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

#18601 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2021-July-26, 20:38

America is very concerned about rights.
Here is Ron DeSantis explaining a novel 'right' to reporters.

Quote

right to participate in society, go to a restaurant movie, a ball game, all these things without having to divulge this type of information.


Nothing DeSantis says makes any sense, but this line of argument is particularly egregious.
What he is saying, reductio ad absurdum, is that if you (an American private citizen) offer a service - say for example a sex worker - the customer has the "Right" to enter your premises and partake of your offerings not matter their health status.
Perhaps Typhoid Mary should open a Burger Joint in Miami.

I suspect that this is an extension of the American "I can say what I like because I have the Right to free speech".


non est deus ex machina; även maskiner behöver lite kärlek, J'ai toujours misé sur l'étrange gentillesse des robots.
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#18602 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-July-27, 11:06

Here is the church; here is the steeple; open the door and see all the people.



Quote

If "you start showing up [with] all these masks and all this nonsense, I will ask you to leave," Locke, 45, told scores of Global Vision Bible Church parishioners during his sermon on Sunday. His statement was followed by cheers and applause.

"I am not playing these Democrat games up in this church," he added.





My only question: why is this Republican lobbyist organization tax exempt?
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#18603 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2021-July-27, 15:45

View PostWinstonm, on 2021-July-27, 11:06, said:

Here is the church; here is the steeple; open the door and see all the people.

My only question: why is this Republican lobbyist organization tax exempt?


To be fair, political parties are also tax-exempt.
It seems the main criteria for tax exemption is that you get it if you are being paid to make ***** up.
If you are doing something valuable that produces something that people need then you have to pay money to the people that need it because they aren't.
non est deus ex machina; även maskiner behöver lite kärlek, J'ai toujours misé sur l'étrange gentillesse des robots.
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#18604 User is online   johnu 

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Posted 2021-July-27, 21:29

View Postpilowsky, on 2021-July-27, 15:45, said:

To be fair, political parties are also tax-exempt.


In the US, political contributions are specifically not tax deductible. There are specific tax laws relating to tax deductible contributions for IRS 501[c](3) charities, and being too political would disqualify a charity if investigated and proven.
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#18605 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-July-27, 21:39

View Postpilowsky, on 2021-July-27, 15:45, said:

To be fair, political parties are also tax-exempt.
It seems the main criteria for tax exemption is that you get it if you are being paid to make ***** up.
If you are doing something valuable that produces something that people need then you have to pay money to the people that need it because they aren't.


The issue here in the US is that churches are tax exempt but if your church is really only a front for a lobbying firm then the donations should be considered payments for services and thus taxable. Too bad the IRS doesn’t agree though.🙁 Churches here can get away with murder.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#18606 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2021-July-27, 23:23

Interesting difference - $2-$1500 is in Australia.
non est deus ex machina; även maskiner behöver lite kärlek, J'ai toujours misé sur l'étrange gentillesse des robots.
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#18607 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2021-July-28, 09:08

An op-ed piece in WaPO:

https://www.washingt...mpress-educate/

The first part:

Quote

Rarely does a congressional hearing manage to avoid grandstanding, uncover new and compelling evidence and exceed expectations. The Jan. 6 select committee managed to do all three.

Indeed, the surprises kept coming on Monday. The sincere and spontaneous emotional reactions from Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) and law enforcement officers stood as a rebuke to the cynicism of Republicans who continue to lie about the insurrection. It also rebuffed the media, which too often dabbles in bothsidesism, even to this day.

Kinzinger could barely get through his tribute to the officers' bravery. "You guys won," he said tearfully. "You guys held. Democracies are not defined by our bad days. We are defined by how we come back from bad days."





After the article, there is room for reader comments. One of the comments:

"Be sure to subpoena Rep. Andrew Clyde, the clown that was one of the first to run and help barricade himself inside the chambers, and then later said these rioters were tourists"

More generally, we could ask Republicans to please try to speak seriously about an important event. Well, we can ask.

Ken
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#18608 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2021-July-28, 11:23

Kristina Peterson and Andrew Duehren at WSJ said:

WASHINGTON—A group of GOP senators said Wednesday they had reached an agreement with Democrats on the major issues of a roughly $1 trillion infrastructure package, setting up a potential initial vote on the package within hours.

Democratic aides also confirmed the agreement. Earlier, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) told lawmakers to be ready for a vote as soon as Wednesday night to open debate on the package. A similar vote failed last Wednesday.

“We now have an agreement on the major issues,” Sen. Rob Portman (R., Ohio), the lead GOP negotiator of the group, told reporters. “We are prepared to move forward.” Mr. Portman said he expected legislative language for the package would be ready before the expected vote later Wednesday.

“We’ve got a deal,” Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D., Ariz.), a member of the bipartisan group, told reporters Wednesday. “We’re finishing up some language, but we’ve got a deal.”

A bipartisan group of 10 senators has been working for weeks to come to an agreement on the details of a loose framework for roughly $600 billion above projected federal spending on roads, bridges, expanded broadband access and more. GOP lawmakers involved in the talks said they were confident it would win the support of at least 10 Republicans, a key threshold to reach the 60 votes necessary for advancing the deal.

Mr. Portman said the agreement was expected to include $110 billion for improvements to roads and that it would be fully paid for with sources of revenue. Sen. Susan Collins (R., Maine) said the legislation would include $65 billion for expanded access to affordable broadband Internet, though she noted she was still completing some details with Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D., N.H.).

“Our goal is to ensure there is far greater access to high-speed Internet services,” Ms. Collins said.

Mr. Portman said a late dispute over how much funding to direct to public transit had been resolved when Democrats had accepted the latest GOP offer.

Democrats were expected to meet to discuss the agreement in the early afternoon, but those in the bipartisan group said they were confident the deal would be completed Wednesday.

“I think we’re good to go,” Sen. Jon Tester (D., Mont.), a member of the bipartisan group, said Wednesday. While Mr. Tester noted that he hadn’t heard that every single lawmaker in the group had signed off on the deal, “my understanding is we’re well on the way to getting this thing done.”

Some top Democrats have recently raised concerns about the contours of the agreement, including Sens. Tom Carper (D., Del.) and Ron Wyden (D., Ore.), each leaders of key Senate committees. Mr. Carper, the chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said he and his staff spent the night making his case to negotiators on final issues.

“We will find out in one hour how we ended up,” he said.

Republicans, who had blocked the Senate from beginning debate on an infrastructure package last week, said they were optimistic there would be sufficient support later Wednesday to advance.

“It certainly seems feasible to me that there’d be enough Republicans interested in proceeding and debating and amending,” said Sen. Kevin Cramer (R., N.D.)

The agreement capped a tumultuous weekslong stretch after the bipartisan group of lawmakers reached a deal with the White House in late June on a loose framework for the package.

But the porousness of that deal quickly became apparent as lawmakers scrapped one of their key sources of revenue and spent days working out disputes over major policy provisions, including how much money to spend on public transit and how to administer expanded broadband access.

Earlier this month, Mr. Schumer turned up the pressure on the group by giving them a midweek deadline. Although the lawmakers missed the deadline, the pace of negotiations intensified. Lawmakers had spent marathon days locked into a room with White House officials and broke into small groups to hammer out specific provisions.

Mr. Portman said the major issues had been resolved in the early morning hours of Wednesday.

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#18609 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-July-28, 12:08

Ken, I hope your overall general thought is right that there are more reasonable middle-of-the-road people than there are crazies. There was a slight ray of light yesterday as in a special election in Ruby-red Texas Jake Ellzey received 53% of the vote while the Trump-promoted candidate received 46%.
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#18610 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-July-28, 12:12

Quote

WASHINGTON—A group of GOP senators said Wednesday they had reached an agreement with Democrats on the major issues of a roughly $1 trillion infrastructure package, setting up a potential initial vote on the package within hours.


At this point, anything that can be considered even a small dilution of Mitch McConnell's power should be hailed as significant movement away from the crazoids.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#18611 User is online   johnu 

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Posted 2021-July-28, 12:33

View PostWinstonm, on 2021-July-28, 12:08, said:

Ken, I hope your overall general thought is right that there are more reasonable middle-of-the-road people than there are crazies. There was a slight ray of light yesterday as in a special election in Ruby-red Texas Jake Ellzey received 53% of the vote while the Trump-promoted candidate received 46%.


A falling stock? Donald Trump-backed candidate loses U.S. House race to GOP's Jake Ellzey.

Quote

Ellzey, who had noteworthy endorsements of his own, finished second in the May vote with 14%, edging out a Democrat for a spot in the runoff with Wright. He did not run an anti-Trump campaign, but often embraced Trumpian ideas in seeking to overcome the endorsement.


This election was a choice between bad breath, and body odor. I'm not sure which of those won, but Ellzey ended up with the most votes.
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#18612 User is offline   Gilithin 

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Posted 2021-July-28, 13:03

View PostWinstonm, on 2021-July-27, 21:39, said:

The issue here in the US is that churches are tax exempt but if your church is really only a front for a lobbying firm then the donations should be considered payments for services and thus taxable. Too bad the IRS doesn’t agree though.🙁 Churches here can get away with murder.

But not sex.
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#18613 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2021-July-28, 13:14

View PostWinstonm, on 2021-July-28, 12:08, said:

Ken, I hope your overall general thought is right that there are more reasonable middle-of-the-road people than there are crazies. There was a slight ray of light yesterday as in a special election in Ruby-red Texas Jake Ellzey received 53% of the vote while the Trump-promoted candidate received 46%.


There are times that I think it is like hoping for a 3-3 split that allows you to execute a triple squeeze. But when you look at a hand and say "what else?" then ....

Anyway, I look forward to disagreeing with people when the disagreement is not over whether the vaccine does or does not magnetize you.



Ken
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#18614 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-July-28, 16:29

View PostGilithin, on 2021-July-28, 13:03, said:

But not sex.


Of course, sex could lead to an unwanted pregnancy and that of course is followed by an evil doctor performing...it can't even be said. All much worse than simple murder, though. After all, most of 'em had it coming. Posted Image
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#18615 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2021-July-29, 07:21

Jonathan Bernstein at Bloomberg said:

Seventeen Republicans joined all Senate Democrats in a procedural vote on an infrastructure bill Wednesday, after an agreement was announced earlier in the day. The deal could still collapse — if Minority Leader Mitch McConnell decides to be outraged at how Majority Leader Chuck Schumer smiled after the vote (and, at least over on C-SPAN 2, he really did look giddy) or finds some other excuse to sustain a filibuster, he would surely take some others with him. Perhaps even enough to sink the deal.

Most likely, however, this is going to pass the Senate. And Matt Yglesias here at Bloomberg Opinion has an excellent item explaining why Republicans should agree to a deal — or, if you want the shorter version, former Senator Al Franken put it this way: “Congrats but no surprise on the bipartisan infrastructure bill. GOP knew if they stopped it, Dems would add it in reconciliation & GOP would get zero credit for all the new jobs & infrastructure.”

And yet, while Yglesias and Franken are correct, quite a few people were absolutely convinced that no bipartisan deal was possible. McConnell, the theory went, had one overriding belief when Democrats were in the White House: Never strike a deal, because as long as the out-party opposes any bill it will automatically be seen as controversial, lose popularity and therefore fail to deliver any electoral rewards for the president’s party.

I’ve never thought this was an accurate description of how elections and legislation work. But there were two additional reasons to expect Republican rejectionism. One was that they followed this formula in 2009-2010, and to a lesser extent in 1993-1994, and they attributed their big wins in 2010 and 1994 to the strategy. Another was that most Republicans appeared to have a strong aversion to compromise per se — and have been willing to accept substantial policy losses to avoid cutting a deal. The logic that Yglesias and Franken identify is the basic logic of policy making in the U.S. Similar incentives pushed Democrats to cut deals with President George W. Bush over taxes, Medicare expansion and education. But Republicans haven’t seemed to want to do that.

What changed? Maybe infrastructure is just different; it’s harder for Republicans to practice flat-out rejectionism when they don’t really care about the underlying policy than it is when the topic is, say, health care. Or perhaps McConnell is trying to defeat the bill after all. How? If the bipartisan bill passes easily, perhaps Senator Bernie Sanders and one or two other Democrats will oppose it once their votes aren’t needed. That, in turn, could make the bill vulnerable if Republicans in the House oppose it unanimously while a handful of the most liberal representatives consider it a sell-out and ultimately vote against it. Likely? No, but given the deal, it may be McConnell’s best chance.

The other possibility? Yglesias suggests that Republicans risk strengthening the most liberal group in intra-Democratic fights, but there’s a more serious danger they may be worried about. We really have no idea how close Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema might be to tossing out the filibuster altogether, which would not only allow for a larger infrastructure bill but would also enable large parts of the rest of the Democratic agenda. Spiking the bipartisan deal might well have pushed Manchin and Sinema closer to the edge; passing it with a solid majority may be enough to keep the filibuster safe for now. That’s just speculation — but it’s possible that McConnell and other Republicans have picked up hints that have them more worried about the filibuster than they’ve let on.

Of course, Democrats still need to negotiate a reconciliation bill, and they need to reach an agreement all 50 senators (and just about all House Democrats) can live with. But while we can expect some fireworks, that certainly seems doable once Manchin and Sinema get the bipartisan bill they demanded as the price for the second bill. In other words? This thing has a very real chance of passing.

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#18616 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2021-August-02, 08:14

Rana Foroohar at FT said:

For the past 40 years in America, competition policy has revolved around the consumer. This is in part the legacy of legal scholar Robert Bork, whose 1978 book The Antitrust Paradox held that the major goal of antitrust policy should be to promote “business efficiency”, which from the 1980s onwards came to be measured in consumer prices. These were considered the fundamental measure of consumer wellbeing, which was in turn the centre of economic wellbeing.

But things are changing. A White House executive order on competition policy, signed last month, contains some 72 discrete measures designed to stamp out anti-competitive practices across nearly every part of the US economy. But it isn’t about low prices as much as it is about higher wages.

Like the Reagan-Thatcher revolution, which took power from unions and unleashed markets and corporations, Biden’s executive order may well be remembered as a major economic turning point — this time, away from neoliberalism with its focus on consumers, and towards workers as the primary interest group in the US economy.

In some ways, this matters more than the details of particular parts of the order. Many commentators have suggested that these measures, on their own, won’t achieve much. But executive orders aren’t necessarily about the details — they are about the direction of a government. And this one takes us completely away from the Bork era by focusing on the connection between market power and wages, which no president over the past century has acknowledged so explicitly.

“When there are only a few employers in town, workers have less opportunity to bargain for a higher wage,” Biden said in his announcement of the order. It noted that, in more than 75 per cent of US industries, a smaller number of large companies now control more business than they did 20 years ago.

His solutions include everything from cutting burdensome licensing requirements across half the private sector to banning and/or limiting non-compete agreements. Firms in many industries have used such agreements to hinder top employees from working for competitors, as well as to make it tougher for employees to share wage and benefit information with each other — something that Silicon Valley has done in nefarious ways.  

This gets to the heart of the American myth that employees and employers stand on an equal footing, a falsehood that is reflected in such Orwellian labour market terms as the “right to work”. In the US this refers not to any sort of workplace equality, but rather to the ability of certain states to prevent unions from representing all workers in a given company.

But beyond the explicitly labour-related measures, the president’s order also gets to the bigger connection between not just monopoly power and prices, but corporate concentration and the labour share.

As economist Jan Eeckhout lays out in his new book The Profit Paradox, rapid technological change since the 1980s has improved business efficiency and dramatically increased corporate profitability. But it has also led to an increase in market power that is detrimental for people in work.

As his research shows, firms in the 1980s made average profits that were a tenth of payroll costs. By the mid 2000s that ratio had jumped to 30 per cent and it went as high as 43 per cent in 2012. Meanwhile, “mark-ups” in profit margins due to market power have also risen dramatically (though it can be difficult to see this in parts of the digital economy that run not on dollars but on barter transactions of personal data).

While technology can ultimately lower prices and thus benefit everyone, this “only works well if markets are competitive. That is the profit paradox,” says Eeckhout. He argues that when firms have market power, they can keep out competitors that might offer better products and services. They can also pay workers less than they can afford to, since there are fewer and fewer employers doing the hiring.

The latter issue is called monopsony power, and it is something that the White House is paying particularly close attention to.

“What’s happening to workers with the rise in [corporate] concentration, and what that means in an era without as much union power, is something that I think we need to hear more about,” says Heather Boushey, a member of the president’s Council of Economic Advisors, who spoke to the Financial Times recently about how the White House sees the country’s economic challenges. 

The key challenge, according to the Biden administration, is that of shifting the balance of power between capital and labour. This accounts for the emerging ideas on how to tackle competition policy. There are many who regard the move away from consumer interests as the focus of antitrust policy as dangerously socialist — a reflection of the Marxian contention that demand shortages are inevitable when the power of labour falls.

But one might equally look at the approach as a return to the origins of modern capitalism. As Adam Smith observed two centuries ago, “Labour was the first price, the original purchase-money that was paid for all things. It was not by gold or by silver, but by labour, that all wealth of the world was originally purchased.” Reprioritising it is a good thing.

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#18617 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2021-August-02, 19:57

Mark Scott and Tina Nguyen at Politico said:

Just weeks after its launch, the pro-Trump social network GETTR is inundated with terrorist propaganda spread by supporters of Islamic State, according to a POLITICO review of online activity on the fledgling platform.

The social network — started a month ago by members of former President Donald Trump’s inner circle — features reams of jihadi-related material, including graphic videos of beheadings, viral memes that promote violence against the West and even memes of a militant executing Trump in an orange jumpsuit similar to those used in Guantanamo Bay.

The rapid proliferation of such material is placing GETTR in the awkward position of providing a safe haven for jihadi extremists online as it attempts to establish itself as a free speech MAGA-alternative to sites like Facebook and Twitter.

It underscores the challenges facing Trump and his followers in the wake of his ban from the mainstream social media platforms following the Jan. 6 Capitol Hill riots.

Islamic State “has been very quick to exploit GETTR,” said Moustafa Ayad, executive director for Africa, the Middle East and Asia at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, a think tank that tracks online extremism, who first discovered the jihadi accounts and shared his findings with POLITICO.

“On Facebook, there was on one of these accounts that I follow that is known to be Islamic State, which said ‘Oh, Trump announced his new platform. Inshallah, all the mujahideen will exploit that platform,’” he added. “The next day, there were at least 15 accounts on GETTR that were Islamic State.”

While GETTR does not provide access to its data to track the spread, or virality, of such extremist material on its platform, POLITICO found at least 250 accounts that had posted regularly on the platform since early July. Many followed each other, and used hashtags to promote the jihadi material to this burgeoning online community.

https://www.politico...dia-isis-502078

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#18618 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2021-August-04, 05:52

Jonathan Bernstein at Bloomberg said:

Tuesday brought some reminders that neither party has a monopoly on politicians they should want nothing to do with — and that, right now, Democrats are far more capable than Republicans of taking action.

First, with a state attorney general’s investigation into sexual-harassment allegations finding plenty of fault with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, Democrats were just about unanimous, from President Joe Biden on down, that the governor needs to resign. Cuomo isn’t going anywhere for now, but with impeachment a viable option and the party strongly against him, there’s a good chance that he’s finished. (Cuomo has denied the accusations.) Even if he hangs on, the Democrats’ reaction is a sharp contrast with how Republican have handled — well, take your pick, but certainly the accusations against former President Donald Trump, which were even more alarming than those against Cuomo.

And then there was a House special election in Ohio, in which the bulk of the party came together to successfully nominate Shontel Brown and defeat Nina Turner, a former state senator and prominent supporter of Senator Bernie Sanders. The party’s problem with Turner wasn’t that she was ideologically too extreme; it was that she has never shown any sign of party loyalty but had demonstrated some signs of demagoguery, which she promptly reinforced in a speech after the results were clear, in which she blamed “evil money.”

Again, both parties have these kinds of politicians. But Republicans if anything encourage demagogues and irresponsible leaders, which is why they currently have a few dozen of them (at least!) in Congress, while the Democrats have at most a handful. And, again, this has nothing to do with ideology. Outliers in the Democratic House caucus such as Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, ‎Ayanna Pressley, and Cori Bush can also be pragmatic and open to cutting deals.

Let’s not give Democrats too much credit here. It’s not that they’re so good at this; it’s that Republicans have become so dysfunctional that they’re willing to tolerate, and even encourage, politicians who promise to make them even more disorganized in the future. And, yes, there are some Democratic counterexamples, not least Cuomo, who the party continued to support until his flaws became obvious. But Tuesday was a good day for Democratic control of their own party.

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#18619 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-August-04, 09:35

I hope it is being made clear just how close to catastrophe we got due to Trump sycophants in government positions - Marcy Wheeler documents that one DOJ attorney wrote a letter demanding the state of Georgia hold another election but could not get Rosen to sign and send it - at which point Trump threatened to remove the acting AG and replace him with the letter writer.

Yes, we were saved but why and how did the DOJ hire and keep someone willing to involve himself in a coup attempt

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#18620 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2021-August-04, 15:16

I cancelled my Scribd subscription when I found this on their site: https://www.scribd.c...5/Covid-19-News
When I pointed out that this was a debunked conspiracy theory, I was sent this reply:

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Best regards,
Anna R
Scribd, Inc.

Questions? https://support.scribd.com/hc


It seems that Scribd prides itself on being a "free speech" platform, so I guess we can expect people that are refugees from the radical left-wing Murdoch Press to pop up there.



non est deus ex machina; även maskiner behöver lite kärlek, J'ai toujours misé sur l'étrange gentillesse des robots.
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