Age of Discord II
October 30, 2020 2:22 AM   Subscribe

Welcome To The 'Turbulent Twenties' - "We predicted political upheaval in America in the 2020s. This is why it's here and what we can do to temper it."[1,2] (via)
American politics has fallen into a pattern that is characteristic of many developing countries, where one portion of the elite seeks to win support from the working classes not by sharing the wealth or by expanding public services and making sacrifices to increase the common good, but by persuading the working classes that they are beset by enemies who hate them (liberal elites, minorities, illegal immigrants) and want to take away what little they have. This pattern builds polarization and distrust and is strongly associated with civil conflict, violence and democratic decline...

How can Americans end our current Age of Discord? What we need is a new social contract that will enable us to get past extreme polarization to find consensus, tip the shares of economic growth back toward workers and improve government funding for public health, education and infrastructure.

...two historical cases where countries teetered on the brink of calamity but managed to pull back and forge a new path to progress. [Lord Grey's Reform campaign in the UK and FDR's New Deal in the US] The formula in both cases was clear and simple. First, the leader who was trying to preserve the past social order despite economic change and growing violence was replaced by a new leader who was willing to undertake much-needed reforms. Second, while the new leader leveraged his support to force opponents to give in to the necessary changes, there was no radical revolution; violence was eschewed and reforms were carried out within the existing institutional framework.

Third, the reforms were pragmatic. Various solutions were tried, and the new leaders sought to build broad support for reforms, recognizing that national strength depended on forging majority support for change, rather than forcing through measures that would provide narrow factional or ideologically-driven victories. The bottom line in both cases was that adapting to new social and technological realities required having the wealthy endure some sacrifices while the opportunities and fortunes of ordinary working people were supported and strengthened; the result was to raise each nation to unprecedented wealth and power.
also btw...
  • The dirty secret of capitalism -- and a new way forward - "Rising inequality and growing political instability are the direct result of decades of bad economic theory, says entrepreneur Nick Hanauer. In a visionary talk, he dismantles the mantra that 'greed is good' -- an idea he describes as not only morally corrosive, but also scientifically wrong -- and lays out a new theory of economics powered by reciprocity and cooperation."[3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13]
  • @Edourdoo: "The Ottoman Empire has frequently been blamed for its indiscriminate cruelty, a charge that has validity for its final phases. But perhaps its biggest fault was that it did not provide sufficient outlets for internal reform that could have allowed gradualistic political change."[14]
  • Of Course They Would: On Kim Stanley Robinson's The Ministry for the Future - "The Ministry of the title is a subsidiary body of the United Nations, tasked 'to advocate for the world's future generations of citizens, whose rights, as defined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, are as valid as our own' and further 'charged with defending all living creatures present and future who cannot speak for themselves, by promoting their legal standing and physical protection.'"[15]
  • @jdcmedlock: "Wages for housework is a long time left demand. It's a good idea but doesn't conflict with our need to also guarantee childcare for people who want to work."[16,17,18,19]
  • Voting Rights and Voting Modernization - "You can run your sword through the GOP on this one. At best, 20% of the country is willing to declare openly it's against democracy. The proposition is ridiculously simple: The Democratic Party is going to war to modernize voting, and expand voting rights, and any court that gets in its way will be subject to expansion, from SCOTUS on down. Many things are hard. This isn't."
  • @BrankoMilan: "These are six systemic inequalities in liberal/meritocratic capitalism. 1. Increasing aggregate share of capital in national income; 2. High concentrations of capital ownership; 2a. Higher rate of return on the assets of the rich; 3. Association of high-capital and high-labor incomes in the same individuals (homoploutia); 4. High homogamy (assortative mating); 5. High control of the political process by the rich (movement toward plutocracy); 6. Greater transmission of income and wealth across generations."
AOC's Next Four Years - "The history-making congresswoman addresses her biggest critics, the challenges that loom no matter who wins, and what she's taking on next."
Under a President Biden, “if his life doesn’t feel different,” she points to a cab driver whizzing by our table, “if their life doesn’t feel different,” she gestures to people walking by the beauty shop and Bengali Halal Grocery, “if these people’s lives don’t actually feel different”—now she is giving a stump speech over her omelet—“we’re done. You know how many Trumps there are in waiting?”

She is tired of incremental change, of “bullshit little 10 percent tax cuts,” she says. “I think, honestly, a lot of my dissent within the Democratic party comes from my lived experience. It’s not just that we can be better, it’s that we have to be better. We’re not good enough right now.”
No One Fights QAnon Like the Global Army of K-Pop Superfans - "BTS stans built the trolling blueprint for 4chan types, and they've proven they can disrupt it."[20,21]
posted by kliuless (30 comments total) 47 users marked this as a favorite
 
Is this a pun about how everyone uses that voice chat program now?
posted by I-Write-Essays at 2:24 AM on October 30, 2020


> any court that gets in its way will be subject to expansion, from SCOTUS on down

Impeach, don't expand. Make it crystal clear the criminality of the GOP here.
posted by Heywood Mogroot III at 3:09 AM on October 30, 2020 [10 favorites]


>She is tired of incremental change

me, on twitter [assuming Biden wins]:

"if they have 50+ (D) senators and they don't get rid of the filibuster I'm never voting (D) again, it's like rooting for the Washington Generals."
posted by Heywood Mogroot III at 3:12 AM on October 30, 2020 [9 favorites]


ACOUP historian Bret Deveraux has an interesting take on history's relevance to the current situation in the US. (Previously, Previouslier).
posted by TheophileEscargot at 3:58 AM on October 30, 2020 [7 favorites]


The first thing the devil does is blame the immigrants.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 4:01 AM on October 30, 2020 [1 favorite]


ACOUP historian Bret Deveraux has an interesting take on history's relevance to the current situation in the US.

This is really interesting!
As Andrew Wolpert points out (in Remembering Defeat: Civil War and Civic Memory in Ancient Athens (2002)) they did it through the combination of an amnesty for all but the very worst of the oligarchs (the aptly named Thirty Tyrants themselves), combined with a redefinition of the democracy which wrote the oligarchic faction out of the Athenian story, substituting in its place a constructive fiction that all of the Athenians had really been supporters of the democracy at heart, providing a way for even some collaborators with the oligarchy to reinvent themselves as Athenians loyal to the democracy. Which is to say, they do it through – wait for it – compromise and constructive, inclusive redefinition of the polity (combined with accountability for the worst offenders – which was also, by the by, part of the Roman Struggle of the Orders as well, e.g. the fates of Appius Claudius Crassus, Spurius Oppius Cornicen and the exile of the second decemvirite).
I don't know about you, but to me this sounds like "let the Lincoln Project pretend they were pro-democracy all along if it means sending the biggest grifters to jail and restoring democratic norms"
posted by Merus at 4:52 AM on October 30, 2020 [6 favorites]


I think Deveraux's take is interesting but I'm not sure I agree with it.

I think he's understating how much the faction disputes were resolved by one side winning, before compromising.

The Thirty Tyrants did overthrow the Athenian democracy after Athens lost the Peloponnesian war. The Democratic faction then took control again and purged the oligarchic faction (including most famously Socrates). The Democratic faction eventually tried to make peace with the remains of the Oligarchic faction, but only after winning.

With the Roman Revolution, the Senatorial class lost their nice system where the Senate held the bulk of state power collectively with no one person dominating it. But on land reform and maintaining their personal wealth, I had the impression that they basically won.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 5:55 AM on October 30, 2020 [4 favorites]


Thank you for this post. It’s a usefully hopeful set of pre-election reads.

Athenian strategies for unity are well and good to remember, but let’s also remember that Archaic Greece featured long-lived ongoing support for tyranny. The collapse of Bronze Age societies in the Med left serious political instability as the norm for a long time, to which tyranny was the answer. Analogies between modern politics and antiquity are both tempting and fun (in their way), but if you’re gonna talk about the “Greek miracle,” there’s also the proto-Trumps and Proto-Gingriches to remember.

I want to believe in the possibility of unity, and I loathe 2020’s heightened rhetoric, but there are thousands, if not millions, of Americans ready to opt for a hardened militarized authoritarian state. Explicitly or implicitly, many seem to want a country where their perceived enemies (immigrants; LGBTQ+; all residents of Portland; etc.) are put in their place. Personally I’m hoping both parties split, and we wind up with of necessity more consensus-building, less boot-on-the-neck-ing.
posted by cupcakeninja at 6:15 AM on October 30, 2020 [2 favorites]


so a new political thread opens and it immediately dissolves into an argument about athenian democracy without me having to make a single comment.

i have trained you all well. perhaps my work here on metafilter is done.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 7:23 AM on October 30, 2020 [20 favorites]


we were all going to relitigate the primaries but then we decided, "hey. peeps. why don't we put a little twist on it?"
posted by Merus at 7:33 AM on October 30, 2020 [4 favorites]


It's hardly just America entering a turbulent period, it's the entire world.

We're at the end of an era. Not in the triumphalist "end of history" Fukuyama sense, but in the sense that our current economic, geopolitical, and social systems are reaching a point where they no longer adequately work in the world as it exists. It doesn't happen often, but it does happen. We saw it with the transition from feudalism to mercantilism, and from mercantilism to industrial capitalism. We reached the point where industrial capitalism was no longer functional several years ago, but people don't like change so we have kept it creaking along as a zombie system despite it clearly having passed its use by date.

What worries me greatly is that not only are we seeing the inevitable turbulence resulting in the transition to an economic system based around automation and steadily vanishing human labor, but that you, me, and the other peon class people aren't really needed in that system.

The really big picture is that historically most of us were peasant farmers, from the standpoint of the rulers we were interchangeable faceless golems which would produce grain when beaten sufficiently. Military power depended on maintaining the loyalty of a relatively small number of elite warrior/aristocrats who were equipped with gear that cost more money than hundreds of peasants could produce in their lives.

Then we got industrialization and gunpowder. Suddenly money wasn't just a matter of beating grain out of peasants and military power required commanding the loyalty of a much larger group of lower class soldiers.

Historically and currently nations where the money mostly comes from a single source (ag, diamonds, oil, whatever) tend to be nations with little to no freedom and miserable living conditions. Because the rulers don't need to spread the wealth around, they know their money comes from X and they can either beat the workers involved in X into submission or reward them with wealth and freedom, but either way they don't need to spend any freedom or money on the rest of the population. So they don't.

In a diversified economy the money comes from a fog of complex and confusing interrelated sources so the rulers can't just focus on one thing and deny everyone else the good stuff. They have to spread the money and freedom around. Look at how China is becoming more free (relatively speaking) as the economy there diversifies.

But with automation suddenly both the military and industry become simple again.

What makes the money in an automated society? The robots.

What is the basis of military power in an automated society? The robots.

All you need to do, if you're the ruler, is command the loyalty of a relatively small group of engineers and programmers. Everyone else is unnecessary from both an economic and military standpoint.

Science Fiction has talked a lot about the possibility of a good future resulting from automaton. We jokingly call it Fully Automated Luxury Gay Space Communism.

What we haven't talked about so much is that the elites don't want that, and they've got all the money and power.

Worse, we'll be transitioning to automation in a society shaped by capitalism. Meaning that as people are pushed out of work by automation they'll be seen as lazy and shiftless, dead weight basically. And the elites will use them as the other, the internal enemy, to keep the increasingly desperate people who still have jobs submissive.

Don't get uppity, don't unionize, don't talk about FALGSC, or you'll be fired and replaced by one of the starving masses who will be eager to take any job at any wage.

And what is the easy way to redirect the anger of an increasingly desperate ethnic group away from the elites hoarding all the resources? Right wing populism pointing that anger at a designated scapegoat group and/or external enemy.

It isn't going to happen next year. Or in five years. But soonish.

Trump wasn't the cause, though he did accelerate the inevitable collapse of the post-WWII Pax Americana. The cause is automation and the steady drumbeat of technological progress.

We're at the fork in the road. Will we get an aristocracy of robot lords hoarding it all for themselves while we fight each other for scraps, or will we get Fully Automated Luxury Gay Space Communism? We'll be settling that question over the next 30ish years.

We've got a lot of pressures that support right wing populism and lead to robot lords. Not only are we facing the upheaval of our entire geoplitical system, our entire economic system, and our entire social system, but we're also facing climate change, mass extinctions, and an energy crisis of unparalleled magnitude.

When the inevitable tidal wave of migrants fleeing the increasingly unlivable equatorial regions starts moving towards America and Europe that'll play right into the right wing populist propaganda machines. Expect to see the right flip instantly from "there is no such thing as climate change" to "climate change was caused by those filthy foreigners who have ruined their own nations and now want to invade America and ruin ours too!"

We're not doomed, I think there is a path to a good future.

But even the path to the good future looks like it's going to be filled with conflict, atrocity, and is in no way sure. The freedom we've had for the past few centuries is an historical anomaly, falling back into old patterns of despotism and totalitarianism would be easy.

TL;DR: You haven't even **STARTED** seeing unsettled and turbulent yet, and it's going to get much worse before it gets better, if it does get better.
posted by sotonohito at 7:37 AM on October 30, 2020 [50 favorites]


I read only T Headline FA, and have thoughts about this bit:
To be sure, the path back to a strong, united and inclusive America will not be easy or short. But a clear pathway does exist, involving a shift of leadership, a focus on compromise and responding to the world as it is, rather than trying desperately to hang on to or restore a bygone era.
And the concluding paragraph:
This has already been, and will continue to be, a violent year in America. We need to brace for post-election violence and prepare bipartisan methods to ensure that the election outcome will be widely regarded as fair and legitimate. It will take heroic efforts to rebuild the political center, to join businesses and workers in partnership and consensus, and to restore fairness in both taxation and public spending. Only if all sides can again recover a stake in our government, no matter which party controls it, can we avoid sliding into a crisis that will undermine our Constitution and pit Americans against each other in a way we have not seen for generations.
(Both bolds mine.)

The problem with this is that the Republican Party as an institution is currently committed to avoid "bipartisan methods" and to oppose compromise as a matter of principle. That is to say, no compromise is possible with people who are not willing to compromise. Compromise has been tried, from the Democratic side, and been decisively spurned by the Republican one, since Inauguration Day 2009(1). The other item in the first quoted bit, about "responding to the world as it is," I'm not going to touch upon except to note that the end of that sentence understates the problem by at least one order of magnitude.

In conclusion, compromise and bipartisan methods are indeed what's going to be needed, but there's one side in this situation who need to make the offer, and another that needs to do their damndest to stomp the first mentioned until the offer is forthcoming.

(1) Yes I know it's been longer than that, but the Republican leadership's strategy meeting that day made it official policy.
posted by Aardvark Cheeselog at 7:41 AM on October 30, 2020 [6 favorites]


i have trained you all well. perhaps my work here on metafilter is done.

Wait, Thomas Pynchon is working for Putin's IRA‽

You haven't even **STARTED** seeing unsettled and turbulent yet

Yeah, anthropomorphism means that human beings continue to think that our specific, personal decisions somehow shape history, when it's mostly driven by forces and events and influences beyond any human control (even if our collective actions set things in motion, e.g. climate change). Like, living through right now, it's seemed like Trump and the Republican Party would be defining the (American) history of this period, but no, it's a virus that's shaping big events more than any person, and this period is the 2020 Covid Pandemic, with lots of political and social turmoil happening around it.
posted by LooseFilter at 7:47 AM on October 30, 2020 [2 favorites]


MetaFilter: part of the problem with shit like this:

Impeach, don't expand. Make it crystal clear the criminality of the GOP here.

If the not-so-bad guys had enough Senators to impeach a Supreme we wouldn't be in this mess. If the Republicans lose every single Senate race this year, including ones like Moscow Mitch's R+14 blowout in KY, there still would not be enough D Senators to impeach a Supreme. Please consider learning some civics before you post about politics.

me, on twitter [assuming Biden wins]:

"if they have 50+ (D) senators and they don't get rid of the filibuster I'm never voting (D) again, it's like rooting for the Washington Generals."


If the Ds have 52 Senators, 3 of them are Dianne Feinstein, Patrick Leahy, and Joe Manchin. You do the math.

Threatening to abandon the only people who have any good will in this mess because a few assholes refuse to deliver what you want right now is not a good look. Not that it's likely to matter, if the D side folds on this one you might not have another chance to vote at all, after the next midterm.
posted by Aardvark Cheeselog at 8:01 AM on October 30, 2020 [3 favorites]


If the Ds have 52 Senators, 3 of them are Dianne Feinstein, Patrick Leahy, and Joe Manchin. You do the math.

Feinstein and Leahy are up in '22; present a nice, strong, lefty primary challenger, fund the shit out of her, and let them do the math. We know how to change this - the Tea Party showed us, and dammit, it works.

you don't do it for Manchin 'cause he's on borrowed time, anyway
posted by pseudophile at 9:20 AM on October 30, 2020 [4 favorites]


>>i have trained you all well. perhaps my work here on metafilter is done.

>Wait, Thomas Pynchon is working for Putin's IRA‽


nah i'm here as a randomly selected representative of the peoples' campaign for sortition.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 9:31 AM on October 30, 2020


Bring on the Whiskey Rebellion. Why do only Republicans get to get in on the historical reenactment as aggrieved grassroots movement fun?
posted by Apocryphon at 9:39 AM on October 30, 2020


I spent my morning rifling through optimistic utopian art and visual design from the late 90s - mid 00s feeling profoundly sad about the loss of this always-unlikely future - of greater social equality, less hierarchy, psychedelic beauty, human warmth and creativity, harmonious permacultural symbiosis with the rest of the biosphere and the advancement of technology genuinely improving the world instead of merely giving us new and terrible ways to hurt one another and destroy our only home in this awful cosmos.

Sigh. Well, back to reality.
posted by Lonnrot at 9:55 AM on October 30, 2020 [4 favorites]


The freedom we've had for the past few centuries is an historical anomaly, falling back into old patterns of despotism and totalitarianism would be easy.

To summarize the summary of the summary: people are a problem.
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:10 AM on October 30, 2020 [4 favorites]


This has already been, and will continue to be, a violent year in America. We need to brace for post-election violence and prepare bipartisan methods to ensure that the election outcome will be widely regarded as fair and legitimate. It will take heroic efforts to rebuild the political center, to join businesses and workers in partnership and consensus, and to restore fairness in both taxation and public spending. Only if all sides can again recover a stake in our government, no matter which party controls it, can we avoid sliding into a crisis that will undermine our Constitution and pit Americans against each other in a way we have not seen for generations.

Emphasis above mine. I am not an academic, nor an intellectual. I have no particular expertise other than lived experience. The article, which I'm glad was posted, was published on September 10, 2020 and it reads like the kind of thing a do-gooding billionaire former businessman might enjoy. Because it sounds vaguely meaningful but ends with fucking useless, unrealistic advice.

As noted above by Aardvark Cheeselog, the Republicans have zero interest in bipartisan anything. Also, who, exactly, might "we" be? It's not the voters; it's not the non-voting working stiffs. Might it be the elites who need to get to work to somehow prepare bipartisan methods to ensure that the election outcome will be regarded as fair and legitimate? Why would they bother and also, might not September 10th be too damn late for that?

Also, why would anyone fight heroically to rebuild the political "center" and what the hell would that even mean in the US? When the Overton window got dragged so far to the right by the Republicans and asshole DINOs that Trump was elected and our democracy has very nearly drowned as they hoped, how might one define center and why, exactly, would that be a good thing? Good for billionaires, maybe?

Then there is fairness in both taxation and public spending. Do not talk to me about fairness in both taxation and public spending unless you explicitly definite what the hell you mean, even in general, and also address the need to abolish dark money from the US political system and overturn Citizens United.

As Warren Buffet famously said, “There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”
posted by Bella Donna at 10:59 AM on October 30, 2020 [9 favorites]


Hey kliuless, this is a great post and many thanks for it! I got a wee bit fixated on the first link is all. :-)
posted by Bella Donna at 11:01 AM on October 30, 2020


Oops, forgot a few more things:
Only if all sides can again recover a stake in our government, no matter which party controls it, can we avoid sliding into a crisis that will undermine our Constitution.

So when, exactly, did everyone in the US have a stake in the government? Please remind me, because I am unaware that such a magical period has ever actually existed. Also: Too late to avoid the crisis, our Constitution has been actively undermined in a variety of ways over many years but most obviously during the Trump/Bill Barr era. (Sorry for the wall of texts, I am done for now.) Happy Friday!
posted by Bella Donna at 11:26 AM on October 30, 2020 [3 favorites]


Note on the historical "changing epoch" comments above. We're actually most likely at the tail end of the collapse of the Age of Empires which started in August of 1914. It's just been a slow decline with America and Russia stepping into the Imperial roles during the Cold War/collapse of the British Empire.

That's not saying new empires and world wars won't emerge, just that the systems of Old Europe global domination and it's children are really fraying under the current ballooning global population, and the late realization that "hey maybe people should experience self-government."

Not at all arguing for empire by the way. Empires are inherently evil to the ruled.
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 12:00 PM on October 30, 2020 [2 favorites]


Only if all sides can again recover a stake in our government, no matter which party controls it, can we avoid sliding into a crisis that will undermine our Constitution

The problem people seem to tap-dance around because calling it out is like stepping on a metaphorical land mine in the context of USian politics: it is the Constitution that is undermining American democracy and is largely responsible for many of our present issues. States representing around 18% of the population control a majority of votes in the Senate (and thus a minority can control lifetime appointments to the federal judiciary); thanks to the Electoral College, a candidate can lose the popular vote and still "win". The flaws inherent in the American form of government are structural and will not be overcome by some stupid appeal to "bipartisanship" (which only worked back when both parties were still tacitly if not overtly white-supremacist).

And as pointed out in the paper 'The Perils of Presidentialism' (pdf link) by the late Juan Linz, presidential systems on the American model have almost all failed because of their inherent structural flaws and the competing claims to democratic legitimacy of the executive vs the legislature.
posted by Pseudonymous Cognomen at 12:43 PM on October 30, 2020 [8 favorites]


TL;DR: You haven't even **STARTED** seeing unsettled and turbulent yet, and it's going to get much worse before it gets better, if it does get better.

It really is. While people were getting all excited about driverless cars, there are 3 million people employed as long haul truck drivers in the US, countless more around the world. In Japan, being a taxi driver is the middle aged salaryman safety net. Whenever this gets brought up, people are like “well, they can get restrained! You don’t see a lot of wagon wheel makers anymore, hurf durf progress!”

The thing is, if you suddenly need 3 million former truck drivers to maintain a fleet of driverless trucks, you’d never get to the point where the trucks would exist. The whole point of pretty much any trend in 21st industry is eliminating labor as a cost. That’s why driverless anything, that’s why gigs, and Uber, Doordash, and the rest.

There is enough around to go around. We could make that transition to a world where everyone is housed and fed, but when cruelty is and has been the point of extreme wealth and laws criminalizing poverty, we’re not going to get there. We’re far more likely to end up in a situation of deprivation, loss, and death because a few selfish boys were never taught the concept of sharing, never learned humanity, and too many have decided that the licking the top of the boot is better than being crushed under it.

It, like so many other things, doesn’t have to be this way. It really doesn’t, but I can’t see any way for us to get from this to gay space communism, but I can definitely see us in say, Children of Men authoritarianism or Elysium levels of inequality before too much longer.
posted by Ghidorah at 2:52 PM on October 30, 2020 [5 favorites]


…well, they can get restrained!

Freudian slip?
posted by Strutter Cane - United Planets Stilt Patrol at 7:26 PM on October 30, 2020 [2 favorites]


Freudian slip?

I plead a deadly mixture of advancing age, small phone screen, wall o' text, and autocorrect. Not for the faint of heart.
posted by Ghidorah at 8:05 PM on October 30, 2020 [2 favorites]


Ugh... oh gods... it's weapons-grade crazy that I may still be being too optimistic, and counting chickens before they've hatched, but anticipating a(n eventual) Biden victory here, the “fog of war” of the Trump Administration is already starting to fade into post-election malaise.

I'm looking back at everything from the past half-decade where we all just went “WTF!!?!” in the moment, because no more comprehensive or rational reaction was possible for the human mind, and moved on, and so much of it looks so much worse than it even did at the time. Like Trump's still-a-candidate 2016 “Russia if you're listening...” covenant, where he openly asked Russia to carry out a military cyberattack on a former White House cabinet official, and Russia immediately obliged.

Even people here were arguing that it wasn't really treason. But it was—it was a U.S. presidential candidate openly committing the straight-up constitutional definition of treason, of levying war against the United States. He'll never be held accountable—at best, like one of his many idols Al Capone, he'll be brought down via tax fraud (or dare I say, emoluments? That would be a reversal) or something else technical and involving mountains of documentation, rather than for a charge which might be easily brought to bear against any other member of the ruling classes. (I can barely muster up the effort to add, preaching to the choir here, “law and order” president who thinks that Al Capone was mistreated, black-body-radiation-colored red warning flag, et cetera, et cetera...)

So the part of the constitution designed to prevent treason is broken, in terms of actually neutrally preventing treason instead of being just for Nixonian “use the available federal machinery to screw our political enemies” purposes, and doesn't work anymore. And will probably never be fixed. Along with the part of the constitution where the president appoints members of the Supreme Court, which is also broken and may never be fixed. And open widely-accepted support for government death squads in America has happened, and so on, and so forth.

It seems like, even if everything goes absolutely perfectly, and none of the great many hazards we've created boomerang back and take us down first, even if the Democrats wanted to fix these things they're going to be preoccupied spending the rest of the century putting out the fires started under the Trump, Bush II, and yes even Obama administrations at the beginning of the century.

(Like Bush II just giving up on nuclear non-proliferation in the stead of every human who lives or will live in the twenty-first century?!?!! WTF. WTF. How is it possible that you turn on the radio or television and every channel is not people just continuously screaming, all the time.)

Despite all that, during this year many of my life-long mental health issues with things like depression have mysteriously and almost miraculously improved. So I guess there's always hope. But damn, “dark winter” indeed.
posted by XMLicious at 1:27 AM on October 31, 2020 [4 favorites]


From the FPP: "Writing in the journal Nature in 2010, we pointed out that such trends ...."

There's a typo they made there. It should actually read:

"Writing in the letters section of the journal Nature in 2010, we pointed out that such trends..."

Said letter also refers to the infamous Kondratieff cycle. the paradoelian hobgoblin of socioeconomics.
posted by storybored at 2:23 PM on October 31, 2020 [1 favorite]




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