trump’s conduct.This year, activists note, that opportunity won’t be offered.“For a party to really embrace that full diversity of the country, you really do need to include religious diversity and you really should look at the American Muslim community,” said Scott Simpson, Muslim Advocates’ advocacy director. Asked if he was surprised that the DNC opted against inviting a Muslim American Democrat to speak, he said, “I was disappointed. I can’t say I’m surprised.”Reached for comment after publication, the DNC official said, “the program will reflect the diversity of our country and will include representation from the Muslim American community,” adding that “the full convention program has not been announced yet.”In recent weeks, Biden convened a virtual zoom event with Muslim leaders and organizers. He also held a separate fundraiser to further address engagement. “You can be key difference makers” in the outcome of the general election, Biden said, according to a pool report of the Aug. 10 fundraiser.Wa'el Alzayat, CEO of the Muslim advocacy group Emgage, has been in contact with Biden, whom he and his group endorsed, and other Democrats on the importance of the topic ahead of November. That contrast is more urgent with Trump in office, he said. “This thing began with demonizing Muslims on the campaign trail,” Alzayat said, addressing Trump’s White House policies and rhetoric. “Representation and inclusivity become not only the right thing to do, but it’s a point you make when you’re proving an alternative.”Emgage and other groups will host adjacent events during the week of the convention. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), who just won a Democratic primary battle for her House seat, will speak with Sanders and other progressives for a virtual town hall.“My interest here is not to pick a food fight here a few days before the convention,” Alzayat said. “But we definitely want to encourage, we want to promote getting as diverse voices as possible.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
Joe Biden will formally accept the nomination for president on Thursday and Kamala Harris will accept the nomination for vice president on Wednesday.
Trump ignored a question about whether he condones Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene's support for the conspiracy.
Former President Barack Obama said on Friday he worries about protecting the integrity of November's election in view of efforts by President Donald Trump to "kneecap" the U.S. Postal Service to limit Americans voting by mail during the pandemic. Obama, speaking on a podcast with David Plouffe, who managed his winning 2008 presidential campaign, also played down the seriousness of progressive-moderate divisions in the Democratic Party and said younger voters provided the key to beating Trump. Trump, who opinion polls show is trailing presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden, said on Thursday he was blocking Democrats' effort to include funds for the Postal Service in a new coronavirus relief bill, in a bid to stop universal mail-in voting.
The 300,000-member National Association of Letter Carriers said on Friday that the union's executive council had endorsed Democrat Joe Biden for president, warning "the very survival" of the U.S. Postal Service is at stake. The union criticized Republican President Donald Trump and his administration for refusing "to provide the necessary financial relief that would strengthen the agency during this pandemic." Trump's campaign did not immediately comment.
WASHINGTON -- When Shy Rodriguez heard about one of the hottest trends in education during the pandemic -- "learning pods," where parents hire teachers for small-group, in-home instruction -- she knew immediately it was something she could never afford for her sons.Like many parents, Rodriguez, a single mother and nursing assistant in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, was deeply dissatisfied with the online instruction her school district provided last spring. Facing more of the same this fall -- her district is offering an in-person option for now, but she is not comfortable sending her boys -- she set out to create a more basic and affordable type of pod: one where parents take turns with child care duties so they can go to work most days while their children attend online school together at home."I feel like it can be extremely discouraging," Rodriguez, 33, said of the widening educational gulf between wealthier children and her sons, 8 and 11. People who live paycheck to paycheck, she said, feel "like we're directly failing our children because we can't offer or afford the same level of opportunities."Whatever one calls them -- learning pods, pandemic pods or microschools -- the hiring of teachers to supplement or even replace the virtual instruction offered by public schools has become an obsession among many parents of means. Practically overnight, a virtual cottage industry of companies and consultants has emerged to help families organize pods and pair them with instructors, many of whom are marketing themselves on Facebook pages and neighborhood listservs.But the cost -- often from $30 an hour per child to $100 or more -- has put them out of reach for most families, generating concerns that the trend could make public education even more segregated and unequal."Hiring a tutor is expensive, even if it's divvied up between a couple of families," said Charese Paulson, 40, of Wilmington, Delaware, who lost her job as an accounts payable clerk during the pandemic. "Upper middle-class families can afford that, but most inner-city, lower-income families can't afford an extra $200 to $300 a week. You're talking anywhere between $800 and $1,200 a month; that's some people's rent."Paulson is counting on her 14-year-old daughter's charter school to deliver a capable online experience."I don't have that disposable income where I'm able to hire a tutor," she said.Debates over nascent pods -- some of which will be taught by parents who do not need to work full time, instead of paid teachers or tutors -- have consumed Facebook parents' groups and online forums. They have created rifts among friends, sparked accusations of "opportunity hoarding" by affluent whites and compelled some parents to ponder whether and how to include lower-income children in their pods.The backdrop of the summer's Black Lives Matter protests and renewed calls for racial justice has made the conversation all the more trenchant."Is it inequitable? A hundred thousand percent," said Melissa Cohen, a pharmaceutical sales representative in Los Angeles who hired an experienced tutor to oversee distance learning for her two children, with nanny duties thrown in, at a salary of $600 a week plus benefits. "But here's the thing: What am I supposed to do?"Some parents, rattled by the unfairness of instructional pods, are exploring how to make them more inclusive. When Myra Margolin, a psychologist and mother of two in Washington, started a Facebook group in June to connect with other parents interested in home-schooling, the page quickly attracted more than 1,000 members, many of whom were eager to form pods."I found myself in the middle of this, and it became apparent that it was not a positive trend," she said. "So I asked, 'Who wants to help me think through the equity piece of this?' It's totally clear nobody has any idea how to."Margolin recently started a GoFundMe page to subsidize learning pods for lower-income students in Washington."I had so many people be like, 'Yes, this is so important, I love this' -- and one $50 donation."Education experts say fundraising efforts and "pod scholarships," however well-meaning, are no solution for millions of low-income parents juggling the educational, child care and economic challenges of the pandemic.More useful, they say, would be if school districts or city governments created their own version of learning pods, especially for at-risk students or children of essential workers.Some districts in Massachusetts are hoping to provide in-person instruction for their most vulnerable students, while in Marin County, California, the school system will do so with small groups of special education students. A district near Denver that is starting the year fully remotely is allowing small groups of eligible elementary and middle school students to receive instruction in classrooms staffed by district employees and equipped with good internet access.San Francisco, aiming for a broader reach, is planning to transform recreation facilities, libraries and community centers into "learning hubs," where as many as 6,000 students out of a total 54,000 can go daily to complete their online schoolwork. Indianapolis will provide similar "hubs" for its homeless students, with school workers who can help them with assignments. New York last month announced a plan to offer free child care, saying it was looking for space for up to 50,000 students a day -- about 5% of its total public school population."What we need is a kind of quilt of different sources of care in support of learning, between other parents, community-based organizations, churches and child care centers themselves," said Elliot Haspel, author of "Crawling Behind: America's Childcare Crisis and How to Fix It." "But it's not sustainable without Congress passing another significant funding bill."He added, "What terrifies me is the idea of the 10-year-olds who are going to be home all day watching the 6-year-olds."Rodriguez has so far recruited two other families for the babysitting co-op she is creating, called Child Poolers of Northeast Pennsylvania. She made a Facebook page for it and posted a video explaining her vision: "tag teams" of two to four host parents who would each take on at least six hours a week of child care during school days.Instead of going back to her job in a nursing home, which she quit in the spring out of fear for her health and that of her children, Rodriguez is thinking of delivering food for DoorDash. She also has hopes of incorporating her "child pooling" group as a nonprofit and opening a community center one day."I need to leave them with someone I trust," she said of her sons, whom she enrolled in an online charter school after the pandemic began because the public school's online program seemed so unstructured. "Someone who can just make sure my kids sign in and get their work done."Some families will get at least limited help from organizations they relied on before the pandemic for after-school care or academic support. Big Brothers and Big Sisters of America, the YMCA and Boys and Girls Clubs of America all are shifting to provide learning spaces for the upcoming school year, where children can participate in distance learning while being supervised by staff members, often with meals provided. But with social distancing concerns, the programs will not be able to accommodate nearly as many children as usual."There are some people that just have to go to work and can't worry about their 8-year-old being home alone," said Gabrielle Webster, president and chief executive of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Washington.While affluent families were primarily frustrated by the lack of direct interaction with teachers and classmates last spring, many lower-income families had a more pressing concern: just being able to log in, because they lacked good internet connections or even computers. Many districts have vowed to fix those problems, but it is far from clear they will succeed.In Los Angeles, Rochelle Moreno, a single mother who was laid off from her job at an accounting firm in May, struggled even to afford to replace the ink cartridge in her printer when her 11-year-old son was learning from home last spring.On top of that, she said, "Our computer wasn't working. It was too old, we had to upgrade the browser, lost the login; by that point the audio wasn't working on Zoom. The biggest process was trying to motivate a child already having full issues around mental health, keeping him on task, expecting him to get the work.""A tutor would be amazing," said Moreno, a cancer survivor who suffers nerve pain in her foot from chemotherapy. "But I have no financial option for that, as I'm already on food stamps and waiting for my social security disability to be approved."It is not only poor children being excluded from pod plans but also those with learning disabilities or behavioral issues who, regardless of their family income, may not be welcome."No one will let in the kid with learning differences or challenges," one mother posted on DC Urban Moms, a listserv for parents in Washington and its suburbs.Janille Thompson, whose 8-year-old son attends a charter school in one of Washington's poorest neighborhoods, has not heard about the pod craze or bidding wars for in-home tutors. She can work from home two or three days a week for now and on the other days will depend on her mother, who is in her late 60s, and her aunt, who is 70, to make sure her son follows his online lessons. He has trouble reading and writing, and while he has a volunteer tutor through a nonprofit group, it is only for two hours a week. And now it is online."I hadn't heard of teachers actually coming to your house and doing tutoring," said Thompson, 38. "If I could afford for someone to do that with him -- which I'm quite sure I could not -- I surely would take advantage of it."This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company
Adolph Reed is a son of the segregated South, a native of New Orleans who organized poor Black people and anti-war soldiers in the late 1960s and became a leading socialist scholar at a trio of top universities.Along the way, he acquired the conviction, controversial today, that the left is too focused on race and not enough on class. Lasting victories were achieved, he believed, when working-class and poor people of all races fought shoulder to shoulder for their rights.In late May, Reed, now 73 and a professor emeritus at the University of Pennsylvania, was invited to speak to the Democratic Socialists of America's New York City chapter. The match seemed a natural. Possessed of a barbed wit, the man who campaigned for Sen. Bernie Sanders and skewered President Barack Obama as a man of "vacuous to repressive neoliberal politics" would address the DSA's largest chapter, the crucible that gave rise to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and a new generation of leftist activism.His chosen topic was unsparing: He planned to argue that the left's intense focus on the disproportionate impact of the coronavirus on Black people undermined multiracial organizing, which he sees as key to health and economic justice.Notices went up. Anger built. How could we invite a man to speak, members asked, who downplays racism in a time of plague and protest? To let him talk, the organization's Afrosocialists and Socialists of Color Caucus stated, was "reactionary, class-reductionist and, at best, tone-deaf.""We cannot be afraid to discuss race and racism because it could get mishandled by racists," the caucus stated. "That's cowardly and cedes power to the racial capitalists."Amid murmurs that opponents might crash his Zoom talk, Reed and DSA leaders agreed to cancel it, a striking moment as perhaps the nation's most powerful socialist organization rejected a Black Marxist professor's talk because of his views on race."God have mercy, Adolph is the greatest democratic theorist of his generation," said Cornel West, a Harvard University professor of philosophy and a socialist. "He has taken some very unpopular stands on identity politics, but he has a track record of a half-century. If you give up discussion, your movement moves toward narrowness."The decision to silence Reed came as Americans debate the role of race and racism in policing, health care, media and corporations. Often pushed aside in that discourse are those leftists and liberals who have argued there is too much focus on race and not enough on class in a deeply unequal society. Reed is part of the class of historians, political scientists and intellectuals who argue that race as a construct is overstated.This debate is particularly potent as activists sense a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make progress on issues ranging from police violence to mass incarceration to health and inequality. And it comes as socialism in America -- long a predominantly white movement -- attracts younger and more diverse adherents.Many leftist and liberal scholars argue that current disparities in health, police brutality and wealth inequality are due primarily to the nation's history of racism and white supremacy. Race is America's primal wound, they said, and Black people, after centuries of slavery and Jim Crow segregation, should take the lead in a multiracial fight to dismantle it. To set that battle aside in pursuit of ephemeral class solidarity is preposterous, they argue."Adolph Reed and his ilk believe that if we talk about race too much, we will alienate too many, and that will keep us from building a movement," said Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, a Princeton University professor of African American studies and a DSA member. "We don't want that; we want to win white people to an understanding of how their racism has fundamentally distorted the lives of Black people."A contrary view is offered by Reed and some prominent scholars and activists, many of whom are Black. They see the current emphasis in the culture on race-based politics as a dead end. They include West; historians Barbara Fields of Columbia University and Toure Reed -- Adolph Reed's son -- of Illinois State; and Bhaskar Sunkara, founder of Jacobin, a socialist magazine.They readily accept the brute reality of America's racial history and of racism's toll. They argue, however, that the problems now bedeviling America -- such as wealth inequality, police brutality and mass incarceration -- affect Black and brown Americans but also large numbers of working-class and poor white Americans.The most powerful progressive movements, they said, take root in the fight for universal programs. That was true of the laws that empowered labor organizing and established mass jobs programs during the New Deal, and it is true of the current struggles for free public college tuition, a higher minimum wage, reworked police forces and single-payer health care.Those programs would disproportionately help Black, Latino and Native American people, who on average have less family wealth and suffer ill health at rates exceeding that of white Americans, Reed and his allies argue. To fixate on race risks dividing a potentially powerful coalition and playing into the hands of conservatives."An obsession with disparities of race has colonized the thinking of left and liberal types," Reed said. "There's this insistence that race and racism are fundamental determinants of all Black people's existence."These battles are not new: In the late 19th century, socialists wrestled with their own racism and debated the extent to which they should try to build a multiracial organization. Eugene Debs, who ran for president five times, was muscular in his insistence that his party advocate racial equality. Similar questions roiled the civil rights and Black power movements of the 1960s.But the debate has been reignited by the spread of the deadly virus and the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. And it has taken on a generational tone, as socialism -- in the 1980s largely the redoubt of aging leftists -- now attracts many younger people eager to reshape organizations like the Democratic Socialists of America, which has existed in various permutations since the 1920s. (A Gallup poll late last year found that socialism is now as popular as capitalism among people ages 18-39.)The DSA now has more than 70,000 members nationally and 5,800 in New York -- and their average age now hovers in the early 30s. While the party is much smaller than, say, Democrats and Republicans, it has become an unlikely kingmaker, helping fuel the victories of Democratic Party candidates such as Ocasio-Cortez and Jamaal Bowman, who beat a longtime Democratic incumbent in a June primary.In years past, the DSA had welcomed Reed as a speaker. But younger members, chafing at their COVID-19 isolation and throwing themselves into "Defund the Police" and anti-Trump protests, were angered to learn of the invitation extended to him."People have very strong concerns," Chi Anunwa, co-chair of DSA's New York chapter, said on a Zoom call. They said "the talk was too dismissive of racial disparities at a very tense point in American life."Taylor of Princeton said Reed should have known his planned talk on COVID-19 and the dangers of obsessing about racial disparities would register as "a provocation. It was quite incendiary."None of this surprised Reed, who sardonically described it as a "tempest in a demitasse." Some on the left, he said, have a "militant objection to thinking analytically."Reed is an intellectual duelist who especially enjoys lancing liberals he sees as too cozy with corporate interests. He wrote that President Bill Clinton and his liberal followers showed a "willingness to sacrifice the poor and to tout it as tough-minded compassion" and described former Vice President Joe Biden as a man whose "tender mercies have been reserved for the banking and credit card industries."He finds a certain humor in being attacked over race."I've never led with my biography, as that's become an authenticity-claiming gesture," he said. "But when my opponents say that I don't accept that racism is real, I think to myself, 'OK, we've arrived at a strange place."Reed and his compatriots believe the left too often ensnares itself in battles over racial symbols, from statues to language, rather than keeping its eye on fundamental economic change."If I said to you, 'You're laid off, but we've managed to rename Yale to the name of another white person,' you would look at me like I'm crazy," said Sunkara, editor of Jacobin.Better, they argue, to talk of commonalities. While there is a vast wealth gap between Black and white Americans, poor and working-class white people are remarkably similar to poor and working-class Black people when it comes to income and wealth, which is to say they possess very little of either. Democratic Party politicians, Reed and his allies said, wield race as a dodge to avoid grappling with big economic issues that cut deeper, such as wealth redistribution, as that would upset their base of rich donors."Liberals use identity politics and race as a way to counter calls for redistributive polices," noted Toure Reed, whose book "Toward Freedom: The Case Against Race Reductionism" tackles these subjects.Some on the left counter that Adolf Reed and his allies ignore that a strong emphasis on race is not only good politics but also common-sense organizing."Not only do Black people suffer class oppression," said Taylor of Princeton, "they also suffer racial oppression. They are fundamentally more marginalized than white people."How do we get in the door without talking race and racism?"I put that question to Reed. The son of itinerant, radical academics, he passed much of his boyhood in New Orleans. "I came back and forth into the Jim Crow South and developed a special hatred for that system," he said.Yet even as he has taken pleasure of late as New Orleans removed memorials to the old Confederacy, he preferred a different symbolism. He recalled, as a boy, traveling to small New England towns, walking through cemeteries and seeing moss-covered tombstones marking the graves of young white men who had died in service of the Union."I got this warm feeling reading those tombstones, 'So-and-so died so that all men could be free,'" he said. "There was something so damned moving about that."This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company
Sen. Mitt Romney said Friday that politicians attacking the vote by mail system are threatening global democracy but stopped short of criticizing President Donald Trump, who has been openly against an expected surge of mail-in ballots. The United States must stand as an example to more fragile democratic nations to show that elections can be held in a free and fair manner, Romney said. “That’s more important even than the outcome of the vote,” he said at a virtual event hosted by the conservative Utah-based Sutherland Institute.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Within nanoseconds of the ascension this week of Sen. Kamala Harris to the Democratic presidential ticket, her home state of California was already looking to the next question: Who will replace her if she becomes vice president?If Joe Biden is elected president, Harris' rise will leave an opening in January for her seat in the U.S. Senate. That pick will be made by Gov. Gavin Newsom, and it stands to be consequential, not only for him but also for his sprawling state and a nation that has long viewed it as a political and cultural bellwether."This is a proud moment -- historic," Newsom said Wednesday, speaking of Harris' nomination and noting their rise together through the crucible of Bay Area politics, "which is not for the timid." He said the choice of her successor "is not what I'm focused on right now," given his state's dismal pandemic situation.But when asked by a reporter whether would-be candidates had been pitching themselves for the job, Newsom paused for a rueful chuckle."You may be the only one who hasn't, unless you just did -- and that is only a slight exaggeration," he said.In fact, political strategists say, the choice will be tricky for Newsom, a white man who would be replacing a female senator who is Black and of Indian and Jamaican descent in a heavily Democratic state with no ethnic majority and innumerable factions.Harris is only the second Black woman to serve in the U.S. Senate, at a time when the Black Lives Matter movement has forced a reckoning on racism. But Latinos make up nearly 40% of California's population of 40 million, and the state's first Latino senator also would be history-making."And women are not going to want to lose one of the few women in the Senate," added Rose Kapolczynski, a Democratic strategist who for 20 years advised the former occupant of Harris' Senate seat, Barbara Boxer. Newsom also has deep ties to the state's LGBT community since his time as mayor of San Francisco, and a responsibility to balance power between the state's north, south, inland and coastal regions.A generational changing of California's political guard has produced a deep bench of Democratic leaders with high profiles, robust egos and powerful statewide interests behind them, from big business to public employee unions. Newsom would have no shortage of names to choose from. Almost two dozen were being floated around the state capital even before the announcement that Biden's running mate would be Harris.Among them: Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Secretary of State Alex Padilla, popular Latinos and Newsom allies who have both won statewide office; U.S. Reps. Karen Bass of Los Angeles and Barbara Lee of Oakland, who are Black and who were both considered as potential running mates for Biden.Also vying for a spot on the list: popular female officeholders such as U.S. Rep. Katie Porter of Irvine and state Senate President Toni Atkins; grassroots progressives such as U.S. Rep. Ro Khanna of Silicon Valley, who was a national co-chairman of Sen. Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign; and chief executives of diverse cities such as Mayor Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles, Mayor London Breed of San Francisco, Mayor Libby Schaaf of Oakland and Mayor Robert Garcia of Long Beach."There will obviously be pressure to pick another woman or someone of color," said David Townsend, a longtime Sacramento Democratic consultant. But he noted that any one choice is likely to disappoint a host of other contenders, no small matter if Newsom ends up facing a primary challenge should he seek reelection.That once unthinkable possibility of a primary challenge has lately been considered by many Democrats to be less remote as the Newsom administration has struggled to curb the coronavirus crisis, although Californians largely remain sympathetic to Newsom."You know that old saying about what you get when you make a political appointment -- 20 angry people and one ingrate," Townsend said.In interviews, a few political consultants and elected officials suggested Newsom might want to appoint a caretaker -- his predecessor as governor, Jerry Brown, for instance, or even Newsom himself, given his widely assumed national aspirations. Or he might prefer a statewide office holder, whose move also would let Newsom appoint a replacement for the rest of that person's term in office.Others underscored the wisdom of picking a candidate with a war chest and name recognition in a state where whoever inherits the seat will have to run for reelection in two years -- someone, for example, like Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis who is wealthy and an experienced fundraiser, or U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, the House Intelligence Committee chair from Burbank who led the impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump and has 2.4 million Twitter followers."It would be an honor to be considered," said Padilla, an MIT graduate who is a longtime friend and was an early endorser of Newsom. But, he added, his main priority right now as secretary of state is ensuring that "the most consequential election of our lifetime" is "accessible, secure, and safe.""Obviously you never rule out anything in politics," said Khanna. But, he said, he is "happy in my current role" in Congress and "I think we learned from Hillary Clinton in 2016 that measuring the drapes to future jobs before you win is a major error.""For the next 83 days, I have one thing on my mind," Bass told MSNBC on Wednesday. "But after that? We'll see. I'll keep all my options open.""First let's elect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris," Becerra, the state attorney general, said Thursday. "After that, there will be lots of great candidates for Gov. Newsom to consider."For California, the pick has far-reaching implications. The state has spent the past four years as a bastion of presidential resistance, filing or joining nearly 100 lawsuits against the Trump administration, and burnishing its reputation as the country's most liberal state on issues like immigration, climate change and consumer protection. With Harris in the VP role the state would not have to play defense.And for the short term at least, while Sen. Dianne Feinstein, 87, remains in office, the potential clout of Feinstein's seniority, along with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's leadership position and Harris as an ally in the White House could open a new front for California priorities and ideas.The state's economy is larger than all but a few nations', and from water policy to global trade to immigration to health care, its fortunes rise and fall with its ability to sway federal policy and leverage federal dollars.Should Feinstein step down after this term, the state would lose one of its most influential members in Washington. Even in the Senate minority she has been able to push through legislation of interest to the state, particularly dealing with environmental matters.As a matter of seniority, Harris never achieved that level of influence, but she has been a formidable fighter, overcoming her relatively short tenure in Washington with a prosecutorial instinct and the occasional viral social media moment."Even if Democrats take the White House, Senate and House in November, that doesn't mean the battles over policy are over," said Kapolczynski. And, she noted, the Senate is likely to be closely divided after November, and "someone who's skilled legislatively in that seat could be valuable."That, she said, might encourage the governor to choose someone like Bass, who has risen through Congress and, before that, the state Legislature, as a consensus builder, or Becerra, who spent nearly a quarter-century in Congress before 2016, when he was appointed to fill out Harris' term as California attorney general."California has many thoughtful, talented individuals who would make excellent senators," Feinstein said in a statement. "I have full faith in Gov. Newsom to make an excellent choice to replace Sen. Harris when she's sworn in as vice president, and I look forward to working with that person closely over the years to come."There's also California's long history as a political standard-bearer to consider."California Democrats have always been the lighthouse of the progressive movement," said Steve Maviglio, a political consultant. A Democratic appointment to replace Harris, he said, would spotlight the left's direction, whether toward the young progressive Sanders supporters who dominate the state party or toward the more moderate "get-things-done" vision typically held by Californians who manage to get elected to statewide office.Or, the calculus could change entirely in five months. "Last I looked this was August of 2020," the governor said Wednesday, fending off questions about the issue at his daily news conference."Remember that if Democrats win in November, politics are going to be dramatically different," said Karen Skelton, a Democratic strategist based in Sacramento. But that's still a little ways off, she added. "Right now, everything is about getting rid of Trump and the crisis we're in."This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company
President Donald Trump's adviser compared Joe Biden's running mate Kamala Harris to The Simpsons character. Marge responded that she is "pissed off."
The top two Democrats in Congress called on Postmaster General Louis DeJoy on Friday to reverse postal service changes they say have led to mail delays. "Postmaster General DeJoy must quickly reverse his operational changes that have led to delays and service reductions for too many Americans and threaten to undermine our democracy," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement. DeJoy, who has donated $2.7 million to Trump and his fellow Republicans since 2017, in July ordered operational changes and a clampdown on overtime in a bid to fix the financially troubled service.
Sanders Morris Harris CEO George Ball weighs in on what he wouldn't want to see from a president Joe Biden.
DNC speakers include Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Jill Biden, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, AOC, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and John Kasich.
President Donald Trump in a series of Friday tweets announced the White House is preparing to provide relief for the economic pain of the coronavirus as legislation stalls in Congress, saying his administration is ramping up to send money to families, state and local governments, and businesses.
The U.S. Postal Service's internal watchdog is investigating cost cutting that has slowed delivery and alarmed lawmakers ahead of a presidential election when up to half of U.S. voters could cast ballots by mail, a congressional aide said on Friday. The Postal Service's inspector general also will examine possible conflicts of interest involving new Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, who has donated $2.7 million to President Donald Trump and his fellow Republicans, according to Saloni Sharma, a spokeswoman for Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren, who requested the investigation. DeJoy owns millions of dollars in stock in Postal Service rivals and customers, according to a financial disclosure form filed by his wife.
A former FBI lawyer plans to plead guilty to falsifying a key document that was part of the initial investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, several news outlets reported on Friday. Kevin Clinesmith, a 38-year-old lawyer assigned to the FBI probe into foreign election meddling, is expected to plead guilty to altering an email from the CIA that investigators used to seek a wiretap on former Donald Trump campaign adviser Carter Page in 2017.Investigators relied on that document to seek extended court permission for the secret wiretap on Page, who had previously provided information to the U.S. spy agency. According to the Associated Press, Clinesmith, who left the Russia investigation in Feb. 2018, will be charged in D.C. federal court with one count of making a false statement.Justice Department Inspector General Finds ‘Serious Performance Failures’ in FBI’s Carter Page Probe“Kevin deeply regrets having altered the email,” Justin Shur, his attorney, told the AP. “It was never his intent to mislead the court or his colleagues, as he believed the information he relayed was accurate, but Kevin understands what he did was wrong and accepts responsibility.”The anticipated guilty plea is part of U.S. Attorney John Durham’s investigation into the origins and conduct of the original 2016 probe. The look-back at the previous inquiry has been orchestrated by Attorney General William Barr, with plenty of prodding from President Donald Trump.But according to The New York Times, while Clinesmith also wrote texts expressing his opposition to Trump, the Durham probe apparently has not found any evidence of a larger conspiracy against Trump, despite his many claims to the contrary.Barr on Thursday foreshadowed the legal action, stating in a Fox News interview that there would be a development in the investigation.“It’s not an earth-shattering development, but it is an indication that things are moving along at the proper pace, as dictated by the facts in this investigation,” Barr said on Hannity Thursday night. Barr has also long portrayed Durham’s investigation as necessary to rectify alleged injustices by the FBI in their investigation into the 2016 election. Just weeks after special counsel Robert Mueller concluded his two-year investigation into the 2016 campaign in mid-2019—and found significant contact between the Russians and the Trump campaign, as well as ample evidence of obstruction of justice, but did not allege any criminality—Barr appointed Durham to conduct his own investigation. The charges also comes after a Nov. 2019 report from the Justice Department Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz, concluding Clinesmith had altered an email that officials used in the wiretap renewal process. The report also found no evidence that the FBI illegally spied on Trump’s 2016 campaign or attempted to place undercover agents and informants inside it.The report stated that, in 2017, an FBI agent allegedly played down Page’s ties to the CIA while preparing to file a wiretap application. While Clinesmith was reportedly not initially involved in determining whether Page was a CIA source, he was asked by a supervisory FBI agent later that year for a definitive answer. According to the IG’s report, Clinesmith falsely said that Page was “never a source” when he sent information to the supervisor—and altered the original email to bolster the lie. That altered email was then used to submit the application for the the third and final renewal application for Page’s wiretap. Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
A former FBI lawyer will plead guilty to falsifying a document as part of a federal probe into the origins of an investigation into possible contacts between Donald Trump's 2016 campaign and Russia, an attorney for the former FBI lawyer said on Friday. The former FBI lawyer, Kevin Clinesmith, will admit he changed an email from the CIA that was used in seeking renewed court permission in 2017 for a secret wiretap on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, the New York Times reported.
“It may be a campaign tactic, but older workers, be forewarned. Ageism runs deep in our culture.”
“Genuine concerns about the capacities of people who want the world’s most powerful job mingle bizarrely with insults.”
“Joe Biden and Donald Trump are both old. But the media should not be making mental illness a campaign issue, on either side.”
“The Trump campaign is now betting his reelection’s already slim chances on Biden proving Trump’s diagnosis is right.”
“The nightmare scenario for Democrats is that, at a pivotal moment, Biden will struggle to put together a coherent thought.”