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

#14821 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-February-25, 13:48

Guess I'll just have to keep a stiff upper lip and ignore the bombs until someone comes along to help us beat back the fascists.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#14822 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-February-26, 12:44

The sell-off can't be blamed on a virus. More likely is the stock market is becoming aware of what the bond market has been saying for some time, now, that this economy isn't as great as advertised and recession is likely in the cards in the next 6-18 months.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#14823 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-February-27, 00:47

From The Primaries Are Just Dumb by the NYT Editorial Board:

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How fitting that Twitter — a social media platform apparently built for bickering — co-sponsored a political debate on Tuesday night that often descended into an unintelligible screaming match among too many candidates whose differences belie a vast common ground.

Any one of the candidates in the Democratic race would be among the most progressive leaders ever elected to the White House, so common sense suggests that a few contenders bow out, to clarify the choice and ensure that a consensus nominee can emerge. That would be welcome. But disarray has a way of keeping even the slimmest of hopes alive.

As the country learned in 2016 with Republicans, the primaries and caucuses are a mess, giving the illusion of a choice in a situation where in fact voters have just the opposite — no clear choice. This year, Bernie Sanders won close to a majority in Nevada, but in the two earlier contests, in Iowa and New Hampshire, no candidate won more than 26 percent of the vote. This fragmentation helps those candidates with passionate followings, like Mr. Sanders, as it helped Donald Trump in 2016, but it produces nothing like a consensus candidate. Mr. Sanders has won only 2.3 percent of the 1,991 delegates needed to secure the nomination, yet he’s widely considered the front-runner.

Single-winner elections do a poor job of winnowing a large field of candidates down to one who reflects majority agreement, and encourage the type of nastiness we’re seeing now, because it’s all-or-nothing for each candidate. And the winner of this process can be the choice of as little as 25 or 30 percent of the electorate, which is another way of saying that he or she was not the choice of up to three-quarters of voters.

This is no way to pick the person who will challenge a president — one who was himself nominated first by a minority within his party, then elected by a minority nationwide.

There is a straightforward and elegant solution: ranked-choice voting, also known as instant-runoff voting. Already in use all over the world and in cities and towns across the United States, it’s a popular and proven way of electing leaders who are — what a radical notion! — actually supported by most voters. It is effective in any multicandidate race, but it’s ideal for making sense of a large and fractured pool of candidates.


Ranked-choice voting works on a simple premise: Instead of being forced to choose a single candidate, voters rank some or all of the candidates in order of preference — they rank their favorite candidate first, their next-favorite candidate second, and so on. If one candidate wins a majority of the vote outright, he or she is the winner. If not, the ballots are tallied in a series of rounds. In each round, the candidate with the fewest first-place votes is eliminated. Each ballot ranking that candidate first is then transferred to the candidate whom it ranked second. The process repeats, eliminating the lowest-scoring candidate and redistributing his or her ballots, until one candidate has more than 50 percent of the vote.

How would ranked-choice voting work in primaries with many candidates? We’ll find out this year, when four states are using it for the first time: Wyoming, Alaska, Hawaii and Kansas. As in all other Democratic primaries, they will award delegates proportionally to candidates who win at least 15 percent of the vote. But rather than simply eliminate any candidates who don’t reach that threshold, the ballots listing those candidates first will be transferred to their second-place choices, a process that will be repeated until all remaining candidates have at least 15 percent support.

Say a Wyoming voter is partial to Elizabeth Warren, but feels she doesn’t have much of a chance at hitting 15 percent. He could list Ms. Warren first and, perhaps, Mr. Sanders second. If Ms. Warren fails to get 15 percent of first-place votes in the first round, but Mr. Sanders does, that voter’s ballot would be transferred to him. Millions of votes in the Democratic primaries this year will be cast for candidates who don’t reach the 15-percent cutoff; adopting ranked-choice nationwide would make those votes count for delegates, and thus include those voters in the Democrats’ choice of their nominee.

Polls consistently show high voter satisfaction with ranked-choice voting, and it’s no surprise. By allowing voters to express their support for more than one candidate, ranked-choice voting makes more votes count. By allowing voters to rank a personal favorite first, even if that candidate is unlikely to win, it eliminates the risk of “spoiler” candidates. And by encouraging voters to find something they like in multiple candidates, it fosters consensus.

The candidates respond in turn, by behaving more civilly and reaching out to voters beyond their own base. Running a negative, divisive campaign may pay off in a head-to-head (-to-head-to-head, etc.) election, but not in a ranked-choice one, where victory can depend on appealing not just to a core of supporters, but also to voters who might not be inclined to pick the civil candidate first.

Consider what happened in Maine’s Second Congressional District in the 2018 midterms. Maine first adopted ranked-choice voting in 2016 for its statewide and congressional primaries and elections, and it was popular enough that the Legislature expanded it in 2019 to include presidential elections.

The Second District race featured the Republican incumbent, Bruce Poliquin; his Democratic challenger, Jared Golden; and two independent candidates. After the first round of ballot counting, Mr. Poliquin held a small lead over Mr. Golden, 46.3 percent to 45.6 percent. The independent candidates combined to win about 8 percent, and when they were eliminated in the second and third rounds, more of their votes transferred to Mr. Golden, who ultimately won with more than 50 percent of the vote — even though he won fewer first-choice rankings than Mr. Poliquin. In contrast to Mr. Poliquin, who had publicly dismissed the independent candidates, Mr. Golden reached out to them, and thus won over their supporters. Republicans cried foul, but the voters ended up with a congressional representative who was actually representative.

Maine is the only state to have used ranked-choice statewide, but the reform has been catching on everywhere, from California, Minnesota and Colorado to Utah, Massachusetts and Maryland. Last year, voters in New York City overwhelmingly approved ranked-choice voting for their mayoral, City Council and special elections and primaries starting in 2021 — the largest jurisdiction in the country, by far, to try it.

In fact, some Democrats have already used ranked-choice this season: early voters in the Nevada caucuses. Caucuses offer a form of ranked-choice voting, because voters gather in groups to support their first-choice candidates, and those whose candidates do not receive enough support then redistribute themselves to other candidates. The problem is that many people can’t afford to spend hours at a caucus site, either because of disability or work or family obligations. Voting early by ranked-choice ballot allowed more than 70,000 Nevadans to register their preference for multiple candidates, as though they were at their caucus.

How voters cast their primary ballots is one big area for reform. When they do so is another.

Right now, the primary calendar is cracking under the weight of its own anachronisms. Iowa and New Hampshire, two of the smallest and least diverse states, get outsize attention every presidential election year from the candidates, and therefore have power in determining the arc of the race, long before a vast majority of voters have weighed in. A better system would group state primaries in bunches, making sure to include a diversity of size, geography and demographics in each group, and rotating which group goes first every four years.

No democracy can long maintain its legitimacy with open-ended minority rule. Neither can political parties. Reforming the primary system would go a long way toward making televised shouting matches curious relics of a dysfunctional age.

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#14824 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-February-27, 14:01

https://www.scotsman...resorts-2001733

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The Scottish Government has been urged to apply for an unexplained wealth order to investigate Donald Trump’s deals to acquire his Scottish properties.

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#14825 User is online   johnu 

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Posted 2020-February-27, 22:33

Whistleblower: HHS Staff Who Met Coronavirus Evacuees Had No Training Or Protection

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A government whistleblower has alleged that federal health employees who interacted with Americans quarantined for potential exposure to coronavirus were not wearing protective gear or given proper medical training, according to several media reports on Thursday.

Officials from the Department of Health and Human Services sent more than a dozen ill-equipped workers to California earlier this month to receive the Americans evacuated from Wuhan, China, according to the whistleblower’s 24-page complaint filed Wednesday and obtained first by The Washington Post and later by The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

Fortunately Pence is the new Coronavirus Czar (more than ironic since is boss is the Manchurian President) and will be able to devote 100% of his focus to the virus battle once he gets the Ukrainians to investigate the Bidens, which will be anytime soon :rolleyes:
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#14826 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2020-February-28, 09:28

View Postjohnu, on 2020-February-27, 22:33, said:

Fortunately Pence is the new Coronavirus Czar (more than ironic since is boss is the Manchurian President) and will be able to devote 100% of his focus to the virus battle once he gets the Ukrainians to investigate the Bidens, which will be anytime soon :rolleyes:

Maybe he should kill two birds with one stone and get Ukraine to investigate Covid-19.

#14827 User is online   johnu 

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Posted 2020-February-28, 10:21

View Postbarmar, on 2020-February-28, 09:28, said:

Maybe he should kill two birds with one stone and get Ukraine to investigate Covid-19.

Apparently Pence is the wrong man for the wrong job.

Trump chief of staff Mick Mulvaney suggests people ignore coronavirus news to calm markets

Mulvaney is my choice for Coronavirus Czar. He is a man of few ideas and lots of words B-)

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Mulvaney claimed that the media has only started paying close attention to the coronavirus because "they think this is going to be what brings down the president."

Although 3 years of history suggest that the White House would be totally unprepared and without a clue, I think few people really knew how global the spread of Coronavirus would be and the speed at which clusters of cases are appearing. You would think the White House would have started a comprehensive battle plan once the media picked up on the virus news to avoid looking stupid and incompetent. Then they could say to the media, "you were wrong, we were prepared for all contingencies". Nope. Better to look stupid and unprepared and just insult the media.

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Mulvaney said he was asked by a reporter, "What are you going to do today to calm the markets?"

"I'm like, 'Really what I might do today [to] calm the markets is tell people turn their televisions off for 24 hours.'"

Still, the disease is "absolutely" real, Mulvaney said. But, he said, "You saw the president the other day — the flu is real."

Not only turn of their televisions, but turn off their cell phones and computers, and stop reading magazines and papers. An ignorant population is a happy population.

I'll bet you didn't know that the flu is real. Thank you Manchurian President for letting us know that fact.
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#14828 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-February-28, 14:18

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Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney blamed the media on Friday for exaggerating the risk and spread of coronavirus because “they think this will bring down the president, that’s what this is all about.”


Yes, of course. Everything that happens in the world is about nothing but Donald Trump.

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#14829 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-February-28, 19:31

Noah Smith @noahopinion said:

If Trump were the fascist strongman we briefly feared he was, he would be giving forceful "I ALONE CAN SAVE US" speeches; instead he's just losing his sh#t.

Oliver Willis @owillis said:

Trump rambles while attempting to give a coronavirus update: "A lot of people are getting better ... the fifteen number ... the fifteen people likewise we have them down to a much lower number ... one of the people is -- i wouldn't say not doing well"

Not comforting.
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#14830 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-February-29, 10:42

I see we are now going to leave Afghanistan in 14 months - 14 months to sell the propaganda that "we won".
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#14831 User is online   johnu 

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Posted 2020-February-29, 11:44

View PostWinstonm, on 2020-February-29, 10:42, said:

I see we are now going to leave Afghanistan in 14 months - 14 months to sell the propaganda that "we won".

Another victory :rolleyes: We already "won" in Syria :blink:
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#14832 User is online   johnu 

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Posted 2020-February-29, 11:49

Trump Touts Border Wall In Face Of Coronavirus: ‘Border Security Is Health Security’

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President Donald Trump boasted about the wall at the U.S.-Mexico border as he spoke about the threat of the new coronavirus on Friday, saying at a rally: “Border security is also health security.”

Since the Coronavirus is very small, we won't need a very tall wall, maybe just a couple of inches tall, around Alaska, Hawaii, on the Canadian border, and the east and west coasts of America. The cost will be very cheap compared to the Mexican border wall. I'm feeling safer already.
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#14833 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-March-01, 08:16

Matt Yglesias @@mattyglesias said:

The real story on turnout. But it also looks to me like the composition of the Dem electorate has gotten whiter than it was in 2016.

Michael McDonald @ElectProject said:

This is a consistent pattern in IA, NH, NV, and SC: Dem turnout is beating 2016 (in raw or rate terms), is higher than 2008 in the raw count, but is lower than 2008 accounting for population growth

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#14834 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2020-March-01, 12:32

View Postjohnu, on 2020-February-28, 10:21, said:

Although 3 years of history suggest that the White House would be totally unprepared and without a clue, I think few people really knew how global the spread of Coronavirus would be and the speed at which clusters of cases are appearing. You would think the White House would have started a comprehensive battle plan once the media picked up on the virus news to avoid looking stupid and incompetent. Then they could say to the media, "you were wrong, we were prepared for all contingencies". Nope. Better to look stupid and unprepared and just insult the media.

The Trump administration has a hard enough time preparing for predictable disasters, like the annual hurricane seasons.

Maybe Trump will visit a hospital and toss tissue boxes, like he did with paper towels in Puerto Rico.

#14835 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-March-01, 12:40

View Postbarmar, on 2020-March-01, 12:32, said:

The Trump administration has a hard enough time preparing for predictable disasters, like the annual hurricane seasons.

Maybe Trump will visit a hospital and toss tissue boxes, like he did with paper towels in Puerto Rico.


Or maybe he will toss around Bullsh%^ like he does every day.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#14836 User is online   johnu 

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Posted 2020-March-01, 14:13

This is one of those stories that should make people wonder if it really happened in this country.

Coronavirus rumors and chaos in Alabama point to big problems as U.S. seeks to contain virus

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The quarantine plan hastily hatched by the federal Department of Health and Human Services was soon scrapped by President Trump, who faced intense pushback from Alabama’s congressional delegation, led by Republican Rep. Mike D. Rogers. Americans evacuated after falling ill aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan would not be coming to Anniston, a town of 22,000 people in north-central Alabama, after all. They would remain in the same Texas and California sites where they were taken after leaving the cruise ship.

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The HHS plan also called for housing coronavirus patients at the Center for Domestic Preparedness, a FEMA facility on the old Army base and one of several redevelopment projects at the sprawling outpost.

The center has several brick dormitory buildings — behind tall black fencing — where federal officials planned for the patients to live. Federal officials even picked out the building they wanted to use for the first arrivals: Dorm No. 28, local officials said. A team of federal health workers would care for the patients and U.S. marshals would keep them from leaving the quarantine, local officials said they were told.

The dorms normally house emergency responders from around the country.

But the center doesn’t have any special capabilities for handling infectious diseases, local officials said. The center is used for training. It has isolation hospital rooms — located in a former Army hospital building — but they are mostly just props, with fake equipment and light switches that exist only as paint on walls.

Meanwhile, federal officials never contacted the town’s hospital, Regional Medical Center, about handling covid-19 patients, said Louis Bass, the hospital’s chief executive.

I am appalled but not the least bit surprised by the response from the Manchurian President's administration.
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#14837 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-March-01, 21:33

From Pete Buttigieg drops out of the presidential race by Zack Beauchamp at Vox:

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When he burst on the presidential scene in early 2019, he almost seemed lab-engineered to appeal to a variety of Democrats looking for a clear antidote to President Donald Trump. Early on, Buttigieg emphasized his elite education (Harvard undergraduate, Rhodes scholar), impressive language skills (he speaks seven of them, apparently), and time in the US military as a way of counteracting his lack of national political experience.

He appealed to more progressive Democrats by endorsing institutional reforms like abolishing the Electoral College, automatic voter registration, and statehood for Puerto Rico and Washington, DC. He signaled openness to abolishing the Senate filibuster and packing the Supreme Court with new justices.

The key to his early poll rise, though, seemed to be saying “yes” to virtually every media opportunity. A strong speaker and clearly smart guy, he helped his chances just by getting his face out there to voters who hadn’t heard of him. Just speaking for Vox: I interviewed him for a profile during the early 2019 period, and he also appeared on two of our podcasts. Other aspiring candidates take note: If you want to come up from nowhere, say yes to every journalist who wants to chat.

Of course, just getting out there wasn’t enough on its own. Buttigieg needed to figure out some way to distinguish himself from the pack, a “lane” that would allow him to expand beyond the fans who saw his early media appearances.

Eventually, his campaign seemed to have settled on competing for the relatively moderate lane with longtime frontrunner Joe Biden. He positioned himself against Bernie Sanders and especially Elizabeth Warren, who looked like the top contender in the fall of 2019, arguing that Medicare-for-all’s abolition of private health insurance was a bridge too far. In October’s debate, for example, he accused Warren of misleading the voters on health care: “Your signature, senator, is to have a plan for everything — except this.”

Buttigieg never succeeded in fully wresting control of the moderate lane, however. And he made enemies both on the ideological left and among black voters of all ideological stripes, among whom he could never gain any traction.

It’s hard to overstate the level of contempt directed toward Buttigieg from Sanders supporters — among the ones I’ve spoken with, he was almost certainly their most-hated candidate. He stood for everything they dislike in their view of the Democratic Party: a party dominated by “meritocratic” elites of malleable ideological commitments who are mostly comfortable with the status quo of the American politics.

“No more Bright Young People with their beautiful families and flawless characters and elite educations and vacuous messages of uplift and togetherness,” writes Nathan Robinson, the editor of Current Affairs and an early left critic of Buttigieg. “Give me real human beings, not CV-padding corporate zombies.”

Buttigieg’s campaign didn’t exactly do a good job pushing back on this sentiment. Buttigieg overtly courted wealthy donors, most infamously at a wine cave in California where $900-a-bottle wine was served under Swarovski crystals. Buttigieg probably needed the money given his comparatively low national profile, but it was a terrible look in a primary heavily focused on the dangers of inequality. And the other candidates hammered him for it in the debates.

Buttigieg’s problem with black voters was likely an even bigger electoral problem. Several national polls during the campaign showed him with zero African American support. His time as South Bend mayor included clashes with local black activists over his plan to demolish vacant homes as well as a June 2019 police shooting of a black man.

“You’re running for president, and you want black people to vote for you?” one of his black constituents said in a town hall after the shooting. “That’s not going to happen.”

His campaign was aware of this problem, and worked to counteract it. However, they didn’t do a great job: the rollout of the Douglass Plan, the Buttigieg policy slate for addressing racial inequality, was marred by his campaign listing some prominent black figures as supporters without their permission. A critical piece published in the Root in January detailed a culture of racism inside the South Bend police — and argued, with some evidence, that Buttigieg ignored black officers’ direct requests for his help.

If you lose leftists and black voters, you need to make up the gap heavily somewhere else. He managed to do so in the first two majority white contests, Iowa (where Mayor Pete won) and New Hampshire (where he came in second).

But when the race expanded to more diverse states, his campaign started to falter. In Nevada, he came in a distant third, more than 30 percentage points behind the winner, Sanders. And in South Carolina, the first primary featuring a majority black electorate, he failed to receive even 10 percent of the vote.

While Buttigieg may have failed to win outright in 2020, the fact that he made it as far as he did is a remarkable success. He went from being a nobody nationally to a household name among Democratic primary voters — a result that bodes well for the 38-year-old’s likely long future in Democratic politics.

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#14838 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2020-March-02, 05:43

Almost accidentally, I watched the Buttigieg speech last night. It was inspirational. I was smiling, sometimes laughing. Whatever his merits as a candidate, he is a very good person.
Ken
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#14839 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2020-March-02, 10:54

I caught Bloomberg's commercial last night. It was so hard not to see the striking difference between someone who exudes an air of concern and preparedness and the someone just trying to make political points.

#14840 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-March-03, 17:11

Lest we forget with whom we are dealing. From Max Boot, the WaPo:

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There is so much alarming news in the world that it’s easy to lose sight of the president’s slow-motion assault on American democracy. Case in point: On Friday evening, following the worst week for the stock market since 2008, Trump announced that he would be nominating Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Tex.) as director of national intelligence (DNI). This is a jaw-dropping decision because Trump had already announced and withdrawn Ratcliffe’s nomination last summer in the face of bipartisan resistance.

Critics pointed out that Ratcliffe lacked the “extensive national security expertise” that is a statutory requirement for the job. As The Post notes: “After Trump put Ratcliffe forward last year, it emerged that he had overstated his experience as a federal prosecutor in eastern Texas, claiming to have put terrorists behind bars when there were no significant terrorism prosecutions in that district while he was the U.S. attorney there.”

Trump had chosen Ratcliffe not because he knew anything about intelligence but because he had shown himself to be a slavishly loyal defender of the president with no regard for the truth or the Constitution. Ratcliffe had distinguished himself, if that’s the word, with his obnoxious and insulting interrogation of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III in July, followed by his shameless defense of Trump during the impeachment hearings.

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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