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Taibbi writes: "As a rule, people resent being saved from themselves. And if you think depriving people of their right to make mistakes makes sense, you probably never had respect for their right to make decisions at all."

'This isn't democracy; it is Russian roulette for republics,' Kenneth Rogoff recently wrote in the 'Boston Globe,' of last week's Brexit vote. (photo: Odd Anderson/Getty Images)
'This isn't democracy; it is Russian roulette for republics,' Kenneth Rogoff recently wrote in the 'Boston Globe,' of last week's Brexit vote. (photo: Odd Anderson/Getty Images)


The Reaction to Brexit Is the Reason Brexit Happened

By Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone

28 June 16

 

If you believe there's such a thing as "too much democracy," you probably don't believe in democracy at all

n 1934, at the dawn of the Stalinist Terror, the great Russian writer Isaac Babel offered a daring quip at the International Writers Conference in Moscow:

"Everything is given to us by the party and the government. Only one right is taken away: the right to write badly."

A onetime Soviet loyalist who was eventually shot as an enemy of the state, Babel was likely trying to say something profound: that the freedom to make mistakes is itself an essential component of freedom.

As a rule, people resent being saved from themselves. And if you think depriving people of their right to make mistakes makes sense, you probably never had respect for their right to make decisions at all.

This is all relevant in the wake of the Brexit referendum, in which British citizens narrowly voted to exit the European Union.

Because the vote was viewed as having been driven by the same racist passions that are fueling the campaign of Donald Trump, a wide swath of commentators suggested that democracy erred, and the vote should perhaps be canceled, for the Britons' own good.

Social media was filled with such calls. "Is it just me, or does #Brexit seem like a moment when the government should overrule a popular referendum?" wrote one typical commenter.

On op-ed pages, there was a lot of the same. Harvard economics professor and chess grandmaster Kenneth Rogoff wrote a piece for the Boston Globe called "Britain's democratic failure" in which he argued:

"This isn't democracy; it is Russian roulette for republics. A decision of enormous consequence… has been made without any appropriate checks and balances."

Rogoff then went on to do something that's become popular in pundit circles these days: He pointed to the lessons of antiquity. Going back thousands of years, he said, Very Smart People have warned us about the dangers of allowing the rabble to make decisions.

"Since ancient times," he wrote, "philosophers have tried to devise systems to try to balance the strengths of majority rule against the need to ensure that informed parties get a larger say in critical decisions."

Presumably playing the role of one of the "informed parties" in this exercise, Rogoff went on:

"By some accounts... Athens had implemented the purest historical example of democracy," he wrote. "Ultimately, though, after some catastrophic war decisions, Athenians saw a need to give more power to independent bodies."

This is exactly the argument that British blogging supernova Andrew Sullivan unleashed a few months ago in his 8,000-word diatribe against Donald Trump, "Democracies end when they are too democratic."

Like Rogoff, Sullivan argued that over-democratic societies drift into passionate excesses, and need that vanguard of Very Smart People to make sure they don't get themselves into trouble.

"Elites matter in a democracy," Sullivan argued, because they are the "critical ingredient to save democracy from itself."

I would argue that voters are the critical ingredient to save elites from themselves, but Sullivan sees it the other way, and has Plato on his side. Though some of his analysis seems based on a misread of ancient history (see here for an amusing exploration of the topic), he's right about Plato, the source of a lot of these "the ancients warned us about democracy" memes. He just left out the part where Plato, at least when it came to politics, was kind of a jerk.

The great philosopher despised democracy, believing it to be a system that blurred necessary social distinctions, prompting children, slaves and even animals to forget their places. He believed it a system that leads to over-permissiveness, wherein the people "drink too deeply of the strong wine of freedom."

Too much license, Plato wrote (and Sullivan echoed), leads to a spoiled populace that will turn to a strongman for revenge if anyone gets in the way of the party. These "men of naught" will inevitably denounce as oligarchs any wise group of rulers who try to set basic/sensible rules for society.

You have to be a snob of the first order, completely high on your own gas, to try to apply these arguments to present-day politics, imagining yourself as an analog to Plato's philosopher-kings.

And you have to have a cast-iron head to not grasp that saying stuff like this out loud is part of what inspires populations to movements like Brexit or the Trump campaign in the first place.

Were I British, I'd probably have voted to Remain. But it's not hard to understand being pissed off at being subject to unaccountable bureaucrats in Brussels. Nor is it hard to imagine the post-Brexit backlash confirming every suspicion you might have about the people who run the EU.

Imagine having pundits and professors suggest you should have your voting rights curtailed because you voted Leave. Now imagine these same people are calling voters like you "children," and castigating you for being insufficiently appreciative of, say, the joys of submitting to a European Supreme Court that claims primacy over the Magna Carta and the Bill of Rights.

The overall message in every case is the same: Let us handle things.

But whatever, let's assume that the Brexit voters, like Trump voters, are wrong, ignorant, dangerous and unjustified.

Even stipulating to that, the reaction to both Brexit and Trump reveals a problem potentially more serious than either Brexit or the Trump campaign. It's become perilously fashionable all over the Western world to reach for non-democratic solutions whenever society drifts in a direction people don't like. Here in America the problem is snowballing on both the right and the left.

Whether it's Andrew Sullivan calling for Republican insiders to rig the nomination process to derail Trump's candidacy, or Democratic Party lifers like Peter Orszag arguing that Republican intransigence in Congress means we should turn more power over to "depoliticized commissions," the instinct to act by diktat surfaces quite a lot these days.

"Too much democracy" used to be an argument we reserved for foreign peoples who tried to do things like vote to demand control over their own oil supplies.

I first heard the term in Russia in the mid-Nineties. As a young reporter based in Moscow in the years after communism fell, I spent years listening to American advisors and their cronies in the Kremlin gush over the new democratic experiment.

Then, in 1995, polls came out showing communist Gennady Zyguanov leading in the upcoming presidential race against Boris Yeltsin. In an instant, all of those onetime democratic evangelists began saying Russia was "not ready" for democracy.

Now it's not just carpetbagging visitors to the Third World pushing this line of thought. Just as frequently, the argument is aimed at "low-information" voters at home.

Maybe the slide started with 9/11, after which huge pluralities of people were suddenly OK with summary executions, torture, warrantless surveillance and the blithe disposal of concepts like habeas corpus.

A decade and a half later, we're gripped by a broader mania for banning and censoring things that would have been unthinkable a generation ago.

It seems equally to have taken over campus speech controversies (expanding the "fighting words" exception to the First Amendment is suddenly a popular idea) and the immigration debate (where Trump swept to the nomination riding a bluntly unconstitutional call for a religious test for immigrants).

Democracy appears to have become so denuded and corrupted in America that a generation of people has grown up without any faith in its principles.

What's particularly concerning about the reaction both to Brexit and to the rise of Trump is the way these episodes are framed as requiring exceptions to the usual democratic rule. They're called threats so monstrous that we must abrogate the democratic process to combat them.

Forget Plato, Athens, Sparta and Rome. More recent history tells us that the descent into despotism always starts in this exact same way. There is always an emergency that requires a temporary suspension of democracy.

After 9/11 we had the "ticking time bomb" metaphor to justify torture. NYU professor and self-described "prolific thought leader" Ian Bremmer just called Brexit the "most significant political risk the world has experienced since the Cuban Missile Crisis," likening it to a literal end-of-humanity scenario. Sullivan justified his call for undemocratic electoral maneuvers on the grounds that the election of Trump would be an "extinction-level event."

I don't buy it. My admittedly primitive understanding of democracy is that we're supposed to move toward it, not away from it, in a moment of crisis.

It doesn't mean much to be against torture until the moment when you're most tempted to resort to it, or to have faith in voting until the result of a particular vote really bothers you. If you think there's ever such a thing as "too much democracy," you probably never believed in it in the first place. And even low-Information voters can sense it.


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+72 # RMDC 2016-06-28 11:17
"but Sullivan sees it the other way, and has Plato on his side."

Plato had a lot a very interesting things to say about the arts, philosophy, and aspirational dreaming. But when it came to politics Plato was the father of western fascism. It is no wonder, anti-democratic elite ass-lickers like Andrew Sullivan want him on his side. But real democrats, socialists, and the rest of freedom loving people run like hell when Plato enters the conversation.

Fascists like Samuel Huntington have been bemoaning the excess of democracy any time people don't do exactly what the elites want. They always prefer managed democracy or democracy with a fail safe switch in the hands of the billionaire class that believes it owns a nation. The fact is the billionaires don't own any nation. They are just the looters who have stolen a billion dollars from the workers who actually created the wealth.

I think we are coming to one of those "let them eat cake" moments, when the Sullivans, the Rogoffs, and all the defenders of elite rule just tell the working poor of Europe, the US, Africa, and the rest of the world that if they cannot afford bread then just eat cake. We all know what happened after that. The masses cut off the heads of the women who gave the advice about eating cake.
 
 
+1 # rocback 2016-06-28 13:15
The problem with the vote is that the people were lied to by the pro Brexit forces. Several of those leaders recanted their claims right after the election.

It may be simply that the voters got this one wrong..well at least 51% of them did. They didn't like those "other" people who don't look like "us" to be let in.

In the meantime, trillions were lost mostly by the poor people who cant afford it. But Trump will make more money at Trump Turnbury so all is well with the world, right?
 
 
+53 # Johnny 2016-06-28 14:17
That some voted for the Brexit for bad reasons does not make the result bad. Once the secession is complete, Britain can regulate climate destroying industries and products without fear of being sued for obstructing trade under EU rules. It also may enable Britain to regain some dignity and autonomy, so that it will use some of its resources to benefit its people instead of the U.S. war machine.
 
 
+4 # rocback 2016-06-28 15:08
They were told that Britain would get an extra 350 million euros a week that could be used for their national health service which was a lie.

They claimed there would be much less immigration (actually they said zero) from the E U. They lied.

Those were probably two of the biggest reasons people voted for it. That and the fact that some wanted to stay but since the poll showed "remain"winning they wanted a protest vote and were shocked when "remain" lost by 2%.
 
 
+41 # librarian1984 2016-06-28 16:00
Hmm. Lying to win an election! Who does THAT remind me of?
 
 
+11 # Maturus 2016-06-28 17:33
Perhaps the first referendum on whether Britain should leave the EEC (the forerunner of the EU) in 1975. Those who campaigned for a Leave vote claimed that the EEC was fundamentally undemocratic and was intended to lead to a political union. The remain campaigners assured voters that this was untrue, that the EEC was only about trade and that Britain would only be better off through its membership. 75% voted to remain.

In the years following the referendum it was revealed that secret protocols had ceded large areas of economic activity to the EEC as the price of their allowing membership. In the case of the Common Fisheries Policy, this was later [secretly] declared to have been illegal but was retrospectively legitimized in the Maastricht Treaty.
 
 
-5 # rocback 2016-06-29 16:57
"The Myth that Brexit was Built on"

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/06/28/the-myths-that-brexit-was-built-on/?wpisrc=nl_az_most
 
 
+7 # RLF 2016-06-30 06:45
The "myth" seems to me is that the vote was all about xenophobia but people are seeming to forget that the European Union was basically a pro-business free trade agreement and the elites are bummed in Britain because it is going to cut into their bottom line. Less cheap labor and less free import of cheap crap. There might be a price to pay but...
 
 
+4 # Maturus 2016-06-30 17:07
Like anyone on the WaPo knows diddly squat beyond what they're fed.
 
 
+5 # RMDC 2016-06-28 18:15
Very droll. Just like a librarian.
 
 
+2 # ericlipps 2016-06-29 16:00
Quoting librarian1984:
Hmm. Lying to win an election! Who does THAT remind me of?

Practically every U.S. politician since the dawn of the republic. And the same could be said of any other country that bothers to hold elections in which candidates actually have to campaign.
 
 
-1 # ericlipps 2016-06-29 15:59
Quoting Johnny:
That some voted for the Brexit for bad reasons does not make the result bad. Once the secession is complete, Britain can regulate climate destroying industries and products without fear of being sued for obstructing trade under EU rules.

It could, but would it? Crossing one's fingers and hoping that secession will improve things has a checkered record in history.
 
 
+3 # Maturus 2016-06-30 17:09
It's not secession. It's more like leaving a social club.
 
 
+18 # markovchhaney 2016-06-28 15:10
And Hillary is as honest as the day is long, right, #rocback?

Hey, short day, wasn't it?

Just be honest: you think that a vote for corporatism, neoliberalism, and Hillary is just what the founding fathers would have wanted for America in 2016. Sanders? Not in the least. Jefferson would have hated him. But Hillary and the founders would have partied like it's 1799. In your dreams, white boy, in your dreams.
 
 
-41 # rocback 2016-06-28 15:37
Bernie is close to what I want but his taxes are too high all in at 75%, his free stuff would balloon the deficit by $13 trillion over 10 years, he gives free college tuition to millionaires and billionaires instead of putting that money into headstart and K-12 for poor kids and he gave immunity to gun manufacturers.

Trump is a total disaster for this country and I would never trust his temperament with the nuclear code and his desire to reduce taxes to a max of 25% and completely eliminate inheritance taxes.

Hillary is not perfect but pretty close to it, so yes, the choice is pretty easy for me.
 
 
-10 # Barbara K 2016-06-28 16:11
rocback: Did you see this today:


http://samuel-warde.com/2016/06/democrats-issue-report-transcripts-clearing-hillary-clinton-benghazi/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+SamuelWarde+%28Samuel+Wynn+Warde%29

..
 
 
-12 # Barbara K 2016-06-28 16:52
Want to sign this petition? We should be repaid for the sham they ran:

http://leftaction.com/benghazi-committee?source=MS_EM_PET_2016.06.28_B1_benghazi_X__F1_S3_C1__all

..
 
 
-7 # rocback 2016-06-28 17:56
Nice! Thanks Barbara. One of the many bogus committees set up by the GOP sole to "bring down Hillarys poll numbers". Too bad we can't sue the GOP for wasting our tax dollars.
 
 
-6 # Barbara K 2016-06-28 19:17
rocback: Yes, it is. There should be penalties for the sham lies to destroy a person like these thugs did.

..
 
 
+37 # Working Class 2016-06-28 16:54
Last time I checked rocbuck, not too many millionaires, let alone billionaires, send their kids to the public institutions of higher learning Sanders said should be free. Free like many of them were 50 years ago. Please check that Kool Aid you have been drinking at the door before posting.
 
 
-27 # rocback 2016-06-28 18:07
Then Berine should have no problem putting in a needs based provision.

Also, his free college plan will only apply if the state allows it. Bernie doesn't tell you that each state would have to pay for a third of the tuition and so each state would have to approve it. Hillary has a much better plan.
 
 
+22 # lfeuille 2016-06-28 20:38
Need based provisions just give austerity addled politicians something to cut. The cutoff is always too low to help all the people that need it. And the redtape is just overwhelming for many. It creates an expensive bureaucracy to do the unnecessary. Bernie's right. It should be a right of citizenship.
 
 
+14 # laborequalswealth 2016-06-29 12:34
Well said. When I went to UC Berkeley in the 1970's, my tuition was $150 a quarter, i.e. $450 a year. In 2016 dollars, that was LESS than $1,900/year. http://www.saving.org/inflation/inflation.php?amount=450

When my daughter went there around 2008, the tuition for the year was over $13,000. Even adjusted for inflation, just how did a college education get to be almost SEVEN TIMES more expensive in 40 years?

What my Boomer generation has done to the Millenials is criminal. We are turning them into eternal debt serfs just to get an education.

A society does not survive long once it starts to eat its young.
 
 
+1 # cicciuzzu 2016-06-29 17:22
Here at UCI Chancellor Gilman said on founder's day that any student whose family income was less than $80,000/yr paid no tuition. Did your daughter pay over $13,000 for tuition? I was UCI faculty in 1965 until 1991 when I retired. Part of the increase in tuition came from the Federal Government's increased scrutiny over things that formerly were private and which required the university to open an office to monitor the compliance. Today there are subjects demanded by the students which cost. So we now have an Office of Gay and Lesbian Studies. In 1965 when UCI opened its doors something like this was beyond the pale. Add all of this newfound development up and you get tuition of $13,000.
 
 
+10 # librarian1984 2016-06-30 00:09
Do you really think that's where all that new tuition money is going, a few offices dedicated to helping out students and (heaven forbid) oversight?

Back in the 80s and 90s the universities, like many other sectors, decided it needed to be 'run like a business'. Ignore the fact that businesses have failed repeatedly, damaging their shareholders, their employees, their communities and their country.

What 'running like a business' means is that instead of having a scholar run your institution you have a CEO, who gets bonuses and throws lots of fundraisers, who measures success by donations instead of the quality of their graduates, often someone who doesn't know (or care) much about scholarly pursuits.

Then the administration adds layers and layers of management. Compare the employment roster between a university today and one from the 1960s, and look at how the number of administrators has changed.

Don't buy the propaganda you hear. It's not liberal ideas and that horrid tolerance that's sucking the money right out of your pockets. It's Wall Street and Big Business.

Get angry with the right people. They try to divide us. Divide and conquer. Don't fall for it.
 
 
+2 # RLF 2016-06-30 06:49
We know that it must be hard for you, Roc, to imagine the government actually doing something for the people and not people of your(75% tax bracket) ilk!
 
 
+14 # lfeuille 2016-06-28 20:30
Whining about the 1% getting free college tuition is petty. It's the 1% that will be paying for it with higher taxes, not working people. It just does not work to make people pay for benefits they cannot access themselves. Most of them won't want to, but if they do, so what. They willing be paying many times more to educate everyone else's kids.
 
 
+27 # wrknight 2016-06-29 06:07
Quoting rocback:
Bernie is close to what I want but his taxes are too high all in at 75%, his free stuff would balloon the deficit by $13 trillion over 10 years, he gives free college tuition to millionaires and billionaires instead of putting that money into headstart and K-12 for poor kids and he gave immunity to gun manufacturers.

Trump is a total disaster for this country and I would never trust his temperament with the nuclear code and his desire to reduce taxes to a max of 25% and completely eliminate inheritance taxes.

Hillary is not perfect but pretty close to it, so yes, the choice is pretty easy for me.

Bitch, bitch, bitch about taxes. There's nothing wrong with taxes if you get your money's worth out of them. Europeans pay a helluva lot more taxes than we do, but they get a lot of service for them. In fact, they get much more for their tax dollars than we do. A lot of our taxes only buy death, destruction and more enemies around the world plus the largest police and security force in the world plus the largest prison population in the world.

I personally would prefer health care, better roads and bridges, schools, a decent rail transportation system, national parks without corporate sponsors and a whole lot of other infrastructure.

You may bitch about taxes, but when you pay corporations for services, you usually wind up paying more. Healthcare is a prime example.
 
 
+19 # RMDC 2016-06-29 06:55
wrk -- you are right. We pay a lot of taxes but get next to nothing for the money. In the US taxes are merely a transfer of wealth to the ruling elites. This is the sort of corruption that happens to many governments and eventually it gets so bad the people revolt. I personally don't think it is possible to raise the taxes much because people will revolt. They won't pay. Now if the gov't cleaned up its spending first, that might be a different matter. Military and national security spending is the biggest looting of the wealth of the US.
 
 
+10 # laborequalswealth 2016-06-29 12:43
If you are grumpy about paying more taxes, I would recommend looking at where your tax dollars are going NOW.

Do you protest when:
+ The US military spends (an admitted) 2/3 of a TRILLION/year on "defense"?
+ We squander $2-4 TRILLION on useless wars?
+ Halliburton makes $38 BILLION on the Iraq War alone?
+ Mega corps pay NO income tax?
+ Wall Street gamblers pay HALF the tax rate you and I pay because of the capital gains scam?
+ Multi-millionai res and billionaires pay a lower percentage of the income in taxes than school teachers and firemen?

The problem is NOT about our paying taxes. The problem is WHO IS NOT PAYING TAXES.
 
 
-9 # rocback 2016-06-29 16:45
I agree with every single point you made. But I still think Bernies tax rate is too high for individuals. Also, his plan leaves us with trillions in more debt over 10 years.

Based on initial estimates provided by the Tax Foundation, more tax revenue would be created, but it would come at a cost to the U.S. economy and all taxpayers. Over the next 10 years the Tax Foundation estimates roughly 6 million jobs would be lost, a 4.3% reduction in wages would occur, U.S. GDP would drop by nearly 10%, and we'd witness a whopping 18.6% fall in capital investments.

Furthermore, Tax Foundation projects an average drop in after-tax income of 10.6% on a static basis for Americans. Taxpayers in the bottom 40% of the income ladder would see their static after-tax income fall between 4.9% and 6.9%. By contrast, taxpayers in the top 1% of income are estimated to see their after-tax income fall by 17.9% on a static basis under Sanders' plan.

This perceived weakness helps explain why Tax Foundation believes Sanders' tax reforms could generate $13.6 trillion in revenue, but would ultimately only provide a $9.8 trillion boost when the impact of those taxes are factored into its models.
 
 
+8 # Billsy 2016-06-29 12:46
You left out lowered health care costs, more flexibility in finding work without loads of student debt and let's not forget that bloated pentagon budget hmm? We could easily provide free higher education and universal health care if we ceased operating military bases overseas, fighting endless wars in the middle east over oil rights and handing over pots of money to defense contractors to build dogs like the F-35. No problem with taxes when you get your money's worth from them and billionaires pay their fair share.
 
 
+3 # fuzzbuzz 2016-06-28 19:40
WOW!!! Is this a dream? Did I bump my head? A comment by rocback that isn't full of lies, attacks, smears, ad hominems, or HRC propaganda!! I actually upvoted you!

We knew you could do it!!! We never doubted you for a second!

Now please keep it up with regards to the lying, corrupt, money-launderin g, election-riggin g corporate war criminal, HRC.

You can do it! We believe in you!
 
 
+10 # DaveEwoldt 2016-06-28 23:09
I could give up reading anything from the mainstream/corp orate press and just read your "facts" to be up to speed on what they oligarchy wants, rocback.

Britons outside of the financial center of London decided that the neoliberal austerity economics enforced by the EU wasn't working for them. And just like in America, don't mention the foreign policy driving the immigration crisis.

The Greek's anti-austerity vote didn't work for them. Maybe the Brit's will. Not that it necessarily will make any difference as the global financial picture is painted with fairy dust so it can be anything they decree it to be.
 
 
+5 # RMDC 2016-06-29 06:50
roc -- "lied to by the pro Brexit forces."

I think most people had a very clear idea of what the issues were. The lies were marginal and insignificant -- if they were lies at all.
 
 
-6 # rocback 2016-06-29 16:50
Then why were the terms "what is the EU" and "what does it mean to leave the EU" the most searched terms in Britain the day AFTER the vote?
 
 
-7 # rocback 2016-06-29 16:52
Also, Gallop found that 33% of the leave vote was because they believed it would solve the immigration policy and eliminate immigration to "0". But in fact they will have to forfeit that right over immigration to keep the tariffs off and allow the free movement of laborers.
 
 
+36 # wrknight 2016-06-28 14:51
There is no question that rule by the elites is best for the elites.
 
 
+34 # wrknight 2016-06-28 14:55
And there is no question that majority rule is not always best for the elites.

Which is why the elites decry "too much democracy".

And Plato was clearly one of the elites.
 
 
+9 # Aliazer 2016-06-28 20:23
RMDC, I must differ with you!!! Plato did not necessarily debunked "democracy" but did suggest the "wise ruler" to be the best form for government.

Unfortunately, we have not had "wise rulers". What we have had, instead, elites who are simply committed to their interests, forgetting any equity or justice for the rest of the polity.
 
 
+3 # laborequalswealth 2016-06-29 12:13
What you say is becoming more accurate by the moment. Look at what the US government is now going to do to PUERTO RICO - and these people are US citizens!

I think America is rapidly approaching its Niemoller moment: If we don't stand up NOW, when they come for US, there will be no one left to stand up.
 
 
+58 # RMDC 2016-06-28 11:21
"Democracy appears to have become so denuded and corrupted in America that a generation of people has grown up without any faith in its principles."

Matt, you are wrong about this. The American political system has been totally corrupted by the "house negros" of the 1%ers. Democracy itself is not corrupted or denuded. People are calling for a political house cleaning on all sides of the spectrum. Occupy Wall Street was an outbreak in democracy. The Tea Party was -- from the point of view of the activists -- an expression of democracy. Sander's success is about making the political process democratic. Obama's hope and change worked because people thought he meant democracy.

Brexit is an expression of hope for democracy, in spite of its darker side in xenophobia.

People, esp. the young, still have enormous faith in democracy. What they don't have faith in is the Clintons and the whole gaggle of ruling elites who have hijacked politics. And they have no faith in the sycophants like Sullivan or Rogoff who really wish they lived in a totalitarian state.
 
 
+13 # torch and pitchfork 2016-06-28 15:09
"People, esp. the young, still have enormous faith in democracy." far too many of these "young" people fail to exercise their faith.
 
 
+19 # librarian1984 2016-06-28 16:51
I wonder how many tried to vote but were turned away. Many of the strategies and tricks used to disenfranchise Democratic voters seemed to target young people.

Does it seem likely they were willing to wait for hours in the sun and rain to see Senator Sanders but then too lazy or uninformed to walk to their polling place?

Why don't we ever see statistics on exactly how many people are turned away from the voting booth, and the reason? That seems kind of important to me.

The Democratic Party is doing a fine job of teaching these young people that they are not respected or needed, yet they're obviously passionate and pretty darned progressive too.

Sounds like the beginnings of a third, progressive, party to me.

Oh Dems! once again managing to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, nominating the one person who can unite the GOP behind Trump when they had a miracle within their grasp.

Remember the finch. 100% of rally-attending finches support Sanders!
 
 
+9 # lfeuille 2016-06-28 20:41
College students are a main target for voter suppression along with minorities. They tend to be more progressive as a rule.
 
 
+10 # karenvista 2016-06-28 23:16
Quoting torch and pitchfork:
"People, esp. the young, still have enormous faith in democracy." far too many of these "young" people fail to exercise their faith.

Quoting torch and pitchfork:
"People, esp. the young, still have enormous faith in democracy." far too many of these "young" people fail to exercise their faith.


Large numbers of younger voters voted in the Democratic primaries and they got to see how our elections work, or don't.

Most of the votes for Bernie were prevented or not counted. He won in the exit polls so frequently that they were cancelled because the were evidence of Hillary/DNC election fraud.

This devastating example of criminality may have been planned to discourage young voters from future participation.

Those of us who fought for change in the 60s are getting too old to fight another battle in the streets now, fifty years later.

I hope young voters can maintain their determination to save this country from what has become of our erstwile democracy.
 
 
-20 # rocback 2016-06-28 15:40
true, especially in the Brexit vote. Most young people were for remain but they failed to vote. It was the old farts that are still harboring racism in their bones and don't need to get jobs that voted to leave.
 
 
+12 # Maturus 2016-06-28 17:05
This is a totally false narrative.
 
 
-7 # rocback 2016-06-28 18:12
What is false? Every report I saw said the young people by in large voted to remain and the older and uneducated people voted to leave.

See: How Baby Boomers Defeated Millinials on Brexit vote

http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/brexit-referendum/britain-s-brexit-how-baby-boomers-defeated-millennials-historic-vote-n598481
 
 
+3 # Maturus 2016-06-29 01:41
OK, I'll explain.

"Most young people were for remain but they failed to vote". The media were very good at finding middle-class young people to express a pro-EU viewpoint. They were less effective at finding working-class young people who expressed a contrary viewpoint. To claim that those who don't vote would have voted one way or the other is false - they didn't vote so they didn't express an opinion.

"old farts that are still harboring racism in their bones and don't need to get jobs". The pressures of population growth always bring forth a reaction against the newcomers and these reactions were voiced by people from all ethnic backgrounds - including second-generati on immigrants. The turmoil in the Labour party is because their target audience - the poorer working class - voted to leave possibly because they do need to get jobs. Areas of conservative 'old farts' such as Sussex, Surrey and Oxford voted to remain.

The media luvvies wanted a Remain vote, as did the majority of the well-paid, because the middle class are largely insulated from the problems affecting the working class whilst the latter, of course, are largely insulated from the benefits of the former.
 
 
-7 # rocback 2016-06-29 17:00
Perhaps the "poorly educated" as Trump calls them are more easily snookered.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/06/28/the-myths-that-brexit-was-built-on/?wpisrc=nl_az_most
 
 
+82 # Buddha 2016-06-28 11:21
The thing is, Thomas Jefferson (and others) have said it right over the centuries: "The cornerstone of democracy rests on the foundation of an educated electorate." An informed and educated electorate is the "check" on the masses "drinking too deeply on the strong wine of freedom" and just voting themselves free pussy-trees. But we in the West aren't really living in free democratic representative republics. On the surface we are, but the reality is that we have a global SuperRich and their trans-national- corporations who CONTROL our elected governments. We are effectively Oligarchies. And those "elites" haven't used their power to guide policy such that we all benefit, have they? No, they have worked to ensure that government tax and trade policies are enacted that benefit them and NOT the masses, hence the income stagnation for the working-class occurring while incomes for the Capital Class Oligarchs explodes.

So ultimately, we have today the worst situation, where the masses are poorly informed and poorly educated, and thus aren't able to make wise choices at the ballot box (see Brexit, see Trump)...but our "elites" who really run our system are doing it in ways that solely benefit themselves, creating huge economic displacement for the masses and resulting in total rejection of institutions and "experts" along with those "elites".
 
 
+59 # RMDC 2016-06-28 11:49
Buddha -- good. School and education in general should primarily be about the education of good citizens. This does not mean prescribing a political position. THat is the free choice of students or people. But it does mean learning philosophy, history, literature or in short the humanities. All the career training is secondary. It is not a problem at all for students to do both and even more and do them all well.
 
 
+13 # economagic 2016-06-28 14:47
The classical, "liberal" education, having nothing to do with the term as a political descriptor, and often co-opted by charlatans claiming to be the defenders of "classical liberalism" by prescribing the remedies of 200-300 years ago for the tyrannies of today. But the remedies of 200-300 years ago ARE the tyrannies of today, and their defense is usually called "conservatism."
 
 
+2 # RMDC 2016-06-29 07:01
yes, we've had plenty of the "claiming" of classical liberalism and the twisting it to the ends of elite rule. Neo-liberalism and neo-conservatis m are based on this and are really the product of the elite universities in the US.

What I'm talking about is really reading texts from any time period and reading them in their own social, historical, political, and economic context. Adam Smith is a good example. The neo-libs lift out a few paragraphs that suit their interests now but fail to understand Smith much at all. They read Smith as if he were a social darwinist because that is what they are.

Meanings or interpretations are always situational and contextual. All knowledge is ultimately about where we are now in our social and economic structures.
 
 
+20 # wrknight 2016-06-28 15:25
It's not just school and education. It's also having verified and validated information to work with. That's where we have failed the worst as the media has been taken over by the elites and we no longer have access to the truth.

Instead of being an informed electorate, we have become simply an amused electorate.
 
 
0 # rocback 2016-06-28 15:43
you keep using the word "elites". what do you mean by that...educated ? > I heard one person being interviewed and was asked why would he vote to leave if all the economic experts predicted economic recession if they left and he said "That's the problem...we have too many experts". Now THAT is scary.
 
 
+23 # wrknight 2016-06-28 16:53
Quoting rocback:
you keep using the word "elites". what do you mean by that...educated? > I heard one person being interviewed and was asked why would he vote to leave if all the economic experts predicted economic recession if they left and he said "That's the problem...we have too many experts". Now THAT is scary.
No, I don't mean the educated. There are many of us who are educated but are clearly NOT elites. By elites, I mean those who have sufficient wealth that they can influence and manipulate those who are supposed to govern. Typically, those who inhabit 1000 square foot corner window offices in high rise buildings in large cities and have wealth in excess of 10 digits, incomes in excess of 7 digits and are capable of buying out anything or anyone that might stand in their way. Those who can set up personal appointments with any elected official any hour of the day, any day of the week and can deploy armies of lobbyists to descend on Capitol Hill and the various state legislatures like locusts to purchase their obeisance.

That's what I mean by elites. If you haven't encountered them, you haven't lived.

And if you can't have your personal secretary or aide set up a luncheon engagement with your U.S. Senator at your convenience, then you aren't an elite.
 
 
+13 # librarian1984 2016-06-28 16:59
@ rocback

Straw man argument. YOU define what wrknight means by 'elite' and then proceed to twist it to your own nefarious purposes.

Certainly one anecdote cannot define what every voter reasoned, but even if it did, perhaps they wanted to convey that there are too many pundits and propagandists, with little verifiable information. In that case, your anecdote supports what I believe to be wrknight's intent.

When 10 experts on the media tell you 10 different things, all spoken with authority but none of them with evidence, and many of them have been wrong in the past, you have lots of 'experts' but no information.

In addition there is the problem of not believing you even heard this, since you make things up as it suits you.
 
 
-8 # rocback 2016-06-28 18:16
Hey, I was just asking what he meant by elites. So I will use "educated" and say that the more educated voted to remain and the less educated voted to leave. Also the young voted to remain and the old voted to leave. That was the demographics whether it fits your 'narrative" or not.
 
 
+5 # wrknight 2016-06-29 06:52
If you read my definition above, you would know what I meant by elites. If you read it and still don't know, then I can't help you.
 
 
+3 # economagic 2016-06-28 19:11
Indeed. But there are many kinds of elites, including the technocrats, many of whom have lots of knowledge and little or no understanding -- especially economists. The same has happened to that word as has happened to "liberal," "conservative," and a number of other words that had specific meaning at some time in the past but now serve mainly as dirty names to call an adversary. Most of the time rocks isn't really arguing a point. He just likes to argue, and ambiguity serves to keep the argument going.
 
 
+6 # economagic 2016-06-28 19:03
@wrknight
Neil Postman, "Amusing Ourselves to Death" (1985). These days I try to treat all information as potentially bogus, and rely on experience and prior learning to try to sort it out. That's difficult for those just starting out.
 
 
+4 # wrknight 2016-06-29 06:50
Quoting economagic:
@wrknight
Neil Postman, "Amusing Ourselves to Death" (1985). These days I try to treat all information as potentially bogus, and rely on experience and prior learning to try to sort it out. That's difficult for those just starting out.

It's also difficult for those who have neither the time, inclination or faculties to do so.
 
 
+5 # Buddha 2016-06-29 10:59
Quoting RMDC:
Buddha -- good. School and education in general should primarily be about the education of good citizens.


I would agree. And those rigging the system for their benefit most certainly don't, look at how the Kochs are through their puppet Scott Walker attacking Univ of Wisconsin, trying to change its mission statement away from so educating our citizens and towards "providing skilled labor" for corporations. But I also don't think it is JUST the responsibility of our schools. Part of being "educated" is being INFORMED, and each and every citizen has to personally own that. The Oligarchy's Mass Media's agenda is to MISINFORM and distract the masses, not to inform them. But this IS the information age, and truth is out there with just a modicum of effort and discernible from fiction with just a modicum of common sense and intelligence. Americans have Failed this test, we've become intellectually lazy, too tribally-locked to party identity, and far too many are unwilling to be activist and hold our government accountable to serving its people. That is what ALLOWED us to become a corrupted Oligarchy...and it is what has birthed people like Trump.
 
 
+20 # Greg Scott 2016-06-28 13:49
Well...our founding fathers, fathers yeah, realized that the passions of the moment can lead to some ugly things. So they added the bill of rights.

There is a balance to be struck between the mob and government.

But I'm with Abe Lincoln on this: No man is good enough to govern another without his consent.

(I was looking for the one that went something like: eventually the people will do the right thing given enough time and information but I couldn't find it. ;-). But this one works.)
 
 
+15 # tedrey 2016-06-28 14:06
I think most of the Bill of Rights was added to guard the citizens (the "mob" if you will) against the government.
 
 
+4 # Johnny 2016-06-28 14:20
Quoting tedrey:
I think most of the Bill of Rights was added to guard the citizens (the "mob" if you will) against the government.

Obviously, as anyone familiar with the first 12 amendments to the constitution knows.
 
 
+12 # reiverpacific 2016-06-28 14:37
Quoting Johnny:
Quoting tedrey:
I think most of the Bill of Rights was added to guard the citizens (the "mob" if you will) against the government.

Obviously, as anyone familiar with the first 12 amendments to the constitution knows.


Well y'know, the "Bill of Rights" and much of the constitution was plagiarized from the Great ALL-INCLUSIVE Iroquois Six-Nations Confederacy, written down by the sainted "Founding Fathers" and changed into a "representative " (them and their elite property and slave-owning peers) experiment in Republicanism in which it became an uphill battle for every other demographic since, especially the original inhabitants of this continent who were not only disenfranchised but stripped of citizenship rights until well into the 20th Century.
Democracy my kilted toosh!
 
 
+3 # Greg Scott 2016-06-29 15:07
True...but I think it goes both ways.

Government in some ways is the mob. With the approval of a simple majority of people, government can impose many things on a minority of people.

I think that they recognized that and tried to set limits.
 
 
-1 # ericlipps 2016-06-29 16:05
Quoting Buddha:
The thing is, Thomas Jefferson (and others) have said it right over the centuries: "The cornerstone of democracy rests on the foundation of an educated electorate."

But what Jefferson meant was an educated, wealthy elite--the one percent" of his era. It's worth remembering that for all the noble sentiments he expressed in the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson was a bitter opponent of the U.S. Constitution.
 
 
+18 # reiverpacific 2016-06-28 13:54
"Elites matter in a democracy," Sullivan argued, because they are the "critical ingredient to save democracy from itself."
Pah!
These same"elites" met at their fee-paying schools and kept in touch until they hopped, skipped and jumped into Parliament on the way to the house of Lords, giving each other an elbow up on the way and sitting like drones in their elite private clubs for gentlemen, when not sleeping on the back benches.
And they're not a whit smarter than any middle of the road publicly-educat ed person.
Thank goodness for Labor and the SNP, which looks like taking Scotland out of the "United" Kingdom into the EU.
And of course there's still the Monarchy, which doesn't belong in ANY democracy.
They should all sit back and recall Evelyn Beatrice Hall's wise comment (NOT Voltaire's BTW) "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it!".
The US Republicrats may try to wrap their minds around it too -but don't hold yer puff in too long!
 
 
+9 # Jim Rocket 2016-06-28 16:19
Andrew Sullivan clearly believes that he belongs in the VIP section. There's a real vacuum in the leadership department. PM Cameron, who strikes me as a pudding in a suit, called for the referendum, set it at a 50% vote when it should have been 2/3 for an issue that is this important and then he totally failed to sell his side of the argument. He had to resign but only a spoiled yuppie could screw up this big without being clinically stupid.

I think many of the people in powerful positions these days don't have the gravitas, charisma, expertise and courage to be effective leaders and that leads to the "too many experts" vibe on the street. I fear the Dems could lose to Trump for this exact reason. ie. Paul Begala blaming his problems on the voters. Sheesh!
 
 
+4 # dquandle 2016-06-28 17:52
damned toxic pudding
 
 
+31 # HenryS1 2016-06-28 14:04
I would suggest that democracy works best when journalism is healthy. When "manufactured consent", self-censorship , and spin substitute "one man one vote" with "$1m one vote", then the tragedy of the commons critique allows un-priced but vital assets like water and air to be despoiled. And runaway income inequality.
 
 
+9 # ikhadduri 2016-06-28 14:16
Ahh! Gents.
Have you forgotten the words of the great sage?
"Freedom's untidy, and free people are free to make mistakes and commit crimes and do bad things"
War criminal Rumsfeld.
 
 
+2 # reiverpacific 2016-06-28 14:38
Quoting ikhadduri:
Ahh! Gents.
Have you forgotten the words of the great sage?
"Freedom's untidy, and free people are free to make mistakes and commit crimes and do bad things"
War criminal Rumsfeld.


"Gents" only???????
 
 
+3 # markovchhaney 2016-06-28 15:11
Don't be obtuse.
 
 
0 # gumby 2016-06-28 16:56
"Democracy invariably leads to Marxism"
Adolph Hitler
 
 
+6 # RMDC 2016-06-29 07:05
gumby -- yes, all fascists say this. Leo Strauss the intellectual god father of the neo-cons also said it. Friedrich Hayek, the godfather of the neo-liberals, also said it in his Road to Serfdom.

The thing is that they are all fascists and they are all WRONG. Democracy leads to democracy. Marxism is democracy.

These fascists think that Marxism means something it does not mean. Marx was a very great humanist and freedom fighter. Fascist are by nature anti-marxism or anti-communism because those lead to democracy and fascism is anti-democracy.
 
 
+13 # Torvus 2016-06-28 14:19
I'm English and I still don't understand xenophobic Englanders who are ruled by a Protestant 'German' queen, whose husband is Greek; some of the electorate celebrate St George as the patron saint of England - he was Turkish-born and his mother was Palestinian (if you believe any of the myth); St George's Day was instigated sometime in I think the 16th century by Catholics . . . A good little read is Daniel Defoe's poem 'The True-born Englishman' which might usefully be added to any school syllabus.
 
 
+9 # reiverpacific 2016-06-28 14:44
Quoting Torvus:
I'm English and I still don't understand xenophobic Englanders who are ruled by a Protestant 'German' queen, whose husband is Greek; some of the electorate celebrate St George as the patron saint of England - he was Turkish-born and his mother was Palestinian (if you believe any of the myth); St George's Day was instigated sometime in I think the 16th century by Catholics . . . A good little read is Daniel Defoe's poem 'The True-born Englishman' which might usefully be added to any school syllabus.


I think the term "Ruled" by a "Protestant German Queen" is giving the Tudors too much credit and relevance.
How about "Put up with and allowed to play at ruling"?
Myself, I'd turn Buck House into a shelter and school for the homeless, but then I'm Scottish and we've NEVER had any cause to love or acknowledge these inbred gits!
There's a wee Scottish folk song popular north o' the Border in the late 1960's:
Chairlie the First he was beheided,
Chairlie the Second was succeeded,
Chairlie the Third'll no be needed
Lucky wee Prince Chairlie".
 
 
+6 # dusty 2016-06-28 14:31
Who gives a whit about the UK? It is a failed state and has been only propped up by western capital through the banking system. As far as elites making decisions? Elites make decisions which help them maintain their power over the democratic mass population. The elites and their "philosophers" (paid social lackeys)think that maintaining their wealth and control is what constitutes good so they can justify slavery, extermination of native peoples, the usurpation of indigenous lands and resources all in the name of civilization and proper government. They will advocate the overthrowing of local government(thin k W. Churchill sanctioning the use of poison gas, i.e. chemical warfare, against the Arab peoples in the area called Iraq about 1919 or so.
 
 
+22 # janie1893 2016-06-28 14:32
I think it is ridiculously amusing that Americans even dare to pontificate over the results of the Brexit vote when the upcoming American election presents two official presidential candidates (chosen by these same Americans)that are blatant liars and known lawbreakers.
 
 
+22 # wrknight 2016-06-28 14:44
Quoting janie1893:
I think it is ridiculously amusing that Americans even dare to pontificate over the results of the Brexit vote when the upcoming American election presents two official presidential candidates (chosen by these same Americans)that are blatant liars and known lawbreakers.

While those candidates were chosen by some American voters, it was far from a majority of American voters as the vast majority of American voters didn't bother to vote or participate in the caucuses.

Combined with the party manipulation of campaign events, the monumental and biased campaign spending, the use of superdelegates not chosen by the people and the failure of the majority to participate in the nomination of both Trump and Clinton, the process was far from democratic.
 
 
+9 # wrknight 2016-06-28 14:58
Our democracy is becoming a democracy of the elite. A government of the elite, by the elite and for the elite.

In which case the majority of the elites rule.
 
 
+16 # librarian1984 2016-06-28 17:16
I think it's spelled out clearly:

A government of the people*, by the people*, for the people*

*SCOTUS: corporations are people
 
 
+7 # economagic 2016-06-28 19:14
And money is speech (Buckley v Valeo, 1976)!
 
 
+6 # wrknight 2016-06-29 07:02
Quoting librarian1984:
I think it's spelled out clearly:

A government of the people*, by the people*, for the people*

It WAS spelled out clearly. But like the slogan in Orwell's Animal Farm, "All animals are created equal" which morphed into "Some animals are more equal than others" and subsequently morphed into "Pigs are the most equal of all animals"(or something like that), our "government of the people, by the people and for the people" has morphed into the above.
 
 
+9 # wrknight 2016-06-29 07:04
Quoting librarian1984:

*SCOTUS: corporations are people

It's worse than that. Yes, corporations are now people, but the people are no longer included in the people. Only some of them are.
 
 
# Guest 2016-06-29 07:05
This comment has been deleted by Administrator
 
 
+5 # lfeuille 2016-06-28 20:46
Right. These candidates are not the choice of the majority.
 
 
+3 # HarryP 2016-06-28 14:32
Brexit had little to with democracy. It was an option on poll (in the guise of a referendum) designed to shut up the Margaret Thatcher wing in the Conservative Party, which horribly backfired. It has no basis in British law. Parliament has the sole power to make laws. It's been like this since 1688.
If the UK wants laws passed on the basis of referendums, let Parliament pass a law to that effect. In the US, no one in his right mind has suggested that sort of democracy. Can you imagine the campaigns, funded by the people with.deep pockets.?
 
 
+12 # economagic 2016-06-28 15:02
"If the UK wants laws passed on the basis of referendums, let Parliament pass a law to that effect. In the US, no one in his right mind has suggested that sort of democracy."

A number of states have lawmaking by referendum and/or public initiative written into their constitutions.
 
 
+1 # Maturus 2016-06-28 17:16
Brexit had everything to do with democracy in that it asked all eligible voters to cast a vote on a specific subject.

You are correct in observing that it is not law and no-one is saying that it is. Parliament will continue to make the laws in accordance with the will of the people.
 
 
+3 # economagic 2016-06-28 19:15
Can I move there? Our lawmaking body doesn't give a fig for the will of the people.
 
 
+4 # karenvista 2016-06-29 00:06
Quoting HarryP:
Brexit had little to with democracy. It was an option on poll (in the guise of a referendum) designed to shut up the Margaret Thatcher wing in the Conservative Party, which horribly backfired. It has no basis in British law. Parliament has the sole power to make laws. It's been like this since 1688.
If the UK wants laws passed on the basis of referendums, let Parliament pass a law to that effect. In the US, no one in his right mind has suggested that sort of democracy. Can you imagine the campaigns, funded by the people with.deep pockets.?


Yes we certainly can. That was the system for every candidate except Bernie Sanders.
 
 
+4 # MendoChuck 2016-06-28 14:36
I sure hope Matt takes the time to read these comments.
 
 
+9 # Radscal 2016-06-28 14:54
This is one of Matt's best essays.

I watched Rachel Maddow's performance after the Brexit vote.

She's brilliant at building these narrative sculptures. She presented the EU as the solution to what caused WW II, and credited it with having prevented WW III. And she certainly implied that the growing mood in European countries to secede from the EU will lead to horrible conflagrations.

To be clear, the concept of a United Europe was a goal of the Nazis. The EU was invented and promoted by the supra-national financial powers.

The truth of what Matt writes about the reaction to Brexit being an exemplar of why it passed is made clear by the way those same financial interests have already stripped Great Britain of perhaps trillions of pounds of wealth, and are stripping wealth from other European countries, which is frightening their populace not to try to be "too democratic."

The concept of a united Europe, or even a united world that could make war obsolete is wonderful. But ownership of such be a murderous cabal of financial interests is not.
 
 
+17 # markovchhaney 2016-06-28 15:14
Rachel Maddow has gone from being a reasonably insightful liberal to another toady of the neoliberal/neoc onservative cabal. I don't turn her show on any more and likely won't again. Indeed, I only turn on MSNBC to get election returns, and lately I feel like it wouldn't be any worse to be viewing CNN, Fox-Snooze, or regular broadcast networks for that information. They're all the same when you boil things down.

Where's Jon Stewart when we need him the most?
 
 
+5 # Jim Rocket 2016-06-28 16:24
The Daily Show, The Nightly Show, John Oliver and Samantha Bee are all doing a great job of carrying the torch. Bill Maher is as good as ever. As Bernie say, "it's not about one man."
 
 
+4 # Radscal 2016-06-28 17:01
I don't mean to be too harsh on you personally, but Bill Maher is a racist, sexist apologist for Zionism and Empire.

He was in perfect form last week when he interviewed that kid who's suing the government over its environmental malfeasance.

First, Maher spent half the interview chastising "kids these days" for being self-centered airheads. Then, when the kid said something about how close-minded people over 60 are, Maher totally went off on the kid. I mean, really, really angry. "THAT IS AGEISM!!!"

Hypocritical tool.

BTW: Maher told the kid, he didn't know much about the Aztecs because he hadn't studied South America. LOL. The Aztecs were/are in Mexico, which xenophobic racist Maher doesn't realize is in NORTH AMERICA.

The others you mention are reliable propagandists for HRC.

I watch and often enjoy them all. But I caution everyone to think critically about the narratives they promote. There is a reason why Time/Warner and Viacom hired them.

Larry Wilmore goes rogue more than the others (and his writer/comedian Mike Yard really does "Keep it 100" more than almost anyone on the corporate media). Like much of the "liberal" media, Larry eased up on ridiculing Sanders when the media could no longer avoid mentioning the tens of thousands of people showing up at his rallies. But he has been "With Her" all along.
 
 
+4 # Jim Rocket 2016-06-28 20:23
I don't agree with everything any of them say but they are out there pushing serious discussion of real issues and with a comedy angle. Maher can really push people's buttons and I think he's often wrong but he's always pushing hard in the right direction. When I look at CNN or even the major networks it's like grown-ups reading scripts prepared by high school kids. And the Sunday morning circle____s! It's not very far from Hunger Games. Not healthy at all.

Interesting that I thought Wilmore was quite pro-Bernie.
 
 
+5 # Radscal 2016-06-28 20:49
Yeah, CNN, etc. is quite childish.

I don't think Maher's racist Islamophobia is EVER pushing in the right direction. There was no excuse for when he referred to Israel's brutal slaughter in 2014 as something Israel "has to" do, and then tweeted how Palestinians are like be-atches that have to be slapped around every now and again.

If you go back, you'll see Larry started his Bernie coverage as complete ridicule of the crazy old guy with the funny hair. Same as everyone else.

As Bernie gained traction (and the live audience obviously loved him), Larry became much more friendly towards him. Even had him as a guest a couple times, and was quite supportive of Bernie's policies.

Mike Yard was clearly very supportive of Bernie.

But as soon as the Hil-bots started referring to "the presumptive nominee," Larry got all on board.

Did you catch the BET Awards? Several amazing performances.

But it was also a HRC commercial. Actually, it was entirely a commercial, with sponsored awards and such. Looked like NASCAR.
 
 
+3 # fuzzbuzz 2016-06-28 19:54
> The Daily Show, The Nightly Show, John Oliver and Samantha Bee are all doing a great job of carrying the torch. Bill Maher is as good as ever. As Bernie say, "it's not about one man.


Downvote for throwing Maher in there.
I'd like to add Lee Camp to that list, from Redacted Tonight.
His show is light years better than Oliver or Jon Stewart or Colbert. Watch it!!
 
 
+3 # Radscal 2016-06-28 20:51
YES. And Lee Camp is about the only person on TV who's been covering the election fraud of the Democratic Primary.
 
 
+5 # Radscal 2016-06-28 16:50
The evolution of TV presenters (and journalists more generally) is fascinating to step back and watch.

Many seem to be quite sincerely liberal/progres sive (or conservative) early on. But gradually you see them make a compromise here and withhold a story there until VOILA! Wall Street/corporat ist/military spokesmodel.

BTW: Did you catch Jon Stewart's fawning interview with serial mass murderer Henry Kissinger in his last season?
 
 
+4 # economagic 2016-06-28 19:24
I don't do TV. I was literally the last kid on my block to have TV at home (age 11, 1957), so of course I watched religiously for 3-4 years trying to catch up. By that time I had figured out that it was nearly all bullshirt, commercials and programming alike, although I didn't have an accurately descriptive word for it at the time. I've never watched more than occasionally since, and can seldom do it for more than a few minutes at a time. When Jerry Mander published "Four Arguments For the Elimination of Television" (serialized in The Mother Earth News in 1977) it gave me a context and framework for what I understood intuitively. It's still an insightful book, and its subject has only gotten worse.
 
 
+5 # Radscal 2016-06-28 20:54
Good for you. I stopped watching TV from age 12 or so until I was in my 40s, and even then only because of VCRs so I could watch what I wanted, when I wanted.

But since I went on disability, I've been watching a lot. I remember when YIPPIE Jerry Rubin wrote that everyone should watch TV to see what BS the public was being fed, but didn't take him up on that. Now that I am watching, it's amazing to see the BS people are fed.
 
 
+3 # RMDC 2016-06-29 07:14
Rads -- the problem is that they are swallowing the bullshit as if it were wholesome brain food. TV is a real problem. It is consumed with a rating race and that is a race to the bottom.
 
 
+2 # librarian1984 2016-06-29 11:04
Why do meetings between lefties inevitably end up with people declaring they're more against tv than the next guy?

"Well I haven't even seen a tv set since before it was run by mules!"

You know they're pretty fun. They don't use tubes anymore and they have these things called remotes ....

Haha .... hmm .....

Maybe it's not a coincidence you're three of the smartest guys on here.
 
 
+2 # Radscal 2016-06-29 15:19
LOL. TV snobism?

Here's a fun song. "I'm a Better Anarchist Than You Are:"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUbA64mSE2k
 
 
+3 # Radscal 2016-06-29 15:17
Totally agreed, RMDC.

TV is primarily a weapon of propaganda.
 
 
0 # librarian1984 2016-06-29 23:54
"TV snobism?"

Oh yeah! :-) But Battlestar Galactica? Breaking Bad? The drama is awesome, often with an enlightened subtext.

(Early) Simpsons? Pretty subversive.

News? No. Weather? Maybe. CSPAN? OMG yes!

Hope you're well.
 
 
+12 # newell 2016-06-28 15:00
Our "betters" never intended for the working and middle class to govern themselves. Democracy was an appeasement for the masses when we saw behind the velvet curtains of the upper classes and sharpened the guillotines. Since we have the technology, if we had a democracy-- we could vote on war, education, health, transportation, climate change, the limits of wealth or size of a business. If indeed, as we believe, we governed ourselves--we could vote on anything we damn well pleased.
 
 
-9 # rocback 2016-06-28 15:48
Then vote for Hillary and we can get a
sup Ct justice that will overturn Citizens United.
 
 
+2 # Jim Rocket 2016-06-28 16:27
Now, was that so hard, roc? A simple and clear reason to vote for Hillary with no snark, condescension or caps lock. Try to stay in the lane please and thank you.
 
 
+10 # Radscal 2016-06-28 17:14
Perhaps she would. But this focus on CU as the root of all evil, and its overturning as the rebirth of some imagined once uncorrupted government is a diversionary tactic.

The corruption runs deep. It predates CU and will live on if it's overturned.

Do you really believe that HRC would try to abolish the systemic corruption that has so enriched her and her family?

Do you really believe she would pull the ladder out from under all her Congressional and associated minions? Does HRC think that Debbie Wasserman-Schul tz is rich enough yet? I think not.

Any word on the fraud charges against DNC Banking Platform Chair, Barney Frank's Wall Street Bank?
 
 
+10 # NZer 2016-06-28 16:03
Quoting newell:
. If indeed, as we believe, we governed ourselves--we could vote on anything we damn well pleased.


You do - every morning when you choose whether to go along with what is happening or prevent it. The pretence that you aren't free is just a way of avoiding taking responsibility for the vote you exercise every day, every purchase, every action.
The only freedom you don't have is the one you choose to give away.

Keep it. Don't buy the BS line that somewhere along the way you signed a contract that surrendered your vote and your freedom - unless, of course, you did.
Your birthright is your right to live. Everybody has that same right. Nobody was born to govern others. Everybody was born to govern themselves. If you don't it's on you.
 
 
+9 # Billy Bob 2016-06-28 15:25
UP NEXT:

TEX-IT.

I can't wait.
 
 
+4 # economagic 2016-06-28 19:26
We should be so lucky! Oh, I forgot, it would crash our economy. And if you believe that. . . .
 
 
+3 # Billy Bob 2016-06-28 21:21
Yeah, I don't believe that. It would be good for everyone but Texas.
 
 
+6 # NZer 2016-06-28 15:48
Democracy can never be as simple as a popular vote - that is mob rule... replacing the tyranny of elites with the tyranny of the majority, with no better regard for minorities.

To be a viable and sustainable system of running a community, any system must include checks and balances. Popularity - and public opinion - is (and should be) just one of the checks and balances.

And regardless of the preferences or wishes of anybody for elite or mob rule or any other variation between, checks and balances will be at play.
Hence, dictatorships don't last, empires don't last, and communities ebb and surge.
We may tinker with the mechanisms but no body can prevent the mechanism operating. It is an algorithm of life on this planet.
 
 
+1 # kerwinskeepers 2016-06-28 16:32
How about a democratically- arrived vote to reinstate slavery? How does that fit the prevailing philosophy of this forum?
 
 
+2 # Radscal 2016-06-28 17:16
How about a fascist government abolishing slavery? Would that make fascism cool again?
 
 
+2 # lfeuille 2016-06-28 20:50
That is why we have a bill of rights. Otherwise, the more democracy the better.
 
 
+5 # fuzzbuzz 2016-06-28 20:58
Quoting kerwinskeepers:
How about a democratically-arrived vote to reinstate slavery? How does that fit the prevailing philosophy of this forum?


No one is claiming that perfect democracy is perfect. We are, however, claiming that it will always be better than elite, minority rule.
 
 
+6 # NAVYVET 2016-06-28 16:37
Including the underclasses (slaves, serfs, women, youth, homeless, newcomers, etc.) vs. fear of "mobocracy" has always been the thorniest problem of liberal governance. The U.S. franchise has expanded very slowly, with lip service to a belief that education is essential. (Not indoctrination, that's bad, but who's to decide which is which?)

Fear of the majoritarian mob is the basic reason why ancient philosophers and many modern ones have preferred a mixed Greco-Roman governance, with Greek direct democracy & the Roman republic of legislators vying in permanent tension with each other--although definitely from Montesquieu in the early Enlightenment, even much earlier, from Arnold of Brescia in the 12th century, Marsiglio of Padua & William of Ockham in the early 14th, the ideal inclusion of voters went beyond a propertied oligarchy to embrace working free men. Ockham was the first (in "Dialogus", see http://www.britac.ac.uk/pubs/dialogus/wock.html) to argue for more radical rights, including women's suffrage. Since slavery had faded in the Middle Ages, little attention was paid to the Greco-Roman exclusion of slaves. Yet denying suffrage to slaves and women became a heavy millstone hanging about the necks of the Founders of the U.S. and many other states calling themselves democracies.

I propose that (at least since the Neolithic) there has never been a genuine all-inclusive democracy in any region larger than local. Why? What are your thoughts?
 
 
+4 # Radscal 2016-06-28 17:23
The Five Nations Iroquois Confederacy had an interesting system.

As I understand it, any action taken by the Confederacy had to be unanimously agreed to by the councils of each tribe.

The councils were all men, but they were elected by only the women of each tribe.
 
 
+3 # economagic 2016-06-28 20:06
"The U.S. franchise has expanded very slowly, with lip service to a belief that education is essential. (Not indoctrination, that's bad, but who's to decide which is which?)"

In principle, it's "critical" thinking, formerly known simply as "thinking," as an astute former colleague pointed out. Not WHAT to think, but HOW to reason coherently. If your mother told you it was going to be simple, she lied, but I suspect yours didn't!

Believe it or not, there are currently a good number of people making concerted efforts to teach it, to encourage others to do likewise, and to promote and facilitate such teaching. I'm betting we're going to see an upsurge in about a decade, with much of it outside the system and including charter schools within the system.
 
 
+4 # NAVYVET 2016-06-29 15:19
Sci-fi author George O. Smith back in the 1950s or 60s wrote a story I never forgot. The title, or maybe just the theme, was "The Fourth R"--which argued that education, to be complete, had to teach Readin', 'Ritin', 'Rithmetic AND Reason! For my first Master's degree (in Elementary Education) my Master's Thesis was "Teaching Ethics in Public Schools" and that's where I learned just how stifled "the Fourth R" has been by reactionary state laws, rigid federal requirements, local school boards and the local cultural biases they reflect.

I believed and still believe that the reasoned development of ethics (which I defined) can be taught subtly through literature, and used as an example Mark Twain's HUCKLEBERRY FINN, which changed my own life in the passage when Huck grows fearful of eternal damnation for assisting an escaped slave--which his Sunday School powerfully indoctrinated. Huck writes a letter that would have resulted in Jim's capture. At first the boy feels self-righteous and relieved to escape Hell, but Jim has become a friend and trusts Huck as a friend. The words of that Southern white boy's defiance are unforgettable--

"I studied a minute, sort of holding my breath, and then says to myself: 'All right, then, I'll go to hell'--and tore it up."

At about age 10, the empathy, courage and decency of that decision stunned me. It was not only one of my own defining epiphanies, but genuine education!
 
 
+2 # librarian1984 2016-06-30 00:23
Beautifully said, Navyvet, as usual. I have been interested in, and championed, the importance of ethics at every point of my life. Whether a student, a teacher, a parent, an employee etc. it always seems such an essential guide, and a way we define ourselves.

And you are so right -- literature is a wonderful way to talk about these issues, especially with students -- BEFORE they face difficult situations, or to help them deal with emotions or decisions that can easily be overwhelming.

I had a colleague years ago who let her 9 and 11 year olds watch Jerry Springer while she was at work and I was so horrified. I tried to talk to her about it once but didn't feel I could bring it up again. She was totally unconcerned. I'll bet those kids didn't have many lessons in ethics as counterbalance. Sometimes I wonder about how those kids are doing today.

I enjoy your posts very much, and your interesting experiences.
 
 
+4 # indigo16 2016-06-28 17:01
Quoting Radscal:


The concept of a united Europe, or even a united world that could make war obsolete is wonderful. But ownership of such be a murderous cabal of financial interests is not.


excellent point and one of the main reasons why universal-sound ing concepts have so much traction yet often go horribly wrong.
 
 
+2 # indigo16 2016-06-28 17:04
Quoting markovchhaney:

Where's Jon Stewart when we need him the most?


Evidently living on a farm and working for animal rights.
 
 
+2 # indigo16 2016-06-28 17:09
Quoting Jim Rocket:
PM Cameron, who strikes me as a pudding in a suit, called for the referendum, set it at a 50% vote when it should have been 2/3 for an issue that is this important and then he totally failed to sell his side of the argument.


Absolutely should have been 2/3 and he did sell it but not in the way that most people heard it. I watch PM Question TIme and other shows that discuss such topics (PBS) so was informed on the issue though live in the U.S.
 
 
+1 # Maturus 2016-06-29 01:51
The Remain campaign was atrocious and made no attempt to explain the benefits of membership. It's whole message was that the electorate should be afraid of the consequences of a Leave vote. Even as the meme 'take back control of our country' took hold their response was to wheel out another foreign voice to repeat the warning. There is a positive case to be made for the EU - but it's too late to make it now. However, I still retain an optimism that, given 3 months to consider the situation, all sides will take the opportunity to fashion an improved EU that will work for all 28 countries.
 
 
+2 # Dion Giles 2016-06-29 02:22
Why should each vote for remaining in the EU be worth 2 votes for leaving?
 
 
+1 # jpmarat 2016-06-28 17:11
We have a republic, where voters choose decision makers, not a direct referendum mass democracy, even though technology now makes this possible. I'm not convinced that we should have had a direct democracy referendum on the Iran Treaty. Too technical. Cameron thought he was being clever, facilitating the Vote. Now they know. Self government is a bit more complicated than an endless series of online votes, via Twitter. Far, far better to err in the direction of "too much" democracy than too little. But we need mechanisms for taking into account COMPLEXITY and LYING. Elite rule is NOT the mechanism. Did the BBC commission any scientific or neutral evaluation of the campaign claims?
 
 
+8 # desertprogressive 2016-06-28 17:44
Why does anyone think that England voting to leave the EU is a bad thing, other than some short-term effects on the economy?

The EU was sold as a free market system, travel without visas, paradise on earth.

In reality there is an underlying political effort to take sovereignty away from the member countries and put it in the hands of unelected people.

What's wrong with England wanting sovereignty?

How would most of us feel about creating a similar system between the U.S. and Mexico? It isn't only about racism.
 
 
+1 # fuzzbuzz 2016-06-28 20:19
What's wrong with Scotland wanting sovereignty? Ireland? Wales?

And why stop there? I'm sure the smaller towns in England want sovereignty from London, Liverpool, etc. You could always subdivide a place into smaller sovereign subdivisions. That might be good in terms of governance, assuming the political structure was replaced by something more democratic (I'm not sure if that's the case here), but bad in terms of separating people and falling into the "us vs them" mentality.

Also it's not clear what it accomplishes, if anything. The distribution of wealth/power remains the same, any economic dynamics that were affected will quickly be replaced by trade agreements to keep the money flowing as it were. Any rules, laws, regulations that affect people because of this change will disproportionat ely affect the poor. As you know, the rich are generally above pesky things like laws, rules and regulations. So what was the point, other than the nice fuzzy feeling that "we have sovereignty now"?

So to rephrase your question: why does anyone think that Britain leaving the EU is a good thing?


It's not clear to me what the right answer is. Ultimately, I think it doesn't matter much if the UK leaves or stays with the EU. As long as "the will of the people" is respected, then it'll be the same result. But I am bothered by WHY the exit happened, which was for all the wrong reasons.
 
 
+2 # Maturus 2016-06-29 02:17
"What's wrong with Scotland wanting sovereignty? Ireland? Wales?". Absolutely nothing and if the residents of those areas vote to have it then fair play to them. You might like to address the same question to the French and Spanish governments regarding Brittany and Catalonia respectively.

What motivates people to assert their 'independence' is the sense that they are being treated unfairly in the current situation. So, does the EU represent British interests fairly? Let us consider EU funding: in principle, each country contributes 0.7% of its GDP and 0.3% of its VAT (Sales Tax) to the EU budget. In seeking ways to squeeze more from the British cow, the Brussels mafia observed that the UK does not regulate prostitution or drugs and therefore these activities were not included in UK GDP. So, despite British objections, they came up with an estimate of how many times British men visit prostitutes each year and how much drug activity existed and added these figures to the UK's GDP and hence its contribution.

I would suggest that you lack the insight to be bothered about "WHY the exit happened".
 
 
+2 # fuzzbuzz 2016-06-29 14:04
Thanks Maturus.
> "What's wrong with Scotland wanting sovereignty? Ireland? Wales?". Absolutely nothing and if the residents of those areas vote to have it then fair play to them.
Yes, but is it the RIGHT thing to do? We can always keep dividing ourselves into smaller sovereign nations - what amount of division is "correct"?

And your point regarding taxing prostitution doesn't have enough information. OK, you pay 0.7 of GDP + 0.3 of VAT + X for prostitution. And what are you getting for it?

It's like someone saying "I just paid 1 million dollars and I feel ripped off!". That's not enough info! What did you get for the million dollars? If you got a 10 million dollar house, then you were NOT ripped off.

> I would suggest that you lack the insight to be bothered about "WHY the exit happened".

Sorry, but I disagree. I lack insight into the England-EU intricacies, but then again, the Brexit didn't happen because of England-EU intricacies. It happened because of fear mongering and paranoia. There may be well-informed voters who had legitimate reasons, but, at least from what I've seen, those appear to be the exceptions (that being said, there was fear mongering on the other side as well, with scares of economy collapsing and what-not, all blown out of proportions).
Like I said, it just doesn't matter. How would this affect the average Joe in England either way? Other than the psychological wall that was built, what was the point? You still haven't responded to that.
 
 
+2 # fuzzbuzz 2016-06-29 14:08
And to be clear - I'm not saying that staying would have been better. All I'm saying is: Other than the psychological factor (which is a negative effect, in my opinion), I just see no difference either way. Nothing that would affect the average teacher or nurse or bus driver in England or in the EU. It seems purely psychological to me.

But, maybe that's not the case, I don't know. Maybe you can tell me? If I were a nurse (or a plumber, or a factory worker) in England, what can I expect now that we're no longer part of the EU?
 
 
+1 # Maturus 2016-06-29 17:06
What does the UK get for its net contribution of £5.5-£8.8 billion per annum (depending on whose figures are closest to reality)? That would have been a good question for the Remain campaign to have answered, wouldn't it?

In a decision that was always going to come down to either head or heart, neither camp presented the answers that people's heads wanted to hear. This left only the heart to make the decision.

For the better-off, those with circumstances such as my own, and those who were frightened by threats such as Obama's, the heart said 'Remain'.

For those who are affected by all the problems to be expected from a rapidly increasing population, those who recall 40+ years of empty, broken promises from politicians with regard to the direction of the EU project, and those who just think things can't get any worse, the heart said 'Leave'.

However, with respect to your final question, the UK is still a member of the EU so don't expect anything to change for at least 2 years. As I said on other threads, the 28 countries have at least 3 months to consider the ramifications of a UK exit - and for 27 of them that includes the question of how to tighten their belt if they lose the UK net contribution. On the positive side for them, they should be able to introduce the Financial Transactions Tax that the UK has blocked.
 
 
+3 # RMDC 2016-06-29 07:23
fuzz -- The US goes around the world breaking up nations into smaller ethnically pure statelets -- South Sudan, Iraq, Syria, Korea.

The separation of Scotland and Ireland are the reversal of colonialism and that is pretty much a necessity. Northern Ireland is filled with British settlers who will have to become Irish citizens or go home.

Keeping a nation together is not so hard --- IF one region does not live by sucking the wealth out of other regions. Clearly that is the problem in England and has been for a long time. We all remember Jonathan Swift's A Modest Proposal -- and this was in the 1740s (I think).
 
 
+1 # fuzzbuzz 2016-06-29 14:22
> fuzz -- The US goes around the world breaking up nations into smaller ethnically pure statelets -- South Sudan, Iraq, Syria, Korea.

Yep. And that's a BAD thing. It divides people and makes them easier to control. North and South Koreans are STILL at war - the longest running war. And those people were LITERALLY brothers (today, they're literally cousins). That wouldn't have happened if it weren't for the psychological barrier between them.

There's a reason racist groups in the EU rejoiced at Brexit. It confirms their dim notions that "WE are not the same as THEM". Not a good thing!

> Keeping a nation together is not so hard --- IF one region does not live by sucking the wealth out of other regions. Clearly that is the problem in England and has been for a long time. We all remember Jonathan Swift's A Modest Proposal

Yes, agreed. So was there no way to make England-in-the- EU work? I'm not making a statement - I'm asking.

Nothing is perfect. The EU is far from perfect, but it seems to me that we've ALREADY tried the alternative, for MUCH longer, and it didn't work either. In fact, it was a lot worse. France and England alone have fought each other for hundreds of years. Europe has basically done nothing other than war with itself, (and with the rest of the world) since around the time of the Crusades.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_conflicts_in_Europe

Note how long the list, and how W Europe has been quiet since 1945.
 
 
+3 # Radscal 2016-06-29 15:37
I don't know if Brexit will be good or bad for Great Britain, the English or anyone or anything else. I don't even know if the supra-national financial organizations that created the EU will permit Brexit. They're already telling us that the referendum is not legally binding, and it would take 2 to 4 years to execute even if it does happen.

Some may recall that, when the "Refugee Crisis" became news, I was asking if this was part of a deliberate plan to break up Europe.

But I do reject the corporate narrative that Brexit is all and only bad and that it only passed because of racist xenophobia.

And I certainly reject Rachel Maddow's claim that the EU prevented WW III. The EU itself was created in 1993. Even its ancestor, the European Communities only dates back to France's entry in 1973.

I reject Maddow's implication that France and Germany were on the way to war after 1973, and certainly after 1993, and that only the EU saved Europe from WW III.
 
 
+3 # indigo16 2016-06-28 17:55
Quoting wrknight:
It's not just school and education. It's also having verified and validated information to work with. That's where we have failed the worst as the media has been taken over by the elites and we no longer have access to the truth.

Instead of being an informed electorate, we have become simply an amused electorate.


so true, unfortunately
 
 
+2 # Doc Mary 2016-06-28 17:57
No. That's not the issue. The issue is the degree to which they were blatantly misinformed. £130 million goes to EU a week when we could be putting it into NHS (public health) - probably the most egregious claim.

Then the lies were reinforced by the Murdock-control led media. Sold a heck of a lot of newspapers.

It's not that they don't have a right to make "mistakes." It's that something is WRONG when a disinformation campaign that makes people think leaving the EU will bring an end to austerity is called "democracy."

At last, not what I call democracy. As many have warned, for a republic (representative democracy) to flourish voters MUST be educated (as in civics). What happened in England was not democracy.

If you want to see democracy, look to Scotland, where the voters WERE better informed, and have elected leaders who ARE trying to work against austerity.
 
 
0 # Maturus 2016-06-29 02:23
Why are so many ill-informed Americans expressing an opinion on issues they can't possibly understand?
 
 
+4 # RMDC 2016-06-29 07:27
mat -- it is one way to learn to be understood. One person says someone he/she believes to be true, and then another person makes a correction or adds information. It is call discourse. IT is the essence of community.

Only by doing it can ill-informed Americans become better informed. In the US we have pretty much only one-way dissemination of information: from the authorities via the media to the people. Discussion boards like this give people a chance to talk back. American is a very intellectually totalitarian state. There are authorized voices like the NTTimes or Harvard and the rest of the nation better just remain quiet and listen to their betters. Well, Brexit is the fuck the betters moment.
 
 
0 # librarian1984 2016-06-30 00:29
Well said. I agree completely and have learned so much here.
 
 
0 # NAVYVET 2016-07-01 14:16
Thank you, RMDC! I read all the comments, even those clearly contributed by agents provacateurs, and recently chose THE GUARDIAN-US as my home page. It's a helluva lot more right wing and establishment than when I took the paper MANCHESTER GUARDIAN in the 70s and 80s, but opens up the world, which Yahoo, Google, MSN, etc. don't do. Reuters is world-wide too, and I believe it offers a home page.
 
 
+1 # indigo16 2016-06-28 18:02
Quoting RMDC:
Buddha -- good. School and education in general should primarily be about the education of good citizens. This does not mean prescribing a political position. THat is the free choice of students or people. But it does mean learning philosophy, history, literature or in short the humanities. All the career training is secondary. It is not a problem at all for students to do both and even more and do them all well.


And I would argue an interesting, fun look at how government works, how the country runs, what is the role of a citizen. Civics for the entertainment age, starting at kindergarten and going through to HS graduation.
 
 
+5 # Thomas Martin 2016-06-28 18:54
We should remember our roots in the founding of the US. There was certainly a lot of mistrust by our founding fathers in the ability of citizens to govern themselves … ie, in democracy. When Benjamin Franklin walked out from the Constitutional Convention in 1787, he was asked what kind of government we would have, and he said “a republic Madam, if you’re smart enough to keep it.” His reply was ironic in several ways. First, a woman asked the question, but women were not enfranchised to vote, nor were slaves, or native Americans, or low-paid laborers, or subsistence farmers not owning enough land. Second, even with the government we were given having “checks and balances”, we see today that “checks” can not only stop bad government, but prevent good government. Good government certainly takes participation, if only to stop selfish interests.
 
 
+2 # Thomas Martin 2016-06-28 19:19
... adding to what I wrote above, what are the "selfish interests" I said need to be countered by "citizen's participation"? !? Eg, is excluding foreigners, even refugees, from one's country selfish? ... is defending the ever-increasing disparity in wealth between the rich and the poor selfish? ... we've got huge moral issues to deal with, in addition to the maybe more acute pure survival issues, like threat of nuclear weapons, threat of man-made global climate change, threat of unsupportable human population, etc.
 
 
+3 # futhark 2016-06-28 21:35
Not to belabour the Brits excessively, Americans should look at some of the programs that our "best and brightest" have delivered or at least promoted: the war in Vietnam, the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, the Department of Homeland Security, NAFTA,the TPP, etc. I wish I had been allowed to vote in a plebiscite on the Iraq invasion.

Yes, democracy can be messy but it gives us the opportunity to at least hope that issue of import can receive a full and fair public hearing.
 
 
+2 # amycbobh 2016-06-28 22:50
Didn't Kissinger save the Chileans from themselves? i.e. having elected a so-called Socialist president?
 
 
+3 # RMDC 2016-06-29 07:28
amy -- yes, that is what he thought and said. Funny how mass murderers always think they are doing good for someone. Saving them from something worse.
 
 
+3 # RMDC 2016-06-29 06:48
"Forget Plato, Athens, Sparta and Rome. More recent history tells us that the descent into despotism always starts in this exact same way. There is always an emergency that requires a temporary suspension of democracy."

I don't think we need to forget Plato and the whole classical thing. The neo-cons from their prophet, Leo Strauss, always worked from Plato up to modern despotism. Neo-conservatis m is a reactionary movement in just the same way that the French National Front is. It thinks the French revolution and the emergence of democracy in the 19th century was all wrong and did not work. They want monarchy or at least a strong leader who has despotic powers.

We must remember that the neo-cons who surrouneded GW Bush always spoke of him as having "plenary powers" or as being the "unitary president." Bush himself claimed that as a "war president" he had supreme power to make all decisions unilaterally.

This is where despotism comes from. It is already here. The neo-cons exert a huge influence on Washington and on both parties. Hillary is as much a neo-con as Bush and Obama are. They are afraid to come out and proclaim themselves as "fuhrers" yet, but they don't need that to be the fascists they deeply are.
 
 
0 # NAVYVET 2016-07-01 14:46
The NeoCons, in my opinion, have two inspirations other than Ayn Rand. One is that they are NeoCon(federate )s, as we can see from (anti)social demagoguery that thrives on Dixie bigotry and despite "libertarian" rhetoric, a willingness to believe preachers, political orators and rich men.

The other is their weird and slavish adoration of one of Rome's most neurotic and ineffectual politicians, Cato the Younger, whose whining defense of the Roman Republic never went beyond orations and ultra-conservat ive laws that defended its Establishment. Cato had no understanding whatsoever of the growing power of the elite, their privatized Big Ag farmland (which led to serfdom), and rising prices that caused starvation among the poor. Very few of the poor, urban or rural, were able to vote, but they became angry lumpenproletari ats, the despots' street fighters. Yes, the despot dictators, all of them warmonger generals (Marius, Sulla, Caesar) are the ones who brought down the Republic, especially Caesar. With private armies and street mobs they stirred up turmoil and bloody violence that gave centuries-old anti-monarchic Rome a craving for peace at any cost--which led to the hereditary dictatorship of the Empire. Cato never did anything creative or commonsensical to stop it. So I pay little attention to anything emanating from a "think(?!) tank" called the Cato Institute. To me that name sounds as silly as one which, thank heaven, doesn't exist: the John Boehner Institute.
 
 
+2 # Jeff Spurr 2016-06-29 11:49
Why do American constitutional amendments require a two-thirds vote in both houses of Congress, followed by ratification of three-quarters of the legislatures of the states? Because anything so fundamental to the fate of the nation and structure of our lives demands the most careful consideration. It should not be left to the whims and passions of the moment, to the better producers of propaganda and lies, to demagogues and the tabloids. Why were so many people googling the EU and questions about the consequences of Brexit? Because many made a “protest” vote that they instantly regretted:
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/brexit-eu-referendum-bregret-leave-petition-second-remain-latest-will-we-leave-a7105116.html
This is surely a case of acting in haste and repenting at leisure.

Equating the Brexit vote with unconstitutiona l impulses toward torture and the like has it exactly wrong. The latter are due to the passions of the moment. We can thank the founding fathers for having understood the virtue of checks and balances and a Bill of Rights that cannot be overturned (if temporarily abrogated) in moments of fear and collective nervous breakdown such as was induced by 9/11. We have never had a “pure” democracy for a reason.
 
 
+1 # Radscal 2016-06-29 15:45
I learned after the vote that PM Cameron chose to both allow the Brexit referendum, and to decide it by a simple majority.

If he (or his bosses) wanted to make it as difficult to pass as a US Constitutional Amendment, he could have required a 2/3 majority.

Either he was over-confident, or he wanted it to pass.
 
 
+1 # laborequalswealth 2016-06-29 12:10
Since BOTH the right and the left politicos in Britian were shouting "You MUST STAY", what this election tells us is that PEOPLE NO LONGER BELIEVE THEIR "LEADERS."

We have been so lied to, deceived, cheated and sneered at by our so-called "leaders", why should we believe anything they say anymore?

Good for the Brits for telling the "establishment" to go fuck itself. Among other things it was delightful watching Wall Street's head explode. Good.
 
 
0 # tomtom10 2016-06-30 09:24
"Democracy is a symphony, of which elections are just one note. You keep playing that same note again and again and expect us to hear a symphony."

That was the comment of a Salvadoran bishop to the US ambassador in the 1980s, on being told that El Salvador was now a democracy because it had had an election - despite the death squad slaughter (actually a well run dirty war by US trained intelligence units).

I have to say I disagree profoundly with the article. Democracy has been 800 years evolving in Britain since Magna Carta. Most of this time was about establishing the supremacy of the law and legal system to defend individual rights. One person, one vote is less than a hundred years old. Its a new experiment. Without the guarding of individual rights through a legal system that works, having a vote in an election is meaningless. In El Salvador as a young reporter for BBC and NPR - I saw people who had a vote - but who ended up decapitated in a ditch if they publicly campaigned for the wrong side or complained about human rights. It was not democracy.

The reason that people are so frightened of Trump and other populists - is that they are using popular power to undermine individual rights and become above the law. No muslims in the US. Build a Wall. Shout down opponents rather than debate. Lie through their teeth. They do not follow democratic rules. Without firm rules, democracy, like all other collective human activities from markets to football, means nothing.
 
 
+1 # TuffsNotEnuff 2016-06-30 10:16
What did BRUSSELS do wrong ???

The Brexit vote went against EU membership for UK because Brussels had gone against local political interests.

What interests? Which decisions? As against taking what alternative actions? And which elements of the ancient Charter of Liberties and Charter of the Forest were felt to be at stake? Overall had Brussels become an agent of the banking systems' elites ???
 
 
0 # fuzzbuzz 2016-06-30 11:01
> Overall had Brussels become an agent of the banking systems' elites ???

The "banking system elites", are in fact, in London, aka "The Crown"
 
 
0 # PCPrincess 2016-07-01 09:43
Two things: I have come to the conclusion that approximately %80 of our citizenry are too irresponsible, immature, ignorant, and or selfish to be a responsible voter. I don't care too much for 'political correctness', so I have no problem saying what I feel. RSN is a space where I know I can find representatives of the %20 that are ethical, intelligent critical thinkers. Thank goodness for that.

Second: I'm going to go out on a limb here and give a hand to Bill Maher. He also does not care about political correctness. Good for him. Some people are squeamish about his in-your-face sentiment about religion. We must bear in mind that his statements about Muslims represent his complete disgust of religion and those that tolerate it. I tolerate religion, but deep down, I guess I do have a high level of frustration about the seeming large numbers of people who believe in what I believe are fairy tales. So, yes, I understand where Mr. Maher is coming from.

I haven't seen many of his shows recently, so, I can't defend any particular comments he might have made, only the position from which those comments may come from.
 
 
0 # chrisb 2016-07-02 03:12
The elites are getting scared of democracy because they know that their failures are about to be exposed. The far right candidate was possibly cheated of the Austrian Presidency in the recent election. Why did he get such support? Because Austria was forced by Germany and the EU to accept around 80,000 Middle Eastern men who are struggling to integrate into Austrian society. Where did they come from? The civil war in Syria, which is a consequence of the invasion of Iraq and the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. Other than immigration, the major issue tearing the EU apart is the economic divide between south and north. The banks in northern Europe cannot afford to let the nations in the south solve their economic problems by leaving the euro and devaluing, because the banks would take the currency hit on their investment in government bonds.

There are already signs of national politicians taking a pragmatic approach to BREXIT, in contrast to the punitive suggestions coming out of the EU bureaucrats. Expect this fracture to become a chasm and for the structure of the EU to collapse as nation states vote against further EU integration. Within the next 12 months, we not only have the resolution of the Presidency vote in Austria but national elections in 3 of the founder members where eurosceptic sentiment is rising: Italy, the Netherlands and France.
 

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