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Has U.S. Democracy Been Trumped? Bernie Sanders wants to know who owns America?

#16201 User is offline   awm 

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Posted 2020-September-14, 08:51

View Postpilowsky, on 2020-September-14, 04:10, said:

... There is a structural problem with American society that does not exist in other 1st world countries. It's as though they're playing Whist while the rest of the world moved on to Bridge 100 years ago. It's time for America to wake up.


This makes me think of many people after World War 2 who blamed the Nazis on some unique character or cultural flaw of the German people, ignoring that similar movements arose around the same time in Spain and Italy, that Hitler himself was Austrian, and that even the US and Great Britain had fairly popular fascist movements in the 1930s.

Yes, the United States has its unique problems, but viewing this as "just a US thing" is missing the point.
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#16202 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2020-September-14, 10:48

View Postcherdano, on 2020-September-14, 03:34, said:

I could write a looong post about this (and maybe at some point I will). The main problem above anything else in the US is the deep division of the country, (mostly) between educated and less educated. This is the main driving force of changes of politics across the Western world over the last 15 years; but in the US it is greatly exacerbated by racial divisions, segregated zoning (I spent 5 months in Berkeley in 2019; I am not sure any of the Uber drivers I spoke to lived less than a 40 minute drive away), a distorted electoral system, and a government that is in many ways deeply dysfunctional at any level (even state government in blue states - no, blaming Republicans for "building a subway in NYC is eight times as expensive as it should be" does not compute).

Voting Trump out of office in November is essential, but it's only a start of a looong way to go, and I am not sure the US will. I spent 6 good years in the US, and there is a lot to like about the country; but returning in 2019, I was surprised how relieved I was that it was only a temporary move.


This brought up a couple of thoughts.


About education: I have a Ph.D, my father finished 8th grade. After I joined the faculty at Maryland my father came out visit and I introduced him around. A secretary asked him if he also was in academia and he replied "No, I had to work for a living". Still, I am not so sure that he and I saw life all that differently or voted all that differently. Here is an example. His best friend was Len, a Catholic. My father belonged to the Presbyterian church but I cannot recall him ever expressing a religious view one way or the other. But I am pretty sure (and I lived there so I know them) both Len and my father would had a lot to say if Len's daughter Shirley and I decided to get married. How to raise the kids, Catholic or Presbyterian, would have been brought up. We could argue this is bigotry, bigotry on both side, but I see it as a desire to keep things simple. My father installed weatherstripping, Len "worked in the shops" with no explanation of what that meant, they liked to hunt and fish and keep things simple. They were good people.My mother died while I was in grad school and it was Len's wife May who took it upon herself to call me and tell me I really needed to get over to see my father more often. Good people. And Len gave me a shotgun when I was 12 so I could go hunting with him and my father. Sure, I gave up hunting in my early 20s but when I was 12 I was very appreciative.
There was a time when the educated and the less educated actually like each other.


Berkeley: I spent a sabbatical there in the early 1980s. I and some other guys rented a house up on Grizzly Peak. I was stunned by what the housing prices were, but as I walked the neighborhood I would see guys working in the garage on a Chevvy or a Ford pretty much just as my friends and I and my friends did in the 50s. There is, or was, a skating rink somewhere toward Oakland but still in Berkeley and I can very much imagine the locals there driving a cab (no Uber when I was there) for a living. Definitely not 40 minutes away even by bike. I didn't have a car but I did a lot of biking and while it is true that Berkeley is an unusual place it seemed to me that the area had a lot of variety, economic and otherwise. Becky and I were back there for a week about 18 months ago and that still seems to be \he case.

I will try to describe where I think we have gone wrong. I am a white person but I do not wish to be a White. I gave up religion long ago but I do not wish to be an Atheist. I don't wish to join a Team. I do not want to be an Educated fighting the Less Educated. Nor do I wish to be with the Less Educated fighting the More Educated if that is where I would be drafted. We have let this get completely out of hand.


Ken
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#16203 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2020-September-14, 11:38

FWIW

My big hope is that where the US went wrong is leaded gasoline.

There are some really good studies that look at violent crime rates as a function of leaded gas consumption and they show that 20 odd years after you introduce leaded gas the crime rates spike up and 20 odd years after you eliminate leaded gas they start going down again.

And, while this might be reductionist, I think that many of the same brain damaged belligerence that characterizes the modern conservative movement can be explained in much the same way.

I really hope that I am right because it gives me some degree of hope wrt the future.
Alderaan delenda est
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#16204 User is online   pilowsky 

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Posted 2020-September-14, 14:17

View Postawm, on 2020-September-14, 08:51, said:

This makes me think of many people after World War 2 who blamed the Nazis on some unique character or cultural flaw of the German people, ignoring that similar movements arose around the same time in Spain and Italy, that Hitler himself was Austrian, and that even the US and Great Britain had fairly popular fascist movements in the 1930s.

Yes, the United States has its unique problems, but viewing this as "just a US thing" is missing the point.


Hitting the nail on the head and missing the point completely.
Obviously there is a unique character flaw in the way that the American people are brought up or that the people that go there find the values there appealing, or that the people that leave don't.
What is that unique thing? That thing that you refer to as a 'flaw' that leads to a society being overwhelmed by Trumpism or Hitlerism. That allows a society to lose its way?
To be so blinded to reality.
It isn't leaded gasoline.
It isn't socialised medicine.
It sure isn't antifa or a lack of policing or empathy!

How about cluelessness or a lack of irony? A fundamental inability to comprehend the suffering of others and to render assistance to them in a time of need.
America is a 'land of opportunity'. You have the opportunity to get ahead so long as you do not take a single thing from anyone else. You are completely on your own in your quest. That is the fundamental flaw in the American character.
Individualism.
There is too much of it. They have to go to special camps in the Military to learn how to work together. Declarer play is easy for Americans because it's Individual. Is there a section on the Forum for difficult defensive hands?

If Americans don't learn to look within themselves and ask why did this happen? Can we do better? It will just happen again.
Or you can say that Jew pilowsky is just nitpicking - it must be his fault. That's what happened last time. See how that works out for you.
Trump is not normal. He is a fascist.
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#16205 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-September-14, 14:38

View Postpilowsky, on 2020-September-14, 14:17, said:

Hitting the nail on the head and missing the point completely.
Obviously there is a unique character flaw in the way that the American people are brought up or that the people that go there find the values there appealing, or that the people that leave don't.
What is that unique thing? That thing that you refer to as a 'flaw' that leads to a society being overwhelmed by Trumpism or Hitlerism. That allows a society to lose its way?
To be so blinded to reality.
It isn't leaded gasoline.
It isn't socialised medicine.
It sure isn't antifa or a lack of policing or empathy!

How about cluelessness or a lack of irony? A fundamental inability to comprehend the suffering of others and to render assistance to them in a time of need.
America is a 'land of opportunity'. You have the opportunity to get ahead so long as you do not take a single thing from anyone else. You are completely on your own in your quest. That is the fundamental flaw in the American character.
Individualism.
There is too much of it. They have to go to special camps in the Military to learn how to work together. Declarer play is easy for Americans because it's Individual. Is there a section on the Forum for difficult defensive hands?

If Americans don't learn to look within themselves and ask why did this happen? Can we do better? It will just happen again.
Or you can say that Jew pilowsky is just nitpicking - it must be his fault. That's what happened last time. See how that works out for you.
Trump is not normal. He is a fascist.


I think it can be narrowed to a loss of the skill of critical thinking. How and why those skills were lost is the question.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#16206 User is online   pilowsky 

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Posted 2020-September-14, 16:31

View PostWinstonm, on 2020-September-14, 14:38, said:

I think it can be narrowed to a loss of the skill of critical thinking. How and why those skills were lost is the question.


Now you are getting closer. But, skills aren't 'lost'. They're acquired. It's hard work. Americans found themselves in a new world full of riches. They responded like greedy children. They took what they wanted - land of plenty, land of the free.
They never needed to acquire high-level survival skills. Maybe that's why they can't cope with testing times and lash out like confused children.
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#16207 User is offline   PeterAlan 

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Posted 2020-September-14, 17:19

Thank you for your insights. There are 330 million or so Americans. I never realised before that they are all the same.
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#16208 User is online   pilowsky 

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Posted 2020-September-14, 17:21

well, now you know.
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#16209 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-September-14, 17:44

View Postpilowsky, on 2020-September-14, 16:31, said:

Now you are getting closer. But, skills aren't 'lost'. They're acquired. It's hard work. Americans found themselves in a new world full of riches. They responded like greedy children. They took what they wanted - land of plenty, land of the free.
They never needed to acquire high-level survival skills. Maybe that's why they can't cope with testing times and lash out like confused children.


Skills most definitely are lost - most generationally. Failure to rear generation after generation with the training required to utilize critical thinking eventually leads to that "skill" being lost to the nation.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#16210 User is online   pilowsky 

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Posted 2020-September-14, 18:51

View PostWinstonm, on 2020-September-14, 17:44, said:

Skills most definitely are lost - most generationally. Failure to rear generation after generation with the training required to utilize critical thinking eventually leads to that "skill" being lost to the nation.


That's pretty much what I'm getting at. People came to America to escape desperate situations in other places. Just like in Australia. Here they called it the Lucky Country. In America the Land of Opportunity. The wording is actually ironical. The luck and opportunity are built on the deprivation of the original inhabitants and the enslavement of others - as well as the destruction of the environment. All of this comes at a cost.
The accompanying ferocious sense of self-entitlement (so-called 'rights') leads to a perfect storm that the world faces now.
non est deus ex machina; även maskiner behöver lite kärlek; N'écris jamais une lettre et n'en détruis jamais une.
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#16211 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2020-September-15, 07:01

I hope we would all agree that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are desirable. The word "entitlement" is a bit tricky, as is "right". And I am not sure that "unalienable" is a word at all. And I will leave "endowed by their creator" as a way of saying "basic".

Put simply, most people are in favor of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The Declaration of Independence is a statement of aspirations. The first paragraph states that it is an explanation for the decision to separate from the British. All in all, I regard it as a worthy document.. Itis fair to look at aspiration versus reality, both at the time of writing it and today, but I do see it as a worthy document.

As to skills being lost or gained, my boxing days are over.
Ken
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#16212 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-September-15, 07:15

View Postkenberg, on 2020-September-15, 07:01, said:

I hope we would all agree that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are desirable. The word "entitlement" is a bit tricky, as is "right". And I am not sure that "unalienable" is a word at all. And I will leave "endowed by their creator" as a way of saying "basic".

Put simply, most people are in favor of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The Declaration of Independence is a statement of aspirations. The first paragraph states that it is an explanation for the decision to separate from the British. All in all, I regard it as a worthy document.. Itis fair to look at aspiration versus reality, both at the time of writing it and today, but I do see it as a worthy document.

As to skills being lost or gained, my boxing days are over.

Quote

In the clearing stands a boxer
And a fighter by his trade
And he carries the reminders
Of every glove that laid him down
Or cut him 'til he cried out
In his anger and his shame
"I am leaving, I am leaving"
But the fighter still remains

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#16213 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-September-15, 08:27

For the managing by train wreck files:

The Sacramento Bee has a story about Trump's meeting with California Governor Newsom yesterday at an airport near Sacramento. There was the usual unproductive debate about the roles of climate change and poor management of state-owned and U.S.-owned forests and the semi-inevitable conclusion: "despite the public bickering, Newsom says he and Trump work well together in emergencies and that the president has never failed to send California disaster aid when asked, including for the current fire emergency." This is what passes for functioning government these days: crisis management on the installment plan. And no, this is not all on Trump.
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#16214 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2020-September-15, 09:20

View Posty66, on 2020-September-15, 08:27, said:

For the managing by train wreck files:

The Sacramento Bee has a story about Trump's meeting with California Governor Newsom yesterday at an airport near Sacramento. There was the usual unproductive debate about the roles of climate change and poor management of state-owned and U.S.-owned forests and the semi-inevitable conclusion: "despite the public bickering, Newsom says he and Trump work well together in emergencies and that the president has never failed to send California disaster aid when asked, including for the current fire emergency." This is what passes for functioning government these days: crisis management on the installment plan. And no, this is not all on Trump.


It's not all on Trump, agreed, and in fact think this is important to keep in mind. But! He is the president. As president, he is a disaster. The virus lets us quickly see one disaster, other effects will develop and linger. As to forest management, I have no trouble believing there could be improvement. Most things could use improvement.

Consider student loan debt. Numbers vary depending on source, we can agree that it is massive. So massive that I think it can be said the design was very poor. If it was designed with a plan to just bail everyone out for half a trillion or so, then the designers might have mentioned this. Or if the designers were unaware that the program would lead to massive debt, then they were idiots. Maybe we have to fix this, but the designers should not be trusted to design anything else.

Another example, this from an Atlantic article that you (I think it was you) cited:


Quote


The racial wealth gap remains as wide today as it was in 1968, when the Fair Housing Act was passed. The median net worth of the American family is about $100,000. But the median net worth of white families is more than $170,000—while that of Black families is less than $20,000.


We can agree that this is awful. But there was a lot of effort and many programs. These programs accomplished absolutely nothing regarding income inequality? So it says. Before we start another program, we should be clear about why the previous programs were such abject failures. And how the new program or programs will avoid such failure. Partly covid, sure, but we should not get in the habit of blaming the virus for everything. I went down in a cold contract, it was because of covid.

So right, it is not all Trump. Disasters seldom have a single cause. But it's hard to see any hope for progress until Trump is gone.
Ken
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#16215 User is online   pilowsky 

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Posted 2020-September-15, 14:47

View Postkenberg, on 2020-September-15, 09:20, said:


So right, it is not all Trump. Disasters seldom have a single cause. But it's hard to see any hope for progress until Trump is gone.


Let's imagine for a moment that you Ken are a normal functioning human being and one day because some greedy people decide that they want more than they're entitled to they're going to clear all the forests and build massive factories and enslave all the poor people to make massive machines to make stuff that you might like.
After a while - say 100 years, the whole world can't breathe properly, the sun gets a bit more intense. One of the cells in your skin reacts to the suns rays and turns malignant. That cell slowly grows.
Meanwhile, in China where the poorer people are slaving to build Mac's so that I can type this, they desperately want food. But the habitat for the Bats has been destroyed by Greedy American entrepreneurs. Oh dear! What's a bat to do? What's a hungry worker to do?
I know let's hang out at the food market and swop viruses.
Meanwhile, that cell in your skin has spread to your brain.
The virus has reached America.

When that cell in your brain takes up too much space and destroys too much eloquent brain - you have a seizure - THAT SEIZURE IS DONALD J TRUMP.

He's the living breathing walking talking automatic manifestation of everything that's wrong with the world. It's not him, and it is him all at the same time. Voting out Trump won't fix the problem.

That's the same as looking a plane falling out of the sky and just as it hits the ground saying "that's not good, we better ground that one", or " I'm glad I took an earlier flight".
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#16216 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2020-September-16, 07:19

View Postpilowsky, on 2020-September-15, 14:47, said:

Let's imagine for a moment that you Ken are a normal functioning human being


This imagining is a tough assignment but there are times that I actually believe that I am both normal and human. .But then "normal" is anther of those tricky words.

Quote

That's the same as looking a plane falling out of the sky and just as it hits the ground saying "that's not good, we better ground that one", or " I'm glad I took an earlier flight".



Speaking of normal, being grateful for not being on the plane that crashed seems very normal to me.

To continue the metaphor, the election will be decided by normal people such as myself not wanting DT to continue as the pilot of the plane that we are on. Metaphors be with us.

Some years back I was flying from somewhere to somewhere else with a change of planes somewhere in between. The plane from somewhere was late getting in to somewhere in between and the plane from there to somewhere else had already left. They promised that they would arrange for a later flight, and then there were repeated requests over the loudspeaker for a pilot. When they finally announced the promised flight to somewhere else I was wondering if they found some guy in a bar who said "Sure, I can fly it, just let me finish my drink. And maybe have just one more, but I'll be right with you."
Ken
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#16217 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2020-September-16, 08:32

WaPo has been doing a series on the political composition of swing states. Being from Minnesota, I of course found that one interesting.
Minnesota is different from Maryland. More lakes. But the articles get at differences among the various parts of the various states.
Becky had never been to Minnesota until she married me, she was born in Missouri, moved to Oregon when she was young, and then by adolescence she went to high school in SF.
She has now been ice fishing. And canoeing. Willingly.
A series on different states, and different parts of the states, is interesting and useful.
A Minnesota comment I saw: "Gophers don't do herds"
Ken
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#16218 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-September-16, 21:18

Justin Wolfers said:

Change in the unemployment rate since January:
U.S.A. +4.8%
Canada +4.7%
Australia +2.2%
Spain +2.0%
Sweden +2.0%
Mexico +1.9%
Netherlands +1.5%
Germany +1.0%
Japan +0.5%
Ireland +0.1%
Italy +0.1%
UK -0.1% through May
Korea -0.8%
France -1.1%

Source: https://stats.oecd.o...?queryid=36324#

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#16219 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-September-17, 06:49

From this morning's NYT:

Quote

To retake the Senate, Democrats need to win five out of the 12 competitive races this year (and also take the vice presidency, which breaks Senate ties). Yesterday, the party got some good news in three state polls.

The Democratic nominees hold significant leads in Maine and Arizona. In South Carolina, a heavily Republican state, the race between Senator Lindsey Graham and his Democratic challenger, Jaime Harrison, is tied.

How to make sense of these numbers? The Times has created a new page where Nate Cohn, one of our polling experts, will be analyzing the latest polls every day. The page also contains charts tracking the presidential polls.

Got em down 1? Get em down 2. Got em down 2? Get em down 4. Throw the bums out.
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#16220 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2020-September-17, 07:02

OK, Caputo is kaput. Well, for the moment at least. Sorry to dwell on the obvious, but I think I will comment.
Listening on NPR I heard part of an interview with him. Not the notorious one that led to him taking leave, but an earlier one.
It was stunning.

Some people I disagree with. Others, Caputo is an example, I listen to for five minutes and regard the speaker as a total nut.
Anyone could see this. Anyone. You don't need a graduate course in psychology to recognize this level of nuttiness.

So this leads to the important question: How did this guy get an important job?
The appalling answer is that his rambling nonsense appeals to the ear of our president.

This is where we are. We have a president who not only cares little or nothing for expertise, it is not even required that the person have sanity as long as his babbling supports the president.

He really has to go. How obvious can it get?
Ken
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