What matters in a president?

While it may be foolish to look to our political system for solutions to our problems, it is arguable that who is president at any given time matters. I used to be less certain about this. I had come to the view that any president was basically a spokes-model for the 1%, and hence the military industrial complex, Wall Street, the establishment, the oligarchy, etc. I had become inured to the notion that even 'good' presidents could do very little to change the god-awful trajectory of a nation driven mad by greed. Now, having seen the wreckage a horrible president can wreak on a helpless nation, I'm starting to re-question why none of the 'good' presidents ever had much impact. They had the same power to do good as he has to do evil. I'm starting to think they didn't want to change anything. Or were paid not to. (Shocking, I know.)

Yeah, I'm starting to think they all bamboozled us, promising change and justice, but with forked tongues as they blithely went about the business of the 1% and the great American war machine. Our government has been for many years a playground for lobbyists and profiteers, who often write their own laws. The government may seem dysfunctional, but it's just serving a purpose other than the well-being of the American people - and certainly not the well-being of the rest of the world.

I'm beginning to think it does matter who's president – you know, assuming we could ever have one who wasn't a turn-key functionary of the 1%. Even if they could get no support or cooperation from congress, four years of a true anti-Trump in the bully pulpit couldn't hurt. We need much more of course, but that alone would be manna from heaven at this point.

So assuming the presidency matters, I am endlessly perplexed by the criteria by which people decide which candidates to support. I am especially agog at how many people are single issue voters – people who vote for someone because of their race, ethnicity, gender, religion, geographic origin, appearance or a better-than-average ability to speak the language. If you vote for a presidential candidate for dumb reasons, you may well end up with a dumb president. Res ipsa loquitur.

Presumably, everyone wants a composed, well spoken president, one that can conduct him or herself with a trace of grace, some modicum of decorum, one who won't embarrass us every time they speak or try to close an umbrella. Being nice looking also matters since we have to look at this person a great deal more than we really want. A good smile, nice teeth, real hair; all of that matters – to some extent. Just not all that much. An attractive appearance and a suave command of the language actually guarantees very little. If anything such characteristics have the potential to conceal deep flaws and questionable actions and policies. Glib good-looking people get away with a lot of crap.

I'm often struck by how little people question these things. Or just how incurious they can be. Many people seem to be on some kind of weird cultural auto-pilot, cruising through daily life, checking all the boxes, meeting expectations, not questioning anything too rigorously, settling for simplistic propaganda because the truth these days seems so hard. I mean who has the time to go rooting about?

I sympathize really. It can be the devil to find untainted news. And the world is awash in corporate bullshit.

One of the few things the American people agree on is that the mainstream media is woefully inadequate. According to a 2016 Gallup poll, only about 20 percent of Americans have confidence in the television news and in newspapers. Donald Trump effectively harnessed this distrust during his campaign, and still attacks the media before his fans when he wants to prompt applause.

Americans recognize that the media does not represent their views, and media consolidation is largely to blame. It depends how you count, but, today, about six corporations control around 90 percent of our broadcast and print news — down from 50 corporations in the early 1980s

How Media Consolidation Threatens Democracy: 857 Channels (and Nothing On)

Six giant, billionaire-owned corporations control 90 percent of the information that gets disseminated. They decide what merits attention and what doesn't, and they decide how it is framed and spun. That amounts to a massive domination of the public conversation and a dastardly manipulation of the public mind.

So little is actually what it seems, especially in the present environment, that intellectual caution and a certain minimum rigor would seem well advised. It's important to be skeptical. It can be astonishing how quick people are to jump to conclusions. It's baffling how dead certain so many people are – even on the most complex and nuanced subjects. As a society, we perhaps failed to teach people how to think things through, how to be rigorously critical, how to respect logic and reason, how to appreciate nuance and complexity.

The dumbing down of society has had some alarming consequences. The buy-in of the public to the national mythology is a fait accompli and it's hard to get anyone to question it. It's as if they sense that picking at the threads could unravel the whole thing, then where would we be?

Decades of Madison Avenue social programming have led to a culture where it is commonly believed (generalizing of course) that: as much as possible, everything should be easy, convenient and affordable (preferably on sale); for every problem there is a solution available at Amazon; for every ill a pill; for every need an instant fix.

It's as if we are meant to snuggle up to our TV-land dream world, consume mindlessly and be milked dry by capitalist predators at every step of the way through both life and death – as opposed to thinking hard about what we're doing: to the planet; to each other; to the future of humanity. All in the interest of those few who profit as long as nothing changes.

People don't want to admit how horrible the status quo is. It's too horrific to face. So we buy into the bullshit. We're heroes fighting for democracy and so on. In truth we are aggressors occupying and exploiting foreign lands. We fight not for democracy or liberty but for Halliburton, Teledyne and Exxon-Mobil. If we are ever going to change, this is a truth we have to face. This is what we will have to undo.

We will have to reimagine a world at peace going forward. We have to fundamentally change who we are and how we relate to the rest of the world. We need to go from swords to plowshares. This whole living off of death thing is a nightmare from which we need to awaken. Making war in the nuclear and biological age is irresponsible, morally reprehensible and eminently unsustainable, as are so many of our other practices (e.g. rainforest depletion, fossil fuel extraction, ocean pollution, etc). Humanity deserves better.

THE BUSINESS OF WAR IS THE CAUSE OF WAR

iAMerican-Flag-Militray-Industrial-Complex

If you objectively and consistently observe the mainstream media and its interpretation of global events, its omissive and deceptive character soon becomes abundantly clear. This could hardly be called incompetence. The coverage, which is popularly called “news,” is in fact nothing but a propaganda mechanism, designed to persistently shape public opinion in favor of war.

For the presidency, we need the person most likely to create substantial change -- in all the right directions, which is an important caveat. We need the person whose policies make the most sense at the present moment, someone with policies that acknowledge and confront climate change and sustainable living. And preferably someone with capability and integrity to burn. Even if we can find all of this, will it be enough? We can't know, we have to try.

We need someone who will rock the boat but be smart about it. We need a change agent devoted to changing what any honest broker must brand a dishonest and hostile society into something better for us all. It is a matter of existential survival for us to remake ourselves into the wise, supporting and nurturing society we all deserve – and often claim to be.

If humans are to last, we must make these deep changes to align our best ideas and values with our actual day-to-day realities. It's time to be the peace-loving nation we claim to be and to prove it by leading the rest of the world to peace. We could do this if we chose to. We could be pushing peace instead of war. All those bomb makers could be doing something else for a living. We need a president who will get us there and help us undertake the great changes that we must.

Whoever that might be.

Don't vote for hair, teeth, gender, race or pretty words. This is much more serious than that.

Why boil something as complex and weighty as a choice of national/international leadership at this critical juncture of history down to something so simplistic as to be absurd? She's nice, he's good looking, she's well spoken, he's part Irish. Well, who would want to miss the chance to vote for someone who's part Irish?

If there is one thing this country needs, it's a deep and profound systemic change in the way we conduct ourselves in the world and here at home. We need to become the humanitarians we claim to be. We need to live up to our lofty ideals – that all people are created equal and are equally deserving of decent treatment. We need a society based on peace, love and compassion; not war, hate and fear.

We need to uncouple from our single-minded focus on war and profiteering, and focus on planetary survival and the well-being of the human family. Because if we don't, simply put, we are done.

We've got to stop doing what we've always done. Not an easy thing. Maybe not even a possible thing. But we have got to try. We've got to learn to live in a world without violence and aggression, fossil fuels, reckless pollution and the thoughtless exploitation of resources and people. We need to become cooperative when it comes to the overall well-being of the planet and all of its inhabitants. It's going to take all of humanity working together to manage the future that's coming at us.

If we cannot overcome our violent and brutish ways, if we can't become smart about our collective behavior, if we can't all pull together, it doesn't bode well for posterity.

We can keep the peace if we are determined to do so. We do it in our everyday lives (mostly). If we can do it in our neighborhoods, why can't we do it in the world?

The answer is we can. World peace is possible and with real leadership, America could usher it into being.

With world peace, humanity will be so much better off. We'll invest our treasure in our people and make this world a better place in a million ways.

A passionate pursuit of world peace is the only rational, caring, decent thing to do...and probably the only way to ensure a reasonable future for our species. I mean we all want to do that, right?

Peace-Out-OPOL-2014
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Comments

Peace on earth.

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The Aspie Corner's picture

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18 users have voted.

Modern education is little more than toeing the line for the capitalist pigs.

@The Aspie Corner I hear ya. Groovy graphic.

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10 users have voted.

@The Aspie Corner Really? You think all the bad stuff started after 2016?

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dfarrah

The Aspie Corner's picture

@dfarrah So why do anything when the pigs will never allow it?

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Modern education is little more than toeing the line for the capitalist pigs.

Alligator Ed's picture

I my early days, before I really indulged in the swamp, known as politics, my thoughts were identical to yours.

Presumably, everyone wants a composed, well spoken president, one that can conduct him or herself with a trace of grace, some modicum of decorum, one who won't embarrass us every time they speak or try to close an umbrella. Being nice looking also matters since we have to look at this person a great deal more than we really want. A good smile, nice teeth, real hair; all of that matters – to some extent. Just not all that much. An attractive appearance and a suave command of the language actually guarantees very little. If anything such characteristics have the potential to conceal deep flaws and questionable actions and policies. Glib good-looking people get away with a lot of crap.

A perfect exemplar of good teeth, glib words and a smile is Bubba, known as Mr. HRC these days. What a walking piece of excrement.

I propose a biological comparison of looking for Mr. Goodbar president. This is the process of birth. Despite genetics, we all to some degree get molded by the transpelvic experience of our own births. The only exception is Caesarean section, which involves a vicious intact on mother's anatomy. Can one exit unscathed from such a beginning. Do all who aspire to speak for others always have at least some degree of self-aggrandizement? Not necessarily money, but always power over others. It takes enormous self-belief to imagine any individual capable of making life/death decisions for millions with adopting the associated power that comes from so doing.

My faith in man/woman is reinforced by such as Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange. Disregarding for the moment their mutual imprisonment, neither of those would be interested in holding political office.

An honest politician is a biological phantasm, such as minotaurs. Wish as much as you might, you cannot will either minotaurs or honest politicians into being. Alas, I must include Tulsi into that concept (though she is certainly the best of the bunch).

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@Alligator Ed I take exception to the idea that the present president has wreaked wreckage on the nation. His presidency has not affected me personally one iota. So how do I conclude that this has happened? Listen to the claims of others, when I have no real basis to determine the validity of those claims?

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Alligator Ed's picture

@davidgmillsatty an iceberg. It is rather that he is steady at the helm, keeping to the same disastrous course which his presidential predecessors have initiated. Bubba started the train of overt corruption, which now, due to mass desensitization, becomes even louder.

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@Alligator Ed

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@davidgmillsatty
"it hasn't affected me ... so there's no way i can know whether it's affecting anybody else"?

is that sincere, or ironic?

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17 users have voted.

The earth is a multibillion-year-old sphere.
The Nazis killed millions of Jews.
On 9/11/01, a Boeing 757 (AA Flight 77) flew into the Pentagon.
If you can't accept these indisputable facts, I can't fake an interest in your opinions about anything else.

Raggedy Ann's picture

@UntimelyRippd
thread hijacker to me. Pleasantry

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8 users have voted.

"The herd management intent is simply to get you into one of the corrals. Nobody is right, if everybody is wrong.
I am a free range DFH."
NCTim

@UntimelyRippd I am serious.

Think about it.

Who do you trust to tell you what is going on? The politicians? The media? Websites? Hollywood? All I know first hand is what this presidency has done to me or my friends or relatives. After that I am relying on the rankest hearsay, opinion and propaganda.

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@davidgmillsatty

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1 user has voted.

The earth is a multibillion-year-old sphere.
The Nazis killed millions of Jews.
On 9/11/01, a Boeing 757 (AA Flight 77) flew into the Pentagon.
If you can't accept these indisputable facts, I can't fake an interest in your opinions about anything else.

lotlizard's picture

@davidgmillsatty  
They came to understand that one must have experienced, and/or be able to verify, something oneself, first-hand, with one’s own senses — otherwise one doesn’t really “know” it. In the latter case one is relying on hearsay, no matter how pervasive and well organized.

People came to this realization through having experienced and experimented with all sorts of things first-hand — be it communal living, non-Western religion, direct confrontation with authorities, “back to the land” rural self-sufficiency, travel on a shoestring to exotic places, or, lest we forget, psychedelic drugs.

In the course of pursuing any of these endeavors, the irrelevance to actual experience — and often politically or commercially motivated, deliberate outright mendacity — of mainstream media and schooling quickly became evident to people.

Hence the growth and reliance upon independent, alternative, “counterculture” media voices during this period. An audience of radical empiricists developed, who for news and information turned to other radical empiricists: people one could trust to be reporting their own first-hand experiences rather than regurgitating hearsay in pursuit of some unknown agenda bankrolled by faceless figures and forces behind the scenes.

The Whole Earth Catalog, for example, was subtitled “access to tools” — full of stuff that others like oneself had tried and could report on and recommend first-hand as being truthful and/or useful.

So . . . while others may scoff at you, I — as someone whose epistemological habits were formed during the hippie era — do not.

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wendy davis's picture

@lotlizard

the editor of the whole earth catalog, stewart brand...came out in favor of nuclear power. go figure. ; ) but yeah, we lived by that bible, as well as lots of counter-culture ideas: spiritual gurus, whole health body/mind, herbology, diet for a small planet, on and on.

of course, i still carry my hippie card with me, and i made my living for 30 (more?) years doing body/mind/soul therapy under the license of 'massage therapy'... : )

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lotlizard's picture

@wendy davis  
http://wholeearth.com/issue/1200/article/260/space.colonies.-.a.coevolut...

https://space.nss.org/media/L5-News-1979-07.pdf

♫ Home, home on Lagrange,
Where the space debris always collects,
We possess, so it seems, two of Man's greatest dreams:
Solar power and zero-gee sex. ♫

Visionaries gonna viz, I guess.

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wendy davis's picture

@lotlizard

thank you, but esp. for '♫....and zero G sex ♥'. beats hell outta being a member of 'the mile-high club', no?

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TheOtherMaven's picture

@wendy davis

though that might be a guesstimate based on date of first official publication and copyright (1978) - I could swear it was making the rounds unofficially a few years earlier (esp. if Filthy Pierre got his sticky fingers on it - he was notorious for swiping and printing any filk he heard, and not bothering to find out who wrote it).

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There is no justice. There can be no peace.

@lotlizard Well being a hippie myself and a staunchly anti-war advocate since the late sixties, I could finesse this and say that I got my skepticism from that era. However, truth be told it was 35 years of practicing law and all the skepticism a law practice engenders that makes me have this opinion.

Years ago I was determined to be an educated voter, only to discover that no one wants voters to know the truth.

When it comes to matters of war, the government just does not want you to know. Period. No matter how diligent you are, the government has no intention of letting the citizens know what is going on about matters of war. And it is pretty much the same about anything that is important.

Lawyers are privy to a lot more government information than other citizens. And I was always frustrated trying to figure out what the government was up to.

So I think it is an exercise in self delusion when people think they can become educated voters or citizens. It is not happening.

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@davidgmillsatty what has changed that has affected the hysterical TDS-ers so much?

Trump truly hasn't done anything that prior presidents didn't do. And his positions, such as the wall and dreamers, have been previously supported by dems.

I like the way he shakes things up, even if I don't agree with it all.

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dfarrah

@dfarrah watching people murdered by white nationalists too?

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lotlizard's picture

@FuturePassed  
It’s personal insult and/or attack.

(Moderator comment)

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mimi's picture

@lotlizard
I have the Trottel Distraction Syndrome. How could I forget.

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Love is all we have to give.

@dfarrah for the future of the nation. I prefer not to have children kidnapped from their parents and locked in cages (and often sexually abused) just to shake things up.

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thanatokephaloides's picture

@Alligator Ed

An honest politician is a biological phantasm, such as minotaurs. Wish as much as you might, you cannot will either minotaurs or honest politicians into being. Alas, I must include Tulsi into that concept (though she is certainly the best of the bunch).

We've had honest politicians before. They're not chaemeras, but they are rare.

Many, such as Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt, were Republican. And the most honest of Democratic Presidents, also named Roosevelt, was as honest as he was in large part because he admired and emulated his kinsman Theodore.

They can be cultured. But the first step in culturing them is for We The People as a whole to completely quarantine themselves from ever voting for bullshit. Give the likes of Tulsi Gabbard an opportunity to stay honest, and she will. But she needs that opportunity. Can we give it to her?

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"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

@thanatokephaloides that was easy. I'm not sure the word honest would be among the first descriptives about FDR. Skillful politician, successful president, flexible attitude, good intelligence, concern for his country's less well off come to mind. I wouldn't apply "honest" to Pearl Harbor or FDR's seeming unconcern about the Jews of Europe.

Honest also isn't sufficient. Jimmy Carter was one of the most honest presidents. He too was intelligent, so even that isn't enough. What FDR was very good at was applying his personal abilities and the media tools of the time to sell the people on his programs. He was also skillful at keeping his awkward Dem coalition together. Honest Jimmy not so good in either category.

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@wokkamile Jimmy Carter, I think his actions in Afghanistan supported the growth of terrorism, and his efforts to deregulate led to the monopolies we're stuck with now.

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dfarrah

@dfarrah

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@thanatokephaloides
make the case that lincoln was honest. his speeches were carefully tailored to his particular audiences. he said so many contradictory things that we'll never know for certain what he thought about slavery and racial equality.

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2 users have voted.

The earth is a multibillion-year-old sphere.
The Nazis killed millions of Jews.
On 9/11/01, a Boeing 757 (AA Flight 77) flew into the Pentagon.
If you can't accept these indisputable facts, I can't fake an interest in your opinions about anything else.

@UntimelyRippd

allegedly pursuant to his powers as CIC, is a decent-sized clue, IMO. So was risking his life for abolition.

Fast forward to Obama, who claimed his CIC powers were insufficient to end discrimination against gays in the military via Executive Order. Now, Obama may have had a leg to stand on there: His fellow New Democrat President was so anxious to escape responsibility for anything that he didn't even go after the odious product of Clinton plus two Republicans, namely, Don't Ask; Don't Tell via Executive Order. Instead, he sought political cover from getting Congress to pass it as a law. So, that put Obama in a more delicate position than he would have been if he had only to use an Executive Order to repeal the Executive Orders of Clinton and Reagan on the same subject. Still, Obama could have issued an Executive Order.

But, I think we have a clue how Lincoln really felt about slavery when we compare the political cowardice of Commanders in Chief of the US military, Obama and Clinton, to regulate the military by Executive Order versus Lincoln's using an Executive Order to overturn, in the rebel states a centuries-old "institution" on which the economy of an entire region depended.

As far as making contradictory statements about slaves and slavery, I don't see that as unexpected from a guy running for President in 1860 on a platform of not extending slavery to the territories. As it was, had Democrats not split into two anti-slavery parties, he probably would have lost the election. I don't find doing some verbal slipping and sliding in the service of abolition in the US in 1860 anywhere near as reprehensible as, say, Wilson getting himself re-elected with the slogan "He Kept Us Out of War:" The summon-a-bitch* knew damn well he was going to the lead the country into World War I not long after his re-election.

*representing my father's pronunciation of one of his favorite words, sometimes shortened, as in "that summon-a...."

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@HenryAWallace
I mean, ultimately, Lincoln had to be opposed to slavery on a fundamental basis, or he wouldn't have been a Republican to begin with. What is difficult is pinning him down on the particulars. Would he have been content, absent the Civil War, only to limit the expansion of slavery into new states and territories? Or would he have devoted himself to a slow, implacable undermining of the institution throughout the slave states (e.g., by finding ways to thwart fugitive slave return)? Did he believe that blacks ought to have full and equal civil rights? In one speech, he indicated that he did. In another, he asserted that in a society of blacks and whites, one would necessarily have to be superior to the other, and he favored the supremacy of the white race. So again, my two points were:
A. As a campaigner, he wasn't all that honest -- he told different crowds (and correspondents, for that matter) what he thought they wanted to hear.
B. As a result of "A", even today we cannot build a complete, in-depth profile of his true thoughts and feelings with respect to race and slavery.

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2 users have voted.

The earth is a multibillion-year-old sphere.
The Nazis killed millions of Jews.
On 9/11/01, a Boeing 757 (AA Flight 77) flew into the Pentagon.
If you can't accept these indisputable facts, I can't fake an interest in your opinions about anything else.

@UntimelyRippd that by prohibiting slavery in the territories and new states, by restricting it solely to the deep south where it already existed, then slowly over time the institution would be deprived of moral oxygen and eventually wither on the vine in an organic way.

I think it's also accurate to say that under Lincoln, had he lived, Reconstruction would have proceeded much more vigorously and successfully in the south, even with his desire to "let 'em down easy". Very much doubt he would have stood back and allowed a bloody civil war to have happened only to see slavery continue under a different guise, Jim Crow.

He was appalled at his VP, Andrew Johnson, ill-bred and of low character, and probably played only a small or nonexistent role in his choosing, that being left largely to convention delegates back then. After seeing Johnson's drunken swearing in and slurred speech of acceptance, Lincoln likely arranged to keep the man out of his sight as much as possible thereafter. (JFK did similar with his VP of low character, Lyndon Johnson.)

On racial equality, he said blacks were currently the equal to the whites in some ways, but not in others, yet I don't think he meant blacks were incapable of equaling whites in these deficient areas.

As to whites' feelings about blacks, Lincoln soberly assessed that the sense of superiority in whites and the sense of inferiority they directed at blacks probably was too deeply immersed in the blood of whites over too long a time to be overcome, ever, which accounts for Lincoln's occasional thoughts about finding a home for blacks overseas where they could start fresh.

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@UntimelyRippd saying different things in different places was an important part of being a pol in a state like IL that had sizable divisions in the populace on the questions of slavery and equality. Lincoln was first and foremost a politician, not a saint, and he wanted to get elected.

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@wokkamile
more or less as a matter of standard professional practice.

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6 users have voted.

The earth is a multibillion-year-old sphere.
The Nazis killed millions of Jews.
On 9/11/01, a Boeing 757 (AA Flight 77) flew into the Pentagon.
If you can't accept these indisputable facts, I can't fake an interest in your opinions about anything else.

thanatokephaloides's picture

@UntimelyRippd

By today's standards, Abraham Lincoln was as honest as Diogenes of Sinope!

Wink

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"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

@thanatokephaloides
"emoluments" if that's what you mean.

but he absolutely was not straight with the voters when campaigning.

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2 users have voted.

The earth is a multibillion-year-old sphere.
The Nazis killed millions of Jews.
On 9/11/01, a Boeing 757 (AA Flight 77) flew into the Pentagon.
If you can't accept these indisputable facts, I can't fake an interest in your opinions about anything else.

@UntimelyRippd was ever "not straight" with voters as to his overall attitude towards slavery or his approach to prohibit its spread. The other matter of whether blacks are equal to whites in all respects, that discussion might have shifted from place to place.

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@wokkamile

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@UntimelyRippd

I thought/imagined. (-:

Intended to extend slavery to the territories, but run on limiting it, would be being a dishonest politician. Tailoring his remarks to each of his 1860 audiences in order to become President so that he could limit slavery? That's being a politician, period, and in the service of a great good to boot. But, thanks to Democrats splitting into two parties and the slave states rebelling, he got to do great things that should never have needed to be done.

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@HenryAWallace
People who say this have no idea at all what military service was for gays before "Don't Ask Don't Tell". It was comparable to "Juden 'Raus!" It was ILLEGAL to be gay and there were organized hunts for gays and officialdom turned a blind eye to attacks on gays. Any complaint and "Oh! You're gay! You have committed a crime and will get a bad paper discharge." Don't ask don't tell ended the official hunts and forbid inquiry into status unless the soldier rubbed their nose in it (the "don't Tell" part. Although not full rights, it was a giant step forward.

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@The Voice In the Wilderness
non-leadership. did it help? yes. was there a good reason to not just say, "Hey, it's now okay to be gay in the military?" no. it was pure triangulation: avoid taking a stand. avoid calling to the "angels of our better nature."

blech.

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3 users have voted.

The earth is a multibillion-year-old sphere.
The Nazis killed millions of Jews.
On 9/11/01, a Boeing 757 (AA Flight 77) flew into the Pentagon.
If you can't accept these indisputable facts, I can't fake an interest in your opinions about anything else.

@UntimelyRippd was there a good reason to not just say, "Hey, it's now okay to be gay in the military?"
It would never have passed. Politics is the art of the possible. I'm mad at Bill Clinton for many many things. But that was a good thing. You might as well have said, "Why didn't LBJ end discrimination against gays in the military?" or "Why didn't Jimmy Carter?" or "Why didn't FDR propose the Voting Rights Act instead of leaving it to the next generation?"

The Perfect is the enemy of the Good.

Triangulation? or Incrementalism?

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@The Voice In the Wilderness
his generals to open the military to gays, Congress would have had two choices:
A. Accept that as commander-in-chief, the President has full authority to do so;
or
B. Attempt to impeach him over it -- an attempt that would never have succeeded.

In both events, the generals would have followed the order of their commander-in-chief, and the deal would have been a done thing.

Pleading pragmatism doesn't get him off the hook, it only makes him look the operator that he was.

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0 users have voted.

The earth is a multibillion-year-old sphere.
The Nazis killed millions of Jews.
On 9/11/01, a Boeing 757 (AA Flight 77) flew into the Pentagon.
If you can't accept these indisputable facts, I can't fake an interest in your opinions about anything else.

@UntimelyRippd

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@thanatokephaloides

I'm researching him now for my history of the Democratic Party series and will probably soon have more of an opinion about that subject.

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thanatokephaloides's picture

@HenryAWallace

I'm not sure how honest FDR was.

I'm researching him now for my history of the Democratic Party series and will probably soon have more of an opinion about that subject.

Like Lincoln, by today's standards, he was a paragon.

Modern pols lie when telling the truth would serve them better. At worst, FDR only lied when it was in the country's interests, or his own.

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1 user has voted.

"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

@thanatokephaloides I don't trust anyone who has ever been in the military, especially someone who volunteered. Maybe I should because of Carter, but there have just been too many people in the military, when push came to shove by the MIC, rolled over. But you sure can't trust chicken-hawks either.

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Lookout's picture

One of the demands of XR (extinction rebellion) are citizen assemblies.

Mike Gravel suggest citizens must have more direct democracy
https://mikegravel.com/direct-democracy-by-mike-gravel/

The system is no longer functional...bought and paid for by the very corporations which threaten our ecosystem and promote (nuclear) war. We have to do an end around. What if we just started citizen councils? If nothing else than to combat the mass distortion and misinformation and begin a demand for change. XR sure did well last week.
https://rebellion.earth/2019/04/25/update-7-to-parliament-and-beyond/

We must find the will to change.

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24 users have voted.

“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

Alligator Ed's picture

@Lookout Michael Gove is a Tory Remainer who has been angling for Terrible Tessie's PMship. She gone in a few weeks. Gove's alleged willingness to talk climate change will devolve into the usual pandering to the unwashed masses, who outstandingly are Brexiteers including some Tories.

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wendy davis's picture

@Alligator Ed

comment?

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2 users have voted.

@Lookout
grabbing the wheel of a car careening out of control?

Direct Democracy, like Term Limits, assumes that politics is easy and anyone can do it without training, which is not true of lawyers, doctors, teachers, soldiers, salesmen, mechanics, even screw machine operators. Some things are easier to learn than others. Some take innate talent.

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4 users have voted.
Lookout's picture

@The Voice In the Wilderness

I find myself on the other side of the river from the main stream flow...so real democracy isn't real for me. In other words people are brainwashed and don't make good decisions. People don't have assess to accurate information and don't reach rational conclusions. However I don't see our system capable of dealing with the emergency. If survival is an option, we will be forced to act without and beyond the government IMO.

As to direct democracy...I saw through WMD and russiagate....took me a while to recognize the the Obummer con. Awoke me with the peace prize speech arguing war is peace. Most people want M4all, $15/hr, get out of war, etc. I think we would vote for those things if that was an option instead of R or D? Now getting there is the rub.

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14 users have voted.

“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

@Lookout
In a few more years,I'll have two more Yankee transplant voters to join you. Look forward to gardening discussions and plant trades too.

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@The Voice In the Wilderness the reason the founding fathers established a bi-cameral legislature.

It was established to protect the non-majority, too, and to give the non-majority a voice in what was going on.

Small or non-populous states would have no voice at all had the system been direct.

And I am glad, even with today's gridlock, that this exists. I don't want a direct democracy given the mob-like people who have no knowledge of concepts like due process, innocent until proven guilty, habeas corpus, or notions related to corruption of the blood and guilt by association.

We have already had two great examples (Kavanaugh, Trump)of how horribly the mob would rule, had they enough power. We already know how the mob would suppress freedom of speech, now that states are having to pass laws forcing universities to allow conservative speakers.

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6 users have voted.

dfarrah

@dfarrah

Whether a system is bicameral (as in two houses of Congress) or unicameral (one house) doesn't seem to me to be the issue when the discussion is about direct democracy versus representative democracy. If we have direct democracy, we need zero houses.

Claiming the minority have no voice at all in a popular vote is untrue. One person, one vote. Everyone has exactly the same amount of "voice" in a popular vote, whether they live in a sparsely-populated state or a populous states. Unpopular views , however, do get voted down, but not states and not people.

Absent unanimity, which is a pipe dream, rule by a majority of the people is the fairest, even if extraordinary majorities are sometimes required.

As long as allegedly elected alleged representatives to govern us, the golden rule will not change: He, she or it with most of the gold will make all of the rules for the rest of us. A few wealthy people decide everything, thanks to our bought and paid for legislators; and a vast majority of Americans have no say at all. That is the reality and it sucks scissors. Anything that gives a tiny minority of people power over the vast majority of the people is not democracy or fair or anything good.

Moreover, a state is a political unit, best known to most of us as some lines within a map of the United States. I am fine with people in both heavily-populated states and sparsely- populated states having 100% of political power, and lines on a map having zero political power. However, less populous states do have power, no matter what. States have the power in the electoral college (just ask Hillary, the popular vote President) and in ratification of Constitutional amendments. IMO, that is more than enough power for lines on a map.

I don't give a rat's tail how the wealthy Framers felt about it in 1789. (In those days, it was the slave states with their huge plantations that were the more sparsely-populated ones. Gee, I wonder why they feared the popular vote, what with John Adams and other Northerners recommending that the new nation be founded without slavery.)

As far you, me, Caucus99percenters and the rest of our fellow citizens being "the mob,
James Madison, is that you? You and your fellow citizens are a mob? As opposed to what? The corrupt, deceitful war mongers in BOTH houses of Congress who sell their souls--and ours--to the very rich? I'd love to know why that out-of- touch, pampered, corrupt crappy, soul-less lot should have more power over our lives and the lives of our kids and grandkids than we and our fellow citizens do.

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3 users have voted.

@HenryAWallace As you probably know, the house was set up to be representative by population. The senate was set up to have 2 senators.

You've never heard the concept of tyranny of the majority?

You fault our past, bringing up the usual slavery issue. Do you forget that it was our system that finally gave full rights to blacks, that the US finally passed laws against various isms? Do you forget that it was our system that gave women the right to vote? Do you forget that our system allowed for the passage of laws to protect various classes of people? Do you realize that most of these changes came without ruinous violence (compared to the rest of the world), and most of the time, issues get talked about and resolved via elections? You lose, you live with the consequences until you win.

Frankly, I can do without the constant violent changes in governments and constant warring among peoples. Do you wish to be like the Tutsis and Hutu? Or the Serbs and Bosnia? What about the Sunnis and Shiites?

There is a reason that the US does not have similar murderous uprisings between whatever groupings of people that might exist. It is because our political system flexes and it is designed to flex.

Currently, I have no doubt that a huge group of democrats would imprison people based on speech, wearing a MAGA hat, religion, and baseless evidence-free accusations if they had the power to do so, or that they would try to overthrow elected officials on a whim. Our current system has held, for now, against these types of actions.

People are unhappy with the electoral college. Good luck trying to pass a constitutional amendment that does away with it; certainly the smaller and mid-size states would never pass such an amendment, and there are probably blue states that wouldn't like the idea of being run by California and New York.

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3 users have voted.

dfarrah

@dfarrah

As you probably know, the house was set up to be representative by population. The senate was set up to have 2 senators.

Of course. Everyone knows that. My point was that unicameral vs. bicameral is not the issue when discussing direct democracy vs. representative democracy. In a direct democracy, no houses are necessary. In a representative democracy, you can have an infinite number of houses or only one.

You've never heard the concept of tyranny of the majority?

Yes, of course. Mostly from rightists, though. I've also heard of the tyranny of the minority.

You fault our past,

Actually, that not what I did.

bringing up the usual slavery issue.

The "usual slavery issue?" That seems unduly dismissive. In any event, I referenced the colonies whose economies involved slaves, not out of the blue, but because they were directly relevant to the reason the Framers gave sparsely-populated states undue power.

Do you forget that it was our system that finally gave full rights to blacks, that the US finally passed laws against various isms? Do you forget that it was our system that gave women the right to vote? Do you forget that our system allowed for the passage of laws to protect various classes of people? Do you realize that most of these changes came without ruinous violence (compared to the rest of the world), and most of the time, issues get talked about and resolved via elections? You lose, you live with the consequences until you win.

Frankly, I can do without the constant violent changes in governments and constant warring among peoples. Do you wish to be like the Tutsis and Hutu? Or the Serbs and Bosnia? What about the Sunnis and Shiites?

And, in your estimation, these things happened because a minority of people was allowed a veto over the majority of people Because states, lines on a map, were given power over people? If so, I strongly disagree. If anything, allowing minority rule delayed many positive changes. If that is not the reason you're bringing up these historical events, I am not understanding why you are bringing them up. And, btw, many nations effect change without either violence or giving undue power to lines on a map.

There is a reason that the US does not have similar murderous uprisings between whatever groupings of people that might exist. It is because our political system flexes and it is designed to flex.

I think you are vastly oversimplifying the reasons for uprisings, which are often against murderous, tyrannical regimes. Second, again, it's not allowing the minority to override the majority that makes our system either fair or flexible.

People are unhappy with the electoral college. Good luck trying to pass a constitutional amendment that does away with it. Good luck trying to pass any constitutional amendment. However, my prior post said nothing about abolishing it. I simply cited it as one example of states--political units, lines on a map--getting to override the will of a majority of human Americans.

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@HenryAWallace to someone who has no historical knowledge, yet I know you do.

The notion of tyranny of the majority is very old, it did not arise from the 'right wing.'

https://edsitement.neh.gov/curriculum-unit/alexis-de-tocqueville-tyranny...

Democracy in America was written in the mid 1800's.

Why am I dismissive toward people who knock the constitution vis-à-vis slavery and bigotry issues? Because slavery and bigotry have been around forever, amongst numerous peoples, yet our system allowed for its correction and continuous improvement. There are still countries where religious and racial bigotry are the norm (Israel, China anyone?). Instead, the US has ultimately decided against isms, as evidenced by regulations and Supreme Court decisions.

"And, in your estimation, these things happened because a minority of people was allowed a veto over the majority of people Because states, lines on a map, were given power over people?"

I have no idea where you reached that conclusion. People won a war of ideas and effected change.

I just find it amusing the number of people who knock a system without even understanding how or why it arose, talking like it was a horror from which all must be destroyed. The fact is, our system adjusted, and continues to adjust, to the needs and wants of its people. And the changes are being done with pens, not violence.

I suppose a member of one of the many aggrieved groups could have acted violently throughout the US instead of waiting for cases to wind through courts and waiting for legislation to pass. I guess MLK could have taken up arms and shot as many whites as possible. I guess women could have taken up arms and killed whole legislative bodies. Maybe gays should have bombed all of the capitols in the US instead of pushing for legislation.

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dfarrah

mimi's picture

@dfarrah y
some people have just difficulties to accept majorities. But imho majorities elected in a direct democratic vote are the most honest representation of what the population wants. I am rather abused by a majority than by a minority. At least it deson't make sense to me why I would accept a minority to enforce their will over a majority.

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0 users have voted.

Love is all we have to give.

@HenryAWallace I am as mystified as anyone else why we keep electing people who support the mess you described.

IMO, the choices are culled at local levels, so the locals in power, supported by the rich, need to be overpowered.

Mobs to me means the women who were banging on the SC door, the people who have been mobbing repubs at dinner/movies at Maxine Waters' (Booker's, Holder's)behest, people who attack people for wearing Maga hats, people who have been mobbing conservative speakers at universities and at tables promoting conservatives or Trump.

It is astounding to me that my side has behaved so badly and irrationally.

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3 users have voted.

dfarrah

@dfarrah

I am as mystified as anyone else why we keep electing people who support the mess you described.

Because the rich have always had power here, from the East India Company and George III and his colonial governors to the Koch brothers and Soros.

IMO, the choices are culled at local levels, so the locals in power, supported by the rich, need to be overpowered.

Of course they do. But, the system is rigged in their favor and always has been.

Mobs to me means the women who were banging on the SC door, the people who have been mobbing repubs at dinner/movies at Maxine Waters' (Booker's, Holder's)behest, people who attack people for wearing Maga hats, people who have been mobbing conservative speakers at universities and at tables promoting conservatives or Trump.

That is not how your prior post read. However, of course, some unruly activity exists in the US and elsewhere that is not extremely despotic. But, in a population of about 300 million, they people whom you describe constitute a miniscule minority. Your point in your prior post, however, seemed to be that direct democracy as a form of government-all citizens voting on matters like war, taxes, etc. would be mob rule. And my response was that I'd rather be governed by a majority of my fellow citizen than by "our" corrupt, deceitful, insulated, etc. selected (sic) unrepresentatives (sic).

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@HenryAWallace
Sometimes the many seize power. But they always lose it because they don't know how to hold it because they are not power drunk fanatics. The rich, the ultra-rich are psychotics that need to have more so that someone else has less. To the ordinary man having lots of money means spending it on pleasurable things. To the rich it means power and ego-enhancment. What sane man wouldn't be content with having a billion dollars and not be consumed with envy because a dozen or so men in the world have more. Who wouldn't enjoy life and have fun and help others? But just look at the world's richest men. They spend long hours consumed with envy that there is someone who has more, to become the first trillionaire. Truly obsessive sickness to cause misery and poverty to the men and women working for you just to add some meaningless zeros to your net worth. Net "worth", I hate that phrase. Gandhi and Mother Teresa had more worth than these sick deranged people.

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@dfarrah

If you don't agree with them, why refer to them as "my side?"

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@HenryAWallace

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@HenryAWallace that Trump revealed the hypocrisy of my side?

The dems have flipped on so many issues, it gives me whiplash.

I don't know what side I am on now. I intensely like and dislike things about both sides, although I strongly lean Bernie overall.

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dfarrah

@HenryAWallace Like a lot of what you say...

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Shaheer

@Lookout

have the means to change, using "means" to encompass the funding and other things. The Constitution and everything that preceded and followed it was geared to the group we now refer to as the elites. And they've had literally centuries and billions of dollars over that time to insulate themselves from us.

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Lookout's picture

@HenryAWallace

The necessary change will involve sacrifice and that is what we lack the will to do. IMO if we had the will we would find a means.

Reverse consumerism is a hard sell. especially to the corporations and wall street..our masters.

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3 users have voted.

“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

edg's picture

We liberals and progressives have to shoulder at least some of the blame for this. To ensure our progeny experienced few bumps in life, we cocooned them in classrooms where learning was secondary to political correctness, we let them participate in sports where nobody loses, and we downgraded working hard for your grades to a system of grading everyone high on the curve.

I'm embarrassed by the ignorance of our successor generations regarding simple math (making change without a cash register telling them what to do), basic grammar and spelling skills, and fundamental knowledge of history.

We failed our children and grandchildren.

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15 users have voted.
thanatokephaloides's picture

@edg

We failed our children and grandchildren.

I haven't (childless).

Wink

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5 users have voted.

"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

edg's picture

@thanatokephaloides

Doesn't matter, though. Whether we have children or not, we still interact with and are affected by the actions and misdeeds of other people's children.

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10 users have voted.
Cassiodorus's picture

So, yes, we agree there, though honestly I'm at a loss to figure out why we are focusing on "bad Presidents" here. They've all been bad, starting with Reagan, and Carter brought the trend in by promising to be bad in his losing 1980 reelection campaign. This is by design.

It seems to me that if we want to focus upon this contingency, we ought to be promoting an activist "Plan B." What if the Democrats screw Bernie again, and set up useful idiot Joe Biden to win the convention with the help of the superdelegates? Bernie endorses Joe, and hope is once again replaced by despair. Such a contingency would be one possible fruit of the "elect a better President" strategy which appears as the first option for activism in America. What then? Perhaps we ought to be planning for this possibility?

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17 users have voted.

"Can't you see/ It all makes perfect sense/ Expressed in dollars and cents/ pounds, shillings, and pence" -- Roger Waters

@Cassiodorus I don't disagree.

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@Cassiodorus

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@Cassiodorus
as I wrote in a comment the other day, Reagan ran on a platform to govern almost identically to what the Carter administration had been doing: increase defense spending, decrease regulation, reduce deficits.

not much doubt that he's been one of the bestest ex-presidents of all time, though.

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11 users have voted.

The earth is a multibillion-year-old sphere.
The Nazis killed millions of Jews.
On 9/11/01, a Boeing 757 (AA Flight 77) flew into the Pentagon.
If you can't accept these indisputable facts, I can't fake an interest in your opinions about anything else.

Alligator Ed's picture

@Cassiodorus Hunter. Like father, like son. Will Trump smite the upper echelons of his enemies such as Killary and the empty suit?

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11 users have voted.

@Cassiodorus

...They've all been bad, starting with Reagan, and Carter brought the trend in by promising to be bad in his losing 1980 reelection campaign. This is by design...

(I'm particularly interested in your comments on Carter.)

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3 users have voted.

"Freedom is something that dies unless it's used." --Hunter S. Thompson

Cassiodorus's picture

@bobswern

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9 users have voted.

"Can't you see/ It all makes perfect sense/ Expressed in dollars and cents/ pounds, shillings, and pence" -- Roger Waters

@Cassiodorus
Perhaps his having been a Naval officer had something to do with it. I do know that his old boss, Admiral Rickover had a big influence on him.

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@Cassiodorus

...position. And, while it doesn't mention it in the commentary, below, the fact of the matter is that Carter did more to bring peace to the mideast than any president, perhaps, since the formal independence of the State of Israel, in 1948. From the link, earlier in this paragraph...

Jimmy Carter - Military policy

Carter had inherited a wide variety of tough problems in international affairs, and in dealing with them, he was hampered by confusion and uncertainty in Congress and the nation concerning the role the nation should play in the world. A similar state of mind prevailed in the closely related area of military policy, and that state of mind affected the administration. At the beginning of his presidency, Carter pardoned Vietnam War draft evaders and announced that American troops would be withdrawn from South Korea. He also decided against construction of the B-1 bomber as a replacement for the aging B-52, regarding the proposed airplane as costly and obsolete, and also decided to cut back on the navy's shipbuilding program. Champions of military power protested, charging that he was not sufficiently sensitive to the threat of the Soviet Union.

In recent years, the Soviets had strengthened their forces and influence, expanding the army, developing a large navy, and increasing their arms and technicians in the Third World. As Carter's concern about these developments mounted, he alarmed critics of military spending by calling for a significant increase in the military budget for fiscal 1979, a substantial strengthening of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) forces, and the development and deployment of a new weapon, the neutron bomb. Next, he dismayed advocates of greater military strength by first deciding that the bomb would not be built and then announcing that production would be postponed while the nation waited to see how the Soviets behaved.

In both diplomatic and military matters, the president often found it difficult to stick with his original intentions. He made concessions to demands for more military spending and more activity in Africa and became less critical of American arms sales. He both responded to criticism of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and sought to restore its effectiveness, regarding it as an essential instrument that had been misused.

Critics, including Henry Kissinger, Henry Jackson, and many Republican senators, found him weak and ineffective, confusing and confused. They suggested that his administration had "seen that its neat theories about the world do not fit the difficult realities" and that "it must now come to grips with the world as it is." One close observer, Meg Greenfield of Newsweek magazine, wrote in 1978 that while "many of our politicians, more traumatized than instructed by that miserable war [Vietnam], tend to see Vietnams everywhere," more and more congressmen "seem . . . to be getting bored with their own post-Vietnam bemusement," and "under great provocation from abroad, Carter himself is beginning to move."

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4 users have voted.

"Freedom is something that dies unless it's used." --Hunter S. Thompson

@bobswern
Unfortunately, he was more or less a true believer in neo-liberalism, before that formulation even existed. Perhaps he just had too much faith in people. I don't know. I do know that, as I've said in my other comments here, Reagan ran against him by promising to do everything that Carter was already doing -- plus tax cuts.

Indeed, Reagan himself believed in working towards a peaceable end to the cold war, at least at some point. Years ago, I saw an astonishing clip from Firing Line, with Reagan and a couple of other Republicans. The other guys were belching a super-hard line on relations with the USSR. Reagan, speaking coherently and intelligently -- as I say, it was astonishing -- stated that the right had no business asking for people to vote for them, if they had nothing to offer but inevitable nuclear war.

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6 users have voted.

The earth is a multibillion-year-old sphere.
The Nazis killed millions of Jews.
On 9/11/01, a Boeing 757 (AA Flight 77) flew into the Pentagon.
If you can't accept these indisputable facts, I can't fake an interest in your opinions about anything else.

@UntimelyRippd into inevitable nuclear war in his first term. The admin's bellicose rhetoric directed at the Sov Union, including his FEMA director stating that we could win in a nuke exchange if people would only build enough fallout shelters in their back yard, brought the two countries to a very perilous position by 1983.

That anti-nuke movie which Ronnie saw in the WH, The Day After, began to undermine his narrow and reckless attitude. Then the world lucked out when the reasonable, reform-minded and détente focused Gorbachov came to power in 85. Gorby wanted a complete elimination of nukes on both sides, and almost got RR to agree, but the DeepState boys intervened to block it.

I do think Jimmy the C was very inconsistent in FP, one day listening more to his SoS Sigh Vance, mostly a moderate-liberal non-interventionist type, and his nat'l security advisor Zbig Brzezinski, a hawk's hawk who saw evil Soviet designs everywhere. JC was like a ping-pong ball being batted back and forth.

But at least JC didn't get the US involved in any new wars during his term, and was totally screwed by the Reagan-Bush team of crooks and liars and traitors who illegally sabotaged Carter's 1980 efforts to get the hostages released. Poppy and Bill Casey, at the least, should have ended up behind bars.

But for that October Surprise, and maybe the Carter team's failure before the one debate to get their hands on Reagan's 1962 vinyl record showing how staunchly anti-Medicare he was, Jimmy would have won another term.

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3 users have voted.

@wokkamile
Reagan's team defined Carter (and his administration) as big-spending, big-guvmint, and weak-on-defense, in complete contradiction to Carter's actual record, and the Carter campaign failed to communicate any meaningful correction.

Remember, Kennedy challenged Carter from the left.

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4 users have voted.

The earth is a multibillion-year-old sphere.
The Nazis killed millions of Jews.
On 9/11/01, a Boeing 757 (AA Flight 77) flew into the Pentagon.
If you can't accept these indisputable facts, I can't fake an interest in your opinions about anything else.

Lookout's picture

@UntimelyRippd

didn't help jimmy's campaign. I often wonder where we would be now had we stayed on Jimmy's path of energy independence. The establishment dims worked against him too tip O'Neil...and didn't Ted Kennedy try to primary him? Maybe it was Kennedy in law Shriver.

Plus RR had several years on the big and little screen much like Trump the unreality star.

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4 users have voted.

“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

@Lookout primaried Carter in 1980 even as many in his inner circle advised against it. Sargent Shriver ran as McGovern's VP in 1972 after George dumped his first pick Eagleton. Shriver ran for prez in 76, in a large field loaded with liberals who tended to dilute each other's votes.

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2 users have voted.

@UntimelyRippd insulted Ted personally early on, even before taking office, when after his victory Jimmy was really feeling his oats, thinking it was his own greatness alone that got him elected. Ted did not forget or forgive. And on policy, he was greatly dismayed at Carter's unwillingness to work for major health care reform, and a few other matters where JC was taking a center-right position. But the policy differences probably were far less important than the personal in deciding to challenge Carter.

Jimmy also unnecessarily aggravated and insulted House Speaker Tip O'Neil early on and repeatedly, until after getting a personal ultimatum of sorts from Tip, Jimmy finally got the message. That's just stupid, insulting the two most powerful Dems in Congress. You don't need to have a PhD in Politics from Harvard in order to understand not to do that.

The Carter admin also did lousy messaging and PR, too much on the defensive, not often enough out there effectively promoting their (definitely mixed-bag) policies. The MSM went after him consistently as of 1978 and I don't think the Carter admin was prepared to deal with it or adequate to the task. The in-bred Beltway Press treated Carter and his people from Georgia like backwoods hicks and mostly were successful in painting the portrait of a weak, incompetent presidency.

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4 users have voted.

@wokkamile
to heel. mobil was posting the largest profits of any corporation in american history, while people couldn't afford gasoline. an attack on Mobil was built into Kennedy's stump speech).

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4 users have voted.

The earth is a multibillion-year-old sphere.
The Nazis killed millions of Jews.
On 9/11/01, a Boeing 757 (AA Flight 77) flew into the Pentagon.
If you can't accept these indisputable facts, I can't fake an interest in your opinions about anything else.

@wokkamile

Kennedy, Carter and health care. And Nixon and Kennedy and health care, for that matter. As to the latter, Ted Kennedy would be among those differing.

https://caucus99percent.com/content/who-will-own-lack-good-national-heal...

https://caucus99percent.com/content/who-will-own-lack-good-national-heal...

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1 user has voted.

@HenryAWallace I wasn't aware you had previously written extensively on the health care subject. But looking at the cites I didn't see something which definitely nailed the story on Carter v TK on health care reform, just 2 people who detested each other with differing views, and a statement supposedly from Ted, which again I didn't see a cite for, admitting fault in the Carter proposal. (I have not read his book of memoirs.) If the latter assertion is true, then it is a bit of a puzzle why Carter would blame a then-deceased TK on 60Minutes over blocking his health care proposal, when all he had to do was cite Ted's supposed confession of guilt in his memoirs. (will now go to review the video of this interview, which I've not yet seen.)

According to this HNN article from a 3d party academic on the Carter proposal, it was indeed a weak one and only a partial and perhaps badly flawed first step, which Kennedy may well have been right to oppose as Carter didn't commit, according to the author, on specifics for a followup comprehensive plan other than Carter would propose keeping the private insurance system intact, no public option. Jimmy just offered hospital care cost cutting and continuation of private insurance.

On the earlier Nixon proposal, Kennedy, as I recall from the literature, was opposed as the health care major reform backers linked to the AFL-CIO and other Big Labor thought Ted should wait until a better proposal came along from a Dem president, as surely they would get a good one in the 76 election in the wake of Watergate. But it might also be true that TK regretted this move and had second thoughts about not taking the bird in hand and waiting for the two in the bush. As it turned out, he got only a third of a bird by waiting with Carter.

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@wokkamile @wokkamile from 2010 -- well Jimmy sure knows how to point the finger at others for his own failures. Starts at the 1:30 mark.

Context: TK had passed away the year before this interview, and his True Compass memoirs came out that year. Carter was interviewed in conjunction with the publication of his book White House Diary.

Jimmy, underneath that constant smile and his often sanctimonious Sunday School Teacher facade, also had a real mean streak. One of Ted's former senate aides, commenting on the Carter interview and Jimmy's self-serving version of history, noted that Carter showed no class in blaming a now-dead Ted Kennedy for his failures, and that the only person Carter should blame for his defeat was the person looking back at him in the mirror.

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@wokkamile
I forgot he was a Democrat. He was Reagan's big enabler.

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@UntimelyRippd said "peace is breaking out all over."

At that time, peace was considered good.

Who betrayed the Russians when the US said it wouldn't tighten its military circle around Russia? Was it Obama or Bush II that broke that promise?

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2 users have voted.

dfarrah

@dfarrah to Gorby not to move NATO one inch eastward towards Russia, in return for the Sov Union agreeing to a reuniting of Germany, began under Bush I, Poppy, or at least the anti-Russia attitude began then, after the verbal agreement was made, and continued with all presidents thru Obama and Trump.

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3 users have voted.

@wokkamile info.

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1 user has voted.

dfarrah

wendy davis's picture

@wokkamile

quite right as i'd sorta remember it was 1999, so i bingled 'bill clinton and nato expansion', and got a boatload of hits.

david stockman, believe it or not.

armscontrol.com, but part of the gist was that he hadn't wanted to seem 'like a wimp' while running against bob dole. i'm agnostic on that, but what a fucked up cold war 2.0 organization that it. now, you might be right about dubya creating one evil stepchild of nato, and he did create the neo-colonizing africom. it's motto is (or was) 'we fight chaos in african nations', while forgetting that they also use CIA agents and such to...create the chaos, then help install U-friendly puppet gummints.

on later edit: it gets worse, if more honest. i was on black alliance for peace's twit account for my own current diary, they were protesting against africom, and one tweet led to an article on africom with these lines:

"When AFRICOM was established in the months before Barack Obama assumed office as the first Black President of the United States, a majority of African nations—led by the Pan-Africanist government of Libya—rejected AFRICOM, forcing the new command to instead work out of Europe.

But with the U.S. and NATO attack on Libya that led to the destruction of that country and the murder of its leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, corrupt African leaders began to allow AFRICOM forces to operate in their countries and establish military-to-military relations with the United States. Today, those efforts have resulted in 46 various forms of U.S. bases as well as military-to-military relations between 53 out of the 54 African countries and the United States. U.S. Special Forces troops now operate in more than a dozen African nations.

Vice Admiral Robert Moeller, first and former deputy of AFRICOM, declared in 2008, “Protecting the free flow of natural resources from Africa to the global market is one of AFRICOM’s guiding principles.”

We say AFRICOM is the flip side of the domestic war being waged by the same repressive state structure against Black and poor people in the United States. In the U.S. Out of Africa!: Shut Down AFRICOM campaign, we link police violence and the domestic war waged on Black people to U.S. interventionism and militarism abroad.

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1 user has voted.
thanatokephaloides's picture

@Cassiodorus

It seems to me that if we want to focus upon this contingency, we ought to be promoting an activist "Plan B." What if the Democrats screw Bernie again, and set up useful idiot Joe Biden to win the convention with the help of the superdelegates? Bernie endorses Joe, and hope is once again replaced by despair. Such a contingency would be one possible fruit of the "elect a better President" strategy which appears as the first option for activism in America. What then? Perhaps we ought to be planning for this possibility?

Which does, in fact, force the question:

Where do we go from here?

Wink

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3 users have voted.

"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

@thanatokephaloides
Heads I vote Green again
Tails I go get drunk on election day instead

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6 users have voted.

@The Voice In the Wilderness I voted green last time.

But voting for people who have never held office in their lives just seems pointless. It would be nice if a green actually got elected somewhere before he or she decided to run for President.

I live in a red state, so my vote doesn't matter. I could vote for Mickey Mouse and do as much good. Maybe that is why I am so cynical about presidential elections now.

My gut tells me that Sanders can't beat Trump in 2020 when he could have in 2016. Sanders let so many people down in 2016, that there will not be the enthusiasm this time. And Trump will have lots of never-Trumpers on board in 2020.

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2 users have voted.

@davidgmillsatty
But Reagan did it. The trick is make trump as reviled as Carter. but Trump is satifying his base, gun nuts and the nativists.

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0 users have voted.
mimi's picture

World peace is possible and with real leadership, America could usher it into being.

You sound really like an American President. Are you running? Sigh. I have to say considering what is going on in the world, I find that sentence pretty unconvincing, if not an attempt of misleading the sheeps.

What matters in a Congressman and Senator, might be more important to know.

No offense meant, it's just that the times are over when these nice words would still work.

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11 users have voted.

Love is all we have to give.

@mimi I know what you mean, Mimi. I realize how unlikely it seems given the horrifying present, yet I insist that, at least in theory, it doesn't have to be this way and that with sufficient will we could reverse the hate and war. I may well be wrong, but I believe it. If we wanted peace as badly as we wanted to go to the moon or build the atomic bomb, we'd stand a good chance of getting there.

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15 users have voted.
dkmich's picture

Perhaps with f@ck Bill Clinton and his media consolidation - tip of the iceberg.

Next up has to be Jane Fonda. “I guess the lesson is we shouldn’t be fooled by good-looking liberals no matter how well-spoken they are."

And following behind, this is one hell of a good question.

Now, having seen the wreckage a horrible president can wreak on a helpless nation, I'm starting to re-question why none of the 'good' presidents ever had much impact. They had the same power to do good as he has to do evil. I'm starting to think they didn't want to change anything. Or were paid not to. (Shocking, I know.)

I think every person running for office should have to pass a lie detector test in order to declare his/her candidacy. Questions to be written by his/her enemies. Next up, every voter must pass a current events test in order to vote. If you have no clue, you should have no vote. I'm tired of having our country's fate determined by crooks and people who don't know better and could care less.

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13 users have voted.

"Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

*donate to c99 *like us on Facebook *follow us on Twitter

Alligator Ed's picture

@dkmich Unfortunately, most of the sheeples don't realize that "honest politician" is an oxymoron.

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14 users have voted.

@Alligator Ed In court, its the honest people who are so scared shitless, they come across as liars.

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wendy davis's picture

*If* a president of this nation can bring peace about, the epic barriers to third party candidates need to be reversed (especially toward the Greens), but they won't be. the only potential peace candidate would need to both anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist (not just claim to be anti-war for some™, imo. in the duopoly, there simply isn't one, although many will claim that tulsi gabbard is.

good diary, though opol.

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11 users have voted.

You're always "spot-on." But, this time, you hit it out of the park!

Wanted to turn you on to some new music...

1.) Irish singer-songwriter Hozier, just came out with his new album "Wasteland, Baby!" (easily, one of the best, politically-oriented songwriters of the current generation):

2.) And, Jacob Collier, whom I've been raving about around here, of late...24-yr-old jazz fusion phenom, Quincy Jones manages him...already's won two Grammys, etc...Guardian's called him "the new jazz messiah"...doing some stuff you--especially, due to the graphics in this first one--will LOVE...

3.) ...and here's something (Beatles' cover, "Here Comes The Sun"] Collier released on YouTube, just over the past 24 hours...

4.) ...last but not least...another one of my jazz faves...Snarky Puppy, with CSNY's David Crosby (who's touring all over the place this year, btw)...doing "Long Time Gone"...probably like you've never heard it before...and, dayum...Crosby's still got some incredible lungs, man!

...have a great weekend!

Peace!

Bob

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7 users have voted.

"Freedom is something that dies unless it's used." --Hunter S. Thompson

@bobswern Thanks Bob, 'preciate, bro.

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3 users have voted.
karl pearson's picture

During my high school World History class, several of us approached our instructor to change some of the elements of the class. We were tired of memorizing dates of wars and battles. Her response was: "The history of the world is the history of war." I hope I live to see this instructor proven wrong.

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9 users have voted.

us.

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4 users have voted.

@Sirena
But if we can find not only someone who we believe in but someone who also believes in us, then why can we not progress?

Who are these other entities?

After all, there are more of us, than there are of them

So chins up!

If Nike says ‘Just do it’ then so should we!

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4 users have voted.
thanatokephaloides's picture

@Sirena

This may sound overly simplistic

It is, unfortunately. Solving systemic corruption is always a complex and difficult task.

But if we can find not only someone who we believe in but someone who also believes in us, then why can we not progress?

Because those whose continued ill-gotten gains depend on us not progressing anywhere apply their money power to make sure we do not progress.

Exhibit A: Bernie Sanders in 2016. The moneyed power brokers wanted Hillary Clinton. And, the desire of us hoi polloi to the contrary notwithstanding, she's what we got.

And Donald Trump bought his way into the Presidency.

Who are these other entities?

The ultra-wealthy, whose continued un-earned profits depend on no change occurring. The forever war industry, whose continued un-earned profits depend on no peace occurring, ever. The fossil-fuel industry, whose continued un-earned profits depend on no change occurring to how we power our lives. The mega-banks and the Wall Street Casino, which depend on all the above and others like them.

After all, there are more of us, than there are of them

Not where it counts (dollars under single-individual control).

So chins up!

If Nike says ‘Just do it’ then so should we!

Do please describe how we are supposed to "just do it". I would be most interested in how you suppose we should proceed here. But I must ask a favor: please don't suggest anything which has already been tried to exhaustion. Thank you.

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0 users have voted.

"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

Raggedy Ann's picture

What I see as the problem is the deep state stopping any person in the Oval Office from accomplishing progressive goals. These war-mongers have a vice grip on our government. If the person elected would have the courage to stand up for the people instead of the deep state, then I think we have a chance.

This day will come, but it might be until the 2024 or 2028 election.

My $.02. Pleasantry

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9 users have voted.

"The herd management intent is simply to get you into one of the corrals. Nobody is right, if everybody is wrong.
I am a free range DFH."
NCTim

Eagles92's picture

As always, I love your message.

I just wish I weren't so cynical these days that I could actually agree with you.

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5 users have voted.

World peace is possible and with real leadership, America could usher it into being.

Forget America, it will never happen. We have not had a single world class president in my lifetime. Democracy does no such thing as guarantee a better outcome, it only provides more legitimacy. Our congress critters are a bunch of spineless cheerleaders for some odd concept of patriotism in America. They would vote to nuke Cuba if they thought that it would advance their careers. The deep-state's goal is more and better lethality of the military on an ever ballooning budget. The ultra-rich and the corporations and banks control everything. What path do you see to peace and justice? The American people vote these bastards into office. This is what they want. The only good outcome I see is if the world learns to get along without the US, and sanctions the US to the bone. I have no idea where these abstract concepts of a greater purpose for the American Hegemon ever came from. They have no relationship to reality. The best that we could do is to try to return the nation to the belief in isolationism as was popular between the two world wars.

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8 users have voted.

Capitalism has always been the rule of the people by the oligarchs. You only have two choices, eliminate them or restrict their power.

thanatokephaloides's picture

@The Wizard

The ultra-rich and the corporations and banks control everything. What path do you see to peace and justice? The American people vote these bastards into office.

False.

The selection of non-choice (or Hobson's Choice) candidates is locked-in ages before any of us hoi polloi get to vote on anything.

Bad

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3 users have voted.

"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

TheOtherMaven's picture

@thanatokephaloides

Interesting thought experiment, unlikely as it may be in real life....

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4 users have voted.

There is no justice. There can be no peace.

Big Al's picture

@TheOtherMaven "I have no advice for others in this election. Are you voting Democratic? Well and good; all I ask is why? Are you voting for Eisenhower and his smooth team of bright ghost writers? Again, why? Will your helpless vote either way support or restore democracy to America?
Is the refusal to vote in this phony election a counsel of despair? No, it is dogged hope. It is hope that if twenty-five million voters refrain from voting in 1956 because of their own accord and not because of a sly wink from Khrushchev, this might make the American people ask how much longer this dumb farce can proceed without even a whimper of protest."

Read More http://www.blackeconomicdevelopment.com/why-i-wont-vote-by-web-du-bois-t...

How much longer this dumb farce can proceed without even a whimper of protest? Still trying to find that out Mr. Dubois.

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4 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

@Big Al

It is hope that if twenty-five million voters refrain from voting in 1956 because of their own accord and not because of a sly wink from Khrushchev, this might make the American people ask how much longer this dumb farce can proceed without even a whimper of protest."

More than that stayed home last election and yet here we are again getting ready to do the voting process again over a half century since Dubois said that. The funniest thing about that Russia allegation of interfering with the election is that the GOP have gerrymandered the hell out of so many states, the democrats have let them do it and democrats not only refuse to put enough voting machines in districts with heavy turnout they don't insist on using paper ballots.

During the last primary in New York alone thousands of people were kicked off the voting rolls and had their party affiliation changed and even after the person who did that admitted it nothing was done. Next up was Brenda Snipes in Florida who destroyed lots and lots of ballots and she not only wasn't punished for doing it, she got to retire with her full pension.

DuBois condemns both Democrats and Republicans for their indifferent positions on the influence of corporate wealth, racial inequality, arms proliferation and unaffordable health care.
1956

I've been bitchin about what Trump is doing with the regulatory agencies and once again I found out how badly Obama was before him... I shouldn't have been surprised huh?

How Obama Defanged the EPA Before Trump Gutted the Agency

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4 users have voted.

America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

mimi's picture

@Big Al
and if it would be a direct democratic vote like in a parliamentary system, I think it would be worth voting.
Voting in the US seems to be worthless these days.

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2 users have voted.

Love is all we have to give.