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jerryking : political_polarization   16

How the nineties are coming back to haunt us - The Globe and Mail
March 10, 2019 The Globe and Mail | CHRIS FREY, SPECIAL TO THE GLOBE AND MAIL.

Don’t call it a comeback, it’s been here for years: Our nostalgia for the 1990s obscures the story of how the decade created the crises of the present.....the nineties....is...a decade we have a hard time remembering right.....No matter how well or harshly you judge the decade’s music, films, fads or fashions, this recycling is largely to be expected, given nostalgia’s tendency to follow something like a 20-year cycle......Pundits may wax on about how unprecedented our current political times might seem, but they’re not without their moments of woozy déjà vu – signal events and moments of the nineties recast and remade.....So much of that decade’s politics – decisions made, issues unaddressed – haunt our current times more than any other. From societal issues of race and gender to the global economics of trade, from the radical transformations of the internet to the corrosive effects of growing political polarization, so many of the destabilizing forces that mark this current period in the United States and much of the West were either incubated, unleashed or amplified during that time. .........The ultimate revenge of the nineties is probably that the man now occupying the highest office of the United States was, through much of that decade, its most notoriously failed businessman – bankrupt and abandoned by his lenders, his name reduced to a punch line on late-night talk shows.......Which is entirely the point. In the introduction to his 2008 essay collection Reappraisals: Reflections on the Forgotten Twentieth Century, the historian Tony Judt argued that, in time, we would come to regard the period between the fall of communism (1989-1991) and the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 as “the years the locusts ate: a decade and a half of wasted opportunity and political incompetence on both sides of the Atlantic.”

Quite suddenly, Mr. Judt argued, we fell under the notion that history could have little to teach us, except in the most narrow triumphalist sense. “With too much confidence and too little reflection we put the 20th century behind us and strode boldly into its successor swaddled in self-serving half-truths: the triumph of the West, the end of History, the unipolar American moment, the ineluctable march of globalization and the free market.”........Republican House speaker Newt Gingrich, who, with his populist-tinged “Contract with America,” led the GOP in 1994 to seize control of the House for the first time in 40 years......had the more lasting impact on the tenor and style of U.S. politics.....in the cover letter to a memo from 1990, entitled Language: A Key Mechanism of Control, he endorsed a call for his Republican colleagues to brand their Democrat rivals as “traitors”, “pathetic”, “corrupt”, “radical” and, of course, “socialist.”........The decision by the FCC, in 1987, to stop enforcing the Fairness Doctrine.... had unleashed a boom in conservative talk radio. By 1991, Rush Limbaugh was already the most syndicated radio host in the United States.......One of the quainter predictions made in the nineties, no doubt influenced by the post-Cold War mood, when the West thought it had triumphed over authoritarianism, was that the internet would inevitably lead to more political freedom around the world.
'90s  demagoguery  foreshadowing  fractured_internally  gridlocked_politics  Newt_Gingrich  nostalgia  partisan_politics  political_polarization  popular_culture  reboot  revivals 
march 2019 by jerryking
Steven Brill's "Tailspin": How My Generation Broke America
May 17, 2018 | | Time | By STEVEN BRILL.

From matters small – there are an average of 657 water-main breaks a day, for example – to large, it is clear that the country has gone into a tailspin over the last half-century, when John F. Kennedy’s New Frontier was about seizing the future, not trying to survive the present..............The Meritocracy’s ascent was about more than personal profit. As my generation of achievers graduated from elite universities and moved into the professional world, their personal successes often had serious societal consequences. They upended corporate America and Wall Street with inventions in law and finance that created an economy built on deals that moved assets around instead of building new ones. They created exotic, and risky, financial instruments, including derivatives and credit default swaps, that produced sugar highs of immediate profits but separated those taking the risk from those who would bear the consequences. They organized hedge funds that turned owning stock into a minute-by-minute bet rather than a long-term investment. They invented proxy fights, leveraged buyouts and stock buybacks that gave lawyers and bankers a bonanza of new fees and maximized short-term profits for increasingly unsentimental shareholders, but deadened incentives for the long-term growth of the rest of the economy.....[We need 'guardrails' against legal and financial excesses.]......Forty-eight years after Inky Clark gave me my ticket on the meritocracy express in 1967, a professor at Yale Law School jarred the school’s graduation celebration. Daniel Markovits, who specializes in the intersection of law and behavioral economics, told the class of 2015 that their success getting accepted into, and getting a degree from, the country’s most selective law school actually marked their entry into a newly entrenched aristocracy that had been snuffing out the American Dream for almost everyone else. Elites, he explained, can spend what they need to in order to send their children to the best schools, provide tutors for standardized testing and otherwise ensure that their kids can outcompete their peers to secure the same spots at the top that their parents achieved.

“American meritocracy has thus become precisely what it was invented to combat,” Markovits concluded, “a mechanism for the dynastic transmission of wealth and privilege across generations. Meritocracy now constitutes a modern-day aristocracy.”.....
Daniel_Markovits  baby_boomers  entrepreneur  income_inequality  politics  revenge_effects  Steven_Brill  political_polarization  fractured_internally  books  meritocratic  America_in_Decline?  elitism  lawyers  self-perpetuation  upper-income  inequality  privilege  the_best_and_brightest  tailspins  guardrails  the_American_dream  cultural_transmission  wealth_transfers  partisan_politics 
may 2018 by jerryking
The country is frighteningly polarized. This is why.
June 15, 2017 | The Washington Post | By Fareed Zakaria Opinion.

in the past few decades, people began to define themselves politically less by traditional economic issues than by identity — gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation. I would add to this mix social class, something rarely spoken of in the United States but a powerful determinant of how we see ourselves. Last year’s election had a lot to do with social class, with non-college-educated rural voters reacting against a professional, urban elite.....Today, everything becomes fodder for partisanship....Zakaria criticizes America’s mostly liberal colleges for silencing views they deem offensive, arguing that it was bad for the students and the country. The same holds for conservatives who try to mount campaigns to defund art that they deem offensive.....Instead of trying to silence, excommunicate and punish, let’s look at the other side and try to listen, engage and, when we must, disagree.
political_polarization  Fareed_Zakaria  identity_politics  gender  race  ethnicity  sexual_orientation  partisanship  Julius_Caesar  social_classes 
june 2017 by jerryking
“Ratf**cked”: The Influence of Redistricting - The New Yorker
JUNE 27, 2016 ISSUE
DRAWING THE LINE
How redistricting turned America from blue to red.
By Elizabeth Kolbert
books  gerrymandering  politics  political_partisanship  political_polarization 
march 2017 by jerryking
Why I’m Moving Home
MARCH 16, 2017 | The New York Times | By J. D. VANCE.

" The economist Matthew Kahn has shown that in Appalachia, for instance, the highly skilled are much likelier to leave not just their hometowns but also the region as a whole. This is the classic “brain drain” problem: Those who are able to leave very often do.

The brain drain also encourages a uniquely modern form of cultural detachment. Eventually, the young people who’ve moved out marry — typically to partners with similar economic prospects. They raise children in increasingly segregated neighborhoods, giving rise to something the conservative scholar Charles Murray calls “super ZIPs.” These super ZIPs are veritable bastions of opportunity and optimism, places where divorce and joblessness are rare." ......“The sociological role [colleges and universities] play is to suck talent out of small towns and redistribute it to big cities.” There have always been regional and class inequalities in our society, but the data tells us that we’re living through a unique period of segregation....This has consequences beyond the purely material. Jesse Sussell and James A. Thomson of the RAND Corporation argue that this geographic sorting has heightened the polarization that now animates politics. This polarization reflects itself not just in our voting patterns, but also in our political culture...JD Vance has decided to move [back] home-to Ohio....."we often frame civic responsibility in terms of government taxes and transfer payments, so that our society’s least fortunate families are able to provide basic necessities. But this focus can miss something important: that what many communities need most is not just financial support, but talent and energy and committed citizens to build viable businesses and other civic institutions."
sorting  segregation  compartmentalization  neighbourhoods  polarization  geographic_mobility  brain_drain  super_ZIPs  cultural_detachment  Rust_Belt  midwest  Red_states  whites  political_partisanship  political_polarization  working_class  J.D._Vance  industrial_Midwest  Appalachia  cities  engaged_citizenry  talent  Charles_Murray  civics  social_mobility  self-perpetuation  values  opportunity_gaps  college-educated  geographic_sorting  regional 
march 2017 by jerryking
The Republicans’ Incompetence Caucus - The New York Times
OCT. 13, 2015 | NYT | David Brooks.

The Republican Party’s capacity for effective self-governance degraded slowly, over the course of a long chain of rhetorical excesses, mental corruptions and philosophical betrayals. Basically, the party abandoned traditional conservatism for right-wing radicalism. Republicans came to see themselves as insurgents and revolutionaries, and every revolution tends toward anarchy and ends up devouring its own.
By traditional definitions, conservatism stands for intellectual humility, a belief in steady, incremental change, a preference for reform rather than revolution, a respect for hierarchy, precedence, balance and order, and a tone of voice that is prudent, measured and responsible. Conservatives of this disposition can be dull, but they know how to nurture and run institutions....Over the past 30 years, or at least since Rush Limbaugh came on the scene, the Republican rhetorical tone has grown ever more bombastic, hyperbolic and imbalanced....Politics is the process of making decisions amid diverse opinions. It involves conversation, calm deliberation, self-discipline, the capacity to listen to other points of view and balance valid but competing ideas and interests.

But this new Republican faction regards the messy business of politics as soiled and impure. Compromise is corruption. Inconvenient facts are ignored. Countrymen with different views are regarded as aliens. Political identity became a sort of ethnic identity, and any compromise was regarded as a blood betrayal.
right-wing  David_Brooks  GOP  conservatism  Tea_Party  dysfunction  root_cause  Rush_Limbaugh  radicalization  mindsets  messiness  politics  compromise  rhetoric  listening  self-discipline  conversations  partisanship  political_polarization  partisan_warfare 
october 2015 by jerryking
It’s not too late for Harper to play the statesman - The Globe and Mail
LAWRENCE MARTIN
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Tuesday, Sep. 08, 2015

Why doesn’t Mr. Harper show some of the spirit of the Mandela occasion and appoint a blue-ribbon panel of former prime ministers to advise him on the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis? Given their experience, they could offer sound counsel. It would be an effective way of depoliticizing the issue. That’s what Canadians want. They’ve had their fill of overbearing political partisanship. In the face of a humanitarian crisis, they don’t need more of it.

For the Conservatives, a non-partisan approach makes perfect sense. Humanitarian issues are hardly their forte. They connote soft power. They fit the progressives’ playbook. The Liberals and New Democrats stand to gain.

But thus far, the government has reacted with its customary combative mentality.
Stephen_Harper  Lawrence_Martin  partisanship  Federal_Election_2015  leaders  leadership  statesmen  political_polarization  partisan_warfare  Syrian  refugee  crisis  playbooks 
september 2015 by jerryking
Election Highlights Stark Partisan Divide - WSJ.com
December 10, 2012, 5:46 p.m. ET

Election Sharpens the Partisan Divide

By GERALD F. SEIB
Gerald_Seib  Campaign_2012  partisan_warfare  political_polarization 
december 2012 by jerryking
Lunch with the FT: Zbigniew Brzezinski
January 13, 2012 | FT.com | By Edward Luce.

Strategic Vision: America and the Crisis of Global Power.

“We [Americans] are too obsessed with today,” Brzezinski continues. “If we slide into a pattern of just thinking about today, we’ll end up reacting to yesterday instead of shaping something more constructive in the world.” By contrast, he says, the Chinese are thinking decades ahead. Alas, Brzezinski says, Obama has so far failed to move into a strategic habit of mind. To a far greater extent than the Chinese, he concedes, Obama has to respond to shifts in public mood. Brzezinski is not very complimentary about American public opinion.

“Americans don’t learn about the world, they don’t study world history, other than American history in a very one-sided fashion, and they don’t study geography,” Brzezinski says. “In that context of widespread ignorance, the ongoing and deliberately fanned fear about the outside world, which is connected with this grandiose war on jihadi terrorism, makes the American public extremely susceptible to extremist appeals.” But surely most Americans are tired of overseas adventures, I say. “There is more scepticism,” Brzezinski concedes. “But the susceptibility to demagoguery is still there.”....Brzezinski lists "Ignorance", as one of America’s six “key vulnerabilities” alongside “mounting debt’, a “flawed financial system”, “decaying national infrastructure”, “widening income inequality”, and “increasingly gridlocked politics”.
Zbigniew_Brzezinski  security_&_intelligence  strategic_thinking  China_rising  China  diplomacy  princelings  America_in_Decline?  threats  vulnerabilities  infrastructure  income_inequality  debt  political_polarization  long-term  partisan_politics  fractured_internally  NSC  ignorance  public_opinion  books  Chinese  instant_gratification  demagoguery  APNSA  gridlocked_politics  Edward_Luce  incurious  financial_system  historical_amnesia 
january 2012 by jerryking

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