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

#16121 User is offline   shyams 

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Posted 2020-August-23, 03:43

Why would the House of Representatives come back from recess, sit on a Saturday and pass a bill for USPS when they know well that it isn't going to become a law?

I don't mind if they did, perhaps such action is definitely needed. However, why does the House not sit to actually solve the matter of unemployment benefits and other vital relief for the Covid-affected population?

Honestly, which is more important? The lives & livelihoods of millions of Americans or the token gestures about "saving democracy"?
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#16122 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-August-23, 07:51

View Postshyams, on 2020-August-23, 03:43, said:

Why would the House of Representatives come back from recess, sit on a Saturday and pass a bill for USPS when they know well that it isn't going to become a law?

I don't mind if they did, perhaps such action is definitely needed. However, why does the House not sit to actually solve the matter of unemployment benefits and other vital relief for the Covid-affected population?

Honestly, which is more important? The lives & livelihoods of millions of Americans or the token gestures about "saving democracy"?


Because without the latter the former can't happen. The "long game" says to win the presidency and the senate and only then start to work on real policy changes.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#16123 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2020-August-23, 13:22

View Postshyams, on 2020-August-23, 03:43, said:

Why would the House of Representatives come back from recess, sit on a Saturday and pass a bill for USPS when they know well that it isn't going to become a law?

I don't mind if they did, perhaps such action is definitely needed. However, why does the House not sit to actually solve the matter of unemployment benefits and other vital relief for the Covid-affected population?

Honestly, which is more important? The lives & livelihoods of millions of Americans or the token gestures about "saving democracy"?

I suppose you do realise that the HoR already passed a bill including that some weeks back. Is it their fault that MM has refused to call a vote on it in the Senate?
(-: Zel :-)

Happy New Year everyone!
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#16124 User is online   y66 

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Posted 2020-August-24, 06:27

Jonathan Bernstein at Bloomberg said:

Once upon a time, American political parties had relatively detailed platforms. Then Jared Kushner came along, and decided he could replace the Republican Party’s traditional document with a one-page placard, small enough to fit into people’s pockets. A month later, that project was scrapped in favor of just using the party’s 2016 platform. Verbatim. Great! Except that document was filled with all sorts of harsh criticisms of the “current” administration (that is, Barack Obama’s). Even so, that was the official-ish position for a couple of months. Until …

The Republican platform committee met on Sunday and decided that there wouldn’t be any platform at all — they were good with whatever President Donald Trump wanted. Which everyone had good fun with for a while, until later Sunday when what Trump wanted turned out to be 50 bullet points.

The resulting plan has the feel of something that was slapped together in 20 minutes or so. So Trump is supposedly going to produce 10 million new jobs in 10 months, but there’s nothing — really, nothing at all — about how to fulfill that promise. Same with a million new small businesses. The president plans to “Build the World’s Greatest Infrastructure System,” which sounds nice, but given that he’s been promising the same thing for almost four years and hasn’t yet sent a bill to Capitol Hill, some might find it hard to take it seriously. “Wipe Out Global Terrorists” also seems ambitious, but the plan contains nothing about how it would be done in practice or how it squares with the promise to “Stop Endless Wars and Bring Our Troops Home.”

Meanwhile, there are some notable omissions. Nothing about eliminating Obamacare (or, for that matter, about Trump’s promised replacement that’s always two weeks away). Nothing about supporting U.S. allies — not even Israel. Nothing about abortion. Or guns. Nothing about the payroll-tax holiday Trump has been talking about over the past few weeks, or his efforts to restore full deductibility for dining and entertainment expenses.

It’s not clear what happens next. One possibility is that the 50 bullet points keep getting revised to appease various party groups until they eventually look like the platform they were supposed to replace. Another is that those groups would be willing to go along with this version since it’s not an official statement of the party — but won’t be circulating anything like it to their members.

Again, the whole thing sounds like a last-minute attempt to avoid being ridiculed for not having any second-term agenda without actually doing the work of coming up with a second-term agenda. Which is pretty much what I’m expecting of the Republican Convention. Maybe they’ll surprise me! But everything that’s been reported so far suggests that the event is being thrown together at the last minute, with Trump himself constantly changing what he wants and the organizers having to tear up their plans and start over.

To be sure: Hardly any voters watch much more than the major speakers (who this year appear to mostly be Trump’s family), and those who do are almost all enthusiastic partisans who aren’t going to care if the product looks a big ragged. Still, it would be nice to see some evidence that the president and his party actually had some sort of policy agenda. After all, they want to govern. Don’t they?

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#16125 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-August-24, 08:06

Eventually only 1 bullet point: Maximize Trump Celebrity Status!
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#16126 User is online   y66 

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Posted 2020-August-24, 08:30

In today's news:

Quote

Kellyanne Conway is leaving the White House. The longtime aide to President Trump said yesterday that she would resign next week to spend more time with her family. Her husband, the prominent lawyer George Conway, also said he would end his work with the Lincoln Project, the anti-Trump Republican group.

Sounds like they are putting their marriage first. Good for them if that's true.
If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#16127 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-August-24, 10:43

https://www.vox.com/...t-was-all-a-lie

Stuart Stevens:

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"The hallmark of the Republican Party is cowardice."


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“Donald Trump did not change the Republican Party as much as he gave the party permission to reveal its true self.”

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#16128 User is online   y66 

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Posted 2020-August-24, 11:11

Matt Yglesias said:

The numbness to a two-9/11s-a-week scale disaster is remarkable.

Paul Romer said:

Fox viewers seem unhappy about my reminder this morning that deaths from the pandemic are like:

- another 9-11 attack on NYC every three days

- another Titanic disaster every day and a half

Still pretty insignificant compared to the animal death toll in Australia's fires and from climate change.
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#16129 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-August-24, 19:24

Quote

....the Republican decision this year to adopt no policy platform whatsoever shines a light on the democratic significance of the exercise — and the alarming vacuity of the Republican Party under President Trump. The Republicans are announcing that they stand for nothing. The party's only reason for being is to gain and retain power for itself and its comparably unprincipled leader.

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#16130 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-August-25, 07:29

Oh, look, there is a word to explain all this:



Quote

Tartuffery, pronounced /tar-TOOF-uh-ree/, is defined as “the character or behavior of a Tartuffe (a religious hypocrite),” a synonym of hypocrisy. […]

The French playwright Molière wrote Tartuffe, subtitled The Impostor, and it is considered to be among the greatest of his comedies. It was first performed—and immediately banned—in 1664, under the reign of Louis XIV. Its depiction of religious hypocrisy used as leverage for personal gain was a controversial subject at a time when the Catholic church had great influence on the king.

The name of the impostor who ingratiates himself with a wealthy family is Tartuffe. […]




"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#16131 User is online   y66 

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Posted 2020-August-25, 10:11

From Richard Salame at The Intercept:

Quote

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP’S campaign, ordered by a federal court judge in Pennsylvania to back up its claims of fraud in the state’s vote-by-mail system, has documented only a handful of cases of election fraud in recent years — none of which involved mail-in ballots. The revelation, which came in the form of a partially redacted 524-page document produced by the Trump campaign last week, undermines the claim by Trump team operatives that mail-in ballot fraud is a grave risk to Pennsylvania voters.

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#16132 User is offline   shyams 

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Posted 2020-August-25, 13:43

View Postshyams, on 2020-June-28, 16:11, said:

FYI, today --- for the first time in almost three years --- the betting odds of Trump being reelected as President crossed 2:1 (i.e. less than 1 in 3 33.3% chance of winning).


I am getting a bit concerned by the way the betting odds have been moving since my last update.

1. The odds for Trump have improved from 2-1 (late June) to 3-2 as of Aug 24th. In other words, the implied probability has improved to 40% of a Trump second term

2. Opinion polls are showing Biden's lead getting whittled down. Interestingly, there was no DNC Convention bump reflecting in the polls for Biden whereas I suspect there will be a RNC Convention bump in next week's polling results in favour of Trump.
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#16133 User is online   johnu 

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Posted 2020-August-25, 14:05

View Postshyams, on 2020-August-25, 13:43, said:

I am getting a bit concerned by the way the betting odds have been moving since my last update.

1. The odds for Trump have improved from 2-1 (late June) to 3-2 as of Aug 24th. In other words, the implied probability has improved to 40% of a Trump second term

I've said this before. Betting odds for an event do not reflect the actual odds. The odds are set to equalize betting between the possible outcomes so that the bookie will not lose money no matter which way the result turns out. That way bookies will make a consistent profit from the vigorish and won't be financially damaged by somebody placing a huge uncovered bet(s) that needs to be paid out of operating income. For whatever reasons, people betting on the Manchurian President were betting too much money so the betting pool became unbalanced. By changing the odds, the bookie is hoping that less money will be bet on the Grifter in Chief, and more money on Biden.

Sometimes people's behavior defies common sense. For example, the Dow Jones has been creeping up to all time highs that were reached before the coronavirus pandemic. With massive unemployment, thousands of companies going bankrupt or completely out of business or on life support, and whole sectors (e.g. airline, hotel, destination resorts, restaurants, etc) in dire straits, you would think the stock markets would be in a severe slump. And you would be wrong. :lol:
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#16134 User is online   y66 

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Posted 2020-August-25, 19:35

Matthew Yglesias said:

In all seriousness, Trump’s “genius” — such as it is — is through repeated outrages and stubbornness he’s created a situation in which “will the president distance himself from the RNC speaker who earlier today endorsed a notorious anti-Semitic con job” is somehow uninteresting.

Relatedly: Over the weekend the president was ordered to pay the legal fees of the porn star he had an affair with while cheating on his third wife before asking his personal attorney to violate campaign finance law to pay her off — total non-story.

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#16135 User is online   y66 

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Posted 2020-August-26, 06:48

Jonathan Bernstein at Bloomberg said:

If political parties tell you who they are in their conventions, then the biggest message from Republicans on Tuesday night was that they have little respect for democratic norms. Also: They’re largely out of touch with the concerns of Americans who aren’t already fans of the Republican show, as seen on Fox News and other party-aligned media.

As far as norms, I’m willing to give President Donald Trump some leeway for using the White House as a backdrop for his appearances, given the pandemic and that he lives and works there. If it had just been (say) First Lady Melania Trump’s speech in the Rose Garden and the president’s own address from the White House on Thursday, I’d probably defend the idea. But Tuesday night Trump went way too far, staging first a pardon and then a naturalization ceremony. As Susan Hennessey and Scott R. Anderson explained even before those two stunts, Trump’s White House is probably violating the Hatch Act, which prohibits government officials (other than the president) from using their offices for partisan political activity. As they say, the administration’s response is basically that “rules are for other people.” Even if the White House’s increasingly implausible justifications somehow satisfied the letter of the law, Trump is thoroughly trampling on the basic principles involved.

And it’s not just Trump. Mike Pompeo not only shattered the tradition that secretaries of state avoid speaking at party conventions or otherwise engaging in explicit electioneering, but he took a trip to Jerusalem to emphasize the point. Same message: Rules, and even the law, are for others.

As for the rest of the night? There once again was plenty of stuff recognizable to consumers of conservative media. What the party didn’t offer was almost anything about the stuff that most voters presumably have on their minds: the pandemic and ensuing recession. Even those speakers who mentioned the coronavirus generally treated it as something from long ago, and the economic recovery was presented as something already achieved. Perhaps the most obvious version was from White House adviser Larry Kudlow, who put the the whole thing firmly in the past tense. Outside of a couple of paragraphs from Melania Trump’s speech, one would hardly know that many businesses are still closed and many more have failed. Or that thousands of Americans are still dying every week. While speaker after speaker mentioned school choice, there was no hint of the parents dealing with shuttered classrooms and day-care centers. Or the fears that parents feel if their children have returned to school.

Of course, there’s an obvious reason the party doesn’t want to talk about any of that: The president has botched it, and still has no serious plan for recovering. But it’s not as if the organizers didn’t have time to come up with a better story than the one they have — which is still, months into the crisis, that Trump valiantly stopped the pandemic by banning Chinese travelers, and that he’s taken unprecedented steps by simply pushing for a vaccine. That this inflates Trump few achievements while ignoring the long list of things that have gone wrong is bad enough. But the president and his campaign never have reckoned with the fact that U.S. cases and deaths per capita are among the worst in the world and still rising.

Oh, and by the way they had to pull a speaker at the last minute because of her anti-Semitic social-media postings, suggesting once again that haphazard organizing isn’t a great idea for national conventions.

It's one thing to be out of touch with the concerns of Americans who aren’t already fans of the Republican show. It's genius level stuff to waste a good opportunity to persuade the 7+ percent or so of non-fans whose votes Trump needs to win in November that he can govern.
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#16136 User is online   johnu 

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Posted 2020-August-26, 13:04

View PostZelandakh, on 2020-August-23, 13:22, said:

I suppose you do realise that the HoR already passed a bill including that some weeks back. Is it their fault that MM has refused to call a vote on it in the Senate?

The House has passed more than 395 bills as of February, 2020 (last figure I could quickly find) that Moscow Mitch has refused to allow to be voted on by the Senate. He could allow votes on them but then Senators who voted against them would have to defend their votes to their constituency at the next election.
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#16137 User is online   y66 

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Posted 2020-August-27, 09:46

Jonathan Bernstein at Bloomberg said:

Way back in March, President Donald Trump gave an Oval Office speech about the coronavirus, which was immediately rendered irrelevant by the breaking news that Tom Hanks had contracted it and that the National Basketball Association was shutting down.

The Republican convention has had a similar feel all week, but on Wednesday the impression was overwhelming. Republicans went through a series of (mostly taped) speeches that felt entirely out of touch with current events, as the NBA once again shut down, along with the WNBA and three Major League Baseball games, this time to protest the police shooting of Jacob Blake. And of course those NBA games were supposed to take place in a “bubble,” a brand-new term that for most people evokes the ongoing pandemic — except for Republicans, who continue to pretend that the coronavirus is something that Trump solved long ago.

Even when they’re not explicitly talking about the crisis in the past tense, they’re effectively doing so. Vice President Mike Pence proclaimed that “we’re re-opening America’s schools” even as many districts are staying remote and dealing with impossible choices — and without the extra funds that even Trump concedes they need but hasn’t been able to deliver. Pence at least addressed the pandemic, which most other speakers have ignored. But he gave no hint that there are still tens of thousands of new cases a day, or that the toll in the U.S. is among the worst in the world.

And while it’s probably true that Democrats last week underplayed the violence and looting that have broken out in some cities in the wake of protests, Republicans have exaggerated the discord out of all proportion — and blamed it all on Democrats, who (as Joe Biden just did) have mostly condemned the violence while supporting peaceful protests. Again, that was true on the first two nights of the convention, but it seems increasingly out of touch.

The second notable thing Wednesday, and really throughout the convention, is just how hollowed out this Republican Party is. I counted four administration officials and two candidate family members among the speakers, and there have been several other relatives featured so far. It’s unusual (and potentially illegal) for White House staff and other administration officials to speak at political events. But it’s also, well, unimpressive. Senators, governors, community leaders and ordinary citizens all presumably speak on behalf of the presidential candidate out of genuine support. Staff … well, sure, they wouldn’t be working for the president if they didn’t support him, but the bottom line is that they’re praising the boss, and the only folks apt to be impressed by that are those who already support the candidate.

Regardless of how effective those speeches are, they suggest that the party is atrophying rapidly (at the level of party actors, that is, not of voters, where there’s been little change). It’s not clear whether other politicians just don’t want to be associated with the convention or if Trump doesn’t want them there, but either way the whole week has seemed more like a Trump National Celebration (and airing of grievances) than a Republican National Convention. And that’s all the more true because the Trump family members are for the most party giving standard political speeches, not talking personally about the president in a way that others could not. In that sense, it’s hard to see the logic of why they’re speaking at all.

I feel bad that I haven't watched.
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#16138 User is online   y66 

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Posted 2020-August-27, 11:24

Wajahat Ali at NYT said:

It takes a remarkable degree of chutzpah and shamelessness to trot out Black speakers to attack Black Lives Matter and promote Trump as the heir of Lincoln and steward of civil rights, while a Trump supporter, Kyle Rittenhouse, was arrested and charged with shooting and killing two people in Kenosha, Wis. People of color were brought out to launder Trump’s cruelty and racism and paint an upside-down version of reality that I thought only existed in the Twilight Zone.

Sounds like he has chas_p on ignore.
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#16139 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-August-27, 13:52

I hope there are millions of people like Ashley: From Washington Monthly

Quote

All of this is why I was struck by what Ashley Pratte, a board member of Republican Women for Progress, wrote in an op-ed for USA Today about her decision to vote for Biden.

Quote

This is the first year that I watched the Democratic National Convention without a Republican lens and found myself agreeing with the issues, speakers and most of all the positive rhetoric…

I recognized just how many of my views of the Democratic Party were shaped by the talking points of the GOP and just how wrong that was. Over the past four years, my eyes have been opened and my views forever changed. I have come to realize that all along, I aligned more with the moderate wing of the Democratic Party.



That speaks profoundly to what happens when conservatives step out of what's been called the epistemic bubble created by Republicans and their enablers in right wing media. Pratte not only learned that Biden and Harris aren't the people that have been caricatured beyond recognition. She realized that her values align more closely with those of the Democratic Party.

I'm not suggesting that every Republican who stepped out of the epistemic bubble would reach the same conclusion. But wouldn't it be wonderful to have a conversation with conservative friends if it was possible to base it on who liberals are rather than the distorted images developed by the right? That could lead to a discussion about real differences rather than a constant struggle over lies.





"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#16140 User is online   y66 

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Posted 2020-August-27, 15:29

From Bloomberg:

Quote

Grading President Donald Trump on his term in office using traditional standards is sort of like grading kids for a semester in which Godzilla destroyed half the school. Also, the kids unleashed Godzilla.

Still, we must try, if only for a sense of completion. Back in January 2017, when SARS-CoV-2 was just a twinkle in a bat’s eye, Bloomberg Opinion writers compiled several metrics on which Trump’s term could be graded. It included a lot of stuff you’d expect — jobs, stock prices, approval ratings — and some you maybe wouldn’t expect — including babies named “Donald” and Google searches about moving to Canada.

Nearly four years later, the pandemic and associated recession/depression have made a hash of many of these numbers. Trump’s poor crisis management is to blame for much of that. But some metrics were moving in the right direction before this year, including stock prices, Rust Belt jobs and personal income. On the other hand, the trade deficit, Trump’s approval rating and babies named “Donald” have not done nearly as well. Read the whole report card.

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