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46 minutes ago, Old Man said:

 

I'm not sure which Democratic party you're talking about; literally every Democratic presidential candidate except Biden and Gabbard has signed on to some variant of the Green New Deal.  Regardless, it is infinitely more likely that a Democratic president will do something serious about the climate crisis, as the GOP (and their corporate supporters) are still actively spreading climate denialism.

 

Oh I don't disagree with you there.  I loathe that climate denialism more than I can ever, possibly describe.  I would have to get into nanoangstrom's and micro instants.

 

But this is the first round of politics I've actually heard positive, actual planning that I believe might do something.  It's just been so much drek and not-even trying.

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2 hours ago, Old Man said:

The latest development in the Ukraine quid pro quo story is that Trump has directly implicated Pence in the scandal.  The strategy, no doubt, is that by including the VP, any vote to remove Trump will also force the removal of Pence and lead to a president Pelosi.  Thus making removal less likely.

Trump seeking foreign interference in the 2020 election forced the Democrats' hand.  No way they can let that stand.  

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The chance is vanishingly small the GOP-controlled Senate would ever put Trump on trial, short of recorded evidence of him personally murdering someone. The Dems are aware of this. I believe the impeachment procedure is to show their own base that the party won't let such egregious behavior stand without doing what's right and fulfilling their Constitutional duty. Anything less could cost them the voters they need in 2020.

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1 hour ago, TrickstaPriest said:

 

Oh I don't disagree with you there.  I loathe that climate denialism more than I can ever, possibly describe.  I would have to get into nanoangstrom's and micro instants.

 

But this is the first round of politics I've actually heard positive, actual planning that I believe might do something.  It's just been so much drek and not-even trying.

 

What I find encouraging is that the majority of Americans have joined with the majority of the rest of the world in accepting that human-exacerbated climate change is real and needs to be addressed. That is a huge shift in public opinion from a decade ago. A great deal remains to be done, without a lot of time to do it; but the political will is growing in most governments.

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https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/463103-furor-grows-after-white-house-releases-readout-of-trump-call

 

Quote

 


A readout of President Trump’s July 25 call to Ukraine’s president released by the White House on Wednesday offered new fuel for Democrats who had launched a formal impeachment inquiry just a day earlier. The five-page document showed that Trump encouraged Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to work with his personal attorney and the attorney general to investigate unsubstantiated allegations against former Vice President Joe Biden...

 

Biden’s son served on the board of a natural gas company owned by a Ukrainian oligarch while Biden was vice president. Biden pushed in 2016 for the dismissal of a Ukrainian prosecutor who had the gas company in his sights but had been widely accused of overlooking corruption in his own office. Biden, speaking on behalf of the Obama administration at the time, threatened to withhold money for Ukraine if the prosecutor was not ousted. There’s no indication Biden was acting with his son’s interests in mind and the former vice president has denied doing so.

 

 

I've been outspoken that I think Trump should have been impeached a long time ago.

 

Having said that, the real scandal that I'm seeing from this is that it took Biden announcing he was a presidential candidate before anyone official decided that this incident was something worth looking into.

 

The allegations are "unsubstantiated" and there's "no indication". Fine.

 

But also, there's apparently been no one official for years in either government looking into the incident to try to find if there are any indications or any substantiation for the allegations. That looks fishy as hell with Biden as VP being the point man pushing for the US government to pressure a foreign government to do something which just happened to directly benefit Biden's own son.

 

If Trump as president used his office to pressure a foreign government to do something which directly benefited Trump's own son, we would be raising holy hell about it. And rightly so. But we've let Biden slide on it for years?

 

 

And having said that, I still think Biden is the best chance to oust Trump...if Trump happens to be president still yet by the time the election rolls around. I'm probably not going to get heavily involved in the primaries this time around but if the 2020 general election comes down to Biden vs Trump, I'll be campaigning for Biden.

 

Not that my campaigning for Hillary changed the outcome of the 2016 election but that's another matter. ;)

 

Summary from my point of view:

 

1) Someone official looking into the incident? The right thing to happen, if it happens, in my personal opinion...even if it happens after Trump is no longer president.

 

2) The motive for Trump looking into it? The wrong motive, hands down. Trump should definitely be slammed for that politically.

 

3) The method which Trump used? Yeah, you don't do this kind of thing at the head of state level in personal phone calls to other heads of state. This kind of thing is handled between law enforcement agencies in the two countries. If you hit obstruction with cooperation, then a politician might get involved to get cooperation in getting an investigation to happen (in contrast to getting a particular result with an investigation).

 

4) Is what Trump did a crime? As the article points out, the original allegation against Trump's action was that it's a potential violation of campaign finance law.  The article goes on to point out that the Justice Department has determined there was no violation of that law. That allegation was a stretch to start with so I'm not personally surprised it was dismissed. I'm not sure what other actual crimes the transcript of the phone call would show being committed. There's been a lot of outrage against Trump but no one pointing to some lines in the transcript then pointing to some particular federal law which the conversation violated. If someone wants to comb through the transcript then point to a particular federal law they think part of the conversation violated, I'd be more than willing to look up that law and post the text of it here for us to consider. I'd like nothing better than to nail Trump's fat posterior to the wall...but I'm a bit of a stickler when it comes to doing things properly, legally, Constitutionally, etc.

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45 minutes ago, archer said:

The allegations are "unsubstantiated" and there's "no indication". Fine.

 

But also, there's apparently been no one official for years in either government looking into the incident to try to find if there are any indications or any substantiation for the allegations. That looks fishy as hell with Biden as VP being the point man pushing for the US government to pressure a foreign government to do something which just happened to directly benefit Biden's own son.

 

If Trump as president used his office to pressure a foreign government to do something which directly benefited Trump's own son, we would be raising holy hell about it. And rightly so. But we've let Biden slide on it for years?

 

Every source I've read has noted that the investigation of the Burisma company for corruption had been inactive for over a year before Joe Biden, with the support of other world governments, pushed for the ouster of the Ukrainian chief prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, over inaction in fighting government corruption. Had Hunter Biden been engaged in any compromising activities as a board member of Burisma, it would have been to his benefit to leave Shokin in office, not agitate for a more pro-active prosecutor.

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If the impeachment action moves forward, it may become relevant that the Trump phone conversation became known because of a whistleblower in the intelligence community.

 

Here's the whistleblower law detailing how someone can legally blow the whistle (and to who) and the subjects in which they are allowed to blow the whistle and be protected by the law (as opposed to illegally leaking information).

 

https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/50/3033

 

(5)



(A)

An employee of an element of the intelligence community, an employee assigned or detailed to an element of the intelligence community, or an employee of a contractor to the intelligence community who intends to report to Congress a complaint or information with respect to an urgent concern may report such complaint or information to the Inspector General.

(B)

Not later than the end of the 14-calendar-day period beginning on the date of receipt from an employee of a complaint or information under subparagraph (A), the Inspector General shall determine whether the complaint or information appears credible. Upon making such a determination, the Inspector General shall transmit to the Director a notice of that determination, together with the complaint or information.

(C)

Upon receipt of a transmittal from the Inspector General under subparagraph (B), the Director shall, within 7 calendar days of such receipt, forward such transmittal to the congressional intelligence committees, together with any comments the Director considers appropriate.

(D)(i)

If the Inspector General does not find credible under subparagraph (B) a complaint or information submitted under subparagraph (A), or does not transmit the complaint or information to the Director in accurate form under subparagraph (B), the employee (subject to clause (ii)) may submit the complaint or information to Congress by contacting either or both of the congressional intelligence committees directly.

(ii) An employee may contact the congressional intelligence committees directly as described in clause (i) only if the employee—(I)

before making such a contact, furnishes to the Director, through the Inspector General, a statement of the employee’s complaint or information and notice of the employee’s intent to contact the congressional intelligence committees directly; and

(II)

obtains and follows from the Director, through the Inspector General, direction on how to contact the congressional intelligence committees in accordance with appropriate security practices.

(iii)

A member or employee of one of the congressional intelligence committees who receives a complaint or information under this subparagraph does so in that member or employee’s official capacity as a member or employee of such committee.

(E)

The Inspector General shall notify an employee who reports a complaint or information to the Inspector General under this paragraph of each action taken under this paragraph with respect to the complaint or information. Such notice shall be provided not later than 3 days after any such action is taken.

(F)

An action taken by the Director or the Inspector General under this paragraph shall not be subject to judicial review.

(G)

In this paragraph, the term “urgent concern” means any of the following:(i)

A serious or flagrant problem, abuse, violation of law or Executive order, or deficiency relating to the funding, administration, or operation of an intelligence activity within the responsibility and authority of the Director of National Intelligence involving classified information, but does not include differences of opinions concerning public policy matters.

(ii)

A false statement to Congress, or a willful withholding from Congress, on an issue of material fact relating to the funding, administration, or operation of an intelligence activity.

(iii)

An action, including a personnel action described in section 2302(a)(2)(A) of title 5, constituting reprisal or threat of reprisal prohibited under subsection (g)(3)(B) of this section in response to an employee’s reporting an urgent concern in accordance with this paragraph.

(H)

Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit the protections afforded to an employee under section 3517(d) of this title or section 8H of the Inspector General Act of 1978 (5 U.S.C. App.).

(I)

An individual who has submitted a complaint or information to the Inspector General under this section may notify any member of either of the congressional intelligence committees, or a staff member of either of such committees, of the fact that such individual has made a submission to the Inspector General, and of the date on which such submission was made.

 

What happened originally when the guy blew the whistle, from the best that I can understand, is that he passed it up the whistleblower chain of command like the law requires.

 

The whistleblower chain of command looked at the complaint and determined that the Trump phone call wasn't "a serious or flagrant problem, abuse, violation of law or Executive order, or deficiency relating to the funding, administration, or operation of an intelligence activity within the responsibility and authority of the Director of National Intelligence involving classified information".

 

The Trump phone call didn't discuss classified information. In any case, a president can choose to casually and selectively declassify information as a whole or to certain individuals at his discretion. The fact that Biden pressured the Ukraine government to replace the prosecutor in a case involving a company where his son served on the board was public information rather than classified information. (As president, Trump chooses what is classified and what isn't, that's a perk of the job which is written into law. If he didn't want even the phone call itself to be classified, it wouldn't be.)

 

So the proper chain of command for whistleblower information looked at the complaint, determined the complaint wasn't valid as the law is written, and told the person who complained that it wasn't going to take the action of passing it along to the congressional intelligence committees like it would pass along a valid complaint.

 

The complainer, as is allowed, then contacted House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D) and told him that he had submitted a complaint. The complainer is only allowed to state that there was a complaint of some sort. He is not legally allowed to tell anything at all about the nature of the complaint.

 

Schiff, apparently with only the information that someone made a complaint of some random sort in one of the three whistleblower complaint categories, then accused the Acting Director of National Intelligence (the DNI) of unlawfully withholding the complaint from the committee and subpoenaed the DNI, Joseph Maguire, to testify.

https://intelligence.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=688

 

That's pretty much how the whole "Trump phone call" thing spooled out into the public consciousness.

 

Now looking at Schiff jumping from a random intelligence community employee telling him "hey, I made a complaint of some sort" to Schiff very publicly ranting "the DNI is breaking the law" without some sort of information about the nature of the complaint...hmmm. Some speculation here, but that strikes me as either the complainer broke the law and told the chairman about the substance of the complaint so that the chairman knew something big was going on or the chairman was engaging in sheer political opportunism and hoping the subpoena and hearing would embarrass the administration regardless of whether there was a complaint of any substance. Personal opinion there.

 

Anyway...

 

At first Trump denied to the public at large that there was a phone call, much less that it was recorded. (A president lying to the public is not illegal, on any level, but definitely is unethical by my standards.)

 

Earlier today, the White House released the transcript of the phone call to Congress and Trump has now acknowledged that the phone call really did happened. The public will eventually get either the full transcript of the call or at least the majority of it. If that's happened already, I haven't seen it (but then I haven't looked very hard to find it either).

 

 

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1 hour ago, Lord Liaden said:

 

Every source I've read has noted that the investigation of the Burisma company for corruption had been inactive for over a year before Joe Biden, with the support of other world governments, pushed for the ouster of the Ukrainian chief prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, over inaction in fighting government corruption. Had Hunter Biden been engaged in any compromising activities as a board member of Burisma, it would have been to his benefit to leave Shokin in office, not agitate for a more pro-active prosecutor.

 

As a high government official, the VP would have sources of information which aren't readily available to people who write original news stories or to the "reporters" who regurgitate slightly rewritten copies what other people wrote.

 

It's entirely possible, maybe even likely, that the investigation was completely dead.

 

It's also possible that the prosecutor was doing things behind the scenes to reinvigorate the investigation (trying to get it more funding, interviewing a new witness, even something as small as complaining that the investigation had been cut too short to someone who blabbed it to someone else and word got around to a few people that the investigator wasn't fully satisfied with ending the investigation rather than continuing it).

 

My point of view is that government officials should recuse themselves from being directly involved with things which directly affect their families' business dealings. And if a government official takes the point in pushing for something that directly affects his families' business dealings, that official's actions should be looked into in order to make sure nothing inappropriate is happening.

 

I'll freely admit to being an idealist. I'm more than willing to spend large wads of government money on investigations to make sure that top government officials aren't engaging in corruption. In an ideal world, if government official knows his action will trigger an investigation of him, that government official won't lightly take that action. (Everyone has a thing or two that they're willing to spend large wads of money on. Mine are "rooting out corrupt national government officials" and "honest elections". I figure if you have honest elections which elect officials who aren't breaking the law that you've accomplished 2/3rds of having a decent country.)

 

If it was simply good policy for the US government to push for firing a prosecutor in a foreign country who just happened to be in charge of the investigation into a company which Biden's son was heavily involved with, there was no valid reason for Biden himself to have to be point man to apply the pressure on that foreign country.

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If that phone call was worthy of impeachment proceedings then so is winning the presidency.

 

A real danger of setting the threshold too low on impeachment is that it will become a tool to overturn elections any time the party that has control of congress loses the presidency.

 

Trump is one of the worst candidates I've ever seen.  Just put up a better candidate and bounce this guy out.  13 months and change.  Just do it.

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6 hours ago, Lord Liaden said:

The chance is vanishingly small the GOP-controlled Senate would ever put Trump on trial, short of recorded evidence of him personally murdering someone. The Dems are aware of this. I believe the impeachment procedure is to show their own base that the party won't let such egregious behavior stand without doing what's right and fulfilling their Constitutional duty. Anything less could cost them the voters they need in 2020.

Likewise to put the Republicans publicly on record that they (R) still will back this corruption.

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11 hours ago, Lord Liaden said:

One day, with time and distance, many of them will realize they were conned; but for others their egos will never let them admit it.

 

“One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we've been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We're no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It's simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we've been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.”

---Carl Sagan, astronomer and writer (1934-1996)

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5 hours ago, archer said:

 

The whistleblower chain of command looked at the complaint and determined that the Trump phone call wasn't "a serious or flagrant problem, abuse, violation of law or Executive order, or deficiency relating to the funding, administration, or operation of an intelligence activity within the responsibility and authority of the Director of National Intelligence involving classified information".

 

 

Can you cite a source for this statement?  Everything that I have read has said the exact opposite.

 

Quote

Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson determined that the allegations were credible and of “urgent concern.”

 

https://thehill.com/policy/national-security/462660-five-things-to-know-about-the-whistleblower-complaint

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A member of Congress said yesterday that ousting Shokin for his own corruption -- and the threat to withhold aid if it wasn't done -- was policy developed at the State Department, and he knows because he was part of the office that developed it. Te demand was also shared by the IMF and some other governments. Biden was chosen as the messenger with enough heft to focus the Ukrainean government's attention.

 

That's what was on All Things Considered, anyway.

 

It was also reported that much of the push for the impeachment inquiry came from the new cohort of centrist Democrats electred from Trump-friendly districts. Pelosi said they knew it hurt their chances for reelections, but many of them have military or intelligence backgrounds and found Trump's alleged misuse of office a step too far.

 

Dean Shomshak

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A member of Congress said yesterday that ousting Shokin for his own corruption -- and the threat to withhold aid if it wasn't done -- was policy developed at the State Department, and he knows because he was part of the office that developed it. Te demand was also shared by the IMF and some other governments. Biden was chosen as the messenger with enough heft to focus the Ukrainean government's attention.

 

That's what was on All Things Considered, anyway.

 

It was also reported that much of the push for the impeachment inquiry came from the new cohort of centrist Democrats electred from Trump-friendly districts. Pelosi said they knew it hurt their chances for reelections, but many of them have military or intelligence backgrounds and found Trump's alleged misuse of office a step too far.

 

Dean Shomshak

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4 hours ago, Ranxerox said:

 

Can you cite a source for this statement?  Everything that I have read has said the exact opposite.

 

 

https://thehill.com/policy/national-security/462660-five-things-to-know-about-the-whistleblower-complaint

The Inspector General did claim it was important. He then passed it on to a different bureaucracy that disagreed.

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6 hours ago, ScottishFox said:

Or we can just let them go in to the ER only when it's life-threatening, and have the hospital pick up the tab alone.  Which will lead to hospitals refusing to treat them unless the condition is truly life-threatening.  Not to mention the prospect of their kids going unvaccinated and spreading various diseases around to other children.  

They support covering them because of economic and community health considerations.  Because it makes more sense to do so, bottom line, than not to do so.  

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I mean, I love the idea of being able to use Presidential and Congress resources to press another country to investigate a political rival you are likely to be running against in the election.  I can't see a single thing wrong with that.  We should also investigate people walking down the street if we believe they are suspicious and search their belongings.  As long as we might find something, it's justified.

 

Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't the fact that the President was using his lawyer to personally do this instead of (literally any) governmental resources suggest that he thought he could be shielded by client attorney privilege if he was caught?

 

This isn't the first time the President has literally said something on Twitter that literally established the very definition of Criminal Intent.  Him releasing a memo that that, in doing so, waived Executive Privilege does not really surprise me.  I am entirely un-surprised that he's using a TV show definition of the law.

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9 hours ago, ScottishFox said:

 

I thought this was weird, so I did some research:

 

  • Research has found that because immigrants come to the U.S. primarily in search of employment, excluding undocumented immigrants from receiving government-funded healthcare services will not reduce the number of immigrants.[5]
  • Those who support more inclusive healthcare policies argue such provisions would ultimately harm the well-being of U.S.-born children living in mixed status households, since these policies have made it more difficult for these children to receive care.[5]
  • Impeding undocumented immigrants from receiving health care has been shown to increase the spread of preventable diseases through communities.[9]
  • Financial justification for withholding services does not appear feasible.[10] A study from the UCLA School of Public Health showed that eliminating public funds for prenatal care for undocumented pregnant women led to greater use of public funds for the health care of these women and their children in the long run.[10]
  • The National Research Council concluded that immigrants collectively add as much as $10 billion to the national economy each year, paying on average $80,000 per capita more in taxes than they use in government services over their lifetimes, and these patterns of expenditures and usage also extend to undocumented immigrants.[6]

 

 


So while my initial reaction to illegal immigrants receiving universal health care was somewhat negative, some research shows that withholding it from illegals is stupid as well as cruel.  I learned something today!

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31 minutes ago, Old Man said:

I thought this was weird, so I did some research:

 

 

Thanks for digging around.  I appreciate the effort.

 

I should note, the whistleblower note doesn't necessarily mean it's trueI just see the circumstances that create that situation, and the note released by the white house, to be very indicative of a problem.

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2 hours ago, TrickstaPriest said:

I mean, I love the idea of being able to use Presidential and Congress resources to press another country to investigate a political rival you are likely to be running against in the election.  I can't see a single thing wrong with that.  We should also investigate people walking down the street if we believe they are suspicious and search their belongings.  As long as we might find something, it's justified.

 

Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't the fact that the President was using his lawyer to personally do this instead of (literally any) governmental resources suggest that he thought he could be shielded by client attorney privilege if he was caught?

 

This isn't the first time the President has literally said something on Twitter that literally established the very definition of Criminal Intent.  Him releasing a memo that that, in doing so, waived Executive Privilege does not really surprise me.  I am entirely un-surprised that he's using a TV show definition of the law.

 

Trump involved his Attorney General in this mess in pretty much the same breath as Guliani, so governmental resources were (mis-)used.

 

Rudy's also possibly open to prosecution as well, since he's a private citizen, and does not get the protections accorded government employees. It really doesn't help his case that he's already stated on multiple TV shows the plan to use Ukraine to dig up dirt on Biden to benefit the Trump re-election campaign, which would be a violation of election laws.

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5 hours ago, megaplayboy said:

Which will lead to hospitals refusing to treat them unless the condition is truly life-threatening. 

 

Hospitals have to at the very least give an exam and stabilize a patient, regardless of ability to pay or legal status, per EMTALA. Patients also aren't required to identify themselves to receive treatment. So, illegals can already get treatment in ERs, though for minor things that require follow up with a PCP, they'll be out of luck after the initial treatment.

 

[I know you probably already know that, and it isn't the point you were trying to make. I'm just being a little pedantic here, sorry.]

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2 hours ago, Ternaugh said:

Trump involved his Attorney General in this mess in pretty much the same breath as Guliani, so governmental resources were (mis-)used.

 

Rudy's also possibly open to prosecution as well, since he's a private citizen, and does not get the protections accorded government employees. It really doesn't help his case that he's already stated on multiple TV shows the plan to use Ukraine to dig up dirt on Biden to benefit the Trump re-election campaign, which would be a violation of election laws.

 

Yeah.  I had to walk an argument back with my brother, who's kind of convinced that Trump is "really good at getting results".  So now I'm going to have to sit around and do some research on what he means about that (because I'm sure he's referencing things he's heard, but I didn't want it to become a real argument).

 

He's also convinced himself that Trump is incredibly smart and very underestimated... with his main line of reasoning being he's the president, and he hasn't been arrested yet for any of the outrageous things he's said and done.  I really don't think he realizes just how far the upper class and politicians will go to protect "their own"... or how powerful that is.  We've had terrible presidents in the past, you don't have to be Lex Luthor to be (and remain) president (for one or even two terms).

 

So that's a whole thing.  I'm just venting here, apparently ;)

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12 hours ago, Lee said:

“One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we've been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We're no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It's simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we've been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.”

---Carl Sagan, astronomer and writer (1934-1996)

 

I love this. Do you know which of his works it's taken from?

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