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  • Dan Dredger wrote a new post, Post-Election Healing: An Atheist’s Perspective 1 year, 8 months ago

    By Herb Silverman

    This presidential campaign has been the most divisive and hate-filled in my lifetime, and I am both shocked and disappointed by the outcome. However, here are a few thoughts on turning some […]

    • If there is one thing we have learned from the election process it’s that things go in cycles. It’s rare for a party to keep power after 8 years in control. The difference this time is that Republicans will control both houses of Congress and the Presidency, (though in the latter case “control” may be somewhat of a misnomer – who knows, we shall see).

      In one sense this may end up being the best outcome for liberals. I was an enthusiastic supporter of Bernie Sanders, even though in the back of my mind I doubted he had much of a chance. In 2020 he, (or his ideological successor), will have a better one. If Hillary Clinton had won she would have had to govern with a Republican house and probably senate also. Like Barack Obama after 2010, she would have struggled to accomplish anything. Worse, in 4 years time, voters would have had it with the gridlock and inaction and would more than likely have thrown her out anyway, installing a Republican junta that would continue for another eight years.

      Instead we have 4 years to re-group. The movement that propelled Bernie Sanders to almost take the Democratic nomination won’t go away. At the same time Trump cannot possibly deliver on his promises since they are mostly in the realm of fantasy, (he’s already backtracking on immigration and health-care). And in an increasingly connected world, where the prosperity of countries is so closely linked, his isolationist policies are sure to harm the US far more than help it. So in 2020 we will be in a unique position to sweep not only the presidency but the Senate and possibly house as well. But to do that we need the right candidate. My hope is that the Democratic leadership learns well the lessons of this election and chooses a candidate who will unite and not divide the left. Four years of Donald Trump? Yeah, it sucks. But look towards 2020 and there is a light at the end of this tunnel.

    • Post election healing! That madman isn’t even in office yet. I have to say this: Silverman is irrelevant, and fixated on atheism. Trump’s an atheist! Great! Theism is the least of our problems right now!

    • “Nothing to worry about”….
      Hmm. A short time ago a group that took over a Oregon federal park office was found innocent.
      Neo-nazi groups are rising in the US.
      Now we have the religious and Neo-nazi’s voting in Trumps.

      And I’m minority and on SS. No, I’m not “worried”.

    • “Gimme Some Truth” (John Lennon)

      . . . The repression of dissents will soon resemble the repression under past totalitarian regimes. State security will become an invasive and palpable presence. The most benign forms of opposition will be treated as if they are a threat to national security. Many, hoping to avoid the wrath of the state, will become compliant and passive. We, however, must fight back. We must carry out sustained acts of civil disobedience, as many have done in streets around the country since the election. But we must also be aware that the democratic space allotted to us in our system of inverted totalitarianism has become much, much smaller.

      Trump, with no democratic institutions left to restrain him, will accelerate the corporate assault, from privatizing Social Security to exonerating militarized police forces for the indiscriminate murder of unarmed citizens, while he unleashes the fossil fuel industry and the war industry to degrade and most probably extinguish life on earth. His administration will be populated by the lunatic fringe of the Republican Party, men and women characterized by profound intellectual and moral impoverishment, as well as a stunning ability to ignore reality. These ideologues speak exclusively in the language of intimidation and violence.

      . . . Rudy Giuliani; Newt Gingrich, who advocates stripping U.S. citizens of their citizenship if they are deemed to be terrorists; retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn and John Bolton—these men will not exhibit legal or moral restraint. They see the world through the Manichaean lens of good and evil, black and white, patriot and traitor. Politics have been transformed, as philosopher Walter Benjamin wrote of fascism, into aesthetics. And the ultimate aesthetic experience for the fascist, Benjamin warned, is war . . .

      . . . State terror and state violence, familiar to poor people of color in our internal colonies, will become familiar to all of us. Racism, nationalism, misogyny, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, intolerance, white supremacy, religious bigotry, hate crimes and a veneration of the hypermasculine values of military culture will define political and cultural discourse. The ruling elites will attempt to divert the growing frustration and rage toward the vulnerable—undocumented workers, Muslims, African-Americans, Latinos, homosexuals, feminists and others. White vigilante violence will be directed at those the state demonizes with little or no legal ramifications. New enemies, at home and abroad, will be manufactured. Our endless wars in the Middle East will be expanded, perhaps to include a confrontation with Russia . . .

      . . . Trump is emblematic of what anthropologists call “crisis cults.” A society in terminal decline often retreats into magical thinking. Reality is too much to bear. It places its faith in the fantastic and impossible promises of a demagogue or charlatan who promises the return of a lost golden age. The good jobs will come back. The nation will again be prosperous. The decrepit cities will be rebuilt. America will be great again. These promises, impossible to achieve, are no different from those peddled to Native Americans in the 1880s by the self-styled religious prophet Wovoka. He called on followers to carry out five-day dance ceremonies called the Ghost Dance. Native Americans donned shirts they were told protected them from bullets. They were assured that the buffalo herds would return, the dead warriors and chiefs would rise from the earth and the white men would disappear. None of his promises was realized. Many of his followers were gunned down like sheep by the U.S. army.

      . . . We face the most profound crisis in human history. Our response is to elect a man to the presidency who does not believe in climate change. Once societies unplug themselves from reality, those who speak truth become pariahs and enemies of the state. They are subject to severe state repression. Those lost in the reverie of the crisis cult applaud the elimination of these Cassandras. The appealing myths of magical thinking are pleasant opiates. But this narcotic, like all narcotics, leads to squalor and death.

      —Chris Hedges on Trump’s victory
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chris_Hedges

    • Healing is not achieved by pouring destructive infections into wounds or evidence deniers into managing real life problems! !

    • I think it is wrong-headed to make light of Trump. There has never been a world leader as dangerous, and I include Stalin and Hitler.

      He has been accused of 18 sexual assaults. Americans have come to think this is OK. It is just boys being boys.
      He and his friend Jeffrey Epstein tied a 13-year old virgin, Katie Johnson, to a bed and repeatedly gang raped her before two witnesses. This is going to court in December. Americans dismiss this as a “lie” without any investigation. In America, the rich are always innocent. They can hire the cleverest lawyers and keep appealing to ensure it.

      He said “I love war, including nuclear war”. In my mind, this one sentence should disqualify him. Sane people don’t say things like that. The consequences are so serious, it is CRAZY to just assume for some reason he did not mean it. We take seriously any threat on the president’s life. This is MUCH more serious.

      He said he is in favour of nuclear proliferation, starting with Japan, South Korea and Saudi Arabia.

      He and his VP and head of the EPA are all climate change deniers who say they are going to stop all activity to reduce greenhouse gases. They want to increase coal and fossil fuel use. (This is because Trump was funded my the Koch brothers who will die soon and hence do not care about climate change. What matters is some extra profit from fossil fuels). A four year hiatus will send us over the tipping point . From then it is an inevitable gradual decline to oblivion.

      Just because that is too horrible to contemplate is no excuse to ignore it.

    • @john.wb

      In one sense this may end up being the best outcome for liberals.

      More women will be abused in all sorts of ways. The world has a POTUS who wants to use nuclear weapons. More pro-choice judges in the SCOTUS. National Parks destroyed. Climate change accelerated. Yep looking good.

    • @Roedy

      I gave you a like because I agreed with what you said not because I “liked” what you said 🙁

    • michael #10

      like

    • Roedy: There has never been a world leader as dangerous, and I include Stalin and Hitler.

      What are your points of comparison?

      He and his friend Jeffrey Epstein tied a 13-year old virgin, Katie Johnson, to a bed and repeatedly gang raped her before two witnesses. This is going to court in December. Americans dismiss this as a “lie” without any investigation. In America, the rich are always innocent.

      I haven’t heard of this case but it should have made headlines in mainline media, online media, social media, and the blogosphere by now. The American people and American prosecutors, judges and jurors do not dismiss charges of gang rape of tied-up 13 year-old virgins buttressed by the [credible] testimony of two [eye?] witnesses. Now the only relevant question is how this sewage passed the smell test with our moderator.

    • Melvin, this needs two “allegedly-s” inserting to dissipate any pong. The mods could usefully insert these into Roedy’s post now, identifying this change. The case got put back as it was reformulated to accommodate the new evidence from Epstein’s procurer.

      Here’s Snopes.

      http://www.snopes.com/2016/06/23/donald-trump-rape-lawsuit/

      Allegedly Trump has a total of 3500 legal actions, in play or pending, against him or against others. This may be entirely normal for a billionaire for all I know.

      I commented here on this particular issue a month or two ago. I think commenting is scant because it is subjudice. No one, for whatever reason they are crossing their fingers, will want to affect the quality of the court case.

    • My esteemed co member Phil and all my other Dawkins site friends:

      There’s a short list of top cabinet position in this article below, seems like something out of a horror movie: Bolton (a war monger), Pence (a religious fanatic who doesn’t think Darwin’s theory is a “fact”), Gingrich (who’s been trying to privatize medicare forever), Palin (an imbecile and religious nut-job), Carson (a psychotic who seems to be missing part of his frontal lobe), Sessions (an arch reactionary), Mr. Bannon (alt-right conspiracy theorist and propagandistic) already appointed as Chief Adviser, and the climate-denying person (monster) who will be in charge of the environment. There are others. All part of the lunatic fringe of the so-called Republican party. Hard to bare.

      Guys, Gals, I think we should start taking care of our affairs, make our amends, talk to our loved ones and tell them we love them. Something tells me we’re not going to make it. Not from the looks of things. We will lapse into barbarism in a short time. That’s what my gut tells me. I hope my gut is wrong. But it don’t look good.

      Totalitarianism and violence is coming to the USA. Extinction is a real possibility as well. I feel angry, and sad to the core. Such an astonishing and wonderful species we are. Look how far we’ve come, how much beauty has been created, how many ideas have been created! Such ingenuity! So much progress!

      I believe that the Republicans are essentially homicidal and suicidal, have a collective death wish or instinct of some kind. I don’t know what Haidt says about them, Phil; but they seem self destructive, obsessed, and hostile to life; like Jehovah they will blast us all out of existence.

      I wonder how long this site will last. They’ll take it down, I’m sure – or almost sure.

      http://mobile.nytimes.com/2016/11/14/us/politics/donald-trump-transition.html

    • Dan, (fellow Comrades and Capitalists)

      they seem self destructive, obsessed, and hostile to life..

      True but this is despite themselves. Theirs is a mad scrabble to bury their collective heads in the sand, despairing that the world isn’t like when they were kids. They simply want to put all the new stuff, the hard truths, away.

      They were helped this time with a new cohort of the dispossessed, paradoxically those who have spotted the rich parasites taking more than their fair share and excluding them any say in the running of their own country. The parasites buy power and influence. This is usual, but they have been keeping too much back and buying too much influence.

      Its fascinating that Haidtian right wing loyalty is so robust that these newly awakened dispossessed, who by rights should be natural leftists, can be absorbed on the right with barely a ripple to that loyalty.

      The parasites mostly haunt the right because fear, that loudest of right wing dog whistles, is a deliciously easy whistle to blow.

      The task ahead of us (on the left) is to unpick this new dispossessed cohort and return them to their rightful place with us. We must struggle for a real solution to their/our problems, a decent share, representation worth a damn…

      This is the start of a horrid time, hard work too, but it may be the rebirth of Politics. Hurrah! No longer micro-aggressions or the wrong chorizo at the supermarket, now the First World has some proper problems to get its teeth into….

    • Pinball1970: How easy difficult is going to be get any of his initiatives through the houses?

      Trump’s victory elevated him to a very precarious position. The constitution gives him a four year term
      and that’s it, unless he wins a second term. Unlike Obama he did not ride in with significant down-ballot support for large majorities in the House and Senate. The Republican majorities in Congress held on – not from positive victories but from relatively fewer losses than expected. Hillary won the popular vote by at least one million -perhaps over two million votes- when all votes are counted in California and other west-coast blue states. His overall electoral support is razor-thin. He enjoys no mandate. To the contrary, he faces more partisan opposition in Congress and huge negatives among the public than Obama did in 2008. He has already walked back substantive opposition to the main provisions of the Affordable Care Act, mass immigrant deportation (he’s now limited deportation largely to criminals). Obama warned him of realpolitik consequences for upsetting the continuity of effective domestic polices and foreign agreements. He’s probably much more attentive to the self-destructive consequences of taking extreme actions -such as a trade war with China and others- that inflict damaging disruptions on the American economy, and further setbacks in dollar devaluation, household incomes, wages and standards of living. If Trump takes any concrete actions outside of token gestures to fulfill his “comprehensive” agenda he will likely incur the wrath of public opinion and the voters will turn him and Republicans out of office. His small base will spin their wheels in futile spite when they watch him “break his promises” while the rest of the electorate – that never gave him a majority in the first place – will simply vote in Democrats and reject the Loser.

    • @21

      further setbacks in dollar devaluation, household incomes, wages and standards of living.

      This is what I’m fearful of now. The stock market is holding steady after a post election blip but what will happen when Odious Turd tries to implement his bizarre ideas? All the middle class needs now is for the stock market to tank, wiping out their retirement funds and for the housing market to crash and that will be the kiss of death for the American middle class.

      I can deal with what I think is inevitable for abortion rights. I will happily protest and volunteer for that cause, it’s not a problem at all. It will be a pleasure to get out there and rant and rave for it but if the economy tanks then that is a catastrophe that will affect my whole family, severely limiting the quality of life that we’ve carved out for our kids. This is what makes Canada (6 hour drive to the north) look like a shining beacon of hope. After all, the do have McGill U….just sayin….

    • @ Melvin (#21)

      From your mouth to Dog’s ears.

    • Phil #13: Melvin, this needs two “allegedly-s” inserting to dissipate any pong.

      Naive people of good will could suggest this qualification. Reading the Snopes article, Roedy’s j’accuse tabloid story morphs into a statement of fact describing a crime so heinous that upon conviction it would justify a life sentence in a court of law. The 35 year-old accuser claims Trump repeatedly raped her in 1994 when she was 13 at multiple parties where underage girls were recruited to serve as sex slaves to older wealthy men. Aggravating circumstances include involuntary bondage, sadistic violence perpetrated during the rapes, and ignoring incessant pleading for mercy by the helpless girl. The accuser claims that she was disabled by fear from reporting the crimes for 23 years because Trump explicitly threatened to kill her and her family.

      These are not the accusations of shady business practices or conflicts of interest. No matter how much one despises Trump, malicious gossip depicting him as a violent criminal guilty of an atrocity that beggars the imagination does not belong on this site. (I’m giving my opinion on a single offensive comment presented as a matter of fact left to stand unchallenged on the thread. In no way do I advocate banning any person from commenting.)

    • Melvin

      Roedy’s j’accuse tabloid story morphs into a statement of fact

      which is why, (even now, Mods!) the post should be…. modified.

      Given the 18 or so allegations of sexual misconduct, widely circulated, reporting material of public record submitted to the courts, providing it is correctly identified, is not a problem for me. There is a growing public interest issue of one sort or another, corrupt would-be public servant, or plot to defame an innocent man, or to Roedy’s point an indifference in half of the voting public to any possibility of his (at least verbal) sexism.

      There is also the assymmetry of allegations and affecting outrage between both sides of the political divide that needed addressing.

    • Laurie, Phil, Cairsley, Pinball, Bonnie, et al—

      Here’s what I recommend for post election healing: Reading. I just read the first few chapters of Singer’s book. Not too bad. But what the hell is a “moral expert”?

      Elizabeth Warren just sent this to Trump (below). It’s galling; Trump (who is truly fearsome) criticized Hillary all through the election for colluding with corporate lobbyists. Maybe people, after they realize that they were duped will wake up a little, and be a little more discriminating next time. I think he’s going to fuck up. I am not so worried now, but I was earlier. I go back and forth – between terror and “it’ll be okay.” Perhaps it’ll be a lame duck administration after the mid-terms. Canada. I love Montreal! How much would a one bedroom cost? I could live like a king! Must be cheaper than the upper east side of Manhattan.

      Sen. Elizabeth Warren today excoriated Donald Trump’s first decisions as president-elect in a series of attacks aimed at financiers on his short list for the Treasury Department and the hiring of Steve Bannon as his White House chief strategist.

      Speaking at a Wall Street Journal event in Washington, the Massachusetts Democrat criticized Trump for “hiring a bunch of lobbyists” to run his transition team and for floating “names of people who’ve run giant hedge funds … to be able to run the Treasury or people who’ve come from industry to be able to run the regulatory agencies.”

      Nice comments. Thanks. Cairsley, that was a good one. Optimistic in a strange sort of way. Hi, Pinball. Don’t worry. Even the top, top pollsters were stunned.

      (I feel a little better today, but the team he is putting together is cause for real concern. Brownback now? Backed by the Koch brothers, a trickle-down psychopath.)

      I have to say: Sanders, a good man indeed, talks too much about the “revolution.” There is no revolution!! Not yet. I find that irritating.

    • Dan

      I think he’s going to fuck up.

      Oh yes! Big time! Sooner rather than later. Which leads us back to my prediction that he will be impeached in no time flat. You heard it here first! (I will demand full credit when this comes true) Then we’ll have that frightening brainwashed Pence to deal with along with his minions of brainwashed jesus freaks. They hate you and they hate me too. Whimper.

      I love Montreal! How much would a one bedroom cost? I could live like a king! Must be cheaper than the upper east side of Manhattan.

      Cheaper than Boston too.
      I could be happy there. Let’s buy a couple of chateaus and situate ourselves with the progressive cafe society forthwith. We shall fashion ourselves as the great hope of the post-enlightenment era. Exiles of a sort, rallying the forces of the unified secular society against the fascist white power pigs and all done just north of the border to insure that we don’t end up on the business end of a garrote. We will have healthcare without getting screwed out of thousands of dollars and then getting kicked off the plan just when we need it the most! What will that be like I wonder?

      We will hold public readings of the works of the Enlightenment philosophes. Voltaire, Paine and Diderot. That will get them fired up.

    • I think its time to admit that the Civil War was a mistake. Give the South back and throw in some other states that seem infected. Let them call themselves the American Southern Union but don’t tell them it is a backward version of the USA.

      The remainder should be ceded to Canada, all the US western seaboard, the top eastern seaboard, Illinois and the protectorate of Austin TX. The United States of Canada will become the new moral, political and commercial power house. The Americans will get some much needed culture and the Canadians will get a personality boost and a bit more respect, whats not to like? I’d move there like a shot.

      Sadly, though it is not an outcome to inflict on so many Southern Union kids. They deserve better than now not worse. Maybe, Dan, if you could see your way to overcoming your aversion to Sander’s R-word, others could too. Its time to overcome government-phobia, re-connect its broken links to the people and its broken links to the other organs and institutions of the country. The enemy are not the dumb fearful, so easily dog whistled, but the the brighter folks, the libertarians, who want the state steering wheel disconnected. Theirs is the plan coming true. Breitbart-Trump, the team from Randian Hell.

      Yesterday, I bought Sander’s new book. I’ll report back….

    • Laurie,

      Hi. How are you holding up?

      Your ex pat scenario sounds like paradise . . . But I must say, I feel torn; what about your run in 2020?! I, as your chief adviser, order. . .er, want you to at least consider staying in the US. Steven OO7, your future running mate, agrees. (Right Steven?)

      Campaign slogan: Make America…. Let me work on it. (Bonnie, help me out with that one.)

      Wouldn’t it be great if Trump’s victory is declared null and void as a result of the discovery of bribery or coercion or some other illegal act(s)? I have a feeling he might be declared unfit and outed before he is even inaugurated. Or maybe the electors will switch their votes to Hillary. They are called “faithless electors.” It’s a long shot. It would be a first in US history. (Am I in denial still? No! She still has a chance.)

    • Phil,

      Sanders reached a lot of people and made them aware of many things. That might make it more likely for those who supported him to revolt against trump. That’s a very good thing. He may have made revolt more likely to happen. But when he talks about “the revolution” as though it is already happening he sounds like just another politician with a mantra.

    • Dan and Laurie, how would you like to spend the next four years being haunted (hunted) by Elizabeth Warren?
      This is going to be a great show!
      And Laurie can have the credit when they impeach him. We will send you a free year of smiley faces.
      I say he doesn’t last two years.

    • Re: Bannon

      “Bannon led Breitbart after the death of owner Andrew Breitbart in 2012 until August 2016. Some headlines that appeared in the publication under his helm included “Bill Kristol: Republican Spoiler, Renegade Jew”; “A Short List of Black Lives Matter’s Cop-Killing Heroes”; and “Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive and Crazy.” ”

      There you have it: sexism, racism, and anti-semitism – all under his watch.

      “During our interview, Bannon took credit for fomenting “this populist nationalist movement” long before Trump came on the scene. He credited Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.)—a Trump endorser and confidant who has suggested that civil rights advocacy groups were “un-American” and “Communist-inspired”—with laying the movement’s groundwork. Bannon also pointed to his own films, which include a Sarah Palin biopic and an “exposé” of the Occupy movement, as “very nationalistic films.” Trump, he said, “is very late to this party.” ”
      –Sarah Posner, Mother Jones

      Are we in trouble! Wow! It’s painful.

    • Laurie #27, Don’t you have to buy a beret too? And a funny haircut?

    • The intro to Sanders new book has me feeling better already. I feel positively optimistic.

      His revolution is not a top down one but the one he observed from the bottom up and from the young.

    • Phil #35: The intro to Sanders new book has me feeling better already. I feel positively optimistic.
      His revolution is not a top down one but the one he observed from the bottom up and from the young.

      CNN September 10, 2015: Hillary Clinton confessed Thursday to something liberals have long suspected: being a moderate Democrat.
      “You know, I get accused of being kind of moderate and center,” Clinton told the audience at a Women for Hillary event in Ohio. “I plead guilty.”
      The line is new for Clinton, who spent a large portion of her early campaign casting herself as a liberal fighter who has been progressive for her entire life. To many on the left, those lines never really rang true.
      “I take a backseat to no one,” Clinton told a New Hampshire audience in July, “When you look at my record in standing up and fighting for progressive values.”
      That line was seen as a subtle shot at independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is running to the left of Clinton.

      It’s helpful for those commenting to remember that the United States is a centrist country with the broad center historically electing the representative government. There are obviously significant periods of reform in our history. The last encompassed the Civil Rights Movement and Medicare roughly between 1965 and 1975. The U.S. is not given to revolutions and though progressive in a gradualist sense, the country must maintain sustainability through continuity of economic institutions and policy both domestic and foreign. Donald Trump will self-destruct if he tries to upset the “status quo” apple cart that Americans depend on for survival in the near and middle term. In all the excitement, anyone who looked at Bernie Sanders carefully would conclude that his policies would have destroyed the United States economically and therefore totally. Breaking up the big banks, replacing them with government regulatory powers working in the “public interest,” prosecuting their leadership; taxing investments, financial and asset net worth and income at confiscatory rates; paying for universal “free” medical care and universal “free” college, forgiving debt and putting a moratorium on home mortgage foreclosures, while gutting military budgets and national security – just for starters – would have brought the economy to a screeching halt followed by a crash heard round the world. New York, Chicago, Los Angeles formally the scene of race riots would become the scene of bread riots.

      It makes a big difference which party governs, but these difference take place within a narrow center of the spectrum. The country moves forward by inches not leaps and bounds. As for “youth” – I remember when our slogan was “don’t trust anyone over 30.” That was 1964. And then a funny thing happened. We got inexplicably older. We moved from the far left after turning thirty ( job, wife, family, home, bills and taxes) and became increasingly moderate, centrist and even (horrors!) conservative. There will be no revolution in the United States.

    • Dan

      We need to get Sanders book. I need hope

    • Laurie, Phil—

      Back to feeling despair again. I can’t even joke about you running for president. (29) I am on a roller coaster.

      I am reading Singer’s Ethics. His piece on “moral experts” was unsatisfying: he never defined that ambiguous term!

      Sanders? bottom up? He started his “revolution” when he started campaigning! And they went to his rallies and contributed to his campaign. He made speeches where he told the truth about the need for reform and how the system is rigged and people responded, agreed. What Trump did was more revolutionary: we are facing a fundamental shift to the right, a right-wing revolution. May it implode or be opposed by a stronger counter revolution.

      Maybe I’ll read Sanders. Ugh. Depressed. They finally got what they wanted: a Republican House and Senate and right wing extremists running everything. Disastrous. And we don’t have a clue what these nationalistic war mongering plutocrats (psychopaths) will do!!

    • I accept none of this, Melvin.

      I think you have failed to understand very many of these points. I pick a favourite of mine. Taxing investments.

      Sanders policy was exactly mirrored (subsequently adopted?) by HRC (economic policy #6)

      As President, Senator Sanders will fight for the creation of a tax on Wall Street to significantly reduce speculation and high frequency trading which nearly destroyed the economy seven years ago.

      You have misunderstood this almost perfectly. Discouraging short cycle trading (always zero sum) investments encourages longer term trading reducing instability and moving banking towards the hugely successful German model for the Mittelstand companies, the powerhouse of innovation, where financial institutions become expert in the technology (say) back fewer duff ideas but sustain good ones that may take a little longer to catch. Investment in the US (and too much the UK) has become a casino, trading hundreds of times the nations GDP to trick a fractional percent out of someone else. No value was added, no company could be built.

      In the seventies mathematical modeling of money markets etc. showed that all markets could be gamed if you have big enough chips to play with. This, once Glass Steagal legislation that guarded against banks gambling anyone’s savings away, was overturned in the eighties unlocked a lunatic expansion in abstract or impossibly complex financial instruments of big enough heft to ensure more favourable gambling odds. These were called investments to make them look seemly. They were not. They were the mother and father of all poker chips, the grossest being bundled mortgages, finally cobbled together anyhow.

      There is a huge amount of long term investment that could be made that is not being made. It requires brain power to do right rather than a clinical lack of fear and a super abundance of cocaine and testosterone. It will fuel cash stream service businesses and be secured by longer lived hardware. It will fuel more extensive and focused innovation rather than an incoherent scatter shot of failures, the finance for which are too often pulled too soon.

      Loads and loads more points. The “revolution” is in overturning accepted American wisdom in the face of Northern European and Pacific Rim wisdom.

      That America is an outlier in many things is something the American young have started to noticed. Their unique and unusual absence from the political scene, to the benefit of cat gifs, in the last decade has secured an obstinate right wing that should have normalised to a more usual global level. Waking up to the problems of this in the US is the revolution we need to facilitate, re-engaging the young and having them restore the balance in favour of a gentle, steady progress.

    • Dan, Laurie.

      Now is the time to do bigger things. Become an expert in politics. Argue the bejesus out of lazy thinkers. Understand the difference you can make. This, I suspect, will be the last hurrah of the fearful right ridden by their exploiters. They’ll not go away but this outlier position for the USA will dissipate with an outward looking young if only they can be engaged.

      I was fascinated that crookedshoes was desperately worried about his 19 tear old daughter encountering protesters on the streets. I contrast that with my own 19 year old daughter, who woke me up on the morning of the ninth for a half an hour of grief stricken chat. She would automatically be out there protesting, indeed her lecturers would probably cancel lectures and reconvene on the streets with placards. Indeed I would drive her there.

      Something broke and needs fixing. You can help.

    • Phil

      Crooked caught me by surprise with his negative opinion of protest. I can’t understand it and of course I can’t speak for him. All I can add on this is what I’ve heard from right wingers in my family and when there is any protest movement like the occupy protests and black lives matter, they immediately interpret these protests as minorities and all sorts of losers who were just sitting around waiting for one little thing to happen so they could swarm out into the streets and smash up the place and loot, etc. Sometimes they even concede that the protesters have a legitimate grievance but the fact that they’ve lost all patience with trying to get improvements on the bad situation through the acceptable methods is lost on them.

      I’ve said, How long do you think the black community can have their young people shot by cops over and over again before they erupt into riots? What, they should just lay down and take it? Nothing’s being done!

      The answers will include an angry response of – Well they have no right to smash windows and loot stuff and set cars on fire etc. They have to make change through the normal channels, etc.

      Life is short. People are suffering. The normal channels are too slow or broken for these people. I think that if it was these very people who criticize protests who were suffering then they’d be the first ones out there with the picket signs.

      Just a guess but Crooked might be worried about the safety of his daughter. I can’t blame him for that. There’s no guarantee that these protests will be peaceful. Don’t forget that anyone in the crowd here can have a handgun in their jacket. There are always assholes that show up in groups to provoke the crowd. Sometimes the cops treat the protesters harshly and then the whole thing ends badly. I think he was angry about the whole protest in general though, not just the safety aspect of it.

      I feel like we’re in a phase of mind numbing despair and just waiting to see how bad the cabinet appointments will really be. I feel like this is the calm before the storm.

    • Laurie,

      I got the safety thing. It was that need for good and modest behaviour that bugged me. OK we’ve had our voting fun, now lets all just settle down and get back to our iPads….

      He had an unpleasant time walking through the protesters because he almost certainly scowled in disapproval. Two thumbs up and a smile work defusing wonders. There is something astonishingly passive given that a palpable error has been made by the process. I wonder if compulsory voting would be advantageous in the US?

      At the moment I would be more fearful of sensible appointments.

      Shit stirring though uncomfortable for a while might better secure the bigger changes needed.

      The horror that is brexit is still growing in my business community….

    • Phil,

      I have been reading about Bannon, who is going to be pushing his agenda. He equates capitalism with Judaeo Christian values. His views on capital are muddled but he is, I believe, a religious fanatic. Worse than Pence. What do you think? His own words (excerpts):

      And we’re at the very beginning stages of a very brutal and bloody conflict, of which if the people in this room, the people in the church, do not bind together and really form what I feel is an aspect of the church militant, to really be able to not just stand with our beliefs, but to fight for our beliefs against this new barbarity that’s starting, that will completely eradicate everything that we’ve been bequeathed over the last 2,000, 2,500 years.

      Now, what I mean by that specifically: I think that you’re seeing three kinds of converging tendencies: One is a form of capitalism that is taken away from the underlying spiritual and moral foundations of Christianity and, really, Judeo-Christian belief.

      Outside of Fox News and the Drudge Report, we’re the third-largest conservative news site and, quite frankly, we have a bigger global reach than even Fox. And that’s why we’re expanding so much internationally.

      Look, we believe — strongly — that there is a global tea party movement. We’ve seen that. We were the first group to get in and start reporting on things like UKIP and Front National and other center right. With all the baggage that those groups bring — and trust me, a lot of them bring a lot of baggage, both ethnically and racially — but we think that will all be worked through with time.

      And we believe in the benefits of capitalism. And, particularly, the harder-nosed the capitalism, the better. However, like I said, there’s two strands of capitalism that we’re quite concerned about.

      One is crony capitalism, or what we call state-controlled capitalism, and that’s the big thing the tea party is fighting in the United States, and really the tea party’s biggest fight is not with the left, because we’re not there yet. The biggest fight the tea party has today is just like UKIP. UKIP’s biggest fight is with the Conservative Party.

    • More craziness

      On the social conservative side, we’re the voice of the anti-abortion movement, the voice of the traditional marriage movement, and I can tell you we’re winning victory after victory after victory. Things are turning around as people have a voice and have a platform of which they can use.

    • Dan,

      He’s a loon. Uber libertarians like to think they are the champions of the common man. They discover what buttons to push and think they understand people. In fact, they have a hugely impoverished theory of other minds. I’m ashamed to say they are clever aspies, insufficiently house trained. Its fascinating how few psychologists etc. count amongst their number.

    • He equates capitalism with Judaeo Christian values.

      He must be reading a different bible to the standard version.

      Matthew 6:24
      “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.

      James 5:1-6
      Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire.

      Luke 18:25
      For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”

      Luke 12:33
      Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys.

      Hebrews 13:5
      Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

      And on and on… Seems Jesus and early christianity were socialists. I can remember in Sunday School the Parable of the Widow’s Mite. Always liked this one…

      Luke 21:1-4 1 And he looked up, and saw the rich men that were casting their gifts into the treasury. 2 And he saw a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites. 3 And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, This poor widow cast in more than they all: 4 for all these did of their superfluity cast in unto the gifts; but she of her want did cast in all the living that she had.

    • What an astonishing, incoherent and dishonest ramble. (I thought dissing Rand was clever. My libertarianism is a nice sort….)

      Picking China, its level of inequality has tumbled (Gini index from US levels down to half.) The US continues to rise. The average Chinese wage has climbed 7% pa and the rural poor are now picked out for catch up and huge investment with sustainable farming and allowing folk to grow their businesses. Current rural wage increases are at 12%pa.

      Outrageous lies from him.

    • Phil

      Become an expert in politics? I don’t know if I can. I have impeccable instincts (when I’m not in panic mode) but politics has never been my forte. Where do I start? I read philosophy and literature and other things – but I have never been able to get good at politics. I always flake out, get bored or confused. Do you know a few reliable sources (newspapers) that are available here? I should at least stay reasonably informed. That’s an imperative.

      So you read the madman’s speech? I don’t want to be pushy. — Any other comments (when you can)? Thanks. (That was delivered in 2014.)

      Laurie, don’t worry too much about what people say about protesters and stuff. You know and I know and Phil knows and many other like minded people know that we’re right and they’re wrong (or frightened).

    • Comments on Bannon in #49 above, Dan.

      I really mean become expert in the details of politicians actual policies. These are always misrepresented or misunderstood, as I found out of myself when reading what HRC actually sought to promote. It doesn’t take long given the internet. I’m working my way through Bernie’s stuff. His book will flesh this out.

      I fairly often recommend The Spirit Level by Wilkinson and Pickett. These are comparative facts how the OECD nations of the world get along correlated with economic equality.

    • Back in the 80s, While awaiting an office appointment. I glanced at a book written by Donald Trump. I think it was “The Art of The Deal”. To my surprise was a mention of how one of the most impressive leaders of all time on and off the field, Retired Brigadier General Pete Dawkins (US Army), was credited with co-signing the loan for Donald’s first building project.

      Was this incident separate from the 1 million his father gave him to get started?

    • Phil

      I wonder if compulsory voting would be advantageous in the US?

      ha. It would correct certain voting trends that work against progress. Interesting to see what effect the hoards of young people would have on outcomes. Implementation seems like a nightmare. Punishment for no-show? Reward for following the rules? Both? The least they could do is give us a national voting holiday so working doesn’t prevent voting. Right now the lines are very long in early morning and after five at night. In Massachusetts this year for the first time we had some early voting days that helped with the lines on voting day. Like Dan said somewhere else, the Republicans will never let us get a voting holiday through. They screw with voting rights on a regular basis.

      At the moment I would be more fearful of sensible appointments.

      This statement has triggered a guilty conscience in me. I keep swinging into an anger response where I hope the whole place goes to shit and then those idiots will get what they deserve! Grrrr. Then I get very disappointed with myself for wishing bad things on 300 million people. :’-( Don’t worry Phil. There are no “sensible appointments” in sight. Right now he’s angling to get a national security clearance for his son-in-law; a real estate agent. WTF??!!

      Shit stirring though uncomfortable for a while might better secure the bigger changes needed.

      Hoping this is true. Can’t see the forest for the trees right now.

      The horror that is brexit is still growing in my business community….

      Condolences. Ugh.

      I like the idea of Canadian United States.

      Do you think France is circling the drain? LePen and all?

    • Dan

      Laurie, don’t worry too much about what people say about protesters and stuff. You know and I know and Phil knows and many other like minded people know that we’re right and they’re wrong (or frightened).

      Some people are afraid of their own shadows. I can’t wait to protest. Good excuse to go to D.C. again to spend the day ranting and raving. Every special interest group turns out! Anarchists put on a good show. Hippies sell weed and cool t-shirts. I always stay at that Crystal City neighborhood. Right on the metro and there’s a Mexican restaurant that serves kick ass burritos. I have yet to see all the museums there. I try to get into one every time I’m there. I was once in the M of Natural History and discovered that their giant squid didn’t have enough preservative fluid around part of it. I reported it to the authorities. Now-a-days I don’t have to sleep on a tarp on the Mall. I can afford a comfy hotel room. haha.

      I flew down there to protest the Iraq war. So glad I did that. When the whole thing blew apart I was very proud to tell my Tea Party relatives that I had been there to exercise my Constitutional rights. That shut them up (for one uncomfortable minute) then they went after me for other stuff. Whatever. Dan, I can’t go to Thanksgiving dinner this year. I’ve already told my mother that I absolutely won’t attend. If Hillary won I’d go and slam them but with Odious Turd being the winner, I think it’s obvious that I won’t survive this round. Self preservation kicks in. They’ll be lying in wait for me. I’ll let them have it one at a time as the fall progresses. I will remind you that they have guns.

    • Phil

      Actual policies, yes. The internet is replete, overfilled, with misinformation and biased sources. That is why I need guidance. Wish my father were around. How do you decide what’s true when you research stuff online, Phil? You have to decide if there is bias and then investigate if there is bias against the accusation of bias of the “research” and motivations that produced the final product that you read. Too much work. I need a few sources that I can trust.

      Mr. Dawkins (Nice name), did semi-literate Trump “write” that book or did he make a few marks in red? Tony Schwartz, who hates Trump’s guts, claims to have written every word. Maybe he’d know something about the valiant gentleman you mentioned. That’s a rather esoteric question you just asked.

      Laurie, you mentioned Le Pen. Trump will embrace her (and Bannon is already in contact with her) and will help her win. The former tea-party-star, the Christian (Methodist) Sikh governor Nikki Haley of SC (a horror and a liar, course) is being considered for Secretary of State. Laurie, what news do you trust for good information about politics? I read the Times and The nation. I don’t read news online except maybe the Washington Post and a few things here and there. Where do you get your news from? if you don’t mind my asking.

    • Get rid of Dodd-Frank!!?? Yes, that’s what he said. We’ll have nothing to prevent another financial crisis! And massive deregulations – financial and environmental! Yikes! Already oil stocks are rising. He’s talking about “modernizing” medicare! That means vouchers and privatization. That pig! Everything that HRC and Sanders and others throughout the election season were saying was true. But no one listened. A bunch of cattle, asses—(and victims. Yes, Phil.)

      Blue collar workers and rural people who voted Republican: unite, revolt, and make your voices heard when you realize that you have been lied to.

      Everyone must protest this threat to our economy, our values, our liberty, our environment, our survival.

      Uh…. Laurie, how is the chicken quesadilla at that place in DC? If there’s a protest in DC, I’ll meet you there. On me. (That would be historic. I wonder if we’ll ever meet in the flesh.)
      🙂

    • Dan

      I watch CNN, MSNBC, PBS and at 5:30pm weeknights PBS has BBC news. NYTimes is a treat to read. Of course we have the Boston Globe. I love to read The Economist but it’s expensive to subscribe. I cross the street to the library and read it for free. Sometimes I check out a few of the previous weeks copies to bring them home. Not allowed to check out the current issue.

    • Phil #39: Sanders policy was exactly mirrored (subsequently adopted?) by HRC (economic policy #6)
      As President, Senator Sanders will fight for the creation of a tax on Wall Street to significantly reduce speculation and high frequency trading which nearly destroyed the economy seven years ago.
      You have misunderstood this almost perfectly. Discouraging short cycle trading (always zero sum) investments encourages longer term trading reducing instability and moving banking towards the hugely successful German model for the Mittelstand companies, the powerhouse of innovation, where financial institutions become expert in the technology (say) back fewer duff ideas but sustain good ones that may take a little longer to catch. Investment in the US (and too much the UK) has become a casino, trading hundreds of times the nations GDP to trick a fractional percent out of someone else. No value was added, no company could be built.

      You seem to elide the difference between proposed policy positions embedded in campaign promises and policies implemented by political leaders in historical practice. Sanders and Clinton don’t “have” any policies. Neither was elected and their efficacy -devoid of any action – cannot be judged. My generic reference to the American aversion to “taxing investments, financial and asset net worth,” referred to sudden shifts into confiscatory tax rates that would diminish private wealth to fund public sector projects or redistribute wealth to populations without investments or assets such as real estate; e.g., a house or condo. In the U.S., the majority own a home and invest in stocks and depend on investment portfolios that comprise retirement plans and savings accounts. Sudden losses from new government taxes would send markets into a tailspin. Chaos and uncertainty would disrupt investment strategies and destabilize the economy into crash mode. Everybody wants to minimize “risky speculation,” “bad investments,” “short term pyramid” schemes in favor of “good long-term investments.”
      Unfortunately, governments do not have the resources to police markets sufficiently to root out scams and duds and no one has the foresight to determine when or why an investment should be initiated, terminated, subsidized or sustained. Bernie probably intended in good faith to reform markets to assure the health of the economy. More heedlessly he fell for the delusion that he could freeze business cycles at the apex avoiding downturns as demand waxed and waned. It is not possible to erase the volatility integral to market fluctuations or the “irrational exuberance” of investors.

      You’re entitled to the myriad remedies you believe will eliminate the uncertainties of markets and force investors to “do the right thing” but behavioral economics has shown that people are not rational in pursuing profits and self-interest.

      While we’re on the subject of Bernie Sanders, economic reform and tax policy, it seems reasonable to entertain a simple ulterior motive blurring his vision. He’s basically interested in the banking and investment sector, apart from flogging CEOs, because that’s where the money is. In his socialist delusions of grandeur, he has dreamed of milking that cash cow to finance his grandiose schemes for bringing Utopia into reality.

    • Some much needed levity:

      To hell with Dodd Frank and Health Care. To hell with the the environment. If my account does well I am voting for a Republican in 4 yrs. Make America great again.

      I am a man of principal. (Pun.)

      Kidding, but I would be pleased if my assets grow. I want to get that off my chest.

    • Melvin.

      You brought an earlier potential exchange on economic matters to a halt. I think this too will be to no one’s further enlightenment. I will only observe two things, that Bernie is Euro centre (Fine by me.) He would slot right in in Germany. Our own Corbyn doesn’t understand how Capitalism generates wealth…now he is a left-winger, old school. He may mean well but he actually is dangerous.

      I’m not sure you have a clear idea about increasing wealth and tricking value out of someone else.

      And second observation; of the money simply casinoed out of the poorer folk, a full 20% has gone missing. Capitalism thrives on investment and the newly even-richer rich seem to have sequestered their recent gains without putting it to work. To quote my favourite Capitalist, Dolly Levi

      “Money is like manure. Its only valuable if you spread it around.”

      Policies to get Capitalism better capitalised discouraging the simple pooling of cash, should help it rediscover its roots.

      For me, “The Spirit Level” by Wilkinson and Picket is a manual for how to do capitalism better.

    • PHIL #60: ’Im not sure you have a clear idea about increasing wealth and tricking value out of someone else.
      And second observation; of the money simply casinoed out of the poorer folk, a full 20% has gone missing. Capitalism thrives on investment and the newly even-richer rich seem to have sequestered their recent gains without putting it to work. To quote my favourite Capitalist, Dolly Levi
      “Money is like manure. Its only valuable if you spread it around.”
      Policies to get Capitalism better capitalised discouraging the simple pooling of cash, should help it rediscover its roots.
      For me, “The Spirit Level” by Wilkinson and Picket is a manual for how to do capitalism better.

      You seem obsessed with telling me “you misunderstand this and you misunderstand that” as if I never read or appreciated economic strategies of “value added” and “circular economies” or fluctuating successes of eurocentric welfare state socialism in small countries like the UK or microscopic homogeneous countries like Norway. My presupposition is that it is not about you or me but about third parties roughly another 7.2 billion of them on this planet. Capitalism works many different ways in many different countries usually for the disproportionate benefit of top-down elites and less well as wealth distribution dries up at the middle and lower class levels. I’m sure you have some valuable counsel to give world leaders, economists and politicians when you sit down with them in their own countries. To your credit you’ve read voraciously on how to make capitalism work for the welfare of all people. Of course reforms are necessary. Value-added technological inventions funded by longer-term investments, widely marketed and government subsidized, will help build economies and lift masses out of poverty. This obviously beneficial and profitable model has already disseminated value-added products, cell-phones, computers, robotic industrialization, medical innovations, etc. on a global economy of scale. More inhibited, the model has also disseminated wind, solar and battery power to fill out a small niche of the global energy sector.

      Over time reforms have continued to come on board by fits and starts at an accelerating pace since 1800. My own view focuses on the fatal collective decision of our species to overpopulate the planet with homo Sapiens at the expense of the life-sustaining environment and now the atmosphere itself. The model is a truism because value added progress is the way economies have always worked; now recently accelerated to warp speed in the 20th and 21st century. Nigeria is on course to surpass the United States in population by 2050 – over 300 million people, five times the numbers ensconced in the cozy UK. Take your copy of “The Spirit Level” by Wilkinson and Picket to Muhammadu Buhari, the current Nigerian president and simply reassure him he now has a manual for how to do capitalism better. Next stop Pakistan. Good luck.

    • Phil

      I just read a review of The Spirit level. I came across this passage:

      “There’s an almost pleading quality to some of Wilkinson and Pickett’s assertions, as though they feel they’ve spent their careers banging their heads against a brick wall. It’s impossible to overstate the implications of their thesis: that the societies of Britain and the US have institutionalised economic and social inequality to the extent that, at any one time, a quarter of their respective populations are mentally ill. What kind of “growth” is that, other than a malignant one?”

      It’s a no-brainer; poverty and illness go together. Illness is illness, mental or physical; what’s the difference? but this no-brainer has alluded many a capitalist. We have to end poverty; that will end up benefiting everyone – financially and morally. I fear that Trump’s brand of capitalism will make the hole we are in even deeper.

      I don’t think that just “better capitalism” is the only answer; we need to reform and improve many of our institutions as well. But all of those improvements involve investment; so a shift in our understanding of what the priorities and uses of capital must entail is key. Many capitalists – let’s face it – are greedy and myopic, and have a skewed notion of collectivism, and are in the business of private profit, not philanthropy, period. In order to change this mindset, and make capitalists understand what they have to gain by greater economic and wealth equality, and what we all have to lose by maintaining the current rigged economy (Sanders) much has to be done.

      Trump will not be much help.

    • Phil, Laurie, and others

      Romney, a staunch reactionary, considering State Dept position after calling Trump unfit and a predator. Same with Cruz. A bunch of rectal holes. No principles. All about power. Worst disaster in modern American history.

      Sessions, long time opposer of civil rights, appointed.

      Trump (The Godfather) wants his family in high govt positions. Autocrat.

      Unmitigated disaster. Will medicare and SS become privatized? Maybe. It looks that way.

      Nuclear war? Maybe.

      Phil, overt violence, as I said is not the worst thing to befall a nation. Nor is it the only index of the condition and quality of anything. Violence can be a sign of healthy revolt and resistance. That is one of my criticism’s of Pinker (who I cannot get myself to read). The loss of human liberty and the deprivation of a decent life as a result of reactionary and oppressive measures is as bad, or worse, than physical violence. Peace and violence are in themselves neither good nor bad. (Peace is good – but not always.)

      Singer, so far, pales in comparison to other ethical philosophers that I have read. There is a real paucity of substance, depth, and precision. On chapter three. I will keep reading.

    • Dan

      Phil, overt violence, as I said is not the worst thing to befall a nation.

      Violence at least signals its presence. There are all the dangers of a smooth running plutocracy.

      But violence represents a crude failure of society, much as charity. A problem could have been fixed earlier avoiding the need.

      I think it easy to misrepresent what Pinker is claiming. Violence destroys the space in which more creative things happen. Reducing violence is a means to an end, not simply a pacific and passive peace and quiet.

      Not started Singer. E. Darwin and Sanders prevail atm. Both excellent. Sanders on old school Republicans makes good reading. A lot went wrong here.

    • Melvin.

      welfare state socialism in small countries like the UK or microscopic homogeneous countries like Norway.

      Whoever mentioned them? The UK is not too successful in achieving a decent enough equality.

      I specifically spoke of Northern Europe and Pacific rim. Germany and Japan are the mature economies with much lower Gini (inequality) scores, 80 million, 127 million population respectively….

    • I made a mistake in reporting the Gini index of China in post #49.

      The progress on wages is real but the Gini index remains at US levels. Apologies I misread a number.

      The point remains that Bannon is wholly false to contrast Chinese inequality with US inequality. There is no such contrast.

      Oh and while I’m on about it I see UK gini scores starting to fall to more decent levels at last.

    • Should America change its Electoral College procedure? :

      Here’s How Campaigns Would Work If We Abolished the Electoral College

    • Erol, others

      Yes it should. But only if they can get it done before the inauguration of Trump, so we can declare this dangerous clown’s presidency as null and void.

      Q: can we lose the separation of church and state? Can that actually happen? How likely or unlikely is that?