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Author Topic: Politics: 2016 Lame Duck and 2017 New Administration  (Read 165248 times)
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Emily
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« Reply #250 on: December 21, 2016, 10:49:58 PM »

Which guest poster? I'm so lost right now LOL
Crypto FDP
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the captain
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« Reply #251 on: December 22, 2016, 04:20:00 AM »

I saw that too. In the linked article Newt says:

"I’ve noticed on a couple of fronts, like people chanting ‘lock her up,’ that he’s in a different role now and maybe he feels that as president, as the next president of the United States, that he should be marginally more dignified than talking about alligators in swamps."

I wonder whether the irony of it all is lost on the former speaker, discussing whether a metaphor intended to get across an actually good point is undignified for a president, even as that future president continues to almost daily lash out like a bratty adolescent on twitter, usually not on subject, but just with mean-spirited personal insults, every time someone is critical of him.
Or that maybe he's not using the slogan because he actually is making no effort to carry out what the slogan promises.
that part was beyond obvious from, well, the moment he vomited the words. Longtime corrupt business celeb surrounded by longtime "outsider" pols and hacks doing away with the environments in which they thrive? Uh yeah...

The only surprising part (or is it? Not ifobe subscribes to my "everybody's an idiot" theory!) is that anyone believed him. Ever. About anything other than "I grab 'em by the..." That part rang true.
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« Reply #252 on: December 22, 2016, 04:30:32 AM »

we need to hear "her" thoughts on Gingrich's comments... Wink
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Chocolate Shake Man
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« Reply #253 on: December 22, 2016, 06:40:28 AM »

Ok. But that audio is still limited in context and indicates to me even more from tone that she meant ''figure out', not 'control.' The tape is meant to be 45 minutes. Did they release the whole thing?
But either way, as I said, I have no doubt the US has interfered with other elections (of course the US has, that's well established) and I wouldn't doubt that Clinton has done so if given the opportunity and motive. But it would only be hypocrisy if the people who have a problem with Russia doing it don't have a problem with the US doing it.
Regarding Putin, we have all the evidence that I've said above, which is more than an anonymous source. The Greenwald piece puts the FBI against the CIA with one saying Trump has no direct link to the Russian government and one saying he does as if that makes it a toss-up when we don't need either to tell us that Manafort was his campaign manager, so there's a direct link right there. And one doesn't need the CIA or FBI to tell us that thousands of pro-Trump twitter bots and social media accounts were sourced in Russia or that Sputnik and RT originated misinformation like the Clinton health stories.
So we disagree about the evidence. Some was too blatant to deny, I think, and you don't need the anonymous source, the CIA or the FBI to support it.
But, I don't know that the reaction is primarily "how dare Putin?" so much as "here is more evidence that this campaign was not on the up-and-up". Just as when the US interferes with an election, that election is to a degree invalidated, would not this one be as well?
It seems there is a flip to your flip - if it's problematic for the US to do it, is it not problematic for Russia to do it? Do you not agree that when the US does it, we can't rightly consider that election to be open and honest? Would the same not apply when it's done to the US?
Are my statement ("...positive contribution") and yours ("...favoring interfering") mutually exclusive? I don't think they are and I think they are both true.

Edited way later for a clarification: when you say "Democrats" do you mean Washington Democrats or general population Democrats? My answe was assuming the latter.

Again, while we do disagree on some points here, I do find that we still agree more than disagree. What I objected to the most in your post was your framing of the situation. Certainly if Russia tampered with the democratic process, they can be criticized. However, my feelings on the issue are much the same as my feelings (that you agreed with) towards heinous actions committed by atrocious terrorists that I have discussed on this site. You can read those thoughts here:

http://smileysmile.net/board/index.php/topic,20357.msg581496.html#msg581496

Your statement and my statement are not mutually exclusive but I do object to the way that you framed the issue. To be perfectly honest, I find most of the discussion about Russia right now to be frighteningly reminiscent of Cold War-era discussions and it seems to be that a good portion of the American political establishment (voiced most ardently by Washington Democrats and the mainstream media) is aiming to return to that sort of environment, a dangerous aim in my view. Part and parcel to the renewal of this rhetoric is to, once again, exaggerate the threat posed by Russia. As you are familiar with history, I am sure you will recall the many stories about dangerous Communist infiltration that was feared to pose a threat to the American way of life. This record is simply being replayed, this time most significantly by the American liberal establishment, often with the circulation of stories that provide a great amount of accusations but very little evidence to reinforce them. The Washington Post has been particularly bad in its own spreading of fake news. So I had significant issues with the "at the behest of Putin" element of your quotation.

As for the element of your statement that Clinton "spent her life trying to do what she thought was a positive contribution," this may very well be true but then it is simply a truism that most political figures, even deplorable dictators, believe that they were trying to make positive contributions. But if I interpret your meaning correctly, you appear to be saying that it was a good thing that Clinton tried to make what she thought was a positive contribution, and therefore it was an issue that her campaign was railroaded at the behest of Putin. To me this is problematic for several reasons. One, it suggests that outsider interference is acceptable for leaders who aren't trying to make positive contributions (a historically slippery slope argument, as we know) and second it makes Clinton's contributions (which amount to a pretty lousy record of political work) appear positive despite your use of "she thought." So while elsewhere you do acknowledge Clinton's shortcomings and despite the fact that our two points of view are not mutually exclusive, I nevertheless find it a bit odd to frame this story as you did. And in light of the lengths that the liberal establishment has been going through this year to undermine legitimate criticism against them, blame others for their own inadequacies and their failure to win an election, and simultaneously, by and large, manufacture a Russian threat while carrying out aggressive actions towards them, I think we need to attend to the ways in which we talk about the issue of Russia and Clinton and investigate how our instincts may be being shaped by institutional forces with agendas to mislead the public.
« Last Edit: December 22, 2016, 06:51:36 AM by Chocolate Shake Man » Logged
the captain
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« Reply #254 on: December 22, 2016, 10:20:16 AM »

CSM and Emily, I enjoy reading your political posts. You're both very knowledgeable and thoughtful, not to mention ready to challenge default positions many of us have.
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« Reply #255 on: December 22, 2016, 10:44:15 AM »

There are a lot of different things going on here, from my perspective, and I am, again, on a phone, so forgive me if this is too disorganized to be clear.
Regarding the earlier discussion with FDP - that's where my final edit to my above post comes in. In that discussion we were talking about governing Democrats.  If you are talking about governing Democrats, yes, any *shock and outrage* expressed regarding electoral interference is both fake and hypocritical.  Regarding general population Democrats, shock would be naive or fake. But for a GP Democrat, outrage may not be hypocritical. It may be consistent. So in my comments above, I was assuming the latter, or more specifically, me. I don't feel hypocritical being pissed off by a tampered with election as I'm usually pissed off by tampered with elections.

Regarding Russia - first - what am I outraged by? Am I outraged by Russia tampering? Not specifically. I'm outraged by, as I think has been documented in multiple threads on this site, the misinformation that I think is driving American politics. I'm outraged by the corporate interests that pay for it, the hacks that bring it to their radio shows and websites, the idiots who spread it and vote based on it, and the foreign government that actively participates in it, both against their own population and against our population.
You and I may differ about the Soviet Union and that may be a whole other discussion. But, to me,  the Soviet Union was pretty well hijacked by authoritarian oligarchs by the mid-twenties. Stalin ran an intense misinformation based propaganda machine that is a nice precursor to Putin's.
Do I think the red scare stuff in the US made sense or was OK?  No. not because the Soviet Union didn't suck, but because the red scare stuff went after leftists by linking them to the Soviet Union when the Soviet Union wasn't left. The Soviet Union was basically a reintroduction of serfdom- the Tsarist order without the Tsar. Corporate interests took a advantage of the Russian Revolution by pretending it wasn't overthrown, pretending the Soviet Union was left, then vilifying the US left based on that, and running them underground.
Without regard to Russian or US history, I think Putin deserves the censure. The US does a lot that's wrong, but it does have on its side the one good point that, until now, white nationalist movements have not been publicly successful (well... since we stopped, you know, being an essentially white nationalist country). They've been very successful in Russia, increasingly so in Western Europe, and now successful in the US. And I believe that Putin is an active contributor to that movement and that it's right to counter that movement.
Do I need to step back and think about that witch hunt having parallels to the "red scare" witch hunts? I do - and I will. Thanks for the prompt. But I can't come to the conclusion that it's not right to counter white nationalism, or Christian nationalism, or nationalism. And I do think there's a difference in the reality of the threat. But I think you and I differ in our evaluation of the level and extent of the reality of that threat. I think you give "revolting against elites" credence where I see revolting FOR elites. Different elites, but elites none-the-less.
Regarding Clinton, you and I have a gap there as well. She is pro-corporate, as almost all the electeds in DC are, and almost all Americans as well. She is war-like and believes in American exceptionalism and that it's OK to use violence to extract resources from other lands (and our own), as do almost all electeds in DC.
BUT, unlike almost all electeds in DC, she also has a legitimate consistent record of a PRIMARY focus, ahead of those things, on women's health, education and rights, and children's health, education and rights. That's her main deal. She sees that stuff through a corporatist lens at times, and through a warlike lens at times, but there are not many humans who can see things outside their frame of reference. So, within the common American frame of reference, I think she's preferable to many other electeds and has done decent work on important (to me) issues. I have huge problems with that frame of reference, but I've long accepted that in order for the frame to change, education, the media, the general zeitgeist has to change due to some shock. . In the meantime, the government will govern within that frame. Within that frame, I think Clinton is a decent person. I think the whole satanising of her is bullshit.
It's sort of an understanding of humanity perspective. Most people think and work and live with a very limited scope of understanding. So if I look at the population of the US in 1860, I will judge people on their actions very differently from how I would judge someone in the US today. Given their frame - their education, access to information, culturalization - are they trying to make good choices and make things better not only for themselves or some limited in-group, or are their choices driven by greed, hatred, etc? So a white person from 1860s US could do the exact same thing as a white person from 2016 US and I would judge the action differently.
I think that within Clinton's frame of reference, which is pro-corporate, pro-government violence, standard late 20th century US fare, she's made better, kinder choices than most of her peers. It could've been better, but it could've been a lot worse. Obama, Biden, Kerry, Gore, Feinstein, Boxer, Brown, Kerrey, Edwards, and we can go into McCain, Bush, Bush, Dole, etc. How does she compare to them? Positively. She worked hard and consistently in one area (yes, social justice, gasp) that matters to me, unlike the rest of them. (Gore perhaps.) And given that that's her frame, I think she worked with good intentions, and I don't think that applies to everyone.
A shorter way to say this - while Clinton may have -100 on corporate friendliness, she has -50 on foreign policy as she worked hard to push women's education and rights as SoS and +90 on social justice, while most DC Democrats are -100, -100, +10.  As I consider DC Democrats to be her frame, I don't have this "Clinton = evil bad person" thing. I have more of a "she's a decent person making choices in a bad frame." As I would say for a white person from the 1860s US who says some really racist stuff and maybe does some racist stuff, but is actively fighting against the institution of slavery.
Does that make sense? So, the treatment of Clinton, whom I believe acts well within her frame ( the "lock her up" witch b*tch c*nt bringing the women from her husband's betrayals to a debate,etc.) actually outraged and disgusted me and made me empathize with her way more than you.
The fact that the people who did this call themselves "We the People" and "real Americans" but are driven partially by misinformation from a non-American propaganda campaign set me off on a sarcasm train. I have a lot of feelings about the Clinton thing that you don't share. I think it's like going to downtown Akron, picking one guy who tepidly supported Trump but spoke out against the real Trump transgressions  and pillorying him publicly, driving him out of the community into shame and hiding, and acting like he's somehow a massively evil individual when maybe he's a good guy doing his best within his frame of reference. Or doing the same to my racist abolitionist in the 1860s. That's what I saw this campaign.
Sorry for the complete rambliness.
« Last Edit: December 22, 2016, 10:54:12 AM by Emily » Logged
Emily
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« Reply #256 on: December 22, 2016, 10:45:07 AM »

CSM and Emily, I enjoy reading your political posts. You're both very knowledgeable and thoughtful, not to mention ready to challenge default positions many of us have.

SOOOO mutual.
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Chocolate Shake Man
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« Reply #257 on: December 23, 2016, 08:09:53 AM »

There are a lot of different things going on here, from my perspective, and I am, again, on a phone, so forgive me if this is too disorganized to be clear.
Regarding the earlier discussion with FDP - that's where my final edit to my above post comes in. In that discussion we were talking about governing Democrats.  If you are talking about governing Democrats, yes, any *shock and outrage* expressed regarding electoral interference is both fake and hypocritical.  Regarding general population Democrats, shock would be naive or fake. But for a GP Democrat, outrage may not be hypocritical. It may be consistent. So in my comments above, I was assuming the latter, or more specifically, me. I don't feel hypocritical being pissed off by a tampered with election as I'm usually pissed off by tampered with elections.

I completely agree here. As I hope you know, I greatly respect your opinion and I think by now I understand your positions on the issues. But I should have made it clear that I wasn't calling you a hypocrite for your stance. I apologize for that.

Quote
You and I may differ about the Soviet Union and that may be a whole other discussion. But, to me,  the Soviet Union was pretty well hijacked by authoritarian oligarchs by the mid-twenties. Stalin ran an intense misinformation based propaganda machine that is a nice precursor to Putin's.
Do I think the red scare stuff in the US made sense or was OK?  No. not because the Soviet Union didn't suck, but because the red scare stuff went after leftists by linking them to the Soviet Union when the Soviet Union wasn't left. The Soviet Union was basically a reintroduction of serfdom- the Tsarist order without the Tsar. Corporate interests took a advantage of the Russian Revolution by pretending it wasn't overthrown, pretending the Soviet Union was left, then vilifying the US left based on that, and running them underground.

We don't differ about the Soviet Union at all. I've said much the same thing, though not as convincingly, here:

http://smileysmile.net/board/index.php/topic,22945.msg544759.html#msg544759

Quote
Without regard to Russian or US history, I think Putin deserves the censure. The US does a lot that's wrong, but it does have on its side the one good point that, until now, white nationalist movements have not been publicly successful (well... since we stopped, you know, being an essentially white nationalist country). They've been very successful in Russia, increasingly so in Western Europe, and now successful in the US. And I believe that Putin is an active contributor to that movement and that it's right to counter that movement.
Do I need to step back and think about that witch hunt having parallels to the "red scare" witch hunts? I do - and I will. Thanks for the prompt. But I can't come to the conclusion that it's not right to counter white nationalism, or Christian nationalism, or nationalism.

I agree we should counter the movement but I also think we need to be careful about how we counter the movement. I thought Saddam Hussein was a tyrannical monster who committed terrible atrocities. While I would say and would have said then that Hussein deserved censure, I also argued vehemently against the invasion of the country and the regime change that subsequently followed. Moreover, as awful a monster as Hussein was, I also argued against the construction of both him and Iraq by the Western mainstream media because, while partly true, it was also a fabricated construction in order to drum up support for military intervention. I opposed the invasion for several reasons, most glaringly because it was a gross violation of international law. But, moreover, I also opposed it on the grounds that it would increase the threats to global security. Copying and pasting what I've written here before, in October of 2002, in the lead up to the Iraq war, the FBI observed “that a war with Iraq could trigger new domestic terrorism risks.” Meanwhile, Jean-Louis Bruguiere, “the leading French investigation magistrate in charge of counter-terrorism affairs,” observed that “Attacking Iraq would intensify Islamic terrorism, not reduce it.” This, of course, is the reality that came to be and we are now dealing with and, in some places of the world, suffering in large scale ways, as a result of the political establishment not listening to or carrying about these warnings.

In the case of Russia, we have to remember that the United States has been actively participating in hostile and aggressive actions against Russia since the fall of the Berlin wall (the Cold War actions are another kettle of fish) by beginning the process of pushing NATO to the Russian borders. There is now a major US military build up there - and this isn't just because of Putin. It's been in the works for over twenty-five years. And a military battle between the US and Russia poses, in my view, a far greater threat to global security than even the invasion of Iraq did. Several weeks ago, critics quite rightly pointed out the dangers of the Trump-Taiwan call. Is it not similarly dangerous to continually and aggressively piss off the unstable nuclear threat that Russia is at the moment? Even if in bringing up white nationalism we are going to draw parallels between Putin and Hitler (another age-old bit of rhetorical propaganda that I find problematic in this case too), you would surely agree that WWII would have played out much differently had both the US and Germany had nuclear weapons. The liberal establishment in the US seems to be in favour of some kind of fight with Russia - a fight that has been established by the West in their military build up along the Russian borders. And they are now, in my view, attempting to garner support for this fight by actively presenting hearsay as if it were evidence. And while I agree that we should be countering white nationalism, racism, and misinformation that has negative consequences (and, similarly, we shouldn't be justifying or underestimating the terrible actions carried out by the Russian government), I also don't think we are doing anybody any favours by countering this with our own misinformation that is largely spun out by a corporate and political establishment whose goal seems to be an unnecessary and catastrophic war. I suppose in the 1980s it would have been noble for some Western activists to focus attention on, say, Soviet actions in Afghanistan. However, my position would have been that while it was correct to oppose those actions, that it was nevertheless the wrong issue for Western activists to focus on and moreover, I might ask them to consider what institutional forces were at work in shaping that issue as the one to focus on.

Quote
And I do think there's a difference in the reality of the threat. But I think you and I differ in our evaluation of the level and extent of the reality of that threat. I think you give "revolting against elites" credence where I see revolting FOR elites. Different elites, but elites none-the-less.

I'm afraid I don't understand what you mean by this. Who do I see as revolting against elites but are actually revolting for elites?

Quote
A shorter way to say this - while Clinton may have -100 on corporate friendliness, she has -50 on foreign policy as she worked hard to push women's education and rights as SoS and +90 on social justice, while most DC Democrats are -100, -100, +10.  As I consider DC Democrats to be her frame, I don't have this "Clinton = evil bad person" thing. I have more of a "she's a decent person making choices in a bad frame." As I would say for a white person from the 1860s US who says some really racist stuff and maybe does some racist stuff, but is actively fighting against the institution of slavery.
Does that make sense?

It does make sense. Unfortunately for Clinton, it's 2016 and not 2004 and I think this is a crucial difference. In 2004, the American public sentiment and the dominant political system was such that there was no choice but to go full on and support a candidate like Clinton - one who was socially liberal but pretty far right-wing on just about every other issue. But the world changed by 2016. By 2016, the American population had been quite rightly fed up with the political and economic establishment that was running the country and they were now aware of what was true for such a long time that this establishment had been contributing so negatively to their everyday life. Trump, as we know, hijacked this sentiment and used it for his own ends. The Washington Democrat establishment did all but ignore the sentiment completely, believing that their same old way of doing things would work again. Their ignorance to the realities of American life was so severe that they didn't even campaign in states that they believed were locks, despite many analysts saying otherwise. This ignorance of the American people and confidence in the status quo was precisely what many Americans were upset about in 2016. While it by and large always worked for both political parties up until, say, 2008, it's now, quite simply, a different world. Indeed, this was the first time in a very long time, when the candidate with the largest financial backing did not win the US election (though, in all fairness, she did win the popular vote).

 I say this in all seriousness: had the liberal establishment had any idea of what the world was like out there, they should have been plunging their focus, attention, and resources into Bernie Sanders' campaign not the monied, Wall Street candidate. Even without this attention and without these resources, the evidence shows that he had a better chance of winning against Trump than Clinton. You can imagine what could have happened had he had Clinton's backing. And yet the dominant argument became that he should be supporting her, a dreadful miscalculation in terms of strategy, in my opinion.

I agree that Clinton is comparatively strong on social justice, whether she's that much stronger than other Democrats, I'll have to take your word. However, there have been some good studies to suggest that in the US, a politician's social outreach is often tied to their financial backing. In other words, Clinton was much stronger in African American communities than Bernie Sanders was, but that was mostly because Sanders didn't have the same resources as Clinton and couldn't get his message into communities as well as Clinton could. The same could be said even more for candidates like Jill Stein. This point only reinforces your own observation that Clinton even approaches social justice “through a corporatist lens.” This suggests to me, though, that it is important for activists to pressure the establishment into giving their support to the candidate who will best serve the needs of that population. And given that Clinton has historically been in favour of policies that, in my view, have done a great deal of damage to minoritized communities (including women), such as the welfare reform bills carried out by Bill Clinton which destroyed the American welfare system, I'm not sure she was the right candidate. As Jacobin points out, for example, welfare reform led to the “Surveillance of low-income women [and] punished black women in disproportionate numbers, resulting in more black children in foster care and black women in prison.” In that case, I would have to imagine that any candidate with a better economic platform than Clinton's would have been better for the issues that you raise: women's health, education and rights, and children's health, education and rights.

I understand and agree with your point that in the US there are very few options and that in such an environment you have to make concessions. This is why I’m on record on this site as supporting Clinton against Trump. But I’m sure you agree that we make concessions so that we might get to something better. To me, that’s the end goal: to not just accept and praise that which we are conceding, but to continually work to do better. But the liberal establishment, just like the extreme right-wing establishment, has a tremendous amount of clout and is skilled at undermining and dodging those attempts. And one of the ways they are doing that right now (and have been doing for a year) is by stifling legitimate criticism of Hillary Clinton, painting her, instead, as an excellent candidate whose aim for presidency was undermined by racists, misogynists, idiots, James Comey, Russians, Jon Stewart retiring, etc. To me, this is a great effort in maintaining the status quo within the Democratic party. It does little to help improve anything and, even as a secondary goal, it won’t even help win them the next election because for so many people, it is a transparent attempt by an elite institution to preserve its elite status and there is now a great amount of cynicism about that that didn’t exist at the same level ten years ago. If the left right now is serious about being the left, then they need to put the energy, resources, and focus their attention in pressuring the Democratic party to clean house and to coax candidates who actually hold genuine progressive policies and work to challenge the dominant institutions in the country. To do anything but that, in my view, is to tread water and I see a lot of water treading going on at the moment.
« Last Edit: December 23, 2016, 09:44:02 AM by Chocolate Shake Man » Logged
Chocolate Shake Man
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« Reply #258 on: December 23, 2016, 08:10:43 AM »

CSM and Emily, I enjoy reading your political posts. You're both very knowledgeable and thoughtful, not to mention ready to challenge default positions many of us have.

SOOOO mutual.

Same here!
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« Reply #259 on: December 23, 2016, 11:01:44 AM »

CSM and Emily, I enjoy reading your political posts. You're both very knowledgeable and thoughtful, not to mention ready to challenge default positions many of us have.

SOOOO mutual.

Same here!
Yay. Happy corner.
Very good points above. I will respond.
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Emily
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« Reply #260 on: December 23, 2016, 12:59:43 PM »



Quote
Without regard to Russian or US history, I think Putin deserves the censure. The US does a lot that's wrong, but it does have on its side the one good point that, until now, white nationalist movements have not been publicly successful (well... since we stopped, you know, being an essentially white nationalist country). They've been very successful in Russia, increasingly so in Western Europe, and now successful in the US. And I believe that Putin is an active contributor to that movement and that it's right to counter that movement.
Do I need to step back and think about that witch hunt having parallels to the "red scare" witch hunts? I do - and I will. Thanks for the prompt. But I can't come to the conclusion that it's not right to counter white nationalism, or Christian nationalism, or nationalism.

I agree we should counter the movement but I also think we need to be careful about how we counter the movement. I thought Saddam Hussein was a tyrannical monster who committed terrible atrocities. While I would say and would have said then that Hussein deserved censure, I also argued vehemently against the invasion of the country and the regime change that subsequently followed. Moreover, as awful a monster as Hussein was, I also argued against the construction of both him and Iraq by the Western mainstream media because, while partly true, it was also a fabricated construction in order to drum up support for military intervention. I opposed the invasion for several reasons, most glaringly because it was a gross violation of international law. But, moreover, I also opposed it on the grounds that it would increase the threats to global security. Copying and pasting what I've written here before, in October of 2002, in the lead up to the Iraq war, the FBI observed “that a war with Iraq could trigger new domestic terrorism risks.” Meanwhile, Jean-Louis Bruguiere, “the leading French investigation magistrate in charge of counter-terrorism affairs,” observed that “Attacking Iraq would intensify Islamic terrorism, not reduce it.” This, of course, is the reality that came to be and we are now dealing with and, in some places of the world, suffering in large scale ways, as a result of the political establishment not listening to or carrying about these warnings.

In the case of Russia, we have to remember that the United States has been actively participating in hostile and aggressive actions against Russia since the fall of the Berlin wall (the Cold War actions are another kettle of fish) by beginning the process of pushing NATO to the Russian borders. There is now a major US military build up there - and this isn't just because of Putin. It's been in the works for over twenty-five years. And a military battle between the US and Russia poses, in my view, a far greater threat to global security than even the invasion of Iraq did. Several weeks ago, critics quite rightly pointed out the dangers of the Trump-Taiwan call. Is it not similarly dangerous to continually and aggressively piss off the unstable nuclear threat that Russia is at the moment? Even if in bringing up white nationalism we are going to draw parallels between Putin and Hitler (another age-old bit of rhetorical propaganda that I find problematic in this case too), you would surely agree that WWII would have played out much differently had both the US and Germany had nuclear weapons. The liberal establishment in the US seems to be in favour of some kind of fight with Russia - a fight that has been established by the West in their military build up along the Russian borders. And they are now, in my view, attempting to garner support for this fight by actively presenting hearsay as if it were evidence. And while I agree that we should be countering white nationalism, racism, and misinformation that has negative consequences (and, similarly, we shouldn't be justifying or underestimating the terrible actions carried out by the Russian government), I also don't think we are doing anybody any favours by countering this with our own misinformation that is largely spun out by a corporate and political establishment whose goal seems to be an unnecessary and catastrophic war. I suppose in the 1980s it would have been noble for some Western activists to focus attention on, say, Soviet actions in Afghanistan. However, my position would have been that while it was correct to oppose those actions, that it was nevertheless the wrong issue for Western activists to focus on and moreover, I might ask them to consider what institutional forces were at work in shaping that issue as the one to focus on.
I actually completely agree. I don't think making a fuss about Putin is what the US government should be doing right now. Unfortunately, Putin has inserted himself into my pet issue - the radicalization of the American right (and I firmly believe he has and I still disagree with you about evidence). So I'm griping about Putin and his role in misinformation - but I don't think that here's anything for the gov't to do about that other than focusing on improving education (which won't happen for at least four years). I mention Putin as an added point to the misinformation problem - not as an urging to combat Putin.
However - I do think that Russia is aggressively expansionist and that countering that is an appropriate action for the international community. When the USSR broke up, Russia tried hard to retain control of its colonies, particularly those with significant oil or potential pipeline routes. It has insinuated itself into the politics of those that did officially break away to his he degree that several "presidents" who have put off further elections in their countries are Russian puppets. There is a strong sense in Russia that the former colonies, east and west, should "belong" to Russia. It's not uncommon for Malarossya to still be used for the Galician region and Ukraine.
Note: I said international community, not the US. The US is not in a position to bug other places about colonialism. However, Western European countries who have divested themselves of their colonies, former colonies, and the countries under discussion should feel free, as far as I'm concerned, to band together to address expansionist movement by Russia.

I have arrived at my station. I will respond to the below this evening.


« Last Edit: December 27, 2016, 05:24:16 AM by Emily » Logged
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« Reply #261 on: December 23, 2016, 06:48:34 PM »

Trump would not approve of me because I have insufficient stamina. I'm falling asleep. Hasta manana.
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« Reply #262 on: December 27, 2016, 05:21:54 AM »

There are a lot of different things going on here, from my perspective, and I am, again, on a phone, so forgive me if this is too disorganized to be clear.
Regarding the earlier discussion with FDP - that's where my final edit to my above post comes in. In that discussion we were talking about governing Democrats.  If you are talking about governing Democrats, yes, any *shock and outrage* expressed regarding electoral interference is both fake and hypocritical.  Regarding general population Democrats, shock would be naive or fake. But for a GP Democrat, outrage may not be hypocritical. It may be consistent. So in my comments above, I was assuming the latter, or more specifically, me. I don't feel hypocritical being pissed off by a tampered with election as I'm usually pissed off by tampered with elections.

I completely agree here. As I hope you know, I greatly respect your opinion and I think by now I understand your positions on the issues. But I should have made it clear that I wasn't calling you a hypocrite for your stance. I apologize for that.

Quote
You and I may differ about the Soviet Union and that may be a whole other discussion. But, to me,  the Soviet Union was pretty well hijacked by authoritarian oligarchs by the mid-twenties. Stalin ran an intense misinformation based propaganda machine that is a nice precursor to Putin's.
Do I think the red scare stuff in the US made sense or was OK?  No. not because the Soviet Union didn't suck, but because the red scare stuff went after leftists by linking them to the Soviet Union when the Soviet Union wasn't left. The Soviet Union was basically a reintroduction of serfdom- the Tsarist order without the Tsar. Corporate interests took a advantage of the Russian Revolution by pretending it wasn't overthrown, pretending the Soviet Union was left, then vilifying the US left based on that, and running them underground.

We don't differ about the Soviet Union at all. I've said much the same thing, though not as convincingly, here:

http://smileysmile.net/board/index.php/topic,22945.msg544759.html#msg544759

Quote
Without regard to Russian or US history, I think Putin deserves the censure. The US does a lot that's wrong, but it does have on its side the one good point that, until now, white nationalist movements have not been publicly successful (well... since we stopped, you know, being an essentially white nationalist country). They've been very successful in Russia, increasingly so in Western Europe, and now successful in the US. And I believe that Putin is an active contributor to that movement and that it's right to counter that movement.
Do I need to step back and think about that witch hunt having parallels to the "red scare" witch hunts? I do - and I will. Thanks for the prompt. But I can't come to the conclusion that it's not right to counter white nationalism, or Christian nationalism, or nationalism.

I agree we should counter the movement but I also think we need to be careful about how we counter the movement. I thought Saddam Hussein was a tyrannical monster who committed terrible atrocities. While I would say and would have said then that Hussein deserved censure, I also argued vehemently against the invasion of the country and the regime change that subsequently followed. Moreover, as awful a monster as Hussein was, I also argued against the construction of both him and Iraq by the Western mainstream media because, while partly true, it was also a fabricated construction in order to drum up support for military intervention. I opposed the invasion for several reasons, most glaringly because it was a gross violation of international law. But, moreover, I also opposed it on the grounds that it would increase the threats to global security. Copying and pasting what I've written here before, in October of 2002, in the lead up to the Iraq war, the FBI observed “that a war with Iraq could trigger new domestic terrorism risks.” Meanwhile, Jean-Louis Bruguiere, “the leading French investigation magistrate in charge of counter-terrorism affairs,” observed that “Attacking Iraq would intensify Islamic terrorism, not reduce it.” This, of course, is the reality that came to be and we are now dealing with and, in some places of the world, suffering in large scale ways, as a result of the political establishment not listening to or carrying about these warnings.

In the case of Russia, we have to remember that the United States has been actively participating in hostile and aggressive actions against Russia since the fall of the Berlin wall (the Cold War actions are another kettle of fish) by beginning the process of pushing NATO to the Russian borders. There is now a major US military build up there - and this isn't just because of Putin. It's been in the works for over twenty-five years. And a military battle between the US and Russia poses, in my view, a far greater threat to global security than even the invasion of Iraq did. Several weeks ago, critics quite rightly pointed out the dangers of the Trump-Taiwan call. Is it not similarly dangerous to continually and aggressively piss off the unstable nuclear threat that Russia is at the moment? Even if in bringing up white nationalism we are going to draw parallels between Putin and Hitler (another age-old bit of rhetorical propaganda that I find problematic in this case too), you would surely agree that WWII would have played out much differently had both the US and Germany had nuclear weapons. The liberal establishment in the US seems to be in favour of some kind of fight with Russia - a fight that has been established by the West in their military build up along the Russian borders. And they are now, in my view, attempting to garner support for this fight by actively presenting hearsay as if it were evidence. And while I agree that we should be countering white nationalism, racism, and misinformation that has negative consequences (and, similarly, we shouldn't be justifying or underestimating the terrible actions carried out by the Russian government), I also don't think we are doing anybody any favours by countering this with our own misinformation that is largely spun out by a corporate and political establishment whose goal seems to be an unnecessary and catastrophic war. I suppose in the 1980s it would have been noble for some Western activists to focus attention on, say, Soviet actions in Afghanistan. However, my position would have been that while it was correct to oppose those actions, that it was nevertheless the wrong issue for Western activists to focus on and moreover, I might ask them to consider what institutional forces were at work in shaping that issue as the one to focus on.

Quote
And I do think there's a difference in the reality of the threat. But I think you and I differ in our evaluation of the level and extent of the reality of that threat. I think you give "revolting against elites" credence where I see revolting FOR elites. Different elites, but elites none-the-less.

I'm afraid I don't understand what you mean by this. Who do I see as revolting against elites but are actually revolting for elites?

Quote
A shorter way to say this - while Clinton may have -100 on corporate friendliness, she has -50 on foreign policy as she worked hard to push women's education and rights as SoS and +90 on social justice, while most DC Democrats are -100, -100, +10.  As I consider DC Democrats to be her frame, I don't have this "Clinton = evil bad person" thing. I have more of a "she's a decent person making choices in a bad frame." As I would say for a white person from the 1860s US who says some really racist stuff and maybe does some racist stuff, but is actively fighting against the institution of slavery.
Does that make sense?

It does make sense. Unfortunately for Clinton, it's 2016 and not 2004 and I think this is a crucial difference. In 2004, the American public sentiment and the dominant political system was such that there was no choice but to go full on and support a candidate like Clinton - one who was socially liberal but pretty far right-wing on just about every other issue. But the world changed by 2016. By 2016, the American population had been quite rightly fed up with the political and economic establishment that was running the country and they were now aware of what was true for such a long time that this establishment had been contributing so negatively to their everyday life. Trump, as we know, hijacked this sentiment and used it for his own ends. The Washington Democrat establishment did all but ignore the sentiment completely, believing that their same old way of doing things would work again. Their ignorance to the realities of American life was so severe that they didn't even campaign in states that they believed were locks, despite many analysts saying otherwise. This ignorance of the American people and confidence in the status quo was precisely what many Americans were upset about in 2016. While it by and large always worked for both political parties up until, say, 2008, it's now, quite simply, a different world. Indeed, this was the first time in a very long time, when the candidate with the largest financial backing did not win the US election (though, in all fairness, she did win the popular vote).

 I say this in all seriousness: had the liberal establishment had any idea of what the world was like out there, they should have been plunging their focus, attention, and resources into Bernie Sanders' campaign not the monied, Wall Street candidate. Even without this attention and without these resources, the evidence shows that he had a better chance of winning against Trump than Clinton. You can imagine what could have happened had he had Clinton's backing. And yet the dominant argument became that he should be supporting her, a dreadful miscalculation in terms of strategy, in my opinion.


Thank you for your patience, as manana became 4 days later.
The thing above about revolt for or against elites that you didn't understand is about this: the motivation of Trump voters. I did, long ago, find and listen to the Amy Goodman clip and read the Sanders would have won article and found that my thinking was affected - or one of my battling internal thoughts was strengthened against another - by the Amy Goodman part, but I found the Sanders part unconvincing. Neither of us has evidence that will establish a definitive right or wrong, so I'm inclined to think it's an agree to disagree sort t of thing - something I rarely do!
But I think Trump voters are NOT Sanders voters. Spend some time hanging around on rightwing sites and read the articles and the comments. There are millions - the Daily Caller, Breitbart, Ingraham, Malkin, freerepublic, infowars, etc. They might be upset with the establishment, but their idea of "the establishment" is "liberals" and, <<cringe at using the word; it repulses me beyond I think anything with its's bundle of misogyny, racism and representation of everything I hate>> "cucks". They were only going to support someone who allows them to think that their election would provide "punishment", a come-uppance for, a crushing of "political correctness" and everything to do with Obama and with feminism and diversity. They were never going to get behind Sanders and they weren't revolting against the establishment. They were revolting FOR corporations against people who want gun control and who want socialized healthcare and a decent safety net (except for white rural people because when they need assistance they aren't "living off the system" they are just getting what's coming to them. They were revolting to privatize education and to keep gas cheap and to crush Islam and those who don't demonize non-Christians. They were revolting to keep out brown people and to reinstate the primacy of white maledom. If Bernie Sanders said what they wanted to hear, he would have become Trump and the left wouldn't have supported him. Look at those sites and read polling of Trump voters. Their biggest enemy isn't the economy (they aren't even the people suffering the most from the economy) and it's not the establishment  it's what they bundle under "political correctness". In surveys that actually listed "political correctness" that's what they chose as their biggest concern. In others, they chose terrorism or immigration, all in cases where the economy was an option. CLINTON voters chose the economy as their primary motivator.
So I think you've misread what's going on here. I think you're right about what they SHOULD be concerned about or motivated by, but not what they ARE.
And if they were, Clinton's policies would have been better than Trump's.

Unfortunately, I'm breaking off again.
I will try to get to the next part later today.


I agree that Clinton is comparatively strong on social justice, whether she's that much stronger than other Democrats, I'll have to take your word. However, there have been some good studies to suggest that in the US, a politician's social outreach is often tied to their financial backing. In other words, Clinton was much stronger in African American communities than Bernie Sanders was, but that was mostly because Sanders didn't have the same resources as Clinton and couldn't get his message into communities as well as Clinton could. The same could be said even more for candidates like Jill Stein. This point only reinforces your own observation that Clinton even approaches social justice “through a corporatist lens.” This suggests to me, though, that it is important for activists to pressure the establishment into giving their support to the candidate who will best serve the needs of that population. And given that Clinton has historically been in favour of policies that, in my view, have done a great deal of damage to minoritized communities (including women), such as the welfare reform bills carried out by Bill Clinton which destroyed the American welfare system, I'm not sure she was the right candidate. As Jacobin points out, for example, welfare reform led to the “Surveillance of low-income women [and] punished black women in disproportionate numbers, resulting in more black children in foster care and black women in prison.” In that case, I would have to imagine that any candidate with a better economic platform than Clinton's would have been better for the issues that you raise: women's health, education and rights, and children's health, education and rights.

I understand and agree with your point that in the US there are very few options and that in such an environment you have to make concessions. This is why I’m on record on this site as supporting Clinton against Trump. But I’m sure you agree that we make concessions so that we might get to something better. To me, that’s the end goal: to not just accept and praise that which we are conceding, but to continually work to do better. But the liberal establishment, just like the extreme right-wing establishment, has a tremendous amount of clout and is skilled at undermining and dodging those attempts. And one of the ways they are doing that right now (and have been doing for a year) is by stifling legitimate criticism of Hillary Clinton, painting her, instead, as an excellent candidate whose aim for presidency was undermined by racists, misogynists, idiots, James Comey, Russians, Jon Stewart retiring, etc. To me, this is a great effort in maintaining the status quo within the Democratic party. It does little to help improve anything and, even as a secondary goal, it won’t even help win them the next election because for so many people, it is a transparent attempt by an elite institution to preserve its elite status and there is now a great amount of cynicism about that that didn’t exist at the same level ten years ago. If the left right now is serious about being the left, then they need to put the energy, resources, and focus their attention in pressuring the Democratic party to clean house and to coax candidates who actually hold genuine progressive policies and work to challenge the dominant institutions in the country. To do anything but that, in my view, is to tread water and I see a lot of water treading going on at the moment.
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« Reply #263 on: December 27, 2016, 03:51:47 PM »


I agree that Clinton is comparatively strong on social justice, whether she's that much stronger than other Democrats, I'll have to take your word. However, there have been some good studies to suggest that in the US, a politician's social outreach is often tied to their financial backing. In other words, Clinton was much stronger in African American communities than Bernie Sanders was, but that was mostly because Sanders didn't have the same resources as Clinton and couldn't get his message into communities as well as Clinton could. The same could be said even more for candidates like Jill Stein. This point only reinforces your own observation that Clinton even approaches social justice “through a corporatist lens.” This suggests to me, though, that it is important for activists to pressure the establishment into giving their support to the candidate who will best serve the needs of that population. And given that Clinton has historically been in favour of policies that, in my view, have done a great deal of damage to minoritized communities (including women), such as the welfare reform bills carried out by Bill Clinton which destroyed the American welfare system, I'm not sure she was the right candidate. As Jacobin points out, for example, welfare reform led to the “Surveillance of low-income women [and] punished black women in disproportionate numbers, resulting in more black children in foster care and black women in prison.” In that case, I would have to imagine that any candidate with a better economic platform than Clinton's would have been better for the issues that you raise: women's health, education and rights, and children's health, education and rights.

Yes - the welfare reform and the criminal justice reform from B Clinton's presidency were awful. Here's a difficult queation for me: where does he end and she begin? We all know it's expected of the spouse of the president to smile and support everything he does. We also know that the press talked a lot about how she damaged his presidency by being too feminist, too independent, etc. we know she caved to pressur to change her hair and clothes and make up to those of a Washington wife. We know she resist d and made sarcasteic comments and that commenters and her husband's campaign team went berserk. We know she was considered a liability until he was caught cheating on her.
So do we now say that his legislation is on her because she smiled and nodded as demanded?
During law school she worked for a local children's aid org. She participated in civil rights actions. She wrote a thesis that Newt Gingrich faked outrage about during B Clinton's campaign because she "compared the family to slavery" (she pointed out that kids had no more legal rights than slaves.) She volunteered at a free legal services clinic and, separately, worked pro bono on child abuse cases. She did research for Mondale's subcommittee for migratory labor. For her summer internship she chose a firm that specialized in rights and civil liberties law. She then worked at the children's defense fund. When she went to Arkansas, one of the first things she did was set up a free legal aid clinic at the university at which she worked. When she joined a law firm, she spent significant time doing pro bono advocacy.
Here's where things start to change: B Clinton is elected governor. Then after one term, he loses. The media says he lost because people didn't n't approve of his wife: she kept her last name, she works, she's a feminist, she doesn't wear make up: Arkansans can't relate to her. She starts changing all that. He gets reelected. From then on, she subsumes herself in support of his career. Every time she expresses her independent opinion or steps out of political wife mode - the media says she's a liability. She starts wearing monochrome suits and helmet hair. She transforms into modern Hillary - who also over time publicly supports her husband's policies.
But, still founded the Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families and was a director then chair of the Legal Services Corporation under Carter. In Arkansas she chaired the rural health advisory committee, expanding medical services that rural poor people.  
Etc. etc. even as sec. of State she made meetings conditional on women's and children's rights; she ensured that US foreign aid was supporting women's and children's health - as well as men's which is the default. She  started a clean cook-stoves initiatives which, if you've spent time listening to Nicaraguans hacking at age 20 and learn that lung diesease is the primary cause of early death, you realize is not as trump vial as it may sound, and so on.
So, while I agree that she's severely compromised in terms of corporatism and the war industry, and while because of those things, she would never be my dream nominee, I think that her core is focused elsewhere and that the public image of her as driven by those things - or your comment above regarding social outreach being tied to financial backing miss the point. Her core is feminist. I believe that.
Here's a story that I may have put on this board before. It happened when I was very young and it affected my thinking.
A friend of my dad's moved to the very rightwing (among academic economists)University of Chicago. When he moved, he was significantly left. When he died he was significantly right. He obit said that this was inevitable because he was liberal, and a liberal is open to other's reasoning and is willing to meet people halfway, by nature. Thus a liberal at the U of Chicago is going to compromise to the right so often that he will eventually be right himself.
I don't know about that being a truism, but it's what I think happened to H Clinton. This, though I firmly disagree with her on the majority of her policies, I feel comfortable thinking of her as someone who is actually well-intentioned (not in the sense that everyone is, but in the sense that some people are actually just asshole les, some people are so passive it doesn't matter, and some people actively seek to do the right thing). I think she's in the latter group but that her ties have led her down the wrong path. And I DON'T pretend that would have magically disappeared if she were president. I would've been very annoyed by a lot of her policy - but I imagine less than an am by Obama's. I think she would've been a modest improvement.
So, this, and the fact that I, a woman in a field still dominated by men, in which i'm often the only woman in the room, in which I get some of the same reactions as Clinton, in which people who are CERTAIN they don't have a sexist bone in their body judge me differently from my male peers. In which I have to worry about whether I'm smiling to much or seeming angry or emotional or blah blah. In which much of the vibe - the different standards, the kinds of things people choose to indicate why they don't support her - of the "she's not a good candidate" think reeks of sexism - it gives me a different fish to fry. Were she a man, my response would've probably been different. But my response is driven to a great degree by other people's responses to her, which I find incredibly frustrating.



I understand and agree with your point that in the US there are very few options and that in such an environment you have to make concessions. This is why I’m on record on this site as supporting Clinton against Trump. But I’m sure you agree that we make concessions so that we might get to something better. To me, that’s the end goal: to not just accept and praise that which we are conceding, but to continually work to do better. But the liberal establishment, just like the extreme right-wing establishment, has a tremendous amount of clout and is skilled at undermining and dodging those attempts. And one of the ways they are doing that right now (and have been doing for a year) is by stifling legitimate criticism of Hillary Clinton, painting her, instead, as an excellent candidate whose aim for presidency was undermined by racists, misogynists, idiots, James Comey, Russians, Jon Stewart retiring, etc. To me, this is a great effort in maintaining the status quo within the Democratic party. It does little to help improve anything and, even as a secondary goal, it won’t even help win them the next election because for so many people, it is a transparent attempt by an elite institution to preserve its elite status and there is now a great amount of cynicism about that that didn’t exist at the same level ten years ago. If the left right now is serious about being the left, then they need to put the energy, resources, and focus their attention in pressuring the Democratic party to clean house and to coax candidates who actually hold genuine progressive policies and work to challenge the dominant institutions in the country. To do anything but that, in my view, is to tread water and I see a lot of water treading going on at the moment.
To me, there's a two-fold thing here:
1. I do think misogyny had a strong impact on her lack of support.
2. For the rest, I don't think any Democratic candidate would've been able to stop the train that's been increasing in speed and strength since it was set on the tracks in the 70s. This crazy right-wing movement was going to have its day. Maybe another candidate could have won, but their presidency would've been more derailed than Obama's. Until this business is somehow exercised, it's going to be an albatross around our necks or some such metaphorical mess. And I don't know so much about Jon Stewart': retiring, but I believe all the rest of the factory's s you listed are linked.


PS - add to my last comment, above this one, I think the "elite" has been very responsive to the demands of Trump voters - for years it's been cutting taxes, cutting school and other public service funding, liberalizing gun laws, trying to pass bathroom bills, not confirming liberal judges, arming the police with military-grad weapons, eliminating unions, everything they want, they are getting. And pretty much have been. The elites haven't been neglecting those voters at all.

Good lord - typorama. That's what happens when I'm on my phone and want to get it all out before the end of the train ride!
« Last Edit: December 27, 2016, 03:54:30 PM by Emily » Logged
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« Reply #264 on: December 27, 2016, 05:24:51 PM »

I'll summarize that last post like this: having been a college-aged woman when the Clintons showed up, I was not a fan of B Clinton but was a fan of H Clinton's open feminism, which was very rare and not considered a good idea. I became aware of what she'd done in her career and was impressed. I then watched her get crushed. I'm pretty confident the rise of Rush Limbaugh was linked to the reaction a lot of Americans had to her.  This is when "feminazi" became a term and she was its most frequent target. i feel that much of what's going on in US politics is, ultimately, a reaction against feminism and the ways that feminism has radically changed our culture in the last 50 years.
For me, much of who Clinton is has been defined by that reaction. She's symbolic.  So I can't judge her the way you do - just on her policies. She's a symbol for a cultural war in which I am firmly entrenched. And I feel that much of the opposition to her was driven by partisans in that war.
So this is where the "crucified" and the positive description of her as a person comes from. 
« Last Edit: December 27, 2016, 05:33:04 PM by Emily » Logged
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« Reply #265 on: December 28, 2016, 04:18:32 AM »

Good grief. This is sourced to a real poll.
https://today.yougov.com/news/2016/12/27/belief-conspiracies-largely-depends-political-iden/

And CSM - the Clinton voters are there with Russia hacking (the numbers saying it's true should only be at the level of "preponderance of the evidence" but they are at "no reasonable doubt" levels. They also 50% believe that actual votes were tampered with - for that I haven't seen ANY evidence or even an accusation.

For Trump supporters, there's the (I believe) more ludicrous pizzagate, a significant minority believe aobama was born in Kenya (Huh), Trump's "millions" of illegal votes.

Weirdly, a majority of Clinton voters said that there were WMDs in Iraq "that were never found". I have to wonder if there was a misunderstanding on the part of subjects. At first I read it as "WMDs were never found" in which case I would've said 'true'.

Apparenly majorities of BOTH believe vaccinations cause autism and half of BOTH believe the GEC was “secretly organized by a handful of Wall Street bankers.” I wonder if the response to that would've been different if "intentionally" was inserted.
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« Reply #266 on: December 28, 2016, 07:39:50 AM »

I think the "elite" has been very responsive to the demands of Trump voters - for years it's been cutting taxes, cutting school and other public service funding, liberalizing gun laws, trying to pass bathroom bills, not confirming liberal judges, arming the police with military-grad weapons, eliminating unions, everything they want, they are getting. And pretty much have been. The elites haven't been neglecting those voters at all.

This general idea is something I've been noticing a lot lately: the constant need to be behind (underdog, or oppressed, or whatever the situation calls for), presumably to drum up fundraising and excitement. You need to generate demand, and so you can't get complacent or admit if/when you're already winning. Throughout the Cold War, we heard about how the Soviets were so dangerous, that they were winning the arms race, when any sober review showed they were far behind American might. A charity works hard at messaging to ensure that--however successful it is--people hear that the battle's not won, the disease isn't cured, or there is some new element of the problem to focus on. "We need your help ... click here to donate now!"

So for eight years, we heard totally baseless nonsense about the government coming to take away your guns. Not to regulate them further, no, that's not dramatic. President Obama was going to make all guns illegal. He was going to confiscate them. He was sending in troops to Texas to enforce this action there, first, remember? That little story was REAL. (Not its absurd fairy tale narrative; the story itself.) Right-wing readers believed that sh*t. An ex-girlfriend of mine's dad stocked up on ammo--surprise! the prices had increased dramatically!--because of this. An uncle did the same. Meanwhile actual proposals to slightly regulate the sale of firearms were dismissed entirely as a smokescreen. And we saw the truth. Which was nothing. Nothing happened because nothing was ever going to happen. I expect apologies from the paranoids to start rolling in any time... Gun owners are not the threatened, losing side. They and their supporters are a strong majority in this country. Their rights aren't in danger, despite one party being unable to go a single rally or press conference without bragging about their willingness to stand up to protect the 2nd Amendment, an amendment in no need of protection.

The War on Christmas is another example. Christians are under fire! They're being ATTACKED! It's illegal to practice Christianity in America, where Shariah law rules. Except that's moronic. Christianity may be declining somewhat, but that's a demographic thing more than anything else; this place isn't about to write Shariah into the law books unless it's under its cousin, which would be found in, um, Jewish and Christian holy books (see: Leviticus). ("Oh wait, Luther, we don't take those bits seriously. They were for a different time and place. It's the Muslims we need to worry about.") We've got a huge majority of people constantly shrieking about how they're being oppressed by tiny, weak minorities who have so little power that their lunatics' attempts to find it inevitably involve self immolation: the powerless man's violence.

I know that was just an aside in your post, Emily, but since I'd been thinking about it...
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« Reply #267 on: December 28, 2016, 07:56:26 AM »

To tack onto that thought, by the way, that's one thing I do fear about the coming government: when president, senate, house, and many states are so fully under one party's control, from whence do its mouthpieces find an oppressor? How can "we" be a victimized minority when we're a large majority in power? Well, I fear "we" can always find a "they," who will by definition be minority (considering the majority is in power). Somebody has to be blamed when the world still has problems, when (as anyone with any sense would know) the manufacturing jobs of the '40s-'70s don't come back, when a high school diploma still isn't sufficient to be employed, when salaries and benefits don't climb even though corporate taxes are cut or unions destroyed, when there are non-Christians or non-whites or non-whites expecting equality, when science continues to show that the world isn't 5,000 years old and humanity wasn't shaped from the mud and/or a rib... It has to be somebody's fault, damnit! We're losing!
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« Reply #268 on: December 28, 2016, 08:55:42 AM »

One thing to keep in mind, there will be an uptick in economic activity if Trump passes both his spending and tax cut plans. It will be creating a deeper long-term problem, but will give him and his supporters lots of opportunity to claim success and vindication (see Reagan). It's, again, an education and "real news" problem.
However, there's nothing in his proposals to address income inequality and increase jobs for unskilled labor, so yeah - without NAFTA and brown immigrants, where will the blame go?
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« Reply #269 on: December 29, 2016, 07:35:41 AM »

You realize you're not supposed to say his name.
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« Reply #270 on: December 29, 2016, 07:40:18 AM »

So Trump gets converted to a fantasy movie villain name? We can't say the name of the president of the United States? That's fucking idiotic.
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« Reply #271 on: December 29, 2016, 09:45:53 AM »

So Voldermort gets converted to a fantasy movie villain name? We can't say the name of the president of the United States? That's fucking idiotic.

It's a joke dude, because the mere mention of his name seems to start arguments. It's not permanent. Lighten up.
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« Reply #272 on: December 29, 2016, 09:53:21 AM »

So Voldermort gets converted to a fantasy movie villain name? We can't say the name of the president of the United States? That's fucking idiotic.

It's a joke dude, because the mere mention of his name seems to start arguments. It's not permanent. Lighten up.
Will do. I didn't get the joke, and as you know, there was the other thread that was unpleasant for me (since it seemed to possibly affect the future existence of this thread).
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« Reply #273 on: December 29, 2016, 07:20:40 PM »

Well, they did say something about US representatives in Russia being "harassed." I don't know what that's about, but I hope there's more than meets the eye to justify the Obama escalation regarding Russia.
On the flip side, I guess a strong statement regarding Israeli settlements is better late than never.
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« Reply #274 on: December 29, 2016, 08:02:57 PM »

I see you!
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