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

#13461 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2019-August-20, 18:39

View Postjjbrr, on 2019-August-19, 21:04, said:

I totally skimmed so I may have missed some context, but are you suggesting that his quote is not absolutely correct, assuming these institutions provide research? I understand anti-Trump circlejerks, but he doesn't deserve criticism for suggesting we need to expand mental health research.


Everyone is in favor of research in mental health and mental illness. Even skimming, you can see that is not the discussion.

Let's take a paragraph from the article:

Quote

"We're looking at the whole gun situation. I do want people to remember the words 'mental illness.' These people are mentally ill. And nobody talks about that," Trump responded.


A guy who takes a weapon to a mall and shoots 20- or 30 people is mentally ill? Yeah, I guess we could say that. So we would do what? Require everyone to take a mental exam that would single out those who would do such a thing and then lock them up in an asylum? Before they have done anything? Really? Psychiatrists can be pretty unbearable but I doubt even they claim such predictive powers. Yes, on occasion, rarely but on occasion, we commit someone against his will because he is obviously completely nuts and out of control. But except in very special cases we lock people up based on what they have actually done, not based on what some psychiatrist thinks he will do.

So sure, support mental health research for all sorts of reasons, and perhaps some of the research will help in some way with violence in various forms. Don't expect miracles.But saying that the administration will address gun violence by building more mental hospitals is so cynical that I cannot imagine anyone taking it seriously. It's simply say something, say anything, just jabber, until the public moves on to some other news item.


Ken
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#13462 User is offline   jjbrr 

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Posted 2019-August-20, 20:05

John: "Research shows that most mass killers don’t have severe mental health problems. Experts have also long repeated that most people with mental health issues are not violent but are actually more likely to be victims of violence."

Research? What research? Fortunately your link has a link!

"It is true that severe mental illnesses are found more often among mass murderers. About one in five are likely psychotic or delusional, according to Dr. Michael Stone, a forensic psychiatrist at Columbia University who maintains a database of 350 mass killers going back more than a century. The figure for the general public is closer to 1 percent."

And those are only the cases that our current infantile science allows us to diagnose.
OK
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#13463 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2019-August-21, 02:43

View Postjjbrr, on 2019-August-20, 20:05, said:

John: "Research shows that most mass killers don’t have severe mental health problems. Experts have also long repeated that most people with mental health issues are not violent but are actually more likely to be victims of violence."

Research? What research? Fortunately your link has a link!

"It is true that severe mental illnesses are found more often among mass murderers. About one in five are likely psychotic or delusional, according to Dr. Michael Stone, a forensic psychiatrist at Columbia University who maintains a database of 350 mass killers going back more than a century. The figure for the general public is closer to 1 percent."

And those are only the cases that our current infantile science allows us to diagnose.

For the record, the quote "Research shows that most mass killers don’t have severe mental health problems. Experts have also long repeated that most people with mental health issues are not violent but are actually more likely to be victims of violence." is not my conclusion, it was copied from the article.

Also, you have to parse statistics carefully to draw the correct conclusions. So a study shows that 1 in 5 mass killers are psychotic or delusional (according to who, and why are there only 350 mass killers in the database for a period over 100 years? What criteria is being used to select the 350?). Another result of the study must be that at least 4 out of 5 mass killers are not psychotic or delusional. So even if you locked up all the psychotic and delusional people in the US (and how are you going to identify them and who is going to pay for the costs involved?), you would miss at least 80% of the mass killers.

The next question is how many used an assault weapon (or any gun) to kill their victims? Does the 350 include killers who used poison, bombs, knives, vehicles, etc. to kill their victims? Since the database goes back more than a century and assault weapons being available to the general public is a relatively recent phenomenon, I'm going to predict that a very sizable percentage of the 350 killers did not use an assault weapon and some smaller percentage didn't use gun.

Finally, getting back to my original point that talk about mental illness was just a NRA talking point diversion to avoid taking action on gun control legislation,

Donald Trump Appears To Be Caving To NRA On Background Checks

Quote

But the president on Tuesday appeared to walk back that language during remarks to the press in the Oval Office, saying that the country had “very, very strong background checks” already.

Quote

The Atlantic reported that Trump, in a Tuesday phone conversation, told embattled NRA chief executive Wayne LaPierre that universal background checks were off the table.

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#13464 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-August-21, 06:36

A classic sign of demagoguery is presenting as simple the solutions to complex problems. Gun violence is a complex problem, and mental health may play a role but mental illness is not the raison d'être for gun violence.

This article presents a reasonable presentation about that subject:

Quote

Mental illness may increase the likelihood of committing violence in some individuals, but only a small part of the violence in society can be ascribed to mental health patients. Overall, those psychiatric patients who are violent have rates of repeated aggression somewhere between the general population and a criminal cohort.


No one is talking about this, which is seemingly a contributing factor:

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Among women and men under 45 years of age, those in the lowest socioeconomic class were three times more likely to be violent than those in the highest socioeconomic class. Rates of violence also increased with lower education level, less social stability, and in regions with high rates of unemployment.
my emphasis
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#13465 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2019-August-21, 08:54

Another thing to remember. Even if it were true that most mass murders are committed by menally ill people, that doesn't translate to most mentally ill people being dangerous.

Imaging a population of a million people, of which 1000 are mentally ill. Then suppose there are 5 mass murderers, of which 4 are mentally ill. That means that 80% of mass murderers are mentally ill, but only 0.4% of mentally ill people are mass murderers. Predicting the mass murderers from that mentally ill population is looking for needles in a haystack. The only thing you can say in support of focusing on mentally ill people is that searching for them among the entire population means the haystack is even bigger.

The same logic goes for practically any qualities that are often mentioned as being related to gun violence, like playing violent video games, believing or not believing in God, being a neo-nazi. Even if something makes you 5 times more likely to be violent than most people, that just means that instead of being something like 0.01% likely, you're 0.05% likely.

#13466 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2019-August-21, 09:31

View Postbarmar, on 2019-August-21, 08:54, said:

The same logic goes for practically any qualities that are often mentioned as being related to gun violence, like playing violent video games

Anyone that believes that playing video games causes mass shootings is surely mentally ill. If you locked all of those people up and refused them a vote, it would be easy to get decent gun control laws through Congress. :D
(-: Zel :-)

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#13467 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2019-August-21, 19:27

View Postjohnu, on 2019-August-15, 17:41, said:

Yet another WTF moment

Trump has asked aides about possibility of US acquiring Greenland: report

Quote

President Trump has privately asked aides about the possibility of purchasing Greenland, an autonomous Danish territory, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

Two advisers told the Journal that Trump asked them and other advisers at dinners and in passing conversations whether such a move would be possible, listening intently when they talked about its resources and geopolitical importance.

He also reportedly asked his White House counsel to look into the idea.

There is no confirmation that the Trump Ice Corporation has plans to expand into Greenland :rolleyes:


There is seemingly no end to this story:

Trump Cites ‘Nasty’ Remark by Danish Leader After Canceling Trip

Wow, those bullies in Denmark have hurt the Manchurian President's feelings :rolleyes:

Quote

President Donald Trump said he canceled his trip to Denmark after a “nasty” comment by the country’s prime minister.

The president told reporters at the White House on Wednesday that Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen’s remark that Trump’s interest in buying Greenland was absurd “was a very not nice way of saying something.”

“You don’t talk to the U.S. that way,” Trump said.

Well, you might imply that Frederiksen was calling the unstable non genius a whackjob, a psycho, out of his mind, a looney tune, missing a few screws, ... you could go on and on. But unlike the American press, Frederiksen only said the possibility that Greenland was for sale was absurd.

Quote

A leading member of the Danish government bloc on Wednesday called Trump’s behavior “hopeless,” while a former prime minister said the decision was “deeply insulting” to Danes. The queen weighed in, noting through a spokeswoman that the U.S. president’s decision to snub her invitation in a tweet came as a surprise.

Quote

The cancellation of the trip is a “diplomatic crisis,” said Kristian Jensen, a leading member of the opposition and a former finance minister. He hinted at the damage done to the post-World War II relationship with Denmark, which was among a handful of countries to follow the U.S. into the Iraq war.

Denmark needs to get in line behind a long list of US allies (many NATO partners) who have been insulted, denigrated, and threatened by the Individual-1 in Chief. The startling comparison is how the Manchurian President is so cozy with the leaders of North Korea and Russia who are actually enemies of the US.
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#13468 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-August-21, 20:39

The Atlantic calls out the sycophant-in-chief:

Quote

One uncomfortable truth is already inescapable. Free societies and autocracies are at odds with each other—over human rights, the rule of law, technology, freedom of the press, the free flow of information, and territorial expansion. At this particular moment, it is not sufficient to say that the free world is without a leader. He has actually defected to the other side.

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter. / "I need ammunition, not a ride." Zelensky
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#13469 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-August-22, 15:48

Well, isn't this special:

Quote

An email sent from the Justice Department to all immigration court employees this week included a link to an article posted on a white nationalist website that “directly attacks sitting immigration judges with racial and ethnically tinged slurs,” according to a letter sent by an immigration judges union and obtained by BuzzFeed News.

According to the National Association of Immigration Judges, the Justice Department’s Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) sent court employees a link to a blog post from VDare, a white nationalist website, in its morning news briefing earlier this week that included anti-Semitic attacks on judges.

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter. / "I need ammunition, not a ride." Zelensky
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#13470 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-August-22, 15:53

From Mitch McConnell is calling on Democrats to keep the filibuster. He ignores just how much he’s done to blow up Senate rules. by Li Zhou at Vox:

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Mitch McConnell had a warning for Democrats in a New York Times op-ed on Thursday: Eliminate the filibuster at your peril.

“Yes, the Senate’s design makes it difficult for one party to enact sweeping legislation on its own. Yes, the filibuster makes policy less likely to seesaw wildly with every election,” the Senate majority leader writes. “These are features, not bugs.”

McConnell’s post, of course, underlines an interesting paradox: Even as he calls for the preservation of a longstanding Senate rule, he glosses over the fact that he’s blown up many of the upper chamber’s norms himself.

His message comes as Democrats on the 2020 campaign trail ramp up their talk of getting rid of the filibuster for good, a structural reform that would reshape Senate dynamics and that many see as increasingly necessary in order to push ambitious, progressive legislation through Congress. It also follows an August New York Times op-ed from retired Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who argued that the filibuster was single-handedly responsible for obstructing vital policy on gun control and immigration.

The idea of eliminating the filibuster — congressional procedure that effectively sets a 60-vote threshold for any legislation to pass the Senate — has gotten mixed reviews from 2020 candidates. But it has picked up momentum as a campaign talking point, largely because many Democratic plans, including Medicare-for-all and the Green New Deal, would have little chance of passage if it remained.

McConnell’s case for preserving it is yet another instance of the majority leader actively trolling Democrats: He’s arguing for the sanctity of Senate rules after he’s disregarded many of them himself. It’s also a sign, potentially, of McConnell seeing the need to go on the offensive as the Democratic push for retaking the upper chamber in 2020 heats up.

McConnell lays out a case for preserving the filibuster by arguing that the Senate, unlike the House, was designed to be the deliberative body of Congress, which has also been described as the “cooling saucer” for ideas. Effectively this means that the Senate is a place where legislation gets approved much, much slower, if at all.

Historically, this dynamic has translated to a wholesale stymying of legislation on civil rights, environmental protections, and immigration, all of which have died in the Senate because they weren’t able to garner enough Republican support. Because of how much this Senate procedure has thwarted civil rights legislation including bills that would make lynching a federal crime, lawmakers including Sen. Elizabeth Warren argue that it’s helped fuel racism, among other critiques.

McConnell warns that Democrats would regret their decision to do away with the filibuster in the same way that certain lawmakers have expressed concern about their decision to get rid of a filibuster on judicial nominees, a rule that previously set up a 60-vote threshold for their confirmation. Reid first championed this move in 2013, and since then, Republicans have regained power in the Senate and capitalized on this change in order to advance judges at a breakneck pace.

McConnell emphasizes that Democrats could certainly use changes to the filibuster to promote what he calls “socialist” policies, but emphasizes that Republicans would one day be able to use them as well:

Quote

Senate Democrats bought what Senator Reid was selling — but buyer’s remorse arrived with lightning speed. Just one year later, Republicans retook the majority. Two years after that, Americans elected President Trump. In 2017, we took the Reid precedent to its logical conclusion, covering all nominations up to and including the Supreme Court.

There’s a strong degree of irony to McConnell’s arguments: Even as he’s pushing for Democrats to keep the filibuster in the name of preserving Senate rules and tradition, he’s personally done significant damage to congressional norms.

As McConnell notes, Democrats were the first to change the filibuster rules on judicial nominees. What he doesn’t say, however, is that the reason Reid felt compelled to do so because McConnell had mounted an overwhelming obstruction of non-controversial judicial nominees. And that’s far from the only time McConnell has levied his power as majority leader to reject Senate norms.

When President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland was up for confirmation, McConnell didn’t even hold a hearing. Earlier this year, McConnell pushed through another rules change on judicial nominees, enabling lawmakers to confirm judges even faster. This congressional term, he has become known for blocking consideration of countless House bills, including on the topic of election security, declaring himself the “grim reaper” of Democratic legislation on Capitol Hill.

McConnell’s op-ed was published as the fields for battleground Senate seats are starting to take shape, with former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper most recently announcing that he’ll pursue the state’s seat. As Vox’s Tara Golshan and Ella Nilsen explained, Democrats still have a pretty tough challenge if they want to retake the upper chamber. But as more candidates declare in places like Maine and North Carolina, they’re beginning to build out their opposition.

If Democrats were able to flip the Senate, eliminating the filibuster could certainly be within their reach. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has not ruled out the possibility, and he’d likely be on the spot if Democrats were in a position of power.

At the moment, Democrats aren’t exactly united in how they’d take on this issue, either. While several leading 2020 candidates including Warren and Rep. Seth Moulton have come out forcefully in favor of killing the filibuster, others, including Sen. Cory Booker and Kamala Harris, have been more circumspect. As Vox’s Matt Yglesias explains, the filibuster doesn’t just block major legislation — it’s also given lawmakers some political cover on difficult votes:

Quote

A senator can even take a position in favor of some sweeping piece of legislation and then quietly reassure interest group opponents that everyone knows this isn’t getting 60 votes and really just represents an opening bid. Senators in purple states, meanwhile, often enjoy the ability to avoid taking clear positions on issues. Since many areas of policy can, in practice, only be legislated on via bipartisan deals, it’s usually possible for a member to remain ambiguous whenever that seems most suitable.

Per Reid’s previous op-ed, however, Democrats’ need to advance the legislation they want may outweigh their reservations about changing the Senate rules for good. “If the Senate cannot address the most important issues of our time, then it is time for the chamber itself to change, as it has done in the past,” Reid wrote.

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#13471 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-August-22, 20:11

Quote

“If the Senate cannot address the most important issues of our time, then it is time for the chamber itself to change, as it has done in the past,” Reid wrote.


Wrong, Harry. The solution is to change the membership of the Senate - to ones who will work together for the betterment of all.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter. / "I need ammunition, not a ride." Zelensky
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#13472 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-August-22, 20:39

From Craig Torres at Bloomberg:

Quote

Harvard University economist Lawrence Summers warned central bankers that they are staring at “black hole monetary economics” where small changes in interest rates and even more aggressive strategies do little to solve demand shortfalls.

“Interest rates stuck at zero with no real prospect of escape -- is now the confident market expectation in Europe and Japan, with essentially zero or negative yields over a generation,” Summers wrote on in a series of tweets as central bankers head toward the Kansas City Fed’s annual policy retreat in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. “The United States is only one recession away from joining them.”

Explaining his views over a series of 28 tweets, Summers said a forthcoming paper he has co-authored with Harvard researcher Anna Stansbury argues low interest rates do little to stimulate demand and may make the problem worse.

"Interest rate cuts, even if feasible, may be at best only weakly effective at stimulating aggregate demand and at worst counterproductive,” Summers wrote, explaining that they could produce financial bubbles, induce higher savings, and sustain zombie firms with low debt service payments that are like students “who do not have to take tests.”

Summers said it is “dangerous” for central bankers to suggest they have control over assuring sufficient demand. He said he hopes the issue will be discussed at the Kansas City Fed’s Jackson Hole symposium, “but we are not holding our breath.”

Tweet #24:

Quote

The right issue for macroeconomists to be focused on is assuring adequate aggregate demand. We believe it is dangerous for central bankers to suggest that they have this challenge under control - or that with their current toolkit they will be able to get it under control.

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#13473 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-August-23, 09:39

From Jonathan Bernstein at Bloomberg:

Quote

As a more-or-less supporter of the filibuster, I’m not thrilled with the former Nevada senator and majority leader Harry Reid’s call for Democrats to get rid of it. But I’m even less thrilled by Mitch McConnell’s mischaracterization of what happened when Barack Obama was president. If there’s one person responsible for the likely eventual final demise of the filibuster, it’s Mr. McConnell.

Why is the filibuster — a requirement for a supermajority of 60 votes to pass legislation or confirm presidential nominees in the Senate — justified? Because democracy isn’t simply about majority rule. In particular, when majorities are relatively indifferent about an issue and minorities are passionate about it, then there’s a good argument that the correct democratic result is for the minority position to triumph.

To be sure, as with federalism, in practice the use of the filibuster for a long time was closely intertwined with the fight to preserve white supremacy. The filibusters against civil rights were never democratically legitimate because they were based on elections, especially in the South, that were themselves fundamentally undemocratic. Still, the basic idea of giving intense minorities some institutional support makes some sense.

There’s also a case for the filibuster in that it empowers individual senators; without it, especially during this era of polarization, the result is apt to be top-down rule by the majority party. That’s what happened in the House after procedures and customs that empowered a wide array of members disappeared. Top-down rule robs Congress of one of its real strengths — the ability of individual members of both chambers, but especially senators, to be influential. So as long as the filibuster is used sparingly, it can be perfectly democratic.

But over time, both parties — but particularly Republicans at the start of Bill Clinton’s presidency and then again at the start of Barack Obama’s presidency — began using the filibuster against more and more things, eventually winding up in 2009 with a Senate in which in effect everything was filibustered — everyone understood that (with the exception of a few things that were exempt) there was no chance anything could pass with just a simple majority. It had not always been like that; as recently as 1991, the highly controversial Supreme Court nomination of Clarence Thomas was confirmed by a 52-48 vote.

The more filibusters, the less stable the filibuster rule became. Democrats never did come close to changing the rule during Bill Clinton’s presidency, probably because the administration didn’t really get organized until after it had squandered its two years of unified Democratic government. Republicans, however, threatened to eliminate the filibuster for judicial nominations when Democrats used it against a handful of George W. Bush’s judicial nominees they considered out of the mainstream. They backed off only when seven Democrats and seven Republicans cut a deal that Republicans would not impose filibuster reform as long as, in effect, Democrats stopped using it. That probably wasn’t a stable compromise, but soon after Democrats took the Senate majority, so it no longer mattered.

Then during Barack Obama’s administration Republicans didn’t just target specific nominees — they used the filibuster against positions, not people, blockading vacancies on the District of Columbia Circuit Court and in several executive branch agencies. That, too, was unstable, and when Republicans refused to cut a deal, Democrats had little choice but to change the rules by majority vote in 2013.

Mr. McConnell says that Democrats lived to regret that change, but it’s a preposterous claim. Republicans broke all precedents and norms when they regained the majority in the 2014 elections by refusing to consider any Supreme Court nominee from Barack Obama and by largely shutting down confirmation of appellate court and many executive branch positions as well. They then removed the filibuster for Supreme Court nominations as soon as Democrats tried to use it, and then eliminated the “blue slip” procedure that Democrats had retained when Obama was president, which allowed senators an effective veto over judicial nominations in their own state.

It’s impossible to prove what would have happened had Democrats not acted in 2013, but there’s just no reason to believe that Republicans, who at least since 2009 have had zero respect for confirmation norms, would have acted any differently. Which means that confirmations of Mr. Obama’s nominations would have ended in 2013, rather than in 2015, and Republicans would have filled all of those additional vacancies after 2016.

If Mr. McConnell really respected the filibuster, he would have used it a lot less when his party was in the minority — and when it was in the majority, he would have worked to restore the rule rather than eliminating even more protections for Senate minorities.

The bottom line is that the filibuster can be justified if it’s used when the minority is particularly intense, and when it wins only if the majority is relatively indifferent. It seems safe to say that Mr. McConnell and the Republicans retained the legislative filibuster in 2017-18 only because they had a paltry legislative agenda. Democrats will eliminate it if it’s all that stands between them and passing their agenda, and Republicans use it across-the-board to block everything without any interest in cutting deals.

And even though Democrats may be the ones who deliver the final blow, historians will correctly put the blame — or the credit — squarely on Mitch McConnell and his Republicans.

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#13474 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-August-23, 10:18

View Posty66, on 2019-August-23, 09:39, said:

From Jonathan Bernstein at Bloomberg:


And once we get to majority rule we might as well toss out the constitution as its purpose is the protection of the rights of the minority.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter. / "I need ammunition, not a ride." Zelensky
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#13475 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-August-23, 11:09

Quote

In a series of angry Twitter posts, Mr. Trump said “Our great American companies are hereby ordered to immediately start looking for an alternative to China, including bringing our companies HOME and making your products in the USA.”
my emphasis

While I'm at it, I'll order another Big Mac, a diet coke, and supersize the fries this time.

Does this stupid clown actually believe he can order American business to follow his ridiculous rants!?!
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#13476 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-August-23, 13:25

Heard on CNN that Trump is complaining to his aides about "having to go to the G7 summit". Well, Donnie, old boy, I have a solution for you.

RESIGN.

That's right. Resign the presidency and you won't have to officially go anywhere you don't want to go - provided you make bail - and you show up for your court dates.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter. / "I need ammunition, not a ride." Zelensky
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#13477 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-August-23, 20:01

Quote

A fun fact about America is a preponderance of its CEOs and rich people have decided that a sustained assault on the basic integrity of our legal, political, and economic institutions is a small price to pay for a regressive tax cut and lax regulatory enforcement. -- Matt Yglesias

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#13478 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2019-August-23, 20:14

Resign? I can imagine him kicking a few chairs around and doing just that. Businesses won't do what he says. The Federal Reserve won't do what he says,, North Korea won't do what he says, Hell, Denmark won't even sell Greenland. What's a guy going to do? We could put a stop to gun violence if we just built more asylums.He has clearly explained this, nobody listens. Very frustrating. He knows everything, but people just don't listen.

He could resign the presidency and put his efforts into reopening Trump University.. Much more satisfying.
Ken
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#13479 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-August-24, 05:35

From Adam Serwer at The Atlantic:

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The massacre in El Paso, Texas, has, for the moment, reminded Americans of the danger posed by far-right terrorists. Former national-security officials have demanded that the U.S. government “make addressing this form of terrorism as high a priority as countering international terrorism has become since 9/11.” Retired Marine General John Allen and the former senior U.S. diplomat Brett McGurk have argued that far-right extremism poses “an equal threat” as jihadist groups such as ISIS.

This is incorrect. White nationalism is a far greater threat to American democracy than jihadism, and always has been. But there are actually two challenges posed by white nationalism: One is the threat posed to American communities by attacks like the one in El Paso, which law enforcement can and should prevent. The other is the threat the ideology the attackers support poses to American democracy, which can be defeated only through politics, and only by the American people themselves.

“There’s an attack-prevention problem, and there’s also a political problem. These problems overlap and reinforce each other, although they are not exactly the same problem,” J. M. Berger, an author and security consultant who has written extensively on white nationalism, told me. “Policy makers can try to deal with this from an attack-prevention standpoint and avoid the political element, and there’s an argument to be made for keeping the law-enforcement response separate from the political response, but I think as a society we need to be pursuing this on both tracks simultaneously.”

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“I believe the primary challenge posed by white nationalism is political, not law-enforcement related,” David Gomez, a former FBI counterterrorism supervisor, told me. “That is because, like fascism of the 1930s, white nationalism has begun to enter the mainstream political arena, which tends to make their extremism palatable to disenfranchised political minorities who fear the rise of ‘the other.’”

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The spike in white-nationalist terrorism is emerging from the extremist fringe of the American right, giving conservatives a special responsibility to use their authority to deprive white nationalists of their claim to represent America’s authentic heritage. In the past, conservatives have actively opposed such efforts—in 2009, the Department of Homeland Security disbanded an entire unit devoted to tracking far-right terrorism after a backlash in which conservative writers suggested that mainstream conservatives were the ones being targeted.

Democrats have proposed specifically criminalizing domestic terrorism under federal law. Any substantial changes to the criminal code should take care not to repeat the worst excesses of the War on Terror, or to criminalize radical speech. (If history is any guide, such speech restrictions would end up being borne not by white nationalists but by the communities targeted by them.)

White nationalism cannot be destroyed simply by imitating ill-advised policies adopted by the United States in an effort to defeat Islamist extremism, such as eliminating due process in the use of lethal force or imprisonment, disregarding protections against illegal search and seizure, criminalizing radical beliefs, or using torture in interrogation. In fact, all of those things would likely make the problem worse. Law-enforcement agencies cannot settle the existential arguments about the nature of American democracy, and it should not be their responsibility to do so.

The factors fueling violent white nationalism can be neutralized only by Americans themselves—by reaffirming that the United States is a multiracial democracy where no citizen inherits a greater claim to Americanness than any other. That will require enough of both left and right to unify in opposition to the bigotries that have plagued America since even before its founding, and rejecting the proposition that those bigotries are the only true, authentic expression of American heritage. That heritage includes not just John Calhoun but also Frederick Douglass, not just Madison Grant but also Emma Lazarus, not merely Jim Crow but also James Meredith.

It will also require those on the American right to turn from the path they have been walking, since even before Trump demanded that the first black president show his papers. Few of them seem prepared to do so.

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#13480 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2019-August-24, 05:36

View PostWinstonm, on 2019-August-23, 10:18, said:

And once we get to majority rule we might as well toss out the constitution as its purpose is the protection of the rights of the minority.


Why the Senate can't do its job (from 2010).

Minority Rules ---
Ten Ways to Bring the Senate to Its Knees


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Let’s be clear—the level of obstruction in today’s Senate is unprecedented. But obstruction and delay is cooked deep into the Senate’s meat. Indeed, there are so many ways to shut down business in the Senate—many of which can be implemented by one lone senator—that the real surprise is that the Senate has ever accomplished anything. There are many more ways to block progress in the Senate than this brief paper can detail, but here is a short list of ten ways to bring the Senate to its knees.

As far as the filibuster is concerned, it is not, and never has been part of the US Constitution.
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