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No Right Turn: The coming US shitshow

Written By: - Date published: 6:05 am, September 28th, 2020 - 44 comments
Categories: democracy under attack, democratic participation, Donald Trump - Tags: , ,

Idiot/Savant at NRT wrote last week:

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The coming US shitshow

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Today President Trump once again refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses the US election. Coincidentally, The Atlantic has a long article on exactly what that means, from voter suppression by armed thugs in the name of “ballot security”, to refusing to allow the vote to be counted, all the way to getting Republican state governments to over-rule the voters and simply appoint Trump electors themselves – effectively using the electoral college to overturn the will of the people. And you can probably bet that whatever they’ve thought of, Trump and his Republican cronies will do worse, and harder.

Reading it, I get the impression that US democracy is basicly doomed. Not just because one political faction is open about not wanting people to vote and not respecting the results if they do, but ultimately because both factions view democracy as a game to be litigated, rather than the bedrock of their legitimacy. And things there are going to have to change in a major way before they can be said to be safely democratic again.

And I’m once again thankful for our electoral system, where elections are run by a central, neutral, independent body rather than partisan local hacks with an interest in putting the thumb on the scales; where there is widespread public understanding (fostered by that neutral body) of the count process, so that everyone knows that nothing is final until the special votes come in; and that politicians accept and respect the judgement of the people, rather than trying to litigate or game it. The idea that a Prime Minister would say (repeatedly) before an election that they would refuse to accept the result if it went against them is both unthinkable here – and a guaranteed way to ensure that it does. That’s something we should all be glad of – and something we all need to protect.

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44 comments on “No Right Turn: The coming US shitshow ”

  1. Dennis Frank 1

    There’s some insight into the mass psychology which has produced the situation here: https://www.salon.com/2020/09/27/trump-and-his-movement-are-evil–but-the-hope-peddlers-in-the-chattering-class-wont-say-so/

    The Trump regime and the right-wing media have systematically (and successfully) attacked reality and truth itself. Many Americans are vulnerable to such a campaign because of a public school system which, for the most part, does not teach critical thinking, responsible citizenship and civil literacy.

    Learned helplessness works through a culture of distraction, fear, social atomization, alienation and loneliness to deter collective action. There is a lack of faith in the country's social and political institutions.

    As long as mainstreamers continue to act like sheeple, politicians will continue to act like sheepdogs. So one goes rabid every now & then, so what? The system is designed to produce such outcomes at random intervals. Democracy works.

    The worst offenders can be put into three categories. The "hope-peddlers" will always find some way to spin harsh realities into a potential victory or hopeful possibility for the Democratic Party and the American people. They also believe that somehow the "better angels" will take over the Republican Party, thus saving the country. The stenographers of current events are supposedly committed to "balance" and "fairness." They are the purveyors of "both-sides-ism" and horserace journalism.

    As a group, the stenographers of current events are perhaps most responsible for normalizing Donald Trump and American fascism. There are those who are stuck in an endless cycle of perpetual outrage, shock and surprise. These voices act surprised by the Trump regime's newest offense, as though it were somehow unexpected rather than a continuation of an obvious pattern with hundreds of prior examples.

    Why do the hope-peddlers, the stenographers and the shock brigade behave as they do? They are afraid of what is happening to American society ,and do not know what to do about it. They still maintain a deep belief in American exceptionalism and an inbred faith that "it can't happen here" — that fascism and authoritarianism are ills that only afflict other countries.

    So there is mass denial that democracy is the problem (not the solution). Until they decide to get real, the system will continue to victimise Americans.

  2. Andre 2

    … but ultimately because both factions view democracy as a game to be litigated, rather than the bedrock of their legitimacy.

    Bullshit. Idiot/Savant is just using their Idiot aspect succumbing to false both-siders-ism. There is only one side that has no boundaries, no lines they wouldn't cross, in their drive to hold power. Which makes them illustrative of part of the problem, an inability to understand clear qualitative difference.

    • xanthe 2.1

      "There is only one side that has no boundaries, no lines they wouldn't cross, in their drive to hold power"

      Andre that is just ignorant!

      • McFlock 2.1.1

        If it were untrue, dolt45 and his enablers wouldn't be constantly breaking new ground in historic levels of corruption.

        Seriously, when has a presidential candidate or incumbent previously refused to peacefully accept the results of an election?

        • Dennis Frank 2.1.1.1

          He's taking brinkmanship where it ain't gone before, but it's also as likely to be a ruse as a threat. Push-button psyching out of the opponent is fun when the buttons are so obvious…

          • McFlock 2.1.1.1.1

            They said that about his immigration policy, as well. And they ended up with camps and non-consensual sterilizations.

            • mpledger 2.1.1.1.1.1

              A ruse gives him to much credit – he said it because he didn't want to commit himself to any position while not having a clue that he was effectively talking about civil war.

              • McFlock

                But his little nazi-adjacent greasy eminences will follow through, like they did with his immigration rhetoric.

                Make no mistake – failure to take his talk on any subject seriously leaves an opening for his legion of doom to exploit.

    • Macro 2.2

      yes

      Totally agree. Where have we heard that sort of argument before?

      Oh yes!

      You had some very bad people in that group, but you also had people that were very fine people, on both sides.

      D J Trump

      • Morrissey 2.2.1

        Pointing out that there are cynical actors in both parties does not in any way make one comparable to Donald Trump. On the other hand, telling lies about Bernie Sanders and supporting violent anti-democratic insurrectionists in Venezuela and Bolivia, as the Democratic “leadership” continues to do, does make one comparable to Trump.

        • Macro 2.2.1.1

          🙄

          • Morrissey 2.2.1.1.1

            Poor old "Macro" has nothin' to offer other than a passive-aggressive emoji.

            Translation: I got nuthin'. I am bewildered. I read the Grauniad. I watch CNN. I believe them, everything they say. Why am I so unhappy?

            • Macro 2.2.1.1.1.1

              Exactly! I am completely overwhelmed by such irrational and unsubstantiated piffle.

              But you and your fellow-travellers completely miss the point, when you dis the current US elections as a mere nothing, and a pox on both parties.

              Not only is the fate of what little democratic process* is left in the US politics at stake, the fate of the world pretty much depends of the result of this forthcoming election. There is a far greater existential threat to the world than any pandemic just around the corner, and that threat is continuing AGW. Even if all nations meet their climate action goals the world is still on course to warm by 2 Deg C with catastrophic results. The Antarctic is now predicted to add up to 2.5 m of SLR by 2100, whatever humanity does to try to prevent it.

              If Trump stays in power he has promised to remove the US from the Paris Agreement forthwith – indeed he has undone almost every regulation and executive order put in place, by all previous administrations, for the protection of the environment. Now admittedly those regulations and executive orders don't seem to amount to much in the order of things, but they are better than than the wholesale vandalism on a corporate scale that Trump has enabled. It is agreed that the Paris Agreement is also woefully short on substantive change and action as well. But remember it took decades to get that far, and almost always, the nation blocking any Agreement was the US – held up by the 50 odd US senators (such as McConnell) who would not condone any such accord. Biden on the other hand, has promised to return the US to the Paris Agreement, and has adopted much of the Green New Deal proposed by Sanders, including $2T funding. If the Democrats are able to secure a majority in the Senate – and the current polling suggests that they are slightly favoured (62 out of 100) to achieve that – then it will will see some positive progress being made. Remember that there are around 400 Bills passed by the House, many progressive pieces of legislation awaiting consideration by the Senate, that are lying dormant because McConnell refuses to put them to the vote (He is not named "Turtle" simply because of his looks). These Bills include such things as gun control, violence against women, raising the minimum wage, expanding health coverage, and bringing down the price of prescription drugs.

              *Should Amy Coney Barrett be confirmed as the next Supreme Court Justice she will be confirmed by Senators representing about 40% of the country's population and opposed by Senators representing over 50% of the population. Should Trump somehow win re-election he will have the support of about 43% of the population

              • Morrissey

                What "irrational and unsubstantiated piffle" are you raving about? Are you trying to assert that it is irrational to remind people—people like you—that the DNC conspired against Bernie Sanders in 2016 (as revealed by WikiLeaks) and in 2020? Are you trying to assert that evidence of the repeated, and shameless, support of the Democratic "leadership" for violent insurrectionists in Venezuela and Bolivia and Nicaragua is "unsubstantiated piffle"?

                And of course I’m sure you’re smart enough to realize that throwing about phrases like "fellow-travellers" adds not an ounce of credibility to what you write.

                Your claim that I "dis the current US elections as a mere nothing" is, likewise, without foundation. Like you, I hope that Biden becomes President in November; unlike you, I am not prepared to pretend he is anything more than the lesser evil. And evil is the operative word for both candidates.

    • Morrissey 2.3

      … only one side that has no boundaries, no lines they wouldn't cross, in their drive to hold power.

      ???? Debbie Wasserman Schultz? Pelosi? Schumer? The DNC? I recommend that one day you actually read the emails revealed by WikiLeaks in 2016.

      • Andre 2.3.1

        It takes real commitment to monumental fuckwittedness to think there's any equivalence between that and the Repug's multiple serious assaults on voting rights, or the Supreme Court shenanigans, to name just a couple of examples.

        • Morrissey 2.3.1.1

          All the things you say about Trump and his henchmen are correct. Your message is severely vitiated, however, by your indulgence of the criminality of the previous eight years. That unfortunately amounts to extreme partiality. The DNC's war on democracy was/is acceptable to you?

          • Andre 2.3.1.1.1

            Go on, be a bit more specific.

            We could all use a laugh at you proudly displaying your cognitive malfunction.

            • RedLogix 2.3.1.1.1.1

              Like so many tribals around here, it seems you cannot make an argument without resorting to unjustified personal attacks. It demeans you and worse still it discredits the movement you claim to support.

              Written large I've seen this trend escalate over the past four years to the point that I frankly do not believe anything political I read from the USA unless it's confirmed by multiple sources from differing angles. Everyone spins, distorts or makes shit up; it takes industrial duty filtering to make any sense of it.

              Trump is of course one sort of crazy, but that doesn't mean many of the Dem's are not another kind. That's doesn't make them exactly equal, but it sure as hell means that like many, many American's I truly could not find good reasons to vote for either Trump or Biden. But I sure as hell can either vote against them, or simply stay home on the day in sheer disgust at the whole horror show.

              • Andre

                Go on, be specific about what the Democrats have done that's equivalent to the vote-suppresion and disenfanchisement efforts of the Repugs. Or the Supreme Court fuckery that's happened over the past five years.

                Just to mention just a couple of the specific areas where by any objective the Repugs have been absolute shits with the direct objective of trashing democracy.

                Vague insinuations and both sides-ism won't cut it. Be specific, with actual examples.

                • RedLogix

                  You are demanding I produce evidence of something I didn't claim. I explicitly disavowed that "Democrats have done (anything) that's equivalent". The two parties are not mirror images of each other, where you can point to a dark equivalency wart by wart. That's not how it works.

                  Yet the more I see Democrat supporters working themselves into almost literal frenzies over Trump, the more I think they're quite crazy in their own rather dangerous fashion.

                  Stable governance requires the ability to bring people with differing interests to the negotiating table and achieve outcomes the majority can live with. I'm not seeing this anywhere on the US political scene at this time.

                  • Andre

                    Your positioning appears analogous to responding to criticism of hardline Wahhabism with the observation that Mother Teresa did some iffy things too, so screw all religion.

                    Another question, do you really not see the threats to not respect the election results, the encouragement given various groups of violent thugs (mostly openly white supremacist), open acceptance and encouragement of foreign interference, etc etc, as unprecedented and dangerous and deserving if very vigorous response?

                    It's not Democrats that have walked away from compromise and negotiation – indeed as just one example the entire structure of Obamacare was lifted from a state scheme designed and implemented by a Repug governor (Mitt Romney as it happens) in an attmpt to find something that both sides could come together on and make work. But not a single Repug made any attempt to contribute anything useful, it was total blind opposition right from the beginning.

                    Or take Merrick Garland: he was specifically mentioned by Orrin Hatch (Repug President pro tempore of the Senate at the time) as someone Repugs would view as a suitable Supreme Court nominee. But when Obama actually nominated Garland, it was met by a total Repug stonewall.

                    I really doubt it wold take much searching to find other examples of recent Dem efforts to find bipartisan solutions that have just been shat on by Repugs, but it would be very difficult to find similar Repug attempts to be bipartisan.

                    • Morrissey

                      RedLogix politely disagrees with you, and you immediately launch into a tirade comparing him to a Wahhabist. Still, you didn't actually call him a Russian agent, which is encouraging.

                      Keep up the steady if slight improvement. yes

            • weka 2.3.1.1.1.2

              Andre, please tone down the abuse. You've got plenty of ammunition without having to do that.

              • Andre

                Ok.

                The dial's on about 4 (out of 10) at the moment, cos it seems that's where it needs to be to get the mozzie's attention. What do you reckon, dial it back to 3 or 2?

              • Morrissey

                Andre, please tone down the abuse. You've got plenty of ammunition…

                He has? Do damp squibs qualify as "ammunition"?

            • Morrissey 2.3.1.1.1.3

              I'd like to credit you with—in the absence of anything else— a good line of abuse. But, sadly, even that act of kindness is precluded by the poor quality of your ripostes.

  3. greywarshark 3

    It is getting to the stage that USA citizens coming here need to be watched as if they are terrorists. USA democracy was never as good as was touted. Now we have felt the affects first in Auckland and then affecting our whole of country election, of the USA discontents spreading their propaganda about government being no good, lying to the citizens, and to be regarded as the enemy.

    We have already been taken to the cleaners by the effects of the USA neolib agenda* largely developed at the University of Chicago, in a city built on blood and toil, mud and criminal activity,** and that attempts to tie small nations in ‘knots’. And it undermines our very democracy, while pretending otherwise.

    *https://www.investopedia.com/terms/c/chicago_school.asp

    *https://www.theguardian.com/news/2017/aug/18/neoliberalism-the-idea-that-changed-the-world

    **https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_organized_crime_in_Chicago

    Have we tied a 'double fisherman's knot' for ourselves and has the whole world? It is said to be easy to tie, but almost impossible to untie. https://adventure.howstuffworks.com/survival/wilderness/how-to-tie-impossible-knot.htm

    • McFlock 3.1

      What I loved about the US democracy is that it nicely (albeit not perfectly) described an ideal society, balancing inalienable rights against democracy. It never came close to achieving those goals as expressed, but at least it expressed them in detail.

      The explicit abandoning of that dream by the republicans is fucking tragic.

      • Morrissey 3.1.1

        It was a racist and violent vision of a slave-owning, genocidal society from the very beginning, as you would know if you read the Declaration of Independence.

        • Dennis Frank 3.1.1.1

          Frontier ethos morphing into copycat imperialism took more than three centuries. The English did empire without an emperor, but became fully civilised. Yanks did likewise but only managed to partly civilise themselves. Unlike other western countries, they just couldn't learn how to stop carrying weapons as part of normalcy.

          From an evolutionary perspective, a subnormal culture, in other words. Yet they still lead in high tech so there's a paradox, eh? Sophisticated primitives…

        • McFlock 3.1.1.2

          Sort of proved my point there, mozzy.

          Have you read the text? Where does it mention slavery, or permit it? Yes, the vast majority of the signatories owned slaves, but the text itself does seem to be incompatable with slavery (see my "never came close to achieving those goals as expressed").

  4. lprent 4

    I wasn't a great fan of MMP when we put it in place. My views then was that it would constrain change when it was required. And there is no doubt that it does – our housing costs and prices are a direct reflection of that.

    What I am grateful for is that it forces compromise upon even the most intransigent of politicians, makes the factions become more apparent, and forces moderation in politics over the longer term.

    Apart from anything else, any political party that hits a threshold has to be a coalition internally (ie why the religious parties repeatably fail to have MPs) and may become large part of a coalition government.

    That severely contains their ability to promise or to try to force unrealistic bottom lines. They have to be aware of how that will make it impossible to form coalitions or to get elected next time. Just as importantly voters look at their ability to work with others and vote accordingly.

    Having largely independent body running the electoral system helps a lot as well. But really having proportionality means that gerrymandering is only really an issue for local politicians.

    All of it makes the excessive use of raw power after exploiting a flaw in the social or political process really hard to achieve. Which was what it was put into place to do.

    The tradeoff has been worth while. And as Ardern Robertson and Bloomfield have been demonstrating repeatably this term not really a issue for dealing with immediate issues decisively. For that matter the initial responses after the ChCh earthquakes

    Probably less entertaining for the media. But who really cares.

  5. Sabine 5

    seriously?

    https://www.rawstory.com/2020/09/trump-campaign-manager-brad-parscale-hospitalized-after-barricading-himself-in-home-with-guns-and-threatening-self-harm/

    former Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale barricaded himself in a Florida home with a gun threatening to harm himself.

    Local 10 News reported Parscale was in one of his many homes when police were called. Officers arrived and spoke with Parscale’s wife, who said that he was armed with multiple firearms and was threatening to harm himself.

    • joe90 5.1

      It's almost like Parscale's worried about the consequences of his 2016 fuckery.

      Channel 4 News has exclusively obtained a vast cache of data used by Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign on almost 200 million American voters.

      It reveals that 3.5 million Black Americans were categorised by Donald Trump’s campaign as ‘Deterrence’ – voters they wanted to stay home on election day.

      Tonight, civil rights campaigners said the evidence amounted to a new form of voter “suppression” and called on Facebook to disclose ads and targeting information that has never been made public.

      https://www.channel4.com/news/revealed-trump-campaign-strategy-to-deter-millions-of-black-americans-from-voting-in-2016

      btw, fuck him

      Candice Parscale claimed her husband had become violent in recent weeks. I'm not going to dignify linking that timeline to any public events in Brad Parscale's professional life because it doesn't matter. Nothing justifies acting out on your loved ones. Nothing justifies domestic violence.

      The police took photos of bruises on Candice Parscale's body from a fight two days earlier. He has been violent to her before. You can bet that.

      From Yahoo!:

      "While speaking with Candace Parscale I noticed several large sized contusions on both of her arms, her cheek and forehead," wrote Detective Steven Smith, slightly misspelling her first name. "When I asked how she received the bruising, Candace Parscale stated Brad Parscale hits her."

      https://www.wonkette.com/theres-nothing-funny-about-brad-parscale-beating-his-wife

  6. Draco T Bastard 6

    Reading it, I get the impression that US democracy is basicly doomed. Not just because one political faction is open about not wanting people to vote and not respecting the results if they do, but ultimately because both factions view democracy as a game to be litigated, rather than the bedrock of their legitimacy.

    US democracy was doomed from the start. After all, the Founding Fathers didn't actually want democracy – they wanted an aristocracy with them as the aristocrats and so they produced a constitution that would produce that and now the US is an outright oligarchy/plutocracy.

    In the US the rich rule.

    Thing is, its pretty much the same in NZ. Labour may make things a little better for the majority but they're still doing what the rich want most of the time.

  7. Craig H 7

    I don't think anyone in the authorities will pay any attention to Trump if he clearly loses – there are legal requirements and certifications, and if everything is in accordance with those, the relevant authorities will take instruction from the new president.

    • weka 7.1

      the theory there is that the Trump administration has spent the last 4 years stacking various authorities with people that support Trump.

      • Dennis Frank 7.1.1

        Theory & practice are two different things. It depends on whether conservatives still believe in constitutional behaviour or not. If not, paranoia is realistic.

        My bet is that the establishment has factored in the utility of Trump as instrument. They know Biden will do what he's told. They know Trump believes he knows best. Easy choice! indecision

      • Craig H 7.1.2

        True, but that still relies on the lower downs to pay attention to unlawful instructions, which they might not.

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