The S Word, the F Word and the Election

  
Via:  bob-nelson  •  one month ago  •  13 comments

The S Word, the F Word and the Election
Guess which party is really un-American.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T


512What did you think of the bunch of socialists you just saw debating on stage?

Wait, you may protest, you didn’t see any socialists up there. And you’d be right.

Trump supporters demonstrated before the first Democratic presidential debate on Wednesday.
Scott McIntyre for The New York Times

The Democratic Party has clearly moved left in recent years, but none of the presidential candidates are anything close to being actual socialists — no, not even Bernie Sanders, whose embrace of the label is really more about branding (“I’m anti-establishment!”) than substance.

Nobody in these debates wants government ownership of the means of production, which is what socialism used to mean. Most of the candidates are, instead, what Europeans would call “social democrats”: advocates of a private-sector-driven economy, but with a stronger social safety net, enhanced bargaining power for workers and tighter regulation of corporate malfeasance. They want America to be more like Denmark, not more like Venezuela.

Leading Republicans, however, routinely describe Democrats, even those on the right of their party, as socialists. Indeed, all indications are that denunciations of Democrats’ “socialist” agenda will be front and center in the general election campaign. And everyone in the news media accepts this as the normal state of affairs.

Which goes to show the extent to which Republican extremism has been accepted simply as a fact of life, barely worth mentioning.

To see what I mean, imagine the media firestorm, the screams about lost civility, we’d experience if any prominent Democrat described Republicans as a party of fascists, let alone if Democrats made that claim the centerpiece of their national campaign. And such an accusation would indeed be somewhat over the top — but it would be a lot closer to the truth than calling Democrats socialists.

The other day The Times published an Op-Ed that used analysis of party platforms to place U.S. political parties on a left-right spectrum along with their counterparts abroad. The study found that the G.O.P. is far to the right of mainstream European conservative parties. It’s even to the right of anti-immigrant parties like Britain’s UKIP and France’s National Rally. Basically, if we saw something like America’s Republicans in another country, we’d classify them as white nationalist extremists.

True, this is just one study. But it matches up with lots of other evidence. Political scientists who use congressional votes to track ideology find that Republicans have moved drastically to the right over the past four decades, to the point where they are now more conservative than they were at the height of the Gilded Age.

Or just compare the G.O.P., point by point, with parties almost everyone would classify as right-wing authoritarians — parties like Hungary’s Fidesz, which has preserved some of the forms of democracy but has effectively created a permanent one-party state.

Fidesz has cemented its power by politicizing the judiciary, creating rigged election rules, suppressing opposition media and using the power of the state to reward the party’s cronies while punishing businesses that don’t toe the line. Does any of this sound like something that can’t happen here? In fact, does any of it sound like something that isn’t already happening here, and which Republicans will do much more of if they get the chance?

One might even argue that the G.O.P. stands out among the West’s white nationalist parties for its exceptional willingness to crash right through the guardrails of democracy. Extreme gerrymandering, naked voter suppression and stripping power from offices the other party manages to win all the same — these practices seem if anything more prevalent here than in the failing democracies of Eastern Europe.

Oh, and isn’t it remarkable how blasé we’ve become about threats of legal persecution and/or physical violence against anyone who criticizes a Republican president?

So it’s really something to see Republicans trying to tar Democrats as un-American socialists. If they want to see a party that really has broken with fundamental American values, they should look in the mirror.

But that won’t happen, of course. Whoever the Democrats nominate — even if it’s Joe Biden — Republicans will paint him or her as the second coming of Hugo Chávez. The only question is whether it will work.

It might not, or at least not as well as in the past. By spending decades calling everything that might improve Americans’ lives “socialist,” Republicans have squandered much of the accusation’s force. And Donald Trump, who was installed in office with Russian help and clearly prefers foreign dictators to democratic allies, is probably less able to play the “Democrats are unpatriotic” card than previous Republican presidents.

Still, a lot will depend on how the news media handle dishonest attacks. Will we keep seeing headlines that repeat false claims (“Trump Says Democrats Will Ban Hamburgers”), with the information that the claim is false buried deep inside the article? Will we get coverage of actual policy proposals, as opposed to horse-race analysis that only asks how those proposals seem to be playing?

I guess we’ll soon find out.

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Bob Nelson
1  seeder  Bob Nelson    one month ago

Please
 - read the seed before Commenting.
 - Comment on topic (CoC Rule N° 4).
 - cite the portion of the seed on which you are Commenting, to enable us (myself and Mods) to observe whether your Comment is effectively on-topic. I will request "deletion / off-topic" for any Comment that is not clearly tied to the seed.

Thank you.


... imagine the media firestorm, the screams about lost civility, we’d experience if any prominent Democrat described Republicans as a party of fascists, let alone if Democrats made that claim the centerpiece of their national campaign. And such an accusation would indeed be somewhat over the top — but it would be a lot closer to the truth than calling Democrats socialists.

The left has been foolish, imagining that eventually truth would out. Meanwhile, the right has told stories that fit their agenda, paying no attention to reality. "The Dems are socialists" is utterly ridiculous...but Republicans don't care. Truth is unimportant. Occupying the rostrum is important.

(I've been kinda busy for a while, so my "to be seeded" folder has some oldies in it. This piece is still perfectly valid, despite its being a month old.)

 
 
 
Ronin2
2  Ronin2    one month ago
So it’s really something to see Republicans trying to tar Democrats as un-American socialists. If they want to see a party that really has broken with fundamental American values, they should look in the mirror. But that won’t happen, of course. Whoever the Democrats nominate — even if it’s Joe Biden — Republicans will paint him or her as the second coming of Hugo Chávez. The only question is whether it will work.

Yes, they will. Guess what, the Democrats will demonize anyone that the Republicans put forward as un-American fascist, and the second coming of Hitler. They are already doing it with Trump.  Welcome to the two party system; where divisiveness is the only sure thing you can bet on. Just to prove it, from the article.

To see what I mean, imagine the media firestorm, the screams about lost civility, we’d experience if any prominent Democrat described Republicans as a party of fascists, let alone if Democrats made that claim the centerpiece of their national campaign. And such an accusation would indeed be somewhat over the top — but it would be a lot closer to the truth than calling Democrats socialists. So it’s really something to see Republicans trying to tar Democrats as un-American socialists. If they want to see a party that really has broken with fundamental American values, they should look in the mirror.

WTF already happened- I bolded the part of the article. Just google it. Fascist, Nazi, Un-American, Racist (House already violated their own rules to do that), Putin's lap dog. The Democratic Party doesn't usually need to do the dirty work; they get their media pit bulls to do it for them. 

How about trying to paint the Republicans as being bad when the Democrats do the exact same thing?

Fidesz hascemented its powerby politicizing the judiciary, creating rigged election rules, suppressing opposition media and using the power of the state to reward the party’s cronies while punishing businesses that don’t toe the line.

Who the hell is suppressing opposition media again? Obama tried to ban Fox News from his press events. Who was it that spied on media correspondents again?

https://thehill.com/hilltv/rising/417100-it-should-be-noted-obama-white-house-demonized-fox-news-on-daily-basis-says-cbs

Garrett worked as a White House correspondent at Fox News during the Obama administration. 

"The [Obama] White House said it was at war with Fox News. I was its most visible editorial representative on the White House grounds as a senior White House correspondent," he continued. 

"The White House would always pull me aside and say 'well, really, Major, we're not at war with you,' and I said 'stop talking to me like that because when you're at war with my network you by definition are questioning and assailing my journalistic credibility and the work I do here every day,' " he said. " 'So don't tell me it's not about me, it is about me.' "

"Now, they never tried to pull my pass, but they had this sort of arms-length relationship to Fox and tried to demonize it on a daily basis. So that's another part of American history and journalism in the White House press corps I think at least should be noted at this moment," he said. 

https://www.apnews.com/ffc60235c26c470c9047e0da6ff19f95

The Obama administration used the 1917 Espionage Act with unprecedented vigor, prosecuting more people under that law for leaking sensitive information to the public than all previous administrations combined. Obama’s Justice Department dug into confidential communications between news organizations and their sources as part of that effort.

In 2013 the Obama administration obtained the records of 20 Associated Press office phone lines and reporters’ home and cell phones, seizing them without notice, as part of an investigation into the disclosure of information about a foiled al-Qaida terrorist plot.

AP was not the target of the investigation. But it called the seizure a “massive and unprecedented intrusion” into its news-gathering activities, betraying information about its operations “that the government has no conceivable right to know.”

Obama’s Justice Department also secretly dogged Fox News journalist James Rosen, getting his phone records, tracking his arrivals and departures at the State Department through his security-badge use, obtaining a search warrant to see his personal emails and naming him as a possible criminal conspirator in the investigation of a news leak.

“The Obama administration,” The New York Times editorial board wrote at the time, “has moved beyond protecting government secrets to threatening fundamental freedoms of the press to gather news.”

Extreme gerrymandering, naked voter suppression andstripping power from officesthe other party manages to win all the same — these practices seem if anything more prevalent here than in the failing democracies of Eastern Europe.

Extreme gerrymandering. No Democrats never, ever, do that. jrSmiley_88_smiley_image.gif

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2018/03/28/how-maryland-democrats-pulled-off-their-aggressive-gerrymander/?utm_term=.81cace8109ae

https://www.thedailybeast.com/democrats-hate-gerrymanderingexcept-when-they-get-to-do-it

Voter suppression? Right. Try violating voting laws.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/elections/2018/11/15/florida-recount-democrats-launch-plan-altered-state-form-fix-ballots/2016030002/

A Democratic party official in Florida directed aides to share altered election forms with voters in an effort to fix ballot signature problems a day after polls closed in the key swing state, an email obtained by the USA TODAY NETWORK shows.

The email shows a Democratic party leader provided staff with altered copies of a state form that were modified to give the impression that voters had more time to correct signature problems with mailed-in ballots than they actually had under state law. 

The altered forms, which turned up in four counties in the state, appear to be an effort to increase the number of Democratic ballots counted in the state's hotly contested races for governor and Senate, election experts said.

It is not clear whether the effort changed the tally in any of the state’s marquee races, but election experts said altering the form is illegal and the controversy is likely to spur claims that party officials attempted to undermine the voting process.

https://www.texasmonthly.com/news/harris-county-may-violated-federal-election-law-expert-says/

https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article229563099.html

Stripping power from offices; Democrats never do that./S

https://www.northjersey.com/story/news/new-jersey/2018/07/23/democrats-launch-bid-strip-gov-phil-murphy-key-power/818613002/

Pot meet kettle.

 
 
 
 
Heartland American
2.1  Heartland American  replied to  Ronin2 @2    one month ago

Great post. Your points one by one are all right on. jrSmiley_81_smiley_image.gifjrSmiley_13_smiley_image.gif

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
2.1.1  seeder  Bob Nelson  replied to  Heartland American @2.1    one month ago
Your points one by one are all right on.

You really read them?

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
2.2  seeder  Bob Nelson  replied to  Ronin2 @2    one month ago

So you have lots to say about the things that Krugman talks about... but do you have anything to say that is pertinent to the seed?

For example, you bolded "And such an accusation would indeed be somewhat over the top — but it would be a lot closer to the truth than calling Democrats socialists." But you didn't answer it. Krugman doesn't call anyone a fascist: "such an accusation would indeed be somewhat over the top", but you proceed as though he had.

... and so on.

You post links and segments of text, but you don't explain how they are pertinent to any of the seed. Unless you make the liaison, they're pointless. Off-topic.

 
 
 
Ronin2
3  Ronin2    one month ago
"And such an accusation would indeed be somewhat over the top — but it would be a lot closer to the truth than calling Democrats socialists."

No, Krugman doesn't call any a fascist out right. He just states that line and then tries to prove how close Republicans are to fascists for the rest of the damn article. 

I simply pointed out that the Democrats are no better than the Republicans in the very aspects he points out. So, they are just as close to being fascists using his own logic.

Also, I truthfully stated that Democrat politicians don't need to call their opponents fascists; they have their media lap dogs do it for them, repeatedly and loudly. They make no attempts to rein them in either.

If a Republican calls a Democrat a Socialist the media goes epileptic trying to defend them.

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
3.1  seeder  Bob Nelson  replied to  Ronin2 @3    one month ago

This isn't Biblical exegesis. It's definitions.

Socialism is "collective ownership of means of production and distribution". There is no prominent Democrat calling for that.

"Fascism" has no short, simple definition. The most useful I've found is:

Political ideology that imposes strict social and economical measures as a method of empowering the government and stripping citizens of rights. This authoritative system of government is usually headed by an absolute dictator who keeps citizens suppressed via acts of violence and strict laws that govern the people. The most noted form of Fascism was implemented under Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler, who both stripped citizens of their rights and maintained strict regimes that resulted in the deaths of thousands of humans. Some of the defining characteristics of fascism are: (1) racism, (2) militarism, (3) dictatorship, and (4) destructive nationalistic policies.

I don't think anyone would say the Republican Party is fascist today, but it is clearly oriented in that direction.

 
 
 
Mark in Wyoming
4  Mark in Wyoming    one month ago

Bob isn't this all predicated on how the individual person actually defines  for themselves either the S or F words? people do have a tendency to simplify things for themselves , at least I will admit to doing so.

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
4.1  seeder  Bob Nelson  replied to  Mark in Wyoming @4    one month ago

I read it as PK saying that the media are not "fair and balanced".

There is very little of "socialist" in the Democratic Party, but the media make that amalgam every day.

Meanwhile, a checklist for "fascism" (xenophobe, racist, authoritarian, disdain for human rights, ...) applies pretty well to the Republican Party, but the media never, ever make that obvious connection.

 
 
 
Mark in Wyoming
4.1.1  Mark in Wyoming  replied to  Bob Nelson @4.1    one month ago

And Bob isn't that the definition you have personally chosen to define the F word?

 what if I use this definition?

a follower of a political philosophy characterized by authoritarian views and a strong central government — and no tolerance for opposing opinions.

https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/fascist

if that simplified definition is used , doesn't it fit a pretty broad section of BOTH parties?

It might not be the accepted definition of some , but what will matter is it is the definition I adhere to , and notice it doesn't mention  right or left wing , so that allows for it to exist in either wing. and this is pretty much what I see coming from BOTH political parties , they both want the authority and the power of the government to be behind them to the point of silencing opposition.

So the voters are having to choose different flavors so to speak of the F word, same meal just a different flavor.

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
4.1.2  seeder  Bob Nelson  replied to  Mark in Wyoming @4.1.1    one month ago

As I said above, there's no clear definition of "fascism".

Using your definition, I see a significant difference between America's parties: authoritarianism.

The Republican Party's attitude is clear in Trump's rallies, with his supporters chanting for extra-legal action against the President's adversaries ("lock her up" and now "send her home").

I know of nothing similar among Democratic Party candidates.

 
 
 
Mark in Wyoming
4.1.3  Mark in Wyoming  replied to  Bob Nelson @4.1.2    one month ago

Well Bob , if you don't see it , nothing I point out will convince you otherwise really , it will be written off as the consequences of loosing elections and politics , and the actual point I was trying to make was , that it is the individual that will decide what definition they use to define a word , which I think we agree, we both have our own personal definitions we use , but in order to have a meaningful conversation we both have to understand how each of us define a word , we don't even have to agree on a definition as long as we both understand how the other defines it .

would you say that this is a true unbiased statement?

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
4.1.4  seeder  Bob Nelson  replied to  Mark in Wyoming @4.1.3    one month ago
it is the individual that will decide what definition they use to define a word

Of course. If those definitions are too different, communication is impossible, so dictionaries exist.

we don't even have to agree on a definition as long as we both understand how the other defines it .

True.

Of course, dialog may be a bit difficult...

 
 
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