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

#15021 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2020-March-27, 07:52

View Posty66, on 2020-March-27, 06:22, said:

From Edward Luce at FT (March 26):




Regrettably, I think he description Luce gives is accurate.

My extended social circle includes people of, let's say, varied political views. I have been trying to think of something useful to say. To take one issue, let's look at Anthony Fauci. He has recently said that the president is flexible on when people will go back to work, that he, Fauci has spoken with the president, and the president understands the need for flexibility. This is very tactful, he has often been tactful, but there is no way around the fact that this was his very tactful way of saying that the president, on this and various and other matters, is spouting crap. This will come to a head.

A useful thing to say, and perhaps agree to, is that when this does come to a head the consequences will be extraordinarily severe. Nobody will be surprised to hear that I think we should put our trust in Fauci rather than in the president. I do not, however, expect I can suddenly convert anyone to my way of thinking., If what has already been seen does not suffice then nothing I can say will make any difference at all. I am not a virus expert, I am not an economist, I just think in this the choice of trusting Fauci or trusting Trump is an extreme no-brainer. I have no new and brilliant argument to offer.

I do hope that we can agree that the choice we make as to whom to trust will be very consequential. That is what we must keep in front of us.
Ken
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#15022 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-March-27, 08:09

It would be most helpful if we all became apathetic toward Trump and his daily lies. Then we would begin to look for genuine information.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter. / "I need ammunition, not a ride." Zelensky
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#15023 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2020-March-27, 10:13

View PostWinstonm, on 2020-March-27, 08:09, said:

It would be most helpful if we all became apathetic toward Trump and his daily lies. Then we would begin to look for genuine information.



Yes, I pretty much ignore him. That's helpful for my own sanity. Fauci shares a stage with him and his ability to make his disagreement clear without being kicked off the stage is useful to everyone. In between Fauci and my own sanity is the real issue of what we say to others. Stressing the importance of the choice might be useful. Of course it would be great if everyone agreed with me on important matters, but that is not about to happen. If we can all agree that getting it right is critical, that's a start. Sure, I see getting it right as equivalent to agreeing with me. But we start by getting agreement that getting it right is the critical part.

Here is something else I was thinking could be useful. Our governor, Larry Hogan, is a Republican. I voted for him, and as I see how he is responding to this I am pleased with my vote. Never mind whether you agree, my point is that this is not R versus D, it is competence versus disaster. I think it could be useful for Rs to understand that some of us who usually vote D can also vote R when we think the person is right for the job. My objection to Trump is not that he is R but that he is Trump. Many who usually vote R have similar objections.

We have to get past the R-D politics of this. It's not the time, if it ever is, for my party right or wrong.
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#15024 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-March-27, 10:43

View Postkenberg, on 2020-March-27, 10:13, said:

Yes, I pretty much ignore him. That's helpful for my own sanity. Fauci shares a stage with him and his ability to make his disagreement clear without being kicked off the stage is useful to everyone. In between Fauci and my own sanity is the real issue of what we say to others. Stressing the importance of the choice might be useful. Of course it would be great if everyone agreed with me on important matters, but that is not about to happen. If we can all agree that getting it right is critical, that's a start. Sure, I see getting it right as equivalent to agreeing with me. But we start by getting agreement that getting it right is the critical part.

Here is something else I was thinking could be useful. Our governor, Larry Hogan, is a Republican. I voted for him, and as I see how he is responding to this I am pleased with my vote. Never mind whether you agree, my point is that this is not R versus D, it is competence versus disaster. I think it could be useful for Rs to understand that some of us who usually vote D can also vote R when we think the person is right for the job. My objection to Trump is not that he is R but that he is Trump. Many who usually vote R have similar objections.

We have to get past the R-D politics of this. It's not the time, if it ever is, for my party right or wrong.


Yes, but there is a distinct difference between state politics and national politics as far as party is concerned. It is hard to understand why anyone at this point would vote for a Republican senator, for example, no matter how swell of guy or gal he/she is.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter. / "I need ammunition, not a ride." Zelensky
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#15025 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-March-27, 14:03

Donald Trump addresses concerns over the Coronavirus pandemic.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter. / "I need ammunition, not a ride." Zelensky
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#15026 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-March-27, 17:10

I have to admit to being impressed with the mental agility exhibited by Republicans - they have the ability to change their views the very instant they are told what they think. Just yesterday, Trump didn't think New York needed 30,000 ventilators; today, he is supplying ventilators for the whole world.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter. / "I need ammunition, not a ride." Zelensky
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#15027 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-March-28, 04:58

From Peter S Goodman at NYT:

https://www.nytimes....pgtype=Homepage

Quote

The unleashing of cash by Congress to combat the catastrophe of the pandemic amounts to the traditional American prescription — in gargantuan form. The $2 trillion package of spending expands the standard unemployment insurance system, while setting aside a pool of money that is supposed to aid distressed companies.

It may prove to be weak medicine, a cocktail concocted for more familiar economic afflictions like a sudden loss of spending power caused by a stock market crash or a plunge in real estate prices.

This crisis is different. From Asia to Europe to North America, people are losing their jobs by government fiat. Workers are required to stay home to limit the spread of a deadly virus. Faced with a public health emergency, the government is suppressing business, rendering dubious the value of standard stimulus measures.

What is needed, say many economists, is not a spur to economic activity, but a comprehensive rescue for people harmed while normal life is frozen: The government should step in and issue paychecks directly to prevent a disastrous wave of joblessness.

“We should definitely make every possible measure to keep people in their jobs,” said Pavlina R. Tcherneva, an economist at Bard College and the author of the forthcoming book, “The Case for a Job Guarantee.”

“Essentially, the government becomes the employer of first resort,” she said. “If we were to do that today, we could stop some of the additional hemorrhage.”

But having the government nationalize American payrolls is the sort of idea that may seem as practical as sprinkling the landscape with fairy dust. It would cost untold trillions of dollars, yielding substantially larger budget deficits. In a country that tends to find cash for tax cuts and military spending while pleading insolvency to everything else, that makes it politically unimaginable.

Yet in some countries this idea is far from fantastical.

In Denmark, political parties from across the ideological spectrum joined with labor unions and employers associations this month to unite behind a plan that has the government covering 75 to 90 percent of all worker salaries over the next three months, provided that companies refrain from layoffs.

The Danish government also agreed to cover costs like rent for companies that suffer a shortfall in revenues. These two elements are collectively estimated to cost 42.6 billion Danish kroner (about $6.27 billion), after factoring in the savings on the unemployment insurance system.

The Netherlands produced a similar scheme, with the government stepping in to cover 90 percent of wages for firms that show losses of at least 20 percent of their revenue. The British government pledged to cover 80 percent of wages, and on Thursday extended those protections to the self-employed.

The aim of this approach is to prevent the wrenching experience of mass unemployment, while allowing businesses to retain their people rather than firing and then hiring them again. Once normalcy returned, companies would be in position to quickly resume operations, restoring economic growth.

“There was quickly an understanding that we were in an exceptional situation where it was necessary to very quickly produce exceptional initiatives,” said Carl-Johan Dalgaard, an economist at the University of Copenhagen and chair of the Danish Economic Council, which advises policymakers. “If you can tide firms over and thereby reduce the severity of bankruptcies and firings, you can expedite the return to normal.”

The primary reason that this sort of approach appears unthinkable in the United States is the same one that limits options to expanding health care and lowering the cost of university education: Wealthy Americans have proved adept at shielding themselves from taxation.

“You don’t have a comprehensive welfare state in the United States, because it implies a politically unacceptable level of redistribution,” said Jacob F. Kierkegaard, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington. “As long as you’re not willing to tax wealthy people and give some of the money to people who are not wealthy, these sorts of options are not on the menu.”

In Denmark in 2018, the government collected tax revenue equal to 49 percent of the nation’s annual economic output, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. In the Netherlands, that figure was 39 percent, and in Britain 34 percent.

In the United States, tax revenues amounted to 24 percent of annual economic output. That was down from 28 percent in 2000, before huge tax cuts from the George W. Bush and Trump administrations, with most of the benefits flowing to the wealthiest households.

The emergency threatening the global economy has reached such a magnitude that it demands a radical departure from the traditional policy playbook, assert many economists.

Nearly 3.3 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week — the worst week on record by far — and uglier numbers are likely ahead. With the United States now the epicenter of the pandemic, and with the economy in virtual lockdown, the downturn could exceed the pain of the Great Recession a dozen years ago.

In that episode, the Obama administration deployed a traditional dose of stimulus. A steep drop in housing prices deprived homeowners of the credit that had been financing robust spending. The government had to step in and build roads and schools, the logic went, creating construction jobs. The newly employed would return to local shops and restaurants, whose workers would gain money to spend — a virtuous cycle.

But in this crisis, stimulating the economy is akin to throwing a sale inside a department store that has been emptied by the bomb squad. People are not avoiding malls because they lack money. They are being told to stay away for reasons of public health.

“This is not about stimulus,” said Heidi Shierholz, senior economist and director of policy at the Economy Policy Institute, a labor-oriented research institution in Washington. “We don’t want to get people back to work right now. You’re making sure people are OK while you’re on lockdown.”

By any reckoning, an American version of Denmark’s plan would cost a hefty sum. Last year, 157 million Americans were officially employed. About 53 million low-wage workers have median annual earnings of only $18,000 a year, according to the Brookings Institution. Simply covering their wages for six months would run $477 billion. If the government wrote paychecks for the entire American work force, which had a median income of $64,000, six months would cost $5 trillion.

Cumulative federal debt at the end of last year exceeded $23 trillion, which amounted to 105 percent of annual economic output, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. That was nearly double the level of two decades ago, before big tax-cutting began. Borrowing another $5 trillion would surely trigger warnings that the government was debasing the dollar and inviting inflation.

But Ms. Tcherneva, the economist, maintains that such analysis is wrong and ahistoric. During World War II, the United States ran annual budget deficits that were more than five times the current size as a percentage of the economy.

“We have unlimited fiscal space in terms of financing these programs,” she said. “We can’t buy into this old rhetoric of ‘We can’t afford x, y and z.’ Just last month, we were saying, ‘We can’t afford medical care.’ Now we need it desperately in the United States.”

The United States retains a status that confers an unsurpassed ability to borrow: The dollar is the global reserve currency, the ultimate medium of exchange. When danger strikes, money reliably rushes to the security of American government bonds.

Part of the reason the Danes could quickly pledge extraordinary amounts of government money was that they were already financing some of the world’s most generous social safety net programs.

Under the so-called Nordic economic model that prevails in Scandinavian countries, people accept tax burdens that are extremely high by global standards in exchange for cradle-to-grave benefits like national health care, free public education, extensive parental leave, job-training programs and cash grants for people who lose work.

The United States, by contrast, is marinated in notions of rugged individualism, making economic hardship an often solitary experience, absent the cushion of government largess.

A Danish family of four headed by one breadwinner who loses his or her job is, six months later, living on 90 percent of their previous income and given extensive government support, according to the O.E.C.D. An American family in that situation typically subsists on 30 percent of its original income.

This frames the political choices in the face of crisis. Danish policymakers could settle on extraordinary action knowing that taxpayer money was getting spent in any event — either to prevent mass layoffs, or to attend to mass layoffs.

In American budget math, lean spending to help struggling workers is the default. Extra dollars must be borrowed or collected via taxes.

But the alarming moment at hand should change the calculus, say these economists. If the American government were to assume the role of ultimate employer, that could reassure markets worldwide — something that Denmark lacks the power to do.

“It would basically send a signal of the strength and resilience of the U.S. political and economic system,” Mr. Kirkegaard said. “I don’t see why you shouldn’t be able to do this.”

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#15028 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-March-28, 05:53

From Angela Merkel: Germany’s crisis manager is back by Guy Chazen at FT:

Quote

Last week, Angela Merkel did something she had never done before in her 14 years as Germany’s chancellor. She went on national television to address the nation.

It was a historic moment. Germany had shut down schools and shops and sealed its borders in a desperate attempt to slow the advance of coronavirus. Factories were closed and millions stuck at home. A near palpable sense of alarm and confusion stalked the streets.

Ms Merkel’s demeanour was calm but her tone insistent. We must all, she said, reduce our social lives to a minimum. Keep our distance from people. Avoid contact with the elderly, even our own grandparents. Show some solidarity. An uncharacteristically personal note crept in, a reference to her life in communist East Germany. “For someone like me, for whom freedom of movement was a hard-fought right, such restrictions can only be justified by their absolute necessity,” she said.

No one had seen Ms Merkel speak to the nation on TV, outside her perfunctory New Year’s Eve addresses. Few had seen her show such empathy and emotion. The impact was correspondingly huge: some 30m people watched the 12-minute speech. They knew they were in the safe hands of Europe’s most experienced crisis manager. “Her style of leadership was out of fashion for a long time, but now it’s exactly what people need,” says Stefan Kornelius, Ms Merkel’s biographer. “You want someone like her who projects stability and maturity. Someone who isn’t tweeting every five minutes.”

Cometh the hour, cometh the Merkel, her supporters say. Strongmen and showmen might have their uses during peacetime, but in a pandemic, with the economy in a downward spiral and millions afraid, you need a cool head.

Even after Ms Merkel went into quarantine last Monday, having come into contact with a doctor who tested positive for Covid-19, there was no doubt in most Germans’ minds who was in charge. “She analyses the situation very precisely and, unlike others, listens to the advice of experts,” says Jürgen Hardt, foreign affairs spokesman for Ms Merkel’s party, the Christian Democratic Union. It’s not surprising she once cited Marie Curie, the physicist who discovered radium, as her role model.

Western Europe’s longest-serving leader, 65-year-old Ms Merkel has been here before. She steered Germany through the 2008 financial meltdown, the eurozone debt crisis, and the migration emergency of 2015-16, when more than a million refugees entered Europe. Through it all she conveyed quiet competence and a minimum of fuss.

Her return to the role of the nation’s Mutti (or mummy) has taken some by surprise, however. Ms Merkel’s fourth and final term has been a hard slog: the “grand coalition” she presides over with the Social Democrats has been riven by constant bickering, while uncertainty over who will succeed her as chancellor has destabilised German politics.

CDU conservatives still cannot forgive her for keeping the country’s borders open during the refugee crisis, a decision that fuelled political tensions and gave a huge boost to the far-right Alternative for Germany, now established in all 16 regional parliaments.

None of that seems to matter now. Her government has jumped into action, pushing through a €156bn emergency budget to protect the economy. For Germans, says Manfred Güllner, one of the country’s leading pollsters, Ms Merkel is “the living safety-net”. Her party is up 4 points at 36 per cent, the AfD down 4 points at 9.

Through it all, she has been her usual imperturbable self. Katja Leikert, a CDU MP, took part in a conference call with senior party figures on Tuesday, and was impressed, as ever, by Ms Merkel’s style: “Some of the people on the call were mansplaining for ages, and she spoke for just two minutes.”

Ms Merkel’s reticence has deep roots, originating in her upbringing in East Germany. She once said that “learning when to keep quiet was a great advantage in the GDR period”. It was, she said, “one of our survival strategies”.

A pastor’s daughter who became a physicist, she entered politics after the fall of the Berlin Wall and rose quickly to become a minister in the cabinet of Helmut Kohl. When he became embroiled in a party funding scandal, she turned on him and snatched the leadership of the CDU. As chancellor she won four consecutive elections and, in recent years, has become a symbol of western liberal values scorned by nationalists such as US president Donald Trump.

But her status as Europe’s pre-eminent stateswoman faces a historic test. Some in Brussels believe the continent is now facing its worst peacetime crisis. Eurozone leaders may need to rally behind the single currency to save it from break-up. So far, though, there is little sign of co-ordinated European action.

Ms Merkel will have do what is necessary to ensure the euro’s survival without alienating her compatriots. She once described the eurozone crisis as “like being in a dark room, so dark that you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face and you have to grope your way forward”. This crisis could be even more disorientating.

But as she girds herself for the monumental task of rescuing Germany and Europe, she at least enjoys wide support. Even opposition politicians give her the thumbs-up.

“In a crisis like this,” Green MP Konstantin von Notz tweeted this month, “we can only be happy that we have a chancellor like Angela Merkel.”

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#15029 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-March-28, 17:02

From Roger Cohen at NYT:

Quote

This is the silent spring. The planet has gone quiet, so quiet you can almost hear it whirling around the sun, feel its smallness, picture for once the loneliness and fleetingness of being alive.

This is the spring of fears. A scratchy throat, a sniffle, and the mind races. I see a single rat ambling around at dusk on Front Street in Brooklyn, a garbage bag ripped open by a dog, and experience an apocalyptic vision of vermin and filth.

Scattered masked pedestrians on empty streets look like the survivors of a neutron bomb. A pathogen about one-thousandth the width of a human hair, the spiky-crowned new coronavirus, has upended civilization and unleashed the imagination.

From my window, gazing across the East River, I see a car pass now and then on F.D.R. Drive. The volume of traffic reminds me of standing on the Malecón, the seafront promenade in Havana, a dozen years ago and watching a couple of cars a minute pass. But that was Cuba and those were finned ’50s beauties!

It is time of total reset. In France, there’s a website to indicate to people the one-kilometer radius from their homes in which they are permitted to exercise. That’s one measure of everyone’s shrunken worlds.

Yet, to write, to read, to cook, to reflect in silence, to walk the dog (until it braces its legs against moving because it’s walked too much), to adapt to a single space, to forsake the frenetic, to contemplate a stilled world, may be to open a space for individual growth. Something has shifted. The earth has struck back. Exacting breathlessness, it has asserted its demand to breathe.

From animal to human the virus jumps, as if to demonstrate the indivisibility of life and death on a small planet. The technology perfected for the rich to globalize their advantages has also created the perfect mechanism for globalizing the panic that sends portfolios into a free fall.

Do things differently at the other end of this scourge, some mystic voice murmurs, do them more equitably, more ecologically, with greater respect for the environment, or you will be smitten again. Next time the internet will collapse. The passage from real world to virtual world to no world will then be complete.

It is not easy to resist such thoughts, and perhaps they should not be resisted, for that would be to learn nothing.

Speaking of rats, Camus’s “The Plague” is out of stock on Amazon, as the world awakens to the novel’s eternal reminder “that the plague bacillus never dies or vanishes entirely, that it can remain dormant for dozens of years in furniture or clothing, that it waits patiently in bedrooms, cellars, trunks, handkerchiefs and old papers, and that perhaps the day will come when, for the instruction or misfortune of mankind, the plague will rouse its rats and send them to die in some well-contented city.”

The book was published in 1947, two years after the political plague of Fascism had been vanquished with the loss of tens of millions of lives. Camus’s warning was political. The virus returns as inevitably as the psychotic leader with mesmeric mythmaking talents.

In an election year, it has been impossible to witness the mixture of total incompetence, devouring egotism and eerie inhumanity with which President Trump has responded to the Covid-19 pandemic and not fear some form of corona-coup. Panic and disorientation are precisely the elements on which the would-be dictator feasts. The danger of an American autocratic lurch in 2020 is as great as the virus itself.

This is Trump’s world now: scattered, incoherent, unscientific, nationalist. Not a word of compassion does he have for America’s stricken Italian ally (instead the United States quietly asks Italy for nasal swabs flown into Memphis by the U.S. Air Force). Not a word from a United Nations Security Council bereft of American leadership. Not a word of plain simple decency, the quality Camus most prized. In their place, neediness, pettiness and boastfulness. The only index Trump comprehends is the Dow.

I have experienced physical shock in recent weeks watching leaders like Angela Merkel in Germany, Justin Trudeau in Canada and Emmanuel Macron in France speak about the pandemic. We Americans do not grasp how insidiously Trump has accustomed us to malignancy. A germophobe, he has spread the germ of untruth.

That self-satisfied, nasal and plaintive presidential voice has become a norm. And so merely to hear a sane, caring, scientific response to the virus from other leaders is riveting and reorienting.

The mother of all crises has met the ne plus ultra of presidential ineptitude. “We have it totally under control,” the president says in January. “One day — it’s like a miracle — it will disappear,” is the refrain in February. “I don’t take responsibility at all,” Trump declares in March. He has a good “feeling” about malaria drugs whose efficacy against the virus is untested. He is all over the place on China. And now, against widespread medical advice, and the protests of desperate governors, he wants the United States “opened up and just raring to go by Easter,” in a couple of weeks.

I don’t blame Trump entirely for America’s unpreparedness. The American health care system has long been a colossal study in waste. But I do blame Trump for wasting a couple of months in denialism that reminded me of Thabo Mbeki and his criminal dismissal of AIDS in South Africa. I blame him for then leaving state and local governments to fend for themselves, mobilizing federal resources belatedly, weakly and inconsistently. And I blame him for the small-minded America First obsession that made it impossible for him to learn from other countries.

I blame Trump for the fact that my son-in-law, a physician on the front line at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, was for weeks unable to test his patients or himself for infection and still faces shortages. I blame him for the disappearance from view of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, America’s foremost agency for fighting infectious disease, now forced to kowtow to Trump’s ego. In this president’s view, the limelight exists for him alone.

The lessons are in plain view. The countries that have fared best are those that have been fastest to test, track and isolate areas of infection, giving them a good idea of the size of the outbreak and the best means to flatten the curve of its spread. Look at South Korea or Germany.

Trump’s United States lost a couple of months. It then tried in the absence of any detailed data to quarantine everyone. That works in Wuhan and a surveillance state but not in a nation of individualists wedded to the idea of self-sufficiency. The test-isolate-track moment was lost. The results have been predictably poor. The economy went into a nose-dive that, a $2-trillion stimulus package notwithstanding, could lead to a depression. And many more could die destitute.

Polls say Trump’s popularity has edged up a little since the virus struck. The best way to think of that is he’s still a singularly unpopular wartime president. He is beatable. So is the virus, if America puts its shoulder to the wheel with seriousness of purpose.

In “The Plague,” the doctor at the center of the novel, Bernard Rieux, reacts to the pestilence with active fatalism. He treats everyone, even the dying, with equal attention. He is asked by a journalist to define decency and responds that he cannot in a general sense but knows that for him “it consists of doing my job.”

I have been on leave working on a novel. In these times, one may be tempted to ask, why be a journalist if one merely hurls countless words into a gale of stupidity that sweeps them away? The answer, I think, is that the words are not pointless, even if they may be ineffective in the moment.

They are not pointless any more than Rieux’s efforts are, or the acts of defiance against murderous totalitarianism that lead straight to summary execution for their authors.

“The only way to fight the plague is with decency,” Camus writes. Because decency in the face of pestilence redeems not just the individual acting in this way, but all of humanity. The virus, and it is both pathogenic and political today, requires everyone to defeat it. Without relenting, however hopeless the effort may seem. As Camus writes elsewhere, “One must imagine Sisyphus happy.”

In this silent spring, the forsythia has bloomed and the magnolia buds are bursting. Nature, as Rachel Carson chronicled in her “Silent Spring,” published 58 years ago, is telling us something.

Doctor Rieux is one of my literary heroes. I was fortunate to have a doctor for many years, until his retirement last year, who had some of Rieux's qualities including his tireless professionalism and genuine empathy for his patients.
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#15030 User is offline   Chas_P 

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Posted 2020-March-28, 18:19

View Postkenberg, on 2020-March-22, 18:21, said:

I am honestly incredulous. I have always been able to see why people might be lest than pleased with the direction of the Democratic party. That I can understand. But I gather you think nobody else would have done better, or at least Clinton would not have.. I am speechless. At a moment of extreme danger we have a bizarre creature in the WH. Stupid doesn't really quite cover it.


So you think Biden is the savior?
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#15031 User is offline   awm 

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Posted 2020-March-29, 05:33

View PostChas_P, on 2020-March-28, 18:19, said:

So you think Biden is the savior?


A president isn't a messiah, and no president is perfect. Still, it seems like not much to ask that the president:

1. Retain highly skilled and qualified people in important jobs, rather than firing the entire pandemic response team (not to mention what Trump has done to the state department, the EPA, etc).
2. Listen to the experts and publicize their advice rather than making things up that the experts have to try to walk back.
3. Try to make things better for all Americans instead of just those in states that voted for him or whose governors praise him non-stop.
4. Express at least some sympathy for Americans who have lost family members and/or are panicked about current events, rather than attacking reporters who even ask about them.

These aren't really tough requirements. Every president during my lifetime did a much better job of this than Trump. I'm sure Biden would do well on all of these (as would almost all the Democratic primary candidates, or a significant number of non-Trump Republicans).
Adam W. Meyerson
a.k.a. Appeal Without Merit
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#15032 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2020-March-29, 05:51

View PostChas_P, on 2020-March-28, 18:19, said:

So you think Biden is the savior?


I long ago gave up thinking that even I am perfect. No, I do not think Biden is a savior. I think that over the course of many posts I have made myself clear, maybe boringly clear. In a time of crisis I regard Donald Trump as a person that I do not want my life and well-being to be dependent upon. Or the country's well-being. This has been my view since 2016. I think he is uniquely unqualified to lead the country and, with covid, I think his performance so far has been much worse than I could possibly have imagined.

I do know people, not just you, who are still Trump supporters. Or I think they still are, I have decided not to ask. The times in my life when I have decided that further discussion on a matter of importance is pointless are rather few but this is one. Support Trump? I just don't get it, and that won't change.
Ken
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#15033 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2020-March-29, 05:56

View PostChas_P, on 2020-March-28, 18:19, said:

So you think Biden is the savior?


Ah, time once again for our weekly dose of stupid...

Is this the current pattern?
Bungie in
Make an asinine comment, then disappear again for a week hoping that people forgot your last bit of stupidity?
Alderaan delenda est
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#15034 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-March-29, 08:32

View Posthrothgar, on 2020-March-29, 05:56, said:

Ah, time once again for our weekly dose of stupid...

Is this the current pattern?
Bungie in
Make an asinine comment, then disappear again for a week hoping that people forgot your last bit of stupidity?


I guess the market for red herring has shrunk.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter. / "I need ammunition, not a ride." Zelensky
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#15035 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-March-29, 17:22

From Noah Smith at Bloomberg:

Quote

Crises such wars, depressions, natural disasters and pandemics can reveal differences in how effectively a society organizes itself. In the 1600s and 1700s, for example, Britain’s more advanced tax system allowed it to outspend Spain and France, while Prussia’s efficient army let it overcome larger opponents such as Austria. In the Civil War, the Union's industrial prowess allowed it to outlast and overwhelm the agrarian Confederacy.

Pandemics aren’t quite the same as wars, but they can also illustrate startling differences in the effectiveness of different countries. China, the place where coronavirus first appeared, initially tried to hush up evidence of the outbreak before pivoting to a draconian crackdown that was crudely effective. South Korea and Taiwan, scarred by the SARS epidemic 17 years ago, were ready with effective response systems that tested large numbers of people and traced their contacts in order to isolate contagious individuals before they showed symptoms. European countries tended to respond less effectively, with Italy and Spain having two of the worst outbreaks and the U.K. dithering over its strategy while wasting crucial time.

But perhaps no advanced nation has responded as poorly as the U.S. Perverse regulation, a bungled government test and fragmented supply chains held back testing for crucial weeks, allowing the epidemic to spread undetected. Abdication of leadership by the federal government left the job of shutdowns to state and local governments. Meanwhile, the president has issued highly unrealistic predictions that lockdowns could end in as little as two weeks. As a result, the U.S. now leads the world in cases of the coronavirus.

It’s possible that the U.S.’s scattershot, slow and ineffective response to this crisis is a result of leadership failures or the recent era of political division. President Donald Trump eliminated a pandemic response team at the National Security Council, his appointments to the Centers for Disease Control and the Food and Drug Administration have been controversial, and his messaging has generally been unhelpful and conflicting.

But the widespread nature of the failures suggest that coronavirus has exposed a deeper decline in the U.S.’s general effectiveness as a civilization. How recent that decline is, what its causes are and whether it can be reversed are all difficult but important questions.

One possibility is that the U.S. is burdened with outdated 18th-century institutions. Federalism leaves many powers to the states, making it hard for the central government to coordinate a pandemic response even when leadership is strong and competent. The Senate and the filibuster are set up to block swift legislative solutions to the nation's mounting challenges. Countries such as South Korea and Taiwan created their centralized systems much more recently.

But the U.S. made big moves toward centralization to deal with the Civil War, the Great Depression, World War II and the Cold War. Those successful responses show that the U.S. has been capable of adapting to the challenges of upheaval in the past. Recently, though, the U.S. has allowed its civil service to shrink and its salaries to become less competitive with the private sector, outsourcing many of the bureaucracy’s functions. [chart omitted]

It’s tempting to blame this on small-government ideology, but the coronavirus failures also involved over-regulation by the FDA. In general, fans of more government and less government seem unable to prioritize high-quality, effective government — what my Bloomberg Opinion colleague Tyler Cowen and his fellow economist Mark Koyama call state capacity.

There may be deeper reasons why U.S. state capacity is decaying. One possibility, elaborated by economist Mancur Olson, is that as time goes by, institutions tend to be captured by a web of special interest groups. In the case of coronavirus these could include companies that use patents and mergers to monopolize parts of the medical supply chain and local business lobbies that push governments to delay lockdowns at the expense of public health.

An even more disturbing possibility is that declining U.S. effectiveness is the result of deepening racial and ethnic divisions. Economists have generally found that ethnic fragmentation — usually a legacy of colonialism — tends to make countries less willing to provide public goods. In the U.S., ethnic fragmentation is mainly a legacy of slavery, which resulted in lasting black-white tensions. The urge to slash and devalue government in the late 20th century almost certainly stemmed in part from many white Americans’ fear that government would mostly benefit their poorer black countrymen. In recent decades, waves of mostly Hispanic and Asian immigration have created further ethnic divisions; Trump’s presidency is often viewed as a backlash against that increasing diversity.

The crucial question is whether and how the decline in U.S. effectiveness might be reversed. Restoring the prestige of the civil service, centralizing functions such as responding to pandemics and electing competent and focused leaders are certainly all important steps. But in the long term, doing this will probably require cultivating a sense of national solidarity that crosses ethnic and racial lines while rooting out the entrenched power of special interests. Restoring the greatness of American civilization is likely to be a long and difficult road.

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#15036 User is offline   Chas_P 

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Posted 2020-March-29, 18:16

View Posthrothgar, on 2020-March-29, 05:56, said:

Ah, time once again for our weekly dose of stupid...

Is this the current pattern?
Bungie in
Make an asinine comment, then disappear again for a week hoping that people forgot your last bit of stupidity?


And here, ladies and gentlemen, we once again have a profound utterance from the Oracle at Natick.
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#15037 User is offline   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2020-March-30, 02:25

View PostChas_P, on 2020-March-29, 18:16, said:

And here, ladies and gentlemen, we once again have a profound utterance from the Oracle at Natick.


He's right though, your comment was absurd, you don't have to be very good to be many times better than Trump. Saviours are not required, somebody with the odd scruple and a brain would do.
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#15038 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2020-March-30, 05:35

A simple example.


Not long ago, DT spoke of hoping the churches would be filled for Easter. I no longer attend church services but I know people, a fair number, who do. I have not polled them but no one has said to me "I was going to stay home but now that the president has spoken I will be going to church on Easter". Well. now DT has extended recommendations for distancing until the end of April. Again I know of no one who has changed plans, or who I expect will change plans, based on what the president says.

This is where we are with DT.

My mind can go to strange comparisons, but it reminds me of a long ago time when my younger daughter was in first grade and parents were invited to a discussion with teachers. It began with the principal speaking, and with me asking myself why on earth I had come. Then a teacher, bless her, interrupted the principal and said something along the lines of "You have to stop now Mr. ---, we have things that we need to discuss with the parents".

The comparison is apt? Trump holds a televised meeting where the health experts discuss where we are with the virus. But since he is the president, DT first gets to blabber on. How great he is, what a wonderful job he is doing, how any problems are the fault of someone else, and then add in some alternative facts to be corrected later. Nobody listens, everyone waits, some more patiently than others, until he finally shuts up and lets people who know what they are talking about, and have something important to say, speak.

Short version: Do you know of anyone who will be going to church or not going to church on Easter based on the advice of DT? What would you think of the judgment of someone who did make their choice on that basis? We have a president that no sensible person trusts at all.
Ken
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#15039 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-March-30, 07:33

This is why - when the talk turns to U.S. politics - the discussion must turn to the change in the religious right, a radicalization that is anti-democracy and authoritarian.

Quote

I have attended dozens of Christian nationalist conferences and events over the past two years. And while I have heard plenty of comments casting doubt on the more questionable aspects of Mr. Trump’s character, the gist of the proceedings almost always comes down to the belief that he is a miracle sent straight from heaven to bring the nation back to the Lord. I have also learned that resistance to Mr. Trump is tantamount to resistance to God.

This isn’t the religious right we thought we knew. The Christian nationalist movement today is authoritarian, paranoid and patriarchal at its core. They aren’t fighting a culture war. They’re making a direct attack on democracy itself.


What is dangerous about this movement is that it crosses religions. Catholics and Protestants are in agreement that the U.S. is a Christian nation and its leaders and laws should reflect that truth. It is an appeal for a theocracy.

And many who agree with these ideas have been appointed to positions of power by Donald Trump.

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter. / "I need ammunition, not a ride." Zelensky
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#15040 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-March-30, 07:36

View Postkenberg, on 2020-March-30, 05:35, said:

A simple example.


Not long ago, DT spoke of hoping the churches would be filled for Easter. I no longer attend church services but I know people, a fair number, who do. I have not polled them but no one has said to me "I was going to stay home but now that the president has spoken I will be going to church on Easter". Well. now DT has extended recommendations for distancing until the end of April. Again I know of no one who has changed plans, or who I expect will change plans, based on what the president says.

This is where we are with DT.

My mind can go to strange comparisons, but it reminds me of a long ago time when my younger daughter was in first grade and parents were invited to a discussion with teachers. It began with the principal speaking, and with me asking myself why on earth I had come. Then a teacher, bless her, interrupted the principal and said something along the lines of "You have to stop now Mr. ---, we have things that we need to discuss with the parents".

The comparison is apt? Trump holds a televised meeting where the health experts discuss where we are with the virus. But since he is the president, DT first gets to blabber on. How great he is, what a wonderful job he is doing, how any problems are the fault of someone else, and then add in some alternative facts to be corrected later. Nobody listens, everyone waits, some more patiently than others, until he finally shuts up and lets people who know what they are talking about, and have something important to say, speak.

Short version: Do you know of anyone who will be going to church or not going to church on Easter based on the advice of DT? What would you think of the judgment of someone who did make their choice on that basis? We have a president that no sensible person trusts at all.



I'm not sure you are keeping up with the more modern Christian right. It is not so much about going to church Sunday but about believing that the United States was born a white Christian nation. Their response to Trump isn't to go to church but to ignore scientific notions about climate change and the risks of the novel coronavirus.

This is behind a NYT paywall so I simply copied the headline instead of the link:

Quote

Liberty University Brings Back Its Students, and Coronavirus, Too
The decision to partly reopen the evangelical university enraged residents of Lynchburg, Va. Then students started getting sick.


"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter. / "I need ammunition, not a ride." Zelensky
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