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

#17981 User is offline   Douglas43 

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Posted 2021-March-09, 07:31

Cheer up lads, Boris Johnson was born in New York and might be looking for a new job in a while...
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#17982 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2021-March-09, 08:12

View PostDouglas43, on 2021-March-09, 07:31, said:

Cheer up lads, Boris Johnson was born in New York and might be looking for a new job in a while...


Welcome, Doug! Reading posts here, and for that matter posting here, often reminds me of Groundhog Day.
As to your post, I am still learning to cope with British humor.
Welcome.
Ken
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#17983 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-March-09, 12:19

The GOP has been turning toward a racist base since Nixon developed the "Southern Strategy". Reagan embraced that cause even more with "dog whistle" codes of racist thought. We have now reached the point where blatant and proud racism dominates the vital margins of the party and people like Paul Gosar (R-Ariz) speak at a conference of white nationalists.
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#17984 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2021-March-10, 08:27

Jonathan Bernstein at Bloomberg said:

Let’s talk presidential reputation.

Charlie Cook suspects that President Joe Biden may have made a serious mistake by pushing ahead with a highly ambitious relief bill. By including several Democratic priorities and using the Senate’s reconciliation procedure — which did not require (and, in the event, did not receive) any Republican votes — Biden may have harmed his future legislative prospects:

Charlie Cook at the Cook Political Report said:

Biden may have, in the early moments of his term, crippled his ability to do grand bargains.

When the histories of the Biden presidency are written, there’s a fair chance that this will be looked upon as a serious error of judgement—one that may plague this administration for a good while.

It’s certainly possible! In particular, I’m not sure that the sequence of rolling out a bill, then holding a meeting with 10 Republican senators and then basically moving on without them really worked. Still, it’s not clear if the mistake was moving on too quickly as opposed to making it more explicit from the beginning that he wasn’t interested in a bare-bones bill. It’s also not clear that there were 10 Republican votes for even the much smaller bill they were talking about, or that such a bill could’ve passed the House.

At any rate, what have Democrats and Republicans learned — provisionally, to be sure — about Biden?

To begin with: He won. The bill will pass the House and be signed into law. Biden wound up getting almost everything he asked for; the one big exception, a minimum-wage increase, was something he signaled early on that he didn’t expect to get. That’s a real plus! It should help him with congressional Democrats, who won’t fear that he’ll push them to vote for something that unexpectedly falls apart. It may even help him with congressional Republicans, who won’t be able to assume that he’s bound to be defeated.

Biden also demonstrated that he’s willing to wield partisan weapons (such as reconciliation) and not afraid of centrist criticisms such as Cook’s, which means that Republicans can’t hope to derail his plans by taunting him with the possibility of bipartisanship if he abandons them. Perhaps that means they’ll reject working with him. But it’s also possible that standing firm on the relief bill could produce the opposite reaction: Republicans choosing to make deals with him, knowing they’re unlikely to defeat him.

As for the Democrats, it’s clear now that they’re willing to use reconciliation for their priorities, and they’re probably more confident than they were six weeks ago that Biden would back a majority-imposed Senate reform to eliminate or modify the filibuster. If Republicans really wanted to avoid that outcome, they might be willing to back down or cut deals on upcoming bills, or even allow them to pass with simple majorities, rather than filibustering everything.

But I don’t expect that. The history is clear: Most Republicans would much rather lose policy ground than compromise. That’s why they were unwilling to accept any obvious deals in 2013 to retain the filibuster on nominations, even though it cost them their ability to block Barack Obama’s executive-branch picks. But if that’s true, then Biden and the Democrats aren’t costing themselves any opportunities by acting aggressively on the relief bill. If it’s not true — if many Republicans are willing to participate in grand bargains — then Biden’s willingness to act without them should increase, not decrease, their incentives to negotiate.

At least, that’s true so long as Democrats retain their slim majorities. If Republicans flip one or both chambers in 2022, then the context obviously changes. But that’s still a long way away. And the Democrats are in the middle of scoring one substantial policy win that wouldn’t have happened if Biden had insisted on finding 60 votes in the Senate.

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#17985 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2021-March-10, 10:14

Quote

Jonathan Bernstein at Bloomberg said:

Let's talk presidential reputation.

Charlie Cook suspects that President Joe Biden may have made a serious mistake by pushing ahead with a highly ambitious relief bill. By including several Democratic priorities and using the Senate's reconciliation procedure ó which did not require (and, in the event, did not receive) any Republican votes ó Biden may have harmed his future legislative prospects:

Charlie Cook at the Cook Political Report said:

Biden may have, in the early moments of his term, crippled his ability to do grand bargains.

When the histories of the Biden presidency are written, there's a fair chance that this will be looked upon as a serious error of judgementóone that may plague this administration for a good while.

It's certainly possible! In particular, I'm not sure that the sequence of rolling out a bill, then holding a meeting with 10 Republican senators and then basically moving on without them really worked. Still, it's not clear if the mistake was moving on too quickly as opposed to making it more explicit from the beginning that he wasn't interested in a bare-bones bill. It's also not clear that there were 10 Republican votes for even the much smaller bill they were talking about, or that such a bill could've passed the House.

At any rate, what have Democrats and Republicans learned ó provisionally, to be sure ó about Biden?

To begin with: He won. The bill will pass the House and be signed into law. Biden wound up getting almost everything he asked for; the one big exception, a minimum-wage increase, was something he signaled early on that he didn't expect to get. That's a real plus! It should help him with congressional Democrats, who won't fear that he'll push them to vote for something that unexpectedly falls apart. It may even help him with congressional Republicans, who won't be able to assume that he's bound to be defeated.

Biden also demonstrated that he's willing to wield partisan weapons (such as reconciliation) and not afraid of centrist criticisms such as Cook's, which means that Republicans can't hope to derail his plans by taunting him with the possibility of bipartisanship if he abandons them. Perhaps that means they'll reject working with him. But it's also possible that standing firm on the relief bill could produce the opposite reaction: Republicans choosing to make deals with him, knowing they're unlikely to defeat him.

As for the Democrats, it's clear now that they're willing to use reconciliation for their priorities, and they're probably more confident than they were six weeks ago that Biden would back a majority-imposed Senate reform to eliminate or modify the filibuster. If Republicans really wanted to avoid that outcome, they might be willing to back down or cut deals on upcoming bills, or even allow them to pass with simple majorities, rather than filibustering everything.

But I don't expect that. The history is clear: Most Republicans would much rather lose policy ground than compromise. That's why they were unwilling to accept any obvious deals in 2013 to retain the filibuster on nominations, even though it cost them their ability to block Barack Obama's executive-branch picks. But if that's true, then Biden and the Democrats aren't costing themselves any opportunities by acting aggressively on the relief bill. If it's not true ó if many Republicans are willing to participate in grand bargains ó then Biden's willingness to act without them should increase, not decrease, their incentives to negotiate.

At least, that's true so long as Democrats retain their slim majorities. If Republicans flip one or both chambers in 2022, then the context obviously changes. But that's still a long way away. And the Democrats are in the middle of scoring one substantial policy win that wouldn't have happened if Biden had insisted on finding 60 votes in the Senate.



A couple of thoughts. Recent polls, posted here and elsewhere, show the stimulus is popular. Let's see. Pollsters ask "Joe Biden wishes to send you $1400. Do you favor this or oppose this?" People seem to favor it.


Recently an analyst on PBS, I believe his name was Captain Obvious, summed it up: "The political danger for Democrats is that a year from now the program does not seem to be working well. The political danger for Republicans is that a year from now the program does seem to be working well."
Ken
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#17986 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-March-10, 14:00

 kenberg, on 2021-March-10, 10:14, said:

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A couple of thoughts. Recent polls, posted here and elsewhere, show the stimulus is popular. Let's see. Pollsters ask "Joe Biden wishes to send you $1400. Do you favor this or oppose this?" People seem to favor it.


Recently an analyst on PBS, I believe his name was Captain Obvious, summed it up: "The political danger for Democrats is that a year from now the program does not seem to be working well. The political danger for Republicans is that a year from now the program does seem to be working well."


The Republican Party is still Lucy with the football but their miscalculation is that Joe Biden is not Charlie Brown and only the U.S. minority believes Peanuts is real.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter. / "I need ammunition, not a ride." Zelensky
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#17987 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2021-March-10, 16:44

 kenberg, on 2021-March-10, 10:14, said:

[/size][/color]

A couple of thoughts. Recent polls, posted here and elsewhere, show the stimulus is popular. Let's see. Pollsters ask "Joe Biden wishes to send you $1400. Do you favor this or oppose this?" People seem to favor it.


Recently an analyst on PBS, I believe his name was Captain Obvious, summed it up: "The political danger for Democrats is that a year from now the program does not seem to be working well. The political danger for Republicans is that a year from now the program does seem to be working well."

Captain Obvious and his pal JB at Bloomberg did not mention the other real risk, not just for Dems, which is that the $1.9tn price tag of the pandemic relief bill will make it more difficult to fund infrastructure investments which some pundits think are essential to enable a mid-21st century economy and something we should be doing now when we have high unemployment and epically low interest rates which makes sense to me. We obviously need to do a lot on both fronts. As JB points out, it's not as if capping the pandemic relief bill at, say, $1tn, would have made it easier to get bipartisan support for infrastructure. The reality is: If swing Ds in the Senate want it, Ds will get it done with or without Rs. Onward!
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#17988 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2021-March-10, 17:58

 y66, on 2021-March-10, 16:44, said:

Captain Obvious and his pal JB at Bloomberg did not mention the other real risk, not just for Dems, which is that the $1.9tn price tag of the pandemic relief bill will make it more difficult to fund infrastructure investments which some pundits think are essential to enable a mid-21st century economy and something we should be doing now when we have high unemployment and epically low interest rates which makes sense to me. We obviously need to do a lot on both fronts. As JB points out, it's not as if capping the pandemic relief bill at, say, $1tn, would have made it easier to get bipartisan support for infrastructure. The reality is: If swing Ds in the Senate want it, Ds will get it done with or without Rs. Onward!


This point about not waiting for the Rs seems right to me. That's too bad, but I think that's the way it is. Never mind, for a moment, the budget. with people in hiding for their lives on Jan 6 a good many Rs could not find it within themselves to put on a mask. Whatever is wrong with such people, expecting cooperation from them on budget issues or really on anything would be very optimistic. I hope they come back to reality someday or get replaced by others with some sense. I'm willing to discuss things with people who see things differently than I do but if he wants to stand in front of me two feet away and not wearing a mask this is not going to work.

So yeah, we have to hope we can move forward in spite of such people. I expect that sane Rs could actually help make the package better. I hope the voters elect some.
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#17989 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2021-March-10, 18:48

There has been a lot of anxiety in some quarters about the horrors (imagined) of a financial bail-out in the USA because of the impact of COVID19.
Putting aside the fact that the US economy's damage was a self-inflicted wound (incompetent management, greed, poor social infrastructure, the list goes on). The quibbling about a bail-out of the now $3 trillion or so in bailout needs to be seen in a historical context.

A few short years ago, through a combination of greed, incompetence and poor regulation and governance, the USA managed to destroy 19.2 trillion dollars (2011 dollars).
All by itself. No virus required.
You can read about it here: https://bit.ly/30w3HmP.
Destroying wealth, fighting wars (Vietnam, Iraq etc.) and creating world poverty is central to the United States peculiar form of democracy.

A democracy if we can steal it from other people, so to speak.

No, Trump didn't do anything to make matters worse; he's just the reincarnation of Naziism that arose from the ashes of the Treaty of Versailles.
Like Dirty Harry he doesn't discriminate: he hates everyone.
After the destruction of Europe, the USA provided aid for reconstruction (only $13.3 billion in today's dollars).
Additional aid was provided by removing people like Werner Von Braun from Germany to America and giving him a comfy place to live and work.

You might imagine that this was a generous act. It was not. The USA was only using money that it had loaned to countries like the UK and Canada who then had to pay it back.
Wow, declare war on a major power kill people who have done you no harm and come out on top. Fanciful? Yes, they made a film out of it "The mouse that roared" - 1959.

"The minuscule European Duchy of Grand Fenwick is bankrupted when an American company comes up with a cheaper imitation of Fenwick's sole export, its fabled Pinot Grand Fenwick wine. Crafty Prime Minister Count Mountjoy (Peter Sellers) devises a plan: Grand Fenwick will declare war on the United States, then surrender, taking advantage of American largesse toward its defeated enemies to rebuild the defeated nation's economy."


With enemies like the USA, who needs friends?
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#17990 User is online   helene_t 

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Posted 2021-March-11, 02:09

 Douglas43, on 2021-March-09, 07:31, said:

Cheer up lads, Boris Johnson was born in New York and might be looking for a new job in a while...

(Un?)fortunately he has renounced his US citizenship so I don't think he can become president.
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#17991 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2021-March-11, 02:25

 helene_t, on 2021-March-11, 02:09, said:

(Un?)fortunately he has renounced his US citizenship so I don't think he can become president.


Not sure that's true.
Here's what it says.
"No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States."

Looks like BoJo's biggest problem would the 14 years a resident problem.

Also interesting (where are the lawyers?) is the question:
If Trump persists in living in Mar a Lago, where he is not entitled to be a 'resident' according to the contract that he signed, wouldn't that make him a homeless person, of no fixed abode, and technically, not a resident?
Just asking Posted Image
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#17992 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2021-March-11, 06:12

NYT Editorial Board said:

It is hard to imagine a more fitting job for Congress than for members to join together to pass a broadly popular law that makes democracy safer, stronger and more accessible to all Americans.

Last week, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 1. The bill, a similar version of which the House passed in 2019, is a comprehensive and desperately needed set of reforms that would strengthen voting rights and election security, ban partisan gerrymandering, reduce big money in politics and establish ethics codes for Supreme Court justices, the president and other executive branch officials.

The legislation has the support of at least 50 senators, plus the tiebreaking vote of Vice President Kamala Harris. President Biden is on board and ready to sign it. So what’s the problem? Majority support in the Senate isn’t enough. In the upper chamber, a supermajority of 60 votes is required to pass even the most middling piece of legislation. That requirement is not found in the Constitution; it’s because of the filibuster, a centuries-old parliamentary tool that has been transformed into a weapon for strangling functional government.

This is a singular moment for American democracy, if Democrats are willing to seize it. Whatever grand principles have been used to sustain the filibuster over the years, it is clear as a matter of history, theory and practice that it vindicates none of them. If America is to be governed competently and fairly — if it is to be governed at all — the filibuster must go.

The most compelling reason to keep the filibuster is its proponents’ argument that the rule prevents a tyranny of the majority in the Senate. That’s the rationale of the two Democrats currently standing in the way of ending it, Senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona. They have been steadfast in defending the modern filibuster as part of what they assert is a longstanding Senate custom.

“It’s meant to protect what the Senate was designed to be,” Senator Sinema said. “Debate on bills should be a bipartisan process that takes into account the views of all Americans, not just those of one political party.”

(It’s unlikely that any Republican senator will support getting rid of the filibuster today, even knowing that it would make legislating easier for them in the future, but because the filibuster is a Senate-created rule, that can be accomplished by a simple majority vote.)

Bipartisan cooperation and debate should be at the heart of the legislative process, but there is little evidence that the filibuster facilitates either. The filibuster doesn’t require interparty compromise; it requires 60 votes. It says nothing about the diversity of the coalition required to pass legislation. It just substitutes 60 percent of the Senate for 51 percent as the threshold to pass most legislation. If the Senate was designed to be a place where both parties come together to deliberate and pass laws in the interest of the American people, the filibuster has turned it into the place where good legislation goes to die.

That’s one reason the framers of the Constitution didn’t include a supermajority requirement for the Senate to pass legislation. They had watched how such a requirement under the Articles of Confederation had prevented the government from doing almost anything. As Alexander Hamilton wrote in Federalist 22, “What at first sight may seem a remedy, is, in reality, a poison.” Supermajority requirements would serve “to embarrass the administration, to destroy the energy of the government, and to substitute the pleasure, caprice or artifices” of a minority to the “regular deliberations and decisions of a respectable majority.”

The filibuster arose only decades later. John C. Calhoun, a senator from South Carolina used it as a means to protect the interests of slavers like himself from a majority. From its beginnings through the middle of the 20th century, when segregationists like Senator Strom Thurmond, also of South Carolina, used the filibuster to try to kill multiple civil-rights bills, the pattern has been clear: It has been used regularly by those who reject inclusive democracy.

The relevance of the history is that the pattern continues today.

Finally, the filibuster is a redundancy in a system that already includes multiple veto points and countermajoritarian tools, including a bicameral legislature, a Supreme Court and a presidential veto. The Senate itself protects minorities in its very design, which gives small states the same representation as large ones.

Another common defense of the filibuster, as Ms. Sinema said, is that the filibuster is crucial for permitting full debate on a bill. Again, reality shows otherwise. The filibuster doesn’t only fail to ensure extended debate on a bill; today it curtails the opportunity for any debate at all. A single senator can signal he or she intends to filibuster by typing an email and hitting send. No need to stand on the Senate floor to make your impassioned case.

Reformers have suggested many ways to chip away at the filibuster without destroying it completely. One proposal would bar its use for legislation involving voting rights or other democratic expansions. Another would require the old-fashioned “talking” filibuster. A third would entail holding a series of cloture votes spaced three days apart, lowering the number of senators needed to end the filibuster each time. These are clever solutions, and Mr. Manchin has said he is open to at least one of them.

Even if there were a real debate on a bill, however, it should end at some point. That was clear more than a century ago, when the Senate had not yet established a rule to shut down a filibuster. As Henry Cabot Lodge, a Massachusetts senator, wrote, “If the courtesy of unlimited debate is granted it must carry with it the reciprocal courtesy of permitting a vote after due discussion. If this is not the case the system is impossible.”

If the political reforms in H.R. 1 are not undertaken at the federal level, Republican leaders will continue to entrench minority rule. That’s happening already in states like Wisconsin and North Carolina, where Republican-drawn maps give them large legislative majorities despite winning fewer votes statewide than Democrats. It’s happening in dozens of other states that have passed hundreds of voting restrictions and are pushing hundreds more, under the guise of protecting election security.

The Supreme Court should be blocking these measures and protecting the right to vote, but far too often under Chief Justice John Roberts, it’s done the opposite. In 2019 it refused to stop even the worst partisan gerrymanders, and in 2013 it struck down the heart of the Voting Rights Act, opening the door to a wave of Republican voter-suppression laws that continues to crash. That’s why federal law is the only solution.

There have also already been many revisions to the filibuster. In the 1970s, Congress created a loophole for spending and revenue bills to avoid the filibuster, allowing such legislation to pass with a simple majority — a process known as reconciliation. More recently, in 2013, Democrats eliminated the filibuster for nominations of lower-court federal judges and executive-branch officials. Four years later, Republicans eliminated it for Supreme Court justices, which allowed President Donald Trump to fill one-third of the high court’s bench with his picks.

The perverse result of all this is that it is now easier to block a piece of legislation, which could be repealed in the next Congress, than it is to block a federal judge seeking a lifetime appointment. Any intellectual justification for the filibuster has been gutted by the fact that it doesn’t apply anymore to many important issues before the Senate.

The point of H.R. 1 is not to help Democrats. It is to rebuild and reinforce the crumbling foundations of American self-government and abolish voter restrictions erected for explicitly partisan gain — a federal law that would protect all voters. If the choice is between saving the filibuster and saving democracy, it should be an easy call.

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#17993 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2021-March-11, 07:27

 pilowsky, on 2021-March-10, 18:48, said:

There has been a lot of anxiety in some quarters about the horrors (imagined) of a financial bail-out in the USA because of the impact of COVID19.
Putting aside the fact that the US economy's damage was a self-inflicted wound (incompetent management, greed, poor social infrastructure, the list goes on). The quibbling about a bail-out of the now $3 trillion or so in bailout needs to be seen in a historical context.

A few short years ago, through a combination of greed, incompetence and poor regulation and governance, the USA managed to destroy 19.2 trillion dollars (2011 dollars).
All by itself. No virus required.
You can read about it here: https://bit.ly/30w3HmP.
Destroying wealth, fighting wars (Vietnam, Iraq etc.) and creating world poverty is central to the United States peculiar form of democracy.

A democracy if we can steal it from other people, so to speak.

No, Trump didn't do anything to make matters worse; he's just the reincarnation of Naziism that arose from the ashes of the Treaty of Versailles.
Like Dirty Harry he doesn't discriminate: he hates everyone.
After the destruction of Europe, the USA provided aid for reconstruction (only $13.3 billion in today's dollars).
Additional aid was provided by removing people like Werner Von Braun from Germany to America and giving him a comfy place to live and work.

You might imagine that this was a generous act. It was not. The USA was only using money that it had loaned to countries like the UK and Canada who then had to pay it back.
Wow, declare war on a major power kill people who have done you no harm and come out on top. Fanciful? Yes, they made a film out of it "The mouse that roared" - 1959.

"The minuscule European Duchy of Grand Fenwick is bankrupted when an American company comes up with a cheaper imitation of Fenwick's sole export, its fabled Pinot Grand Fenwick wine. Crafty Prime Minister Count Mountjoy (Peter Sellers) devises a plan: Grand Fenwick will declare war on the United States, then surrender, taking advantage of American largesse toward its defeated enemies to rebuild the defeated nation's economy."


With enemies like the USA, who needs friends?


You mention The Mouse That Roared. Taking your post as a whole, I am reminded of Ilsa in Casablanca. She comes to Rick's with her husband, comes back on her own later to discuss the past, but it does not go well. The next day Rick approachers her to re-start the conversation. No. She explains that there is no point in a discussion with the Rick that looked at her with such hatred.

There is little point in having a discussion with someone who thinks that the US can do no wrong, but the same applies to someone who has a long list of reasons to hate us. The Marshall plan? Really? And I suppose the depression of the 30s, affecting many countries, can be blamed on the US. And then there was the Spanish-American War. And so on and so on..

With Viet Nam I thought we either should have helped France in the early 1950s or we should have (as I think Eisenhower said) stayed out of it in the 1960s. But when my student deferment was canceled and I was re-classified 1-A, I did not take off for Canada. Make of it what you will.
Ken
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#17994 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-March-11, 07:41

I canít help but wonder what opinion you hold about those who did flee to Canada (I didnít)
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#17995 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2021-March-11, 08:02

 Winstonm, on 2021-March-11, 07:41, said:

I can't help but wonder what opinion you hold about those who did flee to Canada (I didn't)


A friend with a son of draft age did relocate to Canada. I thought he was free to make that choice. I grew up with the idea that boys can expect to serve a couple of years in the armed forces. This was, I believe, the expectation in many countries. My high school graduation was in 1956, I had been thinking I might then join the Navy. The expectation was that I would be in the service sooner or later, so 1956 seemed right. But I also wanted to go to college and getting a scholarship settled the issue. Although I had pretty much decided I would give it a try anyway. Money was tight, but I thought I could. Later, when Viet Nam came around and I was in grad school with a student deferment, I sort of wished I had taken my turn back in the peaceful days of 1956. Much to the displeasure of some in Europe, we had stayed out of the quarrel over the Suez Canal that year. Anyway, I figured that sooner or later I would be going. But aging happens, who wants an old guy of 26, and i guess some guardian angel was watching out for me.

Fundamentally, I like it here. I think it is, all and all, a fine place to be born and to grow up. So I stuck around. I can see why others came to different conclusions. We do not all see things in the same way.
Ken
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#17996 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-March-11, 10:38

 kenberg, on 2021-March-11, 08:02, said:

A friend with a son of draft age did relocate to Canada. I thought he was free to make that choice. I grew up with the idea that boys can expect to serve a couple of years in the armed forces. This was, I believe, the expectation in many countries. My high school graduation was in 1956, I had been thinking I might then join the Navy. The expectation was that I would be in the service sooner or later, so 1956 seemed right. But I also wanted to go to college and getting a scholarship settled the issue. Although I had pretty much decided I would give it a try anyway. Money was tight, but I thought I could. Later, when Viet Nam came around and I was in grad school with a student deferment, I sort of wished I had taken my turn back in the peaceful days of 1956. Much to the displeasure of some in Europe, we had stayed out of the quarrel over the Suez Canal that year. Anyway, I figured that sooner or later I would be going. But aging happens, who wants an old guy of 26, and i guess some guardian angel was watching out for me.

Fundamentally, I like it here. I think it is, all and all, a fine place to be born and to grow up. So I stuck around. I can see why others came to different conclusions. We do not all see things in the same way.


I graduated high school in 1969, a year and a half after the Tet offensive and after hearing "peace with honor" enough times to gag on the words. My choices were: go to college (which I was not mature enough for), go to Canada, go to jail, or go to Vietnam. These were not healthy choices. I checked with a marine recruiter and asked him what my chances were of going to Vietnam if I signed up - Pretty good was his answer. I went for the least of evils and enrolled in college. Somehow, I survived.


Yes, overall the U.S. is a decent place to live - but it is certainly much a better and safer place if you are white. We white folks have difficulty understanding our own privileges. And I think civil rights need to be improved to make the U.S. what it is supposed to be - a melting pot and not a whitewashed fence.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter. / "I need ammunition, not a ride." Zelensky
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#17997 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2021-March-11, 14:22

 Winstonm, on 2021-March-11, 10:38, said:

I graduated high school in 1969, a year and a half after the Tet offensive and after hearing "peace with honor" enough times to gag on the words. My choices were: go to college (which I was not mature enough for), go to Canada, go to jail, or go to Vietnam. These were not healthy choices. I checked with a marine recruiter and asked him what my chances were of going to Vietnam if I signed up - Pretty good was his answer. I went for the least of evils and enrolled in college. Somehow, I survived.


Yes, overall the U.S. is a decent place to live - but it is certainly much a better and safer place if you are white. We white folks have difficulty understanding our own privileges. And I think civil rights need to be improved to make the U.S. what it is supposed to be - a melting pot and not a whitewashed fence.



We both stayed put, we both hoped for the best. Neither of us volunteered. Same as with many.


Just out of curiosity, if the draft were not in the picture, what would you have done after high school? I gather college was not going to be your choice. I briefly considered dropping out at one time, I was making good money working with guys loading farm machinery onto boxcars, but that urge did not last long. Part of it was that I really did like math and physics, in high school I would drive over to the U to hear special lectures and when I was sixteen I sat in on a summer physics class, I bought the book and read it. Another part was that however much I enjoyed loading boxcars when I was twenty I wasn't so sure I would still enjoy it when I was forty. So I stayed.

Avoiding Nam distorted life. Not a problem at the time I was college age, but it was when you were.

Anyway, I did not mean to get off on a Nam tangent. It was on Pil's list so I commented but it's a topic that could go on for many posts and maybe it shouldn't.


Ken
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#17998 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2021-March-11, 14:44

 kenberg, on 2021-March-11, 07:27, said:

You mention The Mouse That Roared. Taking your post as a whole, I am reminded of Ilsa in Casablanca. She comes to Rick's with her husband, comes back on her own later to discuss the past, but it does not go well. The next day Rick approachers her to re-start the conversation. No. She explains that there is no point in a discussion with the Rick that looked at her with such hatred.

There is little point in having a discussion with someone who thinks that the US can do no wrong, but the same applies to someone who has a long list of reasons to hate us. The Marshall plan? Really? And I suppose the depression of the 30s, affecting many countries, can be blamed on the US. And then there was the Spanish-American War. And so on and so on..

With Viet Nam I thought we either should have helped France in the early 1950s or we should have (as I think Eisenhower said) stayed out of it in the 1960s. But when my student deferment was canceled and I was re-classified 1-A, I did not take off for Canada. Make of it what you will.


When I make a point about the behaviour of "America" as regards the way that it deals with both the inside and the outside world, I am using the word "America" in reference to the actions of its government.

When you say "us" and then say "I hate", are you implying that every single thing that America does you stand behind? All the time?

I note in your posts Ken that you commonly generalise from personal experience. I do the opposite. I look at the actions of the synthesized whole - as represented by the actions wielded by the elected Federal government.
Does the same apply to other countries? Yes, it does. The conservative government in Australia, Britain and other places are concerned only with the well-being of individuals.
"Fairness" to Scott Morrison in Australia does not mean that all the citizens in Australia should be cared for and treated fairly. No, what he means (and others of his political persuasion) mean is ONLY those citizens that are willing to have a "go".
The concept of "having a go" is quintessentially Australian, but there seem to be two schools of thought about it.
One group, the Morrison conservatives believe that you are not entitled to any help or aid from anyone unless you prove that you can look after yourself, in which case, obviously, why would you need any help from anyone.
I don't agree.
Morrison's argument (which is similar to the "if you are poor suffering starving or in desperate need of help then it is Gods will and all will work out for the best. In fact, you might learn and grow as a result" idea.
American mythology (via Hollywood) is chock full of this approach to life.

Some American writers see it differently. Joseph Heller in Catch-22 to illustrate exactly what a load of baloney that argument is.
btw, an American journalist once asked Heller why he had never written anything else as good as Catch-22. He replied, "neither has anyone else".

Hating "America" does not mean I don't like everyone in America, but I do understand that America is a country (I have lived in both New York and Virginia) where there are many different ideas and approaches. Where individual success is treasured, and individual failure is despised, where money is the way of keeping score, where everyone as a child is required to pledge allegiance to the Flag every morning.
In other countries it's different. I don't know what your lived experience of other cultures is, Ken, but I can tell you for sure that if someone criticises something about Australia, half of us will join them - possibly more.

When I complain about some element of "America", it disturbs me that every single American will leap to its defence.
Certain elements of American society are a malignancy in any civilised society. There are holocaust deniers in America that boldly display NAZI derived symbology to advance their cause. Tens of millions of Americans have appalling levels of literacy (scientific and language). And I don't just mean Trump - who has difficulty reading from his teleprompter.

When you self-identify as "I" and refer to me as "someone who hates us", does this mean that you personally approve of every action taken by the US government and that anyone who disagrees is unpatriotic or hates all individual Americans?

What about the millions unable to afford decent healthcare, housing or education? What kind of system of government turns its back on its citizens in their hour of need?
When Morrison went on Holidays during the Bushfires that destroyed vast swathes of our country he was roundly excoriated by most Australians, but not by around 33% of "us". That ~33% are beyond the reaches of rational thought. I know - I meet them at Bridge clubs in Sydney all the time. When I called one out for describing "All South African Jewish women" as arrogant I report it - does it have any effect, no. Many Australians are as bad as many Americans. And don't get me started on the British - and don't mention 'the war'.

I take every individual person on their merits. I don't look at their 'manner' or 'smile' - even Hitler could smile. Trump smiles and laughs all the time. No, I listen to the content of their speech and writings and their behaviour to others.
Oliver Sacks describes walking past a roomful of patients who were laughing at Ronald Reagan on television. "Why laugh," he asked. "He's the President, making a serious speech." "Well, listen to what he is saying", one replied.
That's what I do Ken, I listen. I listen carefully to the words that people utter. When they say later "oh, he was just kidding, it was a joke" I don't believe them.
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#17999 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-March-11, 15:15

Ken, I was not able to ever separate Vietnam and future - The war and what choice to make was all-consuming
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Posted 2021-March-11, 17:14

 pilowsky, on 2021-March-11, 14:44, said:

When I make a point about the behaviour of "America" as regards the way that it deals with both the inside and the outside world, I am using the word "America" in reference to the actions of its government.

When you say "us" and then say "I hate", are you implying that every single thing that America does you stand behind? All the time?

I note in your posts Ken that you commonly generalise from personal experience. I do the opposite. I look at the actions of the synthesized whole - as represented by the actions wielded by the elected Federal government.
Does the same apply to other countries? Yes, it does. The conservative government in Australia, Britain and other places are concerned only with the well-being of individuals.
"Fairness" to Scott Morrison in Australia does not mean that all the citizens in Australia should be cared for and treated fairly. No, what he means (and others of his political persuasion) mean is ONLY those citizens that are willing to have a "go".
The concept of "having a go" is quintessentially Australian, but there seem to be two schools of thought about it.
One group, the Morrison conservatives believe that you are not entitled to any help or aid from anyone unless you prove that you can look after yourself, in which case, obviously, why would you need any help from anyone.
I don't agree.
Morrison's argument (which is similar to the "if you are poor suffering starving or in desperate need of help then it is Gods will and all will work out for the best. In fact, you might learn and grow as a result" idea.
American mythology (via Hollywood) is chock full of this approach to life.

Some American writers see it differently. Joseph Heller in Catch-22 to illustrate exactly what a load of baloney that argument is.
btw, an American journalist once asked Heller why he had never written anything else as good as Catch-22. He replied, "neither has anyone else".

Hating "America" does not mean I don't like everyone in America, but I do understand that America is a country (I have lived in both New York and Virginia) where there are many different ideas and approaches. Where individual success is treasured, and individual failure is despised, where money is the way of keeping score, where everyone as a child is required to pledge allegiance to the Flag every morning.
In other countries it's different. I don't know what your lived experience of other cultures is, Ken, but I can tell you for sure that if someone criticises something about Australia, half of us will join them - possibly more.

When I complain about some element of "America", it disturbs me that every single American will leap to its defence.
Certain elements of American society are a malignancy in any civilised society. There are holocaust deniers in America that boldly display NAZI derived symbology to advance their cause. Tens of millions of Americans have appalling levels of literacy (scientific and language). And I don't just mean Trump - who has difficulty reading from his teleprompter.

When you self-identify as "I" and refer to me as "someone who hates us", does this mean that you personally approve of every action taken by the US government and that anyone who disagrees is unpatriotic or hates all individual Americans?

What about the millions unable to afford decent healthcare, housing or education? What kind of system of government turns its back on its citizens in their hour of need?
When Morrison went on Holidays during the Bushfires that destroyed vast swathes of our country he was roundly excoriated by most Australians, but not by around 33% of "us". That ~33% are beyond the reaches of rational thought. I know - I meet them at Bridge clubs in Sydney all the time. When I called one out for describing "All South African Jewish women" as arrogant I report it - does it have any effect, no. Many Australians are as bad as many Americans. And don't get me started on the British - and don't mention 'the war'.

I take every individual person on their merits. I don't look at their 'manner' or 'smile' - even Hitler could smile. Trump smiles and laughs all the time. No, I listen to the content of their speech and writings and their behaviour to others.
Oliver Sacks describes walking past a roomful of patients who were laughing at Ronald Reagan on television. "Why laugh," he asked. "He's the President, making a serious speech." "Well, listen to what he is saying", one replied.
That's what I do Ken, I listen. I listen carefully to the words that people utter. When they say later "oh, he was just kidding, it was a joke" I don't believe them.
le style est l'homme mÍme.

I'll respond to a couple of these points.

You ask

Quote

When you say "us" and then say "I hate", are you implying that every single thing that America does you stand behind? All the time?


and later

Quote

When you self-identify as "I" and refer to me as "someone who hates us", does this mean that you personally approve of every action taken by the US government and that anyone who disagrees is unpatriotic or hates all individual Americans?



Note that in my post I say

Quote

There is little point in having a discussion with someone who thinks that the US can do no wrong

I'll go out on a limb and guess that this adequately answers your question as to whether I stand behind everything that the US does.


You say

Quote


I note in your posts Ken that you commonly generalize from personal experience. I do the opposite.





I agree that this is a difference between us. Take your comment about the Marshall Plan. I probably took an exam in 8th grade where I had to answer questions about the Marshall Plan. Maybe I even got some of the questions right. But I really don't remember much of it. Some, but not much. But suppose, for reasons that I cannot imagine, decided to spend some time learning about the Marshall Plan. Would I consult BBF? No. I don't know, maybe I would start with the Encyclopedia Brittanica. If someone wants to know about the Marshall Plan they should definitely not ask me, but I doubt that they should ask you or others on BBF either, at least not if they want extensive knowledge by a Marshall Plan Scholar.


Otoh, just a post or two above I had a discussion with Winston about some of our personal experiences as we hoped to evade the draft. Maybe no one is interested in this, could be of course, but at least if for some reason they wish to know what a couple of guys were thinking during that time, I can personally vouch for the accuracy of my own description and I am willing to trust Winson's description.


Not much, I suppose. But to my mind that's what people do. They discuss their own experiences and how those experiences have shaped their views of the world. If someone wants to read a treatise, on the Marshall Plan or on The Spanish-American War, they could go to the library. Well, when the libraries are open again.





















Ken
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