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andym's Journal
andym's Journal
November 11, 2020

Disregard for political norms has been suggested to have caused the decline of the Roman Republic

The Trump-catalyzed insurrection cannot be allowed to stand unpunished. I'm bumping this post from November because it provides a historical example of what happens to a republic when the violation of political (democratic) norms becomes acceptable:

Trump may be our destructive catalyst, as he disregards our political norms-- the transition to the winning President-elect's government being just the last example. He has already damaged our Republic with his lies and divisory actions and it looks like there's more to come. And there has been: 1) lies about election fraud, and 2) Trump encouraged insurrection against Congress.

How Rome Destroyed Its Own Republic:
Augustus told Romans he was the only one who could save Rome. And they believed him.


"imagine a world in which political norms have broken down. Senators use bad faith arguments to block the government from getting anything done. An autocrat rigs elections and gives himself complete control over the government. Even stranger, many voters subscribe to the autocrat’s personality cult and agree that he should have absolute control.

Welcome to Rome in the first century B.C.E. The republic that had existed for over 400 years had finally hit a crisis it couldn’t overcome. Rome itself wouldn’t fall, but during this period it lost its republic forever."

Also take a look at this article:
Lessons in the Decline of Democracy From the Ruined Roman Republic

'The U.S. Constitution owes a huge debt to ancient Rome. The Founding Fathers were well-versed in Greek and Roman History. Leaders like Thomas Jefferson and James Madison read the historian Polybius, who laid out one of the clearest descriptions of the Roman Republic’s constitution, where representatives of various factions and social classes checked the power of the elites and the power of the mob. It’s not surprising that in the United States’ nascent years, comparisons to ancient Rome were common. And to this day, Rome, whose 482-year-long Republic, bookended by several hundred years of monarchy and 1,500 years of imperial rule, is still the longest the world has seen.

Aspects of our modern politics reminded University of California San Diego historian Edward Watts of the last century of the Roman Republic, roughly 130 B.C. to 27 B.C. That’s why he took a fresh look at the period in his new book Mortal Republic: How Rome Fell Into Tyranny. Watts chronicles the ways the republic, with a population once devoted to national service and personal honor, was torn to shreds by growing wealth inequality, partisan gridlock, political violence and pandering politicians, and argues that the people of Rome chose to let their democracy die by not protecting their political institutions, eventually turning to the perceived stability of an emperor instead of facing the continued violence of an unstable and degraded republic. Political messaging during the 2018 midterm elections hinged on many of these exact topics."
We have a choice, try to restore norms against the prevailing trend of unenlightened selfishness and self-interest from Trump-supporting Republicans and their fellow travelers or face fascism in America.
November 8, 2020

Why Lindsay Graham and GOP politicians continue to back Trump?

They (Republican pols) all need to placate Trump supporters who are the base of the GOP. And so far almost all continue to back Trump! This election, though a bad loss, cemented Trump's power as his presence on the ballot brought out an additional 10 million more votes than last time (so did Joe of course with 11M more than Hillary).

If they don't, they will lose their jobs and power.

Even out of office, Trump will still have a great deal of power, because of his supporters (who love him more than the GOP).

He may try to block Biden from the sidelines. McConnell will no doubt go along as he already has signaled that he intends to roadblock Joe Biden.

November 7, 2020

National results are not far off from the registered voter statistics for the US

From Pew Research
2018/9 party statistics:

33% Demoocrats
29% GOP
34% Independents (49% lean Democratic= 16.7% total)(44% GOP= 15% total )
4% other

Democrat total 33+16.7%=49.7%
GOP = 29+15% = 44%
The differential is 5.7% with an error from the 4% other/unstated/didn't respond.
The results this year suggest the remaining 3% of 4% other are actually Trumpers/GOP.

In reality, some Democrats voted for Trump, some Republican voted for Biden. But the trends are there.

November 4, 2020

Biden's strength is being sympathetic and empathetic-- he will try to unify the country

but he will be up against a very unfriendly Right Wing propaganda network that while lacking Rush will still be more than enough to sow discord. Joe will have to be very proactive-- speeches etc to help make things better. It's the most important thing he can do.

October 4, 2020

He probably is both sicker than they say, but has a much better chance at rapid recovery than most

Hi is probably sicker based on the information coming out on what they are treating him with, as well as his known risk factors: age and obesity.

Why? He is getting treatment not generally available. He got the Regeneron antibody treatment which confers the equivalent humoral immune response to someone who made very high affinity neutralizing antibodies after three weeks of infection. That by itself should help immensely, because newly replicated and secreted virus particles trying to infect new cells will be neutralized by the antibodies and removed. Many in the biomedical community believe that Regeneron's and Lilly's antibody treatments will be game changers (expensive game changers). They are still in trials, but about 1 million doses might be ready by the end of the year.

That said, once Covid activates the body's own immune defenses, it it likely that the body will continue to fight and actually damage itself in the process by killing infected cells and their neighbors. That is why they have to give dexamethasone-- which is an immune suppressant. That is why Trump is still at some risk.

October 4, 2020

If Trump recovers quickly it will be because he had elite access to Regeneron's experimental drug

not because he so "healthy" or has good genes, as he might try to claim later. Without this drug, he would be FAR worse off. There's a real question whether even his associates who got sick in his cohort (think Chris Christie) will have the same access, forget normal people.

This article came just a day before Trump's sickness was revealed:


‘Provocative results’ boost hopes of antibody treatment for COVID-19
By Jon Cohen Sep. 30, 2020 , 5:15 PM
"A second company has now produced strong hints that monoclonal antibodies, synthetically produced versions of proteins made by the immune system, can work as treatments in people who are infected with the pandemic coronavirus but are not yet seriously ill.
The biotech Regeneron Pharmaceuticals has developed a cocktail of two monoclonal antibodies that attach to the surface protein of that coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, and attempt to block it from infecting cells. Yesterday at an investor and media webcast, the firm revealed early results.

Infected people in a placebo-controlled trial that ultimately plans to enroll 2100 individuals who are asymptomatic or, at worst, moderately ill. The analysis divides patients into two groups: those who had detectable antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 at the trial’s start and those who did not, a so-called seronegative group. The monoclonal cocktail showed little effect on people who already had antibodies against the virus. But it appeared to help the seronegative patients, powerfully reducing the amount of virus found in nasopharyngeal swabs and alleviating symptoms more quickly. “These are provocative results,” says Myron Cohen of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, who was not involved with the study but is helping Regeneron test its monoclonal cocktail as a preventive.

Both Lilly and Regeneron say they are discussing their data with regulators to see whether their monoclonal antibodies might warrant moving to widespread use more quickly through mechanisms like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s emergency use authorization process. Additional studies of their monoclonal treatments are underway in hospitalized COVID-19 patients and, separately, as preventives in uninfected people.

Monoclonal antibodies are more difficult to make than many drugs and often are extremely expensive, which means that supply could outstrip demand and many countries might not be able to afford them. The U.S. government’s Operation Warp Speed has invested $450 million in Regeneron to produce up to 300,000 “doses” of its cocktail by the end of the year, which would be distributed to Americans free of charge. “A substantial fraction of those are already available,” Yancopoulos said—although it’s not yet clear what constitutes a single dose of the company’s cocktail. Nonetheless, Regeneron, which is partnering with Roche to increase production capability, says it hopes to ramp up to produce 250,000 doses per month."


Trump may well recover quickly-- don't put it down to his great health, but to his special access to an experimental therapy that will eventually be game changers for Covid-19. In the article, it is mentioned that Eli Lilly has a similar drug and that 1,000,000 doses could be available by the end of the year.

October 1, 2020

Trump had traps set for Biden, but didn't have the discipline to spring them

Trumpworld 'worried' amid debate performance fallout
NBC News
Shannon Pettypiece and Leigh Ann Caldwell and Carol E. Lee and Monica Alba and Hallie Jackson
,NBC News•September 30, 2020


"But Trump failed to deliver many of his planned remarks — and when he did, they were often delivered out of context and with no explanation, two people familiar with debate preparations said.

When he attacked Biden for backing the 1994 crime bill, he was then supposed to point to Alice Johnson in the audience and demand that Biden apologize to Johnson, 65, a grandmother who spent more than two decades in prison on a nonviolent drug charge before Trump commuted her sentence and then pardoned her. Instead, Trump pivoted to his polling numbers among African American voters.

During the Supreme Court section of the debate, the president was supposed to go after Biden as "the godfather of turning Supreme Court confirmation hearings into sideshows," dating to Biden's work on the Senate confirmation hearings for Robert Bork in 1987 and Clarence Thomas in 1991, when he was chairman of the Judiciary Committee. Instead, Trump steered the conversation toward health care...."
The first one was a particularly egregious attempt to try to embarrass Joe -- since they remembered how Kamala Harris used the "little girl" phrase at the first Democratic Debate last year. But Trump was thrown off by his own aggressiveness and failed to spring the trap. (The actual story is more complex btw https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alice_Marie_Johnson -- I don't think Joe has anything to apologize for)

Expect more traps like this from Trump in the next debate-- that's the kind of trick Trump likes, but fortunately he is incompetent even at games like these.

September 30, 2020

Next time either cut off the mics or the moderator should bring a loud whistle

and blow it until Trump shuts up.

September 30, 2020

Interrupter in Chief

could be added to Trump's well-earned nicknames like Divider-In-Chief.

September 30, 2020

Moderator needs to be able to turn off the mics

when necessary. Without that it's not possible to moderate against Trump.

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