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Reactions to my recommendation to watch the Pete Souza documentary “The Way I See It”

I’m making no excuses from recommending the documentary The Way I See it, which has been playing on MSNBC.

Pete Souza is one of the best still photographers in the world.

When I was young I made a living taking photos with my wonderful Nikon F3 (which I still own):

Hence I recognize Souza’s awesome photography skills from one professional to  another.

After eight years as Obama’s photographer, Souza retired and turned his eye to producing photo books. This is one of his best sellers.

Then, increasingly he came to the realization that Trump was not suited for a second term in the White House, which is the secondary theme of the documentary celebrating Pete’s photos.

I sent out an email on the weekend to subscribers recommending everyone watch the documentary, which I’ve now watched twice. And cried twice.

But, boy the reaction from some readers was vitriolic, including such gems as:

  + When will you filthy wealthy atheist secular Jews stop persecuting Donald Trump?

  +  You will never be satisfied. He gave you his daughter. He gave you unimaginable wealth.

  + Stop doing me favors by supporting the socialist left. People who want the government to give give give rather than people who will work work work. Your financial info is useful but your political info is worthless.

Somewhere out there is a large bunch of people who believe the Trump lies and are happy to live in that bubble. I will admit these emails (and others) depressed me.

For me, the one overwhelming indictment of Trump is his mishandling of the virus, with now 8,392,256 in the U.S. with the virus and 224,816 people dead. Many of those people could have been saved and the economy opened sooner had Trump orchestrated a coordinated Federal response based on listening to the scientists. But he played it his own way preferring magical thinking.

To quote the New Yorker from October 11:

Last February 7th, at five-thirty in the morning, Donald Trump tweeted praise for China’s “great discipline” in fighting the coronavirus and predicted that Xi Jinping would be “successful, especially as the weather starts to warm & the virus hopefully becomes weaker, and then gone.” Later that day, the President, in an interview with Bob Woodward, acknowledged that the virus was serious, but said, “I think that that goes away in two months with the heat.” On February 24th, as infections in America increased, he tweeted, “The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA.” (“I wanted to always play it down,” he later said, according to Woodward’s book “Rage.”)

It is painful to reflect today on the tens of thousands of lives that might have been saved if a less reality-challenged President occupied the White House. Trump has been consistently unreliable across the eight-month arc of our national crisis. Last week, as he recuperated from his own bout of covid-19, he unleashed a fresh torrent of tweets and videos. These offered transparent nonsense (“Maybe I’m immune”) and also dangerous lies, such as the claim that for most people the coronavirus is “far less lethal!!!” than the seasonal flu. (Scientists report that the coronavirus is about six times more deadly than the typical flu virus.) …

Even after four years of Trump shocks, the operatic dénouement of his reëlection campaign has been staggering. With early voting already begun, the President and the First Lady are both under care for covid-19, and some three dozen White House employees, advisers, and recent guests have tested positive. (The sickened aides include a military officer who followed Trump around with the “football” containing the codes that would enable him to launch a nuclear attack.)

It remains unclear just how the outbreak began and spread, but such an occurrence was perhaps inevitable, given the Administration’s refusal to require masks and physical distancing in the White House and at public events. Eventually, journalists and biographers will sort out exactly what the President knew about his own possible contagiousness before October 2nd, the day he announced that he had tested positive-and how he handled any risk that he might infect others.

On October 4th, during his hospitalization at Walter Reed, when he was almost certainly contagious, he staged a photo op in which he was driven around in an S.U.V. and waved to onlookers. At least two Secret Service agents were required to join him in the sealed, armored vehicle, putting them at risk of exposure. It was an inane campaign stunt, and a study in selfishness.

The next day, in a made-for-TV return to the White House, Trump stood on the Truman Balcony and peeled a cloth mask from his face. But what was the point? His disdain for public-health guidelines often defies political logic. In a new poll from National Geographic and Morning Consult, three-quarters of Americans say that they wear a mask every time they leave home, a figure that has risen by nearly twenty-five per cent since July. According to a late-summer survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation, six in ten people think that the worst of the pandemic is yet to come, but last week Trump urged Americans not to let the coronavirus “dominate your life” and suggested “learning to live” with it.

These are not Pete Souza photos but are two of my favorite Donald Trump photos:

Trump’s wonderful alternate reality

From Saturday’s New York Times:

President Trump painted a rosy picture of his financial condition during a televised town hall on Thursday night, calling his hundreds of millions of dollars in debt coming due “a peanut” and saying he had borrowed it as a favor to lenders eager to take advantage of his financial strength.

The market hasn’t figured it out

Early morning there was hope for stimulus by Congress. The market rose. Then that hope faded. Look at this chart of Nasdaq cratering this morning. Then coming back, then cratering.

I’m not selling or buying. I have some low limit buy orders in. And will place some more — about 15% below where we are now. Nothing has kicked in, yet. Fear not for the Democrats. Markets under them have done better than under Republicans.

From the Puget Sound Business Journal:

+ Amazon says this month’s Prime Day sales increased 60% year over year

Read the rest of the story here. 

Interest rates continue to fall

Some commercial buildings are being offered bank loans at under 3%.

Weekend photos. The Fall is still wonderful. 

It’s gorgeous and warm in Columba County. This is the view from my country office. Two identical trees planted at the same time, showing different color leaves.

An amazing leaf.

We have a tiny view of a Catskill mountain in the far, far distance.

See if you can catch The Way I See It documentary. It should be on MSNBC or recorded on YouTubeTV.

The Trump campaign is going after Hunter Biden, big time

Posted yesterday by the New York Times:

The New York Post’s front-page article about Hunter Biden on Wednesday was written mostly by a staff reporter who refused to put his name on it, two Post employees said.

Bruce Golding, a reporter at the Rupert Murdoch-owned tabloid since 2007, did not allow his byline to be used because he had concerns over the article’s credibility, the two Post employees said, speaking on the condition of anonymity out of fear of retaliation.

Coming late in a heated presidential campaign, the article suggested that Joseph R. Biden Jr. had used his position to enrich his son Hunter when he was vice president. The Post based the story on photos and documents the paper said it had taken from the hard drive of a laptop purportedly belonging to Hunter Biden.

Many Post staff members questioned whether the paper had done enough to verify the authenticity of the hard drive’s contents, said five people with knowledge of the tabloid’s inner workings. Staff members also had concerns about the reliability of its sources and its timing, the people said.

The article named two sources: Stephen K. Bannon, the former adviser to President Trump now facing federal fraud charges, who was said to have made the paper aware of the hard drive last month; and Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, who was said to have given the paper “a copy” of the hard drive on Oct. 11. (My bolding).

You can read the NYTimes piece here.

I hate how Trump is tearing the country apart. I blame him for encouraging the nut cases. I pray that Biden will pull the country together. It was lovely place when I became citizen on January 7, 1981. — See you tomorrow. Harry Newton