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

#9861 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2018-April-09, 08:58

From What Trump and the Republicans Don't See Coming by Jonathan Bernstein at Bloomberg:

Quote

The Republican Party is dysfunctional in ways that make it hard to govern well, and Donald Trump is unusually bad at the job of president. And yet, 15 months into his presidency and Republican unified government, the world obviously hasn't caved in. Oh, sure, there are problems, and those who oppose Republican policies will point to all sorts of bad effects they expect to show up down the road in everything from climate to banking -- and they may be correct! -- but there are always trouble spots. With the exception of hurricane relief in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, it's hard to argue that we are seeing any obvious, visible effects of poor government.

And yet Wilson reminds us that a whole lot of the important things that government does are invisible to us normally because they consist of preparing for a wide variety of troubles that may or may not happen. The problem with assessing government is that failures in preparation and prevention can be visible right up until the minute that the earthquake hits or the stock market crashes or a foreign crisis breaks out. Sometimes a president will actively cause major problems (e.g. George W. Bush in Iraq) but most of the time it's more a case of agency after agency becoming less prepared, less adept and less capable. Think Jimmy Carter's presidency and a general inability of government to handle ordinary problems.

In other words, it's not just good foreign policy that's invisible. Plenty of good domestic policy can't be seen, either. Except that in both cases, bad policy can be extremely hard to observe up until the point at which it matters, and then all of a sudden it's very obvious to all. So the trick is to resist the easy conclusion that the world hasn't imploded yet and look for clues to distinguish between the good kind of invisible and the kind that's inviting future risks. And that's really why people should be concerned about the rampant corruption among Trump's executive branch nominees, the general chaos in the White House, and the ad hoc policy-making in trade and other policy areas in response to whatever Trump happens to see on Fox News. They're all strong signals that this is an administration and a government that isn't ready for whatever is coming.

Less prepared, less adept and less capable are the new mores.
If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#9862 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2018-April-09, 09:02

Oh, wow, another Trump accomplishment:

Quote

By Sharon Bernstein and Chris Kahn

(Reuters) - Older, white, educated voters helped Donald Trump win the White House in 2016. Now, they are trending toward Democrats in such numbers that their ballots could tip the scales in tight congressional races from New Jersey to California, a new Reuters/Ipsos poll and a data analysis of competitive districts shows.

Nationwide, whites over the age of 60 with college degrees now favor Democrats over Republicans for Congress by a 2-point margin, according to Reuters/Ipsos opinion polling during the first three months of the year. During the same period in 2016, that same group favored Republicans for Congress by 10 percentage points. (Graphic: https://tmsnrt.rs/2H39Tur)

The 12-point swing is one of the largest shifts in support toward Democrats that the Reuters/Ipsos poll has measured over the past two years.

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#9863 User is offline   Al_U_Card 

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Posted 2018-April-09, 11:37

View Posty66, on 2018-April-09, 08:58, said:

From What Trump and the Republicans Don't See Coming by Jonathan Bernstein at Bloomberg:


Less prepared, less adept and less capable are the new mores.

"Poor government" lol When was it "good"?
The Grand Design, reflected in the face of Chaos...it's a fluke!
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#9864 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2018-April-09, 13:51

From The Tragedy of James Comey by David Leonhardt at NYT:

Quote

James Comey is about to be ubiquitous. His book will be published next week, and parts may leak this week. Starting Sunday, he will begin an epic publicity tour, including interviews with Stephen Colbert, David Remnick, Rachel Maddow, Mike Allen, George Stephanopoulos and “The View.”

All of which will raise the question: What, ultimately, are we supposed to make of Comey?

He may be the most significant supporting player of the Trump era, and his reputation has whipsawed over the last two years. He’s spent time as a villain, a savior and some bizarre combination of the two, depending on your political views.

I think that the harshest criticisms of Comey have been unfair all along. He has never been a partisan, for either side. Over a long career at the Justice Department, he was driven by its best ideals: upholding the rule of law without fear or favor. His strengths allowed him to resist political pressure from more than one president of the United States.

Yet anybody who’s read Greek tragedy knows that strengths can turn into weaknesses when a person becomes too confident in those strengths. And that’s the key to understanding the very complex story of James Comey.

Long before he was a household name, Comey was a revered figure within legal circles. His rise was fairly typical: first a federal judge’s clerk, then a prosecutor, eventually a political appointee. But he was more charismatic than most bureaucrats — six feet eight inches tall, with an easy wit and refreshing informality. People loved working for him.

If you read his 2005 goodbye speech to the Justice Department, when he was stepping down as George W. Bush’s deputy attorney general, you can understand why. It’s funny, displaying the gifts of a storyteller. It includes an extended tribute to the department’s rank and file, like “secretaries, document clerks, custodians and support people who never get thanked enough.” He insists on “the exact same amount of human dignity and respect” for “every human being in this organization,” and he quotes the 18th-century preacher John Wesley: “Do all the good that you can.”

Above all, though, the speech is a celebration of the department’s mission. Many Justice Department officials, from both parties, have long believed that they should be more independent and less political than other cabinet departments. Comey was known as an evangelist of this view. To be a Justice Department employee, he said in his goodbye, is to be “committed to getting it right, and to doing the right thing, whatever the price.”

It wasn’t just an act, either. Comey sometimes chided young prosecutors who had never lost a case, accusing them of caring more about their win-loss record than justice. He told them they were members of the Chicken Excrement Club (or something like that). Most famously, in 2004, he stood up to Bush and Dick Cheney over a dubious surveillance program.

But as real as Comey’s independence and integrity were, they also became part of a persona that he cultivated and relished.

The reason that people knew about his defiance of Bush and Cheney is that Comey himself told Congress, at a stage-managed 2007 hearing. As a former Justice official later told the journalist Garrett Graff, “Jim Comey always has to be positioned oppositional to those in power.”

With this background, you can understand — though not excuse — Comey’s great mistake. He was the F.B.I. director overseeing the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server. He and his team decided that she had not done anything that warranted criminal charges. And he knew that Republicans would blast him as a coward who was trying to curry favor with the likely future president.

So he decided to go public with his explanation for not charging Clinton and to criticize her harshly. He then doubled down, releasing a public update on the investigation 11 days before the election, even as other Justice officials urged him not to. Department policy dictates that investigators aren’t supposed to talk publicly about why they are not bringing charges. They especially don’t do so when they could affect an election.

Comey, however, decided that he knew better than everyone else. He was the righteous Jim Comey, after all. He was going to speak truth to power. He was also, not incidentally, going to protect his own fearless image. He developed a series of rationales, suggesting that he really had no choice. They remain unpersuasive. When doing the right thing meant staying quiet and taking some lumps, Comey chose not to.

His tragic mistake matters because of the giant consequences for the country. He helped elect the most dangerous, unfit American president of our lifetimes. No matter how brave Comey has since been, no matter how honorable his full career, he can never undo that damage.

As he takes over the spotlight again, I’ll be thinking about the human lessons as well the political ones. Comey has greater strengths than most people. But for all of us, there is a fine line between strength and hubris.

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#9865 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2018-April-09, 14:22

View PostWinstonm, on 2018-April-09, 09:02, said:

Oh, wow, another Trump accomplishment:

One more for the list from Eric Wasson and Sarah McGregor at Bloomberg:

Quote

Tax cuts and spending increases signed by President Donald Trump will shoot the American checkbook into uncharted territory sooner than expected, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Deficits are growing thanks to roughly $300 billion in additional spending and a Republican tax overhaul that will lower revenue by more than $1 trillion over the next decade.

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#9866 User is offline   jjbrr 

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Posted 2018-April-09, 16:50

I sure hope Hannity has some sweet car chase footage to help him get through this particular episode.
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#9867 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2018-April-09, 16:54

View Posty66, on 2018-April-09, 14:22, said:

One more for the list from Eric Wasson and Sarah McGregor at Bloomberg:


This is the Kansas/Oklahoma Republican playbook writ large.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#9868 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2018-April-09, 19:21

Yahoo reports:

Quote

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Federal agents on Monday raided the office of President Donald Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen, seizing records on topics including a $130,000 payment made to porn actress Stormy Daniels.

A furious Trump, who in the last month has escalated his attacks on Robert Mueller's Russia investigation, said from the White House that it was a "disgrace" that the FBI "broke into" his lawyer's office. He called Mueller's investigation "an attack on our country," prompting new speculation that he might seek the removal of the Justice Department's special counsel.


This guy needs to be removed for the good of democracies across the globe. And to remove a criminal enterprise from the premises:

Yahoo:

Quote

PANAMA CITY (AP) — U.S. President Donald Trump's company appealed directly to Panama's president to intervene in its fight over control of a luxury hotel, even invoking a treaty between the two countries, in what ethics experts say was a blatant mingling of Trump's business and government interests.

That appeal in a letter last month from lawyers for the Trump Organization to Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela was apparently unsuccessful — an emergency arbitrator days later declined to reinstate the Trump management team to the waterfront hotel in Panama City. But it provides hard proof of exactly the kind of conflict experts feared when Trump refused to divest from a sprawling empire that includes hotels, golf courses, licensing deals and other interests in more than 20 countries.

"This could be the clearest example we've seen of a conflict of interest stemming from the president's role as head of state in connection with other countries and his business interests," said Danielle Brian, executive director of The Project on Government Oversight, a Washington ethics and good government organization.

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#9869 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2018-April-09, 20:54

From Trump’s One-Night Stand Turns Into a Legal Nightmare by Harry Litman, former United States attorney and deputy assistant attorney general, at NYT:

Quote

Stormy Daniels and Donald Trump appear to be vying for the world record for the longest one-night stand in history. Ms. Daniels, the porn star, says that she and the president had sex one time in 2006 — an encounter that may turn into a long-term relationship with the help of the California courts.

Ms. Daniels seeks to set aside a nondisclosure agreement she signed just before the 2016 election — which granted her, among other things, $130,000 for the promise to keep her mouth shut about the relationship — so that she can tell all about the liaison free from the threat of enormous damages that the hush agreement purports to impose.

Her legal position, in brief, is that the agreement was never formed because the parties never actually came to an agreement. It’s an unusual argument that would normally seem to be a dead loser because few lawyers fail to stitch up the basic requirements of a fairly simple contract such as this one. But it turns out that Mr. Trump and his lawyer Michael Cohen — who himself now has to have a lawyer to represent him in the matter — have blundered their way into giving the argument a strong prospect.

All this was before Mr. Cohen went from hot to boiling water earlier today with the announcement that the F.B.I. had raided his New York offices. According to The Times, his maneuvers in the Daniels case formed part of the legal basis for the raid.

Mr. Cohen and Mr. Trump’s troubles in the hush agreement case are of their own making. First, Mr. Cohen insisted, through his lawyer, that the president was never aware of the agreement and that Mr. Cohen acted wholly on his own. Then, speaking briefly to reporters on Air Force One last Thursday, Mr. Trump, echoing Mr. Cohen, said that he knew nothing about the arrangement. In saying so, he walked directly into the buzz saw of the legal position of Ms. Daniels and her attorney, Michael Avenatti.

The hush agreement identified Mr. Trump as a party and required him to do a number of things. But since he insists he didn’t know about the agreement, there’s no way he could have entered into it. Moreover, Mr. Trump’s avowed cluelessness implies that Mr. Cohen induced Ms. Daniels to sign the agreement through fraud — a lie about Mr. Trump’s performance of reciprocal obligations. Both of these circumstances invalidate the hush agreement’s very formation under basic contract law principles.

In a motion filed on Sunday in federal court in California, Mr. Avenatti seized on Mr. Trump’s asserted ignorance to bolster the argument that the agreement was never formed: “If Mr. Trump was completely unaware of Mr. Cohen’s actions, the question naturally arises as to how it would be possible for a ‘meeting of the minds’ to have occurred between parties where one of the parties does not even know about the existence of the agreement.” The motion goes on to request brief depositions of both Mr. Trump and Mr. Cohen followed by an expedited jury trial.

Inconveniently for the president, Ms. Daniels’s position turns on questions of fact. Did Mr. Trump and Mr. Cohen ever discuss Ms. Daniels? Was Mr. Trump aware of the obligations he had ostensibly undertaken? Why did Mr. Trump not sign on the signature line? Was he 100 percent ignorant about the agreement? And there are a similar series of crucial factual questions for Mr. Cohen, such as where the $130,000 payment came from.

The standard course for resolving these sorts of factual disputes is to first permit the parties to take discovery. Mr. Avenatti has asked the court for a two-hour deposition of both Mr. Trump and Mr. Cohen. Normally a request to depose the president would seem like a nuisance move, quickly rebuffed. Here, though, it is hard to see how the court resolves the factual issue without hearing Mr. Trump’s version of events.

Worse still for the president, because the hush agreement provides for compulsory arbitration, both sides are relying on the Federal Arbitration Act. That law provides for an expedited jury trial to decide whether the agreement was formed, and Mr. Avenatti’s motion asks the court to schedule a trial within 90 days. The first entry on Ms. Daniels’s witness list in the jury trial would surely be the president of the United States.

The president cannot remotely afford to testify under oath under either of these settings. The potential for perjury is rife. Indeed, while there would no doubt be a major dust-up in court, the question whether he had sex with Ms. Daniels is probably fair game. That’s because it would be highly relevant to the issue of whether he knew about the agreement at all.

If the federal judge orders either the deposition or the jury trial, then look for Mr. Trump, tail firmly between his legs, to abandon any effort to enforce the hush agreement. Mr. Cohen is in a more complicated position, but he would be likely to join the president out of loyalty.

At that point, look for a major book deal for Ms. Daniels and a talk-radio and television blitz.

But this wouldn’t be remotely the end of the road for the duo, whose litigants’ embrace is likely to continue for years. Once the hush agreement is a dead letter, Ms. Daniels would be able to go on the offensive, suing Mr. Trump for defamation. And why wouldn’t she? The legal dispute has been the biggest boon of her career, and both Mr. Cohen (whom she already is suing for defamation) and Mr. Trump have treated her like dirt.

All of this arises while Mr. Trump is facing, with no legal team to speak of, the all-consuming distraction of the most formidable criminal probe any president has ever faced.

Mr. Trump wouldn’t be the first person to stumble into a one-night stand and find he has generated a decades-long relationship. But he may very well be the first president. As matters stand, there is the distinct possibility that the president’s legal clinch with Stormy Daniels will outlast his presidency.

Stormy 1, Trump 0.
If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#9870 User is offline   WellSpyder 

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Posted 2018-April-10, 02:29

View Posty66, on 2018-April-09, 20:54, said:

"...Normally a request to depose the president would seem like a nuisance move, quickly rebuffed..."

Anybody else find themselves reading this with a different meaning of "depose" in mind?
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#9871 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2018-April-10, 07:39

Quote

‘It’s an attack on our country,’ the president said. ‘It’s an attack on what we all stand for.’


And you are the attacker, you deceitful SOB.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#9872 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2018-April-11, 07:25

For the far better things he does file: Speaker Paul Ryan Will Not Seek Re-election in November.
If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#9873 User is offline   jjbrr 

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Posted 2018-April-11, 08:04

Donald J. Trump
‏Verified account @realDonaldTrump

What other country tells the enemy when we are going to attack like Obama is doing with ISIS. Whatever happened to the element of surprise?

8:49 AM - 8 Aug 2014
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#9874 User is offline   jjbrr 

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Posted 2018-April-11, 08:07

Donald J. Trump
‏Verified account @realDonaldTrump
Replying to @Walaa3ssaf

@walaa_3ssaf No, dopey, I would not go into Syria, but if I did it would be by surprise and not blurted all over the media like fools.
5:09 AM - 29 Aug 2013 from Manhattan, NY
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#9875 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2018-April-11, 08:59

View Postjjbrr, on 2018-April-11, 08:07, said:

Donald J. Trump
‏Verified account @realDonaldTrump
Replying to @Walaa3ssaf

@walaa_3ssaf No, dopey, I would not go into Syria, but if I did it would be by surprise and not blurted all over the media like fools.
5:09 AM - 29 Aug 2013 from Manhattan, NY


In all fair(Fox and Friends told me to)ness, we don't want any(Russian troops)one getting hurt from the 38 cruise missiles we will launch at the outskirts of Homs air base on April 15th at 0700 hours in a top(except for Sergei Lavrov)secret response to the animal(animals bad/money good)Assad using chemical weapons against his own (brown skinned and not rich) people. Take that, Mr. Animal!
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#9876 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2018-April-11, 09:01

View Posty66, on 2018-April-09, 20:54, said:

From Trump's One-Night Stand Turns Into a Legal Nightmare by Harry Litman, former United States attorney and deputy assistant attorney general, at NYT:


Stormy 1, Trump 0.


Women are dangerous. Very dangerous. Mata Hari. Salome. Eve. Stormy Daniels.

Looked at differently, men can be very stupid.
Ken
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#9877 User is offline   jjbrr 

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Posted 2018-April-11, 09:13

View PostWinstonm, on 2018-April-11, 08:59, said:

In all fair(Fox and Friends told me to)ness, we don't want any(Russian troops)one getting hurt from the 38 cruise missiles we will launch at the outskirts of Homs air base on April 15th at 0700 hours in a top(except for Sergei Lavrov)secret response to the animal(animals bad/money good)Assad using chemical weapons against his own (brown skinned and not rich) people. Take that, Mr. Animal!


The best people. BIG!
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#9878 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2018-April-11, 09:24

View Postkenberg, on 2018-April-11, 09:01, said:

Women are dangerous. Very dangerous. Mata Hari. Salome. Eve. Stormy Daniels.

Looked at differently, men can be very stupid.

Bombs are dangerous, but no one blames the victims for being so blow-uppable. But women are only dangerous because men are stupid and let themselves be manipulated.

It might even be the case that women can also be seduced like this. But there haven't been that many women in positions where such influence would be useful.

On the other hand, there have been some, yet I can't think of any stories of them being taken advantage of sexually. I'm pretty sure we're the "weaker sex" in this equation.

#9879 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2018-April-11, 09:47

Quote

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump
Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria. Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and “smart!”


It's certainly a relief to know we will be using the new Fredo - "I’m smart and I want respect!" missiles in our surprise (oops!) attack.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#9880 User is offline   jjbrr 

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Posted 2018-April-11, 10:32

Even our missiles are special snowflakes now.
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