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The decline of the USA

by Frank Schnittger Mon Nov 7th, 2016 at 06:45:01 PM EST


For all the hype and noise, this election has seen a remarkably consistent trend. If you average all the polls, Clinton has always been ahead, whether by 8 points or 2. Right now she is 4 to 5 points ahead, and it would take a massive polling failure for that not to be reflected in the actual vote. She is also ahead in all the swing states bar Iowa and possibly Ohio, North Carolina and Florida. What we are arguing about is the margin of victory, and who controls the Senate.

Without control of the Senate (55% probability per 538), she won't be able to make key appointments or ratify Treaties, and without control of the House, she won't be able to pass a budget or keep the government open. So either way we may be facing gridlock and an effective coup d'etat. The New American Century is no more. The USA's influence in the world will probably decline whoever wins the Presidential poll.



Iowa has been trending away from Clinton, but is still within the margin of error given there have been less polls in the state:


Ohio is the tightest state of all - within 1% - well within the margin of error:


North Carolina has also been very tight - this time in favour of Clinton - despite reports of fading African American early voting turnout for Clinton.  It will also be one of the first states to declare, so should give an early indication of which way the wind is blowing...


Florida should also report results early - hanging chads permitting...Latino early voting turnout is reported to be high which should favour Clinton:

All the other battleground states are showing greater than 2% margins for Clinton, meaning that upsets are unlikely but not impossible. Trump's problem is that he could win almost all of them and still not win the electoral college. Sam Wang's Princeton Election Consortium currently estimates he would need a swing of at least 2.7% to bring enough of them into play. His other problem is that he doesn't have a GOTV (get out the vote) operation comparable to Hillary's, and he is being killed by very high Latino early voting turnout in key battleground states like Nevada and Florida.

It is difficult to know what impact FBI Director Comey's attempt to put his finger on the scales will have. He broke established procedure to reveal that the FBI intended to examine a laptop belonging to one of Hillary's aides for possible incriminating evidence just 10 days before the poll. Just yesterday - after 40 million voters had already voted - he revealed that nothing incriminating had been found.  Hillary's lead went down from 7 to 4% in that period. However it is doubtful his belated "clarification" will be helpful to her because it highlights her greatest vulnerability at a time when she would rather focus the public narrative on Trump's suitability for office.  Meantime, Trump's impending prosecution for child rape (since withdrawn, allegedly because of intimidation) gets almost no publicity.

There has been much discussion of possibly skewed polls, "shy Trump voters" unwilling to declare their support for him publicly, the impact of voter suppression attempts (closure of polling stations in predominantly Democratic leaning areas) and a supposed lack of voter enthusiasm for Hillary. African American early voting turn-out is down 12% in North Carolina, but that may be largely down to reduced numbers of polling stations and voting hours. My own view is that there are more likely to be "shy Hillary voters" - women with Trump supporting husbands unwilling to cross them publicly.  If your Husband is a misogynistic, authoritarian, Trump supporting bully you are hardly likely to declare an intention to vote for Hillary to him or to a pollster who happens to be on the line within earshot.

But we should know by early morning Wednesday who has won. If Trump wins North Carolina and Florida - two early reporting states - we could be in for a long night.  If Hillary wins both you can probably safely go to bed.

Display:
i'm not sure what the title of this post is meant to suggest, but, regardless of the "election" outcome, amurka is not in decline, but truly broken.

the polarization of this land is beyond belief. It's not solvable when you have a land which believes a law written when it took almost a minute at best to rearm your weapon for a second shot is today the definition of "freedom," especially when we know the weapons industry is the blockage to a sane world.

the world is in chaos, the only long-term answer is a healthy vision. such vision is not at stake in amurka in this election. Amurka has enough checks and balances that even a Trump presidency would not bring another Hitler. Wir sind nicht in Weimar.

There's no vision in amurkan politics, there's no vision in european politics. That's what's at stake.

There will be no winners. certainly not us.


"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin

by Crazy Horse on Mon Nov 7th, 2016 at 10:22:28 PM EST
I'm trying to give an outside perspective on this and the point I am trying to get across is that having a broken political system has consequences not only within the USA but also in the world as a whole.  I'm not sure the degree to which even relatively informed US voters are aware of how much the USA has fallen in esteem and influence throughout the world - from a high point after WW2 and then through some step change declines due to Vietnam and Iraq, the financial crisis and the failure to address climate change.  Obama managed to arrest or slow this decline for a while, but the election of Trump or gridlock under Clinton will accelerate this process once again.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Nov 7th, 2016 at 11:06:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not sure the degree to which even relatively informed US voters are aware of how much the USA has fallen in esteem and influence throughout the world ...

Few people in the US know how much the US has fallen in world esteem and even fewer care.  I don't care.  In fact I find the whole thing amusing, especially when I read people who don't know Austria from Australia going on about how "the world looks to America for moral leadership!"

But then I have a sardonic sense of humor.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Mon Nov 7th, 2016 at 11:24:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We're still No. 1 in baseless claims of being No. 1.
by rifek on Wed Nov 9th, 2016 at 01:28:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, for some perspective, we need to look at the world in a wider context than geopolitical esteem. Let's take a look at economics. In 1946 most of the world was bled dry from WW II. Europe and Japan had suffered the destruction of their industrial and social infrastructure and of much, if not most of their housing stock. England couldn't feed itself and needed credit to buy food. Empires everywhere, excepting the USA and the Soviet Union were crumbling and there was civil war in China. The USA had unrivaled military, agricultural, industrial and commercial dominance and used it to aid recovery, even if it was done in a self serving manner.

From that pinnacle of power and esteem one can only go down. This process was strengthened by the Cold War and the continuation of the National Security State. The rebound of the right in the USA also furthered the decline. 'Who lost China?' McCarthy, a new Red Scare and the concerted effort of right wing billionaires to change political perceptions in the USA through owned media and think tank propaganda largely succeeded in bringing them self serving success and to the great wealth disparity we have today.

Meanwhile, other nations were busy building or rebuilding their countries. Colonialism came to an end, if not Imperialism. Thanks to Mao, China took decades longer than it might have, but then Mao died and shortly a new China emerged. Less ideological and more pragmatic leadership emerged and soon after a broad community including Russia and much of South East Asia emerged and began to build financial institutions to challenge the Western monopoly on international payments clearance and domination of investment.

Corrupt politics in the USA saw that only a few wealthy US interests benefited and those wealthy interests disdained the interests of all others, including the lower 99% in the USA. This led to the polarization of US politics and the effective loss and/or suppression of what left vision we possessed. Passion for progressive policy remains but has been, so far, effectively stifled.

Trump is the exemplar of the worst that can happen in the next fifteen years, but the demos that makes him such a specter is dying and the younger US generations, on the whole, are strongly rejecting the approaches he embodies. The situation is perilous but now is not the time to despair. Presuming Hillary wins the presidency much that is positive in US policy will also survive - especially the trend towards more concern and action about global warming and the environment. Even if that is inadequate in scope it is far better than reversing such policies. The basis for hope survives.  

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Nov 8th, 2016 at 02:52:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Lest any wonder, this is why I have so long despaired of the contempt so much of the mainline Democratic Party has shown towards poor whites since Clinton was in office. One is entitled to be horrified at the state of mind of the Southerners, but the key states that led to this were Midwest states and a key demographic was former union members who the Democratic party abandoned some time in the '70s so that they could compete with Republicans for the big bucks from Wall Street. Compassion should have had a much greater role in the treatment of those whose lives were devastated by "off shoreing". So many were left in misery, and then Trump appealed to them. Democratic elites did it to themselves. Poor whites and union members were key constituencies for JFK and RFK, after all.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Nov 9th, 2016 at 02:55:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Agreed. This was absolutely a DNC failure. There's no point blaming Trump or even the voters.

They didn't feel like Clinton was ever on their team. All Trump had to do was say "I'm on your team" to pick up their votes.

The reality is irrelevant, because the vote should never even have been close.

Trump was an open goal for a solid progressive candidate with working class credibility, and the DNC completely failed to understand that. Instead they wheeled in Clinton, with more baggage than a Louis Vuitton store, and sort of hoped she and she and they could browbeat their base into supporting her.

I realised recently that the Left is loosing everywhere because while we still believe we have a lock-down on community and belonging, the Right has moved to own those.

Most voters see the Left as patronising scolds, not as representative equals.When you combine that with the pro-corporate wheeling and dealing behind the scenes of the so-called third wayers, you get nothing good.

You can blame the media for a lot of this, but not for all of it. The message is only convincing because it's not entirely untrue. People will start voting for the Left again when they start to feel represented. I honestly don't know what that will take in the US and the UK.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Nov 9th, 2016 at 03:09:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Do you feel Corbyn does not represent people as an equal?

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi
by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Wed Nov 9th, 2016 at 04:38:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Corbyn is a transition leader, he's revealing more and more each day that, however necessary he is to energise the left, he will always be in opposition. Not because he doesn't see the people as equals, but because the people think he's less than them

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Nov 9th, 2016 at 05:22:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
People vote for an illusion of authority and credibility, not for actual competence.

People are easily fooled.

Corbyn has credibility among his base but not among voters outside the base. He clearly doesn't have authority over his own party, and has even less among external voters.

The best we can hope for is that he'll help deselect the Blairite timeservers and open up the MP lists to ordinary people from outside the Westminster bubble. I'm sure he'd like to do that, but I'm not convinced he can push it through.

Shadow Brexit Minister Keir Starmer is looking interesting. He has solid credentials as a successful high profile human rights lawyer, he's much younger than Corbyn, and probably much more intelligent too.

If anything he's too groomed and photogenic, which makes me suspicious. And I'm not sure anyone knows where he stands economically.

But from outside the inner circle he looks like a plausible upgrade with potential.

Corbyn's response to Brexit has been slow and pitiful. A lot of members are disappointed and angry, and if Corbyn ran for the leadership against a convincing alternative like Starmer he'd likely lose.

This would be terrible for the Tories. People are desperate for real opposition, and as soon as it appears the Tory lead will start to crumble.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Nov 9th, 2016 at 07:01:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
" and probably much more intelligent too."

Considering Corbyn's phenomenal record of being on the right side of history, even when at the time it was far from obvious, I find that a rather strong comment to make.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Wed Nov 9th, 2016 at 07:15:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is not enough to be right, a politician must persuade others that they are right, must make a case for doing the right thing. Be persuasive, not just to convince your friends but to nullify your enemies protests and thus win over the undecided.

Corbyn does not do these things. As TBG says, in a fast moving political environment he not only looks leaden footed, but his first response to challenge seems to be to go into a locked room with his friends and sulk.

God knows, I've supported Corbyn against the Blairites because to me their neutered Tory-friendly "effectiveness" is worse, but I'd drop him tomorrow if a better candidate came along

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Nov 9th, 2016 at 07:26:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Starmer's statements are carefully crafted and full of subtle implication.

Of course he's a lawyer and that's his job, but he does seem to be very good at it. Blair had much the same talent - he can encapsulate a complex issue in a pithy talking point that sounds self-evident and reasonable, even when it's actually outrageous.

Blair pushed it too far and people got sick of the spin. But as a talent, it shouldn't be underestimated.

Corbyn just tends to say "This is what I believe, and you should too." He doesn't seem brilliant at thinking on his feet when challenged.

Because politics is 90% persuasion with optional fine-tuned compromise where necessary, he's hardly ever super-effective even when he's correct.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Nov 9th, 2016 at 09:49:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Your claim - and my comment - was about intelligence. Please don't move the goalposts.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi
by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Wed Nov 9th, 2016 at 10:24:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There are many forms of intelligence - academic, conceptual, mathematical, linguistic, visual, musical, social and emotional.  A successful political leader needs to be particularly strong in the last two, but allegedly, these are not strong points for Corbyn. This means he has difficulty creating personal alliances and allegiances with large numbers of people with whom he may have some disagreements on other grounds.  

Sometimes such an alleged weakness is as much situational as personal. Someone with very strong but minority held convictions may find it difficult to achieve widespread personal allegiance and affection whatever their personal charms. Churchill was quite unpopular until a situation arose which required his particular strengths and people will forgive much in a leader who has brought them success.  He was dumped unceremoniously when people wanted a different set of qualities in their leader.

The problem with Corbyn is that his time may already have come and gone. Labour badly needed to get away from its Blairite recent past and he was well placed to put distance between them and Blair, as he had opposed Blair all his career.  However now, post Brexit vote, a new approach is needed, and he may be a prisoner of his past.  One can admire his integrity in refusing to bend with every changing breeze, but he needs to show a new vision and approach for a new era.

One of the key components of true leadership is identifying and grooming new talent to replace you when the time comes for you to go.  Many leaders are too insecure or egotistical to do this and Corbyn hasn't had much time or opportunity to do so.  Even Merkel has failed terribly on this point.  But the bottom line is that Labour is now in limbo and could well lose its place in the duopoly that is English politics to the Lib Dems if May calls an early general election to obtain a mandate to invoke A50 (by engineering two votes of no confidence in her own Government).

If Labour loses its place in that duopoly it could well be destroyed for at least a generation. There is almost no place for a third national party in a first past the post single seat constituency electoral system. That would be a terrible legacy for him and his allies, so he needs to appreciate how high the stakes are.  But so far, labour doesn't seem awash with credible alternative talent.  The leadership rivals to date have been a joke. He needs to decide who his best replacement would be and give them a really high profile position. Perhaps Mair is the guy; I don't know.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Nov 10th, 2016 at 09:42:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Where did I move the goal posts?

Lawyers need to be gifted at verbal reasoning and have the social intelligence required to project authority and to be persuasive. They need to be able to think quickly and respond succinctly. In what sense are these not specific forms of intelligence?

Do you think Corbyn is as intelligent as Obama or Bill Clinton? Corbyn isn't stupid, but I don't think even his most ardent fans would claim that he belongs in the intellectual stratosphere.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2016 at 12:51:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, being persuasive and responding succinctly are not forms of intelligence. And certainly not debating either.
They may require intelligence to be performed (although in the case of debating too much intelligence is a hindrance, unless coupled with a lot of dishonesty), but intelligence derives from intellego. "I perceive", not "I project".

His record of being on the right side of history is simply outstanding. Certainly far superior to Clinton's. Dismissing his intelligence feels very presumptuous.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Thu Nov 10th, 2016 at 04:43:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We will have to disagree on that. To understand very complex things requires a great deal of intelligence.  It require genius to make them appear simple.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Nov 10th, 2016 at 05:04:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Requiring something and being something are different things.

If we need to disagree on that, then language has ceased to be.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Thu Nov 10th, 2016 at 06:06:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And on top of that, so far nobody had been talking of making something complex appear simple (I assume that you meant appearing simple without travesty - Trump repeatedly makes complex things appear simple, but I don't think it is a sign of genius).

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi
by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Thu Nov 10th, 2016 at 06:08:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well do you have an example of such a politician in recent memory? Yanis Varoufakis is one of the best public speakers I know and he could make a very convincing case for his position in maybe ten minutes of allotted time. The Guardian ran 1:50 minutes outtakes when he was elected and then gave some low effort summary. The opportunity to convince the undecided comes only rarely when you don't run on think tank drivel. There is no free media time for leftists. And why would there be? Covering abominations like Trump or Farage at least can give a member of the professional classes a smug feeling of superiority. A socialist droning on about social justice and how the system that works for them doesn't for most people can only make them uncomfortable.
by generic on Thu Nov 10th, 2016 at 03:10:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Being right on the issues prematurely comes from having a useful frame of reference, Socialism in Corbyn's case. Most other politicians have muddled frames at best or look to what others are doing at the worst. But I agree being right is not enough. He has played a vital role for saving Labour from a complete disintegration, however.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Nov 10th, 2016 at 12:59:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wang's prediction for the House is "likelier GOP control". In fact the generic ballot that he base that on is now 50/50, and the Democrats needs 6-8% win to win the House, due to gerrymandering.

So GOP control of the House, perhaps leading to impeachment on trumped up charges (as I understand it, the president can only be impeached for stuff done after the election, so email-servers and Benghazi is out). But the trial is held in the Senate, so not much point unless GOP also controls the Senate.

And the Senate looks like Democrats will control it, Wang gives them 79%. Though that includes 50-50 with Democrat VP, with Kaine giving up his Senate seat, filled by a Democrat appointed by the Democrat governor of Virginia. That is until autumn next year, when the seat is elected. And if Senate control hinges on it, I guess both sides will go all in.

So, still interesting times ahead.

by fjallstrom on Mon Nov 7th, 2016 at 10:30:51 PM EST
As I understand it, a simple majority in the House can impeach a President for "high crimes and misdemeanours" which are pretty much what the House says they are.  It shouldn't be too hard to find some Trumped up charges and I'm not sure your suggestion that it has to be something she does after the election is actually written into the Constitution.  If it is merely a convention, I'm sure the GOP will break it and impeach her for the Email and Benghazi!

However, as you say, the trial is then conducted before the Senate, and as I understand it, a conviction requires a two thirds majority.  So either the GOP wins the mid-terms in a landslide, or they will need some democrats to vote for conviction.  So what I expect is just more gridlock - at every level.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Nov 7th, 2016 at 10:58:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It takes a majority of those present and voting in the House to send a House Resolution of Impeachment to the Senate and then a whole bunch of nonsense ensues.  Eventually the Senate convenes in private and votes.  Conviction requires 66 Yea votes and in the case of Hillary Clinton will happen when hell freezes.  


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Mon Nov 7th, 2016 at 11:36:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If Trump wins, the era of Pax Americana is certainly over, or at least its end will be beginning. If Clinton wins, however, I think the opposite will be the case and the New American Century project will continue, albeit with a Clinton at the helm instead of a Bush. The reason will be due to the tremendous increase in US "soft power" resulting from Hillary Clinton's spectacular defeat of the "deplorables" who oppose women and everyone else of moderately liberal leaning, including supporters of free trade and more open migration.

A Clinton victory will be followed worldwide with a renewed ascendancy of women to positions of leadership and power, as well as increased tension and in some cases violence to try to reject the new age of feminine power, which will become the defining form of liberalism for the next generation, and will both increase, as well as be helped by, American power in global affairs in ways that are not yet being given adequate attention. This will be particularly evident in many of the areas that have successfully contested US political dominance over the last 20 years -- Latin America, Russia, and China -- where reactionary forms of cultural machismo have become ingrained in otherwise  progressive-sounding, anti-US political rhetoric.

For an example of what I am talking about, one of the darlings of the anti-US, New Left movement of the past decade has been the outspoken president of Ecuador, Rafael Correa. Although not a candidate in the next election in his country, the normally outspoken President Correa criticized, true-to-form, the one of the leading center right candidates, Cynthia Viteri, for knowing a lot about putting on mascara but not about economics, a comment that was immediately panned for its overt sexism in a year where such comments are anathema if you're sensitive to trying not to sound like Donald Trump.  The result has given a huge boost in the polls to candidate Viteri and her Social Christian Party, which before had widely been considered unlikely to win and be edged out by the newer, rightist party, CREO. A Hillary win in the US will boost Viteri's chances in Ecuador even more and will boost women political leaders throughout the world in ways that haven't been felt before.

Although perhaps late to the game, Clinton's election as most powerful world leader and defacto governor of the planet (a position held by every US president since the US militarily and diplomatically conquered the whole world in WWII and explicitly claimed by Harry Truman in his 1949 inauguration speech) will put the US again in front of the parade on the right side of history, and it will put those who contest US power in global affairs on the wrong side during the new Age of Women that is coming, thanks to Hillary Clinton's victory and the millions that have paved the way for it before her.

by santiago on Mon Nov 7th, 2016 at 11:09:28 PM EST
I would agree with a lot of this if I felt Democrats were going to win the House and Senate as well (as they did in 2008).  However if they fail to flip the House (as I expect) she will be unable to pass any meaningful legislation and perhaps not even a budget - meaning government shut-downs are almost inevitable.  She will thus preside over a largely grid-locked administration unable to respond effectively if a new economic crisis occurs.  She will then (v. unfairly) become typecast as an incompetent and ineffectual leader and not a role model for anyone.

This had the potential to become a wave election and then Comey happened and killed her (and Democratic) momentum.  Thus unless there has been a last minute shift I expect gridlocked administration and little to enthuse anyone.  If government is seen not to work it is those who believe government shouldn't work who win - and that is basically a continuation of the Reagan revolution where government is seen as THE problem, and not a solution to anything.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Nov 8th, 2016 at 12:51:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Passing meaningful legislation is indeed helpful for domestic power, but much less important for wielding power for the US's international constituency, which is largely determined, except for a few powerful lobbies with legislative support in the US -- such as Israel, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia (and Canada even) -- through the prerogatives of the diplomatic and defense policy bureaucracy alone, along with an always accommodating legislative and bureaucratic lobby for the budgets of the many elements of US "foreign" (i.e., global governance) policy. Since much of foreign policy is couched in military and intelligence discourse -- even aid and support for human rights --it gets passed even by hostile conservatives and is likely to continue under Clinton as with every other president since since Harry "I am Cyrus" Truman.
by santiago on Tue Nov 8th, 2016 at 03:26:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Good to see you again, Santiago.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Nov 8th, 2016 at 04:27:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Again, passing foreign policy appropriations wouldn't be a problem if the neo-conservatives (of whatever stripe) were basically still in power.  But Trump is not a neo-conservative, and might well cut across neo-conservative plans, particularly if they cost money.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Nov 8th, 2016 at 04:11:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If government is seen not to work it is those who believe government shouldn't work who win ...

The Federal US Govt. tried to take on the rich/powerful on behalf of the rest of us. The rich/powerful said, "Enough of that shit". So the role of the Feds is now to feed the military/industrial complex and keep the meager Social Security checks flowing ... the wealthy would love to get their claws on that pot of goodies. So ... hopefully ... the Federal Govt. will eventually die, Social Security will be taken over by the states along with the duties of the EPA, voting rights, etc. In any state run by Repubs ... the people are screwed, deservedly so. You don't step on the cockroaches in your kitchen, what happens? Venereal diseases ... don't feel so good? So let the motherfucking Repubs control things and you get what you deserve. And all of these places are so proud to own guns and what do they do with them? Nothing!

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Tue Nov 8th, 2016 at 06:12:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Tuesday morning ... 4 a.m. ... watching Washington Journal, political call-in. So much fun!!

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Tue Nov 8th, 2016 at 12:20:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
OH MY FUCKING GOD !!!

8:15 P.M. CA time. Just got up from a nap and MSNBC is talking like TRUMP WILL WIN !!!

Holy fuck, I might just get my wish! Kiss your useless ass goodbye, US Empire. The HUN is at the gate to sack you.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Wed Nov 9th, 2016 at 04:21:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And Fox is loving (!!!) it.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Wed Nov 9th, 2016 at 04:28:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Now I know why I came to this fucking planet in 1952. This is the tipping event for the planet. Kiss your biosphere goodbye, apes. You never should have been allowed to dominate the planet. So keep breeding, keeping sedating yourself with alcohol!

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Wed Nov 9th, 2016 at 04:36:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah, goodbye Nanny State!

Goodbye, Nanny Planet!

Nice played, Deep Universe!

by das monde on Wed Nov 9th, 2016 at 05:31:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Time to go to bed. Tomorrow will be HI - LARRY - OUS ! Glad I live in the country of California. The rest of the US Empire is screwed !!  And Trump has the nuclear codes ... and the entire Pentagon ... and the FBI/CIA/NSA.  Kiss it, people.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Wed Nov 9th, 2016 at 06:02:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I could sort of see that story, except that Clinton's foreign policy team are the sort of mediocre PNAC-type hacks that tend to get the US dragged into debacles like Libya, Kosovo, Iraq, Georgia, and Syria.

I think a lot of people fail to realize how good Obama's foreign policy team has been, because they make it look so easy. And because a lot of people want to think that the baseline competence of the US imperial administration is closer to Obama than to BabyBush. Clinton is going to be a regression toward the mean, if not actually overshooting a bit in the BabyBush direction, and that contrast is going to be pretty jarring.

I'm sure the empire will survive. But the PNAC crowd was never going to lead it on to new heights of glory, and Clinton is not enough of an improvement over Cheney to change that.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Nov 8th, 2016 at 11:23:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hillary Clinton will be the next president of the US.  

Control of the Senate will almost certainly flip tomorrow.  I expect the Dems to take Illinois, and Indiana, New Hampshire which takes the count to 50 and the Vice President casts the deciding vote.  It's not impossible for the Dems to take one or more of: Wisconsin, North Carolina, Florida, or Missouri(!), to run the count to a maximum of 54 seats.  

The House is ... interesting.  Odds are the GOP will hold control but this election has been so freaking bizarre.  We are looking at the strong possibility of a 2008 style wave and if so a lot of marginally held GOP seats (a whole bunch of 'em) could very well fall.  I do not expect the House to flip.  I do think it could.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Mon Nov 7th, 2016 at 11:14:53 PM EST
Oops.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Nov 9th, 2016 at 04:56:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yup

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Wed Nov 9th, 2016 at 06:51:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If, as I expect, the Senate flips to Democratic control the incoming Senate will most likely vote to remove the Senator hold and super-majority rules, the two impediments to the Senate getting anything done.  

The House is a mess.  There's simply no way to predict what that gaggle of goofballs will be up to until we know the Seat count.  

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Mon Nov 7th, 2016 at 11:37:18 PM EST
And, on this subject;-

Quartz - Jake Cusack - America is more fragile than you think: A former Marine Corps officer on why voters must defeat Donald Trump

When I came back from Iraq the second time, I had trouble driving. My tours as a Marine had shown me how easily metal could tear through flesh. Now I was acutely aware that life is precarious. I was amazed that people could be blasé while driving 80 mph. Could they not see that a small mistake could be enough to kill them?

I feel the same way now as an American citizen, watching a good portion of the country consider voting for Donald Trump. Having grown up in the Midwest and served in the military, I can understand why both have large constituencies supporting the Republican presidential candidate. But I believe Trump supporters underestimate how fragile what we have is.
[....]
I was traveling across Mali, Cote d'Ivoire, and Sierra Leone when Trump escalated his comments suggesting that he'd try to put Hillary Clinton in jail and doubled down on his assertion of "rigged elections." People there knew exactly what he meant, because they have heard that rhetoric before. This is the language of lands without strong institutions, bereft of the mutual trust that glues our democracy together. It's the language of civil wars.



keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Nov 8th, 2016 at 12:24:20 PM EST
Some interesting media from the past few days:

Moore on Trump:


Trump Is Just A Normal Polling Error Behind Clinton


Even at the end of a presidential campaign, polls don't perfectly predict the final margin in the election. Sometimes the final polls are quite accurate. An average of national polls in the week before the 2008 election had Barack Obama winning by 7.6 percentage points. He won by 7.3 points. Sometimes, however, the polls miss by more. Four years ago, an average of survey results the week before the election had Obama winning by 1.2 percentage points. He actually beat Mitt Romney by 3.9 points.

If that 2.7-point error doesn't sound like very much to you, well, it's very close to what Donald Trump needs to overtake Hillary Clinton in the popular vote. She leads by 3.3 points in our polls-only forecast.


Will `foot-dragging' trip Clinton up?


[...] Some of these are publicly responding with a so-called "write in", ie, the right to put an alternative name on the ballot paper (a move that is permitted in 41 states -- some with strict limitations, for example, the requirement for the write-in candidate to be pre-registered). John Kasich, Ohio governor, said this week that he would write in Senator John McCain, since he cannot back Trump; Kelly Ayotte, the Republican senator in New Hampshire, is threatening to write in Mike Pence, Trump's running mate.

But other political figures are quietly bowing out altogether, citing equal disgust for Clinton and Trump. "I never thought I would say this but I just don't think I will vote," a leading Republican, who once served in high office in Washington, recently told me. So too with ordinary voters. Some have said that they plan to write in Bernie Sanders -- or even Snoopy. Others plan simply to not vote at all.

[...] The nature of foot-dragging makes it hard to measure or predict with any precision. After all, even at the best of times, the polling industry tends to be poor at measuring the so-called "intensity" of voting intentions (ie, whether people who actually support a candidate feel so strongly about the issues that they will go and vote, no matter what). And it is doubly hard to judge voters' intentions right now since there is a sense of shame around foot-dragging -- and the news flow is profoundly volatile.



luis_de_sousa@mastodon.social
by Luis de Sousa (luis[dot]de[dot]sousa[at]protonmail[dot]ch) on Tue Nov 8th, 2016 at 01:32:19 PM EST
E McMorris-SantoroVerified account

@EvanMcS
Trump is being loudly booed at his polling place



She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Tue Nov 8th, 2016 at 04:19:35 PM EST
Rethuglicans retain control of the House, Senate, and state gerrymandering machines.  Trump is now likely to win the White House, which puts the Thugs in control of the judicial branch for time and eternity.  So much for checks and balances.  Ladies and gentlemen, you are looking at the real Murika.
by rifek on Wed Nov 9th, 2016 at 03:19:15 AM EST
So passes the American Experiment.  Ah well, we never had enough decency and civility to make it last, we just had absurd amounts of resources to throw at everything and allow us to keep kicking the can down the road.  The road has ended.
by rifek on Wed Nov 9th, 2016 at 04:46:41 AM EST
I remember people here years ago assuring us the GOP was finished because of demographics. All the stupid old racist white guys were supposed to die out, and be replaced by left-leaning black and latino voters, backed up by women.

Nope. Turns out there's an inexhaustible supply of stupid old racist white guys, and stupid old racist white guys are inexplicably popular with stupid old racist women. And stupid racist young people too.

I don't know why anyone is surprised that the US is a fascist country. There are two giant fasces behind the Leaders' seats in Congress. That really ought to be a clue.

Progressives, meanwhile, have yet to create a memorable symbol for progress.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Nov 9th, 2016 at 05:15:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Progressives, meanwhile, have yet to create a memorable symbol for progress.

They're still working on consensus.

by rifek on Thu Nov 10th, 2016 at 01:46:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Progress is a process, not a specific outcome.  It generally involves talking to people rather than killing them, and "success" is situational and defined relative to what came before or would have happened otherwise. There is therefore no universal definition or symbol which can encapsulate it unless you wish to invoke an absolute like God or Love. However even such absolutes can be problematic as one person's God can be another's demon even if, as in the Abrahamic faiths, they are allegedly worshipping the same God.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Nov 10th, 2016 at 09:11:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Progress requires resources and an entropy pool.

Newsflash: The civilization is in an overshot management mode for a while already --- whether by top-down dessigns or bottom-up rage. Hence the joys of Brexit, Trump.

by das monde on Thu Nov 10th, 2016 at 10:44:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, but "We don't have consensus" is the standard, left wing excuse for doing nothing.
by rifek on Sat Nov 12th, 2016 at 12:51:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
fuck


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Wed Nov 9th, 2016 at 06:52:55 AM EST
Well, GOOD MORNING to America  !!  Now if we can keep the cockroaches out of California, everything will be fine. Non - Californians ... you folks thinking about migrating north ... if you're smart, have skills, willing to work ... come to California while you still can. I left upstate NY in '75 for Grad School in Davis, CA and spent 1.5 years in Anal-Noise (hi poemless) with Quaker Oats (first job out of Davis) and the rest in CA. Never regretted coming here. Not an easy life but a good one. I never became one of you (don't ask).

My sig line is so prophetic.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Wed Nov 9th, 2016 at 08:56:26 AM EST
Sam Wang
Using the projections of the NY Times, Donald Trump is outperforming his pre-election polling margins by a median of 4.0 +- 2.6 percentage points (the 8 states in the Geek's Guide). In Senate races, Republicans are outperforming by 6.0 +- 3.7 percentage points. A five-percentage-point polling miss would be a tremendous error by modern polling standards. Undecided or minor-party voters coming home to Trump? Shy Trump voters? I don't know.

Not only did the polling industry fail to predict Trumps margins by an average of 4% (He may yet lose the popular vote when California's votes are all in) but they had an even greater failure in down ticket races - 6% in Senate races.  So this is not an exclusively shy Trump voter problem, but a failure to predict across a wide range of States, demographics and candidates.  It can only be seen as an ideological failure, because many of those candidates had directly contributed to the legislative and administrative gridlock in Washington.

Perhaps it can be attributed to a wish not to grant Obama and his allies an effective third term, but then how do we explain Obama's massive +10% personal approval ratings? Perhaps it can be attributed to a disapproval/dislike of Hillary Clinton and the Washington establishment, but then how do we explain the fact that Trumps approval ratings were always worse than hers? Perhaps it can be attributed to differential voter enthusiasm/turnout rates, but then precisely what does it take to get (say) Latino voters engaged?  According to exit surveys, Trump scored higher with Latino voters than Romney did.

Perhaps it all confirms that the USA is a deeply conservative, authoritarian, confusing society which longs for a great dictator who can make things simple and end partisan gridlock.  Certainly Trump ran against much of the Republican establishment as well, and successful GOP candidates owe more to his success than the GOP brand. (GOP favourable/unfavourables were always much worse than Democratic ones).  Certainly the more inclusive Democratic brand and their far superior GOTV effort were overwhelmed by a wave of white working class protest which belied their demographic decline.  This was more of a class vote, than an ethnic one, and the working classes chose to overthrow their elites.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Nov 9th, 2016 at 03:27:07 PM EST
Episodes in Recent American History -- Counterpunch.org

Johnson wages genocidal war on Vietnam, but the idea of Nixon winning seems impossible.

Nixon wins. Is worse than anyone imagined.

Carter promises a new era of honesty and all decent people rejoice when he wins.

He doesn't do anything to undo damage of Nixon, but supports Shah of Iran and funds the birth of Islamic fundamentalists to bring down USSR but the thought of an idiotic right wing phony like Reagan winning seems impossible.

Reagan wins. Is much worse than anyone imagines is possible. Much worse than Nixon.

Clinton promises a new era of populism and all decent people rejoice when he wins.

Clinton doesn't do anything to undo damage of Reagan, (except make economy profitable again for the 1%)but starves half million Iraqi children to death, repeals glass steagal, privatizes prison system and ends welfare, but the idea that such a big idiot and right wing nut as Bush could win seems impossible.

Bush wins. Is much more terrible than anyone imagined. Much worse than Reagan.

Obama promises new era of post racial hope and change and wins. The whole world rejoices.

Obama doesn't undo any of the damage of Bush (except making the economy profitable for the 1% again) bombs 7 countries but the thought that an absolute lunatic like Trump could win seems ABSOLUTELY impossible....

by das monde on Fri Nov 11th, 2016 at 01:58:49 AM EST
I think we might be onto something here. Recently it has all been 'makes the economy profitable for the 1%' bit. Too few care about what evils we do abroad.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Nov 11th, 2016 at 02:21:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Exactly.

The UK situation is more complicated. Wilson tried to steer the UK back to socialism, but was schlonged by currency speculators. Heath was simply useless.

Callaghan handed the UK over to Thatcher, who was worse than anyone imagined. Major was simply useless.

Blair made no serious attempt to undo Thatcher's policies, but times were relatively prosperous so nobody minded as they should. Then 9/11 and Iraq, which proved he was worse than anyone imagined.

Then Brown, and 2008, which the fascist press pinned on socialism, not the banks.

Then we had Cameron, who was worse than anyone on the left imagined. Then Brexit. Then May, who is proving to be useless.

The natural end-point is some kind of North Korean dystopia for the entire world. Although I'm not convinced there won't be a logistic cull before then.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Nov 11th, 2016 at 04:04:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The UK situation is more complicated. Wilson tried to steer the UK back to socialism, but was schlonged by currency speculators. Heath was simply useless.

Back to Socialism?  I always wondered when the socialist nirvana actually existed.  The 1950's were before my time as a sentient adult, but I don't recall them being socialist.  In fairness, I suppose, the NHS was built then, and public housing - things we "can't afford now" when the economy is many times bigger.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Nov 11th, 2016 at 08:21:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The socialist nirvana was Attlee's post-war government, which created the NHS, expanded the welfare state and state housing, built new schools, and did all the things we were think of socialist now.

It wasn't much of a nirvana considering much of the UK was rubble and post-war austerity was actually necessary, but it was more of a nirvana than anything seen earlier.

After that the UK bounced between successive Tory govs which tried to privatise as much as possible - mostly rail - and Labour govs which tried to un-privatise all the things that had been privatised.

Wilson is underestimated. He helped create the Open University, funded other new universities and made them accessible to working class and poorer middle class kids, supported technology and engineering, and developed the NHS.

Jobs were plentiful, and the result was real prosperity and freedom.

But "the markets" didn't like all this spending of money on the public, so they "punished" him with a forced devaluation. Then we had the 70s oil shocks, which - conveniently - legitimised the notion that we couldn't afford prosperity.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Nov 11th, 2016 at 09:49:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
However far to the right of me they are, it is simply false that Clinton or Obama "did not do anything" to undo the damage of their predecessor.

I was too young to be so sure about Carter whom I have not studies in great depth, but that too seems excessive.

Which does not mean I approve of their abroad ventures.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Fri Nov 11th, 2016 at 11:55:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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