2021 American Renaissance

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2021 American Renaissance

Editat: nov. 6, 2020, 7:21pm

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nov. 7, 2020, 6:02pm

Renaissance means a period of rebirth that historically marked an emergence from darkness overcoming civilization's advancement to become an age of religious unification to go on to explode in an outburst of rediscovery of earlier civilization's enlightenment and the furthering of that recovered knowledge in its own time.

Today, as I watched celebrations of Biden's and Harris' election, I witnessed the Renaissance of Jubilation in America, an emotion subsumed in the aura of hate, fear, and racist bigotry that emanated from the White House and beclouded the land under Trump.

People danced in the streets in major cities where brotherly love was incarnated into a place name; where the seat of national democracy and the Leader of the Free World presides; the bustling seat of finance, exchanges, commerce, and ingress of immigrants that built our Nation; the poetic Hog Butcher for the World, Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat, Player with Railroads and the Nation's Freight Handler; and the metropolitan symbol of both the Old and New South from whence what woke 20th C. America arose.

Hope, the pure state of grace and the message of the last Democratic president, has returned to our people. If they can keep it alive and nourish it with the impulses of their Better Angels, once more Americanism will flourish and overcome the divisiveness brought upon us by the dark trends of Trumpism.

From TV, I turned to world newspapers, each one without exception, reporting Biden's victory and buttressing it with images of Americans dancing in the street. Rejoicing crowds of people drumming, toasting, shouting, chanting, throwing their arms in the air out of joy, weeping, towing children and cradling infants, all beaming and expressing their hopes for reunification of the country's people into United states.

The compulsion to be fair and balanced drove me to find images of Trump supporters where I could after seeing a live transmission from Phoenix where an LGBTQ, rainbow flag waving activist and a MAGA hat wearing outgoing young woman were standing side by side chatting -- not arguing, but laughing and joking together. They were joined by an armed camo wearing ammo-burdened man. And the unexpected happened. The trio became a single group of laughing and joking Americans able to agree to disagree without violence despite their various political identities being boldly displayed. Three ordinary Americans together on a most extraordinary historic day who had at least one important thing in common. They were all wearing face masks -- properly.

That's Hope. Maybe even another Renaissance better than that other one.

nov. 7, 2020, 6:44pm

I should probably report the whole truth of my informal and casual search of the media for clues to what lies ahead for our country. Most of us have been focusing on the celebrations shown on TV, or celebrating in our various ways ourselves, and breathing the metaphoric fresh air. But I did venture into the "dark side" where the "Stop the Steal" Trumpists were.

As expected, it was dark. Like the proverbial 2x4 that gets the attention of the stubborn horse when it cracks down between his eyes, I immediately noted the striking difference between the people in the two different sides of the divided Nation.

I don't need to describe the colors, the music, the dancing, the celebrating, the balloons, the fun costumes and dress-ups of the one. The contrast was stark. For the Trumpism soaked the preferred dress was camo fatigues, the costume militaristic, including helmets, the waving was of assault rifles, the faces were grim, threatening, and angry. This is what a propaganda poisoned public looks like.

Of course, I was not surprised. More shocked with dismay. They presented a vision of what the admonished idolaters, standing among the smashed bits of the golden calf, beheld by Moses as he surveyed him after descending from his exhausting meeting with God, carrying the tablets of commandments for living a good and holy life dedicated to a True Faith. These true believers in a now crushed false god that I looked at online obviously know in their heart of hearts that their hour of mad angry negativity is over.

Where do they go from here? Whither Trump? Will the rocks welcome home the racists and let them return beneath them? Does having all that unused weaponry and materiel compel its use? Can Mitch McConnell be taught the meaning of governance and collegiality, compromise and consensus? And the gun-lovers -- can they wake up to the fact that the Second Amendment is preceded by the First? Most difficult of all, can the mainstream religion of the religious believers among us actually return to being a belief system based on the New Testament story and not a dictatorial political agit-prop organization hell-bent on a mission of indemnification of non-believers?

Hope quakes. The rebuilding ahead of us seems to strenuous, the burdens of hate in all its violent iterations too onerous, the anger of frustrated Trumpists too dangerous to bow before reason, comity, and accommodation. The three qualifications for establishing unity and beginning healing as a Nation.

The enemy is not us, it is not each other. The enemy is whoever attempts to delude us into believing that it is. Is there hope for redemption from admiring a leader who embodies un-Americanism in America? Or will those who are frustrated prefer to burn the remains of our institutions down to ash?

Will we be able to drive the real Barbarians back outside the gate? Will we choose Renaissance or Ruin?

nov. 7, 2020, 7:12pm

From Great Britain - I hesitate to say the United Kingdom for we have most of the problems you have in the USA. Thank goodness for the election of a serious, decent President as well as a decent woman of colour as his VP. Seeing Trump as the head of your nation for the last four years has made me fearful. I have always regarded Americans as a generous and basically kind people: you have been badly served by your recent President. My grandchildren are American citizens - they are in a better country today.

nov. 7, 2020, 8:09pm

While this is a day of relief from at least part of a nightmare, and while I rejoiced in the election of a decent man, I am still weeping for my country.

It’s the unstated but ever-present threat of violence from the extreme right. Since this had been openly encouraged by the current White House coterie,I can only hope that once that encouragement disappears, so will those who think righteousness can be enforced with guns against private citizens.

And still, I hope.

nov. 7, 2020, 8:24pm

>4 abbottthomas:

Thank you. I visited your profile and admired the grandchildren. My dad was a Brit, London born, at the beginning of the last century. My mother was also naturalized. Under Trump, I, American born of two non-citizen (at the time) parents, was eligible for deportation under his draconian twisted administration and his perversion of the definition of citizen in this country..

Tonight ("tomorrow" when you wake up and perhaps visit here again) Joe Biden made it clear his first act as prez will be to issue "a flurry of Executive Orders to restore Obama policies quashed by Trump." This is a much needed signal affirmation of his campaign promises and an indication of the aggressive approach to putting America back on track domestically and with our Allies. We will, by method above, rejoin the Paris Accord.

"Accord" is such a lovely word. I hope the hateful elements who support Trump will come to discover that it is -- soon.

nov. 7, 2020, 9:15pm

I thought Biden gave a pretty good speech just now. Coherent, confident. Sure,it was a politician's speech, but it was the right kind. And he didn't seem at all sleepy or confused.

nov. 7, 2020, 10:45pm

>4 abbottthomas:

As a fellow Briton, I think you have summed it up very well. Thanks.

And congratulations to the US electorate. Democracy works, slow and painful thought it may be, and as Churchill apparently said, the worst form of government except for all the others which have been tried.

Editat: nov. 8, 2020, 1:32am

What will President Biden's United States look like to the rest of the world? (Guardian)

The future of a diminished superpower now lies in being part of a wider network of democracies... the US will be a leading country in a post-hegemonic network of democracies. Yes, that’s a, not the leading country... The downsizing has two causes: the US’s decline, and others’ rise...

President Donald Trump has done untold damage to its international reputation... In a recent eupinions survey, more than half of those asked across the European Union found democracy in the US to be “ineffective”... When the US lectures other countries on democracy these days, the politest likely answer is: “Physician, heal thyself!”. Even compared with the grim period of Vietnam and Watergate, this must be an all-time low for American soft power... Europe has many problems of its own, but set against the record of US regress over the last 20 years, our European story looks like triumphal progress. The same can be said for Australia, New Zealand or Canada. Still more dramatic has been China’s rise, facilitated by years of American strategic distraction...

Fortunately for the rest of us, the area in which he {Biden} will have most freedom of manoeuvre is foreign policy. Biden has immense personal foreign policy experience, as a former vice-president and before that, chair of the Senate foreign relations committee. He has an experienced foreign policy team...

US election result: What Biden's victory means for rest of world (BBC)

During Donald Trump's four years in office, America's relationship with the world changed profoundly...

Joe Biden's victory offers another challenge for the Chinese system... Kamala Harris's roots are a source of pride in India but Narendra Modi may get a more frigid reception from Mr Biden than his predecessor... North Korea once described Mr Biden as a "rabid dog" - but now Kim Jong-un will be making careful calculations before trying to provoke the new US president... The US and UK's "special relationship" may face a downgrade with Joe Biden at the helm... A more predictable administration may be the "silver lining" for Russia of Mr Biden's win... Germans hope for a return to smooth-sailing with their key ally once Donald Trump has departed... A Biden victory could bring Tehran back to the negotiating table... There are expectations of a reset of much of Donald Trump's Middle East policy... Hopes are high among activists that the Biden administration will increase pressure on Egypt over human rights... After harsh sanctions, Joe Biden's victory brings relief {for} Cuba... Justin Trudeau will see an ally in his new neighbour...

nov. 9, 2020, 6:08pm

Will the Progressive Caucus Lead the Renaissance?

Rebirths in common culture are punctuated by flashes of radical departure from expected norms that uniformly disturb its arbiters. Applying the laws of perspective to the vanishing point deposed iconographic art; mass publishing of the written word helped dispel religious power and wealth concentrated in monastic enclaves while at the same time it liberated ordinary people from illiteracy due to a tightly guarded Latin-centric intelligentsia. Sculptors rediscovered and employed what Greeks had known and graced us with a thousand years before the European Renaissance, that the beauty locked in static marble is only released when the human figure is bent asymmetrically by the "S" curve.

There are many examples of humanity's Great Leap Forward that indicate we may be on the verge of similar explosive events.

Observers can't deny that 75 million voters massed behind change -- real change -- in American life. African-American women and LatinX voters imposed their will above that of timid white women and fearful white men. As a result we are on the doorstep of the door to increased opportunities for increasing the educational and financial distribution of the "wealth" in society.

Nor can we deny that unlike the revolution that marked the end of the Middle Ages to the beginning of the Industrial Age, the people will not wait for 400 years for us to adjust to oncoming change. The revolutionaries' problem is how to achieve their goals without provoking actual hot oppositional revolt. How, more immediately, to begin making real change in America -- how do they knock on that door and get whoever is behind it to open to them?

I'd like to refer readers to an earlier post on another thread by me where I suggest that tax reform is our best bet. In that post I outline why that legislation is an advantageous strategy on political and material bases for the Progressive Caucus. The point I'm trying to underscore here is that it is also an explosive event that will assuredly punctuate the landscape of change without flattening and cratering it.

I'm not implying that my idea is the sole best starting point for all stake holders concerned in achieving our Renaissance. I'm sure there are other priorities that can be legislated that have similar potential for success by parameters that exceed a simple vote count. Let's hear them. You can't expect me to think of everything!

nov. 11, 2020, 10:46pm

Once feared as Vatican meddling, Catholic ideas could help America move forward (National Catholic Reporter)

When New York Gov. Al Smith, the first Catholic to be nominated by a major American party, and John F. Kennedy, the first Catholic president, ran in 1928 and 1960, respectively, many Americans feared that, if elected, the two would pursue a hidden Catholic agenda. These days, few fear the influence of the pope on a Biden administration. Indeed, in this time of division, pandemic, racism and global warming, we could do worse than implementing a truly Catholic agenda...

Reconciliation... Heal the sick... International cooperation... Protect the earth... Respond to racism...

These would fall under a body of Catholic teaching known as Catholic Social Teaching. There are two threads about it on LT, a comprehensive one at http://www.librarything.com/topic/172073 which is continued at http://www.librarything.com/topic/325794

The article does mention "reducing abortion", but makes it clear that is is envisaging offering women social measures which may reduce the number of abortions, but not tampering with the legal right to an abortion.

nov. 11, 2020, 11:37pm

>11 John5918:

"Provide for the poor" needs to go hand-in-hand with "heal the sick," allowing a compassionate accommodation for the need for safe, free, abortion in any single payer healthcare plan that builds Obamacare better.

Compassion is a pivotal quality for the sustenance of humanity in civilization. Seeing more of it displayed among Catholic faithful would go a long way to shaming the Evangelicals into some version of actual religiousness. One hopes.

nov. 17, 2020, 2:32am

A comment from US Catholic priest Fr Richard Rohr (link):

2020 has been an unprecedented year, unlike anything I have seen in my 77 years — and we are not out of the woods yet. Where we go from here will write the story of this chapter of history. I’m convinced that the root of our divisions can only be overcome by a unitive consciousness at every level: personal, relational, social, political, cultural, and spiritual. This is the unique and central job of healthy religion (re-ligio = to re-ligament or bind together).

nov. 17, 2020, 8:27am

#13--Worldwide people are in uncharted territory. As far as the United States I think Fr. Rohr is overly optimistic. The people who think the virus is a hoax and Trump is being robbed of an election are quite a ways away from coming together with anybody and they are a significant % of the population. Biden might want to but I'm afraid his ability to unify the country is lacking and truthfully I'm not sure there is anyone or anything short of a massive calamity that can.

We have to get past the pandemic and we have to stimulate and re-stimulate the economy. We're going to need to find a way to replace millions of jobs or come up with a UBI program that at least works enough to keep people from drowning. Austerity with millions out of work and unable to pay for basic needs won't work and a good portion of the republican party think that is the way to go. What Biden will actually do is a question mark but if he's leaving millions and millions stranded fending for themselves then his presidency will turn into another major failed presidency.This country needs an FDR type and one that will really take on the super wealthy. I don't why we need billionaires. We should cap personal wealth.

nov. 17, 2020, 6:24pm

Democrats Bring Political Renaissance to Georgia

Historically, Georgia has voted along the "Confederate Principle," that Southern States defeated in the Civil War were "shafted" by black-loving whites who destroyed their Glorious Cause of patrician white privileged culture dependent on black African slavery. Preserving the myth of righteousness has depended on white Georgians keeping non-white Georgians ground down by political policies that insure their continuing poverty, ignorance (un-educated state), and disenfranchisement from political power by any means they can invent and enforce.

Knowing this attitude, is it any wonder the Republican Party adopted the "Southern Strategy" around the middle of the 20th C. in order to marshal white vote and suppress any other vote as a way of getting and keeping controlling power? Here, in the first quarter of the 21st C., that strategy has "jumped the shark" and gone too far down the road of alt-facts, conspiracy, and magical thinking in order to sustain the myth of possessing a superior culture -- the only one fit to govern. How did this happen? The mainly white male Republican leadership believed its own myth and "bought" into its own strategy as if it were a voter instead of the architect of the strategy designed to get votes. The shark was jumped.

But things changed in Georgia. A Democratic activist for voting rights, Stacey Abrams, personally experienced the last hurrah of the corrupt Republican political machine in Georgia that was marshaled against her candidacy for governor because racism. It defeated her gubernatorial bid, but it simultaneously planted the seeds of its own destruction in doing so. The voters in Georgia became the reality the Republican party -- nationwide -- is most crippled by, a racially diverse electorate that laughs at the open secret behind the "Southern Strategy" and rejects it.

White supremacy has no clothes.

By being a militant advocate for the power of the vote and enlisting the heretofore disenfranchised, whether by propaganda or outright action, Abrams cobbled a steadfast coalition of reborn and new voters determined to put an end to the Confederacy of Racist Republicans in Georgia. The result? Political Renaissance in this state that elected Joe Biden and not the racist bigot in the WH and defeated both racist candidates for the Senate as well.

Here we are, facing a run-off no one anticipated that can determine the direction of the country toward better government and progress in the direction of increased power in the hands of the New Electorate. Evidence for the desperate fight that will be decided January 5th is in the contrast in the TV political ads being run.

Perdue and Loeffler's ads emphasize coming doom, froth fear of non-existent socialist take-overs, pointedly blow verbal and visual dog whistles about "our lives" and show burning buildings from civil unrest from who knows when that suggest "those people" will run amok if they are not elected to save America! Or, they try to paint their opponent with the "sins" of associates, as if they had any control over someone else's behavior, as if they had direct evidence of their opponent's sins, as if the exercise of free speech in a time long ago had any relevance today, or was in any way as reprehensible as insider trading, QAnon conspiracy advocacy, racism, or profiteering committed while in office -- of which both Republican candidates are guilty.

If Georgia is successful in turning out voters for whom integrity still means anything, in sufficient numbers to overcome Trumpist Confederate voters who suffer terminal Truth Decay, then the Georgia Renaissance may be able to take hold firmly enough to bring the state into a permanent alignment with the Reality Based Community and the American Vision of Exceptionalism.

More telling, it may become the state that leads the way for other Southern states to follow out of the Darkness of its namesake "Strategy" that has been perpetrated on them by corrupt self-serving politicos that have held sway since Reconstruction. No Southern Renaissance will be accomplished until Southern states abandon Reconstruction attitudes of "preservation of our culture," aka white dominance of non-whites. Only when all its citizens are allowed full realization of the opportunities offered to white American Dreamers that comes from power distribution across all demographic groups can economic revitalization, educational sugency, and prosperity in all aspects of life experience a Renaissance.

nov. 17, 2020, 10:44pm

Here’s how Biden can restore US press freedom leadership (Committee to Protect Journalists)

In his four years in office, President Trump has made attacking the media a hallmark of his administration...

as damaging as Trump’s rhetoric has been in a domestic context, it has been far more damaging for journalists around the world. Tyrants and autocrats have appropriated Trump’s words, denouncing critical journalists and passing new laws criminalizing the publication of fake news. Press conferences featuring Trump and repressive leaders gleefully calling journalists “fake” have become a trope...

Reversing this aspect of Trump’s record will not be an easy task for the incoming Biden administration, particularly given the competing priorities. But much as at stake. Standing up for press freedom and defending the rights of journalists around the world is more than a matter of principle — though it certainly is that. It’s also a matter of self-interest, as the U.S. benefits when information flows freely within countries and across borders...

In order to support journalists working in any of these contexts, the Biden administration must do two things. First, it must improve the press freedom environment at home... The Biden administration must also make the protection of press freedom an explicit focus of its foreign policy...

nov. 17, 2020, 11:00pm

Most Dem Voters Are to the Left of Biden on Foreign Policy. Can He Be Moved? (Truthout)

While a likely Republican-controlled Senate could limit many of the progressive domestic policies President-elect Joe Biden has promised to enact, presidents have far more leeway to advance their agenda in the realm of foreign policy. As a result, Biden — who has perhaps the most extensive background in foreign affairs of any new president in U.S. history — has the ability to make a positive difference. While he will certainly be an improvement over Donald Trump, Biden’s record is well to the right of most Democratic voters...

nov. 18, 2020, 12:14am

>17 John5918:

Biden's choice for SoS will be telling. Will he pick a centrist like William Cohen (R), Wm. Clinton's (D) SoS? Will he pick a multi-lingual internationalist like Madeleine Albright (D), also one of Wm. Clinton's SoS? Or will he pick a tough negotiator with a spine of steal to stand up to tyrants and make them tremble before her, like Hillary Clinton made Vlad the Impaler do?

I think the country and world need another Madeleine Albright. Susan Rice has been suggested as favored by Biden, but I'd like to see a rumored #2 contender, former deputy secretary of State, Amb. William Burns because, he's a known quantity to foreign leaders and he would "hit the ground running."

Rice is likely to be strongly opposed by Senate Repubs. Burns has never been an object of their concerted hatred, and would be a much easier confirmation because of that. He would also escape being labeled as ideologically leftist, unlike Rice. Make her DHS chief, she has security chops out the wazoo.

Editat: nov. 19, 2020, 8:38am

Sudan: Trump’s deal could be disastrous. Biden can fix it. (African Arguments)

In the weeks running up to the US elections on 3 November, President Donald Trump struck a deal with Sudan. After 27 years on the state sponsors of terrorism list, Sudan would finally be removed. In exchange, Khartoum agreed to normalise relations with Israel and pay hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation to American victims of past terrorist attacks.

The Sudanese transitional government had been working towards an agreement with the US since the ouster of former president Omar al-Bashir in 2019. The country’s designation as a sponsor of terrorism has been deeply debilitating for the economy and impeded the interim authorities’ ability to move forwards. Yet the rushed deal it got, foisted upon it by an internationally unpopular US president attempting to bolster his re-election bid and court favour with Israel, was full of pitfalls and missed opportunities.

When President-elect Joe Biden takes office in January 2021, Khartoum and Washington will get another chance. They could work together to forge a deal that is truly in both sides’ long-term interests. This will require examining and correcting three critical downsides of the Trump deal...

Editat: nov. 19, 2020, 8:50am

>18 Limelite: Honest question here:

Do you think the US is better served by previous admins being appointed—experience factor plus they are known quantities—or do you think we’d be better served by “new blood” with fresh ideas, albeit without the same level of experience?

Because here’s a thing which concerns me: it seems as though the federal govt here is turning into a reigning families sort of thing: Kennedy’s, Bushes, Cheneys, et al. This bothers me, because if we’ve been dissatisfied with what’s gone on, how can we change that if we keep seeing the same people appointed?

Case in point: Hilary Clinton. Like her or don’t like her, she brings a serious weight of knowledge and connections with her. But she also, from my point of view, is far too quick to go to the military option, which I think has failed us in the long run, and will continue to fail us in the future.

Im aware of the nonsense of “drain the swamp” and precisely how well that promise was kept and what a chaotic mess it has led to. Still, I’m concerned.

Any thoughts, anyone?

ETA: Rice as head of DHS is an excellent choice.

Editat: nov. 19, 2020, 10:06pm

>20 bohemima:

I think your question is honest and thoughtful, and like all such questions about highly complex topics, the answer comes down to an individuals ability to think with nuance, to accept that there's no single right answer, and to tolerate ambiguity and even open endedness.

That should cover my ass.

Politics is like every other job to the degree that experience is required (read the want ads) and only acquired by "paying ones dues" and by starting at the bottom. No more would a sensible person choose a plumber to go with him to a real estate closing than should a voter choose a Chapter 11 specialist in failed business ventures to lead a Western democracy. At least until the mass insanity of 2016 that was the outpouring of whipped-up racial hysteria in reaction to 8 years of being successfully led by -- gasp! -- a Black "Kenyan."

I am undisturbed by the nepotism of qualification as seen in the Kennedy family where each brother was remarkably talented and suited for the roles they had in government. There's nothing inherently wrong with a single generation of one family choosing public service for their careers and coming together to serve with purpose when one is a visionary, one is blessed with a highly developed sense of justice, and one is savvy and skilled in legislating. The problems of nepotism are such a band of brothers are an exceedingly rare exception to the rule of the nepotist who is most likely unqualified, corrupt, and usually a failure at whatever he turns his hand to. Consequently, he/she requires the support and veil of family to hide behind as no one else is trusted not to pull aside the curtain and expose their inadequacy.

So, I think in our time of highly complex and nuanced relationships among all the countries of the world; among hugely complicated and nuanced challenges like pandemic diseases and powerful adversaries; among domestic challenges presented by twisted and corrupt "thinking" that illegitimately substitutes for real thinking among the mindless in pursuit of undermining foundational thinking behind our way of government that a high degree of experience and a high level of qualification must be demanded of all those at every level of power.

Now, some will say that you can't have new ideas from old minds, and they are right -- partly. What you must have is the experience of old minds tempered by blending them with the most highly qualified new minds with new ideas. This balance is what the most successful businesses look for and succeed in putting together. It's what the most prestigious universities recognize and reward with emeritus positions and tyro researchers. It's what the greatest medical facilities seek to tap with experienced surgeons and experimental procedures, like the double lung transplants just beginning to be offered to a specific narrow class of terminal Covid-19 patients, not all of them, unfortunately.

Discernment is what's required by every stake holder involved or affected by our politics. Unfortunately, we no longer educate to enhance that. We educate away from teaching reason, logic, and nuanced creative thinking because they are more mathematical than emotional. We actively discourage all occasions to use discernment by shortening attention spans, diverting attention in mindless entertainment, maligning intelligence as merely elitism, and promoting the importance of certain talents that are fairly broadly distributed and fairly easily achieved over the less spectacular talents of the relatively few, in comparison, that only the few can develop, the fewer excel at, and the fewest give the benefits of to others.

Metaphorically, we prefer a flash-in-the-pan to the slow burn because, quite simply, the latter is more painful.
My opinion of Clinton differs from yours, like mileage. I found her to be the most qualified presidential candidate for our age than this country ever presented for any of its previous ages other than Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and F. Roosevelt.

I didn't feel she was a militant. I felt she was decisive and understood that the realpolitik has always been and is likely to always be that when confronting an adversary to our country and to Pax Americana the only thing in the last resort, that is sure to be understood by our enemies, is force.

Her decisiveness is the kind we most needed and still most need: fearlessness before bullies (testifying before Trey Gowdy's Benghazi clown show); accountability before transgressors (insisting that women's rights are human rights); and death to those who would wish death upon us (literally being the decider at the decisive moment of whether or not to kill bin Laden then and there).

I believe in highly qualified experience to get intelligent leadership over common man popularity in the hopes of getting self-confirmation when choosing presidents.

You really put me on the spot to write down something so I could discover what it is I think. Musing inside one's head without trying to express it, codify it, in writing isn't enough to really know what one's opinions are. Your question taught me that.

nov. 19, 2020, 9:58pm

>21 Limelite:
Thank you very much for a thoughtful post...and one that covers your ass.

Well done.

When I mentioned the Kennedys I was thinking more of the second and, Heaven save us, third generation. They don’t possess the smarts, dedication, or political savvy of Jack and Bobby and Ted, flawed as they were.

And yes, I never admired Ms Vlinton more than when she was resolutely and astutely testifying, especially in front of the unspeakable Gowdy.

It is a complex and sometimes confounding issue, and one I’ve struggled with for a long time.

Editat: nov. 20, 2020, 3:38am

Is Russia’s naval base in Sudan a signal to Turkey ... and Biden? (Al-Monitor)

Moscow is set to create a strategic foothold in Africa along vital shipping routes...

nov. 20, 2020, 6:28am

There are downsides for sure but depth of bench allows new talent to associate and learn from the mossbacks while rejuvenating them. Past occupants of these positions are a great resource for new presidents looking for talented fresh blood.


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Chief of Staff to the Deputy Under Secretary
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Assistant Secretary**
Chief of Staff to the Assistant Secretary**
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Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary**
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Chief of Staff to the Associate Deputy Assistant Secretary
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Assistant Deputy Assistant Secretary
Principal Associate Assistant Secretary
Associate Assistant Secretary**
Chief of Staff to the Associate Assistant Secretary
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Principal Assistant Assistant Secretary
Assistant Assistant Secretary**
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Chief of Staff to the Administrator**
Deputy Chief of Staff to the Administrator
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*The list includes all positions defined in statute as Executive Level I -V, and includes positions that are not necessarily called secretary, deputy secretary, under secretary, assistant secretary, and administrator titles. The assistant secretary list includes a long list of Executive Level IV titles, for example, including inspector general, chief financial officer, general counsel, assistant commandant, and so forth. Hence, some titles such as assistant assistant secretary sound odd, but actually refer to positions such as assistant inspector general, assistant general counsel, and so forth.

**Title exists in at least seven departments out of 15


nov. 20, 2020, 7:58am

>24 margd:

Is the USA fairly unique amongst modern western demoocracies in the number of staff who are political appointees and who change with each change of administration? In UK, for example, there is a professional civil service which remains fairly stable, serving whichever government is in power, providing specialist expertise as well as institutional memory and continuity. Mind you, there does seem to be a trend for the prime minister and other ministers to appoint their own special advisors, by-passing the civil service.

nov. 20, 2020, 8:09am

Jumping in to say that at the lower levels, that is, above top administrators, there is a fairly stable Civil Service. There are competitive exams both for initial hires and for advancement.

Editat: nov. 20, 2020, 8:50am

The people who leapt prematurely to claim victory for Biden/Harris are now busy declaring a new "renaissance".

Typical of their bullshit, 'our wishful-thinking-makes-bullshit nonsense-true' overblown hype.


In earlier times people had more perspective on such things.

... "only in the 19th century did the French word renaissance achieve popularity in describing the self-conscious cultural movement based on revival of Roman models that began in the late 13th century. French historian Jules Michelet (1798–1874) defined "The Renaissance" in his 1855 work Histoire de France as an entire historical period, whereas previously it had been used in a more limited sense."(20) (Wikipedia: "renaissance")

The areas of these people's "don't-know-shit-about" ignorance and their abuse of that grow every month.

These people don't know shit about---

-- the use of statistics and probability and statistical modeling and what they do and don't show.

-- human-nature's most enduring traits and what they say about all of us, our tendencies to believe nonsense, to lie to ourselves, to indulge in wishful-thinking and special pleading, etc.

-- basic biology and psychology, anthropology.

-- the field once known as "natural history".

-- social and political history.

Editat: nov. 20, 2020, 11:19am

The people who said Mr. Biden had won the election were correct.

People who are now saying otherwise are believing in nonsense, lying to themselves, indulging in wishful thinking and special pleading.

This is becoming more obvious on a daily, almost hourly, basis, as case after case is dismissed or abandoned, and as the recent recount in Georgia, conducted under Republican auspices, has proved.

nov. 20, 2020, 9:49am

>25 John5918: Do read the footnotes in >24 margd:. Not every dept has these positions, and some titles are actually important functionaries, e.g., assistant secretary includes inspectors general.

One depends on a president interested on governing, though, to get good people and not just reward political hacks. An abuse happening right now is that some political hacks are "burrowing in" to the career civil service, filling positions that should go to the professionals (per >26 bohemima:).

I suspect the US might be unique in the number of political appointees. A commission I worked for was peopled by appointees by the President and the Cdn Prime Minister's Office. Of the 4 on the US side, only one was a senior political appointee. The others usually came from a state and academia. Though important in our biz and to our states, commissioners were not paid except for expenses and so we waited well into an administration until they got around to appointing our guys, but those appointed were mostly attracted by the mission. Eventually our US commissioners were given six year appointments, so as not to leave us with lengthy vacancies unable to do essential work. An alternate is also appointed on the US side.

I suspect the depth of the bench is attributable to a Constitution that avoided giving power(?) compared, say, to a parliamentary system. Other impressions:
- US politicians free to introduce many piecemeal bills that usually go nowhere, whereas Cdn parliament would introduce a couple dozen substantive bills, which, having the support of ruling party usually passed. "Backbenchers" have far less freedom in Canada.
- There is far more opportunity to lobby in the US system. Lots of downsides to that, but it did lead in offering the public opportunity to comment on proposed regs, a great feature, IMO.
- Court opinions are crystal clear and to the point in the US--so more litigation(?)--but Cdn Supreme Court opinions seem to be more philosophical "guidance", which government then puts into operation.
- SO much easier to get rid of a non-performing leader in a parliamentary system. I remember American friends being astonished by PM Joe Clark's government falling and replaced by election in the time it took to hold primary in New Hampshire!

I read somewhere (biography?) that Benjamin Franklin gave the US Constitution 300 years before it succumbed to inherent stresses and strains? I'm no political scientist, but it sure appears to me that we're experiencing one heck of a stress test!

nov. 20, 2020, 10:16am

Aquest missatge ha estat marcat com abús per més d'un usuari i ja no es pot veure (mostra)

des. 18, 2020, 8:12am

Repairing the Damage to U.S. Diplomacy in the UN Security Council (International Crisis Group)

Diplomats at the UN have responded to Joe Biden’s victory in the U.S. election with enthusiasm tinged with caution. The president-elect’s pledges to rejoin the Paris climate change agreement and keep the U.S. in the World Health Organization (WHO), marking a clear break with outgoing President Donald Trump’s disdain for multilateralism, are naturally welcome.

Yet the new administration will face considerable challenges in restoring U.S. engagement in Turtle Bay after Trump leaves the White House, and some of the most serious of these will lie in the Security Council...

Editat: des. 18, 2020, 8:42am

#27--here are some simple math statistics for you---as of now Biden leads Trump nationwide by 7,052,120 voters and his 51.3% of the actual vote is 4.4% better than Trump's 46.9%. They are significant leads.

You and Trump do not have a good argument to make that Biden did not win the election. The recounts have all gone against Trump so have the judicial rulings. The republican biased electoral college has decided against you. More Republican Senators in the past couple days are crossing over to acknowledge Biden's win like McConnell, Thune, Blunt, Cornyn, Porter and Moore-Capito. They join a bunch of others. Most of the Republican house members have circled their wagons around Trump and there are still maybe half the Republican Senate but that's Trump's remaining allies in a nutshell.

Now I don't really give a shit whether you personally decide to accept it or not. Barring an untimely death in the next month Biden is going to become #46 on January 21 though.....and I expect despite that darkest of days for you---you will find a way of continuing on into wherever your future takes you. Biden/Harris is a fact that you are going to have to live with when you think about American politics for the next few years. I'm not really a fan by the way but IMO it's better than what was and it is what it is. It's going to happen and there is no impeachment in the cards unless and until the republican party takes control of the House of Representatives.

des. 20, 2020, 10:44pm

America’s democracy is in crisis – how can Joe Biden fix voting rights? (Guardian)

The president-elect’s ability to fix the crisis hinges on whether or not Democrats win the Georgia runoffs – but there are a few areas where he could act unilaterally...