431 Comments

Kudos to all the corporate CEOs who realize they need a strong middle class in order to have a strong consumer base for capitalism and a strong economy. One just needs to look at all the commercials these days to see the diversity corporate marketing is targeting showing happy black families in their new car, men doing the laundry, and LGBTQ people selling whatever. Voting rights and access to the ballot box is so fundamental. The key is still S1 and the For the People Act because the Republicans are going ahead with the state laws on voter suppression. It is high time to end gerrymandering, to make voting convenient and accessible for everyone and the transparency on donors. Time to get Senator Manchin on board. We the People, All of Us This Time!

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"Strong middle class"

Can a functioning democracy survive without a vibrant middle class?

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Does a democracy function, over time, without a strong middle class?

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Based on the past forty years, I'd say democracy without a strong middle class becomes an oligarchy.

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What I find very disturbing in these comments - is that there seems to be a desire to go back to BAU, expressed by folk here, who I would have thought knew far better. We CAN'T go back - we are already well over-staying our welcome on this planet, and we just don't get it - what is called the "shifting windows" (Shifting baseline) situation - we look out the window - and, hey, it looks like yesterday - so what's your issue? Unfortunately, we are not programmed genetically for considering the long term. Some of us are - but lack the "levers of power" to do anything about it.

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Cathy described a culture shift, which is not at all "Business As Usual." I hope this is not sealioning from last week, in which case the folks who know better can just skip this and move on to more productive comments.

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Thank you for helping me learn the term "sealioning" - I read up on it!

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Ellie, did you do that on 'porpoise'?

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I love good puns almost as much as bad ones!

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I didn't know there is a difference.

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Dang—wish I would have known that word and concept five years ago! I was a little more ignorant that I thought about the modern ways of certain propagandist tactics. This is one of the reasons it is difficult to have real communication with a faction that I have referred to as human ticks or mosquitoes. In the end, they have no desire for honest discourse. Best solution is to not waste time with them. Thank you for expanding my vocabulary this morning, Cathy!

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Me too! Always interested in increasing my vocabulary. Also, it sounds so much less offensive than Troll...

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Across the board, it is more productive to address a person's behavior than to accuse with a shorthand label.

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Ellie, I have used the term, sealioning for several years now. We have several folks here in this Community that actively engage in this. Thank you for bringing it up.

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Uh, it is "Hugh Spencer". Yes, he's a sealioning troll.

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I don't understand why you see what I said as going backwards. Of course we need to go forward not backward! Have you seen the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the number of corporations who have made a commitment to them in signing the UN Global Commitment: https://www.unglobalcompact.org/participation/join/commitment 9,500 Corporations have signed up for this and the participating corporations are finding sustainable goals are also very beneficial financially to their bottom line. The smart corporations are evolving and embracing sustainability. One of the SDGs is social sustainability which is in line with their commitment to voting rights. https://www.unglobalcompact.org/sdgs/17-global-goals#sdg16

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One wishes they had been this active in the last 12 years, when they undercut everything Obama was trying to do and supported Drumpf.

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I wonder how many “woke” corporations are NOT dependent on consumer purchasing power. “Coke, for example, understands their consumer base. They will fight to hold onto it even if it means switch hitting.

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The Republican Party is going down in flames. A party that is 86% white and that is so engaged in self-delusion that they are risking a mental health episode by sticking to the story that their white boy Felon45 is still President, that party is in self-destruct mode. If your leader believes the same pipe dream, that the whites-first society is still in control of the US and the executive branch, you’re in trouble, because that belief has been eroding since the 50s.

Goodbye Republican Party. 🥳🎉🍿🍿🎊🥳🍿

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Except they are still extremely powerful and know it. 2022 will be one of the most significant political years in our country's history and I am not sanguine about the outcome.

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I’m thinking about broadband getting out to more rural parts of our country. Do you think that will bring more truth or more propaganda with it? Serious question.

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My personal opinion is that broadband is largely agnostic in its effects on political attitudes. The effect would be more equity in every aspect of our society affected by technology, which is pretty much all of it at this point. What people do with that increased access is probably about what those who already have it are doing. Most important, children would more universally have access to the technology they need to pursue their educational aspirations.

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I’m hopeful it would lead to access to more truth in place of spoon fed propaganda but I’m not educated on such things so worried that I could be mistaken. If we only could encourage more curiosity everywhere.

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Fox not news is on continuously in so many homes.

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Yes, propaganda 24/7. Until we stop this daily drip of poison, our nation can’t fully heal.

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I just don't see how this would work, though. We can't even agree on what is true and many on the conservative side of things are actively engaged in denying that absolute truths are, in fact, true. Short of God coming down and declaring what is and is not true, facts themselves will remain matters of opinion. Scary.

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I wonder about Licenses with boards of peers, like lawyers or doctors. It's an ethical thing. If you have that much power you have an obligation to use it for the common good? Course that's eroded in this century (thinking about 45's personal docs).

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I would say that it is (delving into my fantasy world definitions) like magic. It is a force that can be used for good or evil, depending upon the person using it.

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Reid. I agree, it is agnostic.

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and women to have the opportunity to work online

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Yes, but only white collar women. Women, especially women of color, are grossly overrepresented in professions requiring in-person care, which is one of the reasons women of color are so grossly overrepresented in Covid illness and death.

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you are so right on. Not only a color, but a class issue...

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If the federal government is going to spend tax dollars making broadband available where it is still missing - which is a mix of rural and urban areas, though mainly rural - could that be the legal basis for requiring a measure of truth and alternate opinions from those who broadcast on it?

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I think we need an internet age version of the fairness doctrine, or something like it.

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I think the problem the government would face it that, unlike broadcast frequencies, they don't have any true control over the internet. They could require fairness, as they did once upon a time, because they had the unquestioned power to withdraw licensing of broadcast frequencies. But the internet is much more of the Wild West, and putting that genie back in the bottle would be fraught, at best. I think you may be implying that building out the infrastructure would give them some power, but in the current environment, wouldn't that just create a sort of economic apartheid, wherein some of us could afford uncontrolled internet and others would depend on the government-controlled and censored version? Quicksand everywhere you look, I'm afraid.

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Thank you! This is the kind of information I'm really unclear on.

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Think I might have preferred to stay unclear on.

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I'm not going to hold my breath. Until congress can regulate it, nothing changes. The push for broadband does not equal the push for sanity. Though...there is some hope.

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I agree. But I also see the potential positives of people having more access to services such as video doctor visits, child abuse prevention and suicide hotlines and things like that. And, if the government were to provide a higher level of service and information online that could also be very helpful to people who need help the most. I am not holding my breath for that and I believe the internet learning curve will continue to be steep but there is a lot of potential there.

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Agreed but the push for sanity is generations away at the pace we're going.

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Yes, not sure what that would look like but very much agree that airwaves (or cyber-whatever nowadays) are extraordinarily powerful and we should do much more to ensure it's not a tool used to fill vulnerable minds with blatant lies.

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There will be the hump of 5g conspiracy theories to overcome before broadband gets out to Trump country.

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I agree. There will always be some form of Conservative party. Republicans have a tremendous amount of power even as an overall minority group. ZThey have been better at telling people what they want to hear and selling snake oil. I am very interested to see how 2022 goes. So far the rhetoric by republicans about Biden are pretty weak and they don't seem to resonate quite as much overall. I hope they continue to be as ridiculous as possible headed towards 22. I think it might just hurt them.

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I am actually more optimistic about this than I used to be. They are being so absurd and Biden has been very effective in pointing this out without being combative about it.

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IMHO everything related to our future hinges on how much of the For the People Act can get passed by the Fascists in Congress

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But gerrymandering will figure in the 2022 races, that is, if state legislatures get the census figures in time.

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Maybe Dems should withhold census data until after the midterm elections, to thwart further extreme gerrymandering. On do only Repugs get to play ruthless power politics?

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I read somewhere that the 1920 census was so messed up by the influenza epidemic, the end of the war, Red scare, etc. that it was never used for Congressional apportionment. Does anyone know if that's true?

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Roland, they do have one or two little psychological problems to deal with. Personality is supposed to evolve with maturity and one's conscious is supposed to expand. ......guess something went wrong in their case which has severely developed their "human" development. Such an absence of psychological development seems to have engendered a "cave man" psychosis which needs in-depth study at close quarters in laboratory conditions. Time for them to be put in the isolation ward so that they can nolonger either harm themselves or others.....while the specimens are taken apart psychologically.

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I offer this insight after recently reading "How to think like an Anthropologist" by Matthew Engelke. I have come to the conclusion that approaching trying to understand our "conservative" fellow citizens. (I refrain politely from characterizing them with a more pejorative synonym but perhaps more accurate "far-right nut jobs.") It is helpful to think of them as would a cultural anthropologist studying a different society and trying to understand its characteristics, dynamics, social relationships, and mythologies. Don't try to change it. Rather accept it for what it is and learn what you can from it.

Here are extracted thoughts from Engelke's work offering ten thoughts on how to think like an anthropologist. See if this works for observing those "on the other side."

Are you ready to start thinking like an anthropologist? Follow these 10 tips to understand how different groups of humans organize their lives and articulate their values!

1. Do your research! Anthropologists conduct ethnographic research using the technique of participant observation. This could mean traveling halfway around the world to live in a tent, learn a new language, and eat unfamiliar foods. Or it could mean working alongside employees in a factory or office in your hometown. No matter where your field site is, make sure you ask those around you and take notes on how they see the world!

2. Adopt the sensibility of cultural relativism. This doesn’t mean you can’t have your own values, that you have to agree with everything you see in the field, or that you can’t trust hard data. Using cultural relativism as an approach means remembering that other groups may have very different world ideas than you do. Don’t assume that your perspective is universal.

3. Keep some critical distance – even if you belong to the group of people you’re studying! Anthropologists need some critical distance to perform analysis. Losing this distance can also present ethical dilemmas.

4. Interest yourself in the everyday. How do people greet each other? How do they keep their spaces clean? What material objects do they interact with? These questions may seem mundane, but studying them can help you understand a group’s values.

5. Work inductively – build from the specific to the general. Instead of setting out to prove a general idea about the group you’re studying, let your observations guide you to any broad conclusions. Present in your work a balance of general claims and specific observations.

6. Avoid falling into the “denial of coevalness” – the idea that certain groups of people are stuck in the past. Everyone in the world right now is living in the twenty-first century, and what it means to live in the twenty-first century looks different for different groups of people.

7. Remember that social and cultural changes are not teleological. Every group’s way of life changes over time, but it’s important to consider these changes on their own terms, rather than as stepping stones toward some inevitable end goal.

8. Don’t feel you have to hide your political commitments or shy away from offering moral conclusions. To varying degrees, anthropologists’ work is often tied up with their own moral or political ideologies. Acknowledge this rather than denying it.

9. Be wary of your own authority as an ethnographer. Don’t just figure out how the people you’re studying think – think like the people you’re studying. Look beyond your own framing of their perspective.

10. Foreground what is usually in the background, and vice versa. As Engelke puts it, “Upend common sense and question what gets taken for granted…. Reconsider not only what we think we know… but also the terms by which we know it.” Open yourself to the “strangeness and surprise” you will undoubtedly encounter as you begin to think like an anthropologist.

I add my own admonishment to Engelke's list. Study to understand, evaluate to form your own judgments on relevancy, form your own opinions on the soundness of their culture and mythologies, but guard against conflict or criticism. Like some other primitive societies, they can quickly turn hostile and unwelcoming.

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I had a very instructive experience at the age of 18 with a summer job in a freezer wharehouse while studying at UCL. The product was ice cream! However the ambiance and the conversation in the store and the rest room (40 minutes on/20 mins off) were instructive. Until then i was unaware that F*ck could be used for punctuation and at the same time was complimentary to every known noun and verb! I had a great time and joined in the fun. You got to know all about their lives, what was important to them and how they thought. I was happy to have been through the experience but glad when it was over...and i could go off travelling...with my "thumb" ...around Europe!

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Thank you for this book info and reminding me what I spent a bunch of years studying to do! My only addition is that the discipline of anthropology shifted from the term "primitive" to "preliterate" societies.

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/how-to-think-like-an-anthropologist-matthew-engelke/1127137988

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Thank you for that suggested edit and I agree with the more appropriate preliterate characterization. I am only, when referring to the hard-right, nutjob population tempted to use the characterization “subliterate.” But would probably agree that too much conforms to my own cultural bias.

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I think this is actually a profound observation. How did we get to a post-truth world for so many people? Things like human-caused climate change and the fairness of the recent presidential election are facts that have moved well beyond any reasonable debate and yet 40% of Americans don't believe humans are causing climate change (https://www.theclimatechat.org/americans-on-climate-change) and 55% of Republicans believe the 2020 election was illicit (https://www.ipsos.com/en-us/news-polls/majority-republicans-still-believe-2020-election-was-stolen-donald-trump). This is a mind-boggling level of self-deception and acceptance of lies; how is it possible to live with the contradiction and remain sane?

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Considering more Americans believe in a literal devil and angels than accept the modern theory of evolution you might be asking a bit much of the general population.

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Very interesting article highlighting how framing of questions affects our responses. Definitely applicable in trying to understand how to communicate effectively with those whose thinking seems on the surface to be diametrically opposed to our own.

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For some reason I am drawn back to the prescient TV show Arrested Development" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arrested_Development

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The writer implies that the Republicans are now funded primarily by a small number of free-spending oligarchs. Businesses, like the rest of us, are expected to bow to them. That would fit with the R's reaction of anger and bullying. Will the corporations knuckle under? If not, will they use their considerable clout on behalf of democracy??

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No, they will use their considerable clout in the pursuit of profit. But if their employees, prospective employees, and customers are demanding action on behalf of democracy, then their profit motive aligns with a bolstering of democracy. Molly Wood from the Make Me Smart podcast calls big business the fourth branch of government. Not far from the truth, methinks.

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So, we the people, all of us this time, will need to vote with our credit cards, and make sure "The FourthBranch of Government" knows why. Corporations didn't suddenly get a conscience on March 26th - they responded to our threaten to boycott them.

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Agreed!

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Reid this country really is a CORuPptocracy. As the corporations protect the corrupt plutocrats.

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Absolutely. SCOTUS opened this door and corporations walked right in. Not that there wasn't corruption before Citizens United, but now it's perfectly legal.

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So right Roland. There isn't enough popcorn. we should start of 'office pool' as to the date they officially 'fall down, go boom'. I'll take a marker on Labor Day 2021.

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4th of July, 2021

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What's the observable measure when the Republic Party "goes boom?"

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Fall off in revenue.

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Ah, will the Party explode, cleanly (politely) split, or splinter?

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Welcome back, Roland! Missed you here!

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Yay!

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Has anyone else read this article in The Atlantic? “Trump’s Power Won’t Peak for Another Twenty Years” Basically, McConnell’s plan of packing the federal courts to keep Republican control looks like it very well could work. Scary doesn’t begin to describe it.

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2021/04/trump-circuit-court-judges/618533/

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"The spring is going to see a remarkable game of political chess."

Indeed.

According to the NY Times, in his speech to Republican donors at Mar A Lago the former president described Mitch McConnell as "a dumb bastard." I can think of a number of pejorative terms to describe Mr. McConnell, (I've spent hours building a list) but dumb he is not. He's one of the smartest political mechanics in the history of the Senate. He's well-connected to the donor class of the Republican Party; the moneyed establishment people who would like to see the former president disappear.

Are we seeing the sides being drawn? Will the party divide; first quietly and then openly? Will we, (breathless) have a third party in time to split the vote in the 2022 mid-term election?

That last is probably a bit too much, but the mind imagines that for which the heart yearns.

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Correction; The former president refered to McConnell as a "dumb son of a bitch." Apologies to the bastards of the world.

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and apologies to all the bitches of the world.

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What would the world be without "foxy ladies"?

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After reading these comments earlier, I'm compelled to come back and comment- Thank you Ellie & Kimcean for your attempts to draw attention to language in a more appropriate manner, as my thought was - such arcane terms, I'm so sick of hearing old white men (not exclusively) using these expressions, be it bitch or bastard, can we just be done with it. And, for sure I don't understand or tolerate women calling other women bitches! Bitches are female dogs.

And what does Foxy Ladies have to do with anything?

Mitch McConnell is smart like a fox, yes.

Can't wait until both he and Trump are gone. In the mean time I'm learning from daily letters and commentary how to articulate a better understanding and vision for democracy in our country and I believe Biden is just getting started. Thank you to all contributors!

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Foxy is there because in my rush to place a good "pun" or to play on double meanings of words i mixed up bitch and vixen...mea culpa! Just felt like a laugh...and think now, with hindsight,that is a perfectly approprate way of responding in the context!

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A study was done during the 1970s identifying all words of female gender used as derogatory descriptors of men, women, or difficult tasks {Fixing the faucet turned out to be a bitch.} Who can list a word of male context to describe fixing the faucet? Every time you hear someone use a female derogatory term {bitch. cunt, slut, snatch, crone, vixen, hag, bimbo, butch...the list is actually very long} to denigrate someone or something, try to find an equal number of male focused terms that are used in the same context....that list is VERY SHORT). Enough already. STOP using female denigration terms to describe whatever angers you.

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Love a good pun....still inappropriate

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Mr. Attewell, I perfectly understand why you would think your clever wordplay is "perfectly appropriate". You are clearly an alpha (white) male living in the dominant (read patriarchal) culture with some degree of erudition and intelligence. Inherent in that paradigm is the default assumption that words used to describe women, particularly sexually, are for your amusement, and shared in such a space for shared amusement. I am not amused. Frankly, I am stunned at your lack of insight.

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Hope you agree and had a laugh too!

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Of course Trump would call him "dumb" because he projects what he hates about himself onto others. His insults are always about himself.

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I knew somebody would pick out that thread. The iDJT appears deathly afraid of being dumb. Probably why he hates Obama, who publicly made fun of him for being low brow.

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But in "colloquial" terms we must admit that, for once, Trump is not lying...and we agree with him.

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Now I know you don't agree with woman-bashing!

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or female puppy bashing

words, people, words matter

here is a call for paying attention to our words, with gratitude

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The only thing dumb about McConnell was his deal with the devil. The Republicans are going to have to explain to their voters why the most popular R is 45 and why DJT isn’t an appropriate leader to be following. tRumpsky brought them their judges. Now it is and will continue to be difficult to shake loose of that old devil’s influence.

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It's a life or death battle that will not await 2024, I feel, as Trump will try to eliminate any Republican opposition in primaries for 2022. If they don't split in time it's the St Barthelemy massacre and McConnell and Trump know it. If Congress passes Biden's proposed voting legislation and it is implemented in time......then we really don't care.

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Hope springs eternal, but could use a little push. Will The Lincoln Project heft the cleaver? Which group do we help fund? Who do we call? tRump Busters!

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He may be smart but he is a wimp if he continues to let T disparage him AND his wife.

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McTurtle and consort Chao need to be investigated for corruption and graft. I have some disparaging thoughts about them. May the arc take a leap toward justice!

The former guy continues to make his Russian, treasonous bed...

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I think McConnell is too thick-skinned and cynical to let the taunts of a schoolyard bully bother him, other than to inspire him to work harder to scheme a way to get rid of him.

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Annette D. the iDJT is trying to hit McConnell on the chin. But McConnell won’t have to take it. You see Mitch’s super power is not having one.

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Wimp maybe. More likely, he calculates what is best for continuation or enhancement of his power. And if that means tolerating Trump's bully tactics without response, that's what he's gonna do. I want McConnell outa there as much as anyone. But he is just so savvy, hard to do. He pushed Amy McGrath, a good opponent, aside with ease.

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The public “marketplace of ideas” has been touted as a hallmark of the American democratic experiment. However, it should be evident that this marketplace requires ideas worthy of the competition. The present Republican party seems to be unprepared to engage in this competition not only by it's failure to offer such worthy ideas but rather to commit only to blocking every idea from even consideration. A consistent refusal to consider changes of any kind on any topic and only decry their loss of primacy in the social order reflects a level of intransigent abstinence that is worse than simply unhelpful.

It is increasingly evident that rather than evolve their policy positions to adapt to a younger and more diverse electorate, Republicans are choosing to retain power by trying to control the electoral process in a way that favors those already empowered. This is stunningly short sighted not only for it's increasingly evident unpopularity, but also as it will ultimately freeze them out of power when the electorate’s continuing tilt against them reduces their control.

Recent pushback by various groups of citizens and businesses shows the growing degree of opposition to the intransigence and positions of the Republican party. Will they learn from the increasing opposition or will further electoral defeats be the only way to provide the needed discipline? Time will tell, but Trumpism seems to remain firmly entrenched within the party.

I predict that one day in the not distant future the term Trumpism will become to be a very pejorative noun for foolish and ugly corruption of political thought and morality. That will be the legacy of #45.

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I’ve been listening to a lot of Podcasts lately. I just finished the 2 part “Hell and High Water” with John Heilemann with his guest Nicole Wallace. She excoriates the Republicans says their foundation is rotten to the core. She also makes the point that the Georgia voting suppression bill’s worst feature is not the banning of providing water but the more nefarious ability for local elected officials to overturn the results of an election. If this law had been in place in November, T would now be president.

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And far too little has been reported about this part of the law. Chuck Todd spent much of yesterday’s Meet the Press on Georgia’s voter suppression law and never mention this provision. It’s maddening.

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It seems that it's being largely overlooked, and when it is mentioned, the idea is never fully expanded or explained. Next to the travesty of this scheme, the rest of the plans to suppress the vote seem trivial. The Repugnants have managed to divert our attention from this huge power grab by tossing in a relatively insignificant, but mean-spirited, provision forbidding the dispensing of water or snacks. For heaven's sake, most people know to bring water or snacks if it's hot and the lies are long! The (Republican) appointed election official can overturn an entire district's election results.

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Ugh! Meant to say "lines." The Reps always lie.

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Kinda think many of us are already there with your definition of “Trumpism”.

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The sneaky part is that, repugnant as the Georgia voter suppression laws are, some of them are going to have a more profound suppressive effect on, for instance, older voters, who tend to favor Rs. And it is becoming clear that what the Georgia legislature has done is kick a hornets' nest--BIPOC voters will be out IN FORCE on election day, especially since both Rev. Warnock and Stacey Abrams will be on the ballot (no reason to think she will not be running for governor in 2022). It will be rich to watch their suppression techniques backfire on them.

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This "older" voter will be ferrying others to the polls, and I'll be giving them water and snacks when I pick them up.

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The only constant is change....most Republicans don’t accept this.

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Not change, but transformation through evolution of cultural vision.

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But how does this happen? Ever since the Rs discovered they don't have to bother with the truth, that evolution has been put on hold.

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You know the Republicans are on the losing side of the argument when they complain that only a small part of the American Jobs Plan is for "real infrastructure." That is, roads and bridges. It's as if GOP leaders think TV shows are still in black and white, and women wear white gloves when venturing outside. Their constituents know better. Will the plan get scaled back in some areas? Of course. But the vast majority of people, regardless of political persuasion, want the plan, and it will become law. And we will begin to climb out of the hole that Reagan started digging so many decades ago.

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Yes but if they could only isolate every community behind the failed roads, broken bridges and difficult internet they could serve everyone a televisual diet of "I love lucy", "Flubber" Wagon Train" shows to the absolute exclusion of all else......then they would feel at ease in the world "as it should be".

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There’s truth in those words....but more than a little condescending...

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You think so? I think that they are stuck in a 1950s time loop.

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Sorry to be a downer, but what makes you think it will become law? Manchin will not back the use of reconciliation nor the elimination of the filibuster, so the infrastructure bill is dead in the water unless Biden can get 10 Rs to go along with it, the odds of which are infinitesimal. The Rs are no longer the "loyal opposition," they are merely oppositional full stop. They are holding out for 2022, when they will likely have control of one or both houses of Congress. Biden will not get a single Republican vote (maybe Romney now and then, but not on this).

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Unfortunately, Reid, I agree with you--although I am hoping that my pessimism is misplaced. What the Dems need to do is something they hate doing: they have to contest EVERY Rep house and senate seat; they have to be explicit about what those [fill in your favorite expletive] failed to do for their constituents; they have to spend a ton of money to overwhelm the big lies in every outlet they can find. And my real pessimism is that they won't do any of this. They will, as usual, fail to take advantage of this situation; they will decide that Biden and AOC are able to carry the entire weight of the country on their shoulders; they will tug the forelock to obstructionists like Manchin and Sinema. And they will lose, lose, lose in 2022.

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The one thing that gives me hope, though, is that Joe Biden is MUCH more effective at this game than I expected. All during Obama's tenure I marveled at the fact that he didn't more often say to the American public, "THIS is what I want for you, but Congress won't let you have it." I think this is precisely what Biden is doing and doing well. He is going directly to the American people and saying, "I want to give you smooth roads and safe bridges, universal broadband and help caring for your elders. Look at those meanies over there in the Republican party who want you to keep suffering just to score political points." He must and is pounding on these points.

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This article explains my confidence. https://www.vox.com/22361959/biden-infrastructure-jobs-plan-congress

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Sadly, I disagree with their analysis. I don't think Manchin will budge and the Rs have zero incentive to play ball.

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Add it to last budget recinciliation bill. Parliamentarian paved the way.

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I concur Michael—thank you for your optimism.

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Oh, I forgot about the white gloves! I think I had 3 pairs as a girl. Might have been good to resurrect that sexist style for The Pandemic.

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Early on, I did use vinyl gloves-LOL!

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To hell with the GOP in congress.

My uniquely liberal mother used to say, “Sex reared its ugly head.” No one cares today. We have the pill, single moms, and abortion everywhere.

She might have said, Prejudice reared its ugly head.” She’d be right today.

She was Church of England Episcopal by her liberal and amusing father, Fredrick Charles Dempster Bonnor.

Her mother was German Lutheran, decidedly prejudiced when younger. Her only child rebelled, married three Jews, my dad was the last.

Sad, pathetic typical Christian hating Jews were troubled by my father, rejecting me at The Wall and on the UJA flight over.

The usual anti Semitic WASPS and Catholics found me Jewish.

Exclusionary private clubs were hysterical on both sides.

Catholic William E. Simon resigned from Beacon Hill in Summit, New Jersey when the fascists there rejected us - on their board. Walked away.

Good people are disgusted today. Seventy million illiterate whacks in our prejudiced nation found Trump appealing. George C. Wallace would smile.

That’s America today.

Watch Minneapolis. One is all it will take. Just what Trump wants.

Blacks are properly fed up. As all right minded Americans are.

It’s time we grew up.

Black kids are our kids. All kids are our kids.

Kids are our future. To good mothers!

Strength in Tolerance.

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“Watch Minneapolis. One is all it will take. Just what Trump wants.” OMG what an awful thought! Brought home in the SNL opening skit this week. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to this. I’m so sorry for your family dynamics Sandy. How terrible to experience such prejudice within your own family - and as a child. Yes - “ Black kids are our kids. All kids are our kids.

Kids are our future. To good mothers!” And fathers.

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Sorry for the deletes. Didn’t grab the entire link. Hopefully third times the charm:

I’m hopeful we are at an inflection point and good people wearing the blue have finally had enough.

“These arguments playing out on a nationwide stage in the closely watched trial mark a watershed moment in American policing, experts and observers say. It is not just Chauvin’s actions in the spotlight but also officers’ willingness to break the so-called “blue wall of silence,” and the justice system’s ability to police its own.

“Policing in America is on trial here,” said Joseph Giacalone, a retired detective sergeant with the New York City Police Department who teaches at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. “Derek Chauvin has done more damage to policing in America than any issue since I’ve been alive.”” https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2021/04/11/derek-chauvin-trial-thin-blue-line/?utm_campaign=wp_main&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook&fbclid=IwAR2CvOOdJKEiPWHjj-qBu8fPH4fTZnZnNsBZCPMSwP9C7sw0jo4Jbi3gISo

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Mothers matter much much more - to start. We learn from each and all. It’s a wise man that chooses his own father. I had two. Chose one. One was unfailingly honest. Genetics. My dad. The other lied. Both were brilliant. Incredibly so. My mothers were a mixed bag. Mom was brilliant. Good boat, a no rudder mother, with a great conscience for minorities and the disadvantaged. They agreed on that stuff. Both loved the Negro. Both were constitutionally American. Not prejudiced. That’s a few chapters in the book not written. But yes, fathers matter when they stick around.

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Acton, MA - Betty X - my rich life was greatly aided by serial abuse, much of which I shared. That plain vanilla childhood is almost useless today. Crisis management, preparing for Crispr, designer babies, culling, Brave New World, history written by those hiding their own - Blacks slaughtered in the city of Minneapolis during the trial, small riot, a taste of dystopia, Chauvin Special, on the rocks, our culture in flames, our poor starving, our wealthy gated, campuses charging more and more, hiding more and more, asking the questions that do no matter, reading textbooks not original writings, blind leading the blind.

Robert Maynard Hutchins got it at 29. Blew out Big Ten and the Rocks, Baptists and White Racists, impoverished his campus, U Chicago has more Nobels than any, we are 5 generations there, three now - and Dear Leader is the highest paid of any university, has a brain tumor, controls his weak board... Ed Levy is forgotten.

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It's worth noting the victory of Japanese golfer Hideki Matsuyama in yesterday's Masters tournament in Augusta, GA. The first black player to be invited to the Masters was Lee Elder in 1975, when I was in college. A column could be written on the parallels between a Japanese golfer in 2021 going to voter-suppressing Georgia in a background of violence against Asians, and Jesse Owens going to the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, and both coming away champions.

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There's a case to make that Mr Matsuyama should have boycotted the tournament. Presumably he had contractual obligations that couldn't be easily escaped.

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Really - beating all of them at "their own game" is very worthy right now.

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Whenever he opens his mouth, one can almost hear the massive sucking sound as all the truth in the room is pulled into the vacuum of dead space behind the lying lips of Mitch McConnell.

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Sheesh, now I'm going to listen for the whoosh.

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Very good Monday morning to all & many thanks HCR for a comprehensive overview of what's what in politics and beyond. Each point covered is well worth digging into and could easily support individual Letters!

In re the infrastructure proposal: in rural communities where big ag, both row crop and livestock, is predominant, there has been a steady push for over a decade to enhance broadband and satellite internet connectivity. Much of big ag technology is dependent on real time use of data in the field. Ranchers and farmers may end up being vocal advocates of a large infrastructure package especially where internet access plays a key role.

During the last administration, the USDA advocated heavily for enhanced broadband access for rural Americans. Attached is a link to an overview with a live link to the report at the beginning of paragraph 5. Gee, did Donald forget to include this during his big infrastructure week announcement? (Ahem.)

https://www.usda.gov/broadband

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All the more reason for thinking about broadband in 2021 the way we started thinking about electricity nearly 90 years ago, with the REA, TVA, BPA, and regulated utilities.

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Real time use of data AND navigation in the field. Those big John Deeres are more often than not being guided by satellite.

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I read last night that those big green implements go into a “limp mode” when they malfunction, because of onboard computers and software, requiring a (time consuming) trip to a dealer for (costly) repairs, instead of the farmers being allowed to effect repairs themselves. And they aren’t happy about it. Even the reminders on my wife’s car become more strident the longer you go before making that service appointment LOL...

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The costs of those tractors push the small Independent family farmers out of business. I saw it happen in my own family.

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That is the tragic part.

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Yeah, it's a mess. Some of the tractors alone cost more than a quarter million dollars PLUS the guidance system PLUS the subscription for the guidance system.

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Like the story Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, for children of all ages. The car says "push the button," then with no response, it says "push, idiot!"

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Children’s literature back in the day didn’t coddle us! If kids weren’t being called idiots, they were sometimes being abandoned, or maybe conscripted, or... dismembered comes to mind, but I might be making that one up.

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For decades, childhood friend - farmers in PA have been surviving and sometimes thriving thanks to computer-based knowledge and communication. NAFTA pushed them over to the Trump column. We’ll see if enhanced broadband can push them back over to the Biden column. ❤️🤍💙

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I live in South-Central (PA, not L.A.!), where 2 of 3 people who vote, vote red, even thought the the blue population of the entire state of PA is a goodly amount larger than the red population. However, the legislature is heavily red, largely because of the use of gerrimanding districts so that many quite old legislators get re-elected in the lower population counties north of I-80, where only 10% of the population lives. Broadband is basically non-existent there and even down here in South-Central's rural areas. If President Biden would stop playing checkers and be a real chess player by raising the infrastructure bill by as much as $8 Trillion more than his paltry $2Trillion, that would be a better gambit. Remember, $2 Trillion over 10 years isn't really much to accomplish what he wants. Let's hope the broadband for all part of it is not removed by the red party.

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Careful not to criticize Biden on this site, unless you enjoy being piled on.

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Thanks, Joe. But here I am not criticizing President Biden and other elite Democrats who are afraid of offending the other party in a negative way. I am giving constructive advice that they need in a time when they control the presidency and both housed of Congress. This happened when Obama became president and didn't accomplish as much as he could in the first two years when the Democrats then controlled the presidency and both housed of Congress. Here's a quote that we all should understand: "Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

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I agree wholeheartedly. The time for half measures passed decades ago.

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😊. We (on this site) do need to be more open to opposing and, simply, additional views. For example: Biden probably wants $10 trillion for the infrastructure bill but knows in the current political and economic climate, he can't get it. We HCR devotees can discuss (argue) his proposal on these pages, watch what happens in the 1st year of the project, come to our own consensus perhaps, and then help change political and economic climates. AOC isn't wrong - she's just 8 years ahead of us.

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There is plenty of room on this page for constructive criticism. Not so much for Trolls or Sealions...

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Thank you for your perspective from the the Keystone State Richard, and ignore the remark about criticizing Biden. Constructive suggestions like yours are welcome.

May I please ask, are you from/near Gettysburg or Chambersburg? A branch of my family comes from McKnightstown between those two. Though none have lived there for a century, we've enjoyed multiple visits to Gettysburg and the neighboring ancestral cemetery, an unforgettable experience. Thanks again.

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TPJ (Camb MA), I'm originally form Kittery, Maine on the border with Portsmouth, NH, where I was born. BTW, my mother was from your neighboring city of Sommerville, MA. My father was from the Dexter in the middle of Maine. He somehow made it to Boston and met my mom. As for your question, I live in York, PA, which is east of Gettysburg on Route 30 about forty minutes travel by car. As I mentioned in another email today, York County is very Republican, and as you go west it gets more rural and more Republican. Adams, county, where Gettysburg is, is really difficult to find Democrats. Governor Wolf, who is from Mount Wolf in northern York County has been elected governor both times, even though he lost his home county each time. The Dems don't put up many signs for their presidential candidates here, yet the Trump signs proliferate all over our county.

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I literally made the same comment several days ago (Biden should consider $10T instead of $2T) and was called a troll.

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Thanks for this ray (broadband) of hope!

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They're self-destructing but it isn't happening fast enough. Why oh why couldn't covid-19 have been fatal to idiots who didn't take it seriously?

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It was for more than a few of them, is my guess. Not exactly a culling of the herd, since there are so many of them. Plus and also, they took a lot of good people with them.

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That last sentence is the kicker. :-(

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In my darker moments I imagine one of Trump's brighter evil hench-people suggesting - given that COVID 19 seemed to be killing BIPOC and the elderly in much higher percentages than in the rest of the population - that perhaps a do-nothing policy would kill off a bunch of "those "people and result in savings on Social Security payments. In light of subsequent events, I seem to be having more frequent darker moments. Oh, sorry, GOOD MORNING EVERYONE! Cloudy in Italy today...

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I'm sure that this was precisely their reaction when they found out what was happening in Black Communities and with Native Americans....amongst other groups. As far as they were concerned and given their present actions against voting this was then considered as "good news". Not so "pleasant" was the news that it adversely endangered men as opposed to women in the same statistics....independent of any question of concentrations of melanin or other such colour considerations.

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Slightly lateral - but has anybody read Barkskins by Annie Proulx? We forget history - Barkskins by Annie Proulx -

"Barkskins is a sweeping saga recounting the ecological costs of progress. Forests are destroyed and Native Americans are marginalized".

And we are doing it again - only better, faster and far less personal.

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It's excellent . It was the first thing of hers that i read.

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Yes, I read it immediately after it was published. Excellent book.

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"Barkskins" was also made into a TV series.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt9426272/

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Buon giorno. Cloudy or no, politics or no, wish I were in Italy🤔

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May St Francis, patron saint of ecology (wolf of Gubbio, sermons for birds) intercede on behalf of the planet. That is now the World's Desire.

E Armstrong, Saint Francis, Nature Mystic

The Little Flowers of St Francis

L White, "The Historical Roots of our Ecologic Crisis"

https://www.cmu.ca/faculty/gmatties/lynnwhiterootsofcrisis.pdf

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Another voter suppression strategy? Deplorable!

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There's nothing too awful you could think one of those scum would come up with.

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It's quite possible that Putin "suggested" to the Unnamed Former that he do little or nothing about the pandemic, and the UF complied.

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Minor problem being that this "bug" has nothing on the bubonic plague,"the Black Death"? propagated by fleas on black rats in the 14-15th Centuries with death rates from 30 to 50% of communities. Small Pox was pretty effective here too with similar percentages and accounting for much of the 95% loss of the Native American over 4 centuries till 1900 or so. The Covid 19 is "only" eliminating between 0,1 and 0,2% of populations in different countries.......far too many Trumpites around to be eliminated "directly" by this beasty.

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Interestingly enough, cities and towns throughout Europe rounded up cats wholesale and slaughtered them believing cats were plague spreaders and minions of the devil. How wrong they were. Daniel Defoe, in Journal of the Plague Years estimated that 40,000 dogs and 200,000 cats were killed. It seems people didn't make the connection that rats were far more to blame than cats and dogs, both natural enemies of rats. Included is a link to an interesting article discussing behavior during the times of the plague & covid.

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/ecin.12961

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I’ve learned so much from this community this morning—from the term “sealioning” and now, with your link, Daria, about Schumpeter’s theory of development by entrepreneurs and innovations (important even during Defoe’s time and now with such innovations as Zoom). That was just a small part of the very interesting online library read.

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This is such an alert, vibrant community filled with an amazing array of well informed, generous, people. It is hard to go a day without adding something to my To Read list or follow a link someone has provided!

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And, yes, I was compelled to read your link, Daria, and now must read Defoe's journal, and a biography and...there goes this day the weather forecast as "Dull and dreary, with a couple of showers." The fog is lifting figuratively and meteorlogically!

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Haha! Me too! Read some Defoe as a child, courtesy of an annual books gift from a wonderful uncle, who believed in great literature for kids. However, with a hearty Yorkshire chuckle and a twinkle in his eye: “Cant let you read Moll Flanders yet, I’d be in trouble with your folk!” Needless to say, I couldn’t wait to get to the library.

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Ha! Rabbit holes are wonderful! It is already 94° here at 10:48 am so you know I'm stayin' inside ready to hunker down in the ac with a book or two!

Have fun MaryPat!!

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It's always been easier to round up domesticates than rats. At least in the 14C they tried hard to do what current knowledge suggested was effective. Now we know what to do, what actually works, yet far too many simply will not do it. Effing maskholes.

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Interesting article, Daria. Thanks for sharing it.

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Black cats and the devil are a traditioal association in the popular conscious!

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I know. Very sad. 😢

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Which is why my black kitties are Indoor Kitties.

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Happily there is no Judge Jeffries around to wonder whether you are a wizard and your wife a witch! Not officially at least...

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I have had black cats (the best! Outside of Molly the Tortie) a long time. Once lived next door to a fundie moron who actually did think I was involved in "dark arts" - whether it was the Democratic political signs or the kitties watching him I never really knew. Probably both. You know us "dark arts" Democrats. :-)

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Watching the George Floyd murder trial, I am reminded of the Salem Witch trials. One man, Giles Corey, who was accused of witchcraft was tortured by piling more and more stones on him until after three days he died. By not pleading his estate would still go to his son. But the price for not pleading was the torture of pressing. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giles_Corey

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Precisely.

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Plus you don't want them killing birds and wildlife and subjecting them to diseases and injury.

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Oh dear, sidetracked!! But thank you. Quite fascinating. History’s lessons once again!

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Starting with trump

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I love how you tie the many threads together Heather. All connected; yet seemingly different activities by the Biden administration.

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Thank for your energizing and focusing letter, Professor! I hope all who read and share your letters are ready for what is ahead, "So, in the face of remarkably popular Democratic proposals to rebuild the country-- proposals that will kill the central principle of the Republican Party since the time of President Ronald Reagan that the government must get out of the economy—Republicans are split between their voting base, which wants Trumpian voter restrictions, and their donor base, which recognizes that those restrictions will destabilize the country."

We need so badly not only to pass these acts - every one of them - but to weld them into the foundation of a post Reagan era, redefining Democratic principles and challenging Republicans to renounce their racist and economic slavery.

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The Dems have their work cut out for them as they return to DC. And, they better work fast as I believe we might be heading towards a "long, hot summer." Another black man was shot and killed by a police officer in Minneapolis yesterday, sparking protests. If the Chauvin trial ends with acquital, the streets throughout the country will fill with justified anger and frustration. When will this end? When will those responsible with protecting and serving do that rather than "shooting and asking later"?

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I read the story about the latest shooting in Minnesota at around 4 this morning. I haven't been able to sleep since. There is no peace for BIPOC in the US, it seems.

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And the utter audacity that they just keep doing it with Chauvin on trial for blatant, despicable, evil murder. This country is like a freaking pressure cooker at this point. With so much resting on the outcome of this trial. I’m an old white grandma ready to burn something down at this point.

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There is also the traffic stop, pepper spraying of the Army Lt in Virginia. He saved himself by stopping at a well lit gas station instead of the dark road. He was afraid that these two rednecks wanted an excuse to kill him.

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They fired the officer that used the pepper spray. A small victory, but I will take them where I can get them.

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I thought he should have been criminally charged with assault and abuse of office. Fired? He'll just find a job at another police department that thinks he was unfairly dismissed.

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Or reinstated with full back pay a couple of years later. Bah.

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True enough. Teeny tiny victory is more accurate.

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One pushed the button for the spray while the other supported the behavior. I pray the other one gets severe consequences, also.

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Also, importantly, I believe he is suing them!!!

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I saw a suggestion somewhere that the $$$ to defend cops like this from lawsuits should be taken from the collective retirement fund than maybe more of the so called good cops would be better at policing the rest of them!

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As a retired cop, I applaud this scenario.

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Very interesting.

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Ooh, I like that idea.

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Hit 'em in the budget, it's the only place they feel anything.

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Brava! Thanks for repeating the suggestion.

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That’s brilliant!

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Yes indeed. He also set up his cellphone on the dash, and the video of him calmly stating his case, while his hands were in full view, and saying he was afraid to get out of the car or unfasten his seat belt proves he wasn't being combative, even when pepper sprayed. I'm guessing that these yokels didn't notice his phone. They picked the wrong victim this time.

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This escalated by the police so quickly with the Lt cooperating completely. It should go in training videos as what NOT to do. No reason to stop him PERIOD. And he is a gentleman who is protecting this country

A better man than I.

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Training videos don't matter. Neither does formal police academy training -- not compared to the REAL training rookies receive from the vets in their first week, or from childhood if they're from police families. Breaking that vicious cycle is essential to effective police reform.

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Noting that Chauvin was a training officer for the rookies also involved when he knelt on George Floyd's neck and killed him.

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...with reason as it turns out...

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