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Reading some of the other comments here blaming Democrats, I believe it brings us back to the original problem: the media is blocking the Democrats from getting their constructive agenda on air and online. The MSM either ignores Democratic accomplishments, paints them in a negative light, or spins false narratives of how they benefit the Republicans. In addition, they almost never interview Dem party firebrands and invite Bernie Sanders and the critical left Justice Dems to provide comment on the party that they hate almost as much as the Repubs. Why not more CBC members or passionate defenders of the party platform? The answer is too obvious: the media cashes in by crushing the Democratic party and enabling fascism.

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author

agreed, GOP always depicted as super savvy…even when trying to destroy democracy

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Everything you said.

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founding

I completely agree. It is impossible to fight back against the media without making them double down on their negative framing of you. It is clear that the vast majority of Democrats are strongly in favor of getting things done. Just two Democratic Senators are holding critical legislation up; in contrast 100% of Republicans are obstructing everything and threatening to crash the world’s economy by letting the US default yet most of the media and even many Democrats are blaming Democrats. The media and the public are demanding that the Mommy Party solve all problems; the Daddy Party that caused the problems and opposes solutions gets a pass. Again.

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Yup, just 2 Dems blocking the bill, and the media is screeching about chaos and party civil war. It's exhasting.

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Regarding Justice Dems, if you do not like the Democrats, please get out of the party. The Justice Dems are no more "justicey" than regular Democrats but they whine and complain constantly. Let's concentrate on winning elections and if you can't get on board, leave (Justice Dems, Manchin, Sinema).

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Yup. The Democrats are the last line between democracy and fascism and I was furious with Bernie's vanity runs in 2016 and 2020. We needed all energies focused on the goal of defeating fascists and choosing the most competent, experienced and formidable candidate.

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This exactly.

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Make no mistake. If you are a democrat, your republican countrymen consider you an enemy...

https://youtu.be/07cPTxLjbYI

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It boils down to this--The media is in bed with the GOP.

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Yes...so why aren't Democrats buying media? Where are our billionaires?

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Good question!

When they do it it's always half-assed like Air America was.

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The truth does not generate money. The Democrats need unrelenting donors like the Koch's, the Walmart family, et al., to make this a priority and see it through. You know, there was a time before Reagan when the mainstream media did not have to generate profits to stay afloat but I have no hope Congress will do anything about the Fairness Doctrine. If David Geffen dedicated the rest of his life to buy back media, he would succeed. David? Stop sailing on your pretentious yacht, hosting do-nothing Democrats. Buy back the media for us. You owe us for 2008. (I hope someone who knows David Geffen is reading.)

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Air America introduced the world most notably to Rachel Maddow and gave Al Franken a major platform to demonstrate his political bona fides. The problem was not enough people were listening.

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I know. We need a donor with big pockets to fund an unprofitable network of liberal talking heads until the Democrats have control of Congress on a regular basis. Talking points work. I tweeted Lizz Winstead once and asked her "what happened?" She said they ran out of funding. Podcasts seem to be a less expensive way to get the word out but as you mentioned, no one is listening. Which is why I think David Geffen needs to get off his ass and orchestrate my a master plan for Democrats to dominate.

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Yep.

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Jon Stewart recently confessed that in 206 he dismissed Trump as a buffoon and failed to comprehend the damage he could cause as president. The mainstream media was, and remains under the same delusion. The difference is that now Stewart has seen the light.

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author

scary paper is I think that privately the press now completely understands Trump’s threat

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That’s far worse than not knowing. Where are their morals? Ethics? I call that enabling, appeasing.

Nope. Dems can’t save us alone.

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I think Jon Stewart caused irreparable harm by using his platform to reinforce the "no difference between parties" lie during his tenure at The Daily Show. In my opinion his opinions or political analysis is totally useless and not worthy of consideration.

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Absolutely. He frequently practiced bothsidism and often took cheap shots at Dems because he couldn't resist the joke.

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Stewart's most important contribution to the discourse was his rebuke of Tucker Carlson and Paul Begala (CNN's Crossfire program) for removing substance from political discussion and making everything a zero sum game. He also chided Rachel Maddow when she implied that she and Jon had the same job. As he did with Carlson and Begala, he reminded her that he was a comedian...not a pundit. I don't think he would take offense at a claim that his political opinions/analyses were unworthy.

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And his comparison of the press to the dog from UP, always (and easily) distracted by squirrels!

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The defining one for me was Jon Stewart’s takedown of Trump over the pizza, when he demanded to see Trump’s birth certificate, because he didn’t believe Trump was from New York based on the way he ate pizza. It was a brilliant exposure of Trump’s lies and complete lack of authenticity.

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Yes. There is no excuse of innocence and being caught off guard this time around. At this point, the logical conclusion is that it is deliberate from here on out.

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yep. he failed to understand the strong underlying sexism (irrational hate of Hillary for no reason) and racism of this country...even now, msm and many others refer to chump as a "buffoon" which maybe he is, BUT his enablers are NOT.

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It began with claims of voter fraud. Now it is people should no longer vote. That is the republican agenda. They have decided against democracy and they pushed voter fraud to support their decision. The agenda is much deeper than just voter suppression to aid republican candidates. It is even deeper than white-culture survival. The agenda is to replace democracy with authoritarian rule.

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It's clear that there are very powerful people planning, rooting, and hoping for the destruction of American democracy for their personal greed and insatiable appetite for power. The one entity that had been designed to protect our democracy by our founders, was the free press. That entity is failing miserably in not telling the real truth of what is happening. An ongoing coup is taking place right before our eyes. A majority of people in this country that include Democrats, Independents, and even Republicans want improvements to infrastructure, voting rights, women's rights, reversing climate change and other progressive agendas. However, it's all failing because of a minority that continues to lie and cheat to gain power and get its own way. More importantly the press continues to bend reality with the insistence that both sides do it, that both parties are equally to blame. Either the press are ignorant dolts, don't want to upset the applecart of access, or are a part of the organized coup. Regardless of their reason, it bodes very poorly for the future of a free democracy. The way I see it, America as we know it will not survive another major election. The clown show of Trump was too inept to pull it off but in the wake of his failed takeover, Republicans are using his lies to change laws that will allow minority rule for decades to come. If I were a younger man I would seriously be looking to settle elsewhere in this world.

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From that Wapo story linked above:

“In some ways, the concerns among Democrats, constitutional scholars and democracy advocates about what the return of Trump could mean are simply one side of a coin, with Trump supporters representing the flip side.

A majority of Republicans still support Trump leading their party, according to polls. A CNN poll released in September found that 68 percent of Republicans and those who lean Republican say democracy is under attack, with about 7 in 10 of them believing that President Biden didn’t win the 2020 election. One side’s nightmare scenario — Trump running in 2024 and reclaiming the presidency — represents to the other side simply the democratic system working as it should.”

Unbelievable that these are graphs six and seven. Did Parker initially include this or did an editor put this in (or let it stand) for faux “balance”? It’s outrageous.

This article is the perfect example of what’s wrong with the media. Stories about Afghanistan or the BBB bills are written with more immediacy and peril. Yet something that is worthy of that kind of framing is instead bloodless and fairly dismissive, making it seem like it’s just the Dems and a handful of people who are making much ado about nothing. The accurate description “Big Lie” isn’t even mentioned while Trump’s behavior is “norm breaking.” And 1/6 is still called a “riot” instead of what it was, an attempted insurrection.

It underscores everything in Eric B’s post. I guess authoritarianism is just the flip side of democracy. Get ready for the fight of our lives in these coming months.

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author

it was good WP addressed what Trump 2024 would mean for democracy but execution was awful

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I don’t think that the mainstream press will like being told what to write when the United States becomes an autocracy, so they better wake up.

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They won't. They will continue to be stenographers putting out the lies the GOP tells them to say.

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Yup. They won't know the difference.

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or will they, i wonder....the wealthy corporate masters of msm do not want their taxes to increase (which is what President Biden and Democrats are pushing for)...so i suspect they are Already telling "journalists" what to write...which is the bad faith faux outrage that we see now.

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I don't normally take issue with your writing here Mr. Boehlert, but believe you are neglecting a lot of American history that contradicts we have been a thriving democracy for two and a half centuries. (Granted, almost everyone else does too.)

There was that spot of unpleasantness in the 1860's for example.

The Gilded Age is merely the most famous episode of periodic economic corruption/disruption in our history.

Women didn't get the vote until 1920; it took until the 1960's before we started to pay attention to Civil Rights for everyone and we still have a long way to go.

There was that long period where we engaged in Imperialism with the best (worst) of them - see Mark Twain writing about the Philippines and the Spanish American War.

Look how easily Japanese Americans were imprisoned in World War II, and the Cold War hysteria of McCarthyism.

There are plenty more examples where those came from. I agree the press is not paying nearly enough attention to what is happening now, but given how much else they (and we) conveniently have made ourselves oblivious to, is it really a surprise? Nobody wants to admit how close we have been living to the edge all along.

The admonition from the Harry Potter books about "constant vigilance" is one we would do well to keep in mind.

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Everything you just said exactly. America got complacent and believed the hype, and now, here we are. I would take the pop culture analogy even further and say we’re in the middle of “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” and the Republican Party is Hydra, and they have been hiding/working in plain sight for decades installing themselves in all aspects of American life through fascist means. And nobody realized it until it was too late. I have a terrible feeling it is already too late for us, and, unfortunately, we don’t have a super soldier or the Avengers to defeat them.

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Did you know you the country was living at the edge? I used to have hope. I thought things were getting better, especially with Obama's election. No, I didn't think racism was over but I never imagined our society was very much like "Watchmen."

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The question I always ask is why are Democrats asleep at the wheel rather than as proactive and aggressive as Republicans. Democrats seem more interested in interparty warfare and jockeying rather than fighting a common enemy. And, honestly, Dems are not even good at that sort of thing. A Republican faction will rise and, like a cancer, devour all others until it is the party. On the Dem side, a new faction will rise and sit there like a benign cyst along with all the others on the host body. Not dangerous enough to take over, but big enough to be an annoyance when it rubs against your shirt.

Republicans are attack dogs with no remorse. Democrats do not have that instinct at all and it is going to haunt us in the end.

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Stop blaming Democrats! They talk about this. In my state PA they are taking the GOP to court and have successfully fought their previous attempts. Joe, Nancy, Chuck, and many others have talked about and continue to do so in stark language. Yet most of the media dismisses them, ignores them, or frames their warnings like the Wapo story above.

If Joe harped on this they would call him a liar and and frame it as “there he goes again” claiming the sky is falling—while refusing to see that it is. Blame Manchin and Sinema; they are standing in the way of doing away with the filibuster to shore up voting rights. And be prepared that the GOP will challenge and take it to the SC if the bill eventually passes. You want to blame Dems? Blame voters too lazy to come out for midterms—especially census elections—or who couldn’t vote for that “neoliberal warmonger” or where mad and stayed home to show Obama because the ACA didn’t have a public option.

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Well said!

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Manchin, Sinema and their ilk need to be sent a message either before things go to sh*t or especially after they do. Manchin cares about his legacy as it pertains to his kids especially his daughter who has political asperations. End them. Any and all dirt on the Manchin family needs to come out if and when he ruins the Dems chances as doing anything. Once that happens, destroy the Manchin name and family by whatever means necessary. Not for revenge, but to send a message to the next one that we don't do that obstruction thing here. Unfortunately, Dems don't have the guts for it since they seem to be obsessed with some notion of "fair play" - whatever that is in a streetfight.

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Manchin wants to pass a voters' rights bill. Sinema is insane—or is driving us insane—which she seems to relish. The former green who took Joe Lieberman to task (rightly) is now behaving exactly like him.

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I heard Sinema referred to on the radio as the Ds new Jill Stein. Sounds about right I fear.

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Yes. Yes. YES!

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It is not Democrats, and it is not two Democratic Senators, it is 52 Senators that are blocking the agenda.

The press has normalized a complete blockade from the Republicans. You almost never see that mentioned. It’s the same way that the press normalized that everything has to have 60 votes to pass.

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Agreed. Like why aren't we seeing the press blast the Republicans who aren't even thinking about passing the "human infrastructure" bill? Along with all of them voting against the VOTING RIGHTS ACT. Where is the mofo outrage and reporting on that. The beltway press and MSM are all doing the people a disservice by not reporting the actual truth of what is going on. If the Dems unanimously voted against Voting rights that's all we would read in the papers and see on the news. It's just infuriating. Don't even get me started with these jokers getting a platform on TV to spew lies and no one calling them to the carpet for it. Ugh....I'm so angry at how all of this is being framed. 52 Senators literally want the country to burn just as long as they get to keep all their money. smh

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Exactly.

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Very true, I forgot about that while I was thinking about how many elections Democrats have screwed up.

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founding

I disagree. Except for a few exceptions (Sinema and Manchin, e.g.) Democrats in Congress are well aware of the threat. The problem is they have to work within the system if they don’t want to destroy it which would only hasten the collapse of our democracy.

The real problem is the Supreme Court which should be the ultimate protector of our democracy but clearly isn’t now that it’s loaded with right wing ideologues.. Democrats know they can’t count on them to not overturn legislation that they pass to protect our democracy. Unfortunately for decades the media has ignored the creeping authoritarianism of the Supreme Court. Any doubt that this was happening should have been erased with Bush v. Gore, a jaw-dropping decision that much of the media was relieved by.

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The people have ignored it too - and still are. I'm shocked by the number of otherwise astute people who don't believe our democracy is in jeopardy.

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And that's because the media isn't covering it as a serious issue. You see the effect media coverage has on public opinion/information, whether it's "her emails" or the Afghanistan withdrawal. If the Times wrote about what was actually happening and the GOP threat as much as they did Whitewater and Hillary's emails, it would be much more widely talked about. The 4-12 block on MSNBC, Joe and Mika, some folks on CNN, Frum and Applebaum in the Atlantic, as well as the Bulwark folk—their voices aren't enough without the big guns of the mainstream media's megaphone.

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founding

For years the media has been unwilling to be honest about just how extreme Republican-appointed justices ( and the Federalist Society) really were/are andnd they never want to discuss that the Court is dominated by right wing Catholics. That wouldn’t be polite.

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Once the Ds lost the Supreme Court, we were screwed.

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Democrats REALLY want to believe that their republican countrymen haven't devolved into fascists. They are operating as they always have, deliberating and debating internally between their various factions because that is how a normal party is supposed to operate. As to precisely WHY they are operating normally in the face of republican opposition that is only interested in destroying them... I have no idea.

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the why is quite sad: Democrats are not politicians with the will to govern, they are afraid of power in all its forms because they have come to believe Reagan's ridiculous anti-government screed. Why else would public service be so decried in America ? Why else would the everyday experience with government: DMV, Social Security etc be so atrocious ? When I moved from America to Canada I was flabbergasted at the contrast. Everyday contact with government as a force for good is now reduced to the public library at best. Democrats shy away from demonstrating government at their (and everyone's peril).

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Sorry Frederic. Democrats are doing what they’ve always done; as PRO GOVERNMENT, pro democracy citizens, they play by the rules and follow the structural norms of the Constitution, thus the accomplishments of FDR and LBJ are significant; Obamacare has survived because of D outrage and support. Women’s rights and civil rights have been forged by Ds. The machinations of FG, his traitorous acolytes in Congress and the R party are in the process of tearing it all down by cheating and corrupting the electoral process. So, the Dems are fighting with one hand behind their backs while the msm, SCOTUS, McConnell et al have morphed into autocratic, right wing cheerleaders. I’ve never seen Nancy Pelosi afraid to fight nor Elizabeth Warren nor Beto O’Rourke, et al. For sure, I’d love to see Dems play more hardball (vengeance is sweet) but to put the responsibility for saving the country on one party alone and against those huge forces on the other side and in the way is unrealistic imo. The msm must step in as truth tellers, not perpetuators of this la-di-dah narrative that ‘it’ can never happen here. Lord help us, if the country goes to hell, we all will go to hell in the end; the press, our institutions, Rs too. Eric, you’ve passionately and succinctly hit the nail on the head once more. Frighteningly so.

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Thank you PKC!

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Nothing in your statement is even remotely true, Frederic. Democrats are the only ones in America who care about government and actively work for it to function productively. Reagan was a Republican, ffs.

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That was my point: Reagan

Is the one who said “government is the problem” and the opposite is true. So-called centrist Democrats bought into this when Clinton famously intoned “the era of big government is over”. Government is the only viable solution to many of society’s problems and my fear is that Democrats are too timid in their embrace of government.

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Democrats appeal to reason and not to the heart and are unable to boil down their plans to actually help everyday people. They have always failed at power except for FDR and LBJ, who would be called autocrats by today's media due to their strongarm techniques to actually get things done. Today's Democratic leadership is a victim of failure of imagine as Eric aptly says, Pelosi and Schumer are stuck in the 1980s and can't crawl out.

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founding

Go back and look at Hillary’s campaign platform. It was full of practical programs to help everyday people (just like Biden’s infrastructure bills are). She talked about those proposals at every campaign stop and spent millions on ads about them. Post-election media analyses showed beyond a doubt that the media chose not to cover her proposals. Then they had the nerve to accuse her of having lost because she had had nothing to offer people like that. The most egregious example is how her detailed proposal to help coal communities was not only ignored, the media chose to take one badly phrased comment out of context from a speech she made about the need to help those communities who have worked for years, risking their lives, to keep our power on.

https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2017/9/15/16306158/hillary-clinton-hall-of-mirrors

This is just one example of how the media has misrepresented Democrats for decades. Al Gore was trashed by the mainstream “liberal” media as a compulsive liar. They gleefully repeated claims created by Karl Rove about Gore’s supposed lies — knowing Gore had never made those false claims.

When you are treated this way in the pages of the NY Times and on mainstream television broadcasts I am not sure how you can fight back. If you do you just look weak and defensive. The public is more likely to believe the NY Times than a politician.

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1000% agree - HRC was and is right most of the time, the issue remains how to communicate this to the forces at hand. I worked in NYC media and was close to political media folk, they aren't anyone's friend, especially not the Democratic party. The NYT is a poster example of what NOT to do in terms of political coverage, as the Trump years (Maggie H) has shown us. Media and democracy are linked, you'll be interested in this: https://medium.com/the-mediaquake/the-message-is-the-media-b8b78497fbc2

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You must be unfamiliar with the impossibly long list of Pelosi's accomplishments.

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I'm not unfamiliar at all, I've been following politics since the 1980s when she came on the scene. She is a formidable Speaker and will remain a figure for the ages. The issue is at hand is the ability to not fail by virtue of lack of imagination as Eric rightly says. Pelosi is trying her best within the confines of the party, the caucus and her vision of the system as it should work. The GOP checkmated the Democrats in 2000 with SCOTUS stopping a winnable recount, checkmated further as the GOP escaped much needed popular ire at the mismanagement of the Iraq war, unfunded mandates such as Medicare Part D, gutting of the VRA and Citizens United. Democrats need to speak to the heart and are lucky to have Biden as POTUS who is singularly able to communicate simply and effectively. Pelosi needs to back up Biden as much as possible and she is doing the best she can, with the tools she has. I admire her energy very much.

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This is one of your best, Eric. The irony is that the majority of Americans are liberal or liberal-leaning, but you would never know it by the media coverage. It’s an oligarch’s wet dream. Maybe now, even more so than in the early-to-mid aughts, what America needs is an updated version of Air America to offset the unashamedly rightwing media we’ve been dealing with for three decades, but more importantly, to offset the bothsiderism of the mainstream media, who are so terrified of being perceived as bias or losing access or besieged by rightwing editors, owners and advertisers, that they enable these psychopaths at the expense of American democracy. I mean, they said it themselves, it’s great for business.

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I'm an RN immunizer and have just come from an assignment in a fairly impoverished community in Lake County, California. Lots of angry, "uneducated" men in big trucks everywhere in town, many Trumpists wearing shirts bearing those awful black Ameican flags mentioned here. Chilling and disgusting. It felt like a foreign country.

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Let me talk about my US history class last week.

We're to the point in the semester of talking about what's called The Age of Federalism, and that's the title of a book I use as a jumping-off point. That book, by Stanley Elkins and Eric McKitrick (one of my PhD professors, I'm proud to say), begins by saying it is about "an extended encounter with firstness." I ask the class if they all can drive. Yes. Did anybody learn to drive a stick shift? Some, yes. Remember grinding the gears and the sound it made? Oh, yes. That's the story of that period. That, and the sincere belief that anyone who disagreed about anything was a traitor trying to destroy this great new experiment. You're Hamilton? Jefferson is a traitor. You're Jefferson? Hamilton is a traitor. You're Burr? Everybody thinks you're a traitor.

But, I like to add, we've now had the same two main political parties, with ideological changes, for more than 150 years. We think they're permanent. We've had the Constitution for 234 years, so we think it's permanent. They didn't think that way. And we shouldn't, because it's not.

Now to what I don't add, because I would never say this in a classroom (because it's not my job or place, despite what right-wing liars may think): The problem is that we do now have a legitimately treasonous organization claiming to be a political party, and it is a minority in Congress, but does not act that way.

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Can everyone please chill out about republicans turning america into a fascist state and annihilating democrats??? Bret Stephens reminds us that there are far more important things in Hunter's emails... https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/05/opinion/biden-ethics-son.html

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Another reason why I don't suscribe to the NYT.

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founding

I have always thought that the “American exceptionalism” belief was very dangerous. It made a lot of people complacent and supported the idea that we are somehow different, and that “it can’t happen here”. I frequently heard people in the media mindlessly make that arrogant claim instead of questioning it as any objective person should

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It's time to leave AT&T.

More info about how AT&T finances OANN at:

https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/usa-oneamerica-att/?via=newsletter&source=BI-CS-All

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Despicable - is Verizon any better?

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