Democratic Socialist Bernie Sanders’ Social Democracy v. a Gifted Car

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Is Bernie Sanders a Democratic Socialist or a Social Democrat? What is social democracy? How democratic socialists, a CEO gifting a car and universal healthcare are connected

social democrats, democratic socialists, social democratic countries, Dutch productivity, Trump's trade war, farmer handout, hospital CEOs, affordable healthcare, medical device company CEOs, selective generaosity, pharmaceutical reps, medical instrument company CEOs, paid sick leave, medical equipment company CEOs, medical equipment companies, pharmaceutical companies, pharmaceutical company CEOs, pharmaceutical research, Rush limbaugh, Fox News, Access to healthcare, white Trump supporters, poor white Republicans, white Republicans, Soviet Union, Venezuela, Cuba, capitalism, pure capitalism, downsides of capitalism, socialism, universal healthcare, healthcare, the high cost of healthcare, medical company CEOs, hospitals, medical equipment companies, medical supply companies, democratic socialist, democratic socialists, Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortex, social democrats, social democracy, social democracies, Western Europe, EU, public transportation, Walter Carr, CEO gives new employee car, Obamacare, socialist, communism, communist, Cuba, Venuzuela, socialist economies, totalitarian government,, social services, education, public transportation system, healthcare system, health insurance, health insurance company, health insurance companies, health insurance company CEOs, hospital CEOs, pharmaceutical companies, pharmaceutical research, pharmaceutical company CEOs, Nobel Prize for Medicine, Trump Supporters, President Lyndon B. Johnson, President Johnson quote, racism, selective generosity, American generosity, Trump's farmer handout, 12 billion dollar handout, handout to farmers, Trump's trade war, Trump supporters, poor white Republicans,
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(08-02-2018)  This happened a few weeks ago, when I was knee-deep in a new-blog-building bog. I believe it’s still relevant, though. A young black man was going to start a new job the next day when his car broke down in the evening. Not wanting to be late to work, and living 20 miles from his new job, he calculated that he had to start walking at midnight, which he did. In the early morning some police gave him a ride, some others took over, his new (white) boss heard about it and was so impressed with the young man’s determination to get to work on time that he gave him his own car. What looks like a pretty new Ford Escape. On video, so it immediately went viral. How cute is that?

Well.

Right now the media are abuzz with ‘socialism‘ and ‘democratic socialists‘. Bernie Sanders calls himself a Democratic Socialist. The headlines are full of the term: The Hyperbole of Socialism! Obama’s Welfare Socialism! Why Calling Obamacare Socialism Makes No Sense! … I’m pretty sure neither side means what they think they mean. Of course nobody wants socialism. Nobody wants a socialist economy like Venezuela or Cuba or the Soviet Union. Socialism is a form of government and economics in which all forms of making money — manufacturing, the service sector, everything — are owned and run by the government. The original idea was that factories would be run by the people who work in the factories. In reality ‘the people’ became a totalitarian government. In every case. And economically socialism doesn’t work either, as witnessed by the above-mentioned countries.

When Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez call themselves democratic socialists, technically they’re talking nonsense. A democratic socialist is an oxymoron–there’s no such person. So this needs to be established very clearly off the bat: when American politicians talk about socialism as a possibility for America, they’re not talking about actual socialism, they’re talking about what everyone else simply considers common sense social democracy. These folks don’t want the government to take over your business, nor do they want to run a totalitarian government. They aren’t democratic socialists, they are social democrats. They want what most Western-European countries have, to varying degrees: an economy that is based solidly in capitalism, combined with a government that keeps the downsides of capitalism in check, so that it works for everyone. Because pure capitalism leads to societal dysfunction, just as pure socialism and communism do. Western Europe is not socialist–the EU countries are social democracies.

Bernie Sanders’ social-democratic idea that pure capitalism doesn’t work is backed by an abundance of evidence. You are it. It’s called America.

I’ll use healthcare as an example to explain this so-called democratic socialism. You go to the doctor and he says: “Yes, I have some bad news for you, you have cancer; I’m so sorry. And that will be $500 for this visit, please and thank you.” Well, usually he has put a psychological barrier between himself and payments by leaving that up to his big office staff. Still, this is how it works in America–this is normal. And if you have cancer, this is just the beginning. For any non-affluent American family, if someone gets cancer and needs treatment, they have to make drastic life changes. Middle-class folks who own a home have to take a second mortgage or sell, move to an apartment, maybe in a cheaper part of town. Moving to a different part of town means the kids have to change schools. (To worse public schools, because in America the quality of public school depends on the income level of the area it’s in.) For families that don’t own homes it can even end up in homelessness. Even if you have health insurance, it might pay 60%, or if you have really good insurance it might pay 80% of your costs. But what if, from the diagnosis to possible operations to chemotherapy or other treatments and medicines, all in all you’re billed $500,000? The 80% doesn’t look so great anymore when you have to cough up $100,000. In America this is normal. And again, this is if you can afford ‘good’ insurance.

[I don’t know what we as a family pay, because I don’t want to know. I just went online and googled health insurance companies in Texas. The first company I came across had several plans. The very best plan included: hospital stays $2,000/day up to $100,000 a year; doctor’s office visits $100 each, up to 4 a year;  Intensive Care Unit $2,000/day up to $100,000 a year;  ER visits $500 each, up to 2/year; and an average 46% savings on meds. For my readers outside America, to put these numbers into perspective, first of all they don’t include the deductible (eigen risico for Dutch readers). I do know that ours is $500.- per family member. The last time I went to the emergency room,  I had an earache. The doctor looked in my ear, walked away, came back 30 seconds later, gave me a free sample bottle of ear drops he had gotten from a pharmaceutical rep, and I was on my way again. Later I got a bill for $1,000. Also, in America doctors aren’t available in the evenings or on weekends, so for anything you need during those hours you have no choice but to go to the emergency room or a private equivalent which is less expensive but apparently not covered. So $500.- for two ER visits for a family of four is a joke. Everyone needs at least one annual checkup with the doctor, so that takes care of the four doctor’s office visits, which cost more than $75. This plan would cost us, a non-smoking family of four $1639. – a month. Their cheapest option was 145.- a month. It offered: hospital stays $200/day up to $7000; doctor’s office visits $75 up to 3 per year. That’s it. And again, this doesn’t include the deductibles. It’s simple math that you might as well put $145.- aside every month in a healthcare pot. You’d be better off.]

A social democracy doesn’t allow pure capitalism to rule the healthcare system. Healthcare deals with people’s health, with life and death, which shouldn’t be for sale, only available to those who can pay. In Western Europe that’s considered unethical. distasteful. Hospitals, for instance, aren’t for-profit institutes. In social democracies getting cancer is bad enough–it doesn’t affect your pocketbook. In a social democracy everyone can afford health insurance and the insurance covers everything or close to everything 100%. If that sounds too good to be true, that’s because you’ve been told it’s too good to be true by Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and the like.

To let healthcare be purely driven by capitalism is also considered unethical because it’s the one product where the consumer has no choice. In America the medical world has you over a barrel. You can either pay through the nose for the cancer treatment, or the medicine, or the operation, or what-have-you, or die. Those are your choices. So they can charge whatever they want. The demand is always there, so there’s no limit to what the folks on the supply end can ask. It also means the rich have better access to healthcare than the poor. This isn’t considered fair in a social democracy. Also, if healthcare is driven by capitalism, the supplier will want to get as much money for a product that he has put as little possible money into producing, so his profit is as big as possible. You don’t want to rely on that system when people’s lives are at stake. According to everyone in social democracies.

Back to the high cost of American healthcare. Sure, American hospitals have explanations for their high bills. They charge ridiculous amounts for a visit because they have to pay  ridiculously high prices for medical equipment and supplies and the huge staff needed for all the health insurance paperwork. The medicines are so ridiculously expensive because the research that went into creating them cost so much up front, and Europe is not paying its share. To top it all off: all of the above is why health insurance is also ridiculously expensive and why it can’t cover everything, or even almost anything in many cases.

However, none of this explains the billions of dollars the pharmaceutical companies spend each year on ads and commercials, and the other billions they spend on pharmaceutical reps who go from doctor to doctor promoting their stuff, wining and dining them, no expenses spared. They’re even offered cruises if they’ll only prescribe this particular brand of medicine to their patients instead of the other. That doesn’t exactly scream flat-broke pharmaceutical world to me. And it doesn’t explain why health insurance company CEOs make more than $20 million a year. And why are medical instruments, equipment and supplies so expensive? Could it be at least in part to compensate for the ridiculously high incomes of medical device company CEOs? The high cost of healthcare doesn’t explain the millions of dollars the medical world forks over on an annual basis to lobbyists who in turn pay the politicians to sabotage any progress toward a more affordable healthcare system, a system which would reduce all those costs that each sector of the healthcare system says force them to charge so much.

Not all medical and pharmaceutical breakthroughs happen in America, by the way. To those who get the impression that America carries the burden of all the pharmaceutical research of the world this may come as news, but the Nobel prizes are handed out annually. All those years that you don’t see on the news that an American team got the Nobel Prize for Medicine, that’s when a team somewhere else got it. Somehow pharmaceutical companies in Europe do just fine as well. Take Novo Nordisk, headquartered in the very socially democratic country of Denmark.

So one reason universal healthcare works in a social democracy, the reason the monthly payments are so incredibly low (literally) to American standards and that the insurance companies pretty much have to pay 100% of everything, is that, yes, the government steps in. It sets limits on the costs of healthcare and everything related to it. For you, the consumer of said healthcare. I don’t know the particulars of how it works in each country. In the Netherlands the government, the public and private sectors and their unions get together and negotiate reasonable caps for prices for pharmaceuticals, medical instruments, band-aids and gauze, and a 15-minute visit with a specialist. No, the government doesn’t actually get down into the nitty gritty to that degree, but they do set limits. And all the hospital CEOs, pharmaceutical company CEOs, medical supply company CEOs and health insurance company CEOs still make a bundle. Just not at the expense of others.

Having universal healthcare is only socialist if you consider having a birthday pot at your office socialist. If you have such a thing. Most workplaces in the Netherlands have a fund that everyone contributes a small set amount to every month. Whoever has a birthday at any given time gets birthday pastries.  It’s voluntary, but everyone participates, because why be a dick about it? Sure, if you start paying into the monthly pot in January and your birthday is in December, you see a whole lot of people get delicious pastries that you have paid toward, but eventually you get the pastries as well. Besides, whoever gets the pastries shares them with all their colleagues, so everyone has lots of pastries each month anyway. Many more pastries than they paid for.

That’s part of how universal healthcare works. Everyone pays a relatively small amount each month, knowing that everyone needs healthcare sooner or later. Since everybody pays each month and not everyone is sick at the same time, there is always enough money in the pot to pay for whoever needs it at any given moment.  And yes, if you’re young and healthy and never sick, if you’re clairvoyant and know that will never even have appendicitis or a broken leg, for a while your money will go toward paying for others who need it at that moment. But sooner or later you will need it, too. Suddenly you’re in your forties or fifties and lo and behold, despite your healthy lifestyle you have a rare form of cancer. Or all that boot-camp fitness has worn out your knees and now you need physical therapy, or a knee replacement. When that time comes, instead of having to take out a second mortgage on your house — if you have a house — you can get your problems taken care of without paying a dime more than the same old small monthly amount. Financially nothing changes in your life, because the big communal pot has your back, just like your tiny portion of the pot helped millions of others before you needed help yourself.

In a social democracy folks can stay home when they’re sick because they have paid sick leave for as long as their illness lasts. So they aren’t forced to go to work sick, thus getting everyone else sick as well. Such a society is healthier, and a healthy society is a happy society. Sound corny? It’s still true. The Netherlands and other Western-European countries have universal healthcare; paid sick leave for the duration of an illness; long, paid vacations;  and they have a mandatory retirement age which everyone wants because nobody needs to keep earning money after they’re 65. They’ve saved up and paid into the various pots and now they get to sit back and relax. Despite having much more vacation and other days off, as well as sick leave and parental leave, Dutch productivity rivals that of America, where everyone is overworked, popping Dayquil to get through the day when you have the flu, and drinking Monster drinks to stay awake because you stayed late at the office the night before, or because you need two jobs to make ends meet. And after all that you’re lucky if you can take one two-week vacation a year. Am I right?

Also, if money doesn’t factor into going to the doctor, people don’t put it off, so more serious illnesses can be prevented or stopped on time, saving the communal pot money in the long run. And if all you folks who are not insured right now, either because you can’t afford hundreds of dollars per month for insurance that pays as little as the company can get away with, or because you simply don’t think you need health insurance because you’re not sick — if all of you folks also contribute to the pot with payments you can easily afford, the costs are spread even more, meaning everyone’s personal contribution goes down.

More pastries for everyone! Nobody’s business gets taken over by the government. Because it’s not socialism. It’s merely acknowledging that living in a society means that you take care of one another, that that benefits everyone in the long run, that sooner or later you will be the one being taken care of, so you always get back what you put in and then some. And then much more, even. Consider the absence of financial stress. In a social democracy healthcare and money have nothing to do with each other in people’s minds. Whether you’re healthy or sick, that doesn’t affect your finances. You don’t have to worry whether you’ve saved enough for old age, with all its healthcare costs, because that’s taken care of. Rather than getting more stressed as you get older, worrying about money, by the time you’re 65, you get to retire. Okay, the Netherlands has an aging population, so at the moment everyone retires at 67 there. But that’s still not bad. Because I do mean everyone. Whether you’re a ditch digger or a lawyer, at 67 you retire.

So,  what on earth does this have to do with Walter Carr getting a new car from his boss because he walked 20 miles to work? Everything!

Like I mentioned, I just used universal healthcare as an example to show how a social democracy works. It works that way for everything. People know that some of their taxes will go toward public transportation, even if they never use it. However, it is a good alternative for many folks, for all sorts of reasons. If you have a business and your employee can’t be at work on time because his car broke down and there is no public transportation, his company won’t perform at its best that day, and that will hurt him in the long run. So it’s in this business owner’s interest to have a good public transportation system, even if he never uses it himself.

The same goes for education, to name another example. Only one of my kids has gone to public school, and only for three years, but I will happily continue to pay taxes that go toward public education for the rest of my life, because I can’t stand ignorance. How that money is spent within the education budget is a different matter, and that’s what elections should be for. They should be about what a society should do with the communal money pot. They shouldn’t be about how we can get out of paying into it.

So living in a social democracy also requires a very different mindset than many Americans have–most Republicans, at the least. You need to be okay with your taxes going toward helping others as well as yourself, knowing that it all indirectly helps you, too, if your taxes are used well.

So here’s the thing: [Finally! She’s worse than Rachel Maddow!]

These farmers in flyover country, ‘the real America‘, with its ‘real Americans‘ who feed America, mostly voted for Trump, is my wild guess. And now Trump’s trade wars are destroying their markets. Predictably, if they had done a little less rah-rah-ing and had actually listened to what he said on the campaign trail. So now he’s using 12 billion dollars of our taxes to compensate them for their losses all the winning,  in the hope they will still re-elect him in 2020. It’s frustrating to me, but I don’t begrudge the farmers their compensation. After all, we can’t have our farmers going out of business. I just hope they’ve learned from this experience. The infuriating part of it is where the 12 billion dollar farmer handout will be taken from. Probably not from anything that most white Trump supporters benefit from.

Okay, so here’s really the thing:

I don’t hear much complaining about the 12-billion-dollar handout from those folks who are usually so stridently against ‘handouts’.  What makes this different? When the right-wing talk show hosts talk about ‘your’ tax dollars going toward ‘handouts’, they’re only talking to white listeners, and they are incorrectly suggesting that those ‘handouts’ largely go to people of color. That’s when many white folks, many white Republicans, probably most Trump supporters have a problem with helping others. But the farmers in ‘middle America’ are white, so yeah, here’s 12 billion, we won’t blink an eye.

Sure, Americans can be generous. You’re always beating your chests about American generosity, humanity, community spirit, benevolence–what have you. but for a lot of you it’s selective generosity; it comes only on your own terms, and on top of that, for a large part of the population those terms are racist. If we didn’t know that for sure before, we know it since the last presidential election.

Take the case of this young black man, Walter Carr, who was going to start a new job the next day when his car broke down in the evening. He didn’t want to be late on his first day (who does). In fact, he wanted to be there early (also not unheard of) and, having no other alternative to his car, that meant he had to start walking at midnight. Some cops helped him out by giving him rides (cops helping people out, which is their job, wow) and eventually his new boss heard about it. This white guy was so impressed that this young black man was determined to get to his job on time (again, why is that surprising?) that he gave him his $24,000 car. (I googled the price of a new Ford Escape. The boss’s car looked brand new.)

Don’t get me wrong, it is quite something that Walter Carr started walking at midnight, and I don’t begrudge him his new car. It’s like winning the lottery. Well, actually not really, because if he had won a brand-new car in the lottery he could turn around and sell it, buy a second-hand car and use the other $20,000 for college or to help family members or the million other things I’m sure he could think of. But he got this car from his new boss, so he has to keep it out of politeness. Maybe he can be an Über driver at night, if he has time for that between his college classes and his job, and get some use out of it that way.

Still, he got a car. Wonderful. What I’d like to know is what that boss would say to having his taxes raised by even half the value of his car if it meant a thousand people of color could take a bus to work if their car broke down. Or just so they could get to any work at all if they’re too poor to even own a car. Or if it meant that a thousand people of color could make the choice between using public transport and taking on the expenses of a car. Because in no other industrialized country is starting to walk at midnight the only alternative if your car breaks down! Of course it wouldn’t take a $10,000 tax hike to get a decent public transport system anywhere. It just takes everyone being okay with maybe $10. And doing math magic so that poor people pay nothing and that boss pays maybe $20. You get my drift. But obviously not everybody in his community is okay with that. They don’t want their taxes to help others, but they’re all touched that a white boss gave his new black employee his car. In fact, the perfectly planned video immediately went viral because the entire country is touched. All that being touched is touching and all, but if his $24,000 car breaks down tonight, Walter Carr still has to start walking at midnight to get to work on time tomorrow.

Again, I don’t begrudge this young man his car and I don’t deny that his boss was very generous in giving it to him. My point is that for every Walter Carr who has to go to extraordinary lengths just to get to work and happens to get noticed while doing it, there are a thousand other people of color who are struggling just as hard and who also  do things nobody should have to do just to keep their head above water who go  unnoticed. They don’t benefit from that touching American generosity. Walter Carr just had the pure good luck that he got on his new boss’s radar this way. For the boss it was the perfect story. His new recruit was determined to get to work on time the first day on the job, and he was so impressed that he gave him the keys to his expensive car. As long as he was seen being impressed and subsequently generous on camera. It was damn good advertising.

Many Americans, especially white Americans who always grouch about their taxes going toward stuff they don’t personally use, are benevolent like a man might be who has a whole loaf of bread and wants to share just one slice with the ducks at the pond. So he stands there, looking our over the feathered crowd at the edge of the pond, and randomly throws a crumb to whichever duck happens to catch his attention for whatever reason. It’s fine to do that with ducks, but it’s fricking patronizing, to say the least, to treat people that way.

Now, I don’t know the first thing about Walter Carr’s new boss. I don’t know if he’s a Republican, if he voted for Trump, if he usually votes for the guy who promises lower taxes or whether he’s a bleeding-heart Democrat who actually bugs the town council at every meeting to get better public transportation. The point is that he very well could be the former. I also don’t actually know if Walter Carr is financially strapped. Halfway this article I realized that I automatically assumed it, because he didn’t have a reliable car and he’s a black college student who’s getting a job. And I had the statistics from this post on my mind. He could be from a filthy rich family and his car could be a Lexus. (They’re notorious for breaking down.) He might be getting a job while in college because he wants a taste of how the other 99% lives. The point is that he very well could be typical of the statistics in my other post. I’m using this event for the sake of argument.

A little aside about poor white people: I’m aware that there are many poor white folks as well. Not nearly as many as poor people of color, though; they have easier access to various forms of financial aid, such as they are; less of them are disenfranchised; and when they vote, many poor whites vote Republican, and currently they’re Trump supporters, so they are poor in no small part because they consistently vote against their own interests. Always have. They’d rather not get any social services themselves than see people of color get them as well.

“If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.”  — President Lyndon B. Johnson,

White poverty is definitely a problem. I just think it’s a different problem, with different causes and, to some degree, different solutions.

Finally, I wonder how viral the video had gone, or if the boss had even given his car to the young man if he was white. Because, yes, it would still show determination if a white guy did whatever it takes to get to work on time, but it wouldn’t be considered quite as surprising, and the donation wouldn’t be quite as cute. Is my guess.

I know I’m being a party pooper by saying all this, and that in many folks’ eyes I’m cheapening a perfectly beautiful moment by making it into a negative race issue. But I don’t see it that way. It is a negative race issue; I don’t have to make it into one. Even if it made a lot of people feel good, including the two people directly involved, Walter Carr and his boss.  Even if none of what I’m interpreting has entered their minds, that doesn’t mean it’s not there. And yes, you can argue that I’m being patronizing now, myself. I never pretended not to be. On this blog I hold a mirror up for America, and in this post I want to explain how a social democracy works and what it takes, and how far many Americans are from having the mindset required for it to work here.

Because again, that’s fundamental. In order to have a social-democratic society, Americans, you need to change your mindset. If you’re a liberal reading this, you need to figure out how to change the mindset of the white working class. They need to ask themselves if it’s okay for the medical world to enrich itself at the cost op people’s health and lives, and they need to understand that taxes, if well-spent on community services like healthcare, education, public transportation, infrastructure, etc, benefit them as well as others, that it’s not a zero-sum game. The racist let’s-say-40% of white Americans who simply don’t want their taxes helping people of color, except in certain instances of their choosing, will either have to change their mind or you will have to vote them into irrelevance and hope their children are better.

No other industrialized country is as underdeveloped in terms of social services. In no other industrialized country are folks so rabidly against the idea of any of their money helping other people unless it’s on their terms. That rugged individualism Americans romanticize is fine if you live in a cabin in Alaska and you’re literally on your own. When you’re part of a society, it’s just plain stupid because it holds everyone back. It’s like trying to play basketball when everyone wants to be the one who scores instead of playing like a team.

If all the money that rich Americans fork out to politicians and lobbyists to prevent having to pay higher taxes, and all the money they pay in advertising on things that shouldn’t be for sale, and if all the money middle-class Americans fork over any time they hear a good sob story (and they are plentiful and good!) — if all that money was collected by the IRS instead, this country could have universal healthcare, a great country-wide public transportation system with electric buses and trains that run on wind energy, a wonderful education system, college with affordable tuition for all… In short, America could catch up to Western Europe.

There wouldn’t be so many sob stories. The Walter Carrs of America wouldn’t have to start walking at midnight to get to work if their car broke down. They would simply take a short walk in the morning, because nobody would live more than a 15-minute walk from a bus stop, like in every other industrialized country!

Sources:

  • “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez”. Wikipedia. https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Alexandria_Ocasio-Cortez
  • “Drugmaker Novo Nordisk beats Q1 profit expectations, nudges up 2018 outlook” (Reuters). CNBC, May 2, 2018.  https://www.cnbc.com/2018/05/02/drugmaker-novo-nordisk-beats-q1-profit-expectations-nudges-up-2018-outlook.html
  • Dyrda, Laura. “CEO compensation in top 15 US medical device companies — 75 statistics”. Becker’s Hospital Review,  January 17, 2017.   https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/hospital-management-administration/ceo-compensation-in-top-15-u-s-medical-device-companies-75-statistics.html
  • Ellison, Ayla. “HCA’s profit jumps 25% to $820M in Q2”. Becker’s Hospital Review,  July 25, 2018.  https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/finance/hca-s-profit-jumps-25-to-820m-in-q2.html
  • Harris, Briony. “These are the happiest countries in the world”. World Economic Forum, March 16, 2018.  https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/03/these-are-the-happiest-countries-in-the-world/
  • “Insurance Industry Profile: Summary”. OpenSecrets.org: Center for Responsive Politics.  https://www.opensecrets.org/lobby/indusclient.php?id=F09
  • Johnson, David. “These Are the Most Productive Countries in the World”. (World – Economy), TIme, January 4, 2017. http://time.com/4621185/worker-productivity-countries
  • Livingston, Shelby. “Health insurer CEOs see some significant pay bumps in 2017”. Modern Healthcare, March 12, 2018.   http://www.modernhealthcare.com/article/20180312/NEWS/180319975
  • Siegel, Robert and Courtney Columbus. “As Cost Of U.S. Health Care Skyrockets, So Does Pay Of Health Care CEOs” (SHOTS: Health News From NPR, heard on All Things Considered), NPR. July 26, 20176:02 PM ET.  https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/07/26/539518682/as-cost-of-u-s-health-care-skyrockets-so-does-pay-of-health-care-ceos

39 thoughts on “Democratic Socialist Bernie Sanders’ Social Democracy v. a Gifted Car

  1. That was good. Yet I am not as critical of the idea of the government owning all of the businesses as you are. I am not saying it is a good idea. I am saying the question has not been fairly examined.
    First of all let us take a look at the case of the USSR. When the commies took over Russia it was a country as backward as hell to start with. Not only that it had been in a war with Germany for years that made their economic situation even worse. Not only that but from the very day that it was born efforts were made to strangle the communist revolution in the cradle. Yet despite all of these things working against it the USSR in just 20 years developed to the point that it was able to defend itself from a Nazi invasion.
    Oh but the west helped them we are taught. But what we are not taught is that by the time that meager amount of help reached the Russian front the tide had already turned.
    The western leaders just decided to help the USSR at that point to cover their asses.
    But although the Russians and Ukrainians and others managed to avoid extermination at the hands of the nazis their national infrastructure suffered massive damage. There was no Marshall Plan for the those people who bore the brunt of the fighting. No assistance at all from a large country whose infrastructure came through the war unscathed.
    Not only that but due to the actions of these leading western countries from 1917 through 1947 it was still abundantely clear to any objective observer that the idea peaceful coexstence was for these western leaders just a cover story for trying to destroy a competing economic system by more devious means than had been previously employed. So the Soviet leaders were not paranoid but the threat that they faced from the west. That they ended up losing anyways is due to their mistakes in meeting the challenge from the west. But the attempt attempt to achieve socialism by the USSR was the world’s first attempt to do so. Can we say really that no capitalist country has ever failed?
    Is it unfair to say that capatialism collapsed in 1929 only to be given a second life by the social democratic policies of President Roosevelt?
    Could it not be said that capitalism failed in 2008? A failure that was covered up through the socialist means. When America’s banks make a profit they are allowed to keep those profits for themselves. But hey when they rack up losses to big to repay then our society pays their losses for them, and we did not take control of those banks which would have been the case under the normal rules of capitalism. Could it be that we had to do that or the whole system including our private pension plans would have collapsed with the banks?
    Therefore would it not be unreasonable to say that the communist revolution in the USSR was a good idea that in the end was badly implemented?
    Now let us move on to Cuba. When one looks at what accmplishments that the Cuban goverment has acheived with the small amount of resources that they have had to work with it is actually clear that Cuba is economically speaking a huge success story. In many measures of social welfare the Cubans exceed the results of the USA and match those of western Europe. This despite efforts by the USA to sabotage thier developement.
    Finally let us turn to the supposedly basket case of Venezula. Venezula never had ownership of the means of production in the country. It was and is clearly a case of a socialist democracy. Despite its huge ongoing economic difficulties the forces that ruled the country before Chavez have not managed to retake control of the country. Can that not be seen as evidence that many people think no matter how bad things are now I do not want to go back to how things were before Chavez?
    Finally let us turn to the social democracies of western Europe. They certianly seem better for most people than the USA by compairison. But are the achievements of these countries due to the fact that they do things right? Or are these results due to the fact that the Dutch and the Germans just hide better the things that they do wrong? Furthermore Scandanavia, Germany, the Netherlands, and France are not the only social democracies. Social democracies also include Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, and the U.K. among others. When one considers the economic perfomance and standards of all of these countries the shine of social democracy certainly gets tarnished.
    But of course the obvious counter point that most Europeans would make to the observation about to the less than sterling performance of some social democracies is to say that social democracies might not be perfect but they are the best that is humanly possible.
    My position is that what is most crucial to the success of a society is leadership. The best leadership will certianly not be provided by the invisible hand of free market captialism. Nor will it be provided by a system in which a uneducated person, criminal, or deluded person has as much say in what policies to follow as a well educated person, a person with integrity, and a person with discernment.
    An alternative to these methods of choosing leadership is one which selects exceptional children from the masses based on psycological testing and vetting. Which then gives these children years of specialized training to prepare them for their roles as stewards of society. Then upon completion of their training gives them entry level positions in the civil service and military and then promotes them based upon further psycological testing and vetting. Do you know what vetting is? It is putting people in a difficult situation and seeing what choices that they make in this difficult situation.
    If you need a name for this alternative method of choosing a nations leaders I think that calling it neo-Confucsism is as good as any other alternative.
    Now an obvious question would be just who in the hell would set the standards by which the potential leaders would be judged. The answer which is obvious when you think about it is, those who are the first to implement the system.
    There is of course the next question that will spring to mind but I am not going to bring that up for now as my answer to that one will make these comments twice as long.

    1. Oh boy, Curt, there’s a lot to unpack in your comment. And no, it didn’t get lost, I just had other things to do as well, so I hadn’t seen it yet. Let me begin with one thing at a time.

      You could indeed argue that maybe the USSR would have been more successful if it hadn’t had to focus so much on military spending, if your argument is that it was forced to by the West. I don’t agree with that, though. The USSR aggressively expanded its territory from Russia to all of Eastern Europe by the late 1960s. Anyway, I think that a system in which everything is run by a central government–in which the central government has absolute power– will automatically attract as its leaders people who crave that absolute power for themselves. If not the first one, he will quickly be toppled by the next.

      No, I don’t think it’s unfair at all to say that capitalism failed in the 1920s and that it was saved by Roosevelt’s New Deal. And that it was saved again by Obama in 2009. I even claim that as a whole, pure capitalism (or as pure as it gets) is only present in America, and that America, as a society — as a functioning, large group of people who acknowledge that they are all part of a community and that that means they can’t all act like they live on an island by themselves — is a failure. A society where the 1% own as much as the rest of the world together while the bottom third of the country doesn’t have enough to eat from one day to the next is really not functioning as a society.

      You argue that as far as social welfare and healthcare is concerned, Cuba rivals Western Europe and outperforms America. Certainly, because, as I agree, social welfare and decent healthcare can’t exist within a purely capitalist framework. So yes, in a socialist country those are better than in America, but they are also better in Western Europe, where the rest of the economy can also be good, unlike in socialist countries. And sure, not all Western-European countries are paragons of social democratic economies. Italy is crippled by corruption and incompetence and that’s probably also at least half the problem with Greece. I did say that all Western-European countries are social democracies on a scale. Furthermore, being a social democracy doesn’t automatically mean success. Of course you still have to make politically sound decisions. But the basis is laid for those sound political decisions to be made, unlike in a pure capitalist country, where the basis is laid for decisions to be made based on the bottom line, on greed and on selfishness.

      As for the last part of your comment, you might be shocked to know that that was what Hitler envisioned. He wrote about this in Mein Kampf. A society where certain children would float to the top and be recognized as leader potential, and then they’d be trained for those roles. Especially right now, with the biggest ignoramus America has ever had as president, and considering the level of education and intellectual curiosity of his base, it’s tempting to think that some people simply shouldn’t be allowed to vote. I find myself thinking that several times a day. Voting is power and with power comes responsibility. But rather than select certain people to bear that responsibility, I still believe it’s up to society to make sure that everyone, or at least as many people as possible are reasonably able to bear that responsibility. That means that as a society, America has to recognize the importance of education and critical thinking skills and the ability to discern truth from fiction. But America has had a strong anti-intellectual streak from the beginning and such education that there is is crippled by interfering Christian dominion theologians who make sure that absolutely no critical thinking skills are taught. Which has led us to the situation we’re in right now. Half the country is behaving like a herd of cows, being led in one direction or the other, by Fox News, Or Trump or this new Q treasure hunt that’s clearly created for the sole purpose of keeping Trump’s base occupied so they don’t pay attention to what’s actually going on.

      Thanks for your long and thoughtful comment. And congratulations, yours is also the first comment on this new blog!

  2. Of course I could add to what you said. You take a quite standard european left of center view point. I could easily add the leftist european viewpoint. Yet I wonder if I should. If I do not wait for other people to comment, which may never happen, you blog could then become our blog. You might not like that.
    Perhaps this conversation could be carried on through private email channels. Or, perhaps it should be continued on your residentalien blog.

    1. No, by all means continue! I’m sure other people will find the blog eventually. I’ve got SEO now. And when my answers to your comments get too long, they’ll become posts, which is a good thing.

  3. Ok I will try breaking my comments down in to smaller sections to see if I can post them.

    Your first paragraph in your response to my comments brings up two important but seperate points. First is the post war history of the USSR. The second is the type of leadership that will imerge in a counrty in which the means of production are owned (controled) by the government. I had some difficulty posting this maybe because i was to long. So I will try to break it down. Sadly when I tried to print it for safe keeping I messed up the paragraph order and might have also lost part of my explinations. I will now try to fix that.

    As for the first point I would like to add some things to consider when evaluating the conduct of the USSR during the post world war period. I think that the first and most imporant thing that needs to be considered is that just PRIOR to the Nazi invansion of Poland, before the Hitler-Stalin Pact was signed, Stalin offered an alliance to France and the United Kingdom but this offer was REJECTED by the western powers!

    A second thing that should be kept in mind about this period is that in the 1930s and 40s and 50s and 60s and even in the 70s communism was not a discredited ideology for huge numbers of people. In fact even today when one looks at the vote percentages that euro communists parties get, such as the Linken (Leftists) in Germany there are still a heck of a lot of unrepentent communists alive and kicking in western Europe.

    As I mentioned in my earlier comments the USSR industrialized very rapidly in the 1920s and 1930s bringing better living standards to tens of millions of people. Admittidly it was not to hard to raise the standards of so many that were so low. Still the system got the credit for doing what had not been done previously. In addition to that having won a civil war agaisnt opponents who had been supported by western governments much of the opposition to the communists had been silenced. Therefore doubts about the way business was being conducted in the USSR could not easily spread let alone organize into coherent opposition.

    1. Okay, I see that you have written lots of comments, but I’m going to read them one at a time and comment on them one at a time. I was on vacation until this past weekend, so I’m sorry about the delayed reaction. I don’t remember about the USSR approaching France and the UK before WWII and right now I’m not going to research that. I will keep it on my list of things to do, though.
      As for the 30s to 70s being a period where many folks in the West didn’t consider communism to be such a bad thing: you’re right. The Netherlands also had a communist party for the longest time. After WWII they were one of the biggest parties for a while, even, due to the fact that they had played such a large role in the resistance against the German occupation. When I lived in the Netherlands it fluctuated between one and three seats. We also had a Socialist party. My high school history teacher was a communist and he had big posters of Marx, Rosa Luxembourg and Lenin on the wall, and he bought De Waarheid (Dutch communist newspaper) every day and pinned up each page on the noticeboard. Probably one or two students in the whole school stopped and read some of it now and then. What he told me about communism being not so bad was talked out of me at home when my dad helped me with my homework. Actually, most of the time I took my teacher’s side when I was talking about it with my dad, but I was a teenager and I did almost everything for the sake of argument. In fact, some things never change… But I digress. I can’t really talk for others, but I doubt that all the folks who voted for the communist party or the socialist party, in the 70s and 80s anyway, did so because they wanted the country to become communist or socialist. They were just left-wing opposition parties that focused on social safety net stuff. As a result of their input — ant that probably goes for lots of Western Europe — the Netherlands is a social democracy, rather than being purely capitalist like America. But, as I argued, A social democracy is not anywhere near the same as a socialist country.
      Sure, the USSR improved daily, materialistic standard of living fast, as did China. Nobody ever said democracy is the most efficient form of government. In the short run, anyway. Because the lack of dissent that you acknowledge also means a totalitarian country is never challenged to improve by critics from within. So in the long run they atrophy.

  4. In the west, especially the USA the communists are demonized for killing their opposition as if the western armies are all merciful and only convert thier enemies rather than kill them. In fact I will give you an example in which one time that a western army did show mercy against its enemies it eventually came back to bite them in the ass in a manner of speaking. Rather than ship the southern slave holdes off to Haiti to die working on sugar plantations like they should have these slave holders were allowed to live. They continued the war by other means. First they successfully rewrote American history. Eventually they laid the ground work for an eventual counter revolution that allied with big business interests and destroyed the American Republic. It goes to show that mercy is not the automatic answer to treachory.

    Yes mercy can sometimes be the answer. If some region of the country had decided to succeed in 1920 to oppose the Volstead Act and was eventually defeated I could understand granting mercy to the leadership of such a revolt. I am gettting off track here.

    Back to the 20th Century USSR. It is important to keep in mind the antipithy of the western leadership towards the USSR and the revolutioanry zeal of large numbers of people in eastern europe when considering whether or not to charge the Soviets with imperialist intentions in eastern Europe.

    1. Hm, I’m not sure to what your comments on mercy by the victors refers. Maybe that was part of your comments that got lost? But to use the way Southern plantation owners were treated after the American Civil War in an example of how mercy doesn’t always works, doesn’t work. You are saying that ‘they’ should have shipped the former slaveholders to Haiti to work on the plantations there. However, there was no clear ‘they after the Civil War. Lincoln had bent over backwards to emphasize that he wanted the country to reunite and that he wanted the division to be mended and forgotten as soon as possible. Keeping the country united was always his primary goal, and he did whatever it took to accomplish that. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union.” (a letter, 1862) When he was assassinated, Andrew Johnson was his successor, a Southerner and a Democrat (which at that time meant a racist conservative), who had owned slaves himself. After him Ulysses Grant, the Union general, became president, but by then Northerners felt the army had been in the South long enough for Reconstruction and it left and things went back to business almost as usual. A lot of folks felt the same way Lincoln had. The runaway slaves had helped the Union army win the war, and that was nice, but now that the war was over, and they weren’t a major cause.

  5. As a result of WW2 the USSR came to be the occuping power in eastern Europe. This is a region that in the case of Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria had been ruled by allies of the nazis. Or, in the case of Poland had been allied with the west. Poland had in fact fought a war with the USSR prior to WW2.

    Therefore it is quite obvious from a geo politcal perspective the USSR the desire by the leadership of the USSR to install regimes in eastern Europe that would be friendly with the USSR was not an act of imperialist agression but an act of self preservation.

    One could say that this was not a decsion for the Soviets to make. It was a decision for the people of eastern Europe to make. I say to hell with that thought process. The British and French empires clearly were (and still are) continuing criminal enterprises. After WW2 ended they went right back to their old ways of killing people that wanted their nations to be independent of them just as the British and the French and Dutch too wanted to be independent from the nazis. The population of a nation has no more right to ally itself with such a continuing criminal enterprise than it does to wage a war of aggression.

    Even if a nation hold a referendum and votes unanimously to attack a nation that did not attack it the officers of that nations military are bound to disobey such orders or they prove by their behavior that they are in fact nazi officers. Even for a country to ally itslef with a country that wages wars of aggression is to make the leadership of the country an accessory to war crimes and therefore illigimate rulers of the country, reguardless of their level of popularity. This guilt remains with the instittution and all those who hold office in it until such time that attempts have been made to hold those accountable for their crimes.

  6. An additional point is that what is self evident for huge numbers of Europeans but is a mystery to huge numbers of Americans, especially those born after 1980, is that in the 1930s, 40s, 50s, 60s and even the 1970s there were large numbers of young idealistic and enthusiasic supports of communism. These idealists took the position that what they had was good and that other people should have it too.
    Sure lots of other people were sceptical about communism but that was only because they had been conned by a capitalist ruling class. These victims did not have the training to recognize the con but those educated in Marxism did. The only way that they could be convinced that they were being tricked would be to show them by giving them the chance to live under communism. Many people before me have remarked how this early revolutionary period is comparable to the early period of Christianity or Islam which was marked by a missionary enthusiasm of many of the adherents.

    Now of course the number of sceptics in eastern Europe to communism might have been quite large. But during the American Revolution the number of sceptics was quite large as well. In fact I have read the number of people who did not care one way or the other which side one the American revolution was a plurality.

    In addition to that it is not as if the communist take over of eastern Europe did not have the support of a large number of well organized and enthusiastic native people in the eastern European countries. Big fragging deal if they had the support of an outside power. The American revolution would have never been successful if it had not recieved the support of an outside power either. Not only that the west has a selective memory because in Greece the communists were clearly the most powerful political force in the country even without Soviet support but they were prevented from taking power by the intervention of the United Kingdom.

    1. So you’re saying that sometimes it’s okay for a group to undemocratically impose a form of government on a country because it’s the only way a people will see that’s it the right choice? Who determines which people are the ones who are capable of determining what’s best for the rest? And with that we’re back to the beginning of your comments, and me pointing out that having a group of people trained to become leaders was exactly what Hitler envisioned.

  7. The ESSENCE of this anti Soviet narrative is that it highlights Soviet sins while removing the historical context from the story. Then the sins of the west get downplayed and when they do get mentioned by the “credible press” the historical context is again missing.

    The western leadership press often complains about the lack of press freedom in other countries. Yet the indoctrination capabiities of this privately owned pressin the USA and in western Europe is every bit as impressive as anything that ever exsisted in nazi Germany or in the USSR or in North Korea.

    1. I have to disagree with you when you put the American press and the Western European press in the same basket. I don’t know exactly what the situation is in Europe right now with Internet, although I do know the Europeans seem to be much more wary of information monopolies and such. But historically the press in Western Europe has not been the same as that in America. This also has to do with size, maybe. The small town press has always been fed their news by a few big press agencies or national newspapers, just as right now local television stations are getting their news from Sinclair. That was never the case in Western Europe. I do agree with you that the indoctrination capablilities of privately owned press in America is just as impressive if not more so than in Germany or the USSR. Witness Trump supporters, who live in a completely parallel universe of carefully curated stuff (I can’t even call it news, really) that has no connection to reality. It’s not the same in that Americans do have the choice to either inform themselves or let themselves be led by the nose. Actual information IS available to them. Which makes the indoctrination all the more infuriating.

  8. A current example of this is the demonization of Russia over its actions in the Ukraine.
    It never gets pointed out by such institutions as the NY Times or the Washington Post that only months before the EU began negotiating the loans of I think of 65 billion Euros to the Ukraine, a country that is not even in the EU, it turned down a much smaller amount to Greece, a country which is in the EU. The demonization of Iran rather than Saudi Arabia is another example of pure indoctrination.

    The entry of the Ukraine in to NATO was to become a negotiating point in addition to entry in to the EU. NATO is the coordinating structure of the continuing criminal enterprises of the USA, the UK, and France. If the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq was not a war of aggression then there is no such thing as a war of aggression. That makes the governments of these countries continuing criminal enterprises until such times as there are attempts to hold people accountable for their misdeeds. That also makes an alliance with these countries an act that furthers the criiminal intent of these countries.

    Yes it is obvious that many of the people of the Ukraine might want membership with the winners of world history. They might get some crumbs of out the spoils. At least for a while. It is certianly reasonable to ask the question will they will not eventually suffer the same fate as Greece?
    But from the Russian point of view there was no reason to think that the only reason that NATO would want to expand up to the borders of Russia is only if Russia was in the sights of this continuing criminal enterprise. The Russians never laid a finger on the Ukraine until it became a real possiblity than they were going to be a part of an anti Russian institution that after 1991 had no more reasonable reason to exist than the Warsaw Pact.
    The only reason that Russia is still on the map is because it has nuclear weapons.
    From the perspective of conventional warfare its forces would not last 15 minutes against a NATO attack. Therefore the continued existence of NATO for legitimate reasons is completely ludicrous. That is continues to exist can only be chalked up to criiminal reasons that can not be publically stated.

    It is only at this point that we finally get to the second point of your first paragraph. I think that I will stop here for the day and make some further comments tommorrow or perhaps the day after that.

  9. Ok I was making those comments above so that I could get to a point where I could make a quick summary of the economic choices that are faced by mankind.
    Choice number one, unregulated capitalism.
    Choice number two, socialism
    Choice number three, some combination of the two choices above.
    Choice number three is the hands down favorite of most people on the planet. Yet I would like to issue a warning about choice number three. It might very well be a mirage in the desert. Choice number one clearly does not work for most people, sociopaths excluded. Choice number two has not been tried nearly as often but outside of Cuba its hisorical performance is not one to inspire much confidence.
    Why should humanity be so optimitic to believe that if you take parts of one bad system and one probably bad system that you will end up with a good system?
    The answer to that is Scandanavia, and to a lesser extent northwestern Europe.
    The problem that I see with this answer is that it assumes that the relative good quality of life achieved for their populations by these countries lies largely with the fact that they are social market economies.
    National economies are very complex beasts. World economies are two hundred times more complex. For example would more people prefer to live in Denmark rather than Cuba because the ruling leadership of the ruling Danish parties has been more clever than the ruling leadership of Cuba? Or does it have more to do with Denmark benifiting much more from a world dominated by the rules and policies set down by the USA and the EU than Cuba does?

    1. Well, of course Denmark is better off because of policies set forth by the EU and the US. Denmark is part of that EU, so they had a say in those policies. Social democracy is not a matter of wondering whether having a combination of a bad system and a “probably” bad system, as you put it, will lead to a good system. Capitalism isn’t all bad, and neither is socialism. What’s good about capitalism is that it allows for individual rights and for individuals to pursue the path in life they want to pursue. Obviously. And it’s good in that in most cases the supply-and-demand system works. In most cases it makes sense that stuff that there’s an abundance of costs less and stuff that’s not as easy to come by costs more, simply because the coming by costs money on the supply end. However, when it comes to things like healthcare, most people in the West believe that it’s unethical to leave it up to capitalism, because there’s not really a matter of choice in the supply-and-demand system. If you’re sick, you have to get care, so the supply side has a captive customer base that they can exploit to their hearts’ content. Which is what happens in America. And that’s the part that isn’t so bad about socialism: that the government is involved in society. Just not in the degree that it is in totalitarian systems like socialism and communism. Social democracy just ensures that the nasty side-effects of capitalism are avoided. But it’s still mostly a capitalist system. Small business is doing much better in Western Europe than in America, and that’s not because they get handouts. It’s because their customers have a reasonable quality of life and are financially stable, so they have money to spend. And they don’t have to spend all of it on healthcare.

  10. OK the long delay for my comments to be posted made me lose my train of thought.
    Maybe I can recover it once I continue.
    Also, currently there is no way for me or anyone else who may wish to join our conversation to reply to your replies to my comments. If there was that would help keep the conversation in context. Maybe you can add that option soon.
    For now I will place the time of your reply at the beginning of my comments so that it can be matched up with with the your comments.

    1. Hm, strange. I have set it up so there are three levels of comments possible. I’ll check it out. Sorry about that.— Okay, I changed it to six layers. I didn’t take into account that my answers to comments also counted and that that would fill it up.

  11. RE: Aug 29th 1:53 PM
    Ok naturally I have a lot to say in reference to your comments. The thing is with out the ability to have a response posted directly under your response the conversation becomes disorganized and difficult for a person who might start reading the commments say around Xmas time to follow.
    So for now I will just address myself to your comments made at the time that I referenced at the beginning of this comment.
    Yes of course I am saying that it CAN be perfectly legitimate for a group of armed citizens to sieze power and impose a form of govenment on a nations population. That is not the same thing as saying that it is ALWAYS legitimate to do so. Of course the obvious question that you would ask is who decides when it is legitimate to try. The obvious answer those people who are moved by their conscience, or by thier greed, or lust for power, or lust for violence to do so.
    Would you take the position of Goebbels that the July 20th coup attempt to overthrow Hitler was an illegimate traitorous act aimed at overthrowing an elected and still popular government? Based on the level of German resistence to allied forces it is highly probable that had an election been held in July of 1944 Hitler would still have won a majority. Would you take the position that the April 1974 Portugese Coup was illegimate because it was carried out by a few armed men motivated by Marx and Lenin? Would you take the position that the Egyptian coup that got rid of the one man one vote one time Muslim Brotherhood in was illegimate? Would you take the position that if the Muslim Brotherhood fought back as the Muslims did in Algeria in the 1990s leading to a decade long civil war, and managed to restore Egypt to majority rule and the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood that such an outcome would be legitimate?
    What if a democratically elected goverment used fraud to win an election. I do not mean fraud in the sense of stuffing bollot boxes but fraud in making false promises and false claims during the campaign. Of course if the fraud was widely recognized such a tactic might backfire. But if the deception was well carried out, or if the opposition was very divided, or if the population was to discouraged to act because decade after decade one politcal party after another had failed to deliver on its promises would it then be ok for an armed group of citizens to try to restore ACCOUNTABILITY to the system?
    The position that I take is that the legitimacy of a government does not come as much form HOW it obtains power. But what it DOES with that power once it has it.
    Another example that I can provide is the Iranian revolution of 1979. The narrative that I have grown up with is that this revolution was carried out by leftist forces in Iran but the Islamic forces hijacked this revolution. Well I have no love for Muslim conservatives. But, A.) I bear no ill will against them for siezing power in Iran. They were just defending their princples as I would defend mine. B.) The fact that they were able to get away with out manouvering the leftist forces shows that the conservatives had considerable popular support at least at that time. Now what the Iranian regime has done in the mean time is not really much to crow about. I would certianly not shed any tears if they were overthrown through violent methods. Yet on the other hand of the world`s roughly 200 governments I am sure at least 40 of them especially the USA deserve to be overthrown before the Iranian regime. The aggression and ill will that the USA demonstrates agains Iran is totally contreived. In the disputes between these two countries Iran is 110% in the right and the USA is 125% in the wrong. Tobecont…..

    1. I agree with you that there are many examples of times when a government should have been overthrown, by any means necessary, like Nazi Germany. But I think Kurt was talking about the notion that not everyone should have the right to vote because not everyone has the knowledge and mental capacity to have such a responsibility. He suggested, or threw up the idea, anyway, of having a group of people specially educated to take on that task. And so then my question was, who determines who is capable? Also, who is responsible for that education of that chosen group? In a later comment he also said that originally the communists had the right idea, and that revolution was the only way to get there because people couldn’t see it, and so they had to be forced into it, and then they’d see how great it was. So my response was in that context.
      I agree with Kurt that in order for people to be able to handle the responsibility of the vote, they have to be educated, but I no reason why that should be limited to a select group. This country has public education, in several states home schoolers also have to cover certain areas, as do private schools if they want to be accredited. And there’s a university system and community college. The framework is there for everyone to get the kind of education they need to be able to handle the responsibility that comes with the right to vote. But somehow there has to be a change in education, where content is not determined by school boards but by education specialists and specialists in the areas that will be covered. And the most important thing to teach, regardless of what subject you’re addressing, is independent thought. Kids have to grow up to be critically-thinking adults, who can’t be as easy led by the nose with nationalistic one-liners and demonstrable lies as apparently at least half the country can today, witness Trump’s election and continued support. Of course, the school boards, having the power they have, are not going to ever vote to no longer determine the content of the education at their schools, so I don’t know how you would change it. I just know that it needs to be changed, otherwise this already rickety democracy will go down the tubes.

    2. Hey, you are joking aren`t you? You did know that was me, Curt, didn’t you? I do not know why my name was not on top. I am sure that I did not write Anonymous. In fact that is not even the way that I would have spelt it as I did not know that the word had an O in it. Is that word a default setting if someone forgets to include their name or if something gets lost in transit?
      I am going to write some more soon. But I have to wait for the TV that is blaring in my left ear to be silinced before I start or I will not be able to write in straight lines.

      1. No, I didn’t know it was you. I was impressed how Anonymous slid so smoothly into the conversation! I couldn’t find any Anonymous in anything else recently, so it was a bit mysterious. I have no idea why you were suddenly called Anonymous. That’s too funny!

  12. OK hopefully my comments made it through the ether. I did not see any message that my comment was awaiting moderation.
    To continue, I was saying that my positon is that what a government does after it obtains power is much more important than HOW it obtains power in determining its legitimacy. Yes as I pointed out in my example about the Iranian revolution my standards are completely SUBJECTIVE. That the standards are subject does not bother me a bit.
    Politics as well as ethics are not a SCIENCE. They are an ART. All efforts to ground politics or ethics on objecitve standards are a mirage. It is my position that the closet that humanity can get to an Objective foundation for ethics and by extention politics is A.) The Golden Rule. And B.) The greatest good for the greatest number. Yet over the centuries philosphers and pointed out reasonable exceptions to both of these rules.
    One of these attempts to ground politcs in an objective foundation has become a sacred cow. That is that democratically elected governments are legitimate and disobeying the laws of such a government are not only illegal but UNETHICAL as well. Since breaking these laws are unethical by extention overthrowing a democratically elected government would be the supreame act of vigilanteeism.
    Why is it that for huge numbers of the modern population elections confer legitimacy on a government. Because the numbers of people who vote for a candidate or party can be legitimately can theoretically be objectively determined. As even all Americans know, for centuries power in Europe was held by an obsolute ruler and the ruler did not change until he died. Sometimes this was by natural causes. Sometimes it was not which sometimes led to disruptive civil wars to determine who the ruler would be. The essence of holding an election is simply to determine which power faction is the largest and therefore the most likely to win in a power struggle so we can therefore simply dispence with the power struggle.
    The winning party therefore claims that it has a mandate to rule, from the people,
    which has replaced the mandate from God, that was previously expressed as the divine right of kings. This claim though is hollow. If a million people cast their vote for a candidtate or party they had multitudes of reasons for doing so. Some people might have prefered the party they voted for for 5 reasons but prefered a party that they did not vote for for three reasons. For others it might have been exactly the opposite except for this class of voters the 3 reasons were more important to them than the five reasons. Furthernore voting does not measure intensity of support. In addition deciding who gets to vote and who does not get to vote is a subjective decision.
    Anyways once an election is held the press works overtime to “explain” why the winners won and the losers lost. Yet these explinations are nothing more than the creation of myths. Maybe these reasons are true but it can never be proven. Many of these touted reasons are certianly bullshit just designed to take up space in between commercials.
    time to continue on the next section so that this is short enough to be sent.

    1. “The essence of holding an election is simply to determine which power faction is the largest and therefore the most likely to win in a power struggle so we can therefore simply dispense with the power struggle.” That’s pretty cynical. And it’s also the zero-sum view of elections that comes with having only two parties. I have said in many posts over the years that I find it ridiculous that a country the size of America offers its people two choices in the elections. It’s hard for people to choose which issues they have to give priority, but choose they must, between party A and party B. If you have a multi-party system (which can only happen if money is taken out of politics, so good luck), anyone or any group can establish a political party and determine what their agenda is. With many more parties, they will all be slightly different, having their own views on all the issues. So the voters can choose much more precisely which party comes closest to their views on all the issues, or at least on all the issues they care about in more or lesser degrees. A multi-party system can also only work with proportional representation, which means that there aren’t so much winners and losers. A party that gets 4% of the votes gets 4% of the seats in Parliament, or Congress. A party that gets 15% gets 15% of the seats, and a party that gets 38% gets 38% of the seats. So the biggest parties have won in the sense that they have the most seats, but every party that has seats votes on bills, so in order for a bill to pass it actually does have to do the greatest good for the greatest number, because it’s not a matter of one party A having two seats more than party B, in which case party A can pass whatever they want, even if it’s not in most people’s interests.
      That being said, in a democracy — and in American democracy as well, at least in theory — not everything is actually measured in how many people it benefits, because everyone has rights, and a decent democracy protects the rights of minority groups, which means that often legislature will be passed that’s meant to help a minority of people, even if the greatest number of people aren’t necessarily affected by it.
      As to your idea that it’s not so important how a government gets power, but rather what it does with that power, well, Hitler and the Nazi party in Germany came to power legitimately, and then immediately took all the democratic power away from the Reichstag and turned the country into a dictatorship. So you could say that what they did with that power was not acceptable. Unless you were one of the folks who felt humiliated after WWI or you were affected by the bad economy and such. Those folks said at the time that at least Hitler got the economy going, the trains ran on time, and he gave the people their national pride back. So they would say that what he did with his power was definitely acceptable. Politics is never objective, no, but if everyone votes, and everyone is represented in a government that then keeps the economy going and the trains running and national pride high, if that’s your thing, in a way that is decided democratically, that’s still the closest to objectively fair, don’t you think? And if it turns out someone didn’t keep their election promises, you can elect someone else next time.
      By the way, in most democratic countries the party agenda is determined by the members of that party, and the politicians of that party who are voted into the government are expected to carry out that agenda. If they steer too far away from it, they will be held to account by the party members, and if they don’t get back on task, they can get booted out of the party and replaced at any time. The reason that in America politicians all make promises they don’t keep is because they don’t have to, so they don’t care. They’re set for the next four years. Or six if they’re a senator. And during that time they collect as much money from lobby groups as possible to win the next election, and if they don’t get re-elected, they’ve at least built a network so they don’t have to worry about getting a job. It really is not the best of democratic systems, in my opinion.

      1. OK I am not sure that I can finnish all of my responses to your comments tonight. It was hard to decide where to begin. I decided to begin here because we have a point of agreement. Putting aside my objections to one person one vote for a moment. If I had to live in a country that allowed one man one vote I would want to live in a proportional representation parlimentary system. Yes that is clearly a vast improvement over a jerry meandered district two party system and a disproportional second level of a parliment.
        On top of that I have a suggestion that would make it even sweeter if the voters of a country were semi capable. One of the problems that I mentioned earlier is that even with a multitude of parties some parties have better platforms in some areas and worse platforms in others. A remedy for this situation would be to allow voting not just for a national parliment that would then would allow one party to choose all of the department ministers if that party won an absolute majority or a coalition of parties that exceeds 50% plus one, but to allow the people to elect a central committee for each department that collectively exersice the powers that a department minister currently has. For example the central committee of the transportation or education or what have you department would consist of 15 members. The way that I would award the seats would not be strictly proportional.
        Before I get to that let me digress a little in case an American reader unfamilure with the politics of Europe ever reads this. To aviod to many parties in a Parliment which in the past causes gridlock the Europeans say that a party must achieve a minimum number of votes to be represented in Parliment. I think that the figure of 5% is common. The votes for those parties falling below this threshhold then get reapportioned among those parties that did based upon their realative vote totals.
        On a committee with 15 seats a party would need close to 7% to get a seat. My twist would be to make only 12 of the seats available to parties that got more than 8.33% of the vote. Then each party that got more than 5% of the vote would be able to nominate one person for a lottery drawing for the remaining three seats. Of course if the number of parties that fell between this 4% and 8.33 threashhold was less than four there would be no need for such a lottery drawing. If you do not like that idea for the giving representation for parties that fall between those threashholds a run off could be held among the parties that fell inbetween. I think the first idea is better though because it shortens the length and therefore the cost to the government for the campaign.
        Speaking of politcal campaigns I have some quite original, I think, comments concerning this subject as well. But if I write them here my comment might be to long to go through. If I start I new reply I am not sure what will happen.

    2. The reason that I made the compairson between the abortion clinic bomber and the church bomber is to clarify that there are in a manner of speaking honest opponents and dishonest opponents. It is not hard for me to imagine that an abortion clinic bomber has come to the conclusion that their act saves more innocent lives than it takes, if it takes any (in their view), which justifies the act based on the principles of the greatest good for the greatest number, and even the golden rule. Yes the golden rule, you might be surprised by that. But is it hard to imagine that such a person would say to themselves I would rather someone murder me to stop me from murdering a child to prevent me from going to hell. On the other hand the arguements put forth by the proponents of some causes are so stupid that one can not help to draw the concusion that they can not talk about the real reasons that the support a policy because that would reveal their true motives for supporting a policy which would discredit them in the eyes of honest people.
      Two quick examples are the southern states rights in defence of slavery arguement and the idea that the world needs to prevent the Iranian regime, a regime which has not lots of bad things internally but which has not attacked another country since it came to power, from being able to manufacture nuclear weapons.
      The reason that I want to make a distinction in opponents is because I have defended the principle that it is acceptable to use violence to try to veto the actions of a government that came to power through an electoral process. I am making clear that I understand that if I defend this principle I can not accuse someone else of using violence of being a dispicable person because they used violence or broke the law.
      As far as I know I have never done that. I judge a person as dispicable based on the reasons that they have used violence. I also oppose indiscriminate violence. The conventional bombs of modern armies have a =~51.4 yard killing radius. That is quite indiscrimanate. A .32 caliber pistol (with silencer of course) and a knife are very discrimanate.
      This all goes to your point about klansman having the right not to be bombed.
      I say that if a sherrifs department is arresting black civil rights workers and releasing them at midnight to waiting klansman so that they can be murdered and no one really makes an effort to investigate this policy, or if the perpetraitors are routinely released by a jury, it is acceptable not only to murder members of the klan but members of the offending sherrifs deparment was well.

      All wars are civil wars, and some wars are more civll than others.

      (I hope that I remembered to hit the reply button so that it appears under your corresponding comment)

      1. Wow! Much as I might feel the same in the moment, about killing those klansmen and the offending sheriffs, I don’t think that’s acceptable, again, because what’s acceptable is subjective. You just mentioned cases to that point yourself. Unjust and criminal policies have to be dealt with through the law. If the local law is crooked, you go higher. It takes longer, but it’s the only way to keep us all from killing one another in fits of red-eyed, righteous rage.
        Anyway, back to it being acceptable to use violence to topple a government that came to power legitimately. Yes, in the case of Nazi Germany, it got to the point that violence was the only way to turn things around. But that was because their democracy hadn’t worked. It wasn’t strong enough to withstand Hitler, simply because it was too new. Hindenburg kept vetoing things or insisting on stuff completely outside the democratic process and too many of the brand-new members of parliament sat back and let it happen. So the important thing is not to let it come to that point if you can help it.
        As for what you say about Iran, I’m not going to go into that, because I want to keep the discussion as close as possible to the topic of the post, and we’ve already stryed well past recognition. 😉
        As for America: America prides itself on being the oldest democracy in the world. I wish I could say that, as a result, American democracy is rock solid by now. That’s clearly not the case. It’s crumbling before our eyes. But the people, and the elected officials in government do have a rock solid pride in American democracy and the strong feeling that Congress is there to continue to improve that democracy through legislation. So its members have no excuse for being as weak as the representatives of the Weimar Republic. If they allow it to get so far that Trump and co turn this country into a fascist state, then yes, it’s possible that violence is the only solution, but it’s still not acceptable, in the sense that Congress and the Judicial Branch should have prevented it from getting to that point to begin with.
        Members of Congress, senators, the Supreme Court and other judges still can, so it’s their duty to do so. If not, all the even worse stuff that’s going to happen will be on them as much as on Trump. Right now American democracy is being held together by a few federal judges and a few states who refuse to carry out Trump’s unconstitutional policies. The GOP is acting like they’ve never heard of the balance of powers or their role as personal checks and balances.
        (By the way, I have The Big No-No on WordPress’s business plan; you can edit your comment for a brief period after you’ve submitted it.)

        1. I myself do not see how the subjectivity of the decision to shoot down a klansman in his driveway with a deer rifle from long distance like happened to Medgar Evers is relevant.
          Every thing that a human does, fails to do, or refuses to does is subjective. We establshed in comments above that no theologian or philosopher or politician has ever in the history of the universe been able to develope an objective foundation for ethics or politics. Remember life, ethics and politics included, is an Art not a science. The implication of that understanding is that being a human being is a big responsiblity. With every decision we make, whether the decsion is to do something, not to do something, refuse to do something, or fail to do something because we only pretended to try to do it WE ARE PLAYING GOD.
          You can not say that you are not playing God because you left the choice up to someone else. If you do that you are merely subcontracting your authority as a human being. You can not avoid playing God every moment that you are present of planet earth. Every decsion that you make will have a cumlative effect one way or the other.
          My example excplicity stated, if NO ONE makes an effort to investigate. That would include a respresentative of the Federal Government. BUT, what if the federal govenment says that it is investigating and not really doing so? Of course there is no way that an average citizen could know such a thing. But someone in law enforcement could be capable of knowing such a thing. This member of the law enforcement might also know that to come forward with an accusation that a murder was not really being investigated would cause him to get blacklisted for advancement, or even continued employment, in his organization. I am saying that under these circumstances it is perfectly reasonable if s/he has the specialized training to do so, to murder at that point not only the klansman that committed the murder, but also those sherrifs that turned the victim(s) over to the klan, and to also kill the state and or federal law enforcement officers that committed treason by pretending to carry out an investigation.
          Of course I know that such, narrowly described events, have not happened yet in the USA. Such narrowly described events may never happen. Yet in many parts of the world such events just described have been routine for decades.

          I had been planning on writing about the absurd narrative that is being spread in the USA about what the Russians did in reference to the 2016 US elections before supper. But alas this got me sidetracked. That will have to wait.
          I will answer one other comment below though whish should be done quickly.

          1. “BUT, what if the federal government says that it is investigating and not really doing so? Of course there is no way that an average citizen could know such a thing.” Yes, there is. That’s the role of the press, and that’s why press freedom is so important, the right of the press to ask uncomfortable questions and the right to answers. Also the people’s right to information, also in 1st amendment. Trump is eroding the press. Not officially its freedom (yet), but he has, from the very beginning, railed against the mainstream media, worked hard to delegitimize them in the eyes of his followers, and he has lauded Fox and Friends, Alex Jones, etc. He has banned mainstream journalists from press briefings, which, come to think of it, is concretely impeding on their freedom. in fact, he doesn’t give press briefings and his press secretary doesn’t really give press briefings either, just lying to and insulting the press sessions, and they’re not daily, either. He defies the public’s right to information on all sorts of levels. But yes, there is a way to know all this. Vote for people who value democracy, the right to information and a free press that can work in freedom and reasonable safety in asking questions that are relevant to people’s lives and find the factual answers to those questions and then present them to the public, without interference from the executive branch. We are so used to this, but before Trump this was unheard of. Let’s not forget how abnormal this is. We did use to be able to know these things. That we have no way of knowing now can be changed. Anyway, 10-minute break in hearings over. Back to it. Very interesting and educative!

        2. PS. How can i edit my comment for a brief period after I send it if my comment does not appear on my screen until you approve of the submission which sometimes takes a week?

          1. Oh, so the moment you submit it, it disappears until I’ve approved it? That’s strange, because one of the features is supposed to be that folks can edit their comments. I’ll ask about that. I’ll get to your other comments tomorrow. I don’t know where you are, but it’s late here. Tomorrow’s another day.

  13. Therefore the mandate to rule is hollow as the winning party does not have a mandate from the voters to do anything in particular. These mandates are created in the press.
    But EVEN IF an election confered some level of legitimacy on a government. It does not confer legitimacy on the acts of the govenment. Mobs are large groups of people. Therefore they could certianly have the numbers to elect people which would in theory represent the mob. But since mobs do evil things quite frequently, in my view anyways, what the mob does is not neccissarily legitmate in my view, unless I judge it be legitimate. But WTF, who am I just one person, to doubt the wisdom of a large group of people.
    The mob can betray principles that are not only sacred to me. The mob could betray principles that are sacred to someone else that I have no interest in what so ever. If something is important enough to me and the government, exprssing popular will or not, starts crossing sacred red lines I am going to use any means possible to defend those red lines. I would expect another person to act like that as well even though it might be to defend completely different principles. For example to outlaw abortion, or to protect the unborn fetuses growing inside of real human beings. I would crtianly do everything in my power to put an abortion bomber in prison. But I would not hold the same sense of disgust towards him as I would the bomber of an African American Methodist Church.
    There is an ethical difference between someone who uses violence to advance an agenda that promotes the spread of a universal principle, even if I disagree with it, and the use of violence to promote an individual or groups well being at the expense of others.
    Finally we get to the point that in democratic countries that do not have cohesive party discipline those elected to represent a district often do not even bother to pretend to represent the interests of those who voted for them. If such representives represented the views of an ethical and informed minority that would be a good thing. Sadly it is business special interest groups that have the money to influence the representives. In most countries money talks much louder than words.

    1. Ah, I see that your conclusion in this comment is about the same as my conclusion in my response to your last comment. But I’m going to continue reading one comment and responding to it at a time, or else I’ll get confused.
      So, universal principles. You assume that it’s more of a universal principle that you don’t bomb a church than it is to not bomb an abortion clinic. That’s not universal, that’s your opinion. I find both equally reprehensible, probably in part because I find the right of a woman to decide over her own body and the right to decide whether she wants to bring a child into the world is greater than the right of a fetus. If men could have babies that right would be considered universal quick smart! But I don’t mean to get into an argument about abortion and neither do you. My point is that it should be equally reprehensible to you, too, because someone decided to bomb someone they didn’t agree with, and you just don’t do that in a civilized society. There are elections, and laws, and you can take things to court, but you can’t bomb folks. Any folks. I understand the sentiment that there’s an emotional difference. I personally would not be crying my eyes out if a group of Klansmen were bombed to smithereens, but that’s exactly why we have a system of laws, because we can’t let ourselves be governed purely by emotions and personal opinions. So Klansmen have the right not to be bombed, African-American churches have that right, and so do abortion clinics, regardless of where everyone stands, because only that way is it fair.

  14. OK I have written much more than I thought that I would. But if I stop I will start doing housework or exersiceing or reading a novel and I will lose my train of thought.
    The following comments are actually a further comment on my own comment posted on the 7th of August at 5:56 pm.
    Near the end of that comment, I stated that the officers of a military are obligated to disobey orders to attack a country that did not attack it even if the orders to do so come direct from the nations people. But yet I do recognize exceptions to that general rule. One exception would be, if a neighboring country has a policy that is causing immediate and extensive harm to ones (your) country and the neighboring country refuses to make attempts to mitigate this harm a war against that counrty might be justified. But what is immediate and what is extensive? Rulers with evil intent will certianly claim that a country that they want to attack are supporting terrorists. My only defence is that bad people can abuse good ideas. And yes who knows maybe the rulers of government A really are supporting attempts to overthrow the government of government B. But maybe the reason that the rulers of government A are doing that is because the rulers of government B have been secretly sabotaging their economy for decades. The roots of conflict often run deep and can even reach a point that know one can be sure in which direction they lead.
    Another possible exception is if another country is going to do something that is extraordinarlly reckless. For example a nearby country building a nuclear power plant on a coastal area well known for suffering from tsunamis could be seen by the people of a nieghboring country as creating a grave danger to their existance.
    Last but not least we have the exception of taking part in a civil war that is raging in another country. Such interventions should be avoided. But this is a hard thing to do.
    Not are there possible advantages to be gained for special interest groups but all the sides in the civil war will be seeking international support to give them an edge over their opponents. It is not easy to say no to people who are suffering. It is even easier for corrupt rulers to pretend that they are saying yes because they want to help them. The main risk in saying yes is that a civil war will evolve in to a regional war. The secondary risk is that the meddleing country will become a target for the irregular forces of one side in the conflict that was not supported. One thing is clear about this exception though. The further away this (civil war) country is the less justification there is for getting involved.
    One of my favorite sayings is, “All wars are civil wars.” As far as I know I am the first person to say that.
    The first few exceptions that I made for foriegn military intervention could also possibly be justificaions for a revolution(rebellion) if the dangers posed by government policies were accute enough. In fact I bet that when it comes to such things the revolutionaries or rebels justify thier actions more than half the time on the dangers posed by continuing current government policies.
    But of course there is no higher authority to tell a person what to do. Most people are completely clueless about what is happenng in the world let alone what the consequences will be based on what is happening. Therefore for the thinking citizen with some integrity the question of WHO gets to decide what is right is not a question to consider even for a moment.

      1. No I do not have access to Babylon Berlin. I am familure with the first case of of Geron Rath in Berlin though. I hope to learn more about the life of Geron in the near future. I need to find a source that I can trust to give me a complete untranslated version. A source that actually works for the Berlin Homicide Department would be appropriate.

  15. Didn`t you make some comments above about Putin and the Russians meddeling in the US elections? I have skimmed through the comments twice and could not relocate that.
    If you did not make such comments then there is no need to post this comment.
    The left wing Real News Network about of Balltomore MD. has a series of reports as to why the Russians helped get Trump elected narrative is a bunch of baloney. I would just like to make a couple of short comments on what I think is the most relevent aspects of this subject. First of no one has denyed that the emails that show that there was collusion between the head of the Democratic Party and the Clinton Campaign to prevent Bernie Sanders of getting the Democratic nomination are TRUE. So if reporting the truth is “meddeling” in an election what is an example of NOT meddeling in an election? Second of all, if having who leads a countries government being determined by an outside power is good enough for the, Australians, and the Brazilians, and the Chileans, and the Cubans (Bay of Pigs) and the Dominicans, and the El Salvadorians, and the Guatamalans, and the Haitians, and the Hondurans, and the Iranians, and the Iraqis, and the Libyans, who have all had their government changed by the USA or had been the victims of an attempt by the USA to change their government, why should anyone have the slightest concern if an outside nation tried to give the governement of the USA a taste of its own medicine?

    1. I don’t know where I wrote about it, and I’m not going to look. I’m watching the confirmation hearings of Kavanaugh and they’re having a little break, so I am, too. Yes, the word ‘meddling’ has been used in relation to meddling by the Russians in the US presidential elections. ‘Meddling’ has also been used to describe how the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign screwed Bernie Sanders and his followers. However, just because you can use the same word in both instances, that doesn’t mean they are equivalent instances. One is a political party bickering amongst themselves and not having their act together, the other is a foreign, hostile country actively interfering with America’s presidential election in an attempt to get their puppet elected. And if Trump knew about it and didn’t do anything to stop it, then he’s complicit, and therefore guilty of treason. As is everyone else involved. Folks have been executed for treason in America.
      As to the argument that America has done the same: I don’t know that there’s evidence that America has done exactly the same, feeding at a large scale misinformation and helping to create hostile tension within a country by targeting millions of individual voters. But I know in general what you mean. I’m also a parent. My kids are 19 and 21, so I haven’t had to say this for several years, but here goes: I don’t care what happened in the past. I don’t care who did what last week. This is now. And anyway, the American people who are voting now can’t help that America was screwing with Argentina in the seventies. Well, I’m back to Kavanaugh live. Also, I think we should end this discussion. So maybe one more comment? Because it’s become rather general.

What are your thoughts?

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