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Has U.S. Democracy Been Trumped? Bernie Sanders wants to know who owns America?

#16061 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-August-09, 09:37

Our news organizations have become almost hopelessly bad at their jobs. To wit:

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Not only the framing of this story is catastrophically wrong, but it doesn't distinguish between orders and memos. But hey who cares it's : Bypassing Congress,

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President Trump defers payroll tax, extends unemployment benefits as negotiations on coronavirus package stall. http://apne.ws/14tkFbP



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Right! Don't join their disinfo trap! Only the eviction-related document was labeled as executive order. Each of the others were labeled as "memorandum" - i.e., just shiny objects to deceive! Rule #1: Don't trust Trump or White House - get eyes on actual documents first.


At least CNN is catching on:
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#16062 User is online   kenberg 

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Posted 2020-August-09, 15:39

Maybe there are some legal scholars who can help. The memorandum on payroll taxes says that the taxes shall not be collected. It does not cancel the taxes. Can a president do this? I have no idea. It seems roughly similar to setting a moratorium on student loan repayments or limiting immigration enforcement. The loan is still a debt, but for the moment payment will be postponed. Or an immigrant who came across the border as a child is still undocumented, but not taken into custody.

I am not looking at any sort of moral equivalence, I am asking about legal equivalence. I repeat that I have no idea what the range of presidential powers are in this regard.

If it is legally possible, is it a good idea? I doubt it. As I read it, it applies to people making $4,000 in two weeks That's a rate of $100,000 per year. The person getting it does not know if he has to pay it back. So some who are living well enough on, say, 60K a year will take the extra money in their paycheck and save it, so they can pay up when the tax man comes. Others will spend it. Some because they need to, some because they can. And then we will hear, as we do with the student loans, that we must cancel all the debt. I continue to believe that when money is given to people it is vital for the recipient to understand, unambiguously, whether the money is or is not theirs to keep. A sensible person does one ting with money that has to be paid back and often something very different with money that they can keep. So they need to know which it is.

Everyone is frustrated with the inability of the legislative branch to legislate. I am not sure if this way of dealing with it is legal, I just don't know, and I am very skeptical of its wisdom.

Our national leaders have reached a historic level of incompetence..
Ken
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#16063 User is offline   Chas_P 

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Posted 2020-August-09, 18:27

View Postkenberg, on 2020-August-09, 15:39, said:

Our national leaders have reached a historic level of incompetence..


Does that include Schumer and Pelosi? Just askin'.

#16064 User is offline   awm 

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Posted 2020-August-09, 20:21

View Postkenberg, on 2020-August-09, 15:39, said:

Our national leaders have reached a historic level of incompetence..


I'm not sure this is incompetence. From the Democrats' standpoint, Trump is likely to take the majority of the blame when things get bad. People usually blame the president when the federal government doesn't help in a crisis, and most people already blame Trump for botching the covid response so it's easy to put this on him too. Further, the Democrats have already offered the largest stimulus bill (the only one that fully continues the $600/week extra unemployment insurance) and this further immunizes them from blame. They are legitimately worried about the Republican attempts to starve the postal service of funds (in a coming election where most people will vote by mail) and to handicap state governments which have to maintain balanced budgets by not providing them stimulus money. There's just not a strong reason for Democrats to cave on these things.

Meanwhile, giving out massive deficit-funded stimulus checks is not really on-brand for congressional Republicans. They have a long-term project of starving state governments of money to force them to cut public education and medicaid and other programs Republicans generally oppose, which caving to Democrats would at least partially undo. And their best chance in the election might involve creating problems with vote-by-mail; since many Republicans don't believe in masks or social distancing or that covid is a serious thing (yay Fox News?) their voters are much more likely to vote in person, so any reduction in the number of mail-in votes counted will probably help their cause.

That leaves Trump, but he (or his advisors) seems to have determined that congressional deadlock combined with signing memos and executive orders will make it look like he's the only one doing anything here. Sure, a lot of this is just delaying the collection of money (he cannot unilaterally cancel taxes or student loan debt), but maybe Congress fixes that later and if not the problem really hits after the election anyway.

It's unfortunate that the incentives in the political system sometimes favor not doing the right thing for the American people, but we've known that since the Republicans' "party of no" performance during the Obama administration (if not before).
Adam W. Meyerson
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#16065 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-August-10, 07:46

View Postawm, on 2020-August-09, 20:21, said:

I'm not sure this is incompetence. From the Democrats' standpoint, Trump is likely to take the majority of the blame when things get bad. People usually blame the president when the federal government doesn't help in a crisis, and most people already blame Trump for botching the covid response so it's easy to put this on him too. Further, the Democrats have already offered the largest stimulus bill (the only one that fully continues the $600/week extra unemployment insurance) and this further immunizes them from blame. They are legitimately worried about the Republican attempts to starve the postal service of funds (in a coming election where most people will vote by mail) and to handicap state governments which have to maintain balanced budgets by not providing them stimulus money. There's just not a strong reason for Democrats to cave on these things.

Meanwhile, giving out massive deficit-funded stimulus checks is not really on-brand for congressional Republicans. They have a long-term project of starving state governments of money to force them to cut public education and medicaid and other programs Republicans generally oppose, which caving to Democrats would at least partially undo. And their best chance in the election might involve creating problems with vote-by-mail; since many Republicans don't believe in masks or social distancing or that covid is a serious thing (yay Fox News?) their voters are much more likely to vote in person, so any reduction in the number of mail-in votes counted will probably help their cause.

That leaves Trump, but he (or his advisors) seems to have determined that congressional deadlock combined with signing memos and executive orders will make it look like he's the only one doing anything here. Sure, a lot of this is just delaying the collection of money (he cannot unilaterally cancel taxes or student loan debt), but maybe Congress fixes that later and if not the problem really hits after the election anyway.

It's unfortunate that the incentives in the political system sometimes favor not doing the right thing for the American people, but we've known that since the Republicans' "party of no" performance during the Obama administration (if not before).


Don't look now, but you've just defined "historic level of incompetence", along with historic level of corruption.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#16066 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2020-August-10, 08:46

View PostWinstonm, on 2020-August-10, 07:46, said:

Don't look now, but you've just defined "historic level of incompetence", along with historic level of corruption.

Comparisons of the end of the Roman Empire might be made but any similarity is of course purely coincidental.
(-: Zel :-)

Happy New Year everyone!
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#16067 User is online   kenberg 

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Posted 2020-August-10, 08:59

View PostChas_P, on 2020-August-09, 18:27, said:

Does that include Schumer and Pelosi? Just askin'.


I can find reasons to be critical of Schumer and Pelosi, and Biden for that matter. At times I have. I made my post fairly short and just vented general frustration. If I were to go further into it I would say Schumer and Pelosi are politicians, with all the good and bad that can entail. I don't even regard myself as perfect. But Trump? I have never seen anything like it.

Fully apportioning blame would take a lot of effort. But one of the biggest headaches is coping with Trump. There are people who are simply impossible to work with. Trump. If this isn't obvious I don't know what to say. I would love to have things so that I an agree with some Democratic ideas and some Republican ideas and vote for a person that I think has a sound approach even if I see some things differently than s/he does. That's the way it has been all of my life until now. Most unfortunately that is not now the case. The first requirement for working with Trump is being willing to kiss his butt at least three times a day, and even that might not suffice.

So things are very screwed up. I can always see ways where I could hope for better even from people I generally support. But the current situation is like nothing I have ever seen before. And that is not due to Nancy Pelosi.
Ken
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#16068 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-August-10, 09:47

View Postkenberg, on 2020-August-10, 08:59, said:

I can find reasons to be critical of Schumer and Pelosi, and Biden for that matter. At times I have. I made my post fairly short and just vented general frustration. If I were to go further into it I would say Schumer and Pelosi are politicians, with all the good and bad that can entail. I don't even regard myself as perfect. But Trump? I have never seen anything like it.

Fully apportioning blame would take a lot of effort. But one of the biggest headaches is coping with Trump. There are people who are simply impossible to work with. Trump. If this isn't obvious I don't know what to say. I would love to have things so that I an agree with some Democratic ideas and some Republican ideas and vote for a person that I think has a sound approach even if I see some things differently than s/he does. That's the way it has been all of my life until now. Most unfortunately that is not now the case. The first requirement for working with Trump is being willing to kiss his butt at least three times a day, and even that might not suffice.

So things are very screwed up. I can always see ways where I could hope for better even from people I generally support. But the current situation is like nothing I have ever seen before. And that is not due to Nancy Pelosi.



Ken, when the response is a whataboutism, I would advise taking the Homey the Clown position: "https://www.youtube....h?v=_QhuBIkPXn0

Attempted distraction with whataboutisms is a sign of a weak mind that has no valid response and, because the discussion is based on Trump, moral depravity.

Suggested response: "I don't think so. Homey don't play that!"
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#16069 User is offline   awm 

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Posted 2020-August-10, 10:19

View PostWinstonm, on 2020-August-10, 07:46, said:

Don't look now, but you've just defined "historic level of incompetence", along with historic level of corruption.


Seems more like a strategy to me. It's like at the end of a basketball game when the team that's behind keeps fouling the other team. You can say "oh, they are horribly incompetent, look at all those fouls" but actually this is a strategy to try to win the game. Certainly you can argue that we should change the rules so that this strategy isn't so effective, but calling the coach or players incompetent is missing the point.

This seems to be the new normal in American politics. There is some policy X that is very popular and basically everyone agrees should be passed. One party goes ahead and passes a bill including X, Y, and Z. The other party complains that they cannot possibly support Y and Z. Then we play the blame game.

Today X is aid to vulnerable families and individuals who've lost income due to the pandemic (and Y is a fair election in November, and Z is aid to states so they don't have to cut funding for education or public health). But there have been many previous iterations of this, for example where X is keeping the government open and Y is building Trump's wall, or X is raising the federal debt limit and Y is cuts to medicaid.

This is just the system that the US has, and the only way to fix it is either to massively change government systems (things arguably work better in countries like the UK and Germany that can't have "divided government" in the same way the US does) or by significantly improving media coverage and civic knowledge so that the less reasonable party is held responsible (rather than automatically the president).
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#16070 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-August-10, 11:47

View Postawm, on 2020-August-10, 10:19, said:

Seems more like a strategy to me. It's like at the end of a basketball game when the team that's behind keeps fouling the other team. You can say "oh, they are horribly incompetent, look at all those fouls" but actually this is a strategy to try to win the game. Certainly you can argue that we should change the rules so that this strategy isn't so effective, but calling the coach or players incompetent is missing the point.

This seems to be the new normal in American politics. There is some policy X that is very popular and basically everyone agrees should be passed. One party goes ahead and passes a bill including X, Y, and Z. The other party complains that they cannot possibly support Y and Z. Then we play the blame game.

Today X is aid to vulnerable families and individuals who've lost income due to the pandemic (and Y is a fair election in November, and Z is aid to states so they don't have to cut funding for education or public health). But there have been many previous iterations of this, for example where X is keeping the government open and Y is building Trump's wall, or X is raising the federal debt limit and Y is cuts to medicaid.

This is just the system that the US has, and the only way to fix it is either to massively change government systems (things arguably work better in countries like the UK and Germany that can't have "divided government" in the same way the US does) or by significantly improving media coverage and civic knowledge so that the less reasonable party is held responsible (rather than automatically the president).


Truly, I don't think incompetence has anything to do with it - it is all based on corruption unprecedented in U.S. history.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#16071 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2020-August-10, 15:11

Bill Gates: America Offers The Most Worthless COVID-19 Test Results In The World

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Bill Gates continued his unbridled criticism of the United States’ response to the coronavirus pandemic on Sunday, calling America’s testing system “insanity” and stressing that the country was now facing “a pretty dramatic price” both in human death and wasted money.

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“You can’t get the federal government to improve the testing because they just want to say how great it is,” the Microsoft co-founder-turned-philanthropist said. “I’ve said to them, look, have a CDC website that prioritizes who gets tested. That’s trivial to do. They won’t pay attention to that. I’ve said don’t reimburse any tests where the result goes back after three days. You’re paying billions of dollars in this very inequitable way to get the most worthless test results of any country in the world.”

A twofer, incompetence at the highest levels, and socialism and corruption for the big corporations with government contracts. MAGA. :rolleyes:
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#16072 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2020-August-10, 15:46

Twitter Users Not Happy Trump Might Give RNC Speech From Gettysburg Or White House

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The Associated Press notes that giving the speech at the White House could violate ethics laws such as the Hatch Act by using federal property and federal workers for a partisan purpose.

And although Trump gave a speech at Gettysburg during the 2016 presidential campaign, critics said it’s simply corrupt for a sitting president to accept his nomination at a national park supported with taxpayer dollars.

I would not be opposed to the Grifter in Chief giving his nomination acceptance speech from the US Penitentiary in Leavenworth. I suggest Cell Block #1, Cell #1 for Individual-1's speech in honor of the lofty office of the Miscreant in Chief. It will be illuminating for the Manchurian President to get used to his post-presidency residence.
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#16073 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-August-10, 17:58

Once the iceberg has ripped open the hull, it's time for the rats to abandon ship.

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Most dissidents from Trumpism take a familiar line: They didn’t leave the Republican Party, the Republican Party left them. But for Stevens, Trump forced a more fundamental rethinking: The problem, he believes, is not that the GOP became something it wasn’t; it’s that many of those within it — including him — failed to see what it actually was. In Stevens’s new book, It Was All a Lie, he delivers a searing indictment of the party he helped build, and his role in it

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#16074 User is offline   Chas_P 

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Posted 2020-August-10, 18:46

View Postawm, on 2020-August-09, 20:21, said:

It's unfortunate that the incentives in the political system sometimes favor not doing the right thing for the American people.

That's my point also. "Middle Ground" seems to be an obsolete concept. The Republicans want to be "right" 100% of the time. The Democrats want to be "right" 100% of the time. And the average American just wants to pursue Life, Liberty, and Happiness while both parties only seem interested in pursuing their own agendas and I'm not sure what those agenda are other than Power To The Party. It's really depressing.

#16075 User is online   y66 

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Posted 2020-August-11, 10:40

The Trump administration and Congress do not have a monopoly on incompetence.

From https://nyti.ms/3andKig:

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In recent weeks, California’s coronavirus response seems to have accelerated its descent from national model to chaotic scramble, as the state emerged as the center of the pandemic.

The state’s reopening dissolved into a confusing patchwork of restrictions that differed county by county. Observers have criticized a lack of foresight about a predictable surge in the Central Valley, where low-wage workers in largely Latino communities have been vulnerable as they continue to report to their essential jobs.

And a week ago, state officials said that a technical issue with its disease data-tracking system threw into question what Gov. Gavin Newsom had at first said was an encouraging — if slight — downward trend in skyrocketing cases.

The glitch, according to the state, caused almost 300,000 records to disappear from the system, although it was unclear how many of those were coronavirus cases and how, precisely, it affected the counts.

Late on Sunday night, Dr. Sonia Angell, the state’s public health director, abruptly resigned.

On Monday, in his first virtual news conference of the week, Mr. Newsom would not answer repeated questions about whether Dr. Angell had been asked to resign over her department’s handling of the data problems, though he and Dr. Mark Ghaly, the state’s secretary of health and human services, both said the department’s leadership was changing.

“She wrote a resignation letter and I accepted her resignation,” Mr. Newsom said. “We are all accountable in our respective roles for what happens underneath us.”

In a statement on Sunday night, Mr. Newsom thanked Dr. Angell for her work to “help steer our public health system during this global pandemic, while never losing sight of the importance of health equity.”

Dr. Ghaly, who has been a regular presence at the governor’s Covid-19 briefings, also emphasized Dr. Angell’s focus on health equity.

“She has worked tirelessly for all Californians,” he said in a statement.

In her resignation letter, Dr. Angell — who, early in the pandemic, spoke about the state’s efforts to identify disparities in the pandemic’s toll on Latino and Black communities in particular — did not say why she was stepping down, effective immediately.

“Since January, when we got word of repatriation flights arriving from Wuhan, China, our department has been front and center in what has become an all-of-government response of unprecedented proportions to Covid-19,” she said in an email to her staff. “Not one of our staff has gone untouched by the changes that have occurred. Not in our professional lives or our personal lives.”

Dr. Angell added that she was proud to have served as the first Latina in the role, which she held for less than a year. She signed the note, “In Solidarity.”

State officials said that Sandra Shewry, a veteran public health official, would be appointed as acting director of the department, while Dr. Erica Pan would take on the role of acting state public health officer.

The governor on Monday vowed to quickly overhaul what he described as the state’s outdated information technology systems, which he blamed for not just the testing data snafu, but also for a staggering backlog of unemployment claims.

“We’re not going to just use this as an episodic issue — Band-Aid this,” he said. “It took us decades to get into this place, but we’re now accountable.”

State officials have said that the data glitch didn’t affect hospitalization numbers, which have been on the decline.

Nevertheless, it’s worth remembering the scale of the pandemic in the state: As of Monday, California had recorded 10,378 deaths related to the virus, third in the nation after New York and New Jersey, according to The Times’s database.

In a related story yesterday, Santa Cruz county public health officer Gail Newel, who is taking a lot of heat as Santa Cruz has gone from being one of the safest coastal counties in the state to the site of a recent surge, said she is increasingly questioning her ability to curb the spread of Covid-19 with a state leadership that is sometimes inconsistent and a population that, is increasingly “not willing to be governed.”
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#16076 User is offline   shyams 

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Posted 2020-August-11, 13:24

I reckon "Benghazi" is going to get a new lease of life because the rumour is that Susan Rice is the Biden pick for VP.

Caveat: Rumour!

Edited after the Harris announcement on CNN; I got that wrong (whew!). At least Susan Rice and the Benghazi saga will not be front-and-centre of the right-leaning media establishment coverage.

This post has been edited by shyams: 2020-August-11, 14:23

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#16077 User is online   y66 

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Posted 2020-August-11, 15:38

View Postshyams, on 2020-August-11, 13:24, said:

I reckon "Benghazi" is going to get a new lease of life because the rumour is that Susan Rice is the Biden pick for VP.

Caveat: Rumour!

Edited after the Harris announcement on CNN; I got that wrong (whew!). At least Susan Rice and the Benghazi saga will not be front-and-centre of the right-leaning media establishment coverage.

I really like Biden's pick.

If there'd been a pool I would not have won.
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#16078 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2020-August-11, 15:50

Best take that I have heard so far

“The real winner today is Maya Rudolph.”
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#16079 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-August-11, 15:56

View Posty66, on 2020-August-11, 15:38, said:

I really like Biden's pick.

If there'd been a pool I would not have won.


Harris was my initial pick for president. Then Warren. I'm good with Biden because eliminating Trump and minions is too important.
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#16080 User is online   y66 

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Posted 2020-August-11, 17:13

The legal questions surrounding Trump’s new executive orders, answered by Ian Millhiser at Vox

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Trump’s actions appear largely legal. They just won’t accomplish very much.

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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