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

#17221 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2020-December-14, 12:33

View Postcherdano, on 2020-December-14, 11:11, said:

You can still get 2% return betting on Democrats to win Nevada. Nevada's electors have already voted.


There is typically a 5-10% vigorish added or included in bets. Even if you win, you lose.
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#17222 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2020-December-14, 12:38

View Postbarmar, on 2020-December-14, 09:00, said:

It should be noted that SCOTUS didn't reject the Texas lawsuit on its merits, just on the fact that Texas doesn't have standing to sue other states over their electoral procedures.


Alito and Thomas said they wanted to accept the Texas case, but would have ruled against Texas. The other 7 justices didn't offer any dissent. Other state and federal court cases have already ruled that the almost all the Manchurian President lawsuits have no merit.
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#17223 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-December-14, 12:59

View Postbarmar, on 2020-December-14, 09:00, said:

It should be noted that SCOTUS didn't reject the Texas lawsuit on its merits, just on the fact that Texas doesn't have standing to sue other states over their electoral procedures.


The primary reasoning for this attempt seems to have been to bypass district courts where the merits have been ruled to be ridiculous. There was no need for the SCOTUS to listen to more garbage. Lack of standing has derailed some of the emolument lawsuits against Trump as well, so it is a two-way street.

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter. / "I need ammunition, not a ride." Zelensky
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#17224 User is offline   awm 

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Posted 2020-December-14, 15:41

Basically, states have a lot of authority to run their elections as they see fit, and no authority to sue other states because they don’t like the election result (or the way the election was run) in that state. This seems a clear cut reason to refuse to hear the Texas case.

If there was actual evidence of fraud in a state, then voters from that state could sue or the losing campaign could sue. But such a suit ought to be heard in state courts (as such suits by the Trump campaign have been, although they keep losing because they have no actual evidence).
Adam W. Meyerson
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#17225 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-December-14, 15:43

Timothy L. O'Brien at Bloomberg said:

Anyone still clinging to the idea that Donald Trump is a crafty strategist who furthered his goals by corrupting everyone around him during an unspooled and vindictive presidency might want to consider, instead, that Trump himself was often gamed — at least when it comes to some of the signature policies that will define his administration.

To be sure, Trump unleashed torrents of dangerous vitriol that made it safe for his party and supporters to embrace racial, economic and cultural divisions more openly and enthusiastically. And Trump’s stagecraft was certainly sui generis, tethered to outre mythmaking and serial fabulism. But apart from propagating a cult of personality, Trump’s performance art rarely revolved around policy debates or goals. It just revolved around him.

On the policy frontier, where voters’ lives are shaped and institutions are remodeled, others were in charge. Those people most likely regarded Trump as a useful foil, someone easy to manipulate or outmaneuver if you had the stomach and patience for it. There are myriad examples, but for now let’s focus on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Attorney General William Barr and Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell.

Each of those men embodies some traits needed to turn Trump into a sock puppet — or to simply keep him out of the way. They could be wily (McConnell, Barr, Powell), craven (McConnell, Barr) or courageous (Powell), but needed at least one of those attributes to achieve their goals. History will also probably judge each of them in proportion to how much their particular vices or virtues drove policy and procedure.

“At the risk of tooting my own horn, look at the majority leaders since L.B.J. and find another one who was able to do something as consequential as this,” McConnell, a history buff, told the New York Times after he rammed Justice Amy Coney Barrett onto the Supreme Court in October.

McConnell regards his conservative reshaping of the federal judiciary as his signature accomplishment, and his legacy goes well beyond the Supreme Court. He has pressed the Senate to confirm at least 229 federal court appointments during Trump’s presidency, and, for the first time in 40 years, hasn’t left a left a single vacancy on district and circuit courts — even if that has meant repopulating the judiciary with young, white men bearing threadbare resumes.

Trump didn’t have a sophisticated, informed view of the judiciary before becoming president. But he let McConnell transform such traditionally liberal venues as the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals because the senator sustained him in other ways. McConnell ran interference when Trump was impeached. He helped court Trump’s incendiary political base. He kept to the shadows when Trump attacked the Black Lives Matter movement. He remained silent when Trump savaged the integrity of the presidential election.

McConnell, according to those close to him, held Trump in low regard but protected him anyway to feed his own political ambitions, further fuel his fundraising apparatus and go about dismantling the federal government. McConnell’s fealty and machinations came home to roost this year when Trump failed to effectively respond to the Covid-19 pandemic and the Senate was left so broken it appears unable to pass a second coronavirus relief package even though it has bipartisan support.

It’s not clear yet whether McConnell, content to wield power for power’s sake alone, will pay any penalties for cuddling with Trump. But there’s no question that he has spun the president like a top the last several years whenever one of his own goals was in play.

Then there’s Barr, who, when asked last year whether his ward-heeler’s advocacy for Trump has tainted his legacy and his reputation in the legal community, responded with trademark indifference: “I’m at the end of my career. … Everyone dies.”

Barr has been a longstanding proponent of an unrestrained imperial presidency, and those views took root long before he encountered Trump. But he went out of his way to audition for his Justice Department job because he undoubtedly saw Trump as a useful vehicle for furthering those aims.

Among other things, Barr helped Trump end-run Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, gave Trump the latitude to misuse federal force on U.S. streets, helped protect White House advisers on the wrong side of the law, knee-capped federal prosecutors investigating matters close to Trump and helped give early credence to Trump’s claims that the presidential election was rigged before later reversing himself.

Trump grew weary with Barr after the attorney general refused to rush a Justice Department probe of how law enforcement went about investigating the president, but Barr initiated the investigation to begin with because he shared Trump’s belief that the deep state was out to get him. Barr reportedly worked hard to make sure that a federal investigation into President-elect Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, was kept under wraps during the election, but one wonders, given Barr’s record, how the investigation was started in the first place.

Trump harbored authoritarian designs well before he intersected with Barr, but it’s Barr who tried to build a throne for the president — and taught Trump how to go about it.

Powell, inhabiting the wonky and cloistered confines of the Federal Reserve, is the brighter tale here. An articulate, compassionate and relatively soft-spoken member of Trumplandia, Powell runs a financially powerful institution that Trump has repeatedly tried to strong-arm during his presidency. “Who is our bigger enemy, Jay Powell or Chairman Xi?” Trump once asked.

Powell endured all of this with great calm and confidence, managing to win plaudits as one of the best Fed leaders of the modern era. He’s also been directly responsible for helping the U.S. economy weather the Covid-19 pandemic. He’s well aware that the Federal Reserve Act is meant to protect his independence from the White House, and he’s demonstrated repeated bravery charting his own course despite Trump’s interference.

Asked during a congressional hearing if he’d pack up and leave if Trump tried to fire him, Powell said three times that he wouldn’t. “The law clearly gives me a four-year term, and I intend to serve it,” he responded.

Trump pressured Powell to adopt rate cuts that would stoke the economy in the short run, but Powell largely made such calls on the merits. He also became one of the strongest voices in the government for using federal powers to support the financial well-being of average workers and the lives and livelihoods of those bowled over by the pandemic. To get there, he essentially ignored Trump — and expanded the Fed’s mandate and mission along the way.

Powell’s tenure is a reminder that Trump can’t corrupt people willy-nilly. They have to be primed for it beforehand. And bad things didn’t happen during Trump’s time in office because he landed in Washington with a fully realized plan. Bad outcomes took root because Trump was surrounded by bad actors, some of whom knew exactly how to play him.

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#17226 User is offline   cherdano 

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Posted 2020-December-14, 17:09

View Postjohnu, on 2020-December-14, 12:33, said:

There is typically a 5-10% vigorish added or included in bets. Even if you win, you lose.

Nah, in betfair you pay vigor only on your net winnings in a given market.
The easiest way to count losers is to line up the people who talk about loser count, and count them. -Kieran Dyke
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#17227 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-December-15, 06:22

Bret Stephens at NYT said:

It may take Americans decades to figure out just what kind of damage Trump did in these last four years, and how to go about repairing it. The good news: no global thermonuclear war. The bad: a different kind of radioactivity that first destroys our trust in institutions, then in others, and finally in ourselves. What the half-life is for that kind of isotope remains unmeasured.

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#17228 User is offline   shyams 

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Posted 2020-December-15, 06:54

Bret Stephens at NYT said:

It may take Americans decades to figure out just what kind of damage Trump did in these last four years, and how to go about repairing it. The good news: no global thermonuclear war. The bad: a different kind of radioactivity that first destroys our trust in institutions, then in others, and finally in ourselves. What the half-life is for that kind of isotope remains unmeasured.


The "no global thermonuclear war" point above brought to my mind an interesting side note on the last 4 years. Trump has not embroiled your country in any new wars or armed conflict anywhere. Seems to be a divergence from the record of past many Presidents.
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#17229 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-December-15, 13:42

View Postshyams, on 2020-December-15, 06:54, said:

The "no global thermonuclear war" point above brought to my mind an interesting side note on the last 4 years. Trump has not embroiled your country in any new wars or armed conflict anywhere. Seems to be a divergence from the record of past many Presidents.


There's little reason for international conflict when you side with your enemies; however, if you look at domestic violence in the past 4 years, you will notice an upswing.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter. / "I need ammunition, not a ride." Zelensky
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#17230 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-December-15, 15:16

It is 5 weeks, 0 days, 19 hours, 43 minutes, 30 seconds

until Wednesday, January 20, 2021 at 12:00:00 noon (Washington DC, District of Columbia time)
If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#17231 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-December-16, 11:18

I read an interesting piece the other day that explained the influence of conspiracy theories - that it is emotionally easier to believe that some great and grand unknown is in control rather than fact the reality that the idea of control itself is an illusion. Something to think about.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter. / "I need ammunition, not a ride." Zelensky
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#17232 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2020-December-16, 14:52

View PostWinstonm, on 2020-December-16, 11:18, said:

I read an interesting piece the other day that explained the influence of conspiracy theories - that it is emotionally easier to believe that some great and grand unknown is in control rather than fact the reality that the idea of control itself is an illusion. Something to think about.

Isn't that also why religious belief is also so common? And why so many people had (and still have) trouble accepting evolution by natural selection?

We're used to some agent deliberately causing things to happen. It's hard to comprehend random and chaotic processes.

#17233 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-December-16, 15:15

View Postbarmar, on 2020-December-16, 14:52, said:

Isn't that also why religious belief is also so common? And why so many people had (and still have) trouble accepting evolution by natural selection?

We're used to some agent deliberately causing things to happen. It's hard to comprehend random and chaotic processes.


Exactly so! Conspiracy and cults have much in common.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter. / "I need ammunition, not a ride." Zelensky
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#17234 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-December-16, 15:51

Bloomberg Editorial Board said:

Good Riddance to William Barr

Almost two years ago, Attorney General William Barr came to office with long experience, a reputation for competence and an expansive view of presidential power. In the age of Donald Trump, that was a dangerous combination. As Barr leaves office this month, it’s increasingly clear how much damage has been done.

Although Trump insists his attorney general did “an outstanding job,” any fair reading of his record suggests otherwise. Some of his offenses could be called merely hardball politics. His public presentation of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report — which detailed appalling wrongdoing on the president’s part — was a master class in partisan spin, blurring the underlying misconduct amid a whirlwind of legalism and misdirection.

Other actions were more harmful. Heedless of the reputational damage to the Justice Department, Barr intervened in the prosecutions of Roger Stone (Trump’s friend) and Michael Flynn (his former adviser), prompting protests and resignations. He abetted a scheme to investigate Trump’s political opponents, which ultimately led to the president’s impeachment. Perhaps you recall his failed dead-of-night scheme to install new leadership at the U.S. attorney’s office in New York’s Southern District, just weeks before that very office indicted Trump’s former campaign manager?

Again and again, Barr has prioritized Trump’s preferences over principle. He pressured federal prosecutors — despite their misgivings — to antagonize companies that had displeased the president, resulting in mountains of needless paperwork, months of uncertainty and (in Google’s case) a half-baked antitrust suit. He dropped politically inexpedient cases, intervened in the president’s personal legal trouble, undermined whistle-blowers and inspectors general, and facilitated Trump’s unrestrained abuse of the pardon power. His testimony before Congress was a pageant of belligerence and executive overreach, all to gratify an audience of one.

One further incident stands out. Last summer, Barr personally ordered law-enforcement officers to remove peaceful protesters and clergy members outside the White House so the boss could stage a photo op at a nearby church. As metaphors go, it was all too apt: No matter what principle might be trampled, the president must have his path cleared.

The rare moments when Barr did the right thing — in refusing to indulge Trump’s claims about a stolen election, for instance — only emphasized how far he had strayed from normal practice. In the end, he was the president’s most effective enabler. No compliment intended.

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#17235 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-December-16, 16:07

Trump Appointees Describe the Crushing of the C.D.C.
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#17236 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-December-16, 18:31

View Posty66, on 2020-December-16, 16:07, said:



The most important question, I think, is to determine where the Trump Ministry of Truth was located and who was its head?

And here is the problem with our modern version of media news reporting:

Quote

Last week, the editor-in-chief of the CDC’s flagship weekly disease outbreak reports — once considered untouchable — told House Democrats investigating political interference in the agency’s work that she was ordered to destroy an email showing Trump appointees attempting to meddle with their publication.
my emphasis


OK, great, you got the big story - someone made you delete an e-mail - but who? What was his or her name? What was his or her position with the agency? Had it happened before? Did it happen again? Did you report it? If so, to whom? If so, was anything done?

Now, it is not enough to simply say, well, no one in the committee asked so I didn't know. No. Your job is to find out. You have their names - you can contact them yourself and ask those questions. Then report it if they are unwilling to answer along with their reason for being unwilling to answer.

In other words - be a reporter, not a stenographer.

This post has been edited by Winstonm: 2020-December-16, 18:39

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter. / "I need ammunition, not a ride." Zelensky
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#17237 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-December-16, 18:49

A little more from the article linked to above:



Quote

But the Trump administration decided to develop a similar tool with Apple. White House officials then demanded that the CDC wipe its app off its website, McGowan said.




Campbell said that at the pandemic’s outset, she was confident the agency had the best scientists in the world at its disposal, “just like we had in the past.”

What was so different, though, was the political involvement, not only from HHS but then the White House, ultimately, that in so many ways hampered what our scientists were able to do,” she said.

my emphasis




A free press is our first line of defense against an attempt to alter democracy. There can be no accountability without names. Names are the lifeblood of stories. There can be exceptions, when an important story is told by an insider who is at risk if exposed - but such is not the case in this story. Tell us who. Only then can that person be brought forward to answer for his or her actions.




"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter. / "I need ammunition, not a ride." Zelensky
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#17238 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-December-16, 19:01

For the what else is new files:

Craig Stirling at Bloomberg said:

Tax cuts for rich people breed inequality without providing much of a boon to anyone else, according to a study of the advanced world that could add to the case for the wealthy to bear more of the cost of the coronavirus pandemic.

The paper, by David Hope of the London School of Economics and Julian Limberg of King’s College London, found that such measures over the last 50 years only really benefited the individuals who were directly affected, and did little to promote jobs or growth.

“Policy makers shouldn’t worry that raising taxes on the rich to fund the financial costs of the pandemic will harm their economies,” Hope said in an interview.

That will be comforting news to U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak, whose hopes of repairing the country’s virus-battered public finances may rest on his ability to increase taxes, possibly on capital gains -- a levy that might disproportionately impact higher-earning individuals.

It would also suggest the economy could weather a one-off 5% tax on wealth suggested for Britain last week by the Wealth Tax Commission, which would affect about 8 million residents.

The authors applied an analysis amalgamating a range of levies on income, capital and assets in 18 OECD countries, including the U.S. and U.K., over the past half century.

Their findings published Wednesday counter arguments, often made in the U.S., that policies which appear to disproportionately aid richer individuals eventually feed through to the rest of the economy. The timespan of the paper ends in 2015, but Hope says such an analysis would also apply to President Donald Trump’s tax cut enacted in 2017.

“Our research suggests such policies don’t deliver the sort of trickle-down effects that proponents have claimed,” Hope said.

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#17239 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2020-December-16, 19:54

View PostWinstonm, on 2020-December-16, 18:31, said:

OK, great, you got the big story - someone made you delete an e-mail - but who? What was his or her name? What was his or her position with the agency?

You can read about some of these details at the NYT article.
(-: Zel :-)

Happy New Year everyone!
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#17240 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-December-16, 23:12

View PostZelandakh, on 2020-December-16, 19:54, said:

You can read about some of these details at the NYT article.


Paywall.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter. / "I need ammunition, not a ride." Zelensky
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