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Member since: Sat Feb 2, 2019, 03:43 PM
Number of posts: 39

Journal Archives

The Presidency

Some may think it's heresy to say that Trump's presidency is a blessing in disguise. Lessons are best learned by examples. This presidency is a perfect example, and should be a profound lesson for us, of how quickly a great democracy can be transformed into a dictatorship.

The president of a great nation should be, no, must be, a person of impeccable character. The president of a nation is the representative of that nation's virtues to the rest of the world. A nation is judged by others from the behavior and dignity radiating from the person elected by that nation's citizens to represent them before the world.

Has our president not managed to alienate most of the nations formerly friendly to us? Those who formerly regarded us with respect and as a leader, do they not quietly pity us and view our government with distrust?

Over a period of about two years a special counsel investigated the campaign of our president to determine whether or not there was "collusion" with Russia, a nation though not hostile, yet still antipodal in its objectives to those of our nation. Though discovering contacts by campaign leaders with Russia, the special counsel apparently could not elicit conclusive facts of collusion from documents or testifying witnesses. This caused the president to proclaim victory over "witch hunt", shouting out, as many times before, there was no collusion.

But whether or not there is or was collusion is not the essence of what should give us concern. Instead of trying to find collusion, we should address whether the president is or could become a subservient patsy of Russia. There is no doubt that Russia invested much effort and money in influencing our unsuspecting and one might say gullible electorate with hideous distortions of truth, seeking to cause them to vote for a candidate of Russia's choice. So why would a foreign nation, not friendly to us, try with might to change the outcome of an election to a particular candidate? is it wrong to say there is a rebuttable presumption that at least some control over that individual might exist? Has ever before in the history of our nation a foreign nation invested so much effort to push the outcome of an election to the highest office in our country toward a candidate of its choice?

Whether or not one believes our president was elected because of Russia's interference in campaign politics preceding the election depends on how one voted. But there should be a consensus that information on candidates ostensibly true disseminated prior to elections is used by the electorate in making a choice to vote for or against a certain candidate. Does all this not give rise to a well-founded conclusion that a concerted effort by Russia disseminating wrongly biased information favoring Russia's chosen candidate was helpful in electing him?

Has our president not been gratful for the help he has gotten? After he fired Comey, did he not comment to Russians something to the extent they could relax not that Comey is off their back? Did he not congratulate the Russian leader on his re-election? Did he not have a private telephone conversation with the Russian leader prior to and while delaying a punishing strike against targets of a mid-eastern nation for directing a gas attack against civilians? Did he not suggest and support a re-admission of Russia to the conference of the group of major economic countries in the world? Did he not have a one-on-one meeting with the leader of Russia without ever disclosing the actual contents of discussions to the congressional intelligence committees?

The elected head of our nation should be more than without proven improprieties, the president should be without even a hint or appearance of any impropriety.

Think about the issues raised in the above. Maybe one can develop and expand on some of the thoughts and maybe even give ideas to our congress, present or post 2020, on how to protect the future of our great nation.

A great way to have the majority of both houses.

Can we assume that the population in the United States can be represented by a bell-shaped normal curve (in their political beliefs)? Maybe or maybe not. But let's not argue that point and assume that it is that way. Let's even assume that it's shaped a little toward the democratic side, and that's good.

What we want to talk about in this thread is: How can we capture votes to have the majority in both houses? It takes some thought. We did great during the last election in the House. How can we do something like that in the Senate? We have to know the voters, and make a plan to convince them to vote in our favor. Great Idea - but how can we do that in reality? That's what we want to talk about.

First a comment about the normal curve. It has the shape of a bell. You may have seen it in a commercial that shows a phone with the prices people have paid for cars in your neighborhood. Anyway, statisticians use normal curves because natural distributions are that way. "Mother Nature knows best!"

So, if voter's political association generally follow this normal distribution, there will always be a good number of people voting democratic. But there will also be right-wingers voting republican. Let's not forget that. The normal distribution says that about 10% of the population are die-hard right wing extremists (they call themselves "Conservatives", and 10% on the other side are die-hard left wing extremists. (Don't shout at me, that's what the normal distribution curve says.) And that is good to have fresh input from a party members from all walks of life. We need professors, we need plumbers, we need doctors and garbage collectors.

Don't anybody pooh the work of a garbage collector. It is a rough job, almost like a steel worker or a miner. I am old enough to remember a strike of garbage collectors somewhere in a petropolitan area (I forgot where, maybe New York?). It was summer and people needed to get rid of their garbage somehow. I read that some gift-wrapped their garbage and left it in the car; parked it in the street with the window left open.

Coming back to the normal curve, there are about 80 percent of people in the United States, maybe they favor the right side for whatever reason, maybe they favor our left side for good reasons or because they have become afraid of the right wirng extremism we have been exposed to over the past two years. In any case, to become well situated not only in our Federal Government, but also in State legislatures, as a party we must address the needs of most of these 80% of our population and douse their fears of our government.

I believe these 80%, whether they call themselves republicans, independents, conservatives, liberals or others, they really want something that was said in a quote by a writer and historian who lived into the middle of the last century, James Truslow Adams. He apparently said“The freedom now desired by many is not freedom to do and dare but freedom from care and worry.” (I believe, I belong to that 80% group, now that I think about it.)

So lets discuss, contructively, what we need to do. We must avoid extremism, or something that could be construed as being unrealistic and therefor considered extrem or burdensome.

The government needs to make changes and must be able to operate without ever-increasing deficits. Taxes must exist to support operations but must not make the people slaves to the government. The most recent tax law needs to be changed and we need two-thirds of both Houses to override a veto by the executive branch.

We must expose the attrocities that may have been committed against the constitution in the more recent past and convince the 80% that we will fight to stop that.

What if there is a Democratic Platform, not with general principles but with detailed descriptions of programs that might bring order to our country, and each democratic candidate commits to this platform in writing. If it is printed on a single sheet and handed to people, that could be an election with a favorable outcome.

You might say, what if the people don't like what's on that sheet? If we are fair in assessing what we need, and realistic, and we believe in our political principles, then we should have the guts to shout them out in no uncertain terms. Now I am waiting for replies and then we can see where the discussion thread will lead us.

Who are we?

This will be my first post in this Group. And, so far I only read the Jan 3 (2019) post by Defacto7. So, if I say something that someone else has already said, think positively; think great minds think alike (that's a cliché); don't think "this guy is plagiarizing, I can't be, I haven't read anything yet.

I want to explore (at least for purposes of this discussion) who are we? And, who should we be, what should Democratic politicians be like. Often I have heard that as humans we can be distinguished from other creatures (if I may use that term, since it seems to be derived from 'Creation') because of our ability to reason, while animals are usually seen to operate on instinct. I am sure that subject has already been explored by known philosophers, and I shall not further dwell on it or dig into it (at least not at this time).

People, as I see it, can be grouped into two groups: Talkers and Thinkers. At this moment I am just 'thinking' about that. Others have tried to group them by the color of their skin, or by their ancestry or even by their religion. But those characteristics don't define a person. I agree, in case you want to argue about my two major groups, there are other distinguishing categories, like good and bad, to place people into, but Talkers and Thinkers seem to be two good categories for this post.

Since this a political discussion website, though a philosophy group, I want to talk about what would make a good political candidate.

A political candidate should first of all be a Talker. The candidate needs to be able to express herself or himself, whether female or male, extremely well. After all, we are a democracy: voters need to become "votimated". You may not find a definition of that term votimated (Motivated to go to the polls on election day and vote for the candidate). But politicians also should be quick in providing answers when confronted with questions on an issue. This latter quality seems to also impress people and attract voters. Now, would that not also make them Thinkers? When I chose the category Thinker, I wanted to use that to place people into it who like to reason things through, rather than be able to provide quick-thinking answers to a question.

I need to digress and delve into details of my two groups of people. It would be foolish, if we did not recognize that we all are individuals and each one of us is different from all of the rest of us. That's why we can identify people by their genes just as well or better than by their fingerprints. So in each group there is a a gradation of both characteristic traits, one gradually decreasing while the other is increasing as the person's strengths can be placed closer to a borderline separating Talkers from Thinkers. Somewhere in the middle I would then draw a line, characterizing one person as a Talker and another as a Thinker. Chances are that I would be wrong in my choice of where I drew the dividing line.

So, how can politicians, Talkers, come up with split-second answers when prompted by a reporter? I think whether we are Talkers or Thinkers, we all have a little animal instinct in us. Our instinct qualities are usually suppressed, but are ready to help us when called into action in a moment of need. However, the help gotten from our instinct seems to be based on past experiences, interactions with others or special events. That reminds me of a definition in heard a long time ago; a politician is a person who can predict what is going to happen and then explain why it didn't happen.

Thinkers train their thoughts to reason from premises to conclusions. Those are proactive thoughts from the present to what may happen exist or happen as a future result because of actions taken or thought processes at this moment. That's how scientists become inventors. That is how Einstein came up with his theory of relativity. Talkers train their ability to speak by speaking, noting what worked and using what worked before with variations that fit the moment. An activity with retroactive characteristics.

My conclusion to all this, politicians, whether presidents, CEOs(had to add those in), senators or representatives will become successful to get to their respective positions through their charismatic and eloquent appearance and speech. They will be successful in their work only if they know how to surround themselves with proactive advisers, and more importantly, heed their advice.

What is Political Philosophy?

Thinking there might be a subject under the general subject of 'Philosophy' that deals with political philosophy. I searched and, sure enough, I found a neat definition of in Wikipedia of Political Philosophy: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_philosophy .

I believe that subject could breathe some life into the sparsely used Philosophy Forum. If you check the definition of that term, you may think, maybe we can all be philosophers. At least I shall try to post in that Forum in the near future and see what happens.

Another Shutdown? How can any shutdown be legal?

In our constitution:
Amendment 10: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."
The power to shut down normal lawful operations or avoid obligations of our government is NOT delegated.
Hence: Nobody in our United States government has the power or right to shut down our government.

Republicans: We just don't pass a bill to vote or vote against it if the president does not want to sign it, or he can veto it. We have the right to do that and he does too.
Answer: Amendment 9: "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people." --- Meaning: No, you can't do that if the result is a shutdown. You have to do everything in your power [even if you don't want to] to keep the government running for the people of the United States.

Republicans: What if we don't? --- Answer: (with a question or two, or three) Well, when you were sworn in to your office or mandate did you not swear an oath to support the Constitution? What does that mean to you, if anything? Does that not mean you will do what you solemnly pledged to do?

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