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

#16101 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-August-16, 07:01

From Conor Lamb Found a Way to Win in Trump Country. Can Biden Follow His Path? by Reid J Epstein at NYT:

Quote

When Mr. Lamb won in March 2018, he served notice for Democrats aiming to wrest control of the House and give the party control of at least one lever of the federal government. The answer to defeating Trump-aligned Republican candidates was not to emphasize the president’s erratic, divisive tenure in the Oval Office. Instead Democratic candidates focused narrowly on policies affecting voters’ lives, like protecting provisions in the Affordable Care Act and casting Republicans as a party pandering to corporations and the very rich, attacking the 2017 tax cut that Republican Party leaders had intended to use as the tent pole achievement for their midterm campaigns.

Quote

Ralph Perkins, an 89-year-old retired mining engineer from Canonsburg, Pa., 20 miles southwest of Pittsburgh, said he was likely to vote for Mr. Biden after casting a ballot for every Republican presidential nominee since Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1952.

The one thing that could lead him to vote a second time for Mr. Trump, Mr. Perkins said, would be if Mr. Biden supported defunding the police. But after calling the local Washington County Democratic chairman, Ben Bright, Mr. Perkins said his fears were allayed.

“Biden, I think he’s very much superior to Trump,” Mr. Perkins said. “Do I think he’s perfect? I’m not head over heels for him, but I think he’s fine.”

Mr. Bright, who began volunteering for the party after Mr. Trump’s 2016 victory and became the county chairman in 2018, said Mr. Biden appeals to the same type of voters who crossed party lines to back Mr. Lamb.

“The main issues that Democrats stand for now are what Conor ran on,” Mr. Bright said. “Affordable health care, good-paying jobs for middle class people, strengthening unions and better public education.”

Mr. Lamb’s 2020 Republican opponent, Sean Parnell, an Army veteran, out-raised him by more than $270,000 during the three-month period ending on June 30. Still, Mr. Lamb is favored to win re-election in the district, which was redrawn in his favor by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court after his March 2018 victory.

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#16102 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-August-16, 09:07

View Posty66, on 2020-August-16, 07:01, said:



Quote

"Biden, I think he's very much superior to Trump," Mr. Perkins said. "Do I think he's perfect? I'm not head over heels for him, but I think he's fine."


I'm fairly certain from this quote that Mr. Perkins is somehow related to our Dr. Berg, don'tcha think? Posted Image
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#16103 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2020-August-16, 13:19

View PostWinstonm, on 2020-August-16, 09:07, said:

I'm fairly certain from this quote that Mr. Perkins is somehow related to our Dr. Berg, don'tcha think? Posted Image


Spiritual brotherhood! But really, there are a lot of us. It is worthwhile to look at an expansion of the quote.

Quote

Ralph Perkins, an 89-year-old retired mining engineer from Canonsburg, Pa., 20 miles southwest of Pittsburgh, said he was likely to vote for Mr. Biden after casting a ballot for every Republican presidential nominee since Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1952.

The one thing that could lead him to vote a second time for Mr. Trump, Mr. Perkins said, would be if Mr. Biden supported defunding the police. But after calling the local Washington County Democratic chairman, Ben Bright, Mr. Perkins said his fears were allayed.

"Biden, I think he's very much superior to Trump," Mr. Perkins said. "Do I think he's perfect? I'm not head over heels for him, but I think he's fine."



This relates to people favoring Biden because he is not Trump. Ordinarily, Perkins would vote R. Not this time. But while he describes defunding the police as a deal breaker in his support for Biden, it is safe to say there are other parts of the Biden agenda he does not support. I hope we can keep him in the Biden camp.


Dan Balz takes a look at what happens next if Biden wins. I have been thinking about that, although from a slightly different angle. I was a teen-age Stevenson supporter in the 1950s, a Kennedy voter in 1960. The Democratic Party has changed since Stevenson, the Republican Party has changed since Eisenhower, I have changed, the world has changed. Everyone agrees that there has been considerable realignment and just about everyone can agree that there will be further realignment. Trump has lost Perkins, but we can hope Trump will be gone. Hopefully several more of the worst Rs will also be gone. Then what? If Perkins can switch from voting R to voting D, maybe some of us can switch from voting D to voting R. As a great many have already done. So assume a post-Trump world. Perkins and I could agree that defunding the police is a bad idea, and we could probably agree on some other matters. Balz imagines a struggle between factions among the Ds. Oh yes, that's certain. We will see how it comes out. That, of course, is assuming we are successful in dumping Trump.
Ken
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#16104 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-August-17, 08:01

From Why Republicans are failing to govern by Ezra Klein at Vox:

Quote

“The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president,” then-Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said in October 2010.

The unemployment rate was 9.4 percent that month. The need for stimulus was desperate. But led by McConnell, Republicans blocked the Democrats’ every attempt at further support. The GOP didn’t have a better plan for restarting the economy, but they didn’t need one. The belief, then, was that relentless opposition reflected the strategic incentives of the minority party. Obama and the Democrats carried the burden of governance, and would bear the blame for failure. The red wave in the 2010 election seemed to prove McConnell’s approach right, tactically if not morally.

Today, unemployment stands at 10.2 percent — higher than during the peak of the previous financial crisis, and that’s almost certainly an underestimate of the true employment calamity. The death toll from Covid-19 has likely passed 200,000. Vast swaths of the US remain at varying levels of lockdown. But McConnell — and, to be fair, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows — are acting as if the most important thing they want to achieve is for President Trump to be a one-term president.

This is the strange truth of 2020: The dynamic in Congress is virtually identical to what we saw in 2010. Democrats want more economic support; they passed a $3.5 trillion bill in the House in May. Republicans don’t, and they’ve refused to act on the House bill, or offer an alternative that reflects the size of the crisis. Worse, they’ve let the provisions from previous packages expire or run out of money, draining aid from workers and businesses who remain under lockdown, and now face poverty or bankruptcy. The total failure of governance is matched by a bizarre absence of urgency: McConnell could hold round-the-clock sessions in an attempt to strike a deal. Instead, the Senate is adjourned until September.

What’s baffling is that Republicans are running this strategy while they are in the majority. Donald Trump is president of the United States and Mitch McConnell is Senate majority leader. They carry the burden of governance, and they will bear the blame for failure. If polls are to believed, both of them are likely to lose those jobs come November. What, after all, is the case for reelecting a Republican Party that has no coherent policy response to a virus that Europe and Asia have managed to control, or to an economy in freefall? “GOP 2020: More of this!” is not a winning slogan when 70 percent of Americans say the country is on the wrong track.

Politically, the Republican Party’s current approach is so suicidal that I figured I must be missing something. Someone must have a plan, a theory, an alternative. Chaos is Trump’s brand, but surely McConnell won’t walk passively back into the minority. And so I began asking Republican Hill staffers and policy experts for correction. What wasn’t I seeing? What was the GOP’s policy theory right now? What do Republicans actually want?

I posed these questions to Tea Party conservatives, populist reformers, and old-line Reaganites. The answer, in every case, was the same. Different Republican senators have different ideas, but across the party as a whole, there is no plan. The Republican Party has no policy theory for how to contain the coronavirus, nor for how to drive the economy back to full employment. And there is no plan to come up with a plan, nor anyone with both the interest and authority to do so. The Republican Party is broken as a policymaking institution, and it has been for some time.

“I don’t think you’re missing anything,” said a top Republican Senate staffer. “You have a whole bunch of people in the Senate posturing for 2024 rather than governing for the crisis we’re in.”

“There hasn’t been a coherent GOP policy on anything for almost five years now,” a senior aide to a conservative Senate Republican told me. “Other than judges, I don’t think you can point to any united policy priorities.”

Oh. Well then.

... more.

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#16105 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-August-17, 19:36

A warning to America: August 17, 2020 at 1:05 p.m. CDT The WaPo:

Quote



Miles Taylor served at the Department of Homeland Security from 2017 to 2019, including as chief of staff.


After serving for more than two years in the Department of Homeland Security's leadership during the Trump administration, I can attest that the country is less secure as a direct result of the president's actions.


Like many Americans, I had hoped that Donald Trump, once in office, would soberly accept the burdens of the presidency — foremost among them the duty to keep America safe. But he did not rise to the challenge. Instead, the president has governed by whim, political calculation and self-interest.


I wasn't in a position to judge how his personal deficiencies affected other important matters, such as the environment or energy policy, but when it came to national security, I witnessed the damning results firsthand.


The president has tried to turn DHS, the nation's largest law enforcement agency, into a tool used for his political benefit. He insisted on a near-total focus on issues that he said were central to his reelection — in particular building a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico. Though he was often talked out of bad ideas at the last moment, the president would make obviously partisan requests of DHS, including when he told us to close the California-Mexico border during a March 28, 2019, Oval Office meeting — it would be better for him politically, he said, than closing long stretches of the Texas or Arizona border — or to "dump" illegal immigrants in Democratic-leaning sanctuary cities and states to overload their authorities, as he insisted on several times.


Trump's indiscipline was also a constant source of frustration. One day in February 2019, when congressional leaders were waiting for an answer from the White House on a pending deal to avoid a second government shutdown, the president demanded a DHS phone briefing to discuss the color of the wall. He was particularly interested in the merits of using spray paint and how the steel structure should be coated. Episodes like this occurred almost weekly.

The decision-making process was itself broken: Trump would abruptly endorse policy proposals with little or no consideration, by him or his advisers, of possible knock-on effects. That was the case in 2018 when then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced, at the White House's urging, a "zero tolerance" policy to prosecute anyone who crossed the border illegally. The agencies involved were unprepared to implement the policy, causing a disastrous backlog of detentions that ultimately left migrant parents and their children separated.


Incredibly, after this ill-conceived operation was rightly halted, in the following months the president repeatedly exhorted DHS officials to restart it and to implement a more deliberate policy of pulling migrant families apart en masse, so that adults would be deterred from coming to the border for fear of losing their children. The president was visibly furious on multiple occasions when my boss, then-Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, refused.


Top DHS officials were regularly diverted from dealing with genuine security threats by the chore of responding to these inappropriate and often absurd executive requests, at all hours of the day and night. One morning it might be a demand to shut off congressionally appropriated funds to a foreign ally that had angered him, and that evening it might be a request to sharpen the spikes atop the border wall so they'd be more damaging to human flesh ("How much would that cost us?"). Meanwhile, Trump showed vanishingly little interest in subjects of vital national security interest, including cybersecurity, domestic terrorism and malicious foreign interference in U.S. affairs.


How can you run a huge organization under those conditions? You can't. At DHS, daily management of its 250,000 employees suffered because of these frequent follies, putting the safety of Americans at risk.


The president has similarly undermined U.S. security abroad. His own former national security adviser John Bolton made the case so convincingly with his recent book and public accounts that there is little to add, other than to say that Bolton got it right. Because the commander in chief has diminished America's influence overseas, today the nation has fewer friends and stronger enemies than when Trump took office.


Trump has also damaged the country in countless ways that don't directly involve national security but, by stoking hatred and division, make Americans profoundly less safe.


The president's bungled response to the coronavirus pandemic is the ultimate example. In his cavalier disregard for the seriousness of the threat, Trump failed to make effective use of the federal crisis response system painstakingly built after 9/11. Years of DHS planning for a pandemic threat have been largely wasted. Meanwhile, more than 165,000 Americans have died.

It is more than a little ironic that Trump is campaigning for a second term as a law-and-order president. His first term has been dangerously chaotic. Four more years of this are unthinkable.







"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#16106 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-August-18, 07:49

Jonathan Bernstein at Bloomberg said:

Modern political conventions have two basic jobs. They need to offer a compelling speaker with a compelling speech in the slim prime-time broadcast window. And they must produce lots of video clips that can be repurposed across all sorts of platforms, from news programs to social media to paid advertisements.

The Democrats achieved both on the first night of their first virtual convention. Former First Lady Michelle Obama gave an outstanding speech, and the rest of the two-hour program included plenty of usable clips. Some of the highlights: former Vice President Joe Biden listening to Black Lives Matter activists and advocates of criminal-justice reform; an Arizona woman remembering her father, who died in the pandemic; a panel of health-care workers who’ve been fighting the virus.

Some of the politicians’ speeches were fine, too. Senator Bernie Sanders gave a strong unity speech, telling his supporters what Biden and the party wanted them to hear. Alabama Senator Doug Jones showed why he’s popular among Democrats, although he’s unlikely to win re-election. I always like Senator Amy Klobuchar’s lame jokes. But with the special format, all of the speeches were under 10 minutes except for Obama’s, and only hers was memorable.

Was the whole thing compelling television? Of course not — just as the platform presentations of regular conventions aren’t. But bits and pieces were, with a combination of taped and live elements and a mixture of video styles, from amateur to professional. Even the few technical hiccups helped to keep the whole thing from seeming too slick. And while I missed the hoopla and kitsch of traditional conventions — delegates and their banners and signs and funny hats and awkward dancing — eliminating them made the whole thing move a lot quicker. As Matt Glassman pointed out, “This format really does distill the modern convention to its infomercial essence.” Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

I’ll end the first day with some speculation. I’m skeptical that Republicans are going to put together an equally professional presentation next week. Democrats realized that they weren’t going to Milwaukee months ago; President Donald Trump held out hope that he’d be giving a live speech to cheering supporters until very recently. Meanwhile, Biden’s campaign has been largely stable while Trump’s has been in turmoil.

That said, the 2016 Democratic convention was mostly well run while the Republican one had all sorts of technical and political problems, and it didn’t seem to make any difference in the election outcome. And who knows? Perhaps Republicans will find a better way to do a virtual convention after all. In an election year with few precedents, anything’s possible.

The infomercial comment is apt. Still, it was more interesting and better produced than I expected. I tuned in late when Megan Rapinoe was talking to COVID frontline workers. Thought I'd stay for a few minutes but ended up watching to the end.

From summary of NYT journalists' takes:

“Nero fiddled while Rome burned. Trump golfs.” -- Bernie Sanders
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#16107 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-August-19, 07:57

Day 2

Jonathan Bernstein at Bloomberg said:

Let’s get the theater criticism out of the way first. The second night of the 2020 Democratic National Convention had two big hits: the roll call of the states, which was a wonderful patriotic cavalcade, and a film introducing Dr. Jill Biden, which began in earnest to tell the story of the nominee, former Vice President Joe Biden.

There was also one clear flop. The “keynote” address, featuring 17 young Democratic politicians, just didn’t work. It was worth a shot, especially given a virtual format that makes a single long speech difficult to stage, but the execution was all wrong. We never got a good sense of who the politicians swapping off lines really were, and by the time Georgia’s Stacey Abrams got to talk, she didn’t have enough time to deliver anything sounding like her vision; in fact, she talked a lot about Biden, which isn’t typically the job of the keynote speaker. Cut the group in half and double the time for Abrams, and perhaps it could’ve worked.

The rest of the night was okay, remembering again that most viewers don’t watch all the way through, but may see clips or coverage elsewhere. Jill Biden’s speech was fine. So was another panel moderated by her husband, this one on health care. Former President Bill Clinton did his Secretary of Explaining Things bit, only this time at reduced length and without the live audience that brings out his best. A national-security segment with former Secretaries of State John Kerry and Colin Powell was also perfectly fine. None of it stood out, but it all checked off necessary boxes or produced useful video clips or helped push the general themes of the convention.

I’ve been talking mostly about conventions as advertisement, but that’s not all they’re about. They’re also an important part of representation. During campaigns, candidates and parties make promises, and then try to govern with those promises in mind. A general rule of thumb is that the more a promise is repeated, the more important it will be to the politician (and the party) once in office. Some are policy promises, such as those contained in the party platform, which Democrats adopted Tuesday night. But some are about how candidates will govern and who they’ll be if they win.

If we think of the convention in these terms, then the keynote address and other less-inspired moments can still be quite important. By featuring his Republican supporters, for instance, Biden is promising to act a certain way in office — open to deals with the other party. That doesn’t mean he won’t be a partisan; Biden is and has always been a partisan Democrat, and may well be open to radical procedural reform if he can’t make deals. After all, a lot of his former negotiating partners, such as Senators John McCain and Richard Lugar, are long gone, and there’s been plenty of Republican-bashing so far. The convention is telling us — Biden is promising — that he’ll be open to compromise, but also hinting that compromise with the current Republican Party may not be possible. I’ll be listening for more clues about this as the convention goes on.

What else are Democrats promising? They’ve focused their critique of President Donald Trump on competence above all; they say he’s botched the pandemic and the economy and brought nothing but chaos, whereas Biden and other Democrats can restore normal, functioning government. They certainly have pushed specific policies in that regard, but what I’ve heard so far sounds more pragmatic and managerial than one might expect from the party. That, too, may change as the convention goes on.

And as for Biden himself, we’re being promised competence in office — but, more than anything, the empathy that Trump so conspicuously lacks. Biden’s core as a politician, we’re being told over and over this week, is that he cares deeply for others, and knows how to use that empathy to connect with citizens from all over.

Again, we can certainly think of this in terms of advertising and appealing to various constituency groups. And of course that’s part of the intent of every minute of the convention. But whether intended or not, what the candidate and the party are telling voters and telling themselves about how they’ll act, what they’ll do and who they’ll be if elected really does matter down the road.

I did not watch. I was too busy watching Atlantics which is an interesting mix of romance, the horror of everyday life in a corrupt society and ghosts seeking justice and love. I would love to see a video featuring the ghost of Richard Lugar, my erstwhile favorite Republican senator, taking about his ideas for getting this country back on track if Dems win in November and the horrow that awaits us if they don't.
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#16108 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-August-20, 08:04

The WaPo https://www.washingt...age%2Fstory-ans



Quote

Manafort was personally involved in promoting the disinformation, as well, the committee found, strategizing with Kilimnik in secret meetings in Madrid in early 2017 and pushing the idea with the president's son Donald Trump Jr. around the same time.

Kilimnik's role — and his influence in getting Trump and his supporters to seize on the propaganda — shows how the interests of the president and the Kremlin have aligned, long after the 2016 election.



The full circle.




Quote

Trump has repeatedly claimed that Ukrainians interfered in the 2016 election to help Clinton. “They tried to take me down,” he told advisers in an Oval Office meeting in May 2019, according to testimony during the congressional impeachment inquiry.

FBI Director Christopher A. Wray has said there is “no evidence” to support the theory. Fiona Hill, who served on Trump’s National Security Council, told Congress last year that it was a “fictional narrative” advanced by the Russian security services.

The Senate Intelligence Committee found that Kilimnik was probably behind some of the first public suggestions that Ukrainians were interfering in the election to help Democrats.




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#16109 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-August-20, 08:37

Day 3

Jonathan Bernstein at Bloomberg said:

On night three of their national convention, the Democrats exploited their personnel advantage over the Republicans.

It wasn’t just President Barack Obama, who gave a stirring speech. The party also has four women in the Senate who ran for president in this cycle, and two of them — Senator Elizabeth Warren and vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris — both gave fine performances on Wednesday. So did former nominee Hillary Clinton and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. And then there was former Representative Gabby Giffords, her career tragically disrupted, who gave perhaps the most gripping and courageous speech of the night. There simply aren’t Republican women of similar stature.

As for male luminaries, the Democrats have the benefit of three former presidents while Republicans have only one — and that one appears to be neither interested in attending nor welcome at his party’s convention. The same goes for the 2012 Republican nominee. Their 2008 nominee received a tribute narrated by his widow at the Democrats’ event because his memory wouldn’t be honored by his own party. In all likelihood, some newer Republicans will turn out to be excellent convention speakers. But for now, the party has virtually no one who is well-recognized, a strong speaker, and both welcome and willing to appear.

Obama had strengths and weaknesses as a politician, but he has no real parallel when it comes to preparing and delivering a speech. His great theme in his most important speeches, from the 2004 convention through his eulogy for Representative John Lewis earlier this summer, has been the challenges of American democracy, the collective enterprise of overcoming those challenges, and how the long struggle for equality by Black Americans is central to all of that. In this speech, he took dead aim at President Donald Trump as a threat to the very roots of this enterprise.

Perhaps the most memorable lines were personal:

I did hope, for the sake of our country, that Donald Trump might show some interest in taking the job seriously; that he might come to feel the weight of the office and discover some reverence for the democracy that had been placed in his care.

But he never did. For close to four years now, he’s shown no interest in putting in the work; no interest in finding common ground; no interest in using the awesome power of his office to help anyone but himself and his friends; no interest in treating the presidency as anything but one more reality show that he can use to get the attention he craves.

The truth is that every modern president until Trump, Democrat and Republican, took the job seriously. They absorbed briefing materials, consulted experts, made personnel decisions based on reasonable criteria, and put up with tons of flack without lashing out immaturely. Obama seemed almost as angry that his successor treats the whole thing unseriously as he was about Trump’s threat to democracy. That said, Obama soon transitioned back to his usual themes, this time with particular emphasis on the Black Lives Matter protesters and how, he said, they’re leading the way to a more robust democracy. It was well crafted and delivered throughout.

In fact, he probably overshadowed Harris, who followed him. Her speech was fine, but nothing special, and the staging didn’t help; the organizers rolled out a mock-up of an (empty) convention hall, and she spoke from a podium looking out at … well, nothing much. Perhaps it was meant to evoke Trump’s pandemic failures; perhaps the planners thought it would give her speech more gravitas. Whatever the rationale, it was a minor misstep in a week that so far has been nicely choreographed — and has managed to showcase one of the party’s great strengths.

NYT journalists' takes.

Obama was in good form and did not hold back much which is refreshing. Gabby Giffords blew me away.
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#16110 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2020-August-20, 09:24

View Posty66, on 2020-August-20, 08:37, said:

Obama was in good form and did not hold back much which is refreshing. Gabby Giffords blew me away.

The campaign strategy seems to be fairly clear here - let others do the direct attacking while Biden concentrates on a message laying out his policies and vision, emphasising areas of strength for him and weakness for Trump such as compassion. It is a sensible approach for the current time but I am sure we will see it adjusted between now and November as the Trump campaign finds weaknesses to exploit that can be amplified by Fox and the internet farms.
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Happy New Year everyone!
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#16111 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-August-20, 13:13

Quote

If you're keeping score, the group of people around the president who have been charged with crimes now includes Trump's campaign CEO, Trump's campaign chairman, Trump's deputy campaign chairman, Trump's personal lawyer, Trump's national security adviser and Trump's longtime friend and political adviser.


No collusion but lots of corruption?
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#16112 User is offline   Chas_P 

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Posted 2020-August-20, 18:10

View PostWinstonm, on 2020-August-20, 13:13, said:



No collusion but lots of corruption?

So what? If they are tried and found guilty they will be punished. What's happened has happened; it's history. All that's truly important is what happens next.

#16113 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-August-20, 21:33

I was totally blown away by Biden tonight. He is is meeting the moment and I like it.
If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#16114 User is offline   PassedOut 

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Posted 2020-August-21, 07:45

View PostChas_P, on 2020-August-20, 18:10, said:

So what? If they are tried and found guilty they will be punished. What's happened has happened; it's history. All that's truly important is what happens next.

I disagree. History is both important and instructive.
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#16115 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2020-August-21, 08:17

View PostChas_P, on 2020-August-20, 18:10, said:

What's happened has happened; it's history. All that's truly important is what happens next.


It's been clear for a while that Chas is incapable of learning or changing his opinions.

Still nice to see it coming straight from the horse's mouth
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#16116 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-August-21, 09:13

David Brooks at NYT said:

The Democrats Who Rose to the Moment

Some people speak from their depths, and some speak from their shallows. Some speak to make a name in some political game they’re playing. But others speak from wells of a moral conviction. Their words are not applause lines; they endure.

Barack Obama spoke at the Democratic convention from his depths. His speech was not just meant to help the Democrats win an election; it was to identify a historical crisis and address a spiritual need. The former law professor spoke from his deep love for our Constitution, the whole intellectual and moral regime that has been built around it and the way it is now being betrayed by a self-indulgent narcissist.

His speech was fiercely pro-American and fiercely anti-Trump, showing that, in fact, to be fiercely pro-American you have to be fiercely anti-Trump.

But Obama went far beyond the election to address the crisis of national faith beneath the crisis of politics. He spoke from Philadelphia, site of our true founding that, as flawed as it was, provided the moral source that points us toward justice.

He spoke to all those young people who, having drawn the lessons from the doleful events of the past few years and from the propaganda of their high school curriculums, question whether America is so special after all. Obama held up, by contrast, those generations of African-Americans who lived under the lash or the threat of the noose and who had every reason to lose faith in America but who did not lose faith and instead redoubled their efforts for its salvation.

His speech was not the only act of devotion at the Democratic convention this week. Bernie Sanders has served his version of socialism for 50 years. For several weeks last winter, it looked as if he would be the nominee and this convention would be his. That was snatched from him.

But he put his love of country above his dream and laid it all at the feet of Joe Biden. In his words, you could hear an old man’s awareness of this crisis of the moment and his surrender of self to the larger purpose. That was an impressive moral act.

Elizabeth Warren loves her plans, but in her speech you heard not a wonk’s delight in technocracy, but the emotional power of a thousand wrenching life stories told to her through tears on the campaign trail — of mothers defeated by the impossible demands of work and child care, of young men eviscerated by the self-doubt borne from joblessness. No politician is as good at translating the arcana of policy to the language of pain, suffering and relief.

There have been a lot of other speeches, and most of them have been instantly forgettable — lacking emotional honesty, philosophic depth or literary grace. I hope that in some future speech Kamala Harris moves beyond being a historic symbol and opens her heart and mind. Bill Clinton didn’t need to be there. Jeffrey Epstein’s buddy could have served himself and his party through a year of silence and penance.

And then there have been the “regular people.” The virtual convention is a great equalizer. The people who are usually just members of a cheering throng are being given more of a chance to tell us about their lives — a withering illness, the terrors of a drunken husband slashing them in the night, even just the awesomeness of fried calamari.

When you let actual people speak, what you get is not angry populism — that TV studio concoction — but hope in the struggle of everyday life.

And this is where I put the Bidens. One way to see Joe Biden is as the Hubert Humphrey of our day, a party fixture and a conventional pol. But that’s not quite right. The better way to see Biden is as a regular person who entered into politics but never quite got the game, who is goofy, heartfelt, unpolished, undisciplined, incapable of being manipulative. The way a lot of regular people actually are. Jill in a classroom. Joe on the train.

Some think Biden isn’t smart enough to handle the complexities of the presidency, or is too old and has lost a step. But this convention, the presidency, and life in general, reveal depths or lack of depths.

Don’t underestimate the importance of the depth of Biden’s family values, the depth of his working-class roots, the fact that he is a person who did not emerge from the valley of grief with empty hands. Don’t underestimate the capacities of a person who does not see populations in the mass, or subjects in some study, but each person one by one.

When your democracy is in crisis, you don’t need cleverness above all or dexterity at playing the game. You need someone with the ability to stick himself down and hold fiercely onto what is precious.

Some young activists give the impression that they invented the struggle for justice and that everything that came before them is rotten. But the struggle is as old as America — 1776, 1860, 1965, 1989. Biden offers a return to normalcy, but in America the struggle is normalcy.

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#16117 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-August-21, 12:22

View PostPassedOut, on 2020-August-21, 07:45, said:

I disagree. History is both important and instructive.


That part of history within the statute of limitations is immensely important. Posted Image
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#16118 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2020-August-21, 13:02

View PostWinstonm, on 2020-August-21, 12:22, said:

That part of history within the statute of limitations is immensely important. Posted Image

It is also immensely important to make as much of that history as possible public before November 3rd. What that history is may be irrelevant to racists and bigots but is likely highly relevant to the rest of the country. One can only hope that there are enough true Americans left to show the world that that is not what the majority of the country stands for.
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Happy New Year everyone!
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#16119 User is offline   cherdano 

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Posted 2020-August-21, 14:55

View PostChas_P, on 2020-August-20, 18:10, said:

So what? If they are tried and found guilty they will be punished. What's happened has happened; it's history. All that's truly important is what happens next.


Some of us take past performance as an indicator of likely future performance. Such as "In the history, President Bleach has terribly mishandled a pandemic, leading to tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths". Or "President Bleach has in the past surrounded himself with crook after crook after crook."


But I guess Chas_P is an oracle and a genius who can predict the future without relying on the past. "In the past 4 years, President Bleach was the worst president in recent US history. But I know that from tomorrow, he will change and be the best president ever; hence I am proudly voting to reelect President Bleach despite having been the worst president in a long time for the last 4 years." I am sure you'll be very proud of your vote to re-elect President Bleach.
The easiest way to count losers is to line up the people who talk about loser count, and count them. -Kieran Dyke
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#16120 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-August-22, 09:27


Quote

The party of Trump is already a convention of ghoulish clowns



Impressive - from deplorables to ghoulish clowns in less than 4 years.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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