Saturday, September 22, 2018

Impeachment is a dream. Get over it and fight effectively.

Before diving in, let me point to where my scratch essay, making six points about the "anonymous hero op-ed write," has been revised and published on MEDIUM, pointing out that even the most fervent Trump supporter must admit one blatant fact, that Trump has been a crappy judge of character... given how many times he howls "betrayed!" (This is the one point you can make to a Mad Uncle and he'll have no response, no fox-ism, nothing.)

Key point: our response to the op-ed "hero" has to be -- "thanks... but look at who appointed you, and try some humility. You are blatantly not qualified to pick and choose which GOP positions to support."

From the somewhat ridiculous to the generally sublime... Rebecca Solnit, one of America’s best journalist-historians, is almost always on-target, offering well-supported news and surprises… even though, in this case, she and I reach different conclusions. She starts by pointing out how the daily storm of Trump tweets deliberately distracts from an avalanche of related depredations that get masked, such as this under-reported gem:

“...the legal counsel at the Department of Transportation, Andrew Kloster, formerly of the Heritage Foundation, tweeting on August 22nd that a Hollywood actress was a succubus melding together satanism and the Jewish mystical tradition of Kabbalah in one loopy tweet, a perfect marriage of antisemitism and misogyny.” 

"Or that “climate change research proposals in the Department of the Interior were being reviewed by a character named Steve Howke, who’s sole qualification (seems to be) being an old high-school football buddy of Secretary Zinke’s from Whitefish, Montana.”

(The day after Ms. Solnit posted that, a policy analyst working for the Trump administration’s Department of Homeland Security resigned after emails showed that analyst Ian M. Smith had been in regular contact with known white nationalists, including Alt-Right leader Richard Spencer, and Jared Taylor.)

Seriously, dial in to this and other Solniticisms and see someone who “out-rachels” MSNBC’s Maddow. Solnit’s long list of rightwing ethical and criminal atrocities, many of them barely noted by news media, will convince any sane American that we’re in the hands of a mafia. An international organized crime syndicate.

But that’s kinda the point. The blatancy of it all is so thuggish, boorish and ultimately stupid, that I’m reminded of Hannah Arendt’s appraisal of the Nazis’ evil banality. They achieved power through bullying and cheating and complicity by cynical oligarchs, but also because all the smart folks and modern people were complacent. When that complacency wore off, the modern world ponderously gathered itself, converged and smashed the Nazi thuggery to dust.

Ms. Solnit would respond: “Great. Then stop being complacent and smash! Impeach now!” But I disagree, at least in part. Thanks to the Trumpian grotesquery, no modern-thinking American is complacent, anymore. But it’s wrongheaded to demand a spasmodic, Verdun-style frontal assault on Donald Trump, himself. That is mistaking a symptom for the disease – a common error that could cost us dearly, especially if – in lancing an excruciating boil -- we then lapse into relieved celebration, ignoring a far worse cancer below.

Look, it’s plain that Donald Trump represents an existential problem… every action that he takes either serves a cynically rapacious world oligarchy (including gambling tycoons and the Russian Mafia) or else feeds fuel to a dangerous eighth phase of the recurring American CivilWar. Only here’s the deal. Everyone can see this. The members of every fact-using profession… including the intelligence communities, law enforcement and the FBI, civil servants, scientists, and the U.S. military officer corps. Yes, that includes the crewcut men and women who are now – in their millions – condemned by the mad-right as a conspiratorial “deep state.”

They can see it all, and these skilled, decent people are doing what they can. No president in history has ever been so hemmed-in, isolated, cauterized and, indeed, rendered rather powerless.

Oh, Trump’s appointments – especially judicial – will be daunting cancers for decades. (You expect any different from Pence?) His deliberate destruction of every strength that won us the Cold War and gave the world its greatest era of (flawed) peace and progress, should make any patriotic mind shiver… as our ancestors quailed after setbacks like Bull Run, Fredericksburg, Pearl Harbor, Kasserine, Selma, or Kent State. But those ancestors gritted-teeth and bore down for the long haul, knowing there’d be no quick fixes.

As I point out elsewhere, impeachment is not just a long-shot fantasy. Even if successful, it would likely do far more harm than good, putting Two Scoops Trump into a reality show mode that he’d enjoy vastly more than his daily torment in the Oval Office. You don’t think he’d milk that martyrdom, helping turn this phase of civil war red-hot? (Indeed, my biggest dread is that the Putin-Mercer-Adelson-Murdoch oligarchy, tired of the harm he’s doing to their political apparatus, might order a “Howard Beale” hit, igniting the whole nation in flames. God bless the U.S. Secret Service.)

Impeachment and removal would rob much of our growing coalition. Many of those crewcut “deep state” public servants would let themselves be soothed into relief and renewed complacency by a crooning President Mike Pence, promising comity and renewed respect for professional castes. This might even please some leftists, who are now equivocal over all the retired officers and short-haired ‘blue dogs’ now crowding into the Democrats’ big tent. 

But screw anyone who favors ideology ahead of victory over confederate treason.

Above all, the boil we see in front of us is blocking something far worse that would replace it. The Trumpian White House leaks like mad, rendering it largely impotent! Only the very deepest mafia stuff goes un-revealed, so far. But a Pence administration would be tightly disciplined, filled with dedicated dominionists who are focused on shared goals, much of it revolving around their firm belief and relish in two sacred tomes: The Fourth Turning, by Strauss & Howe (beloved of Steve Bannon), and the Book of Revelation’s gory, hand-rubbing anticipation of an end to all human endeavor, all freedom and argument and striving, an end to all new children, and an end to the United States of America. And either way, we are so fucked.

I recommend “Mike Pence's plan to outlast Trump.” Seriously. Also the NYT’s Frank Bruni points out that Pence "adds two ingredients that Trump doesn't genuinely possess: the conviction that he's on a mission from God and a determination to mold the entire nation in the shape of his own faith, a regressive, repressive version of Christianity. Trade Trump for Pence and you go from kleptocracy to theocracy." (Not scared by that? Read Robert Heinlein's prophetic novel Revolt in 2100.)

And again, see my reasons why impeachment should be kept in reserve. A last resort, either for emergency or else once the nation reaches a post Civil War consensus.

Looking back to the recommendations of Hannah Arendt, who studied deeply how to oppose Nazi-like mafias and thuggeries, I’d distill this wisdom.

(1) Wake up; this is serious, worth your time, your effort and risk.
(2) Wake others. Form coalitions that welcome refugees from the madness.
(3) Don’t be stupid.
(4) This could be a long haul.

I respect the heck out of Rebecca Solnit and I urge you all to read her, possibly in preference over me!  Still, when we get to specifics, “impeach now” is dumb. It’s impatient. It ignores the coalition-building and grinding envelopment that Churchill and FDR and Marshall used, to achieve victory over monsters.

And it’s a dream.  Wake up.

==  Suspicion toward every elite… except the most dangerous one  ==

The trick of the Scottish-American Enlightenment -- though not the Franco-German wing - was suspicion of all authority, or SoA. It was essential because we are human and whenever any group gets solitary power... even idealistic technocrats like many of the engineers who became managers and then politburo mavens in Beijing... you will fall for every temptation of authoritarian delusion. It's how we're made. Oh, some lords are better than others. But the meaning of the American Revolution was "we should do without lords."

Hence, our SoA propaganda - in every Hollywood film - created a reflex that's kept us free, though we often disagree over which "elite" is striving to seize too much power. 

Leftists assume it's aristocrats and faceless corporations.  Rightists assume it is snooty academics and faceless government bureaucrats. (You see both tyrannical modes portrayed in diverse films.) Libertarians should aim their SoA at both and all directions! But most of them have, alas, been suborned into being tunnel-visioned, rightist tools.

Now, it's perfectly reasonable to sniff suspiciously when any elite says "leave it to us!" And Technocracy - rule by those with smarts and knowledge and credentials - is certainly one hypothetical dictatorship by a snooty elite.  

Except for China though (and Beijing may be exactly that, under a communist/mercantilist veneer), when has technocracy ever been a substantial authoritarian-oppressive mode? There are no plausible scenarios by which it could happen in the West. 

Is it okay to sniff suspiciously at "fact-people?" Sure. As it was okay to sniff at excesses by labor unions. But when unions have been plummeting for forty years, the intensity of screeching against them becomes highly suspicious.  Especially when the billionaires financing this hysteria have been getting more powerful and benefiting outrageously for those same 40 years. 

What kind of Suspicion of Authority instinct is it, that cannot notice: "Hey, I am marching with fervor for the only elite in society whose power, wealth and influence have been skyrocketing to atmospheric levels for decades, and is now approaching levels not seen since 1789 in France."

Face it.  Suspicion of Authority has been healthy for us.  It kept us free. But traitors have discovered how to metastacize it into a cancer that attacks every elite except the very one that took power and crushed hopes in every other human civilization. The same one that cheated, stymied all progress, cheated, murdered, cheated, stole and cheated across 6000 years. The very same one the American Founders rebelled against, who Adam Smith denounced as market destroyers, and who got a million poor southern whites to fight and die for slavery.

So, is Fox saying we should apply fierce, hate-drenched SoA toward all other 'elites' - science, teaching, journalism, civil servants, every fact using profession... including now the "deep state" FBI and officer corps... all elites except one? The only one that is actually, actually rising to obligate and near total power? 

What a coincidence! Those other 'elites' are the only forces in society who could possibly stymie that total coup, and they just happen - all of them -- to be eeeeevil!  All of the folks who know stuff, in their diverse tens of millions, yes, all of them.

Welcome to the essence of the confederacy, folks. Plantation lords and the populist-numbskulls who march and die to protect the lords' privileges. It is the same, recurring national fever, our perennial curse. And we must gird ourselves to do as we've done before. 

Stop it. Politically. With malice toward none. With charity for all and binding the national wounds. Knowing that if the sickness wins this round, that is not how we'll be treated.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Clues to the deep, cosmic past... and other wonders out there!

I'm heading soon to Boston for the Symposium of NASA's Innovative and Advanced Concepts program, or NIAC, which funds the most speculative proposals that are just this side of plausible. (Open to the public if you RSVP or you can livestream.)

Meanwhile, let's peer a bit farther... in space and time.....

First a brief look at twelve futuristic space exploration concepts being pursued by NASA, many of them via the NIAC program - including laser powered spaceflight and blimps for Mars!

Titan, seen without the haze! Revealed by thirteen years of Cassini orbiter observations in three infrared bands, synthesized into a globe. One of the things I am most proud and excited about, that we've accomplished together in an amazing civilization!

Then there is the haze of the super-dust storm enveloping Mars. Ala, we may have heard the last from Opportunity. (I helped name the probe.)

 With Pluto now firmly in its rearview mirror, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft is steadily chugging towards Ultima Thule, a Kuiper Belt object located, on average, about 44 AU from the Sun. It took an actual photograph of a 19-mile-wide (30-kilometer) object located 100 million miles away from the spacecraft and 4 billion miles (6.5 billion kilometers) from Earth the most distant ever taken.” New Horizons will zoom past Ultima Thule on January 1, 2019, just half an hour after the ball drops in Times Square. And yes, your civilization is doing this.

Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene: an interesting paper appraises the feedback looks that keep the Earth from runaway into either glacial or hothouse eras.

 == Understanding the cosmos ==

Scientists analyzing the rare, luminous event called “STEVE” – a shimmering upper-atmosphere ribbon in the far-northern sky – now think it is quite different from the more regularly-seen aurora, which are caused by oxygen and nitrogen atoms fluorescing when struck by accelerated particles from the solar wind. (I guided a "Northern Lights" expedition, last March, in Arctic Finland.)

The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), has commenced its hunt for alien worlds around the 200,000 brightest stars. Unlike the Kepler mission, this one will scan most of the sky, possibly multiplying by an order of magnitude the 2600 confirmed and 5000 likely exoplanet discoveries made by Kepler. And hot news!  As I post this, they've announced TESS's first planetary find!

Earth appears to attract… hold… then lose a small number of “mini-moons” or Near Earth Asteroids at intervals. "Minimoons can provide interesting science and technology testbeds in near-Earth space," and to verify whether varieties of great wealth might be accessible from these tumbling space rocks. Efforts to get samples to assay those resources have been undermined by this administration, whose supporters have sunk investments in Earthly mines and who thus prefer we spend our sparse exploration funds repeating Apollo landings on a dusty/useless plain. (Oh and on spandex Space Force uniforms. And the liposuction necessary to wear them.) And no, except for some polar ice we should save for future lunar cities, there's nothing we know to be of value on that plain of razor, lung-harmful dust.

A meteor exploded with 2.1 kilotons of force about 40 kilometers above Thule U.S. Air Force base in Greenland.  The silence from the Air Force is a wee bit disturbing… though in fact, this sort of thing happens annually somewhere across the globe and is one reason I back the B612 Foundation’s work to characterize and find ways to deal with the threat.

Too cool.  Each time I look at this time-lapse of stars orbiting the black hole at the center of the galaxy, I go “gosh.”

That’s a lie. Sometimes I go Wow or Dang! Or “I’m as proud as heck that I helped pay for that.”

China has built a big brother to Arecibo, now the biggest telescope in the world, and has added an “astronomy tourism town” nearby. At a time when support for US science has plummeted, it’s important for humanity that scientific boldness be taken up somewhere. 

“It’s especially important since the National Science Foundation has recently cratered funding to both Arecibo and Green Bank observatories, the United States’ most significant single-dish radio telescopes. While they remain open, they have to seek private project money, meaning chunks of time are no longer available for astronomers’ proposals.” It’s expected the Chinese FAST radio scope will “ find thousands of new pulsars (as of July 2018, they had already found more than 40), and do detailed studies of hydrogen inside the galaxy and in the wider universe, among numerous other worthy scientific goals.

== Re-ionization and clues to the deep past ==

Piecing together clues, we are getting a timeline of the early eras of our particular – and peculiar – cosmos.  In order that they occurred, it appears that…

1) There was an initial “bang” – perhaps seeded by a quantum fluctuation, or else a ripple in a multiverse, or a black hole collapse “somewhere(when) else,” or… I have fun with all of these concepts, in various stories.

2) Then, almost instantaneously, there came “inflation.” It’s not proved – there are problems – I’ve talked to both promoters like Andrei Linde and clever concocters of alternatives, like Roger Penrose. But for now, the standard notion is that there was a period (lasting fractions of a picosecond) when the bang’s bubble expanded at much faster than light speed. (Don’t shout; Einstein allows space, itself, to do that, while matter is forbidden.) This would smear out the heat just right to explain the CMB or cosmic microwave background radiation we observe.

3) Inflation stops and the expansion then occurs more like an explosion, extremely energetic but at sub-light rates. We are blind to this era, because the hot universe was ionized -- loose protons and electrons absorbed all radiation, re-radiating it and re-absorbing, erasing all patterns, until…

4) … things cooled enough that atoms started forming from protons and electrons a few hundred thousand years (estimated 138,000) after the Big Bang. The resulting neutral gas clumped, creating stars, but also allowing a lot of photons to cut loose and never be re-absorbed until their travels ended 13.8 billion years later, after redshift stretching, by hitting our microwave detectors today. This is called the Curtain. We see nothing earlier… though we had hopes of detecting the inflationary era when my friend Brian Keating saw hopeful signs in polarization of the background radiation. (See his new best-seller “Losing the Nobel Prize.”)

5) We see only a little of the radiation released after the Curtain, because those first stars seem to have been of the large variety that… explode. A dazzling fireworks display of supernovae burst within a few million years, spewing ultraviolet that ripped electrons from protons again, “re-ionizing” most of the matter, making the universe mostly light-absorbing and dark, again.

6) That pulse of supernovae also shoved matter around into filamentary structures typified by what’s called “The Great Wall” in intergalactic space, triggering the formation of a second wave of galaxies. And so, there may have been two, separate waves of galactic formation…

…and scientists now claim to see signs of this in the tiny, satellite galaxies  - some red and old and some newer/brighter – that surround our own Milky Way.

The most widely accepted model says that galaxies are actually visible gas and dust coalescing inside larger haloes of a yet-to-be explained kind of mass called dark matter. Galaxies began forming with the first stars, but during the re-ionization period, astronomers think that temperatures rose too high, halting further galactic growth. Only at some later period, when large-enough dark matter halos coalesced, would the galaxy formation process pick up again. Maybe, thought the researchers, the satellite galaxies surrounding the Milky Way could provide a signal of this re-ionization era. Small, dimmer satellites would have formed before the period, and brighter, larger galaxies would have formed afterward, with a gap in the middle representing re-ionization.”

Wow. In other words, the dim red halo galaxies may be remnants of the universe’s earliest days… kind of like the place I call the “Shallow Cluster” in my novel Startide Rising. A concept that I explore more deeply in Brightness Reef, Infinity's Shore and the grand conclusion Heaven's Reach!

Speculation has its place, as there grows an ever-larger realm of overlap between science and fiction. And you... you who made it this far in shared fascination... you are citizens of this wonder.


On September 27 only, my 3rd novel (and one of the most-fun) THE PRACTICE EFFECT will briefly be on sale for Kindle for $1.99! through Bookbub and Low Price promotions. Don't miss your chance! 

Saturday, September 15, 2018

“Forbidden Fruit” and how a legal doctrine may decide the fate of America

First off, because everyone is talking about it, here at last are signs that a member of Congress was actually able to read (closely) the 25th Amendment. (I still think my approach is more subtle, incorporated in the proposed Fact Act… ) and explained here.  Exit strategies Part II: Surprising aspects of the 25th Amendment." 

Now on to today's topic. But I'll finish with a speculation how America's women -- especially wives -- may pull a gentle Lysistrata... and save the republic.

== Where will you stand, when the devil turns round? ==

Alas. In the recent Supreme Court confirmation hearings, there's one line of questioning I'd love to have seen Democratic senators pursue. (Well, we also all deserve to learn more about the possibility of gambling-addiction and mob ties.)

My question is complicated, but might have cornered Judge Kananaugh. Certainly, Sens. Feinstein or Harris etc. could/should have asked Kavanaugh to explain the "fruit" theory. Or "fruit of a tainted tree." What’s that? It'll take some explaining:

We all know if a perp's rights are violated (e.g. no Miranda warning) then any evidence against him that derives from that failure becomes inadmissible. In fact, forbidding fruit from an illegal police act is only one possible remedy to deter such acts and enforce rigorous cop-professionalism. Another option is to punish the police who committed the errors. Either method will work, causing strenuous efforts to reduce error rates. But we know the punishment option would wreck police morale, so it is only used in extremis. Instead, the banishing of "fruit" punishes prosecutors, who presumably can take the disappointment better.

One of my correspondents, Ben Brown, responded to me with both affirmation and clarification in legalese:

The "exclusionary rule" is a judge-made rule that was intended to enforce the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The Fourth Amendment prohibits most warrantless searches and all unreasonable searches, but is silent as to how this prohibition is to be enforced. To deal with this lacuna, courts invented the "exclusionary rule," which says that prosecutors can't use evidence obtained in a search that violates the Fourth Amendment. As you rightly point out, the "exclusionary rule" discourages such illegal searches without the loss to police morale that a more punitive policy would entail. Also, by using the "exclusionary rule" in lieu of monetary penalties (e.g., allowing victims of illegal searches to sue the government for damages), the courts have preserved public treasuries. The "fruit of the poisonous tree" doctrine is an extension to the exclusionary rule. If a prosecutor obtains a piece of evidence, A, directly from an illegal search, and then uses A as a clue that leads to a second piece of evidence, B, the prosecutor may use neither A nor B. It is important to note that the exclusionary rule is not in the Constitution itself; it is merely a stratagem courts use to enforce the Constitution. So, as you rightly point out again, the Supreme Court could theoretically do away with the exclusionary rule and replace it with an alternative, workable stratagem.”

Now to ironies: the 'fruit of a tainted tree' argument is exactly the straw that the President’s lawyers -- Giuliani etc. – clutch in frantic desperation! They hope to toss the whole Mueller investigation, not due to their client’s innocence (no one even tries to assert that, anymore) but a technicality. That the FISA court search warrant on R Gates that started all the dominoes falling came about from the "politically biased Steele Dossier."

Put aside that it's a lie. The FISA request was already underway for other reasons. And the Steele dossier was originally commissioned by Republicans! And there's absolutely no hint of anything illegal or untoward about the Steele Dossier's process. That is still the thread on which they hope Kavanaugh will work with Gorsuch and Thomas and Alito to toss everything Mueller and end the U. S. republic.

Only then, tellingly, Ben Brown adds: “It is speculated that Judge Kavanaugh is actually not in favor of the exclusionary rule, although he currently enforces it due to binding Supreme Court precedent.” 

Fascinating. In fact, banning the fruit of a tainted procedure is not a matter of reflex necessity! Especially not when the fate of the republic is in balance and the to-be-forbidden "fruit" includes evidence of presidential high crimes and treason.

== By his 'fruit' you shall know him ==

So, which way will Kavanaugh swing?  We all must start preparing now to make these arguments. But the immediate import of the "fruit" standard applies to Kanavaugh himself. 

Consider. If the man who appointed him is later proved to have been a mafiosi and a traitor, does this impugn his appointments? His "fruit"?  Under those conditions, an august and truly admirable justice, like Abe Fortas, might resign. But it cannot happen when the jurist in question was “groomed” by a dogmatic feudalist movement, all his life. (A grooming perhaps reinforced and enforced by methods I describe elsewhere.)

We are in dangerous, unprecedented territory and I am afraid it might wind up being decided in the ultimate court. The one that outranks the SP. To which nations and peoples have gone to confront injustice, when all institutions fail.

I fear this, though I have been warning of it, for more than a decade. We need to keep clear heads. Take deep breaths. Prove to be the cool, thoughtful ones. But also let the Murdochians and their casino/slumlord/mafiosi/KGB backers know that we will remember them, totally, if it comes to that.

== “I pick the best people. I’m a great judge of character ====

The ammo Omarosa Manigault-Newman has given us is not a silly he-said/she-said spat about “n-words,” but utter refutation that Donald Trump is a “good judge of character.”

I wrote those words before we ever heard of the “anonymous op-ed writer” or saw excerpts from Bob Woodward’s book. It seems that every week, people Donald Trump appointed as “special, brilliant, the best” wind up denounced by him as “treacherous, crazy liars… the worst.”

Whatever the merits of any one case, and whoever is lying – (in the case of Trump vs. Omarosa, likely both) – no Hannity incantation can spare your mad uncle from one dissonant truth:

Donald Trump chooses people he later decides to hate.

It’s the central fact that no one can evade. Appointing good people is a president’s #1 job. But he’s absolutely proven to be a lousy judge of character… including that “stable genius” he sees in the mirror.

Tom Englehardt, on Salon, runs through a long list of Trumpian “triumphs” like debasing the national discourse, crashing U.S. science and demolishing our alliances. Then he goes on to say Donald Trump will not be remembered for any of those things. Not even the relentless chain of “betrayals” by his own people:

“He won’t be remembered for the record crew of people who took positions in his administration only to find themselves, within a year or so (or even days), fleeing the premises or out on their noses, including Anthony Scaramucci (6 days), Michael Flynn (25 days), Mike Dubke (74 days), Sean Spicer (183 days), Reince Priebus (190 days), Sebastian Gorka (208 days), Steve Bannon (211 days), Tom Price (232 days), Dina Powell (358 days), Omarosa Manigault Newman (365 days), Rob Porter (384 days), Hope Hicks (405 days), Rex Tillerson (406 days), David Shulkin (408 days), Gary Cohn (411 days), H.R. McMaster (413 days), John McEntee (417 days), and Scott Pruitt (504 days). And White House Counsel Don McGahn was only recently tweeted out of office, too, with others to follow.”

“Nor will he be remembered for the number of close associates who turned on him — from his personal lawyer Michael Cohen, who once swore to take a bullet for him, only to testify against him; to the publisher of the National Enquirer, David Pecker, who had long buried salacious material about him, only to accept an immunity deal from federal prosecutors to blab about him; to the Trump Organization’s chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, who did the same. Nor will The Don(ald) be remembered for his mafia-style language and focus (“RAT,” “loyalty,” and “flipping”), his familiar references to a mob boss, the way he clings to his personal version of omertà, the Mafia code of silence, or for being “a president at war with the law.”

No, none of that. Let me reiterate: the most powerful point democrats could make is this: 

“No matter what excuses you offer for Trump, what’s clear from his own shouts is that he’s been ‘betrayed’ by more appointees than all other presidents, combined. 

"Aside from the merits of any case, what’s proved is that this man is a crappy judge of character.”

Englehardt’s long list of things Trump won’t be remembered for is – of course -- stylistically and intentionally disingenuous. It is a stunningly well-calibrated list that each of you can use as ammo to convert one (that’s your assignment) RASR or Residually Adult-Sane Republican. But the author has his top priority…

…it is the fate of our children in a world semi-permanently wracked by the consequences of human-wrought climate change. And yes, Mr. Englehardt is on-target about that – our kids will hunt down Rupert Murdoch and his shills, for what they’ve done to us. So read his missive. And get mad enough to get active.

Still, I disagree about the “worst thing.” Two Scoops still has a chance to do something that outshadows even environmental neglect. And I bet he’s trying hard to make it happen.


== Lysistrata redux ==

All polls show a plummet in support for both President Trump and the GOP, especially in the Midwest and in the suburbs – leading to a likely surge in desperate cheating, across the next 8 weeks. So encourage anyone you know in an important swing district to volunteer for poll watching, and you can help with get-out-the-vote.

The biggest topic in polling is a massive gender gap. Men approve of  Trump by 50 percent-to-42 percent. But women disapprove 62 percent-to-28. In 2016 Trump won 41 percent of women. "This is an election about gender," said the Marist Institute for Public Opinion, though party identification and race are still major factors. 

Which leads us to a potential maneuver and ingredient that might decide the fate of America and the planet.  

Beer. On election Tuesday, wives and sweethearts across the U.S. should vote early, then bring home sixpacks of his favorite. Offer slippers. Put a game on TV with lots of munchies. Put on something alluring. For the good of the republic. 

There’s a downside?