IS Forum
Forum Index Register Members List Events Mark Forums Read Help

Go Back   International Skeptics Forum » General Topics » USA Politics
 


Welcome to the International Skeptics Forum, where we discuss skepticism, critical thinking, the paranormal and science in a friendly but lively way. You are currently viewing the forum as a guest, which means you are missing out on discussing matters that are of interest to you. Please consider registering so you can gain full use of the forum features and interact with other Members. Registration is simple, fast and free! Click here to register today.
Reply
Old 13th May 2022, 02:45 AM   #241
EaglePuncher
Critical Thinker
 
EaglePuncher's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2022
Posts: 483
Originally Posted by shuttlt View Post
I don't know. Delvo said the original question was absurd because we are not talking about how to fix the corrupt politics of some 3 stoplight down, and hence (I think) there is nothing an ordinary person can do. uke2se then said all the stuff about underground railroads.I'm now asking what underground railroads have to do with uke2se's original question.
Ok, thanks for clarifying.
__________________
You know you found a real "conservative" when they complain about virtue signalling while not realizing that they are virtue signalling.
EaglePuncher is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 13th May 2022, 03:00 AM   #242
uke2se
Penultimate Amazing
 
uke2se's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 14,238
Originally Posted by EaglePuncher View Post
Ok, thanks for clarifying.
To clarify, my original post talks about things ordinary citizens can do in the current situation to protect themselves and their fellow human beings from the depradations of christo-fascists. It's a call to action, not a call to speculate about potential future political developments.
__________________
Before you say something stupid about climate change, check this list.

"If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them. " Karl Popper, The Open Society and Its Enemies Vol. 1
uke2se is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 13th May 2022, 03:13 AM   #243
EaglePuncher
Critical Thinker
 
EaglePuncher's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2022
Posts: 483
Originally Posted by uke2se View Post
To clarify, my original post talks about things ordinary citizens can do in the current situation to protect themselves and their fellow human beings from the depradations of christo-fascists. It's a call to action, not a call to speculate about potential future political developments.
Yeah, I totally understood that. I just did not know what to reply to the usual cryptic, irrelevant stuff shuttit posts.
__________________
You know you found a real "conservative" when they complain about virtue signalling while not realizing that they are virtue signalling.
EaglePuncher is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 13th May 2022, 03:15 AM   #244
shuttlt
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 8,654
Originally Posted by uke2se View Post
To clarify, my original post talks about things ordinary citizens can do in the current situation to protect themselves and their fellow human beings from the depradations of christo-fascists. It's a call to action, not a call to speculate about potential future political developments.
This was what you said in your first post:
Originally Posted by uke2se View Post
I am pretty sure I already know the answer to the question in the title, but I'd like to see it discussed. What would it take for a return of democracy to the US? By democracy, I mean majority rule by consent of the goverened with actual ways to remedy grievances through elections.

As I understand the US system, it seems utterly broken, unless you view it as an oppressive system more akin to a theocracy or a so-called "managed democracy" like Russia or Hungary. I don't think that the US is quite there yet, but it's heading in that direction and I don't see an off-ramp.

I know the usual answer is to "vote", but given the fact that some votes count a lot more than others and a lot of people aren't given a chance to vote, that seems like a less than helpful suggestion. So, how do you guys plan to stop this decline into authoritarianism? Anyone got any useful ideas?
You were asking about stopping the "decline into authoritarianism" not some kind of prepper plan for coping with authoritarianism. As Delvo was, I think, pointing out... the answer right now is, effectively, nothing. You could try voting for whichever candidate is most despised by the political class in Washington, I suppose.... but I really don't expect that to do much.
shuttlt is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 13th May 2022, 04:55 AM   #245
psionl0
Skeptical about skeptics
 
psionl0's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: 31°57'S 115°57'E
Posts: 18,768
Any chance to turn the US into a democracy?

To answer the OP, I would say "most unlikely". The parties in congress don't want democracy. They want power.

But if we are wishing then AV or (better still) MMP and outlawing gerrymandering would be an important first step.

Another thing I have mulled over is whether the US should adopt a Parliamentary system where members of the executive comes from the House of Representatives or the Senate and is headed by a Prime Minister. Under this system, the President would only have limited powers to act independently and would mostly have to act on advice given by the executive. This seems to work alright in France.

I used to believe that the US system was superior to a parliamentary system but given the Hobson's choices that voters have been getting in Presidential elections in recent years, I don't believe that any more.
__________________
"The process by which banks create money is so simple that the mind is repelled. Where something so important is involved, a deeper mystery seems only decent." - Galbraith, 1975
psionl0 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 13th May 2022, 06:05 AM   #246
shuttlt
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 8,654
Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
I used to believe that the US system was superior to a parliamentary system but given the Hobson's choices that voters have been getting in Presidential elections in recent years, I don't believe that any more.
Is the problem the US system itself? There is always a tendency for power to centralise and for oligarchies to form. Maybe it happens a bit faster with one system, and a bit slower with another. Once this has happened, I don't see why changing the system of selecting candidates for office would fix it.
shuttlt is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 13th May 2022, 06:12 AM   #247
Lurch
Master Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Ottawa
Posts: 2,110
It's clear that the honor system is dead. Codification of clear cut rules is necessary. For an almost definitional case, look at the Supreme Court. Here there is an utter absence of ethics standards, let alone any enforcement mechanism. If there is only one thing to understand about human nature, it is that people cannot police themselves. Without black letter law and rules, and unambiguous external enforcement, corruption is inevitable.

A two party system is less amenable to dealing with corruption than is multi party one. To wit. The two recent impeachments went nowhere because the two sides are too nearly balanced, and entrenchment is rewarded.

The Presidential election is so very hotly contested because of the inordinate power invested in the position. And once in harness, the incumbent is effectively as dug in, embedded as a chigger for the full term. Invested parties on the team, to whom responsibility for removal of a criminal POTUS depends, is again a variation on self policing. And the idiotic custom of not indicting a sitting criminal POTUS, thereby neutering an external mechanism, is a recipe for disaster.

To an external observer, the American political structure is a conundrum. Lofty purpose stymied by conniving exploitation of inherent, overlooked structural deficiencies, and a devolution to undemocratic practices like Citizens United. The adoption of the corrupting influence of essentially unlimited money in politics ranks as about the pinnacle of stupidity in inviting the downfall of democracy.
Lurch is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 13th May 2022, 06:29 AM   #248
shuttlt
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 8,654
Originally Posted by Lurch View Post
It's clear that the honor system is dead. Codification of clear cut rules is necessary.
Who would write these clear cut rules? Surely it would be the people who you don't currently trust? Who would interpret them? Under what legal theory would they interpret them?

Originally Posted by Lurch View Post
For an almost definitional case, look at the Supreme Court. Here there is an utter absence of ethics standards, let alone any enforcement mechanism.
If you want to create some higher authority to make sure the SC are interpreting the rules correctly, how will you make sure that that higher authority isn't political?

Originally Posted by Lurch View Post
If there is only one thing to understand about human nature, it is that people cannot police themselves. Without black letter law and rules, and unambiguous external enforcement, corruption is inevitable.
You can't have something in charge of the system and external to the system. The nearest you can get is an absolute monarch or if you are ruled by some foreign power.

Originally Posted by Lurch View Post
A two party system is less amenable to dealing with corruption than is multi party one. To wit. The two recent impeachments went nowhere because the two sides are too nearly balanced, and entrenchment is rewarded.
This must be why Italian politics is so well known for it incorruptibility.

Originally Posted by Lurch View Post
The Presidential election is so very hotly contested because of the inordinate power invested in the position. And once in harness, the incumbent is effectively as dug in, embedded as a chigger for the full term. Invested parties on the team, to whom responsibility for removal of a criminal POTUS depends, is again a variation on self policing. And the idiotic custom of not indicting a sitting criminal POTUS, thereby neutering an external mechanism, is a recipe for disaster.
Who ever can replace the President at will is the real sovereign. All impeachments are political.

Last edited by shuttlt; 13th May 2022 at 06:32 AM.
shuttlt is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 18th May 2022, 03:26 AM   #249
Lurch
Master Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Ottawa
Posts: 2,110
Just a few indicators of the accelerating swirling about the drain, in no particular order of import:

- The Supreme Court just relaxed limits on how much a Senator (and Congress person?) could be reimbursed after making a self load for campaigning. I guess the old price of a quarter mil to buy a politician just doesn't cut it anymore.
- Related to the foregoing: Citizens United.
- The Supreme Court has achieved its critical mass of nakedly partisan, activist Justices, in good measure because politicians seat them.
- A Supreme Court Justice did not deign to recuse himself in a vote directly involving communications of his insurrectionist wife.
- The Supreme Court has no formal ethics guidelines, and at the same time the seats are for life. And lying during confirmation is no impediment to getting the job.
- The slaughter by gunfire continues apace, the only succor to offer the bereaved being thoughts and prayers.
- A major news network openly pushes conspiracy theories and peddles lies, brazenly.
- Right Wing fever dreams such as the "great replacement theory" are now becoming mainstream, with the associated terrorism likely to get a boost.
- The Supreme Court is poised--for the first time ever--to repeal a Constitutional right enjoyed for a half century. State Legislators are beavering away on the same front.
- State Legislatures are working to put partisan hacks in place so as to null election results they don't like.
- Many States have erected barriers to voting, by numerous means.
- A significant fraction of the populace is hostile to education, and actively eschew facts.
- In some jurisdictions books are being banned.
- A not tiny fraction of the citizenry are advocating for or anticipating civil war.
- The percentage of citizens who are incarcerated ranks as the highest (?) in the developed world, and eclipses many developing nations.
- Wealth disparity is obscene, and as the richest nation the poverty rate is likewise unconscionable.
- For an erstwhile secular State, religion has already got its hooks into Government to a certain degree ("In God We Trust", White House prayer breakfasts), and one Party is wholeheartedly embracing an American Taliban.
- Compounding matters is the long outdated Electoral College, ensuring a tyranny of the minority.

That's enough of a sorry catalog for now. What a ****-hole, if one examines the sad litany objectively. A democracy? Barely, if one is generous. A burgeoning theocracy/autocracy/kleptocracy? Absolutely. The almighty dollar is the worshipped idol in the toxic capitalism practiced in the USA. Its most insidious manifestation is the intertwining with politics, and the direct route it paves for corruption. Although different in numerous meaningful ways, nonetheless a 'Russia lite' is in the making.

The nation's hopes would seem to lie with the younger cohort, if they are sufficiently engaged and can bestir themselves before the boomers die off. Time is running out.

Can any American state with confidence that the fecally flecked fan is not just a few years in the offing, if not imminent?
Lurch is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 18th May 2022, 07:38 AM   #250
psionl0
Skeptical about skeptics
 
psionl0's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: 31°57'S 115°57'E
Posts: 18,768
Originally Posted by shuttlt View Post
Is the problem the US system itself? There is always a tendency for power to centralise and for oligarchies to form. Maybe it happens a bit faster with one system, and a bit slower with another. Once this has happened, I don't see why changing the system of selecting candidates for office would fix it.
Maybe changing the system of government won't prevent stacking the highest court with sympathizers nor will it stop the practice of selling policies to the highest bidder.

OTOH the US system seems to be characterized more by voter disenfranchisement, gerrymandering, fillibustering and self interested loose cannons within the governing party.
__________________
"The process by which banks create money is so simple that the mind is repelled. Where something so important is involved, a deeper mystery seems only decent." - Galbraith, 1975
psionl0 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 18th May 2022, 07:43 AM   #251
shuttlt
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 8,654
Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
Maybe changing the system of government won't prevent stacking the highest court with sympathizers nor will it stop the practice of selling policies to the highest bidder.

OTOH the US system seems to be characterized more by voter disenfranchisement, gerrymandering, fillibustering and self interested loose cannons within the governing party.
Is that the fault of the system, or the people who run the system?
shuttlt is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 18th May 2022, 08:31 AM   #252
psionl0
Skeptical about skeptics
 
psionl0's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: 31°57'S 115°57'E
Posts: 18,768
Originally Posted by shuttlt View Post
Is that the fault of the system, or the people who run the system?
That is the interesting question.

In a parliamentary system, the party that controls the lower house forms the executive government. Since government policy may be hotly debated by the parliamentary wing of the party, there is less likely to be public dissent - either in the executive or in parliament. Filibustering is not a feature of either house. If the upper house is also control of the upper house then it is not necessary since they control the agenda. Otherwise, legislation can be blocked without the filibuster anyway.

Australia has had some very undemocratic state parliaments in the past but once government changed hands, reforms quickly followed. This does not seem to happen in US states.
__________________
"The process by which banks create money is so simple that the mind is repelled. Where something so important is involved, a deeper mystery seems only decent." - Galbraith, 1975
psionl0 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 18th May 2022, 08:36 AM   #253
shuttlt
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 8,654
Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
That is the interesting question.

In a parliamentary system, the party that controls the lower house forms the executive government. Since government policy may be hotly debated by the parliamentary wing of the party, there is less likely to be public dissent - either in the executive or in parliament. Filibustering is not a feature of either house. If the upper house is also control of the upper house then it is not necessary since they control the agenda. Otherwise, legislation can be blocked without the filibuster anyway.

Australia has had some very undemocratic state parliaments in the past but once government changed hands, reforms quickly followed. This does not seem to happen in US states.
I would say that this is the explicit, de jure way that things are organised. Is that actually how decisions are made? During the Blair government you notionally had something like that going on, but he is famous for actually running things from a sofa and bypassing the cabinet.
shuttlt is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 19th May 2022, 02:55 AM   #254
psionl0
Skeptical about skeptics
 
psionl0's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: 31°57'S 115°57'E
Posts: 18,768
Originally Posted by shuttlt View Post
I would say that this is the explicit, de jure way that things are organised. Is that actually how decisions are made? During the Blair government you notionally had something like that going on, but he is famous for actually running things from a sofa and bypassing the cabinet.
Sometimes the PM is able to rule the executive and the party with an iron hand and is even more powerful than the POTUS.

But make no mistake. This can only be the case if he is popular with the voters. Once he loses his shine, the party will act (but you are still stuck with the POTUS until the end of his term).
__________________
"The process by which banks create money is so simple that the mind is repelled. Where something so important is involved, a deeper mystery seems only decent." - Galbraith, 1975
psionl0 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 21st May 2022, 01:02 PM   #255
Stacyhs
Penultimate Amazing
 
Stacyhs's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: United States
Posts: 24,872
CPAC went to Hungary, led by unabashed authoritarian Viktor Orban, where racists and bigots spoke. Trump, who attended, heaped praise on Orban. THIS is what Trump and his supporters are: anti-democratic, racist, and bigoted. They want the US to become another authoritarian, nationalist country like Hungary.

Quote:
A notorious Hungarian racist who has called Jews “stinking excrement”, referred to Roma as “animals” and used racial epithets to describe Black people, was a featured speaker at a major gathering of US Republicans in Budapest.

Zsolt Bayer took the stage at the second day of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) Hungary, a convention that also featured speeches from Donald Trump, Fox News host Tucker Carlson, and Trump’s former White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows.

The last featured speaker of the conference was Jack Posobiec, a far-right US blogger who has used antisemitic symbols and promoted the fabricated “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory smearing prominent Democrats as pedophiles.

Bayer, a television talkshow host in Hungary, has been widely denounced for his racism. During the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests, he wrote on his blog: “Is this the future? Kissing the dirty boots of ******* [racist epithet] and smiling at them? Being happy about this? Because otherwise they’ll kill you or beat you up?”

In 2011, he used the phrase “stinking excrement” to refer generically to Jews in England, and in 2013 wrote: “a significant part of the Roma are unfit for coexistence. They are not fit to live among people. These Roma are animals and they behave like animals.”

When he was awarded the Hungarian order of merit in 2016 by the country’s nationalist prime minister, Viktor Orbán, the star speaker on the first day of CPAC Hungary on Thursday, the US Holocaust Memorial Museum protested...
Quote:
Addressing the conference by video shortly before Bayer’s appearance, Trump poured compliments on Orbán, who was recently elected for a fourth term as prime minister.

“He is a great leader, a great gentleman, and he just had a very big election result. I was very honored to endorse him,” Trump said.
We live in very dangerous times for democracy. It's like we're living in the 1930's again.
Stacyhs is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 21st May 2022, 07:02 PM   #256
Lurch
Master Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Ottawa
Posts: 2,110
Originally Posted by Stacyhs View Post
CPAC went to Hungary, led by unabashed authoritarian Viktor Orban, where racists and bigots spoke. Trump, who attended, heaped praise on Orban. THIS is what Trump and his supporters are: anti-democratic, racist, and bigoted. They want the US to become another authoritarian, nationalist country like Hungary.




We live in very dangerous times for democracy. It's like we're living in the 1930's again.

After the last major Fascist ****-show, that Austrian corporal fellow was the choice target for daydreams involving time travelers going back in order to nip things in the bud. If it all goes to **** again, I wonder who future fantasists will most commonly posit as the target for a hit squad to go back in time and take out.
Lurch is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old Yesterday, 03:59 PM   #257
mgidm86
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,740
Originally Posted by Lurch View Post
After the last major Fascist ****-show, that Austrian corporal fellow was the choice target for daydreams involving time travelers going back in order to nip things in the bud. If it all goes to **** again, I wonder who future fantasists will most commonly posit as the target for a hit squad to go back in time and take out.

The sad thing is Trump is so incompetent and generally stupid that awarding him with such importance is just so soooo wrong! It's sad that our worst enemy is such a pathetic loser.

Future history student: "Wait...this guy ruined America back in the early 2000s? Are you kidding me?"
__________________
A zombie would starve here.
mgidm86 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old Yesterday, 04:51 PM   #258
Stacyhs
Penultimate Amazing
 
Stacyhs's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: United States
Posts: 24,872
A person doesn't have to have an above average intelligence, but may have a gift for oratory, for making people believe him and identify with him to the point of being worshipped with his picture hanging in their homes, for recognizing and playing to people's worst fears and anxieties, for creating a scapegoat for them so they don't have to take responsibility or blame onto themselves. This person know how to manipulate and entrance others through a projection of personal strength when, in fact, that 'strength' is just a facade for an incredibly weak sense of self-esteem probably derived from a traumatic childhood.

Future students will study him. And then, they'll also study Hitler.
Stacyhs is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old Yesterday, 10:39 PM   #259
The Great Zaganza
Maledictorian
 
The Great Zaganza's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Posts: 17,700
Australia just demonstrated how Ranked Choice Voting works in a Democracy, no problem, no instant decent into Stalinist Communism.
__________________
"Metaphysics is a restaurant where they give you a thirty thousand page menu, and no food."

- Robert M. Pirsig
The Great Zaganza is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Reply

International Skeptics Forum » General Topics » USA Politics

Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 01:24 PM.
Powered by vBulletin. Copyright ©2000 - 2022, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

This forum began as part of the James Randi Education Foundation (JREF). However, the forum now exists as
an independent entity with no affiliation with or endorsement by the JREF, including the section in reference to "JREF" topics.

Disclaimer: Messages posted in the Forum are solely the opinion of their authors.