149 Responses to “The Vivacious Obamas”


  1. December 30, 2016 at 11:53 am

    Good morning TOD folks! Thank you 🤓 Nerdy.

  2. December 30, 2016 at 11:53 am

    Loving and inspiring interview….i loved it…esp when the children asked questions

  3. December 30, 2016 at 11:55 am

    ty NW for your clear and unyielding resistance to the BS that ever threatens to over take us….

    ((huggs))

  4. December 30, 2016 at 12:00 pm

    • 5 GGAIL
      December 30, 2016 at 10:25 pm

      Pete’s admiration clearly comes through in each word he uses to describe PBO. I am so touched and glad he was chosen to be the recorder of this Administration.

  5. 6 JER
    December 30, 2016 at 12:19 pm

  6. December 30, 2016 at 12:27 pm

  7. 13 JER
    December 30, 2016 at 12:28 pm

  8. December 30, 2016 at 12:29 pm

  9. 15 desertflower
    December 30, 2016 at 12:52 pm

    One person’s journey to be active…via OFA. Just Do It.

    https://www.balloon-juice.com/2016/12/30/do-something/

  10. 17 Nerdy Wonka
    December 30, 2016 at 1:16 pm

  11. 22 whenpamelawandered
    December 30, 2016 at 1:33 pm

    ❤🌹🙏🏻🌹❤

  12. December 30, 2016 at 1:45 pm

    Good day TOD Family! Vetivera Congratulations on FIRST! NerdyWonka, another day of greatness and generosity and brilliance in curation and commentary. How do you do TOD AND also rock Twitter in the most brilliant badass thoughtful varied and irresistible way. It’s impossibly wonderful and good. HOW??? Thank you.

  13. December 30, 2016 at 2:08 pm

    Interesting…

  14. 26 FoxfireTX
    December 30, 2016 at 3:14 pm

    Nerdy, thank you so much for maintaining this space and posting the lovely photos. It is one of the few things keeping me sane these days. You have done so much in these months, and we are so grateful to you.

  15. December 30, 2016 at 3:38 pm

  16. 30 JER
    December 30, 2016 at 3:46 pm

  17. December 30, 2016 at 3:49 pm

    “What stunned me as this process unfolded was that laws and rules did little to stop this descent. Many countries had adopted fine constitutions, put in place elaborate checks and balances, and followed best practices from the advanced world. But in the end, liberal democracy was eroded anyway. It turns out that what sustains democracy is not simply legal safeguards and rules, but norms and practices — democratic behavior. This culture of liberal democracy is waning in the United States today.”

  18. 34 JER
    December 30, 2016 at 4:00 pm

  19. 35 desertflower
    December 30, 2016 at 4:05 pm

    There is something very, very wrong here.

    • 36 globalcitizenlinda
      December 30, 2016 at 5:02 pm

      When i get tired of volunteering for Dems & subsequent elections, i will think of this statement. It will be a key motivator or morale booster

    • 37 sherijr
      December 30, 2016 at 7:48 pm

      good grief 53,828 people “liked” that ignorant, pathetic tweet… and might I add- very Unpatriotic- you fine upstanding republican patriots. Hypocrites all.

  20. December 30, 2016 at 4:18 pm

    Lots of helicopters flying overhead (guessing news media) as the Russian Consulate staff are being escorted out of the building about a 1/2 mile away………

  21. 41 desertflower
    December 30, 2016 at 4:52 pm

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/cheats/2016/12/30/emails-gov-t-ethics-chief-ordered-tweets-praising-trump.html?via=desktop&source=copyurl

    The head of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics (OGE) personally ordered that the agency praise President-elect Donald Trump through its official Twitter account, according to emails obtained by The Daily Dot in a Freedom of Information Act request. The contrversial series of tweets were in response to Trump’s promises to reduce the conflicts of interest between his soon-to-be role as president and his current role as chief executive of the Trump Organization. The email obtained by The Daily Dot shows that Walter M. Shaub personally ordered the exact wording of each tweet, writing: “Post the following tweets. I would like them posted first thing—8:30 if possible or as soon as possible thereafter. Post them all at once.” The tweets included the phrases, “Brilliant!” “Good call!” “Right decision!” and “Bravo!” Trump has faced questions about how he will separate his business interests from his work as president, but has yet to hold a press conference to answer for those concerns.

  22. 43 desertflower
    December 30, 2016 at 5:03 pm

    Speak Out! Be Active! They want to take EVERYTHING from us!

  23. 44 desertflower
    December 30, 2016 at 6:33 pm

    So this is the vision shithead has for America? This is the guy he praises?

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/putins-way/

  24. 45 JER
    December 30, 2016 at 7:06 pm

  25. 46 JER
    December 30, 2016 at 7:24 pm

  26. 47 JER
    December 30, 2016 at 7:32 pm

  27. December 30, 2016 at 8:20 pm

  28. December 30, 2016 at 8:21 pm

  29. 54 desertflower
    December 30, 2016 at 8:21 pm

    http://www.democraticunderground.com/10141652265

    Russian hackers penetrated U.S. electricity grid through a utility in Vermont

    Source: Washington Post

    A code associated with the Russian hacking operation dubbed Grizzly Steppe by the Obama administration has been detected within the system of a Vermont utility, according to U.S. officials.

    While the Russians did not actively use the code to disrupt operations of the utility, according to officials who asked for anonymity in order to discuss a security matter, the penetration of the nations electrical grid is significant because it represents a potentially serious vulnerability. Government and utility industry officials regularly monitor the nations electrical grid because it is highly computerized and any disruptions can have disastrous implications for the function of medical and emergency services.

    American officials, including one senior administration official, said they are not yet sure what the intentions of the Russians might have been. The penetration may have been designed to disrupt the utilitys operations or as a test by the Russians to see whether they could penetrate a portion of the grid. Federal officials have shared the malware code used in Grizzly Steppe with utility executives nationwide, a senior administration official said, and Vermont utility officials identified it within their operations.

    According to a report by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security, the hackers involved in the Russian operation used fraudulent emails that tricked their recipients into revealing passwords.

    Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/russian-hackers-penetrated-us-electricity-grid-through-a-utility-in-vermont/2016/12/30/8fc90cc4-ceec-11e6-b8a2-8c2a61b0436f_story.html

  30. December 30, 2016 at 8:22 pm

    Keep right on walking into that trap, GOP.

  31. December 30, 2016 at 8:35 pm

  32. 57 globalcitizenlinda
    December 30, 2016 at 8:45 pm

    most of us always knew that republicans & their home-grown demagogue can do the most extreme things to get and preserve power.

    but with each new steps, we get even more astonished at how brazen they can be.

    I am now very close to going past the anger stage, and will be headed to the vengeful stage … not a proud moment for me personally and certainly not for the Franciscan nuns who helped in nurturing my soul.

    Yes, PBO & FLOTUS, I know you expect me to go high …. but it is getting very hard now => the current behavior of most is disgusting and the policies they are planning to enact are heinous … where does one find any positive thing to say about the gop & the scoundrel they imposed on us???

    • 58 globalcitizenlinda
      December 30, 2016 at 8:59 pm

      ok, it is important to explain that the vengeful part does not include any form of physical violence or harassment;

      I mean that I am one of those people who becomes very competitive when a challenge is placed in front of me … so my vengeance will be doing ALL I can to make sure that the gop loses that people that its members are using to intimidate and deprive people of their basic human rights and survival

  33. 61 jacquelineoboomer
    December 30, 2016 at 9:18 pm

    Have we celebrated this number recently? Congrats to you, Nerdy Wonka and Chips!

    37,509,458 hits

  34. 65 jacquelineoboomer
    December 30, 2016 at 9:25 pm

  35. December 30, 2016 at 9:31 pm

    21 January 2017 is taking shape as the defeat of a super power & democracy beyond any event in human history ….

    It’s just what it is.

    Daily, I’m ever more impressed by how many folk are sleep walking their way to an event that Jefferson Davis, Hitler, Stalin, Osama bin Laden …. could have ever imagined doing to the United States of America ….. without ONE SINGLE SHOT ….

  36. 71 purpleshoesla
    December 30, 2016 at 9:32 pm

    Man 2016 has NO CHILL. Cali’s first dog, Sutter Brown gone today. Such a lil cutie.

  37. 75 desertflower
    December 30, 2016 at 9:46 pm

    Do you suppose that behind the scenes that our intelligence services are connecting the dots and finding the source of the Bromance of Putin/Trump so we can dispense with the pleasantries and nail his sorry ass to the wall before its too late?

    • 76 jacquelineoboomer
      December 30, 2016 at 10:46 pm

      I’m thinking deals are being made behind the scenes, left and right, to find out. It’s the only hope we have.

    • 78 jacquelineoboomer
      December 30, 2016 at 10:50 pm

      Although I detest McCain and the horse he rode in on, and every thought in his damn head because of how he treated “that one,” I’m thinking he’ll have some impact as he continues his anti-Trump involvement – which is all pay back for the last decade or so of his not getting to be Prez, from my POV. But, you know, he’s playing with the rough crowd now and could turn up dead. Hope he has extra protection along, as he and Graham and Amy K are out visiting NATO allies. Hope they all do. I think you know I’m not just being paranoid.

      • 79 desertflower
        December 30, 2016 at 11:04 pm

        I appreciate that he’s voicing his disapproval…HOWEVER, I really feel that he should have come out against this sham election from the start. It’s good for him to agree with the sanctions etc…but he never disavowed the legitimacy of this election. That bothers me.

        • 80 jacquelineoboomer
          December 30, 2016 at 11:10 pm

          Oh, yes, of course – bothers me, too. He’s filled with hate, and as long as he now directs it against Trump, McCain might suddenly serve a purpose for a change – he hasn’t in a decade and a half, IMO.

  38. 86 magapie
    December 30, 2016 at 10:19 pm

    THE PERFECT ANALOGY: MJ retires and the Bulls replace him with Lumpy Rutherford.

    (OMG, Eff me in the heart.)

  39. 87 desertflower
    December 30, 2016 at 10:39 pm

    • 88 jacquelineoboomer
      December 30, 2016 at 10:42 pm

      How quickly lives can be turned around. That’s why we’re all in shock about it. Hope we get it resolved. #Resist

  40. 89 desertflower
    December 30, 2016 at 10:40 pm

    Bingo. That’s what I think!

    • 90 jacquelineoboomer
      December 30, 2016 at 10:44 pm

      First, T-rump is too dumb to hide it (which further feeds into what Putin wants). Second, how and why was he turned? And, good lord, what’s next.

      • 91 desertflower
        December 30, 2016 at 10:49 pm

        Read the thread

        • 92 jacquelineoboomer
          December 30, 2016 at 10:51 pm

          Okay.

          • 93 desertflower
            December 30, 2016 at 11:00 pm

            🙂 People basically have the same fears and concerns as we do…We need to not be paralyzed by our fear though…we need to get outraged OUT LOUD and make demands of our elected officials. Time for taking our country back. FOR REAL.

            • 94 jacquelineoboomer
              December 30, 2016 at 11:01 pm

              Sure is. Read the thread for as long as I could stand it … awful.

              • 95 desertflower
                December 30, 2016 at 11:05 pm

                Do you feel a poem bubbling up? You could really be impactful:)

                • 96 jacquelineoboomer
                  December 30, 2016 at 11:13 pm

                  Not yet, but I’ll keep that in mind:) Wish I could do more than just pay attention and fight back online, and contribute a little to a few organizations. Have to watch myself otherwise because I’ve already had a “bad Trump dream” in the middle of an afternoon nap! Gotta keep calm and my head straight.

                  Hard to do, isn’t it?

                  • 97 desertflower
                    December 30, 2016 at 11:16 pm

                    It is. Right there with you, sister. Wake in the night. Have day terrors…little panic attacks. Not ok. We have to channel this to good use…

  41. 98 jacquelineoboomer
    December 30, 2016 at 11:07 pm

    (Forget the Trump reference.) This is a beautiful way to describe President Obama.

  42. 100 JER
    December 30, 2016 at 11:19 pm

  43. 102 jacquelineoboomer
    December 30, 2016 at 11:21 pm

    • 103 nathkatun7
      December 31, 2016 at 2:23 am

      Excellent tweet, J’OB! I’ve tried to post comments that raise questions similar to what you are asking, but for some reason, they keep disappearing! These Russian hackers must be everywhere!

  44. 105 desertflower
    December 30, 2016 at 11:25 pm

    Good guess

    http://www.deathandtaxesmag.com/308511/trump-sex-tape-russian-orgy-rumor-mother-jones/?utm_source=share-tw&utm_medium=button

    Makes more sense to me than I’d like it to. His past history will lend credence to this being plausible.

    • 106 jacquelineoboomer
      December 30, 2016 at 11:43 pm

      If we could guarantee that’s all he did in Russia, I’d say all is forgiven if he agrees not to be inaugurated. Go back to your ruined organization with your ruined reputation (as though you had a good one). Unfortunately, whatever they have on him is gonna be deeper than this and hurt our country – in addition to how we’ve already been hurt – and his a$$ will be needing to do some time in a federal prison. Or the Russians will do away with him, and we’ll be at war.

    • 107 susanne
      December 31, 2016 at 2:22 pm

      and they know we’d pay to never have to see the damn thing

  45. 108 jacquelineoboomer
    December 30, 2016 at 11:29 pm

    Excuse the head on the right in the pic, but otherwise this captures things.

  46. 109 jacquelineoboomer
    December 30, 2016 at 11:37 pm

    Smile!

  47. 110 desertflower
    December 30, 2016 at 11:39 pm

  48. 111 arapaho415
    December 30, 2016 at 11:39 pm

    GE TODville.

    For nightowls… our democracy hinges on the action of our elected officials in Congress.

    Good night, TOD… only one more day left in this (deplorable) year.

  49. December 31, 2016 at 12:53 am

    Goodnight TOD ….

    …. unfortunately, none of this is a nightmare, it’s reality ….

  50. 114 globalcitizenlinda
    December 31, 2016 at 1:46 am

    among all the thoughts that I am have been having about the election of the home-grown demagogue, two stand out:

    – although many have an appreciation of the enormity of what occurred during this election, the fact that so many gop voters & their elected republicans are defending these events, creates a huge handicap of what can be done;

    – of all people, SoS HRC is one person who was involved in the:

    (a) resignation of Nixon as young girl & also with the …

    (b) republicans impeachment of her husband.

    Unfortunately she is the candidate who was robbed of her win this time. therefore, she cannot publically say anything without being labelled a sore loser.

    ps: I do not want the gop to bring up the subject (that is why my comment is here & not other places) …. but I have been wondering why SoS HRC’s connection to the investigation of Nixon has not been widely discussed during this time.

    • December 31, 2016 at 8:43 am

      Good morning. Linda, I have wondered about that as well. If only some investigative reporter would delve into that. If only, if only, if only…………the whole lot of our media would do its job!!!! Speaking of that, did you, or others who see this, see the LOD segment Thursday night with Jay Rosen. For anyone who didn’t, find it and watch. It was a ‘spot on’ segment. Only other panel people I can remember was David Frum. He also said some jolting things. He obviously sees clearly the danger for our country and the world. But who in the GOP is going to listen to him?! There’s a handful of people like that–Charlie Sykes–is another who are clear-headed and willing to speak truth. Scary thing is that people aren’t listening to them.

  51. December 31, 2016 at 9:07 am

    Putting this here instead with df’s and job’s comments up thread. The link about a sex tape: I just finished a James Patterson book. Set in Washington. About the president, First Lady, the CIA, etc., etc. Turns out Russia had a video of the First Lady and her lesbian lover. That lover supposedly turned up dead, but it wasn’t her. They found someone who looked like her, dressed in the lover’s clothes, etc. and pulled off a “suicide” (jumping off her balcony). I’m leaving out a LOT, but Russia was blackmailing our government because they wanted free reign to move into Georgia, then continue taking back ALL the Soviet block countries. The character telling the story was a journalist–an HONEST one–and both the Russians and our CIA tried many times to kill him as he was searching for the truth. He kept getting closer and closer. All along, he knew Russia was blackmailing but thought it was the President being blackmailed. Turned out the Pres. knew nothing. It was the head of the CIA. Of course, it all ended ‘well’. The President did a press conference……….CIA head forced to resign………our our democracy was ‘saved.’ Oh, China was also involved on the edges. I am telling you, it was chilling to read that book at this point in time. Waaaaay to close to reality right now.

  52. 120 desertflower
    December 31, 2016 at 9:31 am

    Morning everyone…woke with a start from a sound sleep….this scary, dangerous mess swirling around in my head….clock ticking, time wasting.

    http://m.motherjones.com/politics/2016/10/veteran-spy-gave-fbi-info-alleging-russian-operation-cultivate-donald-trump

    a former senior intelligence officer for a Western country who specialized in Russian counterintelligence tells Mother Jones that in recent months he provided the bureau with memos, based on his recent interactions with Russian sources, contending the Russian government has for years tried to co-opt and assist Trump—and that the FBI requested more information from him.

    “This is something of huge significance, way above party politics,” the former intelligence officer says. “I think [Trump’s] own party should be aware of this stuff as well.”
    Does this mean the FBI is investigating whether Russian intelligence has attempted to develop a secret relationship with Trump or cultivate him as an asset? Was the former intelligence officer and his material deemed credible or not? An FBI spokeswoman says, “Normally, we don’t talk about whether we are investigating anything.” But a senior US government official not involved in this case but familiar with the former spy tells Mother Jones that he has been a credible source with a proven record of providing reliable, sensitive, and important information to the US government.

    In June, the former Western intelligence officer—who spent almost two decades on Russian intelligence matters and who now works with a US firm that gathers information on Russia for corporate clients—was assigned the task of researching Trump’s dealings in Russia and elsewhere, according to the former spy and his associates in this American firm. This was for an opposition research project originally financed by a Republican client critical of the celebrity mogul. (Before the former spy was retained, the project’s financing switched to a client allied with Democrats.) “It started off as a fairly general inquiry,” says the former spook, who asks not to be identified. But when he dug into Trump, he notes, he came across troubling information indicating connections between Trump and the Russian government. According to his sources, he says, “there was an established exchange of information between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin of mutual benefit.”

    This was, the former spy remarks, “an extraordinary situation.” He regularly consults with US government agencies on Russian matters, and near the start of July on his own initiative—without the permission of the US company that hired him—he sent a report he had written for that firm to a contact at the FBI, according to the former intelligence officer and his American associates, who asked not to be identified. (He declines to identify the FBI contact.) The former spy says he concluded that the information he had collected on Trump was “sufficiently serious” to share with the FBI.

    Something very serious is happening here. We try to explain away those things that are too unheard of or uncomfortable to think about. This is a coup…orchestrated by Russia upon the United States of America…seemingly with the willingness of millions of uninformed rubes, as well as those that are very aware and are encouraging this to happen. We seem to be paralyzed with fear. We need to GET UP AND DEMAND OF OUR REPS. WE NEED TO MAKE NOISE and not let someone poo-poo us! January 20th will be TOO LATE.

    Think about who he wants to put “in charge” of departments in his administration…PEOPLE THAT WANT TO WEAKEN, DISMANTLE, OR RIP IT TOTALLY DOWN! Think of the norms that have fallen by the wayside….SC nominee comes to my mind first…and no one can tell me that Turtle wasn’t in on that plan from the git go. How the hell do you even THINK to say that you’re “saving the seat for the next President”…have Clinton so far ahead in the polling and STILL say that….he HAD to know that DT was going to win and be placed in the Oval Office or he would have taken his chances on Judge Garland! He was a judge that both R’s and D’s agreed was exemplary…just and fair. But that’s not what he did. He did something that had never been done before. Saved a seat on the SC for the govt. of a Russian dictator.

    The way DT talks about the press…puts them in pens like pigs….A free press is a cornerstone of a democracy…he tosses that out the window.

    I’m disturbed that people still talk about this like we have no choice but to anoint him and deal with the consequences AFTER THE FACT. NO! THAT WOULD BE TOO LATE!

    He will tear down the fabric of this country. Prey on fear and division to get his way…a country in the vain of Russia…

    We have to quit trying to explain away these real truths….we have never SEEN this before! If it feels wrong, it’s wrong! I always told my kids to listen to their “Jiminy Cricket” This is one of those times. If you use social media, now’s the time to ask questions and ring alarm bells for others to wake from their stupor. Call every congressperson and DEMAND accountability and answers from them! Let’s put our head’s together and work on ways to take control of this seemingly out of control situation! WE THE PEOPLE! For all the heavy lifts that PBO made, for the work that WE did to help him lift, for our country. OURS. We need to get out of comfort zones and realize what’s at stake if we don’t. No shots fired. A coup of epic proportions. Connect all the dots. You are not alone and we are NOT crazy. Our country needs us now. What did you do to save it?

    • 121 desertflower
      December 31, 2016 at 9:38 am

      PS…Did I mention ALL the Russian connected individuals that he surrounds himself with? The “deals” in Russia that make him salivate? It’s never been about serving the people, it has always been about serving himself. The exact opposite of what a President does. He is dangerous and unfit. Talks badly and critically of sitting President and sides with Putin. Since when the fuck is THAT OK?

  53. 122 desertflower
    December 31, 2016 at 9:39 am

  54. 123 globalcitizenlinda
    December 31, 2016 at 9:42 am

    I suspect that based on her experiences, SoS HRC knows how the things that shake up Washington’s political circle tend to build up until something cracks;

    ….. usually someone the political class admires says/writes something unexpected;

    ….. then there is a deluge of people piling on and others “newly discovering” what was there all along and was being discussed by a group of concerned people;

    …. it is then that media becomes obsessed and people who know that they should have done better earlier try to absolve themselves;

    … then more articles and pronouncements happen as people try to clear their records for history;

    …. and then ordinary people who were okay with these illegal happenings have their eyes open and they say “enough”;

    I do not know when our current hill of political wrongdoings by the demagogue, and the gop that is collaborating and protecting him, will break;

    … but I think Ms. Carolyn here was very right in calling it a election volcano … or something close … a political volcano;

    I hope the political volcano does not take long to erupt

  55. 126 desertflower
    December 31, 2016 at 9:47 am

    http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2016/12/donald-trump-mar-a-lago-press-conferences

    Six months after Donald Trump last held a formal press conference, during which he called on Russia to hack Hillary Clinton, the president-elect finally spoke with reporters Wednesday during two impromptu, largely fact-free press conferences outside his gilded Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida. In his signature stream-of-consciousness style, the president-elect—at one point flanked by boxing promoter Don King—offered up a series of misleading, disjointed responses, during which he falsely claimed to have created thousands of new jobs, dismissed alleged Russian interference in the presidential election, whitewashed his sprawling financial conflicts of interest, and offered up word salad in a rambling defense of Israel.

  56. 127 desertflower
    December 31, 2016 at 9:50 am

    I’m over this.

  57. 128 desertflower
    December 31, 2016 at 9:52 am

  58. 129 desertflower
    December 31, 2016 at 9:59 am

  59. December 31, 2016 at 10:02 am

    49ers had a horrible season but gratified that as a team they stood up for Kaep.

  60. 132 desertflower
    December 31, 2016 at 10:03 am

  61. December 31, 2016 at 10:10 am

  62. 135 desertflower
    December 31, 2016 at 10:18 am

  63. 142 desertflower
    December 31, 2016 at 10:43 am

  64. 143 desertflower
    December 31, 2016 at 10:51 am

  65. 144 carolyn
    December 31, 2016 at 10:54 am

    Yes, the volcano is rumbling. Madame Pelee is angry and will soon destroy the irritant, Donald Trump. I don’t know how or when, but I firmly believe it is going to happen. He cannot continue on this destructive path with impunity.

  66. 146 desertflower
    December 31, 2016 at 11:09 am

    http://xpostfactoid.blogspot.com/2016/12/the-appian-road-to-serfdom.html

    For Christmas, my wife bought me an excellent new history of ancient Rome, SPQR by Mary Beard, which has proved the best kind of present — something I never would have bought myself that I’m enjoying immensely. It has the twin virtues of constantly acknowledging uncertainty and ambiguity while articulating a few memorable interpretive themes.

    One of these should bring any American living in this moment up short. Previewing her treatment of a century of civil war leading to the end of the Republic, Beard writes:
    Looking back over the period, Roman historians regretted the gradual destruction of peaceful politics. Violence was increasingly taken for granted as a political tool. Traditional restraints and conventions broke down, one by one, until swords, clubs and rioting more or less replaced the ballot box. At the same time, to follow Sallust, a very few individuals of enormous power, wealth and military backing came to dominate the state — until Julies Caesar was officially made ‘dictator for life’ and then within weeks was assassinated in the name of liberty. When the story is stripped down to its barest and brutal essentials, it consists of a series of key moments and conflicts that led to the dissolution of the free state, a sequence of tipping points that marked the stages in the progressive degeneration of the political process, and a succession of atrocities that lingered in the Roman imagination for centuries (p. 216).
    A distant mirror that’s not so distant. The Roman republic distributed power through an elaborate system of checks and balances that incorporated many fosslized old customs. At the same time it proved quite adaptive for two or three centuries, including the one in which civil order and distributed power broke down. Adaptations include eradicating the political privilege of patricians and expanding the circle of citizenship progressively wider. But ultimately rapid change – enormous influx of wealth and slaves, generals with experience commanding huge armies — swamped the Republic’s ability to create policy by consensus without violence.

    The decay of our own political institutions is obvious. Looking at the moment we’re in, having just elected a lifelong fraudster turned authoritarian demagogue, who’s put in a cabinet of plutocrats, racists and cranks, I see a few long-term forces converging: 1) a globalized economy pressuring employment and wages. This could have been coped with, but we failed. 2) The eternal tidal pull of elites’ unflagging efforts to subvert restraints on their ability to maximize their advantages and pass them on to their children. Francis Fukuyama traces the corrosive force of this never-ending pressure through several societies in The Origins of Political Order. 3) Our archaic constitution, which saddles us with nonrepresentative democracy, and renders its own amendment too difficult. 4) Our foundational racism, which has always limited and reversed attempts to distribute wealth and opportunity (education, basic security, lead-free water, etc.) more equitably.

    The question is whether our descent into this kakocracy is cyclical (temporary) or permanent. About a century ago — that is, last February — Obama, the eternal optimist, expressed his faith that it’s temporary, one more imbalance that U.S. democracy will prove capable of self-correcting:
    My point is not that politicians are worse, it’s not that issues are tougher, and so it’s important for us to understand that the situation we find ourselves in today is not somehow unique or hopeless. We’ve always gone through periods when our democracy seems stuck, and when that happens we have to find a new way of doing business. We’re in one of those moments. We’ve got to build a better politics, One that’s less of a spectacle and more of a battle of ideas….one that understands the success of the American experiment rests on our willingness to engage all our citizens in this work.

  67. December 31, 2016 at 3:14 pm

    THIS


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