Democrats must get tough: here's why and how

Thom plus logo Rebuilding trust in democracy and our American government requires both holding seditious Republicans accountable and restoring the protective functions of government. Here's what Democrats must do and why.

The reason tens of millions of Americans don't believe Joe Biden won the election is a 40-year betrayal of the American public's trust by Republican politicians, grifters, and con artists exploiting the once-good name of Lincoln's Party.

Science, religion, and conspiracy theories are all, essentially the same thing: systems or attempts to explain the unknown, to make sense out of things beyond our senses or immediate, touchable reality. Thus, our vulnerability to con artists like Trump.

It's impossible for any individual to know or understand everything. We believe electrons make our computers work, but for all but a few scientists who've actually seen and measured electrons, it's only a belief. We must trust their word.

This is why trust is central to science, and why scientific norms and institutions require multiple layers and dimensions of confirmation before things are asserted as true or even probable.

It's also why trust is so vital for religion, and why we're so horrified by situations like Jim Jones, Jerry Falwell Jr., and child-abusing priests. To commit to a religion or existential belief system requires trust, and these are all examples of betrayal of that trust.

This is why we're so vulnerable to con artists like Trump and corrupted institutions like the GOP. Based on trust built by past "good faith” politicians like Eisenhower, in 1980 Reagan began pushing scams like trickle-down and voter suppression. He betrayed our trust.

The average person has no way of knowing if "voter fraud" is real; science says it's so rare it's inconsequential. But for 40 years the GOP has pushed this conspiracy theory to justify blocking tens of millions of Americans' right to vote.

They betray the people's trust.

The average person can't confirm the reality of climate change through their own senses, so the GOP has, for 40 years, asserted that this solid but relatively complex and multi-factored science is simply a conspiracy theory. They betray the people's trust.

Observational economics, a science, shows higher minimum wages, high taxes on corporations and the very rich, and worker protections all strengthen an economy (like 1950-1980). But for 40 years the GOP pushed the opposite as economic science. They betray the public's trust.

News was once more like science: observations and data points, multiple confirmations, answers to skeptical challenges. Now there's an entire ecosystem pushing rightwing lies and calling them truth, from Fox News to rightwing radio to Facebook. They betray the public's trust.

Americans are used to believing that our Presidents speak truth. Ronald Reagan, both George Bush's and Donald Trump have all lied to use that trust to enrich themselves and their billionaire friends, poison our planet, and enhance their power by turning us against each other.

Most things in our lives rely on trust, from relationships to taking medication to relying on our car's gas gauge. Trump and the Republican party have exploited our innate instinct and need to trust and turned it against us.

Those who believe the GOP's lies are their victims just as much as the rest of us who must rely on our nation's political, economic and social systems. Without trust, none of these systems can work effectively or efficiently for all.

Corrupting these systems, Republicans betrayed our trust and turned our democratic republic to the verge of authoritarian oligarchy. America is not yet irredeemable, but we grow closer with every passing Trump or Trumpy Republican's proclamation and Fox News cycle.

Which brings us back to the widespread belief that Trump was, to quote Hitler, "stabbed in the back" by Democratic voter fraud. More than even science or religion, a democratic republican form of government cannot exist without trust.

Every democratic republic that has fallen in the last two thousand years, including the Roman Republic, was first weakened by demagogic politicians sowing distrust in government itself the way Trump and the GOP are doing right now. This is how republics die.

If the Democratic Party doesn't call this out clearly and without compromise, and impose severe consequences on these seditious traitors, the next Republican president will be even worse.

Congressman Bill Pascrell has offered a starting point: refuse to seat them in Congress. Bar associations must strip them of their law licenses, the media should ignore their bleats, and ongoing GOP voter suppression systems must be dismantled, state by state.

Congress must begin wide scale, comprehensive investigations into crimes committed by the Trump administration and the corruption of Congress by billionaires and their corporations. Citizens United must be overturned. Monopolies must be broken up.

Meanwhile, government must begin to work for the American people. Healthcare and quality education, including college, must become a right. College and medical debt for all Americans must be eliminated: it will cost less then the last two GOP tax cuts for billionaires.

None of these are "radical" or even "left" positions: every one is held by advanced democracies around the world, more than half currently run by governments that describe themselves as "conservative." Rebuilding trust is the price of the survival of our republic.

-Thom

Comments

deepspace's picture
deepspace 11 weeks 4 days ago
#1

As he has indicted several times, unlike Trump, Biden would be wise to maintain a thick firewall between his government and the Justice Department, allowing its professional prosecutors and the FBI to pursue whatever criminal cases are judged worthy enough to shepherd through the system, untainted by politics.

Following the scientific method, let the evidence lead to a conclusion rather than first accepting a biased opinion as fact and then cherrypicking certain evidence to fill in the gaps while ignoring other evidence that doesn't fit the predetermined outcome and which might lead to a different conclusion.

And may the door smack Bill Barr's fat ass on his way out.

avn013's picture
avn013 11 weeks 4 days ago
#2
  1. There is a common misconception that science is based on proof rather than belief. The ultimate proof that scientists have for the existence of anything (including that of electrons) is their belief in the so-called scientific method.
  2. (Paraphrasing Churchill) The scientific method is the worst one except for all those others (superstition, astrology, religion, Luck/Fortuna etc) that have been tried from time to time.
  3. Nowadays many people (including several 'scientists') seem to think that scientific conclusions are (mathematically) proven, which is simply wrong. Science (like Art) is empirical (and it will likely remain so) and no less fallible than the humans who practice it. As such, accepting (or not) a scientific conclusion is a matter of choice (for those believing in the existence of free will) requiring a leap of faith! (A reasonable antidote against blind faith is (healthy) skepticism, i.e. the faith that the right doze of skepticism may one day lead to the Truth, assuming the latter is uniquely defined).
  4. "Healthcare and quality education, including college, must become a right". How correct! Actually, for a country like USA, so economically and technologically advancedy, these rights are long (over)due. Furthermore, imo this is a rather conservative opinion. Even Andrew M. Young's U$1,000/mo-freedom dividend lies imo at "center-right", since it is on the poverty line and USA economy can do much better. (For example the rate of inheritance tax above (let's say) U$10 millions should be 99% and "increasing" by a "9" (99.9%, 99.99% etc) for each additional 100 million. This is a small price to pay for satisfying the will of someone who is not alive any more. Not to mention higher tax rates on transactions of established corporations and generally established wealth).

I think there is sufficient historical evidence (scientific "proof") to show that advancement in technology has been largely funded by public money, and in a democracy the benefits of technology (technology dividends) should be shared equally, with the exception of the more needy ones, who need some additional attention.

alis volat's picture
alis volat 11 weeks 3 days ago
#3

This aspect of what we are facing with Republicans goes unaddressed and is best explained by this article from 2018:

'It's not just about whether a politician is lying or not. It's whether he's lying on my behalf.' — Monika McDermott, a professor of political science at Fordham University.

By Kelsey Dallas Mar 28, 2018, 12:05am MDT

Editor's note: This article is part of the Deseret News' annual Ten Today series, which explores the relevance of the Ten Commandments in modern life.

"SALT LAKE CITY — Dishonesty isn't a deal breaker for most Republicans in the age of Donald Trump.

Fifty-five percent of Republicans say they would still vote for a presidential candidate in 2020 who they believe "would lie to cover up the truth," according to a new Deseret News survey on honesty and the Ten Commandments. That's up from just 12 percent of Republicans who said the same in July 2015, when a Fox News poll asked the same question.".........

And the one true thing that happened is they did vote for him. Other articles have spoken about how they view the lying as a game, and surely you have seen interviews where someone says that. This new breed of Republican feels they are toying with the opposition. The reality of what they have done is starting to soak-in for the old guard. They got the policies they wanted in their bargain with the devil, and now they are stuck with his demons. Will the last Republican with integrity please turn out the lights.

DrRichard 11 weeks 3 days ago
#4

Earlier than Rome; I remember a history book that discussed how ancient Greece "committed suicide", which was about right at least as far as Athenian style democracry was concerned. Fundamentally the problem is an educational system that doesn't encourage creative and indepenent thinking based on testable facts rather than memorization, and asks questions about causes rather than just dealing with effects.

That's speaking broadly. There is a need for some basic memorization and certainly there are teachers and schools that do a wonderful job of bring out creativity and independence among their students. But you do see the rigid "in the box" thinking everywhere. In a medical system that until recently was just focused at treating illnesses but lousy at preventing them, on a military system that rarely rewards people who prevent conflicts, on a government where not spending all your budget is punished by getting a smaller one next time, by corporations that only look at short-term bottom lines, and so on.

Maybe most people are like this, and perhaps Heinlein was right when he said the only universal crime is teaching children to think. But none of this encourages democracy, and perhaps it is what those in power ultimately want, no matter the consequences.

DrRichard 11 weeks 3 days ago
#5

avn013, you are right that science doesn't prove things. It does give statistical probabilities which can be very high. For example, the odds that all the oxygen in my room will randomly flow out the door is so small as to be negligible. And it does work off tested and repeated results which can be used (with a high probability) to predict what is likely to occur. That's certainly better than just making things up, which basically is what religions seem to do. I think that's what scares those who don't know much about these fields; they require hard study and are not football games but based on sound observations that (as of now) work.

Also, in good science skepticism is built into the system. Other people who know a field expected to test and pick apart any new ideas or observations until they are as certain as possible that they can be repeated and verified. All it takes is one different result to blow the proposed concept out of the water, or at least requires major revision of the basic idea. Again, religion doesn't work like that, nor do the softer fields like psychology or the social sciences. Those work to some extent on principles, but with far more unpredictable variations. That opens the door for things like Supply Side Economics, or regime change, where people invested in a system can fool themselves rather than look at what makes sense. Such thinking doesn't work with physics or chemistry, including things like climate change or what toxins are (likely) to cause cancers.

Old Dave 11 weeks 3 days ago
#6

Too many of our fellow Americans have not developed the crucial skills that lead to opportunity and freedom; the abilities to learn, teach, and make good decisions. People who have learned to choose lies and propaganda that reinforce their beliefs are dangerously unskilled learners. These poorly educated citizens make easy targets for the onslaught of fake news spewed from the oligarch-controlled media which compels them to make bad decisions, and then we are all forced to pay for their negative externalities. People born with a brain that works reasonably well come into this world with an overpowering desire to learn, and that craving endures unless it is somehow repressed. When that happens, it is a crime against not just that citizen, but the rest of us as well. Those of us who have lost their passion to learn are victims, just like those of our citizens who would love to have the opportunity to learn, but will never get it. The heartbreaking fact is that the chance to get a great education is denied to millions of Americans because our public sector elected officials have chosen to not create and maintain a role model education system, which is provably the best investment that can be made for our democracy. These public sector decision-makers are commanded to sacrifice our tax dollars (as well as our health, security, and commons) to service their faction-masters. Their learning deficiencies are manifested by their ignorance and stupidity, making them more likely to be tragically bad at good decision-making.

Riverplunge's picture
Riverplunge 11 weeks 3 days ago
#7

Democracy?

If the Democrats keep keep on passing bills with poison pills in them, they will end up with nothing to bargan with. They are already waining in power because they don't have rich "friends". AND certain Democrats don't even vote with them!

10_Oct_62 on the tarmac@Love's picture
10_Oct_62 on th... 11 weeks 3 days ago
#8

Anyone willing to say Hell NO can get anything they want.

10_Oct_62 on the tarmac@Love's picture
10_Oct_62 on th... 11 weeks 3 days ago
#9

Thom...
I think that Theresa K's first husband
Republican and Mr John Tower (R)
Texas and their demise
on Apr 4/5th 1991
were facilitated by "Good Sheppards"
Both were powerful men on the wrong side of
Republican
Conservatism.

Heres what I can prove
that "Sheafer" from the Doug Liman film
American Made
was a black shoe grad of the Naval Academy 1962
and was
farmed out to the Company for a year
to handle
the smuggler.
later ran the 1st Gulf War.
If you want to see.

He favored EU health care
else my proof would not have been
snapped up in France and I would never
have stumbled upon it.

I am 58 and in Oct of 63 my Mom picked
up the phone and was asked this question.
What type of film should Abe use in his camera?
Afterward i sat on Dads shoulders
and watched from the Tarmac.

So I might be crank or
you might not need to know.
Its in your court.

Rob Lukacs's picture
Rob Lukacs 11 weeks 3 days ago
#10

The US government is for the rich, by the rich. Don't ever think that the rest of us matter or stand a chance in hell of changing things. We are no longer needed by those in control. These people are so financially insulated now that it doesnt matter what happens here as long as they dont have to pay taxes. The jobs, well they were shipped away a long time ago. Sure a small amount of us can uber educate ourselves to be useful enough to eek out a living with two people working. The battle was lost long a go. Now we are just grasping at straws to keep it from getting worse. Good luck.

rostasi 11 weeks 3 days ago
#11

*bargain*
*waning*

deepspace's picture
deepspace 11 weeks 3 days ago
#12

rostasi, you missed my typo. I meant "indicated" instead of "indicted."

};--))

avn013's picture
avn013 11 weeks 2 days ago
#13

@DrRichard

I think that we agree that 'good' science is better than bad religion. Do we agree that good religion is better (even 'statistically') lthan bad science?

Your example of the oxygen (molecules) spontaneously leaving the room (long enough for me to suffer brain damage) shows how simple science is. Of course to reach this simplicity one first has to believe (yes believe) in atoms, develop an abtract concept called entropy and believe in it (since as we agreed such abstactions are not proven). The very concept of atoms has a long history that goes back to the "philosophical" debate of continuum versus discrete. Similarly, I think (hope) that both of us will agree that killing is bad (even for a non religious person). This is simple and easy. However, deciding what is the proper punishment for a killer is a much more difficult and (so far) insoluble than making a tv screen that is twice as large as the one i have.

As a screw-driver is not appropriate for fixing software bugs, so using religion as a substitute of technology or technology as a substitute of religion is not "good" and history shows that it causes a lot of pain, torture even death.

In the past an "odd" result was seldom sufficient to change scientific thinking. Even nowadays the 'breakthrough' implications of quantum theory and the 'revolutionary' interpretation of time and space by Einstein are not completely understood by most scientists. Interestingly, the former refers to the microscopic and the latter to the macroscopic and experts agree that the two 'dogmas' contradict each other. Room for improvement, and....evolution.

As science evolves, so do the arts and religion. Technology appears to evolve faster than anything. It is wrong to think of technology as a product of pure and simple logic, and ignore the motivation(s) that is driving it. Intuition is most likely a superset of logic and intution is needed to guide us on how to best use technology than be used by it.

rostasi 11 weeks 2 days ago
#14

deepspace: you're better than average when it comes to that kind of thing.
If people are going to present an opinion or some kind of info that they insist is factual,
it would be nice if they would take the time to present it intelligently.

Now, if we can only get "Legend" to understand that it is "martial" law. ;-)

deepspace's picture
deepspace 11 weeks 2 days ago
#15

What people say is more important than how they say it. But having the presentation critiqued is always constructive.

rostasi 11 weeks 1 day ago
#16

Yeah, but if you can't really understand what people are saying,
then it kinda goes out the window doesn't it?
Also, if people can't take the time to present their arguments clearly,
then it's a bit hard to imagine that they took any extra
mental effort to come to their personal conclusions.

deepspace's picture
deepspace 11 weeks 11 hours ago
#17

True enough. In most cases, I don't disagree. Keep holding our feet to the fire. As I said, it is always constructive.

MattB15's picture
MattB15 6 weeks 6 days ago
#18

How about this: "Actions speak louder than words?" Anyone can sound smart, especially if it's supported by other people. Still doesn't make it the truth.

MattB15's picture
MattB15 6 weeks 6 days ago
#19

That was one crazy article! In all of your speaking, you fail to list one thing Trump has done to negatively impact the economy. Yeah, I read the article, but every time you mentioned Trump, a derogatory adjective was tied with it. Why is that? If his deeds are truly that bad, why would you need to use such words that illicit a higher degree of an emotional response to your readers? I couldn't believe the part where you talked about seeing and measuring electrons, but only a few scientists can? Anyone can measure an electron. As far as seeing one..Well, that depends on what you mean by see. We can not see atoms with the naked eye. Even the best lenses and mirrors cannot beat the diffraction limit. I just have to ask. Why would I take your advice on taking others at THEIR WORD when you've proven in having ulterior motives?

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Thom plus logo HR1, the For The People Act, is probably the most consequential piece of legislation of the century. Consequential, at least, in the positive sense: with GOP voter suppression efforts spreading across the country, the future of both the Democratic Party and democracy itself is on the line.
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