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02/29/2016

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Ken Barrows

If laughter is the best medicine, maybe America should vote for Trump. We shall get what we deserve.

Dave Cohen

I'll leave Ken's comment up as a warning to others who might pipe up here.

This post was heartfelt and hard to write. But when you live in an idiocracy like the United States, flippant, vacuous comments like Ken's, which contradict every single thing I said in this post, are to be expected.

I won't be laughing, if The Donald is elected, when the United States becomes a more dangerous place to in than it is now.

-- Dave

Ken Barrows

Sorry, Dave. I would cry if I couldn't laugh at this.

Mark

My poor daughter will turn 3 yrs. old two weeks after the election in Nov. Not much to look forward to in the matter of her unfortunate future. I'm just not sure how to educate her and prepare her for a future that will be vastly different than the past. The old school / traditional education she will probably get won't mean much when she is 18 yrs old and the Co2 levels will be over 450PPM. It would be great to have her aware, but not depressed and/or angry. A fine line.

Another battle I face is that her mom thinks I'm a doomer and crazy. She entirely believes we need to do exactly what people have done in the past. Work, invest in 401K, by a house and retire when we are 65. Except for a couple year setback in 2008, there is no reason to believe otherwise. She isn't the only one, my family and friends are the same. Sucks when you have no kindred spirit in your everyday life.

It is the slow burn that frustrates me the most. It is just slow enough to avoid detection by most people. If only we could have a shock to get people more aware. That is why this will be so unstoppable.

Dave Cohen

Re: I would cry...

Well, OK. An honest response. That wasn't so hard, right?

-- Dave

Dan

@Mark

After reading all three Flatland essays, it has become very easy for me to understand why people act the way they do. And although it saddens me, I am no longer surprised by human idiocy. My wife thinks I'm a doomer as well, that's why I don't even bother talking about this stuff anymore. Besides, the term "doomer" is a content free ad hominem, and of course challenging the myth of progress in any way, shape, or form will get you that label.

With regard to the slow burn, if you look at the collapse of complex civilizations throughout history, they were all "slow burns" in some way or other, and nobody outside a handful of thoughtful intellectuals ever really saw the signs. I also have a young child (2 weeks old), and I am struggling to figure out how I can prepare him for the world knowing what is in store. I think teaching him about Flatland is a good start. At least then he can call himself out on his own bullshit.

Jim

I'm not going anywhere either, whatever happens.

I've read a couple of Berman's books, and like just about everyone else who is at least a halfway-decent thinker, he gets some things right while being blind to a lot of other issues. I also watched that video you linked a while back, and somewhere in there he explained that he moved from America to Mexico because he found he didn't have anyone to talk to about how much America sucks. The interviewer asked why he didn't write a book about Mexico, and Berman said he didn't know why, but I'm pretty sure if he wrote about how much Mexico sucks, he'd find he wouldn't have anyone to talk to there, either.

As to the election, the GOP has spent decades appealing to the basest instincts in American culture in order to consolidate votes, and now they're dealing with a candidate who plays that game better than they do.

Cruz has the only shot to beat Trump, but he spent all of his limited time in the Senate flipping the bird to the GOP establishment in order to position himself as a Presidential candidate with populist appeal, and now no one in that establishment will support him. They're supporting a guy who hasn't yet won a state, still won't after Super Tuesday, and who isn't even projected to win his home state.

In some ways I fear Cruz more than Trump, too, in that while Trump is completely unconscious in his positions, Cruz is a true believer who uses his intelligence to rationalize and solidify his positions. Which is worse? Flip a coin.

As to whether or not Clinton or Trump (or Cruz) would win, it's hard to say. There's something definitely going on in this country in that there's a real sense of dissatisfaction with Washington and the status quo. Clinton personifies that establishment more than any other candidate in recent history, and she'll be going up against someone who will pitch himself as its opposite. It'll depend on turnout, and it will depend if there's a third party candidate that would split the GOP vote like Bloomberg would.

After that, honestly, I wouldn't expect the world to crack open as a direct result. Even if the worst happens, Trump won't be able to exceed political realities any more than Sanders could. The military would increase in size and reach, its actions would further destabilize sensitive areas on the globe, civil liberties would be eroded more quickly, we'd blow a raspberry in the direction of Paris as for climate, tax breaks would be given like candy to the wealthy while the country slips deeper into debt, the Supreme Court would get another conservative or two, and America would continue its unavoidable slide into deeper idiocracy, but these are generally the 'slow burn' fundamentals mentioned in Mark's comment. Economically, if there's another 2008-style crash, someone like Trump or Cruz might be stupid enough to let the system burn up in re-entry - but that's the only scenario where I could figure a significant chance of a faster burn.

Additionally, America almost always votes against the President's party in Congress after a few years, so there would likely be a return to a Democratic Congress if Trump or Cruz was President.

@Dan: I don't have children, but if I did, and I had the goal of wanting the best life for them as possible, I would teach them practical skills. Teaching them Flatland would largely isolate them from others, although there are some practical applications to knowing why people do what.

LJR

The issue, for me, isn't Trump - it's that there is popular support for him. Listening to people go on about their beliefs that he is a successful businessman or truthful because he "funds" his own campaign - all without the slightest attempt to verify these assertions - upsets but doesn't surprise me. If a significant number of uneducated inarticulate angry voting age citizens who normally ignore elections decide to vote for Trump I think there's a good chance that he can beat Clinton.

Trump's appeal, unfortunately, is that one interviewee's comment, "he thinks like I do," is spot on. And that's totally depressing.

Bill Hicks

The problem with voting for Hillary is that if she wins (which I'd say is a BIG if at this point) is that it will likely buy only four more years of relative normalcy until the lid really blows off the the pot in 2020. The good news is that after 16 years of Bush and Obama allowing the wealthy to completely rig the system in their favor many people are pissed off. The bad thing is that--as always happens in human history--instead of turning to someone who might actually try to help but proposes difficult solutions, they are predictably turning towards demagogues and hatred.

Trump is a clown--and I really wonder how much of what he says he even takes seriously himself. But don't for a minute think that there aren't other ambitious figures in the Republican party looking closely at what he is doing and trying to figure out how they might pull off a similar if much more disciplined campaign four years from now if Trump loses. Because if he does, after four more years of having a neoliberal sellout in the White House making wealth disparity even worse, the anger seen during this election cycle is going to seem very tame in comparison.

StarStruck

I read your Flatland essays as well (along with numerous other posts) and I can only say thank-you. I've completely alienated myself at this point as I'm prone to confront bullshit when it's preached. I'm hardly perfect but I'm willing to admit my own hypocrisy (and other faults) trying to survive this nonsense. The "Good German" is ubiquitous though, here in Canada too. There really is no reprieve. I appreciate Morris Berman too, and I can't blame him at all. I wish him the best in enjoying his final years among those he deems more human in Mexico. I'm just a loner increasingly alone but I think I'm getting better at it. Basically I'm a hermit that stirs up shit when I go out. As an occasional friend told me "truth telling won't get you laid". There must be freedom in this, knowing when to smile and nod and move on, engage when appropriate (for better or worse). Mostly I crave silence these days. Thankfully I live in an area where nature (altered as it is) still dominates so I can still find places where "the stones speak and I am silent". What a shit show but I guess it really is the best we can do...over and over...and over again. "I am what I am, and that's all that I am" - Popeye the sailor man.

Bill Hicks

And as far as moving to Canada (or anywhere else) goes--much easier said than done. If you don't have the assets, the skills or at least the family ties, it's going be a tough go--especially if you don't know anyone in your proposed destination. John Dolan wrote a harrowing essay for Counterpunch a few years ago about how he and his wife moved to Victoria, BC (this was about ten years ago), lost their jobs, saw their savings dwindle and ended up homeless. Particularly disturbing was how little most of the Canadians he encountered cared about their plight.

And anyway, if Trump wins, Canada is likely to to become his Sudetenland--so moving there is likely a temporary solution at best.

LJR

Furthermore, I am afraid ridiculing Trump will only strengthen and widen his support where he most needs it. Ridicule and abuse will be perceived as a fear motivated response by the elites to his "strength." And, of course, that's absolutely right.

Trump won instant allegiance with his base when he said he'd build a wall between the US and Mexico and start charging a tariff on products US manufacturers make in Mexico. These are, from the point of view of his supporters, substantive issues. They don't have the ability to see that they're being played. Trump stole the Republicans' dog whistle and he's not about to give it back.

A significant majority of polled people think the country is going in the wrong direction. That's a huge number of potential protest votes.

The debates between Clinton and Trump will be interesting to watch.

StarStruck

@Bill Hicks

I was born and raised in Victoria, and don't live far from there now. John Dolan is an obvious fool. Victoria is a closed loop - it's all who you know and who you blow, always has been though it's loosening up slightly. It's like somebody showing up in the Hampton's from another country and announcing "here I am, love me". Who cares? No one. Victoria is some of the most prime real estate in Canada. On top of that it is inundated every year with lots of arrogant, ignorant American tourists thus the locals are aware and immune to Americanism. That citizens of the USA have co-opted the name American for themselves says reams but when the tube sock-polo shirt-bright short masses seek refuge in the port and insist they get change in "real money" (Fed. notes as opposed to Can. dollars) everybody does a collective eye roll. If "Americans" want refuge in more far flung locales they'll be in for more than that. Everyone here knows their master and they don't like it one bit.

Dave Cohen

Bill,

Re: until the lid really blows off the the pot in 2020

What's so special about 2020? Assuming Hillary wins.

-- Dave

Lidia17

@Bill Hicks, I couldn't find a listing for "John Dolan" at Counterpunch. Do you have a better indication for the article you mentioned?

StarStruck

Maybe "Americans" should get serious about fixing themselves and their empire. Get over your paranoia, nobody in their right minds is going to attack you. The USA squandered such an immense opportunity after the fall of the USSR. In fact it wasn't just squandered (that would suggest good will) but was demonstrably the character of the CorpratUSAy. Screw everyone and win at all costs. Some say the Germans lost WWII, others say the Nazi's won. I think the kakistocracy always wins but what sane human being would want to rule another? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dirzMDYz0rc

Jacob Horner

Hi Lidia

Perhaps this is it ?

http://exiledonline.com/living-with-cons-and-paupers-in-canadas-arctic-waters/all/1/

Be Well

StarStruck

@Jacob Horner

lol, sounds like he was living at fisherman's wharf. What the fuck is he talking about sea ice for? There's no sea ice (can't "Americans" get over their stereotypes?) but there are plenty of desperate people living there on boats. How do I know? I know because a buddy lived there for years in a float home and I visited all the time. He said it was like living in a trailer park (he grew up in one).

Dolan is an obvious idiot. It was probably good for him to get a dose of reality.

Jim

Les Moonves: Trump's run is 'damn good for CBS':
http://www.politico.com/blogs/on-media/2016/02/les-moonves-trump-cbs-220001

"Man, who would have expected the ride we're all having right now? ... The money's rolling in and this is fun," Moonves went on. "I've never seen anything like this, and this going to be a very good year for us. Sorry. It's a terrible thing to say. But, bring it on, Donald. Keep going.”

You wrote about Moonves before:
http://www.declineoftheempire.com/2015/12/im-mad-as-hell.html

He hasn't changed his tune.

Dave Cohen

Oh, Jim

God Bless You for bringing up that post and that CBS asshole Moonves.

So much of understanding the Human Condition is simply remembering what came before.

best,

-- Dave

Jacob Horner

Piping up here..on lids and pots and remembering dangerous things:

"Richard Cheney cares less about American democracy than he cares who he shoots in the face. And this has been true since he first crawled out of the primordial authoritarian soup."

http://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/news/a42562/dick-cheney-cia-report-edit/

"Richard Cheney, then the deputy assistant to the president, edited the report of the Rockefeller Commission from inside the Ford White House"

http://nsarchive.gwu.edu/NSAEBB/NSAEBB543-Ford-White-House-Altered-Rockefeller-Commission-Report/

"Those who have known him over the years remain astounded by what they describe as his almost autistic indifference to the thoughts and feelings of others. 'He has the least interest in human beings of anyone I have ever met'"

http://www.afboard.com/forum/showthread.php?2678-The-Curse-of-Dick-Cheney-by-Rolling-Stone-Magazine

"The Texas lawyer Dick Cheney sprayed with birdshot during a traumatic 2006 hunting trip recently bagged his first quail since the terrifying rifle mishap 10 years ago — but there has still never been a vice presidential apology."

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/texas-man-dick-cheney-shot-10-years-quail-hunting-article-1.2528202

"When one contemplates the streak of insanity running through human history, it appears highly probable that homo sapiens is a biological freak, the result of some remarkable mistake in the evolutionary process." Arthur Koestler, The Ghost in the Machine

G'Nite 

Andy

I don't envy a thoughtful voters choices. I'm with George Carlin though, and don't vote. I can't understand most people, how can the lead candidates be so thoroughly 'wrong', by all measures? It looks to me as though Trump will easily win.

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