Archives for posts with tag: Abraham Lincoln

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Or is it the (unforeseen?) consequence of some very ‘intelligent design‘?

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Us electoral sinopsis, re-edited

Favorability: People in the News, Gallup, April 2, 2016

Clinton vs Sanders, April 2, 2016

Source: AP

So, it looks like that the concerned Democrats – those who bothered to show up for the preliminaries, and specially the ‘super delegates’, are going to send Hilary Clinton to compete on the national stage, despite her constant ‘negative favorability’ and despite the fact that Sanders is constantly improving his chances – both favorability and ‘never heard of’ scores are slightly better now than they were at the start of the year. Furthermore, Sanders is the one who can ‘grow naturally’ – simply by making himself known – while Clinton needs to convince the voters that their erstwhile opinion about her was mistaken. An almost impossible feat, given the length of her public career…

republican pack, April 2, 2016

Source: AP

On the Republican side things are even stranger.
Trump gathers more and more delegates while his ‘negative favorability score’ becomes slightly even ‘more negative’, Cruz gets a second lease on life despite his ‘unfavorable’ score increasing dramatically while Kasich, the least favored by the hard core Republicans, climbs nationally from +4% to + 18% in 4 short months. And if you look closely almost all new opinions on him, those that have been developed during the last 4 months, have been in his favor.

One of my Republican friends said “I can’t speak for the other candidates, but people support Cruz because they believe in what he believes, and feel that sometimes it’s more important to stand up for what’s right, rather than what’s popular.“.
OK, I can understand that. The despondent and/or exasperated use Trump as a banner for their state of mind while the hard core, value toting, Republicans hope that by backing Cruz they will somehow bolster those values.

But let’s see what some ‘significant Republicans’ have to say about the matter.

Scott Walker, Governor for Wisconsin and ex candidate, being interviewed on WTMJ’s Charlie Sykes Show:
““If you’re someone who is uneasy with the frontrunner, right now there’s really only one candidate—I think if you’re just looking at the numbers objectively, Ted Cruz, Sen. Cruz, is the only one who’s got a chance other than Donald Trump to win the nomination,” Walker said in the Wednesday interview on WTMJ’s Charlie Sykes Show. “Statistically, my friend Gov. Kasich can not.””

Then there is Lindsay Graham, Republican Senator for South Carolina and ex candidate who endorsed Jeb Bush when dropping from the race:
“Graham said there are other candidates he likes better, but he doesn’t think they can win. “I prefer John Kasich; Cruz is not my first pick by any choice,” the South Carolina senator explained. “But I don’t see how John Kasich can mount the opposition that Ted Cruz can to stop Donald Trump from getting 1,237” (the number of delegates needed to secure the nomination).
Graham has made it abundantly clear that he really doesn’t like Cruz at all. In January, he said Cruz has “exhibited behavior in his time in the Senate that make it impossible for me to believe that he could bring this country together,” adding that choosing between him and Trump is “like being shot or poisoned — what does it really matter?” Last month, he joked about Cruz’s general unpopularity among his colleagues, saying, “If you killed Ted Cruz on the floor of the Senate, and the trial was in the Senate, nobody would convict you.””

The way I see it, these guys, the Republican ‘apparatchiks’, are more concerned about derailing Trump than with promoting the more suited candidate among the trio. Suited for Presidency, that is.

sansele candidatilor

source: Huffpost Pollster

So, according to the polls compiled by Huffington Post, Sanders would lick the entire Republican field – if allowed to compete, while the Republican candidates are stacked, at least for now, according to the ‘who has the least chances on the national front’ criterion.

?!?

Does any of this make any sense? Any at all?

Here’s my Republican friend again: “In the case of Clinton, despite her unfavorability in the polls, there’s a sense in the Democratic Party that it’s her “turn.”
Some others think she is ‘in cahoots’ with the ‘big business’… “Family charities collected donations from companies she promoted as secretary of state“… Coming from Wall Street Journal this is a powerful allegation indeed…

But at least in this camp things are unfolding, lets say, ‘naturally’. The guys with vested interests (the super delegates, for example) are acting according to those interests while the rank and file Democrats are slowly (too slowly, maybe?) finding out what’s going on.

What really baffles me is what’s happening on the Republican side.

Some of the rank and file have adopted ‘the Donald’ as their mascot despite the obvious fact that he doesn’t belong, at all, in politics. He might have been a successful business man – read chock full of money, but the way he made that money disqualifies him from holding office. Does ‘eminent domain‘ ring any bells with you? Not to mention his antics on the public stage: “Excuse me”, ‘I’m the best thing that could happen to America!’
Are all these people delusional or are they so fed up with what’s currently going on in America that they can’t see the trees because of the forest (is on fire)?

Some others have gone ‘back to basics’ and try to revive what they consider to be the ‘sound Republican values’ – I’m speaking now about those who support Ted Cruz, if you didn’t figure that out by yourselves.
But what are these ‘hard core Republican values’?
How come some of Cruz’s followers are blaming Lincoln for being the first ‘statist’ in American history – not for abolishing slavery but for imposing that measure by force to the unwilling Southern States.
And how come those values have come to be embodied in someone so ‘popular’ among his Senatorial colleagues that “If you killed Ted Cruz on the floor of the Senate, and the trial was in the Senate, nobody would convict you.” ?

And isn’t it strange that so many Republicans are so mesmerized that they are willing to give up almost any chance of electing a Republican President?
OK, I can understand that way of thinking being used by ‘lay people’. But what is the real meaning of ‘pundits’ rallying behind the ‘value laden’ Cruz when it is obvious that Kasich is in a way better position on the national front?

Could it be that these pundits are more concerned about their own careers than with the fate of the Republican party? And even about the Republican values?
Farfetched?
Are you sure? Don’t you see that by energizing their constituencies into a frenzy they are simply building Republican (local) fortresses for their own use, leaving the rest of the (national) Republicans out to dry?

more stuff

Well, I was under the impression that Conservatism was about maintaining a common way of life, not about conserving privileges.

I still believe that.

trump torture

As a young adult I understood that there was no real difference between Hitler and Stalin. It didn’t matter that one of them was considered to come from the left while the other was depicted (by the communists but not exclusively) as a paragon of the right, both of them had in common an absolute disrespect for everybody else. Each of them was convinced that only their opinions mattered and that all else were absolute morons.

That was when I started to have an inkling about what ‘the elders’ wanted to convey to us, green-horns bucking under the communist rule that was crippling Romania at that time, when whispering

‘there isn’t much difference between USSR and America. Their leaders want to rule as much of the world as they can grab while the ordinary people, in both countries, don’t have a clue about what’s going on’.

As I’ve become older I’ve started to figure out that the real difference between various activism-s has nothing to do with the ‘hue’ displayed on their banners. All that counts is the intensity of the sentiment that fuels them and the manner in which their activists relate to the other participants in the game.

At first glance the very notion of ‘conservative activist’ would be an oxymoron, given the fact that (some of the) conservatives define themselves as defenders of the existing order.
Who simply react, within the boundaries of the law and using the tenets of the Constitution, to whatever follies the ‘liberal activists’ are trying to bring upon our heads:

“Like the American people I have watched this process for a number of years, and I fear this empathy standards is another step down the road to a liberal activist, results-oriented and relativistic world where — laws lose their fixed meaning, unelected judges set policy; Americans are seen as members of separate groups rather than simply Americans, and where the constitutional limits on government power are ignored when politicians want to buy out private companies… Call it empathy, call it prejudice, but whatever it is, it is not law. In truth, it is more akin to politics. And politics has no place in the courtroom.” (Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL), speaking at Sonia Sotomayor’s confirmation hearings)

As usual, practice trumps theory. Regardless of whatever the theory says – and some of the pundits pretend, everybody has an agenda and everybody who has an agenda is actually an activist.

Now that we’ve successfully climbed down to the practical level let’s see what’s the real meaning of Trump backing down from his trumped up stance on torture:

trump defending torture

Hey, wait a minute! So he actually said that ‘we should go tougher than waterboarding’ and he still has such a strong following among the ‘law abiding defenders of the Constitution’?

Well, I’m afraid things are more complicated than that.
Here’s what he says about those who trust him:

trump shooting people

“The people, my people, are so smart…
And you know what else? they say about my people? the polls?
They say I have the most loyal people! Did you ever see that?
Where I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters.”

Well, if this isn’t ‘activism’ then I don’t know what else is.

But what kind of activism is it?
I’m not asking about where it should be placed in the political spectrum! I’m just wondering how are his proponents, Trump’s people, going to relate with their fellow citizens?
Or with the rest of the world…

And what’s the true meaning of the conservative activists coming out of the closet and assuming such an active stance? So active, in fact, that – as I said before – it is now way outside the realms of typical conservative behavior.

The explanation – as I see it – has little to do with Trump itself and everything with the present situation of the American society as a whole.

First things first.
Trump is nothing but an opportunistic bug, the real problem being how come the American Conservatives have not seen him for what he is and have not thrown him out yet.
I’ll concentrate on this from now on.

The American Conservatives, and not only those ‘loyal’ to Trump, behave as if they have been under a two thronged siege.
‘ The liberals are destroying America from within, the enemies from the outside are growing stronger and stronger yet the American Political Establishment does nothing meaningful about any of these, not even the ‘entrenched’ conservative ‘figureheads’.’

This didn’t start yesterday.

“Whenever you get a group of people together who share certain basic assumptions, there’s a natural tendency for the group to gravitate toward the most uncompromising, extreme, strident, fundamentalist, hard-core positions. Social psychologists call this tendency group polarization. It happens on juries with some regularity. It explains why the Tea Party became so insane, so deeply out of touch with the needs and views of the average American voter. And it explains why the Bush Administration invaded Iraq without an exit strategy (they stopped inviting people who disagreed with their assumptions—people like Colin Powell—to the planning meetings).” (John Faithful Hamer, From Here (2016))

But because of the internet things have gotten even worse:

“These days, any simpleminded partisan with a political ax to grind can find an online community of like-minded whack-jobs who’ll be happy to provide him with plenty of ideological ammunition (e.g., bogus stats, pre-fab arguments, etc.).” John Faithful Hamer, From Here (2016)

“Worse” not because of the ease with which these communities can grow but because too many of the members of these communities tend to give in to the apparent comfort and safety of single-mindedness.

Arguments are no longer able to penetrate the boundaries of this kind of communities.
Walls are erected to keep the odd man out. Then defended fiercely.

And this is why any attempt to cross those walls, be it aggressively or even in good faith, is too often perceived as a mortal threat by those within.

This is the mechanism through which the likes of Hitler and Stalin have managed to dominate for so long their hapless followers, by convincing them that all outsiders, all aliens, are conspiring to destroy ‘Das Vaterland’.

Fortunately the Internet works both ways. It’s true that the members of those communities can chose not to read anything else but the ideas promoted by their insiders but, just as easily, any of them can find out everything that ‘the others’ have to say about the matter.

But what if things are not (yet) as bleak as some of the media venues present them to be?
Not that all the media wants to scare the shit out of us or that all of them are politically biased. No. This happens simply because all of them want to make better ratings and because very few of them understand that ‘he who saws the wind will reap the whirlwind’. (Well, some of them might actually do it on purpose and that’s exactly what activism means but my post is more about those who let themselves be sucked into the whirlwind than about the tempest sowers).

A very short search of the Internet produced two extremely interesting ‘snapshots’.
The first, that the CPAC straw poll placed Trump no higher than the third place, should not surprise us very much. After all most of the participants are either GOP officials or young wannabees and for them Trump is akin to a ragging bull.
The second, though, is rather mind boggling.

gallup, candidates popularity, february 2016

Gallup, daily tracking

Four out of the six still running candidates nomination are perceived more or less unfavorably by the American public?

So what is this? A contest for ‘the least un-liked presidential candidate’ title? (The answer to this question might also explain why Trump has backed down on torture. He figured out that that was too much, even for him. And for ‘his people’.)

We couldn’t blame this on ‘activism’, as such – the remaining two candidates are also ‘active’, but shouldn’t we be asking ourselves about what kind of activism deserves our encouragement?

In any way, shape or form?

Well, before answering this we must consider another issue first.
What brought us to the present situation, where both sides of the Political Establishment – and not only in America – are acting as if they want to tear everything apart instead of doing their best to make it all work together?

 

Lincoln activism

“Abraham Lincoln represented the entire nation, and his most serious actions were aimed at improving the lives of the oppressed and the poor. Lincoln’s values and actions still rank as the greatest period of social activism in the United States. Lincoln’s goal was to create a more perfect union by extending dignity to all — to once and for all end a diabolical, brutal, and oppressive system in which humans were property, mere production instruments.

In other words, Lincoln’s policies were designed for all of the people, not the just the wealthy, the privileged, or vested-interested lobbies.”

Basically, “anarchy” is about everybody for himself. And damn everybody else – even though most forget about this part.

While “secession” is mostly about someone trying to carve a ‘piece of the action’ for himself – and some people (naively?) following him. Maybe hoping that the new ruler would prove to be better than the old one?

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