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About Kalbear

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  1. US politics 2016: I can see Russia from my White House

    I think there's no way to oppose it. They've marked the areas effectively as inaccessible to the public for the next 2 months. There's no where else for them to gather legally.
  2. US politics 2016: I can see Russia from my White House

    The primaries historically HAVE acted as a control against extremism, especially after 1964. Because prior to this year, the common thought was that the party ultimately decides. And parties were not interested in nominating extremists - on either side. As to re-election - there has been exactly one 4-year president that was a party switch in the last 40 years - Carter. It is incredibly difficult to unseat incumbent presidents, or at least has been, and that's in spite of them occasionally having total suckfest years. If you have other checks on authoritarian control here, by all means - let me know. Why would congress act? Again, I don't see how this happens. And what can congress do against executive orders? How can, for example, congress oppose the AUMF? How can they oppose the EPA dismantling? How can they oppose his immigration choices? How can they oppose his Education, HUD, or HHS choices? How can they oppose the AG being used as a personal billy club? The one place that I have some vague hope is in the judiciary. My fear is that this will fail simply because of money. There are going to be so very many lawsuits for so very many things, that the courts are simply not going to be able to hear them in any reasonable amount of time and they can be tied up for years and years and years. I'm aware of those trends, but as you pointed out they don't really matter any more, and haven't since 2010. I don't think Trump has the power to override this; I think that it gets overriden because Republicans already overwrote this when they took control of most states legislatures and worked in concert to redraw everything. Again, a lot of this isn't just Trump - it's Trump coming into power as a Republican in 2016. That's one judge at the very start, and that's the very best. The conservative judges are much less likely to retire or die compared to RBG. We've already seen them capitulate to most everything that he wants save trade deals. They've supported every single cabinet position thus far named. They've said they'll support him on his tax plan, on his repeal plan, on his immigration plans, on his budget plans, on his infrastructure plans. They've even said that they're cool with the muslim registration, though that at least has gotten a couple people stating that they don't like it - but that doesn't matter, as congress doesn't have any say in that. In fact it's easier to state what they won't support him on - repealing NAFTA. That's it so far. What else have they actually opposed so far? Not in theory, but in actual practice? It isn't rhetorical. It's a genuine question. The reason that I'm pessimistic is that I do not see any reasonable way to actually oppose his power at this point. Democrats are already a popular majority and it doesn't matter, and as far as both states and federal elections it will remain not mattering for at least 4 years and likely 14 years. Congress won't get particularly more Democratic for another 4 years at the earliest. The Judiciary certainly won't, and I expect there to be a FLOOD of people filling in spots early on, because they have the ability to shape the justice system for a generation in the first 100 days. Grounded critiques didn't help with Clinton. I fail to see how rationality will help people who voted for Trump see the light, when they're the ones who believed that millions of people committed voter fraud, that the country is a disaster, that Muslims are all terrorists and that immigrants and trade deals are stealing their jobs. Trump lied about 70% of the time and people didn't care. You think they'll care more, now?
  3. US politics 2016: I can see Russia from my White House

    Prior to this election I wouldn't have given myself that much credence, no. But about half of the US voters willingly chose to vote for Trump. That makes me sell a lot of that credit very short, yes. As to inflating his threat - again, I ask - how? What have I stated that is actually incorrect, factually? What have I stated which can be opposed, and what does that opposition look like?
  4. US politics 2016: I can see Russia from my White House

    Oh hey, look - Trump has already blocked the planned protest by women on the Lincoln Memorial.
  5. US politics 2016: I can see Russia from my White House

    I don't think that it will result in civil war or massive bloodshed. Russia hasn't. I think that dissidence in an authoritarian regime where the government has absurdly powerful means of surveillance, the ability to make people disappear without rights in a number of prisons throughout the land and people believing strongly that if something bad happens 'they deserved it' means most people will either turn their eyes away or actively support the law and order to follow. That, to me, is a lot more scary. I am pessimistic in that I believe that the US citizens have shown they don't fucking care about things like repression as long as it isn't personally happening to people like them. Black people? LGBT? Muslims? Fuck them. White people will support those people as long as it isn't too painful, but if it means voting for Clinton? Sorry, that's WAY too far. If they won't turn their nose and vote for Clinton, what makes you think they'll stand in a protest with them? What makes you think they'll actually stand up if they see a Muslim get detained?
  6. US politics 2016: I can see Russia from my White House

    It does when things get hard. Citation needed. So 30 years of unrest, riots, and a great depression, along with massive upheaval and 1 world war along with the beginnings of a second one. Oh yeah, and we interred an ethnic group along the way. Well, that's awesome. Tell me again why I'm pessimistic about Democracy surviving? I imagine that. Imagine Trump supporters coming out en masse, with AR-15s, shirts that say 'your black life doesn't matter' with a bulls-eye and being told by Trump himself that these people are rioters, looters, and criminals - and are likely being paid by the Left to riot or are illegal immigrants. Trump also, in this situation, controls the police and the military. You think those millenial Sanders supporters are going to hang around and get shot at? And when a police officer who is videotaped shooting an unarmed black man in the back and then planting a gun on him walks free, do you think that people will care when a few rioters get shot? Here's the thing - Trump making matters 'far worse' only makes his position better. Being able to enact states of emergency, being able to crack down via police state tactics, being able to arrest dissidents on the grounds that they were conspiring to riot and cause harm - these are all things that help him keep control. And do you think his supporters are going to shy away? They're asking for this. They're begging for it.
  7. US politics 2016: I can see Russia from my White House

    So that's why it's hard to oppose Trump. Now here's why he's an actual threat. Trump has recommended curtailing first amendment rights since day one. He hates protests. He hates news. He hates religious freedom. These are things he wants to stop. Trump has recommended reducing rights of citizens based on their views and their religion. In the name of safety. And doesn't care about its effectiveness. Trump instinctively attempts to repress or punish anyone speaking against him, and encourages his followers to do the same. And it works. Trump threatens US citizens with deportation and removal of citizenship for doing things that he doesn't like. Trump happily will take bribes for favors, and openly requests this of nations. Trump happily will encourage illegal actions by other countries that benefit him personally. Trump happily will threaten people with prison for opposing him. These are things that have already happened, that he has stated openly and directly. These aren't veiled, or subtle, or exaggerations. Now, I'd agree that if it were some random Republican - like, say, Romney - I wouldn't be worried. The problem is that Trump is an authoritarian by nature, and he has been given more power and less oversight than any other President in living memory. The US has survived threats to its democracy, but not without massive bloodshed. If you're cool with the notion that a civil war is a good outcome, okay then.
  8. US politics 2016: I can see Russia from my White House

    Poo-pooing fears of authoritarian control has always happened. No one wants to believe it. But no one wanted to believe that Trump would win the primary, and no one wanted to believe that he'd win the presidency. I didn't think so either. I was wrong. Here's the big issue: the US Democracy is protected from authoritarian control in a number of ways, but not by the actual President in power. The checks on this happening are largely based around getting that person elected in the first place. Between the primary system (which tends to get more centrist people that are fairly popular in-party), the actual election (which also tends to support centrists as well as a broadly popular person), to the impeachment process (which requires a strong party and the ability to compromise), Trump has already beaten the checks against an authoritarian control save the impeachment rule, and it is almost impossible to imagine a crime that Trump can commit which would result in the House actually voting to impeach him, as it would obliterate every single congressman's career that supported Trump. Furthermore, at no time in US history has the president had as much personal power as they do now. The possible exception to this being FDR, who was given basically a blank check - but that was also right at the Great Depression, and everyone was interested in righting that ship. Here's what he can actually do (which is different than, say, Andrew Jackson): The President currently has an open state of war thanks to the AUMF that can be used to justify any action in any country provided that you can demonstrate some vague relation to a terrorist organization or enemy nation, and this has existed for 15 years without opposition. If Trump wishes to bomb Syria, he can. If he wishes to bomb Iraq, he can. If he wishes to attack Yemen with ground troops, he can. If he wishes to use nuclear weapons, he can. Congress cannot stop this. They can, at best, defund it. POTUS has the NSA and the department of Homeland Security. Both answer to him. Both have very little oversight. Both operate against domestic targets. POTUS has the Patriot Act. In addition to that, POTUS has a majority in the House and the Senate that are basically invulnerable for the next 4 years. They will not lose their re-election campaigns, and it's more likely that the Senate actually goes to a filibuster-proof majority in 2018 than it is that they flip to the democrats (8 Republican seats open, 25 dem seats open). In addition to that, POTUS has one SC slot open along with 4 fairly conservative judges on the bench already. In addition to that, Trump owes his party absolutely nothing at all. His political career begins and ends where he chooses it to. His financial ties are opaque and not particularly vulnerable for anything he does. There is very little leverage anyone can have on him, and there is plenty of leverage that he has on others (as Ryan found out). So tell me - what does successful political opposition look like?
  9. US politics 2016: I can see Russia from my White House

    Yes, I agree with all of that. My counterpoint is that Trump was a singularly horrible candidate that won anyway. And the economy in 2016 is not at all 'bad'. It is possibly not super awesome, but it's as good as it was in 2000 (when Bush won) if not moreso. Furthermore, economic suffering failed to predict Trump's voters particularly well in this election. The best predictor was education, followed by race. And again, Trump has absolutely demolished any prior norms. The idea that things will otherwise be normal afterwards is fiction. Actually, the difference between Obama 2008 and Clinton 2016 is the same as the difference between Obama 2008 and Obama 2012. This election and its results are different than before, with very different voting patterns and values. The reason that poll aggregators missed so spectacularly in this election was because they did not understand that this was a very different election. Continuing to believe that it wasn't ignores the facts in favor of an outcome that makes more sense to you. I said 'some of the best results'. And it absolutely was the case for those voters who switched. Many of those voters who voted for Trump have healthcare for the very first time, and actually love it. Many others were workers that have their job thanks to Obama's bailout of the auto industry. Others actually have a job, which is better than they were in 2008. The narrative has been that a lot of poor white people switched from Democrat to Trump. That is demonstrably untrue. What is true is that a number of midwest voters voted for Trump, who happened to be largely lower-educated (but not financially badly off, and decidedly not worse than before). Some of the states that did the best since 2008 - like Pennsylvania - voted for Trump more. Florida voted for Trump absurdly more than ever before, and that was also not explained by poor white voters. Economics did not decide this election. There was no relative lack of minority support. There might have been less turnout - hard to say, really - but exit polls indicate otherwise. The turnout issue that hurt Clinton the most was youth turnout - where (for example) 16% of 18-25 year olds that were eligible voted. Compare this to the 30% that voted for Obama, and you see the problem. As stated before, Democrats fall in love, Republicans fall in line. If that goes to Obama levels she wins handily in all the states you mentioned and likely in Ohio as well. She didn't.
  10. US politics 2016: I can see Russia from my White House

    It started with a leaked email stolen from Podesta, and was then giving more credence by Flynn's son. Flynn has also spread various fake stories about Clinton before. To be clear, when I say 'Trump' it's shorthand for 'The Trump Presidency and administration'. So it encompasses him, Bannon, Pence, DeVos, Flynn, and any of these others.
  11. US politics 2016: I can see Russia from my White House

    Okay, first off, again - Trump isn't even POTUS yet and we're seeing issues. What makes you think that when he has actual power he'll be more restrained? We did have authoritarian, populist presidents before - but they were largely held in check by both their party and the opposition party. That isn't the case here, not remotely. As to the 'balance of power' - what balance do you believe is in place? And again, you're arguing that Trump won't destroy the US democracy with one breath and then stating that you hope he does so it hastens the inevitable change. Both can't be true.
  12. US politics 2016: I can see Russia from my White House

    It...doesn't though. Boeing after being slammed donated $1m to the presidential inauguration. CNN changed their coverage and their policies. Cities are already starting to buckle on the notion that they'll lose massive federal funding to be sanctuary cities. He continues to call out CNN reporters by name at rallies. He's caused a union rep to start getting death threats. People have gone in to investigate a pizza place with an AR-15. And he's not even in office yet. And that's not counting all the people who have been harassed for wearing a hijab, or being black, or being Muslim, or wearing a turban. How is that not suppressing dissent? And it's not just him. It's his supporters and his allies. It's Breitbart, it's Milo, it's Pence and Bannon and Sessions. This is how Breitbart and Milo have worked for years now - sending scores of trolls to harass and harm people. They didn't do it themselves, no - they have others. You think Trump isn't going to do that? Come on. The quieting dissidence hasn't really happened in any major way, yet. He's not actually in power. But if you think that a man who has sued people for $5bn because they mentioned that he wasn't as wealthy as he claimed is not going to use the power of the government to silence critics? He just got handed the keys to the least oversighted system designed to monitor the US citizenry from every single angle, and can abuse it without anyone knowing any better. You really think he's not going to do anything?
  13. US politics 2016: I can see Russia from my White House

    And yeah, the dreaded triple post. Sarah Kenzdior has covered a lot of authoritarian regimes and has a lot of experience in how they start and how they operate. She recently wrote some points on what you should do. It's worth reading, because in a few years you might find yourself acting as a completely different person than you thought you were, and it will happen so subtly that you will have never noticed that you changed. And this isn't Trump, mind you. This is things like the Patriot Act being put into place and remaining in play for 15 years, or the authorization of military force being used to justify attacks against nations that didn't exist when it came into being, or drone strikes being considered acceptable, or debating the merits of torture as if it were ever something reasonable. Here's another good response from her on what you can do to fight back.
  14. US politics 2016: I can see Russia from my White House

    And yeah, I guess that's another way that dictatorships end - when the dictator dies.
  15. US politics 2016: I can see Russia from my White House

    Arguably they weren't particularly less authoritarian, just different authorities in power. But it's a reasonable point that I likely overstated things. That said, Democracies do not tend to be restored easily or cheaply, and there's usually quite a bit of pain before it gets better. And if our best hope is something like Brazil, which went from a military dictatorship to an incredibly corrupt set of governments, that's not a great sign either. Who said anything about no hope? I am saying that it's happening. The way to defeat authoritarian regimes is to ensure that they do not become too powerful and to potentially set aside the ability for revolution when the time is right. But do not look to the standards of democratic rule, political norms or prior behaviors to save you. This isn't likely to be some random blip in US history. @Manhole Eunuchsbane and @Altherion, both of which have implied that things will either go back to normal or swing the 'right' way after this. Manhole specifically said something about the pendulum swinging back. And no, it doesn't work that way with something like a Trump presidency. There is no guarantee that there will be any regular voting ever again. So no, don't oppose Trump by thinking that you'll be able to get him out of office in 4 years because he'll do such a 'bad' job, or assume that you'll be able to pick up seats in the House and Senate (which is also not really going to happen anyway, but especially not now). Don't oppose him by just assuming sternly worded calls to your congressperson are going to work. Don't oppose him by simply donating money. Assume that for the next 8 years, you are going to be in a system that is actively trying to find dissidents and silence them, and figure out how you can help in that format. Or, conversely, get the fuck out of dodge now while you can.