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

#14481 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2019-December-18, 15:44

There seems to be a lot of talk about not actually handing the articles of impeachment over to the Senate until McConnell agrees to call witnesses.

That might make things interesting...

Democrats could just continue investigations, continue layering on additional charges, and keep turning up the heat...

I'd love to see the money laundering start to make its way in
Alderaan delenda est
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#14482 User is online   y66 

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Posted 2019-December-18, 18:22

Amy Liu, Brookings VP said:

@Noahpinion lays out smartly what the general consensus ought to be for catalyzing econ growth in more places: Bold, sizable U.S. investments in the research and innovation capabilities of many more university cities and towns.

Noah Smith 🐇 @Noahpinion said:

https://bloomberg.co...h-across-americ

As a few technology hubs and big cities leave much of the country in the dust, towns and urban areas across the U.S. are emptying out and falling into decay. Simply helping people in the left-behind regions move isn't a satisfactory solution; flourishing cities are often unwilling or unable to accommodate large influxes of new residents, and half-empty towns can’t sustain themselves with a shrunken tax base. Instead, the government needs to do something to revive struggling regions.

In recent years, some thinkers have pushed the idea of using research and development spending to encourage industrial clustering. Evidence strongly shows that government-backed R&D is good for businesses. So why not just direct that spending toward areas that need new business the most? That was the idea put forward by Massachusetts Institute of Technology economists Jonathan Gruber and Simon Johnson in their recent book, “Jump-Starting America: How Breakthrough Science Can Revive Economic Growth and the American Dream.” They suggest spending $100 billion a year to create a string of new research parks, along the lines of Singapore’s Biopolis, in economically declining regions with strong human resources.

Now Robert Atkinson, Mark Muro and Jacob Whiton, researchers at the Brookings Institution, have a new plan that would do something similar on a smaller scale. They would spend $100 billion over a decade to create eight to 10 regional technology clusters. These clusters would be chosen by a competitive application process. In addition to $700 million of annual research spending, each lucky city would get grants for worker training, incentives for business investment, infrastructure, tax breaks and so on. The research money would be given to local universities and distributed by the National Science Foundation.

Both of these plans have much to recommend them. Either one would raise U.S. growth, strengthen scientific and technological leadership, and help the places that received the investment. But both could be improved upon.

The MIT plan, which is 10 times bigger than the Brookings proposal, has the advantage of size. Historical rates of R&D spending suggest that the U.S. could sustain and make good use of such a large expenditure. But it has two potential weaknesses.

First, picking specific research fields for specific towns is a risky strategy. Declaring that, say, Buffalo, New York, will now be the center of synthetic biology research runs the risk that San Diego, Minneapolis or Boston is better equipped for that role. The repeated failure of governments to create rivals to Silicon Valley in the information-technology industry is a cautionary tale here.

The second problem is the focus on research parks. Evidence from the U.K. suggests that companies located in research parks earn relatively small returns, while a study of Malaysia’s parks concludes that knowledge transfer to businesses is limited. It may be that technology parks serve as a mediocre substitute for research universities in developing countries. Simply putting researchers and business people in close proximity may not accomplish much without some mechanism for producing regular interaction and informal exchange of ideas between them. Furthermore, building new technology parks from scratch runs the risk of creating hugely expensive white elephants that will be seized upon by political opponents of the spending, much as the failure of Solyndra was used to discredit government loans to clean-energy companies.

A better strategy is to simply spend research dollars through universities, as the Brookings plan would do. Evidence shows that universities revive local economies primarily through their research activities, which attract skilled workers to an area. Universities also have systems in place for facilitating tacit exchange of knowledge through seminars, networking events and casual social interactions among researchers. Most importantly, universities already exist in every region of the country; all that would be necessary would be to direct research grants at second-tier universities to bring them up to the first rank. Instead of the government picking what field of research a city would focus on, universities would be able to choose their own specializations based on existing competencies, as Carnegie Mellon University did with robotics in Pittsburgh or the University of California-San Diego did with biotechnology.

The Brookings plan has its own shortcomings, however. First, the amount of money isn't nearly enough. Second, like the MIT plan, it focuses on creating only a handful of new technology hubs. This would be good for the national economy but might fall short as a policy for spreading economic activity more equitably throughout the country. To really spread economic activity around, it needs to go to more than just a few new destinations.

Instead, new research spending should be on the order of the $100 billion a year that MIT's Gruber and Johnson propose and needs to go to a large number of existing universities in stagnant or declining regions of the country. A new government agency could also help coordinate federal research funding with state and local development efforts. A new research-based local industrial policy can succeed if it builds off of existing institutions and doesn’t put all its eggs in a few baskets.


If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#14483 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2019-December-18, 20:11

https://www.motherjo...ps-impeachment/

Quote

On Wednesday, the House of Representatives voted, on a largely partisan basis, to impeach Donald Trump—only the third time a US president been indicted in this fashion. And as significant and historic as this action was, there was nothing shocking about it.

That is different from the most recent impeachment proceedings. Though Richard Nixon had been branded “Tricky Dick” before he won the presidency in 1968, the public was astonished when the Watergate scandal produced tapes of conversations that showed Nixon to be foul-mouthed, mean-spirited, and bigoted. The tapes yielded undeniable evidence that Nixon directly ordered a cover-up of the Watergate break-in, but the up-close-and-personal depiction of a crude and thuggish president stunned many Americans and bolstered the case for impeachment. Decades later, Bill Clinton’s behavior in the White House also shocked much of the nation. Despite Clinton’s previous personal scandals, his brazen and reckless affair with a subordinate that included trysts in the Oval Office and that risked his presidency and fueled the impeachment drive against him was indeed appalling.

Whatever the odds were on January 20, 2017, of Trump being impeached, this would have been a good bet to make. Trump’s past was his—and the nation’s—future.
It’s probably fair to say that when Nixon and Clinton first entered the White House, few people expected their presidencies to be marred by impeachment proceedings. (Nixon resigned 12 days after the House Judiciary Committee approved three articles of impeachment and two weeks before the full House was expected to vote on the articles. Clinton was impeached by the House on an almost entirely Republican vote and then acquitted by the Senate.) With Trump, impeachment seemed practically inevitable from Day One.

That’s not because, as many Republicans bray, Democrats were gunning for Trump as soon as his moderately attended inauguration ended. It’s because Trump entered office as virtually an advertisement for impeachment. His disregard for the law and his profound lack of integrity already formed a prominent part of his permanent record. He had run a fraudulent business (for which he would later be fined $25 million). He and three of his children (Eric, Donald Jr., and Ivanka) had overseen a fraudulent foundation (for which they would later be sanctioned). He was widely known to be a cheat who didn’t pay his bills. He was shown to be a nonstop liar. There had been plenty of stories and lawsuits focused on Trump and the Trump Organization’s shady business practices. He had worked with mobsters (and lied about it). He had hired and still hero-worshiped Roy Cohn, a ruthless, by-whatever-means lawyer who represented organized crime figures. That in itself was a huge tell.

Days before moving into the White House, Trump held a press conference in which he claimed he would take steps to address possible conflicts of interest between his business and the presidency—but this was mainly a ruse. He had broken his promise to release his tax returns, failing to comply with this most basic requirement of transparency for a politician. And the instant he stepped into the Oval Office, Trump began violating the Constitution by running afoul of the emoluments clause, which prohibits a commander in chief from accepting payments from foreign governments. His hotels and businesses routinely pocketed revenue from overseas governments and officials.

Trump had demonstrated a penchant for deceitful practices—and for abusing power. He was clearly a pathological narcissist with a long history of eviscerating norms, violating rules, and even breaking laws to serve his own needs. And he had engaged in behavior that now seems quite similar to the misconduct that led to impeachment. Prior to becoming president, Trump claimed to have hired private investigators to dig up dirt on President Barack Obama in a feckless attempt to prove the baseless conspiracy theory that Obama had been born in Kenya. And he invited a foreign adversary to intervene in the 2016 contest when he called on Russian operatives to hack Hillary Clinton. (Trump also welcomed, denied, and aided and abetted Moscow’s covert attack on the election that was waged in part to help Trump win.)

If there had been an algorithm that predicted impeachments, Trump would have rung the bell.

The warning signs continued after he became president. Cronyism and nepotism ran rampant in the White House and throughout his administration. Trump exploited the presidency to hype his own businesses. His kids used his presidency to cash in. Cabinet members became involved in assorted scandals. Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, was given a plum White House job, though he couldn’t obtain a security clearance. (Trump eventually had to order that Kushner be granted a clearance.) Trump’s companies pushed to expand their overseas operations (despite his promise that they would not). Trump trampled ethics rules. His political associates moved not to drain Washington’s swamp but to make it their own.

The lies kept coming and coming and coming. The Washington Post’s list of Trump’s lies and false statements since he became president now tops 15,000. During the Clinton impeachment, Republican Rep. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina proclaimed, “You don’t even have to be convicted of a crime to lose your job in this constitutional republic if this body determines that your conduct as a public official is clearly out of bounds in your role…Impeachment is about restoring honor and integrity to the office.” Now Graham, a senator and unswerving Trump defender, has indicated he won’t abide by the oath senators must take to be impartial during an impeachment trial.

No one can say of the impeachment of Donald Trump, “We did not see it coming.” There was a boatload of indicators. Trump retaining investigators to collect muck? Check (Rudy Giuliani). Trump pushing conspiracy swill? Check (the DNC-server-in-Ukraine hogwash). Trump asking overseas government to intervene in a US election? Check (Ukraine). And check (China). Trump misusing his power for personal gain and then, once caught, both lying and bragging about it—we’ve seen this movie before. More than once. The theme does not change: Trump places his own interests over…well, anything else.

Throughout his presidency, there has been a firehose of disclosures that serve as reminders of his bottomless corruption. A few examples: Trump directed his personal lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, to make illegal hush-money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels shortly before the 2016 election to keep her from talking about her alleged extramarital affair with Trump. Trump and his family engaged in massive fraud as part of multiple schemes over the years to escape paying hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes. Trump, during the campaign, secretly tried to score a development project in Moscow that could have earned him hundreds of millions of dollars, and his company asked Vladimir Putin’s office for assistance in sealing the deal. (Throughout the race, Trump falsely told American voters that he had no business interests in Russia.) According to the final report of special counsel Robert Mueller, Trump appears to have obstructed justice on multiple occasions as president. (The report noted that Trump repeatedly told aides he wished he had a lawyer like Roy Cohn, who died in 1986, working for him in the White House.) In September, the news broke that Trump had told senior Russian officials during an Oval Office meeting in May 2017 that he was unconcerned about Moscow’s assault on the 2016 election that helped him become president. Here was the commander in chief letting a foreign adversary that attacked the United States off the hook because its actions had benefitted him.

It seems that impeachment was practically preordained. Trump was destined to corrupt the office from the second he entered it—and he did. But initially, Democrats—at least those in the leadership—were reluctant to launch an impeachment inquiry, calculating that it would not be in their political favor. It was simple math: Impeachment could threaten the 41 House Democrats hailing from congressional districts Trump carried in 2016, and, consequently, imperil the Democratic majority in the House. (For House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, there was no worse nightmare than a 2020 election that left Trump in place with the GOP again in charge of all of Congress.)

Trump’s violation of the emoluments clause, his role as a co-conspirator in the Stormy Daniels case, his alleged obstructions of justice, his interactions with Russia—all this and more had prompted some Democrats and grassroots activists to call for his impeachment. But Pelosi resisted—until the Ukraine scandal. Trump’s malfeasance had become impossible to sidestep. Resistance in the face of this obvious transgression—Trump’s attempt to underhandedly use his office and taxpayer money to muscle an ally to influence the 2020 campaign in his favor—was futile. Impeachment had become unavoidable. Trump’s wrongdoing was not merely enriching him and his family; it was threatening the next election. The only barrier to impeachment—Democrats’ reluctance to go nuclear—crumbled.

Whatever the odds were on January 20, 2017, of Trump being impeached, this would have been a good bet to make. Trump’s past was his—and the nation’s—future. He was fated to be struck with a self-inflicted scandal, or several. The Democrats have brought him up on narrow charges focused on one specific instance of wrongdoing. (In a way, Trump is getting off easy, as I’ve previously noted.) Yet the Ukraine caper exemplifies Trump’s spree of misdeeds that began long before he became president and that did not cease once he took the oath of office. His actions in this episode that have been translated into the two articles of impeachment—abuse of office, obstruction of Congress—are not at all remarkable, given his résumé. But that does not undercut the seriousness of this impeachment. Trump’s acts reflect a deep moral and ethical rot that has for decades been at the core of his story and that now, with this vote, has come to be recognized, at least by one political party, as a threat to the constitutional order of the United States.

Alderaan delenda est
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#14484 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2019-December-18, 22:59

IMPEACHED

No surprise to anybody who has been following the public House impeachment hearings.

What is surprising is Moscow Mitch publicly announcing that he plans to "Fix" the Senate trial.

McConnell on Trump Impeachment: ‘I’m Not an Impartial Juror’

Quote

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) told reporters Tuesday that he would not strive to be “impartial” during Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate. “I’m not an impartial juror, this is a political process. There’s nothing judicial about it. Impeachment is a political decision,” he said.


For the record, all Senators must make the following oath,

"I solemnly swear [or affirm, as the case may be] that in all things appertaining to the trial of the impeachment of [the person being impeached], now pending, I will do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws: So help me God."

Maybe Moscow Mitch will be okay if he secretly crosses his fingers behind his back while making the oath. Most Senators have at least paid lip service to saying they will listen to the evidence before making up their minds. Will Chief Justice John Roberts force publicly partial Senators to recuse themselves based on public statements that they aren't going to be impartial?

But there's more,

McConnell Vows ‘Total Coordination’ with White House during Senate Impeachment Trial

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell promised Thursday night that Republicans will remain in lockstep with the White House on messaging strategy once impeachment proceedings reach the senate.

Quote

“Everything I do during this I’m coordinating with the White House counsel. There will be no difference between the president’s position and our position as to how to handle this,” the Kentucky Republican said.


As many have pointed out, this is the equivalent of the foreman in a jury trial colluding with the defendant's lawyer to exclude the prosecution's evidence and witnesses, limit questioning, etc. and then declaring to all who weren't watching that this was a fair trial.

So the Manchurian President is going to get a rigged trial that will quickly acquit him and that will be the end of it???

Maybe not so fast.

Pelosi threatens to delay Senate impeachment trial

Quote

Though the House adopted two articles of impeachment charging Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of congressional investigations, it must pass a second resolution formally naming impeachment managers to present the case in the Senate. That second vehicle triggers the official transmission of articles to the Senate.

By delaying passage of that resolution, Pelosi and top Democrats retain control of the articles and hope to put pressure on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to adopt trial procedures they consider bipartisan.

McConnell has boasted that he has closely coordinated the planning of the trial with the White House and has repeatedly predicted Trump would be acquitted. He’s also suggested Democrats shouldn’t be allowed to call new witnesses as they attempt to present their case.

In theory, the House could delay the transmission of the articles of impeachment until the elections next November, or later.
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#14485 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-December-18, 23:33

View Posthrothgar, on 2019-December-18, 15:44, said:

There seems to be a lot of talk about not actually handing the articles of impeachment over to the Senate until McConnell agrees to call witnesses.

That might make things interesting...

Democrats could just continue investigations, continue layering on additional charges, and keep turning up the heat...

I'd love to see the money laundering start to make its way in


This is a pretty good discussion of this very topic.

Quote

Senate Democrats are quietly talking about asking Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to hold articles of impeachment in the House until Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) agrees to a fair rules package for a Senate trial.


"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#14486 User is online   y66 

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Posted 2019-December-19, 08:39

From Linda Greenhouse at NYT:

Quote

When the first two of President Trump’s appeals seeking to shield his financial records from disclosure reached the Supreme Court last month, I predicted that the justices would take their institutional interests into account and turn the cases down.

I was wrong.

And on reflection, now that the court has agreed to hear those two appeals plus a third, I’m glad I was wrong. Here’s why: The eventual decisions, to come in the months after the as-yet unscheduled arguments in late March or early April, will give the country much-needed clarity about the Supreme Court. With the court in the full glare of an election-year spotlight, we will learn beyond any doubt what kind of Supreme Court we have — and whether its evolution into partnership with a president who acts as if he owns it is now complete.

Those of us who have been warning about this evolution are well aware that it’s a contested claim, subject to ready dismissal as overstatement or ideologically driven fearmongering. So I want to make the case here that for the justices to do anything other than affirm the three decisions at issue by two Courts of Appeals would be to vindicate both the warnings and the president’s disturbing assumption.

The fact is that these cases are not what the president’s lawyers have dressed them up to be. This is not Congress or the federal courts putting the president in the dock. No, that was United States v. Nixon, the Watergate tapes case, in which the court under a conservative chief justice, Warren Burger, who had been named to the court by Mr. Nixon, unanimously rejected the president’s claim of privilege against releasing records of intimate Oval Office conversations for use by a special prosecutor in a criminal trial.

Nor is this a sitting president being distracted and demeaned by having to testify in person as a defendant in a lawsuit about his personal behavior. No, that was Clinton v. Jones, in which the court under another conservative chief justice, William Rehnquist, unanimously rejected President Bill Clinton’s claim of privilege.

In none of the three cases now before the court would the president, if he lost, have to lift a finger. He is a plaintiff, not a defendant. In his capacity as a private citizen, he brought the three lawsuits to quash subpoenas issued by three House of Representative committees and the Manhattan district attorney, not to him but to two banks and an accounting firm, for his personal and corporate financial records.

In fact, in one of the two New York cases, Trump v. Deutsche Bank, Judge Jon O. Newman of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, noting that the complaint filed by the president’s lawyers stated that “President Trump brings this suit solely in his capacity as a private citizen,” referred throughout his 106-page opinion to the “Lead Plaintiff” rather than President Trump.

“Although the challenged subpoenas seek financial records of the person who is the president,” Judge Newman wrote, “no documents are sought reflecting any actions taken by Donald J. Trump acting in his official capacity as president.”

Judge David Tatel, writing for the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in Trump v. Mazars USA, in which the House Oversight Committee is seeking records from an accounting firm, noted that for six of the eight years covered by the subpoena, President Trump was “merely Mr. Trump or candidate Trump.”

“It is far from obvious that President Trump, proceeding in his individual capacity, carries the mantle of the Office of the President in this case,” Judge Tatel wrote. He added that the House committee’s request “implicates no material subject to a recognized legal privilege or an asserted property interest.”

Indeed, while asserting what his lawyers call “temporary absolute president immunity,” President Trump is not raising a claim of executive privilege in any of the cases. That’s not to say his argument is not a far-reaching one. The “question presented” in Trump v. Vance, the case in which he is seeking to quash the Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance’s subpoena to the Mazars accounting firm, shows how the president is reaching for the moon in a case that Chief Judge Robert Katzmann of the Second Circuit anchored solidly to the ground, as explained below.

As Supreme Court practitioners know, the “question presented,” which appears by itself on the first page of any Supreme Court petition, is perhaps the most important part of the petition. It sets the tone, frames the argument and contains the first words the justices and their law clerks will read.

This is the “question presented” offered by the president’s lawyers in their petition in Trump v. Vance: “Whether this subpoena violates Article II and the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution.” (The Constitution’s Article II establishes the presidency, while the Supremacy Clause in Article VI gives federal law precedence over state law where the two conflict.)

By contrast — a contrast as extreme as any I can recall — this is how the district attorney presents the question in his brief opposing Supreme Court review: “Whether presidential immunity bars the enforcement of a state grand jury subpoena directing a third party to produce material which pertains to the president’s unofficial and nonprivileged conduct.”

That careful framing, rather than the president’s, reflects what Chief Judge Katzmann actually wrote:

“We have no occasion to decide today the precise contours and limitations of presidential immunity from prosecution, and we express no opinion on the applicability of any such immunity under circumstances not presented here. Instead, after reviewing historical and legal precedent, we conclude only that presidential immunity does not bar the enforcement of a state grand jury subpoena directing a third party to produce nonprivileged material, even when the subject matter under investigation pertains to the president.”

And this is the opinion that the president’s Supreme Court petition calls “irreconcilable with our constitutional design.”

I’ve quoted from each of the three opinions for a reason: As the weeks go by, the country will be subjected to gaslighting from the White House so intense that it won’t be easy even for those who have actually read the full opinions to hold on to the knowledge of how carefully circumscribed they are. The president’s petitions are just the opening salvo in a battle for the justices’ votes, of course, but also for the public’s understanding of both how little and how much is at stake. (A taste of things to come is this hyperbolic sentence from the president’s petition in the D.C. Circuit’s Mazars case: “At its core, this controversy is about whether — and to what degree — Congress can exercise dominion and control over the Office of the President.”)

Needless to say, President Trump is not the author of the Supreme Court petitions filed by his team of private lawyers. But any doubt that he thinks of the court as his friend was erased by his tweet this month as the House moved toward impeachment. “Shouldn’t even be allowed,” he tweeted. “Can we go to Supreme Court to stop?”

Actually, no, “we” can’t.

I’m writing this column from Jerusalem, where I participated in a conference at the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities on the timely subject of “The Challenges of Liberal Democracy.”

I was gripped by a talk by Moshe Halbertal, a distinguished Israeli philosopher, and professor at Hebrew University and New York University, who identified one of the pillars of democracy as the willingness of contending sides to accept political defeat without violence, verbal as well as physical. The end of the conference on Tuesday coincided with President Trump’s unhinged letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, accusing the House of Representatives of engaging in a “charade,” an “unconstitutional abuse of power,” an “attempted coup.”

The juxtaposition between what I heard from Professor Halbertal and what I read in the letter was eerie.

While I have been in Israel, students back home have been taking their fall-semester final exams. In their first semester, students at Yale Law School take their exams on a pass-fail basis. The Supreme Court, in these three cases due for decision in the waning months of Mr. Trump’s presidential term, faces a crucial exam of its own. We can’t afford for it to fail.

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#14487 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2019-December-19, 09:58

View Postjohnu, on 2019-December-18, 22:59, said:

What is surprising is Moscow Mitch publicly announcing that he plans to "Fix" the Senate trial.

McConnell on Trump Impeachment: ‘I’m Not an Impartial Juror’

For the record, all Senators must make the following oath,

"I solemnly swear [or affirm, as the case may be] that in all things appertaining to the trial of the impeachment of [the person being impeached], now pending, I will do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws: So help me God."

There's a Politics Stack Exchange question about whether this is a conflict, and the answer concludes it isn't.

Could a Senator commit perjury if they swear the oath at the impeachment trial in the senate?

#14488 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2019-December-19, 17:59

View Postbarmar, on 2019-December-19, 09:58, said:

There's a Politics Stack Exchange question about whether this is a conflict, and the answer concludes it isn't.

Could a Senator commit perjury if they swear the oath at the impeachment trial in the senate?

One person's opinion, everybody has one :) .

While an impeachment "trial" is called a trial, it only superficially resembles a criminal trial at any level of government. Just like the impeachment phase superficially resembles the police/FBI investigation, possible grand jury, and subsequent indictment and arrest that happens in an actual criminal case. Actual criminal trials (in the US) are governed by laws and traditions going back hundreds of years.

In the impeachment trial, the rules are determined by a majority of senators who may reverse any rule from a previous impeachment trial, or make up entirely new rules on the spot. Trying to apply legal standards to the operation of an impeachment trial is a big stretch.

Clearly, at least to me, saying you aren't going to be impartial and saying you are deferring to the defense counsel is a disqualifying statement that should prevent somebody from serving on a jury. In a criminal trial, there is no debate that the presiding judge should excuse that person from serving on the jury for cause. It will be interesting to see what Chief Justice Roberts does if any of the Senators are challenged by the opposing side.
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#14489 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2019-December-19, 19:06

View Postjohnu, on 2019-December-18, 22:59, said:

Pelosi threatens to delay Senate impeachment trial

Quote

Though the House adopted two articles of impeachment charging Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of congressional investigations, it must pass a second resolution formally naming impeachment managers to present the case in the Senate. That second vehicle triggers the official transmission of articles to the Senate.

By delaying passage of that resolution, Pelosi and top Democrats retain control of the articles and hope to put pressure on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to adopt trial procedures they consider bipartisan.

McConnell has boasted that he has closely coordinated the planning of the trial with the White House and has repeatedly predicted Trump would be acquitted. He’s also suggested Democrats shouldn’t be allowed to call new witnesses as they attempt to present their case.

At this point, there doesn't seem to be any reason to send the articles of impeachment to the Senate. In theory, any Senator could ask for a floor vote to dismiss the articles of impeachment before any evidence is shown or heard, and before any vote on convicting the Impeached President is taken. In fact, this actually happened during the Clinton impeachment trial.

If there is going to be a sham trial, there is no point in giving the Impeached President a political talking point saying he was totally exonerated on impeachment charges. There are probably at least a hundred million plus voters who haven't really been paying attention to the impeachment proceedings so far and haven't heard from any of the witnesses or seen any of the evidence with their own eyes and ears. If the public is not allowed to see all the evidence, just let the impeachment charges hang around the Impeached President's neck forever.
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#14490 User is online   y66 

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Posted 2019-December-19, 20:54

From David Marchese's interview of Frances Moore Lappé at NYT:

Quote

One sign of hope in your books is that even though America is thought of as extremely politically divided, there are issues on which most of us agree. Is it something like 80 percent of people want big money out of elections? Yes, 85 percent of us want a fundamental reform in how campaigns are funded.4

But how do we take a figure like that and then move forward together in positive, bipartisan ways? Because it’s one thing to say in the abstract that we all want big money out of politics. It’s another thing to say that eliminating super PACs might mean that your candidate who was backed by one is now more likely to lose. You ask very hard questions. I’ll start with this. I’m not an optimist. I am a possible-ist. We humans are so in need of purpose and meaning that we don’t have to have certainty of outcome. But we do have to have a sense of possibility. We were talking earlier about Lyndon Johnson. I grew up in Texas, and my parents were liberal, and they didn’t think much of him. Then he was the president introducing the Voting Rights Act and saying “we shall overcome” and making Martin Luther King cry. Or think of the improbability of electing a black man president. Think back to the end of the Soviet Union. Now some of those Eastern European bloc countries have higher standards of electoral integrity than we do. David, sometimes you just have to go for it and not be so measured. We’ve never been here before. We’ve never faced that existential threat of climate change. We’ve never had the level of communication and knowledge that’s available. We’ve never had young people striking or taking leadership like Greta Thunberg. Let me give you a very personal thing. In the 1950s, my parents’ church5 that they helped found was almost destroyed by McCarthyism. It was a Unitarian church, and the F.B.I. came and interviewed people because somehow they thought we must be some kind of Communist cell, which was completely untrue. People lost their jobs. Families broke up. It was a nightmare. Then in 1966, a little more than a decade later, there I am working in the ghettos of Philadelphia organizing people to fight for their welfare rights and being paid by the government. Ten years earlier, my parents would have said, “Our daughter is going to be supported by the government for helping the poorest people in America?” So it’s not possible to know what’s possible.

Along those lines, what’s been most encouraging — and most discouraging — about changes to the way we eat in the time since “Diet for a Small Planet” was published? We’re moving in two directions at once. Globally, the harmful processed-food and junk-food diet is continuing. Most of the leading causes of noncommunicable diseases are diet-related. There was a study that just came out that said between 1992 and 2014, our agriculture became 48 times more toxic to insects. And people talk about food deserts: Our society is so economically stratified that the healthy foods that I take for granted literally aren’t there in the neighborhoods for lower-income people. So it’s hard for me to talk too much about progress when concentration of wealth is intensifying. But at the same time, when I wrote “Diet for a Small Planet,” there was only a tiny group of questioners realizing that whole foods and less processed foods and less meat-centered, more plant-centered diets were better on every count, from avoiding pesticide consumption to getting more fiber and on and on. So I do see enormous awareness and more access to better eating.

What about the same question but applied to politics? What makes you hopeful, and what incurs some cynicism? In my younger life, I could never have imagined the Trump phenomenon, the breaking of democratic norms and the crude, harsh, combative aspect of politics now. All the issues around the election of how the Russians interfered — it’s terrifying. That’s the dark part. At the same time, in the 2018 midterms 18 cities and states and one county that passed democracy reforms, important things like moving ahead with redistricting. One of the young people who became a hero was Katie Fahey, who took on gerrymandering in Michigan and traveled around holding her own town-hall meetings and helped pass an initiative to amend the state constitution.6 Or there’s ex-felon enfranchisement in Florida that passed by over 60 percent. Or in Seattle, they’re experimenting with a new system for city elections called Democracy Vouchers. All eligible residents receive four $25 vouchers to give to their choice of qualifying candidates. Now people from all walks of life can participate. Is there room for me to say one more thing?

Of course. We have to work on courage. This is the time to do what scares us. Rather than being individualistic, humans are actually so social that it’s hard to be different from the pack — even if the pack is heading over the falls. But fear doesn’t have to kill us. Fear can be exhilarating. Choose people in your life who are gutsier than you, more willing to take risks, and absorb that from them and be courageous yourself. That is what this moment calls for. We see how vulnerable we are to being told that the enemy is “them.” We have that tendency, but we’re capable of overcoming it. If we understand that we’re vulnerable to it and work against it, that would make a huge difference. Because we’ve got to pull together. That’s what democracy is all about.

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#14491 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-December-20, 10:16

The ignorance of this president is so vast it almost defies imagination. It is as if a naive 12-year-old received his entire education from Twitter and hearsay and believed every word of it.

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Trump added his own twist on the conspiracy theory in April 2017, in his first public allegation about Ukraine’s role.

In an interview with the Associated Press, the president claimed that CrowdStrike, a computer security company the DNC hired to investigate the breach of its email systems, was based in Ukraine and played some role in hiding evidence from the FBI.

“Why wouldn’t [Clinton campaign chairman John] Podesta and Hillary Clinton allow the FBI to see the server? They brought in another company that I hear is Ukrainian-based,” Trump said. “I heard it’s owned by a very rich Ukrainian, that’s what I heard. But they brought in another company to investigate the server. Why didn’t they allow the FBI in to investigate the server?”


I have limited knowledge about technology but I recognize that limitation and try to learn as needed to understand. That this president is totally fixated on "the server" shows me has absolutely zero understanding of technology other than how to use his own phone - and he is only willing to accept information from those he considers co-equals, which is a trait of a narcissist, so that means Putin's word accepted over the entire U.S. intelligence services.

This guy must be removed or defeated along with his cohorts in the Senate as every day he is not is a threat to worldwide democracy.

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#14492 User is online   y66 

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Posted 2019-December-20, 10:46

From Elizabeth Dias at NYT:

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Christianity Today, a prominent evangelical magazine, called for President Trump to be removed from office in a blistering editorial on Thursday, a day after he became the third president in history to be impeached and face expulsion by the Senate.

The move was the most notable example of dissent among the religious conservative base that has supported Mr. Trump through controversy after controversy, and came at one of the most vulnerable moments of his presidency.

“The president of the United States attempted to use his political power to coerce a foreign leader to harass and discredit one of the president’s political opponents,” Mark Galli, the editor in chief of Christianity Today, wrote in the editorial. “That is not only a violation of the Constitution; more importantly, it is profoundly immoral.”

The editorial was a surprising move for a publication that has generally avoided jumping into bitter partisan battles. But it was unlikely to signal a significant change in Mr. Trump’s core support; the magazine has long represented more centrist thought, and popular evangelical leaders with large followings continue to rally behind the president.

“My father would be embarrassed,” Franklin Graham said in an interview of how his father, Billy Graham, who founded the magazine in 1956, would view the move. The younger Mr. Graham has often defended the president.

“It is not going to change anybody’s mind about Trump,” he added. “There’s a liberal element within the evangelical movement. Christianity Today represents that.”

Mr. Trump also harshly criticized the magazine in a pair of tweets on Friday morning, calling it “far left” and saying he had done more for evangelicals than any other president.

Mr. Trump said the magazine “knows nothing about reading a perfect transcript of a routine phone call and would rather have a Radical Left nonbeliever, who wants to take your religion & your guns, than Donald Trump as your President.”

Mr. Galli’s words appealed directly to Mr. Trump’s evangelical base, a group that he said continues “to support Mr. Trump in spite of his blackened moral record,” in the apparent hope of rallying a fragmented resistance.

“Remember who you are and whom you serve,” he wrote. “If we don’t reverse course now, will anyone take anything we say about justice and righteousness with any seriousness for decades to come?”

The piece drew so much attention that the publication’s website initially crashed. Many liberal Christians expressed relief and amazement at the move.

“The heart of white evangelicalism is realizing that its pulse is weak, and that there is sickness in the faith,” said Lisa Sharon Harper, president of FreedomRoad.us, a Christian justice group.

“The fact that it took them so long is something they must learn from,” she added. “But I’m glad they spoke out.”

Opposition to Mr. Trump among white evangelicals remains exceedingly rare, especially in heated moments. Nearly all — 99 percent — of Republican white evangelical Protestants said they opposed Mr. Trump’s impeachment in a recent poll by the Public Religion Research Institute.

Christianity Today, a publication based in the Chicago suburbs, has about 80,000 print subscribers and publishes news and commentary to appeal to evangelical audiences, in the tradition of Billy Graham.

“The beloved evangelist felt the urgent need for balanced reporting, biblical commentary and a loving posture” on issues facing Christians, the group says of its mission on its website.

Though it reaches top evangelical influencers, the publication’s subscriber base is about the equivalent of a handful of megachurches. First Baptist Dallas, which is led by Robert Jeffress, a vocal supporter of the president, alone has about 13,000 members.

The editorial is also perhaps a final word from Mr. Galli, who announced his retirement in October. His departure is effective Jan. 3, 2020.

The magazine is not united about Mr. Galli’s call to remove Mr. Trump. A member of Christianity Today’s board of directors, the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, released a 17-paragraph statement opposing impeachment after the House vote on Wednesday. The editorial, he said in an interview on Thursday evening, came as a surprise.

“Christianity Today is very apolitical,” Mr. Rodriguez said. “We don’t do politics, we don’t even bring up politics in a board meeting.”

He added: “I don’t think it should affect anything.”

The publication had previously expressed concern about Mr. Trump in an editorial before the 2016 election, after old footage surfaced of him making lewd comments about women.

“To indulge in sexual immorality is to make oneself and one’s desires an idol,” the column said. “That Trump has been, his whole adult life, an idolater of this sort, and a singularly unrepentant one, should have been clear to everyone.”

The magazine also took President Bill Clinton to task for “unsavory dealings and immoral acts” in 1998, after Mr. Clinton publicly acknowledged his relationship with Monica S. Lewinsky.

“Unfortunately, the words that we applied to Mr. Clinton 20 years ago apply almost perfectly to our current president,” Mr. Galli wrote.

Evangelicals who have remained unsettled by Mr. Trump have often found it difficult to gain an audience among their own ranks. During his time in office, Mr. Trump’s anti-abortion policies and appointment of conservative justices have assuaged many who reluctantly voted for him in 2016, and have even drawn new supporters.

Despite this record, “none of the president’s positives can balance the moral and political danger we face under a leader of such grossly immoral character,” Mr. Galli said. “That he should be removed, we believe, is not a matter of partisan loyalties but loyalty to the Creator of the Ten Commandments.”

Christ you know it ain't easy. You know how hard it can be. The way things are going. They're going to cancel the acquittal that Mitch promised DT.
If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#14493 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-December-20, 11:13

How could anyone hate John?
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#14494 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2019-December-20, 11:35

View PostWinstonm, on 2019-December-20, 10:16, said:

I have limited knowledge about technology but I recognize that limitation and try to learn as needed to understand. That this president is totally fixated on "the server" shows me has absolutely zero understanding of technology other than how to use his own phone

It's not just high technology that he struggles with. He's recently shown that he also doesn't understand toilets and dishwashers.

#14495 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-December-20, 11:54

View Postbarmar, on 2019-December-20, 11:35, said:

It's not just high technology that he struggles with. He's recently shown that he also doesn't understand toilets and dishwashers.


Considering his 18th century worldview, toilets and dishwashers are high tech. ;)
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#14496 User is online   y66 

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Posted 2019-December-21, 14:36

From Democrats’ 2020 economy dilemma, explained by Matt Yglesias at Vox:

Quote

President Donald Trump, with his typical flair for saying things that aren’t true, has proclaimed we’re living through “the greatest economy in our nation’s history.”

It isn’t, but something can in fact be quite good even without being the best ever. The unemployment rate is 3.5 percent. The stock market is at an all-time high. The poverty rate is falling. Employers have started showing refreshing willingness to hire people with criminal records because there just aren’t that many conventionally qualified people left to hire.

That’s good news for American workers, and probably good news for Trump’s reelection campaign. It also poses the question of what exactly Democrats should say about an improving economic situation — they need to find a way to make the case for change, but also to connect with the sentiments being experienced by voters.

At Thursday’s debate, there seemed to be a firm consensus among the candidates that the right path is simply to deny that the economy really is performing all that strongly.

The Democrats running for president disagree about a lot, but they seemed united in rejecting the premise of moderator Judy Woodruff’s question: “What is your argument to the voter watching this debate tonight who may not like everything President Trump does, but they really like this economy, and they don’t know why they should make a change?”

All the leading Democrats argued that actually the economy is bad:

Joe Biden: “I don’t think they really do like the economy. Look at the middle class neighborhoods. The middle class is getting killed. The middle class is getting crushed.”

South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg: “This economy is not working for most of us, for the middle class, and I know you’re ever supposed to say middle class and not poor in politics, but we have to talk about poverty in this country.”

Sen. Elizabeth Warren: “A rising GDP, rise in corporate profits, is not being felt by millions of families across the country.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders: “Trump goes around saying the economy is doing great. You know what real inflation accounting for wages went up last year? 1.1%. That ain’t great.”

Most of this holds up well if you think of it as a broad account of US economic performance over the past 40 years. GDP has risen a lot over this time period, but thanks largely to growing inequality, the living standards of the typical family have risen by much less than the overall pace of economic growth.

But as a description of the current state of the economy, it’s a very bleak read of data that is honestly looking pretty good — and that most voters say is pretty good.

It's silly for Dems to pretend the economy has not been doing better than most people expected under Trump. They should focus on why they are better qualified to provide the predictability and support that business people and workers rely on to grow than a guy who can't even run a business and whose name is synonymous with chaos and corruption.
If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#14497 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2019-December-21, 21:25

View Posty66, on 2019-December-21, 14:36, said:

It's silly for Dems to pretend the economy has not been doing better than most people expected under Trump. They should focus on why they are better qualified to provide the predictability and support that business people and workers rely on to grow than a guy who can't even run a business and whose name is synonymous with chaos and corruption.

As Kai Risdall of "Marketplace" frequently reminds: The stock market is not the economy.

I heard recently that the government office that produces statistics like GDP and employment numbers is working on making them more refined, so that there are different numbers for different classes of citizens. So we'll get something like separate GDP numbers for lower, middle, and upper classes, and we'll be able to see directly how the economy is doing for these groups.

#14498 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2019-December-23, 13:57

View Postbarmar, on 2019-December-21, 21:25, said:

As Kai Risdall of "Marketplace" frequently reminds: The stock market is not the economy.

I heard recently that the government office that produces statistics like GDP and employment numbers is working on making them more refined, so that there are different numbers for different classes of citizens. So we'll get something like separate GDP numbers for lower, middle, and upper classes, and we'll be able to see directly how the economy is doing for these groups.


There was the following exchange at the debate:

Quote

Judy Woodruff: My question to you, Mr. Vice President, is what is your argument to the voter watching this debate tonight who may not like everything President Trump does but they really like this economy and they don't know why they should make a change.

BIDEN: Well, I don't think they really do like the economy. Go back and talk to the old neighborhoods and middle-class neighborhoods you grew up in. The middle class is getting killed. The middle class is getting crushed. And the working class has no way up as a consequence of that.



This is a concise illustration of a problem.

JW asks about voters who "may not like everything President Trump does but they really like this economy " and JB denies that such people exist. I think these people do exist, so we can imagine their response.. Perhaps JB means that these people are mistaken, perhaps he believes that they shouldn't exist, perhaps a lot of things. But whatever it is that JB believes, and it is possible he believes exactly what he said, the guy who does not like Trump but does like the economy is perhaps a potential D voter. But not if the Ds deny he exists.

JW addressed the question to JB, but others came in later, often with the same approach. The voter in question will conclude that the Democratic Party either doesn't believe he exists or does not care if he exists. Presumably the election experts understand how this voter will react, so they must have decided that they don't care.
Ken
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#14499 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-December-23, 14:44

View Postkenberg, on 2019-December-23, 13:57, said:



There was the following exchange at the debate:

[/font]

This is a concise illustration of a problem.

JW asks about voters who "may not like everything President Trump does but they really like this economy " and JB denies that such people exist. I think these people do exist, so we can imagine their response.. Perhaps JB means that these people are mistaken, perhaps he believes that they shouldn't exist, perhaps a lot of things. But whatever it is that JB believes, and it is possible he believes exactly what he said, the guy who does not like Trump but does like the economy is perhaps a potential D voter. But not if the Ds deny he exists.

JW addressed the question to JB, but others came in later, often with the same approach. The voter in question will conclude that the Democratic Party either doesn't believe he exists or does not care if he exists. Presumably the election experts understand how this voter will react, so they must have decided that they don't care.



Maybe he simply thinks the question is invalid. That would be my take on his response.

On a side note, what has this president done that you think has contributed to the present economic growth of about 2% or are you falling prey to Trumpist propaganda?
https://www.bea.gov/news/glance

There is also this WaPo answer to the very Woodruff question you mention:

Quote

The candidates who responded mostly emphasized the unequal distribution of these recent economic gains.

“The middle class is getting killed. The middle class is getting crushed. And the working class has no way up as a consequence of that,” said former vice president Joe Biden.

“I’m proud to stand on a stage with Democrats who understand that a rise in GDP, rise in corporate profits is not being felt by millions of families across this country,” echoed Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). “I’m proud to stand on a stage with people who see that America’s middle class is being hollowed out and that working families and poor people are being left behind.”

Some recent data suggest that this could in fact be a successful message. Don’t believe me? Take a gander at a few charts.

For instance, Pew Research Center found that most Americans believe the current economy is helping the wealthy, but hurting the middle class, the poor, those without college degrees and other demographic groups.

That same Pew poll suggests even a large share of Republicans might be receptive to this Democratic analysis of the economy.

Among lower-income Republicans — defined here as those with household incomes below $40,000 — most (57 percent) say the economy overall is excellent or good. Even so, about half of them (49 percent) say the economy is hurting the middle class. And as you can see in the chart below, about the same share (47 percent) of this group also say they believe current economic conditions are hurting their own families.

It’s not just perception, either. As I noted in my column Friday, promised wage gains from the GOP tax cuts have not arrived. Inflation-adjusted wages are rising at about the same year-over-year pace as they were in the year or so before Trump took office (a little over 1 percent).

Democrats might also point out that — distributional consequences aside — even the headline economic growth numbers aren’t really that impressive. The economy is on track to grow about 2.2 percent this year, based on forecasts from the Federal Reserve, Wall Street analysts and others. For context, during President Barack Obama’s second term, the economy grew at an average pace of … 2.2 percent.

Which means Trump and his fellow Republicans spent nearly $2 trillion on unfunded tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations just to get us back to exactly where we were before the tax cuts.

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#14500 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2019-December-23, 16:52

View PostWinstonm, on 2019-December-23, 14:44, said:


Maybe he simply thinks the question is invalid. That would be my take on his response.


BUT You are not the person JW asked about. She asked what JB would say to the person who was not pleased with Trump but was pleased with the economy. And yes, JB did treat the question as invalid. Which would not please those JW was referring to.

View PostWinstonm, on 2019-December-23, 14:44, said:


On a side note, what has this president done that you think has contributed to the present economic growth of about 2% or are you falling prey to Trumpist propaganda? https://www.bea.gov/news/glance

Nor was the question what JB, or you, would say tom me or what I would say.

View PostWinstonm, on 2019-December-23, 14:44, said:


There is also this WaPo answer to the very Woodruff question you mention:



People notice when a question is pseudo-answered. You might recall that I had the same reaction when Warren was first asked whether her plans for Medicare for All would increase middle class tax rates. I thought that her non-answer, which by it's dodgimness was an implied answer, would hurt her.

Well, it is Catherine Rampell's response, published in WaPo. Notice that she did not deny the existence of people such as JW referred to.


The JW question was a very good question, it gave JB and others a chance to address a class of voters who might well be the deciding element. They flubbed it. Not good. They needed an answer that would interest the voters that JW was speaking of.. They gave an answer that appealed to you. A missed chance.

They really need to think some about that.
Ken
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