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US Politics: A Tale of two Joes.


A Horse Named Stranger
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34 minutes ago, TrackerNeil said:

Remember when GWB was dismissing US attorneys for not following the Republican playbook? I thought that was bad, but now we've got arguments that a sitting president has no duty to stop a mob intent on overthrowing the government.

With every day, conservatives make the unthinkable ever more thinkable.

Yeah.

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2 hours ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

Horseshit.  Trump was the duly elected President of the United States.  He had a duty to act to protect and defend the US Constitution that he accepted, expressly, on 1/20/2016.  He absolutely had a duty to act.

Plus, if you are the leader of any group, and give your followers general instructions like "Your rights are being stolen!  You've got to fight!" and then said crowd proceeds to follow those instructions, you incited the crowd.  If Trump wants to claim that he meant nonviolent protests and activism (rather than actual violence) then sitting by and doing nothing for almost three hours as your supporters destroy the US capital says otherwise.  Nonaction carries consequences too. 

I understand I'm not a lawyer, but this seems pretty clean cut to me.  The idea that you cannot be held responsible for actions you didn't take seems farcical.  If a doctor sees someone having a heart attack and does nothing because he doesn't like that person, he can be tried.  Likewise a lifeguard who sees someone drowning.  Why should the President be immune to consequences of violating his oath? 

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6 minutes ago, Maithanet said:

Plus, if you are the leader of any group, and give your followers general instructions like "Your rights are being stolen!  You've got to fight!" and then said crowd proceeds to follow those instructions, you incited the crowd.  If Trump wants to claim that he meant nonviolent protests and activism (rather than actual violence) then sitting by and doing nothing for almost three hours as your supporters destroy the US capital says otherwise.  Nonaction carries consequences too. 

I understand I'm not a lawyer, but this seems pretty clean cut to me.  The idea that you cannot be held responsible for actions you didn't take seems farcical.  If a doctor sees someone having a heart attack and does nothing because he doesn't like that person, he can be tried.  Likewise a lifeguard who sees someone drowning.  Why should the President be immune to consequences of violating his oath? 

 

I imagine that argument would immediately be brushed aside with another common in right-wing circles, which is that no president can ever be tried for any crime.  We've heard variations of this with "sitting president" etc but it always rolls back to president (republican pres) is immune from prosecution.  

Also, is violating an oath a crime?  Or do we just get to label them Oathbreaker"?

Edited by Lermo T.I. Krrrammpus
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15 minutes ago, Lermo T.I. Krrrammpus said:

I imagine that argument would immediately be brushed aside with another common in right-wing circles, which is that no president can ever be tried for any crime.  We've heard variations of this with "sitting president" etc but it always rolls back to president (republican pres) is immune from prosecution.  

Also, is violating an oath a crime?  Or do we just get to label them Oathbreaker"?

Perhaps I'm misconstruing his argument.  From that quote, it reads like he's argueing that inaction (rather than action) cannot be subject to criminal liability, which is IMO ridiculous.  The separate argument that Presidents are basically above the law in all circumstances except impeachment is one I don't agree with, but it's been argued many times before. 

Clearly all presidents require some civil protection, lest the be sued by the family members of soldiers who died under his orders, etc.  It is hard to draw a clear line between what should and should not be protected, but I'm very uncomfortable with the sweeping leeway Trump's lawyers seem to always insist upon. 

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Didn't want to clog up the covid thread with US centric stuff.  This from Talia Lavin's substack struck a chord with me.  An excellent summary of everything that's wrong with how the US government and media has framed the covid pandemic from the very beginning, and how that basically has not changed.  

https://theswordandthesandwich.substack.com/p/eugenics-with-a-smile?s=09

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It’s not just Wallensky’s ill-judged commentary. The “pandemic of the unvaccinated” rhetoric emerging from the White House hammers at the critical flaw in the American response to Covid-19, one that has rendered our virus response impotent from the first. It is a central axiom in the American mindset that one’s health is a matter of personal responsibility; ailing is a moral failure, a sign of deficient character; health is a primary arbiter of worth. That human bodies have failed throughout all of time—as members of the disability community have said for decades, everyone is only “temporarily abled” until they aren’t—does little to erode the image of the American Übermensch we are all told, in a thousand different ways, to strive for: thin, tanned, lithe, jacked, and bereft of chronic conditions, including poverty. To be anything less than this is to fall short not just of the physical mark, but of a moral ideal—worth less for each deviation from the mean.

What makes for a worthwhile life? If you are poor or sick, or poor and sick (because being poor makes you more likely to be sick in a thousand different ways), is your life worth less? If you are old, is your life worth less? If you can’t walk, is your life worth less? All the signs of public policy and private attitudes in America point to “yes.”

Treating a pandemic that innately affects all members of society as a matter of individual choice, refusing to engage in non-pharmaceutical public-health interventions, pouring only limited resources into vaccine outreach for under-resourced groups, and ending all aid that would enable the ill to isolate and the immunocompromised to survive is a eugenic stance. Drumming up anger at the unvaccinated is not a substitute for substantive, fiscally supportive public-health policy; it’s just a means to deflect blame by a government that has thrown up its hands and watched the corpses pile up, urging the living back to the office, back to school, to congregate unchecked until only the fittest have survived. Even the Biden administration’s late, slow lurch towards providing greater access to rapid testing betrays its bias, not just towards bureaucracy, but towards passive eugenics: now, Americans with the time and inclination to wrangle for hours on the telephone can be reimbursed by their insurance companies for up to eight at-home tests, roughly a $200 upfront cost; 28 million Americans have no health insurance at all.

 

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1 hour ago, Maithanet said:

Plus, if you are the leader of any group, and give your followers general instructions like "Your rights are being stolen!  You've got to fight!" and then said crowd proceeds to follow those instructions, you incited the crowd.  If Trump wants to claim that he meant nonviolent protests and activism (rather than actual violence) then sitting by and doing nothing for almost three hours as your supporters destroy the US capital says otherwise.  Nonaction carries consequences too. 

I understand I'm not a lawyer, but this seems pretty clean cut to me.  The idea that you cannot be held responsible for actions you didn't take seems farcical.  If a doctor sees someone having a heart attack and does nothing because he doesn't like that person, he can be tried.  Likewise a lifeguard who sees someone drowning.  Why should the President be immune to consequences of violating his oath? 

It’s not “farcical” there is a fairly well established principle in US law that there is no “general duty” to act.  However, as the President of the United State there is a fundamentally different standard.

Trump’s attorneys are trying to pretend like Trump is just Bob on the street with no other responsibilities.  That is absolutely not the case when an individual takes the oath of office as President.

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5 hours ago, TrackerNeil said:

With every day, conservatives fascists make the unthinkable ever more thinkable.

FTFY

2 hours ago, Week said:

Climate policy through the lens of current COVID response -

 

Pretty much. Continued inaction and half-measures increase the number of vulnerable people too.

 

I thought it was interesting that a lot of people thought Don't Look Up was about Covid, and when you think about it, the responses really have been rather similar, right down to the belief in living through it instead of trying to beat it. 

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The question, of course, is whether or not such a unit would be allowed to investigate and press charges against white supremacist 'terrorists' during a conservative, or even republican administration.

U.S. Justice Department forming unit to counter domestic terrorism | Reuters

 

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"We have seen a growing threat from those who are motivated by racial animus, as well as those who ascribe to extremist anti-government and anti-authority ideologies," Olsen added.

 

Attorney General Merrick Garland told lawmakers last May that domestic violent extremist groups, particularly white supremacists, pose a growing threat to the United States.

Olsen said the new unit will be part of the National Security Division and will work to "ensure that these cases are properly handled and effectively coordinated" across the department and around the country.

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Well, once it got going, and got indictments and convictions, it's hard to argue about such a unit being useless.

If it isn't up and running before the crazies retake control, then it might end up being scrapped.

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https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2022/01/12/house-isolation-boxes-katherine-clark/

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.... As the omicron variant threatens the halls of Congress and some GOP lawmakers continue entering the House chamber maskless, despite racking up tens of thousands of dollars in fines, Assistant Speaker of the House Katherine M. Clark (D-Mass.) suggested a more tangible solution to thwart the rule-breaking: “isolation boxes.”

In a letter to the House sergeant-at-arms on Tuesday, Clark requested that lawmakers who flout the mask mandate be cordoned off in a plexiglass-enclosed section in the House gallery to help protect other members from exposure to the coronavirus.

“This commonsense step will not only protect our dedicated House staff from Members who refuse to follow House rules, but it will also allow those Members to continue to fulfill their constitutional duty to vote on matters before the House,” Clark wrote. ....

 

 

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3 hours ago, Zorral said:

As the omicron variant threatens the halls of Congress and some GOP lawmakers continue entering the House chamber maskless, despite racking up tens of thousands of dollars in fines, Assistant Speaker of the House Katherine M. Clark (D-Mass.) suggested a more tangible solution to thwart the rule-breaking: “isolation boxes.”

The House floor should have installed hockey-style penalty boxes centuries ago.

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On 1/11/2022 at 9:45 AM, Lermo T.I. Krrrammpus said:

Didn't want to clog up the covid thread with US centric stuff.  This from Talia Lavin's substack struck a chord with me.  An excellent summary of everything that's wrong with how the US government and media has framed the covid pandemic from the very beginning, and how that basically has not changed.  

https://theswordandthesandwich.substack.com/p/eugenics-with-a-smile?s=09

 

While I agree with the lament over how American individualism has really impeded the response to the pandemic, the author's position about the administration isnt fair and sometimes misleading.  The insurance rule change on covid testing does help 92% of Americans and there is a strong incentive for the companies to not use an up-front cost model.  More importantly though, the blog fails to note the second part of initiative which is 500 million tests being purchased by the government and provided to anyone for free and the additional 50 million tests available through medicare.  The insurance fix is just happening faster because it doesnt require the government to procure anything or setup a distribution system, which takes time.  We can complain all we want about the way the US health insurance system is setup, but at the end of the day, the urgency of the issue requires working with the system that exists today. 

The author seems to be ascribing predictably callous comments from a reddit site dedicated to darwin awards with the attitude of the administration.  At the end of the day, the USG paid for and conducted the critical research that allowed for the creation of the vaccine, it provides the vaccine for free to everyone, provides testing for free for anyone, has issued virtually all the mandates it could within the executive branch's purview.  Ultimately, the administration has to deal with the citizenry it has, half of which seems hell-bent on acting like a bunch of toddlers.  I suspect a lot of the changes in CDC guidance stems from not only changes in the scientific understanding of the virus, but also having to walk back the original assumption of people being rational actors.  To quote Dr. Fauci from yesterday, "what a [bunch of] moron[s], JFC."

I take the author's point about some of the uneasiness equating ethics and personal responsibility for one's own health, but I'd say there is a better ethics argument about one's personal responsibility to the community.  To put it another way, I am not going to cast scorn on someone who smokes, alone, in the privacy of their own home, but I certainly am going to look down on someone who does so with a house full of children or in public.  While there is some irony in anti-vaxxers who have died of COVID, its the one's that are still living and thus still posing a threat to the society at large that are the problem and thus the focus of the public health communications.

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This is good for a laugh. How times have change:

Quote

(CNN)Former President Donald Trump appeared to take a shot at Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis over his refusal to disclose whether he's received a Covid-19 booster shot in a new interview with the far-right channel One America News.

 

Trump, who announced at an event last month that he had received a booster shot in addition to being vaccinated,
decried "gutless" politicians who have declined to be similarly transparent with their own booster status. His comments came just weeks after DeSantis sidestepped a question about being boosted during a December appearance on Fox Business -- a response that his staff later claimed the governor had given because it was a "private medical" matter.
 
Trump's comments come as the former President has made no secret of his frustration with DeSantis during private conversations with aides and allies. As previously reported by CNN, DeSantis has drawn Trump's ire for refusing to publicly rule out a 2024 presidential bid in a GOP primary that also includes the former President.
 
"I watched a couple politicians be interviewed and one of the questions was, 'Did you get a booster?' Because they had the vaccine and they're answering like -- in other words, the answer is 'yes' but they don't want to say it, because they're gutless," Trump told OAN.

https://www.cnn.com/2022/01/12/politics/trump-desantis-covid-boosters/index.html

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 also having to walk back the original assumption of people being rational actors

this assumption has always been comical in a system that features detailed bankruptcy rules, assumes robust tort and contract law, and actively produces irrationalism of purchasers via advertising.

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2 hours ago, sologdin said:

 also having to walk back the original assumption of people being rational actors

this assumption has always been comical in a system that features detailed bankruptcy rules, assumes robust tort and contract law, and actively produces irrationalism of purchasers via advertising.

Agreed, though I think its easier in the hard sciences, at least, to get stuck in a bit of a bubble where you assume most people are at least marginally rational actors because thats the folks they interact with.  If anything, the previous five years has really shattered a lot of delusions of general human critical thinking capabilities.

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Obama backs Biden's call to change filibuster rules and pass voting rights legislation
In his first op-ed since leaving office, the former president wrote about the work that must go into protecting democracy.

https://www.politico.com/news/2022/01/12/barack-obama-change-filibuster-rules-voting-rights-527007

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Former President Barack Obama used his first op-ed since leaving the White House to back President Joe Biden’s call to change Senate filibuster rules in order to pass voting rights legislation.

Obama, in his opinion piece for USA Today, wrote about the work that must go into protecting democracy — something he says the late Rep. John Lewis understood all too well. But it isn’t the first time the former president has made his stance on the Senate rule clear. When delivering Lewis’ eulogy in 2020, Obama suggested eliminating the filibuster — what he called a Jim Crow relic — in order to pass sweeping voting reforms in the Georgia congressman’s honor.


Obama echoed that message in Wednesday’s piece, writing that the filibuster “has no basis in the Constitution.” He noted that historically, the tool was used mainly by Southern senators to obstruct the passage of civil rights legislation and to keep Jim Crow laws on the books.

“In recent years, the filibuster became a routine way for the Senate minority to block important progress on issues supported by the majority of voters. But we can’t allow it to be used to block efforts to protect our democracy,” Obama said. “That’s why I fully support President Joe Biden’s call to modify Senate rules as necessary to make sure pending voting rights legislation gets called for a vote. And every American who cares about the survival of our most cherished institutions should support the president’s call as well.”

 

 

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9 minutes ago, Martell Spy said:

Obama backs Biden's call to change filibuster rules and pass voting rights legislation
In his first op-ed since leaving office, the former president wrote about the work that must go into protecting democracy.

https://www.politico.com/news/2022/01/12/barack-obama-change-filibuster-rules-voting-rights-527007

 

Cool story, but it's not going to change a thing.

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