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  1. #91
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    Dmitry Orlov does some typical "Russian Election Meddling" from his hometown of St Petersburg (the one in Russia, not the one in Florida...), with his usual brand of sharp observation and acerbic humour. The audio is pretty bad, but he makes some excellent points.


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  3. #92
    Super Moderator United States Dreamtimer's Avatar
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    Observations from down under:

    Watching the US elections from the bottom of the world in New Zealand, I'm struck by how ramshackle and decrepit the system is. The tales of broken or even missing voting machines and long queues to vote bring to mind people queuing for food in the old USSR: a symbol of fundamental social failure. This is the sort of shit you expect to see in a failed state, not in one of the world's richest countries. After all, if a democracy can't run elections properly, surely its not worthy of the name.

    I know, the US is 50 different election administrations, not just one. But still: this is not something other modern democracies fail at. Its not something voters in other countries tolerate.
    We don't have to vote. Parties control voting, therefore it's politicized. Even the FEC is politicized. Republicans have been the ones mostly in control, especially after the census, and they have no desire to help everyone vote. Thus the gerrymandering and voter suppression.

    The dynamic here is totally different from other democracies.

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  5. #93
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    Quote Originally posted by Dreamtimer View Post
    Observations from down under:



    We don't have to vote. Parties control voting, therefore it's politicized. Even the FEC is politicized. Republicans have been the ones mostly in control, especially after the census, and they have no desire to help everyone vote. Thus the gerrymandering and voter suppression.

    The dynamic here is totally different from other democracies.
    Yes the US clearly qualifies as a flawed Democracy, sliding towards a fascist dictatorship. What a sad state of affairs!

    Of course things could be improved significantly if it got rid of its antiquated electoral system, but I don't see that happening any time soon, due to entrenched interests.

    I don't wish to be unkind, but I am reminded of something Gore Vidal once said in one of his last interviews, which was with Bill Maher. When asked about what he thought about US civilisation, he said it had a chance to build an enduring civilisation that would have rivalled Rome in its grandeur and impact on history, but had squandered that opportunity.

    He thought the US would eventually take its natural place somewhere between Brazil and Argentina. Looking at the Banana-republic level of discourse and political machinations in the US currently, I have to agree.

    This sentiment is also echoed by Kunstler, who remarked a few years ago that post-WW2 the US squandered a unique opportunity to build a real civilisation and instead put its resources into building up suburbia and all its accoutrements, a living arrangement that has no future and is in real trouble as we speak. I really don't think suburbia will survive much beyond the 2020s and young people are showing the way by abandoning it and flocking into proper cities with all the amenities that they so cherish. Some people go the other way and move into proper rural areas, for similar reasons.

    Both type of people can see that suburbia has all the disadvantages of both city and country, without any of the advantages. I think the separation between these two living arrangements will grow more pronounced in the future.
    Last edited by Chris, 8th November 2018 at 11:30.

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  7. #94
    Super Moderator United States Dreamtimer's Avatar
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    333 Republican state legislators lost their seats in the election.

    Three hundred and thirty three.

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  9. #95
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    Quote Originally posted by Dreamtimer View Post
    333 Republican state legislators lost their seats in the election.

    Three hundred and thirty three.
    That's synchronicity for ya. Also the time stamp on your post is 13:03 !

    I have long learnt that such things are rarely coincidental. God(dess) works in mysterious ways. That's her number, BTW, at least 33 is, but 333 works just as well. Also if you look closely at these numbers, they have rather ahem… feminine features…

    Another synchronicity, just as I was writing this, my work calendar was open at the following entry:

    "November 13., kedd
    13:00 – 13:30"


    13 is another one of those numbers associated with the divine feminine (particularly as a moon goddess), which is why it has been so comprehensively demonised in our culture.

    Also, I didn't plan this, but my own stamp for this post is 13:13

    Crazy...
    Last edited by Chris, 8th November 2018 at 13:14.

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  11. #96
    Super Moderator United States Dreamtimer's Avatar
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    Where's Aianawa? He loves the numbers.

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  13. #97
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    Quote Originally posted by Dreamtimer View Post
    Where's Aianawa? He loves the numbers.
    It's the middle of the night down under in the shire. Kiwi Hobbits are sound asleep right now...

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  15. #98
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    I'm seeing now it is 323, not 333. Still a good number.

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  17. #99
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    Gone up to 350 now. And people are marching all over the place to preserve Mueller's investigation. Americans are galvanized in a way I can't recall because I was just a bambino.
    Last edited by Dreamtimer, 13th November 2018 at 00:01.

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  19. #100
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    Quote Originally posted by Dreamtimer View Post
    Gone up to 250 now. And people are marching all over the place to preserve Mueller's investigation. Americans are galvanized in a way I can't recall because I was just a bambino.
    That Idiot president of yours is certainly galvanising the general population. At least those with more than two braincells to put together.


    Bush was bad, but more in the sense of being incompetent, quite often he actually meant well, but bungled things up.


    No such comforts are to be found with the moron in chief. He's incompetent and sinister at the same time. Firing Sessions may have been the last straw. Or not. He's capable of anything at this point and he does hold most of the power in the country right now and by extension, the world.


    America may yet mend itself. Or, it could collapse and splinter into competing and even warring parts. I can certainly see many of the Southern Red states wanting to go it alone. Even Vermont has an independence movement, as does California. The splintering of the US is not a zero probability event any more.

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  21. #101
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    I've always thought breaking up would be stupid. The rest of the world would pounce on us divided. And those who haven't dropped the Civil War would try to continue it. Our economy is a national one, and our families are too.

    I, for one, have family in southern states, the midwest, the northwest, the southwest, New England, basically everywhere. I'm not alone in that. And I very much doubt the young people want to support any kind of Secession.

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  23. #102
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    Quote Originally posted by Dreamtimer View Post
    I've always thought breaking up would be stupid. The rest of the world would pounce on us divided. And those who haven't dropped the Civil War would try to continue it. Our economy is a national one, and our families are too.

    I, for one, have family in southern states, the midwest, the northwest, the southwest, New England, basically everywhere. I'm not alone in that. And I very much doubt the young people want to support any kind of Secession.
    I don't actually live there, so I might be reading too much into current events. Yet, I feel that there has never been so much antagonism between what we can broadly describe as Red and Blue states, since the Civil War at least. I get the impression that a rematch remains a distinct possibility. I'm also wary of looking at the US as a single nation, I don't think it is, any more than the Soviet Union was one, or China for that matter.

    The Southern states are in the Union against their will, a fact they have not forgotten or forgiven. A number of others seem to be unhappy with the federal government. I obviously can't predict what is going to happen, but I can spot a trend when I see one and it is certainly ominous for the continues survival of said Union. I see a similar trend driving the constituent parts of the UK ever further apart, especially with Brexit highlighting the vastly different interests of each of the four nations of the Union.


    One of the surprising things about Brexit and Trump is how everyone predicted that these would lead to the eventual disintegration of another Union, the EU, but in fact the opposite seems to be happening. Despite the constant right-wing propaganda about how it is falling apart, it seems to be more united than ever and is actually outmanouvering the transatlantic alliance (if such a thing still exists) to a significant degree.

    The UK in particular is going from one humiliation and climbdown to another during these Brexit negotiations and is entirely consumed by this process, leaving it completely removed from international affairs and diplomacy at such a crucial time. Meanwhile the EU is forging an ever closer union and there is serious talk now about a common army and foreign policy. Even supposed euroskeptics, such as Hungary's Orbán support these efforts.

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  25. #103
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    It's become and urban/rural thing. But it's changing. Texas is becoming more blue as are other states. Trump played only to his base instead of building and expanding the party. That's part of why he 'lost'.

    It's important to remember that barely half of us vote. Most people really don't play into the division. Because, like me, they have family and friends all over. That's in part because of our economy.

    People moved to the cities originally for jobs. In addition, many communities were almost entirely supported by local industry. When it moved, many towns became ghosts of themselves.

    Corporations don't have responsibility to communities anymore. Once upon a time they did. Now they only answer to the .01%

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  27. #104
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    The Brexit Clusterfuck is a clear example of how even essentially well-meaning people can cause the collapse of a well-functioning society. What we are witnessing is a slow-motion train wreck. We might want to look away, but we can't, in anticipation of the almighty crash that is bound to happen and could still be stopped, but everyone has already committed to derailing the train and will not budge out of sheer stubbornness and idiocy. Leave it to the Irish to provide a perfect description of the political collapse currently unfolding on the shores of their erstwhile colonial masters, whilst they can do nothing, but look on in horror at what's happening on the other side of the Irish Sea.

    https://www.irishtimes.com/business/...e-uk-1.3693980

    Brexit shows that idiots and incompetents are in charge in the UK

    The lesson of the first World War is that terrible things happen to ordinary countries

    Recent history provides two extreme examples of government incompetence. Decisions made by people who had no idea what they were doing. Elected politicians incapable of paying attention to details.

    The blanket guarantee provided by the Irish government to banks and the British guarantee of “no hard Border” have eerie similarities: poor decisions made by people who were operating way out of their league. Making stuff up as you go along. Taking decisions based on mental tosses of a coin, saying stuff before engaging the brain: all this is the currency of modern policy-making. The advent of artificial intelligence is welcome: any form of intelligence would be an improvement.

    Politics requires never admitting to anything. Never own up to mistakes, never ever say ‘I don’t know’ or ‘I’m not sure’. Say anything you like – anything at all, any old rubbish will do – but never show weakness. As John Wayne said, never explain, never apologise.

    Was anyone shocked this week when UK Brexit secretary Dominic Raab inadvertently acknowledged that he is an idiot? Talking about Brexit’s impact on the availability of stuff in shops, he was quoted as saying that he hadn’t realised that Dover was important to British trade.

    “I hadn’t quite understood the full extent of this....but if you look at the UK, at how we trade in goods, we are particularly reliant on the Dover-Calais crossing....”

    Logistical difficulties

    He also told us that Britain is, apparently, an island, and would, therefore, experience one or two logistical difficulties with imports and exports once it leaves the world’s largest free-trade area.

    Almost simultaneously the health secretary issued an appeal to people not to stockpile drugs.

    Participating in an outbreak of honesty, the UK’s culture secretary revealed that he does not read very much. If he did he would have noticed the leaking of the deal that will be necessary if there is a no-deal Brexit. And the new backstop to the Border backstop. And the leaked draft deal that everyone hates.

    Boris Johnson’s brother Jo surprised everyone with a principled resignation: either a deal or no deal raises serious questions for the ex-transport minister who expects either economic chaos or a deal that nobody wants. According to Johnson, Britain is in its worst political crisis since Suez. All this from a man at the heart of Brexit planning.

    The message from the brothers Johnson is actually very important: politicians on both sides of the Brexit divide hate everything about the government’s Brexit plans. Jo Johnson said that the proposed deal “unites [Leavers and Remainers] in fraternal dismay”.

    That spells trouble ahead even if Theresa May brings back a deal from Brussels. She may not have the votes to get the deal through parliament. If that happens anything is possible. For the first time ever pro- and anti-Brexiteers are uniting in a common cause.

    Familiar script

    The previous Brexit secretary David Davis kept to a more familiar script when he (quite correctly) complained that Britain has adopted rubbish negotiating tactics ever since the referendum. It matters not one jot that he was until very recently in charge of those negotiations. Davis said that Brexit would be progressing smoothly if only he had been in charge. You couldn’t make it up.

    A no-deal Brexit means drug and food shortages. It will also be terrible for the Irish economy, but at least there will be the irony of a self-induced British famine.

    Those shortages may have only just become obvious to the UK cabinet but they are the single most important reason why a deal must be done. That doesn’t necessarily mean a deal will be done. Idiots and incompetents are in charge. The game now is to shift the blame to somebody else – there is plenty more of this to come.

    Ordinary punters in financial markets said as soon as our bank guarantee was announced that “the Irish taxpayer is on the hook for everything”. It really was that obvious, that simple.

    Similarly, as soon as the British government signed up to the Border guarantee on each of the three times it committed to it, it was told it had created a conundrum that cannot be resolved. One with profound consequences.

    Both Johnson brothers were told repeatedly about the consequences of the Border deal they signed up to. They have both been told repeatedly what Brexit implies. The resignation could not have been sparked by any new information.

    New deadline

    Any conceivable “deal”, even if it gets past Westminster, will just put the big decisions off until 2020. July of that year is apparently the new deadline in the latest draft deal. We may all die of boredom between now and then. Amidst all of the sound and fury of the next few days there will be the usual absence of any thinking about what will actually happen over the longer term.

    Businesses that are poorly managed usually wither and die. Countries that are poorly governed rarely expire (although it has been known) but rather just fade away.

    History teaches us that bad things happen to well-meaning, essentially decent people. The lesson of the 100th anniversary of the first World War is that terrible things happen to ordinary countries who neither desired nor deserved what happened next.

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  29. #105
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    JHK on how political collapse in the US is becoming ever more obvious as what he has dubbed the Long Emergency, a slow-motion disintegration of what we might call the modern world, drags on.

    http://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/rock-the-vote/

    Rock the Vote

    It warmed my heart to read in The Wall Street Journal that Hillary Clinton is preparing to re-enter the Washington DC swamp from her deluxe exile in the woods of Chappaqua, New York, and make another run for the White House — though it’s hard to calculate how many porters in sandals and loincloths will be required to lug all her baggage around the campaign trail. Will hubbie hit the hustings with her? That would be rich. I can just imagine the pussy-hatted legions shrieking #MeToo at every stop. Surely there is no better way to put the Democratic Party out of its misery.

    The post-election melodramas in Georgia and Florida grind on, despite the various rules and laws about deadlines for certifying ballots and accounting for their origin. What is a ballot after all but a mere scrap of paper, easily reproducible, and interchangeable. Sometimes, they make strange journeys out of election headquarters in trucks and SUVs, seeking fun and excitement, and they have been known to mysteriously turn up by the hundredweight in broom closets where they retreat to caucus. Only one thing is certain: the ballot fiasco is a billable hours bonanza for DC lawyers arriving on the scene to sort things out — which they may not manage anyway.

    If the vote count somehow remains in favor of the provisional winners — Republicans Rick Scott, Ron DeSantis (Fla), and Brian Kemp (Ga) — you can be sure we’ll be in a frenzy of sore loserdom that will make the Medieval ergot outbreaks of yore look like episodes of Peewee’s Playhouse. If the provisional votes get overturned, the attorneys billable hours will quickly exceed the national debt, and we’ll find ourselves in a new era where the free citizens of this republic can‘t be trusted to the simple task of counting ballots, or even holding elections in the first place.

    This epic confusion is of a piece with a prediction I made about what happens to government in The Long Emergency: it becomes impotent and ineffectual, and can no longer be depended on to carry out the simplest tasks. The process goes from the top down. At each step, the public loses faith that government can accomplish anything. The Trust Horizon shrinks away from distant authorities… the DC Swamp, the state capitals, and soon the people don’t believe anything or anyone they can’t reach by throwing a rock.

    And so we enter a new stage of collapse. It will be made very much more emphatically worse as the money issues underlying this American malaise unravel in the months ahead. The reason that nothing will be done is that nothing can be done about the country’s intractable technical bankruptcy. The wealth we assumed was there is a fiction and will be expressed in plunging asset values, especially stocks and real estate. And any attempt to “fix” that by the Federal Reserve and its TBTF handmaidens moving to stop losses will only redirect the destruction to the currency itself. When citizens trust neither government nor their money, really bad things happen.

    This polity is too far gone in lying to itself for official corrections to avail. Sometimes the only corrective is sheer failure. At least it presents the option of starting over. Of course, Mr. Trump made the fatal mistake of claiming ownership of a “miracle” economy that is about to get stranded on the beach like a dying grunion. His inclination, I’m sure, will be to pretend loudly that nothing is wrong — even as the new model pickup trucks gather dust unsold on the car lots, and the “for sale” signs multiply on lawns everywhere, and the pink slips land at the cubicle work-stations, and the skeleton crews of waiters stand around the empty Olive Gardens and Chipoltles playing liar’s poker with their depreciating dollars.

    Meanwhile, the new Democratic majority congress prepares to ramp up its longed-for multi-committee inquisition against Trump and Trumpism, and the Republican Senate will counter-punch with binders of criminal referrals against the superstars of the Resistance. C-Span will be livelier and more colorful than the WWE Wrestlemania round-robin, midget division.

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