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

#14741 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-February-11, 19:35

Jerry Nadler and his knights threaten Bill Le Barr:
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#14742 User is online   y66 

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Posted 2020-February-12, 07:12

From Jonathan Bernstein at Bloomberg:

Quote

That Donald Trump is a sore winner is nothing new. But the extent to which he’s been exercising his vindictiveness over the last week since he survived a Senate impeachment trial is impressive. Politico’s Kyle Cheney lists the lowlights: “In 6 days since acquittal, Trump/WH have: removed Vindman; removed Sondland; vowed payback/retribution; attacked judge in Roger Stone case; attacked DOJ prosecutors for Stone sentencing proposal; attacked FBI Director Wray; withdrawn Liu/McCusker nominations.”

All of this and more has a lot of thoughtful people worried about the politicization of the Justice Department and the future of the rule of law in the U.S., and with good reason.

What I’ll add is that it’s also really inept presidenting. Trump is, as usual, doing his job badly.

After all, most of the retribution he’s attempting is pointless. Take, for example, his decision to remove Alexander Vindman from the White House in a humiliating fashion — having him escorted out — rather than waiting for Vindman to be rotated out of his National Security Council position in a few months. He gained nothing from it other than applause from Fox News and others who would applaud him if he blew his nose. Meanwhile, he risked further (further) alienating plenty of people who respect military service.

This reached a new level on Tuesday in the Roger Stone case, when four prosecutors withdrew from the case, one resigning entirely, after they were overruled in their sentencing recommendations in the wake of Trump’s public complaints. Trump’s pressure on Justice is likely to earn him more enemies within the bureaucracy. It may hurt him (or, at least, Stone) with the judge who has the sentencing decision. And all of this is further humiliation for senators who stuck with him on the impeachment vote only to have him increase his lawlessness practically as soon as the gavel banged down on the final vote.

Yes, I know what a lot of people say: Trump is getting away with it all. Republicans in Congress will do whatever he wants. But that’s not really true. After all, the other important thing that happened this week is that Trump’s budget proposal arrived on Capitol Hill, and was promptly flushed down the toilet by both parties. Matt Glassman gets it right: “Senate Republicans—if they cared—could *still* demand Trump clean house in WH, install a real CoS, and start running administration in a modestly non-corrupt manner. Yes, they have a collection action problem and face some individual risk, but they have plenty of leverage, too.” After all, as he notes, when they actually do care about substance, “Trump consistently backs down when Republicans tell him too—on NATO, on Korea, on closing border, etc.”

We are locked, in other words, not in a power struggle, but in something of a lack of power struggle. Trump is weak; Congress, and especially Republicans in Congress, are even weaker. And around them, institutions of democracy crumble not so much because Trump is a Mussolini but because none of them have any idea what they’re doing — or are so afraid of their shadows that they refuse to do anything.

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#14743 User is online   y66 

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Posted 2020-February-12, 07:13

From Noah Feldman at Bloomberg:

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Following a presidential tweet, Donald Trump’s Department of Justice is poised to betray Robert Mueller’s independence — after the fact. Reportedly, Justice will retract the sentencing recommendation that was made yesterday to sentence Roger Stone for seven to nine years for lying to Congress and witness tampering. All four prosecutors quickly resigned from the case.

The whole point of Mueller’s status as special prosecutor was to protect his investigation from improper White House influence. Now, Stone’s sentencing is being hijacked by direct presidential influence.

None of this is normal. It’s not normal for the Justice Department to reverse a sentencing recommendation already submitted to court. It’s especially not normal when the decision follows the president tweeting that the sentence sought was too high. And it’s the trifecta of non-normalness when the person being sentenced was convicted of lying to protect the president in an investigation of whether the president colluded with a foreign power to get elected.

Lest you have forgotten, a reminder: Roger Stone is bad news. A veteran of Richard Nixon’s regime of dirty tricks and self-professed mentee of the late and unlamented Roy Cohn, Stone served as a conduit between WikiLeaks and the 2016 Trump campaign. Questioned about his conduct by the House Intelligence Committee, Stone lied under oath — five separate times, according to the Mueller team and the jury that convicted him. Stone also tried to pressure an associate, the radio personality Randy Credico, to lie to Congress so that their stories would match. And he did it in an especially colorful fashion, telling Credico to emulate the conduct of the character Frank Pentangeli from the film “Godfather II,” who lies to Congress to protect mobster Michael Corleone.

The Mueller team discovered Stone’s crimes and indicted him in January 2019. Ordinarily, the federal government lawyers who file an indictment get to try their cases through verdict and sentencing, but because the Mueller team dissolved after its report was filed, Mueller farmed out several criminal prosecutions to different U.S. Attorney’s offices. Two former members of Mueller’s team, Aaron Zelinsky and Adam Jed, continued to work on the case. Both prosecutors left the case today, along with Michael Marando. The fourth prosecutor, Jonathan Kravis, announced he was quitting his job as an assistant U.S. attorney entirely.

The sentencing recommendation filed yesterday was certainly at the high end of what the Department of Justice would ordinarily seek for a first-time felon convicted of a nonviolent crime. Yet it fit within federal sentencing guidelines. Explaining the request, the prosecutors pointed out the seriousness of interfering with the 2016 election. They emphasized Stone’s disrespect for Congress and the investigative process. And they mentioned Stone’s contempt for the judicial process, including his outrageous conduct of posting a picture of the presiding judge with crosshairs next to her head.

When President Trump heard about the sentencing recommendation, he tweeted immediately that it was “horrible and very unfair.” The Department of Justice will likely claim that it would have revised the recommendation regardless, but that claim is doubtful and in any case impossible to prove.

What’s so strikingly bad here is that the entire purpose of appointing Mueller as special counsel was to assure him the greatest degree of independence from Trump permitted by current government regulations. A constant concern throughout Mueller’s investigation was that Trump or those around him would wrongfully try to influence the investigation and its outcome.

Now Trump is taking advantage of the fact that the investigation is over to interfere in a criminal prosecution that was filed as part of that very investigation. And he’s going to get away with it, insofar as Attorney General William Barr agrees to do his bidding. The sentencing judge could always choose to impose a longer sentence, of course, but it would be pretty unusual for a judge to give a sentence harsher than the one recommended by prosecutors.

It can’t be ignored that Trump’s conduct follows so soon after the Senate voted to keep him in office. Although the timing of the sentencing recommendation is presumably coincidental, Trump’s response surely reflects how completely unconstrained he feels post-impeachment.

Trump famously called Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy immediately after the release of the Mueller report, which stopped short of stating that he had committed any crimes. Free of the Mueller investigation, Trump committed the conduct for which he was subsequently impeached. Now that impeachment is over, it would seem, Trump is free to settle a score with Mueller’s team.

We may have become inured to Trump’s outrageous conduct. But we shouldn’t be. Trump’s intervention in the Stone sentencing is an outrage against the idea of Mueller’s independence. It further undercuts any possibility for the executive branch to monitor presidential misconduct. That’s bad for democracy and the rule of law.

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#14744 User is online   y66 

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Posted 2020-February-12, 07:25

Maryland is considering a $4 billion proposal that would lessen dependency on property taxes.

From Craig Torres at Bloomberg:

Quote

The primary school in Crellin, Md., a village of 260 people, sits on a reclaimed coal-loading site in the Appalachian Mountains. On top of reading, writing, and arithmetic, students get to look after chickens and lambs in the barn outside. They also learn about pollution by testing water from the nearby river.

It’s a place full of warmth and curiosity—and, like most of the families who send their children there, it’s short of money. “I want them to have choices,” says principal Dana McCauley of the kids in her charge. The school has earned widespread recognition for its environmental education program. But there’s no money for tutors, and funds for the school’s math academy have dried up.

Rising inequality is now at the heart of U.S. public debate, looming over just about every policy discussion from trade to interest rates and likely to take center stage in this year’s presidential election. America’s classrooms are one place where the trend could be halted.

McCauley and her staff are battling to give children from low-income families a better educational start. That can lead to decent paychecks and a stake in an economy that’s become more oriented toward skills and knowledge. But because of the way the U.S. school system is funded, it often perpetuates inequality instead. The reality is that McCauley’s school would have more resources if the children who went there were better off.

Maryland—one of the more prosperous states but also one with pockets of hardship in places including Baltimore and rural areas like Crellin—is trying to disrupt this loop in which underfunded school systems produce poor adults. It’s embarked on what some experts say is one of the biggest education reforms attempted by a state in recent years, with a price tag that runs into the billions of dollars.

U.S. schools get most of their money from state and local authorities. The latter typically rely on property taxes to raise revenue and can do it more easily in wealthy neighborhoods. It’s a “uniquely American” system, says Elaine Weiss, a researcher at the Economic Policy Institute. And its distributional consequences are “uniquely bad,” she says. “Some kids, just by dint of where they are born, will have much less funding.”

In this year’s legislative session, Maryland lawmakers are considering a proposal that would ramp up education spending by state and local authorities, adding $4 billion a year by the end of the decade. The goal is educational outcomes—and ultimately social and economic ones—that are both better and fairer.

The commission that drafted the plan said it wants to transform a school system with “glaring gaps in student achievement based on income, race, and other student subgroups.” Less than half of Maryland kindergartners enter school prepared to learn, the commission said, and tests show only about a third of the state’s high school juniors are “college and career ready.”

William Kirwan, the commission’s head and a former University of Maryland chancellor, calls the under-education of vast segments of the U.S. population a “ticking time bomb” that’s “right there hidden in plain sight.”

relates to American Way of School Funding Is ‘Uniquely Bad’ for Inequality
Crellin Elementary School.PHOTOGRAPHER: KRISTIAN THACKER FOR BLOOMBERG BUSINESSWEEK
The Kirwan proposal is based on a reality that McCauley experiences every day in Crellin: Kids are walking into classrooms with problems and won’t learn much unless those are addressed. It envisages full-day prekindergarten for children as young as 3 years old, an expansion of family support centers, and improved pay and career paths for teachers. Schools with a high concentration of poverty would get counseling and health services.

Maryland’s state government would pay for a chunk of the program—and play a redistributive role, directing more money toward poorer areas, such as Garrett County, where Crellin is. By 2030 state spending would rise $2.77 billion above the current law while local funding would rise by $1.23 billion.

Paul Edwards has been a mayor, teacher, and coach in Garrett County, where his family has lived for four generations, and now is a county commissioner. It’s going to be “very difficult” to find the money for the proposal, he says, because Garrett recently raised taxes and is worried about chasing residents and employers away. With companies relocating across borders in search of lower costs or into areas that have a technologically skilled workforce, keeping jobs in rural areas is a high priority. He also acknowledges the flip side: The biggest challenge for new business in the county is finding the right workers, and education is vital for that.

The Maryland educators’ union, which is backing the Kirwan plan, makes the same point. It argues that the only way to stem population decline in such places is to make them attractive to employers, which means having an above-average school system. The union also says Garrett County will get more money in state aid than it has to pay from its own coffers.

The county’s profile illustrates what millions of Americans are missing, even after a decade-long economic expansion left the country better off on aggregate. Unemployment in Garrett is just 4.2%, but taxable incomes are among the lowest of Maryland’s 24 counties.

While income inequality across the U.S. has steadily worsened, the performance gap between rich and poor students has at least stopped widening, says Bruce Baker, a professor at Rutgers University who specializes in education financing. “In a modest way I guess that could be called a win,” he says, but it’s going to take a lot of time and resources targeted to high-need districts to narrow the gap. “Some of these states are trying to lean hard” against inequality, Baker says. But “they’re leaning against a very strong force.”

Kirwan, who’s 81, says most people his age have retired and left political battles to others. But as a lifelong educator, he’s worried—and not just about his own state. “We have these horrific income gaps in America,” and educational disparities are making them worse, he says.

He anticipates a pitched battle as the state legislature begins debating the plan that bears his name. “Who knows if we are going to get it across the goal line,” Kirwan says. Yet he’s hopeful that if it does pass, “it will be a drop of a pebble in a lake that could ripple across our country.”

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#14745 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2020-February-12, 07:54

I suppose this will be a little simplistic, but let's say there is a "more progressive" group of voters and a "more moderate" group of voters. It was once thought that Sanders and Warren would be the main contenders on the more progressive side, and that Biden would be the clear favorite on the more moderate side. It appears that Warren and Biden are out of it. I realize this could change, of course it could, but surely most observers expected Warren and Biden to be doing a good deal better than they are.

The Dems should seriously ponder just why it is that Warren and Biden have fared so poorly. One answer could be that Sanders, Buttigieg and Klobuchar are such really terrific candidates that they just blew away the competition. I think that would be a very optimistic explanation. It's good to look at why the successful were successful, but it could also be useful to look at why candidates Warren and Biden, who were once expected to do well, are faring poorly. It's easier to ask than to answer but I'm working on it.
Ken
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#14746 User is online   y66 

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Posted 2020-February-12, 07:57

There are some good things happening in Richmond, Virginia where Dems now control both houses in the General Assembly and the governorship for the first time in 22 years. Graham Moomaw has the story at the Virginia Mercury.

In a related story at WaPo, Virginia political scientist Stephen Farnsworth said “Virginia has not become the East Coast version of California. But Virginia is clearly being governed in a far more liberal direction than has been the case in decades, if not ever.”

I like it.
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#14747 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-February-12, 08:39

View Posty66, on 2020-February-12, 07:13, said:

From Noah Feldman at Bloomberg:


Using law enforcement to intimidate and attack enemies is a hallmark of totalitarian regimes. Welcome to Trump World.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#14748 User is online   y66 

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Posted 2020-February-12, 08:40

From Martin Wolfe at FT:

Quote

With one bound, US President Donald Trump was free. With the expected display of naked partisanship, Senate Republicans (with the exception of Mitt Romney) abandoned their constitutionally mandated role as judges of his alleged abuse of power. They have deferred the decision to the voters in November’s presidential election. Mr Trump will possess many advantages: passionate supporters; a united party; the electoral college; and a healthy economy. His re-election seems likely.

The most obvious reason why Mr Trump might win again is the economy. Even by his standards, last week’s State of the Union address was a case of exaggeration piled on hyperbole. As Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel laureate economist, has pointed out, US performance remains poor by the standards of its peers in salient respects, notably life expectancy, employment ratios and inequality. Moreover, output, employment, unemployment and real wages are largely continuing post-crisis trends. Given the scale of the fiscal stimulus, which has delivered huge and enduring structural fiscal deficits, this is no great achievement. Nevertheless, many Americans will feel that the economy is improving. This will surely play a big part in the coming election.

If Mr Trump wins, this victory could well be even more significant than his first. For the American people to choose a classic demagogue twice could not be dismissed as an accident. It would be a decisive moment.

The most obvious implication of Mr Trump’s victory would be for liberal democracy in the US. The president believes he is above accountability to the law or to Congress for what he does in office. He holds himself accountable only to the electorate (or, rather, to his electorate). He believes, too, that appointed members of his administration, public servants and the elected officials of his party all owe their loyalty to himself, not to any higher cause.

The founding fathers feared just such a man. In the first of the Federalist Papers, Alexander Hamilton wrote that, “Of those men who have overturned the liberties of republics, the greatest number have begun their careers by paying an obsequious court to the people; commencing demagogues and ending tyrants.” In this, he was following Plato, who wrote how a man who gained power as the people’s protector might become “a wolf — that is a tyrant”. In his Farewell Address of 1796, George Washington argued that the “disorders and miseries which result [from factionalism] gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual”. Factionalism is certainly rife in today’s America.

We cannot know how far Mr Trump would want to go or how far the institutions of the republic would let him do so. Yet is there anything Mr Trump could do, apart from losing the loyalty of his base, that would persuade Mitch McConnell, Senate majority leader, to turn on him? It is not institutions, but the people who serve them, that matter most.

Even if the great republic survived the trial largely unscathed (which is optimistic) the re-election of this man — a demagogue, a nationalist, an incontinent liar and an admirer of tyrants — would have worldwide significance.

Despots view Mr Trump as a kindred spirit. Liberal democrats would feel even more abandoned. The notion of the west as an alliance with some moral foundations would evaporate. It would at best be a bloc of rich countries seeking to hold their global position. As a nationalist, he would continue to dislike and despise the EU, as both an ideal and a wielder of countervailing economic power against the US.

David Helvey, acting US assistant secretary of defence, recently wrote of the hostility of China and Russia to the “rules-based order”. This ideal does indeed matter. Unfortunately, its most powerful enemy is now his own country, because it has always relied on American vision and energy. With his mercantilism and bilateralism, Mr Trump has aimed an intellectual and moral missile at the global trading system. He even sees his own country as the greatest victim of its own order. The problem, then, is not that Mr Trump believes in nothing, but rather that what he believes is often so wrong.

More broadly, his short-term transactionalism and willingness to use all available instruments of US power creates an unstable and unpredictable world not just for governments, but also for businesses. This uncertainty, too, might get worse in a second term. It is an open question whether any sort of international rule of law would survive.

There are huge practical challenges that need to be managed. One is the US’s complex and fraught relationship with China. Yet, on this, Mr Trump is far from the most hawkish of Americans. He has a streak of pragmatism. He likes to do deals, however half-baked they may be.

Perhaps the most important issue (if one leaves aside avoiding nuclear war) is management of the global commons — above all, the atmosphere and oceans. Crucial concerns are climate and biodiversity. Little time is left to act against threats to both. A renewed Trump administration, hostile to these causes and the very concept of global co-operation, would make needed action impossible. Often, this administration does not seem even to recognise public goods as a category of challenges worthy of concern.

We are living through a hinge moment in history. The world needs exceptionally wise and co-operative global leadership. We are not getting it. It may be folly to expect it. But Mr Trump’s re-election could well mark a decisive failure. Pay attention: the year 2020 matters.

Is the other Mr. Wolfe in the house?
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#14749 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-February-12, 08:43

View Postkenberg, on 2020-February-12, 07:54, said:

I suppose this will be a little simplistic, but let's say there is a "more progressive" group of voters and a "more moderate" group of voters. It was once thought that Sanders and Warren would be the main contenders on the more progressive side, and that Biden would be the clear favorite on the more moderate side. It appears that Warren and Biden are out of it. I realize this could change, of course it could, but surely most observers expected Warren and Biden to be doing a good deal better than they are.

The Dems should seriously ponder just why it is that Warren and Biden have fared so poorly. One answer could be that Sanders, Buttigieg and Klobuchar are such really terrific candidates that they just blew away the competition. I think that would be a very optimistic explanation. It's good to look at why the successful were successful, but it could also be useful to look at why candidates Warren and Biden, who were once expected to do well, are faring poorly. It's easier to ask than to answer but I'm working on it.


I think these are fairly easy to answer: Warren is the female Sanders and Sanders is more charismatic and more like Trump in that he attacks with his answers and does not appear wishy-washy. Warren, at times, does. Biden has been poisoned just as Hillary was poisoned by innuendo and slander.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#14750 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-February-12, 08:45

View Posty66, on 2020-February-12, 08:40, said:

From Martin Wolfe at FT:


Is the other Mr. Wolfe in the house?


The one who thinks fast, talks fast, and drives fast?
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#14751 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2020-February-12, 11:07

View PostWinstonm, on 2020-February-12, 08:43, said:

I think these are fairly easy to answer: Warren is the female Sanders and Sanders is more charismatic and more like Trump in that he attacks with his answers and does not appear wishy-washy. Warren, at times, does. Biden has been poisoned just as Hillary was poisoned by innuendo and slander.

Do you really believe this stuff Winston? Warren and Sanders may be close on policy but they portray themselves very differently. Sanders likes to be the outsider with no party affiliation championing the plight of the poor. Warren on the other hand is more of the intellectual who has thought everything through and has all the answers. This image made her complete failure to provide a satisfactory response to her first serious question, the cost of her healthcare plan, all the more debilitating. It is no accident that since then her numbers have been in decline.

In the moderate track we have Biden as the ultimate insider. Quite frankly, from his performances so far the only reason he is still in the race is the association he has with Obama. That gives him the ultimate street cred with minority voters. He is very much the establishment figure in the race. The other two moderates are similar in that they rely to some extent on their lack of establishment credentials as their main selling point. Klobuchar tends to stress experience and her election track record to try and elevate herself over Buttigieg. Buttigieg works more from charisma, his excellent communication skills and a generally very slick operation.

So let's analyse what is going on. Sanders has traditionally very loyal first-choice support but finds it difficult to attract support from other candidates. That makes him particularly dangerous in a field such as this one which is crowded and first choice support is more important than being a second or third choice, but could perhaps lead to problems down the line, particularly in the election itself. Aside from that though, what do the three currently successful candidates - Sanders Buttigieg and Klobuchar - all have in common? They all portray themselves as non-establishment to some degree. Of course that is essentially nonsense in reality but in politics image is everything and that is how they have been seen in comparison with figures like Biden and Warren. Right now, what the electorate wants more than a radical or a moderate is someone non-establishment. Now of course Warren and Biden have both compounded the issues of that image deficit by their own mistakes but I think to blame the poor showing on Ukraine is rather missing the point.

And Democrats cannot afford to miss the point here. The electorate are already telling them what they need to do to win the next election. From what I have seen so far, I absolutely do not think that Buttigieg or Klobuchar are the best candidates in the field. In fact I suspect both were looking primarily at building name recognition ahead of a possible 2024 campaign. But I do think that they, particularly Buttigieg, are the closest to offering voters what they are looking for in 2020...if they can connect with minority communities! To that I think it would be really smart for Buttigieg to go to Booker already now and promise him a running mate position if he will endorse him. Perhaps he would, perhaps not, but he desperately needs something like that to build some level of trust and respect in minority communities.

I hope he can manage it. I think Trump will win against Sanders, Biden or Bloomberg. And I see Yang, Steyer and Warren as already done. Klobuchar could yet take off but probably only if Buttigieg drops the ball as there is essentially only space for one of them to run successfully. if booth stay in too long, most likely one of the old guys will win and, ultimately, it will be 4 more years of Trump. Democrats cannot afford to miss the point!
(-: Zel :-)

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#14752 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2020-February-12, 11:27

I think there are some psychological reactions to these candidates.

Warren reminds me of a mother reminding you to clean your room and put on a coat when going out.
Sanders is your grumpy but lovable granddad.
Buttigieg and Klobuchar could be your favorite uncle and aunt.

As much as you might know that mother knows best, you still rebel.

#14753 User is online   y66 

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Posted 2020-February-12, 11:46

View PostWinstonm, on 2020-February-12, 08:45, said:

The one who thinks fast, talks fast, and drives fast?

All that + solves problems, which may require being curt when time is a factor.
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#14754 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-February-12, 17:08

View Posty66, on 2020-February-12, 11:46, said:

All that + solves problems, which may require being curt when time is a factor.


And he's got a cool first name. B-)
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#14755 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2020-February-13, 06:19

A movie analogy came to mind while I was trying to think of how to explain my views on Trump. I saw On the Waterfront when it came out in 1954. That's a while ago but it gets re-released every so often. Lee J Cobb is Johhny Friend. He runs a labor union, he gets some benefits for the workers, a lot more for himself, the union guys are D and D, deaf and dumb, if they want to live. Think of the Republican Party as the union, and Trump as Johnny Friendly, that's how I see what's happening. It helps to have an image, and this one fits pretty well.

The movie has a hopeful ending. It's a movie.
Ken
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#14756 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2020-February-13, 06:45

View Postkenberg, on 2020-February-13, 06:19, said:

Think of the Republican Party as the family, and Trump as the Godfather, that's how I see what's happening. It helps to have an image, and this one fits pretty well.

FYP.
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#14757 User is online   y66 

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Posted 2020-February-13, 08:12

View Postkenberg, on 2020-February-11, 06:09, said:

I await the news story that begins: Person X is the one whose name appears on the contract with Shadow, person Y (perhaps X=Y) is the person who was to test the app and organize its usage, and persons X and Y are now looking for work elsewhere.

Troy Price has taken responsibility and is now looking for work elsewhere. Was he person X? Don't know. As Sara Morrison at Recode and employees at Interknowingly who developed the app that was used successfully in 2016, explain here, the management of Shadow, the company that developed the new app, underestimated the time and resources needed to code, test, deploy the new app and train users by a factor of 10 or so, which set their engineers and others up to fail. If Price did not understand how unrealistic Shadow's plan was, he surely understood that you get what you pay for -- and he got it.
If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#14758 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2020-February-13, 12:48

View PostZelandakh, on 2020-February-12, 11:07, said:

Democrats cannot afford to miss the point!

Ibram X. Kendi is on CNN right now making, inter alia, precisely the point in this post, so at least some people on the Left are getting it. Only time will tell if enough of the rest come to a good decision. If they just take the urban elite approach of believing that it is just the uninformed reacting to lies and smears then they surely will fail in this and push away the voter group that will, in reality, ultimately decide the 2020 election..
(-: Zel :-)

half-wit -- Chas_P the racist
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#14759 User is online   y66 

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Posted 2020-February-13, 13:46

For the swamp files from James V. Grimaldi, Brody Mullins and John D. McKinnon at WSJ:

Quote

WASHINGTON—Kenneth Glueck took a road trip to Durham, N.C., a few years ago hoping to prove Google was peering far deeper into the personal lives of consumers than they realized.

He purchased a new mobile phone with Google’s Android operating system, put it in airplane mode, disabled the WiFi and stuck it in the glove compartment of his pickup truck.

During the weekend trip, his phone tracked not just his route and destination, but reams of valuable data, such as barometric pressure that could determine what floor of a shopping mall he was on. When he connected to the internet three days later, the phone sent a catalog of its travels back to Google. He shared his results with federal lawmakers who were drafting privacy legislation, now pending, that could restrict tech giants’ ability to use such consumer information to sell advertising.

Mr. Glueck isn’t a consumer advocate. He is Oracle Corp.’s top Washington lobbyist—and a major force behind the increased government scrutiny of leading technology companies. Mr. Glueck has prodded federal antitrust regulators to investigate whether Google is violating competition laws. He lobbied Congress to curb the sweeping legal protections tech firms enjoy for the information flowing over their networks. He unearthed conflict-of-interest allegations that hindered Amazon.com Inc.’s efforts to win a huge cloud-computing contract from the Defense Department.

Not long ago, Washington lobbying featured pitched battles between business and labor unions or consumer groups. Now, some of the biggest fights pit company against company. Few have mastered the game like Oracle. Co-founded more than four decades ago by iconoclastic entrepreneur Larry Ellison, the corporate-database pioneer has long since been eclipsed in size by consumer-facing giants such as Google parent Alphabet Inc., Amazon and Facebook Inc. When it comes to sway in Washington, Oracle punches above its weight.

Unlike many tech firms, Oracle’s top executives have strong ties to the Trump administration and Republican lawmakers. Two top Oracle executives—Mr. Ellison and CEO Safra Catz—are longtime Republican donors. Ms. Catz was considered for a top job in Mr. Trump’s White House. Next week, Mr. Ellison is hosting a golf fundraiser on his Rancho Mirage, Calif., estate for Mr. Trump’s re-election campaign and the Republican National Committee.

Oracle also has a potent weapon in Mr. Glueck, who managed to get himself on the president’s transition team even though he was a Democrat during the Obama administration before changing his affiliation to Republican. Friends and detractors alike acknowledge Mr. Glueck is among the most skilled and aggressive at persuading policy makers to rein in other tech firms.

“You know a lot of lobbyists in town who are relationship lobbyists,” said former AT&T Inc. top lobbyist Bob Quinn. “Ken is way more substantive [and] hands-on than most.”

Others say Oracle should focus more on competing in the marketplace. Oracle is “the poster child for much of what’s wrong with tech advocacy in the U.S.,” said Tim Wu, a Columbia University law professor and a former Federal Trade Commission official who has been an advocate for stronger antitrust enforcement. “It amounts to using government as a weapon to delay, annoy and extract value from other entities.”

“Oracle spends substantially less on lobbying than Google, Amazon, Microsoft or Facebook,” retorts Mr. Glueck. “So we clearly walk in the footsteps of giants.”

Google spokesman José Castañeda said, “While our privacy policy is clear—we don’t sell your personal information to anyone—Oracle runs one of the world’s largest data brokers, claiming to give access to ‘$3 trillion in consumer transaction data’ and ‘two billion global consumer profiles.’ ”

Amazon, Microsoft Corp. and Facebook declined to comment.

Some of the public-policy issues Mr. Glueck has worked on don’t directly affect Oracle, such as the law curbing legal protections for internet platforms. Oracle didn’t qualify as a finalist in the cloud-computing bidding but mounted a campaign to scotch Amazon’s chances nonetheless.

Mr. Glueck hardly fits the stereotype of a powerful lobbyist. He favors jeans and sneakers and drives a 2014 Ford F-350 pickup truck, which he uses to haul the two horses corralled on his family’s 6-acre Maryland spread. Puckish and self-effacing, Mr. Glueck is rarely spotted schmoozing at fancy steak dinners.

A graduate of the University of Hartford, Mr. Glueck got his start in politics working as field director for the first U.S. Senate campaign of then-Democrat Joe Lieberman. He became the Connecticut senator’s driver and, later, his technology adviser.

He worked for a tech trade organization before hiring on with Oracle in 1996. Around that time, Mr. Ellison was encouraging the federal government to conduct an antitrust investigation into Microsoft.

Much of Mr. Glueck’s work in the Microsoft probe was behind the scenes. Better-known is an episode known as “trashgate.”

A private detective working on behalf of Oracle paid janitors in Microsoft’s Washington office building to give him the company’s trash so he could search for clues about Microsoft’s strategy. The episode landed in news stories that embarrassed Oracle. Mr. Glueck said the dumpster diving was unauthorized. Oracle’s efforts yielded evidence that Microsoft was secretly underwriting nominally independent analysts who publicly supported the personal computing pioneer’s arguments.

Microsoft lost the antitrust case. Hanging on Mr. Glueck’s office wall is a framed newspaper front page with the headline, “Judge Orders Microsoft Breakup, Calls Company ‘Untrustworthy.’ ” On appeal, the breakup was overturned, but restrictions were imposed on Microsoft.

Years later, Oracle set its sights on another rival: Google.

In 2010, Oracle filed a copyright-infringement lawsuit accusing Google of improperly using Oracle’s code to create Google’s Android operating system for phones, a charge Google denies. That case is slated to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court next month.

Oracle hasn’t been shy about addressing the lawsuit outside the courtroom. About a month after the 2016 election, Mr. Trump met the chief executives of roughly two dozen tech companies at Trump Tower in New York. At one point, Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law, was with Ms. Catz and Larry Page, Google’s co-founder and then-CEO of Alphabet.

When Mr. Kushner asked Mr. Page if he knew Ms. Catz, the Google co-founder replied: “Yes, she sues me,” according to officials at Google and Oracle who heard about the exchange.

Ms. Catz responded, “Well, he steals from me.”

Mr. Kushner told Mr. Page that Oracle is tough and suggested that he settle the matter, the officials said.

A spokesman for Mr. Kushner said he couldn’t recall but didn’t dispute the episode. Spokespeople for Ms. Catz and Mr. Page declined to comment.

Mr. Glueck has pushed regulators abroad to scrutinize Google’s behavior. During a meeting with Australian regulators, Mr. Glueck conducted a live demonstration of the information Google’s operating system collected.

An Australian official took notes, which became public. “The phone was running for 13 minutes while we had been meeting, and had talked to Google at least 418 times,” the official wrote. “Second by second sensor readings, going straight to Google.”

Last fall, Australia’s competition commission alleged that Google misled users about its mobile location tracking. Some European authorities also are weighing whether Google’s location tracking is anticompetitive. Google generally has said that its users retain control over how their information is used, and has noted that its disclosure policies have won praise from some online privacy advocates.

A frequent flier to Brussels, Mr. Glueck was a force with European Union competition regulators, helping persuade them to bring cases that have resulted in more than $9 billion in fines against Google.

Now Mr. Glueck has been lobbying federal and state officials in the U.S. to open antitrust and privacy investigations of Google. He spoke regularly with U.S. antitrust regulators, including Makan Delrahim, who runs the Justice Department’s antitrust division, and who briefly worked for Mr. Glueck as a lobbyist at an outside law firm.

The Google antitrust investigation remains in its early stages. This month, Mr. Delrahim recused himself from the antitrust investigation because of prior legal work he had done for Google while in private practice. He declined to comment.

Oracle and Mr. Glueck also were among a chorus of technology companies that have encouraged the Justice Department and the FTC to examine how corporate acquisitions by large tech firms have helped them solidify their dominance. This week, the FTC announced just such a probe.

Mr. Glueck says his success comes from doing his homework and developing a narrative for decision makers in government.

Mr. Glueck’s effort to prevent Amazon from winning the Pentagon’s computing contract turned a bureaucratic government-procurement process into a battleground. Amazon’s cloud-computing unit, which has a dominant market share in the private sector, has won much of the federal government’s cloud business at other agencies.

When Mr. Glueck read the Pentagon’s request for proposals, he believed it favored Amazon because it called for specific capabilities that only Amazon possessed, such as data centers 150 miles apart. “The RFP had a gold swish on it,” he said in an interview, referring to the Amazon smile logo.

He learned that several then-Pentagon officials had alleged financial ties to Amazon. One employee, Deap Ubhi, had worked for Amazon. In January 2017, while working at the Defense Department, Mr. Ubhi sent a tweet that read: “Once an Amazonian, always an Amazonian.” Amazon declined to speak about Mr. Ubhi, who didn’t respond to a separate request for comment.

The conflict-of-interest allegations landed in a federal lawsuit Oracle filed in December 2018 challenging the Pentagon’s contracting process. To depict the conflicts, he designed a one-page flow chart entitled, “A Conspiracy To Create A Ten Year DoD Cloud Monopoly.”

Mr. Glueck’s campaign spurred four separate legislative actions imposing restrictions on the Pentagon contract, an inspector general’s investigation and at least a dozen letters from members of Congress to the Pentagon and White House.

A letter from Rep. Steve Womack, an Arkansas Republican, illustrates the strings Mr. Glueck pulled.

Mr. Womack’s letter was drafted by a member of Mr. Glueck’s team, Joshua Pitcock. A former top aide to Vice President Mike Pence, Mr. Pitcock left evidence of his authorship in the properties of the electronic document reviewed by the Journal. The letter complained that the bid would go to a single vendor and asked why the Pentagon was “rushing to issue” the final request for bids.

The draft was circulated on Capitol Hill by an outside lobbyist working for Microsoft, which shared the goal of stopping Amazon. “Doing this on behalf of several of our clients, including Microsoft,” wrote Will Smith, the lobbyist.

Messrs. Pitcock and Smith couldn’t be reached for comment. Mr. Glueck said he had nothing to say about the letter.

With minor changes, Mr. Womack and 13 colleagues sent the Oracle-drafted letter to the Pentagon. A few months later, Mr. Womack’s political committee received the maximum contribution allowed in a cycle for individuals from Mr. Glueck; his boss Ms. Catz; and their spouses, a total of $10,800.

Mr. Womack’s spokeswoman, Alexia Sikora, said the congressman acted solely out of his “serious concerns with the many well-documented misgivings and flaws of the JEDI program.”

Meantime, Mr. Glueck had a strategy that would get the story in front of President Trump. In April of 2018, Ms. Catz dined with Mr. Trump at the White House with tech investor and libertarian Peter Thiel. During the dinner, Mr. Thiel, a Facebook board member, criticized the contract and Amazon’s favored position. Ms. Catz agreed, according to a person familiar with the matter.

In late 2018, Oracle sued to challenge the bidding process. A judge threw out the case in July 2019. But Mr. Glueck didn’t give up.

The brightly colored document Mr. Glueck had created featured pictures of two men Mr. Trump considered enemies: Jeff Bezos, the Amazon CEO, and Jim Mattis, the former defense secretary.

Last year, on July 18, Mr. Trump told reporters: “I’m getting tremendous complaints about the contract with the Pentagon and Amazon.”

A few days later, Mr. Trump retweeted a segment of a Fox News show airing criticism of Amazon without comment.

Within days, Defense Secretary Mark Esper announced he would review the contract. The Defense Department’s inspector general already was reviewing the bidding process. Mr. Glueck sent Mr. Esper a 15-page, 6,200-word letter outlining his objections.

Before results of Mr. Esper’s reviews were concluded, the Pentagon awarded the contract to Microsoft.

Now Amazon is suing the government, arguing that Mr. Trump exerted “improper pressure” on the Pentagon and the contract wasn’t awarded “objectively and in a manner that is free from political influence.” The government recently filed a motion to dismiss the case and said “we strongly dispute” Amazon’s allegations.

Who you gonna call?

Edit:
Spoiler


From Aaron Gregg at WaPo (2:20 PM)

Quote

A federal judge has ordered the Pentagon to halt work on the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure cloud computing network, known as JEDI, as it considers allegations that President Trump improperly interfered in the bidding process. The order comes just one day before the Defense Department had planned to “go live” with JEDI.

More


From Peter Wells and Dave Lee at FT:

Quote

The decision was highly unusual and a major boost to Amazon’s case, said Professor Steven Schooner, from George Washington University’s law department, and an expert in government contract law.

“I don’t think I’m alone in being surprised,” he said, noting that the government did not typically oppose calls for a stay when contract decisions are disputed.

“It’s even more unusual that when the government does object to the stay, the judge would order the injunction,” he added. “By agreeing with Amazon that they’re entitled to the injunction, what the court is signaling is that ultimately it’s more likely than not that [Amazon] will prevail.” 

Quote

Amazon’s motion attracted support from a number of organisations who have filed amicus briefs, or statements of opinion, to the court. 

“President Trump’s animus and retaliation against Amazon is part of an extensive pattern of conduct in which President Trump has effectively used the levers of government power he oversees to punish his perceived enemies and reward his friends,” read one submission from Protect Democracy, an organisation set up by former government officials in 2017 to oppose Mr Trump’s policies.

Amazon’s cloud computing business is comfortably the market leader but analysts see the legitimacy gained from being the Pentagon’s cloud provider of choice as a significant driver for growth for Microsoft in 2020 and beyond.

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#14760 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-February-13, 14:00

View Postkenberg, on 2020-February-13, 06:19, said:

A movie analogy came to mind while I was trying to think of how to explain my views on Trump. I saw On the Waterfront when it came out in 1954. That's a while ago but it gets re-released every so often. Lee J Cobb is Johhny Friend. He runs a labor union, he gets some benefits for the workers, a lot more for himself, the union guys are D and D, deaf and dumb, if they want to live. Think of the Republican Party as the union, and Trump as Johnny Friendly, that's how I see what's happening. It helps to have an image, and this one fits pretty well.

The movie has a hopeful ending. It's a movie.


I think you have the wrong movie. We're living Godfather II except in this one Michael was killed in WWII and Fredo is head of the family.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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