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

#18441 User is online   y66 

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Posted 2021-June-28, 06:42

Jonathan Bernstein at Bloomberg said:

There seems to be even more shadow-boxing than usual around the infrastructure bill now being debated by Congress. Politicians will always also try to influence such stories in ways that make them look good and others look bad, of course. And, if possible, they’ll use stories about procedure to influence policy outcomes. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it can be confusing. Especially when, as with the infrastructure bill(s), things start out fairly murky.

So it looks like there’s been a lot of movement over the past few days. First, President Joe Biden explicitly linked an infrastructure deal that he had negotiated with Republican senators on Thursday to a partisan bill that Democrats are expected to pass as well. Then Republicans bashed the president, claiming that this linkage could blow the deal up. Then Democrats argued that there was nothing new about the two-track process, with one compromise bill and one Democratic bill; to the contrary, they said, they had always been clear that they expected to move the second bill by using the “reconciliation” procedure that would allow it to pass with a simple majority in the Senate. Then the White House put out a statement apparently backing off of Biden’s explicit linkage, after which Republicans went back to supporting the agreement.

Well, that’s certainly a story. And it’s not entirely inaccurate. But, like I said, there’s a lot of shadow-boxing here.

For one thing, the Republican steps away from the deal and then back toward it may have been exaggerated. Perhaps wildly so. As far as I can tell, none of the five Republican senators who had negotiated the agreement complained publicly about Biden’s comments. On the other hand, those original five were the ones saying the crisis had passed once Biden’s clarification was published.

As Congress scholars Josh Huder and Sarah Binder point out, Biden won’t have the option of signing just one bill, because it won’t (and probably can’t) pass that way. In the House, the most liberal Democrats won’t vote for the compromise bill unless there’s also a second piece of legislation that meets their needs. And their votes are probably necessary because it’s unlikely that more than a handful of House Republicans will support the plan. That means that the one-bill option isn’t viable, and therefore House Speaker Nancy Pelosi won’t put the compromise on the floor without the second bill, which means the Senate needs to pass both.

Plus, there are still only five known Republican votes for the compromise bill in the Senate, and they’ll need five more to defeat a filibuster assuming all 50 Democrats are on board. There hasn’t really been much reporting on which Republicans are likely to support the bill, or for that matter whether the most likely success story would be exactly 10 Republicans or, as is sometimes suggested, a larger margin.

So don’t worry too much about what Biden will or won’t sign. The real questions remain: Are there 10 Republican votes for the compromise in the Senate? If not, will all 50 Democrats move ahead anyway? And either way, can Democrats reach agreement on the rest of what Biden proposed?

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#18442 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2021-June-28, 07:33

View Posty66, on 2021-June-27, 21:09, said:

From Inside William Barr's Breakup With Trump by Jonathan D. Karl at The Atlantic:

Quote

On December 1, 2020, shortly after meeting with Barr, Michael Balsamo posted a story on AP that led with:Trump: How the f#ck could you do this to me? Why did you say it? Barr: Because it's true. ... You know, you only have five weeks, Mr. President, after an election to make legal challenges. This would have taken a crackerjack team with a really coherent and disciplined strategy. Instead, you have a clown show. No self-respecting lawyer is going anywhere near it. It's just a joke. That's why you are where you are.



The part about no self-respecting lawyer going anywhere near it is pretty rich.


When I read this I thought "This conversation does not seem right". But then I noted the dot dot dots and it became (a bit) more plausible. The "Because it's true." seemed right, but if I were Barr I would then refer to one or two of the fraud claims and explain what the evidence did and didn't show. I would avoid referring to a clown show. In a showdown such as this I would explain my choices as clearly as possible and then leave it at that. Reading the whole thing it appears that Barr did explain, at least a bit, the basis for his actions. but "clown show"?

There were two adults from my childhood, one an uncle, the other the father of a friend, who loved to describe their own tough words and actions in confrontations. I learned to be very skeptical. If the conversation is accurately reported Barr seems to have lost his cool. I am skeptical.
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#18443 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-June-28, 09:53

View Postkenberg, on 2021-June-28, 07:33, said:

When I read this I thought "This conversation does not seem right". But then I noted the dot dot dots and it became (a bit) more plausible. The "Because it's true." seemed right, but if I were Barr I would then refer to one or two of the fraud claims and explain what the evidence did and didn't show. I would avoid referring to a clown show. In a showdown such as this I would explain my choices as clearly as possible and then leave it at that. Reading the whole thing it appears that Barr did explain, at least a bit, the basis for his actions. but "clown show"?

There were two adults from my childhood, one an uncle, the other the father of a friend, who loved to describe their own tough words and actions in confrontations. I learned to be very skeptical. If the conversation is accurately reported Barr seems to have lost his cool. I am skeptical.

Barr is trying to salvage a scrap of his reputation- you are wise to be skeptical
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#18444 User is online   y66 

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Posted 2021-June-28, 09:55

View PostWinstonm, on 2021-June-28, 09:53, said:

Barr is trying to salvage a scrap of his reputation- you are wise to be skeptical

skeptical about what?
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#18445 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-June-28, 09:58

View Posty66, on 2021-June-28, 09:55, said:

skeptical about what?


Anything that Barr says.

Quote

But Barr conveniently omits the crucial fact that, for months before his endgame turnabout, he had been relentlessly parroting and amplifying Trump's most dangerous lies about election fraud throughout the runup to the November 2020 election.


My best guess is that Barr got wind of some type of plan that he could not control and decided to bail out.
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#18446 User is online   cherdano 

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Posted 2021-June-28, 10:02

View Posty66, on 2021-June-27, 21:09, said:

From Inside William Barr’s Breakup With Trump by Jonathan D. Karl at The Atlantic:


The part about no self-respecting lawyer going anywhere near it is pretty rich.

A self-respecting lawyer will of course do everything his president asks him to - lying about the Mueller report, opening investigations, etc. etc. And of course he would have signed on to a challenge overturning the results of a fair election. But please, only with a disciplined crackerjack team of disciplined and distinguished lawyers. Signing up to a badly proof-read and hastily put together challenge of the election results - now that's a bridge too far for respect lawyer William Barr!
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#18447 User is online   y66 

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Posted 2021-June-28, 10:12

Greg Sargent at WaPo said:

Having gone to extraordinary lengths to help Donald Trump corrupt the presidency, William P. Barr is working overtime to launder his post-Trump reputation. But the former attorney general’s latest cleanup exercise may end up showing that the stain of his corruption is even darker than we thought — in a way that soils other Republicans as well.

https://www.washingt...fraud-atlantic/

LOL at "darker than we thought" and "soils other Republicans as well".
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#18448 User is online   y66 

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Posted 2021-June-28, 13:22

From Larry Summers' Twitter thread rebutting the WSJ Editorial Board's joke of a case for not increasing IRS funding:

Quote

3. @WSJEditorial suggests that it is mere conjecture that evasion results in sig losses.

This is untrue. The IRS estimates tax gap w/ audit studies. Btwn 2011-2013, owed b/ uncollected taxes totaled $440B+

Extrapolating for growth, tax gap $600B this year, $7T in next decade.

Quote

5. @WSJEditorial states w/o evidence that high-end noncompliance uncommon bc “costs are too high” for potential tax cheats.
B/ long line of research shows unpaid taxes concentrated at top of distribution.
This is b/c no costs to evasion w/ IRS that lacks resources to police it

6. In fact, a few hundred high-income indvls committed the most egregious form of tax evasion: failing to file returns all together, and cost the IRS $10 billion over three years.

For years, the IRS was not even able to pursue these cases.

Quote

11. Career economists at Treasury estimate more resources for IRS + better information generate $700B in a decade.

12. Former Commissioner Rossotti and IRS exec Fred Forman estimate more than 2x as much, $1.6T.

Quote

14. No reason to maintain a tax system where ordinary taxpayers are fully compliant, but those (disproportionately $$) who happen to earn income in opaque ways do not. The @WSJEditorial board may side with tax evaders; but Congress and American people, should not.

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#18449 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2021-June-28, 13:24

View Posty66, on 2021-June-28, 09:55, said:

skeptical about what?


Well, just skeptical.

Ok, maybe I will try to explain.


The reference to "clowns" sounds to me like something where he hopes to be able to say "Boy oh boy, the chips were down and I really stood up for what was right. I'm really a tough guy". That's what I was getting at with my reference to an uncle and a friend's father. Listening to them was always listening to someone who was really really tough. If you believed their account of what happened.

I gather there were witnesses to this so maybe it happened as told. Or maybe not. Mostly it sounded like a guy trying to show what a heroic tough stance he took. Guys do this. Not all guys, but we have all known some.

A guy who knows who he is would simply say "This is what I did and why I did it" and leave it at that.
Ken
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#18450 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2021-June-28, 15:34

View PostWinstonm, on 2021-June-28, 09:53, said:

Barr is trying to salvage a scrap of his reputation- you are wise to be skeptical


Barr is a sh*thole lawyer who should have been practicing law in a sh*thole country. His reputation is set in a pile of methane producing cow manure.
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#18451 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2021-June-28, 17:21

View Postjohnu, on 2021-June-28, 15:34, said:

Barr is a sh*thole lawyer who should have been practicing law in a sh*thole country. His reputation is set in a pile of methane producing cow manure.


Tell us what you really think.
No need to beat around the bush.
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#18452 User is online   y66 

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Posted 2021-June-28, 17:35

View Postkenberg, on 2021-June-28, 13:24, said:

Well, just skeptical.

Ok, maybe I will try to explain.


The reference to "clowns" sounds to me like something where he hopes to be able to say "Boy oh boy, the chips were down and I really stood up for what was right. I'm really a tough guy". That's what I was getting at with my reference to an uncle and a friend's father. Listening to them was always listening to someone who was really really tough. If you believed their account of what happened.

I gather there were witnesses to this so maybe it happened as told. Or maybe not. Mostly it sounded like a guy trying to show what a heroic tough stance he took. Guys do this. Not all guys, but we have all known some.

A guy who knows who he is would simply say "This is what I did and why I did it" and leave it at that.

I can't read. I mistook your meaning as skepticism about the accuracy of Karl's story. Thanks for the clarification.
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#18453 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-June-28, 18:47

View Postjohnu, on 2021-June-28, 15:34, said:

Barr is a sh*thole lawyer who should have been practicing law in a sh*thole country. His reputation is set in a pile of methane producing cow manure.

Take out ‘a’ , ‘hole’, and ‘lawyer’ and you’ve got more accuracy
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#18454 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2021-June-28, 19:02

and, as we say in Australia, "you can't polish a turd"
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#18455 User is online   y66 

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Posted 2021-June-29, 06:18

Jonathan Bernstein at Bloomberg said:

https://www.bloomber...e?sref=UHfKDqx7

Okay, I’m cranky again. On Monday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki argued during her briefing that Democrats have supported police departments and that Republicans are the ones who have actually defunded them. The reality is complicated; in fact, this is probably a topic that would demonstrate the limits of fact-checking, because both parties could make reasonable arguments.

It’s true that some activists, including a small number of Democratic politicians, support the abolition of police departments. A much larger group of activists and politicians has advocated for something called defunding the police, but that has in context meant a variety of things, some relatively radical and some not at all. On the other hand, as Psaki pointed out, Democrats in Congress have recently secured massive amounts of funding for state and local governments, over Republican objections, with a fair amount of that money specifically intended for local police departments that pandemic-strapped cities couldn’t afford.

So why am I cranky? Certainly not because politicians spin; I expect both parties to make their strongest case, deploy facts selectively and stretch the truth. No, I’m cranky because Republicans reacted to Psaki with ... I don’t quite know how to describe it. Outrage? Disbelief? They’re just incredulous that Democrats could consider their support for directing federal funds to local police departments — and Republican opposition to those efforts — relevant to the question of defunding the police. They aren’t claiming that the money didn’t actually go to the police; they just seem to consider “defunding the police” a sort of metaphysical position that has nothing to do with actual police-department budgets. Sure, symbolic politics can be important, but here symbolism is blocking out everything else.

All of this is, to be sure, related to the Republican Party’s difficulty in fashioning public policy. It’s also related to the Republican war on budgeting; having classified aid to state and local governments during the pandemic-induced recession as some sort of boondoggle intended to support Democratic politicians (even though the aid is flowing to states, counties and cities led by officials from both parties), they seem incapable of treating it as actual money that can pay for officer salaries and other such expenses, or indeed for any number of mundane things that governments do. In other words, funding they oppose is, by definition, waste. (There are Democrats who feel that way about military spending, but most of them understand that such funding actually pays for real military functions, even if they oppose some of those functions.)

At any rate, Michelle Goldberg has a nice column that touches on similar themes but in a different policy area — the quasi-fight over critical race theory. In both cases, there’s a reasonable argument to be had, but Republicans aren’t holding up their side of the dispute. Instead of specifying what they oppose and coming up with policies that would address it, they’re playing word games, followed in some cases with nonsense legislation that doesn’t address what’s happening in reality. This kind of rejection of real-world questions makes both meaningful politics and effective policy difficult.

And that makes me cranky.

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#18456 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2021-June-29, 08:58

The Bernstein article has a link to another article, which has links to other articles, which have links to other articles. This could become a research project.
Ken
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#18457 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-June-29, 11:06

View Postkenberg, on 2021-June-29, 08:58, said:

The Bernstein article has a link to another article, which has links to other articles, which have links to other articles. This could become a research project.


Does that make you cranky?

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#18458 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2021-June-29, 18:56

View PostWinstonm, on 2021-June-29, 11:06, said:


Does that make you cranky?



I think interested but cautious might be the right description. There is a lot, my guess is I would disagree with a fair amount of it, but still it could be of interest. It looks like work.

But I might get cranky.
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#18459 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-June-30, 16:08

Give me that old time indictment
Give me that old tax indictment
Give me that old time indictment
It's good enough for me

It was good for Al and Nitty
It was good for Al and Nitty
It was good for Al and Nitty
and it's good enough for me
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#18460 User is online   y66 

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Posted 2021-July-01, 06:49

Jonathan Bernstein at Bloomberg said:

There’s a new edition of C-SPAN’s historical presidential rankings, with the headline, I suppose, that the experts involved — academic and popular historians, with a couple of political scientists and some others thrown in — rank Donald Trump 41st of the 44 presidents. (Joe Biden is not included; Grover Cleveland, the only president to serve nonconsecutive terms, counts once in this exercise.) That’s higher than I would rank him, although the bottom three in this survey, Franklin Pierce, Andrew Johnson and James Buchanan, are all legitimate contenders for the title of worst president in American history.

Beyond Trump, there’s nothing notable about this particular survey. John Kennedy, at #8, continues to be ranked improbably high. Ulysses Grant, #16, continues to climb from where he was unjustly placed during the 20th century, and Woodrow Wilson continues to lose ground, to the 13th spot, as fewer and fewer experts consider him great. Gerald Ford (28) is underrated; Jimmy Carter (26) is overrated. The exercise, I should point out, is at best a moderately fun diversion that may inspire people to learn more history and more about how the U.S. government works. At worst? It’s another way of reinforcing an excessively presidency-centric view of U.S. history and government. No one should take it too seriously.

But it’s not a bad way to raise questions about the presidency. The C-SPAN version asks experts to rate presidents on 10 aspects of the job, including public persuasion, crisis leadership, administrative skills and moral authority. What strikes me about the categories, especially in the light of the last few presidents, is the importance of one category that they do not include: managing the party coalition.

Some of that may be included in other categories; for example, especially in eras of partisan polarization, “relations with Congress” overlaps with party leadership. But it’s really something different.

One reason it’s so important is because it has a lot to do with what happens after a president leaves office. In a president’s final years in the White House, we talk a lot about legacy in terms of policies enacted, but a president’s real legacy is often about which groups have gained influence within the party and which have lost, and about the governing personnel whose careers have advanced during the presidency.

Failure in this sense can be seen for example in the presidency of Jimmy Carter, who left his party relatively unprepared to govern in the future, with catastrophic effects on Bill Clinton’s first years in office. Clinton actually went out of his way to avoid hiring people from the Carter White House for his administration. But Barack Obama filled his administration with Clinton personnel, and Joe Biden has done the same with Obama personnel, allowing both presidents to hit the ground running.

It’s more than just personnel. Ronald Reagan strengthened the conservative movement, making subsequent Republican presidents, Congresses and state governments more aligned with conservative policy preferences. Clinton and Obama empowered women and previously marginalized ethnic groups, helping produce a more diverse party during Biden’s presidency. It works the other way, too; George H.W. Bush’s indifference to the party helped fuel the rise of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and the tactical radicalism (and worse) that eventually eclipsed policy-oriented conservatism. Trump seems to have finished that job.

Of course, as with any other assessment of presidents, it’s important to remember that they are hardly all-powerful when it comes to the party; parties constrain presidents at least as much as presidents lead their parties. And the overall political context matters, too.

But a president who actively tries to influence the party has plenty of ability to do so, whether through personnel decisions or by steering resources to some groups and away from others. And whether, and how, they do that, can be one of the most important things that a president does in office.

Links omitted to reduce strain.
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