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

#19441 User is offline   Gilithin 

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Posted 2022-February-10, 20:26

View Postawm, on 2022-February-07, 01:37, said:

The thing is, Facebook (and Zuckerberg) don't "control" the ads and they certainly don't "control" the voters. What they do, is offer a platform where advertisers can micro-target people based on interests and characteristics, and allow the advertisers to show their targeted people virtually anything. While this makes Zuckerberg a lot of money (and maybe Zuckerberg having a lot of money is its own problem), the real issues here are the micro-targeting capability and the lack of any enforcement of "truth in advertising" standards.

If the issue is micro-targeting, the solution seems blindingly obvious - forbid companies from using personal data unless users explicitly opt in. Presumably that would be something like a beefed-up American version of the GDPR but written in a way that doesn't allow the tech companies to bypass it quite so easily. Giving users better control of how and when their personal data gets used is surely a far better solution than pure taxation.
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#19442 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2022-February-10, 22:20

View PostGilithin, on 2022-February-10, 20:26, said:

If the issue is micro-targeting, the solution seems blindingly obvious - forbid companies from using personal data unless users explicitly opt in. Presumably that would be something like a beefed-up American version of the GDPR but written in a way that doesn't allow the tech companies to bypass it quite so easily. Giving users better control of how and when their personal data gets used is surely a far better solution than pure taxation.

I think you’re missing the critical issue that half of the US populace has been led to believe that any government regulation of business is inherently unfair and unreasonable.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter. / "I need ammunition, not a ride." Zelensky
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#19443 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2022-February-10, 23:21

View PostWinstonm, on 2022-February-10, 22:20, said:

I think you're missing the critical issue that half of the US populace has been led to believe that any government regulation of business is inherently unfair and unreasonable.


Only half?
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#19444 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2022-February-11, 08:15

View Postpilowsky, on 2022-February-10, 23:21, said:

Only half?

I was trying to be optimistic.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter. / "I need ammunition, not a ride." Zelensky
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#19445 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2022-February-11, 16:43

I think the critical issue is that a substantial portion of the world population are nuts.
This was less of a problem 100 years ago when the world population (let's see if I can get it right this time) was about 1,800,000,000.
Now that it's 7,794,798,739 there are a lot more crazy people.
Some estimates are that diagnosable schizophrenia is about 1/300.
This figure excludes all those people that harbour very strange ideas, have a tendency to speak really quickly and make no sense (mania), or just have a tendency to never change their mind when it's made up.

The increasing tendency to manage mental illness in the community (for reasons I won't go into) means that a lot of people are wandering around not being noticed.
A very common place for people that don't know what they're talking about or who are bordering on florid madness to end up in is places where their thoughts require no evidence at all: religion and politics come to mind.

Individual skill at certain very specific things (tennis, singing, chess, acting etc etc) are compartmentalised from skills at empathy and caring for others.
The concept that doing something that requires even a mote of self-sacrifice for the benefit of all - and ultimately yourself is a concept so alien to many that it was written out of the documents from the US founders where the sole emphasis seems to be "the individual".

To return to the numbers, if the incidence on election day of people that are inclined to think that bananas are wombats is about 1 in 200 then a large portion of the vote may be swayed by people with ideas even more unusual than a belief in the tooth fairy.

Now, if you can motivate all these people to vote in a system where voting is not compulsory and where the turnout is typically low it isn't hard to see how Trump gets elected.


[edited to remove a typical arithmetic error]
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#19446 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2022-February-13, 10:08

View Postpilowsky, on 2022-February-11, 16:43, said:

I think the critical issue is that a substantial portion of the world population are nuts.
This was less of a problem 100 years ago when the world population (let's see if I can get it right this time) was about 1,800,000,000.
Now that it's 7,794,798,739 there are a lot more crazy people.
Some estimates are that diagnosable schizophrenia is about 1/300.
This figure excludes all those people that harbour very strange ideas, have a tendency to speak really quickly and make no sense (mania), or just have a tendency to never change their mind when it's made up.

The increasing tendency to manage mental illness in the community (for reasons I won't go into) means that a lot of people are wandering around not being noticed.
A very common place for people that don't know what they're talking about or who are bordering on florid madness to end up in is places where their thoughts require no evidence at all: religion and politics come to mind.

Individual skill at certain very specific things (tennis, singing, chess, acting etc etc) are compartmentalised from skills at empathy and caring for others.
The concept that doing something that requires even a mote of self-sacrifice for the benefit of all - and ultimately yourself is a concept so alien to many that it was written out of the documents from the US founders where the sole emphasis seems to be "the individual".

To return to the numbers, if the incidence on election day of people that are inclined to think that bananas are wombats is about 1 in 200 then a large portion of the vote may be swayed by people with ideas even more unusual than a belief in the tooth fairy.

Now, if you can motivate all these people to vote in a system where voting is not compulsory and where the turnout is typically low it isn't hard to see how Trump gets elected.


[edited to remove a typical arithmetic error]

Trigger warning: I might ramble a bit.
As to diagnosed, or undiagnosed, issues there is an interesting story in WaPo. A woman is about to be locked up in a mental ward when someone suggested an ET scan and found severe hydrocephalus. I have been diagnosed with benign hydrocephalus so this was of particular interest to me. Of course "benign", and whether deleting the adjective would explain my thinking.

When a large number of people share a peculiar view I think widespread psychosis is not the source of the problem. Here is one thought:

The Super Bowl takes place today. The Bengals are playing the Rams. It starts at 6:30 EST. I know all of this because I looked it up yesterday. Also I learned that the Bengals are from Cincinnati. I already knew the Rams were from LA. So what?

The point is that I don't care much. So if any of the information is wrong then I will be wrong in what I said but I am not going to spend time double-checking it.

People on this thread follow politics so it is at least possible that they care whether what they say is right or wrong and so they check it. But checking it is not always so easy. Sooner or later it comes down to believing someone.

I grew up in a family that rarely if ever discussed politics. Here is a story I have told before but it will illustrate what I am getting at. I was 11 when the Korean War started and in the fall my teacher was talking about The Red Menace. My mother wanted to counter this talk and explained to me that all wars were about oil. I told my mother that I didn't think there was any oil in Korea. She responded that we were fighting there so there was oil there. I can assure you that there was absolutely no chance whatsoever that my mother would do some research to see if there was or was not oil in Korea. It would be like expecting me to do research to find out why the Cincinnatti team is called The Bengals. I won't be doing that.

Normal people come to weird views. There can be various explanations but I am guessing that a frequent explanation is they simply have no intention of investing any energy in separating truth from fiction. Lead falls faster wood since it is heavier. Galileo says otherwise? So who is this Galileo guy and am I supposed to go read some stupid 16th century paper written in Italian? Nah. I've got a Super Bowl to watch.

Schizophrenia doesn't come into it.
Ken
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#19447 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2022-February-14, 02:37

Rambling is fine with me.
I was not suggesting that a large portion of the population is suffering from a treatable mental illness.
What I am suggesting is that the susceptibility to irrational thinking lies on a spectrum.
(No jokes about Bridge and chess players and spectrums intended).
Since you mention hydrocephalus, here is a link to an article discussing a patient of Dr John Lorber.
Lorber is reported as follows:
"There's a young student at this university," says Lorber, "who has an IQ of 126, has gained a first-class honours degree in mathematics, and is socially completely normal. And yet the boy has virtually no brain." The student's physician at the university noticed that the youth had slightly larger than normal head, and so referred him to Lorber, simply out of interest. "When we did a brain scan on him," Lorber recalls, "we saw that instead of the normal 4.5-centimeter thickness of brain tissue between the ventricles and the cortical surface, there was just a thin layer of mantle measuring a millimeter or so. His cranium is filled mainly with cerebrospinal fluid."

The reason I recall this story is that the case was presented at the very first international congress I attended. The CT scan was shown and then a PET scan (showing activity rather than structure). Although there wasn't much there, what was there shone like a bright light.

Returning to the original point, I suspect that the capacity for rational decision making is not as widespread as one might hope.
A lack of this capacity is not a mental illness, but it can be problematic when faced with significant adversity.
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#19448 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2022-February-14, 07:43

View Postpilowsky, on 2022-February-14, 02:37, said:

Rambling is fine with me.
I was not suggesting that a large portion of the population is suffering from a treatable mental illness.
What I am suggesting is that the susceptibility to irrational thinking lies on a spectrum.
(No jokes about Bridge and chess players and spectrums intended).
Since you mention hydrocephalus, here is a link to an article discussing a patient of Dr John Lorber.
Lorber is reported as follows:
"There's a young student at this university," says Lorber, "who has an IQ of 126, has gained a first-class honours degree in mathematics, and is socially completely normal. And yet the boy has virtually no brain." The student's physician at the university noticed that the youth had slightly larger than normal head, and so referred him to Lorber, simply out of interest. "When we did a brain scan on him," Lorber recalls, "we saw that instead of the normal 4.5-centimeter thickness of brain tissue between the ventricles and the cortical surface, there was just a thin layer of mantle measuring a millimeter or so. His cranium is filled mainly with cerebrospinal fluid."

The reason I recall this story is that the case was presented at the very first international congress I attended. The CT scan was shown and then a PET scan (showing activity rather than structure). Although there wasn't much there, what was there shone like a bright light.

Returning to the original point, I suspect that the capacity for rational decision making is not as widespread as one might hope.
A lack of this capacity is not a mental illness, but it can be problematic when faced with significant adversity.


I believe the following is essential: We all have a good deal of irrationality in our decision making. Once we accept this, there is at least a chance that we can make some sense of the irrationality of others. Some of what is going on today is exceptionally weird but I still believe that accepting our own irrationality is the place to start if we want to understand it at all.
Ken
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#19449 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2022-February-14, 15:20

From Judge to Toss Sarah Palin’s Defamation Allegations Against New York Times by Deanna Paul at WSJ:

Quote

A federal judge said he would reject Sarah Palin’s allegations that she was defamed by the New York Times, ruling that the former Republican vice-presidential candidate’s claims presented at trial were insufficient to prove her case.

U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff announced his decision Monday while jurors were still deliberating in the case. He said he would dismiss the claims after they return a verdict.

Judge Rakoff’s decision follows a rare libel trial that probed the inner workings of a national news outlet. Ms. Palin and leading figures from the Times testified in the trial, which was held last week.

Ms. Palin sued the Times in 2017, two weeks after it published an editorial about gun violence and political rhetoric following a shooting at a congressional baseball practice. The piece used the phrase “political incitement” to incorrectly suggest a link between an ad circulated by Ms. Palin’s political-action committee and a 2011 shooting that killed six people and wounded then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, an Arizona Democrat.

Within hours, the Times corrected the editorial, deleting the incitement claim, and tweeted out an apology to its readers.

Public figures face high legal hurdles in winning defamation claims against news organizations, and many lawsuits are dismissed at early stages before trial.

Some conservatives have sought to narrow the scope of First Amendment protections for the media, and legal observers viewed the Palin case as a potential test of that effort.

Under landmark legal rules established by the Supreme Court nearly 60 years ago, Ms. Palin had to prove by clear and convincing evidence that the Times and its then-opinion editor, James Bennet, acted with “actual malice,” meaning they either knowingly published a false statement or showed a reckless disregard for the truth.

Judge Rakoff instructed jurors last Friday that irresponsible reporting or a failure to follow journalistic standards didn’t on its own establish actual malice.

Palin lawyer Kenneth Turkel argued that the Times and its staff had treated conservatives differently and turned a blind eye to the truth in the 2017 editorial.

“They were going to publish this story whether they could prove it or not,” he said.

David Axelrod, an attorney for the Times, told jurors that the swift remedial actions taken by Mr. Bennet and the paper undercut the notion that there was a conspiracy to publish something false about Republicans or Ms. Palin.

The press must be able to publish stories and express ideas “without fear that a powerful person will seize on an honest mistake that was corrected almost immediately,” Mr. Axelrod said.

Ms. Palin sought damages for the embarrassment and trauma she said she suffered as a result of the editorial. Although the lawsuit didn’t specify an amount, on Friday Ms. Palin’s attorney asked jurors to determine fair compensation and suggested they award at least nominal damages.

Last week, Judge Rakoff disallowed the jury from considering punitive damages against the Times, ruling that there wasn’t sufficient evidence to determine the editorial was motivated solely by a desire to harm Ms. Palin.

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#19450 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2022-February-14, 16:56

Not being an accountant, lawyer, prominent businessman or prosecutor with the SDNY, it is not entirely clear to me what it means when an accounting company severs all ties with an organisation. But it smells bad.

Axios reporting said:

"While we have not concluded that the various financial statements, as a whole, contain material discrepancies, based upon the totality of the circumstances, we believe our advice to you to no longer rely upon those financial statements is appropriate," the letter read.

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#19451 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2022-February-14, 18:05

Ah yes, one must consider the totality of circumstances.
If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#19452 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2022-February-14, 23:30

George Conway said:

https://twitter.com/...333783583596547

"decision regarding the financial financial statements"=they are false because you lied

"totality of the circumstances"=the D.A. is serious

"non-waivable conflict of interest"=we are now on team D.A.

"not able to provide new work product"=sorry we're not going to jail for you

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#19453 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2022-February-15, 08:26

I decided to Google "non-waivable conflict of interest". I came up with
https://calawyers.or...ts-of-interest/
The George Conway version is probably adequate, but also probably not literal.

Here is from WaPo
https://www.washingt...ial-statements/

Quote

Since at least 2002, accountant Donald Bender, a Mazars executive, has helped prepare Trump's financial statements. In many instances, his firm attached a cover letter to the front of the documents explaining the firm's role in assessing the value of his assets.

But in its letter last week, the accounting firm also cut off its relationship with the former president's company, joining other banks, law firms and consulting firms that have vowed to no longer do business with the Trump Organization. In the letter, Kelly said a "non-waivable conflict of interest" prevented the firm from continuing to work for Trump.


As in "My goodness, after representing DT for 20 years I am now thinking that maybe he does not always tell the truth. Who would have imagined such a thing?"


His non-waivable conflict of interest is his interest in keeping his license.
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#19454 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2022-February-15, 15:06

I guess this is what happens when the writing is on the wall and you decide to stop surfing the waive.
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#19455 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2022-February-17, 11:27

David Leonhardt at NYT said:

https://messaging-cu...896ed87b2d9c72a

Elections to the San Francisco Board of Education are not normally national bellwethers. The city is a proud symbol of liberalism, not a swing district, and school-board elections — as Thomas Fuller, The Times’s San Francisco bureau chief, notes — “have for decades been obscure sideshows to the more high-profile political contests.”

But the recall election this week that ousted three board members wasn’t about only local politics. It also reflected a trend: Many Americans, even in liberal places, seem frustrated by what they consider a leftward lurch from parts of the Democratic Party and its allies. This frustration spans several issues, including education, crime and Covid-19.

Consider these election results from last year, all in politically blue places:

  • In Minneapolis, voters rejected a ballot measure to replace the city’s Police Department with an agency that would have focused less on law enforcement.
  • In Seattle, voters elected Ann Davison — a lawyer who had recently quit the Democratic Party because she thought it had moved “so far left” — as the city’s top prosecutor. Davison beat a candidate who wanted to abolish the police.
  • In New York, voters elected as their mayor Eric Adams, a Democrat who revels in defying liberal orthodoxy. As a candidate, Adams promised to crack down on crime. Since taking office, he has signaled his frustration with Covid restrictions.
  • In the Democratic-leaning suburbs of both New Jersey and Virginia, Republican candidates for governor did surprisingly well. Several postelection analyses — including one by aides to Phil Murphy, New Jersey’s Democratic governor, who narrowly survived — concluded that anger over Covid policies played a central role.

Three reasons for change

The San Francisco school-board recall joins this list. There, three separate issues drove the campaign.

First, the school board had attempted to rename 44 schools, so that they no longer honored anybody deemed reactionary. Among the apparent reactionaries were Paul Revere, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Senator Dianne Feinstein and John Muir, the environmentalist.

Second, the board tried to scrap an admissions system, based on grades and test scores, for Lowell High School, which Mark Barabak of The Los Angeles Times calls “one of the city’s most sacred institutions.” A lottery would have replaced it.

Third, the board kept schools closed for months during the pandemic and showed little concern for the damage. One of the since-recalled board members waved away the ineffectiveness of remote classes, saying that children were “just having different learning experiences.”

To many parents, board members have seemed overly focused on projecting symbols of virtuousness while ignoring the needs of families. “We are not getting the basics right,” Siva Raj, a father who helped organize the recall effort, said.

Another recall organizer, Autumn Looijen, used an analogy to explain the anger. Covid was akin to an earthquake that forced people to move into tents on the sidewalk, she suggested. “Finally, your elected leaders show up and you’re like, ‘Thank God, here’s some help,’” Looijen told Politico. “And they say, ‘We are here to help. We’re going to change the street signs for you.’”

What’s striking about this situation is that the Republican Party is also out of step with public opinion on many of the same issues. Republicans have defended the Confederate flag, nominated candidates who make racist comments and launched an exaggerated campaign against critical race theory. Republicans have opposed popular measures to improve police accountability and gun regulations. Republicans have made false statements about Covid vaccines and claimed that masks are a tool of government oppression.

Rather than responding with positions that are both more liberal and more popular, some Democrats and progressive activists have responded by overreaching public opinion in the other direction.

They have opposed the resumption of normal operations in schools. They have said they would no longer honor popular former presidents, like Thomas Jefferson and Theodore Roosevelt. They have called for defunding the police.

They have also called for abolishing the agency that enforces immigration laws; eliminating private health insurance, maintaining the current system of affirmative action and forbidding almost all abortion restrictions.

Dividing lines

On some of these issues, public opinion splits along racial lines, with Democrats taking the positions favored by voters of color and Republicans aligning with white voters. Many Democrats believe that it would be immoral to do otherwise, whatever the political price.

On other issues, though, the racial dynamics are messier. Many Asian and Latino voters oppose the current version of affirmative action, which helps explain why the changes to Lowell High School resonated in San Francisco. Many Black and Latino voters are to the right of Democratic politicians on abortion and crime.

Class seems to be at least as big a dividing line as race. College-educated Democrats — who dominate the ranks of politicians, campaign staffs and activist organizations — tend to be well to the left of working-class Democrats. By catering to its well-off base, the party creates electoral problems for itself, because there are more working-class Americans than college graduates.

You could see this dividing line in the New York mayor’s race. Adams won the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island with a multiracial coalition, while losing affluent white neighborhoods. (Adams’s heterodox politics are common among Black Americans, the political scientist Christina Greer has written.)

You can also see the dividing line in San Francisco, where the city’s mayor, London Breed, who is Black, endorsed the recall. In an interview with Yahoo News this week, Breed said, “It breaks my heart that kids in our public school system still have to wear masks.”

Her comments are a reminder that many elected Democrats, including President Biden, tend to disagree with the party’s left flank on several of these issues and to be more in tune with public opinion. But that flank nonetheless influences voters’ image of the party. In the most recent national elections, in 2020, Democrats fared worse than they expected, despite the highest voter turnout in decades.

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#19456 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2022-February-17, 12:36

The San Francisco recall for the board of education was reported on PBS Newshour last night.
Two of the high schools, Lowell and Lincoln, discussed have a personal, although long ago, connection to my wife Becky.
Becky was born in Missouri, they moved to Oregon, and then to San Francisco, They lived near an area that she refers to as "The Avenues".
At any rate, she was in junior high and the high school that she was scheduled to go to was not very good. She and her younger sister addressed this in different ways.
Becky, with encouragement from her mother and from her teachers, set out to get into Lowell She succeeded. The trip, at least an hour, to and from was lengthy but worth it.
Her younger sister was less into schoolwork. Lincoln High was for those living in The Avenues, but they were only near The Avenues. Lincoln was the goal for the younger sister. At that time, in the 60s, you could study Russian at Lincoln High School. Becky's sister, and many others as they reached high school age, decided that they really wanted to study Russian and so they applied for and got permission to go to Lincoln.


Of course, there are many ways of going at these things, but Becky and her parents all thought that getting admission into a good school by studying hard was a wonderful idea.
Ken
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#19457 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2022-February-18, 09:05

NY Attorney General James said:

Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr., and Ivanka Trump must all comply with this court order and testify before my office within 21 days.

No one is above the law.

And please stop whining.
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#19458 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2022-February-18, 09:48

Does anyone really think that being "under oath" means anything to Trump? He's so narcisistic might even believe some of his own BS.

And he's lied under oath in the past, about things that were easy for others to check. https://www.washingt...ion/trump-lies/

#19459 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2022-February-18, 20:12

View Posty66, on 2022-February-18, 09:05, said:

And please stop whining.

Don’t say please - Trump interprets please as a sign of weakness.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter. / "I need ammunition, not a ride." Zelensky
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#19460 User is offline   Chas_P 

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Posted 2022-February-18, 20:58

View PostWinstonm, on 2022-February-18, 20:12, said:

Don’t say please - Trump interprets please as a sign of weakness.

Who cares what Trump thinks? Joltin' Joe is at the helm now and life is good.

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