Trump, who was described here as a patriot, needs to be

resisted to, for patriotic reasons. I have not much power of thought or words, but feel I still can recognize those, who have.

Chris Hedges tells us again the way "patriotic" despotism advances to sink the ship of democracy, like the Titanic, slowly but surely.

A Last Chance for Resistance
(Please read the story on truthdig. I quote a lot of it here, just because I think it's important and it should be read. But please go and click on their site!)

The crawl toward despotism within a failed democracy is always incremental. No regime planning to utterly extinguish civil liberties advertises its intentions in advance. It pays lip service to liberty and justice while obliterating the institutions and laws that make them possible.

Despots demand absolute loyalty. This is why they place family members in the inner circles. The Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, whose vanity rivaled that of Trump, and Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein filled their governments with their children, siblings, nephews, nieces and in-laws and rounded out their inner courts with racists, opportunists and thugs of the kind that now populate the White House.

Despots distrust diplomats... Diplomats, often multilingual and conversant with other cultures and societies, deal in nuances and ambiguities that are beyond the grasp of the despot. ...Despots, however, live in a binary universe of their own creation. They rapidly dismantle the diplomatic corps when they take power for the same reason they attack intellectuals and artists....Trump’s proposed State Department budget cuts ... is part of the shift away from diplomacy to an exclusive reliance on violence or the threat of violence. The militarization of the diplomatic corps, with the Central Intelligence Agency and military intelligence operatives often taking over embassies, especially in conflict zones, began long before Trump took office. But Trump will deal the coup de grâce to the diplomatic corps. Despots replace diplomats with sycophants with no diplomatic experience, such as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who promise to impose the despot’s will on the rest of the world.

There are three institutions tasked in a functioning democracy with protecting the truth and keeping national discourse rooted in verifiable fact—the courts, the press and universities. Despots must control these three to prevent them from exposing their lies and restricting their power. ...
Trump has not only attacked the courts but has also begun purges of the judiciary with his mass firing of U.S. attorneys...By the time Trump’s four-year term is up, Federalist Society judges could be in as many as half of the country’s appellate seats....
Trump has continued to attempt to discredit the press ...
The attacks on universities, which will be accelerated, are on display in the budget proposal. ... A university will of course be able to get corporate funding for research if it casts doubt on the importance of climate change or does research that can be used to swell corporate profits or promote other business interests. Scientific study into our ecocide and the dangers from chemicals, toxins and pollutants released by corporations into the atmosphere will be thwarted. And the withering of humanities programs, already suffering in many universities, will worsen.

Repression will become steadily more overt and severe. Dissent will be equated with terrorism. We must use the space before it is shut. ... The forces of despotism seek to keep us complacent and pacified with the false hope that mechanisms within the system will moderate Trump or remove him through impeachment, or that the looming tyranny will never be actualized. There is an emotional incapacity among any population being herded toward despotism or war to grasp what is happening. The victims cannot believe that the descent into barbarity is real, ... that once rights become privileges, any segment of a society is excluded from the law, rights can instantly be revoked for everyone.

I post that here as a warning to those of you, who get bamboozled. Resist. It all happened before. Don't let it happen again.

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Comments

gulfgal98's picture

here at caucus99 described Trump as a patriot? This is a disturbing claim which hardly reflects the vast majority of what I read here. However, I am not on here 24/7 so perhaps I missed it.

We need to resist despotism, but to protest against Trump the person reeks of sour grapes. It does not go very far to say that I hate Trump and he is not my President. However, pointing out how the current administration is a dangerous one and why is certainly far more effective.

We must remember that people voted for Trump due to the failure of the Democrats to address the economic issues that have ravaged large areas in the Midwest. These people were desperate because the Democrats failed to listen or offer an solutions. And the Democrats are still not listening nor offering solutions.

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"I don't want to run the empire, I want to bring it down!" ~Dr. Cornel West "...isn't the problem here that the government takes on, arbitrarily and without justification, an adversarial attitude towards its citizenry?" ~CantStoptheMacedonianSignal

boriscleto's picture

@gulfgal98 @gulfgal98 In gjohnsit's essay "The idealogical difference of the Trump Administration"

Say what you will about Trump, but he appears to be truly patriotic, unlike every Administration before him for generations.
What is interesting is that if we go back just a decade, it was liberals that used the term "fair trade", not Republicans. Before it became a euphemism for international multiculturalism.
This, more than any other reason, is why Democrats lost the Rust Belt.

To put it in context this is what came before it

#2) Nationalism vs. Globalism
This is the only thing that the two groups of oligarchs really disagree about, and it is being played out right now at the G20 Summit.

The world's financial leaders rowed back on a pledge to keep an open and inclusive global trade system after being unable to find a suitable compromise with an increasingly protectionist United States.
Making only a token reference to trade in their communique, finance ministers and central bank chiefs from the world's top 20 economies broke with a decade-long tradition of endorsing open trade, a clear defeat for host nation Germany, which has fought to maintain the G20's past commitments...
"We are working to strengthen the contribution of trade to our economies," G20 finance chiefs said after a two-day meeting in the German resort town of Baden Baden, well short of a past commitment for rules-based, transparent, non-discriminatory, open and inclusive multilateral trade.
Seeking to put "America first", Trump has already pulled out of a key trade agreement and proposed a new tax on imports, arguing that certain trade relationships need to be reworked to make them fairer for U.S. workers.

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" In the beginning, the universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry, and is generally considered to have been a bad move. -- Douglas Adams, The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy "

https://youpic.com/photographer/boriscleto/

gulfgal98's picture

@boriscleto I have been down with the flu for the last several days so I missed that essay.

I personally abhor the word "patriotism" as it conjures up images of war to me. Patriotism or being a patriot means that you place a country above the people. So it is possible that Trump and his supporters could see him as a patriot. But none of us here would ever see Trump as a humanist who cares more about people.

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"I don't want to run the empire, I want to bring it down!" ~Dr. Cornel West "...isn't the problem here that the government takes on, arbitrarily and without justification, an adversarial attitude towards its citizenry?" ~CantStoptheMacedonianSignal

@gulfgal98

of posting said that troops were patriotic. Everyone else was nationalist. And we know where that goes.

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gulfgal98's picture

@gulfgal98

Patriotism is an attachment to a homeland. This attachment can be viewed in terms of different features relating to one's own homeland, including ethnic, cultural, political or historical aspects. It encompasses a set of concepts closely related to those of nationalism.
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"I don't want to run the empire, I want to bring it down!" ~Dr. Cornel West "...isn't the problem here that the government takes on, arbitrarily and without justification, an adversarial attitude towards its citizenry?" ~CantStoptheMacedonianSignal

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@gulfgal98 Correct. That's why one could say Trump is a patriot and still think he's a terrible person and a terrible leader.

He may still be a better leader than Hillary the CIA-backed Armageddon candidate, but not by much. Managing to avoid nuclear war in one's first term is not a very high bar.

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The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

mimi's picture

@gulfgal98
explains the root causes of Trump's election victory. I am in full agreement with those explanations and lucky to learn about them sometimes in great detail here at c99p. But that doesn't mean that the average German person knows about these arguments at all. They don't.

We must remember that people voted for Trump due to the failure of the Democrats to address the economic issues that have ravaged large areas in the Midwest.

Since 4 months I am in Germany and know that "the little German people" have no knowledge about those reasons, but still have very negative feelings towards Trump. People ask me they can't understand why the Americans voted for Trump. (Did you ever wonder why the Germans voted for Hitler?)

If I try to explain it with your arguments, their eyes glaze over. They can't understand it. Or they don't believe it. They can't feel and can't follow how deep the exonomic and social issues of poverty and neglect of Americans people in the Midwest and other rural areas or in specific strata of the American population really are. I don't speak about German news junkies, but the general population, the little people, who watch TV but don't read US blogs and English news pieces.

Many here seemed to have seen Obama as a person, who couldn't act differently and may have seen him as a victim, yet don't exactly understand what was going on and are not sure about it. Many don't like Hillary Clinton, few are capable of expressing why. They make judgements out of their guts.

I mentioned in gjohnsit's essay, after I have been triggered to say something with regards of the description of Trump being a patriot, that I might be under influence of my current environment here in Germany and therefore too sensitive, but I also didnt' get an answer as to what Trump is loyal to as a patriot.

I think we both tried to put our words in the end into some context and there was no ill will to point to gjohnsit's expression. On the other hand I had some difficulties to ignore it. I understand that mostly nobody cares what Germans think and German politicians say. If I were not such a hot head and talk spontaneously I would have just said nothing. But it hurts to stay silent.

I think I am motivated to say something sometimes, because I know how people from different parts of the world DO NOT UNDERSTAND each other, even though they believe they do and even though they follow the news all the time.

I posted Chris Hedges article, because I found it a good summary of how a country that believes in its democratic values can slip into despotism. He gave several examples. All I found enlightening and reasonable to make.

The fact that Chris Hedges writes for a living and puts out similar essays on a regular basis is not a reason to belittle what he writes about. At least he is not on a payroll of someone, who expect him to write "to the pleasure of his payroll master". He had proven in his life that he isn't that kind of a guy.

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"History is what the present chooses to remember" - Carl Becker

gulfgal98's picture

@mimi I hope you will continue to post your thoughts from the European perspective. I misunderstood the context when I posted my first comment on this essay. I apologize for not reading further before running my mouth, dear lady. Give rose

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"I don't want to run the empire, I want to bring it down!" ~Dr. Cornel West "...isn't the problem here that the government takes on, arbitrarily and without justification, an adversarial attitude towards its citizenry?" ~CantStoptheMacedonianSignal

mimi's picture

@gulfgal98
see, I am with no one to talk to, no job, no car, no tasks I could even start, like in a cage at my former parents house, waiting for my belongings to arrive here. I am going nuts and all I do in this rainy, grey part of Germany is reading on my laptop, wondering about where I am at and how I get outta here and listening to German TV. That makes me cranky. I run my mouth, not you.

Please I am sorry that these days I am confronted with other folks than Americans and that it makes me "blow up more easily" . It's not that easy for me to realize the differences that exist.

I also apologize to gjohnsit. I have not an inkling of patriotism in me and am loyal just to the suffering of the least of us, no matter where they are. What can I say. I always respect and admire your balanced calm words you have to explain situations I often wouldn't understand otherwise.

The flowers should be for you. Really. I like your comments very much, dear lady, back at you.

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"History is what the present chooses to remember" - Carl Becker

eyo's picture

@gulfgal98 thanks, and thanks all c99ers. Felt like saying I think of 99% as whole world, not just the U.S.. I am trying pretty hard to like Merkel, who else is there? I don't know but think we have a lot in common as just people trying to live under oligarchy. Merkel is part of the problem, right? I hate having to defend oligarchs, makes me feel dumb.

I think Germany has all the same problems like California, just different location. Unable to assimilate immigrants fast enough is the problem, in my view. Too much culture clash plus income inequality is like a tanker full of gas. Don't say pipelines are fair trade. Thanks.
Edit: answering myself about Merkel. Sometimes read thelocal.de, and the different links to Denmark, Italy, etc.. It is the same boring corporate media template everywhere. Merkel calls for free trade with Japan after meeting with Trump

"At a time when we are arguing a lot over free trade, open borders and democratic values, it's a good sign that Japan and Germany are not arguing" over trade, she said.

Abe, who is in Hanover as part of a European tour, said that Japan "wants to be the champion upholding open systems alongside Germany".

He said it was through connectedness that economies would grow, and called for a swift conclusion to the EU-Japan trade deal.

But he added: "We must not create conditions by which wealth becomes concentrated among only some people." ...

Pfft! Go on then.
Peace & Love
Bill Withers - Lean On Me

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On a blog.

mimi's picture

@eyo
is that many people in Germany respect her for her committment to help the refugees. For a conservative politicians she was a rare exception in that she tried to hold up moral values over political partisanship.

She is pro European and in that pro free trade. I have the feeling a lot of our Social Democrats are as well. She is pro European as a stronghold against nationalist and right-wing tendencies and in that she is against Brexit, Nexit etc. Because she is standing against right-wingers as a member of the conservative party, she is a different kind of conservative. There are enough Germans who respect her for it.

There are also enough Germans on the right (and Americans on the right) and on the left, who work against her for that reason. The leftist want her to stand up against Free Trade and austerity measures, the right wants her to be more populist, nationalist and more xenophobe and for the break-up of the EU. So, she hangs between a lot of chairs and she gets tired. I don't blame her, but she has been misjudged and many in Germany sense that and don't want to allow that.

There is no reason so far to believe that the Social Democrats under the future chancellor candidate of the Social Democratic Party of Germany, Martin Schulz, will be more successful in pushing within the EU against bad free trade agreements. He will certainly not support the destruction of the EU, having been a member of the European Parliament from 1994-2017. He will support the EU as a stronghold against right-wing political movements though.

So far I don't see enough support for "Die Linke" our official left-wing party, main reason I think is the fact that they are anti EU for their austerity policies vis a vis other EU member states and for the EU's support for free trade agreements they are critical of. Many Germans don't care about that or don't understand it. But I hope the Social Democrats will become stronger again and fight right-wing movements where they pop up within the whole EU territory.

More I don't know, I am little people and not a political junky. And of course I could be all wrong. Looks I always am. Sigh.

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"History is what the present chooses to remember" - Carl Becker

Pluto's Republic's picture

@gulfgal98 and @mimi …to these necessary conversations at this time, than you.

I am aware of Mimi's efforts to reconcile the narratives of different parts of the world. It's the work that diplomats and ambassadors do, and it is really hard work fraught with trial and error. On that note, you snagged me with this one:

People ask me they can't understand why the Americans voted for Trump. (Did you ever wonder why the Germans voted for Hitler?)

This is one of the questions that every new generation will ask. Intellectually, we all know the answer; the forces and depravation of the times. But no one has ever lived the answer and physically metabolized it.

Until now.

This goes to the core truth of the matter: The American people are living on the edge of desperation. Whether it is real, or is merely in their minds, it doesn't matter. They want a strong man who has already made up his mind and who has a plan, to defend and protect them.

(I also think it is important also to keep in mind that the votes that put Trump over the top were the anti-Hillary votes. It's not that Hillary didn't get enough votes to win, it's that standard Democratic votes were turned into Protest votes on election day. Make no mistake. This is the logical narrative of all the confusing polls surrounding the election. This was huge.)

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@mimi is to be compliant. To be compliant is to be complicit. To be complicit is to be culpable.
I have to keep reminding my wife of that when my son spouts his RW BS.

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There is no such thing as TMI. It can always be held in reserve for extortion.

@gulfgal98
Like I said before, patriotism is not necessarily a good or bad thing. It only means loyalty.
Many a despot has been a true patriot.

I think Trump believes himself a patriot.
That fact has nothing to do with opposing him or not.

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mimi's picture

@gjohnsit @gjohnsit
ie. that patriotism is neither a good or a bad thing and that patriotism means loyalty.
But in how far does that answer the question as to what "the patriot Trump" is loyal to? Which to me is the only question I have. I might have missed your answer to that. If so, I apologize.

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"History is what the present chooses to remember" - Carl Becker

@mimi

to what "the patriot Trump" is loyal to

Trump is loyal to his idea of America. Just like every patriot and despot.

The real question is what is his idea of America?
His budget proposal, drone strikes, and cabinet picks have shed some light on that.

Just because his policies are horrific to you doesn't mean this isn't his patriotic vision of the nation.

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mimi's picture

@gjohnsit
Trump is loyal to his idea of America. May I say that I don't like his idea of America? Can I conclude therefore - for myself - that this makes his loyalty bad in my mind? Only mine.

Peace.

Cheers to the better ideas of America than Trump has them. Drinks

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@gulfgal98 I agree that Trump might be a patriot. So what? Lots of horrible people are patriots, here and abroad.

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The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

eyo's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal I'm not Energizer Bernie, when the boulder flattens me I'm gone. One more giant sucking sound and out, that's how it feels. Sorry if it harshes the buzz around here.
Developers of affordable housing in California are on pins and needles over Trump's tax plan

After election day, affordable housing projects across the state immediately saw multimillion-dollar budget gaps and future dollars are now at risk. The tax credit program is the largest source for funding for low-income housing in California, and the market downturn could mean a reduction in state low-income housing funding by $250 million this year, said Matt Schwartz, president and chief executive of California Housing Partnership, a nonprofit advocate for low-income housing.

“It’s caused a huge amount of distress,” Schwartz said.

The market slump comes at a trying time for housing in California. One-third of California renters spend more than half their income on housing costs, and the state is producing at least 100,000 fewer homes each year needed to meet demand for residents at all income levels, according to a recent state report. At the same time, the California Housing Partnership estimates that state and federal funding for low-income housing in California dropped 67% to $892 million annually between 2009 and 2015.
...

pew pew pew!

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On a blog.

First, message boards being what they are, a disclaimer seems semi-obligatory: I like Chris Hedges and his politics a heck of a lot more than I like President Not Hillary and his politics. However, this piece of Hedges exemplifies several of my pet peeves about people who write columns like this for a living. This is their day job. Yet, all any of them seem to be able to do is point out the existence of a problem, which most or all of their readers already know anyway. However, they are very short on suggesting solutions, to put it mildly. And, if they do suggest any course of action, it's something lame and utterly ineffective, like contacting your representatives. Yeah, right. That works.

I must stop Trump? Sure. I'll get on that at 9 a.m. tomorrow. But what will I do after lunch? /sarcasm It doesn't take a genius to figure out that Trump was not the best choice for President. But what does an ordinary citizen do about that?

Second, at least one statement from the article could not be more messed up factually, namely:

Trump has not only attacked the courts but has also begun purges of the judiciary with his mass firing of U.S. attorneys.

This is Henny Pennying at its worst. First, U.S. attorneys are part of the Department of Justice, which is part of the Executive Branch, not the Judicial Branch. Firing every last one of them--which Trump has not done and cannot do--would not "purge" the judiciary, or even remove or affect a single federal judge. Per the Constitution of the United States, federal judges serve for life. The only way to remove a federal judge involuntarily is impeachment and removal by the House and Senate, same as for removing a POTUS. And we know how difficult that is.

Finally, U.S. attorney slots are either civil service positions, which are very difficult to mess with, or political positions. U.S. attorneys filling political positions are routinely fired whenever the new occupant of the White House is of a different political party than the prior occupant. During the Bush years, the number of civil service positions were increased and the number of political positions correspondingly reduced because Bush wanted to leave, in effect, a poison pill of his religiously-screened hires. (Remember Monica Goodling getting immunity to testify about all this, including how many lawyers she hired came from unaccredited religious law schools and had failed the bar exam? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monica_Goodling)

In any event, Republican Reagan fired the political appointees who were US attorneys when he took over from Democrat Carter. Republican Poppy Bush did not fire U.S. attorneys filling political slots because the White House had not changed political parties. Bill Clinton fired them en masse. Bush the Lesser fired them gradually and, as stated, increased the number who could not be fired easily. Good ole "post-partisan" rookie Obama did not do a dramatic firing, which, IMO, was a mistake. Nonetheless, a President's firings of U.S. attorneys holding political slots has been standard operating procedure for decades.

That someone who has commented on federal politics for years professionally seems totally oblivious to these basics astounds me.

As far as discrediting media, cool! I have been trying to do that in my small way for years. These are the people who have done things like helping Bush lie us into Iraq and conspiring against Sanders. https://www.democracynow.org/2016/12/1/how_the_media_iced_out_bernie; https://mediamatters.org/blog/2015/12/11/abc-world-news-tonight-has-devo... https://mediamatters.org/blog/2016/10/26/study-confirms-network-evening-... (mediamatters.org being headed by none other than Brock). They have abandoned the role that earned them the protection of the First Amendment. They have earned instead our contempt.

As far as hiring a Secretary of State without diplomatic experience, give me a break. Obama, to name just one, did the same thing. During the 2008 primary, he mocked Hillary for claiming her stint as First Lady had given her foreign policy cred, which led her to make up a fairy tale about Tuzla. Then, he appointed her Secretary of State! And look how well she did! /sarcasm When appointed, Tillerson probably had far more experience negotiating with heads of state and diplomats than Her did when she was appointed. And, at least Trump, unlike Obama, did not appoint someone whose qualifications for the job he himself had mocked only several months earlier. Was John Kerry an experienced diplomat when appointed? Was Colin Powell?

Yes, President Trump stinks--duh!--but what is an ordinary person to do about that? Hedges does not tell us. And, bear in mind that the alternative to Trump is not having someone climb down from Mount Rushmore to re-occupy the Oval Office, but inaugurating Vice President Pence. And, even in the unlikely event of simultaneous removals, we'd get President Ayn R Ryan or President Tillerson. http://caucus99percent.com/content/impeach-impeach-part-1; http://caucus99percent.com/content/impeach-impeach-part-2 Finally, And, we do have a government of checks and balances, both de jure and de facto. I described some of them in this essay. http://caucus99percent.com/content/america-get-grip-and-take-breath See also, http://caucus99percent.com/content/frigate-ship-happens

So, let's see: panicking readers more than necessary and without suggesting any plan of action or remedy; getting the facts and law incredibly wrong on the judiciary/US attorney bit, double standards as to Obama-Clinton vs. Trump-Tillerson. And to what end? To fill another column?

All that said, no, Trump is not a patriot, any more than members of the KKK are patriots, even if they wrap themselves in the flag. He is a xenophobic, religiously-bigoted nationalist, which is why courts, who typically cave defer to the CIC in the face of claims of national security, keep striking down his travel restrictions as unconstitutional.

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mimi's picture

@HenryAWallace
and I give up. Excellent comment and response. I can't say much against your arguments, but think it's first unfair to bash Hedges to write for a living and second to blame him for not having effective solutions at hand. As if others had effective solutions.

Yet, all any of them seem to be able to do is describe the problem, which most or all of their readers already know anyway. They are very short on suggesting solutions, however. And, if they do suggest any, it's something lame and utterly ineffective, like contacting your representatives.

May be many of the EB reading communty know already of how to describe the problem, but very few realize, who doesn't read US alternative media. Germans who do read and do know are politicians, who very well will first listen to their own constituents guts feelings, before they try to explain to them the nitty-gritty that American readers here are invovled in and discuss 24/7.

Do you really believe anyone here in Germany gives a damn about past US Presidents right now? And how they were exactly as bad in doing things Trump is doing them now? I don't think so. They think about today and not what was back then.

And with regards to

a President's firings of U.S. attorneys holding political slots has been standard operating procedure for decades.

that may be true, but doesn't make it better. Because holding a political slot is not an excuse to filling them up with extreme right-wing ideologues. The role of attorneys under Hitler should be a lesson. The talent and capabilities of lawyers and attorneys to weasel themselves into bamboozling legal language to hide what they are up to should be the next lesson. At least it's hard to ignore who is getting replaced with whom in the Trump administration. But that's beyond my paygrade.

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"History is what the present chooses to remember" - Carl Becker

dance you monster's picture

@mimi

He shot Hedges's argument down. Please don't take that personally.

Our opinions of German sentiments also are not something to get defensive about. I think pretty much everyone on this site respects opinions from you and from Germans generally. This is not the 1940s when everything German was to be vilified, anymore than everything American now should be vilified because we have a Trump Administration to contend with. Some things American should be decried, but not all.

That Germans don't understand the local political scene in the U.S. to understand how a Trump could be elected is no different than Americans' bafflement that a Hitler could rise to power in 1930s Germany, when the people also felt their needs were not being met. That local context is everything. Voting decisions might be awful, but so were the alternatives that voters were offered to choose from. No matter how one voted, the people's needs would still not be met, and that alone is a tragedy in a system that alleges it is predicated on the people. That local decision, that family decision, that personal decision, that took place as one approached the voting booth is where elections are decided, not in the far-off lands of those who are just looking on in wonderment.

That said, many other Americans and I have no warmth toward this administration. We all are trying to figure out how to oppose what is happening and will continue to happen. That is as true in this site's membership as it is in all the astroturfed demonstrations and petition drives that get the major media attention.

As for Henry's explanation of how American political appointments work, he is correct, and that explanation is important to consider. If it is problematic, we'll only establish that by examining it. This will be frustrating for Germans, and for others around the globe. Just imagine how frustrating it is for us American voters who had no better choices after the Conventions, who almost every season have no better choices offered to us by the well-funded Powers That Be in a nation where self-serving funding to support the Powers That Be is all there is.

If Germans want to find something they can do, so they'll not feel so helpless, tell them to stop giving the U.S. government and corporate leaderships their support and cooperation. Tell them to abandon the economic philosophy that we in the U.S. are proving to be disastrous. Because Germany is complicit. Not the German people in most cases, but the Powers That Be that Europe has as much as the U.S. does.

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mimi's picture

@dance you monster
didn't shoot me down. I never thought he had. My words were not to be taken literally, but a description of a situation where I thought his arguments were so good that I had nothing to hold against them and therefore used the image of "giving up" and "raising a white flag."

I responded to him before but for some reasons my comments were eaten up alive.

Sorry for the mess. I can't formulate another more meaningful response anymore. Dead tired of the pile of poop I dumped here already.

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"History is what the present chooses to remember" - Carl Becker

@mimi

or your post at all, let alone shoot you down. You were not my target or a victim. And, you obviously did not surrender, either. But, as always, you are shooting at my post.

it's first unfair to bash Hedges to write for a living and second to blame him for not having effective solutions at hand.

"Bash" is a loaded word. I did not bash. Nor did I criticize Hedges, even a little, simply for writing for a living. So, there was no first and second, only the second, as I think you know. However, someone who writes on US politics for a living is holding himself out as an expert on US politics. So, yes, I did criticize him for being a professional political writer and riling people up (based on very bad info, at that) to no purpose and with nothing productive to say.

Doing that does not take any expertise. Neither does pointing out that Trump is bad. Why should I be favorably impressed with a professional political writer doing either of those things? I'm not and I said so. I don't think that is even the tiniest bit unfair. I have no idea why anyone would think it unfair, but I disagree with anyone who does.

And with regards to

a President's firings of U.S. attorneys holding political slots has been standard operating procedure for decades.

that may be true, but doesn't make it better.

Huh? I never said the long-standing custom made anything better (or worse, for that matter). However, Hedges made firing attorneys sound like some horrible and unusual thing that was going to destroy the judiciary and I did correctly say that all of that is nonsense.

As far as filling up the US Attorney slots with RWers: (1) the civil service slots limit the ability to do that, as my prior post said; and (2) Democrats fill the slots with Democrats and Republicans fill them with Republicans. I'm sure Republicans are no happier when Democratic Presidents fill the slots with Democrats than the left is when Republican Presidents fill them with Republicans.

I can't say if that is good or bad. I can however, say, that it is a fact and a reality of our system that elections have consequences. One of the consequences of our elections is that the new President gets to make a lot of appointments and those appointments typically consist of people who think like him.

Do you really believe anyone here in Germany gives a damn about past US Presidents right now?

Huh? First, what does that even mean in this context? Second, do you really believe I wrote my post about a US President on a US board primarily for people in Germany? Or that Hedges wrote his column about a US President primarily for people in Germany? However, I assume that people in Germany, like people everywhere, generally do care about reality and facts. So people in the US and everywhere else should know that what Hedges claimed about firing attorneys being unusual and about to destroy the judiciary could not be more false. And shame on Hedges for writing and publishing claptrap like that.

If Hedges wants to say firing U.S. Attorneys is not unusual and is okay when every President but is dangerous when Trump does it, fine. Let Hedges make that argument. But publishing a bunch of nonsense about our system he can get right if he simply googles is inexcusable, in my opinion. Again, he is not posting as a hobby and for free, as I am. He is holding himself out as someone who deserves to be paid for his political observations. He owes it to his readers, regardless of where they may live, to get basic stuff about the US political system right.

As far as attorneys, on the one hand, you don't want attorneys fired; and, on the other hand, you assume they are evil. Again, the reality is that our system uses attorneys, both prosecuting and defending attorneys, some great and some awful. So, I'm not sure what to tell you about that.

Let me emphasize again that this is not a general attack on Hedges, but only a critique of this one column, which roundly deserves critiquing, IMO. That should be obvious. If not, the disclaimer in my prior post should have made that clear, along with the fact that I am not pro-Trump. However, message boards have their own culture and disclaimers can't be too strong or too clear.

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6 users have voted.
mimi's picture

@HenryAWallace
got a double post for it, then redacted one, and now both are gone. Sorry. I don't understand what happened.

I am pretty tired of repeating my first comment.

In no way did I feel you "shot me down". I used the image of the white flag and the shoot down expression, because I felt that your comment was so good that there was nothing I could argue against. It was no in no way meant literally and I felt in no way offended.

I think I said that your comment was so good that there is nothing I can hold against. Apparently this comment is now gone. Sorry for the bad choice of words. I regret that my first response is gone and I don't know why that happened.

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2 users have voted.

"History is what the present chooses to remember" - Carl Becker

@mimi
I delete them so as not to jam up the comment flow. It doesn't matter to me how they happened or if they are truly duplicates, I delete them if I catch them.

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5 users have voted.
mimi's picture

@JtC
Henry Wallace had also a double of his comment. I responded to one, and probably that was the one he redacted, and may be then my responses to that redacted one went down the gully as well.

Heh. It was a messy word exchange to begin with. I call my way of choosing words sometimes a pile of poop, because they are differently taken as I meant them and some people think they stink.

Sorry. Some higher power cleaned them up. Smile

Now we can breathe a little fresh air and hopefully Henry Wallace doesn't take my words personally or literally any longer.

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1 user has voted.

"History is what the present chooses to remember" - Carl Becker

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@HenryAWallace This is a thing I'm getting really sick of:

However, Hedges made firing attorneys sound like some horrible and unusual thing that was going to destroy the judiciary and I did correctly say that all of that is nonsense.

Very disappointed to see Chris Hedges following that trend. It lacks integrity.

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3 users have voted.

The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@HenryAWallace Let me emphasize again that this is not a general attack on Hedges, but only a critique of this one column, which roundly deserves critiquing, IMO.

such positions are increasingly discouraged in political discourse, at least political discourse in English, these days. You have to choose sides, Henry. Pick the goodies and the baddies, and stick to your team. Never imply that you could agree with a baddie on one or two things and think they're still a baddie; never imply that one could disagree with a goodie on anything whatsoever. Pick the white helmets, I mean hats, and the Axis of Evil, I mean the black hats, and you'll know whether a statement is right or wrong based exclusively on who said it.

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2 users have voted.

The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal @Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal

latest teen idol, whoever he or she may be. However, I have been taken by politicians, even after I said I'd never be taken by a politician again. )-:

"No matter how cynical you become, it's never enough to keep up." Lily Tomlin

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Mark from Queens's picture

@mimi

Not only has he always advocated for non-violent resistance in all forms, including everything from street protest to general strikes and boycotts, but he is one of the few writers to actually participate in protests and get arrested. Furthermore, Hedges also personally sued the US gov't and Barack Obama for the NDAA nightmare .

I dont have time enough right now, with a scrambling baby at my feet to care for, to relay just how much I revere an advocate writer, intellectual giant and citizen par excellence as much as I do Chris Hedges.

But I will say he's one of the very few, who I can probably count of one hand, who I listen to very closely.

Just wanted to say also, thanks mimi, for the vantage point from where you and expressing your concerns of what you're seeing and hearing from regular folks there.

See, I believe people are the same everywhere. Most everyone knows something is wrong on a visceral level, but many can't articulate it. Even more so, they've been manipulated by propaganda. That goes for Germany just as much as here. My friends in Italy years ago were completely confounded how we could elect the son of a president (and such an asshole like Bush). I have a feeling people all over the world right now are justifiably miffed and concerned, mostly because all of the decorum has been shredded, especially after the master of deception Obama kept us the charade brilliantly.

The mask has been ripped off with Trump. In my opinion it's better than the other option, in which we would have been forced into the conversation-stopper exultation for the first few years of having elected the first women president, and then repeating "well, she's better than the other monster." Marginally perhaps, but that's not very clear at all. The same folks from the same private clubs and coddled inside status, would have been appointed, either way. Hedges gets this better than most, and has written extensively on it (I urge everyone to read his excellent, "Death of the Liberal Class" to this point). He's seen this stuff as a war correspondent around the world and in his penetrating research and analysis for many years.

We know governments all over the world are dysfunctional for the same reasons: they are beholden to their big money donors, who most of the time are the Economic Terrorists of Wall St and global multinational conglomerates. That's the point to be driven home. That, in this case, to the German people understandably confounded and upset, that the Democrats, in cheating a revered and beloved populist candidate out of the candidacy, were captured by these interests and this cabal insisted on their highly disliked puppet, and because of it we have an abomination like Drumpf.

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9 users have voted.

(thirty three and a third at TOP)

"If I should ever die, God forbid, let this be my epitaph:

THE ONLY PROOF HE NEEDED
FOR THE EXISTENCE OF GOD
WAS MUSIC"

- Kurt Vonnegut

mimi's picture

@Mark from Queens
I am so grateful for your understanding. I am well aware of the books you suggested to read in your Open Threads and I am waiting since mid September last year, when I packed up my books, to get them back. Next week they finally are delivered back to me here in Germany. Chris Hedges books are among them. I listened a lot to him and read him regularly and I am a fan. And you know how it is when women become fans ... dangerous. Smile

I also read your comments very carefully and they have helped me - emotionally - a lot, very much indeed. Thank You.

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8 users have voted.

"History is what the present chooses to remember" - Carl Becker

@mimi

..., they would buck their depraved benefactors, come together as Americans and make Bernie the leader of the Senate and therefore 4th in line for the Presidency. Trump would be impeached as would Pence if he didn't resign. Paul Ryan would become President and would resign in favor of Bernie, allowing the healing of America to begin.

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5 users have voted.

@Timmethy2.0

I am not sure that the minority leader of the Senate is in the line of succession, but Democrats won't elect Bernie or any indie to that spot anyway.

ETA: Lest I mislead anyone: It's President, then VP, then Speaker of the House, then President Pro Tem of the Senate (from the majority party in the Senate), and then Secretary of State. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_presidential_line_of_succession

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5 users have voted.

@HenryAWallace @HenryAWallace @HenryAWallace

First is Vice President, then Speaker of the House (Ryan) and then Leader of the Senate (Mitchell) , wikipedia.

What is really important in this time of impending climate doom? Forget the freakin partisanship and the next big donation or political favor, and come together to save the World...or don't.

Edit: Not looking at my own references: President pro tempore (Orrin Hatch wtf???) comes after Speaker of the House. So make Bernie, President pro tempore.

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@Timmethy2.0

And, it would take several simultaneous impeachments or deaths or resignations to get to the President pro tem. So far, we've never managed to remove a President, let alone a President, a Vice President and a Secretary of State simultaneously. Otherwise, it's Pence and then whomever Pence appoints as VP.

Not to mention that putting country over party doesn't mean making sure the guy you or I favor somehow gets to be President, even though the Constitution doesn't really seem to contemplate that scenairo.

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3 users have voted.

@HenryAWallace @HenryAWallace

Be that independent and equal branch of government that they are supposed to be. Double impeachment of Trump and Pence if necessary, followed by Ryan choosing Bernie as his VP and then resigning is another way. Bernie is an independent which makes him well suited for this. He is also the most popular politician in America, according to a recent Fox news poll. The stakes are extremely high.

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@Timmethy2.0

Propose it to Pence, the House and Senate. After impeachment and removal of Trump, Pence could appoint Sanders VP and then resign as President. "Go for it."

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@HenryAWallace

If enough people told it to Congress, it would become more likely.

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@Timmethy2.0

receptive to the idea of appointing Bernie Sanders VP, then himself resigning the Presidency so that Bernie could be President? And what are the grounds for simultaneous impeachment and removal of Pence and Ryan? (I can see removing Trump.)

I'll let you get to work on getting a lot of people to propose this to Congress. I have never known something like that to work, not in modern times, anyway. But there's always a first time.

BTW, thanks for setting me straight on succession. I had googled when I did essays on impeachment, but I must have looked too quickly.

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Timmethy2.0 Again with Ryan resigning for Bernie. Why the hell would Paul Ryan ever do that.

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1 user has voted.

The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@HenryAWallace Great, so it's Trump, Pence, Paul Ryan, Orrin Hatch, and Rex Tillerson.

Let's get those impeachment wheels cranking! Because obviously those other four fellas are far better than Trump.

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1 user has voted.

The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

mimi's picture

@Timmethy2.0
ways to arrive at Rome. A little convoluted, curvy ways... Smile

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2 users have voted.

"History is what the present chooses to remember" - Carl Becker

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Timmethy2.0 What makes you think Pence would be impeached? The CIA seems to like him fine, and apparently something like 47% of the people approve of him.

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2 users have voted.

The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Timmethy2.0 Are you snarking? Paul Ryan would resign in favor of Bernie? This must be snark.

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1 user has voted.

The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

SnappleBC's picture

@HenryAWallace I almost didn't read the rest of the article thinking this was just more blue kool-aid.

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1 user has voted.

A lot of wanderers in the U.S. political desert recognize that all the duopoly has to offer is a choice of mirages. Come, let us trudge towards empty expanse of sand #1, littered with the bleached bones of Deaniacs and Hope and Changers.
-- lotlizard

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@HenryAWallace Agree with you on everything and mucho applause--one tiny nitpick: Kerry did have foreign policy experience--he was on the Senate Foreign Relations committee from the 80s on, chaired his own (rather important, I think) subcommittee, which uncovered the Iran/Contra drug connection; he continued to work https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kerry_Committee_report

That was some of his best work ever, I think. He chaired that committee in 2009, until he became Sec State. I don't think he was unqualified for the post. But you're completely right about Tillerson being no less qualified than HRC.

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2 users have voted.

The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal

experience and the latter was Hedges' criterion.

But Trump will deal the coup de grâce to the diplomatic corps. Despots replace diplomats with sycophants with no diplomatic experience, such as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who promise to impose the despot’s will on the rest of the world.

Mind you, I work under the best athlete theory. The most effective foreign policy maneuvering that I know of is the Kennedy brothers' averting nuclear war over missiles in Cuba. JFK stopped listening to all the pros in his cabinet and security council and closeted himself with his kid brother because his kid brother was as "smaht" as they come and also the only one JFK felt he could trust (I'm assuming). If he were alive, I'd pick Bobby Kennedy (or Teddy, who negotiated the Irish/Britis mess) over Kerry or Hillary any day. So, diplomatic experience is not my criterion. However, if your (and, by "your" I mean Hedges') standard for Trump is diplomatic experience, where the hell were you when Obama appointed Her and Kerry? I don't give double standards a pass.

Now, to backtrack a bit. I never said Kerry was unqualified for the job. I was certainly not bowled over by his performance, but that is a different issue from whether he was qualified to be given the position. All I was speaking to were Hedge's double standards, period. For that matter, from where did Hedges pull that appointing a Secretary of State who does not have diplomatic experience, as have many Presidents, makes you a despot? Geez, the more I think about this piece, the worse it seems.

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3 users have voted.
Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@HenryAWallace He's twisting his positions so they can agree with his overall aim, which is to say that Trump is bad. Apparently everything must be subordinated to that aim.

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1 user has voted.

The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Alligator Ed Of course you're right. My problem is with the people who feel the need to lecture the rest of us if we're not repeating enough Trump is Bad talking points on a given day. Trump is bad? Yeah, OK. Focusing on how bad he is doesn't make him go away; the only thing that can get us out of a future of infinite Trumps and Clintons is to focus on the engineered choice and fight the engineers and engineering that gave it to us. Get rid of Trump? The engine will produce another Trump or Clinton for you, and it will probably be worse than the last one. Rinse, repeat.

My problem is not with the majority of this community. I apologize for my overly loose words. I am pissed off, frustrated, and tired.

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3 users have voted.

The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Big Al's picture

benefit of the doubt Trump has been given by many on the left and libertarians. It started out with "trump is fighting the deep state, the neocons hate him, he's against NATO, against regime changes, against interventionism, he'll focus more at home", etc. Now it's primarily, "oh my God! He's the same as Obama and Bush! He's just continuing the wars and imperialism, even increasing them! How could that be? He lied!"

Heh, no one could have predicted. Anyone remember that? It's kind of like a rerun of Obama only different.

Trump and his regime and the republicans in majority are very dangerous, there's no doubt. The democratic party is controlled by the oligarchy so it's just as dangerous at this point. We need to resist our government and our political system, not just Trump. But he shouldn't be given an inch on anything.

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15 users have voted.

@Big Al

the doubt, there are a few hundred attacking him over stuff he has not done or stuff that he has done like many others, such as firing US attorneys filling political slots. I remember, for example a law professor claiming Trump's filing an appeal from a decision of a lower court, just like Presidents always have, was a "Constitutional crisis." Democratic politicians and outlets like MSNBC have been all over his every move, calling for impeachment since the day after he was elected.

I can't speak to libertarians, whom I see as rightists. I know there are supposedly left libertarians, like Bill Maher and maybe fifteen others. Maher has been behaving toward Trump, just like any other Democrat, whom he supports financially.

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11 users have voted.

@Big Al
gave Trump the benefit of the doubt.
Most people here saw him to be the con man he is.

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9 users have voted.
Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@gjohnsit My benefit of the doubt was thinking Trump might oppose the TPP and refrain from starting a nuclear war. It's not a very high bar, and it doesn't require support or praise of Trump to think he might clear it.

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1 user has voted.

The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@gjohnsit He's in the pro wrestling hall of fame, OK? He's playing a heel. Of course it's a work.

However, I still think he has less interest in starting a shooting war with Russia than Hillary Clinton. Which is what 90% of my "giving him the benefit of the doubt" is about.

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2 users have voted.

The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

edg's picture

@Big Al It's not like he's doing an Obamaesque "run on one platform then govern on another". He's done or tried to do many of the things he said he would do. He said he'd deport illegals. He's trying to do that. He said he'd ban Muslims. He's trying to do that. He said he'd renegotiate unfair trade deals. He's doing that. He said he'd "repeal and replace" Obamacare. He's trying to do that. He said he'd bomb the shit out of ISIS. He's doing that. He said he wanted tax cuts. He's trying to do that.

What exactly is all this crying over spilled milk about? Trump didn't run as Bernie Sanders, he ran as himself. The bureaucracy is trimming his sails quite a bit, but for the most part, he's doing what he said he'd do.

If we disagree with what Trump is doing, the most important battle is against the Democratic Party. We're not going to get anything better than a Trump or a Clinton if we don't fundamentally change the party.

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9 users have voted.

@edg

For one thing, he didn't say only that he would repeal and replace Obamacare. He said that everyone would be included and "it" would be cheaper than Obamacare. So far, it's not looking as though he's sticking to that.

I am lucky enough to have great health insurance coverage myself. Where I come from on this, in addition to just being a human being who feels for others: On New Years Eve, 2008, a friend, a beautiful, lovable soul with a marvelous sense of humor, died before he turned 30 because he couldn't pay for both his rent and his meds; and he paid his rent. So, when Obama went back on his promise of a strong public option and no individual mandate, I was done with Obama. (I was not a single issue voter. My disillusionment with BHO began when he appointed Rahm and kept building. However, the ACA was the final straw of many.)

Not that I care if Hillary gets investigated, but President Not Hillary also pivoted from leading chants of "Lock her up" on the campaign trail to "No investigation of Hillary: she's been through enough" almost immediately after election.

There have been other discrepancies between what Trump said on the campaign trail and what he has been doing and saying since the election, but, for me personally, health care is the big one. It's also a huge one for the nation as a whole or should be. Regardless of what we can afford for ourselves, we are inhuman if we are okay with deaths like that of my friend. We are pretty callous even if we are okay with people going bankrupt and losing homes over illness, even if they have health insurance.

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7 users have voted.
Big Al's picture

@edg I was saying many on the internet, and I'm talking about mostly blogs and writers, seem surprised at what Trump is doing but he told us what he was going to do. Problem is, many misinterpreted what Trump would do relative to foreign policies. They took his statements about no more regime changes, NATO, etc., and assumed his foreign policies would be different, less interventionist, etc. I heard different from the beginning, I heard someone who was going to greatly increase the military budget, continue the fake war OF terror, and go after Iran which is what he's doing. I heard a lying warmonger imperialist right off the bat.

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3 users have voted.
CS in AZ's picture

@edg

So Trumpolini said he'd do a lot of stupid, dangerous and damaging things. Those things don't become less stupid or dangerous or damaging just because he won. If someone opposed ... oh, bombing the shit out of people, mass deportations, more tax cuts for the rich, travel bans, belligerent foreign policies before he won, why would they be expected to suddenly stop opposing those now? Oh, someone I fundamentally oppose won the election, so now I have to change all my views on right and wrong? Huh.

You know, Hillary Clinton made a lot of statements during the campaign about numerous terrible policies and bad ideas that she planned to implement too. So if she'd won, would we have to stop opposing her bad ideas and bad policies, on the grounds that she was doing what she said she'd do?

Of course not. Voices would be raised loudly every day, complaining about her doing or trying to do all the exact shitty things she talked about doing that were why we opposed her to begin with.

And I seriously doubt I'd see anyone here defending her with arguments like this, "after all, she said she'd do all that, so why cry about spilt milk?" That's just an absurd reason to suggest that no one should dare criticize herr trump now that he's in office.

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5 users have voted.
edg's picture

@CS in AZ This essay and the article it's based on are way over the top. It's childish and only fit for scaremongering. Do you really believe this stuff --

crawl toward despotism ... obliterating the institutions and laws ... Despots demand absolute loyalty ... Trump will deal the coup de grâce to the diplomatic corps ... purges of the judiciary

We're not experiencing an existential crisis in the United States. Trump is mildly worse than Hillary in some ways and mildly better in others. All of this crying wolf will get us nowhere and will make it that much harder to stop things that actually are dangerous.

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3 users have voted.
Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@edg Why is it despotism now, and not four years ago, or eight, or twelve, or sixteen?

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2 users have voted.

The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Alligator Ed's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal because we've been crawling towards despotism since at least Bush 1. The pace accelerated greatly with Bush 2 and his "Patriot" act. After all, isn't this what the essay is all about? The erosion of our civil liberties HAS been gradual. The meme of the frog in the pot of water IS correct. Fourth Amendment gone!!! Anybody deny that this basic tenet of democracy (actually representative republic) is all but dead and buried? First Amendment? Yeah, right technically but the MSM is so bought-and-paid for as to be absolutely worthless, especially for those raised in the pre-internet age. So 8 out of 10 ain't bad. Oh yeah? 5th Amendment died with FISA courts.

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5 users have voted.
CS in AZ's picture

@edg

My comment was in response to your comment that Trump should never be criticized for anything, because he said he'd do terrible things. So apparently that makes everything he does ok now.

I didn't actually have time to even read the linked article that this post is referring to, nor do I have an opinion on it, which is why I didn't comment on it.

I responded to your defense of Trump and the claim that he can do no wrong now, simply because he said he'd do awful things. That's ridiculous.

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1 user has voted.
edg's picture

@CS in AZ @CS in AZ

I didn't say Trump should not be criticized for anything. I didn't claim Trump can do no wrong simply because he said he'd do awful things.

It's ridiculous to characterize my comment that way.

What I said is that Trump told us what he's going to do and is now doing those things and that making over the top statements about despotism doesn't change that.

And I consider my last paragraph to be the most important:

If we disagree with what Trump is doing, the most important battle is against the Democratic Party. We're not going to get anything better than a Trump or a Clinton if we don't fundamentally change the party.

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2 users have voted.
Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@CS in AZ I'm more than happy to continue to oppose the shit policies I opposed under Bush II and Obama now that Donald Trump is in office.

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4 users have voted.

The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

kharma's picture

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3 users have voted.

There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties.. This...is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution.--John Adams

dkmich's picture

A person on c99 saying Trump is a patriot is not a trend. I also agree that I don't like Hedge's solutions if and when he offers any. If we could have stopped anything, I'm sure we would have starting with Reagan. The German people didnt allow Hitler either. A choice between compliance or prison/death is not a choice. It is an ultimatum.

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7 users have voted.

*donate *follow us on Twitter *like us on Facebook

mimi's picture

@dkmich

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5 users have voted.

"History is what the present chooses to remember" - Carl Becker

@mimi

Clinton. But, ordinary people in any country don't have the power to stop Presidents or Chancellors or Prime Ministers once they are in office and start doing awful things.

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3 users have voted.
mimi's picture

@HenryAWallace @HenryAWallace @HenryAWallace
at least I think in Germany voters and the parties themselves can force out their Chancellor. It would take me some time to find an English translation of how a "Misstrauensvotum" or an "Amtsenthebungsverfahren" works. So far I found only junk propaganda on google in English. May be I try to research it and come back to it.

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2 users have voted.

"History is what the present chooses to remember" - Carl Becker

@mimi

I don't know what the situation was when Hitler was Chancellor or what German law says now about who decides when ordinary Germans get to vote.

Some U.S. states may have provision for recall of certain officials. However, for a President of the United States, impeachment by the House, followed by removal by the Senate is the only recourse. Short of that, things like "Don't let the President do X" or "Hold the President accountable" are pretty much empty bravado. And, though some might argue, I don't believe that ordinary people impact Congress directly anymore, if ever they did.

Even with re-election: In our two-party system, with a choice between Obama and Romney, Obama was not going to be held accountable for anything he did or failed to do during his first term. Me, I voted for Stein in 2012. However, I am in a solid blue state, so my Presidential vote never matters. Had I been in a purple state, I may have had to think twice.

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1 user has voted.
mimi's picture

@HenryAWallace
has a better electoral system than the US with their electoral college as well as how campaigns are funded. Therefore I believe that in Germany the voters have stronger influence on their parliament. And the irony is that we have the better constitution thanks to the Allied Forces, who helped writing it and signed off on it after wwII. It was a very complicated "birth" for the Basic Law constitution of Germany and you can read about it here, but it's described in there in how far the new basic law was supposed to better prevent Germany from slipping into a dictatorship again.

The authors of the Basic Law sought to ensure that a potential dictator would never again have the chance to come into power in the country. Although some of the Basic Law is based on the Weimar republic constitution, the authors also ensured that human rights and human dignity were made central and core parts of the Basic Law. The principles of democracy, republicanism, social responsibility, and federalism are key components of the Basic Law; the principles underlying these articles are constitutionally entrenched; and, although several of these articles have since been reworded, extended or refined, they are barred from being removed or repealed by the normal amendment process.

Many Germans feel that so far that basic law had delivered its goals well.

You can read here about the details of the how Hitler became chancellor through Hindeburg and how he managed to from 1932's two elections to obtain the majority (though only throug coalition building with another right-wing populist party) in the March 1933 election. I think to know in how far those elections compare to today's election in the US or Germany one had to know exactly the laws of the Weimar Republic. I don't. It's way too complicated to put anything into a comment about it.

I understand your comment and what you say about the "bravado" of claims by others who call for accountability etc. It's a sad affair, because I believe the fact that US voters have so little influence on their Congress is a system issue of your electoral college for the most part and of your constitution. I can't pin-point it, because it's way too complicated for me to do so. I am sorry that I can only respond in vague, general terms.

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"History is what the present chooses to remember" - Carl Becker

@mimi

day. Meanwhile, though, you and I were originally discussing the power of the people over heads of state, not the Parliament or the US Congress. In that vein, the US electoral college applies only to the Presidency, not to Congress. We vote for members of the House of Representatives and, since the US Constitution was amended, we also vote directly for members of the Senate. Still, we have no control over them because they answer to their political caucus and to big donors, not to voters. It's our so-called two party system.

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mimi's picture

@HenryAWallace
to debate over the differences between German Basic Law and the US constitutional text that determine how and how much influence the voters in both countries have on their parliament or head of states.
It's too complicated for me. It is a subject one can study as a scholar, which I am not, and therefore will not even try to comment on it with more precision for the time being.

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"History is what the present chooses to remember" - Carl Becker

Alligator Ed's picture

@HenryAWallace they are theoretically subject to re-election at specified intervals. In fact incumbents usually win 90% of the time in re-election bids. Limits on campaign financing would be an enormous boon. The system of checks and balances in the US has as its backbone a strong independent judiciary. As the corruption deepens, the virtues of a parliamentary form of governance seems more and more appealing. Votes of confidence end governmental regimes, even if the same party remains in power--and sometimes they don't. Multiple political parties are the rule and not the exception in parliamentary systems. Coalition building is therefore often necessary. Adding third (or more) parties to the mix with campaign funding reform could undo the harm of the duopoly we have. This would require a Constitutional Convention, which should it occur, would open Pandora's box, not necessarily towards benign solutions but to the most malign consequences. For now the heart of the issue is, and has always been, money. Overturning Citizens United and associated decisions would be an excellent start. Of course this begs the question: why would the elites allow their gravy train to be abolished?

I am not proposing this but I think only a mass upheaval, most likely violent revolution will occur to change our sad situation. Sending petitions to government is a worthless exercise and unnecessary killing of trees.

Henry Wallace has a correct message. We all, here at c99, are aware of the problems. We need solutions. Anybody got some constructive ideas, other than burn it down and start again?

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eyo's picture

@Alligator Ed hi, thanks for saying what many seem to be thinking.

There are too many targets to shoot for, people interested in collective power should pick one thing and focus like laser on it, that's what I think. One thing at a time.

I like the Rolling Jubilee idea to get that effing yoke of student debt off the people, I mean wtf? Talk about stupid, the numbers are absurd, it is the banksters who are the problem.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Student_debt#United_States

I still have a bookmark of Bernie's wake-up moment in Boone Iowa. After that, he sure talked a lot more about it.

and here is an (annotated) transcription, kinda sorta:

Bernie: ... Second of all, you have millions of people including people in this room who are struggling with outrageously high levels of student debt am I right?
(Yeah someone shouts a number(?), audience applauds.)

How much? Stand up and say that out loud.
(Person speaks to graduating with honors from Stonybrook University and $100k debt).

A hundred thousand dollars in debt for the crime of getting an education.
(Others in audience start telling their amounts... 82,000!)

How much?
(My wife and I both have PhDs, $300,000 total)

Geez!
(gasps, audience cries ouch) …

(60,000! 120,000! 198! coming faster and faster and Bernie looks grumpy! 70,000, 90,000, 18,000, etc.. finally Bernie stops them with hand gestures and laughter.)

I feel like this is a Vermont auction, maybe 300,000 for this couple? I don't know, we're laughing here but really this is not a laughing matter it is a bloody tragedy. It is unbelievably insane.

Word! Is why I voted for that guy. Now what?

Peace & Love

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On a blog.

Alligator Ed's picture

@eyo I totally agree with you that the strategy should be against one target at a time. Diffusion of energy dilutes efficacy and impact. Concentration laser-like on one target will, if successful, have noticeable results. The second organization/corporation targeted may then become more leery of it being the next target. The third target, should the first two goals be achieved, will definitely be apprehensive.

So, let's make a list.
1. Exxon was the first one mentioned, so stick with that.
2. Wells Fargo would be my choice for second target.

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@Alligator Ed

especially after 911, the Patriot Act, etc. We also don't seem to be an especially revolting people. I think one of the reasons may be that we have the falsehood of democracy and self-determination. That is one of the reasons that I refuse to conflate suffrage with democracy or to refer to our selected "representatives" without some indication of how unrepresentative they in fact are.

BTW, it's not only that incumbents keep getting re-elected until they keel over, like Strom Thurmond. It's that they were pre-selected for our voting pleasure in the first instance. At the federal level, on the Democratic side, the DNCC and DSCC decide who gets to run. And even if you're chomping at the bit, they will not give you the time of day unless, if running for Rep., you can put at least a million bucks on the table on Day One. (I don't know for sure, but I imagine that the amount for Senate is more.)

And, of course, only center right Democrats are eligible because (snort) only they are electable. They're so electable in fact, that Republicans now control more federal, state and local seats than before the unelectable FDR became President for the first of four times.

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gulfgal98's picture

that what I have experienced that masks itself as patriotism in this country is often hyper-nationalism. And most hyper-nationalists believe themselves to be very patriotic which is where I believe gjohnsit was going in his essay. We often encountered this during our Peace vigil when one of these types would walk up to us and challenge our patriotism.

These displays of hyper-nationalism used to be mostly at sporting events and meetings of conservatives. However, I found this display at the Democratic national convention somewhat disturbing. Go to the 1:20 mark to see what I mean.

If we are truly patriotic in the pure sense, we would want to provide the best for all of our citizens, quit creating wars on behalf of multi-national corporations, and protect our national resources for future generations. All of that is very difficult in the face ofthe oligarchy, so waving the flag, chanting USA, USA, and supporting our global reign of terrorism is the easy out for far too many of us.

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"I don't want to run the empire, I want to bring it down!" ~Dr. Cornel West "...isn't the problem here that the government takes on, arbitrarily and without justification, an adversarial attitude towards its citizenry?" ~CantStoptheMacedonianSignal

SnappleBC's picture

That seems like quite a stretch. I would guess the prevalent attitude here is that he's a slimy, lying, oligarch sucking at the piggy trough... no different than those who went before him.

Insofar as your slide into despotism, I agree although I don't have any particular focus on Trump. He's just the guy leading the parade right now and honestly, he may be doing it unknowingly whereas folks like Obama and Clinton know full well what they do.

The problem, of course, is that very few other people agree with me. Some folks are worried about Fascism under Trump but they seem to think it's a feature that he brought to the table or, perhaps, the Republican party brought to the table. People like that are, to my eyes, fighting a shadow war between some fictitious "left" and "right" that barely exists.

I'm not aware of very many people, outside of this site, who are worried about the problem in a serious fashion.

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A lot of wanderers in the U.S. political desert recognize that all the duopoly has to offer is a choice of mirages. Come, let us trudge towards empty expanse of sand #1, littered with the bleached bones of Deaniacs and Hope and Changers.
-- lotlizard

gulfgal98's picture

@SnappleBC in response to my first comment which is also the first comment on this essay.

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"I don't want to run the empire, I want to bring it down!" ~Dr. Cornel West "...isn't the problem here that the government takes on, arbitrarily and without justification, an adversarial attitude towards its citizenry?" ~CantStoptheMacedonianSignal

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@SnappleBC Yep, I did. Didn't mean I agreed with him, liked him, or thought he was positive for the country.

It simply meant he's a nationalist instead of being a globalist like Hillary, who probably wouldn't give two shits if America sank to the bottom of the sea. As long as she, her stuff, and the few people she cares about weren't here at the time.

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The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

I am new here, only been reading for several weeks, and I think this is only my second comment, but I like that this site is more open than I found at DailyKos (over the last 4 or 5 months), which is important to me since I have conservative friends, schoolmates, and coworkers so I try to see both sides of political discussion. This leads me to want to respond to this "Patriot" question because I have had a number of lengthy discussions around this very question in school and at work. Let me say first that I am not happy about Trump’s environmental policies, so any criticisms of Trump regarding this I would probably wholeheartedly agree with, but Obama supported TPP and Keystone and DAPL, and so did Hillary and so did Obama’s EPA, so I am no fan of the current Democratic Party on this either, just to be clear. I obviously like Stein’s position. However, having said that, I would like to respond to few questions and comments with regards to the patriot question, as well as, Chris Hedges’ comments on despots, our courts, and Trump’s cabinet, especially his comment about Rex Tillerson. An ex of mine is a huge fan of Hedges, so I have read and listened to quite a bit of his rhetoric over the last year or two.

Let me start by answering the question, if I may:
“What the ‘patriot Trump’ is loyal to?”

Trump, as a patriot, is loyal to the U.S. Constitution - Bill of Rights, and in particular, the 2nd Amendment, Right to Bear Arms. I would add further, that all true patriots are loyal to the U.S. Constitution, in my opinion. I think this should be obvious since every single person who serves, either in government or the military, swears an oath to the U.S. Constitution. To his credit, Trump proved that he was a man of his word with respect to this when he nominated Neil Gorsuch, who is widely respected by both democrats and republicans alike, and who is a known constitutional originalist. Furthermore, Trump stated during his campaign the list of Supreme Court Justices from which he would make his selection, and Neil Gorsuch was on that list.

Hedges: “Trump has not only attacked the courts but has also begun purges of the judiciary with his mass firing of U.S. attorneys”

I find this comment by Hedges to be intellectually dishonest and intentionally misleading, since every administration replaces the U.S. Attorneys with his own, as many in the media have noted. I also find it dishonest of Hedges characterize Trump’s “criticism” as an “attack,” since Trump’s comments are merely Trump exercising his own 1st Amendment Rights, as a citizen, as Trump himself has fairly noted in his own defense. Trump did not like the judicial opposition to his EO’s, and Trump criticized the rulings as being politically motivated and a violation of the constitutional powers, and from my understanding of the arguments, though I am no attorney, the legal language seems pretty straight forward, Trump is correct. And, as soon as Gorsuch is confirmed, and everyone knows he will be, those rulings will be sent up to the Supreme Court and they will be overturned and Trump’s entirely legal EO’s will be enforced.

Hedges: “Trump has continued to attempt to discredit the press ...”

Well, to be fair, the press has been pushing this bs “Russian Conspiracy” narrative for months, which everyone knows is the epitome of fake news, and entirely biased since they ignored Hillary’s corrupt connections to Russia, (and the press’ transparently doctored polls leading up to the election were also fake news), so again, Trump is merely exercising his 1st Amendment right of Freedom of Speech. Again, this is to me 100% Patriotic. I don’t see armed troops shutting down CNN or MSNBC or NY TIMES? Do you? So, characterizing comments on twitter as “attack” or “despot” seems intellectually dishonest and intentionally misleading. Hedges is clearly biased, which is fine, as long as one is honest and fair, which he is not.

Hedges: “Repression will become steadily more overt and severe. Dissent will be equated with terrorism.” ... “The victims cannot believe that the descent into barbarity is real..”

I find this comment to be especially egregious, almost hypocritical, since Hedges is a known communist and the only frightening despot-like barbarity that I see today that are being justifiably characterized as “terrorism” are these fascist militant mobs of Antifa Communist /Nazi thugs going around with masks dressed in black (i.e., they are the modern day “brown-shirts”) ----- with sticks, pepper spray, tazers, Molotov cocktails ---- starting violent riots, bashing heads, blowing up things, etc --- in short, the Antifa kids are doing everything that the brainwashed “Nazi Youth” fascists did --- claiming that they are “anti-fascist” or fighting fascism when it is THEY who are using the fascist militant tactics to terrorize people who express opposing viewpoints in order to deny conservatives of their 1st Amendment right to Freedom of Speech, and the Antifa kids are openly bragging about it at colleges all across the nation, and teachers are even supporting them, or worse, they are instigating, inciting or even participating in them. They openly want to silence opposing viewpoints, mislabeling conservative viewpoints as “hate-speech” when it is the Antifa thugs who are spewing violent hate and bashing heads... to silence. I have yet to see Hedges denounce these barbaric terrorist actions by the Antifa communist thugs, but if he has, please enlighten me.

In response to the barbaric Antifa terrorist mobs at Berkley, Trump did suggest that if U.C. Berkley is not going to support Freedom of Speech, that maybe the Federal government should stop funding U.C.Berkley, but this could hardly be called an “attack on Universities” ... rather, this is clearly a defense of the U.S. Constitutional 1st Amendment right of Freedom of Speech, i.e., “patriotic.”

Hedges: “But Trump will deal the coup de grâce to the diplomatic corps. Despots replace diplomats with sycophants with no diplomatic experience, such as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who promise to impose the despot’s will on the rest of the world.”

I think that Hedges’ characterization of Tillerson as a “sycophant with no diplomatic experience,” is colored by Hedges’ communist bias. Tillerson clearly has extensive (what can only be described as) “diplomatic” experience dealing with foreign nations as the former CEO of Exxon Mobil, and to suggest otherwise is, yet again I believe, intellectually dishonest. I listened to the audio-recording of Tillerson’s recent interview regarding his diplomatic efforts in Asia, which is obviously a highly charged topic today, and I felt like his deliberative measured words sounded far more thoughtful and diplomatic than any I have heard from Kerry or Clinton as SoS. I know that Tillerson was widely criticized by the press because he did not take that huge plane and ferry around a press pool, but honestly, why should he? What diplomatic purpose does that serve? Why should tax payers foot the bill for Washington D.C. elite press to take trips overseas, especially when all of those media organizations have local offices in all of those regions? And further, why should the SoS make diplomatic statements on sensitive diplomatic issues via the press prior to meeting with foreign leaders? Tillerson has been making joint press announcements with foreign leaders, both before and after their meetings. Makes sense to me. This demonstrates to me far more diplomatic savvy than anyone in our state department has demonstrated in decades. I mean, seriously. And given how many of Obama’s ambassador appointments were clearly tied to donations, as was revealed by those wikileaks dumps 6 or 8 months ago, this is not something I have much respect for when comparing to the previous administration, especially when Hedges is characterizing Tillerson as a “sycophant.” The only “shared value” that I see echoed by Tillerson of Trump’s agenda, which was stated many times by Trump both during the election and post presidency, is the anti-globalist agenda, protecting United States’ national interests, but this hardly qualifies to me as Tillerson being a sycophant, this is nothing more than the singular agenda of Trump’s candidacy, which any and people whom Trump appoints should be aligned with. It is the job of each President to appoint people who will execute his agenda and for Hedges to characterize this “alignment” in a disparaging derogatory manner, calling Tillerson a “sycophant” is, yet even again, intellectually dishonest. In fact, I think this reveals rather glaringly that Hedges just doesn’t like Tillerson, maybe because Hedges is a communist and considers anyone who supports capitalism to be a “sycophant” ... maybe.

Lastly, I would like to respond to this characterization of Trump as a “despot” (a ruler or other person who holds absolute power, typically one who exercises it in a cruel or oppressive way) which I find to be rather ignorant of Hedges, since Trump supports the 2nd Amendment, and no despot would ever support and defend an individual’s right to bear arms, the two are mutually exclusive. The first thing that a despot must do is disarm the populace, and Trump obviously championed the 2nd Amendment in almost every one of his speeches during his candidacy, and as noted above, once President, Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court, someone who supports the 2nd Amendment, so, if anything, Trump is the antithesis of a “despot” and anyone (like Hedges or your German friends) who does not know this is ignorant of American history, ignorant of the American Revolution, ignorant of the U.S. Constitution – Bill of Rights, specifically, the 2nd Amendment, Right to Bear Arms. Additionally, Trump’s rather clear “States Rights” policies, i.e., the 10th Amendment, which he also stated numerous times during his candidacy, and which he followed through on as President, also invalidates any claim that Trump is a “despot” and therefore, either Hedges is ignorant or deceitful with these disparaging claims demonizing Trump in this manner, personally, I think it is both, given this article, as well as, given what I have seen and heard from Hedges in the past. I've never really been very impressed with him.

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Mark from Queens's picture

@The Liberal Badger

tells me you made a wrong turn somewhere, and have crashed in a ditch somewhere near C99's home and have decided to knock on our door. That's fine, come on in. But bullshit is bullshit.

You've repeatedly called Hedges a "communist," which is a lie and a weak attempt to disparage him. What is this, the House On UnAmerican Activities? First of all, to my knowledge he's never claimed to be. And if he did, I don't think that would be held against him by most people here. Apparently you see that as some kind of slight.

In matters regarding Hedges and other social and political philosophy, seems to me you'd be much more at home at DK, where they passionately hate all real progressive liberal writers, including most prominently Hedges, Greenwald, Cornel West, David Sirota, etc.

Your weak and transparent defense of Trump, for that's what it really is, is pathetic.

I don't have the proper time to write the requisite scathing response you deserve, first time here or not.
But let me say finally, because I've already wasted too much time on your nonsense, that your last paragraph is just stuffed with bizarre, barely cloaked RW malarkey.

Your fantastical foray into exalting "2nd Amendment rights" and "States Rights," and then attributing to Trump some kind of patriotic defense of these clearly coded racist RW language RW, tells me all I need to know about you. Like most of Trump's scattered, mumbo jumbo buffoonery, you're also keen to defend the indefensible, as you clumsily attempt to disparage one of the great intellectuals and journalists that we have. And confusing the former CEO of one of the worst corporate and environmental plunderers, who are on record as being climate change deniers and inveterate polluters, with being some kind of "diplomat" who would have the country's interests at heart? That's just beyond the pale. You sound fairly at home with predatory crony capitalism, the kind the "deal-making" fraudulence that Drumpf is all about.

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(thirty three and a third at TOP)

"If I should ever die, God forbid, let this be my epitaph:

THE ONLY PROOF HE NEEDED
FOR THE EXISTENCE OF GOD
WAS MUSIC"

- Kurt Vonnegut

@The Liberal Badger of some length to rebut the fallacies included in your comment. First, which Trump are we talking about. He's changed parties several times in the last decade and his position on issues has changed even more often. He was once strongly pro choice.

If Trump drained the swamp it was by inviting the inhabitants into the White House. Look at his appointees. He attacked Hillary because she was going to appoint bankers in her administration. Play around on Google for a few minutes and you'll see how many people from Goldman Sachs have been hired by Trump. This is the man who was going to come down hard on Wall Street. He's cutting regulations.

Despots do not disarm the population if the most armed segment is made up of the despot's supporters. Remember Hitler's Brown Shirts? People living in rural parts of the former Soviet Union were and remain well-armed. It isn't a threat to government. The effectiveness of hunting rifles against helicopter gunships is highly overrated. Oh, in 2000 Trump was in favor of bans on assault weapons, waiting periods and background checks.

But it's OK. What he says now is what he REALLY means--until tomorrow's 3 AM tweet.

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mimi's picture

@The Liberal Badger @The Liberal Badger
to your comment. Just let me say that we come from very different directions.

Trump, as a patriot, is loyal to the U.S. Constitution - Bill of Rights, and in particular, the 2nd Amendment, Right to Bear Arms. I would add further, that all true patriots are loyal to the U.S. Constitution, in my opinion. I think this should be obvious since every single person who serves, either in government or the military, swears an oath to the U.S. Constitution.

To say it simply, may be I have a bit of worries about the US constitution's text. I don't like your 2nd amendment for example. I don't like quite a bit about the US constitution for the little bit I was able to learn about it. In that sense being loyal to the US constitution isn't something I value per se, per default or face value. The constitution is not written in stone handed down by some God. It's a man-made written legal text and has its weaknesses. I am also not an US citizen. And of course one can take the oath on the US constitution and serve and obey according to its laws, but that doesn't mean that one can not be critical of the constitutional text intellectually. To think about it out loud may be pretty dumb these days, but thinking is not illegal, talking about ones critical thoughts should also not be illegal, as you yourself say so convincingly when it is in regards to Trump's spoken words.

You call Hedges a communist, which by the way wouldn't be a sin, you know. What would be so horrible if he were? I am sure he is not one bit. Somehow I leave it to others who can better counter your comments, if they even wanted to. I don't want to.

Your last paragraph is just too much for me to take.

Trump is the antithesis of a “despot” and anyone (like Hedges or your German friends) who does not know this is ignorant of American history, ignorant of the American Revolution, ignorant of the U.S. Constitution – Bill of Rights, specifically, the 2nd Amendment, Right to Bear Arms. Additionally, Trump’s rather clear “States Rights” policies, i.e., the 10th Amendment, which he also stated numerous times during his candidacy, and which he followed through on as President, also invalidates any claim that Trump is a “despot” and therefore, either Hedges is ignorant or deceitful with these disparaging claims demonizing Trump in this manner, personally, I think it is both, given this article, as well as, given what I have seen and heard from Hedges in the past. I've never really been very impressed with him.

Hedges talked about the signs that show how a failed democracy can slide into despotim - slowly. He did not say that Trump is currently a despot.

Well, I can't help you thinking the way you do. But I can help myself to not respond. I am sorry for it, because you invested a lot of time, emotions and arguments to state your opinion. I happen to not agree with them. May be you post that as a comment to Chris Hedges article on truthdig itself.

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"History is what the present chooses to remember" - Carl Becker

Alligator Ed's picture

@The Liberal Badger but at c99 we like issues. You've raised some. We like reasoned opinions. You've given some. The point at issue in my mind is not what is "patriotism"? That's a very difficult question to answer as many prior commentators have discussed. Far leftists and right wingers may both call themselves patriots. They have quite different interpretations of the word. I am suspicious of using that word, as others have mentioned, when it is being used as an ideological cudgel to coerce in some fashion agreement with a particular point of view.

Therefore I would refrain from calling anyone a patriot. And it would suit you well to avoid name calling, such as communist. So what if he were a communist? What if he's merely a socialist? Or how about an oligarchic whore? Does the name calling justify OR undermine any of the argument. The bit about destroying the judiciary is definitely a mistake--hyperbole? unintended?

One of the things that separates c99 from GOS is the lack of name calling and presence of mutual respect for fellow community members. We also encourage independence of thought. Chris Hedges isn't a member of this community but he tries to make arguments, some of which succeed and some of which fail. He deserves the right to a point by point refutation (or agreement) such as you have proposed. Even Darnold Trump deserves a rational debate of ideas if he ever offers any. You saw that, did you? I engaged at name calling. But I did not do it to support an argument. Yes, we all have emotions here, which often rise to the surface, but self-control is the usual here.

I am not a moderator. But I invite you to contribute more. You can swear, be satirical, or sarcastic. But if you are to argue an ISSUE, please use facts as opposed to name-calling.

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k9disc's picture

other big corporate & the Oligarch property and take them out.

And I don't mean a boycott, I mean take them out. Lawsuits. Protest. Peer pressure -- social and institutional -- is a bitch. An unending stream of skeletons flying at them from a million closets.

A few key Oligarchic targets. Exxon gets my vote, as they are greatly responsible for AGW denial, and have committed legit crimes against humanity. I think the targets would have to be bigtime institutional and meddlesome companies/institutions that have a good skeleton to tinfoil relationship.

Maybe this could be wrapped up into an anti-fascist/corporate power movement the top shelf corporate villains in critical sectors are targeted for some sunshine and disinfectant.

Whatever happens is that these fuckers got to get on people's radar. I think a real targeted strong move on any one of a dozen big corporate baddies could resonate extremely well. And I mean resonate -- if we get Big Corporate into the principles office, in front of everybody, we might break the trance of acquiescing passengers.

I could see power in mobilizing to take one of them out.

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3 users have voted.

“Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” ~ Sun Tzu

Are you suggesting that Exxon Mobil be sued and harassed because they did not acknowledge that Anthropogenic Climate Change is a 100% proven fact? Because, if you are, I could not imagine a more pointless waste of time and energy, and worse, the case would be thrown out of court as frivolous, and the plaintiffs would probably be counter-sued for malicious prosecution, and they would win. If this is not what you are suggesting, and what you are advocating for is a lawsuit against Exxon Mobil for an environmental crime, I am 100% in support of this. Is there a specific environmental crime that you know of that should be prosecuted?

With regards to Anthropogenic Climate Change, I posted the following in several comments on DailyKos several days ago, please disregard if that was not what you were advocating to prosecute:

I am 100% in favor of spending whatever is necessary to protect and clean up our environment, (and I applaud Trump's $100 Million to clean up Flint water) but I am tired of debating the science of Anthropogenic Climate Change, I honestly believe that is a pointless argument that can never be won and attempting to, only makes us look foolish. I am not saying I don't believe in it, I do. But making false claims like Bill Nye is doing, hurts our cause. I watched Tucker Carlson interview Bill Nye and as my science professor noted, Nye was wrong. A consensus of scientist is not proof. In the Scientific Method, one must have a control group to actually prove or disprove an hypothesis. I was very surprised to discover that Tucker's questions and observations were correct. We cannot know what the climate would have been without human influence, not with 100% scientific certainty. We can hypothesize, but we can't prove that hypothesis. Bill Nye was advocating for a similar agenda as you are. Now, I have studied the science of different theories of the causal chain, and while I do believe they have merit, and I don't think anyone credible is denying that there is warming trend, that is undeniably provable, but establishing true scientific "baseline" without a control group is impossible. So, if we want the scientific theories to be taken seriously and not be dismissed out of hand, we need to stop the false propaganda and we need to stop wasting time, money and energy promoting it. Let's spend money on protecting and cleaning our lakes and oceans, not to mention, the air we breath, which Trump seems to be doing, at least in certain isolated cases, but we shall see if his claims are empty or not. I think we can all agree on that, no matter what the truth is about what is causing global warming. Everyone who is arguing that Anthropogenic Climate Change is fact is ignorant of how the Scientific Method works and how Statistical Science works. Any and all models, no matter how accurate, can only ever prove correlation, they cannot ever prove causation. That's just not how models work. The only way, in science, to prove causation is via a control group. Anyone who does not understand this fact needs to take both a basic course in Statistics and a basic course in the Scientific Method. Can you establish a high probability? Sure, and they do, but no Scientist one can ever claim it is "decided" or "proven" and anyone who is making this claim (like Bill Nye) is a liar, not a true Scientist, and is doing the cause of Environmentalism a profound disservice, because they are creating conflict and debate where none need be. Do you know how many millions have been spent promoting propaganda to convince people that it is decided? And you want to spend more? And how many careers and reputations have been destroyed because they rightly made note of this? Too many and too much money, time, and resources, because all of that money, time and resource could, can, and should be spent on actually protecting and cleaning our environment. All that that effort does is create a divisive polarized political debate, and all the while, the environment suffers. Have they made a compelling case? Yes. Hence, I do tend to believe it, the operative word being "believe" but as a scientist and mathematician, I cannot ignore the facts. In science, in order to prove causation, there really must be a "control group" ... that is just how "science" works.

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@The Liberal Badger that you are either a scientist or a mathematician. The outer planets in our solar system were located as perturbations in the orbits of inner planets were observed. There was no control group. It was science.

In statistics you can take an entire population of students in a school system and examine their test scores. You are likely to discover that test scores rise with the education levels of students mothers. With the caveat that correlation is not proof of causality, you might find the argument persuasive even without a control group.

Re global warming it is possible to see the effects of CO2 on climate over time in everything from ice cores to tree rings. Sorry, but we don't have another earth to serve as a control planet.

The preponderance of climatologists, physicists, chemists and others who study the subject and display the results of their research in refereed journals have reached a consensus on human impact on global climate change. They don't understand how science and statistics work. But you do.

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@The Liberal Badger oh good grief.
Nobody denies co2 as the cause of global warming except various and sundry peeps in the USA making money off of Bil Oil.
3rd world knows it, 2nd world knows it...1st world except USA(!) knows it.
Change schools, get new professors asap.
Co2 emissions as the cause of rapid global warming is the starting point EVERYWHERE but here.
Get on a plane, go somewhere. Look at it.

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A despot has to control who has access to weapons, and a mass population that is armed to the teeth, just cannot subjected to a totalitarian despotic regime. It's just impossible, and if you have ever studied military warfare and special forces strategic warfare, you would never underestimated what even a small group of highly trained armed individuals can do. They could easily seize any of those planes or helicopters and even the odds, rather quickly, and we are talking about a mass population, armed to the teeth. Your argument just doesn't hold water. Sorry.

@Mark from Queens... Hedges' socialist/communist beliefs are rather evident in almost all of his writing and comments. If you feel that the term "communnist" is pejorative, that's on you. I never said that "communist/socialist" is bad or wrong, but it is a bias, that much is clear, and all that I ask is that Hedges be up-front and honest about his bias, which he is not, which is why I find him to be intellectually dishonest. I am aware of the fact that most communists/socialists today revere Hedges, my ex revered him, as I said, however, I find him biased, ignorant, and dishonest, for the aforementioned reasons. I am sorry if you believe it is some sort of blasphemy to express a critical analysis of his arguments, I find him to be a pseudo intellectual with a weak understanding of United States History, United State Government and the U.S. Constitution - Bill of Rights. I am always surprised when I encounter people who hold him in high regard. I have found that Communists/Socialists don't seem to welcome critical thought when it exposes the flaws and bias in their arguments. I thought this site was more open minded than DailyKos and welcoming of opposing viewpoints, if you are telling me that it is not, then maybe my first impressions were mistaken, but attacking me personally for such, is, well, not very welcoming or open-minded. If I am reading too much into your words, I am sorry, I don't mean to be overly sensitive, because I do welcome criticisms of my arguments, but criticisms of me, however, that seems abusive. I did not come here for abuse. Are you telling me that Chris Hedges is above reproach and any all criticisms of his writing is streng verboten?

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@The Liberal Badger is that much of science has taken place without control groups. (Please explain the role of control groups in geology.)

So in addition to being a scientist and a statistician you're also a military historian. I'm sure the US government kept SEAL Team 6 away from the highly trained militia who seized government land last winter in order to preserve the safety of SEAL Team 6.

And no doubt a highly trained group of militia fighters could takeover an air force base with their AR-15s, load and service the F-16s and then fly them against the despot. And think of what they could do when they pirated a ballistic missile submarine. Game, set and match.

JtC, I appreciate the job you do and the freedom you allow. But I've never read anything remotely like this here.

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k9disc's picture

persecuted.

I am talking about the massive systemic fraud they have committed in paying off skeptics and shading the science. I believe that, Exxon, in particular, was found pretty guilty on the fraudulent science as business practice front recently. I don't have a link handy.

They should be prosecuted and persecuted for profiting from the deliberate misleading of the public on AGW.

I don't think that's what you suggested that I said.

The science is solved as far as I'm concerned. Barring a massive swing in scientific thought, there is no reason to suggest that the science is not solved. Self preservation and simple precaution alone should preclude one from inaction on the science at this point. I think your obtuse to the meaning and general purpose of science if you think AGW is not settled science.

This isn't theoretical particle physics. This is fairly established science. Complex models due to the impossible number of variables, but the underlying science is rather established and urbane physical science, I think. I could be wrong about that, but it isn't even the point.

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“Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” ~ Sun Tzu

No, we cannot have a "control group" so, no, according to the Scientific Method, we cannot ever say that it is "proven." That is just how science works. Can we make compelling persuasive arguments, yes, and they do. And I "believe" them. The operative word, being, "believe." As I said, however, debating Anthropogenic Climate Change, suggesting that it is "decided" is counter-productive, because it can never be 100%, so let's not waste time and money and create an unnecessary divisive polarized environment. Let's spend our time and money on protecting and cleaning the environment, because I think this is something that everyone can agree on. No?

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@The Liberal Badger Here, take a look at Wikipedia's explanation of the scientific method.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_method#Problems_and_issues.

Do you see anything about the need for a control group? Did Joseph Priestly need a control group to discover oxygen? No, he needed an experiment that could be replicated repeatedly with consistent results. Most scientists would agree that the existence of oxygen has been proven scientifically.

Go on as much as you like. I'm finished. I've already tried the patience of JtC whom I respect greatly.

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@FuturePassed
Your point was well taken and duly noted.

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k9disc's picture

Peddling and meddling with Government. Both legal and not.

For fuck's sake the CEO of Exxon is Secretary of State:

Tillerson began his career as an engineer and holds a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. By 1989 he had become general manager of the Exxon USA central production division. In 1995, he became president of Exxon Yemen Inc. and Esso Exploration and Production Khorat Inc. In 2006, Tillerson was elected chairman and chief executive officer of Exxon, the world's 6th largest company by revenue.[3][4] Tillerson retired from Exxon effective January 1, 2017, and was succeeded by Darren Woods.[5] He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering.[3]

Their responsibility for our presence in the Middle East should be brought to light and discussed openly. The trillions of dollars and rivers of blood that underlie their business should be brought to light. They are a big baddie and the world would be better off without them.

Their hands are ALL OVER our foreign policy over the last FIFTY years, man. From Exxon CEO to Head of Secretary of State. Even the Robber Barons of the Gilded Age were not so bold.

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“Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” ~ Sun Tzu

mimi's picture

I think he got all his comments canned in some files, ready to spits them out for fun and trolling.

Ignore him, please. It's not what I like to see in this diary.

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"History is what the present chooses to remember" - Carl Becker

@mimi
has differing points of view doesn't necessarily make him a troll. Surely c99p will survive a civil discourse with him, right?

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eyo's picture

@JtC thanks JtC. Honestly, I am sick and tired of defending the right to say stuff that appalls me, but I still do it. Keep going.

Respect for the U.S. Constitution is a thing, lots of regular people have it, with different focus on the different amendments, we have a Bill of Rights. It's the oligarchy that treats it like toilet paper if you ask me. Thanks.

Peace & Love

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On a blog.

mimi's picture

@JtC
Badger, but I would not have survived a further discourse civilly. And what he said about Hedges (pure cold war style communist bashing - being one part of it) was imo not very civil. But that is in the eyes of the beholder. You can go on based on your free speech rights. I have the right to remain silent and point out that the discourse was on the edge of slipping into something I didn't want to be part of. I also was not capable content-wise to counter the arguments and felt it was time to quit the game. I am no blogger, no news junkie, no political pundit, I don't sit 24/7 over the news, but i too have the right to be the fool I am to even post anything from Hedges here. Next time I will leave that to others here, who can handle folks like The Liberal Badger civilly.

I take back calling him a troll. Though I always wonder how some folks can post detailed comments of considerable length within minutes. Miracles seem to happen. Halleluhjah! /s

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"History is what the present chooses to remember" - Carl Becker

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

Nobody seems to give a shit that we were just forced into the worst choice of our lives, and that both candidates were, and still are, horrendously unpopular. Why the hell is it so hard to understand that there is no republic here, and therefore we don't GET to have choices that are meaningful? All we get are shit choices. People do the best they can under the circumstances, or give up entirely.

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The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Alligator Ed's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal applicable to the majority of this community. We are quite well aware of the wonderful choices we were given in 2016: feces or shit. One sounds more polite but both stink equally. As far as having a truly republican (small r) government, I doubt you will find many here who would endorse the existence of same.

Now, as to the great American unwashed, the comment may likely be correct.

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Thank you.

As I have stated in another comment, I did not say that "communist" is a pejorative, only that a bias that one is not up-front about is intellectually dishonest. Now, do I have criticisms of communism, yes, and I actually wrote a paper on this about 2 years ago, it's probably not that great (only got a "B"), but given the "anti-capitalist meet-up" article I saw here several days, and the responses that I got yesterday, I have to wonder if I posted excerpts would I be attacked? Is a well reasoned "anti-communist" article not welcome, but "anti-capitalist" is welcome? Someone suggested in one of the comments that I had cut&pasted some of my comments, which I did, and I stated that I did, up-front, because I written them in 2 comments I had posted DailyKos several days ago (this was in response to the climate change discussion). Look, the Antifa thugs self-identify as "Anarcho-Communists" and they wear the badge proudly. How come no one here even mentioned that part of comment? The Antifa kids also brag about bashing people's heads in too, so there's that. If I were to replace the "communist" word with "anti-capitalist" would people have reacted the same way? For the record, personally, I find zero difference between "socialist" and "communist" and "anti-capitalist" ... and further, I find a very nominal difference between "fascist" and "communist"... given the Nazi Party is -- "National Socialist German Workers'Party" ... i.e., "socialist." Yes, I understand the distinction, but I consider that to be a distinction that doesn't make a difference. In both cases, they use militant centralized control of industry. Okay, so that was basically my thesis statement from my paper from 2 years ago, and if I hunt up my paper, I could post my arguments and analysis. But will I be attacked for that?

I find it abusive that when I posted a respectful argument, I attacked no one here, yet I have been called a "RW TROLL" and told that I should go back to DailyKos... and then my being a mathematician / scientist background was questioned. Hell, my terrible run-on sentences and run-on paragraphs should be proof enough that I am a mathemetician, lol, or so I've been told by my ex. One thing I do know, is that Ad hominem attacks are logical fallacies, and anyone who resorts to them has only done so because they lost the argument and had nothing intelligent to say. I cited the Scientific Method, and the need for a control group, and the response I got was that "a test must be repeatable" but that is the point, we cannot repeat this earth's past 300 years, and we don't have two earths, so, no, we cannot prove 100% Anthropogenic Climate Change. This is an inconvenient fact, as my Science stressed to me. Trust me, I wish we could prove it 100%. Now, I also stated that I PERSONALLY do “believe” the Scientific Theory, and for the record, I could even ARGUE and DEFEND the theory, and I have, trust me, and the argument is compelling, I assure you, but as a Scientist and Mathematician, I would be lying if I did not acknowledge that 95% confidence (or whatever degree a given model is), is not 100%, the only way in Science to make the claim of “proven” requires a control group and repeatability. So .... WHY ARGUE? I am serious, why argue? I honestly believe it is stupid, foolish, pointless, and counter-productive to do so. Hell, as I pointed out, Tucker Carlson made Bill Nye look like an idiot when Bill Nye foolishly made the claim. Seriously, Why create division, when none is needed? I am an environmentalist, so let’s stop wasting our time, money, and energy on a divisive argument that serves zero purpose. We can ALL agree that we need to protect and clean up our environment. Agreed? Let’s be on the same side so that we can all work together. I honestly don’t understand why this logic is not applauded, but rather, in response, my own personal reputation is attacked, and I am called a RW Troll? Is “RW” a pejorative on this site? Are conservatives not welcome on this site? I never considered myself a conservative, but I do go to school with and I do work with conservatives, so I have tried to find a common ground with them, and I girl was sort of seeing is a conservative, and in that process, I do express some of their view points, because I found them valid. At least, I could not refute them. But trust me, if someone gives me valid responses, I will be using them. I stopped talking politics with my parents over a year ago, which is sort of why I started to read and comment on DailyKos (and here.) My mom was not happy that Hillary lost, as I am sure you can imagine, and she will not listen to any criticisms of her, so yeah, discussions with her are not happening any time soon.

In any case, my comments about “Patriot” and being “loyal to the U.S. Constitution (and 2nd and 10th Amendments)” was made to me by several conservative friends, so no, I was not even the author of that argument, but I found it valid and worth sharing. Now, I realize that some people don’t support the 2nd Amendment, which is also entirely valid, if that is their belief (and my mom also doesn't support the 2nd Amendment.) However, if someone is posing the question, “What is Trump loyal to?” or “What does ‘Patriotic’ mean to Trump supporters?” Then they should ask some conservative Trump supporters, which I have, and that was their answer. Theirs, not mine, but I could not disagree. So I guess it is now my argument, but I have never had much experience with guns. And no, I am not a military expert, as someone also attacked me about, but I do have relatives (on my dad's side) who are Special Forces, and I have had lengthy conversations with them on this subject, (and they do support Trump) so the arguments I expressed on that came from them, and I have no doubt that they know what they are talking about. But again, attacking me, personally, in response to a rational argument sharing ideas, is abuse. So I am not sure how I feel about this site, today, but I don’t actually have that much time to blog, given school and work and life, so I don’t know how much I will participate, it’s usually sporadic for me, and I had several days off from work, (getting over a flu), but I try to read political blogs every day, because I want to be informed, and my parents have been big fans of DailyKos for several years, but I don’t share all of their opinions on politics (my mom loves Hillary) and I honestly have mixed feelings about DailyKos, and then several weeks ago someone on Facebook mention c99, which is why I started to read here. Okay, as I said, I have a bad habit of run on sentences, sorry, but thanks for reading, if you did.

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Alligator Ed's picture

@The Liberal Badger I regret the name-calling you may have (did) receive. That is an improper way to pose a logical argument. By the way I studied logic in college, so I think I know a bit about the subject. Stand your ground. If you do, such as your reply to me, with reasoned argument, I for one will welcome your comments.

The "earth sciences" such as ecology, geology, anthropology do not lend themselves to "control conditions". Yet deductions can legitimately be made and supported in those fields. Although I believe in the anthropogenic cause of climate change, very reasonable arguments can be made for climate change due to such as solar activity including sunspots. Convection via ocean currents may be affected by many things and also alter climatic patterns. This response isn't aimed at that topic.

My main points are these:

1. Used reasoned arguments, as for the most part you have
2. Avoid name calling to support opinions, which both your critics and yourself have engaged in.
3. It is perfectly acceptable to use name calling to express emotion
4. It takes time for people to get to know us, so we all benefit from essays and commentaries that express points of view different from our own. This website is NON partisan. Conservatives are welcome, not saying that you are one--but even if you were, welcome.
5. Stand your ground.

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travelerxxx's picture

@The Liberal Badger

I can understand where you're coming from when you state that "... I do go to school with and I do work with conservatives, so I have tried to find a common ground with them..."

I find myself in the midst of conservatives constantly. Some would have to be considered rabid right-wingers. Nevertheless, a number of these folks are beyond co-workers; I would have to consider them friends. They understand that I am coming from the left politically, yet some of them would step in front of a bus to save me from getting hit. I am not kidding one iota.

So, there is respect there. I listen to what they say, consider it, and they do likewise - at least for the most part. We don't argue, rather we discuss. They have moved my position on several topics and caused me to moderate my views on others more than once. I hope I have done the same with some of them. Probably the most important result of being with these folks is learning that they are not the basket of deplorables described by Clinton.

Some are deeply religious, many have not read or heard any other than extreme conservative viewpoints in their entire lives, some are afraid. All of the ones I am close to are very considerate, polite, and concerned with the nation. Interestingly enough, when I question them issue-by-issue, they actually respond as a liberally minded person might. Most want to keep the banks out of Social Security, feel as though the nation is easily wealthy enough to take care of the health needs of the entire population, etc. Of course, they have been told they're conservatives, so they respond that way. In general, they'll repeat the conservative company line, but in the details, often not.

So, I understand where you're coming from. Perhaps you should actually write more here. If you choose to do so, please add more paragraph breaks to make it easier for us to follow you. Wink

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