HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » ck4829 » Journal
Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Next »

ck4829

Profile Information

Member since: Sat Mar 20, 2004, 11:37 AM
Number of posts: 17,868

Journal Archives

Just how representative is the House of Representatives?

Is it representative...

Financially? The median income of the US is about $51k a year. Congress gets $174k a year. So no.

Demographically? Does Congress represent Americans in terms of race, gender, religion, class, occupation, etc? No.

Ideologically? About 60% of Americans support gay marriage. Yet it took a ruling by the Supreme Court to get this. Americans want protections for the transgender community, yet legislators across the country want to put their rights up for debate or a vote. Two thirds of Americans polled want an end to the disastrous war on drugs, yet Congress shows no sign of wanting to shut it down. Three out of four Americans want funding for Planned Parenthood, yet legislators continue to obsess over edited videos in their plan to defund the organization. And close to two thirds of Americans polled also want universal healthcare. Do you think Congress will pass that anytime soon? Stop laughing now... no.

Physically? Can representatives really serve their people when they are avoiding town halls and the people they are supposed to serve? Of course not.

Intellectually? Can the House of Representatives serve us scientifically when the chairman of the committee for science, Lamar Smith, is saying global warming doesn't exist, pushing Breitbart articles, and saying to get your news straight from Trump? They can't.

Nationally? As evidence increases for Russia's meddling in the joke of the 2016 election, instead of it being recognized as that; legislators would still like to discuss if it happened or even if it was bad. Members of Congress took an oath to support and defend the Constitution, not to appease Putin. Can they really have the interests of their voters in mind when they are OK with this polonium-using autocrat interfering in our affairs?

Politically? Now you might not really care for all of the above things, you might say that's not what it means. And that's OK. But guess what? Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution states that our Representatives are "chosen every second year by the people of the several states", and can they choose when we have gerrymandered districts, voter suppression, lines so crowded they discourage voters, the same number of voting machines for rural vs urban voters, and more?

Maybe the party that's out of power is more in touch with the American People than we would like to say out loud.

Maybe it's time to start saying that.

The Wastefulness of the Deplorable

Needing to get back to the day when the people who shot up our schools, churches, and movie theaters were white and... Not! Muslim!

Gouging out your eye or cutting off your nose upon hearing the promise that liberals, Muslims, refugees, immigrants, people poorer than you, people on welfare, minorities, the GLBTQ community, and other 'others' will feel some pain later on if you do these self-mutilating acts.

Getting your opinions and constantly shifting information about gas prices and the political and socioeconomic meanings of gas prices from Fox News and agreeing to whatever they say about it all.

-

The first one is black comedy and an exaggeration... but there are people who see the world almost like this, and it not just being dark humor. The rally at Maricopa County is proof of that.

The second one is metaphorical... for now.

And the third one is very real.

-

The problem is I don't think we will ever change the minds of Trump supporters as a whole, sure we may change the minds of individuals here and there, but I really think they are stuck and will happily agree to those things above and more.

But that doesn't mean to give up at all.

We need to highlight to non-voters and to ourselves that this system is very irrational, ignores cost-benefit, and is indeed wasteful. And these ways of thinking will affect the non-voters as much as it does them.

And Trump won't be president forever, but these ways of thinking will persist, we may not be able to change how Trump supporters think and we shouldn't worry about it, but we should be making sure these toxic ways of thinking do not permeate our structures and institutions.

Healthcare Drama

Two days ago, I made a post saying that it's not really about price when it comes to healthcare, but about social control.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1002&pid=8790155

I don't think my post did what I typed justice and so I think it's time to explore this concept more fully. Our healthcare system is, quite simply, technological. Skilled doctors and nurses using devices and objects designed by others to diagnose and treat disease and injury is the first thing that comes to mind. But then we have companies communicating with each other, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, and of course insurance companies authorizing payments for these treatments and moving money. With skilled individuals, devices and objects used in medicine, hospitals and insurance companies, and more; it is all indeed a technological system.

Now turn to Bryan Pfafferberger who says that technology can be treated as drama, a system where power is being constructed. Our healthcare system needs to be examined in this light, where it creates the powerful, the powerless, and other differences between groups of people.

Pfaffenberger says there are eleven ways we can see this, and it becomes very apparent that this appears in our healthcare system.

Exclusion - This is where people of the 'wrong' group are denied access to technology and knowledge.
* The tie between being employed and having insurance for the non-upper class is very important here. If you are long-term unemployed, part-time, etc.; then you are of the 'wrong' group. Expanding Medicaid rectified some of this this, but I don't know if that will last much longer now.
* Can also apply to the medical profession itself. It's difficult, not impossible, but difficult for someone who is poor and if they're the first person in their family to go to college, then it's going to be all that much harder for that person to go into medicine.
* There's also the issue of the 'right' to deny gay people medical treatment. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/bill-would-let-michigan-doctors-emts-refuse-to-treat-gay-patients/

Deflection - Diverting attention away from the machinations of the powerful.
* Who knew that the problem with healthcare was that it didn't have tax cuts for the rich? Good thing Trumpcare solves that.
* http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2017/03/13/paul_ryan_and_mick_mulvaney_s_defend_trumpcare_s_tax_cuts_for_the_rich.html

Differential incorporation - Different groups may have different experiences of the same technology.
* Calling healthcare reform "Obamacare" vs the "Affordable Care Act"
* http://thegrio.com/2017/01/18/watch-americans-who-love-the-affordable-care-act-but-hate-obamacare/
* http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2013/09/27/poll-obamacare-vs-affordable-care-act/

Compartmentalization - While access may appear democratic and free, it is constructed to keep some away.
* As Tom Price said, he wants to make sure "every single American has access to affordable coverage", quality coverage... if you can afford it.

Segregation - All the mechanisms that keep people away.
* High costs of treatment and tests.

Centralization - Decisions over who will use technology and how it will be used are centrally managed.
* Take a look at the price of Daraprim, how it's price was hiked by one company and one man in particular, Martin Skhreli. One can also look at the control of this drug and how the whole issue of generic drugs and patents.
* Also here would be a treatment being denied because it's "experimental", deeming something this probably wasn't mentioned in the doctor-patient relationship that people opposed to healthcare reform like to talk about.

Standardization - Demands for compliance can be so great that they overwhelm autonomy or alternative cultures of usage.
* You will buy your prescription drugs here in the US, getting them cheaper from Canada is frowned upon, no, it's actually illegal.

Polarization - Different iterations of the technology are produced to create social differentiation.
* A rich person being able to go into a hospital and getting elective surgery and saying "put it on my card" vs a poor person needing a life-saving surgery and wrangling with the hospital and insurance companies before, during, and after treatment is exactly this. In fact, I would actually say this creates class distinction rather than the difference between classes doing this.
* Gender also plays a role here. In particular, sexual and reproductive health for men vs women. We've seen demonization of women's health, even reaching to the point where an abortion doctor is assassinated and a Planned Parenthood is attacked by a terrorist. The campaign against Sandra Fluke also counts. Employer permission for birth control. All this even though birth control medication treats a wide variety of conditions. Meanwhile, what regulations and demonization campaigns do we see regarding drugs such as Viagra?

Marginalization - Inferior models for audiences deemed inferior.
* The "war on drugs" definitely goes here. When the people were black and inner city, our media and government officials spoke in terms of militarization, of a "biological underclass", of long prison terms, of Shariah-like executions (Just a side note, funny how nobody calls Bennett a "secret Muslim", why is that?), etc. When the drug users became white and not-so-inner city though, it became a public health crisis. They received medicalization when another group received criminalization, why the different approaches?
* "Affluenza" for Ethan Couch is also a superior treatment for someone because they have money and influence. Has a poor person's poverty ever became a reason why they didn't understand what they were doing was wrong?

Delegation - Morality may be delegated to technology in order to counter perceived moral failings in people.
* Before we had the end of pre-existing conditions and how nearly everyone loves it now, but remember how Republicans were defending it? Calling people who were hit by these it liars, frauds, and cheaters? Here's a more recent example - http://www.patheos.com/blogs/danthropology/2017/02/cnns-rick-santorum-millions-americans-using-pre-existing-conditions-scam-health-care/ But, this is that, being denied because pre-existing conditions aren't bad, they were simply exposing the people who were trying to game the system, even if those gamers were cancer sufferers who investigators found out had athlete's foot or was a devious newborn baby.
* Jason Chaffetz saying the only reason poor people can't afford healthcare is because they went out and bought an iPhone also counts here.
* There's also still a very insidious undercurrent in our country's way of thinking that you get sick because there's something wrong with you as a person. It's not because the rich and powerful live in cleaner environments or have quicker access to medicine, it's apparently because the poor are sinful, right?

Disavowal - Things that are created for people further down the social order are avoided by higher status groups.
* We're told public healthcare is bad... quite often by people who have their healthcare paid for by us. Why don't they want our healthcare if what we have is so great.

https://books.google.com/books?id=AKIcBQAAQBAJ&pg=PA83&lpg=PA83&dq=pfaffenberger&source=bl&ots=uFGWqwwmaM&sig=pXKuf3NsogzL8pKLb7reDq-sEkU&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi2hqTNo9vSAhWF6YMKHczyCKEQ6AEIGjAA#v=onepage&q=pfaffenberger&f=false

This is why they call it the "greatest healthcare system in the world."

The Clash Hypothesis

A lot of people and different groups have made guesses and theories about how and why Donald Trump won, I think it is finally time for me to add my idea about it, the implications it has for the future, and our very identity really.

The clash hypothesis is not easy to define by itself, I think it is easier to see through application instead. Quite simply, it is people saying "Omar Mateen" but not "Adam Lanza", or people saying "Nidal Hassan" but not "Ivan Lopez". It is pervasive too, so pervasive, that it is taken for granted, and so pervasive that people on both sides of the political aisle are not immune from it.

The important thing here is that Trump won the electoral vote not because liberals don't say "Radical Islamic Terrorist" enough times like it was some sort of magical ritual or "because they're too politically correct" but because the right harnessed a segment of the American public who wants to actually ignore the second person that was mentioned both times just above.

This ignorance and then deflecting to Muslims, the immigrants, the refugees, etc. serves several functions, including those that are unconscious, unintended, and beneficial (for some groups at least):

Perceived solutions - Quite simply, we go down the same path with a non-Muslim violent person over and over again, the media and politicians call it a tragedy, say something needs to be done, call for changes, for treatment, but in the end, nothing gets done. When the violent person is Muslim however, the response is a bit more... extreme. It is termed a clash of civilizations, there are calls to ban people, bomb a country, nuke someone, etc. People feel powerless when they see the same scene play out repeatedly in the former, but they feel power when they can focus on the second.

Allows people to still "feel" safe - One does not need a lot of research to tell them that people would probably not like the idea if that if someone were to commit a violent act against them; then it would probably be someone of the same color, the same nationality, maybe even the same religion, and more. In short, someone like you. It is easier to tell if someone is a potential enemy by that person being a different skin color than you, a different style, a different religion, etc. As long is the terrorist is over "there" and not one of "us", then there is no reason to be alarmed, something not even the director of the FBI is immune from.

Allows us to wash our hands clean of the act - By focusing on the acts by violent Muslims while ignoring the ones done by us; we can say there was no cultural or social influence, that they might as well be islands of murder who just materialize out of thin air, with a weapon also created in a similar fashion, gun down people, and then disappear once shot by themselves or another. This focus allows us to simply say "mental illness" and be done with it, we never ask why these people are so mentally ill that they try to shoot people with a fruit or if caught suddenly turn stoic.

Here's the clash hypothesis in action; press secretary Sean Spicer had this to say about the Quebec City shooting, that "Itís a terrible reminder of why we must remain vigilant and why the president is taking steps to be proactive instead of reactive when it comes to our nationís safety and security.Ē, there's just one problem with this though, the person who did the shooting was white, not Muslim, not an immigrant, not a refugee; what Trump policy could have averted this? Spicer is speaking to the people who want to not see the violent non-Muslim here.

And there is something worrying, if violence done by Muslims deserves this 'special attention', what could that mean for violence done to Muslims? We need to address this today.

Ingroups and outgroups - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ingroups_and_outgroups
Manifest and Latent Functions - http://www.angelfire.com/or/sociologyshop/manlat.html
The Daily Show - Charleston Church Shooting
F.B.I. Director James Comey Is Wrong: Dylann Roof Is A Politically-inspired Terrorist http://www.blackstarnews.com/us-politics/justice/fbi-director-james-comey-is-wrong-dylann-roof-is-a-politically
http://bigstory.ap.org/article/573c483797fd4a78bfa4d8075ece156a/guilty-plea-life-sentence-los-angeles-airport-shooter
http://www.ajc.com/news/national/emotions-run-high-dylann-roof-bond-hearing/EvnEnfqJeQikrMG5bQ3fDM/
Why did Sean Spicer suggest that the Quebec shooting validated Trumpís policy initiatives? https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/politics/wp/2017/01/30/why-did-sean-spicer-suggest-that-the-quebec-shooting-validated-trumps-policy-initiatives/?utm_term=.84150363f607

In 2003, Condi said she didn't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud

In 2017, our national security team includes Michael Flynn, a man who espouses the Pizzagate conspiracy theory with his terrorist son and has yet to substantiate his "Muslim signs on the border" remark he made before the election.

So, I ask all of you, what crazy whacked out conspiracy theory about sapping our precious bodily fluids and giving them to Muslim reptilians under the surface are you willing to send your children to die for?

Don't let a Flynn Fable take your loved ones - Maybe it's time to start counter-recruitment today.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Counter-recruitment

Time to start applying Gene Sharp's From Dictatorship to Democracy to Trump and the GOP bad joke gov

Is it overkill to use a book used to resist dictatorships to a government such as this?

I don't think so. In fact, I think this is the perfect time to start using this book, this is the best way to turn the tide against Trump and the Republicans.

Then again, as the Trump Maladministration dives deeper into insanity and state sponsored xenophobia, maybe this is the time for overkill.

Here are some samples (I will also give a link to the full book) and some comments about potential weaknesses.

---

Necessary sources of political power

The principle is simple. Dictators require the assistance of the people they rule, without which they cannot secure and maintain the sources of political power. These sources of political power include:

ý Authority, the belief among the people that the regime is legitimate, and that they have a moral duty to obey it;

ý Human resources, the number and importance of the persons and groups which are obeying, cooperating, or providing assistance to the rulers;

ý Skills and knowledge, needed by the regime to perform specific actions and supplied by the cooperating persons and groups;

ý Intangible factors, psychological and ideological factors which may induce people to obey and assist the rulers;

ý Material resources, the degree to which the rulers control or have access to property, natural resources, financial resources, the economic system, and means of communication and transportation; and

ý Sanctions, punishments, threatened or applied, against the disobedient and noncooperative to ensure the submission and cooperation which are needed for the regime to exist and carry out its policies.

All of these sources, however, depend on acceptance of the regime, on the submission and obedience of the population, and on the cooperation of innumerable people and the many institutions of the society. These are not guaranteed.

Full cooperation, obedience, and support will increase the availability of the needed sources of power and, consequently expand the power capacity of any government.

On the other hand, withdrawal of popular and institutional cooperation with aggressors and dictators diminishes, and may sever, the availability of the sources of power on which all rulers depend. Without availability of those sources, the rulers' power weakens and finally dissolves.

(Now is Trump a dictator? Not officially, not yet anyway. But this means we SHOULD have more power to resist Trump if we are still free, this means we have no excuse to not resist him in every possible legal and nonviolent way. Trump's power doesn't come from genes or a command from divine intervention, his power comes from people saying "Trump said X and I will do X/say X/follow X", the more people who reject that notion, the less power Trump has.)

---

Weaknesses of dictatorships

Among the weaknesses of dictatorships are the following:
1. The cooperation of a multitude of people, groups, and institutions needed to operate the system may be restricted or withdrawn.
2. The requirements and effects of the regime's past policies will somewhat limit its present ability to adopt and implement conflicting policies.
3. The system may become routine in its operation, less able to adjust quickly to new situations.
4. Personnel and resources already allocated for existing tasks will not be easily available for new needs.
5. Subordinates fearful of displeasing their superiors may not report accurate or complete information needed by the dictators to make decisions.
6. The ideology may erode, and myths and symbols of the system may become unstable.
7. If a strong ideology is present which influences one's view of reality, firm adherence to it may cause inattention to actual conditions and needs.
8. Deteriorating efficiency and competency of the bureaucracy, or excessive controls and regulations, may make the system's policies and operation ineffective.
9. Internal institutional conflicts and personal rivalries and hostilities may harm, and even disrupt, the operation of the dictatorship.
10. Intellectuals and students may become restless in response to conditions, restrictions, doctrinalism, and repression.
11. The general public may over time become apathetic, skeptical, and even hostile to the regime.
12. Regional, class, cultural, or national differences may become acute.
13. The power hierarchy of the dictatorship is always unstable to some degree, and at times extremely so. Individuals do not only remain in the same position in the ranking, but may rise or fall to other ranks or be removed entirely and replaced by new persons.
14. Sections of the police or military forces may act to achieve their own objectives, even against the will of established dictators, including by coup d'ātat.
15. If the dictatorship is new, time is required for it to become well established.
16. With so many decisions made by so few people in the dictatorship, mistakes of judgment, policy, and action are likely to occur.
17. If the regime seeks to avoid these dangers and decentralizes controls and decision making, its control over the central levers of power may be further eroded.

(Do you see potential weaknesses? I do. #1 is that source of power from above. #3 and #4 may be possible as time goes by if not possible today. #7 is already well known, just look at Trump unable to stop himself about the popular vote. The maladministration is already very wobbly, all it needs is a couple good pushes.)

---

There are some tactics in this book as well, if Trump were to ever make a Muslim registry become reality, then signing up and signing up over and over again would be a tactic this book would endorse.

If you want to resist Trump, then this is a book you need to read.

http://www.aeinstein.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/FDTD.pdf

Every day and in a new way, the Republicans and the right wing can be summed up with "Don't"

Don't lose your health insurance. Don't lose your job. Don't have a pre-existing condition. Don't question your government. Don't be gay. Don't be a Muslim. Don't be Hispanic. Don't be a critic of Putin. Don't be transgender. Don't say that black lives matter. Don't get sick. Don't be poor. Don't go into debt. Don't go to college. Don't be a scientist. Don't talk about global warming. Don't ask why your votes don't count. Don't make fun of Trump. Don't go to Planned Parenthood. Don't question the defunding and defaming effort on Planned Parenthood. Don't have an abortion. Don't use birth control. Don't be poor and get pregnant period. Don't quote the Economist that says we are now a "flawed democracy". Don't be liberal. Don't ask where Trump's tax returns are. Don't point out readily apparent hypocritical actions, double standards, and disparities. Don't be an immigrant. Don't be a refugee. Don't. Just don't.

New rule: Lamar Smith's committee shall henceforth be known as the Pseudoscience Corner

The Pseudoscience Corner is the house committee formerly known as the House Science, Space and Technology Committee.

If you see this committee named in an article, please change it to the "Pseudoscience Corner" when posting it here. When was the last scientific thing they did anyway? What a joke. I think Democrats on this committee should actually agree here.

Here's an example of this change in action:
The chairman of the Pseudoscience Corner is asking Americans to trust the information they get from the President over the news produced by the media.

Republican Rep. Lamar Smith saluted President Donald Trump from the floor of the House on Tuesday evening, rattling off his first-week accomplishments but saying Trump is not getting the press coverage he deserves.

"The national liberal media won't print that, or air it or post it," Smith said. "Better to get your news directly from the President. In fact, it might be the only way to get the unvarnished truth."

http://www.democraticunderground.com/10141677708

Trump Failure Level

Keep this list handy, and let's make some predictions.

Low/Green AKA Just wait a bit - Trump is tweeting and otherwise being "unpresidented".

Guarded/Blue AKA Inevitable - The "but Hillary...", "but her emails..." phase. Standard deflection, situation may change though.

Elevated/Yellow AKA Complete - Trump now needs an external enemy to keep legitimacy and authority afloat. Immigrants, refugees, Mexicans, Iranians, NATO, critics of Putin.

High/Orange AKA Total - Switch from external enemy to internal enemy to let Trump grasp onto any shred of power he has left. Muslim Americans, people who want to see his tax returns, people who sued him for sexual harassment, etc.

Severe/Red AKA Epic - The worst possible scenario Trump failure-wise. Nuclear war over a tweet. Trump makes a "good and smart business deal" with Putin and he *only* annexes Alaska, a chunk of Canada, and the western seaboard.

The Systemic Failure that is Fake News

A lot is made about fake news, but I think it is just one component. Responding to fake news requires a lot more effort than just looking at one tree in a forest so to speak. If we truly want to challenge fake news, then we need to look at the entire system associated with it and be ready to confront it.

Fake news is a lot more than a crazy article on the internet, it is...

Confirmation Bias - It seems as though some corners of the internet are not vast libraries, that the super information highway has instead become a repeating cartoonish back alley that loops on itself infinitely, people go to these websites, and what do you know? It tells them exactly what they want to hear about liberals, Muslims, gays, minorities, feminists, the government, etc. What a coincidence, right?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confirmation_bias

Esoteric Delusions - Go onto a site known to peddle fake news, you may get hit by popup ads telling you about some new way to make money fast and you're the only one who knows about it... for now, or you might see something about "Forbidden Attraction Secrets the Liberal Media Does Not Want You To Know", and that is the point of these ads and many of the stories, they claim to have secret knowledge that 'they' don't want you to know. Look for how many stories begin with "Mainstream media tries to cover up..." or "The government doesn't want you to know about..." It's very enticing, also a tactic used by cults, creates a sense of fraternity, making you feel like you are a discoverer of secrets, makes them look like bringers of knowledge, and the 'they' as some force promoting ignorance and wanting to keep you in the dark.
http://www.forum.exscn.net/showthread.php?19727-Get-the-quot-Secret-quot-Knowledge-Without-the-Cult

Dismissal of Debunking - So a fake story has been utterly debunked, Obama couldn't have been consulting with Elders of Mecca and Elders of Zion while giving his REAL Kenyan birth certificate to the Illuminati last Thursday at 9 PM because he was in the Oval Office at that time? Hold up, buckaroo. That doesn't mean anything. Get ready for the dismissals.
"Fake News Source A made something up? I heard that/I remember News source X did something like that too, so what?" is one you might see. I guess some fake news sources go straight for the jugular and attack people who might debunk them as part of the vast conspiracy to debunk them.
https://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/25/technology/for-fact-checking-website-snopes-a-bigger-role-brings-more-attacks.html?_r=0

We need to challenge the entire system.
Go to Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Next »