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Trump’s First Year Was Even Worse Than Feared—But Voters Can Change Things Up at the Ballot Box in 2018


#1

Trump’s First Year Was Even Worse Than Feared—But Voters Can Change Things Up at the Ballot Box in 2018

Eugene Robinson

"Our duty is to elect a Congress that will bring this runaway train under control."

Donald Trump

Jeff Sessions Takes a Stand for Debtors’ Prisons
#2

There is an interesting and thoughtful take on the founding fathers and the US Constitution - in The Guardian, a United Kingdom publication.

I’ll start with an excerpt from this article, linked to at the end:

“The first is that Trump has vividly demonstrated that much of what keeps a democracy intact is not enshrined in the written letter of a constitution, but resides instead in customs and conventions – norms – that are essential to civic wellbeing.”

I think these unwritten mores are what keeps any society together, including the Mongols of Temudgin (Genghis Khan).


#3

Excellent comment. The US constitution has some very serious problems and limitations. Article II gives the president entirely too much power is the most glaring one in body of the Constitution.

And then there are the Amendments - notably the Bill of Rights To take just one serious issue with these, there is the First Amendment. Everybody thinks it codified freedom of speech into law. But it does not do that at all. All it does is prohibit governments from restricting freedom of speech. It does not prevent persons, notably property owners and especially those legal persons called corporations (per the 14th Amendment - and you thought it was about citizenship for freed slaves) from restricting your speech! And those corporations nowadays wield far more power than any federal or state government - they OWN the federal and state governments, FCOL! So in the end, someone only has freedom of speech when they are not on public property - which for typical suburban USAns, is only a fraction of the day if you exclude streets and highways, where you are free to grumble in the sealed sound-proof space of a car’s interior.

And at risk of repeating myself, a trip to Canada immediately makes it obvious how much better off and free we USAns would be today had that Powdered Wig Aristocrat Uprising of 1776 never happened. I know. Blasphemy!


#4

I wonder if Trump always chooses the orange crayon to color in his briefing books, despite having the most bigly box that Crayola makes. However, I can honestly say nothing he has done surprised me. He is a vacuum vortex sucking the lifeblood out of the government. Let’s hope that Time’s 2018 Person-of-the-Year issue is graced with the face of Robert Mueller.


#5

Eugene Robinson once again printing what the sheep want to hear so they can go on being sheep. I am sick to death of this whole we are going to vote the bums out meme. Year after year and decade after decade the machine uses the same illusion of choice to deceive and enslave you. Yet the vast majority of you, still, even now after everything that has happened…with a wealth of knowledge at your fingertips and the proof of your naivete screaming in your face…still Eugene can write this prattle and most of you will without any real thought…agree.
Let me make this as perfectly clear as I possibly can. The Republic is dead. The people let it die through apathy and ignorance and it isn’t coming back. The fascists are now in control. They have all the money, write the laws, own the government, courts, military, media, surveillance state, and militarized police. They shape public perception and control the limits of what can be discussed and how. Today, here in America if you actually challenged their power, you will end up in prison or a body bag. The corporate fascist have no morality or ethics to constrain their pathological greed for wealth and power. They own you now…you let them own you by standing by and doing nothing for the last forty years. Now we all pay…


#6

Here we are, all mind controlled and stuff, gifted with the insights of the enlightened Dan Harris. Not yet in a body bag. Dan doesn’t tell us at what time was the Republic alive, but I’ve got my suspicions.


#7

Canada did not gain its independent status and democratic processes until long after our revolution. Alternative histories are not really history.


#8

Thank you for acknowledging my all seeing powers:) You can see as long as you don’t fight them. They love apathy. The last part of your statement holds some truth. It can indeed be argued that we never actually were a republic let alone a democracy and certainly the strains of fascism that are in control now have been present from the very beginning. This country was birthed in genocide and slavery after all. But for sake of brevity and to not blow the minds of the simple folk…you can only feed so much truth at a time. Even then you are likely to offend some of those who are also at least partially awake and aware. These are hard truths after all.


#9

You know, I’ve often thought that people persist and survive in spite of their religious beliefs and laws and regulations - which in the end usurp our natural rights, if indeed we can be said to have natural rights, which I think we do.

Since large groups can usually dominate small groups, the ability to organize and command has so far proven the key to what we call success.

But now - we may need to re-define success, as we are, all of us, heading off over the Buffalo Jump, all the while singing our own praises.

Hubris = no vision = death


#10

The British parliament, going back to 1707 is not a democratic process? Sorry, but the subjects of Her Majesty - from Canada to Australia to NZ and dozens of other places, enjoy freedoms and benefits that we can only wish for here in the USA - healthcare, living wages, labor rights, indigenous rights - that are still absent from the USA.

Had the US aristocrat-run republic never been established, the historical trajectory of the region now called the USA would almost certainly followed that of Canada - and probably would have simply been incorporated into Canada - with its superior parliamentary form of government.

And Mexico would have retained its full territory north of the Rio Bravo del Norte and probably been a much more prosperous place today.

Everybody in N. America would have been better off.

The establishment of Canada’s own parliament in 1867 was just a formality that didn’t change much - they are still formally subjects of the British Crown - through the Governor General - a nice old lady (they tend to be women - the last one was Hatian-Quebocois) who has the power to dissolve the Canadian parliament at any time - and Canadians like that arrangement.

Oh, and BTW, they won the war of 1812 :wink:


#11

In the spirit of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, the DNC and the rest of the neoliberal establishment will give us candidates like Hillary, ensuring progressives remain angry and stay home on election day, Trumpian GOPers win again and DINOs collect their campaign bribes.

Change we can’t believe in.

Direct Democracy


#12

Hello again Yunzer ~

Unscientific America - that is what is really going on, at least in large measure. The dumbing down that Carl Sagan spoke out against so many years ago has come home to roost, so to speak.

I was just reading the January 2018 Scientific American, and almost the very first article was truly disturbing, confirming as it were the short, medium and long term damage which is being self-inflicted on the United States today - light years from Thomas Jefferson’s America.

I don’t think you can privatize science - not really.

Science is like a shared tribal value - not amenable to privatization - nor is it desirable to do so even if possible.

Trump and anti-science are the inevitable end-point of this make believe religious and evangelical society in the states.

Here is that article - a worthy read:


#13

Again, alternate histories are not history, much less a certain future. No, the 1707 parliament was not democratically elected. Nor did it have full governmental authority. You didn’t mention King George in your paean to British monarchy. Lastly, and I hesitate to say this, only a fool would imagine a British parliament would have, or could have, abolished slavery in the colonies without a continental war they likely would have lost. But that’s my alternat history. Texas and slavery is another chapter. (The US won the peace of 1812).


#14

So kind and merciful of you.


#15

The trump regime continues its extremist acts of division and trump continues his verbal/tweet diarrhea, pushing the most divisive and destructive agenda in modern US history.

His shallowness, ignorance, and pathological narcissism appeal to the most ignorant, jingoist, chauvinist, and sophomoric demographic (as well as the most greedy 1%), but I must believe he is seriously over-reaching, as most arrogant fools, sowing the seeds of his own destruction (in addition to “seeds” designed to destroy our free republic and democratic processes (or what’s left of them), ostensibly guaranteed in The Constitution and Bill of Rights, now replaced by mindless reverence for “the flag” instead.

I am reminded of the odious Joe McCarthy and Benito Mussolini who also pushed their own arrogant destructive agenda with divisive blather, also for perceived political gain, profit and power - one was destroyed politically by the powerful words of Joseph Welsh, and McCarthy then stood naked, his evil exposed - we should remember Welsh’s words as they are more than applicable now "“Until this moment, Senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness. - Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?”.

The other evil petty dictator was shot and killed two days before hitler’s suicide (along with girlfriend) with mussolini’s (and his girlfriend’s) body then brought to Milan and hung upside-down in the public square

The lesson is that when politicians of extremist pathology and evil attempt to abuse the people and nation for personal gain, or extremist ideology, they will eventually be taken down…our nation, people, and potentially the world, cannot wait for this regime and its pathological “leader” to be exposed for what they are, as the people wake up and trump stands naked…and alone - except for the most complicit, mindless, and ignorant…may it be damn soon!


#16

It’s nice to hear that it’s not about D’s and R’s: those things have gone awfully sour, and I don’t think I want another.

But voters can change things, so says Eugene Robinson, and in 2018, no less. I’d love to believe that, but Robinson should not just drop so whopping an assertion and leave it just hanging there like Santa wondering how the heck he’s going to get down such a chimney.

I’d sure love to vote for someone sane. But how are we going to get so rare a personage into American politics? The sane are third-party candidates, and if they are in politics, they do not win national elections. The D’s and R’s do not run them, as we can see in the well documented theft of the Democratic nomination from Sanders. They have not of late won local offices either, as we can see from the uniform refusal of Democrats in elected office to criticize a presidential process that had run off the boards primarily by the actions of their own party.

So let’s forget about success in 2018–not to give up, but to look at non-imaginary options. After all, the Republicans are as Republican as ever; the remaining Democratic officialdom are doubling down against representation, preparing to rig the upcoming elections again; and the third parties had not the clout to successfully sue for votes that polls suggest were taken from them in November.

Barring someone exceptional, I will vote for no Republicans nor Democrats. Of course we know this is not apt to be adequate, but I would like to preserve the institution, based on a consideration of the alternatives. It’s not as though rulers will give anything back because someone pointed out that the elections were not valid: it isn’t a threat.

The disaffected are a clear majority: all other factions are minority factions, including Republican and Democrat. Can’t we do anything with that? Can’t we get, inside or outside the Democrats or the Greens, an authentic movement, a group of people willing to vote against the horrifyingly bad leadership that is now endemic in both D’s and R’s camps?


#17

A day, or two, or three, ago in the Wall Street Journal I read an opinion piece comparing Donald Trump with Jesse Ventura and Arnold Schwarzenegger. So far, as the WSJ assesses things, Trump has done a better job than Ventura or Schwarzenegger had.


#18

Eugene Robinson is allowed to be a well paid presstitute for the Corporate media as long as he spouts the same meme that they want. Eugene is part of the same ol same ol.

Vote the Corporate, Wall Street bums out Eugene? You mean so they can be replaced with different Corporate Wall Street bums!


#19

Of course wondering what would have happened had the US war of independence never happened is pure speculation, but I am sympathetic to Yunzer’s (and Howard Zinn’s) point: this war is presented as some kind of great thing in conventional history classes, but when you look to see who benefited, you see clearly that the Native Americans, slaves, and poor white people didn’t benefit - the war was about rich white people benefiting and getting the poor white people to fight the war for them. The fact that King George was a jackass doesn’t change any of this.

There are flaws in Canada’s system, but I’d swap ours for it in a heartbeat.


#20

I do think Canada has benefited from being a subordinate part of an empire, as opposed to being the heart of one.