Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Ostrich Papers: "What if Clinton had..." (Part IV - finale)

Okay, I have worried this bone down to the marrow, in an effort to be comprehensive and offer a useful political tool. Now, let's try to finish up.

By now, you know what to do. Print out parts I, II and III and use them as a long list of hypocrisy skewers to wear down an ostrich. Of course, you’ll have to be persistent, because it may take all of these things, before their state of denial finally erodes far enough for him to start getting mad. Mad over how they have been made a tool. Over how conservatism has been hijacked by monsters.

And, especially, furious at a gang of thieves, for putting him in a position of having to apologize for six years (and more) of obstinate block headedness!

Still, in order to avoid wasting time, be sure and distinguish between five types of Republican! Four kinds are a complete waste of time.

* The owners and thieves themselves, insiders benefiting from the Great Klepto Raid. Or their high-paid shills. I doubt you’ll meet any of these. But they already know what you’d say. Having sold America, they only care about evading accountability.

(Don’t worry, they’ll be taken care of - in the greatest irony of all - by their own children.)

* Fanatics and dogmatists (see below). Not all bad news. Some of the sincere religious are starting to see the light. But you lack the charisma, incantations, or credentials to be their agent of change.

* The narrowminded variety of libertarians, who can see only one threat to markets and freedom - bureaucrats. Ignoring all of human history, this oversimplifying silliness has rendered libertarianism a joke, in the one country where it had a chance. Pity. (Though, steer some of them toward Ron Paul! A decent man, if 1/4 crazy.) If you tell them Bush has systematically quashed our government’s professionals and institutions, in order to rob us blind, they will ask “so?”

* “Tribal republicans.” A far larger group. People who have simply bonded with the GOP and will accept whatever definition of “conservatism” is spoon fed to them by their anointed leader, or on Fox, even if it is diametrically opposite to what they were fed ten years ago. Their loyalty is tribal in the sense that it is far stronger than their love of country or civilization.

(In fairness, many lefties are like this, too!)

Most of your troglodyte uncles are just this hopelessly and rigidly and “tribally” certain. They might concede the entire list of hypocrisies, and blithely reply “well, the next republicans will be better.” Or else,“any democrat would be worse.”

* Which leaves the last group. “Decent conservatives.” Dole Goldwater Republicans. Men and women who have let their definitions drift, and who may have some tribal-obstinate reflexes, but who really do have some rock-solid values that you can appeal-to.

Above all, they would actually choose America, if forced to see that the decision really is in stark terms... a choice between our nation and today’s GOP. (This category also includes more broadminded libertarians, who have actually read Adam Smith.) Only this last part of Karl Rove’s Big Tent Coalition - the ostriches - will be budged by evidence or reason. That’s the bad news.

The good news? These people make up the largest single bloc in Rove’s tent! If we use honor, evidence and patriotism to lure enough of them outside, the tent will unravel. The crazies will be marginalized. Culture War will wither.

Even better, this category includes many of those skilled professionals - in the civil service, officer corps, FBI and so on - who may yet save us all. If they wake up. Enough to do their jobs.

So let’s finish up. Onward, with more skewers for hypocrites.

(Remember, don’t simply ask your Ostrich to read these on paper. They will skim and their minds will veer. It is essential to sit them down and read the list to them, aloud.)

==WOULD YOUR HACKLES RAISE IF IT WERE DEMOCRATS WHO...==

...insist that it is just fine for two companies, run by a pair of extreme partisan brothers, to manufacture the nation’s voting machines, never submitting their software code for open testing, obstructing paper trails or auditing, while lobbying for state laws that forbid exit polling, as a last ditch way to verify election results? Wouldn’t that combination make you a little, well, paranoid? That is, if democrats did it.

...kept buying up newspapers, radio stations and television outlets, aided by rule changes that allow just a few men to control most of the news Americans get to hear? Fabulously rich men who are actively and relentlessly partisan?

...let politically connected companies control the FDA, write laws, pick the inspectors who regulate them, and allowed Big Tobacco to settle court judgements for one penny on the dollar?

(Self-check: Admit it! If Cintonite Democrats had done any of these things, you’d be up in arms! So why are you ignoring it now?)

==OTHER HYPOCRISIES==

Don’t you think you would have called it politically “significant” if Democrats were involved in nine out of ten of the lawmaker sex/perversion/corruption scandals, in the last decade? Of course you would!

You’d call it symptomatic of deeply-rooted Democratic depravity.

So how do you manage to shrug it off as “irrelevant” when -- in fact -- it turns out to be GOP lawmakers getting caught as flagrant perverts or crooks, nine times out of ten?

Is that symptomatic? Deep-rooted? No?

Why not?

Among all of the major candidates running for the Democratic and Republican presidential nominations, five out of six of the divorces... and all of the really nasty ones... are on the GOP side.

Not important, you say? Not morally indicative?
Would you have said the same thing, if the stats were reversed?
Really?


Well then, would you call it politically “significant” if all if the worst spies to harm America in the last generation happened to be Democrats? Of course you would! You’d call it symptomatic of Democratic wickedness and a propensity for treason.

So how do you manage to shrug it off as “irrelevant” when -- in fact -- it turns out that all if the worst spies to harm America in the last generation were, in fact, Republicans?(The Walkers, Aldrich Ames, Robert Hanssen, and so on.)

When “abstinence” programs result in much higher teen pregnancy and STD rates than Sex Education, can you be practical and abandon a dogma that failed?
When divorce rates are much higher among fundamentalists than among bluestaters, shall we listen to them preach about marriage?
When they rant against science, doesn’t it embarrass you?
When brazenly doctrinaire fundamentalist groups take millions in your taxes, to use seeking converts, does your copy of the Constitution even cringe?

When they declare that millions of their fellow citizens are literally and inherently damned to eternal torment in Hell, because of differences in faith, do you squirm, even a little?

Above all, when those same fanatics publicly yearn for an end to the world -- impatiently salivating for an imminent, blood-drenched, Revelations conflagration -- shall we rush to give such people control over diplomacy, policy, our military, and nuclear weapons?
Really?

People who pray daily for events that will terminate America should be given control of our nation’s tiller?

Is this where “conservatism” has gone?

And is that whirring sound Barry Goldwater, spinning in his grave?

Oh, but the ironies and hypocrisies go on.

==WOULD YOU HAVE BEEN UPSET IF BILL CLINTON...==

...responded to a terror attack by grounding all Americans for two days, not allowing them to fly...

...but meanwhile whisked out of the country, in luxury, every rich or well-connected citizen of a hostile foreign power? The same foreign power from which most of the terrorists had come? Including some relatives and close friends of the plotters? Not even allowing the FBI to ask them any questions?

Would you have let all that tickle your paranoia bone, if a Democratic president did it? Or would you have shouted treason?

Then why aren’t you even a little bit curious in this world. The world where your party has guided America down a path of steep decline?

Is there even a chance you’ll be honest and honorable enough to realize that -- this time -- it is your side that has gone quite jibbering insane?

And delusional, even at the level of personal evaluations of character.

WARNING: some of the following section may seem immature and degrading. Skip over it, if you like. But none of it is below the level of things spewed by Rush Limbaugh and Anne Coulter, for decades.

==What if Bill Clinton...==

...preened and preached about his own personal courage, then had himself put unconscious under anesthesia, simply to avoid the discomfort of a routine colonoscopy? Not once but twice? While the White House made a big deal out of “minimizing the risk this caused the nation” by transferring power officially to the Vice President? Can you imagine what Rush would have made of such incredible wimpiness, if Clinton had cried to be put out for a routine exam?

...preened and preached about his own personal courage, then hid out for the first few days after a nation’s trauma with a major terrorist attack? (That is, after finishing reading a 2nd grade children’s book aloud, before watching cameras.)

...mocked and sneered at a condemned woman’s plea for clemency, on national television? (Whatever your opinions on capital punishment, is a “mature leader”someone who treats such matters with sober dignity, or with fratboy nastiness and hand-rubbing glee?)

...spent his first days in office re-assigning scores of FBI agents away from proper duties, sending them, instead, sifting through executive department files, in a vain and (utterly!) fruitless search for any kind of dirt on the previous administration? Agents who were thus not on duty, looking out for dangers to the people, during months leading up to a terrible terror attack upon the nation?

(Wouldn’t you have called that an impeachable offense... even outright treason... if the fellow doing it had been Bill Clinton?)

What if, while publicly calling out for tighter immigration controls, Bill Clinton acted to cripple the Border Patrol during his first year in office, so that his backers would have access to cheap, undocumented labor?

(Of course, in real life, Bill Clinton did the opposite, doubling the Border Patrol, during his first months, while preaching racial tolerance. But what if someone else did do that other thing? Would it make you even a little mad?)

...had to be bailed out of failure after failure in college, the military, law school, and every business venture that he ever “ran” (into the ground) always counting on friends of his father to come save the day? Only then, with ultimate power in his hands, he found new friends, with character more like his own? Whereupon he banished pop’s former advisors, and party elders, and old-style conservatives - and even the old man himself - from any further position of advice, party leadership, or “grownup supervision”?

Okay, let’s put aside all the lesser character flaws of narrowmindedness, incurious dogmatism, yes-man egotism, and irresponsibility. What about the truly monstrous and unforgivable flaw of sheer ingratitude?

Toward the men who smoothed life’s road before him? Or toward the nation that nurtured him? Or toward his own father? Would this story of relentless, feckless “failing upward” - combined with smug, unprincipled and unappreciative ruthlessness - have drawn at least a little worry from you by now?

That is, if Bill Clinton were the one described here?


== A Capsule Summary?==

How can any final capsule envelope all these comparisons? All these crimes?

If one president balanced budgets and the other bankrupted us. If one enhanced government efficiency while the other gave 200+ billions in non-bid contracts directly to friends. If one oversaw a boom in small business and the other a surge of monopolies. If one sliced secrecy while the other sent it rocketing to levels never seen in the Cold War. If one helped all society to prosper spectacularly and the other helped only aristocrats. If one earned respect from the US Officer Corps and the other one betrayed the military at every turn...

...which would be the logical choice for a patriotic and logical "decent conservative?"

If one maintained military readiness, including thirty fully ready combat brigades, and the other one stripped us bare, exhausting our brave troops and leaving us with only two ready brigades, which would be a "strong" president? The one who handled his war with fierce, surgical precision costing no American lives and transforming a continent, while boosting our popularity and alliances? Or the one who has driven away all of our allies, made us more hated than ever, while accomplishing nothing at all?

One doubles the Border Patrol and the other shatters it. Which was the Republican? One leaves office without a single official indicted and the other loses comrades to jail or ignominy almost every week. Which was the "sleaze" subjected to a $2 billion witch hunt?

Oh, there is no way to summarize. No way to reprise or shortcut. Because ostriches will squirm and struggle to keep their heads in the sand. No, the only way to do this is to go through the whole thing, over and over again, till the hypnotic spell shatters, the neocon fever breaks, and they -- our cousins and neighbors and fellow citizens -- finally wake up.

== THE WORST HYPOCRISY OF ALL==

Let’s cut to the chase. Of all the actions that would have condemned Bill Clinton and the Democrats to perdition, if they did it to America -- Culture War would surely have been the worst crime of all. Dividing our nation, pitting us against each other along dismal, geographic and dogmatic lines. Making partisanship the sole test of any issue. Any at all.

That would have enraged you, if the other side did it. Now, live with having helped and excused the same crime, simply because “culture war” served your side, for a while.

Only, dig this: it was “blue America”... people living in the nation’s cities... who responded with courage and fortitude, both on 9/11 and every day since. Who fought back (aboard Boston originated flight UA93). Who stood atop rubble in New York, shouting at the terrorists“Is that all you got?”

Urbanites already pay the most taxes, getting least in return. Yet, led into war, they say “Tax us, not our grandchildren, so we can support the troops and get on with winning... or else get us out of that crazy quagmire!”

Above all, they have said: “Fear? What fear? An ‘endless emergency’ only gives in to terror and lets crooks bypass the law! Let America get back to normal law. Normal rights and progress. Accountability. And stop using us as an excuse to grab power.

“Yes, urban America is in the crosshairs. When more bad things happen, we will take the hits. But we’ll face whatever comes, with courage, refusing to let it daunt or change us. Can you say the same?”


== WE REFUSE TO BECOME THE USSA==

Our country won’t be panicked into becoming the United Security States of America.

Red America can’t have it both ways, despising cityfolk while using New Yorkers as martyrs. Yammering fear of terror, while loathing their fellow citizens who actually live in the crosshairs. Demanding the benefits of a continental republic, while waging Culture War against half its populace.

It’s time for “decent” conservatives to pull their heads out of the sand. Former supporters of the neocon movement must own up and say aloud the words that every scientist - and every honest citizen - learns to speak, from time to time, as a simple matter of mature habit:

“I might be wrong.”

Admit, before it is too late, that you were so very wrong about culture war, about the neoconservative Gang of Thieves, about climate change, and just about everything else, since the 21st Century began.

Admit it! Be adults. Salvage the best parts of conservatism by rescuing the movement from monsters. Act now, while there is still something left of it to save.

And join us in rebuilding our country, repairing the ravages of this, our latest Civil War..

.

“We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men.”
- Edward R. Murrow

69 comments:

Klaus Walter said...

David, you wrapped that up brilliantly. I think Part IV is stylistically the best.

Two points:

1) regarding the [i]"...kept buying up newspapers, radio stations and television outlets, aided by rule changes that allow just a few men to control most of the news Americans get to hear?"[/i] That was Clinton, in the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Granted Bush's FCC run by Colin Powell's son slept at the wheel, but the groundwork was laid by Bill on that one.

2) I've thought about this essay, and why not turn it into the political equivalent of Sam Harris' "Letter to a Christian Nation"? A small book in large print, 96 pages or so, each chapter focusing on a particular *type* of malfeasance (since there are so many). That way, you'd have profitable work and we'd still have you to 'kick around' here :)

Pat Mathews said...

I can tell you why they'd scream bloody murder at perversions etc of Democrats and blow off those of their own. The same reason an act committed by a lower-class person is seen as needing to be jumped on hard, but committed by an upper-class person is seen as a one-time aberration, to be excused and the accuser accused of "trying to ruin the life of such a fine young person."

It's because they have pre-defined Them as being Bad People by Definition and Us as being Good People by Definition. Therefore, when One Of Them does something wrong it's only their innate wicked (or animal) nature coming out, and that has to be stomped on, fast. But when One of Us does something wrong, well, since they're god people by definition, it has to be an accident, a one-time aberration, or the fault of the other person involved. (See also, "the woman did tempt me...")

And when you see that some people use this hard-and-fast division, it explains a lot about whatever happened to their sense of fairness. It's tribally defined.

Jean Lamb said...

I call this 'the Gryffindor Effect"--you know, where it's ok for Gryffindors to bully students, nearly kill them, use Unforgivables, despise the people who are actually in danger protecting them--and still be the Good Guys.

Hawker Hurricane said...

IOKWWDI... "It's OK When We Do It".

And Jean Lamb, you're right. When *they* do it, it's part of a pattern of malfeasance going back to the creation of the Republic. When *we* do it, it's a one time event, an aberation, and done either in a desperate attempt to prevent the unthinkable OR done by a person pushed beyond the limits but who'll be just fine with therapy...
Now, both sides do this... but with the current Republican supporters, it's a way of life.

Anonymous said...

More evidence that sanity and thinking pragmatism prevails in the Navy. I would love to believe that SecDef Gates is behind this.

WASHINGTON - In the first major revision of U.S. naval strategy in 25 years, maritime officials said Wednesday they plan to focus more on humanitarian missions and improving international cooperation as a way to prevent conflicts.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21343519/

-priMal

Stefan Jones said...

This series would make a good piece for Salon . . . but only if what has been accumulated is treated as raw notes for a short, punchy, concise article.

Sheer volume and repeating catch phrases gets way tedious after a while. Private string variables like "citokate" should be avoided. Just pick the most obvious and troll-resistant examples and wrap them in a cheeky op-ed style piece.

Provide ONE link to an index of the full-blown four-part evidence-dump you have here!

"The Gryffindor effect"

That's hilarious! Yes, I think there's an state of mind where people are so sure of themselves and their cause that they blow off all evidence that they are not the heroes of the story.

The truth is, none of us are heroes. That's where "citokate" and "iaamoac" come in.

Tony Fisk said...

Yes, I like 'The Gryffindor Effect'

Although note that, as the series has progressed, the children who held to that sentiment have been growing out of it (or, at least, the author has been dropping hints that they *ought* to be growing out of it!)

Adarael said...

Oh, Dr. Brin...
In these strange times where facts are tossed about like opinion and opinion is used as the basis of law...
When the very people who are shouting loudest that they love the government are getting screwed hardest by it...
And when science fiction authors other than yourself shout so long and hard to destroy huge sections of culture because they are 'evil', and decry the idea of reaching a civil dialogue with any of them...

...I'm really glad you're still able to use your brain like humans ought to be expected to.

This is a nation that has driven sections of itself mad, I think.

David Brin said...

Thanks. But I wish my version of indignation were more like the kind I see in others. Loud, furious, denunciations of stark evil... followed by a wash of cleansing endorphins and a feeling of a job well done. Back to work, feeling a nice, high afterglow.

I don't work that way. All my life I have been subject to my own delusion. That people can be reasoned-with through voluminous exchange of words. I KNOW IT IS A DELUSION, yet the habit cannot be broken.

So, George W. Bush get the blame for my poor fiction productivity, in recent years? Argh and feh, it's me. An inflated sense of self-importance. As if anything I do would make a difference.

(If they really feared me, wouldn't I be dead by now?) Honest self-appraisal is a bitch.

===

Please guys, any citokate or links to use in revising this piece? Stefan, as usual, was helpful.

Oh, anybody gone slumming on conservative fan sites like Pournelle's Denial Manor? Am I being dissed? Strawmanned?

matthew said...

David, good series of posts - and Stefan's idea of paring them down to one short bullet-proof article is even better.

But, time to spin back to other ideas. Please? I think this horse has been flogged enough. Take a breather, turn out the political lamp for a while.

Take hope. Remember that Americans are contrary by nature. Once burned by a group of idiots (or turncoats) our nation will hold a long term (20 year) grudge.

To give an optimistic spin to our national nightmare of the last seven years - we are waking up. Getting pissed. NeoCon might not die, but for the next twenty years *NO ONE* will be able to screw around with the stuff they have poisoned. Not the Dems, not the Republicants, not anyone. Just watch the pendulum swing back, man. Private armies can't stop the people, imperial presidencies can't turn the tide, a horde of black helicopters can't scare off the mob. Nothing scarier than pissed-off, betrayed Americans..

Even the most dedicated guardians have gotta have a breather sometime... Tighten the post(s) of the Ostrich Papers into one 500 word blast, shop it around, get it out, then rest a while. Cool?

David Brin said...

Cool.

Woozle said...

The most recent mention of "Brin" on Pournelle's site seems to be in February 2006, a reference to Earth as regards a relatively non-political issue of physics.

Google search of jerrypournelle.com for "Brin"

Nate said...

Y'know, there's times when I despair. The Republican party is completely insane, and yet, despite having a majority in both houses of Congress, the Democrats cave on crap like illegal warrantless searches again and again and again. What's the goddamn point of voting them into a majority when they still let the Republicans run things? When they still won't do anything about torture, or illegal spying on Americans, or lies that could lead us to war again, or any of the many many crimes of the Bush administration?

What the fuck does it take to get these people to stand up to the criminals in charge of the Republicans?

Carl said...

You seem to rule out Ron Paul because he is 1/4 crazy.

Time to dust off the history books again. History is full of crazy world leaders, men far crazier than Ron Paul. This includes some of the "great" leaders.

Let's see, we had Kennedy's drug use, Johnson's megalomania, Nixon's paranoia, Reagan's senility (near the end), Andrew Johnson's alcoholism, Grant's heavy drinking, Jackson's belligerance... Wilson and Roosevelt were effectively dead near the ends of their last terms.

It takes a certain level of mania to claw one's way up to the top. Such is an argument for aristocracy. (Then again, W. Bush makes a good argument against aristocracy!)

Ron Paul does not suffer from megalomania, like some of the above. His problem is a possibly excessive adherence to principle over practicality. I think the closest recent historical analog to a Ron Paul presidency would be Jimmy Carter's presidency.

Under Carter, you had hidden problems abroad coming to the surface as he reigned in the CIA. A feeling of "malaise" as the president spoke bluntly about the nation's problems. Meanwhile, under the hood, many problems were beginning to get solved: Volker tightened up the money supply, the military was investigating what would become SDI, energy price regulations were being phased out, airlines were deregulated, government growth in real terms was slowed more than under Reagan...

Methinks a Paul presidency would have much in common with the Carter presidency. Real reforms overshadowed with some surface ugliness.

HH said...

"Wilson and Roosevelt were effectively dead near the ends of their last terms."

I should probably let this slide, but... FDR was not effectively dead near the end of his last term, he was VERY dead at the end of his last term. He died near the beginning of his last term (12 Apr 45, term began in January 45).

atolley said...

Nate: "Y'know, there's times when I despair. The Republican party is completely insane, and yet, despite having a majority in both houses of Congress, the Democrats cave on crap like illegal warrantless searches again and again and again. What's the goddamn point of voting them into a majority when they still let the Republicans run things? When they still won't do anything about torture, or illegal spying on Americans, or lies that could lead us to war again, or any of the many many crimes of the Bush administration?"

Frankly I see this as a big problem for the Democratic party in 2008. Republicans can say "see even when they had a majority they realized our ideas were better (or their ideas were bad)". What are the Democrats going to say they accomplished since Nov 2006? Sweet FA? I really do not understand the game they are playing. Furthermore, they weaken their constituency should a left-leaning 3rd party candidate appear. What if this candidate says he'll:

1. Bring the troops home on entering office.
2. Restore the constitution by pushing for a revocation of the Patriot Act, dissolving DHS, etc.
3. Push to achieve some substantial move towards a single payer H/C system.
4. Pay for this with a steeper progressive tax system.

Just how many voters would desert the Democratic party and vote to put this candidate to office? What if this energized a trend for similar candidates in Congress?

Nate said...

I'm of two minds on an actual liberal candidate running.

First, it'd be about damn time!

Second though, the current Republican field is completely batshit crazy. Guiliani scares me more than Bush, in a lot of ways. And the rest of the Republicans are pushing for more war, more torture, and more tax cuts. The sanest one of the bunch is Ron Paul, and he's pushing the crazy Libertarian party planks too. So if any of the Republicans won, it would be a VERY BAD thing.

But on the other hand, having actual liberal candidates, rather than Republicans and "Not as bad as Republicans" like we do now would fundamentally change politics.

"What if this energized a trend for similar candidates in Congress?"

One can only hope. Because the current Democrats in Congress are doing a whole lot of nothing, and I don't know why. It's not like the Republicans are going to not attack them as "soft on terrorism" or sneer at them as wimps if they go along with what Republicans want. Heck, that'll just prove the wimps thing to the Republicans, because even when the Democrats have the power and the opportunity, they don't use it.

David Brin said...

Nate I sympathize with the Cong-Dems inability to actually pass anything meaningful, faced with gopper fillibuster threats and Bush vetos. ALso, it is foolish to make a simplistic Iraq withdrawal move that will do nothing except give Fox ammo.

What pisses ME off is their lack of jiu-jitsu imagination and ability to see a myriad small actions that could chop the gop at the ankles, in prep for 08

1- call their bluff and draw the fillibuster! Make the old pervert/farts stay up all night, playing Jimmy Stewart. It’s a win-win. Exhaust them while making them look awful.

2- there’s TONS of moves Congress could make that would either squeak past Bush or force a damaging veto. I have listed many of these at: http://www.davidbrin.com/suggestions.html

Just passing the IGUS bill would show a stark contrast between open-clean government advocates and thieves. But the consultants tell every dem “people don’t care about process issues.” It is madness! Those consultants are paid under the table by the Heritage Foundation, I betcha.

Carl - I knew Ron Paul when he was the Libertarian candidate. I admire the 75%... and find the 25% deeply loony/bothersome. He typifies the wing of libertarianism that has ruined the party’s chances for decades. STill, were I to choose between him and ANY of the other GOP candidates?

Paul is like an exciting breakfast cereal that you have to pick through, to remove the rocks, and then enjoy the berries. Him and a dem Congress would be a fascinating 4 year argument, accomplishing many cool things. I’d want some kind of close medical supervision...

The others - except Stephen Colbert - are all simply monsters.

atolley: the dems don’t HAVE to go out on limbs. ALl they have to do is DO some things. See my suggestion list. jiu jitse, not sumo.

Reminder, we need a dem to win in 09 for just one reason. Not liberal policies, or even Iraq. Just one thing and a YELLOW DOG would do it, if a democrat.

Removal of the 2,000 raging loons from Oral Roberts and Bob Jones U who have been appointed to supervise the professionals in the FBI, CIA and military and civil service. They would go away. Almost instantly, the AIDS equivalent disease hobbling our nation’s immune system would vanish and professionals would do their jobs.

That is all I care about right now... and the reason the neocons will NOT let go easily! Just allowing our civil servants to work will matter more than any number of bills you can imagine. Jails will fill and we will see again. At last.

Stefan Jones said...

There's a simple explanation for the Democrat's compliance.

If they show the slightest bit of orneriness, Dick Cheney holds up a index card on which is written:

"If anything happens, we'll blame the next terrorist attack on you."

If the Democrats wait out the clock, and nothing happens, they'll still have plenty of material to run against.

If there is an attack, despite having gotten everything they wanted, the administration gets tagged as the assholes who took away our rights and started a useless, distracting war for nothing.

I wish they (the Democrats) would stop being so frigging scared and stare down Cheney. Pursue the investigations and lawsuits. Put some of the f&^%$%s in jail. Make Bush demonstrate whose side he's really on by forcing him to issue pardons and vetoes. And ignore FOX News; no one who watches that cesspool is going to vote for them anyway.

Woozle said...

"Dick Cheney holds up a card..." This got me thinking. Is it possible that this is the threat that is somehow being held over the Dems' heads: "You go against us, and we will be so... let's say 'distracted'... (you know, like back before 9/11, when we overlooked that little National Security Briefing thingy, about Osama being determined to strike in the US?)... that we might just kind of accidentally drop a few of the leads we're following, and... well... bad things could happen." (We already have several neocon voices calling for what one would think would be unspeakable except in the very back of a closet, with all the lights off and nobody in the house: "we need another 9/11". Using such a thing as a threat is clearly not beyond them, if they could find a way to do it.)

The only thing about this which I have trouble believing is that not one single legislator given this speech would have said anything about it.

Maybe it doesn't take that many, however, to effectively render the Dem majority a Dem minority.

And maybe the Bushco spinmeisters are better at I am as far as cleverly positioning the threat as something else. Guilt and shame can be powerful motivators, and it doesn't take outright blackmail to bring them into play.

David Brin said...

If we had our own spinmeisters, financed by rich moderates the way Fox is financed by rich thieves, then there are dozens of comebacks.

"Distractions from professional security work might allow a 9/11 attack? Fine, Mr. Vice President. How about the scores of FBI & other agents YOU set to work, during the first 6 months of your administration, searching (fruitlessly) for dirst on Bill Clinton?

"That almost certainly raised our risk. It might, indeed, qualify as treason."

Why do we have no jugular shooters like this?

Doug S. said...

How much money DOES it take to finance a spinmiester?

Woozle said...

Seems to me there must be some pretty good comebacks we could come up with, if we knew what arm-twisting arguments were actually being used. The enemy has, of course, learned the value of opacity; we need to find ways to get around that opacity without knowing in advance what's holding it in place.

Might it be worth the time to mount a letter-writing campaign to Dems who voted against the measures they were put in office to vote for (and vice-versa), to ask them pointedly, but in a friendly and supportive way, if they felt at all coerced (for any reason) to vote the way they did?

We'd need a list of who this is, and specifically where they fell down. Looks like several hours of work to me, unless someone knows of an existing list somewhere.

David Brin said...

See:

http://www.davidbrin.com/blackmail.html

Anonymous said...

From Zorgon the Malevolent:
(blogger logon still broken, who knows why)

A couple of trivial corrections. You describe Whitewater as a 2 billion dollar investigation. I've never seen a figure that high. CNN reported the cost of the Whitewater witch hunt as 70 million dollars:
http://www.cnn.com/2006/POLITICS/03/20/scotus.whitewater.tucker.ap/index.html

Of course even 7 dollars would have been too much to spend on that smear job disguised as a criminal investigation, but anyone who sees the 2 billion dollar figure and knows it's incorrect will have a convenient excuse to dismiss the rest of your arguments.

You describe the current GOP as "jibbering insane." A jib is part of the mast of a sailing vessel. You mean "gibbering insane." In any case, it's probably not a good idea to use this kind of inflammatory language, even if it is factually accurate. Better to use relatively neutral language, such as "extremist" or "radical," or better yet simply describe factually the stated positions of GOP candidates. Viz., when asked whether he would follow the constitution and consult congress before declaring war, Mitt Romney said he'd have to consult with his lawyers. LOL.

Q: "So, President Romney, are you going to obey the constitution?"
A: "I'll have to check with my lawyers and get back to you."

Need a rational person say more?

Or you could merely cite the fact that 2 of the GOP cnadidates for president publicly avow their disbelief in evolution.

Or you could just quote Giulinai's claim that "I'd double Guantanamo." Any moderate Republican will recoil with horror from this kind of craziness without having to be told it's batshit insane.

The effort to argue logically with moderate Repubs seems worthwhile, even if it's late in the game. My own sense is that the vast majority of the moderate Repubs have already bailed out of the nuthouse now misnamed the GOP. For examples, see sites like www.balloon-juice.com, where former hard-core Repub John Cole daily describes Repubs as "the filth that have taken over my party" and "treasonous scum." This from a guy who voted for the drunk-driving C student not just once, but twice. Moderate Repubs are already so disgusted and appalled that it's most unlikely any of 'em remain loyal to the current kakistokracy.

You describe moderate Repubs as the largest bloc of current GOP voters. The numbers I've seen suggest just the opposite. The only serious GOP supporters at present seem to be the 27-percenters, the crazies who like the mess in Iraq and love the idea of invading Iran because they think it'll produce Armageddon in the Middle East and lead to the rapture.

Do you have any hard poll numbers to provide evidence that moderate Repubs are the base of the GOP today, in late 2007? It seems to me that the opposite is the case. Moderate Repubs are leaving the GOP in record numbers, and if not becoming Democrats, at least declaring themselves independents and announcing a refusal to vote for any of the current GOP candidates (unless Ron Paul gets the nomination, which we can safely dismiss as "unlikely" in the same statistical sense that all the air molecules rushing to one side of the room and suffocating me is mathematically possible, but according to Maxwell-Botlzmann statistical mechanics, so wildly improbable that we need not discuss it).

However, the effort to rationally argue people out of their political beliefs is probably foredoomed. People (including myself) tend to form political judgments based more on gut feelings and lizard-brain primal "smell tests" rather than ratiocination. My own reaction to the drunk-driving C student during hte 200 presidential debates involved visceral revulsion bordering on projectile vomiting. Unfortunately, I seem to be a mutant. The drunk-driving C student got close enough in the popular vote to steal the 2000 election because he passed the "smell test" of being a "good ole boy" and a great drinking buddy with around half the population. Any rational logical dissection of the 2000 debate shows that Gore pulverized the drunk-driving C student. Alas, homo sapiens remains a tiny blob of frontal cortex perched atop a great big mountain of lizard brain. That's not to say that rational arguments based on facts will hurt. Every little extra bit of persuasion that nudges a Repub away from supporting the crazies seems worth the effort.

The real issue as I see it is not defeating the current claque of Jeffrey-Dahmer-wannbes who misname themselves the GOP.

The big problem America faces as a society right now is that we've gone too far down the road to a police state to pull back. I don't hear any first-tier Demos running on a platform of closing Gitmo. I don't hear any first-tier Demos running on a platform of pulling out of Iraq. I don't hear any first-tier Demos running on a platform of ending torture. I don't hear any first-tier Demos running on a platform of shutting down the TSA and ending the paramilitarization of police throughout America and putting a stop to no-known searches and sneak-and-peek warrants. I don't hear any first-tier Demos running on a platform of indicting the AT&T officials who violated the constitution by agreeing to massive wiretapping of U.S. citizens. I don't hear any first-tier Demos running on a plank of passing a law to permanently and forever prohibit universal domestic phone and internet surveillance without a warrant issued by a regular judge in a normal court of law (no more FISA, shut down FISA, get rid of it, no more secret courts, no more star chambers, no more shadowy cabals of nameless spooks opening your electronic mail and reading it without having to give any justification).

I don't hear any first-tier Demos standing up and proposing legislation to make the tasering of that student at FSU for asking a question a felony punishable by prison time on the part of the campus cops. I don't hear any first-tier Demos standing up promising that America will sign the internationl agreement on childrens' rights which prohibits sentencing children to life in prison:
www.wsws.org/articles/1999/mar1999/high-m18.shtml
http://www.counterpunch.org/heard07082003.html

America refuses to ratify the U.N. Convention against torture:
http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/article.php?did=268&scid=

Judge rules enhanced intterrogant techniques "not torture":
http://blog.aclu.org/index.php?/authors/10-Ben-Wizner,-ACLU

CIA refuses to hear CIA kidnapping allegation by man mistakenly tortured in U.S. "black site" overseas
www.cnn.com/2007/US/law/10/09/cia.rendition/

I don't hear any first-tier Demos speaking out against any of this police state gestapo creeping totalitarianism. People are being murdered daily with tasers and choke holds and phony "she strangled herself while handcuffed" cover stories by out-of-control police and TSA goons and DHS thugs, arrested for no reason, people are being thrown into black holes without trial or charges in airport lockups beyond the reach of the law (becuase they're not technically in the United States yet)...and no one does anything.

Where are the senators proposing bills to outlaw this insanity? Where are the congressmen leaping up to co-sponsor laws making this kind of gestapo nightmare illegal?

TSA thugs terrorize small child, force mother to watch helplessly:
http://www.mydd.com/story/2006/2/2/135248/6747

Airline threatens to call police on man who protests when told his flight was overbooked:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/chris-case/get-over-yourselves-airp_b_68748.html

Senator Ted Kennedy, 7-year-old child, and others on "no-fly" list:
http://www.alternet.org/story/42646/
http://www.wsws.org/articles/2004/aug2004/kenn-a21.shtml

See first comment reporting that a couple's TWO YEAR OLD SON was on the "no fly list" -- and can never be taken off:
http://www.alternet.org/rights/62407/

I don't see any first-tier candidate in either political party running on a platform of promising to end this fascist nightmare. (Only John Edwards and Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich, no one takes them seriously. The minute Edwards says, "With me, the constitution returns," reporters on the campaign trail guffaw uproariously, crowds turn away laughing and giggling, voters snicker and sneer and point at him like a circus freak and titter, "Crazy person!") Once you're on the watch list, you're on it forever...even if you're two years old! It's like Stalinist Russia. And no one does anything about it. We all just accept it.

Bruce Schneier on how TSA thugs routinely detain babies on the terrorist watch list:
http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2005/08/infants_on_the.html

FBI watch list "out of control," now has more than half a million names, and continues to grow exponentially:
http://blogs.abcnews.com/theblotter/2007/06/fbi_terror_watc.html

"It grows seemingly without control or limitation," said ACLU senior legislative counsel Tim Sparapani of the terrorism watch list. Sparapani called the 509,000 figure "stunning."

Yet no one does anything. The watch list is secret. You can't see it. It controls where you can work, where you can travel, which buildings you can enter. It controls which job you can have. Once you're on the list, you can never get off. Sound familiar? Like, say, Soviet Russia...?

And no one does a thing. It just keeps getting worse.

Constitutional scholar put on no-fly list for criticism of the current administration:
http://www.dailyprincetonian.com/archives/2007/04/10/news/18014.shtml

No-fly blacklist ennares political activists refused permission to leave America:
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2002/09/27/MN181034.DTL

Protest the government's policies, and you never fly again. Not only that -- engage in political activism, and you can never leave America!

"The Mark of the Beast In An Unfree Society Is Always, Always Exit Visas":
http://agonist.org/ian_welsh/20071012/the_mark_of_the_beast_in_an_unfree_society

Only totalitarian dictatorships erect fences and use armed guards to keep their citizens from leaving their own countries. That is where America has arrived. If you protest the government's policies, you are now a prisoner in concentration camp America, unable to leave:
http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?SectionID=51&ItemID=13971

The law requiring ID to travel is secret and cannot be seen -- John Gilmore challenged the law in court and lost:
http://www.wired.com/politics/security/news/2004/09/65154

We are now subject to secret laws we cannot see and cannot challenge, secret laws which control which papers we must present in order to travel, secret laws which control where we can travel and how. Remind you anything? Like, say, Romania under Ceaucescu's dictatorship? East Germany under the Stasi?

And no one does a thing. We all sit around and accept it.

Court rules "you have no right to travel":
http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2006/01/30/you-have-no-right-to-travel/

Naomi Klein shows how we have slid, step by step, into overt fascism, from creating a thug caste (TSA goons, Blackwater hired murderers who are immune to arrest and above the law) to arbitrary detention under secret regulations which can never been seen or challenged:
http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2007/04/24/708/

But only airline travellers have to worry about the TSA goons, right?

Wrong. TSA thugs now stop and search busses:
http://prorev.com/coup.htm

Next, it'll be internal passports at roadblocks. Every few miles, you'll have to stop your car or your bicycle and present your papers. And if your papers aren't in order? "Mein Herr, ihre papiere sind nicht in ordnung!" You'll be whisked away into a black hole, beyond the rules of law. You will become what the Guatamalans called a desaperado -- a "disappeared one."
http://prorev.com/coup.htm

Am I beginning to get through to you now?

"The Police State Is Right Here, Right Now":
http://dandelionsalad.wordpress.com/2007/09/20/the-police-state-is-right-here-right-now-by-carolyn-baker/

"America's Police Brutality Pandemic":
http://dandelionsalad.wordpress.com/2007/09/26/america%e2%80%99s-police-brutality-pandemic/

Of course, we can safely ignore the previous two screeds because the authors are body-pierced far-left freak radical communist anarchists, like Paul Craig Roberts the former Reagan administration official. Whoops! I guess not...

But of coursxe, all these incidents of police brutality and arrest without cause and crackdowns on legal dissent are just isolated incidents.

13-year-old student scribbles "OKAY" on her desk and gets arrested by police:
http://ny.metro.us/metro/blog/my_view/entry/The_police_state_of_our_schools/10103.html

An isolated incident.

Man whose house is on fire & tries to flag down police instead gets beaten by them:
http://www.wjla.com/news/stories/1007/460368.html

An isolated incident!

Activists face 6 months in prison for putting up antiwar poster:
http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=node/27485

An isolated incident!!!

Girl fined $300 for her chalf drawings on the sidewalk:
http://www.brooklynpaper.com/stories/30/40/30_40graffitigirl.html

An isolated incident!!!!

Professor mails harmless bacteria, goes to prison:
http://scienceblogs.com/aetiology/2007/10/mail_harmless_bacteria_go_to_j.php

An ISOLATED INCIDENT.

Two priests sentenced to prison for trying to deliver a letter protesting torture at Fort Huachuca:
http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2007/10/17/4650/

An ISOLATED INCIDENT.

A climate of fear has crept into America. Wives and husbands now quake and tremble, forced to allow insanely intrusive searches of their personal data under threat that their spouses and children will be put on shadowy "watch lists" which will destroy their lives, and that they will lose their jobs if they don't sign papers allowing the DHS Stasi carte blanche to investigate every aspect of their lives:
www.huffingtonpost.com/_66459.html

AN ISOLATED INCIDENT!!!

Activists arrested for collecting signatures on ballot petitions:
http://www.downsizedc.org/blog/2007/oct/07/collect_signatures_go_to_jail

AN ISOLATED INCIDENT!

Woman arrested for disputing a $3 charge at a restaurant:
http://www1.wsvn.com/features/articles/helpmehoward/MI63676/

AN ISOLATED INCIDENT!!!!

Man arrested for refusing to show receipt for electronic items he had legally purchased at Circuit City:
http://www.michaelrighi.com/2007/09/01/arrested-at-circuit-city/

AN ISOLATED INCIDENT!!!!!!!

Woman arrested for overdue library book:
http://www.thisisby.us/index.php/content/i_was_arrested

AN ISOLATED INCIDENT!!!!!!!!!!!

It goes on and on and on. In every case, hundreds of dollars bail. In each case, humiliation, strip searches, cavity searches -- handcuffs, leg shackles, urine-reeking jail cells. The message is clear.

The arrest itself becomes the punishment.

Put up an antiwar poster, get arrested. Dissent in public, get arrested. Refuse to show your papers, get arrested. Question authority, get arrested.

It's East Germany all over again. Anyone who steps out of line gets arrested and disappears. Pure intimidation, a classic police state.

And we all just sit around and accept it and do nothing.

David Brin babbles and jabbers about the alleged threat caused by America's lack of military readiness... Meanwhile, we're turning into a monstrous police state where even the slightest infraction down to a refusing to show you papiers upon exiting a store means you get arrested, hauled off in leg irons, dumped into a black hole and left to rot. Overdue book? Go to jail. Refuse to show a receipt at a store? Go to jail. Put up an antiwar poster? Go to jail. Protest torture? Go to jail.

Like me and everyone else, David Brin does nothing about any of this. He just sits around and quietly accepts it.

That's the big problem facing America. We have internalized fascism. We now accept students being tasered for darying to ask questions of political cnadidates in public. The chilling effect has begun and it's been most effective. We're now like North Korea -- everyone is afraid to apeak up, afraid to protest, afraid to push back against each new erosion of our rapidly disappearing constitutional rights.

This police state mentality goes beyond either party. It's not a matter of left or right. It's totalitarian control freaks like the TSA goons vs free citizens. And most Americans have decided that they don't want to be free citizens. They meekly accept it when goons arrest them and haul them off in handcuffs for no reason.

If Americans really wanted to be free, we'd swarm the TSA goons en masse when they dragged a hysterical helpless woman out of lien in the airport and murdered her in a locked room.

If Americans really wanted to be free, we'd rise up and body-tackle the paramilitary SWAT teams and drag them bodily out of the wrong house when the kicked down the wrong door.

If Americans really wanted to be free, we'd storm the capitol and haul Alberto Gonzaloes out and tar and feather him when he lied to Congress about authoring torture, and we'd ride him out of town on a rail.

But Americans don't do that. Americans boast and preen about their freedom -- but if they make no move to protect and preserve their freedom, what good is it?

At this point I don't believe American can pull back. We've gone too far down the road of fascism. Hillary will expand the TSA, not eliminate it. Whoever is the next president will radically increase NSA surveillance of all phone conversations, not cut back. The next FBI director will authorize even more sweeping arrests of more people for no reason under secret laws that we can't see. The next member of the Supreme Court will not suddenly strike down all these secret laws forcing travellers to show ID, the next member of the Supreme Court will expand the secret laws, expand the police state, crush more individual rights, exterminate more of the Bill of Rights, force more and more citizens onto more and more watch lists and no-fly list and suspect lists which we can never see and never challenge and never removes ourselves from once we get on the list.

This is the real danger. It's police state creep. Once we get used to being searched at airports, they'll search us at our workplace. Once we get used to that, police will demand keys to our homes and search us in the middle of night for no reason with no warning. Once we get used to that, citizens will be hauled off and "disappeared" in the middle of the day by DHS goons to disppaar into black holes, never to be heard of again.

Extreme?

Wild?

Bizarre fantasy?

Wake up, people. It's already happening. And smart knowledgable people like Dr. Brin are fiddling and twiddling about utter irrelevancies like our military state of readiness for enemies who don't exist, even as America descends ever deeper into fascism and police state totalitarianism. We have internalized the slave mentality. We have accepted the random searches, the arrests for no reason, the torture, the secret laws, the secret enemies lists, the Homeland Security gestapo squads, the paramilitary police thugs masked like home invaders and armed with M-16s and grenades and machine guns who break down doors in the middle of the night and shoot people to death because a remote control for a TV is mistaken for a gun.

It's all over. We're a police state in all but name. We'll still have elections, but eventually the 5% of the population of Texas that's in prison, and the 2% of all American who are in prisons, will swell to the 20% of the population that got thrown into Gulags under Stalin. More than that, and the society can't function. But America's prison population will rise to 20% of the general population because that's what's needed for full intimidation. It's already 5% of the general population in Texas, and no one uttesr a peep. Why not 10%/ Why not 15? Why not 20%? What to prevent it? Who will speak out? No one does anything now, why will mobs of citizens gather to protest when 20% of the general population gets tossed into American prisons for crimes like "hooliganism" and "disturbing the order of the state"?

Soon, every neighbor will spy on every other neighbor out of fear, because the DHS goons order them to and threaten to put them on the secret "watch list" if they don't. Soon, every few blocks when you drive down the street, you'll be stopped at a checkpoint and forced to allow your car to be searched and you'll have to present your papers and explain your reason for travelling in that part of town.

We're nearly there now. And as otherwise sensible smart folks like Dr. Brin waste their time yammering about military readiness, someday soon his car will be stopped. And his papers won't be in order. And he will be shackled and dragged off and his wife and children will be "detained for further questioning" with water and a plywood board and tasers and electodes and sensory deprivation tanks and freezing cells and "enhanced interrogation techniques." And he will disappear into a black hole with no charges and no rule of law, for no apparent reason, according to secret laws he can never see.

By then, Dr. Brin will realize what the problem in America really is. But, of course, it'll be too late.

Tony Fisk said...

Dear Democrat consultants, and nominees

For a clear example of people caring about process, look no further than the issues of the Victorian State election of 1999.

The prospect of the office of auditor-general losing its independence (through privatisation) was certainly a factor in that outcome.

Now, interestingly, there's not a lot of discussion of this factor (by consultants?) on the internet. It certainly isn't considered the decider. However, that wasn't my personal impression.

That the new government's first act of legislation was the restoration of the office of Auditor-General, should underscore it's perceived importance at the time.

----

Oi! Zorgon! That's quite a rant. (Rather long, but plenty of grunt)

I put it a little more subtly, here

"While your conscience, cowed, was sleeping,
something through your house came creeping.

Now, can you hear the silence?
(weeping)"

Tony Fisk said...

Democrats fail to beat Bush veto

I guess they can only do what they can do. Highlight government priorities:

$190 bn for Iraq - yes
$35 bn tobacco tax for child care - no

Lets share the food my brother,
Lets share the fruits of the Earth,
Steak for me and rice for you,
eggs for tea and rice for you,
Fruit and wine, Milk and jam,
cheese and pickles, milk and ham, for me,
And a little rice, just a little rice,
if you’re lucky, for you.


- attribution uncertain

Woozle said...

Zorgon: I'm totally with you on the scale and scope of the threat. (With only a note that Ron Paul has apparently just recently crossed over into the mainstream and is now actually the GOP front-runner. He may yet be in a position to save us.)

Giving Dr.B a hard time about not doing enough, however, is totally the wrong tree up which to bark. As I understand it, he's seeking a political solution because that seems to be our Last Best Hope . If you've got any other ideas, please feel free to post them.

I've got my own, which I'll get to in a minute.

Dr.B: I was at least subconsciously aware of your Blackmail piece, though I re-skimmed it to freshen my memory. My suggestion was a refinement or addendum to yours: (1) possible mechanism for manipulation/arm-twisting that doesn't involve anything as obvious as blackmail, and (2) something we might try to do towards countering it.

And now here's another idea: form a non-national group dedicated to the upkeep of civilization. "United Members of Civilization" is the name I've come up with (I like it a lot, but still open to suggestions). It would play a similar role to that of the re-invented US Postal Service in The Postman, but we'd be creating it now, BEFORE civilization seriously starts to unravel (much as described in narrative flashbacks/reminiscence in the novel).

(I've got part of an essay written explaining how this could work; if anyone is actually interested, nag me about finishing it. I should be clear, though, that I think we have the tools and resources at hand to actually start doing something on this, rather than just talking about it.)

(Should I print up a bumper sticker saying "Holn-Scudder '08"?)

David Brin said...

Zorgon, thanks (ahem) for proving that I am, in fact, a terse and brief fellow, by comparison at least ;-)

Useful feedback. Will comply in several places. Still, I think you miosconstrue. An “ostrich” is definitely NOT a “moderate Republican.” The two have very little overlap. Yes, most of the latter are deserting the madhouse. Ostriches, on the other hand, are decidedly delusional members of the GOP who - at least on the surface - have swallowed the crap being poured out of Fox.

Nevertheless! I think it worthwhile to try to rouse a grassroots campaign to GO AFTER THESE FOLK! Because their mania varies a lot, in both type and degree. An Ostrich is one of these Fox-hypnotozed victims who nevertheless has a good heart and who loves country at least a little more than party, and whose mind can allow a fresh though, if pounded in passionately by someone they love or respect.

I do NOT underplay the difficulty of this task. It is aggressive, for one thing. Somewhat rude. And likely to fail, 2/3 of the time. So? Every single one who is awakened is one less resource for Rove, and possibly another credible missionary to send back into the Big Tent, setting it on fire.

DIg it. Attacking on this weak front is exactly what aggressive, assertive, determined political winners would do!

you say: “I don't hear any first-tier Demos running on a platform of pulling out of Iraq.“


And I reply as before. The REAL repudiation of the neocons will come when the FBI and CIA are released to do their jobs. The solution is only political to the degree that we need an executive to dismantled the apparatus that represses professionals. Unleashed, they will find so much dirt than W will have to pardon thousands. And THAT will repudiate Gitmo and everything about the neocon madness.

No, What I want from the dems is not grandstanding. I want nothing that will mobilize the culture war or invigorate the GOP base. I don’t even insist we get out of Iraq.

What I WANT is a whole lot of “process” stuff they could get past W NOW! Like IGUS and starting the protection of whistleblowers now. Like starting hearings into the oppression of the Officer Corps. Like restoring the Science Office in Congress and unleashing reports. These simple things could hammer the GOP and show Congress being active, despite fillibusters and vetos.

“David Brin babbles and jabbers about the alleged threat caused by America's lack of military readiness... Meanwhile, we're turning into a monstrous police state “

Up yers, pal. I wrote my ostrich screed in order to show how the dems could win by waging war INTO ROVE TERRITORY!

By reclaiming patriotism and strength and many virtues, we can eviscerate W and co where it will hurt them most, by showing them to be sniveling bullying cowards and thugs. By shouwing they are monstrous EVEN BY CONSERVATIVE STANDARDS I am the one being aggressive, here, trying to take away parts of their base! ONLY THUS WILL CULTURE WAR END.

You dare say YOU are being aggressive? I am concerened by every single travesty that you list... and I know more than you do about such things. And I know that every howl you’ve made will only impress those who are already against these guys! Meanwhile, the others will see a pinko pansie surrenderist prancing about the rights of traitors.

I WANT TO WAKE UP ENOUGH OF THOSE FOLKS TO ROB THEIR SIDE OF ANY HOPE. My method is better. My method INVADES their territory and steals their soldiers and makes them ours. I am the aggressive one here. Yell all you want. But my method could turn a narrow squeaker win (with more culture war) into a rout.

TONY! Thanks for the insight about the inspector independence issue being important. The dems’ consultants tell them that “process issues are boring!” I think that’s insane. Yes, process issues may affect only 5% at a time. But they are in the battle fringe. Attack!

WOOZLE! Any links to Ron Paul being in front??? Wow. The ostriches and moderates and libertarians may find their OWN way to help save us. That would be so way cool! A 1/4 crazy decent thoughtful gentleman who believes in freedom, actually debating calmly with... whoever! The neocons would roast in hell.

DO finish your essay!

(Should I print up a bumper sticker saying "Holn-Scudder '08"?)
Cool! Except they are supposed to win (by Hitlerian minority) in 2012. I am trying to do a Scudder collection of stories before then.

David Brin said...

Zorgon, thanks (ahem) for proving that I am, in fact, a terse and brief fellow, by comparison at least ;-)

Useful feedback. Will comply in several places. Still, I think you miosconstrue. An “ostrich” is definitely NOT a “moderate Republican.” The two have very little overlap. Yes, most of the latter are deserting the madhouse. Ostriches, on the other hand, are decidedly delusional members of the GOP who - at least on the surface - have swallowed the crap being poured out of Fox.

Nevertheless! I think it worthwhile to try to rouse a grassroots campaign to GO AFTER THESE FOLK! Because their mania varies a lot, in both type and degree. An Ostrich is one of these Fox-hypnotozed victims who nevertheless has a good heart and who loves country at least a little more than party, and whose mind can allow a fresh though, if pounded in passionately by someone they love or respect.

I do NOT underplay the difficulty of this task. It is aggressive, for one thing. Somewhat rude. And likely to fail, 2/3 of the time. So? Every single one who is awakened is one less resource for Rove, and possibly another credible missionary to send back into the Big Tent, setting it on fire.

DIg it. Attacking on this weak front is exactly what aggressive, assertive, determined political winners would do!

you say: “I don't hear any first-tier Demos running on a platform of pulling out of Iraq.“


And I reply as before. The REAL repudiation of the neocons will come when the FBI and CIA are released to do their jobs. The solution is only political to the degree that we need an executive to dismantled the apparatus that represses professionals. Unleashed, they will find so much dirt than W will have to pardon thousands. And THAT will repudiate Gitmo and everything about the neocon madness.

No, What I want from the dems is not grandstanding. I want nothing that will mobilize the culture war or invigorate the GOP base. I don’t even insist we get out of Iraq.

What I WANT is a whole lot of “process” stuff they could get past W NOW! Like IGUS and starting the protection of whistleblowers now. Like starting hearings into the oppression of the Officer Corps. Like restoring the Science Office in Congress and unleashing reports. These simple things could hammer the GOP and show Congress being active, despite fillibusters and vetos.

“David Brin babbles and jabbers about the alleged threat caused by America's lack of military readiness... Meanwhile, we're turning into a monstrous police state “

Up yers, pal. I wrote my ostrich screed in order to show how the dems could win by waging war INTO ROVE TERRITORY!

By reclaiming patriotism and strength and many virtues, we can eviscerate W and co where it will hurt them most, by showing them to be sniveling bullying cowards and thugs. By shouwing they are monstrous EVEN BY CONSERVATIVE STANDARDS I am the one being aggressive, here, trying to take away parts of their base! ONLY THUS WILL CULTURE WAR END.

You dare say YOU are being aggressive? I am concerened by every single travesty that you list... and I know more than you do about such things. And I know that every howl you’ve made will only impress those who are already against these guys! Meanwhile, the others will see a pinko pansie surrenderist prancing about the rights of traitors.

I WANT TO WAKE UP ENOUGH OF THOSE FOLKS TO ROB THEIR SIDE OF ANY HOPE. My method is better. My method INVADES their territory and steals their soldiers and makes them ours. I am the aggressive one here. Yell all you want. But my method could turn a narrow squeaker win (with more culture war) into a rout.

TONY! Thanks for the insight about the inspector independence issue being important. The dems’ consultants tell them that “process issues are boring!” I think that’s insane. Yes, process issues may affect only 5% at a time. But they are in the battle fringe. Attack!

WOOZLE! Any links to Ron Paul being in front??? Wow. The ostriches and moderates and libertarians may find their OWN way to help save us. That would be so way cool! A 1/4 crazy decent thoughtful gentleman who believes in freedom, actually debating calmly with... whoever! The neocons would roast in hell.

DO finish your essay!

(Should I print up a bumper sticker saying "Holn-Scudder '08"?)
Cool! Except they are supposed to win (by Hitlerian minority) in 2012. I am trying to do a Scudder collection of stories before then.

Mark said...

Great list David. It works in a blog post and essay, and I agree with all of it, but if you put this in one of your novels, readers would be turned off. Or so I'm told by my politically independent editor and better half. I know because on the issue and theme of my novel on global warming, I inserted some of these and apprarently my lecture to scene ratio was not balanced. No pun intended.

If there was a way we could show this hypocrisy it would work. I'm working on it in my novel. For those both anti-left and far right, democratric hypocrisies still stand out. Al Gore's electric bill and flying in private jets being but two examples of how it is being successfully used against us. It makes me seethe that these pople are this naive. But they are.

The middle of the road is where most of the country is. The question is how we address then without sending them over the border of wingerville for good. That's how we got in this fix.

Nate said...

Sadly, Rudy "Invade Iran" Giuliani and Fred "Reagan was an actor too!" Thompson are stil in the lead, followed by Mitt "Double Gitmo" Romney and John "Bomb Iran" McCain. Ron Paul is polling 1%-5%.
http://www.pollster.com/08-US-Rep-Pres-Primary.php

Part of the reason the Republican candidates are all crazy, rather than any moderates? They have to win over the base in the primary, and a hefty chunk of the Republican base likes the idea of kicking the shit out of foreigners and so on.

Anonymous said...

From Zorgon the Malevolent
(login still not working -- if this were my RealID, I'd be in Gitmo now due to a computer glitch)

Please understand, Dr. Brin, that I specifically do not claim to be more aggressive than you in combatting the monsters who currently threaten American society. If you look at what I wrote, I specifically said that I don't do anything practical to deter the TSA or the DHS in the real world, just as you don't. None of us do.

And the reason is fear. Physical fear for my own safety. I've had a cop threaten me with a gun within the last 2 years because I was riding my bike at night with my bicycle light turned off. I've seen firsthand a radical change in the behavior of police and other LEOs over the last 6 years. They now feel free to intimidate, threaten, beat, kill, tase, go berserk -- and, as in the case of the innocent Brazilian tourist shot dead as a terrorist in the tube station, Jean Paul Menenzes, there are no repercussions. Becoming a LEO now makes you 007 -- you get a license to kill. LEOs are now, in effect, terrorists. They can kill anyone, for no reason, with no consequences. I am now more afraid of the police or the FBI than of bin Laden and his gang.

That's why I'm not out on the streets protesting. I'd likely wind up dead, beaten or tased to death by a crazed cop. I have been physically intimidated. This is Naomi Klein's point. At a certain level the physical intimidation kicks in, and people get afraid to go outside and protest, because they literally fear for their lives.

Dr. Brin's thesis seems to be that if Demos win big in '08 and get the right person at the top, this ongoing totalitarianization of America will somehow stop. If we have a Demo-controlled Congress, poof! Presto! Change-o! It all gets better!

The evidence doesn't seem to back that up.

These totalitarian trends didn't start under the drunk-driving C student currently infesting the White House, and they aren't the result of neocon dogma or Repub politics.

If anything, the totalitarianization of America has resulted from technology and from Pournelle's Iron Law of bureaucracy. We have an increasingly complex interconnected society. As a result, we need more and more layers of bureaucracy to deal with all this information. More and more rules to deal with more and more info collected and sieved and cross-correlated. This slowly ossifies into a rigid society full of rule-crazed control freaks.
That's how you wind up with a TSA goon detaining an infant because the infant's name is on the terrorist watch list. The TSA guy has to obey the computer readout, the
computer readout says X, the TSA guy has no leeway in dealing with X, so he tells the parents, "I'm sorry but the computer says this name is on the watch list. I have to follow procedure."
Eichmannization. I'm only following the rules. Please follow the officer into the detention cell and remove your clothing for a cavity search.
Even if the TSA shlump at the metal detector fails to follow procedure, it wouldn't make any difference -- his superior would just intervene and overrule him and explain "We have to follow the rules."

The result is insane and fascistic. Babies detained as possible terrorists. But this is what I'm really talking about -- it's the Eichmannization of America. When the red tape and the rules get dense enough, it becomes impossible to avoid (or argue with) crazy decisions like expelling a schoolchild for bringing aspirin to class because the school has a zero tolerance policy on drugs. The rules are the rules. We have
procedures. The computer contains this name. We have to follow the guidelines set out for this process.

Changing the political affiliation of the president won't fix this. A Demo takeover of Congress won't touch this. I'm talking about creeping bureacracy, the Eichmannization of a computerized information-glutted society, and
this goes on far below the level of politics. It doesn't matter who's in the White House or who controls Congress. The system itself causes this creeping totalitarianism to happen.

Charles Stross has talked about this. He pointed out that when you create one big database by merging many smaller databases, you not only turn a thousand Little Brothers into one Big Brother...
But you create a crazy Big Brother! Because what happens when you merge two databases full of errors is that you always get a resulting database with more errors than either database alone. (Example: JOHN SMITH in database 1 hash-collides with JOHN A. SMITH in database 2. Both names get flagged as "fraudulent" because they "don't match and constitute a discrepancy." So John A. Smith gets his Real ID card yanked and the next time he tries to use his debit card to buy a Snickers bar, he gets hauled off to Gitmo for "enhanced interrogation" because of his "fradulent" name.) So the errors in the databases multiply, the cops are only "following procedure" when they handcuff and leg-chain you because of a database glitch, and you get more and more instances like Terry Gilliam's film "Brazil" where a fly lands in a computer and short-circuits it and turns the name "Buttle" into "Tuttle" and the wrong guy winds up being kidnapped and tortured as a terrorist. Laugh if you want, but it happened to a Canadian citizen Khaled el-Masri who happens to share the wrong last name with an Al Qaeda honcho.

It happens here in America if you simply assert your constitutional rights at sobriety checkpoint, even if you haven't been drinking:
http://checkpointusa.org/roadblock/update/stop1.html

This process is systemic. It's not politics. It's technology. It's the result of merging databases with (inevitable) errors in 'em. It's pushed by relational database technology and wireless connectivity and data storage density. I don't see how winning the next election in a rout by persuading ostriches to vote for Hillary is going to reverse this systemic process.

Somehow we need to stop collecting information on people and we need to stop linking increasingly error-riddled databases together. (Personal example: I paid my phone bill with an old bill and now that old charge has been permanently added to my future phone bills. I cannot get the phone company to remove that charge, because even though they acknowledge I paid the phone bill, the phone company entered the code number of the old bill. From now until eternity I will always owe that old bill and no one at the phone company can fix this problem. The old charge keeps showing up every month on my phone bill, forever. This is the kind of thing that happens when you have too much bureacracy and too many layers of computerization in a society. Imagine this happening with the RealID, and shudder.) I don't see anyone campaigning on the platform of collecting less information about individual citizens. I don't see anyone campaigning on a plank of shutting down the no-fly list. It's an Eichmannization process -- once you have a no-fly list, it always gets bigger, because there's no upside (and plenty of potential downside) to any bureaucrat in pulling names off the no-fly list (what if one of those names you pull off IS a terrorist?).
"After all, if you have nothing to hide, why are you objecting? You haven't committed a crime, Dr. Brin, have you?"
How do you argue against that?

Police cars in big cities now have laser scanners and as they drive down the street they can scan every license plate on every car and instantly run it in the criminal database. I know in my bones that this is going to create a totalitarian nightmare, I know this is big trouble. I know that we shouldn't be doing this. But how do
you prevent it?

Pretty soon police will have retina scanners, they'll scan everyone while walking down the sidewalk, and wearing sunglasses will be a felony. I know this is evil, I can feel in my bones that this will create a Stalinist nightmare. But how do we stop it? Once the technology exists, how do we argue against using it?

It's that kind of mentality that's turning American society into East Germany. It's not some evil Republican plot, it's not mainly the neocons, it's human nature + technology, and it's a systemic trend driven by Pournelle's iron law of bureaucracy...and the proof is that all these evil trends started well before the neocons took over Congress in 1994.

The idea for the Clipper Chip predates Newt. Linking databases together predates Clinton. The DMCA occurred on Clinton's watch. Databases of driver's licenses became accessible in police car computers in the 1980s. The process of asset forfeiture began under Reagan. All this evil invasive Stalinist stuff started in the 70s and early 80s, long before the neocons, and has slowly but surely gotten worse.
No-knock warrants predate Clinton. FISA, with its secret courts and sealed warrants, was passed in 1978, before Reagan. It's all evil totalitarian Stasi stuff, but it began long before the neocons ever came to power. It's a long trend that's been going on for many years. I don't know how we stop it.

That's also my point. We won't stop agencies from merging databases and forfeiting assets and expanding no-fly lists and requiring drug tests of innocent high school students by organizing demonstrations, and we certainly won't change the way the bureaucratic procedures are applied by the police and DEA and TSA and DHS bureaucracies by electing a new president or a new congress.

I don't claim to be more aggressive than Dr. Brin, or even aggressive at all. I simply do not know how we are supposed to battle this kind of creeping insidious Stalnist red tape that seems to be strangling every part of our lives.

I call it the "felonization of everything." Pretty soon it'll be a felony to spit on the sidewalk. It'll be a federal felony to whistle in public, or walk on the grass, or say "Hello" in the wrong tone of voice. That's where we're headed. And it's just as bad on the left, as this
barely satirical article points out:
http://americandigest.org/mt-archives/006735.php
That's the flip side of Bill O'Reilly's crazy claim that John Edwards is a wild-eyed radical leftist because he wants to bring back habeas corpus.
http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2007/10/12/edwards/index.html?source=rss&aim=greenwald

The technology pushes us towards more and more intrusive searches, larger and more insanely comprehensive "suspect persons" lists, more and more checkpoints where more and more documents are demanded for computer searches of more and more databases until we get to the point where we are today, with A Syrian-born Canadian citizen kidnapped and tortured by the CIA because of a database error.

Notice that the roadblock checkpoints only exist because we have the technology to instantly check drivers' IDs for outstanding warrants and green card violations. If we didn't have our current computer technology, asking drivers for their IDs would be useless, so the roadblocks wouldn't be set up.

It isn't neocons that have moved the Overton window this far towards Stalinism...it's technology and human nature + Pournlelle's iron law of bureaucracy. As the Army War College points out, "Capabilities create intentions." Once we have the capability for universal surveillance and control, why not use it?

How will electing Hillary and an Demo-controlled congress stop that all-too-human urge?

Oh, and here's a prediction about the near future: the shaped-charge hypervelocity IEDs remote-detonated in Iraq to destroy our M1A1 Abrams tanks will show up within the next 10 years here in America, and they'll be used by street gangs and drug dealers to take out cop cars and police stations and DEA and FBI offices. What do you think will happen to civil liberties after that?

That prediction is a no-brainer because it's technology, not society. There is just no way to stop the technology from being used. Just as there's no way to stop databases getting merged, and no-fly lists from constantly expanding, regardless of who controls congress or the White House.

I really don't know what to do about this creeping Eichmannization of our society. One thing I am pretty certain of -- electing a Demo as president won't fix it. Electing a Demo congress isn't the answer. This Eichmannization process is going on far below the level of politics, it's a systemic problem,
it's driven by technology and the American mania for rules (compare American football with British football -- see which one has more haggling and squabbling about crazy trivial rules!), and it's rapidly getting worse.

Bla said...

Now THAT's a long post, mr. Brin!

Graeme said...

Unfortunately this is not just an American problem, the trend is global: it is certainly very clear in the UK.

Could you please explain why the "owners and theives" will be taken care of by their own children?

Regarding "fanatics and dogmatists", there are very strong left wing traditions within Christian thinking (from "it is easier for a camel to pass through the needle" to liberation theology). For some reason they seem to be very weak in the US. I have never understood why.

Woozle said...

Re Ron Paul: The article about him being a mainstream candidate is here.

It looks like the "front runner" bit was my overactive imagination; I coulda sworn there was something in there about his popularity being higher than that of any of the other GOP candidates, but here's what's actually in there: "Ron Paul has consistently drawn crowds all across the country that continuously seem to dwarf those of his opponents." .. "The Republican Party appears to be recognizing that Ron Paul has a chance of winning the nomination."

My own (issuepedia) small/growing collection of Ron Paul info is here.

Re essay: Ok, that goes on the front burner now.

Anonymous said...

Hi there, some old business I'm not sure if it was ever pointed out...

Dvorak replies to Dr. Brin's argument about broadcast SETI.

Recently bumped back to his front page.

DEC

Anonymous said...

This time with an actual link and correct name...oops.


Hi there, some old business I'm not sure if it was ever pointed out...

Dvorsky replies to Dr. Brin's argument about broadcast SETI.

http://sentientdevelopments.blogspot.com/2007/08/messages-to-et-and-precautionary.html

Recently bumped back to his front page.

DEC

Nate said...

Well, there's a bit of good news today. Senator Chris Dodd announced he'll put a hold on the warrantless wiretapping/retroactive immunity for telecoms that spied on us bill in the Senate.

Unfortunately, Nancy Pelosi, who's supposed to lead the Democrats, was saying she'd favor the "bipartisan" approach of giving Bush whatever he wants still. And I don't expect much from any of the Presidential candidates, either. Well, Edwards might, but he's not a senator any more. Didn't Obama say he was going to change things and stand up to the status quo? What happened to that? I expect nothing of Hillary.

More on Dodd

Tony Fisk said...

Zorgon's comment about merging databases adding errors to the greater glory of Eichmann is a sore point with me at the moment (ie been there, done that, trying to atone for the poor damn souls I've sent to Gitmo now... in a figurative sense!)

You do overlook one factor in all this creeping authoritarianism, though. Common folk have access to much the same technology, and are able to turn the tables on over zealous LEOs (witness the fallout from those mass arrests in New York during the 2004 election campaign: CITOKATE in action)

Reports of 'isolated incidents' are a concern (and I can appreciate the trauma associated with being told to 'step away from the bike'). However, the very fact that there *are* reports is a good thing. Be *very* worried if they are getting suppressed.

Anonymous said...

David Brin, when they know enough to fear you, you will die. Just like Lawrence of Arabia.

The strength of modernism is that even when its head is cut off, the limbs still work, and a new head is regrown shortly.

May you do much good work in your time on Earth.

Anonymous said...

To the person with telephone troubles:

Take them to small claims court. Get everything down in writing first, but make sure they pay.

Or, you could just hire someone to protest...

http://slog.thestranger.com/2007/08/day_4_picketing_sprint

Onion Volcano said...

Further facts for Ostriches:

In 2006, a Blackwater SUV collided with a US Army Humvee.

Blackwater guards disarmed the U.S. Army soldiers and made them lie on the ground at gunpoint until they could disentangle the SUV.

That's US soldiers being assaulted and held at gunpoint by Blackwater.

It's in the current Newsweek:
http://www.newsweek.com/id/42487

David Brin said...

George Dvorsky was welcome to join our METI discussion group. Inspired by my article at:
http://www.lifeboat.com/ex/shouting.at.the.cosmos

However, Dvorsky wrote: "Brin is vehemently opposed to this idea, as he believes it could put humanity in great peril. For all we know, he argues, some malevolent ETI is lurking in the neighborhood waiting for less advanced civilizations to draw attention to themselves."

I would be very interested in the provenance of this lurid and somewhat demeaning quasi-quotation. My position is simply that narrowly dogmatic communities should not plunge into activities that commit humanity down paths that have low probability but high potential impact outcomes, without at least first engaging the wider world scientific community in eclectic discussion. There is a general principle here. It is simply wrong to arrogate peremptory moves that bet human posterity, based upon cult-like and unchallenged assumptions.

As for the Dems' failure to fight for us, well, I've said it before. I don't care much about the surveillance issues and have no trouble compromising on them. Because the real fight (to me) is over aggressively pouring light in the other direction.

The people are not protected from tyranny by hiding from elites. Every crime listed by Zorgon will be better prevented by reciprocal accountability and light, than it will by trying futilely to stop elites from seeing.

I am not expecting "just the right" Democrat to fight all these trends for us. I am not looking for a savior. What I DO expect is that, once several thousand BobJones University neocon lunatics are removed, with their boots no longer on the necks of the civil servants, that the professionals will simply do their jobs. And that's all it will take. Because when light flows, half of those BobJones loons will thereupon go to jail! And the flow of revelations THEN will make piddling lists like Zorgon's look like nothing.

THAT is when the people will radicalize enough to demand real change. And it won't even have to be "radical" change. Just a restoration of power to the people's enlightenment. Letting markets and science and democracy regain their health.

Carl said...

The bits about Ron Paul being in the first tier come from looking at the campaign coffers. Paul is ahead of McCain and technically ahead of Romney. These points were made in a Wednesday press conference.

Using the campaign's logic, Ron Paul is number 3 in terms of funds on hand. Methinks this was a bit of a stretch, since Romney has a personal bank account to tap; indeed, most of Romney's debts are to himself. Paul should be considered number 4 in terms of money.

What remains to be seen is what happens when the campaign starts spending that money on some ads in early primary states. Will increased awareness result in more support? Or will people be turned off by the radicalism that Dr. Brin cites?

(For the record, I too wish Dr. Paul was less radical on some issues. He is 1/4 nuts. But so are the other candidates! Look at the numbers. The U.S. is going bankrupt and the other Republicans call for more tax loopholes and wars, while the Democrats call for a giant new entitlement program. They're all whack!)

panzerjensen said...

David, you complain to high heaven about there being a "Culture War" between the left and right in America, but I don't think there is anyone who does more mudslinging than you do. No one. It takes two to fight. I'm actually pretty impressed by some of it. Let me know if I missed anything, but here are just a few of the labels you invectively hurl at the "bad" Republicans:

Monsters, criminals, thieves, gang of thieves (even better I guess), block heads, Kleptos, shills, Fanatics, narrowminds, crazies, flagrant perverts or crooks (they can't be both?), spies, jibbering insane, incurious, yes-man egotists (nice one), irresponsible, and sheer ingrates.

And my favorite - troglodyte. (Play too much D&D as a kid David?)

Then, like someone trying to write a 2nd set to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, you outline the secret insidious plot of the evil conservatives, with further carnival barking:

Who plan, "to terminate America," in a, "blood-drenched, Revelations conflagration."

What a laugh-riot. After getting a good chuckle out of all this (and wondering if you've mixed up your political and sci-fi projects), it dawned on me that you just might be serious with this claptrap. But luckily, then I see:

>>WARNING: some of the following section may seem immature and degrading.<<

Now, I just have one question: shouldn't you have put that disclaimer at the START of your blog?

David Brin said...

The difference is this. I did not start it, by a long margin. Today, even now, Shawn Hannity regularly accuses the Clintons of murdering their best friend...

... in order to conceal a minor clerical error in the transfer of three members of the White House travel office. This is a smidgen of what we have been put through for a decade and a half!

And when we tried to respond with reason, all that elicited were chuckles of derision!

ALL through the nineties, we tried reason. Putting out our hand. Negotiation. Internal neocon memos ROCKED with hilarity and contempt for "reality -based" enlightenment dinosaurs who deserved extinction because we did not understand politics. That it is dirty and meant to be played with knives.

After spending hundreds of millions of OUR money, crippling our political processes and destroying our nation's cohesion with vicious culture war, you guys have the utter gall to start whining about courtesy NOW? When the nation is finally sick to death of you?

This is called reaping what you sowed.

Moreover, if one TENTH of the accusations in my screed are true (and you never, ever address the facts), then words like "treason" apply with utter exactitude.

Using our tax dollars to create an utterly partisan secret mercenary army is treason. Redirecting FBI men for political aims, so that they could not prevent a terror attack is treason. Destroying the US military is treason.

Moreover, the whole point of my long list is to dare you to be honest with yourself. IF BILL CLINTON HAD DONE ANY OF THESE THINGS, YOU WOULD BE SCREAMING "MONSTER" AND "TREASON" TOO!

Only with one difference. You were screaming, way back when you had nothing on him. Nothing. Nada, zip, zero...

...except a sleazy fib that he gave in answer to an ILLEGAL QUESTION.

Don't you dare get holier at me. I tried sweet reason for ten years while you guys screeched like banshees over nothing whatsoever and spat on the hand that we offered you. Now, after the neocons have stolen and lied and killed and destroyed and grievously damaged the nation that I love, do NOT lecture me about courtesy.

You are following a bona fide criminal gang. If you help them to keep their klepto-bloody hands gripped around America's throat, then you are complicit.

panzerjensen said...

David, me complaining about someone being discourteous on the Internet would be like the pot calling the kettle black. I actually agree with some of the labels you threw at the more radical conservatives, like Sean Hannity, who I'd describe as a master carnival barker on the grand scale of media Freak Shows. My beef has never really been with the Clintons, but with anti-2nd Amendment Gila monsters like Diana Frankenstein, er, Feinstein, that little beady-eyed demon Senator Schumer, and that wench Tipper Gore, who sought to ban my beloved childhood Heavy Metal music back in the 80s. Leering Troglodytes, all of them, for sure.

Was just trying to point out, that sometimes, if you become a fanatic to fight the enemy – you become the enemy.

PS: "Klepto-bloody hands" – nice one!

Anonymous said...

(from Zorgon the Malevolent)

Panzerjensen howled in a primal scream of self-righteousness:
"[David Brin,] I don't think there is anyone who does more mudslinging than you do."

Please provide hard evidence that Dr. Brin has ever suggested that all Republicans are traitors and "have a preternatural disposition towards treason."

A URL will do.

Where is it?

Can you show it to us?

Of course you can't. Ann Coulter has repeatedly called all liberals "traitors" and has said in public that Democrats always have a preternatural gift for always striking a position on the side of treason. Treason, by the way, is a capital crime. If she's correct, all Democrats and all liberals should be tried, convicted, and put to death.

You tell me -- who is guilty of mudslinging? Dr. Brin, who calls for the rule of law, or Ann Coulter, who calls anyone who disagrees with her a "traitor" who has a “a preternatural gift for always striking a position on the side of treason"?

Here is a URL to Ann Coulter's statement. It's from her book "Treason":
http://collectedmiscellany.com/2003/10/treason-by-ann.html

Ann Coulter has proposed murdering her political opponents because they disagree with her:

"We need to execute people like John Walker in order to physically intimidate liberals, by making them realize that they can be killed, too."
http://righttruth.typepad.com/right_truth/2007/10/ann-coulters-je.html

Please provide a link to the URL in which David Brin has proposed murdering conservatives because they disagree with him.

You can't, can you?

Thre is no such link. Dr. Brin explicitly disavows such hatemongering.

Rush Limbaugh has repeatedly compared his opponents to Nazis and has described men serving in the U.S. armed forces who disagree with him politically as "phony soldiers."

http://news.aol.com/newsbloggers/2007/08/25/rush-limbaughs-unebelievably-racist-comments/5
mediamatters.org/items/200709270010

Please provide hard evidence that David Brin has ever compared any of his political opponents to Nazis. Please show us the quote in which Dr. Brin denigrates serving men and women in the U.S. armed forces because they disagree with him politically.

Show us the URL.

Give us the quotes.

You can't, can you?

Pat Robertson publicly accused Bill Clinton of murder. He even distributed a videotape which alleged that Clinton was part of a murder conspiracy.
http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9A00EEDE163CF935A15755C0A962958260&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=print

Show us the videotape Dr. Brin has distributed that accuses any Republican of committing murder.

Link us to the site where Dr. Brin offers such a libelous videotape for sale. Where is it?

You can't, can you?

On every count, the members of the far right are guilty of character assassination, lies, smears and systemtic willful distortions and subventions of the facts. The worst single example is the Swift Boat smear.

Show us the liberal equivalent of the Swift Boat smear campaign.

You can't, can you, Panzerjensen?

Because there isn't one.

Dr. Brin is simply pointing out the documented fact that since 1994, the Republican leadership has used the tactics of Sen. Joe McCarthy to smear and lie and mudsling their way to power.

Newt Gingrich told the lie that Bill Clinton was corrupt because of Whitewater, and he told the lie that teaching evolution in our schools caused the Columbine massacre, and he told the lie that liberals despised middle class Americans. Newt Gringich lied and lied and lied, over and over again.

Pointing out the documented fact that someone like Newt Gingrinch lies and lies and lies, and is therefore a liar, does not constitute "mudslinging." That is a statement of documented fact.

Dr. Brin has stated thoroughly documented facts. If you dislike the facts that he has documented, you should change the makeup of the Republican party by voting for Ron Paul in the coming Republican primaries, instead of baselessly attacking Dr. Brin.

Don't shoot the messenger, Panzerjensen. Work to change the Republican party from within.

"All obstructions to the execution of the Laws, all combinations and associations, under whatever plausible character, with the real design to direct, control, counteract, or awe the regular deliberation and action of the constituted authorities, are destructive of this fundamental principle, and of fatal tendency. They [political parties] serve to organize faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force; to put, in the place of the delegated will of the nation, the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community; and, according to the alternate triumphs of different parties, to make the public administration the mirror of the ill-concerted and incongruous projects of faction, rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans digested by common counsels, and modified by mutual interests.

"However combinations or associations of the above description may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely, in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people, and to usurp for themselves the reins of government; destroying afterwards the very engines, which have lifted them to unjust dominion."
-- George Washington, 1796 farewell address

David Brin said...

Chill, Zorgon. Panzer is actually friendlier than he sounds. He is just a preternatural “poker”...

...and thus EXTRA hypocritical for not recognizing which wing of the left-right axis is trying to end his freedom of speech. Forever.

But oh, spare me rage at Tipper Gore. She asked for negotiations about music labelling, BFD. Meanwhile the goppers have transfered most of the resources that had been spent on organized crime, money laundering, white collar and homicide and sent it instead to crusades against obscenity and pornography. One woman testifies in favor of LABELS and she outweighs billions transfered to THAT. As if Fox weren’t Orwellian enough.

Speaking of Phony Soldiers, and other Limbaughisms (the hypocrisy of screaming about drugs, then forgetting the entire drug war after Rush gets caught) anyone see about the 12 former Army captains who today denounced the war?

Zorgon, want an irony? Coulter wanted John Walker executed as an example to treasonous democrats... ignoring that Walker was a ...REPUBLICAN. In fact ALL of the big traitor spies or our generation were goppers. Every single one. Yet dems lack the bloody mindedness to mention it. That is, except for me. (Is it because I’m a registered Republican?)

In fairness, I hint that Bushites have done murder, by demanding where their paranoia has gone! As sergeants critical of the war have died in Iraq, mysteriously, at a rate FAR above their unit averages. But still, polemically, I am demanding perspective, and exposing two-faced inconsistency. I am not selling a theory, per se.

But yes, Swift boats. What an example. Dig it. Even if Kerry’s exploits were over-sold (arguable) EVEN JUST ONE DAY PILOTING ONE OF THOSE THINGS WAS BRAVER THAN THE ENTIRE LIFESPANS OF BUSH, CHENEY AND RUMMY COMBINED. And Kerry volunteered for not one tour but two. Thus an extremely steep burden of proof should have fallen on screechers who attacked him.

Only his peers were qualified to judge him, and all the ones who knew him personally backed him up. So where is the shame over slurring a man who at LEAST was braver than any of his critics?

But Hey! We are learning! And I am willing to be at the forefront.

Did anyone like my attack on Bush’s use of anesthesia for a routine colonoscopy? Am I the ONLY ONE to have stood up and finally ridiculed that pathetic wimpitude, a pansie cringe-out that Bush performed as many times as Kerry re-upped to pilot deathtrap river boats? Comments?

Final draft, I may add something about his "colinotomy" - to stand for the removal of his last adult supervision, Colin Powell.

panzerjensen said...

Zorgon the Malevolent? OMFG. Let me take a wild guess, you still live with your parents, and get up early to watch Saturday Morning Cartoons, don't you? Go He-man!

Dude, sell your Aladdin DVD collection, drop the bong, and get a life.

panzerjensen said...

Oops, guess I relapsed. My bad. Ok, I'll see the light, after all, I don't want to get the mighty Zorgon the Malevolent after me, LMAO.

David Brin said...

Sure... "Panzer"...

You have GOT to develop a wider sense of perspective and irony. If not, hypocrisy will be a real downfall.

Marcus said...

This is certainly nitpicking considering the amount of good points in the original post, but since it's going to be used as a political tool...


I suggest that the thing about the colonoscopy should rather be dropped from this final version, regardless of the possible hypocrisy.

I already disliked that point when it first appeared, since those kind of things belong in doctor-patient relationship, not in the "transparent society".


Besides, it's:
1) a cheap shot.
2) absolutely trivial, especially so when compared with the other things mentioned.
3) open to ridicule and therefore summary dismissal by the neocon bloggers:

"It figures that liberals would prefer a Commander-in-Chief who can bend over like a real man, and not just metaphorically."

"The idea that we can use colonoscopy probes to measure the quality of our national leadership is not that outlandish compared to other ideas proposed by leftist sci-fi author David Brin..."

- Those kind of things :)

Anonymous said...

(From Zorgon the Malevolent.
Blogger logon still not working.)

Glad you laughed your ass off, Panzer. You're supposed to. "Zorgon the Malevolent" is a reference to one of my favorite actors of all time, Ross Martin, who played Zorgon in the short-lived 1978 sci fi comedy TV show QUARK.

Live with my parents? Alas, they're both long dead. I do own my own house, though.

Does it occur to you, Panzer, that you've fallen into exactly the same tarpit your beloved Repubs have been flailing and sinking in since 1994?

You have not refuted a single one of my facts. Instead, you went for a cheap ad hominem personal attack. But because I failed to respond to your ad hominem attack and instead ask you to provide a single piece of hard evidence that Dr. Brin has done any of the mudslinging the GOP has been guilty of over the last 13 years, your cheap personal attack didn't work.

Here's a hint, Panzerjensen -- ad hominem attacks only work if the victim takes the bait and gets outraged and stops citing facts and using logic. If the victim of the smear instead points out that you're trying to evade the issue, you're in deep trouble.

So let's disregard your irrelevant ad hominem attack and return to the facts.

Please provide a list of quotes from Dr. Brin showing that he has accused Repubs of committing murder and committing treason, that all conservatives are traitors, that Dr. Brin has ever distributed videotapes alleging the current Republican president was involved in a murder conspiracy, or that the current Republican president ever murdered any of his closest aides, or that the current Republican president ever raped any of his secretaries.

Republicans have accused Bill Clinton of murdering an Arkansas state trooper to supposedly cover up alleged "evidence" of Clinton's multiple rapes:
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/832344/posts

Show us the evidnece that Dr. Brin has accused the current Republicant president of murdering anyone in Texas to cover up his alleged multiple rapes.

Where is the quote from Dr. Brin? Show it to us. Let us see it.

At one point, the endlessly futile Clinton investigations even centered around Bill Clinton's Christmas card list--!
www.washingtonmonthly.com/features/2006/0606.roth.html

Show us the quotes from Dr. Brin that the current White House must be criminally investigated because of its Christmas card list.

Give us the URL. Let us see it. If your claims about Dr. Brin are true, show us the quotes to prove it. Where are they?

I'm waiting. Show us the evidence to substantiate your vacuous accusations that Dr. Brin engages in worse mudslinging that the Republicans...or stand revealed as someone using Joe-McCarthy-style smear tactics because you have no logic and no facts to back up your empty claims.

Nate said...

Guys, it's never worth arguing with a troll.

panzerjensen said...

>>Does it occur to you, Panzer, that you've fallen into exactly the same tarpit your beloved Repubs have been flailing and sinking in since 1994?<<

Zondor, go cry me a river. You're really breaking my heart. Do you want some cheese with your wine?

panzerjensen said...

And just for the record, you Hawkeye observational genius, I NEVER made any one of those accusations against Brin in the first place. Or claimed to support them. Putting words in someone's mouth is the lamest, most asinine, most obvious form of a cheap shot. You're obviously looking for a fight, and even trying to choose the battlefield. So, if anyone's a troll here, it's you.

panzerjensen said...

>Where is the quote from Dr. Brin? Show it to us. Let us see it.

You know, besides the fact I value David's opinions on things, I'm glad I came around here. Because I'd completely forgotten what a bunch of whiny, cry me a river, self-righteous, pompous asses some of you liberals can be. In that vein, I'm going to do everything I can to urge every single one of my friends, family, and coworkers (oops, sorry, a whining lib like you probably doesn't even have a job) to vote Republican this next election season. (And no, NOT for Ron Paul.)

Next time, before putting words in someone's mouth, and blowing Brin's carefully laid plan to convert conservatives to hell and back, try taking a course in reading comprehension, and actually try to understand what he's got to say. Because you obviously don't care.

David Brin said...

Panzer, whatevr rhetorical sins you have taken umbrage toward, the situation is simple. Not once, not even once, have you dealt here with a single fact... and facts were the main topic here.

I provided a long list of things that Republicans have done, that you would never have put up with under Clinton. Deeds that utterly betrayed and eviscerated your nation in criminal ways.

In contrast, the only thing you had, have or ever will have, to justify the decade of culture war against democrats, was a male weasel twisting and fibbing about a private marital lapse that courts ruled it illegal to ask about.

If you were rational, you would screw up every fiber of maturity that is left inside and actually put aside reflex loyalty enough to WEIGH the vast pile of GOP crimes against the TOTAL like of democratic ones.

Never in all our lives has the case been so pure, so absolute, so based on genuine objective evidence.

No the real crime of the neocon movement has been to make everything subjective. "I know what I know!" is the scream on the right. Where conservatives used to be logical and able to see evidence, now it is ostrichhood.

Enjoy it down there, with your head in that deep hole. But a part of you - the part that knows that facts matter - is choking down there. ALAS

panzerjensen said...

I disagree with your assessment of the situation. Hell, you're defending a discredited president who got impeached; all the while calling one who's never been impeached a criminal… And those are the facts. And David, as far as one of us having our head in the sand, I offer this as proof it's not me: Like a lot of conservatives, I'm absolutely sure about one thing in life:

People never really change.

Biologically, it's called hardwiring. So, which one of us is the one with the wishful thinking?

David Brin said...

Impreached BY the ranting pack of loons who proceeded to rape America. Your standards are utterly delusional,

If you were a person interested in objective reality, you would have felt disturbed by the long list of facts and accusations and looked into some of them, either for refutal or to change your mind.

Instead, each f your responses has been a tribal incantation. Well okay. As I said, there are millions like you who love their tribe more than they love their country. We'll not turn any more attention to you.

Meanwhile, though, millions who are on the rational side of ostrichhood ARE waking up. Long lists of facts do affect them. US military officers, who MUST face facts, are turning democrat faster than any other group. If I am right, and CIA/FBI folk are doing so as well, quietly, then we may yet be save.

And it won't be Hillary's doing. It will be the peoples'.

No more from you for now, Panzer. Go cool off. BAck to supporting your monsters.

Nate said...

Panzerjagen is using Ann Coulter's schtick. Make absurd personal attacks against liberals, caricaturize them, attack rhetorical strawmen, and do your best to piss liberals off, that way, when they get pissed off, you can point and go "MAN! Look how crazy those liberals are!"

There's no point to getting involved in that argument. He's just trying to get a reaction. See it in his latest posts, where he talks about what "whiny, cry me a river, self-righteous, pompous asses some of you liberals can be." after being challenged on his facts, and then uses that as a justification to say he's going to make sure to tell everyone to vote Republican. He's not here to converse, he's here to have his pre-conceived notions confirmed, by baiting people into reacting.

Sadly, that's why a certain percentage of people still support Bush. "If he makes liberals THAT mad, he MUST be doing something right!" If there's substance to why people are mad or not doesn't matter. Liberals are bad and "whiny, self-righteous, pompous asses," so anything that gets them upset must therefore be a good thing.

panzerjensen said...

>Your standards are utterly delusional

Look who's talking. Change any neocons yet? Anyone? Zero. I have to admit, I haven't had much luck converting any of the self-deluded neolibs around here, er, dammit, looks like the cat is out of the bag! (The hard part was acting like I cared what your sycophants and nodding donkeys thought about anything.) What surprised me though, was none suspected.

Ah, much like Odysseus boasting of his exploits to the blinded Cyclops Polyphemus as he triumphantly leaves his island, I as well, can't resist.

Alas, all of you are still blinded.

Michael said...

Well, Panzer, it's hard to gather that you're trying to convert us (... also, 'neolibs'? what's new about our stance, mm?) when all you do is insult us on a personal basis.


Further, you should remind yourself that while Clinton was impeached, *he was acquitted*.

I suspect that if I really tried, I could get you charged with a crime. (Assuming I managed to locate your real-life identity somehow, anyway). Does that mean you'd be guilty? Of course not. Being charged with things only shows that to someone else, it looks like you might have done wrong. It doesn't matter if you actually did or not - investigations are done to DETERMINE that, not because of it.

(This, by the way, is why "rights for criminals" are so important - because if you don't have the right to a fair trial, you can be made a "criminal" without ever committing a wrong. Maybe it's justified to torture terrorists for information [I admit that my primary objection to that is on practical grounds] ... but it's never justified to torture SUSPECTED terrorists, simply because suspicion can be wrong.)

David Brin said...

Never mind, fellow. He openly avows that his only purpose was to come her, peck at our ankles and crow victory.

Therefore, I hereby retract all of the tolerant and welcoming and calming things that I said before.

By his own words, he was never here to converse, only to be vicious.

He is now banished. Onward.

Jumper said...

I had anaesthesia for MY colonoscopy. And yet I have the bravery of ten ordinary warriors!

Uh, actually, I think it doesn't prove much at all, really. I strongly suspect I cursed them roundly throughout the procedure. I expect if I had been fully conscious, I would have cursed them LESS.

Mark said...

Jeez, I see the middle of the road collapsed into the dismal pit of Wingerville. Is Panzer just a coincidence? LOL!

Sandy Ears said...

David, Quit it.. if You keep this up, I'll have to pull my head out of the sand.. Cancel my GOP membership, tell them I won't send them a check, and re-read "for us the living" and "Empire"..