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

#14901 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-March-12, 08:55

From Jonathan Bernstein at Bloomberg:

Quote

Wow.

If thereís been a worse Oval Office address ever, I certainly canít think of it. All of Donald Trumpís ineptness at the job of presidenting and his personal pathologies came together Wednesday night in a short, awful, counterproductive address to the nation.

At least he managed to avoid wearing a campaign hat. But this was bad.

Begin with the obvious: Thereís absolutely no excuse for the White House to have to walk back not one, not two, but three policy elements in a short prepared speech. The biggest? The president declared a thorough trade boycott of Europe, only to call ďbacksiesĒ soon after the speech was over. He also mischaracterized a new travel ban, and claimed that he had talked insurance companies into a deal that they quickly let everyone know never happened. Mistakes happen, sure. But while Iíll defend politicians who get the occasional fact wrong when theyíre talking off the cuff, itís a lot harder to justify this kind of thing when the president is reading a statement.

And it matters. A lot. One of the key things the White House wants to do when policy is going badly is to assure people that they can trust the president, and the government in general, to tell the truth. Getting stuff wrong undermines that, just as Trumpís frequent factually incorrect statements about the coronavirus prior to his Oval Office speech have made it harder for people to trust him and the government. It's also useful if the government is thought of as competent; this kind of mistake doesnít help at all.

Then there were all the things missing from the speech. The main one? Trump said nothing to help citizens understand the disruptions in their lives that have already begun and are accelerating almost hourly (so that only minutes after Trump finished, the NBA suspended its season). This is the kind of assurance that people want from the government, and which responsible governors and mayors from both parties have been giving across the nation. Trump only briefly referred to it and moved on.

Nor did Trump include any explanation of the public-health challenges ahead and what he wanted the government to do to meet them. Nothing about hospital capacity, for example.

In fact, the core of the speech was likely counterproductive:

The vast majority of Americans: The risk is very, very low. Young and healthy people can expect to recover fully and quickly if they should get the virus. The highest risk is for elderly population with underlying health conditions. The elderly population must be very, very careful.

In particular, we are strongly advising that nursing homes for the elderly suspend all medically unnecessary visits. In general, older Americans should also avoid nonessential travel in crowded areas.

Yes, later he did include three short sentences urging hygiene and staying home while sick ó but only after telling ďyoung and healthy peopleĒ that this is about the elderly, and without explaining why itís so important that everyone pitch in.

Indeed, by continuing to brag about his supposed success in keeping what he called a ďforeignĒ virus out and by pinning his hopes on a new travel ban targeting Europe even though the virus is already spreading across the U.S., Trump still spent much of this short speech in his fantasy world in which heís heroically defeated the pandemic. There was virtually nothing to prepare people for whatís actually going to happen. It still seems Trump himself doesnít understand whatís happening.

I have to admit I canít quite guess how his strongest supporters manage to reconcile all of that with the rapidly increasing number of cases and the increasing changes in daily life that have to be difficult to ignore at this point. Not to mention the plunging stock market. But for everyone except those strongest supporters, his speech must have just seemed out of touch with the realities of their lives.

Iíll leave the close analysis of the policy proposals to the experts, other than to repeat that they were focused mainly on the economy, not saving lives, and that heís still pushing a payroll tax cut that Congress has shown little interest in. (The good news there is that the House is moving ahead with a reasonable package, and it seems possible that the Senate will just go ahead and pass it. Is it perfect policy? I doubt it, but fast may be better than perfect at this point, and thereís no reason they canít go back and add to it later.)

As for delivery? Trump still hasnít mastered the important skill of using the teleprompter, so he always sounds stilted and uncomfortable when using it. Beyond that, I suspect supporters found him to be forceful and confident, while opponents didnít. A lot of this is in the eye of the beholder. What I would say, however, is that this was a speech that should have been pitched to the whole nation, both in substance and style, and I donít think he achieved that.

Trump is not at fault for a global epidemic. Nor are the policy questions easy to get right, either on the public health or the economic side. But he still doesnít seem to understand the basic course of the spread of the virus; he is ignoring the chorus of professionals with ideas for how to fight it, including those within the government; he continues to subvert efforts to fight it by making false statements and by the general disorganization within his administration; and he still canít stop praising himself and blaming everyone else, which makes it hard for anyone but his strongest supporters to listen to him. All of this puts the nation at danger while further damaging Trumpís battered presidency.

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#14902 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2020-March-12, 09:07

A simple thought. Yes, we should all try to understand issues. But there will always be the unforeseen. From the very start of Trump's candidacy my most basic view was that when things get tough, I really don't want that idiot Trump to be the one who is guiding us through it. Issues matter, but so does the character of the person making the decision. I gather that at least some republicans are now, at last, realizing that a totally unsuitable person occupies the presidency.
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#14903 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2020-March-12, 09:13

View Postkenberg, on 2020-March-12, 09:07, said:

I gather that at least some republicans are now, at last, realizing that a totally unsuitable person occupies the presidency.

But does this include any of the ones that matter, like McConnell?

Maybe in private they do, but it seems like most of them are sticking with him in public.

#14904 User is online   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-March-12, 10:13

There may be a bright side to the novel coronavirus pandemic:

Quote

RIO DE JANEIRO — A Brazilian official who met President Trump and Vice President Pence on Saturday in Florida has tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

Fabio Wajngarten, communications secretary to Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, has been diagnosed with covid-19, Brazilian officials said — potentially bringing the illness into proximity with Trump.

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#14905 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2020-March-12, 10:42

View PostWinstonm, on 2020-March-12, 10:13, said:

There may be a bright side to the novel coronavirus pandemic:


As much as I despise Trump, I can't go so far as wishing a horrible disease on him. But the irony would be hard not to enjoy.

#14906 User is offline   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2020-March-12, 10:48

View Postbarmar, on 2020-March-12, 10:42, said:

As much as I despise Trump, I can't go so far as wishing a horrible disease on him. But the irony would be hard not to enjoy.


I don't think bone spurs count as a preexisting condition for this purpose ...
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#14907 User is offline   PassedOut 

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Posted 2020-March-12, 11:47

For Trump, the coronavirus crisis is all about the numbers ó and they donít look good

Quote

Asked Tuesday by reporters at the Capitol if he had been briefed that up to 100 million Americans could ultimately be exposed to the virus, Trump again returned to the numbers.

ďIíve been briefed on every contingency you can possibly imagine, many contingencies,Ē the president said. ďA lot of positive. Different numbers. All different numbers. Very large numbers. And some small numbers too, by the way.Ē


And no one is better at numbers than Trump.
The growth of wisdom may be gauged exactly by the diminution of ill temper. ó Friedrich Nietzsche
The infliction of cruelty with a good conscience is a delight to moralists ó that is why they invented hell. ó Bertrand Russell
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#14908 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2020-March-12, 12:04

View PostZelandakh, on 2020-March-12, 04:05, said:

I think both Buttigieg and Klobuchar would, after getting past the name recognition issue, have had at least as much appeal to moderate Republicans as Biden, albeit to somewhat different portions of the population. Their issue was not one of electability so much as not connecting with the African-American demographic. And you cannot become the Democratic nomination without that key support. Biden's association with Obama plays very well to Dems; not so much with Reps, particularly the borderline racist working class voters that Biden will need to beat dodgy Donald.

Biden (and any other non-black Dem) certainly has more appeal to your borderline racist working class voters than Obama did, and Obama won twice. Of course, so did Hillary, but she also had the disadvantage of being a woman.

As you know, Buttigieg is gay. That's not a huge problem among Democrats, but among independents and Republicans??? There was a case in in the Iowa caucus where somebody had committed to vote for Buttigieg but tried to change her vote when she learned that he was gay. :lol: And Klobuchar is a woman. Mysogyny is still very strong in America at the presidential level. Warren consistently polled worse then the main male candidates and we all know what happened to Clinton.

View PostZelandakh, on 2020-March-12, 04:05, said:

Most of all, DJT got elected primarily because he is seen as someone not from the inner establishment of the political class in the way that Clinton was.

Hillary was not a good presidential candidate. She put together a strong primary organization to beat Sanders who should never have gotten traction if she was a better candidate. If she didn't have the email scandal, and the Russians didn't help sink her campaign with the DNC hacks, it seems clear she would still have won considering the slim margins she lost some critical states.

It remains to be seen how well Biden will be on the presidential campaign.

View PostZelandakh, on 2020-March-12, 04:05, said:

The truth is that while Biden's numbers look good out of the door, just as did HC's, it is extremely easy to see how to campaign effectively against him for a candidate like DJT. One can hope that the American people are sensible enough to see that this is not someone that you want in the WH for a full 8 years - 4 years to send a message and shake the system up a bit is plenty! - but so far the evidence for that being the case is slim. My estimate for re-election at this point is well over 50% and I suspect that is the case for almost all unbiased observers.

I predict that since it looks almost certain Biden gets the nomination, they Dems will run a truth based campaign, which coincidentally will be based on what an awful human being the Manchurian President is, and what a divisive and corrupt job he has done in his 1st term. If you want to look at numbers, look back to 2016 when Individual-1 locked up the Republican nomination to see what kind of underdog he was back then.
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#14909 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2020-March-12, 12:31

Trump’s travel ban sidesteps his own European resorts

I hadn't given it much thought, but I hadn't really seen any infection numbers for the UK and if I had, would have assumed that they hadn't had any cases detected. I would have been wrong.

Quote

The United Kingdom, which is home to Trump Turnberry and Trump International Golf Links, and Ireland, which is home to another Trump-branded hotel and golf course at Doonbeg, do not participate in the Schengen Area. Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania are also not part of the Schengen Area. All three of the resorts are struggling financially.


Quote

There are now 460 confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.K., including Nadine Dorries, the British government’s own health minister in charge of patient safety. Wednesday saw the biggest rise in U.K. cases in a single day, and the country’s highest-level crisis committee — known as Cobra — will meet Thursday to consider additional moves to reduce the impact of the virus.

Maybe the next emergency budget can include the substantial subsidies for:

"Hotel and golf courses in the UK that are owned by stable geniuses"

We need to build that wall between the US and Europe. Cost is no problem since Europe will pay for this wall.
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#14910 User is online   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-March-12, 12:45

View PostPassedOut, on 2020-March-12, 11:47, said:



I think you are referring either to running numbers or the numbers game, a cosa nostra specialty.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#14911 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-March-12, 13:35

Will Wilkinson makes the case for Warrenism (again) at NYT:

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Joe Biden has the Democratic nomination nearly locked up. Progressives are sorely disappointed, and it’s easy to sympathize. Mr. Biden is an old hand of the party’s old guard, cozy with big finance and spellbound by a bygone era of bipartisan amity. A man in denial about the depth of polarization and systemic corruption can’t begin to fix what’s wrong with the country or the Democratic Party.

Progressives need to understand that Bernie Sanders was never the answer. Support for “democratic socialism” may be on the rise, but it’s not nearly enough to underwrite a governing majority. Jitters about electability aren’t the only thing doing Mr. Sanders in, though.

Democrats are hungry for reform, not revolution. To oust Mr. Trump and especially to govern effectively, Democrats need a fighting creed that avoids both Mr. Biden’s blinkered complacency and Mr. Sanders’s quixotic hand-waving. She may be gone from the race, but Elizabeth Warren has a plan for that. Democrats should pick up the fallen flag of Warren-ism and run.

America is embroiled in a crisis of deepening corruption. A self-reinforcing spiral of regulatory capture, self-dealing and influence-peddling has led to intensely concentrated power that is at once economic and political. That concentrated power has rigged the rules that define the structure of America’s democracy and economy to the advantage of the powerful at the expense of ordinary Americans. This has deprived us of our most vital means of collective self-defense: meaningful democratic control over the institutions that shape our lives. Unless we fight to unrig the system, millions of us will continue to live and die on the terms of unaccountable power.

Let’s be frank: “Big structural change” is a dreadful political slogan. Yet it’s exactly what America needs. At its heart, Warrenism is a program to establish genuine popular sovereignty over our polity and economy. In the context of a corrupted system of organized clout, this seems radical. A reform agenda focused on rooting out graft and cultivating real democracy poses a threat to many of America’s most powerfully entrenched interests.

Although Warrenism may be less “revolutionary” than Mr. Sanders’s socialism, it’s also more threatening to concentrated power. That’s because it’s learned and realistic about the ways in which rules structure the political and economic incentives that ultimately determine who gets how much of what. Warrenism is jealous of the political rights of citizens and therefore hostile to electoral practices — like gerrymandering, voter-ID laws and felon disenfranchisement — that deprive vulnerable citizens of equal representation. That extends to Senate rules, like the filibuster, that stymie majority rule in an already anti-majoritarian system.

It sees shell companies, lax tax enforcement, revolving doors between regulators and the corporations they regulate and hidden conflicts between the private holdings of public officials and the public interest as rich soil for the cultivation of systemic corruption and organized venality. Warrenism’s obsession with policy detail sometimes smacks of managerial paternalism, but it aims at building and streamlining the capacity of government to reliably deliver the high-quality public goods citizens demand in a way that relieves them of the burdens of confusing paperwork and Kafkaesque administrative complexity.

Warrenism grasps what many other Democrats (like Mr. Biden) don’t: Liberalism is on the ropes because it became complacent about power. We liberals got ahead of ourselves and began to take the institutions of inclusive, liberal-democratic capitalism for granted — despite the fact that our first serious strides toward full democratic equality were taken well within living memory. The collapse of Communism made us think we’d won for good, and we became fixated on tweaks to liberal institutions to enhance economic efficiency or make them better conform to academic ideals of distributive justice rather than tackling their deep-seated structural and procedural flaws.

Mr. Trump and his minions have taught us a lesson about power. For better or worse, the heart of politics is distributive conflict, and the most fundamental fight is over the distribution of power — over which groups will become more or less protected, and more and less bound, by the law.

Mr. Trump has made clear which people and groups are favored under his leadership. He is at the top of a relatively small elite that monopolizes the power to set and enforce rules that allow the ruling class to enrich itself and reinforce its rule through domination and exploitation.

Groups that have been losing power through democratization and the equalization of rights — including the Trumpist Republican Party’s aggrieved base — as well as incumbent economic interests are keenly aware of the nature and value of power. The closer they get to losing it, the more avidly they marshal every form of heft, pull, propaganda, coercion and extortion at hand to prevent America’s political economy from locking into an equilibrium of fully inclusive democratic equality.

Yet sleepwalking liberals can’t seem to snap out of it. That’s why Warrenism’s tough-minded agenda for returning control to the democratic citizenry is so important. We argue among ourselves about whether the rise of populist nationalism reflects economic or racial anxieties (or both). We debate whether these anxieties would be best assuaged by a universal basic income, an expansion of the earned-income tax credit, or by getting the fine print of Medicare for All exactly right. What we haven’t been doing is rallying for a dogfight.

This is one reason that Sanders-style socialism picked up steam. Socialists may be in the grip of unworkable, harebrained dogma, but they see power and are ready to fight for it. They grasp that regaining democratic authority over economic power, both inside and outside the political system, is urgently necessary. And that makes socialists like Mr. Sanders better defenders of liberal democracy than many Biden-loving liberals.

I’ll be sorry to see Bernie Sanders go, but he was never going to win. Mr. Biden can beat Donald Trump. The trouble is that he can’t seem to grasp our deeper problems, so he’s counting on a de-polarizing Republican epiphany rather than preparing for a fight. That’s why Mr. Biden, and the entire Democratic Party, needs a stiff dose of Warrenism, and quick.

Warrenism is awake to power. It’s good, old-fashioned American republicanism with bite. Should Democrats take down Mr. Trump, they need to be willing to throw down for Big Structural Change. One way or another, Democrats need Elizabeth Warren. There can be no meaningful change in policy — no universal health care, no clawback of systemic corruption, no large-scale climate action — without distributing democratic power back to the sovereign American people. And that means leaving blood, teeth and shredded filibuster rules all over the Senate floor.

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#14912 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-March-12, 20:32

Matt Yglesias @mattyglesias said:

Itís not even really the worst thing Wilson did but I believe he catastrophically mismanaged the flu pandemic on top of everything else.

David Brooks @nytdavidbrooks said:

I get the sense that this is not only the low point of the Trump presidency but the low point of the American presidency ever. Has any president ever been this overmatched by a crisis?

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#14913 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2020-March-13, 03:43

Sick People Across the U.S. Say They Are Being Denied the Coronavirus Test

How can this be? The Manchurian President announced a week ago that anybody who wants a Coronavirus test can get one in the US of A. Obviously these sick people must be hallucinating because Individual-1 would never tell a lie to sick people.

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But getting tested is far easier said than done, even as testing slowly ramps up nationwide. Five days after President Trump announced that anyone who wants a test can get a test, Ms. Kingís experience shows how difficult it can be in the United States to find out if you have the coronavirus.

Many who fear they have the virus have faced one roadblock after another as they try to get tested, according to interviews with dozens of people across the country.

Some have been rejected because they had no symptoms, even though they had been in proximity to someone who tested positive. Others were told no because they had not traveled to a hot spot abroad, even though they had fevers and hacking coughs and lived in cities with growing outbreaks. Still others were told a bitter truth: There simply were not enough tests to go around.

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#14914 User is online   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-March-13, 07:05

View Postjohnu, on 2020-March-13, 03:43, said:

Sick People Across the U.S. Say They Are Being Denied the Coronavirus Test

How can this be? The Manchurian President announced a week ago that anybody who wants a Coronavirus test can get one in the US of A. Obviously these sick people must be hallucinating because Individual-1 would never tell a lie to sick people.


Please! This president lie?

Quote

Trump made 3 false claims in his Oval Office coronavirus speech

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#14915 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2020-March-13, 23:06

As Harry Truman famously said, "The buck stops over there, I did a perfect job so I have no responsibility for that.""

'I don't take responsibility at all' for lack of coronavirus tests, Trump says

Quote

President Donald Trump refused to accept any responsibility for the slow rate of coronavirus testing in the United States, saying on Friday that he was "given a set of circumstances" that wasn't meant for the high numbers of potential COVID-19 infections.

"No, I don't take responsibility at all. Because we were given a -- a set of circumstances, and we were given rules, regulations and specifications from a different time. It wasn't meant for this kind of -- an event with the kind of numbers that we're talking about," Trump responded.

The Manchurian President clarified his previous statement when he promised that "anybody that wants a test can get a test". What he really meant was that anybody could exercise their first amendment rights and ask to get a test, not that they would actually get a test.
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#14916 User is online   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-March-14, 10:05

View Postjohnu, on 2020-March-13, 23:06, said:

As Harry Truman famously said, "The buck stops over there, I did a perfect job so I have no responsibility for that.""

'I don't take responsibility at all' for lack of coronavirus tests, Trump says


The Manchurian President clarified his previous statement when he promised that "anybody that wants a test can get a test". What he really meant was that anybody could exercise their first amendment rights and ask to get a test, not that they would actually get a test.


What it really gets down to is that Trump wants the media to report low numbers, and the best way to get low numbers is failure to test. With Trump, it is always about trying to manage perceptions.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#14917 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2020-March-14, 18:53

This is just a quick note of frustration.

I watched some of the presentation today by Trump, Pence and all. Part of it was setting out some plans. Part of it was repeatedly praising Trump for his brilliant handling of this crisis. And of course part of it was saying how we must get past partisanship.

If they at all meant the bit about getting past partisanship, I would be fine with that. They could just do the first part, laying out plans. I do not require that they begin the presentation by acknowledging that Trump thoroughly mishandled things They could just say that the past is past and explain what they are now going to do. That would be fine.

But no, that's not what they do. Intermingled with the plans they tell us of the unprecedented brilliance of our dear leader, and they are outraged by partisanship in this time of trouble. We must not say that well maybe he was not so brilliant. They will keep saying he is brilliant, of course they can, but it would be partisanship to say that he is not.

You got to hand it to them. It is sick and repulsive, but I imagine it will be effective. Trump has treated people like suckers all of his life, why would he stop now?
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#14918 User is online   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-March-15, 10:41

Today (Sunday) on Meet the Press, Chuck Todd, who is usually a mealy-mouthed both-sider, actually attacked the true enemy - the different sources of information the huge numbers of Americans subscribe to. He even went so far as to point out that it was the right wing media that is downplaying the risks involved with this novel coronavirus pandemic.

Bottom line - it matters where you get your information. Right now, that could mean life of death, even.


But it is not all bad news:

Quote

....on Sunday morning, conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin said the daily drumbeat of misinformation coming from the White House and Fox News that has downplayed the coronavirus pandemic will likely lead to more deaths among Republicans than Democrats.


So we got that going for us.
Big hitter, Rubin. Long.

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#14919 User is online   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-March-15, 15:06

Meanwhile, here is what we are up against:

Quote

‘If you’re healthy, you and your family, it’s a great time to just go out and go to a local restaurant, likely you can get in easily. ... [G]o to your local pub.’
That’s congressman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) on Fox News early Sunday


Quote

Meanwhile, on another network, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, offered up a completely different take: “I would like to see a dramatic diminution of the personal interaction that we see in restaurants and in bars,” he told CNN. “Whatever it takes to do that, that is what I would like to see.”


And here is a Twitter response to Nunes:


Quote

Phil Plait

@BadAstronomer
Devin Nunes said this today. *Today*.

This is irresponsibly, stupidly dangerous, and exactly the sort of thing a lot of us have been warning about for years: The GOP’s fanatic loyalty to protect Trump and his lies is literally threatening American lives.

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#14920 User is offline   Elianna 

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Posted 2020-March-16, 10:03

View Postshyams, on 2020-March-11, 15:52, said:

I am not American and I have no say (or substantial interest) in your country's elections. However, I strongly feel that Biden as Democratic nominee will definitely ensure the reelection of Trump in November.


Yes, but I bet people would have been saying the same exact thing if Bernie Sanders would be the choice, with a side helping of "remember Corbyn?".
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