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

#15921 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-July-19, 16:35

How many Trump goons does it take to take down 1 peacefully protesting Portlandian?
If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#15922 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-July-19, 18:15

As Trump Ignores Virus Crisis, Republicans Start to Break Ranks by Alexander Burns, Jonathan Martin and Maggie Haberman at NYT:

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Some of the states where outbreaks have worsened most in recent weeks are led by Republicans who spent months avoiding stringent lockdowns, in some cases because state leaders were uneasy about creating space between themselves and a president of their own party who rejected such steps. That dynamic has been particularly pronounced in Southern states like Mississippi, Alabama and Florida, where governors have either continued to resist tough public-health restrictions or have only recently and partially embraced them.

A few Republicans have grown more open with their misgivings about Mr. Trump’s approach, including Gov. Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas, who said this month that he would require people to wear masks at any Trump rallies in his state. After issuing a broad mask mandate last week, Mr. Hutchinson said on the ABC program “This Week” on Sunday that an “example needs to be set by our national leadership” on mask-wearing.

Gov. Mike DeWine of Ohio, a Republican, in an interview on “Meet the Press” on NBC, did not answer directly when asked if he had confidence in Mr. Trump’s leadership in the crisis. Mr. DeWine said he had confidence “in this administration” and praised Mr. Pence for “doing an absolutely phenomenal job.”

Judd Deere, a White House spokesman, rejected criticisms of Mr. Trump’s approach.

“Any suggestion that the president is not working around the clock to protect the health and safety of all Americans, lead the whole-of-government response to this pandemic, including expediting vaccine development, and rebuild our economy is utterly false,” Mr. Deere said in a statement.

With only a few exceptions, Republicans have avoided direct confrontation with Mr. Trump. They’ve come to view public criticism as an exercise in political futility — one guaranteed to produce a sour response from Mr. Trump without any chance of changing his behavior.

But many Republican lawmakers have grown exasperated with the administration’s conflicting messages, the open warfare within Mr. Trump’s staff and the president’s demands that states reopen faster or risk punishment from the federal government.

Senator Ben Sasse, Republican of Nebraska, said he wanted the administration to offer more extensive public-health updates to the American people, and condemned the open animosity toward Dr. Fauci by some administration officials, including Peter Navarro, the trade adviser, who wrote an opinion column attacking Dr. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert.

“I want more briefings but, more importantly, I want the whole White House to start acting like a team on a mission to tackle a real problem,” Mr. Sasse said. “Navarro’s Larry, Moe and Curly junior-high slap fight this week is yet another way to undermine public confidence that these guys grasp that tens of thousands of Americans have died and tens of millions are out of work.”

Senator Roy Blunt, Republican of Missouri, was more succinct: “The more they turn the briefings over to the professionals, the better.”

A group of Republican governors have for months held regular conference calls, usually at night and without staff present, according to two party strategists familiar with the conversations. Unlike the virus-focused calls that Mr. Pence leads, there are no Democratic or White House officials on the line, so the conversations have become a sort of safe space where the governors can ask their counterparts for advice, discuss best practices and, if the mood strikes them, vent about the administration and the president’s erratic leadership.

Mr. Trump himself seems less interested in the specific challenges the virus presents and is mostly just frustrated by the reality that it has not disappeared as he has predicted. The disconnect is only growing between him and other party leaders — not to mention voters. A poll published Friday by ABC News and The Washington Post found that a majority of the country strongly disapproved of Mr. Trump’s handling of the coronavirus crisis, and about two-thirds of Americans said they had little or no trust in Mr. Trump’s comments about the disease.

Mr. Trump’s political standing is now so dire that even Republicans who have spent years avoiding direct comment on his behavior are acknowledging his unpopularity in plain terms. Former House Speaker Paul Ryan, for instance, offered a bleak assessment of Mr. Trump’s electoral standing at a recent event hosted by Solamere, a company with close ties to Senator Mitt Romney, Republican of Utah, and his family.

According to a partial transcript of the comments, shared by a person close to him, the usually tight-lipped Mr. Ryan said Mr. Trump was losing key voting blocs across the Midwest and in Arizona, a Republican-leaning state that Mr. Ryan described as “presently trending against us.”

While Mr. Ryan did not criticize Mr. Trump’s handling of the outbreak, he said the president could not win re-election this year if he continued losing badly to Mr. Biden among suburban voters who were wary of both candidates but currently favor Mr. Biden.

“Biden is winning over Trump in this category of voters 70 to 30,” Mr. Ryan said, “and if that sticks, he cannot win states like Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania.”

Some of Mr. Trump’s closest advisers are adamant that the best way forward is to downplay the dangers of the disease. Mark Meadows, the chief of staff, has been particularly forceful in his view that the White House should avoid drawing attention to the virus, according to people familiar with the discussions.

Mr. Meadows has for the most part opposed any briefings about the virus, while other Trump advisers, including Hope Hicks and Jared Kushner, have been open to holding briefings so long as they are not at the White House — where Mr. Trump could show up and commandeer them. Mr. Pence’s team would like to hold more briefings with the health experts, but some of Mr. Trump’s communications aides do not want the vice president to be part of them.

A large number of rank-and-file Republican lawmakers share Mr. Trump’s aversion to the disease-control practices.

Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia, a Republican closely aligned with Mr. Trump, issued an order on Wednesday blocking local governments from mandating mask-wearing, then sued the mayor of Atlanta, Keisha Lance Bottoms, for imposing such a requirement. Mr. Kemp’s edict came hours after Mr. Trump visited his state, declining to wear a face mask at the Atlanta airport.

Yet some in the G.O.P. now see no alternative to parting ways with Mr. Trump, on policy if not politics.

Glenn Hamer, president of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, a powerful business federation in the crucial state, said he saw Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, walking a prudent line — breaking with Mr. Trump’s policy demands but not blasting the president for issuing them.

“Everyone knows that the president doesn’t react well to criticism, constructive or not,” he said.

Mr. Hamer, who was among a group of business leaders who sent a letter to the White House urging the creation of clearer national standards for facial coverings, said Mr. Trump presented a challenge to Republican leaders seeking to foster responsible behavior.

“On the mask side, it is difficult when the leader of the party had been setting a pretty bad example,” Mr. Hamer said.

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#15923 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2020-July-19, 20:18

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“Any suggestion that the president is not working around the clock to protect the health and safety of all Americans, lead the whole-of-government response to this pandemic, including expediting vaccine development, and rebuild our economy is utterly false,” Mr. Deere said in a statement.

Umm, wasn't Trump on the golf course this weekend?

#15924 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2020-July-20, 04:35

View Postjohnu, on 2020-July-19, 16:07, said:

It would be poetic justice if he refused to leave the White House after Biden is inaugurated and unmarked secret police forcibly detain him and take him to a secret destination.

What makes you think Individual-1 will not be detained after leaving the WH even if he does so willingly?
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Happy New Year everyone!
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#15925 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-July-20, 05:36

Here's the scoop on the Portland guy who was assaulted by Trump's goons Saturday:

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Attending the protests for the first time over the weekend was Christopher David, 53, a former Navy civil engineering corps officer and a 1988 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy.

“I wasn’t even paying attention to the protests at all until the feds came in,” Mr. David said. “When that video came out of those two unmarked guys in camouflage abducting people and putting them in minivans, that’s when I became aware.”

He had taken a bus to the Portland courthouse and was about to leave around 10:45 p.m. when federal officers emerged and began advancing on the protesters. He said he felt the need to ask the officers, Why were they violating their oath to the Constitution?

Instead of getting an answer on Saturday, Mr. David, a 6-foot-2, 280-pound former Navy varsity wrestler, found himself being beaten with a baton by a federal officer dressed in camouflage fatigues as another doused him with pepper spray, according to video of the encounter.

Mr. David was taken to a nearby hospital, where a specialist said his right hand was broken and would require surgery to install pins, screws and plates.

“I’m appalled and disappointed at the feds’ behavior — that whoever led them and trained them allowed them to become this way,” Mr. David said. “This is a failure of leadership more than it is a failure of their own individual behavior towards me.”

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#15926 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-July-20, 06:42

Jonathan Bernstein at Bloomberg said:

Representative John Lewis, an enormous figure in the fight for democracy in the U.S., died Friday. My thoughts on his importance are similar to what Adam Serwer wrote. The crucial thing to understand about the U.S. before the civil-rights movement — before the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 — is that it could only tenuously be described as a democracy.

Democracies involve collective self-government, which is one of those things that seems fairly straightforward but gets quite complicated once you consider the details. At the very least, it requires that everyone in the republic participate as equals. Each part of that formula is necessarily contested. Who is “everyone”? What does it mean to “participate”? In what sense are they “equals”? And yet to exclude a large number of people from any role in public life, including the vote, based solely on their race goes well beyond a legitimate argument about what counts as democracy. And even when Black voting became possible, a system of apartheid in one part of the nation and various forms of discrimination elsewhere meant that there was no chance of political equality.

How exactly to characterize the pre-1965 U.S. is complicated. But that it fell well short of democracy isn’t complicated at all. One measure of the immense progress that Lewis and so many others achieved is that we can now argue about the extent to which the United States is currently a democracy — we can argue about “everyone” and “participate” and “equal” as theoretical and empirical questions. And, yes, we can argue about how seriously our democracy is backsliding. We have the civil-rights movement to thank for having something to backslide from.

Lewis dedicated his life to creating self-government. He was willing to die for it. Few have known political freedom as well as he did, since he was able to experience it as it was being denied, as it was being created and as it became a way of life. He understood and lived political action — his “good trouble” — throughout his life. I’m generous with the term “hero of the republic,” but if anyone deserved it, John Lewis did.

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#15927 User is offline   PassedOut 

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Posted 2020-July-20, 09:48

While people like Ben Stein and Rush Limbaugh make lots of money poking fun at right-wingers in the US, quite a few folks settle for just a comfortable living making fun of those same folks online: America's Last Line Of Defense

A couple of years ago, the Post ran a piece about one of them, the owner of the America's Last Line Of Defense site: ‘Nothing on this page is real’: How lies become truth in online America

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In the last two years on his page, America’s Last Line of Defense, Blair had made up stories about California instituting sharia, former president Bill Clinton becoming a serial killer, undocumented immigrants defacing Mount Rushmore, and former president Barack Obama dodging the Vietnam draft when he was 9. “Share if you’re outraged!” his posts often read, and thousands of people on Facebook had clicked “like” and then “share,” most of whom did not recognize his posts as satire. Instead, Blair’s page had become one of the most popular on Facebook among Trump-supporting conservatives over 55.

“Nothing on this page is real,” read one of the 14 disclaimers on Blair’s site, and yet in the America of 2018 his stories had become real, reinforcing people’s biases, spreading onto Macedonian and Russian fake news sites, amassing an audience of as many 6 million visitors each month who thought his posts were factual. What Blair had first conceived of as an elaborate joke was beginning to reveal something darker. “No matter how racist, how bigoted, how offensive, how obviously fake we get, people keep coming back,” Blair once wrote, on his own personal Facebook page. “Where is the edge? Is there ever a point where people realize they’re being fed garbage and decide to return to reality?”

However funny this stuff might be, the blurring of the truth for the gullible portion of the US voting public contributes to the massive problems we face now. It's easy money, sure, but the folks who do this -- liberal and anti-Trump as they claim to be -- are con artists just as Trump is.
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#15928 User is offline   cherdano 

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Posted 2020-July-20, 17:08

View Postkenberg, on 2020-July-18, 13:57, said:

He sounds like a political consultant, which is not a compliment from my point of view, and perhaps of greater consequence, might have something to do with losing an election. At no point does he concern himself with how to help the candidate, HC in 2016, clearly communicate her beliefs. The mechanical problem he cites is "[color="#1c2837"][size="2"]for boring mechanical reasons, working-class people with low levels of social trust were much less likely to answer those phone polls than college-educated professionals.". This is condescending. Very condescending.

This guy is a political consultant. Literally.

And it's his job to analyse why some candidates win and why others lose. So when he comes up with an explanation that's different than yours, you might also weigh the option of perhaps considering his opinion seriously. Instead of brushing him off because his style ticks you off.

I think there is a lot of data and analysis behind everything he says. E.g. one of the main reasons pollsters got 2016 wrong to some extent is that non-college educated voters were underrepresented in their samples. Those who weighted to got a sample representing the expected share of college-educated voters did much better than those who did not.

And there is a lot (polls, political science literature, ...) indicating that the big "partisan" divide of our time is between voters who score high on "social trust" or (related) "openness to new experience", and those who don't. These phrases have precise meanings and if you want to understand what happened in 2016 in the US or with Brexit or with basically any other Western country in the last decade you'd go further by trying to understand these phrases plus the points David Shor is making rather than going on about HC not properly explaining her beliefs (which I, and seemingly every other WC commentator understood perfectly fine).
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#15929 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2020-July-21, 08:27

View Postcherdano, on 2020-July-20, 17:08, said:

This guy is a political consultant. Literally.

And it's his job to analyse why some candidates win and why others lose. So when he comes up with an explanation that's different than yours, you might also weigh the option of perhaps considering his opinion seriously. Instead of brushing him off because his style ticks you off.

I think there is a lot of data and analysis behind everything he says. E.g. one of the main reasons pollsters got 2016 wrong to some extent is that non-college educated voters were underrepresented in their samples. Those who weighted to got a sample representing the expected share of college-educated voters did much better than those who did not.

And there is a lot (polls, political science literature, ...) indicating that the big "partisan" divide of our time is between voters who score high on "social trust" or (related) "openness to new experience", and those who don't. These phrases have precise meanings and if you want to understand what happened in 2016 in the US or with Brexit or with basically any other Western country in the last decade you'd go further by trying to understand these phrases plus the points David Shor is making rather than going on about HC not properly explaining her beliefs (which I, and seemingly every other WC commentator understood perfectly fine).


I was not arguing that HC did not properly explain her views, I instead was referring to Shor's description of NC not explaining her view:


Quote


I've also fallen toward a consultant theory of change — or like, a process theory of change. So a lot of people on the left would say that the Hillary Clinton campaign largely ignored economic issues, and doubled down on social issues, because of the neoliberal ideology of the people who worked for her, and the fact that campaigning on progressive economic policy would threaten the material interests of her donors.<br style="color: rgb(28, 40, 55); background-color: rgb(243, 249, 246);"><br style="color: rgb(28, 40, 55); background-color: rgb(243, 249, 246);">But that's not what happened. The actual mechanical reason was that the Clinton campaign hired pollsters to test a bunch of different messages, and for boring mechanical reasons, working-class people with low levels of social trust were much less likely to answer those phone polls than college-educated professionals. And as a result, all of this cosmopolitan, socially liberal messaging did really well in their phone polls, even though it ultimately cost her a lot of votes. But the problem was mechanical, and less about the vulgar Marxist interests of all of the actors involved.


What I got from this passage: Shor is discussing the reasons for HC's choices. I don't see him as disagreeing with the " largely ignored economic issues, and doubled down on social issues," but rather he is disagreeing with the "because". He disputes that it is because "of the neoliberal ideology of the people who worked for her" and rather gives the reason as "The actual mechanical reason was that the Clinton campaign hired pollsters to test a bunch of different messages, and for boring mechanical reasons, working-class people with low levels of social trust ..." and then something about vulgar Marxists not being to blame.

So I see this passage, and I think I am seeing it correctly as Shor giving his views as to why HC made the choices she did, I do not see him as disputing what her choices were, and it would appear (to me) that he thinks in this case her choice was a mistake. But not the fault of vulgar Marxists.

At any rate, I was not at all saying that HC was "not properly explaining her beliefs". I was writing about Shor, not HC..
Ken
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#15930 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-July-21, 16:16

Well, isn't that special
.

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Ohio's top state lawmaker conspired to funnel tens of millions of dollars from the state's electric utility to his political allies in order to consolidate power over the state legislature and shepherd through a $1.5 billion bailout for the utility's nuclear power plants, federal prosecutors alleged on Tuesday.

The FBI arrested Ohio speaker Larry Household, a Republican, and four alleged co-conspirators and leveled charges of racketeering and bribery related to the scheme. At a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, U.S. Attorney David DeVillers called it "likely the largest bribery [and] money laundering scheme ever perpetrated against the people of the state of Ohio."


"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#15931 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2020-July-21, 16:31

Trump Wishes Accused Sex Abuser Ghislaine Maxwell ‘Well’ At Coronavirus Briefing

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On Tuesday, Trump held his first briefing on the coronavirus pandemic since April and was asked about Maxwell by New York Post reporter Steven Nelson.

“Ghislaine Maxwell is in prison so a lot of people want to know if she’s going to turn in powerful people,” Nelson said. “I know you talked in the past about Prince Andrew and you criticized Bill Clinton’s behavior. I’m wondering, do you feel that she’s going to turn in powerful men? How do you see that working out?”

Trump immediately responded: “I don’t know. I haven’t really been following it too much. I just wish her well, frankly. I’ve met her numerous times over the years, especially since I lived in Palm Beach.” He added that “they,” likely a reference to Maxwell and Epstein, “lived in Palm Beach.”


What does Maxwell know about the Manchurian President? Is a pardon in the works if Maxwell refuses to say anything about the Molester in Chief???
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#15932 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-July-22, 06:02

From I Spoke to Anthony Fauci. He Says His Inbox Isn’t Pretty by Jennifer Senior at NYT:

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Americans may have lost faith in their most cherished institutions — the presidency, Congress, the media, perhaps even democracy itself — but 65 percent of them still believe in Dr. Anthony Fauci.

This, in spite of the fact that he’s practically disappeared from network and cable television while the pandemic has whipped through the country with alarming speed (his message of sober realism does not, one suspects, align well with the wishful thinking of his boss).

This, in spite of the fact that the Trump White House waged a highly unusual campaign last week to undermine his credibility, with both named and unnamed administration officials dispatched to impale him like an hors d’oeuvre. Fauci has been the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984, and he’s been the custodian of a jittery nation’s sanity since March 2020.

We had a chance to speak nine hours before the president’s first coronavirus news briefing since April. Here are edited excerpts from our conversation.

Are you going to be at the press briefing this afternoon?

To be honest with you, I don’t know. They haven’t really said who’s going to be there. I would assume, but I don’t know as a fact if I am going to be there.

Have you spoken with the White House about it?

No. But that’s not unlike them all of a sudden, middle of the day, to say, “Be down there at five o’clock.” So I’m not too — what’s the right word? — surprised that I haven’t heard anything yet.

Interesting. That means you weren’t involved in the discussions about relaunching them.

No.

Do you think they’re a good idea?

You know, it depends on how it goes. If they stick to public health and don’t get diverted into other types of discussions, I think it could be productive.

Let’s get to the news. Our numbers are surging. And you’ve just told The Atlantic that we’ve got to do a reset, which, of course, makes perfect sense. But given the reluctance of some governors, businesses and citizens to abide by the basic rules of social distancing and mask wearing, is it possible to get this pandemic under control without a federal response?

It would be better if things were a little more uniform. It just seems that unfortunately, in some sectors, there’s this feeling that there’s opening the country on one end of the spectrum, and public health measures that suppress things and lock them down on the other.

They should not be opposing forces. The guidelines that we put out a couple of months ago, those should be followed and appreciated as the vehicle to open the country, as opposed to the obstacle to opening the country.

You said it would be nicer if some things were more uniform. Like what?

The fundamentals. Wear a mask. Avoid crowds. Close the bars. Bars are the hot spots — —

But Americans have already been told this, right? And we still don’t do those things. If you were an executive for the day, what lever would you pull?

But Jennifer, would you want me to say something that’s directly contrary to what the president is doing? That’s not helpful. Then all of a sudden you don’t hear from me for a while.

I definitely don’t want anyone weaponizing anything you’re saying.

I’ve just been doing this for so long, and I’m trying to do my best to get the message across without being overtly at odds, OK? The only thing I can do is to get out there with whatever notoriety or recognition I have and say, these are the four or five things. Please pay attention to them. And if we do that, I feel confident that we’ll turn this around.

What I’ve been trying to do is appeal to the younger generation. If you look at the age average of the new cases that are going on in the South, it’s about 10 to 15 years younger than what we previously saw.

So it’s clear what’s going on. Young people are saying to themselves: “Wait a minute. I’m young, I’m healthy. The chances of my getting seriously ill are very low. And in fact, it is about a 20 to 40 percent likelihood that I won’t have any symptoms at all. So why should I bother?”

What they’re missing is something fundamental: By getting infected themselves — even if they never get a symptom — they are part of the propagation of a pandemic. They are fueling the pandemic. We have to keep hammering that home, because, as much as they do that, they’re completely relinquishing their societal responsibility.

How much faith do you have in people to pivot and change their behaviors?

It’s disconcerting when you see people are not listening. I could show you some of the emails and texts I get — everybody seems to have my cellphone number — that are pretty hostile about what I’m doing, as if I’m encroaching upon their individual liberties.

Can you read me one?

No.

Just trying to get a glimpse into your inbox.

It’s not good.

What do you think is the most effective way for you to communicate? Because you’re right: You can’t stand out there with a bullhorn and directly contradict the man you work for.

I’m a pretty good communicator. I have been doing that now with multiple outbreaks for about 40 years, dating back to the very early years of H.I.V., I’m just going to continue to use whatever bully pulpit I have. And, you know, just keep hacking at it.

Are you reaching out to individual governors?

The governors call me frequently. It’s not a rare situation where governors and senators get on the phone with me and in good faith ask, “What do you think I should be doing? What about this? What should I do about that?”

Have you spoken to Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia, who opposed a mandate to wear masks in Atlanta?

I haven’t specifically spoken to Kemp, no.

Has Joe Biden reached out to you? Or any of his folks?

No. I mean I think they know better. That I’m in a sensitive position.

Is there a time in recent American history when we as a nation would have been better able to get this pandemic under control?

In some respects, we are better off because of the technological advances. I mean, 20 years ago, we never would have been able to get candidate vaccines ready to go into Phase 3 trials literally within a few months of the discovery of the new virus. That is unprecedented.

But there was a time when there was much more faith and confidence in authority and in government. It’s very, very difficult to get the country to pull together in a real unified way. Maybe the last time that we ever did that was 9/11.

Is there anything about this virus, as a pathogen, that has surprised you?


Absolutely! You know, it’s extremely unique, and I think that is one of the reasons why there is such confusion and misunderstanding about the seriousness of it. Of all the viruses and outbreaks that I have been involved with over the last four decades, I have never seen a virus in which the spectrum of seriousness is so extreme. This disease goes from nothing to death! So that has really surprised me.

Is there nothing else like this in nature?

There are extreme differences in certain diseases, but none that have exploded into pandemic proportions.

You’ve said before that there could be some kind of vaccine by the end of the year. But at what point will most families be able to get a vaccination?

I think it’s going to be sometime in 2021. I don’t know whether that’s going to be the first quarter of 2021, the first half — it’s difficult to say.

But testing still isn’t up to scale, and personal protective equipment wasn’t distributed in a timely way. Given that, I fear that there will be many snafus.

We don’t think that’s going to happen, for the simple reason that the federal government has invested billions of dollars directly — directly — into the pharmaceutical companies that are making the vaccine. There are never any guarantees. But I would be surprised, given all the resources that the federal government has put into these companies. We are counting on them for delivery.

That is the one way in which you’re saying there has been a federalized response.

Right. There certainly has.

The president called you an alarmist in his interview with Chris Wallace. And I just want to know: Are you?

I characterize myself as a realist.

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#15933 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-July-22, 06:13

As Trump Pushes Into Portland, His Campaign Ads Turn Darker by Maggie Haberman, Nick Corasaniti and Annie Karni at NYT

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As President Trump deploys federal agents to Portland, Ore., and threatens to dispatch more to other cities, his re-election campaign is spending millions of dollars on several ominous television ads that promote fear and dovetail with his political message of “law and order.”

The influx of agents in Portland has led to scenes of confrontations and chaos that Mr. Trump and his White House aides have pointed to as they try to burnish a false narrative about Democratic elected officials allowing dangerous protesters to create widespread bedlam.

The Trump campaign is driving home that message with a new ad that tries to tie its dark portrayal of Democratic-led cities to Mr. Trump’s main rival, Joseph R. Biden Jr. — with exaggerated images intended to persuade viewers that lawless anarchy would prevail if Mr. Biden won the presidency. The ad simulates a break-in at the home of an older woman and ends with her being attacked while she waits on hold for a 911 call, as shadowy, dark intruders flicker in the background.

So far, the campaign has spent almost $20 million over the last 20 days on that ad and two other similar ones, more than Mr. Biden has spent on his total television budget in the same time frame, and a relatively large sum for this stage of the race. Though the ads predate the federal actions in Portland, they convey a common theme of lawlessness under Democratic leadership.

The focus of the Trump administration in recent days has been on Portland, where there have been nightly protests for weeks denouncing systemic racism in policing. In the last few days, federal agents from the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Marshals, traveling in unmarked cars, have swooped protesters off the street without explaining why, in some cases detaining them and in other cases letting them go because they were not actually suspects. The protests have increased in size since the arrival of federal officials.

Mr. Trump’s deployment of federal law enforcement is highly unusual: He is acting in spite of local opposition — city leaders are not asking for help — and his actions go beyond emergency steps taken by some past American leaders like President George H.W. Bush, who sent troops to quell Los Angeles in 1992 at the request of California officials.

In Washington on Tuesday, Department of Homeland Security officials held a news conference for the first time to address the increased federal deployment in Portland, defending the tactics and training of the agents. Chad F. Wolf, the acting secretary, said a federal statute allowed the agents to move away from the courthouse that they had been told to defend, to investigate crimes against federal property and officers, even if it resulted in the detaining of a protester.

Another top official, Mark Morgan, disputed claims that the agents lacked adequate insignia, showing reporters a camouflaged ballistic vest labeled “POLICE.” Mr. Wolf also blamed local officials for the unrest in Portland. “I asked the mayor and governor, how long do you plan on having this continue?” Mr. Wolf said. “We stand ready. I’m ready to pull my officers out of there if the violence stops.”

The president has said he might next deploy federal agents to Chicago, and has listed other cities where similar enforcement could take place, including New York but also Philadelphia and Detroit, urban centers in two battleground states. White House officials said the deployments had grown out of meetings among administration officials after protests in Washington, D.C., in late May and early June.

The White House has defended the recent measures.

“By any objective standard, the violence, chaos and anarchy in Portland is unacceptable, yet Democrats continue to put politics above peace while this president seeks to restore law and order,” the White House press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, said at a briefing on Tuesday morning. She listed an array of items she said protesters had hurled at law enforcement officers.

Trump administration officials and campaign aides have woven together the protests that began after the killing of George Floyd in May to try to bolster their claim that under Mr. Biden, the police would be “defunded.” While Mr. Biden has walked a careful line and said explicitly that he doesn’t support defunding police departments, the Trump campaign has continued to claim otherwise.

The most recent ad from the Trump campaign, depicting the break-in at a woman’s home, has a singular goal: terrifying the viewer into believing that claim.

The ad’s audio includes a news broadcast that talks about “Seattle’s pledge to defund its police department,” referring to another progressive city with which Mr. Trump has feuded.

The spot hews to Mr. Trump’s long-held preference for messages that promote fear and division, dating to the first ad of his 2016 presidential campaign, which depicted immigrants as criminals. The campaign has already spent nearly $550,000 on its new ad, which was released on Monday.

Describing his opponents as supporting violence while portraying police officers in glowing terms has been a mainstay of Mr. Trump’s public discourse since the late 1980s.

Protests around the country have been largely peaceful, with spikes of conflict usually arising in clashes with law enforcement. While polls show that a majority of voters support the Black Lives Matter movement, Mr. Trump and some of his advisers are counting on a backlash, so far nonexistent, with white voters in the fall that will boost the president’s numbers.

“Clearly what they’re looking to do here is scare the living hell out of seniors,” said Pia Carusone, a Democratic ad maker. But, she said, the new Trump ad falls short in the realm of believability. “You’re making the assumption that the voter that you’re hoping to convince is going to relate and think that this could happen. And then you have to make the leap to blame Biden or the Democrats or whoever. And I think it fails that first test.”

Stuart Stevens, a Republican strategist who now works with the anti-Trump group known as the Lincoln Project, said Mr. Trump’s team was focusing on an issue that doesn’t rank at the top of voter concerns.

“I’d bet a lot that the actress they hired for this is more worried about Covid-19 than a phony threat about cops,” Mr. Stevens said.

Of the $24 million the Trump campaign has spent over all on television ads over the past 20 days, roughly $20 million has gone to ads that focus solely on the issue of the police. About 70 percent of that $20 million has been spent on a singular ad that shows a split screen: One side depicts an empty 911 call center, with an answering service asking callers to select their emergency, and the other displays violent scenes from the protests.

The Trump digital apparatus has also been running a torrent of ads warning of a country in crisis: “Dangerous MOBS of far-left groups are running through our streets and causing absolute mayhem,” one ad with 308 variations reads. “They are DESTROYING our cities and rioting.”

The Trump team has spent at least $2 million in the past two months on Facebook ads with similar themes, according to Advertising Analytics, an ad tracking firm.

The ads are on a political track. But for former Homeland Security officials who served in the first year of the Trump administration, seeing images of federal forces on the streets of American cities was distressing.

“People like me, who served a long time, have to look very long and hard to figure out who these people are,” said Col. David Lapan, a retired Marine who served in the Trump administration in 2017 as a spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security. “For the average citizen, it looks like the military is being used to suppress American citizens. Even if that’s not the case, and this is law enforcement, it creates the impression that the military is being used.”

In a statement on Tuesday evening, Mr. Biden drew a parallel with the largely peaceful protesters who were cleared from a park near the White House on June 1 by armed law enforcement officials using chemical irritants before Mr. Trump’s photo-op outside a historic church.


Posted ImageProtesters raised their cellphones and sang in front of the Multnomah County Justice Center in Portland on Monday. The demonstrations have grown in size since federal agents arrived.Credit...Mason Trinca for The New York Times

“They are brutally attacking peaceful protesters, including a U.S. Navy veteran,” Mr. Biden said of the force used in Portland. “Of course the U.S. government has the right and duty to protect federal property. The Obama-Biden administration protected federal property across the country without resorting to these egregious tactics — and without trying to stoke the fires of division in this country.” In response, Mr. Trump’s campaign accused Mr. Biden of attacking law enforcement officials.

Tom Ridge, the former governor of Pennsylvania who was the first person to serve as secretary of Homeland Security, also condemned Mr. Trump’s actions.

”The department was established to protect America from the ever-present threat of global terrorism,” Mr. Ridge, a Republican, told the radio host Michael Smerconish. “It was not established to be the president’s personal militia.”

Mr. Ridge said it would be a “cold day in hell” before he would have consented as a governor to what is taking place. “I wish the president would take a more collaborative approach toward fighting this lawlessness than the unilateral approach he’s taken,” he said.

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#15934 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-July-22, 06:34

Jonathan Bernstein at Bloomberg said:

As tempting as it is to talk about President Donald Trump’s instinctive corruption or to analyze his enthusiasm for deploying federal law enforcement against the wishes of mayors and governors or to note his latest defiance of the courts and the Constitution or his recurring falsehoods about the pandemic or even to speculate about why he had warm words for someone accused of assisting a sexual predator, I can’t help it: I’m stuck on his inability to perform some of the more basic aspects of his job.

It’s now been four months since the CARES Act became law. And with deadlines closing in to renew expanded unemployment benefits and other relief, the White House and Senate Republicans appear to be somewhere between high-level bickering and full-out war with each other. While it’s fair to hold Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his colleagues responsible for some of the chaos, the truth is that there’s only one president — who normally could be expected to either take the lead or to play a coordinating role and forge necessary compromises.

Trump does neither. Instead, he plays “Donald from Queens,” the talk-radio caller shooting off about various topics and then failing to follow through. Since he’s also the president, however, many Republican senators quite sensibly aren’t thrilled about going on the record opposing him. So his proposals sort of hang out there — a payroll-tax holiday, a vague idea about infrastructure, a tax deduction for entertainment and dining expenses. None of these ideas has much support among congressional Republicans. Nor has Trump made any serious effort to sell them. But since he also doesn’t abandon them, they become obstacles to putting together any kind of legislative package.

It’s unlikely that Tuesday’s press conference helped matters. What Trump said about unemployment benefits was illustrative:

We want to have people go back and want to go back to work as opposed to be, sort of, forced into a position where they’re making more money than they expected to make. And the employers are having a hard time getting them back to work.

So that was a decision that was made. I was against that original decision, but they did that. It still worked out well because it gave people a lifeline, a real lifeline. Now we’re doing it again. They’re thinking about doing 70 percent of the amount. The amount would be the same, but doing it in a little bit smaller initial amounts so that people are going to want to go back to work, as opposed to making so much money that they really don’t have to.

But we were very generous with them. I think that it’s been a tremendously successful program.

Sure, there are lots of examples of presidents who speak in gibberish deliberately to avoid taking a position. That would be about the best case I could make for this answer. But Trump is in a situation where reaching a deal, and therefore reaching a unified Republican position, is urgent if he has any hope of boosting the economy in the run-up to the November election. That doesn't seem like a situation that calls for simply letting everyone else negotiate.

More likely, Trump just hasn’t paid much attention to the details. Which means no one is doing the work that only presidents can do for their party and for the nation. That’s not the only reason that the virus continues to spread and the economy remains precarious — but it sure isn’t helping.

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#15935 User is offline   shyams 

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Posted 2020-July-22, 06:39

I like the line in Jonathan Bernstein's Bloomberg article.

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Instead, he plays “Donald from Queens,” the talk-radio caller shooting off about various topics and then failing to follow through.

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#15936 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2020-July-22, 12:31

Trump ‘Chaos & Violence’ Scare Ad Is Actually Just An Old Picture Of Ukraine

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This image that President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign desperately wants you to believe is of anarchy in a “Democrat-run” U.S. city is ... actually a photo from 2014 of a pro-democracy protest in Ukraine.

Honestly I can understand the confusion. The Manchurian President is planning a major campaign trip to his core base in the Kremlin and got confused over which country he was representing. Perfectly understandable for Russia's most important asset.
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#15937 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-July-22, 23:14

Hanging Chad Wolf, Acting Secretary, Homeland Security said:

re: U.S. Homeland Security confirms three units sent paramilitary officers to Portland by Reuters.

This headline and others like it are grossly inaccurate & irresponsible.

Our officers are not "paramilitary." They are civilian law enforcement doing their job — enforcing federal law.

They are civilian law enforcement officers wearing military style uniforms who are unlawfully assaulting protesters and placing them in unmarked vans without probable cause as part of a campaign to divert attention from the Trump administration's massive failures to respond effectively to the health and economic crises engulfing the U.S.
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#15938 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-July-23, 07:50

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#15939 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-July-23, 09:02

God Help Us if Judy Shelton Joins the Fed by Steven Rattner at NYT

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Having failed in past attempts to put unqualified ideologues on the Federal Reserve Board, President Trump is giving it another try — and is closer to victory than previously.

The nominee in question — Judy Shelton, known for taking long-discredited positions on the monetary system — makes Mr. Trump’s earlier rejected choices seem almost conventional. Among other heretical stances, she has supported the abolition of the Federal Reserve itself, putting her in a position to undermine the very institution she is being nominated to serve.

“Why do we need a central bank?” Ms. Shelton asked in a Wall Street Journal essay in 2009. She wants monetary policy set by the price of gold, a long-abandoned approach that would be akin to a Supreme Court justice embracing the Code of Hammurabi.

Regrettably, after much hesitation and with evident reluctance even from Republicans, the Senate Banking Committee voted Tuesday to advance Ms. Shelton’s nomination to the full Senate. We mustn’t let her nomination become overshadowed by the many other daunting challenges we face at the moment. When her name reaches the full Senate floor, four Republicans must find the courage to join the Democrats in voting no and rebuffing her appointment.

The Federal Reserve is an indispensable player in managing our economy. Period. It has also, commendably, remained largely free of partisanship. The nominees of past presidents, Democrats and Republicans alike, have chosen to work collegially and without personal agendas to fulfill its critical mission.

Now, as he has done so often elsewhere in the government, Mr. Trump is doing his best to politicize this remarkable institution.

For starters, had Ms. Shelton’s prescriptions been followed, the Fed’s response to the arrival of the virus would have been disastrously wrong instead of extraordinarily constructive.

Her view that interest rates should be “rules based” would have prevented the central bank’s emergency cuts.

Her past opposition to the Fed buying bonds to help stimulate the economy — as it did successfully during the 2008 financial crisis — would have prevented the central bank from standing up many of the rescue programs that are now helping to keep the economy afloat.

Her notion that the Fed must consult with Congress, rather than act independently as is considered the best practice among developed countries, would have introduced damaging delays, politics and, likely, policy misfires as ill-equipped members of Congress tried to grapple with the intricacies of monetary policy.

Then there’s the gold standard, a significant culprit in deepening the Great Depression and abandoned decades ago by every country in the world (including the United States in 1973). By rigidly fixing prices to a single commodity, a gold standard exaggerates economic swings, on balance for the worse.

Between 1880 and 1933, the United States experienced at least five full-fledged banking crises; in the past 87 years, we’ve had two. Though promoted as smoothing price movements, a gold standard in fact magnifies them, as a comparison of the pre-Depression period to the post-World War II era makes clear.

In a 2012 poll, not one of 40 prominent economists supported disinterring this misguided policy.

A few other weird ideas from Ms. Shelton: She has questioned the accuracy of government statistics. She wants a single currency for North America. (Does she not know how badly the euro has worked?)

On at least two existential issues, Ms. Shelton has shown a willingness to not let principles stand in the way of career advancement. Until her confirmation hearing, she backed getting rid of federal deposit insurance, a key protection for individual savers. Her long opposition to low-interest rates notwithstanding, last year she flip-flopped to Mr. Trump’s view that low rates are, in fact, a great idea.

Concern within the Senate Banking Committee was obvious during its protracted consideration. “Nobody wants anybody on the Federal Reserve that has a fatal attraction to nutty ideas,” John Kennedy, Republican of Louisiana, said in February. But then, like so many Republicans unwilling to cross a revengeful president, Mr. Kennedy capitulated.

To be sure, one iconoclastic and outspoken member of a seven-person board (who are part of a 12-member committee that sets interest rates) may not change the Fed’s decisions. But if Mr. Trump wins re-election, he will have the chance to nominate a new chair of the Fed when Jerome Powell’s term expires in 2022.

Although he appointed Mr. Powell to the chairmanship, at times since then the president has taken to Twitter and other forums to assail him for raising rates in December 2018 and for taking too long to lower them in 2019.

God help us if the next chair is Ms. Shelton or anyone else with her views. Senate Republicans must recognize this danger and show some backbone.

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#15940 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-July-23, 09:09

Jonathan Bernstein at Bloomberg said:

With a fair amount of Republican infighting this week, there’s been more speculation than is really healthy about what will happen to the party should it do badly in the election three months from now. In part, this is simply what happens to members of a party when they’re losing, perhaps combined with frustration over a policy challenge they’re at a loss to address and, let’s not forget, the short tempers that many of us are feeling at this point in the pandemic.

But I don’t think it tells us much about how the party would deal with a loss along the lines that the polls are currently indicating — one that would be even larger than Barack Obama’s defeat of John McCain 12 years ago. To be clear: We don’t know the election outcome yet, and circumstances this year are certainly unusual. But it’s probably fair to say that President Donald Trump is an underdog at this point and that Democrats could quite possibly win in a landslide.

What would happen next?

After a round of recriminations, the next two years are reasonably predictable: Republicans would react to unified Democratic government exactly the way they did in 1993 and 2009 — and arguably in 1977 and 1961 as well. They’d mount as much obstruction as they could in Congress, while charging the incoming administration with malfeasance. Outside of Washington, expect more Tea Party-type rallies, blaming Democrats for the high levels of unemployment they inherited and claiming their plans are socialist overreach. Expect partisans to rile up resentment the way they did in those years as well (Kevin Drum had an excellent item on this back in the Tea Party days). There might be some talk about the long-term demographic challenges the party faces, but most will soon conclude that their main mistake was not being conservative enough. There will be no serious discussions within the party of the real problem: They can’t govern.

(Want to make the case that Democrats reacted that way in 2017? Fair enough! I could point to some important differences, but there are clear similarities, certainly when it comes to legislative strategy.)

The reason this is easy to predict is because, as the party sees it, the Bob Dole Republicans in 1993-1994 and the Mitch McConnell Republicans in 2009-2010 were totally successful. Compromise is a trap, in this view; the way to recover is to oppose the Democrats flat-out.

Whether that accurately reflects history is a more complicated question. Bill Clinton’s presidency was badly harmed by his own mistakes in the transition and honeymoon periods, and he didn’t really get the hang of the office for at least a year. The 2010 case is more complicated, but sharply rising unemployment in the early months of Obama’s presidency was surely a major factor in Democratic midterm losses. Some would argue, too, that Democrats did a poor job of choosing popular policies with clear pay-offs to voters. It’s not clear what Republican opposition added to that.

But what matters is what lessons politicians learn from history, not whether those lessons are accurate. And that means the opportunity for Republicans to start changing things isn’t going to be created by a blowout in 2020; it’s going to take either Democrats holding their majorities in 2022, or winning another presidential election, or perhaps both. Even then there’s no guarantee that the party will be able to think rationally about what’s happened.

The unfortunate truth is that the dysfunctions that define the current Republican Party make it very difficult for them to govern competently, but don’t do much to prevent them from taking advantage of opportunities when things go wrong with Democrats in office. My guess is that this situation is not all that likely to change going forward. The problems in the party didn’t start with Trump, and they aren’t going to go away if Trump is defeated.

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