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Boardman writes: "Apocalyptic thinking has been with us for a long time, and it sometimes ushers in actual apocalypses, albeit at human scale, without biblical finality. For a century now, the Yeats poem above has served as an increasingly common reference point for those who fear apocalyptic events approaching."

Brett Kavanaugh and Mike Pence. (photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Brett Kavanaugh and Mike Pence. (photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)


Dark Foreboding: Is the American Democratic Experiment Over?

By William Boardman, Reader Supported News

10 July 18


Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

– William Butler Yeats, The Second Coming, 1919


pocalyptic thinking has been with us for a long time, and it sometimes ushers in actual apocalypses, albeit at human scale, without biblical finality. For a century now, the Yeats poem above has served as an increasingly common reference point for those who fear apocalyptic events approaching. Today such fears are varied, the threats are real, and reactions range from crisis-mongering to self-serving denial, making any rational, coherent societal response almost impossible.

We’ve been heading this way for decades. We finally got here in 2016. It’s taken awhile, but the forces of chaos and greed seem to be cohering, tightening their grip on power, on government and culture, facing little or no effective opposition. An election is coming. It will matter. But how?

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world

Worse, things are under attack, the center is the enemy. The US president veers toward dictatorial powers and seeks out new targets to disrupt or destroy. The US wages war around the world in at least 7 countries (with combat forces in 146 according to Seymour Hersh). The US Environmental Protection Agency wages war on the environment along with public health and safety. The US Education Department wages war on public education. The US Justice Department wages war on Justice, turning law enforcement into a profit-making, human-trafficking criminal enterprise. The US Department of Housing and Urban Development wages war on the poor, as do other agencies. The US Labor Department wages war on labor. The US Supreme Court wages war on pretty much 99% of the population. And so it goes: almost everywhere one looks, there is almost no center left to hold. Resistance is scattered, ineffective, inconsistent, fragmented – mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.

The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;

This is our country that has loosed a blood-dimmed tide across the globe for decades, this is American exceptionalism that has flooded countries from Iran to Guatemala with its citizens’ blood for American ends. This endless flow of American violence and death has drowned our innocence, and still so many of us pretend there is no blood on our hands, no blood up to our eyeballs, no blood vengeance haunting our future.

That’s not the way we see the border, but that’s the way the border is. American-sponsored dictatorships and genocides are sending the children of their victims to our borders where we victimize them again and again and again. And finally, at least more than just a few people notice who and what we are, and who and what we have been for so long, and there is horror, at least for some. No border guards are yet showing signs of conscience as they carry out unlawful orders, but at least one immigration judge has expressed embarrassment at asking a one-year-old if he understood the proceedings the US was putting him through.

The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

And so we head for another election on November 6, bitterly divided as a country. It’s a so-called off-year election (no presidential race), but it may be darkly viewed as the last stand for the American democratic republic. Some say that 242-year-old experiment has already failed, and there’s logic to that opinion. The decline has been long, slow, relentless and the end will not likely be apocalyptic.

When did we lose the possibility of a country of freedom, tolerance, and honesty? OK, the Constitution allowed slavery. More recently, was it our willingness to incinerate Japanese civilians with atomic weapons? Was it our willingness to accept Reagan as president despite his dealing with Iran to rig the election? Was it our willingness to let the Supreme Court choose Bush for president? Was it our willingness to let Bush lie us into wars that haven’t ended yet? Was it our willingness to accept yet another blood dictatorship in Honduras (after all the others over so many years)? Was it our willingness to accept a Supreme Court decision (Citizens United) that turned democratic elections into plutocratic power auctions? Was it our acceptance of Republicans stealing a Supreme Court seat? Was it our election of minority-president Trump? Any of these points (and no doubt others) were turning points where the best lacked all conviction, while the worst rode their passionate intensity to the verge of total control of the US government. From there, it could be but a short distance to totalitarian control.

We’re heading into the 2018 election with polling that shows only a slight majority of Americans – around 53% – opposed to the direction of the country, opposed to Republicans, opposed to Trump. Republicans currently control the presidency, both houses of Congress, and the Supreme Court (with another justice online). The election can’t change the presidency. The election can’t change the Supreme Court directly (especially if Kavanaugh is approved beforehand). The election can change either house of Congress, neither of which is anything like a sure thing. If the House gets a Democratic majority, that puts all legislation on the negotiating table and raises the possibility of articles of impeachment for which this president has qualified since day one of his presidency. If the Senate gets a Democratic majority, that also makes all legislation negotiable and makes it harder for Republicans to pack the courts. If both houses of Congress get Democratic majorities, that gives the American experiment a chance to continue, dependent on Democratic courage long in short supply.

And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

So ends The Second Coming by Yeats, inconclusively, suggestively. There’s no knowing what may happen to head off our own rough beast slouching toward November. Perhaps Mueller will go public on Trump crimes. Perhaps the trade war will implode the US economy. Perhaps Trump will sack Mueller (or some other critical figure). Perhaps enough people will recognize – and reject – the already functional police state created by ICE jurisdiction. Perhaps Republican Senator Richard Burr, already on record as chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee that Russian collusion in 2016 happened, will seize the moment to hold hearings to learn “What did the President know and when did he know it?”

Or perhaps the fascist coup, the totalitarian American state, is already upon us and we’re only waiting for massive popular passivity to confirm it. There are those, after all, millions who seem to believe that Donald Trump really is the Second Coming.



William M. Boardman has over 40 years experience in theatre, radio, TV, print journalism, and non-fiction, including 20 years in the Vermont judiciary. He has received honors from Writers Guild of America, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Vermont Life magazine, and an Emmy Award nomination from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.

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+17 # mashiguo 2018-07-10 16:22
"When did we lose the possibility of a country of freedom, tolerance, and honesty?"

When the constitution was written, with the senate, the electoral college, the lack of guaranteed voting rights for everyone of age, etc.

The output of our constitution is Trump v. Clinton with Trump winning. Any other reading of the facts is delusional.
 
 
+21 # wrknight 2018-07-11 06:59
I'm sorry, I can't buy that. Our Constitution, flawed as it is, is not responsible for our present condition. Even if it had guaranteed the right to vote for all citizens, that would never have compensated for the vast number of eligible, registered voters that don't vote - in every election. The U.S. has a record of having the lowest voter turnout of all the developed countries.

Yeats' point that "the best lack all conviction while the worst are full of passionate intensity" is right on. An overwhelming majority of Republicans vote while an overwhelming majority of Democrats don't. No guarantee of voting rights could ever overcome voter apathy.

Don't get me wrong. Voting should be a guaranteed right for everyone who has reached maturity and is mentally sane, even those who have committed crimes and are imprisoned. And registration should be automatic, not requiring people to go through special hoops to get registered. And gerrymandering should be outlawed and legislators should not be allowed to cherry pick their own constituents. And corporations should not be allowed to contribute to political campaigns and there should be reasonable limits on campaign spending as well as limits on the amounts of contributions by individuals. But even if we implemented all of the above, it would never overcome voter apathy.

By morning, on November 7, we will know whether or not Yeats was correct and if George Orwell's vision has come true at last.
 
 
+11 # mashiguo 2018-07-11 10:10
You neglected to mention the electoral college which was specifically written to override the vote anyway. You neglected to mention the composition of the senate which was also written to override the will of the electorate.

Australia has compulsory voting, there is no reason America can't. Non-compulsory voting is just a motivation to provide candidates so odious that no one wants to participate, and it is working.
 
 
+2 # wrknight 2018-07-11 12:44
The electoral college wasn't specifically written to override any vote because the Constitution doesn't provide for a popular vote for President and doesn't impose any requirement on states to do so.

Even abolishing the electoral college won't overcome voter apathy in America. The states have no electoral college and the voting for state officials is worse than for the president.

The idea of compulsory voting is a good one, but a penalty such as they have in Australia, $20 for first offense and $50 for subsequent offenses, would not overcome much of the voter apathy in this country. Now a penalty of $1000 might make a substantial difference.

That said, Aussies are much more open and much less divided in their politics and take them much more seriously than Americans which partly accounts for their high turnout.
 
 
+2 # WBoardman 2018-07-11 12:51
mashiguo quotes me accurately enough as far as it goes,
but omits my next sentence acknowledging the inherent
contradictions of the Constitution.

If you're going to call people "delusional,"
you should have the intellectual integrity
to acknowledge they're making the point
you're now echoing.

The more serious problem with mashiquo's mindset here
is its monodimensional ity that allows for no other view but
pre-determined disaster – and then goes personal with
ad hominem bashing of disagreement as "delusional."

Then mashiquo cites elements of the Constitution that actually
illustrate the dynamic of change over the past 242 years.

Nothing is all that simple, nothing is all that inevitable, change
can be as unpredictable as it is predictable.

No one knows how it will turn out, but if November brings
us a country with all three branches of federal power under the
control of a party that is not committed to freedom, tolerance,
or honesty, then it's hard to see how this will go well for
most of us, at the very least in the short term.
 
 
+1 # intheEPZ 2018-07-15 07:52
Mr. Boardman you are the best writer and thinker RSN has the honor to publish. Thank you for your comprehensive, clear-eyed and literate analysis of the state we're in and its connection to Yeat's Ireland. Then and now it's all about justice, greed and power, and how the powerful delude themselves self-righteousl y, and how the oppressed face persecution if they openly protest.

There are laws, used by the powerful against the less so, but ultimately only overwhelming public opinion will bring the forces of greed and hate down. And that will take the sacrifice of heroic justice seekers.
"You say that we should still the land
Till Germany’s overcome;
But who is there to argue that
Now Pearse is deaf and dumb?
And is their logic to outweigh
McDonagh’s bony thumb?"
 
 
+54 # librarian1984 2018-07-10 16:52
This is not the time for despair, though we have multitudes advocating for it, it seems.

We are four months away from an election, so this is a foolish time to give up. This is exactly what Trump and Kennedy and those mofos in the GOP wanted, for us to give up to despair right before the midterm where they're at a disadvnatge.

Let's face it, our mamby-pamby dishwater neoliberals are politically outclassed by McConnell and the rest. He's outmaneuvered them at every fork in the road.

We're. not. out. That's just what they want us to think.

Imagine if we had twenty Bernies and twenty Warrens and twenty Waters.

The problem is not with US or our beliefs, it's with a party of collusionists and paid-for hacks who sell us out every day.

Fight Trump. Fight the party. Get real representation and don't take any bs from any of them.

To paraphrase Oscar Wilde, Will those saying we can't do anything get out of the way of those who are doing it?
 
 
+8 # WBoardman 2018-07-11 12:58
librarian1984 is right, this is not a time for despair,
and I hope that's not how my piece was read.

While we do seem to be in a desperate time, which
is not cause for despair but, as librarian1984 argues,
for fighting all the harder.
 
 
+3 # longingfortruth 2018-07-12 11:26
Please read this post carefully! First it says it is not the time for despair which gets us on board because we want HOPE. But the middle of the post has false equivalency embedded in it - which engenders despair.
It also praises McConnell and "the rest" of the GOP (the party of Trump). So McConnell's authoritarianis m has "outclassed" those who honor their oath of office to "support and defend the Constitution" and defend democracy?? Then it says he's out maneuvered "them" - the use of "them" makes the reader distance themselves -them is not us.
Fight Trump-HELL YES! "Fight the party." Which party? It doesn't say - false equivalence embedded.
"don't take any bs from any of them" - again false equivalency embedded.

We can't wait for twenty Bernies, twenty Warrens and twenty Waters. We can't stand on the moral high ground while democracy is flooded away beneath us. That high ground will turn out to be authoritarian oligarchy. Let now be the high watermark of Trump.
This November we must vote for every Democrat or Independent who will caucus with the Democrats.
We have to take responsibility for the mess we are in. Why didn't we stop the Koch brothers and ALEC before they gerrymandered every Republican state?
No one can sit this one out. Let us demonstrate that people are the answer not money.
Be very clear about what we are fighting for. We have to fight Trump and his GOP party of enablers with everything we've got.
 
 
-1 # librarian1984 2018-07-12 15:23
blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah! blah blah blah blah vote for any democrat blah blah smear blah blu-blah blah blah false equivalency blah blah blah blah we can't blah blah blah we won't blah blah blah ignorance is strength blah blah blah blah schumer is so strong blah blah blah blah blu-blah blu-blah blah blah attack progressives blah blah blah i supported bernie blah blah blah i'm one of you blah blah blah blah vote for any democrat blah blah blah blah blah blah blah democrats good blah blah blah neoliberalism won't hurt you blah blah blah pelosi is awesome blah blah blah blah blah war is peace blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah innuendo blah blah blah blah bromide blah blah blah attack blah blah blah jargon-y bullshit blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah unconsciously ironic name blah blah blah the party loves you blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah send money blah blah blah blah don't look at that man behind the voting booth blah blah blah blah blah blah straw man blah blah blah blah blah blah blah non sequiter blah blah blah blah blah vague threat blah blah blah blah guilt shame fear blah blah blah blah blah blah be afraid blah blah blah blah blah blah tom petez has values blah blah blah blah such good values blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah better deal blah blah blah blah blah bernie can't be trusted blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah
 
 
0 # Merlin 2018-07-12 20:03
Hey Librarian,
You had asked for anyone with info on Radscal, a couple of weeks back to let you know. I have that info and want to be sure you get the messages he and I posted on the Chuck Schumer article on 7/10. I am reprinting them here for convenience, but you can check them out on the original thread.

Let me know if you are still interested, one way or the other, so I know you got the message.

Here are the posts:
# Merlin 2018-07-10 16:38
Hi Librarian,
I have just recently gotten contact with Radscal when he responded to me. He said that he would love to hear from you, personally, if he had your email. If you would like to reach him, you can contact me through my email, which you already have, and I will pass your info on to him. This way only my email is public. Much safer that way!

# Radscal 2018-07-11 13:44
Hi Librarian. If this post meets approval, I wanted to confirm that I'd love to hear from you.
 
 
+22 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-07-10 17:53
While I like this reflection a lot, I would run it in a different way.

First, the US was never an experiment in democracy. It was a non-monarchical republic based on the Roman oligarchy or plutocracy. Slowly over its history, the US evolved some democratic institutions. The Senate was elected by popular vote. Slavery was abolished. Women were allowed to vote. Unions gained a legal status and some power. So the US is an emerging democracy. It is still working at it. We may be right now on the verge of establishing rights for immigrants.

Second, Boardman is correct to say that the US is the most war mongering empire in all human history. There has never been a year when the US was not at war somewhere in the world. Killing people is the #1 business of the US. And yet, Americans are more against war now than ever. Even Trump is less of a war monger than the presidents before him, except maybe JFK. He's getting out of Syria, he's working on a peace deal with Korea. My bet is he'll soon learn that a war against Iran is not possible.

Third, we are not at the end of civilization but in a moment of transition. Chris Hedges has been good on this. The neo-liberal economic world order brought on by Reagan and Thatcher is collapsing. Populist movements are demanding protection of local industries. Free Trade is out.

Change is scary, chaotic, and unpredictable but it must come. Trump is a wrecking ball, smashing the world order of Reaganism. In some ways that is good.
 
 
+15 # goodsensecynic 2018-07-10 23:27
OK ... until the last sentence.
 
 
+22 # Bruce-Man-Do 2018-07-11 05:17
"Trump is a wrecking ball, smashing the world order of Reaganism."

Well, that's half-true. But Trump is actually the inevitable "rough beast" of greed and the right-wing propaganda machine that Reagan let off its leash over 30 years ago.

Let us not forget that before the relatively recent "Republican Revolution" began tearing everything good about America apart, we had reasonable environmental regulations, a truly progressive tax system, and the Fairness Doctrine that helped keep our media much more "fair and balanced" than it has been ever since.

As less whiny commentators have observed, now is not the time to give up! Now is the time to put aside our disgust at the imperfections of so many Democratic candidates and remind our friends how important it is to vote against every Republican at every level of what may once again become a government that represents more than just the will of corporations and the super-rich.
 
 
+4 # economagic 2018-07-11 19:02
But shall we accept a DINO who votes Republican 90 percent of the time over a Republican? If so, why, and how is that ever going to get us out of the "Lesser Evil" trap?
 
 
0 # JCM 2018-07-13 15:43
The Republican will always vote republican, The Dem at least has a chance to vote with the Dems. Getting out of the lesser evil has to be done in between the elections and during the primary. It's all about beating the republicans.
 
 
-1 # JCM 2018-07-13 15:39
Bruce-Man-Do: Absolutely, not voting or voting 3rd party only helps the republicans. We must be united in our votes to remove the most destructive party in modern history. There's plenty to fix in the Democratic party and we can help fix it by supporting and voting for progressive primary candidates. But if your candidate doesn't make it to the election, vote for the Democratic candidate that did. Vote for the candidate most likely to beat the republican. Even blue dogs are better than a republican.
Turnout will be the biggest factor. In retrospect, even though Obama disappointed us in many ways, he was miles above what McCain or any other republican would have done. But so many who voted for him stayed at home and we lost so much because he didn't do everything we wanted. What we got is so much worse. Here we are now where our democracy is at risk. We can't stay home anymore. We must support the Democrat running against the republicans, always, to keep the republicans from gaining this much power again. That may mean voting for someone you don’t like, but if that person can keep a republican from winning or has a chance to win - You Must Vote.
 
 
+5 # ericlipps 2018-07-11 05:59
Once again, RR, you rush to Trump's defense.

"Less of a war monger than previous presidents"? This is the guy who threatened to wipe North Korea off the map exterminate its people in "fire and fury and, frankly, power such as the world has never seen." As for "working on a peace deal," that's what he says now (after huge blowback from his earlier rants), but by all indications it's nothing more than kabuki theater.

Meanwhile, he's alternately condemning and (more often) cozying up to Russia while hurling insults and threats at the European Community.
 
 
+11 # wrknight 2018-07-11 07:19
Quoting Rodion Raskolnikov:
...Killing people is the #1 business of the US. And yet, Americans are more against war now than ever.

Unfortunately, the majority you refer to lacks all conviction while those who profit from the killing are full of passionate intensity.

Quoting Rodion Raskolnikov:
...Even Trump is less of a war monger than the presidents before him, except maybe JFK. He's getting out of Syria, he's working on a peace deal with Korea. My bet is he'll soon learn that a war against Iran is not possible.

Hmmm, maybe, but given his volatility and unpredictability, I wouldn't place any heavy bets on it.

Quoting Rodion Raskolnikov:
...Change is scary, chaotic, and unpredictable but it must come. Trump is a wrecking ball, smashing the world order of Reaganism. In some ways that is good.

You are right, change will come. However, I'm not convinced that he is smashing the world order of Reaganism. In fact, a look at his cabinet, his selection of Supreme Court Justices, his tax cuts and his defense budget implies just the opposite. The change that is coming could well be the end of any semblance of democracy in the U.S.
 
 
+20 # DudeistPriest 2018-07-10 18:37
For a nation that worships avarice, and was founded on the twin planks of racism and genocide there's a lot of bad karma behind it. Elections are bought and paid for by corporatists and oligarchs who's only belief is that the one who dies with the most toys wins. Climate change is beyond control and nuclear war seems to be just around the corner. I am not holding out any hope any positive change. The beast has already been born and it resides in Jerusalem.
 
 
-5 # goodsensecynic 2018-07-10 23:49
OK, until the last sentence.
 
 
-3 # joejamchicago 2018-07-11 00:45
Quoting DudeistPriest:
For a nation that worships avarice, and was founded on the twin planks of racism and genocide there's a lot of bad karma behind it. Elections are bought and paid for by corporatists and oligarchs who's only belief is that the one who dies with the most toys wins. Climate change is beyond control and nuclear war seems to be just around the corner. I am not holding out any hope any positive change. The beast has already been born and it resides in Jerusalem.


If the last sentence is a veiled reference to Israel, it is false and repugnant.
 
 
+6 # mozartssister 2018-07-11 11:09
May have been a reference to the poem?
 
 
+1 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-07-13 05:00
Well, Jerusalem is legally the capital of Palestine. Tel Aviv is the capital of Israel. But I think the last sentence is a reference to Netanyahoo. Now there is a beast if ever there was one.
 
 
+6 # ericlipps 2018-07-11 06:01
At the moment it resides in Washington, except occasionally, when it settles down in Trump Tower or at Mar-a-Lago.
 
 
+7 # draypoker 2018-07-11 09:46
Quoting DudeistPriest:
Climate change is beyond control.

Climate change could be slowed down and reversed by a worldwide policy of controlling emissions of CO2. That would require a very large installation of energy capture of solar input and derivatives of it. Saudi Arabia for example could collect solar energy in its vast empty spaces to surpass its oil exports, which could be shut down. BTW Israel has a useful energy programme.
 
 
0 # MisterG 2018-07-11 13:37
And now we'll have an embassy there!
 
 
+19 # Moxa 2018-07-10 22:22
I like this article. People are far too complacent. The ugliness of America, the threat of fascism, and annihilation through climate catastrophe are not appreciated for what they are.

And yet, there does seem to be a little bit of justified hope. One of the scary things we are dealing with is that the government, sold out to big money, does not represent the people. Yet there is another way of looking at this which can be stated in the exact same way: the government does not represent the people--and therefore, the people still have the potential to change it. This almost happened in the last election. And look what Bernie managed to do. Coming from obscurity, loathed and demeaned by his own party and the corporate media, he still managed to win almost half of the states, and it is relatively certain that he would have handily beaten Trump. He has changed the political dialog in the country, with most Democratic presidential hopefuls now touting Medicare- for-all as part of their platform.

It is well-establishe d that the majority of Americans (even the majority of Republicans) favor Bernie's policies. We hear that America is center right politically. But that isn't true. If you look at what people want, we are a rather progressive populace. Bernie's popularity derives from the fact that he represents exactly what people want but have never been offered before. If we can tap into that immense desire for real change, we might yet be able to beat the system.
 
 
+5 # economagic 2018-07-11 19:31
Well said. Your comments just keep getting better, and you write as if you were coming from "long, long ago, in a galaxy far, far away."
 
 
+5 # librarian1984 2018-07-12 10:41
I agree with economagic. I look forward to your comments. You raise interesting points and are not fatalistic.
 
 
+4 # Moxa 2018-07-12 20:15
Thanks, guys!
 
 
+15 # Jim Young 2018-07-10 23:25
Justice Kennedy, the guy who said:

“We now conclude that independent expenditures, including those made by corporations, do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption.”

What alternate universe are we in if that passes for any semblance of what has happened since Citizens United enabled a hostile take over of our government?

The guys that took over my old party are super hypocrites applying one over the top set of rules to eliminate opponents then entirely different rules to install their own Quislings. No new Justices until Garland has confirmation hearings (with McConnell and the other stall-bots recusing themselves).
 
 
+8 # Donna Fritz 2018-07-10 23:35
Rodion - Right-wing extremist groups are also on the rise globally. Chris Hedges has also said that the right-wing would likely win in a civil war-type situation here.
 
 
+3 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-07-13 04:50
Donna -- "Right-wing extremist groups are also on the rise globally. "


Yes, to be sure. Real Nazis are in power in Ukraine, Croatia, and many other places in Europe. Much of the anti-neo-libera l populists in Europe such as Farage, Wilders, Le Pen, and others are right wing extremists. All of these movements are dangerous. But there's also a left wing populism that is reacting against neo-liberalism, too. The US government is dumping money and support behind the right wing populists.

I don't see a war among populists. Governemnt start wars, even civil wars. Oddly enough, I do see common ground between the right wing and left wing populists over their opposition to neo-liberalism, globalism, and the corporate control of governments.
 
 
+2 # Benign Observer 2018-07-13 08:10
Just read a HuffPo article about this. It says the RW extremist groups are on the rise but so are people trying to get out of them.

It talks about a movement started in the late 90s in Norway, which uses 'formers' to help those making the transition. The American movement was started more recently and research has found these people show many of the same characteristics as addicts.

The guy who was the focus of the article talked about revelations he had over the years, and he wound up canvassing door-to-door for Sanders!
 
 
+11 # janie1893 2018-07-11 01:25
Apparently 47% of Americans approve of Donald Trump and his narcissistic need for power. That 47% will vote for him again due to their need for money. Americans will do almost anything for money, including supporting a president who is an outright criminal.That president will not provide more jobs or wealth for the country. He is destroying America and he is doing it deliberately and with malice aforethought.
 
 
+6 # Moxa 2018-07-11 15:51
That 47% is based on the very highest poll estimate. There are other recent polls that have him as low as 39%. Looking at all recent polling, he has about a minus 10% favorability, meaning about 10% more people do not favor him than do.

While even that seems incredible, consider the following: at the end of his campaign (the last time they checked favorability on him) Bernie Sanders had a positive 24% favorability. If you look at the trajectory from the beginning of his campaign, the graph looks like a rocket take off--it was at its highest point at the END of the campaign, meaning it just grew and grew. At +24, compared to Trump's -10, Bernie has about a 34 point higher favorability rating than Trump.

Trump is wildly popular among the crazies of his followers, but many others approve of him because they have never been offered any substantive alternative. Bernie IS that substantive alternative and people know it; it is palpable. Just watch Bernie convert Trump voters in West Virginia and you'll see the effect that integrity and truth telling have on "conservative" voters. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3rC3FjRZzEM

If Bernie runs and gets the nomination, he will trounce Trump in 2020.
 
 
+2 # wrknight 2018-07-11 18:13
Quoting janie1893:
Apparently 47% of Americans approve of Donald Trump and his narcissistic need for power. That 47% will vote for him again due to their need for money. Americans will do almost anything for money, including supporting a president who is an outright criminal.That president will not provide more jobs or wealth for the country. He is destroying America and he is doing it deliberately and with malice aforethought.

The bizarre part of your statement is that of the 47% who need more money, only 1% will get any and the remainder are too dense to realize that.
 
 
+16 # draypoker 2018-07-11 06:16
Trump is an ignorant buffoon. A political system that allows a person like him to take office is flawed.
 
 
+3 # wrknight 2018-07-11 20:15
When I was a young lad, I was told that anybody could be president. I guess we just proved that.
 
 
+9 # Dale 2018-07-11 08:52
It is possible that Amerikaganistan , Dystopia Inc. will experience apocalypses. The slow death by entropy is well advanced, the system is falling apart. Rule by the laws of capital enforced by plutocracy bring only social dissolution and degenerative development.
 
 
+7 # draypoker 2018-07-11 09:58
I think the US system is so large and complex that even an ignorant crook like Trump probably can't damage it permanently. But it would be good if Americans can find some suitable method of getting rid of him, preferably without assassinating him. Impeachment would be the best method, if the Democrats can wins enough seats in the approaching elections.
 
 
0 # Robbee 2018-07-11 11:50
Quoting Dale 2018-07-11 08:52:
Rule by the laws of capital enforced by plutocracy

- our judicial system is fully complicit, full partner to plutocracy

when money is speech, we the people are struck "dumb" - voiceless

can we overthrow plutocracy with an amendment to remove all private money, all capitalism, from all elective office?

do we have any other choice
but to try to do it,
with no voice?

you say this is impractical?
THERE IS NO PRACTICAL WAY TO OVERTHROW MONEY!
the art of the practical,
is the art of money
the art of an idea
is the art of will
either we do it,
or we don't!
 
 
+2 # MisterG 2018-07-11 13:27
Just recently discovered this site. Can't help but share this bit of poetry I wrote last year; it seems appropriate here. Please delete if deemed inappropriate. Please share with attribution if so inclined.

Sonnet at 45 rpm

It's true the centre cannot hold; it's true
Mere anarchy has loosed upon the world
Premeditated chaos. What did you
Expect when sullen battle flags unfurled?
And as the beast, its hour come round at last,
Confounds with blank and pitiless approach,
Have our convictions, empty and aghast,
Meant nothing? Are we now beneath reproach?
Extremities of circumstance demand
New leadership to stem the blood-dimmed tide,
True leaders who respectfully command
No less in kind, whose temperaments abide
Outrageous slings and arrows, without whom
We slouch toward poor Bethlehem and doom.

Openlycopiedright©2017 gkb
 
 
+1 # economagic 2018-07-11 19:37
I would feel compelled to salute you merely for daring to riff on Yeats, even if you had done so horrifically and to no effect.
 
 
+7 # rivervalley 2018-07-11 17:27
I appreciate the comments of Librarian1987 & Moxa. We're here, as was said, because there is too much apathy. If Trump and the thought of losing more of our personal rights doesn't wake up most people, we're goners. But we're seeing activism everywhere we look; people are riled up. We need to get out the vote; we have a good chance of turning this around and going on to make real progress. Renewables are coming - fast - regardless of Trump. Oil is losing it's place on top of the financial pyramid& changes will cascade from there.

Remember the huge $50 million dollar battery Tesla installed in Australia? It just completed it's first four months of use, supplementing peak production and taking business away from gas and coal plants. The battery saved the utility $35 million dollars in four months.
 
 
+2 # economagic 2018-07-13 21:49
Thanks--I had not seen that.
 
 
+7 # elkingo 2018-07-11 20:57
Nah, this says it all! Kudos to Boardman. Nice to see RR a bit optimistic here, but he's wrong. This ain't a democracy if it ever was one, it's a corporate oligarchy. (Gore Vidal) And we have always been a murderer-state. Founded on slavery, genocide and imperialism. Magnificent Constitution, now largely decorative.
 
 
+1 # wilding 2018-07-14 10:06
Brilliant. Amerikka has been slouching towards fascism for decades, both by inclination of its character and by intention of the corporatists. I have dramatized this in my plays, which the Corpo Coprolites of course will not produce. We could have been a beacon of compassion, but now we have become the worst of ourselves, competitive and brutal, capable of pushing the world to Armageddon.
 
 
+1 # economagic 2018-07-14 21:37
Of COURSE the "Corpo Coprolites" will not produce drama that lays bare the truth about themselves! Get in touch with your local community theater groups. They may take some persuading, but I will bet that one of them will bite if you're nice to them and take the time to cultivate your relationship with them and reveal your left-wing radicalism in small doses as the RW radicals learned long ago to do.

I don't write, but I realize I'm sitting in the catbird seat--the Research Triangle area of North Carolina--with great wealth of local theater of every description, plus dance, music (all genres and global), etc. We just lost a brilliant semi-pro theater because its founders had been at it for 30 years or so and wanted a break while they can still enjoy it. They will be missed, but the alternatives for us, the theater-going public, are mind-boggling.

There are only a few places in the US that are this rich in culture of all kinds at all levels, and you're probably not in one of them. Don't even think about moving here: Our legislators have been making Wisconsin look progressive since 2010, and some insane percentage of parents have taken their kids out of public schools. But there is hardly anyplace in the country without SOME community theater, and hardly any place without a group doing serious cutting edge work within 50 miles.
 
 
+1 # psephoLibran 2018-07-17 14:39
Apologies for delay. Some on the comments.
1. Not in favour of compulsory voting. Those who don't vote are in effect saying "any of the above" (quite apart from "I don't care").
Instead, have a box "None of the Above" -- might result in (optimistically ) better choices
2, As for US 'democracy', we outside are askance if not agog someone receiving ~3M more votes lost. Definition?
3. Blaming politicians is baffling -- responsibility? Not that of those who chose them? Voters' responsibility! (but note reluctance of ppl to blame themselves)
4. PREFERENTIAL VOTING -- it's as easy as 1, 2, 3! Avoids the problem of voting for a 3rd party so that the lesser of the two others doesn't win. Avoids tail (small extreme party) wagging dog. {Netanyahu needs the settler party to stay in power; in spite of Israel's 1978 promise to Carter not to expand illegal settlements (20K settlers); today ~600K.) Might prefer our second choice. Can't always get all we want; aim to try to get as close as possible.

Pity no sensible constitutional monarchy as a bit of a steadying influence. Australians were totally against PM Gough Whitlam and were overjoyed when the Governor General wd not sign a Supply Bill ($$$), thus bringing his govt down, triggering an election. King Juan Carlos in the '80s prevented outbreak of civil war in Spain.

Arrogance or ego the Trumps didn't bow to the Queen?
Not required; polite. Many bow to Saudi Royalty visiting, even Princes do; other leaders too.
 

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