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

#13641 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2019-September-15, 13:56

View Posthrothgar, on 2019-September-15, 05:29, said:

6. There was no one that I missed having on stage. I hope to see things contract further in the next debate. Probably time to lose Harris and Yang

:) While I agree 100% with you that there are too many candidates in the debate, the ridiculous DNC rules do not make it harder to get into the next debates, but easier (ie basically the same eligibility rules as the last debate, but another month to try to become eligible). Tom Steyer and Tulsi Gabbard are apparently close to qualifying, so that would make 12 in the debate, so the 4th debate would have to be split into 2 nights, just like the 1st and 2nd debates. If just one additional person qualifies, that would also require 2 nights of debate.
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#13642 User is online   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-September-15, 14:22

View Postkenberg, on 2019-September-15, 11:39, said:



Ideological or idealistic do you mean? Usually I don't quibble, but here the distinction might matter. As to Idealism versus practicality I doubt that "the rich will pay for it" satisfies either criterion. Ideologically, maybe it does suffice. Some blend of idealism and practicality is what I hope for, the ideological not so much. I guess I do not know what it mean to be the right answer ideologically.

Added: Well. I thought a bit. But the distinction I came to is that in an ideological position it doesn't matter whether it is actually workable. But I don't think Warren, or you for that matter, is claiming it doesn't matter, she is claiming that it is workable. And for that, she needs to answer questions.


Just for clarification, I mean abstract rather than practical application.

As to Warren, she supports Bernie Sanders plan for Medicare for all. Once again, there is not a simple yes/no answer to the question that was asked about raising taxes. The only answer is: it depends.

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#13643 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-September-15, 16:34

Here's Jon Greenberg's analysis of the cost of Medicare for All at PolitiFact:

Quote

A study of Medicare for All from the libertarian-oriented Mercatus Center at George Mason University put the cost at more than $32 trillion over 10 years.

The Urban Institute, a more liberal-leaning academic center in Washington, looked at Sanders’ plan in 2016 and predicted it would add $32 trillion over the decade.

But what about the offsets, the money paid now that Washington would pick up?

The Urban Institute estimated that state and local governments would save $4.1 trillion over 10 years, and that households and businesses would see about $21.9 trillion in savings.

The modeling is a challenge — how much would hospitals, doctors and drug makers be paid? Without insurance company profits, what are the net savings? What would be the cost when more affordable care leads to more use?

But if the Urban Institute numbers are reasonably correct, the total offsets of $26 trillion — state and local government plus private savings — leave a gap of $6 trillion relative to new federal spending. Overall, the Urban Institute said total health care expenditures would rise $6.6 trillion over the period.

Urban Institute fellow John Holahan pointed out that Medicare for All doesn’t cover some large areas of health care spending, such as institutional long-term care and veterans health care. The amount would be in the trillions of dollars. Sanders’ left that out when he compared the Medicare for All price tag to total health expenditures.

The RAND Corporation said that for 2019 by itself, Medicare for All would come with a 1.8% rise in total health care spending.

Medicare for All backers counter with a report out of the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. Economists there said the program could reduce the cost of care by about 10%. The bulk of those dollars would come from lower administrative and drug costs.

Who pays for it?

There’s no argument that Washington would need to collect more money to pay for Medicare for All. Sanders has put forth several suggestions. They include a 7.5% payroll tax from employers and a 4% one from workers. Households making over $250,000 a year would see a tax hike, and there would be a variety of tax changes that would fall primarily on the well-to-do, such as higher rates on capital gains and a wealth tax on the top 0.1% of households.

And with employers no longer making tax-free contributions to their workers’ premiums, Sanders’ predicts the government would see a net gain of $4.2 trillion over 10 years. The Tax Policy Center, a joint project of the Urban and Brookings Institutions, said that in 2018, that tax break cost the government $280 billion.

Still, Sanders’ proposals would raise about $16 trillion over the decade. That’s half of what the program would cost and he hasn’t said how he would close the gap.

Warren has offered fewer details than Sanders.

"Those at the very top, the richest individuals, and the biggest corporations, are going to pay more," Warren said in the debate. "And middle class families are going to pay less."

In the absence of a comprehensive proposal, no independent study has parsed how households at different income levels would fare.

Both Sanders and Warren argue that at the end of the day, "middle class families" will be better off. Whatever they pay in taxes, they say, will be more than offset by not paying premiums and not paying for the part of care that insurance doesn’t cover.

But the truth is, the data are lacking.

"Taxes are going to vary tremendously across workers," University of Chicago economist Katherine Baicker told us in July. "On net, some people are going to be much better off, and some people are going to be much worse off — and overall taxes will have to rise substantially."

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#13644 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2019-September-15, 19:42

View PostWinstonm, on 2019-September-15, 14:22, said:

Just for clarification, I mean abstract rather than practical application.

As to Warren, she supports Bernie Sanders plan for Medicare for all. Once again, there is not a simple yes/no answer to the question that was asked about raising taxes. The only answer is: it depends.


Some things are complicated. The difference between abstract and practical application sounds complicated. And taxes are complicated, or can be. But I think the question, as asked, was clear enough. Let's take a single person (joint filing might introduce a complication) with a job making 70K a year. No bonuses, no anything, just a job making 70K a year. Will his/her taxes go up? I am pretty confident that, after the question was asked and not answered, just about everyone watching drew the very reasonable conclusion that the answer is yes, his/her taxes will go up if the Warren plan is put through.


If by any chance this conclusion is incorrect, it would have been a very good idea for her to say so because certainly it is the conclusion I came to and I suspect almost everyone else drew the same conclusion.

Will this be balanced, or more than balanced, by a reduction in health care costs for this person? That is where I would have to know ore. What is his/her health plan now? Does it cover his/her needs? Does s/he pay all the costs or does an employer pay some of the costs?

As to myself, my guess is that my own costs would go up. I am covered by Medicare, I have a very good supplemental plan, and that supplemental plan is partially covered by my retirement benefits. So my present health care situation os pretty good, eliminating the remaining costs probably would not compensate for a tax increase.


I'm ok with that, or potentially ok with that, if I decide that her plan is good for the country as a whole. I am willing to listen. But her response was non-informative, except that from her refusal to answer I did draw the conclusion, pretty confidently, that her plan would result in a tax increase for me.


"What is truth" can lead to difficult issues. "Would your plan lead to an increase in taxes for middle class Americans" is not really an example of this. There might be some exceptional cases, but when she didn't answer this, I and I am sure most everyone concluded that this simple question had a simple answer: Yes.
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#13645 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-September-15, 19:54

From How Kamala Harris Can Make a Comeback by David Leonhardt at NYT:

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The most effective presidential candidates are able both to energize their base and persuade the political middle. Barack Obama, Ronald Reagan and F.D.R. all did so. They managed to seem exciting to their party and yet also comfortable for swing voters.

Senator Kamala Harris has the potential to pull off this trick. Her confrontational criticism of President Trump appeals to progressives, as does her relative freshness. Instead of being yet another aging white Baby Boomer, she’s a multiracial woman who’s younger than Obama.

At the same time, her résumé defies some of the caricatures that Republicans use to make swing voters suspicious of Democrats. She is a tough former prosecutor. She was an executive who oversaw thousands of employees.

For these reasons, Harris entered the campaign as a front-runner. Her kickoff rally, in Oakland, drew a larger crowd than any other 2020 event. Sure enough, her odds to win the nomination at one point in early summer, according to the Predictwise betting market, were almost as good as Joe Biden’s and Elizabeth’s Warren’s combined.

Then came Harris’s “summer slump.”

That’s the term her campaign used, in an internal memo that an aide apparently left in a New Hampshire restaurant and Politico published. Since July, Harris has dropped in the polls, and her fund-raising has lagged. This weekend, Predictwise gave her an 8 percent chance of being the nominee, less than Bernie Sanders had.

But I come to praise Harris today, not dismiss her. As the savvy political analyst Sean Trende wrote last week, she is the most natural politician in the field, and people are now underrating her chances. Last week, she had a good debate, from her opening statement directed at Trump to her stirring words about the dire peril of climate change — and our ability to overcome it.

The first primaries, remember, are still months away, and many people are only now starting to follow the race. Notably, a recent national poll found that fewer Democratic voters have formed an opinion about Harris than about her main rivals. The history of presidential campaigns offers the same lesson: When The New York Times ran a front-page story about the “mounting alarm” among Obama’s supporters over his underdog campaign against Hillary Clinton, it was late October 2007.

Harris remains an important candidate because the Democratic field remains flawed. And if you see Trump as a threat to America’s interests — which he is — you should at this point be rooting for as many strong potential nominees as possible. (That’s why I’d also welcome a surge from one or two of the candidates way down in the polls.)

Why do I think the field is flawed? Because Biden — who really does have swing-voter appeal — doesn’t look sharp right now. Sanders looks sharper, but his democratic socialism is a bigger general-election risk than the Bernie faithful acknowledge.

Warren is running by far the best campaign, with a clear message that echoes the most consistently successful Democratic strategy of the last century: populism. Yet she still hasn’t shown enough instinct for appealing to the voters who swung from Obama to Trump and back to the Democrats in the 2018 midterms. Those voters don’t want their private health insurance taken from them.

In the weeks ahead, I think Harris has two main jobs. First, she and her top advisers should be honest with themselves about her surprising penchant for mistakes. On Medicare policy, she has twice had to explain that she didn’t mean what she sure seemed to mean. On a radio show, she made a flippant remark about marijuana and Jamaica that her own father, who’s a Jamaican immigrant, criticized. At a town hall, she laughed when a voter used a slur for the mentally disabled (to describe Trump’s agenda), and she later claimed that she hadn’t heard the words.

There is a pattern here. Harris can be too quick to speak or react without thinking. It’s an understandable problem, because running for president is devilishly hard. But the way to get better at it — as past winners have done — is to avoid excuses and be ruthlessly (albeit privately) self-critical.

Her second task is to develop a clearer theory of her campaign’s case. Obama’s was about hope and change. Warren wants to fight for the middle class. Harris stands for … what, exactly? It’s not always evident, not from her vaguely titled book, “The Truths We Hold,” and not from her stump speech.

When asked about this problem in a recent interview, Harris rejected the poetry of campaigns and said, “I come at issues through the lens of how it actually impacts people.” That’s not good enough. It doesn’t help voters understands her values and priorities.

Defeating Trump can be part of the answer. Her strong debate performance was based on rising above wonky internal party fights and focusing on him. But a negative case is not sufficient. If she is going to make a comeback, she needs a pithy positive case too.

Over the last several months, I’ve had several Democratic voters tell me a version of the same story. They had just listened to Harris appear on television or a podcast, and they really wanted to like her. Yet she didn’t quite meet their expectations. They weren’t sure exactly who she was.

In that apprehension is both the problem and the promise of the Harris campaign. She hasn’t won over Democratic voters. But many of them sure are open to her.

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#13646 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2019-September-15, 23:10

The Psychopath in Chief has no problem lying like he has no idea what the truth is:

Trump denies reports he's willing to meet with Iran with 'no conditions'

Quote

President Trump on Sunday said it's incorrect to report that he's willing to meet with Iran with "no conditions," contradicting what multiple top administration officials have said in recent days.

"The Fake News is saying that I am willing to meet with Iran, 'No Conditions.' That is an incorrect statement (as usual!)," Trump tweeted without elaborating further.

Quote

Earlier this week, Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin both reiterated to reporters that Trump was willing to sit down with Rouhani with no conditions.

"The president has made very clear he is prepared to meet with no preconditions," Pompeo told reporters during a press conference alongside Mnuchin when asked about a possible meeting in New York.

And Mnuchin on Thursday said that Trump "has said he would sit down with Rouhani with no conditions," with the caveat that there were no plans to do so yet.

Hmmm, the Con Man in Chief brings up the "Fake News" once again :rolleyes: Pompeo and Mnuchin must be compulsive liars to say that the Liar in Chief would meet with no conditions. Actually, I wouldn't trust either of them to bag my groceries, but on something like this they wouldn't be making high profile foreign policy statements on their own.
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#13647 User is offline   rmnka447 

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Posted 2019-September-16, 06:55

View PostWinstonm, on 2019-September-13, 17:45, said:

Don't be a twit. Barr has the final authority in the Justice Department. Justice is part of the executive branch. Trump is the head of the executive branch, hence he is Barr's boss. Barr believes the executive has virtually unlimited powers to start and stop investigation and the only restraint there is against the executive is impeachment.

There is no way that McCabe is being prosecuted without Barr's ( and thus Trump's) approval. He is actually not being prosecuted but persecuted.


Certainly, the AG has the final say about a prosecution. He is supposed to be independent. When President Trump took office you complained about the DOJ becoming a tool of his and predicted the end of democracy because of it. Yet, I've yet to see that DOJ has become that. Jeff Sessions was off in his own little world doing God knows what. AG Barr has a long reputation as straight shooter dating back to his previous stint as AG under W. What evidence do you have that AG Barr is under the direct orders or influence of President Trump? So far as I can see, it's just a projection that you've made due to your living in the progressive bubble. Not fact, just fantasy.

Compare that with the Holder DOJ where AG Holder famously said "I'm President Obama's wingman." I guess it's OK for an AG to be the protector and lackey for the President if he's a Democrat, because you were as silent as church mice about that. Be consistent, if you'll call out one side you have to call out the other side for the same behavior. Or, maybe it's just because you believe progressives are just so privileged.

Let's see what the IG's report says. Purportedly, the IG will document more than times when McCabe lied to the FBI. Should that be acceptable in the 2nd highest law enforcement official in the FBI? Or, do you believe that high government officials should be given a pass while ordinary people get the book thrown at them for being inconsistent once?

Justice in this country has to parsed out in a fair and equal manner. It seems to me that AG Barr is on a mission to see the DOJ returns to that standard

Claiming McCabe is being persecuted is an OPINION not a fact. Nice try to present it as the opposite.



Quote

Personally, I have no trouble with people who have conservative values. I disagree a lot but that is OK. What you are doing, though, with this continued rabid support of Trump is to swallow whole a reality created by gaslighting.

I strongly, strongly recommend a book titled: How Democracies Die to see how democratic republics have been taken down a little at a time from the inside out. An important weapon for the autocrat is to take over the departments - Justice being a critical one.


If I'm swallowing "a reality created by gaslighting", at least I'm swallowing a reality. The insane animus of the left makes me wonder if all progressives are psychotic. They certainly act like it sometimes.
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#13648 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2019-September-16, 09:54

View Postrmnka447, on 2019-September-16, 06:55, said:

What evidence do you have that AG Barr is under the direct orders or influence of President Trump? So far as I can see, it's just a projection that you've made due to your living in the progressive bubble. Not fact, just fantasy.

The most obvious example was his blatantly misleading summary of the Mueller Report. He might as well have followed Trump's lead and published the report with all the examples of obstruction crossed out with a Sharpie.

#13649 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-September-16, 10:15

View Postrmnka447, on 2019-September-16, 06:55, said:

Certainly, the AG has the final say about a prosecution. He is supposed to be independent. When President Trump took office you complained about the DOJ becoming a tool of his and predicted the end of democracy because of it. Yet, I've yet to see that DOJ has become that. Jeff Sessions was off in his own little world doing God knows what. AG Barr has a long reputation as straight shooter dating back to his previous stint as AG under W. What evidence do you have that AG Barr is under the direct orders or influence of President Trump? So far as I can see, it's just a projection that you've made due to your living in the progressive bubble. Not fact, just fantasy.

Nice try Mr. Troll. Barr answered your question in his June 2018 audition for AG:

Quote

[the President] is the sole repository of all Executive powers conferred by the Constitution. The full measure of law enforcement authority is placed in the President’s hands, and no limit is placed on the kinds of cases subject to his control and supervision. While the President has subordinates --the Attorney General and DOJ lawyers -- who exercise prosecutorial discretion on his behalf, they are merely "his hand," Ponzi v. Fessenden, 258 U.S. 254, 262 (1922) - the discretion they exercise is the President's discretion, and their decisions are legitimate precisely because they remain under his supervision, and he is still responsible and politically accountable for them.

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#13650 User is offline   rmnka447 

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Posted 2019-September-16, 11:20

View Posthrothgar, on 2019-September-13, 16:58, said:

About those McCabe charges

https://www.lawfareb...cabe-grand-jury

Normally, you can get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich


The article is pure conjecture by a notoriously liberal law review site, so no conclusions can me drawn. I could probably find a similar strongly conservative law review site that would find information pointing to just the opposite conclusion.

In the meantime, the NYT and WaPo articles about the declining to indict McCabe have proved to be the MSM repeating rumors. Maybe, they were started as a ploy to try to discredit any possible prosecution of McCabe. Who knows?

Let's wait for the full IG report to come out before drawing any conclusions about McCabe's culpability. But I can understand how you want to come to a conclusion that's more in line with your view of the world from the progressive fantasy bubble.

Let's wait for all the facts to come out

Let the chips fall where they may.
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#13651 User is online   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-September-16, 13:49

Is there a term for a victim of gaslighting?

Quote

Gaslighting is an insidious form of abuse that thrives on uncertainty. A person can grow to mistrust everything they hear, feel, and remember.


What would a gaslighting victim say about information that challenges his belief? Fake news, notoriously liberal, biased nonsense...

Quote

Those who have experienced gaslighting may also wish to seek therapy. A therapist is a neutral party who can help reinforce one’s sense of reality.


The bitch of it is that reality has a liberal bias. B-)
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#13652 User is online   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-September-16, 15:26

Seems there is more impeachment talk in the air:

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A New York Times investigation into Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s time at Yale University has uncovered another allegation of sexual misconduct that was previously unreported. Max Stier, a Yale classmate of Kavanaugh in the 1980s, reportedly said he saw Kavanaugh with his pants down at a dorm party where his friends pushed his penis into the hand of a female student. Stier notified senators and the FBI about the incident but it was not investigated, according to the Times, which cited two officials who have spoken to Stier about his account

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#13653 User is offline   rmnka447 

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Posted 2019-September-16, 15:51

View PostWinstonm, on 2019-September-16, 15:26, said:

Seems there is more impeachment talk in the air:


That bastion of truth and honesty forgot to mention that in the incident they were reporting, the book they were taking it from pointed out that the person involved couldn't remember the incident. They have since (surprise, surprise) printed a retraction. Just the old progressive propaganda machine working its guilt by accusation ploy.

BTW, a GWU law professor pointed that you can only impeach someone for things they do after they are in office. He referred back to Schuyler Colfax who apparently did some nasty stuff before being appointed to the bench. The courts ruled that he couldn't be impeached for actions prior to being appointed and that is the precedent.

But, hey, I can appreciate that most progressives favor Humpty Dumpty law -- the law means what they want it to mean at any moment. It's what makes conservatives like me cringe whenever progressives start going on about how the rule of law is being undercut and abused.
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#13654 User is offline   andrei 

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Posted 2019-September-16, 17:37

View PostWinstonm, on 2019-September-16, 15:26, said:

A New York Times investigation into Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s time at Yale University has uncovered another allegation of sexual misconduct that was previously unreported. Max Stier, a Yale classmate of Kavanaugh in the 1980s, reportedly said he saw Kavanaugh with his pants down at a dorm party where his friends pushed his penis into the hand of a female student. Stier notified senators and the FBI about the incident but it was not investigated, according to the Times, which cited two officials who have spoken to Stier about his account


It becomes more and more clear that you (and others here) are grossly misinformed.

So to help with that:

"
Editors' Note: An earlier version of this article, which was adapted from a forthcoming book, did not include one element of the book's account regarding an assertion by a Yale classmate that friends of Brett Kavanaugh pushed his penis into the hand of a female student at a drunken dorm party. The book reports that the female student declined to be interviewed and friends say that she does not recall the incident. That information has been added to the article.
"
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#13655 User is online   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-September-16, 18:07

View Postrmnka447, on 2019-September-16, 15:51, said:

That bastion of truth and honesty forgot to mention that in the incident they were reporting, the book they were taking it from pointed out that the person involved couldn't remember the incident. They have since (surprise, surprise) printed a retraction. Just the old progressive propaganda machine working its guilt by accusation ploy.

BTW, a GWU law professor pointed that you can only impeach someone for things they do after they are in office. He referred back to Schuyler Colfax who apparently did some nasty stuff before being appointed to the bench. The courts ruled that he couldn't be impeached for actions prior to being appointed and that is the precedent.

But, hey, I can appreciate that most progressives favor Humpty Dumpty law -- the law means what they want it to mean at any moment. It's what makes conservatives like me cringe whenever progressives start going on about how the rule of law is being undercut and abused.


You can be impeached for lying during your confirmation hearings.

FWIW: The NYT did not retract but offered a correction to their story. The Hill describes it like this:

Quote

The Times in the story published Saturday reported a former classmate of Kavanaugh's named Max Stier said he witnessed the now-justice expose himself and force a female classmate to touch his penis at a dorm party. The Times said it corroborated the story with two other officials who had heard the same report from Stier.

However, the woman involved in the alleged incident did not speak to the Times and, according to the correction, her friends say she does not recall that it happened.


You know, if you tried to find out the accurate information for yourself instead of relying on Fox and Friends to tell you what is happening you wouldn't so often look like a twit.

Let's recap with reality compared to what you claimed: 1) The NYT issued a correction, not a retraction. The basic story is unchanged. 2) Kavanaugh was never going to be impeached for what happened 30 years ago but for lying under oath during his confirmation hearing.
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#13656 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2019-September-16, 22:24

View Postandrei, on 2019-September-16, 17:37, said:

...

Moderator - Can you award a participation award to andrei? He is trying the best he can with limited resources.
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#13657 User is online   hrothgar 

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Posted 2019-September-17, 03:18

View Postrmnka447, on 2019-September-16, 15:51, said:


BTW, a GWU law professor pointed that you can only impeach someone for things they do after they are in office. He referred back to Schuyler Colfax who apparently did some nasty stuff before being appointed to the bench. The courts ruled that he couldn't be impeached for actions prior to being appointed and that is the precedent.



Either said professor or you completely misunderstand what took place.

1. Schuyler Colfax was Vice president at the time. He was not a judge, not had he been "appointed to the bench"
2. Colfax was impeached, and said impeachment did fail, however, this did not get ruled on by the courts nor does it establish any kind of legal precedent
3. The impeachment vote against Colfax was close to being a party line vote. Yes, some folks in congress justified their decision claiming that they didn't want to impeach someone for a crime that they commited before taking offer, but the real precedent is that impeachment trials are inherently political.
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#13658 User is online   hrothgar 

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Posted 2019-September-17, 03:40

View Postrmnka447, on 2019-September-16, 11:20, said:

The article is pure conjecture by a notoriously liberal law review site, so no conclusions can me drawn.


I am very much in agreement that Lawfare is highly critical of Trump, however, its laughable to describe the Lawfare as liberal.
The word "liberal" actual has a meaning, and it is different than "people who are mean to Trump"

And, when you are describing a web site founded by Jack Goldsmith as "liberal" you've completely lost perspective
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Posted 2019-September-17, 05:23

From Why Can't Congress Solve Hard Problems? by Jonathan Bernstein at Bloomberg:

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Ultimately, the U.S. needs stronger institutions if it wants to accomplish difficult things.

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How much of a problem is the loss of congressional capacity?

That question comes up, as Congress returns from its August recess, in a Monkey Cage item from Craig Volden and Alan E. Wiseman that focuses on the collapse of House committees from 1995 on. It’s a solid piece, but as Josh Huder points out, the rise of congressional leadership was probably critical to the passage of major legislation such as the Affordable Care Act. The House was weaker when committees ruled before the reforms that began after the 1958 election; it’s weaker now, after Newt Gingrich concentrated influence in the speaker’s office at the expense of everything else.

Huder also questions whether congressional procedure is ultimately related to solving public-policy problems:

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But many put misplaced hope in the committee system, believing it will create the pathways to revolutionary policymaking. That belief lays too much blame on Congress for what is really the fault of the political environment more broadly. Congress cannot fix every political problem.

In part, I agree. The biggest problem with the current policy-making process isn’t Congress or the presidency; it’s the Republican Party, which has to a shocking extent simply given up on trying to solve problems. The most obvious example is health care: Republicans think the Affordable Care Act is bad policy, yet almost a decade later they still don’t have any real alternative. The same is true in one policy area after another. This wasn’t the case in the 1980s, when Republicans regularly pushed substantial legislation (including, of course, legislation to reduce what government was doing). But since the Gingrich years, and especially over the last decade, they’ve largely become a post-policy party. That has very little to do with the structure of the House and Senate, and I think it matters more – it’s why a unified Republican government in 2017 and 2018 produced so little.

But I also disagree with Huder in part. If the House is better organized – if it’s more powerful – that means the nation can do more. The same with a better organized Senate or White House or federal bureaucracy. A system of separated institutions sharing powers doesn’t produce a zero-sum contest; to the contrary, the more powerful each chamber and institution can become, the more powerful the country is, and the easier it will get to solve difficult problems. The same is true within the House: Strong committees and strong leadership can make for a more powerful institution. The correct answer to leadership vs. committees is both.

To me, that’s the promise of the republic that the Framers designed. It’s what united, at least for a while, James Madison and Alexander Hamilton. Yes, all the overlapping authorities, the checks and balances, can make it hard to do anything. But multiple veto points are also multiple initiation points. And that brings with it enormous potential for action. The trick is to follow up on Madison and Hamilton, and to keep finding institutional designs that unleash and nourish that potential.

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If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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Posted 2019-September-17, 06:16

From Why I’m rooting for the G.M. strikers by David Leonhardt at NYT:

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“Successful strikes beget more strikes,” Steven Greenhouse, the longtime labor reporter, writes in today’s Times. The reverse is true, as well: Failures by labor unions — and the workers they represent — lead to more failures.

For this reason, the current strike by almost 50,000 General Motors workers matters well beyond the auto industry.

Organized labor is in the midst of a modest winning streak right now. Teachers in at least seven states have staged walkouts. Last year, thousands of Marriott workers went on strike, as did other hotel workers in Chicago and health care workers in California. Many of these job actions led to pay increases, as employers decided that they would rather increase wages than continue to deal with the chaos and costs of walkouts and strikes.

A high-profile successful strike by one group of workers, in turn, encourages other workers to take the risk. “When, say, teachers in Oklahoma see their West Virginia colleagues walking out and winning substantial pay increases, there is a contagion effect,” as Jake Rosenfeld, a professor at Washington University in St. Louis, has said. “They start to believe, ‘Hey, we can do that, too.’”

Over most of the past 40 years, of course, the dynamic has been working in the opposite direction. President Ronald Reagan famously fired striking air traffic controllers in 1981, which encouraged companies to play hardball with their own workers. As more companies did so — refusing to grant raises and firing strikers — workers became afraid and disillusioned.

For years, the United Automobile Workers union — the one that went on strike this week — has been suffering from this kind of vicious cycle.

Some of its problems have been self-inflicted, including corruption. U.A.W. leaders have recently been the subject of a corruption investigation, in which a few have been convicted of accepting bribes. In some cases, they took the bribes from employers in exchange for accepting concessions during contract talks. When the U.A.W. narrowly lost an election to unionize workers at a Volkswagen plant in Tennessee this year, some workers said — understandably — that they voted against it because they were skeptical the union would really fight for their interests.

The G.M. strike is in part an effort by the union to halt this cycle of defeat. By calling the strike, the union’s remaining leaders are trying to demonstrate a new willingness to fight for their members. “A successful strike at General Motors could persuade U.A.W. members that the union is willing to take significant risks to fight on behalf of its members, potentially opening the door to more organizing in the anti-union South, where many auto plants have migrated,” Mike Elk wrote in The American Prospect yesterday.

The striking workers are asking for a pay increase and for the reopening of idled plants, among other things, and they are arguing that G.M. is now profitable enough (having earned $8.1 billion last year) to afford both. Given the wage stagnation that most workers have suffered in recent decades — and the larger import of the G.M. strike — I’m rooting for the workers to win a better deal.

I’m also rooting for the U.A.W. to solve its corruption problem and make sure its leaders are looking out for the workers rather than themselves.

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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