> If you're wondering why DEA and US Marshal's Service have been given authority to conduct covert surveillance of protestors, it's likely because they have planes outfitted with Dirtboxes - powerful stingray devices that collect data on phones from the air
Cop brain is very simple: You wither listen to the cop or you are a criminal. There are no shades of grey, and the US police have demonstrated this across the country this weekend.
On one side, you have the generally disorganized public which naturally includes the opportunistic, the provocative, the desperate. On the other, you have the police and the military, nominally organized with a largely uniform mission and code of conduct.
Bad behavior by the government is less excusable and also more threatening.
I also think there may be some suspicions that some violent instigators might be acting at the urging of a foreign government - which is the domain of the FBI.
I think it's reasonable to help them in that effort - while also condemning the police for their role.
The death of ONE MAN, George Floyd, caused mass outrage. If a foreign directed agent is able to instigate a similar tragedy, I think that's very very important to nail down.
"...to enforce federal criminal laws in the wake of protests..."
So not protestors, but criminals taking advantage of protests.
Peaceable assembly is what the anti-lockdown protesters were all about, but those people are grandma killers, right? Unlike the Antifa thugs that are assaulting women in wheelchairs.
The gov't should use all it's resources to put an end to these riots, which are more insurrection than riot. Hence the surveillance drones and planes. Get used to it or stop rioting. And the gov't will go back to their normal surveillance state. So yeah, we still need strong encryption.
They came with long guns and spat at the police officers. But, okay, sure, that's "Peaceable".
To be clear, they are total and complete idiots, but unless I've missed something they are peaceful idiots.
Parallel construction can occur from any justice department org.
Tech isn't always the answer, but here we are on HN reading about a frustrating issue, a bunch of spinning wheels in a sense, and we're good at tech as a group.
I don't even know what it would look like, but currently the typical HN community response to this stuff is hyper-perceptive. From "here we go" to "here's what the article says". This alone is far too limited (we're not just here with our popcorn; we want to _do_) and it creates a pattern that can eventually shut out such news because no traction can be gained--what's the point.
IMO we can build communications environments and frameworks that empower ourselves and others to take creative action, even of the sociopolitical type. And if we can't build 'em, we can share and promote the news.
(Some of you are already doing this--thank you, please keep sharing your work)
I think maybe a better use of the public outrage of cancel-culture might be to direct that call-out energy from celebrities to police that commit manslaughter.
Next step might be getting pictures on such a website.
I’m not even sure where to begin worrying about the assets of WALMART AND LOUIS VITTON of all stores over the needs and apparent rage of the local community.
I'm sure you were out their leading the charge when Justine Damond was shot in the stomach by a cop in Minneapolis, right?
This isn't about race and probably never was. Tragic as it is, looting and riots are going to solve anything. Seriously, if you think that's helpful, then you are the problem. What's happening now is akin to a toddler throwing a tantrum. This behavior won't change anything. It's all virtue signalling until dark when it turns in to chaos.
So how about spouting of some things that will actually make a difference, instead of following the crowd blindly in to the Apple store as you yell, "hands up. don't shoot."
I've talked to so many friends that are stressed out and barely able to work or function right now and they have massive anxiety and stress from world events that are only being compounded by managers and C's not leading by example and telling them to take time for themselves and stopping the unnecessary meetings or TELLING them that they understand their productivity might be gone.
And these are fairly privileged people with the ability to work from home and a stable income.
My wife is a black engineer and she's hanging on the last 2 days still taking client meetings and putting on her "work is still important" face but she's miserable before and after dealing with them. She's also, like a lot of us who haven't been hearing direct empathy from leadership, afraid to take PTO/Vacation right now BECAUSE of the economy and fear of losing her job.
On the flip side I have seen a lot of companies that are giving people Fridays off, 3-4 day weekends to decompress, etc.
I think after this I'll be moving to only working for companies that I find to be very active in social movements.
Any remotely awkward event that popped up you likely had a boss who just didn't say a peep about anything because they didn't want to rock the boat.
Thankfully I'm seeing a lot more reports of the opposite this week but there's still a lot of those companies out there.
Some of us are living through this in real life, we're not all privileged to just watch this on TV. That's the entire point of being understanding to your employees and coworkers right now, YOU have no idea what is going on right now in other peoples lives, especially if they're not willing to be open with you because of opinions like you've just shared.
Acting like some "just deal with it and work" type is neither endearing nor macho. It wasn't cool 15 years ago when I got into tech and it's not cool now.
Have some empathy for your peers.
Work is not life. Tech is not life.
I appreciate that a lot younger employees may not be there yet, but I don't think it's correct to assume that everyone in the world needs to emotionally deal with every social/economic/political problem in the world.
That isn't scalable.
Student leaders were put under close surveillance by the authorities, traffic cameras were used to perform surveillance on the square and the restaurants in the nearby area and where students gathered were wiretapped. This surveillance led to the identification, capture and punishment of participants of the protest. After the massacre, the government did thorough interrogations at work units, institutions and schools to identify who had been at the protest.
Are you guys figuring out the game yet?
Barely an inconvenience.
The DEA for a long time has been slowly transforming into this catch all military/police/spy/logistics/legal/intelligence/technical agency. It picks up little bits of responsibility and capability here and there that enable it to do some function in a drug case. But because the funding of drug law enforcement is so crucial for so many government functions in direct and indirect ways, and because individuals in a position often benefit from an increase in scope the pressure is always towards scope creep, to saying yes when permission for more power is asked.
So the DEA has organically expanded and expanded and expanded and the more this is accepted the easier it is for it to creep further and further until it starts to resemble something totally different than how it would have originally been envisioned.
On the other side of this you get someone like Trump, who is looking for tools he can use that have limited restrictions on their powers and a wide scope of arenas in which they can be deployed, and the DEA is an obvious choice.
An you end up with a very dangerous combo of a person who is looking for as much power as he can grab onto and this entity which is incredibly efficient and capturing scope and power within our current system and therefore extremely ripe for abuse.
This is a great argument for strictly defining the scope of these alphabet soup agencies upfront and making the process to change those scopes very restrictive. Unfortunately we've chosen the exact opposite path.
>The DEA is limited by statute to enforcing drug related federal crimes. But on Sunday, Timothy Shea, a former US Attorney and close confidant of Barr who was named acting administrator of the DEA last month, received approval from Associate Deputy Attorney General G. Bradley Weinsheimer to go beyond the agency’s mandate “to perform other law enforcement duties” that Barr may “deem appropriate.”
It takes time but a mess like this can be corrected. You first isolate/segment,then you determine scope and source of the compromise/failure as well as external communication channels. The cleaning up part starts when you first disable the communication channels, get forensics imaging as needed,surgically remove threats on critical systems and slowly rebuild systems that are less than critical.
Think of america as a network instead of a system, the hackers have seized control of the domain controller and other critical systems but they haven't compromised all systems or prevented admins from kicking them out.
The problem is not actually fixing America but convincing anyone how deep and widespread the problem is. You can fix it but the bad guys will just get back in, it's not just a cleanup but a systemic change on how security(national security,public security,etc..)is done. In american politics we're talking about changes to the constitution, perhaps even a rewrite. You can convince people a new president that will magically fix things is needed but you can't convince them the very foundation of the country has been cracked due to changes that happened over time and will cause a structural collapse.
There's a Churchill quote that's similar. Something like: The problem isn't winning the war, it's convincing others that it needs to be fought.
What's worse, it's not really like you're a consultant, because then you might be able to leave it behind. It's more like you all work for that company, and it's a revolving set of promotions and demotions, and you're forced to watch people abandon your work for some other goal that you think is at best less important, but have no real ability to influence.
The big rewrite is always appealing but almost always doomed to failure. There is 200+ years of painfully learned lessons in the US legal code. If we throw it all out and start over, we'll have to re-learn all of those lessons one tragedy at a time.
The government is a PAAS business. They have various customers, both direct B2C, like you and me, and B2B relationships with other companies that run business on their platform. Either way the customers pay quarterly or yearly for the services through a system called taxes.
Political activists and are a type of white /gray hat hacker who seeks to demonstrate exploitable flaws in the platform and may benefit through bug bounties from backers or through getting advantageous features implemented. Lobbyists are a kind of social engineer that also wishes to influence feature decisions.
Legislators are a type of software developer. Their job is complicated by the lack of adequate test and simulation environments, and the presence of competing interests who frequently oppose the suggested features or implementation decisions but whose approval is often needed for the PR to garnish approval.
People used to talk about the "Microsoft tax"... well this system already has Federal, State, and local taxes...
Have to be careful with this as these protest are about things that are indeed working as designed.
We no longer have the time for a slow approach where we make small changes and test and see. The system we have is not functioning, period, and end-users are protesting in the tens of thousands across all major cities in the country.
We've been moving slow and pulling up the ladders behind us for hundreds of years. Things only trickle down when there's profit. That needs to change. These protests are exposing that game.
That said, if all you see are the problems, it's easy to think there's no downside. It's entirely possible for other aspects of our society to get worse as we focus on those items. It's also possible for those aspects to get worse as we fail to make any meaningful change on the items we focus on, and eventually fail.
Assuming only positives can come from change is very dangerous. That doesn't mean we shouldn't attempt things anyways, but we should do so with eyes wide open, and not delusional as to the possible outcomes.
That's not to say there aren't serious problems or the system couldn't be improved, nor to say the system functions well for everyone at all times because it doesn't. It obviously favors some people over others. But taken as a whole, it functions and we have a pretty good life.
You know what life has been like for most people in most places and times? What the system was in those places? The strong nakedly rape and abuse the weak. Hunger. No recourse. Zero justice except might and whatever charity came along. Gulags. Genocide. No say whatsoever and constant want and fear.
It's manifest this system functions fairly well all things considered. It allows you to sit here in comfort and say that for instance. To say any differently is either very naive or very disingenuous.
There are problems. There is injustice. There is corruption. We need to work on those things. But anyone out to overturn the system should do a little deep thinking first.
From what I am learning, if you are black and encounter the police, then you life is in their hands, and depending upon your luck, things have a real chance of going badly for you. Black people are telling of how they avoid at all cost dealing with law enforcement.
How is that "pretty good"?
It's easy when you are in a position of privilege, easy to assume that everybody has the opportunity you have, easy to think that everybody is treated as you are. What the events of the last week have show is that this is not the case. If you are black, then your world is very different.
A larger than should be expected percentage of them are black. And this of course doesn't include harassment or other indignities inflicted on black people because of race. Also not those abuses by non police because of race.
It should be noted some number of these killings were entirely appropriate to protect life.
The point is, even though we have problems, and as this points out, we clearly do, the chance of being killed by the police for being black is very very small.
So rhetoric about "privilege" aside, ya, there is a lot of opportunity for people. Very few people go hungry in the US. There is general freedom of movement, freedom to vote, freedom to own property, some semblance of legal protection. Contrast that to say for example Boco Haram or Europe in 900AD or Baghdad during the Mongol invasions or so many other times and places, past and present in human history.
So I'm going to stick with my original thesis because it's true. We have problems. We also have ways to correct them. We also have a general understanding we should correct them. But claiming the "system doesn't work period" in hopes of <what?> is complete bollocks and in fact is usually something spoiled rich white kids say.
This reminds me of the discussion about terraforming Mars. It’s deemed to be too hard and expensive to reduce our greenhouse emissions on a perfectly fine planet like earth so people think it’s easier to terraform a barren planet.
There are many potential improvements, from algorithmic redistricting to mail-in voting, but the big one IMO is Ranked Choice Voting (Maine has already achieved this successfully, and it's stood up against court challenges ). This allows us to break the R/D duopoly, and shift the incentives towards big-tent consensus-building rather than demonization and "lesser evilism", and giving independents and third parties a real path to victory.
I'll check out CES, thanks.
We already know how states being able to run their own elections worked out in the South before the Voting Rights Act.....
The main point is: while there's no mechanism for citizens to pass a federal law without the existing parties and representative, most states do have such a mechanism, which puts the power to reform our electoral processes directly in the hands of We The People (while still subject to court oversight under state and federal Constitutions).
Slowly, over several years or quickly with high body count and/or slim odds of lasting success depending on the nature of the proposed changes.
History is littered with attempts to move fast and break things but lasting change takes time because people's attitudes have to change. At the end of the day even unpopular dictators require some amount of consent of the governed in order to rule. You can try to play politics and then use the power gained to push whatever it faster with propaganda, indoctrination, legislation (which is somewhere between an appeal to authority and coercion when used in this manner) but if you push faster than the population actually wants they might push back.
Ranked choice voting and vote out everyone with a party affiliation on either side, the end goal being to take away the majority from both parties at both the state and federal level (and county etc also). After you get that you can start doing things like term limits, reining in K-street, etc.
That's the start to taking back both congress and eventually potus/scotus etc.
Unfortunately many people identify with their party as a tribe and fail to acknowledge the oligarchs own them both. As Chris Hedges says, it's the quiet bipartisanship you don't hear about that's the most dangerous.
For example, the police is very much controlled locally. Do you have real civilian oversight? There are a host of policies that are mostly enacted locally that are recommended by this org:
When founding fathers designed the system, they intentionally did not choose to design a democracy because their firm believe was that democracies don't work. This is why they opted for a democratic republic.
One of the reasons why American republic works so well because any small minority can throw a wrench, people can vote with their feet (by moving across states, this is why American federal govt was designed to be so weak, at first it was even weaker but then they had to give it more powers, and today we end up with world's most powerful govt on an absolute scale, but on a relative scale, it can't even shutdown states for a pandemic), and people can vote with their wallets.
Rich people vote with their money directly, but make no mistake, just like disenfranchisement would any minority group will have severe negative consequences, disenfranchisement of the rich and powerful by taking their pretty open medium of participation would also have severe consequences.
American system doesn't just have rich and powerful buying the outcomes, it's just that it's the most open system where anyone can see what they're doing, this makes people comparing it to the rest of the world think that this is a corrupt system, when it is opposite of that.
Each vote represents a) the path to election but also b) funding for the next election campaign.
In the US, a proportional representation system would have to be enabled by constitutional amendment, I think.
And Lessig has been a supporter of Warren's for exactly this reason for years.
Believe it or not, it's by design.
We only got the right to vote for men in a republic after we patriotically enlisted in 1875 to fight Prussia, and women when they patriotically replaced men in factories during WWII. Notice a pattern ? Like it would be handled like a carrot to a population so exhausted the only thing they vote for is the people already at the top ?
People who bullshit that beheading privilege-born people leads to great success is a lunatic and will be beheaded like Robespierre eventually. Even the second revolution in 1848 lead to the election of ... Napoleon III as president, before he created the "second empire"... Another violent fiasco.
Not saying it should be that way, but tired of hearing the french revolution disaster quoted as a miracle of democracy by all pseudo-anarchists to justify their blind violence. It's not taught that way to children in France. We call part of it the Terror...
Compare this to France, which went like this (not counting the smaller regimes):
* Absolute monarchy (ancien regime)
* Constitutional monarchy (until Louis XVII flees)
* First Republic
* First Empire (Napoleon seizes power)
* Constitutional monarchy
* Constitutional monarchy #2 (July Monarchy)
* Second Republic
* Second Empire (different Napoleon seizes power)
* Third Republic (only because the monarchists couldn't decide on which branch to restore, and agreed to a republic until one of the contenders died... who took an awfully long time to do so)
* Vichy France (after the Fall of France)
* Free French government-in-exile
* Fourth Republic
* Fifth Republic (the one we're on today)
Quite a stark contrast.
It’s hard to judge because most nations as we know them were built on blood, however unjust. One is rarely handed a country, or in many cases, handed back a country.
It's not the fault of the "system". The "system" wrote a law that says what the DEA is allowed to do (not this). It's not the "system" deciding to ignore that law, it's people. Hell, it's literally people with names. There are senior administration officials named all over that article.
You fix people by electing better people.
Sticking with the software analogy, it’s like our system has these environment variables that only administrators get to set.
We don’t know how to make a simple change to those variables, so we’re coming up with all kinds of wonky workarounds.
I agree with you, it’s as simple as changing the environment variables. What’s complex is that it’s impossible.
That’s kind of the underlying frustration if we were to zoom out a bit. We need to make some simple changes in the config, and no one wants to give us admin rights or make the changes for us. It’s frustrating stuff, and has caused paralysis in our political system on every issue imaginable.
Maybe this "electing better people" thing could be a challenge.
It is just like the Republic. Does Palpadine magically corrupt it in just years? No the Republic has been corrupted long before. It is a systemic corruption and such thing takes a long time to happen.
Of course the current US constitution is V2.
Doesn’t sound too terrible, we’d have proportional representation at least.
The U.S. is more a tale of peacefully handing power between two separate systems that both constantly evolve.
From time to time, these two systems lead to a state of cognitive dissonance which threatens their existence until a time in which the rubber band violently snaps back to an equilibrium.
Re-align the interest of the rich so they have a strong financial interest in the middle class doing better. By having a progressive tax pegged to the median income of Americans.
Maybe, oh maybe, look at yourself in the mirror and at least use the system, before rebuilding it from absolute 0 ? It's not like Trump grabbed the power from the feeble hands of the poor masses. The masses chanted his name for christ's sake... on a platform to revoke everything the previous guy did...
Sorry but this time, the system worked perfectly.
(And we could ask the same question about other presidents, of course.)
The war on drugs was a direction action against blacks, to task the DEA with oversight in response to the murder by racist cops is to both acknowledge and turn down any complaint that we may have had.
Dissent groups are immediately infiltrated and quickly disbanded or redirected by the state (Tea Party, Occupy, Wikileaks, and presumably soon BLM).
All new vehicles and telephones come with surveillance and tracking technology (for the phones, by law) that the state has declared authority to bulk wiretap and store forever.
The US is in the longest war of its history, and support for these large-scale mass murder efforts, as well as the ubiquitous surveillance both domestically and abroad, is widespread and bipartisan.
Finally, and perhaps most depressingly, the US is now running a set of concentration camps in the south. Several of them are holding children by the hundreds.
There is no way out, as I see it. All of the meaningful methods of dissent have been outlawed or will result in violence being immediately deployed against you.
As far as I can tell, the only peaceful method of coping with it is to immediately move to another country.
I’ve often had similar thoughts. It seems that either authoritarianism or complete anarchy are the only solutions being presented. In that case, I reject both. Some ideas are worth dying for. Particularly life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
You're not advancing a cause by getting killed by feds or rotting/dying in prison. The only way you can make real, meaningful, effective progress (and not little teensy incremental baby steps that take 500 years to mean anything) is to be happy, healthy, and prosperous outside of an oppressive system, and to amass huge resources that can be deployed against the damage.
PS: Don't knock "complete anarchy". Most human beings are kind and considerate, and certainly much nicer than those in the current government who would be happy to rule you at the point of a police officer's machine gun or tear gas grenade launcher.
My grandfather and his brothers would disagree. They believed so strongly in the independence of their country, they were willing to go to jail for it. And they did spend much time there, though not as much as the leaders they followed. Civil disobedience works. So does violent disobedience. It all depends on what you believe in. And how strongly you believe in it.
The entire world's economy, as well as many countries political configurations, rely on the United States existing. I doubt it's going anywhere, but hopefully reform might actually happen this time.
>> I feel the same way a lot recently and I would love for someone to tell me why I'm wrong.
> Because every other country in the world has a vested interest in keeping the USD stable as a currency, which would mean that they'd help keep the country up if needed
You're answering the wrong question. The American republic isn't primarily an economic system, it's a political and social one. It can become completely fucked in so many ways without disrupting the currency too badly too quickly.
I know it will be little consolation to me to have the currency remain stable while things descend into pseudo-democratic authoritarianism.
Even if by some miracle Biden gets elected in November, he probably won't change it either. Sad.
It's fascinating, seeing the lawful mechanisms of executive overreach in play. Horrifying, but fascinating!
I think you would need to deploy more advanced techniques to be sure though.
The idea is to allow scary looking but ultimately meaningless damage to occur while blaming it on protestors.
They adjusted their strategy drastically on Monday and caught easily hundreds of looters on live tv. Their response times were under 5 minutes and they boxed in an entire caravan of looters at one point and caught them all.
There has been basically no looting today at all so far.
At best they're apologists for the policies of the conservatives in power, at worst they decry the inability for the conservatives in power to really make change due to the cowardly, soft, obstructionist, lefty, socialist opposition.
But I tend towards the cowardly, soft, obstructionist, lefty, socialist side, so maybe that's just what all conservatives sound like to me.
As opposed to all the other conservative AG's and administration figures throughout history, right? I mean, clearly the Bush administration didn't preside over any sweeping expansions of executive law enforcement authority, right? And the Regan-era "war on drugs" was clearly an outlier...
This is the most truly scottish of true scotsman arguments. It comes up every time someone reaches a breaking point where they can't apologize for a republican administration. And the best they can come up with is that somehow they aren't "conservative".
This time it's all the new fancy tech combined with the military on home soil and a mad head of state.
Did anyone spot those fancy microwave crowd control stuff yet?
One of his German ones is called: "Das gescheiterte Experiment: Der Untergang des kommunistischen Systems" (The failed experiment: the fall of the communist system".
Since it's not in my interests to find one day an angry mob at my house, I'm tempted to give some advice regarding the "crowd management". The nation is like a bowl with liquid: the bowl is the borders that contain it and emotions is the force that drives the liquid particles. The exact equation describing this liquid doesn't matter much. What matters is that just like any liquid like substances contained in something, it has resonance modes and resonance frequencies. If there is an external periodic driving force (emotions in our case), the frequency of the force is going to find one of the resonance modes and once the mode is found, the amplitude grows exponentially. Time to find this mode depends on the strength (amplitude) of the driving force. The way to prevent or even stop the resonance is to keep changing the driving frequency: then the liquid forms steady patterns.
Well here I was thinking to myself "yeah yeah resonance hippie bullshit" but this does make a lot of sense.
If you’re going to a protest, for the love of god bring a prepaid phone.
B-34 et infra, p.B-6 FM 3-19.15
I have no idea what the most recent incarnation of GARDEN PLOT may be, the above is what I found in a quick search. But I'd hope that at this point the DOD is more likely to side with the population than other agencies, and work-to-rule if need be.
Anyone know of an online copy of DA Civil Disturbance Plan 55-2?
Perhaps things are falling apart because of the massive influx of underdeveloped evil egos: they've got a supermajority mostly everywhere and can ignore the few good people. This is what some Hindi manuscripts mean by kali-uga - the dark age.
With this skeptical view in mind, there isn't much we can do to reverse the flow. It's a flood and we can do our part to minimize the damage, but ultimately we have to wait when the weather changes.
IIRC, the old special prosecutor law (passed after Watergate) did not allow the president to fire them, but it was allowed to expire after Ken Starr.
Haven't you seen the videos of police arresting, sitting, beating and otherwise mistreating the media?
It's a done deal. Our only hope is to vote trump or and hope he goes.
"If Trump were inclined to overstay his term, the levers of power work in favor of removal. Because the president immediately and automatically loses his constitutional authority upon expiration of his term or after removal through impeachment, he would lack the power to direct the U.S. Secret Service or other federal agents to protect him. He would likewise lose his power, as the commander in chief of the armed forces, to order a military response to defend him. In fact, the newly minted president would possess those presidential powers. If necessary, the successor could direct federal agents to forcibly remove Trump from the White House. Now a private citizen, Trump would no longer be immune from criminal prosecution, and could be arrested and charged with trespassing in the White House. While even former presidents enjoy Secret Service protection, agents presumably would not follow an illegal order to protect one from removal from office."
This is one of the really brilliant things the GOP has done. They've led us all to believe that it's just McConnell and a couple of other shitbags but that the rest of the Republicans are mostly OK.
That's a deliberate smokescreen. Notice that the "handful of Republicans" always happen to be in red strongholds? McConnell volunteers to be the public face of the GOP's bad policies because they know his seat is secure. Meanwhile, all the other GOP Congresspeople who support those same awful policies but might risk losing an election can stay out of the news and pretend it's not their doing.
McConnell was voted into his seat by a majority of the GOP Senators. They all know what they're doing.
An example from Minneapolis, from a City Council member:
> Politicians who cross the MPD find slowdowns in their wards. After the first time I cut money from the proposed police budget, I had an uptick in calls taking forever to get a response, and MPD officers telling business owners to call their councilman about why it took so long.
> When Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker cracked down on collective bargaining rights of public-sector unions, he exempted cops and fire fighters. He feared the police might go on strike and join the protestors. Videos of that pairing could have doomed Walker’s entire effort. “It’s a decision by politicians not to bite off more than they can chew,” explains James Sherk, a labor policy expert with the conservative Heritage Foundation.
Their impunity to civilian oversight should be concerning to both parties. You're not hearing much concern from the Republicans on this right now.
I have never, ever believed this.
Even so, D and R are both beholden to the American aristocratic wealth class for support, legitimacy, and power, so there is effectively no difference beyond a few, token, mild progressives in D who don't hold sway over the majority of neoliberals.
I can't believe I'm saying this, but I'm warming up to the idea of the Democrats passing court-packing legislation for the Supreme and Appellate courts the next time they control both houses of Congress and the presidency. Especially if they can somehow establish a very strong super-majority requirement for all future judicial branch nominations that would be immune to stealth court-packing tactics like the Senate Republicans have been using.
The prior institutional restraints have broken down, and balance needs to be restored and new restraints implemented if the system is going to survive.
They will conveniently forget that were the tables turned, Republicans would not do the same.
People take less notice of transgressions when their party is in power. As much as we might like to think there’s universal recognition of the current administration’s misuse of power there’s a lot of people who support it - “to get things done”. People just hate it when it’s not the things they want.
It is true that the Democrats opened this can of worms, but the Republicans then taking advantage of it instead of setting a better example does not exonerate them. They're all bad actors now.
Actually, it was to appoint Gorsuch (who replaced Scalia's vacant seat). Kavanaugh was appointed to replace Kennedy.
I don't think so. The idea is to force compromise by putting the threshold so far out of reach to eliminate fantasies that after the next election one party or other will be in the position not to have to compromise. That's the issue now.
The idea that a minority would try to literally destroy another branch of government for some reason seems so remote and so extreme that I'm not sure if it's worth considering. What would the political calculus be for trying to block the workings of the court system?
Actually, that is specifically the reason some supermajority rules were lifted . Do you recall Merrick Garland?
The filibuster is abused similarly .
I applaud the effort and I think we need to go further and get rid of the fillibuster rules entirely.
> People take less notice of transgressions when their party is in power....
I used to fault the Democrats for that (and used to consider myself more of a conservative), but on reflection I think the Republican's obdurate obstructionism is the more important fact. That's clear now that the Republican's priority now seems to be to ram through nominees when they have the power to do so (as shown by their last session, nominations over caronavirus response), and they've done such a shit job at checks and balances when it's needed now more than ever.
When we ended a government of enumerated powers and everything could be done at the federal level without an amendment - great things like the drug war.
It didn't happen then, but that doesn't mean it can't happen now. For several decades, the Republicans have played political hardball to pack the courts in their own way ; I doubt that was a factor nearly a century ago.
 bitter obstructionism to maintain vacancies until they have the power to fill them with their own picks, selected primarily for ideological reliability.
Eh, if the definition of "court packing" is so narrow that it only covers things nearly exactly like FDR's proposal, then I don't consider it a very useful term.
If it makes you more comfortable, feel free to replace "court packing" in my comment with a term that's general enough to encompass FDR's proposal and the Republicans' recent tactics.
Maybe, and maybe that means that the Japanese internment was worse then anything the federal government did to the Native Americans.
I mean, it's not like native Americans were forcibly relocated from their homes into federally designated lands for a handful of years like the Japanese... oh, wait...
the feds vs states thing seems like a distinction without meaning, tbh, the federal government certainly intended the states to deal with natives as they did, and there is absolutely no shortage of crimes done by the federal government itself (treaties broken, allies backstabbed, lands taken, literal genocide, fucking DAPL)
Instead the federal government can do anything it wants. It's why we have the drug war, DEA, huge national debt, broken medical system.
Some time in the past, certainly at FDR’s time, dems were confident about stacking the court. What changed to defang them? The dem’s actions while Merrick Garland was denied hearings infuriate me until today: https://www.brookings.edu/blog/fixgov/2018/06/04/senate-obst...
The expansion of executive powers us usually makes sense to the party in power, and doesn’t make sense to the minority party. But there was always an understanding that everyone was a rational actor with these powers. No one ever stopped and asked what would happen if someone a little more irrational now had these expanded powers.
No, the judicial and legislative branches have ceded it. The whole point of checks and balances is the tacit understanding that each branch will naturally grow as much power as it can and it is the responsibility of the other branches to check it.
Blaming the executive branch for growing its power is like blaming the seller for high prices in a free market — the system is designed presuming competition and selfish behavior.
Frankly, I think we should be impressed. It's a borderline miracle that it's survived as well as it has.
Actually they did. The Federalist papers contained some strong warnings that we must strive to prevent factions / parties from taking over. They were painfully aware it was a potential failure mode in the system they were designing.
It also robs the US of a signalling mechanism: there's no way for the Republicans or Democrats to see that they didn't get primary vote share and only recovered it after specific-issue or more focused parties dropped out.
The US desperately needs preferential voting and mandatory voting. The default supposition of the US has to be that there must be exceptional circumstances as to why any individual did not vote.
It's still a two-party system, but then there are also single-issue or hardline minor parties who often have the ability to hold the government hostage on their demands.
I shudder to think what we'd look like if disenfranchising voters were a more viable strategy.
The problem is not that people don't want to vote, it is that people can't vote: voter suppression (e.g. voter roll manipulation, ID requirements abused to specifically target PoC) or people working two/more jobs combined with the fact the US unlike almost all other countries do not vote on a Sunday or have it a national holiday are quite powerful.
To add to that mix, mail-in voting is not accessible by default for everyone, and extreme gerrymandering (local/state elections) and the "electoral college" system (presidential elections) make it effectively moot to vote in states that are either hard blue or hard red.
As you say, the US constitution was one of the first attempts at a constitution in the modern period. The people who wrote it were not experts on writing constitutions, and could not benefit from the experience of previous constitutions. It should not be at all surprising that it isn't very good.
Well, it is the executive branch that chooses the supreme court... For every John Marshall there has been on the court, there is likely a Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr with his famous quote “If my fellow citizens want to go to Hell I will help them. It’s my job.”.
And the Senate that confirms the nominees.
Exactly. I can remember when Obama was using procedural rules to force things though. The response was "if you do it, you can't complain when the other party does it when they are in power".
Now that's just deeply wrong. People have been complaining about this my entire life. I was 12 when the PATRIOT act came into being and I remember people pointing out all the deeply unamerican ways it could be used, and then later all the ways that it was in fact being abused. I've been complaining about consolidation of power in the executive branch my entire politically conscious life. And right now on HN there are people constantly complaining about the overreaches of surveillance under the belief that they will all be abused one day. This isn't a surprise.
We're in a pretty bad place and I'm not sure how we get out of it.
Sorry to burst your bubble, but it isn't just Republicans who resort to... creative executive strategies that are worth criticizing.
If we don’t wanna go there that’s fine I suppose, I just want to know where we’re gonna draw the line between “deflection” and having a substantive discussion on the gamesmanship going on inside the beltway without devolving into the usual brutish “my side good, your side bad”.
Stop punishing one party for not being perfect but striving for better, but letting the other off for the most blatantly obvious destructive practices because that is who they are.
Hang on, you think that’s what I’m doing here? I don’t think we have a thing to discuss if this is really the immediate conclusion you’re coming to, since it frames my entire position as antagonistic to anything but whatever critique you think should be made instead, and there’s no way out of that corner for me, now is there?
How am I even supposed to respond to an assertion about what I’m doing when providing numerous sources for my position only to get boxed in as “letting the other off for the most blatantly obvious destructive practices”?
I’m no partisan hack, Gerrymandering and Senate Procedure are probably the best examples of how both parties engage in pure unabated gamesmanship to get what they want while launching strikes against the other side for doing the exact same thing. Either argue the impact and convince me why the rules are inconsistently applied (as I’ve shown clearly was the case with Harry Reid changing Senate confirmation rules) or don’t, but leave the straw manning at the door.’
BOTH parties deserve a wag of the finger and a volume of criticism for their behavior where warranted. This should not be excused by anyone who pretends to give a damn about the country.
You want to feel superior to both parties, that you're above it, fine, but at least know you aren't being an honest broker when you do so.
Sorry, were you looking for a complete and exhaustive list of every problem I have with the Democrats and the Republicans? I’m happy to provide that, but so far I have a 6-0 lead on providing sources for my complaints. You’ve given nothing to the conversation so far. Would you like to? Floor’s yours.
Again with the strawmen. Those were not words I typed, it is not a sentiment I hold. I’m directly calling out the problems with acting like any critique on both Democrats and Republicans when those critiques are deserved amounts to “deflecting”.
Take care friend, I don’t know whatever debate you think we’re having here but it doesn’t exist.
I'm going to be honest - attitudes like yours are the reason why politics is so nasty in the US.
Rather than take the perspective that everyone wants the best for the country, there are just disagreements on what best looks like and how to get there, you're just taking the perspective that the other side is broken, immoral and, in your words, destructive.
I'm on the conservative side of things and I don't think Democrats are evil. They just want the US to look different than I do. That's their right.
And no offense to you, I'm sure you believe that you have a consistent idea of what it means to be conservative, but I have no clue what being conservative means anymore.
For a substantive discussion on gamesmanship, we need to ask "Which side is most likely to work to end partisan gerrymandering (perhaps with a change to a more proportional voting system)?"
It’s just seems to me the problem many have when this type of conversation emerges isn’t with the behavior, it’s the actor and that doesn’t quite square with me.
“Don’t hate the player, hate the game”. If gerrymandering is a “threat to democracy”, seems to me we should be critiquing anyone who plays that game instead of waiting for our team’s turn to ratfuck the country the country by the same measure. That signals either the rules were a problem to begin with and we should have changed them long ago, or we kept them in place knowing they were being taken advantage of and just waiting for our team to get the ball back-does it not?
But that’s just merely one example, it’s not representative of the totality of Capitol Hill politicking. Arguably one party is focused and pushing a message of progress and righting social ills but I’m not going to let them off when they play stupid games either, nor should anyone IMO.
Neither parties hands are clean.
Obama just put on a nice face and was eloquent while he expanded the surveillance engine, the drone wars, the arms shipments to unstable third world countries, bailouts for billionaires, etc. Trump is brazen and up front about it, but the end result is still the same bullshit! Cops sending agent provocateurs in to justify kettling protestors happened under Obama too. That doesn't justify it in the Trump era either though!
So tired of hearing this trite and cliched response anytime someone brings up that the corruption permeates the entirety of the policy elite establishment. The DNC and RNC (both corporations, never mentioned in the constitution) would rather work together in collusion than allow any real change to happen (as they did in the early 90s to control the debates), and until people wake up to the fact they won't be able to understand why nothing is changing. It just becomes a pendulum swing back and forth every few years while the inverted totalitarian kleptocratic oligarchic corporatists retain power in the shadows.
Lets just spit some real facts here. Blackmail operations such as Epstein was at the front of, are a core part of how this has happened. He is a great example of how the corruption knows no party lines, but that's also why he was taken out, the story buried and convoluted, and half-assed coverup stories like netflix's latest doc are put out. The greatest thing the oligarchy fears is a united people... and the ol party lines and any other divide they can drum up is good at keeping us at each others throats instead of theirs.
It's time to wake up and break out of the cycle. Or not. If not, we are Rome headed for a mighty and bloody collapse of epic proportions.
I've said it before and I'll say it again. Top down compromise of a centralized system becomes increasingly trivial the further the compromise progresses.
If Democrat mayors and governors would just send in their own police to control the situation, there wouldn't be all this hand wringing.
Edit: This mental trick of calling a person who throws a brick through a store window or sets fire to a cop car, a "protester", is so similar to the way people unbelievably attribute a "legal" status to someone who has crossed the southern border by bypassing a port of entry.
Its like saying that a person who doesn't tolerate someone else's world view is anti-fascist, because a fascist is someone who tries to impose their own worldview on others.
Edit: So, rights have to be enumerated by a country's founding documents, and then protected by that country's government. Ultimately, though, the people are responsible to establish their own freedom when no freedom exists.
Black people don't have the exclusive claim of persecution by police in the US. In fact, they suffer far fewer death by cop than white people.  Why do they feel they are singled out? Could it be a victim-stance mentality?
Also if you are from the US I'm sure you are happy to go back to be ruled by the UK, considering that the US was founded on violent protest (note if you're from somewhere else I am very likely to find a similar example in your countries history), or are you saying it is ok to protest violently if you believe you are taxed to high (or not represented enough) but not if you are being shot disproportionally?
Frame your argument using whatever numbers you like. I prefer absolute numbers, regardless of you calling me disingenuous.
It’ll be simple: he will claim there were irregularities in mail-in ballots and say that voter fraud was rampant, and that he will have to stay in office until it’s sorted out. His supporters will believe him. Conservative news outlets will toe the line and the republican congress will cooperate.
He’s already priming the pump for this going on and on about how mail-in voting is “predominantly fraudulent” etc etc. Does anyone really think he will accept a defeat of any kind in November?
If he loses he could call for a recount I guess but I believe the margin would be wide enough to make it unrealistic.