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

#16341 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-September-29, 19:56

Astead Herndon at NYT said:

There has never been a better advertisement for women candidates.

Trip Gabriel said:

Trump and his TV ad makers have spent months ridiculing Biden as mentally agog, lost or “sleepy.” Trump’s supporters may be surprised that that guy hasn’t shown up tonight.

Lisa LererHost said:

Wallace is struggling to end the debate.

But he did it!

Lisa LererHost said:

Presidential debates are usually somber events. This was … not that.

But I’m not sure it changes the dynamics. Trump needed to shift the race. I think he was mostly on defense.

Matt Yglesias said:

This is going to be the story

✡ Jewish Dems �� @USJewishDems said:

Trump again refused to condemn white nationalism tonight.

We can't risk four more years of Donald Trump.


If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#16342 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2020-September-30, 06:47

View Posty66, on 2020-September-29, 19:56, said:



"There has never been a better advertisement for women candidates." Thus is perhaps the best one sentence summary of the debate.



Ken
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#16343 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-September-30, 09:21

From Max Fisher and Amanda Taub at NYT:

Quote

Here’s something telling: When American technocrats and diplomats go abroad to help new democracies establish themselves or struggling ones to reform, one of their top pieces of advice is to set up a system that looks very little like their own.

They typically encourage parliamentary systems, like that of Germany (itself a postwar, American-led project), rather than an American-style presidential model. They suggest one legislative house, rather than two. And they tend to encourage a style of election known as proportional representation, in which each party receives a share of seats proportional to its share of the national vote, rather than having each seat be determined by a separate, winner-take-all election. This fosters multiparty, rather than two-party, systems. And one more thing: No Electoral College.

America’s democracy is so historic and important precisely because it was also the world’s first modern democracy. Its founders had little in the way of case studies or firsthand knowledge to draw from. In retrospect, they showed remarkable wisdom and foresight. But 200 years of real-world experience, drawn from dozens of democracies around the world, have produced some useful lessons.

For decades, American democracy experts have flown abroad urging other countries to follow those lessons, or contributing to those lessons’ accumulation. Now, many of them are raising the alarm at home, calling — in some cases with urgency — for something they have studied or overseen in many other contexts: democracy reform.

The United States has overseen or encouraged democracy reform abroad many times, guiding countries as they retooled the rules and structures of their political system to function more effectively and safely. It’s a common response to disputed elections, civil unrest or a general sense that a democracy is no longer sufficiently achieving its goals of stability, cohesion, and fair representation.

Expert surveys and opinion polls show that scholars and voters broadly agree that all of these problems are not only present but severe in the United States. The Bright Line Watch, a project by leading experts to monitor the health of the American system, warns in its mission statement, “One of the greatest threats to democracy is the idea that it is unassailable.”

So why is there no consensus push in the United States for this sort of corrective, as there might be in almost any other democracy? Even Britain regularly tweaks its system, most recently attempting to alter its voting rules in 2011.

Consider what events and trends are drawing such alarm among scholars. One is that the representative bodies are growing less representative. Institutions like the Senate and the Electoral College have always made American democracy unusually undemocratic. Rural voters are granted more power than their urban peers. A state that favors a presidential candidate by one vote is treated the same as a state that favors her by one million and one, effectively disenfranchising those million incremental voters.

“If you look at the Constitution, you see that it was drafted by people who were not little-‘d’ democrats,” Sanford Levinson, a constitutional legal scholar at the University of Texas, told The New Yorker in 2013. In a still-influential 2006 book, “Our Undemocratic Constitution,” Mr. Levinson had argued that the country’s founders, operating in a world where political representation still felt radical and untested, had imposed “almost insurmountable barriers in the way of any acceptable notion of democracy.”

For generations, the electoral imbalances imposed by those institutions more or less balanced one another out; no one party consistently benefited. But in recent years, the party electorates have changed such that those imbalances all favor the Republican Party. The Senate now heavily favors, in a way that it did not before, a minority of voters controlling a majority of the seats. The presidency going to the popular vote loser has gone from an extreme aberration — only three times between founding and 1996 — to a regular occurrence.

Mr. Levinson, like other legal scholars, has also had harsh words for the American system’s practice of lifetime judicial appointments. Other countries have broadly moved away from this practice, in large part because it proves so destabilizing. The stakes are just too high, inviting politicization and meddling — a lesson learned many times over in Latin America before, in recent years, many Americans took notice as well.

At the same time, an unprecedented spike in ruthless partisan conflict is eroding the democratic norms that are meant to constrain political behavior. Faith in the integrity of elections is plummeting. Polarization is skyrocketing, leading more and more Americans to believe that the other party poses such a grave threat that extreme steps are justified to keep them from power. Four years before militias appeared on an unusually high number of American streets this summer, scholars who study civil conflict warned me that the United States showed all the warning signs.

Only the severity of these trends is new. Since the 1990s and early 2000s, a wide spectrum of experts have warned that the American system was showing signs of trouble. Constitutional scholars said that the bill was coming due for horse trading compromises the framers had made among one another 200 years earlier. Political scientists said those founders’ had built cracks into the system that had been slowly widening ever since.

Theoretically workable ideas for American democracy reform are hardly in short supply. Lee Drutman, a Johns Hopkins University and New America Foundation scholar who has warned that the two-party system creates a “doom loop” of self-reinforcing backsliding, has laid out detailed plans for breaking the two-party hold. A number of legal scholars, most recently Ryan Doerfler of the University of Chicago and Samuel Moyn of Yale, have produced one roadmap or another for reforming judicial appointments without destabilizing the courts. Two Democratic presidential candidates, Pete Buttigieg and Elizabeth Warren, ran in part on democracy reform plans.

So why didn’t things change? The 1990s were the golden years of American democracy reform programs abroad. Why none at home?

For one, deep change would be politically unthinkable. Partly as a result of Cold War-era jingoism, perhaps no other country so romanticizes its own system, which presidential candidates from both parties routinely endorse as the greatest in history. Even France, the rare country whose civic nationalism reaches American-lever fervor, is willing to tweak its system. The French Republic is now in its fifth iteration, while America’s is still on 1.0.

For another, there is no plausibly objective outside broker who can mediate reforms. It’s often the United States that helps play this role in other countries. And the United States, as a superpower and the engineer of many of the international order’s governing bodies, has long insulated itself from their influence.

But perhaps the greatest impediment is the very two-party system that many consider part of the problem. Almost any reform would benefit one party over another. The worsening partisan distrust and spirit of zero-sum competition makes that difficult to overcome. There is little raw political incentive, for example, for Republicans to accept moving Supreme Court justices to set term limits. Though this is a widely popular reform among experts, it would have to be implemented by Democratic lawmakers, risking the appearance of a raw power play that might further erode popular faith in democracy.

The result is what you might call the democracy reform paradox: The flaws in democracy that require reforming also make implementing those reforms difficult, if not impossible. And the more that the need for reform grows, the harder it will be to implement.

Quote of the Day

Quote

From a 2019 study on the recent, global rise of autocratization, which refers to a country backsliding from democracy toward authoritarianism, by the political scientists Anna Lührmann and Staffan I. Lindberg of the University of Gothenburg:

About a third of all autocratization episodes started under a democratic dispensation. Almost all of the latter led to the country turning into an autocracy. This should give us great pause about spectre of the current third wave of autocratization. Very few episodes of autocratization starting in democracies have ever been stopped before countries become autocracies.

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#16344 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-September-30, 09:39

Last night Donald Trump called on the white supremacist group Proud Boys to "Stand back and be ready."

Are there still those Trump supporters who claim that what he says is irrelevant, that only what he does matters? Be honest - he doesn't do anything - except say things. What he says matters. Now, as president, more than ever.

And Bill Barr's DOJ is complicit.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#16345 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-September-30, 10:08

View PostWinstonm, on 2020-September-30, 09:39, said:

Last night Donald Trump called on the white supremacist group Proud Boys to "Stand back and be ready."

Are there still those Trump supporters who claim that what he says is irrelevant, that only what he does matters? Be honest - he doesn't do anything - except say things. What he says matters. Now, as president, more than ever.

And Bill Barr's DOJ is complicit.

"The more chaos and anarchy and vandalism and violence reigns, the better it is for the very clear choice on who's best on public safety and law and order" -- KellyAnne Conway, 8/26/20

Anyone who thinks the "law and order candidate" (in Bizarro world) and his administration are not inciting violence in Portland is not paying attention.

As Mike Reese, the Sheriff of Multnomah County and Portland Oregon stated last night after Trump falsely claimed he was a supporter:

Quote

As the Multnomah County Sheriff I have never supported Donald Trump and will never support him.

Donald Trump has made my job a hell of a lot harder since he started talking about Portland, but I never thought he'd try to turn my wife against me!

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#16346 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-September-30, 11:59

Quote

West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin (D) said Wednesday that President Trump’s claim on the debate stage the night before that his state experiences widespread voter fraud connected to mail-in ballots is “just plain wrong.”

Trump claimed that in West Virginia, “Mailmen are selling the ballots, they're being sold.”

“It’s plain wrong that President Trump would mislead Americans to think mail-in voter fraud is happening in West Virginia,” Manchin said in a statement. “There is no widespread voter fraud in West Virginia and any claim to the contrary is false.”

Trump appeared to be referring to an individual case in which one mail carrier pleaded guilty to altering five ballot request forms to change their party affiliation. The worker reportedly told prosecutors he did it as “a joke.”

“The truth is one mail carrier altered five ballot request forms from Democrat to Republican in the primary election in Pendleton County,” Manchin said. “The judicial and electoral system worked: he was caught, charged with attempted election fraud and pled guilty."

“Mail-in voting is safe and altering ballots is a felony punishable with up to 5 years in prison and a $20,000 fine in West Virginia, in addition to any federal penalty. To suggest anything different is just not true and an attempt to undermine Americans’ faith in our Democratic process and disparage West Virginia is wrong," he continued.

Trump — who has often peddled misleading and inaccurate information about mail-in voting — also said at the Tuesday debate that people in some states can vote after Election Day. That is not the case in any state, though some states count absentee ballots received as late as Nov. 10 as long as they are postmarked by Election Day.

Trump, Barr, our resident troll and the proud boys. What a crew.
If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#16347 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-September-30, 12:22

A bit more about the complicity of the DOJ under Barr to help Trump and hurt Biden: This is from Marcy Wheeler, an independent journalist who is closely following the Flynn case.

Quote

As noted, Peter Strzok's lawyer has confirmed something I laid out earlier: DOJ submitted at least two sets of Strzok's notes in its effort to blow up the Mike Flynn prosecution that had been altered to add a date that Strzok did not write himself.


It is beyond odd that Flynn's lawyer, as ex-Fox News contributor, conferred with Donald Trump and then during the debate Trump claimed Biden had brought up the Logan Act to use against Flynn - but the meeting Biden was in was on the wrong date for that to have happened - but the date was conveniently changed by someone - not the guy who wrote the notes - and that change would make the claim possible - impossible without the date change..

More on this here:

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#16348 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-September-30, 14:45

Here's hoping that last line is only wishful thinking.

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Top GOP officials have reportedly been sent into a blind panic after seeing numbers showing that Democratic voters in key states are returning mail-in ballots at much, much higher rates than Republican voters. According to The Washington Post, the Democratic lead in mail voting is so extreme that it’s led to urgent discussions among senior GOP officials. “It’s astronomical,” said one unnamed Republican strategist, who added that he was left “horrified” by the numbers. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has reportedly twice met with Trump to urge him to stop bashing mail balloting, and is said to have told others he’s worried that the president’s rhetoric could stop Republican voters—especially elderly ones—from sending in their ballots. Republican National Committee spokesman Mike Reed insisted there was no panic, saying Republicans “will come out in droves to vote in person” on Election Day.

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#16349 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-September-30, 15:05

View PostWinstonm, on 2020-September-30, 14:45, said:

Republican National Committee spokesman Mike Reed insisted there was no panic, saying Republicans “will come out in droves to vote in person” on Election Day.

Here's hoping that last line is only wishful thinking.

Panic, schmanic.
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#16350 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-September-30, 18:28

From NYT:

Quote

The biggest threat to the election is the president himself, our national security correspondent writes in an analysis of last night’s showdown between President Trump and Joe Biden.

Mr. Trump’s claim that balloting, already underway, was a “fraud and a shame” and proof of “a rigged election” amounted to a declaration that he would try to throw any outcome into courts, Congress or the streets if he were not re-elected.

That assertion is part of an extensive Republican plan to disrupt the election by claiming that voter fraud is a pervasive problem, a five-month Times Magazine investigation found.

Despite the rhetoric of administration officials and right-wing media, voter fraud is a largely nonexistent problem, and most claims of fraud have fallen apart under closer scrutiny. Here are the main takeaways from the report.

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#16351 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-September-30, 18:42

Matt Yglesias said:

In the models I’ve seen Trump winning is less likely than an average NBA player missing a free throw but more likely than an average NBA player missing two free throws in a row.

Chris Cillizza at CNN said:

*Every* election model shows Trump has almost no chance

https://cnn.it/3ifknoZ

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#16352 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-September-30, 18:47

Investigations team of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution said:

Court Packing? It’s Already Happening at the State Level

https://www.governin...tate-Level.html

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#16353 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2020-September-30, 18:50

21% is higher than the chance of rolling a 6 on a standard die. Is that really an event to which you would assign "almost zero chance"? The Earl of Yarborough made a lot of money off of events with a considerably lower chance of occurring...
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#16354 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-September-30, 18:58

LeBron James’s effort to attract more poll workers nets 10,000 volunteers. by Astead W. Herndon at NYT

Posted Image

Quote

More Than a Vote, the collective of athletes headlined by the basketball superstar LeBron James, will announce Wednesday that its initiative to increase the number of poll workers in Black electoral districts had amassed 10,000 volunteers since it began.

The effort, which is called “We Got Next” and is a collaboration with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, will be highlighted during the first game of the NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and the Los Angeles Lakers, the team featuring Mr. James. During the game, first-time poll workers will be among the virtual fans, seated alongside basketball legends including Dwyane Wade, Shaquille O’Neal and Julius Erving.

In a release provided to The New York Times, More Than a Vote and the Legal Defense Fund said the second phase of their push would be more targeted, aimed at 11 cities “where significant poll worker shortages remain,” the release said.

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#16355 User is offline   akwoo 

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Posted 2020-September-30, 19:38

View PostZelandakh, on 2020-September-30, 18:50, said:

21% is higher than the chance of rolling a 6 on a standard die. Is that really an event to which you would assign "almost zero chance"? The Earl of Yarborough made a lot of money off of events with a considerably lower chance of occurring...


What I thought when I read the article was "Let's play Russian roulette! You have less than almost no chance of dying!"
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#16356 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2020-September-30, 19:46

View Postakwoo, on 2020-September-30, 19:38, said:

What I thought when I read the article was "Let's play Russian roulette! You have less than almost no chance of dying!"

Haha! That is probably a much better example to drive the point home. :)
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#16357 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-October-01, 07:05

David Leonhardt at NYT said:

There is a theme that has run through President Trump’s entire re-election campaign: He is afraid that he cannot beat Joe Biden.

It explains his extraordinary efforts last year to prevent Biden from becoming the nominee. And it explains his more recent efforts to discredit the election. Rather than running against Biden, Trump now seems to be running against democracy itself.

I think it’s useful to think of the 2020 Trump campaign in three distinct stages. The first was during the run-up to the Democratic primaries, when Trump used the powers of the presidency to pressure at least one foreign country, Ukraine, to smear Biden (an effort that led to impeachment). Trump took no similar steps to damage Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren or Kamala Harris.

Why? Trump often acts on instinct, and he may have done so in this case. But he is also a voracious consumer of polls, and polls consistently showed him faring worse in a hypothetical matchup against Biden than against any other Democrat.

The second stage began after Biden clinched the nomination, and Trump doubled down on efforts to damage him. He portrayed Biden as a corrupt old politician, not so different from Hillary Clinton, or a closet socialist.

It hasn’t worked. Biden’s lead over Trump has remained stable.

That has led to the third stage: Try to prevent a normal election.

Trump, with help from other leading Republicans, has increased his efforts to make it difficult to vote. His campaign has filed lawsuits in North Carolina, Pennsylvania and elsewhere to restrict voting by mail. (The Times Magazine has a new investigation on this subject, including Mike Pence’s role.)

In recent weeks, Trump also began what seems like an obvious attempt at voter intimidation, encouraging his supporters to show up at polling places, purportedly to prevent voter fraud, which almost never occurs. Donald Trump Jr. has released a video calling for an “army for Trump’s election security operation.”

Tuesday’s debate was the apex of the strategy, at least for now. Trump refused to allow a normal debate, constantly interrupting Biden. For voters, the result was a chaotic jumble. For Trump, it was one more attempt to undermine the normal functioning of democracy.

There is still more than a month until Election Day — an eternity in politics. At this point, though, the picture from the last year and a half is remarkably consistent.

Trump seems to believe he would lose a normal election to Biden. But in an abnormal election, with low turnout and protracted fights over ballot eligibility, who knows what will happen? And if Trump does lose, he is laying the groundwork to make the false claim that the election was rigged.

As my colleague Maggie Haberman put it yesterday, “People close to him are blunt that the president knows he’s losing and is scared of it.”

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#16358 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-October-01, 07:25

H. R. McMaster said:

Condemning white supremacists should be a layup

The president’s former national security adviser on extremism, the election, and the survival of democracy by Peter Nicholas at The Atlantic
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#16359 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-October-01, 08:06

This importance of this story is not being emphasized at all by mainstream media. Let me recap: The notes taken by an FBI agent who met and memorialized that meeting with Barrack Obama and Joe Biden were altered by someone either in the DOJ or by one of Flynn's attorneys to add a date that then made those notes fit a narrative the Flynn defense and Bill Barr were orchestrating - that the only reason Flynn was investigated was because Biden suggested they could us the Logan Act to start the investigation - but is obviously a lie as the meeting was held a day later than the alteration shows. And then, 5 days after Flynn's lawyer filed this altered document with the court, Trump made the same unfounded claim that Biden has been "caught" suggesting the Logan Act be used to investigate Flynn.

Here is how Marcy Wheeler describes this:



Quote

Over the past 72 hours, the following events have proven not just that Peter Strzok's notes were altered, but that that was done for political purpose.

It started on Monday, when Strzok lawyer Aitan Goelman sent Judge Emmet Sullivan a letter confirming that the handwritten dates on two sets of his notes were, "not written by Mr. Strzok."

That the notes memorializing what Jim Comey briefed others about a January 5, 2017 meeting were altered is not in doubt. Sidney Powell and DOJ have already provided the original notes (which I've annotated to show that the notes did not originally have a date) and the altered ones (which I've annotated to note where a date has been added).

The second set of notes were provided to Flynn's lawyers on September 23 and submitted to the docket on September 24. It's not clear whether they were altered before or after they got sent from DOJ. I hope Judge Sullivan gets to the bottom of that question.

Then, in Tuesday's hearing, Sidney Powell admitted not just that she has spoken with the President about this case (insanely asking him not to pardon her client), but also that she speaks — apparently regularly — with President Trump's campaign lawyer, Jenna Ellis, betraying that Flynn's efforts to blow up his prosecution are a matter of interest to Trump's campaign.

Then, hours later, on Tuesday night, the President made this prepared attack on Joe Biden during the first debate.


Quote

President Donald J. Trump:We've caught them all. We've got it all on tape. We've caught them all. And by the way, you gave the idea for the Logan Act against General Flynn. You better take a look at that, because we caught you in a sense, and President Obama was sitting in the office.


This looks very much like the President and the U.S. Department of Justice and a private attorney knowingly altering a critical document in a court case in order to give the President ammunition to propose a lie about Biden. Christ - this administration is the swamp. They should not be drained - they need to go to jail prison.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#16360 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-October-01, 09:19

View PostWinstonm, on 2020-October-01, 08:06, said:

This looks very much like the President and the U.S. Department of Justice and a private attorney knowingly altering a critical document in a court case in order to give the President ammunition to propose a lie about Biden. Christ - this administration is the swamp. They should not be drained - they need to go to jail.

Nixon was a grasshopper compared to Trump when it comes to the art of the hit job. Half of Trump's problem is that he provides more fodder for his opponents every time he opens his mouth. The other 90 percent is that he is incompetent at governing. Unfortunately, that is also our problem.
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