How can you vote for a president who says "Jews who vote for Democrats are traitors"????

Paul M. Weir

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I really have no real worthwhile opinion on Sanders vs Warren, I simply don't know enough, both would be way ahead of the others in my view. Re-litigating the D primary is pointless as it has been re-engineered since 2016. What is more important is remembering why Spanky got elected. His edge was that he was a complete outsider. Voters were clearly unhappy with the traditional centrist policies and politicians. While Sanders and Warren are both long established politicians, their policies are not. While in European terms their policies would be seen as centrist main stream, until recently they would have been seen as radically unacceptable in US terms and thus fresh.

My worry about Biden is less that he is not progressive enough but that he will appear to be "stale" to the US electorate. He might not be anything as loathed as Hillary, but still not enough to excite the 2018 surge people. But if it's Biden then it's Biden.

As for term limits, I can understand the origins of that tradition (only a statutory limit post FDR). Ireland has such a limit on its presidency, our president has two 7 year terms maximum, but the role is mainly ceremonial. If our president died almost no one would notice until the smell got too bad at his official residence. The problem with term limits is competence. Your president is assumed to have gathered a cabal of competent advisors and executors of his policy (current incumbent excepted). Senators, Representatives and dog-catchers, much, much less so. Writing workable laws is much more than doing your laundry list, it's more akin to programming. I suspect that very few politicians or judges are fully up to speed within their first year or two. So by the time a Representative becomes good at his job (legislating) he/she would be in their final term. Senators would have more time (12 years) to become at least competent, 4 years for a Representative is just too short. As an aside, European legislators face election every 4 or so years, twice as long as a US House term.
 

Paul M. Weir

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Lawrence O'Donnell as part of his reporting on yesterday's court proceedings involving Deutsche Bank and as to whether DB had copies of Spanky's tax returns, provided a interesting titbit. The court proceedings do seem to confirm that DB has copies of Spanky's tax returns, as expected. What was new was according a single unnamed DB source, the loan guarantee documents for some or many of Spanky's loans were cosigned by (a) Russian oligarch(s). While that has still to be confirmed, that is a new and more concrete explanation of how Putin's fisting control's Spanky. O'Donnell did warn that all that was tentative.
 

DWPetros

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I really have no real worthwhile opinion on Sanders vs Warren, I simply don't know enough, both would be way ahead of the others in my view. Re-litigating the D primary is pointless as it has been re-engineered since 2016. What is more important is remembering why Spanky got elected. His edge was that he was a complete outsider. Voters were clearly unhappy with the traditional centrist policies and politicians. While Sanders and Warren are both long established politicians, their policies are not. While in European terms their policies would be seen as centrist main stream, until recently they would have been seen as radically unacceptable in US terms and thus fresh.

My worry about Biden is less that he is not progressive enough but that he will appear to be "stale" to the US electorate. He might not be anything as loathed as Hillary, but still not enough to excite the 2018 surge people. But if it's Biden then it's Biden.
Funny how someone outside the US can see more clearly than many in the US what the dynamics are. You're quite right in your analysis. Trump got elected because he was an 'outsider'. The postscript is that he's thrown in with the insiders since and as we knew beforehand - he was and is a fraud. The trend here has been to realize that the insiders, the establishment type, have run away with the groceries and the people are sick of it. They want change - and the Biden types aren't that. The establisment won't get new, younger voters out in strength like the progressive candidates have done so far, and will continue to do.

But try telling that to the guys who think things haven't changed much and who think we just need more establishment leaders. We're in some serious stuff over here and need some serious changes.


"Released Sunday, the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows that 70 percent of Americans said they felt “angry because our political system seems to only be working for the insiders with money and power.” That figure, based on polling conducted Aug. 10-14, is barely different from the 69 percent who said they felt that way in an October 2015 poll.

“Four years ago, we uncovered a deep and boiling anger across the country engulfing our political system,” said Democratic pollster Jeff Horwitt of Hart Research Associates, which conducted the survey with the Republican firm Public Opinion Strategies. “Four years later, with a very different political leader in place,” said Horwitt, “that anger remains at the same level.”
 
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Paul M. Weir

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Funny how someone outside the US can see more clearly than many in the US what the dynamics are.
Being outside the day to day maelstrom allows a certain detachment and a view of the wider panorama. Sweat and blood drops in your eyes clouds vision.

I used to think that US politics dragged behind, often far behind, European norms. What changed my view was the about face in US public opinion about the ACA. I posted before that once it ranked below child sacrifice in popularity yet when threatened by the R trifecta the public response was such that it forced sufficient Rs to save it. That seemed to make voters realise that they really, really had the power to do something about their problems. The teabaggers were an early, albeit negative, expression of popular power. Now the progressives have had a taste of popular power and I think they like the flavour.

In Europe there is a regular back and forth in terms of human value's progress, you have parliamentary debates with possible votes of no confidence ousting a government party or parties. You don't have equivalent in the US, short of impeachment and conviction of a president. I think that results in US progress being a much more intermittent, stop-go stuttering. It seems to take something big like the 50s-60s civil rights allied with the Vietnam War or today's spectacle of Spanky as the ultimate pinnacle of (GoP) greed and reaction to effect action and change. A comparison is in Europe the people erode change like small streams whilst in the US you get occasional big flash floods.
 

DWPetros

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Being outside the day to day maelstrom allows a certain detachment and a view of the wider panorama. Sweat and blood drops in your eyes clouds vision.
Now the progressives have had a taste of popular power and I think they like the flavour.
It seems to take something big like the 50s-60s civil rights allied with the Vietnam War or today's spectacle of Spanky as the ultimate pinnacle of (GoP) greed and reaction to effect action and change. A comparison is in Europe the people erode change like small streams whilst in the US you get occasional big flash floods.
Sounds right as rain. Yes, something big is brewing, coming to a head, and the response needs to match that bigness. Older guys resist even acknowledging this change - evidenced by some here. Understandable - 'normalcy bias' and all. But change is in the air, like it, recognize it or not.

My concern is that while the life-changing, serious issues at hand; the planet's ecological destruction, economic inequality, etc., isn't recognized for the threat that it is. Like you say, Vietnam caught everyone's attention (various reasons - the draft, the horror) and the young went to the streets. Now... nothing. Crickets. Why?

A couple of causes for this malaise I think are: 1) the consolidation of our media by corporate interests who don't want us well informed about what's up, which is a by-product of wealth concentration, 2) confusion caused by the internet / the capturing of youth by social media, 3) a culture dedicated to enforcing one's own self-interest.
 

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My concern is that while the life-changing, serious issues at hand; the planet's ecological destruction, economic inequality, etc., isn't recognized for the threat that it is. Like you say, Vietnam caught everyone's attention (various reasons - the draft, the horror) and the young went to the streets. Now... nothing. Crickets. Why?

A couple of causes for this malaise I think are: 1) the consolidation of our media by corporate interests who don't want us well informed about what's up, which is a by-product of wealth concentration, 2) confusion caused by the internet / the capturing of youth by social media, 3) a culture dedicated to enforcing one's own self-interest.
I think the media in general (EXC: Fox Skews and others) have highlighted the ecological and sociological problems well, maybe not as much as needed, but still fairly well. Media coverage is limited by corporate interests but most importantly viewer topic exhaustion. Viewers can endure only so much doom and gloom before getting a migraine and switching off.

Don't forget that humans have evolved over some 250-150k years to survive as bands of hunter-gatherers and only in the last 10-5k years have started to adapt to a more interlinked agriculture based existence, never mind only 200-300 years of industrialisation. Our biological development, I suspect, has not kept pace with our new artificial environments and most of us are simply incapable to fully take in things many, many magnitudes greater than our individual worlds and experiences.

The internet is a new environment for the human brain. That may be a strange way to look at it, but I believe it's a valid and fruitful approach. I can only think of the domestication of the horse (sorry cats, I love you, but ...) as having a similar potential revolutionary change in our habits. The horse meant that humans could move more (though it required the development of the horse collar, ~ 500 CE, to do it most efficiently), both themselves and their goods. The internet allows the exchange of human's real weapon - information, anywhere and with anyone. Just as the horse brought us the Huns and Mongols, the internet will bring us neo-Nazis and scammers yet we in the end are better for it.

Because the internet is really only a couple of decades old we will be stumbling around in this new environment for quite some time to come. Nobody can predict what the longer term effects on human society of the internet and associated technologies will be. These are definitely interesting times.

Sorry, but occasionally I go into philosophical and science nerd mode.
 

DWPetros

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While I may not agree with your whole assessment on the news or internet, I do like your philosophy - 'what, me worry?' I need some of that.

Your view of the internet - if I have it right - that we're in a transition of sorts, and will eventually adjust to it for the better. Not sure how we get from here to there, but we can see from history that humans do seem to find their way forward somehow. Maybe the changes brought by the internet are sort of like the changes brought about by the printing press; a revolution of information. But this time - on steroids. We can only guess how the internet will change us.

'We shape our tools and afterwards our tools shape us."

Marshall McLuhan
 

Paul M. Weir

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While I may not agree with your whole assessment on the news or internet, I do like your philosophy - 'what, me worry?' I need some of that.

Your view of the internet - if I have it right - that we're in a transition of sorts, and will eventually adjust to it for the better. Not sure how we get from here to there, but we can see from history that humans do seem to find their way forward somehow. Maybe the changes brought by the internet are sort of like the changes brought about by the printing press; a revolution of information. But this time - on steroids. We can only guess how the internet will change us.

'We shape our tools and afterwards our tools shape us."

Marshall McLuhan
My philosophy is not 'what, me worry?', far, far from it. My fear is that the limitations of the average human brain means most of us are incapable of fully comprehending the magnitude of the problems we cause or can affect, that is until a hurricane sweeps away everything or a chemical plant blows up. The scientists, engineers, doctors, etc among us can, but it requires more than a few eggheads to change public policy. On the other hand my philosophy is not of despair, we have survived many things to date. I still say "worry" because the worry of many may lead to changes that will avert or ameliorate the worst self inflicted problems. My philosophy is one of very nervous and very cautious optimism.

I don't see the internet as the printing press on steroids. The printing press was limited to the few who had sufficient resources. If I may diverge a little, I will compare to transportation. At first it was on foot, then on horseback. The horse in some societies was restricted to the few (eg Europe), in others nearly universal (eg Mongols). The next step was the railway and finally individual cars affordable by very many. These changes produced technological shocks to their human societies, but the transition periods were in the order of one or two human generations at least. The internet has hit us almost like we went from an occasional armoured aristocrat on a horse to individual 25,000 mile ranged jet packs for almost everybody in a decade or two. I was already middle aged before the internet, we're not talking about my father's or grandfather's time.

The internet has already greatly changed commerce and has made great changes as to how politics is shaped. As you correctly phrased it, we are in a transition period. This transition will be the greatest disruption and transformation of human society to date. It will be very disruptive in good part simply because of its speed. I don't know how long it will take us to adjust and I certainly have absolutely no clue what direction or destination it will take us to. Anyone who says otherwise is either a fool or charlatan.

I was a teen when LcLuhan achieved some notoriety and fame in the '60s. His work was quite prescient, though off in some of the fine details. We are finally starting to see the emergence of his "global village". Thanks for reminding me of him with your very apt quote.
 

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The internet is one good example of how our technological abilities outpace our ability to understand their impact on us. There are other examples; AI, medicine, transportation, and the list goes on of how the very pace of the changes within those fields outstrip us. Yet we still push forward, blindly, into the future of techno gadgetry. 'Don't stand in the way sir, we're making progress!' I don't buy it. We're just pushing the techno envelope because we can, and people are making good money on it.

The concern is that we're not involving other natural human skills and understanding alongside this push. Too much money and excitement in the pushing forward. Not enough common sense or comprehensiveness. And the neglect of these other human skills, especially as things are moving at an exponential rate, is potentially catastrophic today. In times past, we accommodated our technological changes (printing press, combustion engine, nuclear power, etc) sometimes easily, sometimes just barely. If we keep up that pace, we're really pushing the envelope.

The core problem is that we use our brain skill (thinking) to the exclusion of our other skills. Changing that paradigm will be the very key to human survival.
 
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Paul M. Weir

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Sorry for going from specific bitching about Spanky to a more generalised, almost philosophical discussion about where humanity is headed. Sometimes it's therapeutic to get your head out of the daily shit show and think about the bigger picture and trends. While Spanky and his antics are a serious threat to everyone, remember the wise words "This too will pass" (likely an ancient Persian myth). I'll try to keep my musings to anti-Spanky rants in future :oops:.
 

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Speaking of Spanky. Any children of US citizens born on or after 29 October will no longer be automatically granted US citizenship. That means that children of foreign based troops, embassy officials or other government workers can be denied US citizenship. Many countries that do grant citizenship to anybody who is born there have exemptions that exclude children of parents over whom they don't have jurisdiction (IE Diplomatic Immunity). So those children of US parents stationed abroad will end up stateless.


EDIT: I forgot that Spanky has ended the Medical Deferred Program which allows temporary residence to families of children who are receiving life saving medical treatment in the US. Many such families have been ordered to leave within 33 days, regardless of whether their children will die due to cessation of treatment.
 
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Brian W

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EDIT: I forgot that Spanky has ended the Medical Deferred Program which allows temporary residence to families of children who are receiving life saving medical treatment in the US. Many such families have been ordered to leave within 33 days, regardless of whether their children will die due to cessation of treatment.
Ahh, the price of racial purity. Republicans have already proven that the lives of a few children is a price they'll gladly pay for it.
 

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Looks like Wall Street is getting a little jumpy about progressives like Sanders and Warren ascending in the polls . - a coming Nightmare on Wall Street?

"For plutocrats, this summer has gotten a bit scary. Two feared candidates are rising. Trusted candidates are underperforming. The 2020 presidential election could turn out to be a real-life horror movie: A Nightmare on Wall Street.
“Wall Street executives who want Trump out,” Politico reported in January, “list a consistent roster of appealing (to Wall Street) nominees that includes former Vice President Joe Biden and Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Kamala Harris of California.”
 
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