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

#15181 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-April-20, 07:48

Nicole Wallace agrees with Ken:

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Nicolle Wallace

@NicolleDWallace
If Trump were your wacky half friend from college you’d find a way for a zoom intervention and involve his relatives because you’d worry that by the time the pandemic is over he’d be posting videos of himself drinking out of the dog’s water bowl. Guy is bananas. https://twitter.com/...918194639548417
my emphasis

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#15182 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-April-20, 10:45

Ryan Avent, economics writer for The Economist, discusses the ethical foundation of market economies and the state of American ethics in https://ryanavent.su...merican-spirit.

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You can think of the ethical foundation of a market economy as a commons, like the clean air we need to breathe, and unethical behavior within the market as pollution, imposing harms on others with no say in the matter. Maybe this company and that company are doing what they believe is right, treating customers and employees well, honoring commitments even when it would pay to do otherwise. If others thrive by breaking the rules, by taking advantage of the fact that people expect ethical behavior, they reduce the value of the commons and undercut the ability of the good guys to survive. The system becomes increasingly vulnerable, until the market economy isn’t any longer about autonomous individuals interacting freely for the benefit of all. In the absence of the self-restraint encouraged by ethics, the economy is just power pitted against power. The only utility that matters is that of the people and the institutions with the strength to take what they can.

To prevent that from happening, it is essential that one of society’s foundational principles be that ethics matter. It is critical that society communicate to its members that doing the right thing is good, and placing profit above all other concerns is bad. But that is not what American-style capitalism has come to mean, is it? Over the past half century, American society has determined to explicitly valorize the unchecked pursuit of profit. Through some process—one I can’t claim to understand, but there is interesting and suggestive recent writing on the subject—the notion of faith in markets that won out over others was one in which there are no valid constraints on business, except perhaps the law, and the law can always be changed. Greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Social norms which suggest that greed is not always good must therefore be bad.

It’s a weird creed. In America, we believe that rational self-interest is supposed to do the work in allocating resources in a market economy, not sentiment and conscience. Other-regarding norms threaten to stand between private-equity firms and beloved but inefficient businesses. They persuade people to sink money and talent into industries or places which really ought, for efficiency’s sake, to just go away. Firms which take their eyes off the ball and use scarce time and capital to pursue pro-social goals are misusing resources which could more effectively raise output if deployed in the bloodless pursuit of profit. Conscience is a source of economic friction. It’s for the best—even obligatory—to put it aside. That’s America, baby.

And what has happened to the commons? This year, this pandemic ordeal will show us. It isn’t beyond salvaging; that’s clear enough. The health professionals putting themselves in harm’s way to treat the sick demonstrate that, as do the millions and millions of people patiently staying inside—despite the monotony and the stress and the economic hardship—so as not to become a vector for disease.

But I don’t know. How strong is it really? At a time like this it is clear that many of us feel a sense of solidarity, and are eager to participate in a collective effort to protect each other and see the most vulnerable of us through this and then get the economy going again, stronger and fairer than before. Some of us feel, or hope at least, that solidarity found in this moment could help us finally address other looming collective threats, the most dangerous of which is climate change: still out there, still happening even as all of this unfolds.

It feels dicey, though, doesn’t it? Like maybe we just don’t have *it* anymore? We’re hoping some heroic individual effort by some company or billionaire will bail us out of this, pull a covid-19 treatment out of a hat and save us from this trial. Meanwhile, these decades have elevated into positions of authority people who internalized the new American ethic, that self-restraint in the name of the common good is for suckers. People who got where they are because of it; who see other-regarding norms as a weakness to be exploited. We will get through this, I believe, and it will be despite these people, not because of them. But if we can’t at that point be more skeptical of the state of American ethics and the way we relate to each other, I feel terribly certain we won’t get much farther.

Feels dicey? It do.
If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#15183 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-April-20, 13:15

View Posty66, on 2020-April-20, 10:45, said:

Ryan Avent, economics writer for The Economist, discusses the ethical foundation of market economies and the state of American ethics in https://ryanavent.su...merican-spirit.


Feels dicey? It do.


Although this is a fine summation, it doesn't cover the extended influence of the "greed is good/market is right" mantra that America has been chanting since Nixon, but was truly consolidated and sold as the #1 recond on Billboard by Ronald Reagan, et al. But when ethics is removed from business, then the true trickle down is that society then sees ethics as an obstacle to greed. And as greed has been proclaimed the goal and good, and greed is simply a euphemism for selfishness or selfish desires, then it is no step at all to conclude that any ethical barrier to self desire is obsolete and unwanted, including dedication to wives, children, and the sanctity of other peoples' belongings.

The really sick part is that those who preached this poison and brought upon this wrath are the same people who point fingers at everyone else and proclaim them the cause. These same people claim that want to reinstall the "good old days" but fail to understand that those days were filled with positive ethics - antithesis of those peoples' religion of greed.

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#15184 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2020-April-20, 13:36

From https://www.washingt...8eed_story.html


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President Trump’s campaign is preparing to launch a broad effort aimed at linking Joe Biden to China, after concluding that it would be more politically effective than defending or promoting Trump’s response to the corona virus pandemic.



Yes, I can see why they might think that.


I was watching Judy Woodruff on PBS interviewing Mike Pence last week, asking about the government's response. Woodruff is a very gentle interviewer. Pence made it very clear that we would really be investigating the hell out of WHO, oh yes indeedy. To call Pence's performance pathetic would be seriously understating the matter. It was a very clear demonstration that "defending or promoting Trump's response" is not going to be a winning option.
Ken
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#15185 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-April-20, 13:56

This is the U.S.A. as of today. We have precious little time to fix it but it must start with a total repudiation of the far right influences on politics. From The Atlantic:

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The crisis demanded a response that was swift, rational, and collective. The United States reacted instead like Pakistan or Belarus—like a country with shoddy infrastructure and a dysfunctional government whose leaders were too corrupt or stupid to head off mass suffering. The administration squandered two irretrievable months to prepare. From the president came willful blindness, scapegoating, boasts, and lies. From his mouthpieces, conspiracy theories and miracle cures. A few senators and corporate executives acted quickly—not to prevent the coming disaster, but to profit from it. When a government doctor tried to warn the public of the danger, the White House took the mic and politicized the message.
https://www.theatlan...ditions/610261/
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#15186 User is online   johnu 

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Posted 2020-April-20, 14:51

View PostWinstonm, on 2020-April-20, 13:56, said:

This is the U.S.A. as of today. We have precious little time to fix it but it must start with a total repudiation of the far right influences on politics. From The Atlantic:

Quote

The crisis demanded a response that was swift, rational, and collective. The United States reacted instead like Pakistan or Belarus—like a country with shoddy infrastructure and a dysfunctional government whose leaders were too corrupt or stupid to head off mass suffering. The administration squandered two irretrievable months to prepare. From the president came willful blindness, scapegoating, boasts, and lies. From his mouthpieces, conspiracy theories and miracle cures. A few senators and corporate executives acted quickly—not to prevent the coming disaster, but to profit from it. When a government doctor tried to warn the public of the danger, the White House took the mic and politicized the message.

https://www.theatlan...ditions/610261/

I see no reason to insult Pakistan or Belarus B-) The US has basically unlimited resources to throw at the COVID-19 problem as evidenced by the 8 trillion dollars in payments and loans, as well as probably the world's largest medical research and development capabilities in the entire world. We have the expertise and manufacturing capabilities to build enough ventilators, N95 masks and other PPE's, testing kits, and anything else needed to fight the virus. You can't say the same thing about Pakistan or Belarus.

Due to relatively fast action by most of the governors around the country (and despite the 100% lack of leadership by the Grifter in Chief), the US may not need a large number of additional ventilators although NYC and a few other places had shortfalls because of a lack of coordinated federal response from the national stockpile. Better to have too many than to run short. On the other hand, criminal incompetence at the federal level has led to shortages of N95 masks, other PPE's, and testing kits. And the problem can't and won't be solved because the Criminal in Chief refuses to even acknowledge that there are shortages, and refuses to coordinate the supply and distribution of those materials. Why do we even bother keeping the Defense Production Act if the Pass the Buck President won't use it to order and coordinate the production of PPE's??? Why are front line workers reusing single use masks for up to a entire week, and wearing trash bags to protect themselves? Taking it another step further, everybody in the country should have access to N95 masks.
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#15187 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-April-20, 17:41

View Postjohnu, on 2020-April-20, 14:51, said:

I see no reason to insult Pakistan or Belarus B-) The US has basically unlimited resources to throw at the COVID-19 problem as evidenced by the 8 trillion dollars in payments and loans, as well as probably the world's largest medical research and development capabilities in the entire world. We have the expertise and manufacturing capabilities to build enough ventilators, N95 masks and other PPE's, testing kits, and anything else needed to fight the virus. You can't say the same thing about Pakistan or Belarus.

Due to relatively fast action by most of the governors around the country (and despite the 100% lack of leadership by the Grifter in Chief), the US may not need a large number of additional ventilators although NYC and a few other places had shortfalls because of a lack of coordinated federal response from the national stockpile. Better to have too many than to run short. On the other hand, criminal incompetence at the federal level has led to shortages of N95 masks, other PPE's, and testing kits. And the problem can't and won't be solved because the Criminal in Chief refuses to even acknowledge that there are shortages, and refuses to coordinate the supply and distribution of those materials. Why do we even bother keeping the Defense Production Act if the Pass the Buck President won't use it to order and coordinate the production of PPE's??? Why are front line workers reusing single use masks for up to a entire week, and wearing trash bags to protect themselves? Taking it another step further, everybody in the country should have access to N95 masks.


If you combine the Economist article that Y66 posted above with the Atlantic article I posted, they paint a picture of an America that may well be unsalvageable.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#15188 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2020-April-20, 17:50

View PostWinstonm, on 2020-April-20, 17:41, said:

If you combine the Economist article that Y66 posted above with the Atlantic article I posted, they paint a picture of an America that may well be unsalvageable.

And they suggest that Trump isn't really the cause, he's just the latest example of a problem that has been escalating for decades.

#15189 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-April-20, 17:54

View Postbarmar, on 2020-April-20, 17:50, said:

And they suggest that Trump isn't really the cause, he's just the latest example of a problem that has been escalating for decades.


Right. Trump metastasized from the primary tumor. Welcome to stage IV America.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#15190 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-April-20, 18:22

John Schwartz at NYT: The ‘Profoundly Radical’ Message of Earth Day’s First Organizer

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This November 3, vote for the Earth.

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#15191 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-April-21, 08:27

From Jonathan Bernstein at Bloomberg:

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Catch of the Day to G. Elliott Morris for his reaction to a story about former Vice President Joe Biden falling behind President Donald Trump in campaign cash-on-hand:

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I don’t think this sort of fundraising horse-race journalism is in any way meaningful. There’s no evidence these comparisons are predictive of what will happen in Nov. It obscures the role of grassroots orgs key to turnout and a Dem win. And it’s horribly off the news right now.

I disagree on that last point; campaign reporting is always OK by me. But the rest? Yup.

I’ll start with the money. Here’s the deal: Even given the current economic situation and the pandemic, I strongly suspect both major-party candidates will have far more money than they need, and will start seeing seriously diminishing returns. Money simply isn’t that important in presidential general elections. Between saturation media coverage and the effects of partisanship, campaigns really aren’t left with much to do. Sure, they help with the mechanics of turnout. And if one side spent a billion dollars and the other spent a few hundred thousand, that might have an effect. But given the current rules and conditions regulating campaign finance, it just isn’t that hard to raise enormous sums, and it doesn’t much matter whether one enormous sum is a bit larger.

The same dynamic is true for much of the upcoming election. That’s why I agree with Dan Drezner that the Trump campaign’s tactical gambits — including its much-hyped plan to attack Biden for being soft on China — aren’t likely to succeed. Where I differ somewhat is that I don’t think we can have much confidence in traditional election models. Jay Ulfelder said it well: “I find it odd that U.S. election forecasters continue to discuss the 2020 cycle as if all the usual assumptions will hold. Maybe they will, but between the pandemic and the GOP's cutthroat approach to retaining power, I think there's much more uncertainty than usual.”

Exactly. Normally, the electorate punishes the in-party for bad economic news, and particularly a sitting president seeking re-election. If that’s the case this year, Biden will most likely win in a blowout. But I have no idea how voters will react to the current situation. Yes, people have punished presidents for turns of the economic cycle that they did nothing to cause and might even have handled reasonably well. Yet there’s no precedent for in effect deliberately inducing a recession to save lives. And that seems different enough to me that I’m going to be very careful about making predictions.

Which isn’t to say that I think Trump, with his persistently low approval ratings, is in good shape. I don’t think he entered 2020 as the strong favorite and perhaps not as the favorite at all. So I don’t think it would take very much to make him a significant underdog. I’m just really reluctant to guess how the pandemic and its economic consequences will play out — other than to say that I very much doubt that blaming Biden for being weak on China will make any difference at all.

I appreciate Bernstein's galaxy brain approach to making predictions but his wisdom is lost on me. If anyone wants to take Trump in November for a million Iranian Rial, please PM me.
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#15192 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2020-April-21, 08:35

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Yet there’s no precedent for in effect deliberately inducing a recession to save lives.

The problem is that virtually everything about Trump's campaign and presidency has been unprecedented. Which makes it practically impossible for political scientists to make good predictions.

#15193 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-April-21, 10:14

View Postbarmar, on 2020-April-21, 08:35, said:

The problem is that virtually everything about Trump's campaign and presidency has been unprecedented. Which makes it practically impossible for political scientists to make good predictions.


Throughout the country's history, there have been other highly popular racist, populist demagogues that ran president or were planning to but could not win a party's nomination - Henry Ford, Huey Long, George Wallace - but Trump is the first to be elected.

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#15194 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2020-April-21, 14:01

View Posty66, on 2020-April-21, 08:27, said:

From Jonathan Bernstein at Bloomberg:


I appreciate Bernstein's galaxy brain approach to making predictions but his wisdom is lost on me. If anyone wants to take Trump in November for a million Iranian Rial, please PM me.


It is hard to believe DT could pull this out but I agree that things have gone a bit nuts. An example. Hogan (our governor here in Maryland) purchased half a million covid test kits. Trump has explained that Hogan was stupid, he should have just phoned Pence and he could have gotten the kits and saved a lot of money. Say what? Hogan and just about other governor has been asking the feds on almost a daily basis for test kits.No luck. But now we have them . Last week we did not have them, the feds showed no sign of sending them, now we have them, Hogan got them, Trump didn't.

To me, that is very clear. We have them because Hogan got them, end of story. Trump whines about Hogan being stupid for not just calling Pence to get them. Clear BS, right? Right.

That, and about a zillion or so other such things, should make DT totally un-electable for anything.How could it not?

But these are strange times. Very strange. This is not rocket science, we are asking if voters can just apply some basic sense. The man is completely unsuitable to be in charge of anything. That's obvious, and that's it. But is it enough?
Ken
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#15195 User is offline   akwoo 

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Posted 2020-April-21, 16:22

View Postkenberg, on 2020-April-21, 14:01, said:

It is hard to believe DT could pull this out but I agree that things have gone a bit nuts. An example. Hogan (our governor here in Maryland) purchased half a million covid test kits. Trump has explained that Hogan was stupid, he should have just phoned Pence and he could have gotten the kits and saved a lot of money. Say what? Hogan and just about other governor has been asking the feds on almost a daily basis for test kits.No luck. But now we have them . Last week we did not have them, the feds showed no sign of sending them, now we have them, Hogan got them, Trump didn't.

To me, that is very clear. We have them because Hogan got them, end of story. Trump whines about Hogan being stupid for not just calling Pence to get them. Clear BS, right? Right.

That, and about a zillion or so other such things, should make DT totally un-electable for anything.How could it not?

But these are strange times. Very strange. This is not rocket science, we are asking if voters can just apply some basic sense. The man is completely unsuitable to be in charge of anything. That's obvious, and that's it. But is it enough?


I genuinely think that Trump does not understand the difference between 50000 and 500000. To him, they're both just big numbers, and 500000 is just a little bigger.

I'm sure Hogan could have called Pence and gotten 50000 tests. That's almost the same as 500000, right?

(Note: I think more than half of adult Americans are no better in this regard.)
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#15196 User is online   johnu 

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Posted 2020-April-21, 18:59

To paraphrase a well known saying,

You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, and the people you can fool all of the time are from the right fringe.

Trump’s Hoax: Obama Didn’t Predict This Coronavirus And Design A Test For It

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Or so claims President Donald Trump, who in his struggles to explain why he downplayed a deadly new virus for two months as his administration failed to come up with a robust testing plan has resorted to blaming predecessor Obama ― for failing to develop a test for a disease that would not come into existence until three years after he left office.

The Pass the Buck President is not responsible for anything bad that happens while he is president.

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“The original test, the ones we inherited … they were broken. They were obsolete. They were not good tests,” Trump said at an April 3 White House coronavirus briefing, a venue the president frequently turns into a lengthy session to complain about negative press coverage and to deflect blame.

“We inherited broken testing. We inherited nothing. What we inherited from the previous administration was totally broken,” he said at a briefing 10 days later.

At last Saturday’s briefing, he said: “I inherited broken junk.”

I have to agree. Obama's COVID-19 tests were totally nonexistent.

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Norm Ornstein, a scholar at the conservative-leaning American Enterprise Institute, has an alternative theory about why Trump continues to blame and attack Obama: “He is a racist.”

To be completely fair to the Grifter in Chief, I also have to note that he is also a bigot, a liar, a narcissist, and a psychopath so he not one dimensional.
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#15197 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-April-21, 21:13

I enjoyed hearing Jennifer Pahlka and Tim O'Reilly talk about what Pahlka's non-profit, USDR is doing to help states get the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program working ASAP which basically requires extending state run Unemployment Insurance systems that states have been neglecting for decades.

The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program is designed to provide benefits to people who are unable to work due to COVID-19 and who don't typically qualify for Unemployment Insurance.

Pahlka is an unusual tech advocate in that she clearly understands that technology exists to solve problems for the people who need it. She thinks similarly about government.
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#15198 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2020-April-22, 03:26

Americans are truly funny sometimes. Over 178000 people dead, including over 45000 Americans and the argument that breaks out is whether Sleepy Joe or Dodgy Donald has a better relationship to the Chinese government...with better being worse! Incredible stuff - you get more thought out debate in the average School President election.
(-: Zel :-)

Happy New Year everyone!
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#15199 User is online   johnu 

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Posted 2020-April-22, 03:44

View PostZelandakh, on 2020-April-22, 03:26, said:

Americans are truly funny sometimes. Over 178000 people dead, including over 45000 Americans and the argument that breaks out is whether Sleepy Joe or Dodgy Donald has a better relationship to the Chinese government...with better being worse! Incredible stuff - you get more thought out debate in the average School President election.

Maybe you missed it :rolleyes: but there is actually an entire thread devoted entirely to the Coronavirus pandemic

Coronavirus topic

While things related to the Grifter in Chief but also related to Coronavirus and COVID-19 may be posted here, most of the "pure" Coronavirus posts go to the topic previously referenced. Amazingly enough, there are lots of things going on in the world at the same time. Shockingly, there are other subforums on this site where people are only posting about various topics about contract bridge in the time of this pandemic.
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#15200 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2020-April-22, 03:55

View Postjohnu, on 2020-April-22, 03:44, said:

Maybe you missed it :rolleyes: but there is actually an entire thread devoted entirely to the Coronavirus pandemic

Maybe you missed it :rolleyes: but my response is directly to posts in this thread - 15173 for example. If Barry wants to go through and remove the sub-threads within this one to the coronavirus one then he is welcome to :lol: but in the meantime I will try to keep my posts to the thread I am responding to rather than set up some kind of cross-threaded feedback.
(-: Zel :-)

Happy New Year everyone!
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