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Myth about intelligent voter

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  It's not a matter of whether the war is not real, or if it is, Victory is not possible. The war is not meant to be won, it is meant to be continuous.

Hierarchical society is only possible on the basis of poverty and ignorance. This new version is the past and no different past can ever have existed.

In principle the war effort is always planned to keep society on the brink of starvation. The war is waged by the ruling group against its own subjects and its object is not the victory over either Eurasia or East Asia but to keep the very structure of society intact.

-- George Orwell

 You can make people do anything if they're afraid.

Congressman Jim McDermott:

 "Myth about intelligent/rational voter" is pretty widespread despite many books that convincingly prove that this is a myth and that people are able consistently vote against their own interests including this virtual economic interests (in other words are easily brainwashed). There are some interesting facts on the ground that disprove this myth (Washington Post, ):

Two books on the subject that deserve attention are

There is one book with neoclassical perspective on the subject (and as such completely off the mark) but at least Amazon reviews (especially negative one start reviews ;-) are well worth reading:

The Myth of the Rational Voter Why Democracies Choose Bad Policies by Bryan Caplan

Gaetan Lion:
The Myth Caplan is rational, July 20, 2010

Caplan's thesis seems sensible. The voters are irrational as they have systematic biases including anti-market bias, anti-foreigner bias, anti-trade (or pro-protectionism) bias, and pro make-work bias. In turn, the voters elect politicians that reflect their biases. And, politicians execute detrimental social policies that reflect the biases of the voters. However, Caplan thesis is wrong on numerous counts.

First, the voters are not irrational. They are ignorant of counter-intuitive economic concepts. Those are two different things. One entails voters are crazy; they are not. The other entails they don't know macroeconomics; and they truly don't.

Second, politicians govern to get reelected. And, their main master is the economy as measured by GDP growth, inflation, and unemployment. Whether they are responsible or not for such indicators, politicians will suffer the blame or get credit for them. The pressure of delivering a strong economic performance easily overcomes any of the biases Caplan mentions.

Third, on economic policy it is often technocrats, not elected by voters, who run the show. Politicians are mainly lawyers not economists. On complex macroeconomic policies technocrats control the agenda. The main two ones are the Secretary of the Treasury and the Chairman of the Federal Reserve. These two pretty much dictate fiscal and monetary policies respectively. They also work jointly in times of crisis. A good example is the recent financial crisis. The various bail outs, fiscal stimulus, TARP plan, etc... were not initiated by George Bush or Obama. They were orchestrated by Henry Paulson, Secretary of the Treasury under Bush, and his successor Timothy Geithner, and Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the Fed. The public's strong anti-bank populist sentiment had no influence whatsoever on the implementation of those bail outs. Thus, recent history represents a devastating blow to Caplan's theory.

Fourth, international trade is another area that trumps Caplan's theories. His favorite theoretical examples address voters bias for protectionism and import tariffs. But, matters of international trade are now almost entirely subordinated to supranational entities such as the WTO. Additionally, you can't find a nation more in favor of free trade than the U.S. The latter has signed bilateral free trade agreements with North America (NAFTA) and many other countries. This is another embarrassing rebuttal to Caplan's theories that voters' biases result into poor economic policies. They don't. Political leaders and technocrats ignore voters' sentiments whenever they have to.

Fifth, Caplan's faith in the markets appears delusional. In his view, because democracy results in poor policies reflecting irrational voters' biases, you need an alternative. And, his alternative is the market. Quoting Caplan: "If people are rational as consumers but irrational as voters, it is a good idea to rely more on markets and less on politics." The timing of his libertarian manifesto could not have been worse. It gets published in 2007 just as we experience two spectacular market failures. The first one had been brewing up for decades: the health care crisis. That's where we found out that an unrestrained for profit health care system does not work. The second market failure was the aftermath of financial deregulation that had taken place over a decade and resulted in the current financial crisis. We should also add the recent market failure of unregulated deep sea oil drilling (the BP incident). So, for Caplan to state we should replace government by markets whenever we can is irrational.

Sixth, another weakness of Caplan's theory is that he uses data that is often over 20 years out of date. Such is the case, when he states that the elderly are less supportive of Social Security than the remainder of the public. He also states that women are less pro-choice than men. Had Caplan used current findings, it is likely that the opposite would be true.

Additionally, Caplan trips himself over basic economic concepts. Just as he goes on that economists are so smart and the rest of us are not; he demonstrates he is himself not so clear on economic concepts. Thus, when he attempts to teach us the basics of labor specialization he immediately contradicts himself. Quoting him on page 17: "If Crusoe's belief is correct, he wisely specializes in agriculture and has Friday do other kinds of work. But, if Crusoe's belief is blind to prejudice, keeping Friday out of agriculture reduces total production and makes both men poorer." As you noticed, whether Crusoe is correct or prejudice, the result is exactly the same.

David Moore wrote a far superior book pretty much on the same subject: The Opinion Makers: An Insider Exposes the Truth Behind the Polls. Moore's main point is that the public is often unqualified to answer polling questions. Meanwhile, such polls are mistaken for the voice of the Nation. But, again ignorance and craziness are not the same thing. Moore understands that. Caplan does not.

Loyd E. Eskildson "Pragmatist" (Phoenix, AZ.) 
  

1.0 out of 5 stars Boring and Adds Nothing to Today's Issues, October 1, 2007

"The greatest obstacle to social economic policy is not entrenched special interests but the popular misconceptions, irrational beliefs and personal biases of ordinary voters." I thought that was a good introduction and eagerly dived in. Then it all fell apart, beginning with page 1 and Caplan's assumption that free trade is unequivocally good for America.

Clearly free trade was good for America just after WWII when we were the only industrial entity of any consequence standing. Want cars, steel, electronics, refrigerators, TVs - whatever, we had it and they probably didn't. So Americans made out like bandits.

Today, its the Chinese, Indians, Koreans, Japanese, etc. who are raking in the benefits. While Americans lose jobs, pensions, health care coverage, and move to lower-paying jobs, economists remain isolated in their 18th century theories of free-trade developed in an era of only minor differences in standards of living, wage levels, and major limitations in communication speed and transportation.

On a macro level, Americans are also losing manufacturing capacity and skills. Shocked to see a senior Mattel executive publicly apologizing to the Chinese over issues leading to the recall of Chinese manufactured toys? Undoubtedly the Chinese have more than a little power over Mattel (and other toy makers), given that at least 75% of toys are now "Made in China" and we would have difficulty quickly substituting our own capabilities for theirs. In WWII the U.S. turned the tide of battle with its ability to mass-produce quality armaments. Today we have difficulty producing IED resistant vehicles and the most effective body armor.

The dollar's purchasing power is already another victim of today's free trade, with potentially far worse declines possible. Suppose we now suddenly decided to "bite the bullet," stop buying most low-cost items from China and reinvigorate our own manufacturing? Would China threaten retaliation by dumping the trillions of dollar IOUs they hold, wrecking our currency? Could we afford that risk?

Perhaps economists (including Caplan) will join the 21st century when Asian economists begin taking their jobs via Internet instruction in American colleges and universities. It is time to update their popular misconceptions, irrational beliefs, and personal biases.

Nicole

Don't confuse us with the facts!" June 8, 2007

Many people have noted that democracy seems not to work - policies are implemented that often are not in the best interest of voters, and when voters are surveyed they routinely lack even the most basic civic knowledge. The way people have typically answered this problem is to say that voters are uninformed, and that if they simply had more access to good information, they would use that information to make better choices. But even so, the tiny informed minority will sway elections because the uninformed majority will vote at random.

Here, Caplan directly challenges that view by asserting that voters are not simply ignorant but irrational, and that this is in fact predicted by economic theory. Voting is not like shopping - it is more like making use of a commons, because the costs of a "bad" vote are borne by the public at large, and the chance of an individual casting the deciding vote is tiny. Therefore, people will vote for what makes them feel good without bothering to find out whether it really is good - it simply doesn't matter.

... ... ...

The key idea here is that de facto educated people are not needed as voters so "diffusing" the vote to encompass a mass of uneducated people you get the situation similar when only top 1% has the right to elect. Intelligent voters are dangerous because they are heavier than control and manipulate (and if that means dismantling public education system so be it -- interest of oligarchy are more important).

What is important for elite is an illusion of choice not the choice itself. That simulates the sense of belonging for "shmaks" (aka red necks). Media, in this case is just a part of feedback control loop to manipulate the "dark masses" (aka shmaks), and the more ignorant people, the easier it is through such a control loop enables manipulation. Of course, neither of which involved such a dark reality of the population to the real issues of governance and the economy, it is not even going. After all we can't make happy all the people. So de facto, access to education is a powerful mean to make existing stratification of the society permanent. Of course, this policy creates  fundamental and unavoidable conflict with the requests for social justice. And as a result can lead to periodic shocks when masses slip out of control due to some gross injustice like financial crisis of 2008.

Actually this is what Russian elite (or at least part of Russian elite) openly proposes. Look at the transcript o Gref (the chairman of Sberbank). Recommended reading in order to better understand the real views of the ruling elite in the development and management and not to fall into some vain illusions. The second point here is that all those US cries about threats to democracy in Russia are the same cries that wolves do when they are deprived from guarding chickens. The was never democracy in Russia since 1991 and never will be as there is no democracy is the USA and never will be any.  The only differences is the methods of rotation of elite (and is this sense Russia is much more democratic then the USA).

 Yeltsin criminal regime was a dictatorship of comprador oligarchy centered around gangster syndicate of "Komsomol banksters" (Berezovsky, Khodorkovsky, Gusinsky and Co.). Shock therapy, methods of privatization used (under the direction of Harvard academic skunks) and shelling parlament proves that 100%. It was just economic rape of the country from which it did not fully recover. Actually under Yeltsin GDP dropped to level lower then during invasion of Hitler armies in WW2.

Putin partially dismounted this in favor of energy and military-industrial complex oligarchy. In a way his regime somewhat similar to George W Bush regime but with different personality and less hate toward middle class and common folks. As well as without subservience to neo-conservatives. But it looks like the same energy and military-industrial oligarchy bonsais rules the country. Medvedev tried to sit between two chairs. I think that's why Kudrin opposed growing milirary expenditures.

And this hysterical circus about votes falsifications is actually a perfect method to push voters to vote again their own economic and political interests. Consensus is very fragile as the county has huge unsolved problems. And hostility of the USA toward Russia which was quite determined to kill wondered foe should not be underestimated.

We have an example in a struggle between corrupt and criminal comprador oligarchy leaded by Yutchshenko-Timoshenko allies and industrial part of the oligarchy led by Yanokovich. In this case voters were quite successfully brainwashed. With the help of western money and consultants Yanukovich criminal past became a huge factor.

In other words common folds are always duped. For example millions of Americans who were taken for a ride by Bush II presidential campaign scripted from the pages of Niccolo Machiavelli’s "The Prince." The father of Realpolitik famously observed that “politics have no relations to morals,” and this aphorism serves as the motto for George Bush and company.  Richard Nixon once remarked, “You can’t fool all of the people, all of the time, but if you fool them once, it lasts for four years.”


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Old News ;-)

[Aug 17, 2019] The more you peel the onion, the more pathetic the Democratic leadership gets

Aug 17, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

JohnH -> Christopher H.... , August 06, 2019 at 08:03 PM

Obama didn't lead on race, either. In fact, Obama was largely missing in action: "The Obama administration's civil rights record has been remarkably thin. In the first four years, the administration did not file a single major employment discrimination, housing, or education case, which are three traditional areas of civil rights enforcement. Additionally, in all of these areas, the number of cases filed appears to be either at the same level as the George W. Bush administration

In the other area of traditional civil rights enforcement, namely voting rights, the administration has been active, particularly on the divisive issue of voter identification. However, this activity all arose during the 2012 presidential campaign and seems quite likely to have been related to, or motivated by, that campaign. The Obama administration has, in fact, largely been absent on issues relating to redistricting, a traditional activity that often implicates the preclearance mandate of the Department of Justice."
https://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=https://www.google.com/&httpsredir=1&article=1016&context=ijlse

The more you peel the onion, the more pathetic the Democratic leadership gets...

JohnH -> JohnH... , August 07, 2019 at 09:35 AM
In the typical behavior of the two party duopoly, Democrats treated racial discrimination with benign neglect while Republicans pushed the issue.

That's the main difference between Obama's racial policies and Trump's. Democrats ignored their base, Trump is pandering to his

RC (Ron) Weakley said in reply to kurt... , August 07, 2019 at 04:30 AM
"Republican and representative democracy are interchangeable words..... What our big problem is are the legacies of slavery like the EC, property tax based schools and the 2nd Amendment..."

[Little "r" republican is a word with a meaning. Representative democracy is the euphemism of choice by republicans. The US Senate and the related electoral college were concessions from the larger more populous states to the little states (VT, NH, ME, RI, and DE. In the 1790 census VA had the largest population across the board, free white males of age, under age free white males, free female, AND slaves. So, VA was making a concession to the little... ]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1790_United_States_Census

[Also the 2nd Amendment was never intended by the Frames to mean anything like what the NRA says it means. Even the NRA knows better themselves, but their political opposition has a severe problem with facts and representing facts in a manner that leads to understanding and consensus.]

[Aug 17, 2019] Voters are little more than a necessary evil for political elites

Notable quotes:
"... By and large voters get to ratify one of the two evils carefully vetted by the party campaign apparatus with regular inputs from their paymasters. ..."
Aug 16, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

JohnH -> EMichael... , August 06, 2019 at 07:42 AM

What a joke! "Pols do care about issues."

EMichael forgets that voters are little more than a necessary evil for political elites, who are driven more by a need for power and to serve those who fund their campaigns. So, yes, pols do care about issues, but mostly only those issues of concern to their puppet masters.

By and large voters get to ratify one of the two evils carefully vetted by the party campaign apparatus with regular inputs from their paymasters.


kurt -> RC (Ron) Weakley... , August 06, 2019 at 02:35 PM

Not for nothing, the post you replied to is demonstrably and utterly BS. It is making perfect the enemy of good. It is making progressivism the enemy of itself.
JohnH -> kurt... , August 06, 2019 at 03:39 PM
LOL!!! "The perfect being the enemy of good." Democrats' message is "don't let the promise of doing something good stand in the way of doing nothing." The latter pretty well summed up Obama's Republican-lite approach to governance.

We're been watching Democrats' promises for 40 years, and what we've seen is a gradual erosion o the social safety net, in concert with their Republican ring leaders.

RC (Ron) Weakley said in reply to kurt... , August 07, 2019 at 03:42 AM
"Not for nothing, the post you replied to is demonstrably and utterly BS. It is making perfect the enemy of good. It is making progressivism the enemy of itself."

[Whereas your response was an entirely well explained and convincing argument :<) ]

kurt -> RC (Ron) Weakley... , August 07, 2019 at 10:06 AM
It was pretty self-evident BS. Nobody gets elected without people voting for them. When the Tea Party was supposedly economic anxiety, sociolgists pointed out that it was really racial fear and anxiety about immigration. The idea that Obama was somehow Republican lite is beyond stupid and contrary to reality. He wasn't perfect but he was a very good President who had to operate with the constraint of also being the first black man in the office - and had to be careful not to scare white people to much.
RC (Ron) Weakley said in reply to kurt... , August 07, 2019 at 11:44 AM
I am sure that is what you believe. OTOH, my confirmation bias has much older roots than yours finding itself emerge into sunshine in 1968 with frequent glimmering rays of hope yet little light of change since then.
ilsm -> EMichael... , August 06, 2019 at 02:05 PM
Moral and political inconsistency!
mulp said in reply to RC (Ron) Weakley... , August 07, 2019 at 02:22 AM
Why public day care in the 60s when 80% of kids got more education playing with their peers in backyards or playgrounds supervised by parents, mostly moms?

Women for the most part didn't need to work if they had young kids.

RC (Ron) Weakley said in reply to mulp ... , August 07, 2019 at 03:52 AM
Perhaps women married to a banker or engineer. My mom was working throughout my childhood, pants factory then High's Ice cream store manager in the early fifties, then childcare in our home in the late fifties in Occoquan because it was too small to have much for jobs, then in a Peebles department store in the early sixties and back to daycare in our home and school crossing guard overlapping until dad had her working in his own boat livery and bait shop business at Lake Orange beginning in 1966. OTOH, most black women had been working throughout the 20th century which is why they were not covered by FDR's AFDC. Stay at home moms were a luxury of the post WWII booming middle class that had a very short shelf life. People that were not beneficiaries of that boom just missed it entirely.
kurt -> RC (Ron) Weakley... , August 06, 2019 at 10:22 AM
You know that we deliberately segregated America in the 50's-80's and that prior to that there wasn't nearly as much segregation. It isn't a natural state, it was something that was done deliberately by the Robert Moses flavor of HUD. Redlining, etc. Levittown had deed restrictions that would not allow a home to be sold to an african-american. The invention of Suburbs was fundamentally used to segregate our nation.
ilsm -> kurt... , August 06, 2019 at 02:13 PM
Tell us all who the "we" was who established redlining, a version of you imaginary "deed restrictions".

[Aug 03, 2019] And this is a world superpower: There are an estimated 26.5 million adults at level 1 according to PIAAC -- those who can read and write at the most basic level but couldn t read a newspaper or would have trouble filling out forms at a doctor s office.

Highly recommended!
Aug 03, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

someone somewhere , Aug 3 2019 0:49 utc | 38

43 million Americans -- said to include R. Kelly -- struggle to read and write

"The Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies, which is cited by the U.S. Department of Education, defines literacy as "the ability to understand, evaluate, use and engage with written texts to participate in society, to achieve one's goals, and to develop one's knowledge and potential." It divides the population into five levels -- with levels 2 and above being considered literate.

According to PIAAC , one in five U.S. adults has "low literacy" skills, which includes those classified as being either level 1 or below.

There are an estimated 26.5 million adults at level 1 according to PIAAC -- those who can read and write at the most basic level but couldn't read a newspaper or would have trouble filling out forms at a doctor's office. Another estimated 8.4 million people are below level 1 and considered "functionally illiterate." There are also 8.2 million others who were unable to participate in the survey because of either a language barrier or a cognitive or physical inability, and the PIAAC data classifies them as also having low literacy abilities."

[Jul 25, 2019] Everybody complains about politicians.

Jul 25, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Monty , July 23, 2019 at 12:55 pm

"Now, there's one thing you might have noticed I don't complain about: politicians. Everybody complains about politicians. Everybody says they suck. Well, where do people think these politicians come from? They don't fall out of the sky. They don't pass through a membrane from another reality. They come from American parents and American families, American homes, American schools, American churches, American businesses and American universities, and they are elected by American citizens. This is the best we can do folks. This is what we have to offer. It's what our system produces: Garbage in, garbage out. If you have selfish, ignorant citizens, you're going to get selfish, ignorant leaders. Term limits ain't going to do any good; you're just going to end up with a brand new bunch of selfish, ignorant Americans. So, maybe, maybe, maybe, it's not the politicians who suck. Maybe something else sucks around here like, the public. Yeah, the public sucks. There's a nice campaign slogan for somebody: 'The Public Sucks. F*ck Hope."

Never gets old.

Arizona Slim , July 23, 2019 at 7:07 pm

Source of this delicious quote, please.

WheresOurTeddy , July 23, 2019 at 10:51 pm

George Carlin, or as I think of him, 21st century Mark Twain

[Jul 06, 2019] Back to Roman numerals in the USA? 56% of American parents not wanting Arabic numerals taught to their children

This level of ignorance is actually is pretty typical and not only for the USA... Kind of death sentence for democracy.
Jul 06, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com
Turkey, NATO and Russia - Sic Semper Tyrannis

Lars ,

Until you fix the problem with, according to a poll, 56% of American parents not wanting Arabic numerals taught to their children. I suspect that an equal number would not be able to find any of the mentioned places on a map.

Where those with crystal balls find certainty, I find something much less.

We do know that containment polices can work very well, but any involvement in the world's longest contested area is not worth the cost, nor the risk.

The US has already spent a fortune, with very little to show for it.

Maybe it is all about learning?

[Jun 27, 2019] Consistency in the US Presidents betrayal of their voters is simply remarable

Trump is the same "betrayer in chief" as Obama was. They both are variations of Bush II
Jun 27, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
Josh , Jun 26, 2019 1:54:18 PM | 19
This dude (Trump) has spent more than two years, and a ton of money, trying to pull the undercurrent of dissent in the American population into his camp and under his wing.

In all of his 'fighting with the establishment' he has managed to change exactly nothing and bring exactly nobody to justice. He has gathered the entirety of the Bush/Rumsfeld faction directly into his tent, while miraculously failing to so much as arrest a single member of the Clinton faction. And to top it off he just ordered an armed attack on an independent nation (which failed in spectacular fashion as thr first targeting drone was vaporized while he was watching the livestream). Come on dude.

[Jun 22, 2019] Americans hardly care who dies wherever as long as they can find themselves shoping goods they do not need with the money they do not have

Jun 21, 2019 | www.unz.com

Amused , says: June 19, 2019 at 2:50 pm GMT

It is a very lightly written article but it touches on a very sensitive nerve rather hard. I liked the entire premise of this story and have ome to agree with the writer that Americans hardly care who dies wherever as long as they can find themselves shoping goods they dont need with the money they don't have and stuffing their mouth with food they don't deserve.

[Jun 19, 2019] Bias bias the inclination to accuse people of bias by James Thompson

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Early in any psychology course, students are taught to be very cautious about accepting people's reports. A simple trick is to stage some sort of interruption to the lecture by confederates, and later ask the students to write down what they witnessed. Typically, they will misremember the events, sequences and even the number of people who staged the tableaux. Don't trust witnesses, is the message. ..."
"... The three assumptions -- lack of rationality, stubbornness, and costs -- imply that there is slim chance that people can ever learn or be educated out of their biases; ..."
"... So, are we as hopeless as some psychologists claim we are? In fact, probably not. Not all the initial claims have been substantiated. For example, it seems we are not as loss averse as previously claimed. Does our susceptibility to printed visual illusions show that we lack judgement in real life? ..."
"... Well the sad fact is that there's nobody in the position to protect "governments" from their own biases, and "scientists" from theirs ..."
"... Long ago a lawyer acquaintance, referring to a specific judge, told me that the judge seemed to "make shit up as he was going along". I have long held psychiatry fits that statement very well. ..."
"... Here we have a real scientist fighting the nonsense spreading from (neoclassical) economics into other realms of science/academia. ..."
"... Behavioral economics is a sideline by-product of neoclassical micro-economic theory. It tries to cope with experimental data that is inconsistent with that theory. ..."
"... Everything in neoclassical economics is a travesty. "Rational choice theory" and its application in "micro economics" is false from the ground up. It basically assumes that people are gobbling up resources without plan, meaning or relevant circumstances. Neoclassical micro economic theory is so false and illogical that I would not know where to start in a comment, so I should like to refer to a whole book about it: Keen, Steve: "Debunking economics". ..."
"... As the theory is totally wrong it is really not surprising that countless experiments show that people do not behave the way neoclassical theory predicts. How do economists react to this? Of course they assume that people are "irrational" because they do not behave according to their studied theory. (Why would you ever change your basic theory because of some tedious facts?) ..."
"... The title of the 1st ed. of Keen's book was "Debunking Economics: The Naked Emperor of the Social Sciences" which was simply a perfect title. ..."
Jun 19, 2019 | www.unz.com

Early in any psychology course, students are taught to be very cautious about accepting people's reports. A simple trick is to stage some sort of interruption to the lecture by confederates, and later ask the students to write down what they witnessed. Typically, they will misremember the events, sequences and even the number of people who staged the tableaux. Don't trust witnesses, is the message.

Another approach is to show visual illusions, such as getting estimates of line lengths in the Muller-Lyer illusion, or studying simple line lengths under social pressure, as in the Asch experiment, or trying to solve the Peter Wason logic problems, or the puzzles set by Kahneman and Tversky. All these appear to show severe limitations of human judgment. Psychology is full of cautionary tales about the foibles of common folk.

As a consequence of this softening up, psychology students come to regard themselves and most people as fallible, malleable, unreliable, biased and generally irrational. No wonder psychologists feel superior to the average citizen, since they understand human limitations and, with their superior training, hope to rise above such lowly superstitions.

However, society still functions, people overcome errors and many things work well most of the time. Have psychologists, for one reason or another, misunderstood people, and been too quick to assume that they are incapable of rational thought?

Gerd Gigerenzer thinks so.

https://www.nowpublishers.com/article/OpenAccessDownload/RBE-0092

He is particularly interested in the economic consequences of apparent irrationality, and whether our presumed biases really result in us making bad economic decisions. If so, some argue we need a benign force, say a government, to protect us from our lack of capacity. Perhaps we need a tattoo on our forehead: Diminished Responsibility.

The argument leading from cognitive biases to governmental paternalism -- in short, the irrationality argument -- consists of three assumptions and one conclusion:

1. Lack of rationality. Experiments have shown that people's intuitions are systematically biased.

2. Stubbornness. Like visual illusions, biases are persistent and hardly corrigible by education.

3. Substantial costs. Biases may incur substantial welfare-relevant costs such as lower wealth, health, or happiness.

4. Biases justify governmental paternalism. To protect people from theirbiases, governments should "nudge" the public toward better behavior.

The three assumptions -- lack of rationality, stubbornness, and costs -- imply that there is slim chance that people can ever learn or be educated out of their biases; instead governments need to step in with a policy called libertarian paternalism (Thaler and Sunstein, 2003).

So, are we as hopeless as some psychologists claim we are? In fact, probably not. Not all the initial claims have been substantiated. For example, it seems we are not as loss averse as previously claimed. Does our susceptibility to printed visual illusions show that we lack judgement in real life?

In Shepard's (1990) words, "to fool a visual system that has a full binocular and freely mobile view of a well-illuminated scene is next to impossible" (p. 122). Thus, in psychology, the visual system is seen more as a genius than a fool in making intelligent inferences, and inferences, after all, are necessary for making sense of the images on the retina.

Most crucially, can people make probability judgements? Let us see. Try solving this one:

A disease has a base rate of .1, and a test is performed that has a hit rate of .9 (the conditional probability of a positive test given disease) and a false positive rate of .1 (the conditional probability of a positive test given no disease). What is the probability that a random person with a positive test result actually has the disease?

Most people fail this test, including 79% of gynaecologists giving breast screening tests. Some researchers have drawn the conclusion that people are fundamentally unable to deal with conditional probabilities. On the contrary, there is a way of laying out the problem such that most people have no difficulty with it. Watch what it looks like when presented as natural frequencies:

Among every 100 people, 10 are expected to have a disease. Among those 10, nine are expected to correctly test positive. Among the 90 people without the disease, nine are expected to falsely test positive. What proportion of those who test positive actually have the disease?

In this format the positive test result gives us 9 people with the disease and 9 people without the disease, so the chance that a positive test result shows a real disease is 50/50. Only 13% of gynaecologists fail this presentation.

Summing up the virtues of natural frequencies, Gigerenzer says:

When college students were given a 2-hour course in natural frequencies, the number of correct Bayesian inferences increased from 10% to 90%; most important, this 90% rate was maintained 3 months after training (Sedlmeier and Gigerenzer, 2001). Meta-analyses have also documented the "de-biasing" effect, and natural frequencies are now a technical term in evidence-based medicine (Akiet al., 2011; McDowell and Jacobs, 2017). These results are consistent with a long literature on techniques for successfully teaching statistical reasoning (e.g., Fonget al., 1986). In sum, humans can learn Bayesian inference quickly if the information is presented in natural frequencies.

If the problem is set out in a simple format, almost all of us can all do conditional probabilities.

I taught my medical students about the base rate screening problem in the late 1970s, based on: Robyn Dawes (1962) "A note on base rates and psychometric efficiency". Decades later, alarmed by the positive scan detection of an unexplained mass, I confided my fears to a psychiatrist friend. He did a quick differential diagnosis on bowel cancer, showing I had no relevant symptoms, and reminded me I had lectured him as a student on base rates decades before, so I ought to relax. Indeed, it was false positive.

Here are the relevant figures, set out in terms of natural frequencies

Every test has a false positive rate (every step is being taken to reduce these), and when screening is used for entire populations many patients have to undergo further investigations, sometimes including surgery.

Setting out frequencies in a logical sequence can often prevent misunderstandings. Say a man on trial for having murdered his spouse has previously physically abused her. Should his previous history of abuse not be raised in Court because only 1 woman in 2500 cases of abuse is murdered by her abuser? Of course, whatever a defence lawyer may argue and a Court may accept, this is back to front. OJ Simpson was not on trial for spousal abuse, but for the murder of his former partner. The relevant question is: what is the probability that a man murdered his partner, given that she has been murdered and that he previously battered her.

Accepting the figures used by the defence lawyer, if 1 in 2500 women are murdered every year by their abusive male partners, how many women are murdered by men who did not previously abuse them? Using government figures that 5 women in 100,000 are murdered every year then putting everything onto the same 100,000 population, the frequencies look like this:

So, 40 to 5, it is 8 times more probable that abused women are murdered by their abuser. A relevant issue to raise in Court about the past history of an accused man.

Are people's presumed biases costly, in the sense of making them vulnerable to exploitation, such that they can be turned into a money pump, or is it a case of "once bitten, twice shy"? In fact, there is no evidence that these apparently persistent logical errors actually result in people continually making costly errors. That presumption turns out to be a bias bias.

Gigerenzer goes on to show that people are in fact correct in their understanding of the randomness of short sequences of coin tosses, and Kahneman and Tversky wrong. Elegantly, he also shows that the "hot hand" of successful players in basketball is a real phenomenon, and not a stubborn illusion as claimed.

With equal elegance he disposes of a result I had depended upon since Slovic (1982), which is that people over-estimate the frequency of rare risks and under-estimate the frequency of common risks. This finding has led to the belief that people are no good at estimating risk. Who could doubt that a TV series about Chernobyl will lead citizens to have an exaggerated fear of nuclear power stations?

The original Slovic study was based on 39 college students, not exactly a fair sample of humanity. The conceit of psychologists knows no bounds. Gigerenzer looks at the data and shows that it is yet another example of regression to the mean. This is an apparent effect which arises whenever the predictor is less than perfect (the most common case), an unsystematic error effect, which is already evident when you calculate the correlation coefficient. Parental height and their children's heights are positively but not perfectly correlated at about r = 0.5. Predictions made in either direction will under-predict in either direction, simply because they are not perfect, and do not capture all the variation. Try drawing out the correlation as an ellipse to see the effect of regression, compared to the perfect case of the straight line of r= 1.0

What diminishes in the presence of noise is the variability of the estimates, both the estimates of the height of the sons based on that of their fathers, and vice versa. Regression toward the mean is a result of unsystematic, not systematic error (Stigler,1999).

Gigerenzer also looks at the supposed finding that people are over-confidence in predictions, and finds that it is another regression to the mean problem.

Gigerenzer then goes on to consider that old favourite, that most people think they are better than average, which supposedly cannot be the case, because average people are average.

Consider the finding that most drivers think they drive better than average. If better driving is interpreted as meaning fewer accidents, then most drivers' beliefs are actually true. The number of accidents per person has a skewed distribution, and an analysis of U.S. accident statistics showed that some 80% of drivers have fewer accidents than the average number of accidents (Mousavi and Gigerenzer, 2011)

Then he looks at the classical demonstration of framing, that is to say, the way people appear to be easily swayed by how the same facts are "framed" or presented to the person who has to make a decision.

A patient suffering from a serious heart disease considers high-risk surgery and asks a doctor about its prospects.

The doctor can frame the answer in two ways:

Positive Frame: Five years after surgery, 90% of patients are alive.
Negative Frame: Five years after surgery, 10% of patients are dead.

Should the patient listen to how the doctor frames the answer? Behavioral economists say no because both frames are logically equivalent (Kahneman, 2011). Nevertheless, people do listen. More are willing to agree to a medical procedure if the doctor uses positive framing (90% alive) than if negative framing is used (10% dead) (Moxeyet al., 2003). Framing effects challenge the assumption of stable preferences, leading to preference reversals. Thaler and Sunstein (2008) who presented the above surgery problem, concluded that "framing works because people tend to be somewhat mindless, passive decisionmakers" (p. 40)

Gigerenzer points out that in this particular example, subjects are having to make their judgements without knowing a key fact: how many survive without surgery. If you know that you have a datum which is more influential. These are the sorts of questions patients will often ask about, and discuss with other patients, or with several doctors. Furthermore, you don't have to spin a statistic. You could simply say: "Five years after surgery, 90% of patients are alive and 10% are dead".

Gigerenzer gives an explanation which is very relevant to current discussions about the meaning of intelligence, and about the power of intelligence tests:

In sum, the principle of logical equivalence or "description invariance" is a poor guide to understanding how human intelligence deals with an uncertain world where not everything is stated explicitly. It misses the very nature of intelligence, the ability to go beyond the information given (Bruner, 1973)

The key is to take uncertainty seriously, take heuristics seriously, and beware of the bias bias.

One important conclusion I draw from this entire paper is that the logical puzzles enjoyed by Kahneman, Tversky, Stanovich and others are rightly rejected by psychometricians as usually being poor indicators of real ability. They fail because they are designed to lead people up the garden path, and depend on idiosyncratic interpretations.

For more detail: http://www.unz.com/jthompson/the-tricky-question-of-rationality/

Critics of examinations of either intellectual ability or scholastic attainment are fond of claiming that the items are "arbitrary". Not really. Scholastic tests have to be close to the curriculum in question, but still need to a have question forms which are simple to understand so that the stress lies in how students formulate the answer, not in how they decipher the structure of the question.

Intellectual tests have to avoid particular curricula and restrict themselves to the common ground of what most people in a community understand. Questions have to be super-simple, so that the correct answer follows easily from the question, with minimal ambiguity. Furthermore, in the case of national scholastic tests, and particularly in the case of intelligence tests, legal authorities will pore over the test, looking at each item for suspected biases of a sexual, racial or socio-economic nature. Designing an intelligence test is a difficult and expensive matter. Many putative new tests of intelligence never even get to the legal hurdle, because they flounder on matters of reliability and validity, and reveal themselves to be little better than the current range of assessments.

In conclusion, both in psychology and behavioural economics, some researchers have probably been too keen to allege bias in cases where there are unsystematic errors, or no errors at all. The corrective is to learn about base rates, and to use natural frequencies as a guide to good decision-making.

Don't bother boosting your IQ. Boost your understanding of natural frequencies.


res , says: June 17, 2019 at 3:29 pm GMT

Good concrete advice. Perhaps even more useful for those who need to explain things like this to others than for those seeking to understand for themselves.
ThreeCranes , says: June 17, 2019 at 3:34 pm GMT
"intelligence deals with an uncertain world where not everything is stated explicitly. It misses the very nature of intelligence, the ability to go beyond the information given (Bruner, 1973)"

"The key is to take uncertainty seriously, take heuristics seriously, and beware of the bias bias."

Why I come to Unz.

Tom Welsh , says: June 18, 2019 at 8:36 am GMT
@Cortes Sounds fishy to me.

Actually I think this is an example of an increasingly common genre of malapropism, where the writer gropes for the right word, finds one that is similar, and settles for that. The worst of it is that readers intuitively understand what was intended, and then adopt the marginally incorrect usage themselves. That's perhaps how the world and his dog came to say "literally" when they mean "figuratively". Maybe a topic for a future article?

Biff , says: June 18, 2019 at 10:16 am GMT
In 2009 Google finished engineering a reverse search engine to find out what kind of searches people did most often. Seth Davidowitz and Steven Pinker wrote a very fascinating/entertaining book using the tool called Everybody Lies

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28512671-everybody-lies

Everybody Lies offers fascinating, surprising, and sometimes laugh-out-loud insights into everything from economics to ethics to sports to race to sex, gender, and more, all drawn from the world of big data. What percentage of white voters didn't vote for Barack Obama because he's black? Does where you go to school effect how successful you are in life? Do parents secretly favor boy children over girls? Do violent films affect the crime rate? Can you beat the stock market? How regularly do we lie about our sex lives, and who's more self-conscious about sex, men or women?

Investigating these questions and a host of others, Seth Stephens-Davidowitz offers revelations that can help us understand ourselves and our lives better. Drawing on studies and experiments on how we really live and think, he demonstrates in fascinating and often funny ways the extent to which all the world is indeed a lab. With conclusions ranging from strange-but-true to thought-provoking to disturbing, he explores the power of this digital truth serum and its deeper potential – revealing biases deeply embedded within us, information we can use to change our culture, and the questions we're afraid to ask that might be essential to our health – both emotional and physical. All of us are touched by big data every day, and its influence is multiplying. Everybody Lies challenges us to think differently about how we see it and the world.

dearieme , says: June 18, 2019 at 11:25 am GMT
I shall treat this posting (for which many thanks, doc) as an invitation to sing a much-loved song: everybody should read Gigerenzer's Reckoning with Risk. With great clarity it teaches what everyone ought to know about probability.

(It could also serve as a model for writing in English about technical subjects. Americans and Britons should study the English of this German – he knows how, you know.)

Inspired by "The original Slovic study was based on 39 college students" I shall also sing another favorite song. Much of Psychology is based on what small numbers of American undergraduates report they think they think.

Anon [410] • Disclaimer , says: June 18, 2019 at 3:47 pm GMT
" Gigerenzer points out that in this particular example, subjects are having to make their judgements without knowing a key fact: how many survive without surgery. "

This one reminds of the false dichotomy. The patient has additional options! Like changing diet, and behaviours such as exercise, elimination of occupational stress , etc.

The statistical outcomes for a person change when the person changes their circumstances/conditions.

Cortes , says: June 18, 2019 at 4:14 pm GMT
@Tom Welsh A disposition (conveyance) of an awkwardly shaped chunk out of a vast estate contained reference to "the slither of ground bounded on or towards the north east and extending two hundred and twenty four meters or thereby along a chain link fence " Not poor clients (either side) nor cheap lawyers. And who never erred?

Better than deliberately inserting "errors" to guarantee a stream of tidy up work (not unknown in the "professional" world) in future.

Tom Fix , says: June 18, 2019 at 4:25 pm GMT
Good article. 79% of gynaecologists fail a simple conditional probability test?! Many if not most medical research papers use advanced statistics. Medical doctors must read these papers to fully understand their field. So, if medical doctors don't fully understand them, they are not properly doing their job. Those papers use mathematical expressions, not English. Converting them to another form of English, instead of using the mathematical expressions isn't a solution.
SafeNow , says: June 18, 2019 at 5:49 pm GMT
Regarding witnesses: When that jet crashed into Rockaway several years ago, a high percentage of witnesses said that they saw smoke before the crash. But there was actually no smoke. The witnesses were adjusting what they saw to conform to their past experience of seeing movie and newsreel footage of planes smoking in the air before a crash. Children actually make very good witnesses.

Regarding the chart. Missing, up there in the vicinity of cancer and heart disease. The third-leading cause of death. 250,000 per year, according to a 2016 Hopkins study. Medical negligence.

Anon [724] • Disclaimer , says: June 18, 2019 at 9:48 pm GMT

1. Lack of rationality. Experiments have shown that people's intuitions are systematically biased.

2. Stubbornness. Like visual illusions, biases are persistent and hardly corrigible by education.

3. Substantial costs. Biases may incur substantial welfare-relevant costs such as lower wealth, health, or happiness.

4. Biases justify governmental paternalism. To protect people from theirbiases, governments should "nudge" the public toward better behavior.

Well the sad fact is that there's nobody in the position to protect "governments" from their own biases, and "scientists" from theirs.

So, behind the smoke of all words and rationalisations, the law is unchanged: everyone strives to gain and exert as much power as possible over as many others as possible. Most do that without writing papers to say it is right, others write papers, others books. Anyway, the fundamental law would stay as it is even if all this writing labour was spared, wouldn't it? But then another fundamental law, the law of framing all one's drives as moral and beneffective comes into play the papers and the books are useful, after all.

Curmudgeon , says: June 19, 2019 at 1:42 am GMT
An interesting article. However, I think that the only thing we have to know about how illogical psychiatry is this:

In 1973, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) asked all members attending its convention to vote on whether they believed homosexuality to be a mental disorder. 5,854 psychiatrists voted to remove homosexuality from the DSM, and 3,810 to retain it.

The APA then compromised, removing homosexuality from the DSM but replacing it, in effect, with "sexual orientation disturbance" for people "in conflict with" their sexual orientation. Not until 1987 did homosexuality completely fall out of the DSM.

(source https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/hide-and-seek/201509/when-homosexuality-stopped-being-mental-disorder )

The article makes no mention of the fact that no "new science" was brought to support the resolution.

It appears that the psychiatrists were voting based on feelings rather than science. Since that time, the now 50+ genders have been accepted as "normal" by the APA. My family has had members in multiple generations suffering from mental illness. None were "cured". I know others with the same circumstances.

How does one conclude that being repulsed by the prime directive of every living organism – reproduce yourself – is "normal"? That is not to say these people are horrible or evil, just not normal. How can someone, who thinks (s)he is a cat be mentally ill, but a grown man thinking he is a female child is not?

Long ago a lawyer acquaintance, referring to a specific judge, told me that the judge seemed to "make shit up as he was going along". I have long held psychiatry fits that statement very well.

Paul2 , says: June 19, 2019 at 8:08 am GMT
Thank you for this article. I find the information about the interpretation of statistical data very interesting. My take on the background of the article is this:

Here we have a real scientist fighting the nonsense spreading from (neoclassical) economics into other realms of science/academia.

Behavioral economics is a sideline by-product of neoclassical micro-economic theory. It tries to cope with experimental data that is inconsistent with that theory.

Everything in neoclassical economics is a travesty. "Rational choice theory" and its application in "micro economics" is false from the ground up. It basically assumes that people are gobbling up resources without plan, meaning or relevant circumstances. Neoclassical micro economic theory is so false and illogical that I would not know where to start in a comment, so I should like to refer to a whole book about it:
Keen, Steve: "Debunking economics".

As the theory is totally wrong it is really not surprising that countless experiments show that people do not behave the way neoclassical theory predicts. How do economists react to this? Of course they assume that people are "irrational" because they do not behave according to their studied theory. (Why would you ever change your basic theory because of some tedious facts?)

We live in a strange world in which such people have control over university faculties, journals, famous prizes. But at least we have some scientists who defend their area of knowledge against the spreading nonsense produced by economists.

The title of the 1st ed. of Keen's book was "Debunking Economics: The Naked Emperor of the Social Sciences" which was simply a perfect title.

Dieter Kief , says: June 19, 2019 at 8:22 am GMT
@Curmudgeon Could it be that you expect psychiatrists in the past to be as rational as you are now?

Would the result have been any different, if members of a 1973 convention of physicists or surgeons would have been asked?

[Jun 18, 2019] The people in the USA are as good as anywhere, but only as trained as their culture tells them to be. Perhaps the future holds some spark of brightness for the people.

Apr 18, 2019 | thesaker.is

Grieved on April 17, 2019 , · at 1:36 am EST/EDT

... ... ..

The US was always the way Orlov describes its future. It only ever belonged to those who could keep their heads above water. You go under, and you're gone forever, and very quickly forgotten. I don't recommend it as a social system, but that's the system.

But the people, within that system. the people are great people, with remarkable moral fiber, in situations they understand. Those who are breathing air and not water can rightfully enjoy the company of these others, even though many of those others might lately be breathing an air-water mixture – and perhaps even oneself.

It's a poignant thing, these United States. The people are as good as anywhere, but only as trained as their culture tells them to be. Perhaps the future holds some spark of brightness for the people. They were always a transcendent bunch, actually, in a culture founded on spiritual independence – despite all the overlay of consumerist crap. Somehow they uniquely evolved the means of ignoring that crap – playing the TV in the background, for example, while reading college studies – in order to live decent lives.

It's possible this long-remote karma of spiritual longing might still hold some embers. Perhaps the people of the US might rediscover the power of sincere prayer? The power of sincerity? Time alone will tell.

[May 01, 2019] I think it is an exercise in self delusion when people think they can become educated voters or citizens. It is not happening.

Such discussion would be an excellent way to teach "learned helplessness."
May 01, 2019 | caucus99percent.com

@lotlizard Well being a


span y davidgmillsatty on Mon, 04/29/2019 - 7:26pm

@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.

Or is it just a case of a frightened passenger @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.

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.

span y Lookout on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 12:03am
Here in Alabama...

@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.

#4
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.

span y The Voice In th... on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 8:38pm
Hey, Lookout

@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.

#4.2

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.

span y dfarrah on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 10:56am
People seem to forget

@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.

#4
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.

span y HenryAWallace on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 1:16pm
I don't agree.

@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.

#4.2 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.

span y dfarrah on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 1:01pm
Okay, I was not clear.

@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.

#4.2.2

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.

span y HenryAWallace on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 1:55pm
.

@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.

#4.2.2.1 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.

span y dfarrah on Mon, 04/29/2019 - 9:40pm
It is as if I am talking

@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.

#4.2.2.1.1

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.

span y mimi on Mon, 04/29/2019 - 1:30am
I think you were pretty clear

@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.

#4.2.2.1 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.

span y dfarrah on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 1:13pm
As to who gets elected,

@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.

#4.2.2

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.

span y HenryAWallace on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 2:33pm
.

@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).

#4.2.2.1 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.

span y The Voice In th... on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 8:53pm
The conflict has always been between the many and the rich

@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.

#4.2.2.1.2

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).

span y HenryAWallace on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 2:31pm
"It is astounding to me that my side has behaved so badly."

@dfarrah

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

#4.2.2.1 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.

span y The Voice In th... on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 8:56pm
Because no man (or woman) is an island?

@HenryAWallace

#4.2.2.1.2

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

span y dfarrah on Mon, 04/29/2019 - 9:45pm
You don't think

@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.

#4.2.2.1.2

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

span y Shaheer on Mon, 04/29/2019 - 12:33am
@HenryAWallace Like a lot of what

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

#4.2.2

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.

span y HenryAWallace on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 12:41pm
I think we have the will to change. The issue is whether we

@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.

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.

span y Lookout on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 12:04pm
Perhaps sacrifice should have been the term

@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.

#4

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.

span y edg on Sat, 04/27/2019 - 4:02pm
The dumbing down of society...

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.

span y thanatokephaloides on Sat, 04/27/2019 - 6:21pm
failed

@edg

We failed our children and grandchildren.

I haven't (childless).

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.

span y edg on Sat, 04/27/2019 - 9:32pm
Me, too.

@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.

#5

We failed our children and grandchildren.

I haven't (childless).

span y Cassiodorus on Sat, 04/27/2019 - 4:33pm
The point of electing a President is to get better policies

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?

span y OPOL on Sat, 04/27/2019 - 4:37pm
@Cassiodorus I don't disagree.

@Cassiodorus I don't disagree.

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?

span y HenryAWallace on Sat, 04/27/2019 - 4:47pm
Would be an excellent way to teach "learned helplessness."

@Cassiodorus

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?

span y UntimelyRippd on Sat, 04/27/2019 - 5:26pm
sadly, Carter was pretty bad.

@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.

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?

span y Alligator Ed on Sat, 04/27/2019 - 5:53pm
Here's hoping Joe Fingers Biden ends up in a Ukranian cell with

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

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?

span y bobswern on Sat, 04/27/2019 - 6:36pm
Cass, please explain this statement...

@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.)

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?

span y Cassiodorus on Sat, 04/27/2019 - 8:55pm
Remember Carter's 1980 pledge to increase "defense" spending?

@bobswern

#6

...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.)

span y The Voice In th... on Sat, 04/27/2019 - 9:11pm
He actually did increase Navy spending

@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.

#6.5

span y bobswern on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 12:25am
Actually, Cass, you're waaaay oversimplifying Carter's...

@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."

#6.5

span y UntimelyRippd on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 12:56am
It is true that Carter had a genuine interest in peace.

@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.

#6.5.1

...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."

span y wokkamile on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 9:13am
Reagan almost led us

@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.

#6.5.1.2
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.

span y UntimelyRippd on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 10:02am
Carter's campaign was badly botched.

@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.

#6.5.1.2.1 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.

span y Lookout on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 11:37am
plus the oil embarbo and hostages

@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.

#6.5.1.2.1.1
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.

span y wokkamile on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 12:04pm
Ted Kennedy famously

@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.

#6.5.1.2.1.1.1

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.

span y wokkamile on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 11:46am
Jimmy stupidly

@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.

#6.5.1.2.1.1
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.

span y UntimelyRippd on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 11:52am
significantly, kennedy wanted the oil companies brought

@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).

#6.5.1.2.1.1.1 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.

span y HenryAWallace on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 2:26pm
Carter, among others, might beg to differ with you about

@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...

#6.5.1.2.1.1.1 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.

span y wokkamile on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 6:36pm
Thx for the cites and

@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.

#6.5.1.2.1.1.1.2

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...

span y wokkamile on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 7:35pm
That Carter 60M interview

@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.

//www.youtube.com/embed/00PUmPvRENc?modestbranding=0&html5=1&rel=0&autoplay=0&wmode=opaque&loop=0&controls=1&autohide=0&showinfo=0&theme=dark&color=red&enablejsapi=0

span y The Voice In th... on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 10:49pm
Tip O'Neill

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

#6.5.1.2.1.1.1 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.

span y dfarrah on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 11:03am
Reagan

@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?

#6.5.1.2
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.

span y wokkamile on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 11:55am
Presidents breaking the promise

@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.

#6.5.1.2.1 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?

span y dfarrah on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 12:04pm
Thanks for the

@wokkamile info.

#6.5.1.2.1.2 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.

span y wendy davis on Mon, 04/29/2019 - 5:25pm
that didn't sound

@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.

#6.5.1.2.1.2 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.

span y thanatokephaloides on Sat, 04/27/2019 - 8:42pm
where do we go from here?

@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?

//www.youtube.com/embed/oIlVktvZGlk?modestbranding=0&html5=1&rel=0&autoplay=0&wmode=opaque&loop=0&controls=1&autohide=0&showinfo=0&theme=dark&color=red&enablejsapi=0

span y The Voice In th... on Sat, 04/27/2019 - 9:16pm
I'll flip a coin

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

#6

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?

data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw==

span y davidgmillsatty on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 9:19pm
@The Voice In the Wilderness I voted green last

@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.

#6.6
Heads I vote Green again
Tails I go get drunk on election day instead

span y The Voice In th... on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 10:52pm
It's always hard to defeat a sitting President.

@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.

#6.6.1 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.

span y mimi on Sat, 04/27/2019 - 4:44pm
OPOL, you really still believe that?

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.

span y OPOL on Sat, 04/27/2019 - 4:50pm
@mimi I know what you mean,

@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.

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.

span y dkmich on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 7:41am
Oh where to begin.

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.

span y Alligator Ed on Sat, 04/27/2019 - 5:56pm
Sociopaths don't fail lie detectors

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

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.

span y davidgmillsatty on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 9:23pm
@Alligator Ed In court, its the

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

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

span y wendy davis on Sat, 04/27/2019 - 5:47pm
i'd submit that

*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.

span y bobswern on Sat, 04/27/2019 - 7:40pm
Excellent post, OPOL!

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):

//www.youtube.com/embed/j2YgDua2gpk?modestbranding=0&html5=1&rel=0&autoplay=0&wmode=opaque&loop=0&controls=1&autohide=0&showinfo=0&theme=dark&color=red&enablejsapi=0

span y OPOL on Sat, 04/27/2019 - 9:28pm
@bobswern Thanks Bob, 'preciate,

@bobswern Thanks Bob, 'preciate, bro.

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):

data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw==

span y karl pearson on Sat, 04/27/2019 - 9:16pm
World History and War

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.

span y Sirena on Sat, 04/27/2019 - 9:59pm
What matters in a President is

us.

span y Sirena on Sat, 04/27/2019 - 10:34pm
This may sound overly simplistic

@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!

us.

span y thanatokephaloides on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 5:11pm
to answer your questions

@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.

#12
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!

span y Raggedy Ann on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 7:16am
Nice essay, OPOL.

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.

span y Eagles92 on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 11:41am
Nice to see you writing again, OPOL.

As always, I love your message.

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

span y The Wizard on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 12:20pm
Part of the problem lies in the assumption

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.

span y thanatokephaloides on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 5:16pm
bastards

@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.

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.

span y TheOtherMaven on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 8:59pm
What if they held an election and nobody came?

@thanatokephaloides

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

#15

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.

span y Big Al on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 9:34pm
"Why I Won't Vote"

@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.

#15.1

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

span y snoopydawg on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 10:21pm
Welp...

@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

#15.1.1 "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.

span y mimi on Mon, 04/29/2019 - 2:00am
If voting would be mandatory for everyone

@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.

#15.1.1 "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.

[Apr 19, 2019] One way to deflect and mask ignorance is to build a monument of commemoration.

Apr 19, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

Maxim Gorki , April 18, 2019 at 13:28

911 is a monument to American ignorance. The only thing we know for certain about 911 is that we don't know what happened on 911.

OlyaPola , April 19, 2019 at 04:31

"911 is a monument to American ignorance."

One way to deflect and mask ignorance is to build a monument of commemoration.

There are many monuments in the misnamed "The United States of America" one of which is the Vietnam monument.

Given their tendency to double down on ignorance perhaps Mr. Trump and his associates' activities in wall building will include, but not necessarily be limited to, extending the Vietnam monument.

[Apr 11, 2019] The dubious products of the glorified diploma mills we call "higher education" are often the most gullible and dim-witted

Apr 11, 2019 | www.unz.com

HallParvey , says: April 10, 2019 at 2:56 pm GMT

@Nicolás Palacios Navarro

Unfortunately, the near totality of this country's populace is effectively illiterate and poorly equipped to think critically and independently, preferring to accept the verdicts of their oleaginous talking heads at face value without ever troubling themselves to examine why.

(The dubious products of the glorified diploma mills we call "higher education" are often the most gullible and dim-witted.)

Someday, when we all have multiple degrees from prestigious institutions of exalted learning, our collective I.Q. will be substantially higher than it is today, and we will understand everything.

Except how to change a light bulb.

[Apr 10, 2019] A demoralized white working and middle class was willing to believe in anything, deluding themselves into reading between the barren eruptions of his blowzy proclamations. They elevated him to messianic heights, ironically fashioning him into that which he publicly claims to despise: an Obama, a Barry in negative image, hope and change for the OxyContin and Breitbart set

Highly recommended!
Trump betrayed white workers because he knows he can get away with it. For the last thirty years of the 20th century millions of white families were wrenched out of the middle class without a squeak out of any major news outlet or national level politician. Trump himself stiffed his workers in those days and got away with it.
Notable quotes:
"... “In 2008, Obama was touted as a political outsider who will hose away all of the rot and bloody criminality of the Bush years. He turned out to be a deft move by our ruling class. Though fools still refuse to see it, Obama is a perfect servant of our military banking complex. Now, Trump is being trumpeted as another political outsider. ..."
"... A Trump presidency will temporarily appease restless, lower class whites, while serving as a magnet for liberal anger. This will buy our ruling class time as they continue to wage war abroad while impoverishing Americans back home. Like Obama, Trump won’t fulfill any of his election promises, and this, too, will be blamed on bipartisan politics.” ..."
"... Yes, it would have been worse with the Cackling Hyena, but what does that tell ya? ..."
Apr 10, 2019 | www.unz.com

Nicolás Palacios Navarro , says: April 10, 2019 at 8:55 am GMT

I'm not sure why the author of this article seems to be surprised by the actions of Trump and his administration. The collective image of him as a blood-thirsty racist whose hatred of all peoples queer 'n' colored runs marrow and generations-deep -- think of a cross between a street corner John Galt and Ian Smith, daubed with vague overtones of Archie Bunker mingling with Clint Eastwood -- is purely an invention of the media, the left as well as that of the right.

Why or how he became the impromptu pope of white nationalism escapes me. Anyone with ears to listen and eyes to see could find for themselves that he never so much as intimated even muted sympathy for that movement, not during his campaign and certainly not as head of state, media accusations of "dog whistles" and the like notwithstanding.

But a demoralized white working and middle class were willing to believe in anything, deluding themselves into reading between the barren eruptions of his blowzy proclamations. They elevated him to messianic heights, ironically fashioning him into that which he publicly claims to despise: an Obama, a Barry in negative image, "hope and change" for the OxyContin and Breitbart set. Like his predecessor, Trump never really says anything at all. There are grand pronouncements, bilious screeds targeting perceived enemies, glib generalities, but rarely are any concrete, definitive ideas and policies ever articulated. Trump, like Obama, is merely a cipher, an empty suit upon which the dreams (or nightmares) of the beholder can effortlessly be projected, a polarizing figurehead who wields mostly ceremonial powers while others ostensibly beneath him busy themselves with the actual running of the republic.

To observe this requires no great research or expenditure of effort -- he lays it all out there for anybody to hear or read. Unfortunately, the near totality of this country's populace is effectively illiterate and poorly equipped to think critically and independently, preferring to accept the verdicts of their oleaginous talking heads at face value without ever troubling themselves to examine why. (The dubious products of the glorified diploma mills we call "higher education" are often the most gullible and dim-witted.) Trump is the dark magus of racism and bigotry -- boo! Trump is the man of sorrows who will carry aloft Western Civilization resurgent -- yay!

Just as the hysterical left was quickly shattered by the mediocrity that was Barack Obama, so too does the hysterical right now ululate the sting of Donald Trump's supposed betrayal. As with their ideological antipodes, they got what they deserved. Pity that the rest of us have to be carted along for the ride.

Amerimutt Golem , says: April 10, 2019 at 9:39 am GMT

Trump is just a golem -- a creature made by you know who to destroy their enemies like Iran etc, no different from GW or FDR.
anonymous [340] • Disclaimer , says: April 10, 2019 at 10:01 am GMT
Politics, at least at the national level, is a puppet show to channel and periodically blow off dissent.

“In 2008, Obama was touted as a political outsider who will hose away all of the rot and bloody criminality of the Bush years. He turned out to be a deft move by our ruling class. Though fools still refuse to see it, Obama is a perfect servant of our military banking complex. Now, Trump is being trumpeted as another political outsider.

A Trump presidency will temporarily appease restless, lower class whites, while serving as a magnet for liberal anger. This will buy our ruling class time as they continue to wage war abroad while impoverishing Americans back home. Like Obama, Trump won’t fulfill any of his election promises, and this, too, will be blamed on bipartisan politics.”

Linh Dinh, “Orlando Shooting Means Trump for President,” published at The Unz Review, June 12, 2016.

jacques sheete , says: April 10, 2019 at 10:12 am GMT

@Hank

We were “Trumped”. Hard to believe.

What’s so hard to believe? Many of us predicted as much.

PS: It would be more accurate to admit that his supporters have been t Rumped . He stuck it to ya and you enjoyed it. Believe it and remember it.

Yes, it would have been worse with the Cackling Hyena, but what does that tell ya?

[Apr 10, 2019] Trump and low-information voters

Apr 10, 2019 | www.unz.com

Hail , says: Website April 10, 2019 at 5:41 am GMT

@Thinker

who are those idiots who still keep showing up at his rallies?

See the SteveSailerism "Low-information voters."

If one is a regular reader of the Unz Review , one is almost by definition not among this class of people. Regulars at sites like this are mainly all off towards the right tail of the low-to-high 'information' distribution curve. It's easy to forget that most of our fellow people are somewhere near the center of the curve, or in the left half. And there is your answer.

Biff , says: April 10, 2019 at 4:14 am GMT
Packaging

Nothing gets my liberal friends gnashing their teeth harder than when I point out(with facts) how Trump is just like Hillary – and that was before the election.

Thinker , says: April 10, 2019 at 4:16 am GMT
Yep. Trump's a lying POS pond scum like the rest of the DC swamp that he said he was going to drain, turns out he is one of them all along. We elected America's first Jewish president, nothing more. He needs to change his campaign slogan to MIGA, Make Israel Great Again, that was the plan of his handlers all along.

What I want to know is, who are those idiots who still keep showing up at his rallies? Are they really that dumb?

Even Sanders came out and said we can't have open borders. I've also heard him said back in 2015 that the H1b visa program is a replacement program for American workers. If he grows a pair and reverts back to that stance, teams up with Tulsi Gabbard, I'll vote for them 2020. Fuck Trump! Time for him and his whole treasonous rat family to move to Israel where they belong.

[Mar 30, 2019] You don't like Trump? Bolton? Clinton? All of these people who are in or have passed through leadership positions in America are entirely valid representatives of Americans in general. You may imagine they are faking cluelessness to avoid acknowledging responsibility for their crimes, but the cluelessness is quite real and extends to the entire population.

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... All of these people who are in or have passed through leadership positions in America are entirely valid representatives of Americans in general. You may imagine they are faking cluelessness to avoid acknowledging responsibility for their crimes, but the cluelessness is quite real and extends to the entire population. ..."
"... Decades ago while in a leftist organization debate was raised as to how to find valid information to inform ourselves with. It was well understood that the vast majority of the western corporate mass media was a brainwashing operation to keep the masses clueless and supporting imperialist war but, we reasoned, the ruling class itself would need to be kept informed with quality information in order to feel confident that they were making good decisions. ..."
"... But things change. Note how the Russiagate skeptics in the US were attacked by the desperately faithful: If you focused attention on flaws in the Russiagate conspiracy theory then the general consensus was that you were defending Trump. ..."
"... This condition has arisen from literally generations of propaganda instilling as reality in American media consumers the myth of "American Exceptionalism" . The current crop of American adults have been raised by parents who themselves have been thoroughly indoctrinated in this alter reality. The disease is literally universal across the nation, from lowliest and most oppressed Black transvestites to the CEOs of the biggest corporations. ..."
"... The Washington Post used to be one of the journals that the elites looked to in order to help inform their decisions, but now in the post-truth, or relative truth, world these information sources have increasingly sought to align their information products with the "proper" relative truths that reinforce the myth of "American Exceptionalism" , even if that is in conflict with objective and empirical reality. ..."
"... In short, Washington Bezos Post writers are not moronic or drunk. They are delusional . They are in the grips of a delusion that afflicts the entire United States, and portions of the rest of the world as well ..."
Mar 30, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

William Gruff , Mar 30, 2019 5:18:08 PM | link

"... Washington Bezos Post writers are moronic or drunk."

What ails them is far more complicated and vastly more sinister.

One often hears people say of other countries "It isn't the people of Elbonia whom I hate, it is their government." It may be difficult for some in Europe, where there remains a vestige of an imperative to foster a worldview based upon objective reality, to come to grips with the fact that the problem with America has metastasized and spread to the level of the individual citizens... all of them, to one degree or another. You don't like Trump? Bolton? Clinton?

All of these people who are in or have passed through leadership positions in America are entirely valid representatives of Americans in general. You may imagine they are faking cluelessness to avoid acknowledging responsibility for their crimes, but the cluelessness is quite real and extends to the entire population.

How did this happen to America?

Decades ago while in a leftist organization debate was raised as to how to find valid information to inform ourselves with. It was well understood that the vast majority of the western corporate mass media was a brainwashing operation to keep the masses clueless and supporting imperialist war but, we reasoned, the ruling class itself would need to be kept informed with quality information in order to feel confident that they were making good decisions.

With this in mind we identified journals and sources that the capitalist elites themselves relied upon to inform their decisions.

Things like the CIA World Factbook, for instance, even though created by an organization devoted to disinformation, could be trusted back then to be relatively dependable.

But things change. Note how the Russiagate skeptics in the US were attacked by the desperately faithful: If you focused attention on flaws in the Russiagate conspiracy theory then the general consensus was that you were defending Trump. The possibility that you could be defending reason and truth is still dismissed out of hand. Why is that? Because in America (it's a mind disease spreading to Europe, apparently) truth is relative and reason has become just whatever justifies what you wish to be the truth; therefore, those who propose a "truth" that conflicts with what people want to believe are agents of some enemy.

This condition has arisen from literally generations of propaganda instilling as reality in American media consumers the myth of "American Exceptionalism" . The current crop of American adults have been raised by parents who themselves have been thoroughly indoctrinated in this alter reality. The disease is literally universal across the nation, from lowliest and most oppressed Black transvestites to the CEOs of the biggest corporations.

As prior generations of the ruling elites from the post WWII era who still retained some sense for the importance of objective reality have died off they have been replaced by the newer generation for whom reality is entirely subjective. If they want to believe their gender is mountain panda then that's their right as Americans! Likewise if they want to believe that America's bombing is humanitarian and god's gift to the species, then anyone who suggests otherwise is obviously a KGB troll.

The Washington Post used to be one of the journals that the elites looked to in order to help inform their decisions, but now in the post-truth, or relative truth, world these information sources have increasingly sought to align their information products with the "proper" relative truths that reinforce the myth of "American Exceptionalism" , even if that is in conflict with objective and empirical reality.

To do otherwise would be to aid and give comfort to America's "enemies" (do keep in mind that America is a nation at war - has been for decades - and that workers in the corporate mass media are very much conscious of their roles in that ongoing war effort, to the point that they see themselves as information warriors fighting shadowy enemies that only exist in their own relative reality bubbles).

In short, Washington Bezos Post writers are not moronic or drunk. They are delusional . They are in the grips of a delusion that afflicts the entire United States, and portions of the rest of the world as well.

Some Americans have broken free from this Matrix-like delusion, but the numbers remain somewhat small... certainly less than one or two percent of the population, and those who have broken free of the delusion will never be given a soapbox to speak to the rest of the population from by the corporate elites.

mourning dove , Mar 30, 2019 6:36:14 PM | link
William Gruff @33

I think you have wildly underestimated the number of Americans who are very aware of what is going on with our country and the world. More than 40% of eligible voters elect not to participate in elections realizing the futility of it, and withholding their consent to this regime. It's a feature of propaganda to engender feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, and feelings of isolation by falsely portraying a consensus among the population for the policies of the regime. Resist!

[Dec 14, 2018] Hidden neoliberal inner party : US chamber of commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers and The Business Roundtable

Notable quotes:
"... The American Chamber of Commerce subsequently expanded its base from around 60,000 firms in 1972 to over a quarter of a million ten years later. Jointly with the National Association of Manufacturers (which moved to Washington in 1972) it amassed an immense campaign chest to lobby Congress and engage in research. The Business Roundtable, an organization of CEOs 'committed to the aggressive pursuit of political power for the corporation', was founded in 1972 and thereafter became the centrepiece of collective pro-business action. ..."
"... Nearly half the financing for the highly respected NBER came from the leading companies in the Fortune 500 list. Closely integrated with the academic community, the NBER was to have a very significant impact on thinking in the economics departments and business schools of the major research universities. ..."
"... In order to realize this goal, businesses needed a political class instrument and a popular base. They therefore actively sought to capture the Republican Party as their own instrument. The formation of powerful political action committees to procure, as the old adage had it, 'the best government that money could buy' was an important step. ..."
"... The Republican Party needed, however, a solid electoral base if it was to colonize power effectively. It was around this time that Republicans sought an alliance with the Christian right. The latter had not been politically active in the past, but the foundation of Jerry Falwell's 'moral majority' as a political movement in 1978 changed all of that. The Republican Party now had its Christian base. ..."
"... It also appealed to the cultural nationalism of the white working classes and their besieged sense of moral righteousness. This political base could be mobilized through the positives of religion and cultural nationalism and negatively through coded, if not blatant, racism, homophobia, and anti feminism. ..."
"... The alliance between big business and conservative Christians backed by the neoconservatives consolidated, not for the first time has a social group been persuaded to vote against its material, economic, and class interests ..."
"... Any political movement that holds individual freedoms to be sacrosanct is vulnerable to incorporation into the neoliberal fold. ..."
"... Neoliberal rhetoric, with its foundational emphasis upon individual freedoms, has the power to split off libertarianism, identity politics, multiculturalism, and eventually narcissistic consumerism from the social forces ranged in pursuit of social justice through the conquest of state power. ..."
"... By capturing ideals of individual freedom and turning them against the interventionist and regulatory practices of the state, capitalist class interests could hope to protect and even restore their position. Neoliberalism was well suited to this ideological task. ..."
"... Neoliberalization required both politically and economically the construction of a neoliberal market-based populist culture of differentiated consumerism and individual libertarianism. As such it proved more than a little compatible with that cultural impulse called 'postmodernism' which had long been lurking in the wings but could now emerge full-blown as both a cultural and an intellectual dominant. This was the challenge that corporations and class elites set out to finesse in the 1980s. ..."
"... Powell argued that individual action was insufficient. 'Strength', he wrote, 'lies in organization, in careful long-range planning and implementation, in consistency of action over an indefinite period of years, in the scale of financing available only through joint effort, and in the political power available only through united action and national organizations'. The National Chamber of Commerce, he argued, should lead an assault upon the major institutions––universities, schools, the media, publishing, the courts––in order to change how individuals think 'about the corporation, the law, culture, and the individual'. US businesses did not lack resources for such an effort, particularly when they pooled their resources together. ..."
Nov 27, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

Themiddlegound -> Themiddlegound , 11 Jun 2013 05:42

The American Chamber of Commerce subsequently expanded its base from around 60,000 firms in 1972 to over a quarter of a million ten years later. Jointly with the National Association of Manufacturers (which moved to Washington in 1972) it amassed an immense campaign chest to lobby Congress and engage in research. The Business Roundtable, an organization of CEOs 'committed to the aggressive pursuit of political power for the corporation', was founded in 1972 and thereafter became the centrepiece of collective pro-business action.

The corporations involved accounted for 'about one half of the GNP of the United States' during the 1970s, and they spent close to $900 million annually (a huge amount at that time) on political matters. Think-tanks, such as the Heritage Foundation, the Hoover Institute, the Center for the Study of American Business, and the American Enterprise Institute, were formed with corporate backing both to polemicize and, when necessary, as in the case of the National Bureau of Economic Research, to construct serious technical and empirical studies and political-philosophical arguments broadly in support of neoliberal policies.

Nearly half the financing for the highly respected NBER came from the leading companies in the Fortune 500 list. Closely integrated with the academic community, the NBER was to have a very significant impact on thinking in the economics departments and business schools of the major research universities. With abundant finance furnished by wealthy individuals (such as the brewer Joseph Coors, who later became a member of Reagan's 'kitchen cabinet') and their foundations (for example Olin, Scaife, Smith Richardson, Pew Charitable Trust), a flood of tracts and books, with Nozick's Anarchy State and Utopia perhaps the most widely read and appreciated, emerged espousing neoliberal values. A TV version of Milton Friedman's Free to Choose was funded with a grant from Scaife in 1977. 'Business was', Blyth concludes, 'learning to spend as a class.

In singling out the universities for particular attention, Powell pointed up an opportunity as well as an issue, for these were indeed centers of anti-corporate and anti-state sentiment (the students at Santa Barbara had burned down the Bank of America building there and ceremonially buried a car in the sands). But many students were (and still are) affluent and privileged, or at least middle class, and in the US the values of individual freedom have long been celebrated (in music and popular culture) as primary. Neoliberal themes could here find fertile ground for propagation. Powell did not argue for extending state power. But business should 'assiduously cultivate' the state and when necessary use it 'aggressively and with determination'

In order to realize this goal, businesses needed a political class instrument and a popular base. They therefore actively sought to capture the Republican Party as their own instrument. The formation of powerful political action committees to procure, as the old adage had it, 'the best government that money could buy' was an important step. The supposedly 'progressive' campaign finance laws of 1971 in effect legalized the financial corruption of politics.

A crucial set of Supreme Court decisions began in 1976 when it was first established that the right of a corporation to make unlimited money contributions to political parties and political action committees was protected under the First Amendment guaranteeing the rights of individuals (in this instance corporations) to freedom of speech.15 Political action committees could thereafter ensure the financial domination of both political parties by corporate, moneyed, and professional association interests. Corporate PACs, which numbered eighty-nine in 1974, had burgeoned to 1,467 by 1982.

The Republican Party needed, however, a solid electoral base if it was to colonize power effectively. It was around this time that Republicans sought an alliance with the Christian right. The latter had not been politically active in the past, but the foundation of Jerry Falwell's 'moral majority' as a political movement in 1978 changed all of that. The Republican Party now had its Christian base.

It also appealed to the cultural nationalism of the white working classes and their besieged sense of moral righteousness. This political base could be mobilized through the positives of religion and cultural nationalism and negatively through coded, if not blatant, racism, homophobia, and anti feminism.

The alliance between big business and conservative Christians backed by the neoconservatives consolidated, not for the first time has a social group been persuaded to vote against its material, economic, and class interests the evangelical Christians eagerly embraced the alliance with big business and the Republican Party as a means to further promote their evangelical and moral agenda.

Themiddlegound -> Themiddlegound , 11 Jun 2013 05:23

Any political movement that holds individual freedoms to be sacrosanct is vulnerable to incorporation into the neoliberal fold.

The worldwide political upheavals of 1968, for example, were strongly inflected with the desire for greater personal freedoms. This was certainly true for students, such as those animated by the Berkeley 'free speech' movement of the 1960s or who took to the streets in Paris, Berlin, and Bangkok and were so mercilessly shot down in Mexico City shortly before the 1968 Olympic Games. They demanded freedom from parental, educational, corporate, bureaucratic, and state constraints. But the '68 movement also had social justice as a primary political objective.

Neoliberal rhetoric, with its foundational emphasis upon individual freedoms, has the power to split off libertarianism, identity politics, multiculturalism, and eventually narcissistic consumerism from the social forces ranged in pursuit of social justice through the conquest of state power. It has long proved extremely difficult within the US left, for example, to forge the collective discipline required for political action to achieve social justice without offending the the Construction of Consent desire of political actors for individual freedom and for full recognition and expression of particular identities. Neoliberalism did not create these distinctions, but it could easily exploit, if not foment, them.

In the early 1970s those seeking individual freedoms and social justice could make common cause in the face of what many saw as a common enemy. Powerful corporations in alliance with an interventionist state were seen to be running the world in individually oppressive and socially unjust ways. The Vietnam War was the most obvious catalyst for discontent, but the destructive activities of corporations and the state in relation to the environment, the push towards mindless consumerism, the failure to address social issues and respond adequately to diversity, as well as intense restrictions on individual possibilities and personal behaviors by state-mandated and 'traditional' controls were also widely resented. Civil rights were an issue, and questions of sexuality and of reproductive rights were very much in play.

For almost everyone involved in the movement of '68, the intrusive state was the enemy and it had to be reformed. And on that, the neoliberals could easily agree. But capitalist corporations, business, and the market system were also seen as primary enemies requiring redress if not revolutionary transformation: hence the threat to capitalist class power.

By capturing ideals of individual freedom and turning them against the interventionist and regulatory practices of the state, capitalist class interests could hope to protect and even restore their position. Neoliberalism was well suited to this ideological task. But it had to be backed up by a practical strategy that emphasized the liberty of consumer choice, not only with respect to particular products but also with respect to lifestyles, modes of expression, and a wide range of cultural practices. Neoliberalization required both politically and economically the construction of a neoliberal market-based populist culture of differentiated consumerism and individual libertarianism. As such it proved more than a little compatible with that cultural impulse called 'postmodernism' which had long been lurking in the wings but could now emerge full-blown as both a cultural and an intellectual dominant. This was the challenge that corporations and class elites set out to finesse in the 1980s.

In the US case a confidential memo sent by Lewis Powell to the US Chamber of Commerce in August 1971. Powell, about to be elevated to the Supreme Court by Richard Nixon, argued that criticism of and opposition to the US free enterprise system had gone too far and that 'the time had come––indeed it is long overdue––for the wisdom, ingenuity and resources of American business to be marshaled against those who would destroy it'.

Powell argued that individual action was insufficient. 'Strength', he wrote, 'lies in organization, in careful long-range planning and implementation, in consistency of action over an indefinite period of years, in the scale of financing available only through joint effort, and in the political power available only through united action and national organizations'. The National Chamber of Commerce, he argued, should lead an assault upon the major institutions––universities, schools, the media, publishing, the courts––in order to change how individuals think 'about the corporation, the law, culture, and the individual'. US businesses did not lack resources for such an effort, particularly when they pooled their resources together.

[Nov 17, 2018] Why should essentially powerless people want to engage in a humiliating farce designed to demonstrate the legitimacy of those who wield the power?

Nov 17, 2018 | www.amazon.com

Joseph A. Domino

4.0 out of 5 stars America's Last Sprint: Race to the Bottom August 4, 2015 Format: Paperback Verified Purchase It's interesting how polarizing this book is, the negative comments of people decrying the author as anti-American. It seems he is simply describing the collapse of one society and what America might learn from it. In America, this end or collapse is not near; it's in progress. The middle class is being systematically dismantled. Orlov writes, "It is not allowable to refer to America as a chronically depressed country, an increasingly lower-class and impoverished country that fails to take care of its citizens and often abuses them."

Even with rudimentary understanding of history, we know that a democracy cannot be sustained without a strong, vibrant middle class. To those who deny this is a problem, you lived through 2008. You should have learned enough that it could happen again and on a much greater scale.

Orlov provides an insightful perspective, including an insider's view as having spent time there, on Russia and the comparisons are instructive and often verge into gallows humor: boondoggles are good. Americans are actually smart in their voter apathy (an original idea I've not heard expressed before, but in a twisted way makes sense). "Why should essentially powerless people want to engage in a humiliating farce designed to demonstrate the legitimacy of those who wield the power?" According to Orlov, In Russia, during the Soviet era, smart people did their best to ignore the Communists, either through praise or criticism.

In the latter sections, Orlov almost cheerily outlines possible means of surviving the collapse based on skills and opportunities.

Also recommended in this genre: Morris Berman's trilogy, "The Twilight of American Culture," "Dark Ages America," and "Why America Failed."

This is all for the open-minded and not those desperately clinging to the myth of American Exceptionalism. If the Russians were resilient and adept at dealing with shortages and bureaucracy, we soft overstuffed consumers, besotted with junk food and i-pads and bottomless debt might do well to listen.

[Jul 06, 2018] Casual voters

Jul 06, 2018 | www.nytimes.com

bob adamson Canada July 1

I wouldn't be so pessimistic at this time.

Lots of quite intelligent people choose not to follow political issues very closely. Let's call them casual voters. Come election time, many casual voters simply consider whether matters for which the election winner will have some say are currently going well or poorly & if they think matters aren't going well, they'll simply vote against the incumbent or the Party the retiring incumbent represented.

In the same vane, having recently elected this 'new' person, they'll stick with that choice for a decent interval to see if things improve.

For 'casual' Trump supporting voters such as those I've just tried to describe, it may well be too early to turn against Trump. However, turn against him many of them will as the chaos & damage of his actions will cause accumulate.

[Apr 29, 2018] Citizens have no opportunity for input otherwise on any matter of governance, so their lack of engagement is imposed upon them

Apr 29, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

teddyfromcd Patty Donovan 2 years ago ,

JUST - i hope -- you understand (and that's why sometimes SIX PACK gets mad at me -- NOT HIS FAULT) -- when it has become habitual to generalize ''americans" ...but that is very hard to avoid now after all that the USA has done to so many countries. in so many cruel ways.

but it IS understood that it NEVER means "'ALL AMERICANS"

that is just an IMPOSSIBILITY..

Don Bacon | Apr 22, 2018 3:37:51 PM | 26

@Sid2 11
a huge amount of the American populace is entirely disengaged from what's going on

The American populace was certainly involved when against all odds, against nearly every "expert," Donald Trump not only bested a dozen politicians in his own party primaries but then beat the odds-on favorite by far in the general election.

But that's an exception. The people get involved (of course) only when they have the opportunity to do so. Generally speaking that's an opportunity to vote for one schmuck or another periodically, and that's about it, in the so-called US "democracy." Citizens have no opportunity for input otherwise on any matter of governance, so their lack of engagement is imposed upon them, it's not their choice. It differs little in every country.

jayc , Apr 22, 2018 4:31:27 PM | 30
I must have missed the day in high school civics class when it was explained the best way to resolve political differences in a democracy was to form an angry mob and engage in widespread vandalism and arson.

I had seen an MSM piece on the disruptions in Nicaragua, which did mention that Social Security reform was motivating the demonstrators - without mentioning that the protesters were angry that the proposed reforms were not sufficiently cruel. In this way the Nicaraguan protesters join those in Venezuela, who are angry that health and literacy programs exist, and the Ukrainians who sparked a "revolution" so they could have a harsh austerity program imposed on them.

[Mar 20, 2018] You're suggesting that the plebeian mass of ignorant white trash calling themselves the British nation should actually rule themselves by way of a democratically elected parliament, their national loyalty centered on a constitutional monarch who is head of the English national Christian church.

Mar 20, 2018 | www.unz.com

CanSpeccy , Website Next New Comment March 20, 2018 at 6:32 pm GMT

@EliteCommInc.

God Save the Queen.

It's really that simple.

Good God. How disgusting. You're suggesting that the plebeian mass of ignorant white trash calling themselves the British nation should actually rule themselves by way of a democratically elected parliament, their national loyalty centered on a constitutional monarch who is head of the English national Christian church.

Good God, the first thing that scum would do is vote to send the immigrants home, beginning with the mayor of London, followed by the rape gangs of Rotherham and elsewhere.

Fortunately, that can never happen. The media and the K-to-middle-aged education system tell the people how to despise themselves and their natural inclination to self-preservation, while the political machines tell the people who they can have to represent them. Thus, the so-called parliamentary representatives of the people are not representatives of the people in government, but representative of government to the people. Propagandist, that is, i.e., traitors.

[Mar 01, 2018] This is why economic policy cannot not be decided by popular opinion. A typical US voter is ignorant about economics and government finance. A typical US voter doesn t want responsibility for these decisions anyway. He would rather let someone else (some authority figure) make these choices for him, no matter how disastrous and against his interest that can be

Notable quotes:
"... In fact not only do most Americans shy away from finding out about the truth in a country that has pushed division of labour to the maximum, they are trigger happy to be totally controlled by corporate media in a repetition of 'Iraq's weapons of mass destruction' to 'Russia and Putin the source of all evil'. ..."
Mar 01, 2018 | www.unz.com

Joe Levantine , February 28, 2018 at 6:02 pm GMT

@Felix Keverich

"And this is why economic policy cannot not be decided by popular opinion. A typical Russian is ignorant about economics and government finance. A typical Russian doesn't want responsibility for these decisions anyway. He would rather let someone else (some authority figure) make these choices for him. This is why real democracy cannot work in Russia."

If you had not specified the word 'Russian', I could have guessed you were talking about the USA.

In fact not only do most Americans shy away from finding out about the truth in a country that has pushed division of labour to the maximum, they are trigger happy to be totally controlled by corporate media in a repetition of 'Iraq's weapons of mass destruction' to 'Russia and Putin the source of all evil'.

Beyond some truly enlightened Americans whose opinions I am honored and glad to read on this site, the majority of the American public still go about their struggle for survival trusting the American politicians and American military are doing the right thing.

[Apr 27, 2017] US voters lack the foundational knowledge and basic political engagement required to know the difference between facts and errors, or even between truth and lies

Apr 27, 2017 | www.usatoday.com

The fact of the matter is that too many Trump supporters do not hold the president responsible for his mistakes or erratic behavior because they are incapable of recognizing them as mistakes. They lack the foundational knowledge and basic political engagement required to know the difference between facts and errors, or even between truth and lies.

[Nov 23, 2016] Affluent women voters apparently had NO IDEA that much of the country has been ravaged by Democratic Party neoliberal policies

www.nakedcapitalism.com

Pelham

"(and maybe we could replace the insulting euphemism "low information voters" with "differently-informationed voters." Or something)."

How about "insufficiently bamboozled voters"?

aab

Given that all these nice, affluent women voters who apparently had NO IDEA much of the country has been ravaged by Democratic Party policies, they are the people who should have the "low information" label hung around their necks for the foreseeable future. They also seem to have very little understanding how how elections work, how American government works, etc.

Low Information, High Credential voters (LIHC): ugly acronym, uglier impact.

[Sep 24, 2016] Vanity Fair

Sep 22, 2016 | www.vanityfair.com
(Re Silc). "Interestingly, the biggest drag on Trump among this group was his verbal treatment of women."

"Let's start by giv­ing Don­ald Trump every state that Rom­ney won in 2012, even North Car­o­lina where, as of Thursday morn­ing, Clin­ton had a nar­row lead in the RCP av­er­age of polls in that state. That would give Trump 245 elect­or­al votes to Clin­ton's 293, with 270 needed to win. Now let's give Trump every state where Clin­ton's RCP av­er­age lead was less than 3 points, thus put­ting Iowa, Nevada, Flor­ida, and Ohio in Trump's column. Clin­ton would then lead 273-265 and still be in the win­ner's circle. Now let's as­sume that Trump wins Maine's second con­gres­sion­al dis­trict, which would nar­row her lead to 272 to 266. To be clear, I do not think that Trump will sweep North Car­o­lina, Iowa, Nevada, Flor­ida, and Ohio. For that mat­ter, he is strug­gling to keep his lead in places like Ari­zona and Geor­gia. Even giv­ing Trump every state that is close, he still comes up short. To get over the top he would need to win states where today he's not run­ning par­tic­u­larly close. These in­clude New Hamp­shire, where the RCP av­er­age gives Clin­ton a 5-point edge, Pennsylvania a 6.2-point lead, Michigan a 5.6-point lead, and Vir­gin­ia a 3.7-point lead" [ Cook Political Report ] [dusts hands]. "The key thing to think about in the com­ing weeks is who the elec­tion is really about. For most of the past three months, it was a ref­er­en­dum on Trump, and he was los­ing. The last couple of weeks, the race has been about Clin­ton and she has been los­ing ground as a res­ult." The political class cannot concieve of the idea that the election might be a referendum on them . And that a narrow win will not be enough to allow them to retain the mandate of heaven.

"The larger explanation for the Trump phenomenon is even more unsettling for Washington's political class, especially the media. They have lost their power" [ Politico ]. No, they haven't. But they are frantic to retain it. "Only a decade or two ago, the media world was confined to a group of people in D.C. and New York-a group that largely knew each other, mingled in the same places, vacationed in the same locales. The most influential members of the group routinely defined what constituted a gaffe, others echoed that view, and it became the conventional wisdom for the rest of America. In the age of the Internet, with bloggers spread out across the nation, and multiple platforms across the political spectrum, that's no longer possible. The growing divergence between these 'insiders' and the new 'outsiders' has played to Trump's benefit, every single time he made what was once conceived as a 'game-changing' error." Hmm. I remember 2003-2006 very well, when bloggers were going to do just this. That was going to happen until it didn't. In other words, I don't think it's bloggers and platforms that are the drivers; aspirational 10%-ers, as it were. It's a solid chunk of the 90% being mightily ticked off (though ticked off in ways appropriate to their various conditions). And that's not going to change.

"Thus Clinton's peculiar predicament. She has moved further left than any modern Democratic nominee, and absorbed the newer left's Manichaean view of the culture war" [Ross Douthat, The New York Times ]. And "culture war" completely explains why all those bright young people were chanting the talking points of an elderly white male socialist delivering hour-long speeches on policy to ginormous rallies. If you want to see an utterly classic conflation of "liberal" and "left," read this. Douthat really is an idiot.

"View from the barber's chair: In Florida even blacks and Hispanics may be turning against Hillary Clinton" [ Independent ]. This is good, although using the word "safari" for encounters with Florida voters might not be an ideal choice of words.

UPDATE "There are three consistent features to all of conservative talk radio: Anger, Trump, and ads targeting the financially desperate" [ Chris Arnade ]. "The ads are a constant. Ads protecting against coming financial crisis (Surprise! It is Gold.) or ads that start, 'Having trouble with the IRS?' The obvious lessons being 1) Lots of conservative talk radio listeners are in financial distress. 2) They are willing to turn to scams."

UPDATE "[Squillionare Tom Steyer is] chipping in an additional $15 million to For Our Future, a joint effort among four labor unions and a super PAC he founded called Next Gen Climate. The money won't go to TV ads but to a door-to-door campaign that aims to knock on 2 million doors in seven swing states, encouraging "sporadic" voters to get to the polls" [ USA Today ]. Once again, if the Democrats didn't suck at basic party functions, they wouldn't have to suck up to squillionaires like this.

UPDATE "No matter who wins in November, America is going to face a divide unseen in decades. If Donald Trump wins, he will confront a resident media more hateful than that which confronted Richard Nixon in 1968" [Patrick Buchanan, The American Conservative ]. "If Hillary Clinton wins, she will come to office distrusted and disbelieved by most of her countrymen, half of whom she has maligned either as "deplorables" or pitiful souls in need of empathy." A country Buchanan worked so tirelessly to unify! Still, the old reprobate has this right. If Clinton wins (likely modulo events, dear boy, events) and the Republicans retain the House and the Senate, they'll impeach her over some damned thing in the emails. And they'll be right.

UPDATE "Trump Boasts About Using 'Other People's Money' In Business" [ Talking Points Memo ]. History's worst monster!

UPDATE "A fuzzy screenshot of an email instructing people on how to disrupt internet groups is doing the rounds today, and it's worth having a really good look at. It's unclear where this particular handbook came from, and what particular groups they intend to target, but anyone who has been in Bernie, Green, or Libertarian groups will soon recognize these same tactics and patterns" [ Inquisitr ].

[Jun 07, 2015] Should We Raise The Voting Age

By 25 most were in jobs that would turn out to be careers in one form or another. By 30 you were contemplating school districts for your kids, neighborhoods to raise them through high school and more.
Zero Hedge

... ... ...

Not withstanding showing an inadequate fiduciary responsibility to themselves, never mind others, to pursue degrees that may in fact have no value in society for gainful employment? All the while taking on ever more burdensome debt that may never be paid back in their lifetimes without needing their own form of bailouts or debt forgiveness in the future? All this as they rail about "Wall St." bailouts. Again, both sides should take a real hard look at not only these questions, but also the mirror.

At the end both sides were a little taken back and knocked of their own self-appointed pedestals (which is what I hoped for). For as I stated earlier, The "younger" side wasn't all that younger than the other. Many fit into the above from both sides. And you could see the wheels turning in their heads as they contemplated what I had just proposed.

So now, with all that said, do I think we should raise the voting age? No. Of course not. Again: That's not what I'm trying to argue.

What I am trying to bring to light is: Far too many today are acting like children when in fact they are older (I'll contend much older) than the many that not all that long ago set out and made a life for both themselves, as well as others. If I may be so bold I'll use an example in which I played my own part.

At 18 not only had the majority left school, many left at 16 or 17 never finishing (which is where I fell) and were out working odd or whatever jobs they could find. And trust me they were scarce in the 70's. Sometimes we worked as many as we could handle at once with little to no sleep in between because if you wanted to eat – that's what it took. (Many times I slept in my car, in the parking-lot as to not miss or be late. For a miss could mean being fired.)

There was no "going back home" to live with your parents. Many at 18 were confronted by very loving parents and asked point-blank "So you're 18 now. Have you thought about where your going to live?" Why? Because you were considered an adult in just about every aspect of life. And you had better of understood that or else life was going to get a whole lot tougher – sooner.

For many by the age of 19 to 21 they were married, and most had their first child. They had apartments they were responsible for paying rent, utilities, food, as well as upkeep in household chores. Whether they could barely afford it or not. Want to eat? You had better learn to cook and make a meal of whatever you had on hand. A lot of times what was "on hand" was more like a finger. But we all did just that. There was no complaining because – there was no alternative. And for every generation going back it was the same if not more harsh. Want an example? Compare today's employment prospects for a 20 something today as compared to someone the same age in let's say 1938?

By 25 most were in jobs that would turn out to be careers in one form or another. By 30 you were contemplating school districts for your kids, neighborhoods to raise them through high school and more. Today, there are more just shy of 30 (if not over) still living in their parents home with nothing more intense as to compare against a real word "family life" than a relationship that maybe lasted a year or so since college. The same may be for a job if that. All while under the guise of "Unless they can get a corner office with a title along with a smokin' hot spouse – there's no rush because – they aren't settling." As they remain in their parents home unemployed – and single.

Before: the case for voting at 18 could easily be argued. For at 18 you were directly at the receiving end of consequences for your votes. Today? At 18? Answer that honestly. Especially if you are one that fits into the above scenario that I outlined in the beginning.

Never mind what many deem as "the older generation." If you are right now 25-ish. Do you want any 18-year-old today that you know voting into law something that can directly impact you for what ever the reason? Especially if they seem directly indifferent to anything you may hold as dear? And there would be nothing you can do about it (whether you like it or not) because it would be enforced by all the power that comes from being law. Are you starting to understand why knowing the consequences and truly weighing them against alternative scenarios is important? Important as in say…voting?

... ... ...

El Vaquero

If we're going to have voting, it who can and cannot vote shouldn't be based on something that has little to do with understandinig how the government is supposed to work. How about a very rigorous test about what's in the constitution before letting a person vote? Raising the voting age wouldn't help much either, because a majority of the voters are not in the younger age groups.

r00t61

Random selection of candidates for public office - AKA sortition - was utilized extensively by the Athenians; they felt it was a far more egalitarian process than elections, in which the rich could simply buy their way into office.

I guess those old Greeks knew a thing or two.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sortition

BTW, I just looked in my old European history text book from high school, and there is not ONE SINGLE WORD on sortition in the entire chapter on ancient Greece. Just the word "democracy" over and over. I wonder why that is...

In the modern age, we don't even need sortition. Just some open-source software that will perform the legislative function. Anyone who craves this much power over others is, by definition, a sociopath.

JRobby

Lewis Black on selecting the next POTUS

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OuD1zKtyHak

Has to be better than the mega-$$$ billions shit show winding up once again!

JRobby

Voting has an impact how?

Carlin: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9dY4WlxO6i0

BruntFCA

Should be simple. It's scientificaly known today that the human brain is not fully developed until the age of 24. Before 24 humans have trouble identifying risk - a lot of the rogue traders were < 24.

18 was only chosen for historical reasons - male children of 18 were forcibly drafted into the military to fight in often pointless wars. In return these 18 year old males were given the right to vote.

The situation today is very different, 18 has only been chosen due to historical intertia - it should be raised to 24 as a first step.

skbull44

There's a lot more wrong with our sociopolitical system than the voters. Until it is no longer a system by, for, and of the elite, there is absolutely no sense in casting a ballot. I will continue to decline my ballot and send the message that I have no trust or faith in system as contrived.
http://olduvai.ca

[Mar 07, 2013] The 4th Media " Obama Reelected Don't Get Fooled Again … Ooops! Too Late

And Now, For Your Entertainment, The Ever Popular Duet, Wrack And Ruin!

The ruination of this country took place in 1913 with the passage of the Federal Reserve Act.

People bitching and moaning about Obama destroying America are simply delusional.

Do you actually think Romney would have done anything to help the American people?

Do you really think Obama is now, or has ever been, in charge?

This ostensible election was decided long ago.

The voters really had nothing to do with it.

The American people are played like a fiddle by those who call the tune.

Personally, I would rather have seen Jill Stein and the Green Party take over, but such scenarios are mere fantasy in neofascist America.

What we're getting is another four years of "stealthy" neofascism, as opposed to the republican, "in your face" variety, which is what a Romney administration would have most likely meant.

Western Democracy A Sham

Getting Out the Vote and the Myth of the Stupid Voter Mirror On America

Getting Out the Vote and the Myth of the Stupid Voter

An important, highly intelligent and well-argued blog post at Open Left discusses the myth of "stupid voters" and the weaknesses of the Democratic Party in getting out the vote in elections. This is highly recommended reading. I would love to hear a response from an official Democratic Party official on it.

Key points made in the article:

Year in and year out, voter-discouragement is an important part of the ongoing Republican campaign.

The Democratic Party seems to fall asleep between elections, and it has been historically very poor at the kind of message development and dissemination done by think tanks like the American Enterprise Institute, the Cato Foundation, the Heritage Foundation

Democratic voter-registration and get-out-the-vote efforts have been spotty at best, and it's notable that the individuals and groups doing the best job of this (ACORN recently and Jesse Jackson a couple of decades ago) have been very little appreciated by the ruling group in the party.

Key quote:
The Democratic Party is a business like any other, and just as newspapers get their money from advertisers, and not from readers, the Democratic Party gets its money from donors rather than from voters. Bringing new voters from the lower orders into the party would almost certainly require policy proposals which would negatively impact the big-money people, and even if the Democratic Party started winning elections that way, the boodle coming in would be reduced, and boodle is what pays the mercenary pros at the party headquarters.

In large part this explains the constant refrain from the Democratic leadership: we'd like to do the right thing, but political realities make it impossible. The truth is that the Democratic leaders are very happy with the political realities and don't want to change them. If it were "politically possible" to pass single-payer, for example, the Democratic Party would lose incredible amounts of money from key donors in the medical biz. Single-payer might make the voters ecstatically happy, but these happy voters are not at all likely to replace the money the party lost.


Some food for thought the next time you hear someone invoke the theme of "we agree with what you say in principle but what you want is politically impossible."

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Posted by redante at 4:24 AM ShareThis

Labels: Democratic Party, GOP Voter Suppression, Open Left, populism, voting

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4 comments:

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The Angry Independent said...
Interesting.

Instead of stupid... I'd like to think of them as uninformed or ill-informed. And yes... they DO exist. No myth there. And they are hard to de-program... because the misinformation often fits into their own pre-conceived biases...so it's hard for them to consider facts that run counter to their views.

As much as we may hate it.... they have to be taken into account by strategists and policymakers.

The Right understands these voters very well....and have proven pretty effective at taking advantage of them.

9:36 AM
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Andre said...
Hey Lib,

Like AI, I tend to shy away from calling voters "stupid", although most indicators suggest that. Politically un/ill informed is a nicer way of saying it...I guess.

But what's often NOT discussed on liberal websites is that voter igorance doesn't stop or end with the nutjobs on the right. Some of the same political ignorance from the right also got Obama elected. People who didn't have a CLUE about Obama's positions, his voting record, or about politics in general hit the polls for Obama as much as (and perhaps even more than) McCain supporters. People from the cut who NEVER followed politics in their life came out in droves to vote for a dude who looked like them...and that was ALL they based their decison on. I bet Ray Ray from Detroit never took a political science course, much less relied on any ounce of politically scientific decision making in this choice for President.

The point of this: people across the board are politically stupid. But to make it sound less mean, we'll call them politically uninformed.

8:43 PM
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J.S. Buford said...
Strong Article. Considering the commentary. Would it not be more accurate to refer to most voters as simply disinterested or dispassionate, seeking only the convenience of what is familiar. People typically don't embrace or seek change until they have been agitated. Programming tends to dissipate when confronted by empty stomachs and heavy handed thievery.

I tend to believe that is why Dr. Ebo Cunningham Vroom from Detroit, or Suzy Stabnowski from Philadelphia chose to vote for Obama. The intellectual elite (those of us that read a book per month, perhaps)keep score, and read policy. Ultimately, most others just want a warm house, clean water, and something good to eat.

1:21 AM
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Roderick said...
I think the problem is that Democratic voters tend to be concerned about policy and Republican voters about emotion.

And Democrats are tend to vote on multiple issues while a lot of more Republicans are single-issue voters.

Also Republicans thrive on the anti-intellecualism and that is why Sarah Palin and her 'common sense' are so popular with her fan base which is the Republican base in its totality.

Republican voters seem to be intimidated by intelligent candidates and substitute folksiness as a qualification.

Most Democrats and liberals understand that being president takes above average intellegence to assemble the massive amounts of information even though most of it is predigested by the various secretaries and regurgitated to a president.

The myth of the rational voter- why democracies choose bad policies by Bryan Caplan

Google Books
author:

Bryan Caplan

in a nutshell:

An economist explains how most of us don't think like economists.

You've heard of the "intelligence of the masses" - well, when it comes to understanding and voting on policies related to the economy, the mass of America is not so intelligent, according to the author. Caplan explains how our biases and lack of economic savvy can lead to policies that make us worse off.

Jason Furman

After stints at The World Bank, Council of Economic Advisors, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the White House, Jason now heads up Brookings Institutions' Hamilton Project, which he does while somehow also teaching at NYU.

Here, Caplan directly challenges that view by asserting that voters are not simply ignorant but irrational, and that this is in fact predicted by economic theory. Voting is not like shopping - it is more like making use of a commons, because the costs of a "bad" vote are borne by the public at large, and the chance of an individual casting the deciding vote is tiny. Therefore, people will vote for what makes them feel good without bothering to find out whether it really is good - it simply doesn't matter. Caplan explores four systematic biases voters hold against good economic policy - antimarket bias, antiforeign bias, make-work bias, and pessimistic bias.

The fact that systematic bias exists means that the irrational majority does not in fact vote at random, so it's the irrational voters deciding who wins elections rather than the small, informed, rational minority. Voters get what they want, it's just that what they want is actually bad for them - and they don't care!

0691129428

Caplan's take on democracy can by summarized as follows: first, he accepts two arguments FOR democracy by democratic enthusiasts, 1. voters are largely unselfish; 2. politicians usually comply with public opinion. He then adds his point: 3. voters are irrational (they have "systematically biased beliefs", or in layman's terms, they have false beliefs). Caplan develops a theoretical framework to prove that it is in fact rational for voters to be irrational because the "price" of their irrationality is low in politics.

The book mainly consists of the following themes: 1. the history of people's economic misconceptions; 2. empirical evidence of systematically biased beliefs; 3. the "rational irrationality" framework and why systematically biased beliefs lead to democratic failure; 4. prescription for overcoming democracy's weakness.

I think Caplan succeeds pretty admirably in 1, 2 and 3, but he is relatively terse at 4. But this is understandable: if you take his arguments seriously, then unless every voter (or at least the "median voter") has a Ph.D. in economics (in fact, she needs to be a libertarian economist!), the outcome of democracy will not be efficient. Increasing the electorate's education, etc. level will somewhat mitigate the situation, but as Caplan himself proves, this is hardly enough (education is not sufficient to eradicate all systematically biased beliefs).

As to the book itself, it is quite readable. I knew about his work before reading the book, what surprised me was how he mixed it with the history of economics with his own research, with quotes and all.

It's also interesting to note that (at least according to my observations) mainstream public choice (the economic approach of studying politics) economists tend to downplay Caplan's work, maybe it is because Caplan's work cuts to the core of public choice (the "rational choice" approach)? Or maybe they really think his work is not much different than rational ignorance? Now that his book seems to have gathered a lot of publicity, maybe others will take a second look.

The only weakness of the book is the part that he repudiates the accusation that economists have "market fundamentalism". His point is basically 1. markets, when free of failures, will lead to efficient outcome (first, "positive", premise); 2. Caplan does not say this, but in most economists' thinking, there is also an implicit second, or "normative" premise, which is that efficient outcome is desirable. In fact, most economists tend to shy away from this conclusion and maintain that they only specialize in cost/benefit analysis and do not make such judgment, but from their passionate, enthusiastic and sometimes vehement arguments for free market, it is not too difficult to detect such deep-rooted belief -- that "free market is good". 3. economists do not always assume there are no market failures, therefore they are not "market fundamentalists". But this is typical economists' thinking: in order to argue with them, you must accept their first premise first, and implicitly also accept the second premise, then the debate about "market fundamentalism" naturally reduces to argument about whether there are market failures. But, they are people who do not accept even the first premise, and there are more -- on moral grounds, etc. -- having difficulty accepting the second. I am not saying I agree with these people (but I have not been blinded by the ivory tower yet, so at least I know the existence of such people and such views). It is very typical of economists to not even acknowledge such views, or pretend they do not exist. It is not an easy task to face these people face-to-face, listen to their arguments, then come up with your own arguments to correct their "biased beliefs", but a good economist should not be daunted. However, this is not a big blemish in an otherwise well researched and well written book, so I am still giving it 5 stars.



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