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The inevitable end result of our last 56 years


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1 hour ago, Steve Thomas said:

Donald Trump is very big on revenge.

He is deliberately scuttling the Stimulus Relief Bill.

He's going to get back at Mitch McConnell for McConnell not helping him to overturn the election.

He's also going to get back at the American people for voting him out of office.

Steve Thomas

Could be Steve, Trump could be saying "Either I get to be a hero, or I'm taking everybody down with me!".

You remember in October, it was in reverse. He first said he'd veto  any relief bill  because he was mad about something. I thought "What politician in October seeking re election, wouldn't choose to do a relief stimulus bill?' 

Then sure enough, a few days later, he completely reversed himself. Somebody must have told him something.

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If you can’t imagine that there could be bipartisan congressional collusion to scuttle a stimulus bill in October through December 2020, here’s an account of a similar operation concealing NSA surveillance contradicting the tenets of the Patriot Act and the FISA courts during the Bush administration, provided by former New York Times reporter James Risen.

The backstory: By 2005, Risen and fellow Times reporter Eric Lichtblau were under pressure from the White House and Times management to quash a story exposing NSA’s Stellar Wind program, which monitored Americans’ international phone calls and e-mails, and perhaps committed worse violations of citizens’ privacy.  Risen picks up the story from here; the punchline is in his final paragraph.

Meanwhile, the White House decided to enlist members of the ‘Gang of Eight,’ the handful of congressional leaders who had been secretly briefed on the program while the rest of Congress was kept in the dark. Then-Rep. Jane Harman, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, called [Times editor Philip] Taubman and made the case that the New York Times should not run the story. […]

“Barred by his editors from working on the NSA story, [Lichtblau] was instead assigned to cover the debate in Congress over the reauthorization of the Patriot Act. But Lichtblau knew that the debate over how to strike the proper balance between national security and civil liberties was a charade so long as the existence of the NSA’s domestic spying program was hidden from public view. The White House allowed Congress to publicly debate the balance, even while George W. Bush had already secretly decided what that balance would be. […]

While covering one congressional hearing, Lichtblau listened as Harman called for tighter restrictions on the Patriot Act to prevent abuses of civil liberties. Lichtblau knew that Harman had been briefed on the NSA program and had called the Times to kill our story, so he followed her out into the hall to talk about it. But when he asked her how she could square her demands for limits on the Patriot Act with what she knew about the NSA program, Harman chided him for raising the matter. ‘Shooing away her aides, she grabbed me by the arm and drew me a few feet away to a more remote section of the Capitol corridor,’ he wrote in his book. ‘“You should not be talking about that here,” she scolded me in a whisper. “They don’t even know about that,” she said, gesturing to her aides, who were now looking on at the conversation with obvious befuddlement. “The Times did the right thing by not publishing that story.”’”

https://theintercept.com/2018/01/03/my-life-as-a-new-york-times-reporter-in-the-shadow-of-the-war-on-terror/

A charade.  In a post above, I described this fall’s irresolute back-and-forth over the stimulus bill as “a game of ping-pong played by mimes.”  I see now the meaning of the dumbshow tennis game that closes one of Jim Di Eugenio’s favorite films, Antonioni’s Blow-Up (1966) – a pantomime of justice and political change, played without real balls.

It only takes a Hateful Eight in Congress to play...

 

Notice how, at the finish, David Hemmings imagines the sound of the ball in play.  Hadn't caught that till they played the game on me.

 

Edited by David Andrews
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Isn't it obvious that when Trump stalled on any stimulus action before the election he was trying to figure out how to use the package to his advantage politically.

It seems he wasn't sure how to do this with a guaranteed result in his favor.

I sense he (Trump) kept thinking that the huge majority of Americans stressed the most by the Covid crush were lower income people and including blacks and Hispanics. Ethnic groups he knew were not going to vote for him in the majority anyway and not at all with black voters.

Trump has always tried to block federal aid to Democratic party favoring states.

Especially states with large black population cities. 

If Trump could, he would only allow federal aid to states that vote Republican.

This 8 month long cut off of "any" direct financial assistance to 10's of millions of super stressed Covid citizens has been a national travesty, if not a crime against humanity. 8 long months! 

Many top economists were publicly saying such and pleading for more direct stimulus help to these millions months ago, not just to prevent these millions of hurting Americans from falling deeper and deeper in stressing debt, but to also help the overall business economy of the entire country.

Trump and McConnell and all the other Republicans simply ignored these pleas and warnings. 

This 8 month long cut off while 40 to 50 million Americans (or maybe even double that ) have been financially and even socially stressed more than at any times in their lives is the essence of government malfeasance, "purposely initiated" which makes it the essence of cruelty as well.

This latest Trump publicity stunt with his phony caring promotion of a larger direct payment stimulus check amount is a shameless act of disingenuous desperateness that no one believes is born out of sincere empathy for the millions of Americans who needed this kind of help every month for the last 8!

It's far too late presentation makes it the ultimate act of cynical cruelty.

 

 

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56 minutes ago, Kirk Gallaway said:

Could be Steve, Trump could be saying "Either I get to be a hero, or I'm taking everybody down with me!".

You remember in October, it was in reverse. He first said he'd veto  any relief bill  because he was mad about something. I thought "What politician in October seeking re election, wouldn't choose to do a relief stimulus bill?' 

Then sure enough, a few days later, he completely reversed himself. Somebody must have told him something.

Kirk,

      Two things come to mind here, in addition to your earlier point about Trump's general cluelessness and inept executive management skills.

1)   He has always been utterly contemptuous of the working poor (while, nevertheless, playing to their racism, bigotry, cultural divisions, etc., as a pseudo-populist.)

2)  He was demonizing Biden and the Democrats as left-wing "socialists" in October-- a propaganda strategy that was, apparently, very effective in Florida.

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1 hour ago, David Andrews said:

If you can’t imagine that there could be bipartisan congressional collusion to scuttle a stimulus bill in October through December 2020, here’s an account of a similar operation concealing NSA surveillance contradicting the tenets of the Patriot Act and the FISA courts during the Bush administration, provided by former New York Times reporter James Risen.

The backstory: By 2005, Risen and fellow Times reporter Eric Lichtblau were under pressure from the White House and Times management to quash a story exposing NSA’s Stellar Wind program, which monitored Americans’ international phone calls and e-mails, and perhaps committed worse violations of citizens’ privacy.  Risen picks up the story from here; the punchline is in his final paragraph.

Meanwhile, the White House decided to enlist members of the ‘Gang of Eight,’ the handful of congressional leaders who had been secretly briefed on the program while the rest of Congress was kept in the dark. Then-Rep. Jane Harman, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, called [Times editor Philip] Taubman and made the case that the New York Times should not run the story. […]

“Barred by his editors from working on the NSA story, [Lichtblau] was instead assigned to cover the debate in Congress over the reauthorization of the Patriot Act. But Lichtblau knew that the debate over how to strike the proper balance between national security and civil liberties was a charade so long as the existence of the NSA’s domestic spying program was hidden from public view. The White House allowed Congress to publicly debate the balance, even while George W. Bush had already secretly decided what that balance would be. […]

While covering one congressional hearing, Lichtblau listened as Harman called for tighter restrictions on the Patriot Act to prevent abuses of civil liberties. Lichtblau knew that Harman had been briefed on the NSA program and had called the Times to kill our story, so he followed her out into the hall to talk about it. But when he asked her how she could square her demands for limits on the Patriot Act with what she knew about the NSA program, Harman chided him for raising the matter. ‘Shooing away her aides, she grabbed me by the arm and drew me a few feet away to a more remote section of the Capitol corridor,’ he wrote in his book. ‘“You should not be talking about that here,” she scolded me in a whisper. “They don’t even know about that,” she said, gesturing to her aides, who were now looking on at the conversation with obvious befuddlement. “The Times did the right thing by not publishing that story.”’”

https://theintercept.com/2018/01/03/my-life-as-a-new-york-times-reporter-in-the-shadow-of-the-war-on-terror/

A charade.  In a post above, I described this fall’s irresolute back-and-forth over the stimulus bill as “a game of ping-pong played by mimes.”  I see now the meaning of the dumbshow tennis game that closes one of Jim Di Eugenio’s favorite films, Antonioni’s Blow-Up (1966) – a pantomime of justice and political change, played without real balls.

 

If that's a stimulus Dave, It's a stimulus involving Defense spending with a Republican President (Bush) and Republicans controlling both houses (2005). So it's their very typical, skullduggery, an attempt to sacrifice Civil Liberties for National Security. Yet the star of the article is minority Democrat Jane Harmon, who was a very globalist Democrat from New York who I believe still works as pro international trade lobbyist.

This is involving an economic stimulus, with the Democrats controlling the House. 1+1 is pretty much 2, Dave. If we don't get a $600 check , it's because Trump vetoed it, in what he started as a frantic search to find some means to ingratiate himself to the public as an added ploy to somehow overthrow the election and keep in office and out of court.

*******

Joe said:I sense he (Trump) kept thinking that the huge majority of Americans stressed the most by the Covid crush were lower income people and including blacks and Hispanics. Ethnic groups he knew were not going to vote for him in the majority anyway and not at all with black voters.

Yes, he is contemptuous of the working poor, and he was painting the Democrats as "Socialist", as you say "W'..  But despite his base always claiming  the polls are rigged. Trump was very much into polls, and that's why he switched.  He realized there was no way he was going to win so he knew he had to expand his base. Besides, Joe, it's not just blacks and hispanics, as you have personally attested.

As for the  contradiction about  painting the Democrats as "Socialists,." and then advocating a stimulus, that sort of contradiction Trump can ram down his base's throat in a second, any day of the week, and has done many times before!

 

Edited by Kirk Gallaway
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The Stock market is going up again today!

Furthering it's mercurial climb to all time record levels.

Most of the country is in the most severe lockdown status ever.

California is a state wide ghost town!

It looks like Super Bowl Sunday on the freeways and in every downtown.

Reminds me of the day JFK was shot. Everybody staying home to watch TV.

Every travel and tourism related business is either shut down completely or darn close to it. 80+% of our areas restaurants are closed and the rest are just barely staying afloat with take out. Only our fast food drive through and Pizza delivery ones are still doing well. 20 out of 2 to 300?

Every hotel and motel is almost empty. Our largest hotel ( The Lodge at Pebble Beach) is completely shut down. A month ago they let go almost 1,000 employees.

Just read where the Cruise line business may never come back and if so not until 2030.

Car sales are dead. No one has any money to buy. Which means car insurance companies and finance companies are taking 50% loss hits as well.

Probably 80% or more of every type of business in this country are taking hits they have never even imagined being possible and this has been going on for almost a year now.

Yet the stock market has exploded to levels beyond even the so-called record low unemployment and high job creation greatness Trump publicly bragged about 5 times a day for years?

Yes, some can give all the reasons why the stock market is immune to the almost  unbelievable entire national business and job market collapse. The opposite of Trump's excuse as to why it was so high before.

Oh, the new vaccines will turn it all around in 6 months. That's it!

Also the massive increase in stay at home, watching TV and binge eating food sales?  

Home movie rentals? 

Anti-depressant drug sales?

No.

Even all of those areas of consumer need fulfillment interests are not enough to explain the record stock market explosion and we know it.

It will take several hard time years for American business and job markets to get even close to pre-pandemic levels. 

The stock market is being manipulated imo, BIG TIME.

To keep Wall Street and the largrest corporate interests safe from the same fate as half our nation's citizens whose lives have never been so devastated financially and socially.

 

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3 hours ago, Kirk Gallaway said:

This is involving an economic stimulus, with the Democrats controlling the House. 1+1 is pretty much 2, Dave. If we don't get a $600 check , it's because Trump vetoed it, in a frantic search to find some means to ingratiate himself to the public as an added ploy to somehow overthrow the election and keep in office and out of court.

 

Kirk: the Times story example was meant to show that select members of Congress are perfectly capable of orchestrating a collusive, bipartisan charade of progress through extended debate.  In the current case, they want to force people off the lifeboat of unemployment insurance to accommodate new swimmers coming aboard in 2021.  Trump's in on it, or there would have been an Executive extension of federal support for state unemployment insurance after the funds for his first order expired in September.  (That order only provided funds to retroactively cover the shortfall occurring when the March through July CARES Act expired.) 

2 + 2 = 5, as Orwell wrote, and I say all action since September was intended to scuttle funding through the remainder of the Trump administration.

Here's salon.com exploring your thesis.  They can't prove their point any more than I can prove mine, yet, for either hypothesis, "the circumstantial evidence is abundant and compelling."

"Trump likely thinks he's blackmailing McConnell into stealing the election for him. While we have no direct proof this is an extortion scheme, the circumstantial evidence is abundant and compelling. Here's what we know: 

"Trump really does believe that Republicans know some super secret method for nullifying the election he just lost, and that they're just not revealing it to him for some reason. In reality, Republicans probably would help him steal the election if they could, but they can't. But Trump refuses to accept this so he is constantly wheedling GOP officials to do more and whining publicly that they're holding out on him."

https://www.salon.com/2020/12/23/republicans-enabled-trump-for-four-years--of-course-hes-betraying-them-in-the-11th-hour/

Edited by David Andrews
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First Eddie Gallagher.  Now this.   Trump seems strangely fond of grifters and homicidal psychopaths.

It's stuff like this that makes me embarrassed to be an American citizen -- and I say that as a guy whose family members fought in U.S. wars going back to the Revolutionary War.

Leaving Out Assange, Who Exposed US War Crimes, Trump Pardons Blackwater Guards Jailed for Massacring Iraqi Civilians

"While U.S. Army contractors convicted of massacring civilians in Iraq are pardoned, the man who exposed such crimes against humanity, Julian Assange, rots in Britain's Guantanamo."

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/12/23/leaving-out-assange-who-exposed-us-war-crimes-trump-pardons-blackwater-guards-jailed

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I wrote this editorial in my paper Friday urging Trump to do the very thing he did. 

 

President Trump’s instincts are correct and he should follow them

 

Word Friday morning was that Congress was near a deal on approving a new stimulus package before heading home for the holidays.

The deal stinks and it’s a testament to the dysfunction that is the United States Congress that this deal — that gives individuals a paltry $600 and a minor temporary bump in unemployment benefits along with some aid to small business and money for vaccine distribution — is the best that our elected representatives can come up.

This at a time when the economic recovery has stalled and signs are emerging that it’s actually getting worse. 

Weekly unemployment claims are back up around 1 million (The all-time record was around 600,000 prior to the pandemic); it was announced this week that holiday retail sales in November — at a time most retailers depend on to make or break their year — were in the toilet; and a new analysis from researchers at the University of Chicago and University of Notre Dame estimates that nearly 8 million Americans have fallen into poverty since June — the biggest single-year spike in at least 60 years.

Millions are already behind on their rent or mortgage payments and 1 in 6 adults who live with children said their households lacked sufficient food in the past week.

The scale of the economic devastation the United States is suffering is staggering. The stimulus bill before Congress might help people for a few days, a few weeks at most.

What’s more, in exchange for getting even the tiny amount of money directly to people, negotiators had to abandon aid to state and local governments in the proposed bill. Economists are predicting that most states and local governments will be in dire straits soon, if they aren’t already, due to high unemployment and declining retail sales and the resulting loss of sales and income tax revenue. This means teachers, firefighters, police officers, public health employees and others we depend on to keep society functioning properly, will have their jobs threatened without local tax increases or severe service cuts enacted.

During the congressional negotiations, strange political bedfellows have emerged — Conservative Mo. Sen. Josh Hawley and Vermont socialist Bernie Sanders who have joined forces to urge their colleagues to get Americans the help they need now.

While it’s encouraging to see elected representatives set aside philosophical differences in the face of an emergency, that and $4 will get struggling Americans a cup of coffee. They, and the people of the country, need someone with real power and influence to join in the fight.

On Thursday, the Washington Post reported that President Donald Trump was on the verge of intervening in the House and Senate negotiations to lobby for a higher stimulus payment. The Post reported the president thought people needed a minimum of $1,200 and up to $2,000. Alas, his aides talked him out of taking action, apparently, for fear of “blowing up the negotiations.”

With his iron grip on the Republican party, President Trump could make this happen, probably without much effort — a mere tweet could do the trick.

The president is a politician who lives by his instincts, and those instincts have mostly served him well. In this instance, his instinct told him Americans are suffering and need a lot help. His instincts are correct in this case, too, and he should follow them.

The sad part of this for the president is that he been making this case back in October instead of focusing almost entirely on Hunter Biden’s laptop, he likely would have breezed to re-election.

With the likely end of his time in office approaching, the president could secure his legacy by following his instincts and doing what he knows is right — getting American citizens, small businesses, and state local governments the money they need now.

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18 hours ago, Sandy Larsen said:

 

 

 

I don't think so, Dennis. After all, you had to throw in James Garfield to complete your list of ten. He served only six months before being assassinated... perhaps he wasn't in office long enough for you to learn to hate.  :P

 

Garfield was actually a pretty decent guy.  Advocated for civil rights, civil service reform, which was passed by Arthur, and forced Conkling to resign.

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Now, this is interesting: was Trump planning to do this all along?

 

They could also overturn a veto, as long as it’s not a pocket veto, which allows the president to merely stall on signing a bill while Congress adjourns.

But those are worst-case scenarios that leaders had been working feverishly to avoid. In fact, during a meeting on the relief bill with the “big four” congressional leaders, Pelosi had repeatedly pressed Mnuchin — who was patched in via speakerphone — for Trump’s position on the stimulus checks.

After four times without an answer, Pelosi said: “Come on Steven!”

 

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Looks like trump has about depleted the entire prison population of Azkaban. Welcome out to Jared's pappy, and Grooms of the Stool , Mr. Paul Manafort and Mr. Roger Stone.

 

Folks, we are not getting a stimulus package anytime soon. I think he's doing to this cripple the whole country.  The problem is that there are real people hurting, and we have to play these dumb dumb dumb XXX games with human lives. I think it's  horrible.  The 2000 negotiations thing will stop. Congress will go home, and once again, the American people will get squat. I hope I'm wrong.

 

That people can believe that this man gives a hang about this country, is mind boggling.

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