Everything about Ed Yong’s master list of how the United States systemically and systematically botched its response to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic is depressing, but the most brutal part comes early on.

Deadlier pathogens almost certainly exist. Wild animals harbor an estimated 40,000 unknown viruses, a quarter of which could potentially jump into humans. How will the U.S. fare when “we can’t even deal with a starter pandemic?,” Zeynep Tufekci, a sociologist at the University of North Carolina and an Atlantic contributing writer, asked me.

Emphasis added.

John Stoehr with some blunt truths in the face of people like George Will, Charlie Sykes, or Mona Charen [See comments.] who say a Biden victory would end the “national nightmare”.

I don’t see how the “long national nightmare” will be over when 40-43 percent of the country, for the last three and half years and more, has consistently and unwaveringly supported the president’s words and deeds, no matter how despicable they are, or saw loyal opposition from the Democratic Party as so dangerous they abandoned their previous claims to the union. These people want a president to kidnap kids from their immigrant moms. They want a president to banish Muslims. They want a president to privilege white orthodox Christianity. They want a president to punish Black people and LGBTQ people for being who they are. They want a president to deploy secret police to crush dissent. And they hate their “enemies” so much they are willing to overlook a president’s treason. These people will still be here after Election Day.

The reason why people like George Will want America to think the nightmare ends with a Biden victory is they don’t want us engaged in a de facto truth and reconciliation(?) process over the Republican Party’s four-decade enablement of the politics that lead to a Donald Trump.

The “reasonable” punditry is going to be flogging this line for an entire Biden presidency, if we get one.

Here’s why it’s ridiculous that Mayor Ted Wheeler didn’t learn until his police chief said it at a press conference that his Portland Police Bureau would be coordinating with Oregon State Police during the purported transition away from the paramilitary shock troops of Mine Furor’s Interior Ministry Department of Homeland Security.

If we’re going to have a militarized police force — and it’s going to take time to demilitarize in addition to defunding them — than the clear chain-of-command needs to stop and start with the elected civilian political official in charge of the Police Bureau. In this case, that means Wheeler.

His “apology” for the use of tear gas is an empty one given that his approach to the police is to defer to their decisions (per today’s news conference) or to “ask” them to do things rather than order them to do things (per his at-the-protest “listening session”).

The problem is that Wheeler is not required by law to have any political skin in the “game” of being the police commissioner.

Under the city’s 0635.10 Crowd Management/Crowd Control directive (currently under review, according to that page), it’s the responsibility of the Crowd Management Incident Commander to “[a]uthorize the deployment of riot control agents and/or special impact munitions, when objectively reasonable, to address civil disturbance and crowd dispersal”.

This should change.

Wheeler, as police commissioner, should be required either by city code or by policy directive to be present at the Justice Center or other appropriate command center whenever there’s a protest. I’ve literally no idea if he ever is; for all I know during these nightly protests he is asleep and finding out the next day what his police happened to do.

Further, it should be the express purview of the police commissioner — the elected political official responsible for the Police Bureau — to authorize the use of “riot control agents and/or special impact munitions”, barring the outright prohibition of such weapons.

(Wheeler’s statement of early June doesn’t count, as it continues to allow the Bureau’s incident commander the wide leeway to determine what is “violence that threatens life safety”.)

Not the chief, or the incident commander, or any other agent employed by our militarized police force. Only and solely the police commissioner.

For the Mayor’s apology to mean anything for the future of the use of riot control weapons, he needs to take actual, not merely rhetorical, responsibility for their use.

Given his habitual deference to the Police Bureau, however, I think it’s fairly clear that the only reason Wheeler maintains an in-name-only control of the Bureau is to protect them from any day-to-day oversight.

Ted Wheeler today was shown that as Police Commissioner he knows less about what his police are doing than does Acting Secretary Chad Wolf Chief Chuck Lovell. What a sentient farce is this guy.

“I will defer to the Portland Police Bureau and state police,” Wheeler said, when asked whether PPB would be working with OSP near the courthouse. “My understanding, the last time I was updated two days ago, was that it would exclusively be OSP. If that’s changed, I’m not aware of it.”

When asked a similar question, Lovell said that “OSP and PPB will work jointly”—and indicated that OSP will serve as a link between Portland police and federal officers who will remain in Portland after the speciality team leaves.

I guess the reason why Wheeler didn’t want to hand over the Police Bureau to Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty is because he doesn’t actually want anyone on the City Council controlling the Police Bureau at all.

Chrissy Stroop starts a three-part series for The Conversationalist on the failure of “respectable” Christian evangelicalism in America.

If a large, powerful body of Christians insists that backing a strongman credibly accused of sexually assaulting numerous women in order to grab power is Christian behavior, then, empirically, it is Christian behavior. Religions are complex cultural systems with traditions and texts that are subject to communal mediation and interpretation, which means that well-meaning liberals who dub Christian Trump supporters “fake Christians,” fail to see that authoritarian Christianity is just as “real” a version of the faith as any sort of progressive or liberationist Christianity. Meanwhile, “respectable” commentators like Wehner who mostly agree in substance with the majority of white evangelicals’ illiberal Christianity may see Trump support as a bridge too far, but their cries to this effect fall on deaf ears among their more uncouth brethren.

Pair with yesterday’s link to a discussion of white Christianity’s undone reckoning with its historic racism.

Mine Furor is both seeing how far people will let him talk about election delays without pushback and distracting from the astonishing but unsurprising economic contraction. We have to juggle more things than we have hands. That’s what juggling is.

The economy’s stunning contraction in the April-June quarter came as the viral outbreak pushed already struggling businesses to close for a second time in many parts of the country, sending unemployment surging to nearly 15%. The government’s estimate Thursday of the second-quarter fall in the gross domestic product was the sharpest such drop on records dating to 1947. The previous worst quarterly contraction, a 10% drop, occurred in 1958 during the Eisenhower administration.

Don’t get your news from The Spectator, whose Kate Andrews thinks, “Today on Twitter, Trump began to hint at the one thing his critics fear most deeply: a refusal to leave office.” This is true except in the sense that it is false because of all the other, many times he has hinted about not leaving office. If you can’t even get the factual context right, why should I listen to any other part of your argument?

Tired of people saying “it’s just a distraction” as if it can’t be both a distraction from one thing and an actual thing itself. “It’s a just distraction” is a numbing agent for people who don’t want to face that nothing is a distraction; we actually need to deal with all of it.

Worth reading Jill Filipovic not just on the double-standard of dinging Kamala Harris for ambition but on why we ding ambition in politics at all.

Harris apparently also got on Team Biden’s bad side because she challenged Biden in a debate and had “no remorse.” She allegedly laughed and said “that’s politics” when it was implied she should apologize. Biden needs “a loyal no. 2,” and because Harris criticized him when she was running against him, she’s not it.

Harris’s actions were, literally, politics. And at least Harris criticized Biden’s actual policies. Remember when Biden said Obama was “the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy”? That wasn’t policy, but you bet your ass it was politics.

It’s nice of William Barr to release in advance a prepared statement showing off that he intends to commit perjury in front of the House Judiciary Committee.

Largely absent from these scenes of destruction are even superficial attempts by the rioters to connect their actions to George Floyd’s death or any legitimate call for reform.

That statement is a demonstrable lie. I wonder if the Beltway press 3,000 miles away from here will call him on it. He knows it’s a lie. And he’s going to say it under oath.

Richard Kreitner and Rick Perlstein for The New York Review of Books present a short history of the “outside agitator” in American politics and social change (via Alex Wittenberg). Carve out some time to sit down and read this one.

The man in charge of the Pentagon, a former Raytheon executive, then said, “And we get back to a…”—he paused, then offered an even more pregnant formulation—“the right normal.” This was the lens through which the institutions of the American security state began thinking about protests that had assembled to protect and preserve black lives: by constructing an entire model of military engagement, with the outside agitator trope as its foundation. Evidence suggests they still are thinking that way. At the end of June, with any violence in demonstrations associated with the George Floyd protests at least three weeks in the past, Barr formed a task force to monitor “anti-government extremists” engaging in “indefensible acts of violence designed to undermine public order,” possibly even “fortified by foreign entities seeking to sow chaos and disorder in our country.”

Timothy Snyder, discussing further parallels between Mine Furor and other figures more readily accepted as having been, you know, fascists, offers an example of fascist priorities.

Consider what would have happened had the president expressed as much concern for people in February and March as for statues in June and July. There was no call earlier this year for haste, for sudden action, for interagency cooperation, for an expansion of the role of the federal government to defeat a pandemic. On the contrary: The states were told to deal with the coronavirus themselves, and individuals were left to sort through the confusion and contradictions of statements from the White House. But when statues are threatened, then, it seems, exceptional action is called for. What if all the men (and, yes, they are nearly always men) swinging batons now had been passing out masks a few months ago?

There is no world in which Tom Cotton saying that slavery should be taught as “the necessary evil upon which the union was built” is being taken out of context. Here’s the context.

In the interview, Cotton said the role of slavery can’t be overlooked.

“We have to study the history of slavery and its role and impact on the development of our country because otherwise we can’t understand our country. As the Founding Fathers said, it was the necessary evil upon which the union was built, but the union was built in a way, as Lincoln said, to put slavery on the course to its ultimate extinction,” he said.

Instead of portraying America as “an irredeemably corrupt, rotten and racist country,” the nation should be viewed “as an imperfect and flawed land, but the greatest and noblest country in the history of mankind,” Cotton said.

Notice that he doesn’t say, “We need to study how the Founding Fathers said it was a necessary evil.” He says, “As the Founding Fathers said…” — a grammatical construction one uses when one is citing a source to support one’s own view.