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2024 American Political Scene

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  • 2024 American Political Scene

    Can't speak for anyone else, but I'm starting out this year with a sense of cautious optimism.

    Otherwise, place your bets ladies and gentlemen, place your bets....
    “He was the most prodigious personification of all human inferiorities. He was an utterly incapable, unadapted, irresponsible, psychopathic personality, full of empty, infantile fantasies, but cursed with the keen intuition of a rat or a guttersnipe. He represented the shadow, the inferior part of everybody’s personality, in an overwhelming degree, and this was another reason why they fell for him.”

  • #2
    The first e-mail I got this year was from an old ideological sparring partner I haven't heard from in 15 years or more, about cancel culture.
    *sigh*
    Trust me?
    I'm an economist!

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by DOR View Post
      The first e-mail I got this year was from an old ideological sparring partner I haven't heard from in 15 years or more, about cancel culture.
      *sigh*
      Well I got ads for boner bills, reading glasses and keto diets so...

      I don't know who got the better deal!
      “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
      Mark Twain

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by DOR View Post
        The first e-mail I got this year was from an old ideological sparring partner I haven't heard from in 15 years or more, about cancel culture.
        *sigh*
        He just turned up out of the blue after 15 years...looking for a fight?

        Sounds like he's got a lot of time on his hands.

        “He was the most prodigious personification of all human inferiorities. He was an utterly incapable, unadapted, irresponsible, psychopathic personality, full of empty, infantile fantasies, but cursed with the keen intuition of a rat or a guttersnipe. He represented the shadow, the inferior part of everybody’s personality, in an overwhelming degree, and this was another reason why they fell for him.”

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Albany Rifles View Post

          Well I got ads for boner bills, reading glasses and keto diets so...

          I don't know who got the better deal!
          When do you expect the pills to arrive?
          Last edited by Monash; 02 Jan 24,, 23:28.
          If you are emotionally invested in 'believing' something is true you have lost the ability to tell if it is true.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by DOR View Post
            The first e-mail I got this year was from an old ideological sparring partner I haven't heard from in 15 years or more, about cancel culture.
            *sigh*
            Can"t hurt to wish him a happy new year and offer to stay in contact. (Or can it?)
            If you are emotionally invested in 'believing' something is true you have lost the ability to tell if it is true.

            Comment


            • #7
              Mine was a reminder to pay a bill I've already paid BTW
              If you are emotionally invested in 'believing' something is true you have lost the ability to tell if it is true.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Monash View Post

                When do you expect the pills arrive?
                1000

                I did an Express Order
                “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
                Mark Twain

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Monash View Post

                  Can"t hurt to wish him a happy new year and offer to stay in contact. (Or can it?)
                  Better: "This year, please join me in resolving to spread more joy than hate."
                  Trust me?
                  I'm an economist!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Albany Rifles View Post

                    Well I got ads for boner bills, reading glasses and keto diets so...

                    I don't know who got the better deal!
                    I have a bunch of store readers sitting in a donation bin. What power do you use and I'll send it along.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by tbm3fan View Post

                      I have a bunch of store readers sitting in a donation bin. What power do you use and I'll send it along.
                      Got my own bin full of them!
                      “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
                      Mark Twain

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Americans Appear More Amenable to Autocracy in 2024

                        It was meant, as ever, as a softball question for his pal, but former President Donald Trump couldn’t just take the gimme from Sean Hannity. The Fox News host wanted to bat down the ample reporting that Trump and his allies were already laying the groundwork for a return to power, replete with penance for his foes, punishment for his enemies, and penalties for those who stood in his way. “Under no circumstances, you’re promising America tonight, you would never abuse power as retribution against anybody?” Hannity asked Trump in Davenport, Iowa, back on Dec. 5.

                        But the former President, as ever, could not help himself. “Except for day one,” Trump replied.

                        It was a stunning declaration, one that Democrats thought might be the key disqualifying piece of evidence in their case for ensuring Trump never again be allowed near the White House. Yet at that exact moment, the prestigious Des Moines Register poll was in the field, and what it found complicates the critics’ read of Trump’s answer. Among likely Iowa Republican caucusgoers, the poll found, a full one-fifth—19%—believe such a quest for vengeance makes it more likely that they would support Trump.

                        The survey also found a full 14% were more inclined to back Trump based on his lies alleging fraud in the 2020 election justified his terminating parts of the Constitution. More broadly, 50% said Trump’s plans for "sweeping raids, giant camps and mass deportations" made him a more attractive candidate, and a solid 43% were more likely to vote for Trump based on his comments that "the radical left thugs that live like vermin" in the country needed to be rooted out. And 42% apparently experienced a similar surge of support when told that Trump has said immigrants who enter the United States illegally are "poisoning the blood.”

                        Put simply: Trump’s most audacious aspirations for an American autocracy are not costing him with the voters he needs the most at this moment, just weeks before Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina prove to be his first test of a comeback. In fact, such comments may help Trump build a firewall against challengers like former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, and tech bro Vivek Ramaswamy. All the while, Trump is singing the praises of dictators and setting off alarms among scholars of autocracy.

                        For many Americans, the four years of the Trump administration were an abomination, an abnormality that could be treated as a blip of lapsed judgment that involved millions of voters. Maybe it was the nation’s deep-seeded sexism manifesting itself in a contest between a deeply problematic Trump but a decades-despised Hillary Clinton back in 2016. Maybe Trump got a devious advantage thanks to Russian interference. Maybe it was a Justice Department lapse in judgment to reopen the probe of Clinton’s emails in the final push toward Election Day. The phrase This Is Not Who We Are was on liberals’ lips for the entirety of Trump’s rise to and execution of power.

                        The political violence in Washington seen during Trump’s final days in office drew plenty of co-signers to that belief. But, in the almost three years since, polling has continued to suggest this uneasy truth: Maybe It Was Who We Were—And Are.

                        The explanations are as plentiful as they are complicated. Trump understood that, for a slice of Americans, the changes—some say progress—the country has seen in achieving greater equity and prosperity have not benefited everyone equally. Shifting norms and expectations left many white, working-class voters aggravated and feeling disaffected. The rise of social media made it easier for these like-minded isolates to find each other and amplify their perspective. In other words, the components of a healthy democracy—a more-level field, demands for inclusion, and free debate of ideas—were turned against democracy itself.

                        The intellectual architect of Vladimir Putin’s world, Alexander Dugin, heralded the election of Trump as evidence that “the American people themselves have started the revolution against precisely the aspect of the US which we hated.” Trump is simply delivering on his promises to dismantle the foundational pieces of American life.

                        For instance, Trump has vowed to appoint a special prosecutor to go after the Bidens, a very-Soviet move to weaponize the justice system against former foes as just desserts for Trump’s current legal woes. Where his lawyers checked his impulses the first time, his allies are plotting a more political framework than a legal one if given a second try. The makeup of his fantasy-league Cabinet puts loyalty over competence. Thousands of federal workers who predated him would have to pass loyalty tests to keep their positions. His deputies would spend untold hours prosecuting or suing journalists who are critical of their actions. He’s even floated the idea of executing his one-time top military adviser, Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley.

                        Globally, this has been the trend in recent decades. Freedom House, a think tank dedicated to countering autocracy, reports that 80% of the world’s population lives under systems that are considered not free or only partially so. On the world stage, freedom is in its 17th year of net decline, with press freedoms facing legitimate threats in at least 157 countries. Which, sadly, makes Trump’s declaration that he would punish U.S. journalists for reporting less of an outlier.

                        Anyone objectively looking at Washington right now understands why, for those simply glancing at the headlines in particular, Trump’s threats may not seem much worse than the status quo. This Congress is on track to be the least-effective legislature since the Great Depression. An embarrassing 22 pieces of legislation got across the finish line this year, and some of those were as benign as creating a coin for the Marine Corps’ birthday and renaming V.A. clinics in New Mexico and Michigan. The House left town without any real progress on must-pass spending bills and will return in January with less than two weeks to get its act together. (If history is any guide, this will not go well.)

                        Americans aren’t hiding their retreat toward autocracy. In October, the Public Religion Research Institute published damning polling that indicated roughly four-in-10 Americans thought the country was so far afield from normal that it was time for a leader who would break the rules to fix the system. Among Republicans, the number almost reached half. The same think tank also found a surge in support for resorting to political violence; in March 2021, pollsters found 15% of Americans agreed that violence was merited, a number that rose to 23% this year. Among Republicans, that number reaches 33%.

                        Americans know Trump is a threat to the way things are typically done. CNN’s polling finds about a one-third of them said they thought Trump respects the rule of law. (Most respondents agreed Biden did.) But The Washington Post’s Phil Bump notes that the survey found a 14-point delta between those who thought Trump would follow the rules and those who were willing to vote for him, even in holding his contempt of rules. They just don’t care.

                        Take South Carolina. CNN’s polling there found 67% of likely Republican primary voters there say that, even if Trump did try to steal the 2020 election, it doesn’t matter. In CNN’s national polling, the verdict was similar.

                        Autocracy can have an appeal. It brushes past the pesky system of legal checks, ethical concerns, and inefficient experts. No one can credibly say Trump didn’t shake up Washington during his four years here. Given another four to work with—and now knowing how to replace the establishment-minded pests with Yes Men—he could wreak far more havoc. But, should America make the pivot toward an autocratic Trump regime, it will have been because democracy made it possible—not despite it. In a Chicago Council of Global Affairs poll last year, only 60% of Americans said democracy is the best form of government. A separate Morning Consult poll from a year earlier identified more than a quarter of Americans carrying right-wing authoritarian bents.

                        Maybe Trumpism is a symptom of what Americans believe in their cores. A second Trump term may just be a manifestation of why democracy doesn’t always run on autopilot or in a direct line. And, in those cases, true believers in democracy have to accept the results—and who we are.
                        _______

                        2024 will almost certainly decide.

                        Sure am glad I didn't have kids.
                        “He was the most prodigious personification of all human inferiorities. He was an utterly incapable, unadapted, irresponsible, psychopathic personality, full of empty, infantile fantasies, but cursed with the keen intuition of a rat or a guttersnipe. He represented the shadow, the inferior part of everybody’s personality, in an overwhelming degree, and this was another reason why they fell for him.”

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Hunter Biden showing up at his House contempt hearing was an elite troll

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by statquo View Post
                            Hunter Biden showing up at his House contempt hearing was an elite troll
                            And I'd like to contradict Congresswoman Mace and say....Yes, Hunter does have balls. And thanks to MTG we know they are huge!!!!
                            “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
                            Mark Twain

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Steve Inskeep is one of the morning hosts of NPR's Morning Edition. I have been following his reporting there since the 1990s. He gave great reporting on the Pentagon, wars, George W Bush & Barrack Obama as well as Donald Trump, among others. He will respectfully push for an answer, never stepping over a line and always asking reasoned rejoinders when needed.

                              Here he does a great comparison of today's GOP and events in 1860. It is an essay based on his new book.



                              https://steveinskeep.substack.com/p/...utm_medium=web

                              The Civil War on the campaign trail

                              Remarks by Nikki Haley and Donald Trump reveal something about our culture.


                              STEVE INSKEEP
                              JAN 10, 2024

                              In recent days, the presidential campaign focused on the Civil War. This was not totally unexpected; pundits have talked up parallels to the Civil War, and politicians such as Marjorie Taylor-Greene have talked up a “national divorce.” Still it was striking when two presidential candidates weighed in on the events of the 1860’s.

                              Nikki Haley was criticized when someone in New Hampshire asked her to name the cause of the Civil War, and her response didn’t include slavery. I wrote about this for the New York Times:

                              How is the Civil War’s cause not an easy question? The facts of our history arecurrently contested — especially that history. Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida has acted to restrict what he sees as woke views of slavery and race in schools. Other Republican-led states have taken similar measures, and Donald Trump has offered his own hazy views of the past. It’s no wonder Ms. Haley spoke cautiously. The history of race has become as fraught a topic on the political right as it has been on the left.

                              Haley’s answer also reflected something in the broader electorate, which has become more apparent to me as I have talked about my book Differ We Must.

                              Despite clear evidence (Confederates explicitly said in their declarations of secession thatthey were breaking up the Union over slavery), some Americans do not believe slavery was the cause of the Civil War. Generations of propaganda have persuaded many people otherwise.

                              Donald Trump weighed in a few days after Haley. He said slavery was the obvious cause of the war, and added that Haley’s answer consisted of “about three paragraphs of bullshit.”

                              It’s on brand for Trump to say such a thing. Haley’s remarks had been widely panned; Trump picked up and repeated the criticism. He pulls various sayings and ideas out of the culture, and uses them. His contribution is the word choices.

                              Trump went on to make his own doubtful assertion, that the war could have been "negotiated."

                              This, too, is on brand! It’s common for Trump to claim he could make a deal about anything.

                              It’s not a checkable statement. It's a counterfactual. The available evidence tends to cast doubt. Lawmakers did try to negotiate away the Civil War. One chapter of Differ We Must tells the story of Duff Green, a proslavery propagandist, who was an old friend of Lincoln’s and tried to persuade the newly elected president in late 1860 to go along with a compromise. All Lincoln would have to do, Green said, was enshrine slavery in the Constitution forever. Also a few other things. Lincoln ultimately didn’t go along, and it’s not clear that even that would have persuaded some Southern leaders.

                              But Trump’s claim, like Haley’s, reflects something in our culture. Some people believe the Civil War could have been negotiated away. John Kelly, Trump’s chief of staff, once said it. The historian Shelby Foote did too. In the past, it was not even controversial to say there should have been some way to avoid America's deadliest war.

                              It comes down to a question of values. Surely, people should avoid war whenever possible. But if we could see a parallel universe where America avoided war, but kept slavery as a result, what would we say? We could wish for some additional parallel universe where slavery ended peacefully, but that didn’t seem possible given the people who were alive at the time and the way they calculated their interests.

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                              At the moment of secession—1860-61—eleven states declared they were leaving the Union to protect their interest in slavery. Mississippi secessionists called it “the greatest material interest of the world.”

                              Lincoln perceived his choices as straightforward. He could run the risk of war by insisting that Southern states had no right to leave, over slavery or anything else.

                              Or he could allow the South to depart, seizing federal forts and arsenals within their states and establishing a new international border.

                              Lincoln concluded that his job was to "run the machine as it is," meaning he would maintain federal authority. He was not authorized to split up the country, even if he wanted.

                              Insistence on the rule of law required tremendous strength on Lincoln’s part, including the enforcement of laws he didn’t like. He said he even would uphold laws supporting slavery, which he had no power to change!

                              That governed his approach to the secession crisis. He declined to surrender the few federal forts in the South that remained in the government’s possession. And the South finally started the war by opening fire on the most important one, Fort Sumter. Eventually the war, and an act of Congress, gave him the legal authority to issue the Emancipation Proclamation.

                              Democracy requires compromise and negotiation. Lincoln believed the republic also required the rule of law—that chaos and self-destruction would follow.

                              Ultimately this meant he would not negotiate with those who defied the law, and refused to return to compliance.

                              That particular aspect of the Civil War has yet to come up in the presidential campaign, in which a leading candidate has spoken of “the termination of all rules, regulations, and articles, even those found in the Constitution” in order to achieve his goals.

                              This attitude, too, is drawn out of the culture! A common American narrative—call it the Dirty Harry approach, the True Grit approach, or even the Batman approach—features the antihero who breaks the rules in order to achieve whatever he defines as the greater good. But Lincoln believed he knew what this approach would mean if it prevailed in real life: the end of self-government.
                              “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
                              Mark Twain

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