A Tuesday Open Forum

Someplace to hang out.

FILED UNDER: Open Forum
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor of Political Science and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    A long read but well worth the trip:

    I have come to Moria on the hunt for hope. It began with a letter to the Guardian from an aid worker there. He was concerned that the notorious camp’s portrayal in the media was relentlessly negative. But working there, he said, was an amazing experience; every day, he witnessed acts of kindness by extraordinary people. It gave him faith in humanity.

    You will have heard about the desperate conditions, the overcrowding, the fires, the riots, the unaccompanied minors, the trauma, sexual exploitation, rape and murder. I am here to see if there is another, more positive side to Moria.

    Bloody hell, that looks unlikely. “Moria no good,” is the chorus to my time at the camp. The same issues come up again and again: the fear and the cold at night, freezing showers, the unreliable supply of water, no electricity, queueing for hours for food, for months, years or for ever for permission to leave the island. Then there are the fights that break out among the frustrated, angry, bored young men who make up a high proportion of those living here. Just before my arrival, a 20-year-old Yemeni man was fatally stabbed, the second death this year. No one came here for this.

    Moria is hell, a stain on 21st-century Europe, where bureaucracy, politics and simply not caring enough have left tens of thousands in limbo – people fleeing war and danger, looking for a future for themselves and their children and not finding it. Moria’s existence is a disgrace, a failure of morality.

    Yet, somehow, a sort of life goes on; humanity survives in hell. I am here for three days – two alone, then another with the photographer Byron Smith – and experience so much goodwill and humour.

    I am offered warm flatbread fresh from one of Moria’s many ovens, sunflower seeds from kids, shisha from a bunch of Iraqi lads standing around a fire. Language is sometimes a problem, but it turns out it is possible to discuss the demise of Manchester United through sign language. There are more people here from Afghanistan than from any other country and I end up talking to more Afghans than anyone else, but I also meet people from Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, South Sudan, Nigeria, Burundi, Zimbabwe and even Myanmar.

    These are the people Republicans fear and hate.

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  2. MarkedMan says:

    [I’m pulling this over from yesterday’s thread. It’s in reference to a right wing theory that only Chinese can get COVID19, and triggered by a passing comment that 2% of Africans are naturally immune to HIV. ]

    A quick google of reliable sources like the NIH shows that there is a certain percentage of all populations that, when exposed to HIV, never develop symptoms. I’m not sure what the current research shows because it seems that while in some of the earlier studies this natural immunity was deemed as high as 10% many of those subjects eventually developed symptoms, sometimes a decade or more later.

    Further, Africa and Africans encompass way too many people with extraordinarily genetic diversity to make generalizations. Africa is comprised of 40+ countries on a landmass that is larger than China, the US, Western Europe, and Brazil, combined, with plenty of space left over. It has pockets of people who existed for millennia in some of the wettest ecosystems in the world as well as some of the driest. There were pockets who developed as ocean fishing communities, and plains hunters, as seasonal flood irrigated farmers, as bush hunter gatherers. There are pockets that to this day are so geographically isolated they have children that have never seen anyone from outside the community and they have cities that have had sea going trading empires for thousands of years. (Fun fact: a lot of those exotic kingdoms mentioned in the Bible were in Africa.) So talking about Africans being genetically immune is like saying some combination of Asians, Europeans and South Americans are genetically immune.

    Finally, while it is possible that certain isolated populations located in particular regions of Africa could be more or less immune to something like HIV, we are talking about a corona virus here. Probably every adult you know has had dozens of corona virus infections because many of them can be transmitted by simply sharing air. The head cold you had last month could have been a corona virus. They are both extremely common and rarely fatal, making it hard to imagine that a group as large and genetically diverse as “the Chinese” collectively have more or less genetic susceptibility to one particular instance.

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  3. Scott says:

    We are in Djibouti also:

    A moment of reflection please:

    Pfc. Walter Lewark, 26, from Mountainair, New Mexico, died Feb. 13, 2020, at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, from a non-combat related incident. The incident is under investigation.

    Lewark was assigned to Company A, 1st Battalion, 200th Infantry Regiment, 93d Troop Command, New Mexico Army National Guard, Rio Rancho, New Mexico.

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  4. Bill says:

    The 2nd winningest golfer in LPGA history has passed away.

    Hall of Famer, trail blazer Mickey Wright dies of heart attack

    Before there was a Tiger Slam, there was a Wright Slam. She won consecutive major championships, 2 in 1963 and 2 in 1964.

    RIP Mickey Wright

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  5. Scott says:

    Listened to a podcast on the way to work.

    https://podcast.thebulwark.com/mckay-coppins-on-the-disinformation-wars

    Then read the article:

    The Billion-Dollar Disinformation Campaign to Reelect the President

    This may have been discussed in an earlier forum but it was enlightening and frightening in this new world of social media, propaganda, data aggregation, and disinformation.

    A quick quote from McCay Coppins, the author, upon diving into Facebook hell:

    I was surprised by the effect it had on me. I’d assumed that my skepticism and media literacy would inoculate me against such distortions. But I soon found myself reflexively questioning every headline. It wasn’t that I believed Trump and his boosters were telling the truth. It was that, in this state of heightened suspicion, truth itself—about Ukraine, impeachment, or anything else—felt more and more difficult to locate. With each swipe, the notion of observable reality drifted further out of reach.

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  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    From the NYT:

    LOS ANGELES — For the past three years, Henrique “Hicu” Motta, a rowing coach, has created unlikely success stories in a sport long associated with the privileged. He has taken his team of high school girls from working-class families to the national championships and sent several of them to Division I colleges on athletic scholarships.

    “I’m Latina, little and had never been on a sports team,” said Isabella Soto, 17, the daughter of a nanny and a machinist who hopes to row at an elite college next fall.

    Isabella, who was accepted onto the RowLA team despite being only 5 feet 2 inches tall “on a good day,” is a first-generation American whose parents are undocumented Mexicans. Kassie Kim is the child of Korean immigrants, a cashier and a fire-alarm installer. Samadhi Dissanayake, a Sri Lankan-American raised by a single mother in subsidized housing, rides two buses to practice.

    “I hated sports before coming here,” said Samadhi, who is also considering rowing in college. “Now I love rowing and the sense of community.”

    But Mr. Motta, 39, a Brazilian who is in the country on a work visa, has been notified that his petition to remain in the United States has been denied. In order to stay, U.S. immigration authorities said, he must prove that he has “extraordinary ability” to do a job that might otherwise go to an American.

    In a sport dominated by athletes who are white and wealthy, RowLA under Mr. Motta’s leadership has long made a point of enlisting those who normally would not have access to rowing. Neither build nor athletic acumen determine who gets to compete and succeed. “He can take a girl, regardless of size and ability, and turn her into a serious rower. That’s rare among coaches,” said Liz Greenberger, a retired international security analyst who founded the team a decade ago and brought Mr. Motta in as their second coach in 2017. “It’s Hicu’s philosophy that is perfect for our program,” she said.

    Mr. Motta’s philosophy is simple: “I try to make something special out of any girl who wants to give rowing a shot,” he said.

    The question is, does that amount to extraordinary ability?

    …………………………………..

    In a five-page letter, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency, which is responsible for approving residence permits, outlined reasons why Mr. Motta did not meet the criteria for someone with “extraordinary ability.”

    The agency’s decision referenced a training handbook developed by Mr. Motta for RowLA, which it conceded was “an original contribution,” but it said he had offered no “objective evidence that this innovation is being widely utilized by others in the field beyond his employer, clients or customers.”

    Mr. Motta also had not proved that he performed “in a leading or critical role for organizations or establishments that have a distinguished reputation,” the rejection said. What stung the most: It said that the evidence did not show that Mr. Motta had received a “major, internationally recognized prize or award” for his team.

    As a competitive athlete and coach, Mr. Motta said, he obviously wants to win. But maybe, he said, victories should not be counted by medals alone.

    “At other clubs, it’s all about performance. The objective here is to get the girls on the right path, into college,” he said. “Rowing is a tool.”

    It’s a good story with an ending that is yet to be written. For some reason or other I don’t have much hope for a happy ending.

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  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Scott: WASF.

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  8. Scott says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: That is my reaction also. I sent the article to my under 30 children as a warning though I tend to worry more about my wife. She believes in everybody’s goodness and good will and is far more trusting.

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  9. Sleeping Dog says:

    How Millennials Could Make the Fed’s Job Harder

    I find it fascinating that someone believes that on savings of $1.7M, they can retire in their early 40’s.

    I can’t blame millennials for wanting to retire early. My early financial planning would have allowed me to retire at 60, but a couple of problems cropped up, the early oughts tech bubble breaking and the great recession, which you may have heard of.

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  10. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Scott: Facebook is a Skinner Box, and they are training millions to run through that maze in just the right way.

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  11. OzarkHillbilly says:
  12. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    I find it fascinating that someone believes that on savings of $1.7M, they can retire in their early 40’s.

    A meager 5% return would net you $85,000 a year without ever touching the principal. Anything above 5% would add to the principle, and thus increase your income.
    Not a retirement in the lap of luxury…but certainly comfortable.
    US median income is currently about $63K.

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  13. DrDaveT says:

    For those of us who have been longing for some conservative intellectuals to offer a positive vision instead of just hating progressives and reflexively trusting markets, we have this:
    Conservative intellectuals launch a new group to challenge free-market ‘fundamentalism’ on the right

    Oren Cass believes conservatives have blundered by outsourcing GOP economic policymaking to libertarian “fundamentalists” who see the free market as an end unto itself, rather than as a means for improving quality of life to strengthen families and communities.

    What a concept… Do you suppose they will still want to improve quality of life and strengthen families when research shows conclusively that left-of-center policies are better at that?

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  14. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    Interested to see what comes of this…I’m expecting a statement equal to a Susan Collins level of concern…

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  15. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: I suspect this rates no more than a “Furrowed Brow” on the Susan Collins Fret Level Advisory System.

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  16. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @DrDaveT: KILL THE HERETICS! KILL THE HERETICS!

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  17. Moosebreath says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    Living on a constant $85,000 per year is OK now. After 30 years of inflation, even at a modest 2%/year, far less so.

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  18. DrDaveT says:

    @MarkedMan:

    I’m not sure what the current research shows because it seems that while in some of the earlier studies this natural immunity was deemed as high as 10% many of those subjects eventually developed symptoms, sometimes a decade or more later.

    IIRC, this immunity was linked to the same gene that conveys bubonic plague immunity. I don’t remember where I read that, and I don’t have time to dig right now. I’ll try to come back to it this evening, if nobody else can confirm/refute in the meantime.

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  19. Jen says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: The real questions I have for those who are interested in retiring early at that level are:

    What are they doing about health insurance? $1.7 mill isn’t enough to self-insure (heck one bad car accident or cancer diagnosis could eat through most of that amount in a few months), and they don’t qualify for Medicare yet. That leaves purchasing an individual policy, which–particularly if they have a family–can eat up several thousand a month.

    How are they planning on investing? A 5% return would assume some portion would remain in stocks, which could result in a loss of principal–this might mean for some leaner years.

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  20. CSK says:

    Charles Portis, author of True Grit, has died.

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  21. Kurtz says:

    @DrDaveT:

    Well, that would be nice.

    It will take many years to unwind the effects of the conflation–unfettered market with free market–at the heart of current GOP dogma.

    The downvote may be suggestive of that contention.

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  22. Kurtz says:

    @Scott:

    This is nothing new. The principles of propaganda are for the most part unchanged from years past.

    The techniques are largely similar, they have just been sharpene by the quantity and resolution of data available.

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  23. DrDaveT says:

    @Kurtz:

    The downvote may be suggestive of that contention.

    That would make it an unusually thoughtful downvote.

    Personally, I don’t expect any more to come of this than came of the “Never Trump” movement. There is no market (ahem) for conservative thought that is neither tribalist nor plutocratic. Nobody is going to care what principled non-deplorable conservatives think is the best way to address wealth inequality, health care, unequal justice, immigration, religious rights, or the deficit, presumably using only traditional conservative policy alternatives.

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  24. Scott says:

    @Kurtz:

    Indeed.

    The article ended quoting Hannah Arendt from “The Origins of Totalitarianism”:

    The political theorist Hannah Arendt once wrote that the most successful totalitarian leaders of the 20th century instilled in their followers “a mixture of gullibility and cynicism.” When they were lied to, they chose to believe it. When a lie was debunked, they claimed they’d known all along—and would then “admire the leaders for their superior tactical cleverness.” Over time, Arendt wrote, the onslaught of propaganda conditioned people to “believe everything and nothing, think that everything was possible and that nothing was true.”

    Leaving the rally, I thought about Arendt, and the swaths of the country that are already gripped by the ethos she described. Should it prevail in 2020, the election’s legacy will be clear—not a choice between parties or candidates or policy platforms, but a referendum on reality itself.

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  25. Kurtz says:

    @DrDaveT:

    No, the reflexive nature of the downvote is the point of my post. The point of propaganda is specifically to create an unthinking response.

    That is the nature of its influence–the creation of conditions that foster those responses rather than responses reluctant from critical analysis.

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  26. DrDaveT says:

    @DrDaveT: Following up on this again, after reading more of the linked article:

    Cass […] emphasized that American Compass, the new initiative, is “not an exercise in starting from scratch.” He said the mission is really about “going back and finding things that always were part of the American tradition that have been important to conservative thinkers, but that seem to have gotten lost in in the more market fundamentalist mode of especially the last 20 to 30 years.”

    Dear God. They are trying to Make Conservatism Great Again. (Facepalm.)

    I will be fascinated to hear, for example, how exactly they plan to reconcile a general desire for increased widespread prosperity with an abhorrence of declining fertility rates. I’m afraid I can guess the answer… This sounds like a movement to make conservatism be about imposed social conformity again.

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  27. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Donald Trump, famous corruption fighter, pardons former NFL Team Owner who pleaded guilty to being involved in a bribery scheme.
    Eddie DeBartolo paid a $400,000 bribe to the LA Governor for a riverboat gambling licence.

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  28. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Jen:

    What are they doing about health insurance?

    What are any of us?

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  29. Kingdaddy says:

    Dear God, in the midst of all the other electoral problems we’re having, like active voter suppression efforts, can we do away with the luxury of these goofy caucuses? We need to focus our attention, energy, and resources on serious problems like voter suppression, instead of self-inflicted wounds like poorly-considered caucus rules and sloppy Wifi security.

    https://www.politico.com/news/2020/02/16/nevada-avoid-iowa-caucus-mess-115437

    Voting booth. Verifiable paper ballot or receipt. Result tally.

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  30. Kurtz says:

    @DrDaveT:

    I wonder whether you could get a clear answer if you were to ask Cass what he means by “market fundamentalism. “

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  31. reid says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: And I’m seeing that he’s going to commute the sentence of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who just happens to have ties to Trump. But sure, Trump is anti-corruption.

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  32. CSK says:

    @reid:
    I wonder if Blago will re-dye his hair once they cut him loose from the slammer?

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  33. senyordave says:

    Is Trump worse than we think? In my working life before I retired I was a financial analyst. What I spent most of time on was “what if analysis” for corporate processes. I worked for Nielsen and much of my analysis was how to optimize the costs of producing TV and radio ratings. A very basic “what if” might take the form of “we currently pay every household that contains an 18-24 year old $5 per person for keeping a radio diary for a week, what would happen to total costs if we give them $10 per person”. An immediate reaction is that total costs go up because the diaries cost more. But that may not be true. We sent out diaries to households that agree by phone or mail to keep them, but a relatively small percentage actually followed through and returned them. Postage and materials cost a lot. If a higher percentage of those who agree to keep a diary and return it ACTUALLY do what they agreed to because of the increase from $5 to $10, total costs may decrease.
    As a financial analyst I found being cynical to be a useful trait. I learned over time that the ceiling is one hell of a lot higher than floor. If we had a start-up venture and we were given assumptions about certain metrics, there were limitations on how good they could be. There was always far more room on the downside than the upside. A new process may cost $500k if the metrics turn out as planned. If they are better it might cost only $400k, but no way would it be $150k. But if the metrics were much worse than anyone thought, it might be $2 million.
    How does this relate to Trump? We have evidence that Trump is a corrupt, racist, amoral pig. This is an objective view of Trump, not subjective, based on things that are factual. Now it is in the realm of possibility that some of what we don’t know about Trump isn’t really all that bad, but if that were the case he would still be horrible. My hypothesis is that what we don’t know about Trump and his people is much worse than we think or even can really believe possible. If you think he is twice as bad as what we know, it might be safer to assume he is ten times as bad. His ceiling for badness is almost unimaginable. I don’t know about others, but if you had told me ten years ago we would have a POTUS who does one tenth of what he has done I would have said that was crazy, it couldn’t happen. And it would be laughable to think a branch of the government would be complicit.
    I was trying to imagine all that the shit he and he and his people have done that we don’t know about. I’m guessing large amounts of theft, because Trump is a thief at heart. I have assumed for a while that he has betrayed allies numerous times, and that if he were to be re-elected most of our alliances will be severely weakened or even dissolved.
    Bottom line is that if something is bad but you don’t know the whole story, it is probably much worse than you think.

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  34. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @reid:
    Yes…Blago who tried to sell Obama’s vacated Senate seat.
    Blago who was impeached 114-1 in the IL House and convicted 59-0 in thee IL Senate.
    You can see why an anti-corruption crusader would find it important to commute his sentence.
    Is there anyone who takes Trump’s Biden scheme seriously any more?

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  35. Jen says:

    Ugh, Rod Blagojevich. That bottom-dweller. I bet the Trump-types trot this out as him being “bipartisan,” since Blago was a Dem.

    He didn’t just try and sell Obama’s seat, he also tried to force a CEO to contribute to his campaign by withholding state funds…from a children’s hospital.

    He is practically a textbook example of corruption.

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  36. Kingdaddy says:

    @senyordave: Brilliant. Thank you for posting.

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  37. Scott says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: @reid:

    And now Bernie Kerik.

    I’m so glad Trump is dedicated to eliminating corruption no matter where.

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  38. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Scott:
    @Jen:
    Trump is also now claiming to be the Chief Law Enforcement Officer in the Country.
    Long live the King.

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  39. CSK says:

    @Jen:
    Cult45 is turning itself inside out to justify this one.

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  40. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @DrDaveT: I think it’s just the same smoke and mirrors stuff that’s conservatives have been peddling since opportunity zones. Conservatives will never genuinely seek to improve opportunity for others. They may seek additional routes to capitalize on movements to their own benefit, though. But it’s still a zero-sum game to them. More opportunity for you = less opportunity for them.

    And there’s certainly no money to be made in less opportunity for themselves.

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  41. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Well, that would certainly increase opportunities for the remainder. Worth considering…

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  42. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Trump on commuting sentence for Blagojevich:

    “It was a prosecution by the same people — Comey, Fitzpatrick — the same group.”

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  43. CSK says:

    Aaannd…Trump has also pardoned Michael Milken.

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  44. Mike in Arlington says:

    @CSK: FFS

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  45. Kingdaddy says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    These pardons are a combination of (1) a middle finger to everyone who isn’t a sycophant or cultist, (2) a display of power to everyone, (3) a signal to his subordinates that he has their backs, and (4) complete indifference to his base. Who among them gave a thought to Milken, Kerik, or Blagojevich? Who among them now feels solidarity with these white collar criminals? Who among them will get a presidential pardon, if they fall into the jaws of the criminal justice system?

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  46. MarkedMan says:

    Serious question. Does anyone here have any doubt that Trump is selling pardons?

    Trump! Not just a 16th Century King! Now, also a 14th Century Pope! All for one low low price!

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  47. Mister Bluster says:

    The former federal prosecution trial team and former U.S. attorneys who represented the government at trial in U.S.A. v. Blagojevich said in a written statement: “Although the President has exercised his lawful authority to commute the remaining portion of Mr. Blagojevich’s prison sentence, Mr. Blagojevich remains a felon, convicted of multiple serious acts of corruption as governor. The criminal conduct for which a jury unanimously convicted Mr. Blagojevich included the following actions: (1) extorting the CEO of a children’s hospital by withholding important state funding to help sick children until the CEO provided campaign contributions; (2) extorting the owners of a racetrack by intentionally holding up the signing of important state legislation until the owners provided campaign contributions in response to an explicit demand for them; (3) extortionately demanding funding for a high-paying private sector job, as well as campaign contributions, in exchange for naming a replacement to an open U.S. Senate seat; and
    (4) lying to the FBI to cover up his criminal activity. The law and extensive facts underlying Mr. Blagojevich’s conviction were reviewed by independent judges on an appellate court and by the Supreme Court of the United States. These courts affirmed Mr. Blagojevich’s conviction and sentence, and the appellate court described the evidence against him as “overwhelming.” Extortion by a public official is a very serious crime, routinely prosecuted throughout the United States whenever, as here, it can be detected and proven. That has to be the case in America: a justice system must hold public officials accountable for corruption. It would be unfair to their victims and the public to do otherwise.
    While the President has the power to reduce Mr. Blagojevich’s sentence, the fact remains that the former governor was convicted of very serious crimes. His prosecution serves as proof that elected officials who betray those they are elected to serve will be held to account.”
    WLS TV ABC7 Chicago

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  48. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:
    @Jen:
    @Moosebreath:

    Daryl, your math in a vacuum works, but has Jen and Moose point out there other factors. And remember someone who today is in their early 40’s is quite likely looking at living another 50 years. Healthcare costs are increasing at about 2% above inflation, which will drive insurance cost. If you choose to live in a rural, low cost area, healthcare may even be more expensive. Do they have children, do those kids plan on college and make the reasonable expectation that mom and dad will provide some assistance. After all their not poor. Retirement at that age will likely relegate you to the lowest benefit under social security.

    Millennials have only lived through a low inflation economy, when I was in my 20’s inflation was pushing 12% a number that we could see again given the size of the deficits we’re running.

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  49. Kurtz says:

    @MarkedMan:

    But wait! There’s more! Be one of the first 50 callers, and we will include a year’s supply of Trump Steaks and the world’s largest, most beautiful squeezable ketchup bottle!

    As an extra thank you, we will also include a meat thermometer to ensure that your steaks are well done. You deserve the best! The only red in your steak should be processed tomato pulp!

    You just pay shipping & handling.

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  50. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    Sure. On the other hand I am currently netting way more than 5% on my investments.
    So anything can, and will, happen.
    But just to prove my theory…if y’all pony up $1.7M, I’ll retire tomorrow.

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  51. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Kingdaddy:
    I’m just waiting for all the video of Republican pundits, denigrating Blago, to surface.
    Right now they all seem to be turning themselves into pretzels to support Trump on this travesty.

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  52. Kathy says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Millennials have only lived through a low inflation economy, when I was in my 20’s inflation was pushing 12% a number that we could see again given the size of the deficits we’re running.

    I’ll spare you the 100+% inflation of the mid-80s, and simply illustrate it like this:

    In 1976, the US Dollar sold in Mexico for 12.50 Pesos. today it’s at around 19,000.

    If you check, it will say 19.67 or so. But that’s only because in the 90s three zeroes were dropped from the currency, to make amounts more manageable (before then, everyone made millions every month). When that happened, in 1993, the dollar was at around 3,500 pesos.

    One thing, though, when inflation was sky-high, wages were indexed to the minimum wage, which was indexed to inflation. It was still bad, but it ameliorated the loss of purchasing power.

    Perspective is everything. I know that a 7% inflation rate is high, but I can’t feel it.

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  53. Mister Bluster says:

    Let’s turn back the clock:

    capitolfax.com
    Thursday August 15, 2019
    Reps. Darin LaHood (Il 18th) and Mike Bost (Il 12th), made their case directly to the President on Thursday night, urging him not to go forward. They laid out the litany of crimes Blagojevich committed while in office and argued it would send the wrong message to voters about corruption by public officials.
    Trump’s response: “I wish I had the perspective before,” according to Bost, who served on the Illinois House’s impeachment committee to remove Blagojevich from office in 2009. […]
    Multiple sources familiar with the calls said Trump and [White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney] both did not seem aware of the details of Blagojevich’s case, even though the President had decried the former governor as being treated “unbelievably unfairly.”
    Bost said that while Trump “saw a sentence that didn’t meet the crime … he did express he wished he had the perspective earlier” after speaking with Bost.

    Disclaimer: Bost represents the United States House district that I live in.
    I have never voted for him.
    I don’t know yet what his office is saying today.

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  54. Mister Bluster says:

    Today February 18, 2020

    Jacksonville IL Journal-Courier
    Several Illinois congressmen are expressing their disappointment in President Donald Trump’s decision Tuesday to commute the sentence of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
    Congressmen Darin LaHood-R, John Shimkus-R, Adam Kinzinger-R, Rodney Davis-R and Mike Bost-R issued a joint statement criticizing the move.
    “We are disappointed by the president’s commutation of Rod Blagojevich’s federal sentence,” the congressmen said. “We believe he received an appropriate and fair sentence, which was the low-end of the federal sentencing guidelines for the gravity of his public corruption convictions. Blagojevich is the face of public corruption in Illinois and not once has he shown any remorse for his clear and documented record of egregious crimes that undermined the trust placed in him by voters.”

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  55. CSK says:

    Trump appears to have decided to commute Blagojevich’s sentence because he saw Rod’s wife Patti pleading her husband’s case on Fox.

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  56. Mister Bluster says:

    From Mother Jones
    Hey, How About a Few Pardons For People We’ve Never Heard Of?
    Additionally, Trump issued full pardons to Ariel Friedler, Paul Pogue, David Safavian and Angela Stanton. And he commuted sentences for three others: Tynice Nicole Hall, Crystal Munoz and Judith Negron.

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  57. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @senyordave: Which just goes to the old adage that things can always get worse.

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  58. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: I loved crossing the border and becoming an instant billionaire back then.

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  59. Kathy says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    One thing I recall from that era, though I forget the year, was a sale at a department store in Laredo offering a discount, plus a much more favorable exchange rate if you paid in pesos. this was aimed at Mexican consumers, who obviously hadn’t been crossing the border as much as they once did to go shopping.

    I wonder now if the rate they offered was favorable enough, that an American consumer would have done well to exchange their dollars for pesos before shopping at that store.

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  60. gVOR08 says:

    Anybody know anything about Jeffery Rosen, Deputy AG? Not finding much with a quick search. Supposedly Barr is making resignation noises.

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  61. gVOR08 says:

    @gVOR08: Sorry, Jeffrey.

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  62. CSK says:

    @gVOR08:
    And those resignation noises are getting louder, according to Fox news. Cult45 over at Lucianne.com is raving that Fox is reporting FAKE NEWS.

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  63. Gustopher says:

    @CSK: Safe bet is that it is fake news, made up by Barr.

    He’s under some public scrutiny, and wants to be viewed as something other than a horrible toady.

    I’d love to be wrong, but I doubt he’s going anywhere.

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  64. CSK says:

    @Gustopher:
    Oh, probably, but it’s interesting that Barr has repeated a threat he first made last Thursday.

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  65. Jen says:

    @CSK:
    @Gustopher:

    I think he might be trying to manipulate Trump. Trump has to know that he won’t find as talented a sycophant if Barr leaves. Barr’s trying to get Trump to rein in his behavior. Barr has likely finally realized that his reputation is in tatters, and he’s doing the bare minimum to try and resuscitate it.

    Of course, it won’t work. Trump will simply get annoyed and do whatever he wants to do. I’m wondering if Barr values his long-term rep. enough to actually follow through.

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  66. An Interested Party says:

    I’m just waiting for all the video of Republican pundits, denigrating Blago, to surface. Right now they all seem to be turning themselves into pretzels to support Trump on this travesty.

    They’ve been turning themselves into pretzels from the very first moment they started supporting Trump…

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