Here A Protest There A Protest

These days the whole world is in protest for one thing or another.

Protests in the US for various reasons…..racism, violence, etc…..Myanmar is in protest…the same with India, Brazil, Hong Kong, Thailand…..so forth and so on…..people are rising up and taking to the streets….

Why is the world burning with protests?

Before we answer that question there is another…..

Just what are all these protest accomplishing?

But before we answer that probing question….let us look at historic protests from the not so distant past….

As protests have continued nationwide, more than a dozen other U.S. cities, including Los Angeles, Dallas, and Washington, D.C., have also made commitments to reduce police resources and funding, and make changes to their systems.

Throughout American history, peaceful protesting — which is protected under the First Amendment and is an act of patriotism — has been utilized to advocate for and lead to change. While the overall impacts of the current national protests are still unfolding, they will likely be influential, just like these movements:

https://www.ucf.edu/news/7-influential-protests-in-american-history/

There have been street protest throughout the world…here are some of the more notable protest and their results…..a baker’s dozen of protests……..

To bring perspective to the debate, we’ve looked through the past 200 years of peaceful protests, from tragic to triumphant to just plain weird.

https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/29040/13-peaceful-protests-and-whether-they-worked

As you see some were successful while others did little good at all….

Let’s look at protests from say the last 50 years…..were they successful or just a waste of time to provide the media with fodder for their reporting?

Vanessa Williamson of the Brookings Institution and political scientists Kris-Stella Trump and Katherine Levine Einstein shows that the number of Black Lives Matter protests  in response to police killings of black civilians has grown from only a few in a handful of cities in 2013 to over 500 protests in nearly 200 cities in 2014.

But what effect do these protests have?

Political science, it turns out, actually has a lot to say about protests, even though it’s really hard to pinpoint what makes one protest effective and another not. Broadly speaking, though, there are four main ways the literature tries to evaluate a protest:

  1. Did it raise awareness?
  2. Did public opinion change?
  3. Were there institutional changes as a result?
  4. Were there electoral consequences, either intended or unintended?

First, protests, at their most basic level, raise awareness about issues that might not yet be in the mainstream. This might not sound all that important, but research by political scientist Deva Woodly of The New School shows that protest movements can fundamentally alter the way we talk — and think — about a specific issue.

(read more)

What Protests Can (And Can’t) Do

The basic question to ask is…..do these protests truly work?

I say it raising social awareness but change the direction it does little.

For instance we are still protesting the extreme use of force by the police and after a decade of protests little has changed….black people are still being legally murdered in the name of the law.

Throughout history, coal miners have been unlikely champions of protest movements. As global economies began shifting away from coal, miners suffered from downsizing, colliery closures, and loss of benefits. In the US and UK, miners used protests to bring their struggles to the public – and won. In 2016, coal workers of the China’s Longmay coal firm prompted the government to admit financial struggles and demand back payment of thousands of workers.  Additionally, the 2011 Occupy Wall Street movement was similarly effective in giving America’s lower income bracket a voice, shedding light on the growing chasm between the top 1% of American earners and the rest of the nation. More recently, the nationwide protests across America in response to the murder of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer have brought police brutality and racism into the spotlight, forcing Americans to address the ongoing disparate treatment of African Americans, especially by law enforcement, which has been unchecked for decades.

Protests aren’t as effective as demonstrators like to think. Thousands of protests are constantly taking place around the world. While the George Floyd protests across America and the world may have changed how Americans view each other and how the world views America, most protest efforts pass without remark, revealing the miniscule impact of protests in general.  Though the mob of pro-Trump protestors that stormed the US Capitol building in an attempt to overturn the Nov. 3 presidential election results drew the world’s attention (and condemnation), it did not succeed in meeting its aims; the constitutional ceremony to certify the election results was interrupted, but Joe Biden’s presidential victory has been confirmed.

Princeton study found that public opinion hardly comes to bear on legislation, and the results of most protests confirms this. The anti-war movement against US military involvement in Vietnam that was popularized on college campuses in 1965 had no effect on war activities, which were in fact ramped up until the war’s end in 1973. Protests in the US and the UK against the Iraq war did nothing to curb the invasion. The Women’s Day March of 2016 was even confronted by results that ran counter to their goal of ensuring reproductive rights for women worldwide. For instance, just two days after the protest, President Trump signed an executive order stripping US aid from foreign institutions that offer abortion services, and further rollbacks on reproductive rights in the foreign and domestic arena continue.

(Read More)

Do Protests work ?

Do these protests work?

I say look at the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act as examples.

If they truly worked then why are African-Americans no better off than they were in the 60’s……same for the voting rights….if they worked why are we fighting that battle yet again?

Protests rise awareness….but what has that awareness accomplished.

I have given my thoughts in the past……https://gulfsouthfreepress.wordpress.com/2020/06/04/why-not-try-non-violence/

While I agree that substantial change needs to happen….I just do not think that protests are the best way to make that change.

History show us that any change can be quickly and decisively taken away if the eye is off the ball….and that is what has happened to the voting rights in this country.

I depart with a quote from Emma …….“People have only as much liberty as they have the intelligence to want and the courage to take.”
Emma Goldman

I Read, I Write, You Know

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“lego ergo scribo”

“Opiate Of The Masses”

Marx called religion ‘the opiate of the masses.

I call credit as the ‘opiate of the masses’……https://lobotero.com/2016/12/03/the-opiate-of-the-masses/

But now I have had a change of heart…..

I now believe that social media is the ‘opiate of the masses’….

Let me say on the onset that I use Twitter basically for a news feed….I do not use any other form of social media.

This has the potential to educate and inform….but rather it is used to influence and misinform.

The American people along with the rest of the world have been lulled into laziness….social media is full of useless information…like photos of the food they eat (food porn)…..to pass on the wildest conspiracies that can be disproved with a little effort….but sadly the effort is not there….laziness!

I am not alone…..Pew found that 64% of the responders think social media is bad….

About two-thirds of Americans (64%) say social media have a mostly negative effect on the way things are going in the country today, according to a Pew Research Center survey of U.S. adults conducted July 13-19, 2020. Just one-in-ten Americans say social media sites have a mostly positive effect on the way things are going, and one-quarter say these platforms have a neither positive nor negative effect.

Those who have a negative view of the impact of social media mention, in particular, misinformation and the hate and harassment they see on social media. They also have concerns about users believing everything they see or read – or not being sure about what to believe. Additionally, they bemoan social media’s role in fomenting partisanship and polarization, the creation of echo chambers, and the perception that these platforms oppose President Donald Trump and conservatives.

Democracy is being hijacked by social media…..

Perceived as an equalizing force for disenfranchised individuals without a voice, the importance of social networks as agents of change cannot be ignored. However, in some societies, social networks have evolved into a platform for fake news and propaganda, empowering disruptive voices, ideologies, and messages. Social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, and Google hold the potential to alter civic engagement, thus essentially hijacking democracy, by influencing individuals toward a particular way of thinking.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7343248/

People only go where their biased beliefs can be strengthen.

Social media is the bane of civilization….it allows the most manure to be spread liberally to the uninformed….it is employed to feed bias and hatred with the most outrageous lies and misinformation.

I question the intelligence of those that lick up these lies.

Nothing has changed in the past and I do not think the future looks very bright….I continue to feel that social media is the new “opiate of the masses”.

“They keep you doped with social and TV

Until you are so f*cking crazy that you cannot see”

(paraphrase of John Lennon’s ‘Working Class Hero”)

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

To Revere The Constitution

There are a lot of BS spread by politicians about our Constitution….and now I have seen an article that gives five reason it should be revered…..I will add my thought after each reason….

The Constitution is an amazing document…..but I think that since it is full of 18th century thinking that no longer applies in the 21st then it is time to bring the document into the present…..

This article written by Michael Warren for realclearpublicaffairs.com and his five reason for this revere thinking are:  My thoughts will be in parentheses…..

1). A Written Constitution. Nearly all scholars agree that the Constitution was the first written document that established a major nation’s government. For thousands of years, mankind had been ruled by some combination of fear, force, custom, and tradition. Having a written document that laid out the powers of government and the duties of the representatives of “We the People” was a huge leap forward, both for the rule of law – that is, the idea that the law governs rather than the personal desires of those in power – and the argument that mankind has the capacity to participate in self-government.

(No where did us mere peasants ever participate beyond the vote…it has never been a self-government)

2). Approved by the People. Until 1788, as far as we know, no major country in the course of human history put its form of government up to a vote of the people. The people in each state voted to send delegates to the Constitutional Convention of 1787, where a new governing document was created through robust debate. Unless the ratifying convention of any respective state approved the Constitution, it would not be adopted, another amazing advancement. We literally created a new social compact for the country that was agreed to by the people of each state.

(Was it?)

3). Separation of Powers. Although England and ancient Rome had some pretense of separation of powers, it was muddled and often subverted. Until the Constitution, no major central government in world history firmly divided the three major functions of government into co-equal, separate branches. By dividing power between the legislative (Congress), executive (President), and judicial (Supreme Court) branches, the Constitution protects liberty by making it difficult for one person or group from taking complete control of the federal government.

(Those days are long gone….the Senate works as an independent from parts of the government…and with the Trump president the separation no longer existed)

4). Checks and Balances. Hand in glove with separation of powers, by giving each branch the ability to check the other branches, the Constitution better protects liberty. It requires that the three branches act together to enact policy and ensure that it does not violate the Constitution’s text. For example, the president can veto legislation passed by Congress, but Congress can override that veto with a two-thirds vote. The president is the commander in chief of the military, but only Congress can fund it and declare war. Even if Congress passes legislation and the president signs it into law, if it violates the Constitution, the Supreme Court must set that law aside. The president nominates judges, but the Senate must approve nominees. Again, liberty is protected by limiting the power of any particular branch of government.

(And yet the Senate can stop any and all social reform that the majority disagrees with…even if it is wildly popular with the peasantry.)

5). Enumerated Powers. Most governments in human history presume that the government is all powerful, and then carves out certain restrictions where it cannot act. The Constitution does exactly the opposite. Unless the Constitution specifically enumerates – that is, lists – powers where the federal government has the authority to act, it cannot do so. By substantially limiting the reach of federal power, the doctrine of enumerated powers safeguards the people’s liberties.

(And then Trump was elected and all this ‘protection’ went down the toilet)

***Reminder—my thoughts are in parentheses***

If you would like to read the full article…..https://www.realclearpublicaffairs.com/articles/2021/03/16/top_five_reasons_why_the_constitution_should_be_revered_663616.html

Again I do not want to scrap our Constitution.

I just believe that it could use a massive update to make in represent the present situation.

And there is the problem…..it will take a Constitutional Convention….and that would open up a whole new can of worms…..in case you slept through your civics class….

A convention to propose amendments to the United States Constitution, also called an Article V Convention or amendatory convention, called for by two-thirds (currently 34) of the state legislatures, is one of two processes authorized by Article Five of the United States Constitution whereby the United States Constitution may be altered. Amendments may also be proposed by Congress with a two-thirds vote in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.

To become part of the Constitution, an amendment which has been formally proposed must then be ratified by either—as determined by Congress—the legislatures of three-fourths (presently 38) of the states, or state ratifying conventions in three-fourths of the states. Thirty-three amendments to the United States Constitution have been approved by Congress and sent to the states for ratification. Twenty-seven of these amendments have been ratified and are now part of the Constitution. As of 2021, the amendment convention process has never been used for proposing a constitutional amendment.

(wikipedia)

The biggest problem is our system…..a system where there are many deliberative bodies that have to agree……the rub for the convention debate. Liberals are concerned that the conservatives could amend the Constitution to beat back the role of government. Conservatives aren’t sure they could keep liberal amendments off the table. No one knows just how a convention would work, how long it would last, what rules would guide debate and amendments, or what unexpected pieces might emerge.

Just how much of a cluster f*ck is this process?

Take the Equal Rights Amendment of 1972.

“Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.”

And as of 2021 it has NOT be ratified….after almost 50 years and we still do not have the ratification…even after extensions to the deadline for ratification.

One common argument against the Equal Rights Amendment is the fact that the U.S. already has the 14th Amendment, which states:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

A major argument against the ERA is that the ratification of the ERA would mean laws cannot be passed to protect men and women differently. The ERA states, “equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex,” implying all laws must affect men and women equally. That standard is present in legislation surrounding racial discrimination. An example is present in Adkins v. Children’s Hospital from 1923. In this case, the Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional to guarantee women a minimum wage because earlier, the court had ruled that men could not be guaranteed a minimum wage. The court based its decision on the 19th Amendment.

Just an example of the BS that flies around any attempt to ratify an amendment or to change the Constitution in any way.

Revere? 

I think it is an amazing document…..amazing but does not mean that it is representative of the nation of today.

I now step off my soapbox…..and allow others to state their thoughts.

You may type now.

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Does Federalism Remain A Good Idea?

The recent insurrection has cast a dark shadow on federalism.

Federalism is a system of government in which the same territory is controlled by two levels of government. Generally, an overarching national government is responsible for broader governance of larger territorial areas, while the smaller subdivisions, states, and cities govern the issues of local concern.

Both the national government and the smaller political subdivisions have the power to make laws and both have a certain level of autonomy from each other.

Federalism is like a diet. Both the Left and Right try to stick to it, but each abandons it when its craving for the policy equivalent of fries and a shake grows too strong. The Left, which normally looks to the national government for policy solutions, cheerfully applauds state efforts to deal with the least local of all environmental problems: climate change. Last year, President Trump threatened to use the military to quell looting and overrule the decisions of state governors regarding COVID regulations. But if one really wants to fit into that prom dress or make weight for the wrestling match, one needs to stick to the diet, even when it means leaving tasty policies you crave on the table.

A principled defense of American federalism – even if it deprives one of a delicious policy outcome – is necessary now more than ever. Though difficult, the federalism regimen is worth the sacrifice. Alexis de Tocqueville, to recognize that what had been undertaken for pragmatic reasons was not only theoretically defensible but was also the best means of preserving liberty and enabling a large republic to endure. Tocqueville recognized that American federalism offered a means of resolving what had been an unsolvable dilemma. The dual character of American federalism, combining a powerful central government with a set of smaller republics, enabled both necessary aspects of democratic-republican political life – civic engagement and rule in the general interest – to thrive. Tocqueville recognized that the United States enjoyed a strong central government because of, not in spite of, its limited powers. Liberated from myriad onerous and contentious chores, it could concentrate on those critical tasks for which it was uniquely suited. Though not an admirer of Andrew Jackson, Tocqueville nonetheless pointed to that president’s suppression of South Carolina’s nullification threat as a good example of how a government of limited powers could forcefully act to preserve itself.

https://www.realclearpublicaffairs.com/articles/2021/02/17/taking_federalism_seriously_656952.html

Federalism is perfect for the control of government by the wealthy. The sad thing that our educational system has failed its people and ultimately the country. Any thoughts? How about the Constitution was originally an economic document….. Notes for FTE:  Constitution as an economic document The founding fathers were motivated to write the constitution for many reasons. Of course, most of the actual document is devoted the mechanics of how the federal government works, and its relation to the states. The parts that deal with the economy, however brief, are of enormous importance.Some of the economic provisions in the constitution were adopted because of “economic”reasons, that is, shared beliefs that certain economic policies would be good for the country.Other economic provisions were adopted for other reasons altogether. The need to build a stronger central government, and to control the centrifugal political forces that might tear the nation apart, often led the founders to reach compromises with economic consequences.. More on the economic portions of the US Constitution……http://econweb.umd.edu/~wallis/Constitution_FTE_web.pdf

With the events of the past 5 years…the question remains….is federalism still a good idea?

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Thoughts On Unicameralism

I have written about my thoughts on our Congress….thoughts that will not be popular but nonetheless something needs to be considered because the the dysfunction in our legislative branch of government.

You can read my thoughts here…..https://lobotero.com/2019/04/24/against-bicameralism/

Our Senate is as worthless as teats on a boar….it is non-functioning at best.  Time for a change…..that is if you want this country finally start progressing to a better future.

There are so many things that need changing and most of them will take a Constitutional Convention……things like guns, the emoluments, voting rights, etc….so if we decide to have this debate then why not include the Congress and a way to make it better or at least functioning.

Since civics is not  priority in our educational system let me do it for you……what is the function of the legislative branch?

The House has several powers assigned exclusively to it, including the power to initiate revenue bills, impeach federal officials, and elect the President in the case of an electoral college tie.

The Senate has the sole power to confirm those of the President’s appointments that require consent, and to ratify treaties. There are, however, two exceptions to this rule: The House must also approve appointments to the Vice Presidency as well as any treaty that involves foreign trade. The Senate also tries impeachment cases for federal officials referred to it by the House.

In order to pass legislation and send it to the President for his signature, both the House and the Senate must pass the same bill by majority vote. If the President vetoes a bill, they may override his veto by passing the bill again in each chamber with at least two-thirds of each body voting in favor.

That is a very simplistic look at the branch (if more info is needed my I suggest use the Google button)

Do not get me wrong I do understand the concept of “checks and balances”…..but what good is it when the system makes a dysfunction commonplace?

But in case your Civics is not what it use to be…..

The system of checks and balances in government was developed to ensure that no one branch of government would become too powerful. The framers of the U.S. Constitution built a system that divides power between the three branches of the U.S. government—legislative, executive and judicial—and includes various limits and controls on the powers of each branch.

Again very simplistic but for the sake of brevity will have to do or you could do what I advised earlier.

Now that all that explanation and historic stuff is out of the way…..

Since the Congress is useless maybe it is time to reconsider the make-up of said institution.  The Senate is where good bills go to die.

In my opinion Going to one house for legislation makes good sense…..

My idea is get rid of the senator post ….keep representatives….. they will be limited to 10 terms…..the two most senior reps from each state will be elevated to the post of senator, a post within the House.

The leader will be known as the Speaker For The Assembly and that post will be determined entire Congress…..majority of votes elevate the person to speaker a post that can be held for 6 years….then a new election will determine the next speaker.

I feel this could open up the chance for the country to move forward without all the BS that goes with the two houses.

AS it is today the most useless part of our government is the legislative branch is the Senate…that needs to be modified for the sake of the nation and its people.

I continue to believe that unicameralism is the only way this country can recover and move forward with progress.

More of my thoughts to come.

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The “Cancel Culture”

I term that has gained prominence with the election of Trump….a vague turn of a phrase…..but the Hell does it mean?

The 2020 Republican National Convention kicked off with an evening of programming that seemed deeply fixated on one of the odder ideas to snowball its way into the zeitgeist: cancel culture.

Within the turbulent past several years, the idea that a person can be “canceled” — in other words, culturally blocked from having a prominent public platform or career — has become a polarizing topic of debate. The rise of “cancel culture” and the idea of canceling someone coincides with a familiar pattern: A celebrity or other public figure does or says something offensive. A public backlash, often fueled by politically progressive social media, ensues. Then come the calls to cancel the person — that is, to effectively end their career or revoke their cultural cachet, whether through boycotts of their work or disciplinary action from an employer.

The argument that this phenomenon has spun out of control loomed over the RNC during its first few days of programming. Prior to the first night of speakers, delegates voted for a number of resolutions in meetings that were closed to the press, one of which specifically targeted cancel culture. The resolution described “cancel culture” as having “grown into erasing of history, encouraging lawlessness, muting citizens, and violating free exchange of ideas, thoughts, and speech.”

All this silliness from the Trumpites makes me think of the days of yore when a term like “revisionism” or “Revisionist” were popular….again

The simple definition is…..Advocacy of the revision of an accepted, usually long-standing view, theory, or doctrine, especially a revision of historical events and movements.

In essence it is the selling out of principles.

When used as a criticism in everyday conversation, “revisionist history” refers to conscious, intentional misstatements about things in the past, whether distant or recent. It can be used in the context of personal lives and relationships—the cause of an argument, for instance—or in political and cultural discussions. At the time I was writing this, for instance, it was being used in Twitter conversations about Tom Brady, Obama’s 2008 campaign strategy, and the Iran nuclear deal. Unlike saying someone is being forgetful or getting confused about what happened, accusing them of practicing “revisionist history” is accusing them of being a bad actor—a liar—by playing fast and loose with the past.

For those allergic to reading….I can make it simple…..

Does any of that sound familiar from the past four years?

The use of fear in politics helps feed the revisionism…..this is a good article by someone who studies fear in politics….

Fear is arguably as old as life. It is deeply ingrained in the living organisms that have survived extinction through billions of years of evolution. Its roots are deep in our core psychological and biological being, and it is one of our most intimate feelings. Danger and war are as old as human history, and so are politics and religion.

Demagogues have always used fear for intimidation of the subordinates or enemies, and shepherding the tribe by the leaders. Fear is a very strong tool that can blur humans’ logic and change their behavior.

I am a psychiatrist and neuroscientist specializing in fear and trauma, and I have some evidence-based thoughts on how fear is abused in politics.

https://theconversation.com/the-politics-of-fear-how-fear-goes-tribal-allowing-us-to-be-manipulated-109626

Make NO mistake….this is GOP bigotry and hatred….and yes it is hatred….hatred for blacks, immigrants and Dems.

Fear and revisionism is destroying this country from within…..if something does not change and soon this country will be destroyed from within….and that could possibly end the great system that we have now.

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