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

#15961 User is online   y66 

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Posted 2020-July-28, 19:23

Bill Barr’s Unconstitutional Campaign to Reelect the President by Donald Ayer at the Atlantic

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Throughout his first year in office, Bill Barr worked overtime to advance the personal and political interests of President Donald Trump, and to alter the structure of American government to confer virtually autocratic powers on the president, in accordance with views that Barr has held for several decades. Now, less than 100 days before the election, the attorney general’s focus has narrowed and his methods have become more transparently outrageous: Facing gross mismanagement of the coronavirus pandemic, a diminished economy, and sinking presidential poll numbers, Barr is using the most intrusive and offensive tools he can command simply to extend his and the president’s tenure in office into a second term.

Most recent and shocking are the unilateral armed invasions of Portland, Oregon; Kansas City, Missouri; Seattle, and, presumably, a number of other American cities soon. There are many reasons to believe that these counterproductive incursions are being pursued not for some legitimate purpose but as political theater, to generate an impression of the country in disorder, of dangerous people supposedly on the attack, and of the Trump administration standing firm against them. These interventions defy the traditional conservative principle of federalism: respecting the leadership of local and state government in maintaining order, with federal assistance generally limited to coordinated action by invitation. The federal actions have also involved a disregard of constitutional rights, and by all indications have been a stimulus for, rather than a solution to, violence.

These invasions echo similar events that took place in Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C., on June 1, when officials from various federal law-enforcement agencies, acting on an order given by Barr, cleared peaceful protesters from the area in the early evening. That action was followed a short time later by the president walking across the park to pose for a picture holding a Bible in front of Saint John’s Church. The episode was roundly condemned, including by former Trump-administration officials, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff later apologized for allowing himself to be anywhere near it. Barr equivocated about what exactly happened that day, but admitted to giving the park-clearing order.

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#15962 User is online   y66 

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Posted 2020-July-28, 19:26

Barr Denies Testifying Before Congress by Andy Borowitz at the New Yorker:

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WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—Attorney General William Barr stirred controversy on Tuesday by categorically denying during his congressional testimony that he was testifying before Congress.

“I am not now nor have I ever testified before the House Judiciary Committee,” Barr told the House Judiciary Committee. “Any suggestion to the contrary is a flat-out lie.”

After the chairman of the committee, Representative Jerrold Nadler, claimed that he could see Barr sitting several feet away from him, Barr came out swinging.

“I am not going to respond to hypothetical questions about where I may or may not be sitting at any given moment,” Barr retorted.

Barr’s steadfast denial that he was testifying before Congress drew the ire of Nadler, who said that Barr’s prevarication was unbecoming of the Attorney General of the United States.

Barr’s response was swift and fierce. “I am not the Attorney General, and any assertion that I am is patently absurd,” he said.

At the end of the hearing, one of Barr’s fellow-Republicans on the committee, Representative Jim Jordan, apologized to Barr for the going-over he had received from Democrats.

“Given how badly you were treated today, I don’t blame you one bit for not being here,” Jordan said.

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#15963 User is online   y66 

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Posted 2020-July-28, 19:46

Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (D-PA) said:

AG Barr has been repeating false conspiracy theories peddled by the President to cast doubt on voting-by-mail.

The President has voted by mail and so has AG Barr.

When I asked him if he had any evidence to back up these claims, Barr said, under oath, “no.”

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#15964 User is online   y66 

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Posted 2020-July-29, 06:16

Trump defends hydroxychloroquine after sharing viral video by Courtney Weaver and Peter Wells at FT

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President Donald Trump has doubled down on the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine after sharing a viral video that alleged masks and shutdowns did not work in stopping the coronavirus.

One week after Mr Trump sought to strike a new tone and resumed regular press briefings, the US president found himself once again defending his decision to promote people taking the drug hydroxychloroquine to treat or ward off the virus — a claim many leading health professionals have questioned.

“Many doctors think it is extremely successful . . . and some people don’t . . . As you know, I took it for a 14-day period. And I’m here.”

Mr Trump said he “didn’t know why” Twitter and Facebook decided to remove a viral video that showed a group of doctors making discredited claims about the virus.

“I guess Twitter took them off and I think Facebook took them off, I don’t know why, I think they’re very respected doctors . . . Maybe they had a good reason [to take them off], maybe they didn’t.”

A Twitter account belonging to his son Donald Trump Jr was temporarily suspended earlier on Tuesday after sharing the video.

Mr Trump’s comments came one week after he encouraged the country to wear masks in public for the first time, and took a stark tone on the spread of the virus, declaring that the situation would “get worse before it gets better”.

On Tuesday, coronavirus figures showed a record one-day increase in deaths in Florida, the country’s third-most populous state. Overall, the US has averaged more than 1,000 deaths a day for the past week for the first time since late May.

While the number of new coronavirus cases nationwide has been dropping off from record highs in recent days — the US registered 53,507 new cases on Tuesday — public health experts warned that hotspots could emerge if preventive steps were not taken.

Anthony Fauci, the longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, warned in an interview with ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Tuesday that he was concerned about the rising number of positive test cases in Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee — an early indication that those states might be at the centre of the next big outbreak.

“That’s a sure-fire sign that you’ve got to be really careful,” he said.

Mr Trump has repeatedly clashed with Dr Fauci, one of the country’s top public health officials, who has enjoyed high approval ratings throughout the virus.

On Monday, Mr Trump shared a tweet accusing Dr Fauci of misleading the country on hydroxychloroquine. However, at his Tuesday press briefing, the president suggested that he either did not know about the tweet or had not looked at it closely.

“I think I don’t even know what [Dr Fauci’s] stance is on [hydroxychloroquine],” Mr Trump said. He said that he had “a very good relationship” with Dr Fauci but said that he hadn’t “always agreed with him”, noting that Dr Fauci had been against imposing a travel ban on China during the early days of the virus.

[The Big Read: US coronavirus surge: ‘It’s a failure of national leadership’ (July 17)]

“He didn’t want to do that and I did and other things and he told me I was right and he told me I saved tens of thousands of lives, which was generous but it’s, you know, I think it’s fact.”

Mr Trump said he did not understand why Dr Fauci and Deborah Birx — the other top doctor leading the administration’s coronavirus response — had such high approval ratings, but he did not.

“It is sort of is curious. A man works for us, with us, very closely, Dr Fauci and Dr Birx, very highly thought of,” the president said. “And yet they’re highly thought of, but nobody likes me. It can only be my personality.”

It's not true that nobody likes Trump. Millions of racists, fascists and morons love our anti-president although not as many as four years ago.
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#15965 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-July-29, 11:44

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President Donald Trump on Wednesday told Axios’ Jonathan Swan that he never brought up Russia’s alleged program of putting bounties on American soldiers stationed in Afghanistan during a recent phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin.


Heaven forbid - just think - Putin might get mad - he might even frown. Shudder. Oh, the horrors.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#15966 User is online   y66 

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Posted 2020-July-29, 12:38

Democrats Score Court Wins to Make Voting by Mail Easier by Erik Larson at Bloomberg

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Democrats on Tuesday notched two victories in lawsuits aimed at making it easier to vote by mail during the pandemic.

The state of Rhode Island agreed to eliminate witness or notary requirements for people voting by mail throughout the 2020 elections due to the Covid-19 pandemic. A judge signed off on the agreement Tuesday.

The case was brought on behalf of two voting rights advocacy groups -- the League of Women Voters of Rhode Island and Common Cause Rhode Island -- and Rhode Islanders with significant medical vulnerabilities that place them or members of their household at a heightened risk of severe illness or death if they contract Covid-19.

Also on Tuesday, a judge in Minnesota blocked election officials from enforcing a state law that prohibited voters from helping more than three other people to cast absentee ballots, handing a significant win to two national Democratic organizations that sued to end the provisions.

“To date, there is nothing in the record which demonstrates the precise interest of Minnesota as justification for the burden imposed by the challenged laws,” the judge wrote.

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#15967 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-July-29, 12:45

View Posty66, on 2020-July-29, 12:38, said:



Golf clap for Article III.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#15968 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-July-29, 16:09

From Forbes, not exactly a bastion of progressives:


Quote

The Campaign Legal Center, a nonpartisan campaign finance watchdog group, filed a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission Tuesday accusing the Trump campaign of "laundering" $170 million through numerous companies, some with connections to former Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale.






Meet A Grifter America
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#15969 User is offline   shyams 

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Posted 2020-July-29, 16:33

View PostWinstonm, on 2020-July-29, 16:09, said:

From Forbes, not exactly a bastion of progressives:

Quote

The Campaign Legal Center, a nonpartisan campaign finance watchdog group, filed a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission Tuesday accusing the Trump campaign of "laundering" $170 million through numerous companies, some with connections to former Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale.



I believe the USA has an (independent) Election Commission in name only. If true, this is a shocking state of affairs in a democracy of your size and importance.
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#15970 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-July-29, 16:39

View Postshyams, on 2020-July-29, 16:33, said:

I believe the USA has an (independent) Election Commission in name only. If true, this is a shocking state of affairs in a democracy of your size and importance.


Campaign finance has a history of being a cesspool of corruption - the swamp drink that Trump swims laps in laps up daily.
FMP
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#15971 User is online   y66 

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Posted 2020-July-29, 19:16

From It Was All a Lie: How the Republican Party Became Donald Trump by Stuart Stevens, a Republican political consultant, at NYT:

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How do you abandon deeply held beliefs about character, personal responsibility, foreign policy and the national debt in a matter of months? You don’t. The obvious answer is those beliefs weren’t deeply held. What others and I thought were bedrock values turned out to be mere marketing slogans easily replaced. I feel like the guy working for Bernie Madoff who thought they were actually beating the market.

Mr. Trump has served a useful purpose by exposing the deep flaws of a major American political party. Like a heavy truck driven over a bridge on the edge of failure, he has made it impossible to ignore the long-developing fault lines of the Republican Party. A party rooted in decency and values does not embrace the anger that Mr. Trump peddles as patriotism.

This collapse of a major political party as a moral governing force is unlike anything we have seen in modern American politics. The closest parallel is the demise of the Communist Party in the Soviet Union, when the dissonance between what the party said it stood for and what citizens actually experienced was so great that it was unsustainable.

This election should signal a day of reckoning for the party and all who claim it as a political identity. Will it? I’ve given up hope that there are any lines of decency or normalcy that once crossed would move Republican leaders to act as if they took their oath of office more seriously than their allegiance to party. Only fear will motivate the party to change — the cold fear only defeat can bring.

That defeat is looming. Will it bring desperately needed change to the Republican Party? I’d like to say I’m hopeful. But that would be a lie and there have been too many lies for too long.

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#15972 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-July-29, 19:33

How very odd - the State Department is completely at odds with Donald Trump:

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The U.S. State Department has issued warnings to Russia that there will be repercussions if Moscow pays for successfully killing American soldiers, according to two senior American officials and another individual with knowledge of the matter.

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#15973 User is online   y66 

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Posted 2020-July-30, 05:52

Ben Casselman at NYT said:

When the Commerce Department releases its preliminary estimate for second-quarter economic output on Thursday morning, the numbers will be historically terrible.

They will also be confusing.

Forecasters expect the report to show that gross domestic product — the broadest measure of goods and services produced in the United States — fell at an annual rate of about 35 percent.

But wait. If you read that last paragraph quickly, you might have come away with the impression that the economy shrank by more than a third in a mere three months. That’s wrong. If forecasters are on target, economic output was about 10 percent lower in the second quarter than in the first — still awful, but not quite as scary-sounding as a 35 percent drop.

Either way, it is expected to be the worst quarter in the 70-plus years that quarterly G.D.P. statistics have been compiled. But here’s why you may see two widely different numbers.

The United States has traditionally reported G.D.P. and some other economic statistics as annual rates. Rather than simply giving the percentage change from one quarter to the next, the government reports how much G.D.P. would grow or shrink if that rate of change were sustained for a full year. (Because growth rates compound on themselves, this calculation is a bit more complicated than simply multiplying by four. The figures are also adjusted for seasonal patterns, so they are more properly described as “seasonally adjusted annual rates.”)

Annual rates make it easier for analysts to compare data collected over different time periods. If you’ve ever estimated how much you’d save over a full year if you kicked your daily latte habit, or worked out how many home runs a favorite player would hit if his current hot streak lasted for a full season, you’ve performed a similar calculation.

But when annual rates are applied to short-term changes, the results can be misleading, as Neil Irwin of The Upshot explained in May. If you received a $500 bonus one month, you wouldn’t think of it as a “$6,000 raise, on an annualized basis,” because you know it’s a one-time windfall, not a long-term change in your income.

Right now, the economy is going through extreme short-term changes. Activity largely halted in much of the country in April, rebounded sharply in May and June, and now looks as if it might be slowing again as surging coronavirus cases force states to slow or reverse reopenings. Those changes are real, and will have a huge effect on family incomes, business profits and state tax revenues. But it doesn’t make much sense to think of them on an annualized basis.

For that reason, in Times coverage of Thursday’s G.D.P. report, we plan to emphasize the simple, nonannualized percentage change from the first quarter to the second. (This is hardly revolutionary — it’s the way most of the rest of the world already reports G.D.P. data.) We’ll still provide the standard annualized figures for people who are used to seeing them that way. And where relevant, we’ll show other calculations, such as the change from a year earlier, or the change since the start of the pandemic.

We plan to follow the same approach for the third quarter, which will almost certainly show a big — and equally misleading — increase in economic activity after the big shutdown in the spring.

The third quarter estimates are scheduled to be released on October 29th, 5 days before the election.
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#15974 User is offline   shyams 

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Posted 2020-July-30, 06:09

IIRC consumer spending accounts for 65%-70% of the US economy. If Congress does not pass a continuation of the relief scheme currently in play, the spending power of the average American will take a massive hit. This will definitely have an impact on the Q3 growth numbers.

Unfortunately, the GOP isn't focused on relief cheques and the Dems don't know their a** from their elbow when it comes to crafting a useful relief bill. So there is a strong possibility that Qtr-on-Qtr GDP movement for Q3 could be anaemic.
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#15975 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-July-30, 06:38

View Posty66, on 2020-July-30, 05:52, said:

The third quarter estimates are scheduled to be released on October 29th, 5 days before the election.


Curious take on ways to make it not look so bad - and the question is: why don't they simply show both instead of a number of which people are unfamiliar seeing?
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#15976 User is online   y66 

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Posted 2020-July-30, 06:47

For "the more things change ..." files:

Trump Plays on Racist Fears of Terrorized Suburbs to Court White Voters

Edit: In TrumpWorld, affordable housing is simply not an issue for teachers, health care workers, cops and people working 2+ minimum wage jobs.
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#15977 User is online   y66 

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Posted 2020-July-30, 07:34

Federal Agencies Agree to Withdraw From Portland, With Conditions

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For days, as fireworks and tear gas erupted in the streets of Portland, Ore., during the deployment of federal tactical teams cracking down on raucous demonstrations, President Trump campaigned against protesters he described as “sick and deranged anarchists & agitators” who he said had threatened to leave Portland “burned and beaten to the ground.”

But even as the president was doubling down, Vice President Mike Pence and other senior administration officials were negotiating an agreement with Oregon’s governor, Kate Brown, to begin withdrawing the federal tactical teams from Portland.

On Wednesday, Ms. Brown announced that the federal law enforcement agents guarding the federal courthouse in downtown Portland would begin withdrawing as early as Thursday. “We know where we are headed,” she said. “Complete withdrawal of federal troops from the city and the state.”

Federal officials confirmed an agreement but hedged on the timing, cautioning that a departure would depend on the success of the state’s promise to secure the area.

“Our entire law enforcement presence that was currently in Portland yesterday and the previous week will remain in Portland until we are assured that the courthouse and other federal facilities will no longer be attacked nightly,” Chad F. Wolf, the acting secretary of homeland security, told reporters on Wednesday.

The agreement, although tenuous and framed by political divisions, marked a stark turnaround for an administration that had aggressively defended the presence of the federal forces. Federal agents more prone to investigating drug smugglers than handling demonstrations had come to the city without the support of local leaders and found themselves mired in an endless cycle of clashes with demonstrators who opposed their presence.

While Mr. Trump has used images of tactical agents cracking down on protesters in his campaign videos, there was an increasing sense in the administration that the violent scenes of unrest linked to federal agents in Portland could risk becoming a liability, an administration official said. Among the thousands of protesters who had joined demonstrators in recent weeks were a Wall of Moms, nurses in scrubs and military veterans.

The agreement to hand over responsibility to the Oregon State Police represented a tactical retreat from the continuing confrontations while allowing the administration to save face by saying it had accomplished its main objective, the security of federal properties.

As David Shor pointed out in his infamous May 28th tweet, violent repression of nonviolent protests is not a good strategy for winning votes. The unruly behavior of some protesters that was also on vivid display as feds escalated the confrontation is not a good strategy for wining votes either.
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#15978 User is online   hrothgar 

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Posted 2020-July-30, 09:08

So, in this morning's news


1.  Trump is now tweeting about delaying the election

2.  The Lord called Herman Cain home...  (apparently the Lord chose to do so by sending him to Donald J Trump's Tulsa rally without a mask)
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#15979 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-July-30, 11:22

Trump is the only missing president from today's honoring of Congressman John Lewis, an American Civil Rights hero. There is no bottom to Trump's disgusting actions, and everyone who supports him owns every outrage Trump has and will commit - from putting Russia's interests above those of the U.S. to his blatant politicization of his private police force sent to cities controlled by Democrats. and now the total disregard of the death of American hero John Lewis.
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#15980 User is offline   Trinidad 

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Posted 2020-July-30, 11:41

View Posthrothgar, on 2020-July-30, 09:08, said:

So, in this morning's news
Trump is now tweeting about delaying the election

Great idea! But I have a better one. Let's move the election forward instead, e.g. next week. Now we have the epidemic under control. You never know what will happen on November 3rd or later. :)

Rik
I want my opponents to leave my table with a smile on their face and without matchpoints on their score card - in that order.
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