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A new age dawns After Biden our time - the long haul starts.

#1 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2021-January-23, 04:33

A wave of relief so palpable it almost makes you reach for a towel is sweeping the world.
Fauci's happy face is indelibly etched on my mind.

I watched Mayor Pete being subjected to stentorious speeches by Senators.

But the most magical moment so far for me is the confirmation of Austin Lloyd. It's good to see the Welsh are having a say in government.

This is the first time an African American will be Secretary of Defence - but who's keeping score. Such appointments are now so matter-of-fact that they will soon no longer attract comment. As Kayleigh would say "Now wouldn't that be refreshing".

BUT:
Two Senators objected. One was the irascible Senator of dubious political views Josh Hawley (rhymes with Lord Haw-Haw). The other was Senator Mike (?Robert E.) Lee.

The mind boggles when imagining what was going through their minds as they go down in history, but I guess those are the Missouri Breaks. Lee, seeing the gravity of the moment might have been peeved that the appointments were upsetting his work-life balance.

"Never in his brief U.S. Senate career has Mike Lee, a Tea-Party backed freshman from Utah, attracted such attention. In the past month, he was the subject of the president's weekly radio address, testified before a House panel and appeared on television news programs five times.
Lee, a Republican, is the only senator fighting confirmation of all of President Barack Obama's executive and judicial nominees, after the president angered party members by appointing officials while Congress was on a holiday break.
Through his Jan. 4 action, Obama bypassed Senate confirmation of his choices and installed the first U.S. consumer financial watchdog, a position Republicans want to abolish. He also appointed three members to the National Labor Relations Board." Laura Litvan 29 Feb 2012; Bloomberg.



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#2 User is offline   shyams 

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Posted 2021-January-26, 15:29

Can we co-opt this thread to talk about the successes and failures of the Biden administration?

I am quite surprised (and occasionally saddened) by the softly-softly approach of the new President. He seems to have not found his mojo yet even though the American people are probably yearning for him to find & flaunt it.
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#3 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2021-January-26, 15:56

Good idea, Biden was not my first choice.
Anyone else was my first choice - except of course Trump.
non est deus ex machina; även maskiner behöver lite kärlek, J'ai toujours misé sur l'étrange gentillesse des robots.
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#4 User is offline   cherdano 

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Posted 2021-January-26, 18:21

Well, today we learned that The Dear Leader still has 90% of support in the Republican Senate Caucus. And henceforth the Republican 2024 primary will for the next three years be a show of "Will He run?" while every other potential candidate else is trying to gain the support of his followers by praising The Dear Leader. And to the surprise of everyone, running against The Dear Leader after praising The Dear Leader for threeseven full years won't be very successful.

I guess the rest of us can only hope that this fight will destroy the Republican party. We don't HAVE to watch.
The easiest way to count losers is to line up the people who talk about loser count, and count them. -Kieran Dyke
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#5 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-January-26, 20:56

I hope that Joe Biden only tries to work with the 5 Republicans who agreed with the trial and ignores the rest. It seems clear that the Republicans should be treated as if they represent North Korea
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#6 User is offline   shyams 

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Posted 2021-January-27, 13:34

I don't claim to understand the functioning of the US Senate or the House so excuse me if this looks a bit premature. It's been a week since President Biden assumed office. Yet the Democrats are nowhere close to the promised relief money to the lower-income American people. While there might be delays expected due to the precarious 50:50 tie in the Senate, I fail to understand why there appears to be no real urgency to expedite the cheques for individuals.

Separately, the promises made to American people (or more specifically those in Georgia during the Senate run-off) was a $2,000 cheque. I found numerous mainstream media reports dated 4th and 5th Jan that explicitly say "Democrats close the Georgia campaign with populist pitch vowing $2,000 stimulus checks".Yet, after President Biden assumed office, the amount suddenly got downgraded to $1,400!

I wouldn't call this a good start for the Biden administration.
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#7 User is offline   awm 

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Posted 2021-January-27, 15:44

View Postshyams, on 2021-January-27, 13:34, said:

I don't claim to understand the functioning of the US Senate or the House so excuse me if this looks a bit premature. It's been a week since President Biden assumed office. Yet the Democrats are nowhere close to the promised relief money to the lower-income American people. While there might be delays expected due to the precarious 50:50 tie in the Senate, I fail to understand why there appears to be no real urgency to expedite the cheques for individuals.

Separately, the promises made to American people (or more specifically those in Georgia during the Senate run-off) was a $2,000 cheque. I found numerous mainstream media reports dated 4th and 5th Jan that explicitly say "Democrats close the Georgia campaign with populist pitch vowing $2,000 stimulus checks".Yet, after President Biden assumed office, the amount suddenly got downgraded to $1,400!

I wouldn't call this a good start for the Biden administration.


A plan passed near the end of December which included $600 stimulus checks. The $2000 was supposed to replace the $600 checks (which have already been mailed out), so the "downgrade" to $1400 is what's left over (it's not really a downgrade).

Right now the Senate is very busy with fighting over procedural issues, confirming Biden's nominees, and figuring out how to run Trump's second impeachment trial, and these things are probably distracting from the stimulus checks, which have been rolled into Biden's overall $1.9 trillion proposal. Since Republicans are unlikely to support this proposal and it needs 60 votes in the Senate, Democrats are preparing to pass it through reconciliation (a process for budget and spending bills which requires only a majority vote but has some special conditions attached to it).

It takes time to do anything legislatively in the US (especially with a 50-50 Senate) and these relief checks aren't something Biden can just do by executive order. They'll probably come in the next few months though.
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#8 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2021-January-27, 15:57

View Postshyams, on 2021-January-27, 13:34, said:

I don't claim to understand the functioning of the US Senate or the House so excuse me if this looks a bit premature. It's been a week since President Biden assumed office. Yet the Democrats are nowhere close to the promised relief money to the lower-income American people. While there might be delays expected due to the precarious 50:50 tie in the Senate, I fail to understand why there appears to be no real urgency to expedite the cheques for individuals.


The Senate is dysfunctional.

It can't pass legislation, but it sure as hell is in a position to block it.
Alderaan delenda est
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#9 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2021-January-28, 04:49

The best thing about America is Freedom of the Press.
This is so valuable, treasured and wonderful that the Russians copied it.
non est deus ex machina; även maskiner behöver lite kärlek, J'ai toujours misé sur l'étrange gentillesse des robots.
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#10 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2021-January-28, 12:24

My mother never sends text messages, I wasn't even sure she knew how. But on Jan 20 she sent me

Quote

Hallelujah the liar and hater in chief is gone


#11 User is offline   thepossum 

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Posted 2021-January-29, 20:45

Certainly no expert on the situation but having spent some time there during the Clinton presidency and followed US politics closely for a long time, it doesn't usually take long for Democrats to get upset/disillusioned with/feel let down by Democrat administrations. I cant remember the earlier ones than that, I was too young

However on the plus side for me, and maybe something of a conservative view (from a very radical non conservative person) I kind of like the way democratic processes and institutions usually keep extremes under control. I'm curious to see how all the houses being aligned works out. I don't think I observed that often.
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#12 User is offline   shyams 

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Posted 2021-February-01, 11:28

Where is Biden? I am surprised that he has not made more addresses to the American people.

I recall his people saying Biden is like the new FDR. I'm not ridiculing it (although the comparison is a bit of a stretch).

The one thing that impressed me about FDR (based on what I read about the situation) was his superb leadership skill and his ability to totally control a situation. I'm afraid Biden has adopted a bit too much of the softly-softly approach; he's falling behind on his agenda to be the next FDR.
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#13 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2021-February-01, 11:51

View Postshyams, on 2021-February-01, 11:28, said:

Where is Biden? I am surprised that he has not made more addresses to the American people.


And say what precisely?

I would rather that the President wait until he has something meaningful to say that speak for the sake of speaking (which is what you are advocating).

The Biden administration is giving regular press briefings
It is providing administration officials for the Sunday talk shows

At some point in the next few weeks we'll have The State of the Union address.

I don't need to hear President Biden explain that he inherited a god awful cluster*****
I'm not sure that preempting negotiations with the Senate is constructive

As for you and your advice, I can't help but recall all your explanations how the Democrats were doomed in November because they picked Biden
Alderaan delenda est
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#14 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-February-01, 12:46

View Postshyams, on 2021-February-01, 11:28, said:

Where is Biden? I am surprised that he has not made more addresses to the American people.

I recall his people saying Biden is like the new FDR. I'm not ridiculing it (although the comparison is a bit of a stretch).

The one thing that impressed me about FDR (based on what I read about the situation) was his superb leadership skill and his ability to totally control a situation. I'm afraid Biden has adopted a bit too much of the softly-softly approach; he's falling behind on his agenda to be the next FDR.


Considering that 29 state legislatures are still firmly in Trump-crazed Republicans' control and Democrats hold only narrow majorities in Congress, you would be better served hoping for a second Lincoln than FDR.

The good thing about Biden is that he knows there is a tiny minority of Republicans in Congress who are willing to compromise. This is a big difference between Biden and Obama. Biden understands that only a handful on the opposite side are worth his time.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#15 User is offline   shyams 

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Posted 2021-February-01, 13:47

View Posthrothgar, on 2021-February-01, 11:51, said:

As for you and your advice, I can't help but recall all your explanations how the Democrats were doomed in November because they picked Biden

I said that in March & April of 2020! I didn't saying anything like that once he was unquestionably the Dem nominee for President. Here's what I wrote then:

View Postshyams, on 2020-March-11, 15:52, said:

I am not American and I have no say (or substantial interest) in your country's elections. However, I strongly feel that Biden as Democratic nominee will definitely ensure the reelection of Trump in November. The only thing that can derail that outcome is the potential disaster from Coronavirus.

Given the misery such an event will bring, I will pray for no disaster even if it means 8 years of Trump.
PS: Does anyone watch Rising with Krystal and Saagar on YouTube? I have recently begun watching their daily shows and I must say they sound refreshingly different from mainstream media.


And you know what? Biden came close to losing! This is despite the significantly higher deaths caused by Trump's inaction.


Here is our exchange from April 2020 where I said Biden appeared weak.

View Postshyams, on 2020-April-23, 14:17, said:

Note: I'm not a US Citizen or resident, I cannot vote.I agree with (1) that your Great President is a clown and has screwed up big time. However, he is not the only world leader to have screwed up on this matter. Your senators and representatives have screwed up as well... really badly. So there are many people to blame for the bad situation and Trump will probably get away without bearing all of the blame for this.

I don't know what you folks find good about Biden. He has a track record of selling out to corporate interests (I'm not referring to his son), he doesn't have a strong record of suggesting citizen-friendly policies, and finally some of his rambling responses suggest an absence of coherent thought. And if you think the rambling responses aren't a concern, my guess is that this one factor alone will be exploited by Trump, the Republicans and those Super PACs to ensure that Trump is reelected. In summary, I think Biden makes a poor candidate to oppose Trump in the Presidential elections.

View Posthrothgar, on 2020-April-23, 15:13, said:

Biden is far from perfect. I would have far preferred if Warren, Klobuchar, Buttageig, ... had been the candidate. However, if is ridiculous to think that he isn't orders of magnitude than Trump

Who do you think would have been a better candidate in the general election and, more importantly, how is this claim consistent with that candidates inability to execute during the Democratic primary?

View Postshyams, on 2020-April-23, 16:39, said:

Probably some of the candidates you named -- Warren, Klobuchar -- or even Sanders (if the Dem establishment could somehow accept such a hard-left candidate). Even a left-field candidate like Cuomo might be better.

As for the Dem primaries, is it really a fair fight? The only way Mayor Pete or Senator Bernie would ever actually succeed would be if they were obnoxious and thick-skinned like Trump was during the 2016 Rep primaries. I wouldn't be too surprised if the Republican establishment had tried to derail Trump's candidacy during the early days of the 2016 primaries --- only that he browbeat every fellow Republican into submission.And as for Biden (reference to awm's post) and "return to the status quo pre-Trump" isn't the average American voter worried about back-seat driving by the Obamas or by Mrs. Biden (a la Edith Wilson)?

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#16 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-February-01, 15:29

Shyams

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And you know what? Biden came close to losing! This is despite the significantly higher deaths caused by Trump's inaction.


This is due to the oddly structured electoral college. Biden won by 7 1/2 million votes but could have lost the electoral college - which is what happened in 2016.

However, with the absolute idiocy exhibited by the previous administration, it feels disquieting that the Biden win wasn't along the lines of Reagan's enormous win.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#17 User is offline   awm 

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Posted 2021-February-01, 15:50

I'm happy with Biden so far. He's been quite aggressive with the executive actions, reversing many bad Trump policies and a few that have been around longer (like a Reagan-era executive order about computing "costs of regulations" that neither Clinton nor Obama bothered to fully undo).

The Democrats have razor-thin majorities in Congress and this can make it hard to get anything done. In principle it's a majority vote but that means you need every Democrat onboard (including some pretty conservative ones like Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema), not to mention the filibuster tradition in the Senate (which either means you need 10 Republican votes or you need Manchin and Sinema to agree to blow it up). Nonetheless, the new administration has been making some progress through reconciliation and it seems likely a significant stimulus package will be passed.

A lot of the Democratic agenda is pretty popular and without Mitch McConnell's ability to shield his Senate colleagues from tough votes (by refusing to bring bills up for a vote or by inserting poison pills like with the $2000 checks before the new Senate was sworn in) some Republican senators may have some difficult explanations to make if they just vote against everything.
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#18 User is offline   shyams 

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Posted 2021-February-11, 04:55

I read that Rep. Katie Porter of California's 45th District is no longer on the House Financial Services Committee. This appears to be a good development for some of the people who appeared before the Committee and found her questioning to be particularly brash.

It took a while to realise this; it seems the NY Times did not cover this piece of news.
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#19 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2021-February-11, 14:07

Something that has always been unclear to me about American (Republican) governance compared with the style of government that I'm used to is the way that the 'People's House' operates.

In the USA, the Executive Branch is torn away from the voters and placed as a 'co-equal' branch entirely separate from the representatives.

The system means that there is only one "elected" official responsible for the day-to-day management of the country.

It's as though a large company, nominally owned by its shareholders created a Board of Directors that had absolutely no power at all to regulate the affairs of the CEO.

Trump came from the Family company model of management. Like Murdoch, whose company was passed onto him by his similarly rabid Father, Trump had a complete disdain for the Shareholders.
For Trump and Murdoch, their company's sole purpose is to enrich - Trump, Murdoch and their Families. Running a very distant second are the 'necessary Courtiers' and finally, the group at the bottom - everyone else.

When people like Trump and Murdoch say things like 'we love the people', They do not mean it in the sense of "I would throw myself under a bus". What they mean is exactly the same thing that slave-owners meant.
I love to have these people because they generate more wealth for me to con them out of.

Fairness to these people (here I am paraphrasing our own oleaginous Scott Morrison) means an equal chance to strip as much wealth out of the rest of society as they possibly can while evading a prison sentence.
I am not making this up; it is in Morrisons 'fairness' speech. His mantra is "A fair go for those having a go".
Mark Buckley characterises Morrisons thinking in this way:

"This is a belief system called 'prosperity theology'. If you have ever had the surreal experience of watching a televangelist performing, this will be a part of his spiel. Simply, it espouses the theory that wealth is a blessing from God, and that poverty, or a lack of wealth, well, that is a sign of God's displeasure. Of course, it is! Why else are the common people poor, if not for lack of moral fibre?"

This is the reason that the two get on so well. They regard people in the same way that White slave-owners regard black (substitute any word that is not a 'white anglo Saxon') as cattle.
When I use the word 'cattle', I am not making up something from thin air. I watched a video of a man who had been held captive by white slave-owners. After he and his family and friends were released from captivity (Civil war, Lincoln etc.), he said: "They gave us a meal, and then we wandered off like cattle".

Normally when I hear about someone who has been held captive for decades and then released there is an outrage. People cry 'How could this happen'? "The slimeball responsible should be executed." This is especially true when you learn that the captive was also sexually abused.
No such thing happened in the USA. Instead, half the country yearns for the days when 'everyone knew their place'. Now they need to be subtler about it.

Problem solved. They created a system of 'governance' where control of the Executive branch is kept safely away from people they don't like. Management of the electoral process is devolved into such a small scale that it is barely recognised as a plurality based system.
The effect is that the rich people can pretty much appoint whoever they choose by manipulating the boundaries.
This is presumably why Trump was genuinely astonished at Raffensbergers refusal to accommodate his wish to 'find the votes'.
There is no genuine democracy when it can be so easily manipulated by a small group of people.
Where there is no accountability.
Where the strings that attach the Board of Directors to the managers are, as Kurt Vonnegut Jr remarked when describing his relationship to the characters in his books, 'like stale rubber bands rather than tight pieces of string'.



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#20 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-February-11, 20:10

View Postpilowsky, on 2021-February-11, 14:07, said:

Something that has always been unclear to me about American (Republican) governance compared with the style of government that I'm used to is the way that the 'People's House' operates.

In the USA, the Executive Branch is torn away from the voters and placed as a 'co-equal' branch entirely separate from the representatives.

The system means that there is only one "elected" official responsible for the day-to-day management of the country.

It's as though a large company, nominally owned by its shareholders created a Board of Directors that had absolutely no power at all to regulate the affairs of the CEO.

Trump came from the Family company model of management. Like Murdoch, whose company was passed onto him by his similarly rabid Father, Trump had a complete disdain for the Shareholders.
For Trump and Murdoch, their company's sole purpose is to enrich - Trump, Murdoch and their Families. Running a very distant second are the 'necessary Courtiers' and finally, the group at the bottom - everyone else.

When people like Trump and Murdoch say things like 'we love the people', They do not mean it in the sense of "I would throw myself under a bus". What they mean is exactly the same thing that slave-owners meant.
I love to have these people because they generate more wealth for me to con them out of.

Fairness to these people (here I am paraphrasing our own oleaginous Scott Morrison) means an equal chance to strip as much wealth out of the rest of society as they possibly can while evading a prison sentence.
I am not making this up; it is in Morrisons 'fairness' speech. His mantra is "A fair go for those having a go".
Mark Buckley characterises Morrisons thinking in this way:
"This is a belief system called 'prosperity theology'. If you have ever had the surreal experience of watching a televangelist performing, this will be a part of his spiel. Simply, it espouses the theory that wealth is a blessing from God, and that poverty, or a lack of wealth, well, that is a sign of God's displeasure. Of course, it is! Why else are the common people poor, if not for lack of moral fibre?"

This is the reason that the two get on so well. They regard people in the same way that White slave-owners regard black (substitute any word that is not a 'white anglo Saxon') as cattle.
When I use the word 'cattle', I am not making up something from thin air. I watched a video of a man who had been held captive by white slave-owners. After he and his family and friends were released from captivity (Civil war, Lincoln etc.), he said: "They gave us a meal, and then we wandered off like cattle".

Normally when I hear about someone who has been held captive for decades and then released there is an outrage. People cry 'How could this happen'? "The slimeball responsible should be executed." This is especially true when you learn that the captive was also sexually abused.
No such thing happened in the USA. Instead, half the country yearns for the days when 'everyone knew their place'. Now they need to be subtler about it.

Problem solved. They created a system of 'governance' where control of the Executive branch is kept safely away from people they don't like. Management of the electoral process is devolved into such a small scale that it is barely recognised as a plurality based system.
The effect is that the rich people can pretty much appoint whoever they choose by manipulating the boundaries.
This is presumably why Trump was genuinely astonished at Raffensbergers refusal to accommodate his wish to 'find the votes'.
There is no genuine democracy when it can be so easily manipulated by a small group of people.
Where there is no accountability.
Where the strings that attach the Board of Directors to the managers are, as Kurt Vonnegut Jr remarked when describing his relationship to the characters in his books, 'like stale rubber bands rather than tight pieces of string'.





You perception is excellent. The U.S. system was not supposed to work this way - the framers' imagined a much stronger Congress but warned against both demagoguery as well as political parties. Our Congress has abdicated much of its power and responsibility in order to maintain deniability for re-election sake.

The framers' never envisioned a class of citizens whose only job was to ensure their own re-election. But that has become the standard for our Congress. It also makes the presidency much more powerful than was intended.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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