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the captain
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« Reply #25 on: May 16, 2018, 07:13:31 PM »

My entirely honest--I know this will read otherwise, but I'm not being sarcastic--answer is something like this (in order of most common answer to "how are you feeling about what is happening in Gaza right now?"):

1. "What's Gaza?"
2. "What's happening in Gaza?"
3. "That's the Muslims, right? Israel has a right to self defense against terrorists."
4. Probably something about Obama's [Syrian] red line.
5. Maybe a Saddam Hussein reference?
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« Reply #26 on: May 16, 2018, 07:19:11 PM »

My entirely honest--I know this will read otherwise, but I'm not being sarcastic--answer is something like this (in order of most common answer to "how are you feeling about what is happening in Gaza right now?"):

1. "What's Gaza?"
2. "What's happening in Gaza?"
3. "That's the Muslims, right? Israel has a right to self defense against terrorists."
4. Probably something about Obama's [Syrian] red line.
5. Maybe a Saddam Hussein reference?


I can appreciate that response. Given how well-informed and intelligent you are, I genuinely believe that's a testament to just how in the dark Americans are kept on the realities of the Israel-Palestine issue. And I don't think that's your fault but rather the fault of your media and political system.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2018, 07:19:43 PM by Chocolate Shake Man » Logged
the captain
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« Reply #27 on: May 16, 2018, 07:24:07 PM »

I think Americans really don't focus on anything outside the borders of the country, with a few occasional very broad-stroke narratives. And in this case, "Israel = special [do-no-wrong] friend" is one of those narratives, and "Muslim bad guys" is another. So even if they did realize what and where Gaza is, and know what is going on there ... they generally won't know what's going on there, because it's so shaded, if not entirely obscured, by the narratives.

The most recent Intercepted podcast has a nice Norman Finkelstein interview on the topic.

OH--and my initial "top answers" post should have probably included something about the Iran nuclear deal. That would definitely be among the top responses, in some way or other.
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« Reply #28 on: May 16, 2018, 07:49:38 PM »

I think Americans really don't focus on anything outside the borders of the country, with a few occasional very broad-stroke narratives. And in this case, "Israel = special [do-no-wrong] friend" is one of those narratives, and "Muslim bad guys" is another. So even if they did realize what and where Gaza is, and know what is going on there ... they generally won't know what's going on there, because it's so shaded, if not entirely obscured, by the narratives.

The most recent Intercepted podcast has a nice Norman Finkelstein interview on the topic.

OH--and my initial "top answers" post should have probably included something about the Iran nuclear deal. That would definitely be among the top responses, in some way or other.

Norman Finkelstein is a fantastic scholar and one of the best writers on the topic.

I do agree with you to an extent about Americans and their focus on issues outside of the borders. However, to add to your good point about narratives, they do become very interested in the internal goings-on of a country when they are a target for US military intervention. I don't think we could go more than a minute without hearing about the horrors committed by Saddam Hussein or the repression carried out against the people of Iran throughout the 2000s. And, for different reasons, we have heard quite a lot about the internal politics of Russia over the past few years.

Also, in my view, Israel is not so much a friend as much as they are a satellite or a colony, which should make the American people concerned about what goes on there.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2018, 08:00:13 PM by Chocolate Shake Man » Logged
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« Reply #29 on: May 16, 2018, 08:30:31 PM »

Help me CSM deal with this craziness! Wink
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« Reply #30 on: May 17, 2018, 05:16:52 AM »

they do become very interested in the internal goings-on of a country when they are a target for US military intervention. I don't think we could go more than a minute without hearing about the horrors committed by Saddam Hussein or the repression carried out against the people of Iran throughout the 2000s. And, for different reasons, we have heard quite a lot about the internal politics of Russia over the past few years.

Also, in my view, Israel is not so much a friend as much as they are a satellite or a colony, which should make the American people concerned about what goes on there.

Re the objects of our aggression, Iíd assume thatís because the media tends to cover stories basically as fed them by the WH, the Pentagon and similar sources during those periods, to ensure some level of public support. The 03 Iraq war may be the best modern example.

As for Israel, I just meant to share the narrative, not the truth.
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« Reply #31 on: May 17, 2018, 06:02:09 AM »

they do become very interested in the internal goings-on of a country when they are a target for US military intervention. I don't think we could go more than a minute without hearing about the horrors committed by Saddam Hussein or the repression carried out against the people of Iran throughout the 2000s. And, for different reasons, we have heard quite a lot about the internal politics of Russia over the past few years.

Also, in my view, Israel is not so much a friend as much as they are a satellite or a colony, which should make the American people concerned about what goes on there.

Re the objects of our aggression, Iíd assume thatís because the media tends to cover stories basically as fed them by the WH, the Pentagon and similar sources during those periods, to ensure some level of public support. The 03 Iraq war may be the best modern example.

As for Israel, I just meant to share the narrative, not the truth.

Yes, I think we are in agreement on this.
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« Reply #32 on: May 17, 2018, 06:02:46 AM »

Help me CSM deal with this craziness! Wink

I'm barely hanging on myself.
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« Reply #33 on: June 13, 2018, 09:41:18 AM »

Initiative to break California into 3 states to go on November ballot
https://www.cnn.com/2018/06/13/us/california-three-states-initiative-ballot/index.html

Not something I've researched, but I'm interested to see the results and response.
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« Reply #34 on: July 13, 2018, 06:59:03 AM »

Shame I'm not near Turnberry, Scotland, this weekend. Would love to let your orangutan know what I feel about him and everyone who lent him their support.
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« Reply #35 on: July 13, 2018, 07:34:58 AM »

Here's what I posted at PSF after reading of his performance in the UK.

I guess our friends in the UK should have rolled out a glowing orb for the president. Perhaps then he'd have been sufficiently distracted so as to avoid speaking about things he doesn't understand (i.e., everything beyond the fun of looking at glowing orbs). Up next in Helsinki, he'll finally get to have a good time talking to the fella on the other end of our true "special relationship." I can see the glimmer of lust in the president's eyes as he first glimpses a shirtless Putin.

"Did you see what I said, Vlad?" he'll seek approval like the child he is, mentally. "I said May was ruining Brexit, was mean to the Muslim mayor, and said Johnson would make a good prime minister. I zinged 'em. Did you see it?"

The faux quote, of course, has been edited for coherence. His actual statement would presumably be something more like:

"Vlad, guys like us, uh, we strongly with, ahhhh, talking on, and a lot of people are noticing, I say to the guy, I say, um, the uh, lady isn't doing the, what's the thing, a lot of people are on my side with this one, very smart people and more and more every day, she's not, and here you've got the guy who's one of those, the banned ones, the names they have, it's not American and so a lot of people, you know, they are not so ... Boris, is this guy Russian? I said to Miller, I said, is this guy Russian or what? He'd be, I think, and many smart people are agreeing with me and they're saying, Donald, you are really on to something, that he could make a good, uh, a better, than that lady. Get 'er outta there! I was very strong in this. I can, you know, a lot of people, it's hugely the way I'm, um..." [at which point shirtless Putin patted him on the head and gave him a piece of well done steak with ketchup, which the president happily gobbled up].
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« Reply #36 on: July 16, 2018, 04:07:44 PM »

Here's what I posted at PSF after reading of his performance in the UK.

I guess our friends in the UK should have rolled out a glowing orb for the president. Perhaps then he'd have been sufficiently distracted so as to avoid speaking about things he doesn't understand (i.e., everything beyond the fun of looking at glowing orbs). Up next in Helsinki, he'll finally get to have a good time talking to the fella on the other end of our true "special relationship." I can see the glimmer of lust in the president's eyes as he first glimpses a shirtless Putin.

"Did you see what I said, Vlad?" he'll seek approval like the child he is, mentally. "I said May was ruining Brexit, was mean to the Muslim mayor, and said Johnson would make a good prime minister. I zinged 'em. Did you see it?"

The faux quote, of course, has been edited for coherence. His actual statement would presumably be something more like:

"Vlad, guys like us, uh, we strongly with, ahhhh, talking on, and a lot of people are noticing, I say to the guy, I say, um, the uh, lady isn't doing the, what's the thing, a lot of people are on my side with this one, very smart people and more and more every day, she's not, and here you've got the guy who's one of those, the banned ones, the names they have, it's not American and so a lot of people, you know, they are not so ... Boris, is this guy Russian? I said to Miller, I said, is this guy Russian or what? He'd be, I think, and many smart people are agreeing with me and they're saying, Donald, you are really on to something, that he could make a good, uh, a better, than that lady. Get 'er outta there! I was very strong in this. I can, you know, a lot of people, it's hugely the way I'm, um..." [at which point shirtless Putin patted him on the head and gave him a piece of well done steak with ketchup, which the president happily gobbled up].
Indeed.
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« Reply #37 on: September 28, 2018, 07:54:21 PM »

I made the mistake of commenting on a post a cousin of mine forwarded. It was an absolutely awful picture of supposedly Michelle Obama, with the caption, Aren't you glad she is no longer First Lady?

I had to comment. I said, why the hate for Ms Obama? Why the name calling? (There are those who love to refer to her as a man, or worse , as an animal.)
Got a response - don't you know that she's a Socialist and a Communist, and the two of them did all sorts of evil things ( they were named) etc.
I replied that they are not Communists . Didn't bother with the other things.
Answer came back that I was misguided. The lady's brother told her that the Obamas were both socialists and communists, they are the same thing. So it must be so.
Of course I don't consider them either socialists or communists.
It went more downhill from there . I got it all off my chest, waited 5 minutes, then deleted my original comment, which resulted in all comments being deleted.

Oh, my country. Don t know the difference between socialism and communism. And as the hit song from a while back proudly proclaimed, we don't know the difference between Iraq and Iran. Yikes.
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« Reply #38 on: September 29, 2018, 05:35:31 AM »

I made the mistake of commenting on a post a cousin of mine forwarded. It was an absolutely awful picture of supposedly Michelle Obama, with the caption, Aren't you glad she is no longer First Lady?

I had to comment. I said, why the hate for Ms Obama? Why the name calling? (There are those who love to refer to her as a man, or worse , as an animal.)
Got a response - don't you know that she's a Socialist and a Communist, and the two of them did all sorts of evil things ( they were named) etc.
I replied that they are not Communists . Didn't bother with the other things.
Answer came back that I was misguided. The lady's brother told her that the Obamas were both socialists and communists, they are the same thing. So it must be so.
Of course I don't consider them either socialists or communists.
It went more downhill from there . I got it all off my chest, waited 5 minutes, then deleted my original comment, which resulted in all comments being deleted.

Oh, my country. Don t know the difference between socialism and communism. And as the hit song from a while back proudly proclaimed, we don't know the difference between Iraq and Iran. Yikes.

If only they were socialists or communists!
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« Reply #39 on: October 24, 2018, 05:53:50 PM »

Anyone here who knows me knows that I am no fan of the Democrats or the Democratic party. But it is has always struck me that the arguments against the Democrats that emanate from the right range from conspiratorial to outright lunacy. Today's attempted attack against particular Democratic figures is a good example of this lunacy and, in my view, is highly encouraged by what is now mainstream extreme-right wing elements in the United States who have managed to propagandize a large community into actually believing that Democrats represent the country's greatest threat.
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« Reply #40 on: October 31, 2018, 08:48:25 AM »

So what's going to happen with the Mid Terms? I'm Canadian, but get a large daily dose of US politics, and I really can't figure out where this is heading.

And I suppose the other question is 'does it matter'? It seems so divided that at one point, will it even make a difference who's wrestled control from whom??
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« Reply #41 on: November 01, 2018, 03:24:37 PM »

So what's going to happen with the Mid Terms? I'm Canadian, but get a large daily dose of US politics, and I really can't figure out where this is heading.

I don't know. I don't follow closely enough. But both sides seem sufficiently riled up that I expect a strong turnout. I'm not expecting a major victory for Democrats or Republicans. Maybe someone else will weigh-in with a more informed prediction.
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« Reply #42 on: November 07, 2018, 06:13:49 AM »

Initiative to break California into 3 states to go on November ballot
https://www.cnn.com/2018/06/13/us/california-three-states-initiative-ballot/index.html

I spoke too soon. On July 18th the California Supreme Court removed it from the ballot.
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« Reply #43 on: February 13, 2019, 07:16:56 AM »

With the talk increasing about the Democratic nominee for 2020, I really do hope that Sanders makes a run for it and does not get squeezed out the way he was in 2016. I also really hope that Joe Biden does not run.
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« Reply #44 on: June 16, 2019, 04:56:35 AM »

With the talk increasing about the Democratic nominee for 2020, I really do hope that Sanders makes a run for it and does not get squeezed out the way he was in 2016. I also really hope that Joe Biden does not run.

 Biden may be ancient, but he is electable. Sanders is not. Don't be surprised if he ends up behind not only Biden but also Warren and Buttigeig.

 Bill Weld may have a snowball's chance in hell, but he'd make a credible president in my view. Kudos to Weld for challenging Trump in the GOP primaries.
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« Reply #45 on: June 16, 2019, 11:42:52 AM »

With the talk increasing about the Democratic nominee for 2020, I really do hope that Sanders makes a run for it and does not get squeezed out the way he was in 2016. I also really hope that Joe Biden does not run.

 Biden may be ancient, but he is electable. Sanders is not. Don't be surprised if he ends up behind not only Biden but also Warren and Buttigeig.

 Bill Weld may have a snowball's chance in hell, but he'd make a credible president in my view. Kudos to Weld for challenging Trump in the GOP primaries.

I really have no patience with this argument anymore. This was the same thing that I heard in 2016 about Clinton and Sanders. The fact of the matter is is that Biden, like Clinton, represents precisely the sort of status quo establishment politician that the country has now demonstrated that they are fed up with and for quite a good reason: since the 1970s, we have seen labour productivity go up and we have seen wages for the majority of the population stagnate. Meanwhile, the wealth for the extraordinarily slim minority have escalated dramatically, mostly off the backs of all that labour that have watched as they are kept from the fruits of their labour.

And the public isn't stupid. They know who is responsible - it is the establishment leaders, of which Clinton and Biden are both dutiful, if not slavish, representatives. Now I'm not saying here that Biden can't win but I do think that the best hope that Biden does have of winning is that the population has become so bothered by Trump that they will vote for anybody that the Democrats put forth. The problem is though that while the Democrats could have spent the last two and half years putting together a really solid opposition to Trump by calling out the huge list of awful policies he has enacted, they instead decided to pursue an argument that was about as rational as the 9/11-is-an-inside-job conspiracy theory, namely that he colluded with Russia to win the 2016 election.

Now even before the Mueller Report came out, many prominent figures on the left, like Noam Chomsky, Glenn Greenwald, Matt Taibbi, Aaron Mate, Chris Hedges and others were warning that this was a terrible tactic and certainly didn't deserve the kind of attention it was getting. But of course the Democrats were not about to argue against Trump on a matter of policy for two main reasons - their own policies have been by and large bad for most Americans and they don't differ that dramatically from Trump's. So of course they're going to go after a bogey-man. But it had two effects: for one, the public never cared about the Russian issue as much as establishment Democrats did, so they were simply showing themselves to be dramatically out-of-touch with the needs of the population. And second, it turned out, they were wrong, and so whoever was invested in the issue basically saw that their single-issue turned out to be an empty pursuit.

So the Democrats have by and large mostly been working for the past two years to serve up a big gift to Trump. Biden, of course, has good numbers - he was a Vice President. He's a well-known face and brand. But when people find out that he represents the policies that have largely worked to disenfranchise them for decades, he's going to have a big hill to climb. Again, I'm not saying it's impossible, but it's certainly not going to be easy.

But Clinton had the same hill to climb in 2016 and Sanders didn't. This is why, as Glenn Greenwald pointed out months before the November election, the statistics pointed to the fact that Sanders had more of a chance of beating Trump than Clinton did. But, of course, Sanders's biggest problem has never been electability. His biggest obstacle as always been establishment Democrats who have made it perfectly clear that they will go to the lowest depths possible and carry out the most nefarious, sneaky, and petty acts in order to undermine the person who polls show was the most popular political figure in the country for several years in a row. To be fair to Sanders, though, they have pulled the same trick with similarly left-wing candidates so itís not just him Ė they are simply looking to protect their establishment, neoliberal interests at all costs. And, yes, there is some evidence now that it has worked and this is once again a replay of 2016. Again, while Greenwald did one of the most comprehensive studies of polls in, I believe it was March of 2016, it was almost universally ignored by the mainstream media who made a Clinton victory look like a slam dunk. You will excuse me, though, if I find this similar replay of that strategy now to be not only distasteful but also potentially a good strategy to get Trump re-elected.

That said, I do like Elizabeth Warren and she is different enough to maybe be more of a contender than Biden. But the fact is she has her own hurdles to overcome. The fact that she was a registered Republican up until the 90s, and still maintains that the problem was that they lost their way (her words were that the Republican party was no longer "principled in its conservative approach to economics and to markets"). Huh? So when were they principled? Was Reagan okay then? She still ardently supports capitalism, and favours small reforms. This will not play that well to a population who seems to be craving massive change at the political level. Natalie Shure recently pointed out the following: ďtheory of political change is perhaps the biggest difference between Sanders and Warren - he is trying to harness grassroots power; she is leading with sharp policy. Both of those things are critical ingredients for change, but the movement has to happen first.Ē

Indeed, there has been perhaps no leftist figure since the 1960s who has been as influential as Sanders has been in provoking massive, grassroots organization. One of the reasons why Sanders has succeeded where people like Ralph Nader failed, is that Nader was not willing to do the important groundwork Ė that which makes change truly possible. As Shure points out, Warren hasnít done this kind of work either and this is precisely the kind of thing that would cost her an election too.

So, ultimately, I do not find your argument convincing. And if I'm being honest, I actually find it quite dangerous.
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« Reply #46 on: June 16, 2019, 05:53:13 PM »

 Dangerous? Oh boy. Let me put it bluntly: No politician who self identifies as a socialist, albeit a "Democratic Socialist" is ever going to be nominated for, much less elected, President of the United States. Warren could be a 21st century Teddy Roosevelt, saving capitalism by tweaking it. Sanders? It will never happen. He would be a terrible President.
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« Reply #47 on: June 16, 2019, 06:05:33 PM »

  Capitalism may well be in need of tweaking, but not by the likes of Sanders. The genius of the American System and the inherent creativity of democratic capitalism is something Bernie will never understand, thus he would like to destroy it.

 Let's take his free college plan. How much would it cost it is free? Trust me, quite a bit. Moreover, the value of a degree and overall quality of education would be thoroughly devalued within a generation if Bernie's plans ever came to fruition. We do need to ease student debt, that I agree with 100 percent.

 Biden is not great, has never been great, and never will be great. He may be good enough to beat Donald Trump while saving the Democrats from themselves. Keep an eye on Pete Buttigieg - he has a brain.

 Bill Weld 2020
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« Reply #48 on: June 17, 2019, 05:44:52 AM »

Again, I'll repeat: polls showed after the election that Sanders was the most popular politician in America:

https://www.vice.com/en_ca/article/xww4ek/bernie-sanders-is-the-most-popular-politician-in-america-poll-says-vgtrn

Furthermore, a comprehensive analysis of the polls before the election showed that Sanders had a better chance of beating Trump than Clinton did:

https://theintercept.com/2016/02/24/with-trump-looming-should-dems-take-a-huge-electability-gamble-by-nominating-hillary-clinton/

The idea that America can't elect someone who self-identifies as a socialist may have been true at one point but it's not the 1950s anymore. You have generations of people who were not raised on Red Scare tactics and these numbers are only growing. So the lastest polls show that Democrats have a more positive view of socialism than capitalism:

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/onpolitics/2018/08/14/democrats-prefer-socialism-capitalism-gallup-poll/988558002/

And, in fact, these numbers are a bit misleading because they don't quite demonstrate whether or not Americans are in favour of the principles that lay behind either ideological system. In reality, most polls show then when asked specific questions, Americans are very much in favour of a more socialist-style system. In fact, Americans so unconsciously attach the tenets of socialism to the American way that a poll taken in the 80s found that "Nearly half believed that the Constitution contains Karl Marx's phrase 'From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.'" So, as far as I'm concerned, the US population is not only becoming much more receptive to socialism, they've always implicitly and unknowningly agreed with its principles. This perhaps explains Sanders's stunning popularity in 2016 - he was simply saying things that Americans had always believed in.

As for education, the fact is that most of the industrialized free world has free tuition. Like for many things, the United States is more the exception than the rule in this regard. So, you have to ask, has the overall quality of education been devalued in, say, Germany or Sweden? Of course not. They are well-known for having some of the best education systems (including post-secondary education systems) in the world. So if that's the case, why do people believe that the education system in the US would suffer in a way that others haven't? The answer is easy: it's a propagandistic scare tactic which serves to bolster the status quo.

I'm happy to have this conversation but I would like a bit of honesty here. Instead of saying Sanders can't get elected and free tuition wouldn't work, could you at least say what is true, that you don't want Sanders elected and you don't want free tuition for students.
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« Reply #49 on: June 18, 2019, 04:34:42 AM »

  Ultimately free tuition would never be free and within 30 years the value of a public university education - both monetary and intrinsic - would be degraded.

  Nominating Bernie Sanders would be a gift to Donald Trump. Look elsewhere, please.


 
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