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

#17101 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-November-26, 07:42

Thomas Frank, on Nov 7 said:

Ding-dong, the jerk is gone. Finally, we have come to the end of Donald Trump’s season of extreme misrule. Voters have rejected what can only be described as the crassest, vainest, stupidest, most dysfunctional leadership this country has ever suffered.

Congratulations to Joe Biden for doing what Hillary Clinton couldn’t, and for somehow managing to do it without forcefulness, without bounce, without zest, without direction and without a real cause, even.

It is a time for celebrating. Let us praise God for victory, however meager and under-whelming. But let us also show some humility in our triumph. Before we swing into a national sing-along of the Hallelujah Chorus, I urge you to think for a moment about how we got here and where we must go next.

We know that 2020 has been a year for reckoning with the racist past, for the smashing of icons and the tearing-down of former heroes. Also for confronting the historical delusions that gave us this lousy present.

In the spirit of this modern iconoclasm, let me offer my own suggestion for the reckoning that must come next, hopefully even before Biden chooses his cabinet and packs his bags for Pennsylvania Avenue: Democrats must confront their own past and acknowledge how their own decisions over the years helped make Trumpism possible.

I know: this was a negation election, and what got nixed was Maga madness. The Democrats are the ones who won. Still, it is Joe Biden who must plan our course forward and so it is Biden who must examine our situation coldly and figure out the answer to the burning question of today: how can a recurrence of Trumpism be prevented?

Biden’s instinct, naturally, will be to govern as he always legislated: as a man of the center who works with Republicans to craft small-bore, business-friendly measures. After all, Biden’s name is virtually synonymous with Washington consensus. His years in the US Senate overlap almost precisely with his party’s famous turn to the “third way” right, and Biden personally played a leading role in many of the signature initiatives of the era: Nafta-style trade agreements, lucrative favors for banks, tough-on-crime measures, proposed cuts to social security, even.

What Biden must understand now, however, is that it was precisely this turn, this rightward shift in the 1980s and 90s, that set the stage for Trumpism.

Let us recall for a moment what that turn looked like. No longer were Democrats going to be the party of working people, they told us in those days. They were “new Democrats” now, preaching competence rather than ideology and reaching out to new constituencies: the enlightened suburbanites; the “wired workers”; the “learning class”; the winners in our new post-industrial society.

For years this turn was regarded as a great success. Bill Clinton brought us market-friendly reforms to banking rules, trade relations and the welfare system. He and his successor Barack Obama negotiated grand bargains and graceful triangulations; means-tested subsidies and targeted tax credits; tough-minded crime measures and social programs so complex that sometimes not even their designers could explain them to us.

In the place of the Democratic party’s old household god – the “middle class” – these new liberals enshrined the meritocracy, meaning not only the brilliant economists who designed their policies, but also the financiers and technologists that the new liberalism tried to serve, together with the highly educated professionals who were now its most prized constituents. In 2016 Hillary Clinton lost the former manufacturing regions of the country but was able to boast later on that she won “the places that represent two-thirds of America’s gross domestic product … the places that are optimistic, diverse, dynamic, moving forward.”

However, there are consequences when the left party in a two-party system chooses to understand itself in this way. As we have learned from the Democrats’ experiment, such a party will show little understanding for the grievances of blue-collar workers, people who – by definition – have not climbed the ladder of meritocracy. And just think of all the shocking data that has flickered across our attention-screens in the last dozen years – how our economy’s winnings are hogged by the 1%; how ordinary people can no longer afford new cars; how young people are taking on huge debt burdens right out of college; and a thousand other points of awful. All of these have been direct or indirect products of the political experiment I am describing.

Biden can’t take us back to the happy assumptions of the centrist era even if he wants to, because so many of its celebrated policy achievements lie in ruins. Not even Paul Krugman enthuses about Nafta-style trade agreements any longer. Bill Clinton’s welfare reform initiative was in fact a capitulation to racist tropes and brought about an explosion in extreme poverty. The great prison crackdown of 1994 was another step in cementing the New Jim Crow. And the biggest shortcoming of Obama’s Affordable Care Act – leaving people’s health insurance tied to their employer – has become painfully obvious in this era of mass unemployment and mass infection.

But the biggest consequence of the Democrats’ shabby experiment is one we have yet to reckon with: it has coincided with a period of ever more conservative governance. It turns out that when the party of the left abandons its populist traditions for high-minded white-collar rectitude, the road is cleared for a particularly poisonous species of rightwing demagoguery. It is no coincidence that, as Democrats pursued their professional-class “third way”, Republicans became ever bolder in their preposterous claim to be a “workers’ party” representing the aspirations of ordinary people.

When Democrats abandoned their majoritarian tradition, in other words, Republicans hastened to stake their own claim to it. For the last 30 years it has been the right, not the left, that rails against “elites” and that champions our down-home values in the face of the celebrities who mock them. During the 2008 financial crisis conservatives actually launched a hard-times protest movement from the floor of the Chicago board of trade; in the 2016 campaign they described their foul-mouthed champion, Trump, as a “blue-collar billionaire”, kin to and protector of the lowly – the lowly and the white, that is.

Donald Trump’s prodigious bungling of the Covid pandemic has got him kicked out of office and has paused the nation’s long march to the right. Again, let us give thanks. But let us also remember that the Republicans have not been permanently defeated. Their preening leader has gone down, but his toxic brand of workerism will soon be back, enlisting the disinherited and the lowly in the cause of the mighty. So will our fatuous culture wars, with their endless doses of intoxicating self-righteousness, shot into the veins of the nation by social media or Fox News.

I have been narrating our country’s toboggan ride to hell for much of my adult life, and I can attest that Biden’s triumph by itself is not enough to bring it to a stop. It will never stop until a Democratic president faces up to his party’s mistakes and brings to a halt the ignoble experiment of the last four decades.

Should Joe Biden do that, he might be able to see that he has before him a moment of great Democratic possibility. This country has grown sick of plutocracy. We don’t enjoy sluicing everything we earn into the bank accounts of a few dozen billionaires. We want a healthcare system that works and an economy in which ordinary people prosper, even people who didn’t go to a fancy college. Should Biden open his eyes and overcome his past, he may discover that he has it in his power to rebuild our sense of social solidarity, to make the middle-class promise real again, and to beat back the right. All at the same time.

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#17102 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2020-November-26, 08:37

Anyone have any money riding on this? I had assumed certification would be the win condition for payouts but apparently not. How do those on the Trump side actually think they can avoid losing their stake on this?
(-: Zel :-)

Happy New Year everyone!
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#17103 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-November-26, 10:09

View Posty66, on 2020-November-24, 18:17, said:

For the "it's racism?" files:

Posted Image




I believe to understand the effects of racism in the U.S. it is important to understand the story of Jesse Helms, of North Carolina.


Quote

Helms, who died on July 4, 2008, was media savvy and spent three decades in newspaper and broadcast journalism. But he will be remembered as a larger-than-life figure who remade the political landscape, sowing the deep polarization that Trump tapped into and reminding us that stoking prejudices and promising what he called old-fashioned values remain politically potent.


The lesson is that appeals to racism still work with voters in 2020, and lest we forget, racism is not a white only disease: anyone can be a racist.


"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#17104 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-November-26, 14:09

Adam Liptak at NYT said:

WASHINGTON — A few minutes before midnight on Wednesday, the nation got its first glimpse of how profoundly President Trump had transformed the Supreme Court.

Just months ago, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. was at the peak of his power, holding the controlling vote in closely divided cases and almost never finding himself in dissent. But the arrival of Justice Amy Coney Barrett late last month, which put a staunch conservative in the seat formerly held by the liberal mainstay, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, meant that it was only a matter of time before the chief justice’s leadership would be tested.

On Wednesday, Justice Barrett dealt the chief justice a body blow. She cast the decisive vote in a 5-to-4 ruling that rejected restrictions on religious services in New York imposed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to combat the coronavirus, shoving the chief justice into dissent with the court’s three remaining liberals. It was one of six opinions the court issued on Wednesday, spanning 33 pages and opening a window on a court in turmoil.

The ruling was at odds with earlier ones in cases from California and Nevada issued before Justice Ginsburg’s death in September. Those decisions upheld restrictions on church services by 5-to-4 votes, with Chief Justice Roberts in the majority.

Wednesday’s ruling was almost certainly a taste of things to come.

More

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#17105 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2020-November-26, 15:21

My suggestion is for every bar in NYC immediately to declare itself a temple to Bacchus and cite this SCOTUS ruling as grounds for it to be allowed to stay open.
(-: Zel :-)

Happy New Year everyone!
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#17106 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-November-27, 05:57

Pope Francis said:

With some exceptions, governments have made great efforts to put the well-being of their people first, acting decisively to protect health and to save lives. The exceptions have been some governments that shrugged off the painful evidence of mounting deaths, with inevitable, grievous consequences. But most governments acted responsibly, imposing strict measures to contain the outbreak.

https://www.nytimes....ncis-covid.html

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#17107 User is online   kenberg 

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Posted 2020-November-27, 09:53

The Supreme Court decision holding that limiting the size of gatherings interferes with religious freedom demonstrates that a moron with an elite education is still a moron. Religious freedom allows us to believe or not not believe in a God, to believe or not believe in life after death, to believe or not believe that prayers are answered. And we are free to express these beliefs. Banning large gatherings is done to address an extreme health emergency that has already killed many locally, nationally and worldwide. Jesus said something about rendering onto Caesar what is Caesar's and rendering onto God what is God's. I expect James Madison would agree. Trying to limit the spread of disease is Caesar's territory.

The smug arrogance in this decision is a stunning betrayal of both religion and law. And it is stupid, stupid, stupid.
Ken
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#17108 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2020-November-27, 11:25

View Postkenberg, on 2020-November-27, 09:53, said:

The smug arrogance in this decision is a stunning betrayal of both religion and law. And it is stupid, stupid, stupid.

What it is is a very clear demonstration that the US Supreme Court is so completely politicised that it can no longer perform the function it was designed for. Roberts saw this coming and seems to have done his best to avoid it but RBG's untimely passing has scuppered that. I have my worries for the direction of the US in the next decade or two even without a racist misogynist in the White House.
(-: Zel :-)

Happy New Year everyone!
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#17109 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-November-27, 14:17

View Postkenberg, on 2020-November-27, 09:53, said:

The Supreme Court decision holding that limiting the size of gatherings interferes with religious freedom demonstrates that a moron with an elite education is still a moron. Religious freedom allows us to believe or not not believe in a God, to believe or not believe in life after death, to believe or not believe that prayers are answered. And we are free to express these beliefs. Banning large gatherings is done to address an extreme health emergency that has already killed many locally, nationally and worldwide. Jesus said something about rendering onto Caesar what is Caesar's and rendering onto God what is God's. I expect James Madison would agree. Trying to limit the spread of disease is Caesar's territory.

The smug arrogance in this decision is a stunning betrayal of both religion and law. And it is stupid, stupid, stupid.


The problem is that law is never cut and dried - if it were we would need no courts to make decisions.

The ruling was not about the establishment clause - the government cannot establishment a religion - but of the exercise clause (government cannot make a law preventing the free exercise thereof . There is at least some degree of reasonable argument that the U.S. Congress cannot make a law that prevents freedom of the exercise of religion.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#17110 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-November-27, 14:19

View PostZelandakh, on 2020-November-27, 11:25, said:

What it is is a very clear demonstration that the US Supreme Court is so completely politicised that it can no longer perform the function it was designed for. Roberts saw this coming and seems to have done his best to avoid it but RBG's untimely passing has scuppered that. I have my worries for the direction of the US in the next decade or two even without a racist misogynist in the White House.


The U.S. has a long and sordid history of appalling Supreme Court decisions - things like Dred Scott decision should have made us rethink the SCOTUS a century ago.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#17111 User is offline   cherdano 

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Posted 2020-November-27, 16:43

View Postkenberg, on 2020-November-27, 09:53, said:

The Supreme Court decision holding that limiting the size of gatherings interferes with religious freedom demonstrates that a moron with an elite education is still a moron. Religious freedom allows us to believe or not not believe in a God, to believe or not believe in life after death, to believe or not believe that prayers are answered. And we are free to express these beliefs. Banning large gatherings is done to address an extreme health emergency that has already killed many locally, nationally and worldwide. Jesus said something about rendering onto Caesar what is Caesar's and rendering onto God what is God's. I expect James Madison would agree. Trying to limit the spread of disease is Caesar's territory.

The smug arrogance in this decision is a stunning betrayal of both religion and law. And it is stupid, stupid, stupid.

The decision is much narrower than you seem to believe. Forget about the quotes from the Gorsuch opinion - there is a reason no other judge joined it. The majority opinion clearly recognises that government can impose limits to religious gatherings, they just say that it has to be proportionate and as minimal as possible.

Don't get me wrong, there is plenty in the opinion that's epidemiologically illiterate. But setting a maximum occupancy of 10 church goers, no matter whether the church's capacity is 50 or 1000, is not exactly a carefully thought out proportionate restriction. And it's not as if Cuomo had any credibility on this issue after repeatedly singling out the Jewish orthodox community.
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#17112 User is offline   shyams 

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Posted 2020-November-27, 17:03

I find the Scotusblog website (which I visit occasionally) provides a good analysis on most matters relating to the US Supreme Court. In this instance, to quote the website,

"... the [SC] majority blocked the state from enforcing the attendance limits while the challengers continue to litigate the issue at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit and, if necessary, return to the Supreme Court for a final decision on the merits"

So it's not a fully settled matter --- at least not until the Circuit Courts can deliberate the matter in full and make a ruling.
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#17113 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-November-27, 18:10

Laurence Tribe said:

The morning after Thanksgiving 2020, we can sigh and say, “Trump was the biggest mistake America ever made. Now let’s move on.”

Laurence Tribe said:

I really don’t care. Do u?

Kelly O said:

Nov 26 BREAKING: Pres Trump says "its going to be a very hard thing to concede because we know there was massive fraud..." In his first Q and A with reporters in weeks, he is insisting he won.

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#17114 User is online   kenberg 

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Posted 2020-November-27, 20:59

View Postcherdano, on 2020-November-27, 16:43, said:

The decision is much narrower than you seem to believe. Forget about the quotes from the Gorsuch opinion - there is a reason no other judge joined it. The majority opinion clearly recognises that government can impose limits to religious gatherings, they just say that it has to be proportionate and as minimal as possible.

Don't get me wrong, there is plenty in the opinion that's epidemiologically illiterate. But setting a maximum occupancy of 10 church goers, no matter whether the church's capacity is 50 or 1000, is not exactly a carefully thought out proportionate restriction. And it's not as if Cuomo had any credibility on this issue after repeatedly singling out the Jewish orthodox community.


Ok, I stand corrected or at least acknowledge not looking at it all in adequate detail. My intended point is that people don't get to behave in socially highly irresponsible ways that are rightfully forbidden to the rest of simply be declaring that God says that they should do so. I can agree that some care should be taken in setting rules. That's not because of religion, it's simply a good idea on the face of it.

So anyway I am sorta maybe acknlowledging error here.
Ken
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#17115 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2020-November-28, 10:56

View Postshyams, on 2020-November-27, 17:03, said:

"... the [SC] majority blocked the state from enforcing the attendance limits while the challengers continue to litigate the issue at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit and, if necessary, return to the Supreme Court for a final decision on the merits"

Which is actually quite silly as the attendance limits were lifted, and therefore not being enforced, before the SCOTUS ruling was made.
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#17116 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-November-28, 12:11

The Trump fiasco should have taught us all a lesson - it is not the right or left-leanings of a candidate that is critical; what is critical is integrity.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#17117 User is offline   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2020-November-28, 13:43

View PostWinstonm, on 2020-November-28, 12:11, said:

The Trump fiasco should have taught us all a lesson - it is not the right or left-leanings of a candidate that is critical; what is critical is integrity.


And unfortunately very few politicians have that, it makes it a lot more difficult to get elected.
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#17118 User is online   kenberg 

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Posted 2020-November-28, 14:11

View PostWinstonm, on 2020-November-28, 12:11, said:

The Trump fiasco should have taught us all a lesson - it is not the right or left-leanings of a candidate that is critical; what is critical is integrity.


I very much agree. although, at the risk of borrowing a line from the The American President (a very inconsequential movie that is fun for a lazy night in front of the tv) I might change "integrity" to "character". Not exactly the same thing. Trump has neither, and we can hope for both, we need both. Maybe character includes knowing what is important and what is not.

Anyway, yes, issues are complicated and unpredictable. And of course issues are important. But so is the character of the person who will be bringing power to bear on these issues.

It is not really possible for anyone to be surprised at the disgraceful way that Trump is finishing his term. The man is consistent. Consistently trash, but consistent.
Ken
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#17119 User is offline   akwoo 

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Posted 2020-November-28, 17:13

Re: integrity/character.

When people say that Jimmy Carter is a good person but not a good president, what they mean is that they want the government to lie, cheat, and steal on their behalf, and President Carter wasn't willing to do that.

Yes it's important for our government to have integrity, but most voters also want the government to be crooked against those they perceive as crooks, and most people have a rather elastic definition of who the crooks are.
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#17120 User is online   kenberg 

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Posted 2020-November-28, 18:21

View Postakwoo, on 2020-November-28, 17:13, said:

Re: integrity/character.

When people say that Jimmy Carter is a good person but not a good president, what they mean is that they want the government to lie, cheat, and steal on their behalf, and President Carter wasn't willing to do that.

Yes it's important for our government to have integrity, but most voters also want the government to be crooked against those they perceive as crooks, and most people have a rather elastic definition of who the crooks are.


There were several things during the Carter presidency that did not go well. An obvious thing was the taking of hostages and the bungled attempt to get them back, but there were others as well. Carter was widely seen as in over his head. Integrity is good, but by itself it is not enough, which is why I expanded it yo character. And no doubt more is needed. And of course luck can help. People wanted some problems solved, and it didn't appear that they were getting solved.
That's how I remember it.
Ken
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