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Member since: Fri Sep 26, 2003, 10:31 PM
Number of posts: 4,606

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Trump's Big Lie is changing the face of American politics

Trump's Big Lie is changing the face of American politics
Analysis by Stephen Collinson, CNN
Updated 9:43 AM ET, Thu September 16, 2021
"Relentless efforts by former President Donald Trump and his true believers in politics and the media have convinced millions of Americans that Joe Biden is a fraudulent President who seized power in a stolen election.

This deep-seated suspicion of last November's vote, which threatens to corrode the foundation of US democracy, mirrors the message adopted by the ex-President months before he clearly lost a free and fair election to Biden.

It has immediate political implications -- the lie that the last election was a fix is already shaping the terrain in which candidates, especially Republicans, are running in midterm elections in 2022. And the widespread belief that Trump was cheated out of power is building the former President a 2024 platform to mount a GOP presidential primary bid if he wishes.

Longer term, the fact that tens of millions of Americans were seduced by Trump's lies about election fraud poses grave questions about the future of America's democratic political architecture itself. Ultimately, if a large minority of the population no longer has faith in rule by the people for the people, how long can that system survive? And if the will of millions of people is no longer expressed through voting, what other outlets are there? Already, the January 6 insurrection has shown what happens when aggrieved groups -- in this case incited by a massive lie -- take matters into their own hands."

more at link
MUCH MORE in the Article about democracy being on trial in America with great quotes from Gavin Newsom ""Democracy is not a football. You don't throw it around, it's more like a, I don't know, antique vase. You can drop it and smash it in a million different pieces." and Eric Holder "I think about ... those democracies that were lost in the middle part, the early part of the 20th century where democracy was not adequately defended and authoritarian regimes rose, And it wasn't because democracy was unpopular. You know, democracy was strong. But the reality is the defense of democracy was weak, and we cannot allow that to happen in this country."

Collinson also suggests that Trump would almost certainly be renominated if he decides to run and that ambitious Republicans will support his Big Lie to maintain their standing with Trump supporters. Basically the danger of Trump's Big Lie threatens American democracy itself, and once it falls apart it will not be easy to reconstruct it.

The peril of Trump keeps growing nearly 8 months after he left the White House

The peril of Trump keeps growing nearly 8 months after he left the White House
Analysis by Stephen Collinson, CNN
Updated 1:40 AM ET, Wed September 15, 2021

"Add another evidence dump to the growing case that a second Donald Trump presidency would be more extreme and dangerous than the first.
As Trump teases another run at the White House, his behavior and new accounts of his wild final days in office are becoming too outlandish to ignore, given that he's already the prohibitive favorite for the Republican nomination. Before that, he's the tip of the spear of the GOP bid to retake the House in midterm elections next year. The price for entry for any party candidate is fealty to the flagrant lie sold to millions that Trump is still the rightful President. And he's undoubtedly the dominant force in Republican politics -- even if his ever more radical conduct may make his appeal in a national election more doubtful. At least in an election that is free and fair.

The disclosures in Woodward and Costa's "Peril" are among the most serious and alarming yet. If they are borne out, they would not just be a case of a President tearing at the structures of US democracy -- as he did with the US Capitol insurrection on January 6, designed to disrupt Biden's certification as the winner of November's election. But they also would represent a sign that the nation's most senior military officer believed Trump was a grave danger to the world in the fevered days when he was trying to cling to power.

There is a definite sense -- borne out by five years of scandals, crushing of presidential norms and evidence of the political damage that an out-of-control President can do -- that what doesn't kill Trump's political career makes it stronger."

more at the link-- a good article discussing the danger that Trump and his enablers in the GOP pose to the nation. This goes beyond political differences to a threat to the American political system itself.

Misunderstanding preliminary scientific results led to the ivermectin fiasco

Work on cultured cells (cells grown on plastic) is considered a way to get preliminary data on whether a drug might be useful for a disease.

1000's of drugs look good on cultured cells for numerous diseases: few actually work in humans for various reasons. Hydroxychloroquine worked well in cultured cells too, btw. However, human trials showed no effect for hydroxychloroquine-- turned out the cell line used was more limited than normal human lung cells in how SARS-Cov2 could bind.

Ivermectin kills invertebrate parasites by binding to invertebrate glutamate-gated chloride channels in nerve cells, hyperpolarizing the nerve cells causing paralysis and death.

Ivermectin also appears to have antiviral activity against numerous viruses possibly due to an off-target ability to block transport of proteins into the nucleus of cells by binding to importin (IMP) α/β1. At high concentrations many drugs bind to other than their original intended target.

Last year, some scientists decided to test whether it would also work against Sars-Cov2 in cell culture. Here is the paper showing that it worked against Sars-Cov2 on cultured cells: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0166354220302011 They mention that similar favorable cell culture data for dengue virus led to a human trial which showed NO efficacy. That is typical of something working in cells on a dish but not in animals or people.

But looking at their data for Covid-19 they needed >5 uM dose of ivermectin for 50% efficacy (it's off-target after all) [they need closer to 10 µM to be effective] and normal human dose only brings the tissue level to .0873 µM-- which is 60 times too little to do any good. Basically ivermectin was DOA for Covid-19 after that realization. Data on dosing from https://ascpt.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/cpt.1889

But that didn't stop some reading news stories and even some scientists to think it might work-- there are even clinical trials exploring its use, which will almost certainly will not show efficacy based on the need for toxic doses of the drug for the treatment to even have a chance. Why? Misunderstanding the significance of preliminary scientific results.

4 Reasons A Potential Taliban Takeover In Afghanistan Matters To The World

4 Reasons A Potential Taliban Takeover In Afghanistan Matters To The World
August 14, 20217:00 AM ET

"Afghanistan will become a human rights problem
In the provinces they've captured so far, there's strong evidence that the Taliban of today and the Taliban of 20 years ago are not much different. The Taliban of the past were infamous for denying education to women, carrying out public executions of their opponents, persecuting minorities, such as the Shiite Hazaras, and destroying priceless ancient giant stone Buddhas at Bamiyan....
A Taliban regime could again become a safe haven for extremists
Speaking on NPR's All Things Considered this week, former U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta offered this blunt assessment: "The Taliban are terrorists, and they're going to support terrorists."
A Taliban-ruled Afghanistan might destabilize Pakistan

...Haqqani, the former ambassador who is now director for South and Central Asia at the Hudson Institute, writes in Foreign Affairs that "Islamist extremism has already divided Pakistani society along sectarian lines, and the ascendance of Afghan Islamists next door will only embolden radicals at home."
China could gain a foothold in the region
...China has reportedly promised big investments in energy and infrastructure projects, including the building of a road network in Afghanistan and is also eyeing the country's vast, untapped, rare-earth mineral deposits. And Beijing is reportedly preparing to formally recognize the Taliban if the group seizes control of the country..."
While the USA should not be staying in Afghanistan indefinitely, the timing and actual consequences of pulling out now are problematic from the human rights perspective as well as international relations one.

Pelosi: House won't take up the bipartisan bill until Senate votes on reconciliation

Source: CNN

"House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made clear on Thursday that the House won't take up the bipartisan infrastructure bill until the Senate passes a larger, more sweeping infrastructure package through budget reconciliation.

"Let me be really clear on this: We will not take up a bill in the House until the Senate passes the bipartisan bill and a reconciliation bill. If there is no bipartisan bill, then we'll just go when the Senate passes a reconciliation bill," the California Democrat said Thursday during her weekly news conference.

"There ain't gonna be no bipartisan bill, unless we have a reconciliation bill," she said. "As I said, there won't be an infrastructure bill, unless we have a reconciliation bill. Plain and simple. In fact, I use the word ain't. There ain't going to be an infrastructure bill, unless we have the reconciliation bill passed by the United States Senate," she reiterated.

Pelosi's statement comes after Republican and Democratic senators said Wednesday evening there was an agreement reached with White House officials and 10 senators on a bipartisan infrastructure deal. And on Thursday afternoon, Biden said he had signed off on the agreement."

Read more: https://www.cnn.com/2021/06/24/politics/pelosi-bipartisan-bill-infrastructure-reconciliation-democrats/index.html

Looks like there will be two bills or nothing.

New polls show GOP willingness to subvert 2020 election

New polls show GOP willingness to subvert 2020 election
By Marshall Cohen, CNN
Updated 1:49 PM ET, Thu June 24, 2021

"New polls released Thursday show just how far Republicans were willing to go to support then-President Donald Trump's unprecedented efforts to subvert the 2020 election.
Their polls found that after the election, a supermajority of Republicans backed Trump's efforts to overturn the results: 86% said his legal challenges were appropriate, 79% said they weren't confident in the national vote tally, and 68% said Trump really won. Another 54% said Trump should never concede, and a plurality said state legislatures should override the popular vote...

Additionally, only 34% of Trump voters said they would accept Biden as the legitimate president, according to the post-election polls. That pales in comparison to similar surveys conducted by Gallup after previous controversial elections -- 68% of Al Gore voters in 2000 accepted George W. Bush's legitimacy, and 76% of Hillary Clinton voters in 2016 accepted Trump's as president..."

Brainwashing works with Trump and especially Fox News having completely gaslighted Republicans to think that Trump won, which they of course would want to believe. Listen to the video at the link-- people in Florida saying they saw various stolen election evidence on TV. The interviewer tells them that was debunked but they don't believe him. They "saw" it on TV!

The USA is in deep deep trouble, because the GOP retains significant power across the country, in a majority of states-- almost 2 to 1-- they control the state legislatures. There needs to be some serious effort to stop the propaganda, which isn't easy given the 1st Amendment. Any ideas how to mitigate the damage beyond Democrats voting against the GOP which is obvious, but won't work in GOP dominated locations?

The filibuster is a big tradeoff, but there is a compromise to move forward: new exceptions

The filibuster protects Democratic legislation like the ACA from being repealed or a GOP majority from forcing extreme partisan bills like they have been doing on voting rights in the states, but it also prevents almost any consequential bill from being passed right now.

But already exceptions exist for the filibuster:
federal judges
supreme court judges
budget reconciliation

So why not some more?

Really, what should be done is create new exceptions for the filibuster:

Civil rights legislation would be a natural (this could include voting rights)
Perhaps any fundamental rights bill

Does this sound reasonable?
Any other suggestions for exceptions?

Washington Republicans have just one move

Washington Republicans have just one move
Analysis by John Harwood
Updated 7:50 AM ET, Sun June 13, 2021

"The Republican answer is no.
What's the question? Just about anything important a Democratic president is asking.
Resistance to change is, to be sure, expected from the nation's conservative political party. An intellectual icon of the modern GOP, William F. Buckley, once described a conservative's role as to "stand athwart history, yelling 'Stop!'"

But in the era of partisan polarization, that impulse has hardened into resistance to governance itself. On issues that rile them most -- the changing face of America, domestic spending programs, tax increases -- congressional Republicans have flashed red lights at Democratic and Republican White Houses alike.
The failure of bipartisan compromise need not quash Biden's "Build Back Better" agenda, which in addition to infrastructure investments includes expensive new programs to help struggling families up the economic ladder. Biden could advance it through the special budget process known as "reconciliation," which requires only a simple majority vote rather than a filibuster-proof 60 ayes in the Senate. That route, which Democratic leaders have already set in motion, would not require any Republican votes. It would require every Senate Democrat and nearly every House Democrat to say yes."
Just a friendly reminder that Republicans have been opposing progress since at least the Reagan era, and that 'No' is their answer to any legislation that is not a tax cut. It's why bipartisanship is obsolete given GOP recalcitrance.

"There's nothing "delusional" about Donald Trump's conspiracy theories. They are working"

"There's nothing "delusional" about Donald Trump's conspiracy theories. They are working:
Trump's conspiracy theories aren't delusional, they are aspirational — and so far, they are working for him"
PUBLISHED JUNE 4, 2021 12:57PM (EDT)

Delusion." "Off the chart bonkers." "Insane." "Objectively nuts." These are some of the terms that pundits — both on the left and on the right — are using to describe Donald Trump's reported belief that he will be "reinstated" as president in August, a belief that is tied to the growing enthusiasm in QAnon circles for a Myanmar-style coup d'état. It's a comforting story: that Trump is a doddering fool who is lost in a pathetic fantasy. After all, there is no process to "reinstate" a former president. Moreover, the people who Trump is clearly getting this idea from are total kooks like his former lawyer Sidney Powell and pillow salesman Mike Lindell. And Trump himself is the "inject bleach" guy, no one's model for rigorous empirical thinking.

As I note in today's Standing Room Only newsletter, Trump loves the "will no one rid me of this troublesome priest?" style of giving orders, where he just puts a wish out into the world and hopes other people will pick up what he's putting down. As his former lawyer Michael Cohen famously noted in his testimony before the House before he went to prison for crimes committed on Trump's behalf, "He doesn't give you questions, he doesn't give you orders. He speaks in a code." It's a strategy that shields Trump from consequences while his self-directed minions, like Cohen or Giuliani or the Capitol rioters, take the fall. It also means less work for Trump.
One of the most common misconceptions about conspiracy theories is that they are sincere expressions of belief. Sometimes that's true, but just as often, conspiracy theories are better understood functionally, not literally. They are tools that conspiracy theorists use to further their larger goals. It's irrelevant whether Trump "believes" that he could have kept power by stopping the electoral vote count on January 6 or that he'll be reinstated in August. What matters is how he uses these conspiracy theories, to promote the ideological belief that a multi-racial democracy is bad, that a white conservative minority deserves to rule over the majority, and that any means necessary to make that happen are on the table.
This particular conspiracy theory has a twofold function. The first and most obvious is to keep pushing the Republican party towards fascism. But of course, they're already going there, so probably didn't need more of a push from Trump. The second, and perhaps more important to Trump himself, is that the conspiracy theory keeps him at the center of this story. As Axios founder Jim VandeHei said on MSNBC Friday morning, Trump is "frustrated" and "having a hard time getting through" because "people are no longer obsessed with what Donald Trump has to say."
A link to this article appeared in General Discussion a few days ago, but I thought the points chosen here from the article are important to reiterate to prevent GOP from going fascist and ending democracy as we know it in the US.

As for Trump:
These 4 reasons explain Trump's actions in general and his gaslighting about reinstatement in particular:
1. Attention addict-- can't stand being out of the spotlight-- Twitter ban really threw him for a loop. Outrageous statements bring media attention. Rallies coming soon.

2. Throws out any crazy idea, to see if it somehow might help him. Examples: bleach for Covid, wanted states to find votes, encouraged insurrection. Probably secretly hoping some treasonous military will attempt a coup to bring him back to the White House in August.

3. Follower of Norman Vincent Peale's "The Power of Positive Thinking." Really believes in this stuff. Leads to dangerous magical thinking and inability to accept or learn from losses.

4. Potential coming indictments can be politicized and excused by his followers, if he is the "real" President being hounded by enemies

What Joe Manchin's constituents think of his bipartisanship

Story by Dan Merica, CNN
Updated 9:05 AM ET, Sat June 5, 2021

Farmington, West Virginia (CNN)When Joe Manchin was in the fight of his political life, vying for reelection in a state where being a Democrat had long been out of fashion, the senator's opening message to voters focused on the place he knew best: Farmington, West Virginia.

Manchin argued throughout his last reelection campaign that it was his upbringing in the small Appalachian town set on the banks of Buffalo Creek -- from working at his family's local grocery store to watching how relationships in his hometown transcended political lines -- that helped make him a politician who would listen to even his most ardent detractors and use his power to make sure every bipartisan avenue was exhausted before he picked the best option for the people of his state.

That persona has served Manchin well, to date. He's survived election after election in this increasingly Republican bastion to become the most conservative Democrat in an evenly divided Senate -- a role that allows him to put his stamp on anything his party wants to accomplish, which includes just about everything these days. Manchin has wielded this influence to change the coronavirus relief package, force Democrats to try and work with Republicans on infrastructure and squash any talk of getting rid of Senate rules that would make it easier for the Democrats, currently in the majority, to pass President Joe Biden's agenda. But back home, Manchin is facing a set of opposing forces. Republicans in the state, loyal to former President Donald Trump and consumed with the partisan politics of the moment, have grown annoyed at how Manchin signals a willingness to break with Democrats but often votes with the party in the end. And many Democrats in the state, worn down by years of Republican domination, worry that Manchin's undying focus on bipartisanship is no longer possible when the Republican Party is unwilling to meet in the middle.

This tension has forced the tenets of Manchin's personal and political story to run up against a changing world....
His while career has been built trying to find common ground with Republicans, even when Democrats dominated WV--it's unclear whether he would ever change, even though both Democrats and Republicans are often dissatisfied with his approach.
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