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Has U.S. Democracy Been Trumped? Bernie Sanders wants to know who owns America?

#18121 User is offline   Chas_P 

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Posted 2021-April-19, 19:02

View Postkenberg, on 2021-April-19, 12:28, said:

And we seem to have political problems.

So what do you see as a solution? I value your opinion.

#18122 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2021-April-19, 20:56

There are all kinds of reasons why a head of state (a normal one) might seek to take a path between sucking up and bared teeth aggression.
The face value of these comments is meaningless.
It sounds like he is trying to lower the temperature to return to the pre-psycho government of the past four years.


All the same, my confidence levels for better government throughout the world is not at an all-time high.
non est deus ex machina; även maskiner behöver lite kärlek, J'ai toujours misé sur l'étrange gentillesse des robots.
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#18123 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2021-April-20, 07:40

View PostChas_P, on 2021-April-19, 19:02, said:

So what do you see as a solution? I value your opinion.


In the 1960's Tom Lehrer had a song with the following suggestion:

Step up and shake the hand
Of someone you can't stand
You can tolerate him
If you try

A nice combination of idealism, realism and humor.

Which, of course, is just my way of saying I don't see a way out of this mess.

I might come back to this later.
Ken
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#18124 User is offline   mycroft 

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Posted 2021-April-20, 08:51

I can tolerate many people. I choose not to tolerate people who would have preferred if I had died 20 years ago, or actively wish my friends dead. I have told several such, at the bridge table or at the bar after. It's frequently a shock, because I *look* like the kind of Alberta Conservative-voting Professional they've spent their entire lives around.

Which, of course, is my way of saying I don't see a way out of this mess, at least in the United States. It seems here, the conservatives are running into "Hey, our 'hate others, and 20 years from now I'll be dead, so who cares' strategies don't seem to be getting us the younger voters, what are we going to do?" a bit earlier, and it never was as rabid (okay, maybe in rural Alberta). But we also don't have "party affiliation is a family value" quite as hard as the U.S., either.
When I go to sea, don't fear for me, Fear For The Storm -- Birdie and the Swansong (tSCoSI)
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#18125 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-April-20, 12:27

This issue of intolerance cannot be solved - it can only be resolved. It requires change by the affected individual. The only way to try to influence the individual is to continually place in front of them the truth until cognitive dissonance becomes intolerable, at which point change is possible but so also is total abandonment of reality. For many, the latter has already occurred.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#18126 User is offline   Chas_P 

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Posted Yesterday, 18:44

View Postkenberg, on 2021-April-20, 07:40, said:

In the 1960's Tom Lehrer had a song with the following suggestion:

Step up and shake the hand
Of someone you can't stand
You can tolerate him
If you try

A nice combination of idealism, realism and humor.

Which, of course, is just my way of saying I don't see a way out of this mess.

I might come back to this later.

And of course there were The Youngbloods in 1967 with

C'mon people now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another

Right now

So I agree with you (once again). I, like you, probably don't have a whole lot longer to live. You're 82; I'm 83. So what happens down the road 5-6 years from now probably won't affect you and me. But we both have offspring that we love and want to have a long happy life. I fear for their future. I really do.

#18127 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted Today, 08:01

Checking out the reactions to the Chauvin verdict, the thing most noticeable is that the arguments from Republicans are fear-based, and what they fear most is a level playing field.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#18128 User is offline   awm 

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Posted Today, 10:50

View Postkenberg, on 2021-April-20, 07:40, said:

Which, of course, is just my way of saying I don't see a way out of this mess.

I might come back to this later.


I'm actually a little more optimistic about this. Over the past few decades, the federal government hasn't done much that directly impacts the lives of most people in visible ways. Sure, they like to tweak the tax rates a bit back and forth, but this is very obfuscated in that most people don't do their own taxes and we're talking about relatively small amounts of money for most non-rich people. They change the middle eastern country that our military is serving in (and the troop levels) but again most people are not serving in the military. The one law that really changed things for a lot of regular Americans was the Affordable Care Act, but this was designed to go into effect very slowly, making it hard for Democrats to effectively run on it. Even Obama's stimulus bill delivered a lot of its benefits in ways that weren't entirely obvious, and he made essentially no effort to sell it to the country afterwards.

When the government does things that visibly and directly impact people's lives, it becomes harder to just lie about it. Republicans lied about the Affordable Care Act for years (enabled by the slow phase-in) but when they actually had the majorities they needed to repeal it, several key Republicans caved (because the impact on the lives of their constituents would be such that they'd likely lose power for a very long time).

Anyway, the thing that has me a bit more optimistic is seeing a much more aggressive approach in delivering benefits to people. Biden's Covid relief bill includes a program that delivers $250 per child per month to American parents to help pay for child care. When you're getting a check every month from the government that's a pretty direct benefit for a pretty large number of people! Biden's proposed infrastructure bill has a lot of direct benefits too, and he seems to have learned from Obama's mistakes and be willing to sell it directly to the people.

Republicans aren't going to miss the boat here -- they voted for direct stimulus checks on several occasions and are starting to propose programs that deliver benefits to people too (if less aggressively than Democrats). Anyway, this tends to refocus the debate on policy rather than personalities or family party loyalty and could lead to a reduction in overall craziness over time.
Adam W. Meyerson
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#18129 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted Today, 11:20

An important read:

Quote

The political conspiracism of the New Right takes various forms. I have identified three basic types of claims. The first sort is the exaggerated attack on the political opposition: Here we see New Right thinkers attacking the legitimacy of the left, with the added suggestion that the left is out to destroy the country. The second is the exaggerated attack on the establishment/existing institutions more generally. The final kind of conspiratorial claim involves exaggerated attacks on the political system itself, including the electoral system. With Trump's "Stop the Steal" campaign so vivid in the collective memory, there is obviously a lot to say about this final, most corrosive type of conspiracism.


It's hard to be upbeat when 40 million or so of our fellow citizens are slaves to conspiracism in their thinking and belief systems.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#18130 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted Today, 15:12

View Postawm, on 2021-April-22, 10:50, said:

I'm actually a little more optimistic about this. Over the past few decades, the federal government hasn't done much that directly impacts the lives of most people in visible ways. Sure, they like to tweak the tax rates a bit back and forth, but this is very obfuscated in that most people don't do their own taxes and we're talking about relatively small amounts of money for most non-rich people. They change the middle eastern country that our military is serving in (and the troop levels) but again most people are not serving in the military. The one law that really changed things for a lot of regular Americans was the Affordable Care Act, but this was designed to go into effect very slowly, making it hard for Democrats to effectively run on it. Even Obama's stimulus bill delivered a lot of its benefits in ways that weren't entirely obvious, and he made essentially no effort to sell it to the country afterwards.

When the government does things that visibly and directly impact people's lives, it becomes harder to just lie about it. Republicans lied about the Affordable Care Act for years (enabled by the slow phase-in) but when they actually had the majorities they needed to repeal it, several key Republicans caved (because the impact on the lives of their constituents would be such that they'd likely lose power for a very long time).

Anyway, the thing that has me a bit more optimistic is seeing a much more aggressive approach in delivering benefits to people. Biden's Covid relief bill includes a program that delivers $250 per child per month to American parents to help pay for child care. When you're getting a check every month from the government that's a pretty direct benefit for a pretty large number of people! Biden's proposed infrastructure bill has a lot of direct benefits too, and he seems to have learned from Obama's mistakes and be willing to sell it directly to the people.

Republicans aren't going to miss the boat here -- they voted for direct stimulus checks on several occasions and are starting to propose programs that deliver benefits to people too (if less aggressively than Democrats). Anyway, this tends to refocus the debate on policy rather than personalities or family party loyalty and could lead to a reduction in overall craziness over time.


I suppose my optimism/pessimism level varies with the day and with just which mess I am thinking about. My first "mess" reference was in response to barmar saying that "These things have feedback effects -- typical salaries took into account the expectation that the worker would be supporting an entire family, not half.". There are a lot of single parent families, and I don't see that as changing any time soon. Will the programs you suggest cope with this? Well, they certainly will help. On that much, I agree. I can't say I like the idea that one salary is not enough, I see it as deterioration of our standard of living, but the programs will help.


I was surprised to see that most people do not do their own taxes but I guess it is so. I still mow my own grass because I enjoy mowing grass, but about fifteen years ago I decided that I had been doing my own taxes for close to fifty years, I did not like doing my taxes, so I decided to pay someone else to do it. We also hire a woman to come in and clean the house every week. Becky and I are retired and in good health, so we could do it, but we are happy to hire it out. I see these three things as three sides of the same coin. Grass mowing, yes, I enjoy it, taxes no, and the weekly house cleaning no. A friend still changes his own oil on his car. Now that's weird.


At any rate, I did my own taxes for about fifty years and just about everyone I knew did the same. I just got tired of it.
Ken
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#18131 User is offline   y66 

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Posted Today, 17:29

I used to do minor service on my motorcycles but I gave them up years ago. I've been taking my car to Joey Baird's Auto, a neighborhood shop, for almost 30 years. Last week I couldn't get the blade off the mower to sharpen it so I called Joey and he said bring it in. I was amused to see he had to wrestle with it too but did not let on. He got the bolt loose using a breaker bar and a hammer. Then he offered to sharpen the blade which I accepted, showed me the blade for inspection, smiled and asked if it was sharp enough, put the blade back on and helped me load it into the car. When I offered to pay for his time he waved me off. That's my case for optimism. I would feel more confident if there were more guys like Joey in the world.
If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#18132 User is offline   Chas_P 

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Posted Today, 18:50

View PostWinstonm, on 2021-April-22, 08:01, said:

the arguments from Republicans are fear-based, and what they fear most is a level playing field.

I'm not a Republican but, just for the sake of argument, please give us your definition of "a level playing field".

#18133 User is offline   Chas_P 

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Posted Today, 19:32

View Postkenberg, on 2021-April-22, 15:12, said:

At any rate, I did my own taxes for about fifty years and just about everyone I knew did the same. I just got tired of it.

And it got more....and more....and more....complicated.

#18134 User is offline   y66 

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Posted Today, 20:26

David Brooks said:

https://www.nytimes....pgtype=Homepage

Those of us who had hoped America would calm down when we no longer had Donald Trump spewing poison from the Oval Office have been sadly disabused. There are increasing signs that the Trumpian base is radicalizing. My Republican friends report vicious divisions in their churches and families. Republican politicians who don’t toe the Trump line are speaking of death threats and menacing verbal attacks.

It’s as if the Trump base felt some security when their man was at the top, and that’s now gone. Maybe Trump was the restraining force.

What’s happening can only be called a venomous panic attack. Since the election, large swathes of the Trumpian right have decided America is facing a crisis like never before and they are the small army of warriors fighting with Alamo-level desperation to ensure the survival of the country as they conceive it.

The first important survey data to understand this moment is the one pollster Kristen Soltis Anderson discussed with my colleague Ezra Klein. When asked in late January if politics is more about “enacting good public policy” or “ensuring the survival of the country as we know it,” 51 percent of Trump Republicans said survival; only 19 percent said policy.

The level of Republican pessimism is off the charts. A February Economist-YouGov poll asked Americans which statement is closest to their view: “It’s a big, beautiful world, mostly full of good people, and we must find a way to embrace each other and not allow ourselves to become isolated” or “Our lives are threatened by terrorists, criminals and illegal immigrants, and our priority should be to protect ourselves.”

Over 75 percent of Biden voters chose “a big, beautiful world.” Two-thirds of Trump voters chose “our lives are threatened.”

This level of catastrophism, nearly despair, has fed into an amped-up warrior mentality.

“The decent know that they must become ruthless. They must become the stuff of nightmares,” Jack Kerwick writes in the Trumpian magazine American Greatness. “The good man must spare not a moment to train, in both body and mind, to become the monster that he may need to become in order to slay the monsters that prey upon the vulnerable.”

With this view, the Jan. 6 insurrection was not a shocking descent into lawlessness but practice for the war ahead. A week after the siege, nearly a quarter of Republicans polled said violence can be acceptable to achieve political goals. William Saletan of Slate recently rounded up the evidence showing how many Republican politicians are now cheering the Jan. 6 crowd, voting against resolutions condemning them.

Liberal democracy is based on a level of optimism, faith and a sense of security. It’s based on confidence in the humanistic project: that through conversation and encounter, we can deeply know each other across differences; that most people are seeking the good with different opinions about how to get there; that society is not a zero-sum war, but a conversation and a negotiation.

As Leon Wieseltier writes in the magazine Liberties, James Madison was an optimist and a pessimist at the same time, a realist and an idealist. Philosophic liberals — whether on the right side of the political spectrum or the left — understand people have selfish interests, but believe in democracy and open conversation because they have confidence in the capacities of people to define their own lives, to care for people unlike themselves, to keep society progressing.

With their deep pessimism, the hyperpopulist wing of the G.O.P. seems to be crashing through the floor of philosophic liberalism into an abyss of authoritarian impulsiveness. Many of these folks are no longer even operating in the political realm. The G.O.P. response to the Biden agenda has been anemic because the base doesn’t care about mere legislation, just their own cultural standing.

Over the last decade or so, as illiberalism, cancel culture and all the rest have arisen within the universities and elite institutions on the left, dozens of publications and organizations have sprung up. They have drawn a sharp line between progressives who believe in liberal free speech norms, and those who don’t.

There are new and transformed magazines and movements like American Purpose, Persuasion, Counterweight, Arc Digital, Tablet and Liberties that point out the excesses of the social justice movement and distinguish between those who think speech is a mutual exploration to seek truth and those who think speech is a structure of domination to perpetuate systems of privilege.

This is exactly the line-drawing that now confronts the right, which faces a more radical threat. Republicans and conservatives who believe in the liberal project need to organize and draw a bright line between themselves and the illiberals on their own side. This is no longer just about Trump the man, it’s about how you are going to look at reality — as the muddle its always been, or as an apocalyptic hellscape. It’s about how you pursue change — through the conversation and compromise of politics, or through intimidations of macho display.

I can tell a story in which the Trumpians self-marginalize or exhaust themselves. Permanent catastrophism is hard. But apocalyptic pessimism has a tendency to deteriorate into nihilism, and people eventually turn to the strong man to salve the darkness and chaos inside themselves.

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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