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Opinion The Thin Veneer of Normalcy

14:10  05 june  2021
14:10  05 june  2021 Source:   theatlantic.com

Manchin is in no rush to strike an infrastructure deal with Republicans - and it's giving some Democrats 'bad flashbacks' to futile Obamacare talks 12 years ago

  Manchin is in no rush to strike an infrastructure deal with Republicans - and it's giving some Democrats 'bad flashbacks' to futile Obamacare talks 12 years ago Max Baucus was a chief Obamacare architect. He and a former aide to Harry Reid told Insider the infrastructure talks are going down the same road.Senate Republicans led by Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.) are preparing to make a $1 trillion offer as soon as Thursday. Another bipartisan group of six senators that includes Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Susan Collins (R-Me.) are preparing another offer to President Joe Biden in case those talks stall.

Squint the right way and things look almost normal. The barriers around the Capitol are gone. People are taking off their masks and going out. The Nats and Orioles are in the basement. Most of all, politics is boring again.

a man wearing a suit and tie © Getty / The Atlantic

That’s not to say Washington is working well, mind you. Consider this week’s negotiations between President Joe Biden and Senator Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, a Republican, over infrastructure spending—a priority that both parties (theoretically) support but one that has nonetheless been stuck in purgatory for months. Things are broken in the most normal of ways, though: Mindless partisan deadlock is the sort of dysfunction Americans have long accepted. Last Monday, The Washington Post published an entire story about how dull and workaday Biden’s prior week had been.

Are Democrats sleepwalking toward democratic collapse?

  Are Democrats sleepwalking toward democratic collapse? “I’m not sure people appreciate how much danger we’re in.”It’s part of a much broader trend in Republican politics to double down on the Trumpist legacy. Like the recent purging of Rep. Liz Cheney (WY) or the steadfast opposition to voting rights, the GOP has gone all-in on Trump and is in revolt against democracy.

But this appearance of normalcy is a thin veneer. Just below the surface, the United States faces a set of perilous, unresolved threats. The former president refuses to recognize the legitimacy of the election he lost. His party’s leaders are abandoning their commitment to democratic majority governance, and its voters insist that he won. Domestic terrorism threatens the nation’s tranquility, and ordinary violent crime is on the rise too. Relaxing about the state of the country feels irresistible, but doing so would be unwise.

[David A. Graham: The unfolding disaster in Arizona]

A series of reports has shed light on the bizarre situation of the Old Pretender as he continues to stew over the election. The journalists Maggie Haberman and Charles C. W. Cooke report that Donald Trump is saying, and perhaps truly believes, that he will be “reinstated” as president this summer, after it becomes clear that he rightfully won the election; perhaps some Republican senators defeated in November will come back with him. The Post adds that Trump has become convinced that “audits” in Arizona and elsewhere will prove that he actually won.

Alienware's x15 and x17 cram Intel H-series CPUs and RTX 30 graphics into thin frames

  Alienware's x15 and x17 cram Intel H-series CPUs and RTX 30 graphics into thin frames As much as gaming laptops have dramatically improved over the last several years, all that power still comes with a significant compromise. You sacrifice a lot of portability to play PC games on the go. And while its latest models can't pass for a thin-and-light, Alienware has announced two new models that are its thinnest yet: the x15 and x17. Of the two, Alienware claims the former is the world's most powerful sub-16 mm 15-inch laptop in the world. In its thinnest iteration, the x15 measures 1.59 cm thick (0.64 inch).

Several barriers will prevent this: Trump didn’t win, no evidence can prove otherwise, and there’s no constitutional mechanism for such a reinstatement. Many losing candidates have griped about election results, and insisted that they were cheated. Stacey Abrams never conceded the 2018 Georgia gubernatorial race. John Kerry reportedly remains skeptical of the 2004 presidential-election results in Ohio. But the current situation is unprecedented: No former presidential candidate, much less president, has ever so flatly refused to accept the results or expected to be reinstalled. Samuel Tilden, after being shut out of the White House in 1876, told his supporters, “Be of good cheer. The Republic will live.” Trump, by contrast, exhorted his backers on January 6, “If you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.”

[Read: Watch what’s happening in red states]

China's crypto crackdown may be DC's blueprint

  China's crypto crackdown may be DC's blueprint Here's an opening for government overreach — before crypto can pose an existential threat to fiat money. Regulators could argue that the massive price swings and use in criminal enterprises overshadow the leveling effect that cryptocurrencies have on the wider market. I have written about how Washington or the Federal Reserve may push its own superseding "FedCoin" concept and use it to effectively gut the existing crypto Wild West. All of these potentials tap into the worst impulses of D.C. and the Fed: they enact policies that weaken the U.S.

Reality has never constrained Trump’s statements. The problem is how far this thinking has spread beyond him. Large portions of the Republican electorate purport to agree in opinion polls that Trump rightfully won the election, and the on-again, off-again Svengali Steve Bannon claims that staying in lockstep with Trump will be a “litmus test” for future GOP candidates. “There will not be a Republican that wins a primary for 2022—not one—that doesn’t take the pledge to get to the bottom of November 3,” he recently told NBC News.

Meanwhile, exercises like the count in Arizona, which purport to rebuild confidence in elections, are actually likely to only further undermine Trump partisans’ trust. As I wrote this week, opposition both to majority rule and to the notion that Democrats can win elections fairly is on the rise in the Republican Party. These rejections of the system’s basic tenets have consequences. In March, FBI Director Christopher Wray (a Trump appointee) warned, “January 6 was not an isolated event. The problem of domestic terrorism has been metastasizing across the country for a long time now and it’s not going away anytime soon.”

Americans Report Returning to Normalcy, Gallup Poll Finds

  Americans Report Returning to Normalcy, Gallup Poll Finds The poll found that 9% of adults say their lives are completely back to normal and 57% say their lives are somewhat back to normal.Fifty-two percent of adults aged 18 and older are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and 63% have at least one dose of the vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and a new Gallup poll found that about the same percentage say their lives are returning to a pre-pandemic normal.

[Adam Serwer: The Capitol rioters won]

Republicans in many states have proposed legislation that could block voters from casting ballots or even let officials ignore their will entirely. And as my colleague Ronald Brownstein writes, different philosophies of governance are driving red and blue states even further apart, resulting in an ever-less-United States.

The early months of the Trump administration birthed a new mantra. “This is not normal,” resistance types warned, sometimes ad nauseam. They hoped to prevent Americans from being lulled into a sense that the Trump presidency’s abuses and lawlessness were somehow typical and acceptable. But even then, despite the constant flow of outrages, it was hard to ever feel like anything was normal, and any nascent complacency was shattered by the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic. Now that the nation has begun to move past some of that, the temptation to relax is stronger. But below the veneer, this too is not normal.

As virus cases wane, governors weigh ending emergency orders .
New coronavirus infections and deaths in the U.S. are down dramatically from earlier highs, though more contagious variants are spreading. Most people are now are at least partially vaccinated, yet lingering hesitancy has slowed the pace and even caused some doses to go to waste. So is the COVID-19 emergency over, or is it continuing? That's the question facing residents and business owners in many states as governors decide whether to end or extend emergency declarations that have allowed them to restrict public gatherings and businesses, mandate masks, sidestep normal purchasing rules and deploy National Guard troops to help administer vaccines.

usr: 3
This is interesting!