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

#19401 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2022-January-22, 18:13

If the Senate was 50-50, the Democrats could get a lot done. The senate is 50-48-2, and those 2 think they'll get more from the 50 than the 48, and history has proven them right.

Either that or they get off on power, and FUGM in one of the highest stages in the world.
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#19402 User is offline   PeterAlan 

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Posted 2022-January-23, 13:08

View Postmycroft, on 2022-January-22, 18:13, said:

Either that or they get off on power, and FUGM in one of the highest stages in the world.

Robert Reich has an entertainingly vituperative opinion on the two in the Guardian / Observer here.
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#19403 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2022-January-26, 08:40

Matt Yglesias worries that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer's flawed leadership in 2021 had more to do with guarding his left flank against a hypothetical primary challenge than with misjudging Manchin's position on BBB (which Manchin clearly explained to Schumer last July). Schumer getting primaried doesn't seem plausible to me. But if that's not the explanation, what is?
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#19404 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2022-January-26, 08:42

Democracy Isn’t About to Die according to Timothy Noah at The New Republic.
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#19405 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2022-January-26, 12:41

View Posty66, on 2022-January-26, 08:42, said:

Democracy Isn't About to Die according to Timothy Noah at The New Republic.


Hmm. TWC might improve my reading. After reading various articles here that were from the NYT I decided, a year or so back, to subscribe online. I might do the same with The New Republic. The Noah article was interesting. The trick is to take an optimist view while still acknowledging reality. He succeeds, sorta.
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#19406 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2022-January-26, 12:51

Timothy Noah, New Republic said:

In 2024, Republicans will try again, more shamelessly than before. But they won’t win, because we aren’t going to let them. So stop hanging crêpe, liberals, and show you’ve got some fight in you. As ever, democracy’s fate lies in democracy’s hands.

So, sir, how are we "not going to let them"?

Quote

Rather than wring your hands about democracy’s imminent demise, I advise you to write a check to the Democratic Association of Secretaries of State, which raised a record $4.5 million last year and is looking to raise at least $15 million this year. Here’s the web page for donations. While you’re at it, consider donating to the Brennan Center, which does excellent work to fight voter restrictions. Here’s the relevant web page for Brennan.

I’ll wait.

There. Doesn’t that feel better than keening and whingeing? It wouldn’t kill you, either, to go door to door for some Democratic candidates for state legislature, especially if you live in one of the 30 states where Republicans have legislative majorities. That’s way too many.

Oh, that's interesting. "Do what we've always done, and don't rock the boat." That's always worked well before.

And, Mr. Noah, how do we know the things being tried aren't going to work?

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Let’s run a reality check. Trump did not win his war on American institutions; he lost reelection. He went to truly appalling lengths to try to overturn the results, but he never got close. [examples omitted] That’s why Trump resorted to supporting a violent insurrection on Capitol Hill on January 6, 2021. Trump’s irresponsible incitement before the riot and his refusal to stop it after it began remains a scandal for which he must be held accountable. Seven people died, including three police officers, and 150 police were injured. It was horrific. But nobody for a moment believed the attack would prevent the proper counting of electoral ballots, and as I wrote in November, the January 6 defendants, now babbling to judges about how sorry they are and how they were duped, are an insult to the very idea of revolution.

Ah, because it didn't last time. When led by the least competent, most "what do you mean, the rules apply to me?" "leader" since - well, okay, I know the English readers are waving their arms furiously right now. But not counting Clownshoes Churchill?

One who deliberately selected for personal loyalty and omertá, and got yes-men whose competence is shown in those omitted examples.

And yet, you can see where one or two more yes-men, willing to risk prison or reputation if it failed, could have pulled it off. And we're not pressing hard enough on the people responsible, nor are we pushing hard enough on the things that made it possible to make it significantly more difficult.

Which gets me to the Atlantic's "crêpe-hanging": "what does the next coup plotter learn from this? It's possible if you're actually competent." Oh, and "don't worry if it fails as long as you have the right fall-guys." I hate to invoke Godwin, but Munich, 1923.

I remember all the stories on Daily Kos through 2016, when it was clear, at least if you were looking through Democratic-party-blue sunglasses, that things were good and would stay good. There was only a 10, 15% chance of losing the presidential election. I see a lot of that in Noah's article. "We're not going to let them." How? "By following the rules like good little Democrats and counting on Tradition and History to save us." Never mind the *obvious* changes from the before time, not least the ones referenced by BK and ACB.

"Give us money." "Stump for candidates in traditionally R ridings." (that you may think are doing the wrong thing, but what are you gonna do? Vote for the greater evil? *) "Don't worry about the other side doing blatantly unethical things, potentially illegal and unconstitutional things, left and right, they don't matter that much." (Oh, no, not each one. But they are myriad. 1000 x 0.001% is a very interesting equation, isn't it? And funny that, it costs the Democratic Party much more money to fight each one of them in court than it costs the Republican Party to do them.) Oh, and especially "Don't worry. Everything will be just fine."

Also, who rates to be hurt if he's wrong? I mean, a 60-year-old white cis hetero male with 30 years in political journalism. Comfortable living in DC with a Georgetown professor. Obviously, he, his wife, and his "up to four mostly-grown children" will be first up against the wall when the revolution comes...

He's right about one thing, though.

Quote

But all these assaults against democracy are a sign of Republican weakness, not Republican strength

Oh don't mind me, just looking at thousands of years of history about what happens when the traditionally powerful start feeling weak and confined by current laws. Just looking at a hundred years of history about what happens when the people of a country in the Americas democratically elect the "wrong" people. No need to worry, right?

* Please note, I know a number of things they could do. And many of them are worse for them in the long run than "accepting what the Democrats are willing to give them, even if that's nothing." But that goes back to my previous comment where "they aren't actually listening to their progressive base, or their Black base, or..." because they assume those are in their pocket no matter what they do, because there's nowhere else to go.
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#19407 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2022-January-27, 06:50

Linda Greenhouse at NYT said:

https://www.nytimes....896ed87b2d9c72a

Two misfortunes have befallen Stephen G. Breyer during his long Supreme Court career. One, which became apparent about halfway through his nearly 28-year tenure, was that it was his fate to be the quintessential Enlightenment man in an increasingly unenlightened era at the court. The second happened during this past year: the demand from the left that he step down and open his seat for President Biden to fill.

Justice Breyer’s belief in the power of facts, evidence and expertise was out of step in a postfactual age. The protections of the Voting Rights Act were no longer necessary in the South? The Constitution’s framers meant to give the populace an individual right to own a gun? Or, more recently, the federal agency charged with protecting American workers was likely powerless to protect the workplace from a deadly pandemic?

Really? Of course, Justice Breyer was on the losing side.

To my second point, it’s not that requests for him to step down were unreasonable. It’s that they became so vociferous, so belittling, really. It’s as if this distinguished public servant could be shoved out of the way, obscuring any idea of who he is and what his time on the court has meant. That is a loss not only for him — and he certainly deserves better — but also for the rest of us, because his career has much to teach us about the state of the court today.

At 83, Justice Breyer is a decade older than the next oldest justice, Clarence Thomas, and a generation older than the youngest, Amy Coney Barrett, who turns 50 on Friday. Like five of his colleagues (Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Barrett, Elena Kagan, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh), he was once a Supreme Court law clerk.

But there is a difference. He clerked for Justice Arthur Goldberg during the Supreme Court’s heroic age, the period under Chief Justice Earl Warren when the court seemed to be pushing — or dragging — post-World War II America into recognizing the equality of the races and the rights of criminal suspects. The other five came of age in the subsequent era of judicial retrenchment, that era now reaching a climax.

Although the labels often affixed to Justice Breyer are “pragmatist” and “seeker of compromise,” it has always seemed to me that these, while not inaccurate, miss the mark. They discount the passion beneath the man’s cool and urbane persona, passion that I think stems from his early encounter with a court that understood the Constitution as an engine of progress.

That passion was obvious in his astonishing 21-minute oral dissent from the bench in 2007 from a school integration decision that, early in Chief Justice Roberts’s tenure, marked a significant turn away from the court’s commitment to ending segregation. The law professor Lani Guinier, in a famous article in The Harvard Law Review the next year, celebrated that dissent as “demosprudence,” a way of speaking law directly to the people in the expectation that they will then speak back to the lawmakers.

His passion was obvious this month, too, when the court heard a challenge to the Biden administration’s Covid vaccination rule for businesses employing 100 or more people. Justice Breyer radiated fury as he addressed Scott A. Keller, the lawyer representing the business plaintiffs.

“I mean, there were three-quarters of a million new cases yesterday,” the justice said, his voice rising. “New cases. Nearly three-quarters — 700-and-some-odd thousand, OK?” He continued that the number was 10 times as high as when the Occupational Safety and Health Administration “put this rule in. The hospitals are today, yesterday, full, almost to the point of the maximum they’ve ever been in this disease, OK?”

Noting that the standard for granting an injunction of the sort the plaintiffs requested required a showing that the court’s intervention was in the public interest, he asked: “Is that what you’re doing now, to say it’s in the public interest in this situation to stop this vaccination rule, with nearly a million people — let me not exaggerate — nearly three-quarters of a million people, new cases every day? I mean, to me, I would find that unbelievable.”

Of course, that’s what the court did, and of course, Justice Breyer dissented.

His dissenting opinion, written with Justices Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, wasn’t particularly showy. It was, one might say, Breyeresque, using data, logic and the language of administrative law — a subject he taught for many years at Harvard Law School — to arrive at its central argument:

Underlying everything else in this dispute is a single, simple question: Who decides how much protection, and of what kind, American workers need from Covid-19? An agency with expertise in workplace health and safety, acting as Congress and the president authorized? Or a court, lacking any knowledge of how to safeguard workplaces and insulated from responsibility for any damage it causes?

That this argument failed to carry the day speaks volumes not only about how out of step Justice Breyer is with the court’s trajectory but also how out of step the majority is with the kind of fact-based analysis that he has brought to the problems the court is charged with solving.

In recent months, Justice Breyer has been mocked on the left for clinging to a romantic vision of the Supreme Court as an institution apart from politics. Surely, that argument has gone, if he could only get over that fiction and understand the political moment, he would hang up his robe.

That mistakes the man. He cut his eyeteeth in politics, working for Senator Edward Kennedy as chief counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee. I’m sure he, along with the rest of us, has watched with clear eyes and a heavy heart as politics swamped the institution he loves.

His understanding of politics — that the only way to make a difference is by staying in the game — led him to stay on the court as the diminished liberal side’s senior associate justice, a role that will now pass to Justice Sotomayor. Although he will reportedly remain on the court until the end of this term, he chose to announce his plan to retire now, just after the court finished assembling the cases it will hear and decide through late June or early July. This suggests he has the months ahead fully in view and has decided that he has made all the difference he can make.

Now it’s time to let someone else try.

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#19408 User is online   Winstonm 

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Posted 2022-January-27, 08:03

View PostPeterAlan, on 2022-January-23, 13:08, said:

Robert Reich has an entertainingly vituperative opinion on the two in the Guardian / Observer here.


vituperative +1
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#19409 User is online   Winstonm 

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Posted 2022-January-27, 08:27

View Postmycroft, on 2022-January-26, 12:51, said:

So, sir, how are we "not going to let them"?


Oh, that's interesting. "Do what we've always done, and don't rock the boat." That's always worked well before.

And, Mr. Noah, how do we know the things being tried aren't going to work?


Ah, because it didn't last time. When led by the least competent, most "what do you mean, the rules apply to me?" "leader" since - well, okay, I know the English readers are waving their arms furiously right now. But not counting Clownshoes Churchill?

One who deliberately selected for personal loyalty and omertá, and got yes-men whose competence is shown in those omitted examples.

And yet, you can see where one or two more yes-men, willing to risk prison or reputation if it failed, could have pulled it off. And we're not pressing hard enough on the people responsible, nor are we pushing hard enough on the things that made it possible to make it significantly more difficult.

Which gets me to the Atlantic's "crêpe-hanging": "what does the next coup plotter learn from this? It's possible if you're actually competent." Oh, and "don't worry if it fails as long as you have the right fall-guys." I hate to invoke Godwin, but Munich, 1923.

I remember all the stories on Daily Kos through 2016, when it was clear, at least if you were looking through Democratic-party-blue sunglasses, that things were good and would stay good. There was only a 10, 15% chance of losing the presidential election. I see a lot of that in Noah's article. "We're not going to let them." How? "By following the rules like good little Democrats and counting on Tradition and History to save us." Never mind the *obvious* changes from the before time, not least the ones referenced by BK and ACB.

"Give us money." "Stump for candidates in traditionally R ridings." (that you may think are doing the wrong thing, but what are you gonna do? Vote for the greater evil? *) "Don't worry about the other side doing blatantly unethical things, potentially illegal and unconstitutional things, left and right, they don't matter that much." (Oh, no, not each one. But they are myriad. 1000 x 0.001% is a very interesting equation, isn't it? And funny that, it costs the Democratic Party much more money to fight each one of them in court than it costs the Republican Party to do them.) Oh, and especially "Don't worry. Everything will be just fine."

Also, who rates to be hurt if he's wrong? I mean, a 60-year-old white cis hetero male with 30 years in political journalism. Comfortable living in DC with a Georgetown professor. Obviously, he, his wife, and his "up to four mostly-grown children" will be first up against the wall when the revolution comes...

He's right about one thing, though.


Oh don't mind me, just looking at thousands of years of history about what happens when the traditionally powerful start feeling weak and confined by current laws. Just looking at a hundred years of history about what happens when the people of a country in the Americas democratically elect the "wrong" people. No need to worry, right?

* Please note, I know a number of things they could do. And many of them are worse for them in the long run than "accepting what the Democrats are willing to give them, even if that's nothing." But that goes back to my previous comment where "they aren't actually listening to their progressive base, or their Black base, or..." because they assume those are in their pocket no matter what they do, because there's nowhere else to go.


Something the mainstream media is completely missing about the insurrection is the magnitude of the conspiracy. At the same time many Republicans in Congress were trying to stall Biden's confirmation, Republicans in the swing states were forging fake elector ballots and mailing them to the National Archivist (making it an interstate crime) https://www.usatoday...rs/6601412001/.

Much dribbling is occurring about this attempt to overthrow democracy. Top-ranked Republicans in Michigan are saying now that the Trump campaign directed them to establish the fake electors. That this occurred in 5 states means there was some kind of coordination.

The investigation into this is two-fold. Congress is taking a top-down approach, as they have the ability to get past threats of privilege quicker than the DOJ. And what they learn can then be shared with the DOJ, which must first have probable cause to start a criminal investigation. DOJ, on the other hand, is building a case from the bottom up, starting with the crowd who stormed the Capital, then the ones who led those crowds, then the ones who organized the day, the speeches, the march, and so on, following each lead up the chain until they reach people like Roger Stone and Alex Jones, who were in D.C. that day and actively involved.

It takes time to build a case. A case of this magnitude will take a lot of time - 2-3 years, likely. In the meantime, the best bet there is to save democracy is a 60 vote majority in the Senate that will dump the filibuster and a rousing House majority along with a Democratic President. This does not have to be a permanent situation, but until a valid and non-criminal second party establishes itself, it is our best hope.

Trump did one thing well-he exposed the weaknesses in the Constitutional government we use. As long as half the country is ruled by right-wing propaganda, that form of government is in danger of failing.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter. / "I need ammunition, not a ride." Zelensky
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#19410 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2022-January-27, 12:40

The problem is (answering Winston and y66) the non-conspiracy Americans don't have 2-3 years.

At best, they have until it's reasonable to McConnell 2024 ("we can't do partisan politics with an election campaign on. Let's delay until the next President"). Current prediction is that they have until November this year.

If they don't want a 7-2 Supreme Court, Breyer needs to retire now, because July will be too late. That's bad for Breyer; it's bad for America; but it's the best possible solution.

If the J6 committee is to do anything, they have until November to do it - and likely earlier than that, if there's anything that has to go to the DOJ for action.

Yes, I'm a pessimist. Yes, I'm paranoid. Yes, I've spent the last 20 years watching things be worse than even I thought it could be, and the last 5 being shocked about the masks slipping off (double meaning definitely intended). Yes, I should be being told "you're not American, keep your opinions to yourself" (and thankfully, very rarely is that actually done), but, you know, 800-pound gorilla.
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#19411 User is online   Winstonm 

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Posted 2022-January-27, 17:08

The good news is that the DOJ has 3 years because the president appoints the AG. It is important for the J6 committee to get as much as possible to DOJ before the plug is pulled in November.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter. / "I need ammunition, not a ride." Zelensky
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#19412 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2022-January-27, 19:45

View Postmycroft, on 2022-January-27, 12:40, said:

If they don't want a 7-2 Supreme Court, Breyer needs to retire now, because July will be too late. That's bad for Breyer; it's bad for America; but it's the best possible solution.

Amy Coney Barrett was nominated 38 days before the Nov 3 election, so September 26, 2020 and confirmed October 27, 2020. So July, August, and even September isn't too late if all the Democrats and Independents vote together.
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#19413 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2022-January-28, 08:38

If you believe that, you're more innocent than is safe these days.

If you don't believe that, but are saying it anyway, you're part of the problem.

If you believe that it is actually possible for the Democrats to do what the Republicans manage to do, without it being a massive election hit in November from the "totally logical and obvious" responses from McConnell et al, I am truly surprised.

I see the Usual Suspects starting with that "we have time" argument. History shows that things take longer than they should, and "magically" we run out of time.

Having said that, given that the current problem actually *is* "if all the Democrats and Independents vote together." Currently, there are two that are pulling a power play. Resolving the power play *takes time*.
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#19414 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2022-January-28, 17:31

View Postmycroft, on 2022-January-28, 08:38, said:

If you believe that, you're more innocent than is safe these days.

If you don't believe that, but are saying it anyway, you're part of the problem.

If you believe that it is actually possible for the Democrats to do what the Republicans manage to do, without it being a massive election hit in November from the "totally logical and obvious" responses from McConnell et al, I am truly surprised.

I see the Usual Suspects starting with that "we have time" argument. History shows that things take longer than they should, and "magically" we run out of time.

Having said that, given that the current problem actually *is* "if all the Democrats and Independents vote together." Currently, there are two that are pulling a power play. Resolving the power play *takes time*.

No matter who Biden nominates for Breyer's successor, the QOP will be running around with their hair on fire screaming that the end of the world is coming. Nobody who isn't in the QOP cares about them because they are never voting for a Democrat. The QOP has absolutely no credibility when it comes to voting in a new Supreme Court justice after voting in Barrett just days before the election. Full Stop!

Fortunately, Breyer has given his conditional resignation well before the end of this year's Supreme Court session. Democrats in the Senate have made clear that approving Biden's nominee is their top priority, and because McConnell removed the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees, the QOP has very limited delay tactics they can use to delay the vote. The QOP can delay the vote a few weeks, but they absolutely can't stop the vote.

As far as Manchin and Sinema go, sure there are 2 huge votes that they just scuttled. But Sinema votes with Biden 98% (538 analysis) and Manchin 95%, which is actually a higher percentage than Bernie Sanders at 93%. There are a number of very highly qualified candidates and if one of them is unacceptable to Manchin and Sinema, there are plenty of others.
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#19415 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2022-January-30, 12:09

For the understatement of the century file:

Anthony Fauci said:

Maybe we need, as a nation, to address the fundamental issues that are getting, you know, tens of millions of people to feel a certain way.

From Anthony Fauci is up against more than a virus

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#19416 User is online   Winstonm 

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Posted 2022-February-04, 19:28

The US is in a Cold Civil War. Is Trump Lee or Davis?
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#19417 User is online   pilowsky 

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Posted 2022-February-04, 22:31

View PostWinstonm, on 2022-February-04, 19:28, said:

The US is in a Cold Civil War. Is Trump Lee or Davis?


It's hard to think of a vessel sufficiently empty to represent Mr T.
McArthur Wheeler comes to mind.
non est deus ex machina; även maskiner behöver lite kärlek.
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#19418 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2022-February-05, 13:03

Quote

The progressive tax on ads proposal from @paulmromer strikes me as far and away the most compelling policy response to the dueling concerns about misinformation & censorship in digital media.

https://adtax.paulromer.net/

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#19419 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2022-February-05, 15:00

With regards to the tax on ads:
It's a long article, let me ask a basic question. Ads are placed in the Washington Post. I assume those posting the ads pay WaPo, I assume that counts as corporate income for WaPo, I assume WaPo pays a tax on this. But I also assume that the tax is simply on the income as corporate income. So the question: Is this proposed tax to go beyond the tax on corporate income? I might be ok with it either way, I am just hoping to understand it.

The misinformation problem is different from the tax problem. I learned when I was 10 or so that you should not believe everything that someone tells you. I don't know what to do about people who never learned that.
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#19420 User is online   pilowsky 

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Posted 2022-February-05, 16:31

View Postkenberg, on 2022-February-05, 15:00, said:

But I also assume that the tax is simply on the income as corporate income.

AFAIK

Corporations don't have "income" in the same way that individuals do.
WaPo (your example is an entity 'owned by shareholders'.
Money flows into the WaPo corporation and money flows out - in all kinds of ways.
What they report on their balance sheet is things like: EBIT.
Earnings before interest and tax.
After they 'write-down' the cost of various things (like postal sorting machines if you let a maniac amok in your mail delivery service) they are left with a sum of money that they might pay a proportion of to government.
Or maybe not.
It only resolves into income when it gets into the hands of someone who can dispose of it by purchasing an unnecessary commodity known as "consumer discretionary" - i.e. something we won't die without (Google search says: goods and services that are considered non-essential by consumers, but desirable if their available income is sufficient to purchase them.).
Discretionary income would definitely include the WaPo, the NYT, BBO$.
Anything produced by Murdoch - Fox news, The Simpsons etc falls into the discretionary category as do cigarettes and alcohol. TV, cigarettes and alcohol are neurotoxins that will harm you (and others).
If the company sets aside an amount of money termed "profit" the people that own the company (Board of Directors representing the major shareholders) might take some of that money from the corporate bank account, pay the government the going tax rate in the Jurisdiction they are domiciled, and give the rest to you, the shareholder.

Sometimes they don't pay the tax in which case the shareholder has to at the personal tax rate (franked, partially franked and not franked at all).

In any event, the money paid to the government as tax then distributes the taxed money amongst its employees. What do the employees do with this largesse? They buy the WaPo, Fox news, smoke cigarettes and red wine. When they do this they pay local taxes to state governments who give it to their employees to....
Sometimes the government will create a 'stockpile' in case of emergency. The US stockpile includes ventilators, PPE and sperm oil.

What happens in China?
Apparently there are 3 types of plastic waste.
Some of the waste can be recycled but a large amount (plastic bags and other small bits) cannot.
The US would ship this garbage in massive bales to China where it was recycled for a tiny profit.
Unfortunately the recycling process made the workers sick. In China - like Australia - sick people are the responsibility of everyone (aka government).
The Chinese government realised that even though the company was making a profit they then made a loss because the government was picking up the tab for looking after the sick citizens.

In the USA being sick is a "personal responsibility" because you have "freedom" and can "say anything you want", carry guns and stuff like that.
So in the USA - and Australia for that matter - conservatism means that if you can make a profit the waste sickness and pestilence caused by your actions is fine thank you very much.
What riles people like Bernie and me is that the owner of the WaPo is spending his discretionary money on a giant penis-shaped tube while the people that make the money for him are getting as sick as cats and never get to ride in the phallus.

non est deus ex machina; även maskiner behöver lite kärlek.
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