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

#19521 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2022-March-01, 15:08

Jennifer Szalai at NYT said:

“It was a lie,” the former attorney general William P. Barr writes early on in his new book — a “fabrication” that “was repeated and amplified in media coverage throughout the election and is still repeated.” Barr isn’t referring in this instance to Donald Trump’s insistent lie about “massive election fraud” in 2020, but to an event that happened nearly 30 years earlier, when Barr was doing his first tour as the attorney general, for President George H.W. Bush. The media misleadingly described Bush marveling at a supermarket scanner as if he had never encountered the technology before.

The suggestion that the first President Bush was some elitist patrician who didn’t know his way around a modern grocery store continues to rankle Barr three decades later. He parses the event in minute detail in “One Damn Thing After Another,” letting loose an extravagant pique that makes sense when you realize that being seen as out of touch is the kiss of death for establishment conservatives, especially now, when right-wing populism is ascendant.

Barr takes care in this book to present his childhood as more hardscrabble than a rarefied prep school education and an apartment on New York City’s Riverside Drive would have anyone believe. In Barr’s telling, it’s Democrats who are invariably the “smug elites,” while Republicans are the true defenders of “ordinary middle- and working-class Americans.”

“One Damn Thing After Another” is an intemperate culture-war treatise smuggled into a lawyer’s memoir: a seemingly sober recitation of events that’s periodically interrupted by seething tirades about “militant secularism” and a “Maoist” American left. He compares Trump’s opponents to “guerrillas engaged in a war to cripple a duly elected government” and calls the pandemic restrictions adopted by some states the most “onerous denial of civil liberties” in American history, second only to slavery.

Barr famously resigned as attorney general in December 2020, after he failed to find any evidence of substantial voter fraud, despite what he chronicles here as his assiduous efforts to “look into it.” (He calls allegations about voting machines “an idiotic theory that had no basis in reality.”) He ends his book by describing Trump’s postelection behavior as “puerile,” perhaps even “dangerous.” Still, as much as Barr was “disgusted” by the rampage on the Capitol, he’s “under no illusion about who is responsible for dividing the country, embittering our politics and weakening and demoralizing our nation,” he writes. “It is the progressive Left and their increasingly totalitarian ideals.”

Such eruptions go a long way toward explaining why he was willing to join the Trump administration in the first place, when the buttoned-up Barr, comfortably ensconced in retirement and the Republican old guard, didn’t quite fit the mold of those upstarts hoping to gain some capital (political or otherwise) by hitching themselves to the Trump train. (Barr had initially supported his former boss’s son, Jeb “please clap” Bush, in the primaries.) You might also wonder how Trump, an ostentatious, thrice-married reality television star who bragged about grabbing women’s genitals, could have been anything but repellent to Barr, a staunch Roman Catholic whose idea of a good time is playing the bagpipes.

But the two men happened to share one thing in common: a maximalist view of presidential power. “I agreed to join the besieged Trump administration as it careened toward a constitutional crisis,” Barr writes. He had already written an unsolicited memo voicing his skepticism about the Mueller investigation into the 2016 election, which Barr believed was consuming President Trump’s attention and distracting him from all the important work he would otherwise be eager to do.

Barr doesn’t make much of an effort in this book to counter assertions by his critics that even before reading the Mueller report he had mostly made up his mind. Barr says the investigation was “not so different from a witch hunt,” and the question of whether the Trump campaign sought to benefit from Russian interference in the election was “manufactured,” “phony,” “bogus”: “Russiagate specifically, and the resistance generally,” he writes, “were mendacious and fraudulent attempts to invalidate the legitimate election of an American President.”

A number of chapters are devoted to issues that Barr says are crucial to him, including “taking on big tech” and “securing religious liberty” (“the civil rights issue of our time”). A chapter titled “Bringing Justice to Violent Predators” offers Barr’s thoughts on the death penalty — he thinks it’s good, and his Justice Department rushed to execute 13 federal inmates in the seven months before Trump left office. As a point of comparison, the federal government had executed a total of four people in the preceding 60 years.

Barr offers an extended apologia that tries to square his position on putting people to death with his religious faith. Pope Francis’s revision of the Catholic Church’s Catechism, denouncing the death penalty as “inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person,” sends Barr into a paroxysm of hairsplitting: “The term inadmissible has no established meaning in moral theology, and is certainly too vague and indirect to be read as an attempt to extinguish this vast body of established teaching, even assuming it could be.”

This is a pattern in Barr’s book: He nitpicks his way to desired conclusions by carefully navigating a lawyerly path around finely drawn distinctions, all the while lobbing bomblets at anyone he defines as an enemy. “For all his urbane affect, Obama was still the left-wing agitator who had patiently steered the Democratic Party toward an illiberal, identity-obsessed progressivism,” Barr writes; no doubt actual “left-wing agitators,” who have regularly denounced Obama for centrism, would like to have a word.

Barr’s version of Trump, meanwhile, contains multitudes: The former president may have “an imprecise and discursive speaking style,” even a tendency for “madcap rhetoric,” but Barr also believes Trump has “a deep intuitive appreciation of the importance of religion to the health of our nation.” Barr muses that “the country would have benefited and likely seen more of the constructive, problem-solving style of government that President Trump previewed on election night,” if only he “had been met by a modicum of good faith on the other side.”

By “good faith” Barr is perhaps imagining something like his own generous interpretations of Trump’s behavior, which he goes to great and often tortuous lengths to rationalize in his book. When Barr learned about the consequential phone call between Trump and Volodymyr Zelensky, who was then Ukraine’s President-elect, Barr said he argued for the swift release of the transcript — largely because it showed that Trump, according to Barr, had ultimately done nothing wrong on the call.

Yes, Barr allows, telling Zelensky that American military aid was conditional on a Ukrainian investigation of the Bidens was “foolish,” but “a quid pro quo is inherent in almost all diplomacy.” Besides, even if such an investigation into the president’s opponent would have yielded “political benefits” for Trump, it “would also arguably advance America’s anticorruption agenda,” Barr says. Making room for such intricate rhetorical contortions is partly why this book is nearly 600 pages long.

There are also numerous places where Barr offers what looks at first to be a blizzard of detail but nevertheless makes some strange omissions. He devotes page upon page to the question of voter fraud, which he repeatedly declares to be a real threat, with nary a word about voter suppression. He characterizes the inspector general’s report on the Mueller investigation as “damning” while neglecting to discuss that the same inspector general’s report declared that the F.B.I. had adequate reason to investigate ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. Barr also stays mum on the fact that a bipartisan report from the Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee concluded the same thing.

By the end of “One Damn Thing After Another,” it’s clear that Barr has something else in common with Trump — a shrewd ability to recognize when certain people are no longer useful for his purposes, and a willingness to dispense with them accordingly. Barr slips in a description of Robert Mueller’s “trembling” hands and “tremulous” voice, wondering if Mueller “might have an illness” — a striking (and expedient) bit of gossip for Barr to float about an old friend. The last chapter has Barr throwing Trump under the bus, albeit gently and with the utmost decorum. Barr laments Trump’s stubborn problems of “tone,” faulting him for “needlessly” alienating “a large group of white-collar suburbanites,” and declares that it’s time to move on from the loser of the 2020 election by recovering “something like the old Reagan coalition.”

But Barr faces a quandary, which is to explain how Republicans can ditch Trump while keeping his fervent base. The result is like the deus ex machina moment in an ancient Greek play, when a hopeless situation is resolved by the sudden appearance of a god on a crane. “The Republicans have an impressive array of younger candidates fully capable of driving forward with MAGA’s positive agenda and cultivating greater national unity,” a wistful Barr insists. “MAGA’s positive agenda” combined with “national unity”? Until I got to that point in his book, I wouldn’t have pegged Barr as someone so thirsty for a fairy-tale ending.

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#19522 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2022-March-01, 21:12

The dude abides.
If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#19523 User is offline   Gilithin 

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Posted 2022-March-02, 12:29

View PostChas_P, on 2022-February-28, 19:05, said:

Agreed.
Yes, Trump is a jerk. I truly hope the Republicans will pick DeSantis in 2024 (should he choose to run). But Trump is not dangerously incompetent. Biden is. (in my opinion)

I think the best GOP candidate for 2024 is Nikki Haley (she at least seems to live in the real world) but I would agree that the chances are that either DJT or RDS will end up being chosen.
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#19524 User is offline   Chas_P 

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Posted 2022-March-02, 19:54

View Postcherdano, on 2022-February-27, 19:39, said:

Imagine that your country gets rid of an incompetent, corrupt, misogynistic head of government who came to power with racist rhetoric, *****ed up dealing with the pandemic of a lifetime, try a pathetic attempt at a coup after he lost the election - and your only question is "What's in it for me?"

Just get the f* out of BBF once and for all, we don't need a resident racist troll here. I am sure you are a nicer person in real life than on here (not difficult), so just do yourself a favour and stop it.

As previously stated, those like you Arend are really amusing to some extent and to be pitied to another extent. Anyone who disagrees with you is judged to be "racist", "misogynistic", "homophobic",
"islamophobic" or numerous other "phobics". I pity you. Truly I do. We are thousands of miles apart and our paths will never cross. But I wish you happiness. Please seek help.
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#19525 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2022-March-02, 20:11

View PostGilithin, on 2022-March-02, 12:29, said:

I think the best GOP candidate for 2024 is Nikki Haley (she at least seems to live in the real world) but I would agree that the chances are that either DJT or RDS will end up being chosen.

The best QOP candidate for 2024 is old Jeff Davis who can lead the Confederate QOP'ers back to their Confederate roots. The QOP should spend all of their energy in trying to secede from the USA, and blue America should be encouraging and supporting their secession.
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#19526 User is offline   Chas_P 

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Posted 2022-March-02, 20:22

View Postjohnu, on 2022-March-02, 20:11, said:

The best QOP candidate for 2024 is old Jeff Davis who can lead the Confederate QOP'ers back to their Confederate roots. The QOP should spend all of their energy in trying to secede from the USA, and blue America should be encouraging and supporting their secession.

And I wish you happiness too Johnboy. Your antenna obviously is not picking up all the channels.
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#19527 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2022-March-02, 20:37

View PostChas_NoDignity_NoIntegrity_NoHonesty, on 2022-March-02, 19:54, said:

Anyone who disagrees with you is judged to be "racist", "misogynistic", "homophobic",
"islamophobic" or numerous other "phobics".

If the shoe fits, why are you offended to be called what you are?
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#19528 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2022-March-02, 20:43

View PostChas_P, on 2022-February-28, 19:05, said:

Agreed.
Yes, Trump is a jerk. I truly hope the Republicans will pick DeSantis in 2024 (should he choose to run). But Trump is not dangerously incompetent. Biden is. (in my opinion)

Your lord and savior Manchurian President Trump will be disappointed that you are turning on him after being one of his biggest supporters the last 5 years. What happened, did he drain your bank account with recurring weekly donations you forgot to opt out of??? You voted for Trump 2 times (that is if you bothered to even vote at all). Why the betrayal??? Repent. Take out a loan and make a big contribution to the Manchurian President or he will send Eric and Jr to toilet paper your house.

Trump is not dangerously incompetent? Really? I guess incompetence is contagious if that's what you believe.
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#19529 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2022-March-02, 20:45

View PostChas_P, on 2022-March-02, 20:22, said:

And I wish you happiness too Johnboy. Your antenna obviously is not picking up all the channels.

Says the Trump stooge whose TV has a broken tuner stuck on the Fox Propaganda Channel.
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#19530 User is online   Winstonm 

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Posted 2022-March-02, 21:56

Wasting away in Libertarian-ville,
Searching for my Confederate flags
Some people say that Ronald Reagan’s to blame
but I know that I’m just insane
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter. / "I need ammunition, not a ride." Zelensky
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#19531 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2022-March-03, 09:30

What, no Roger Stone lyric (perhaps to the tune of Pancho and Lefty)?

Posted Image

Quote

Joshua James, 34, of Arab, Ala., pleaded guilty in federal court in Washington on Wednesday to helping lead a group that prosecutors say sent two tactically equipped teams into the Capitol and organized a cache of weapons in a hotel just outside the city. He also pleaded guilty to one count of obstructing an official proceeding, and he may face the stiffest sentence of any Jan. 6 defendant so far, according to preliminary sentencing guidelines.

As part of his plea, James agreed to cooperate with federal investigators, including testifying in front of a grand jury.

...Five other Oath Keepers, apart from the 11 charged with seditious conspiracy, have already pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with the government. But James is the first to plead to sedition, a rarely used and politically significant crime of conspiring against the U.S. government.

James did not make any statements in court other than to answer the judge’s questions. No sentencing date was set, which Assistant U.S. Attorney Troy Edwards Jr. said was done to enable James to provide his cooperation before the hearing.

The plea marks the first successful use of a sedition charge by federal prosecutors in decades. Federal law defines seditious conspiracy as two or more people who “conspire to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States,” or act “by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States.”

James’s defense attorneys, Chris Leibig and Joni Robin, said in a statement that he pleaded not to the first part of the law but only the second part, “preventing, hindering or delaying, by force, a federal law.”

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#19532 User is online   Winstonm 

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Posted 2022-March-03, 09:58

Roger Stone ya when when sedition is your aim
and Roger Stone ya when gaslighting is your game
Roger Stone ya if the vote is really close
and Roger Stone ya just like Paul Manafort
but I would not go to jail alone
When they indict Roger Stone
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter. / "I need ammunition, not a ride." Zelensky
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#19533 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2022-March-03, 10:45

View PostChas_P, on 2022-March-02, 19:54, said:

Anyone who disagrees with you is judged to be "racist", "misogynistic", "homophobic", "islamophobic" or numerous other "phobics". I pity you. Truly I do. We are thousands of miles apart and our paths will never cross. But I wish you happiness. Please seek help.


Chas, there's enormous amounts of disagreement on the forums and a fair amount of personal animosity.

For example, I have zero use for LukeWarm, Al-U-Card and a host of others. However, I don't call them racists.

Almost no one gets labeled as racists.
That is something that you are inventing.

You might really want to sit back and consider why it is that multiple people on this site have labelled you specifically as a racist.

A couple years back you posted that you came here to play to provocateur.
Looks like people came to the conclusion that you're actually just a racist asshole and are treating you accordingly.

Maybe your decision on how to engage with the community was a bit ill founded.
Alderaan delenda est
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#19534 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2022-March-03, 15:08

View PostWinstonm, on 2022-March-03, 09:58, said:

Roger Stone ya when when sedition is your aim
and Roger Stone ya when gaslighting is your game
Roger Stone ya if the vote is really close
and Roger Stone ya just like Paul Manafort
but I would not go to jail alone
When they indict Roger Stone

Copping to sedition Josh
Will not keep you free and clean.
But if there’s justice in this world
Roger will be eating the same cuisine.
If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#19535 User is offline   Chas_P 

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Posted 2022-March-03, 19:31

View Posthrothgar, on 2022-March-03, 10:45, said:


You might really want to sit back and consider why it is that multiple people on this site have labelled you specifically as a racist.

I have considered that and my conclusion is because the Democrat party line is, "If you don't agree with us you're a racist." It's pitiful really.
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#19536 User is offline   Chas_P 

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Posted 2022-March-03, 20:08

View Postjohnu, on 2022-March-02, 20:43, said:

Your lord and savior Manchurian President Trump will be disappointed that you are turning on him after being one of his biggest supporters the last 5 years. What happened, did he drain your bank account with recurring weekly donations you forgot to opt out of??? You voted for Trump 2 times (that is if you bothered to even vote at all). Why the betrayal??? Repent. Take out a loan and make a big contribution to the Manchurian President or he will send Eric and Jr to toilet paper your house.

Trump is not dangerously incompetent? Really? I guess incompetence is contagious if that's what you believe.

Actually I have long said that Trump is a jerk but I don't need him as a friend. That doesn't mean I disagree with his policies...secure borders, energy independence, strong military, etc. I don't think those policies demonstrate dangerous incompetence. If you do, you are perfectly entitled to your opinion. But don't get your little panties all in a wad if I don't share it.
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#19537 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2022-March-04, 05:32

View PostChas_P, on 2022-March-03, 19:31, said:

I have considered that and my conclusion is because the Democrat party line is, "If you don't agree with us you're a racist."


Well, it's not like folks every considered you to be particularly smart.
Nice to have further confirmation.
Alderaan delenda est
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#19538 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2022-March-04, 05:37

View PostChas_P, on 2022-March-03, 20:08, said:

Actually I have long said that Trump is a jerk but I don't need him as a friend. That doesn't mean I disagree with his policies...secure borders, energy independence, strong military, etc. I don't think those policies demonstrate dangerous incompetence.


Pity that you're too stupid to be able to differentiate between

1. Trump's random claims on any given day
2. Actual sustained polices
3. Any actual progress in achieving these

How did that whole attempt at "Build a wall / Mexico's going to pay for it go"?

As I recall, the policy attempt collapsed into Trump's usual attempts at grift (much as what little "wall" did get built is collapsing into the dirt)

But that's OK, as long as Daddy is yelling into the camera, little Chas can pretend that it's still 1950 and that his dick might someday get hard once again...
Alderaan delenda est
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#19539 User is online   Winstonm 

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Posted 2022-March-04, 07:28

Poor Trumpsters are like Germans in the 1930s; cherry-pick out of the barrage of misinformation what sounds like something you support and ignore the reality of what is actually being done.

The problem of Trump is not incompetence but that he is an incredibly competent grifter - and nothing more.

To see things from the Democrats’ POV requires two intangibles: empathy and abstraction.

The bulk of voting Republicans are white and either are not capable or suppress these two intangibles. Because of that, they are susceptible to propaganda focused on “the others”.
If a demagogue argued that we should tax all non-whites 50% and give that to poor whites as rent reparations because everyone knows the US was formed as a white European nation, it would be much easier for white Americans to agree because it doesn’t affect them.

To see non-whites as no different requires a degree of empathy and abstraction. Sadly, many Republicans seem incapable of seeing anything but white.

That is not racist - that is race-based thinking.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter. / "I need ammunition, not a ride." Zelensky
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#19540 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2022-March-04, 08:05

Skepticism when listening to a politician is warranted but Trump took it to a new level. He does not yet acknowledge that he lost the election, or if he did I haven't heard him say so. He and his followers regard the Jan 6 insurrection as a tourist event.

This goes far far beyond not wanting him as a friend.

As to energy independence, sure, that's good. Saying that energy independence is good is hardly the end of the story. Same with secure borders. Who could object to secure borders? But it's not the end of the discussion.

I can't prove it, but I would guess that DT set a world record for the most number of people who once worked for him or did business with him or got involved with him politically and later wished they had never done so. Perhaps such an approach works, at least for a while, for making bucks with hotels and casinos but it is no way to conduct the business of a country.

George H. W. Bush was once president. Donald Trump was once president. Policies aside, there is a difference between these two men. A big difference. I hope the Republican Party can move back to where I might disagree with a view but trust the person who expresses that view. And backing off of his no new taxes pledge was needed. I can accept that he meant it when he said it and accept that he changed his mind. Overall, I trusted him. Trust Trump? You gotta be kidding.
One indication of a return to normalcy could be an acknowledgment that Jan 6 was not a typical tourist event. And that Trump played it as a game. And then yes, the Rs might even consider acknowledging that Biden won the election. I can think of other things, but until we get past these basics there is hardly any point in mentioning them.
Ken
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