Democracy Dies in the Dark
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North Carolina presidential ballots are being sent out.
WASHINGTON – After more than a year and a half of campaigning, eight months of primaries and caucuses, more than two dozen candidates, 11 debates, six months of coronavirus pandemic and two conventions, some Americans are finally starting to vote by mail, two months before Election Day on Nov. 3.
William Cummings, Savannah Behrmann and Jeanine Santucci, USA TODAY 1 hr ago
North Carolina kicked off the process Friday, sending hundreds of thousands of mail-in ballots to voters.
Other states are set to follow throughout the month as election officials brace for historic levels of voting by mail as the coronavirus pandemic continues to grip the country.
That shift is playing out against the backdrop of consistent and unfounded attacks from President Donald Trump, who this week encouraged people in North Carolina to test the system by voting twice -- once by mail and once in person, which election officials said would be illegal.
Despite Trump's efforts to paint mail-in voting as prone to fraud, it's "as secure or more secure than traditional methods of voting," according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
But the shift away from in-person voting will accelerate the election timeline.
Almost every US state has a mail-in ballot application deadline in October:
October 18: Rhode Island.
October 20: Maryland, Nevada, New Mexico.
October 21: Missouri (by mail).
October 22: Indiana.
October 23: Arizona, Idaho, Nebraska (by mail), New Jersey, Virginia (by mail), Texas, Utah.
October 24: Alaska (by mail), Florida (by mail), Iowa (by mail).
October 26: Colorado.
October 27: Arkansas, California, Washington, D.C., Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, New York(postmark deadline), North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee.
October 28: Massachusetts, Washington, West Virginia. October 29: Alabama, Illinois (by mail), Maine, Oregon, Wisconsin (by mail).
October 30: Delaware, Georgia, Louisiana, Michigan (by mail), South Carolina.
October 31: Ohio, Virginia (in person).
November 1: Wisconsin (in person).
November 2: Arkansas (in person), Connecticut, Delaware (in person), Illinois (in person), Iowa (in person), Michigan (in person), Montana, Minnesota, New York, South Dakota, Vermont, Wyoming.
Paul LeBlanc, CNN
Fri September 4, 2020
On Wednesday, the Congressional Budget Office projected that the national debt will reach about $22 trillion in the coming fiscal year. This means that, for the first time since right after World War II, the debt would eclipse the size of the overall U.S. economy.
For all those fair-weather fiscal hawks who long complained of Obama’s profligacy: The debt increase under Trump during a single term is on track to surpass that under Obama across two terms.
As a result of those deficits, federal debt held by the public is projected to rise sharply, to 98 percent of GDP in 2020, compared with 79 percent at the end of 2019 and 35 percent in 2007, before the start of the previous recession. It would exceed 100 percent in 2021 and increase to 107 percent in 2023, the highest in the nation’s history. The previous peak occurred in 1946 following the large deficits incurred during World War II. By 2030, debt would equal 109 percent of GDP.
An Update to the Budget Outlook: 2020 to 2030
September 2, 2020
The 2020 election will be unlike any other in history. With social distancing protocols now in effect across most of the country, likely to remain in place for weeks or even months, there's uncertainty surrounding every key element of the election process, from the conventions to voting processes to, of course, the debates.
There's a lot that's still unclear, but here's what we do know so far about Donald Trump and Joe Biden's first presidential debate.
The first debate will be held in September.
The Commission on Presidential Debates will host three presidential debates and one vice-presidential debate later this year. As is tradition, the debates to be held at universities.
The first presidential debate, when the incumbent President Trump will face off against Joe Biden for the first time, was to be held on Tuesday, September 29 at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana. In late July, the institution withdrew from hosting due to concerns about the pandemic.
"I am grateful to the many members of the University community who have devoted countless hours planning this event, and to the Commission on Presidential Debates leadership for their professionalism and understanding," said Rev. John Jenkins, the president of Notre Dame, in a statement, per CNN. "But in the end, the constraints the coronavirus pandemic put on the event -- as understandable and necessary as they are -- have led us to withdraw."
The first debate will now be held at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. (Sept 29th)
Similarly, the second presidential debate was expected to take place at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor on Thursday, October 15, but in June, they too withdrew from hosting the event due to health concerns amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis.
“It is with great disappointment that I must ask for the University of Michigan to be released from its agreement with the Commission on Presidential Debates to host the Presidential Debate on Oct. 15, 2020,” Michigan’s president, Mark Schlissel, said in a statement.
“In consideration of the public health guidelines in our state as well as advice from our own experts — we feel it is not feasible for us to safely host the presidential debate as planned.’’
The replacement location for the second debate is Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami. (October 15)
The final debate is still set for Thursday, October 22 at Belmont University in Nashville.
Despite the changes in location, all three debates are expected to begin at 9 p.m. ET, and will run for 90 minutes without any commercial breaks.
BY EMMA DIBDIN
SEP 2, 2020
What would a second civil war in the United States look like if it occurred today?
Anyone who believes that an actual civil war in the US would be any less horrific than what you are about to read, whom are you kidding. Hypothetically speaking, if the US armed forces were to go at it against one another, then it would be worse than a war against Russia or China, as it would be fought entirely in the homes and backyards of US families, even in schools, from New England to San Diego, and from the Florida Keys to Portland Oregon. It would be nothing less than a massacre, a firestorm of ‘biblical’ proportions, made entirely in the United States of America.
That’s what happens when you have the most powerful armed forces on the planet divided, battling on both sides of a civil war, at home.
But, I do not believe such a thing will happen, well, not an uprising anyway.
Not because Americans are scared of a fight, or too smart to start a war on their own turf, but because they have become complacent, almost apathetic. History showed us that revolutions are preceded by people starving and dying en masse, famine, tyranny etc. The French revolution was a long time coming, then it changed the world.
Even today's French would have burned down the capital and chopped off their leader’s head by now, if the French government were to behave like the US government currently does.
Americans won’t do more than send an angry tweet here and there, trusting in their US institutions to save them, institutions that have al been disabled and dismantled by Trump, the GOP and the DOJ.
It just won’t happen, too much gaming, too much cheer leading, too much YouTube influence, too much social media, too much reality TV, Coca Cola, RedBull, iPhone, X-Box, baseball, too much junk food, NBA, too much budweiser, Kardashians etc. etc. - in short, too much distraction.
A civil war, a divided military, two sides battling each other, one pro government, the other pro congress, also unlikely. There are too many sane people involved, too many patriots who simply follow their commander in chief, whom the voter told them to follow. If it came down to the voters against a corrupt president, I would guess the president would find himself protected by some armed white supremacists, against the secret service and the marine corps. Remind me to get popcorn when that starts.
So, just for argument’s sake, here we go.
Let’s first look at other crisis from the past, and this current one, to see how Americans handle them. (my conclusion is at the bottom)
Hurricane Katrina was a perfect disaster when measured by the government’s response. Solidarity between states was lacking altogether.
To this day, the US remains the only modern country without some sort of universal health care. This seems to come from a deep but flawed (in my view) sense of freedom, and ‘dis’solidarity, disunity and discord. The freedom to not ‘have to’ help a neighbor in distress is guaranteed by the constitution, yet utterly unamerican.
Ironically, these people often call themselves Christian.
It’s the same with the gun enthusiasts, ‘My second amendment’ above all, even above my neighbor’s children’s lives or other fellow Americans’ right to the pursuit of happiness.
After Katrina, the hit locations in the South were mostly left to themselves when it came to relieving the suffering and the loss.
When disasters strike, states are left to fend for themselves, be it California during forest fires, be it Puerto Rico, or New Orleans after a hurricane, or New York during a pandemic.
If Mitch McConnell would get his way, states would be left to go bankrupt. Well, that’s blue states only. Red states keep mooching, blue states keep being suckers. That, of course, would be the end of the republic, would lead to the collapse of the US economy, maybe to a revolution, if anything.
All in all, there’s no unity between states, nor between parties.
Let’s jump forward to the current viral pandemic.
What do we know, what can we observe?
As of today, barely 0.3% of the US population are affected, sick with covid-19, one in 300. Many people don’t even know anyone who’s sick.
Still, the virus is very infectious and spreads quickly among all parts of society, making unpopular measures necessary that hit the poor the most, devastating those without health care, or living from paycheck to pay check.
The measures are executed half assed and often opposed, either by state governors, or by misinformed, gas-lighted, angry, mostly conservative, ignorant citizens and Elon Musk.
The president is incompetent, and has no scruples, he makes cruel and unethical decisions and is willing to sacrifice human lives for financial or political benefit, while checks and balances have been dismantled and GOP and the DOJ corrupted to the point of dysfunction.
America is utterly without leadership.
‘Protesters’, armed like soldiers, behaving like rogue armies risk the lives of fellow Americans without a second thought. They willingly ignore the likely horrific economic and social fallout from their selfish actions and behavior, should a second shut down become necessary.
Some see in their leader’s tweets a call to arms. (only, against whom?) Liberate the state, only from whom?
Scenes like the ones below (see link below for pictures) are only possible in the US.
In any other developed country, such behavior is virtually unseen. Look at them. These are not the people who would give their lives to protect the constitution (as they claim), they are ignorant, poorly educated babies with deadly weapons.
Mounted night vision gear in full daylight, while wearing shades, moronic. Likely a bunch of potential bone sparrow draft dodgers, or unfit for service.
These people actually threaten their fellow Americans with weapons of war, during a national health crisis. I believe most of these fake patriots have no real idea what they are on the street for, armed for an actual armed revolution.
As a former soldier, I watch the behavior of many of these angry people and I worry. They have no training, a lack of reason, no understanding of how to analyse and control a situation, no discipline, no one in charge, no hierarchy, no plan, and no cohesion other than their common hatred. These are neither warriors, nor patriots, not even bad copies thereof.
Warriors on the path know whom they are mobilizing against, and why.
Ask yourself, who are these freaks prepared to shoot at? What for? To what end?
Their local government? (The army would probably move in, at the very least well armed, well trained SWAT. Many of these wannabe Rambos would soon piss their pants.)
Health care workers who ask them to stay home? (certifiable psychopathy)
Fellow American citizens? (certifiable psychopathy)
So far, having less than 1% of the population affected, resulted in,
- A badly planned and terribly executed economic and social nationwide shut down, wreaking havoc on the countries basic structures
- 22 million Americans losing their jobs within 6 weeks, many losing their health care coverage as a consequence, devastating families and communities
- People hoarding toilet paper, clueless as to why.
- A president contradicting himself on a daily base, confusing the audience that is watching to get reasonable, factual and competent information, endangering society and national security instead of offering relief
- A president who effectively suggests for American citizens to ingest disinfectant to kill the virus and clean the human body from inside…
- A president who abuses ‘corona press briefings’ for self praise, to baselessly and rudely attack the media, and for campaign propaganda
- A president who attempts to financially benefit from selling tests, as well as untested vaccines and treatments, setting the country back 2 months on testing and preparedness
- Americans running out of medication, insulin, and nutritious, healthy food
- Americans dying by the ten thousands, currently:
GOP senator McConnell wanting to let blue states go bankrupt. Ironically, the blue states pay for his state. Kentucky is a mooch, blue states are suckers.
AP FACT CHECK: Blue high-tax states fund red low-tax states.
Some food supply chains becoming problematic. Thousands of tons of food being destroyed on farms because of a flawed, solely profit-efficiency oriented logistics infrastructure and supply chain.
The lack of solidarity and social division within the US becoming a real and present danger to national security
Armed protester groups threatening local governments, law enforcement officers and even health care workers
The dysfunction of the republic becoming apparent, even evident
The utter ignorance of around 40% of Americans becomes evident (they are by any rational standard, certifiably insane). This is not meant to insult, this is a rational, objective observation.
These groups approve of Trump, McConnell, the GOP, Barr etc, who altogether have been acting and behaving criminally, treasonous, corrupt, amoral, unamerican and altogether despicable.
Trump himself is evidently a traitor, he is criminal, ruthless, ignorant, poorly educated, greedy, cruel, pathologically narcissistic and a professionally diagnosed psychopath. These are evident facts, denying reality is counter productive, ignorant, at this level even certifiable. The Ego-Resilience in Trump supporters has crashed like old computers.
The Behavior has been normalized to a level that is downright blinding the affected. They are now unresponsive to reason, facts and reality.
We’ve become accustomed to the threats, the lies, the gas-lighting, the treason to the people, the treason to the constitution, the moon-walking, the narcissistic self praise, the scapegoating, the grifting, the offending, the attacking, the conniving, the nepotism, the hypocrisy, the harm to society, the hatred, the division, the danger, the fascism etc. The country is numb.
A society in which conditions prevail as described, is called a textbook dystopia, one worse than the best authors could have ever made up.
Really, you can’t make this shit up.
If I were to see a Hollywood blockbuster 4 years ago, with the US during the last 4 years being the subject, I would find it stunningly literary, on the levels of ‘1984’, at least, or the ‘handmaid's tale’. I am NOT KIDDING, but NOT REALISTIC.
Well, imagine a dysfunctional country, with a civil population armed to the teeth, but not well organised nor competently led, with the greatest armed forces of all, and a civil war breaks out, yes at home, where did you think?
(I don’t know all the details of what parts of the armed and policing forces would be on which side, or where they are deployed, but I gather the military power spread would likely be no more than 40/60 either way, resulting in a brutal, and possibly long war)
(US troops, stationed abroad, may involve themselves, others may just stay put, others may turn to piracy, others may seek new employment, others may simply desert or defect. I won’t get into that, too many variables)
In an all out total war scenario, even without nuclear, the initial destruction would be stunningly shocking. If any battle groups are withdrawn to home turf, with brutal aerial and naval bombardments, coastal cities would really take a big hit, especially industrial zones, major freight hubs and LNG terminals. Splitting the troupes by loyalty and reorganizing them would be a hard test for even the best of commanders.
What is certain, is that all citizens would be involved in some manner, not just 1%, every single American living stateside would be involved. The hatred and violence would spread like wildfire, or should I say like a virus. This war would mercilessly envelop all states, involve every person and result in,
- an exodus of money, responsible parents with family and the means to leave, scientists, artists, medical personnel, entrepreneurs and generally, intellect
- millions fighting in their homes, their towns, against neighbors and family
- the republican militia, mostly lacking reason, training, a plan, competent leadership and discipline, inevitably running out of supplies and eventually starting to plunder and marauder, wreaking havoc on the rural population that are supposed to feed them
- women taken from their homes, trafficked, raped or killed, by the millions
- millions of children abducted, displaced, trafficked, orphaned or killed
- diseases spreading, old ones and new ones while medical supplies running out and medical professionals leaving
- homes, businesses, entire cities destroyed
- the infrastructure collapsing
- people in cities starving by the millions
- local skirmishes for supplies and power, everywhere
- foreign trade halting altogether, supply chains failing
- domestic trade and local rulership shifting to ‘gangs’ and armed militias
- the economy totally crashing, actually physically crashing
- the dollar losing its rating and its dominant global lead
- US eventually defaulting on its obligations and going bankrupt
After the smoke would lift, after a second US civil war, the continent America would reemerge, but not the US. The US as a country would have ceased to exist, that much I am quite certain of.
Wouldn’t you rather sit down and talk it out.
Alexander Somm, Private E-1 Military Education and Training & Scout
Updated August 9, 2020
(Edited by Gramma Tinks)
The news media should have done a better job of showcasing all the "peaceful" protests because that is not what folks saw when they watched or read any media news source. 100 days of protests in Portland for an incident that happened 1700 miles away and three months ago? What are they fighting for?
Harassing and forcing the mayor of the city to move from his home for his own personal and others safety after he has allowed the protesters to continue their nightly mayhem along with making a million and one excuses for the protesters to keep up the destruction. Police usually do not call peaceful protest "riots" night after night after night and only in America are peaceful protesters carrying assault weapons.
(Edited by Gramma Tinks)
As Joe Biden said, looting and violence isn't protesting and should be dealt with by law enforcement. Right wing vigilantes and antagonists should also be dealt with by law enforcement.
Soooooo... Trump would like us to believe that a vaccine being available in the next couple of months will be safe and effective?
This coming from the guy who touts taking hydroxycloroquine with a bleach chaser?
President Donald Trump again suggested that a coronavirus vaccine would “probably” be available in October, contradicting assessments this week by top health officials who have said it would be very unlikely.
Trump said in a press briefing Friday that there would be a vaccine “before the end of the year and maybe even before Nov. 1. I think we can probably have it sometime in October.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci tells CNN's Jim Acosta he’s not sure what President Trump is talking about when he told a White House news conference that the country is “rounding the corner” on the pandemic.
Here are the COVID-19 vaccine prospects that have made it to phase three trials and beyond.
This should keep people up at night. This is what Trump's America looks like.
Michael Karmo & Cody Smith Accused of Bringing Firearms to Kenosha
By Jessica McBride
Updated Sep 4, 2020 at 11:06pm
Michael Karmo and Cody Smith are accused of being militia members from Missouri who were in illegal possession of firearms in Kenosha, Wisconsin, as unrest unfolded in the Wisconsin city over the police shooting of Jacob Blake.
A witness told authorities that Karmo said “people were going up to Kenosha and ‘picking people off’; however, Karmo did not state that he personally would do that.” However, the complaint also accuses the witness of alleging that Karmo said he “was going to go to Kenosha with the intention of possibly using the firearms on people. (The witness) feared that with Karmo’s increase in conspiracy theory talks and other ‘crazy’ political talk he was not in the right mind set to have a firearm.”
Karmo, 40, and Smith, 33, of Missouri were arrested on September 1, 2020, at a hotel in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, near Kenosha, the scene of repeated unrest since the police shooting of Jacob Blake.
“The Kenosha Police Department advised FBI that a law enforcement agency in Iowa had received a tip that Karmo and an unidentified male were in possession of firearms and traveling from Missouri to Kenosha, Wisconsin,” a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice reads.
“FBI agents subsequently located and detained Karmo and Smith at a hotel in Pleasant Prairie, which is located near Kenosha.”
Here’s what you need to know:
On Russia’s intent, Harris, in a CNN interview that aired Sunday, said she was certain it was actively trying to interfere, as U.S. intelligence officials have said.
“I am clear that Russia interfered in the election of president of the United States in 2016,” the senator from California said. “I serve on the Senate Intelligence Committee. We have published detailed reports about exactly what we believe happened. And I do believe that there will be foreign interference in the 2020 election, and that Russia will be at the front of the line.”
There are things we can be diligent about-
We can correct the lies with facts and links to correct sources.
We can check news sources to verify.
We can listen to the actual words from candidates, read the actual articles.
We can stop being reactionary online (I fail at this sometimes too)
We can learn to digest information better.
We can push the mainstream media to write better headlines and better articles.
We can push them to ask better questions.
We can talk to our families and neighbors.
We can be better, more empathetic citizens.
We can VOTE.
Trump again touted his executive orders on drug prices Sep 6, 2020.
Although he held a signing ceremony (July 24, 2020), he has yet to actually put the executive orders into effect.
Executive Order Found Here-
Trump promised a 350-ship Navy. China actually built it.
President Trump has been publicly promising to build a 350-ship U.S. Navy since his 2016 campaign and he’s still campaigning on it. He will end his first term failing to achieve that goal. But according to the Pentagon, China did it — on Trump’s watch.
In June, Trump called his drive to build up the number of U.S. Navy ships “one of my top national security priorities” and declared it a mission accomplished.
“It was a very good thing that we did,” he said June 25 at the Fincantieri Marinette Marine terminal in Marinette, Wis. “Otherwise you wouldn’t be building these ships right now. We ended what was a true disaster.”
But according to the Pentagon’s latest report on Chinese military power, released Tuesday, the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) is now “the largest navy in the world,” with an overall battle force of approximately 350 ships and submarines, whereas the U.S. Navy currently has 293 ships. By the end of 2020, the Chinese navy will have 360 vessels — and the number is set to keep going up, said Chad Sbragia, deputy assistant defense secretary for China.
September 2, 2020
In a Sunday morning tweet, the President said the US Department of Education would investigate whether California schools are using the New York Times' "1619 Project" in public school curriculum. The Pulitzer-Prize winning collection reframes American history around the date of August 1619, when the first slave ship arrived on America's shores. "Department of Education is looking at this. If so, they will not be funded!" he wrote on Twitter, citing a message from an unverified account saying it was being taught in schools there.
Trumps Tweet- twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1302586046551597061
The message came after the President on Friday night banned federal agencies from conducting racial sensitivity training related to "white privilege" and "critical race theory." Russell Vought, director of the Office of Management and Budget, instructed heads of federal agencies to dramatically alter racial sensitivity training programs for employees, deeming them "un-American propaganda" in a two-page memo. Like that memo, it's unclear the extent of the phenomenon the President is identifying. Some schools have said they will adopt the 1619 Project into their lessons -- though how many isn't known.
By Kevin Liptak, CNN
September 6, 2020
Trump: Americans Who Died in War Are ‘Losers’ and ‘Suckers’
There is little doubt he said these horrible things, and sadly, no surprise.
I guess we have the answer to the question that was asked almost 2 years ago.
President Donald Trump Embarrassed Himself In France, Not America
•Nov 12, 2018
The article can be found here-
The Fix’s Aaron Blake analyzes what President Trump has allegedly said about fallen troops and how those statements echo previous comments by the president.
How Trump’s reported military comments mirror his previous remarks
•Sep 4, 2020
Trump: "I Would Love To Be Black Because..."
•Sep 4, 2020
Trump says he’d love to be black, and the reason he gives shows more than racism. It points to hidden tricks behind his wealth, and the shocking wealth gap between black and white families.
How racist is America? Research has uncovered a surprising answer, which might change the way you see the black lives matter protests.
Voiced by Stephen Fry
I don't know anything about Australia, perhaps the person who liked you comments will have a discussion with you about it
‘The United States is in crisis’: Report tracks thousands of summer protests, most nonviolent
About 93 percent of the racial-justice protests that swept the United States this summer remained peaceful and nondestructive, according to a report released Thursday, with the violence and property damage that has dominated political discourse constituting only a minute portion of the thousands of demonstrations that followed the killing of George Floyd in May.
The report, produced by the nonprofit Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project, also concluded that an escalation in the government response to protests and a sharp uptick in extremist activity means the United States faces a growing risk of “political violence and instability” ahead of the 2020 election.
ACLED, which monitors war zones and political upheaval around the world, launched the US Crisis Monitor report with Princeton University’s Bridging Divides Initiative. Using media accounts and other public information, the report identified 7,750 protests from May 26 through Aug. 22 that were linked to the Black Lives Matter movement. The protests took place in 2,400 locations across all 50 states and the District.
The group identified about 220 locations where the protests became “violent,” which authors of the report defined as demonstrators clashing with police or counterprotesters or causing property damage.
Even in those cases, however, the upheaval was “largely confined to specific blocks, rather than dispersed throughout the city,” the report states.
September 3, 2020
DEMONSTRATIONS & POLITICAL VIOLENCE IN AMERICA: NEW DATA FOR SUMMER 2020
Let's be clear: arson, vandalism, attempts to injure police officers...these are all crimes. No civil rights protester should try to justify them. But if 93% of the demonstrations are peaceful, they shouldn't all be tarred as violent.
The media need to do a better job telling this story.