I agree with much that has been said, and this is a good conversation.
The thing about Trump that I wonder most about is how and why his original supporters can justify continuing to support him even though by now they cannot deny Trump is breaking campaign promises right and left. But in spite of that Trump's middle class and poor supporters continue to support him, rationalizing that somehow their hero knows what he is doing and that it is in their best interests.
We know, of course, that Trump serves in his own interests first, and then in the interests of other billionaires and powerful people who he respects. We also know that Trump's political ideology is deeply influenced and formulated by Bannon's, and that their goal is the destruction of the administrative state.
Because of that goal, it doesn't matter to them how much chaos there is. In fact, they create it deliberately, and there is a good reason why.
Trump's outlandish and outrageous statements are designed to misdirect attention away from more important issues, and we should understand the methodology of it. In Naomi Klein's "Shock Docrtrine," she explains how and why fascists and despots indulge in it, either to exploit the chaos and confusion generated by a national crises to push through controversial policies while citizens are too emotionally and physically distracted by disasters or upheavals to mount an effective resistance, or to deliberately create a shock event, such as Trump continues to do to distract people from real issues.
A "shock event," as Political History Professor at Boston College, Heather Cox Richardson, explains in a Facebook Post, "is unexpected and confusing and throws a society into chaos. People scramble to react to the event, usually along some fault line that those responsible for the event can widen by claiming that they alone know how to restore order. When opponents speak out, the authors of the shock event call them enemies. As society reels and tempers run high, those responsible for the shock event perform a sleight of hand to achieve their real goal, a goal they know to be hugely unpopular, but from which everyone has been distracted as they fight over the initial event "
Richardson says, "My point today is this: unless you are the person setting it up, it is in no one's interest to play the shock event game. It is designed explicitly to divide people who might otherwise come together so they cannot stand against something its authors think they won't like. . There is no longer concerted opposition to the real goal; opposition divides along the partisan lines established by the shock event." Furthermore, Richardson says "If people realize they are being played, though, they can reach across old lines and reorganize to challenge the leaders who are pulling the strings."
Our task, therefore, is to help people understand why Trump and Bannon are doing this, so that their strategy becomes less affective. For all Americans need to understand why they want to rule, and why they are working so hard behind the scenes to dismantle our government
Oh, and by the way, of course not all of Trump's lies are part of that "shock" strategy. In fact, most of Trump's lies are indeed "natural" since during most of his life he has been surrounded by those who served his interests and agreed with everything he said. Therefore Trump is quite used to being able to tell lies with impunity and get away with it. But all lies are eventually exposed. Eventually Trump will be completely exposed and put in his place.
Reading the reply's then I shake my old head. Why does not anyone adapt an voting system which "works"? (As in Europe)
No "electoral college"; just "votes" should count; no outside "money" involved ( except real cost to do the voting paid for by the government (tax money); no adds; no "rally's shouting B.S. just only "platform" discussions) Just straight forward voting based on "qualification" nothing else. Also as in France an 48 hr. "dead zone" before the election itself. Stop all the "jerry mandering" and "redistricting" as well voter restrictions and voting booth location tampering etc. Of course strict laws about how someone can get elected based on solid qualifications. Like showing "mandatory" (should be a rule) tax returns ; an extensive mental evaluation; government experience and knowledge of this country (history) as well the world; be impartial related to "religion" or "peoples color" or ethnic background etc. Should have no conflict of interest whatsoever; should only do the job he/she is elected for; nothing else.
Let's start with that; should not be that difficult to put that into law.
Originally, the first president, George Washington, was elected by popular vote, and he was elected because he was by far the most popular choice. And the person who got the next highest number of votes was automatically elected as Vice President. There were no partisan political parties. It was a popularity contest.
As I've already said earlier, the first partisan political party was founded near the end of Washington's term, in 1793, and its opposition party was founded not long after that. And the electoral college as we now it didn't come into existence until 1804 with the Twelfth Amendment. All that could be changed.
You mentioned Europe, and I wonder if you know that Switzerland is governed an executive council? Of course, they allow interest groups or parties to promote and advocate candidates for the council, but I don't see much wrong with that. The message I promote even suggests that here in America different interest groups could advocate for or recommend potential candidates for an executive council, so long as there are no paid political ads and all political advocacy is done through free public service type forums in the print and broadcast media, voter pamphlets, etc., not more than three months prior to elections. And all political advocacy would be positive, recommending potential candidates' qualifications and views, with no negative comments about anyone else.
And by the way, we could insist that Article 6 as it is be honored and obeyed -- so that everyone understands there must be no religious test or requirement to hold public office.
The constitution is fine. An amendment may occur , but that is all ever needed. I am terrified by the idea of a constitutional convention . The Rethugs are like one state away from getting 32 states needed to amend the constitution or even tear it up and rewrite it. Did you know that ? They are. It can happen. Hell Putin might be at the meetings ! Way things are going , we may as well live it up like it's 1999 because pretty soon we may be dealing with a whole new alternate reality. But right now , in spite of the fat idiot, government is functioning. Barely.
Odd that you would admit that government is barely functioning and yet say the Constitution is fine.
Granted, part of the reason things have gone so wrong during the last four or five decades is because the extreme right has distorted the meaning and intent of the Framers of the Constitution to suit their own purposes. Supreme Court rulings like Citizens United and McCutcheon are examples of that, and there are many more in congressional legislation and in court decisions.
But that proves the need for constitutional reform. Part of the reason the Constitution is so easy to distort or misinterpret is that it needs clarifications, revisions, updates and improvements. It is not "fine" as it is, even though it could be if all politicians and all citizens actually understood the real intent of the Founders and Framers. But they don't, which is why it is so easy to either dismiss or ignore or distort the Constitution.
The Supreme Law of the Land was intended to be a living document, to be improved and updated as needed, which is why Article 5 was included in it. And while Republicans could do what you fear, that wouldn't happen if there were a populist grass roots uprising that I believe is coming. After all, if all those who have voted Republican learned the truth, the Republican base would diminish down to about 20 percent. But it's up to us to get out there and help people learn the truth.
"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society, but the people themselves: and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." -- Thomas Jefferson
TJ Wrote: Interesting. People typically don't like change. Elected people change sometimes but to change from an individual to a group or panel at the top of the Executive branch. If such was bipartisan it might be even more interesting. Usually we are used to a winner and a loser every 4 years.
Yes, the present political electoral system makes us either winners of losers -- and too often the majority winds up the losers while increasingly the winners are the wealthy forces of greed and self-interest, whether the official "winners" of an election are Democrats or Republicans. (Since Bill Clinton ran to the right of middle due to the popularity of Reaganism, most Democrats have gone along with Reaganism, essentially. Even Obama invoked Reagan's name of several occasions.)
The new Declaration suggests a new system that would make it so there would be no divisive competition, and no monetary influence (no paid political ads, etc.). And the winners of an election for the executive council would not be those who sought personal power and campaigned for it. They would be those who are essentially "drafted" by the people who nominated and elected them. Those who would be thus nominated and elected could accept their calling or not. And, being named and chosen by the people, they would naturally represent the largest blocks of voters and be bipartisan (a term that would eventually be outmoded as society gets used to having a real Democracy of, by, and for the people).
Giving the people the equal opportunity and the free choice to name who they want to represent them would both liberate and empower the people.
I think all of our problems can be fixed by an engaged public that takes responsibility to really understand the issues of the day and vote intelligently. I know that is a big hurdle in itself, but not as big as calling a Constitutional Convention and start from scratch.
The 21st Century Declaration of Independence does not suggest that we "start from scratch." It suggest that we amend, revise, update and improve the Constitution, and to do that would require putting an end to the presidential form of monarchy and an end to the divisive competition for the throne, and replace the chief executive with an executive council to be nominated and elected directly by the people utilizing the write-in ballot. But all items in the Constitution would remain intact if they didn't need revision, clarification, updating, etc.
“People have a tendency to blame politicians when things don’t work, but as I always tell people, you get the politicians you deserve. And if you don’t vote and you don’t pay attention, you’ll get policies that don’t reflect your interest.” -- Former President Obama speaking at the Food Innovation Summit, Milan Italy, May 9, 2017
That's what I've been preaching on this website for years. Thank you Barack.
That does have a lot of truth in it, but the people who voted for Trump did vote and they thought they were paying attention.
In my view, the partisan political system driven by money is the problem, and the related problem is that there is a partisan political party that serves the interests of the wealthiest few but must pretend that they will serve the interests of all the people. In other words, they must be misleading, dishonest, and even deceptive.
As was said long ago, those hypocrites claim that Congress must legislate to assist and enable the wealthiest few because their wealth will naturally filter down to benefit the whole country. But that is part of The Big Lie. The truth, as proven by FDR's New Deal, is that Congress must legislate to ensure that the great majority is prosperous, because widespread prosperity will benefit the whole country in many ways.
Guy Dwyer -- Welcome back. We've missed your perspectives that are always well thought out. I'll comment on your 21st Century Declaration of Independence, but first I'll reprint Article 5 of the Constitution for those less familiar:
"The Congress, whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress; provided that no amendment which may be made prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any manner affect the first and fourth clauses in the ninth section of the first article; and that no state, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate."
I fully agree that the Electoral College system needs to be scrapped. From a practical sense, I see little prospect of 67 percent of both houses agreeing to do anything let alone the legislatures of 75 percent of the states. However, putting that big hurdle aside, the 21st Century Declaration has many good points.
The other point I will make though is that reorganizing our government will not likely change our partisan divide. We will still have liberals and conservatives and something in-between. For those elected officials who occupy the extreme ends of the political spectrum...perhaps the 30 percent on the right and the 30 percent on the left, these idealistically driven people are not inclined to compromise on much of anything. Even if they have little knowledge of an issue or proposal, they will always vote with their tribes.
So it is left to the middle 40 percent to carve out some kind of agreement with compromises that are distasteful to the extreme elements. That is the case in our America democracy or in a European Parliament.
Our government reflects the views of the people we elect. If we want to change our democracy, we need to elect good people. When only some 60 percent of the electorate decide to participate in a presidential election, then the situation is ripe for demagogues like Trump to get elected.
Any organization is only as good as the people we elect.
Not voting is not a protest. It is a surrender. -- Keith Ellison
Your concern is the most often cited concern of those who believe it would be impossible to bring about an Article 5 Constitutional Convention. But that's why that concern is addressed in the article on the declaration in the section on Article 5, as well as in an article on An Article 5 Convention and an article on The People's Campaign for Reformation. But it could be said that the gist of it is that even though it will be difficult and require a lot of populist grass roots political action, protest and demonstrations, we the people in sufficient numbers can convince state and congressional legislators that it would be in their best interests to abide by the overwhelming will of the people. They key is that the people make their will known clearly, without malice, honestly and truthfully, demanding comprehensive constitutional reform.
Regarding your concern that even with such reform there would still be a partisan political divide, that is certainly probable. However, if the numerical items in the updated Declaration were to be adopted, that wouldn't matter. It may mean that two or three members of the new executive council might represent a right-wing point of view, but that's okay. After all, the decisions of the council "shall be by consensus or by two thirds majority vote when not unanimous ..." That would ensure that they really work things out and come to conclusions that would be the most fair.
Conservatives deserve a seat at the table. They just don't deserve to be in the position of power they hold right now in this winner take all system, ruled by money as it is. In the new system, money would not be a factor.
Guy; from my Dutch view it is maybe simple; but not if you're here. Just change all the stupid 1800's rules, which don't fit 2017.
No one in the world uses an electoral college, except us. No one in the world has "gun laws" like us. No one in the world allows cellphones on the ear in the car or texting. Most Civil Democratic countries have decent healthcare for everyone. Most civilized countries have free education (to an certain level) Most civilized countries have more than two parties who govern. I could go on and on. It is the total "island" mentality which obstructs progress. As well that "money" is king here instead of "happiness" for all. Also our heritage of being an British colony did not help; we only took over the bad things.
Thus America start thinking outside the envelope and beyond our borders. Isolation as Trump promotes will only make things worse. Conservatism is an curse for progress as is religion.
Dutch, you're pretty much right about those things, but I would remind you of some important facts.
Not all of America's founders were of like mind about the "bad things" -- especially about financial and economic matters. For instance, while the banker Hamilton believed in the British economic and corporate system and declared that a wealthy aristocracy should rightfully govern in a "meritocracy," Jefferson believed that an "aristocracy" should not be based on wealth but on virtue, knowledge and fair-mindedness. And Jefferson accurately predicted or warned that private banks and private corporations, especially if left to their own devices, would abuse their power to the detriment of the people.
Moreover, even John Adams, who competed against Jefferson in 1800, was of like mind with Jefferson in 1776 when he wrote: “Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity and happiness of the people; and not for the profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men. Therefore the people alone have an incontestable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to institute government and to reform, alter, or totally change the same, when their protection, safety, prosperity and happiness require.”
I believe that such a statement, also stated basically by Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence, was meant not for just their time, but for all time.
That is, it is the right and the duty of the people to keep their government honest and ensure that it serves their interests, and when it doesn't but instead abuses its power, it is the right and duty of the people to alter, change and reform their government by amending, revising and updating the Constitution. THAT, I believe, is why they wrote Article 5 into the Constitution, so that we the people could ensure that the Constitution is a living document, updated and improved as need be. And that is why I promote The 21st Century Declaration of Independence.
THINGS HAVE CHANGED, BUT NOT FOR THE BETTER
Yes. The question is, how do we fix it? That's what I'm focused on, which is why I posted the link about how we can adopt a better way.
Yes, that article has interesting observations and a logical conclusion, as far as it goes. But there's much more to the story of how and why the intent of America's founders has been overlooked, ignored, and thwarted so much that the intended system of checks and balances and separation of powers no longer serves the best interests of the people.
Part of the reason, in my view, is the nature of partisan political parties, which were not part of the Constitution when George Washington became president. Remember, it wasn't until near the end of Washington's term that Alexander Hamilton founded the "Federalist Party" to combat the influence of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, who responded by organizing the Democratic Republican Party (which came to prominence in 1800 when Jefferson became president).
As I've pointed out in posts some time ago (I've been occupied in other places and with other things for a good while), partisan politics is the core problem, and it is really what the author of the article is talking about. It is what puts politicians and political activists into the "clubs" he speaks of.
FDR is really the only president who has been able to overcome the opposition, but as we've seen, his legacy has been gradually denigrated and is at risk of being completely destroyed. Reaganism has replaced it, and it has morphed into something even far worse than it was when it originally infected this country.
An article I have cited before -- Partisan Politics: A Corrupt, Failed System -- addresses why we should scrap the political electoral system we have now, since it is hopelessly divisive and merely perpetuates conflict and division, and we should replace it with a system that liberates and empowers the people. (And another article -- The 21st Century Declaration of Independence -- suggests how we can do that.)