Sunday, October 10, 2010

Auspicious omens, fear-rallies(!), aliens... more aliens... and science!

Today is 10-10-10... which in binary means it can be termed '42 Day',  Ah, it’s the answer!

earthI’m quoted on Stephen Colbert's "Restoring Truthiness" site: "Sci fi author David Brin: humorists are precisely the kinds of guys who can cut through the orgy of petty indignation that we aging baby boomers are imposing on this country.”

But heck, while we’re at it, see what book is a headliner for the Stephen T Colbert Award For The Literary Excellence! 

the-daily-show-with-jon-stewart-presents-earth-the-book-a-visitors-guide-to-the-human-raceCould the fact that my novel EARTH was a Colbert Award finalist explain why that liberal so-’n-so Jon Stewart stole the title for his new guide book to the planet (for aliens)?  I am so ticked off over his hilarious tome-of-the-stolen-name that I won’t even link to it here!  You’ll have to google or amazon “Stewart” and “Earth” in order to rush & buy it for yourselves!  (Take that Stewart!)

In fact, I plan - on October 30 - to attend the local “Keep Fear Alive!” Colbert rally, in my hometown.  Find your own town’s satellite rally at www.rallymao.com.  And march in support of Stephen’s campaign to resist sanity!  If Stewart’s ilk have their way, Republicans and Democrats will go back to negotiating with each other, reason will prevail, science will thrive and we’ll resume modernist quests for progress. Heck, we’ll even start settling outer space... and my far-out tales of futuristic adventure will all become obsolete!  For the sake of my children, march with Stephen!

(Side note: for us realist-paranoids rallymao.com means “rally-my-ass-off” for the Colbert Nation.  Clearly that means it will be a great way to trim those extra pounds!  But for Stewart’s crowd of pinko namby-pambies, rallymao has another meaning! Did you notice the last three letters? It’s a code! Clearly, they’re congregating to support the murderous commie founder of Red China.  Ooh, that burns, even worse than discovering that Che-Ney was Russian for the “new Che Guevarra.” And he seemed such a nice fellow!)

(More about this at the end.)


=== SCIENCE FICTION MARCHES ON! ===

200px-StrangertidesOh, have you heard? Tim Powers’s great book On Stranger Tides  was bought by the producers of Part IV in the Pirates of the Caribbean series, starring Johnny Depp.   That bodes well for a hilarious film with some content for the mind and heart, as well!  And it couldn’t happen to a better book, or author.

Meanwhile, I just returned from the Royal Society’s gorgeous new conference facility, in the beautiful countryside outside London, where I participated in a debate over the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) and the silly notion that Earthlings should shout Yoohoo! into a dauntingly mysterious cosmos. On the blithe assumption that all advanced aliens will automatically be as beneficent as Californian and Canadian radio astronomers. Which proved ironic.  Illustrating the benign maturity they expect to find out there, three speakers in a row proceeded to use strawman arguments and ridicule against the three of us who were there to ask for serious discussion.  Although not one of us mentioned even a single “danger” in our proposal to expand the advisory panels to include historians, biologists, anthropologists, philosophers -- our opponents evaded this simple suggestion, instead choosing to concentrate on mocking the notion of “danger!” Presenting lists of lurid alien invasion scenarios straight out of bad Hollywood thrillers (“Are they coming to take our water? Our women?”) 

Above all, it seems that the core SETI community has acquired a deeply-felt and pervasive rationalized hatred of science fiction, bolstered by willful ignorance of the literary genre where most thought experiments about contact with alien life have taken place.

The irony is almost too rich.  A field that was engendered by science fiction, that had its roots in SF and that owes it everything, has turned inward, avoiding contact with most other human scientific specialties... so how will they deal with truly alien beings?  Above all, they offer only hackles toward the one literary realm that should be viewed as the R&D department of the entire field.  Especially during the era when SETI has no palpable subject matter other than ideas.

Oh, but fun and sci fi blend together elsewhere! This web-comic artist is one of the greats - and a (reciprocal) fan of mine.  Give him your support!

=== Now This Is Weird ===

From The New Republic:  “But there is one overriding reason why charity is largely absent from contemporary China: The Communist Party makes it difficult. Why? The party does not want competitors, especially organized ones. Charities, therefore, have to find government sponsors before they can register with the Ministry of Civil Affairs, and this requirement severely limits the number of them. Even Hollywood action star Jet Li, a favorite of Beijing because he makes “patriotic” films, cannot register his One Foundation, which may have to suspend operations soon. ... Don't be surprised that as of last year there were, in all of China, only 643 foundations not run by the government. There were an estimated 300,000 so-called grass-roots organizations that were operating without registering or had registered as business enterprises. Such organizations, functioning in a highly unorthodox manner, invariably find it hard to raise funding. For one thing, donors cannot obtain tax deductions for contributions to them.

“But forget about the lack of tax deductions: Some reports indicate that China’s wealthy are afraid of government reprisals if they make donations. In any event, severe government restrictions have had an effect. Last year, donations in China totaled about $8 billion, less than 3 percent of philanthropic giving in the United States.”



=== MORE SCIENCE ===

From the Transparency Front -- Eeek!  Creeped out, even though I both predicted this and expect it will be part of a generally good trend. With LOTS of irksome aspects to get used-to. Snoopers paid to catch shoplifters.

Past observations at visible and near infrared wavelengths had implied the presence of primitive carbon-rich materials on the moons  of Mars, which are usually associated with asteroids that populate the central part of the Asteroid Belt. But recent thermal infrared observations from Mars Express' Planetary Fourier Spectrometer did not find any such evidence, instead finding signatures that match types of minerals identified on Mars' surface.  Also low density and highly porous. This may be bad news.  But the Russians are persisting, fortunatley, in their space mission to Phobos.  Perhaps they’ll find resources - including water - making it one of the most valuable spots in the solar system.  Let’s hope.

Father and son film outer space, do-it-yourself style.

Hilarious: Glenn Beck’s words selling fear, set to a Donald Duck cartoon.

China has launched its second lunar orbiter.

Cyberweapons will continue to haunt us. The Stuxnet software worm – designed to destroy industrial control systems -- may have been designed to target Iran’s nuclear program. It infected 45,000 computers worldwide, most in Iran. The next generation of malware could be a danger to power plants and electrical grids worldwide.

The building blocks of life may be constant throughout the cosmos: humans and aliens may share the same DNA roots: ten amino acids form at low temperatures and pressures – you don’t need a miracle to arrive at the chemical cocktail for life. (Actually, Leslie Orgel predicted this decades ago.) Ah... but life ITSELF?  Stay tuned, stay ambitious.  And actually READ the passages in Genesis about the Tower of Babel.  This time, we have auto-translation software on iPods!!!

Nobel Prize awarded to two University of Manchester physicists for work with graphene – a two-dimensional, one-atom thick carbon sheet extracted from graphite. Graphene is the thinnest, strongest material ever developed, nearly transparent, an excellent conductor of electricity & heat. Can be mixed with plastic to generate flexible solar cells, smaller, faster transistors, high-capacity batteries & ultracapacitors.

NTT DoCoMo has developed a tiny display that clips onto a pair of eyeglasses and provides navigation services or information about local shops.

Filming human embryos used for in vitro fertilization (IVF) at an early stage in their development has allowed scientists to select those with the best chance of going on to develop into healthy babies, with an accuracy of more than 93%.

A new microphone system allows broadcasters to zoom in on sounds as well as sights, to pick out a single conversation.

A fascinating persepective suggests that our human ability to empathize broadly with other species... and perhaps even some of our intelligence... arose because of our 100,000 year co-evolution (perhaps a love affair?) with dogs. 


=== FOOD FOR THOUGHT ==

It turns out that almost all the job growth  over the last year has come from those who have reached "retirement age" (whatever that is) continuing to work or going back to work. The total number of people over 65 who are employed has risen by 318,000 over the last year, accounting for nearly all the job growth

And... oh... Ack!  Share this with your Ostrich.


===  FINALLY, BE AROUND PEOPLE on 10/30/10! ===
  
Seriously folks. (Or not.)  Find a place outdoors with lots of people, on October 30.  Stephen Colbert says we should all be VERY afraid of being indoors or alone, or too quiet, that day!

He’s being vague, but some of his hints may imply some kind of alien pod-people replacement attack in which the invaders feel a need to avoid crowds of people who are chanting, marching, waving placard/signs and having fun.  Especially the placards. (Ask any alien invader; those signs can really sting, when they smack you on the antennae or the sucker-pads!)

Or  maybe it’s not aliens but something similarly fear-inducing. Anyway, Colbert has good instincts about these things.  So get OUT of the house and join one of Stephen’s fear-preserving rallies.  Go to the main one in Washington DC (the safest place from alien probes, that day), or in your own town, via www.rallymao.com!

(Or else join Jon Stewart and his militantly-moderate-reasonable-rational-politeness-troopers... if you really must.)

142 comments:

Tim H. said...

On the derfcity 'toon, the link points to "Latest 'toon", which is now a jab at the holidays. Click the left pointing hand to see previous 'toons and the home icon gets you access to Derf's other work and old 'toons.

nike shox shoes said...

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Stefan Jones said...

Glenn Beck believes that the Donald Duck cartoon mocking him was produced by sinister government operatives.

Mickey Mouse heard about this and is totally freaked out!

Tony Fisk said...

Be around people on 30/10...

It will avail you not, yankling, for *we* control the time zones!

Yes! We will make our move on 30/10! Initial podification phase will commence as you sleep alone in your beds... 19 hours *before* your fruitless attempts at resistance. Your flocking strategies will serve merely to give the seeded greater opportunity to spread our influence.

For you are not speaking merely of aliens, but Austr-aliens!

Robert said...

Dr. Brin, you have been holding out on me. I must insist that you share with us your webcomic reading list. Or at the very least the top ten webcomics you enjoy. I say this not only as a webcomic critic (and one of the few who's been out there for five years or so), but as a webcomic fan.

(Of course, if you're able to throw together a review of a webcomic in the next week, I'd gladly host it over at Tangents while I'm on vacation hunting; I've only two guest reviews currently planned, though I'm also debuting an illustrated scifi story I wrote for while I'm away so at least the site won't be completely dead during the two weeks I'm gone.)

Robert A. Howard, Tangents Reviews

Stefan Jones said...

RE dog/human co-evolution:

That article has a really stupid title -- I think love has been around for much of mammalian history -- but it seems likely that out species' recent evolution was influenced by having each other around.

Another book I read on the subject suggests that the animals we domesticated weren't specifically wolves, but a somewhat mellower species that adapted to a niche as scavenger in neolithic villages.

David Brin said...

Robert wish Ihad time for web-comics. I sometimes see some people send me to. But Farley is special.

Stefan the man-dog essay started with a couple of keen insights, then devolved into sappiness.

Moreover, the guy sems never to have heard of neoteny, with is clearly the trait that is most wonderful about canines... that almost ALL of their developmental features can be SEPARABLY kept altricial or puppy-like!

Including the floppy ears and eagerness to please the top dog (master) and to never fight for top status himself. Or keeping the legs short (daschshund) or face pug (boxers). Cats are the opposite. Kittens are miniature adult cats.

Rob said...

As much as I like Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, I won't be going to the rally. I simply don't agree that the answer to the rampaging loons is to remain calm and try to negotiate with people who simply won't negotiate with you in good faith. It's a non-starter.

Frankly, I don't see any way of stopping the tide of know-nothingism. Only a great catastrophe will suffice at this point.

David Brin said...

Aw now Rob, that's silly. They want moderate reasonable people to get UP off their duffs!

Can't you see that humor is our version of MILITANCY?

It is the only power in the universe that can counter the addictive drug high of sanctimony. Besides, it should be super-way fun.

Robert said...

Laughter and humor are the great banes of tyranny and hate. It is one of the reasons why tyrants hate being laughed at - when someone laughs at someone's hate and anger, it disempowered that hate and anger. Indeed, it is difficult keeping a full head of steam and hate going if you yourself start to laugh.

Laughter is the great equalizer. This may in fact be one of the primary reasons we don't see right-wing humor in the same vein as Stewart and Colbert - today's right wing is about fear and anger which cannot survive the illumination that comes with laughter.

Of course, today's right wing is what was once the radical right even twenty years ago. That is why conservatives such as myself have found themselves cast into the muddy waters of moderatism. We have not become more liberal - the nation itself has shifted to the right and has not realized this fact.

Rob H.

Tacitus2 said...

A few days back in a thread that ended sooner than expected I commented on the Steven Colbert appearance before Congress. Among other things I suggested that his relationship to the real political process was approximately that of a streaker at a sporting event who runs onto the field with a website address scrawled on his/her torso.

I just want you all to know that I had nothing to do with

THIS

But the next time somebody questions my "cred" as an oracular pundit of our diminished political ecosystem, I will just smile.

Serious politics. Bring it,folks, you have an obligation as citizens.

Tacitus2

TwinBeam said...

If Dogs are co-evolved, then cats are parasites.

fulsh: to purge by absurdly dislexic means; 'Mistaking Republicans for defenders of the republic, the American people elected them in an attempt to fulsh the Democrats .'

Robert said...

I'd not quite say that. I'd say that cats proved more difficult to domesticate than dogs, and had the added problem that for a couple thousand years they were considered "divine" and thus domestication efforts were relaxed, allowing them to regress into pseudo-wild creatures.

Cats and humans have a symbiotic relationship. They thrive off of humanity itself by feeding off of the pests we attract, and we benefit from their hunting of pests and from the companionship that they deem to allow us. Cats are also better able to care for themselves, which is why you often hear of "crazy cat ladies" but rarely of "crazy dog ladies."

Rob H.

Tony Fisk said...

Actually, cats haven't been domesticated for nearly as long as dogs, and cat breeding is very recent.

If Dogs are co-evolved, then cats are parasites.

Think the behaviour altering illness toxoplasmosis.

...and, wrt righteous indignation, parasitism could be an alternate hypothesis to addiction (Heinlein wrote 'The Puppet Masters' as well as 'If This Goes On').. what advantage would such behaviour (or its opposite) be to a parasite?

David Brin said...

I have a request of any of you who are on Facebook.

I need three people to confirm me as author of Contrary Brin
http://apps.facebook.com/blognetworks/blog/contrary_brin/

That's
http://apps.facebook.com/blognetworks/
then
blog/contrary_brin/

Thanks!

Robert said...

And we see another chink in the Tea Party. I have to wonder how disillusioned the Tea Party members will become that their honored candidates that they chose to represent them are being torn apart one after another by the media... and then abandoned by the very Republican Party they are trying to "redeem."

No wonder some Democrats are starting to state that the Tea Party is giving them an advantage. All you need is two or three people like this to galvanize a lackluster Democratic base... and we may very well see the Democrats barely hold the line in both branches of Congress. Then what are Republicans to do?

Do Republicans continue to be the Party of No for two more years? If they do so, it's political suicide. Obama will rightfully paint them as obstructionists who did everything in their power to deny Democratic efforts to repair the damages of the Bush Administration (which happened under a Republican Congress for the most part). But if they start to work WITH Democrats... then the remnants of the Tea Party, already disillusioned with what happened in the 2010 elections and on their being tossed under the bus, will abandon them. You'll see lots of third-party conservative candidates and the like... which will seriously damage the Republican efforts to hold marginal states and may even turn some Red States into battlegrounds.

Assuming something truly bad doesn't happen before 2012 like a new Great Depression or the like, we could even see Democrats once again sweep the elections in 2012 and gain a supermajority in the Senate beyond the bare-bones one formed in 2008.

The only way out is a path that I'm not sure Republicans will dare take: moving to the center at the start of elections. Embrace the moderates they have shunned for so long. If they can force this change through in 2012... then we could see the Republican Party manage to regain some power and hold its own.

But it will be a very tough road for them to try.

Rob H.

David Brin said...

Eek! These guys justify playing WWII German soldiers.

Yes... and SS!!!!

http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/10/11/men-who-play-nazis-for-fun-try-to-explain/?partner=rss&emc=rss

"The revelation that Rich Iott, a Republican candidate for Congress from Ohio, was an active member of a group of dedicated to understanding the experience of soldiers who served in the Nazi Waffen SS by dressing up in their uniforms — and staging recreations of their battles — has forced historical re-enactors to defend their hobby.

"That Mr. Iott engaged in this pastime came to light on Friday, when Joshua Green of The Atlantic published photographs of him in an SS uniform beneath a headline asking, “Why is This GOP House Candidate Dressed as a Nazi?”

Argh... Please show this to your Ostriches.

DiSCo said...

http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/

Robert said...

Guess I should have been more specific on what my link was about, seeing that Dr. Brin posted on the same subject soon after I did. Whoops!

Rob H.

David Brin said...

Keep on offering links. It is appreciated. That one is bloody awful.

Ilithi Dragon said...

That or you were both reading it at about the same time... I've seen and been a part of the "Damn, beat me to it" effect often enough.


On that subject, though, I hesitate to decry the SS re-enactors on instinct. People don't have any problems with civil war re-enactors playing Confederate soldiers, after all. Participating in war re-enactments for the sake of history, in which somebody's gotta play the enemy, doesn't seem like a big deal to me. Getting the history wrong and praising some rather villainous men as heroes while doing so, though, that is another matter.

Tony Fisk said...

I might also point out that, while the SS is an outlawed organisation, being a member does not necessarily infer that you were a nazi: particularly post 1943 when folk were conscripted.

Even so, witchcraft, SS, what next in this updated book of revelations? ('I played the NPC character of Beelzebub in D & D for a while, but I never, ever inhaled, and I left when folks got tired of resurrecting me.')

Nicholas MacDonald said...

"Eek! These guys justify playing WWII German soldiers.

Yes... and SS!!!!"

Awe, come now. It's cosplay, it's reenactment. When I play WWII strategy games, I always like to play Japan. Because I support what they did in Nanjing? Um, no. Because I'm playing a game- and they have the most strategically interesting position.

It doesn't make him a nazi by any stretch of the imagination. It just means he's got an... unusual hobby. Now, when will a GOP candidate be revealed to be a furry? "Yeah, I spend my weekends at orgies dressed as an ocelot..."

David Brin said...

Sorry, when you are dealing with the fundamental ARCHETYPE of evil, across the entire span of human history, the burden of proof is on anyone who says it's just clean fun.

Sure, it is conceivable. Heckthe actors who play Nazis in movies aren't evil. The man who played Sgt Schultz in Hogan's heroes was a death camp survivor!

But give me a break.

Robert said...

It's also jumping to conclusions and it is rather unfair to destroy a man's political aspirations just because he played a German officer in historical reenactments. And it's not like he exclusively played Germans. He also played American soldiers in these reenactments. Is this any worse than pretending to be a Redcoat, or a Confederate soldier... or even a Russian soldier in the LARPs some of these people play with Russians invading the U.S.?

That said, I do see that the Tea Party is not going to be happy at this and we may very well see the more hardcore elements taking this as an attack by the media and backed by the Republican leadership against the Tea Party. There was no attempt at reason. There was no attempt at acceptance. There was a casting under the bus, and the Tea Party will see this rightly as an attack on them... and proof that the Republican leadership cannot be trusted.

As such, the Tea Party has two options. First, to seize control and cast out ALL of the current Republicans... to swing the party so far to the Right that there is a metaphorical bloodbath with none of the cancers of the old party remaining. The second? Saying "frak this!" and walking away, disillusioned.

Both are poison pills for the Republican party. And yet it is also a potential salvation: if the Far Right elements of the party walks away, that leaves moderates to take control and swing the party back to the Center. If Republican leadership is savvy enough to play this right, they can remake themselves and become what they should be.

If they fall asleep at the wheel or cling tenaciously at their right-wing base? Then they will falter and fall apart. We'll see the Democrats ascendant in 2012 and possibly 2016... and then as the Republican party is in its death-throes either the Liberal Left or the Moderate/Right elements will break away.

Rob H.

Ilithi Dragon said...

Yeah, I don't see the base concept of playing German officers as something to ! about. In the new strategy game RUSE, for example (exemplary WWII RTS, btw), I prefer to play the Nazis in multiplayer, because I like their tanks; it's quite satisfying to steamroll through an opponent's backfield with a column of King Tigers, or especially of the prototype Panzer VIII Maus if my opponent fails hard enough to let me get a column of them up. I'm hardly a Nazi sympathizer, though.

So the furor over that alone is just eye-rolling, no more worth my time listening to than the people clamoring about how the new Medal of Honor game would have let players in multiplayer take on the role of the Taliban as the team opposing the U.S. team, when those same people didn't have any issue with previous games in the series letting players do the same thing with Nazis in a WWII setting.

The thing that's worth attention here is that they are glorifying the history of an evil force, and getting the history of the group they are playing as wrong (an unacceptable failure given that the whole purpose of the exercise is for historical preservation).

At the start of the war, the SS Wiking division may have been comprised of honorable, or at least naive men who could otherwise have been heroes, but over the course of the war they became genocidal monsters. Keeping the knowledge and memory alive that these men were largely just regular, every-day guys, could have been any one of us in a different day and age, is fine, but the emphasis should be on how they turned into monsters, and how easily it happened and could happen to any of us, not on making them glorified heroes.

That's where this guy seems to go wrong. He's not just maintaining history, he's glorifying monsters with a version of the past that doesn't fit with reality, and doesn't account for the fact that these men became monsters.

François Marcadé said...

In my, experience in the French wargaming circles, is that fascination with the German uniforms (and it’s always the Waffen SS, not the plain Vanilla Whermacht, or the very disgusting Totenkopf SS) goes together with a very right-wing political stand. Building kit model of German aircraft or tanks and playing the axis side of the games was a very different affair and some very liberal friends of mine indulged in it, but they would never wear a uniform, especially an SS uniform. That said, I can only tell about France, maybe it is different in US.

From what I understand, the people of SETI are very unsecure, I think their problem with Science-Fiction is the word fiction. They are scientist and they deal with facts, or if no facts are available, the next best thing is the speculation of serious scientists who never, ever engage in fiction. Denying any relation, or even liking, to fiction, they believe enhance their credibility. You most be the bane of them!

Ilithi Dragon said...

I suspect there's a similar trend here in the U.S. There's definitely a major difference between assembling a tank model, or clicking arbitrarily labeled units around in a video game, and dressing up in a uniform to glorify and/or honor the people who wore that uniform.

Ilithi Dragon said...

On the subject of Tea Party foot-shooting, Paladino is running out of toes on the issue of homosexuality.

button said...

David Brin wrote: "I have a request of any of you who are on Facebook.

I need three people to confirm me as author of Contrary Brin"

I went there and couldn't see any way to do so. And a search on the word 'confirm' get no results.

Have you already gotten the confirmations you needed, or is this something that only shows up when I've given up my "name, profile picture, gender, networks, user ID, list of friends, and any other information I've shared with everyone"?

[Usual bitching about blogger's pita comment system omitted.]

David Brin said...

Apparently I have the three confirmations. Thanks all.

rewinn said...

* Facebookery: If you, like me, recommended "Doc" Brin's FB prescence, please also consider joining Operation Home Relief to help (in a small way) military families facing foreclosure.

* Nazis cosplay: in a world that is fair and elections decided by issues, this might be a non-story. In the Real World, Van Jones lost his job because he signed a petition calling for a deeper investigation of 9/11 ... so it's not at all unfair that expressing admiration for genocidal sons-of-bitches should become a political liability.

It's not the uniform per se (as noted elsewhere, someone has to play the bad guys); it's the repeated expression of admiration (it's not clear that Iotta considered the Wiking-SS as bad guys) and the sanitization of the historical record that shows, at best, poor judgment.

Contrast this with Civil War reenactors: the South rejects slavery, none are now living who endured that time, and the Confederate Army never had as a main mission to butcher slaves. In constrast, Nazis still hate Jews (and too many other types of people to count), their victims still live and if you're going to reenact Waffen-SS, you need to honestly state that their "efficiency" included rounding up and slaughtering Hungarian Jews.

* Tea Party/GOP Relations. However distasteful and outright insane (in the case of Sharon Angle) Tea Partiers may be, there really is no limit to the degredation that a party will endure to maintain power. It seems likely that the Aristocracy will find TP'ers are easily co-opted (none of them noted for their intelligence) and in the case of Christine O'Donnell, arrives on the national scene pre-corrupted.

Personally, I'm in a comfortable position so if the TP/GOP do take over Congress, impeach Obama, and sell our last assets to China ... I will sigh in regret but live a healthly life. It is a puzzle, however, that so many GOP rank-and-file are cutting their own throats.

David Brin said...

Finishing the comic book.

I need references/links for and SCI FI NOVELS about manufacturing... especially about its decline in America and /or prospects for better manufacturing in the near future.

Tim H. said...

American industry in decline?, Bartlett & Steele's "America, what went wrong" or Michael Moore's "Downsize this" might be good places to start. Only starting places, it has been a compound failure.

Tim H. said...

A web version of "America, what went wrong" here:
http://www.politicalindex.com/wrong1.htm

Abilard said...

If our manufacturing decline continues, the only ones left to resurrect it will be Makers and Steampunk Crafters.

Tim H. said...

That, or the welcome departure of the "American incompetence meme" that has infected schools of business.

Abilard said...

The American Engineers behind the Chilean mine rescue going on now certainly were not incompetent.

Tim H. said...

That meme is pretty much an FME (Fecal Matter Equivalent), but it's pervasive and destructive.

CulturalEngineer said...

Re:
"manufacturing... especially about its decline in America and /or prospects for better manufacturing in the near future..."

While the article linked below may seem peripheral to the question...

I actually believe its central!

The loss of manufacturing in the U.S. has its roots in the 'technology of money' (it may not be the only element but its a big one)...

Why the IMF Meetings Failed

And the problem won't be fixed without addressing THAT problem.

Robert said...

One thing I'm currently wrestling with (for the science fiction story I've mentioned before) is trying to determine what the structure of the FBI will be in 20 years. Assuming that paranormal abilities (ESP) are verified, it seems natural that the FBI would integrate confirmed and trained psychics into their workforce (as some form of specialist). Seeing that registration is required for psychics, crimes by paranormals would likely be under a federal mandate, resulting in FBI involvement. And as the Feds have a cybercrime division, it seems likely that the use of advanced technologies in crime (powered exosuits, for instance) would likewise be under the FBI umbrella.

The problem being: how will the FBI have changed in those twenty years? Would they be more integrated with local police, or would they resist integration and remain in a similar state to how they are now organizationally?

You also have to wonder: how will government itself evolve over the next twenty years.

Given that in the world I'm writing, there was a massive loss of life in '96 (which would actually benefit the Republicans in the short run as they tend to do better with rural populations, and the rural population centers are fairly intact after the Christmas Plague), the entire political scene became rather confused. Given the massive loss of life, I could easily see the President given emergency powers.

With the manpower shortage, a Democratic president may very well open up the borders... which would allow a surge of immigrants which tend to vote Democrat... and which would upset Republicans who actually allowed the President those emergency powers. Of course, by 2030 the political situation would have calmed considerably; immigration would probably be restrained once again once the labor shortage was dealt with, and we'd likely have second-generation immigrants coming into voting age by this point.

Rob H.

TwinBeam said...

Didn't know that about "Sergeant Schultz" - gives his "I see nothing!" line a poignant bite, in retrospect.

RSA Course said...

10/10/10 is great but I can't wait to see what happens 12/12/12 :)

Robert said...

Actually, I believe that Werner Klemperer (who played Klink) was Jewish and had to flee Germany with his parents during World War II. He insisted that Klink could never succeed at anything in the series. John Banner (Schultz) lost all of his family to concentration camps but wasn't in one himself.

Rob H.

ell said...

Fleet Admiral Dragon wrote:

"Keeping the knowledge and memory alive that these men were largely just regular, every-day guys, could have been any one of us in a different day and age, is fine, but the emphasis should be on how they turned into monsters..."

That regular guy in the cubicle at work could be persuaded to embrace evil as many Germans were, perhaps by being convinced that the evil is actually something that sounds good, like pride, independence, or prosperity.

Ian said...

On a different note, George RR Martin's A Dance with Dragons may be approaching completion.

http://io9.com/5660273/

Ian said...

The decline in American manufacturing is largely a myth.

From 2001 to 2010 the US lost 5.6 million manufacturing jobs - but most of that loss is cyclic and related to the current financial crisis.

From 1987 to 2000, manufacturing employment was largely static.

Loathe as I am to link to the Heritage foundation:

http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2010/10/Technology-Explains-Drop-in-Manufacturing-Jobs

The value of US manufacturing output has grown roughly 2.5 times in 1970 (in constant dollar terms).

US manufacturing employment has been growing for the past year and is likely to accelerate further due to the impact of the lower US dollar.

http://www.ism.ws/ismreport/mfgrob.cfm

Robert said...

They got all the Chilean miners out safely. One had pneumonia, and another has some marital issues after his wife ran into his mistress at a prayer vigil from what I understand, but the 33 men are out and safe. :)

So. I think this is a crowning moment of awesome for humanity and for science and technology. And for 33 men who never gave up hope and did far better in a horrific situation than anyone could wish for.

Rob H.

Tony Fisk said...

A bit of trivia: I was often tickled by one the photographs in Bader's biography 'Reach For the Sky'. In it, a recently captured Bader is being shown the controls of an Me-109 by Galland (a request to 'take it up for a spin' was apologetically rejected as he hadn't been rated). Anyway, one of the accompanying officers (with Luger trained) was the spitting image of Col. Klink.

Nah! Wrong service!!

Martin often refers to the projects underway as 'the monkeys on his back', with Kong being 'the big one'.

I suspect that this is a more accurate reflection of progress on 'A Dance with Dragons'!

... and then there's the publication process!

Tony Fisk said...

btw: what is this comic you are finishing?

gastor: a by-product of crocodilean flatulence.

Gilmoure said...

Pat Cadigan had a short story (in Mirror shades?) about a post Pax America. The story took place outside of the U.S. and only mentioned the US collapse due to several EMP bombs set off at New York, Chicago, LA, and San Francisco. Not a whole lot of info; seemed more of a background for future stories.

Tacitus2 said...

The 2010 Midterm election is over.

For me anyway

I will be working out of town on 2 Nov. and voted by absentee ballot the other day.

It actually feels great to have that behind me, I can take a break from paying attention to political news because in a real sense, it is not currently relevant to me.

And I can modify my approach to political phone calls. Previously I cut 'em off ASAP, as most of them were stupid push poll type things that shamelessly attempted to nudge my vote. As I really dislike being nudged I never let them get far enough to even allow me to figure out which campaign was involved. Sadly, many candidates in these diminished times don't even control who is plugging their candidacy, so it would not be fair to generate animus towards an otherwise worthy candidate based on grating third party actions.

Now I am going to talk with the hucksters. I am going to blab on, and on, and on. I am going to make up silly answers to silly questions. All in my civic minded effort to keep the weasels on the phone long enough to spare one or two of you having to talk to them.

And if its a robot call I guess I can try my best version of the Kirk-Lladrew interaction.

Nobody seems much inclined to banter politics here right now, and the polling data explains why, but I would with little prompting explain why I voted for one or two liberal democrats along with several republican newcomers.

Tacitus2

rewinn said...

"The decline in American manufacturing is largely a myth..."

Where can I buy a made-in-USA computer? Pair of jeans? Have these jobs been ... as the report stated ... not moved overseas, but automated?

Where are the robots building laptops?

I mean, seriously, the Heritage Foundation. Why not cite Pravda?

rewinn said...

"... my civic minded effort to keep the weasels on the phone long enough to spare one or two of you having to talk to them"

I appreciate your effort; polls are IMO a corrupting influence on contemporary politics ... corrupting not in the sense of criminality but in the sense of defeating an essential purpose. If the essential purpose of a campaign is to enable voters to choose among candidates, polls that enable candidates to tune messages rather than to state their positions plainly work against the voters' interests (regardless of the voters' political views.) Lucky for me I have no landline, and have never been polled.

As for a perceived reluctance to discuss the election, one suspects it stems from the dawning realization that individual humans have become less significant, in the wake of "Citizens United", than the organizations that are now free to anonymously infect campaigns. Talk, chat, blog all you want; one check from the Koch Brothers or a Chinese sovereign wealth fund (laundered through an American subsidiary) will drown you out completely.

One would think that the latter possibility would concern patriots of all political persuasions.

LarryHart said...

Tacitus2:

Nobody seems much inclined to banter politics here right now, and the polling data explains why, but I would with little prompting explain why I voted for one or two liberal democrats along with several republican newcomers.


Please do. Please do.

And why is Feingold dropping like a rock? I realize you're probably again' him, but hasn't he been popular in Wisconsin up until now?

LarryHart said...

rewinn:

Talk, chat, blog all you want; one check from the Koch Brothers or a Chinese sovereign wealth fund (laundered through an American subsidiary) will drown you out completely.

One would think that the latter possibility would concern patriots of all political persuasions.


Agreed on all counts. The irony is that the real nativist, "America, love it or leave it" conservatives WOULD be aghast at external control of our political processes. Unfortunately, the FOX machine has been training them for years to equate "freedom for transnational corporations" with Americanism.

I can't count the number of radio ads I've heard today sponsored by the "U.S. Chamber" (is "chamber OF COMMERCE" already a name that has to be disguised?). The basic meme in all of them is to vote for thus-and-such Republican because our economy sucks and our jobs are all going overseas--without mentioning the fact that the "U.S. Chamber" and the Republicans it supports are in FAVOR of all that.

As I said earlier, I can't imagine actually changing my vote based on one of these ads, any more than I would change my vote because Osama Bin Laden says bad things about the guy I'm voting for. According to one ad, a guy named Bill Foster refuses to be moved from "leftist" to the center. This is supposed to be a self-evident bad thing, but if the guy is in my district (I don't think he is), it would just remind me to vote FOR him.

Tacitus2 said...

I live in small town America, so I at least casually know the candidates for State Assembly and State Senate. Party orientation might be less significant there. One race has an open seat. One party is fielding the winner of a wide open primary with several appealling candidates. The other is putting up a guy whose vehicle has vanity plates and who yells at people when he presides over meetings. Easy choice.

The other race has an incumbant who was once a bipartisan talking guy. Since going to Madison his literature has been the standard Bush bashing stuff, and nary an effort to contact the guy who was, I believe, his first contributor in his intial campaign. Sometimes you just gotta get somebody out of politics for their own good.

For governor, two decent choices. The D is notable for being injured saving a citizen from being mugged. And for being Mayor of Milwaukee, an economic basket case. The R, I believe, refused to draw a salary as Milwaukee cty exec. In WI we switch parties for governor every few years. There is more than a wiff of corruption about the current D incumbant, which is why he is not running.

For Congress, we have a district attny who had the cohones to start his run when Darth Obey was still unassailably powerful. His D counterpart is running with the slogan "Wisconsin values to clean up Washington". That would be, correct me, the Washington where your party controls the White House, both branches of Congress, the non Fox press, and has a strong voice on the Supreme court? Good luck with that.

And I voted for Feingold.

I have always believed that our system works best when honest voices from each perspective speak up. I disagree with Feingold on many issues, but I consider him to be one of the most independent, honest men in DC. Power unopposed, or opposed dishonestly, always ends badly.

Tacitus2

LarryHart said...

Tacitus2:

His D counterpart is running with the slogan "Wisconsin values to clean up Washington". That would be, correct me, the Washington where your party controls the White House, both branches of Congress, the non Fox press, and has a strong voice on the Supreme court?


I clipped that part of your post to say it's the ONLY part I take any issue with. I mean, my response here is going to sound argumentative, but I want to be clear that most of your long post had me nodding in agreement (and hence with nothing much to add).

Even here, I'm willing to grant that what you say makes sense from your point of view. From my perspective, though, when conservatives rail about how much power Democrats (and therefore liberals) have had to mess with the power structure in Washington for two years, I can only think: "Don't I WISH!".

We have the White House, true, and we nominally have congress, but because of the filibuster, it's been impossible for Democrats to get much of anything through the Senate in the form that progressives would like. That's probably the Dems' own fault (as the GOP never had any such problem, even with only 50 senators). But I take a bit more issue with your characterization that "we" own the non-FOX media or have inordinate influence within the Supreme Court. Almost every USSC case of substance is now a 5-4 decision with the GOP-nominated Corporatists on the winning side. "Citizens United" was the culmination of decades of planning for just such a case. And the media may not be particularly Republican, but they are owned by big corporations and therefore Corporatist in what they cover. A gathering of 200 Tea Partiers gets wall-to-wall coverage, but except for Thom Hartmann on the radio, you'd never hear about thousands attending progressive rallies like that "Fighting Bob" thing in Wisconsin not too long ago.

I don't deny that part of the Democrats' ineffectiveness as a progressive force is their own doing. But I cringe at the notion that we're any kind of monolith with a death grip on national politics. All of the problems Tea Partiers complain of will be accelerated under Republican rule.

LarryHart said...

Tacitus2:

His D counterpart is running with the slogan "Wisconsin values to clean up Washington". That would be, correct me, the Washington where your party controls the White House, both branches of Congress, the non Fox press, and has a strong voice on the Supreme court?


I clipped that part of your post to say it's the ONLY part I take any issue with. I mean, my response here is going to sound argumentative, but I want to be clear that most of your long post had me nodding in agreement (and hence with nothing much to add).

Even here, I'm willing to grant that what you say makes sense from your point of view. From my perspective, though, when conservatives rail about how much power Democrats (and therefore liberals) have had to mess with the power structure in Washington for two years, I can only think: "Don't I WISH!".

We have the White House, true, and we nominally have congress, but because of the filibuster, it's been impossible for Democrats to get much of anything through the Senate in the form that progressives would like. That's probably the Dems' own fault (as the GOP never had any such problem, even with only 50 senators). But I take a bit more issue with your characterization that "we" own the non-FOX media or have inordinate influence within the Supreme Court. Almost every USSC case of substance is now a 5-4 decision with the GOP-nominated Corporatists on the winning side. "Citizens United" was the culmination of decades of planning for just such a case. And the media may not be particularly Republican, but they are owned by big corporations and therefore Corporatist in what they cover. A gathering of 200 Tea Partiers gets wall-to-wall coverage, but except for Thom Hartmann on the radio, you'd never hear about thousands attending progressive rallies like that "Fighting Bob" thing in Wisconsin not too long ago.

I don't deny that part of the Democrats' ineffectiveness as a progressive force is their own doing. But I cringe at the notion that we're any kind of monolith with a death grip on national politics. All of the problems Tea Partiers complain of will be accelerated under Republican rule.

LarryHart said...

Oops, sorry about the double-post. Blogger gave me an outright error message, but apparently posted anyway.

Anyway, I might as well add that I'm ambivalent about early voting myself. On the one hand, there's something about going there on Election Day itself that I'm loathe to give up. OTOH, nothing between now and then is likely to change my mind on who I'm voting for.

I've heard some radio commentators actually blasting the concept of early voting because things might change during "three weeks of campaigning." As if anything of substance is actually going to come to light during that process?

David Brin said...

You guys obsess too much on the surfaces.

We are still far better off than in 2006, when America started its road back, with the quiet-secret quasi-legal rebellion of the US Senior Officer Corps. The long process of repairing our military began...

...and after the 2008 came the long, slow repair of the US Civil Service. This matters, vastly more than the press or media can even dimly perceive.

Indeed, I am MOST pissed off at Obama for not unleashing special prosecutors to ream out every last Bushite mole that was planted in the bureaucracy, to turn our government agencies into whores, by means of regulatory capture. Examples should be made. Future madmen who take Washington need to be shown the pain that will come from seizing the Civil Service.

Pelosi & Congress? They did some stuff. More than I'd have expected, given the strategy of absolute ly disciplined obstructionism by the neocons.

No. A lot will turn on Get Out The Vote. Armtwist enthusiasm to vote, from your friends. Contact the nearest close race and volunteer for GOTV.

Make everybody watch the 10/30 rallies. And hope the comedians can rile up the real Americans.

Tacitus2 said...

LarryH

You're right of course.
My point was that a "throw the rascals out" slogan lacks a certain, er, panache when the majority of the rascals are yours.
And in the case of House 'o Reps I believe it has been four years of D.

Tacitus2

David Brin said...

So? Nu? What's your complaint about the pelosi 4 years?

Unlike the previous 12, the dems WORK HARD! They passed some things that they PROMISED to pass and were charged by the public to pass, in 2008. The minor flaws in the bills are more due to failures of negotiation by critics, than the fault of critics.

Since 1995, the GOP's legislative rule was "don't legislate when we're in charge and don't let anyone else legislate, when we're not."

Throw the rascals out? Sure! The rascals who won't let the other rascals even try.

Tony Fisk said...

We interrupt your regular political lampfest to bring you these breaking items:

The Transparent Society is coming to Portugal*:
(complete with a 'find your child' app for the CCTVs! Where'd they get that idea from?)


Also overheard:

Professional footballers beware: the argument you are having with your coach could soon be overheard even within the cacophony of a packed stadium. A new microphone system allows broadcasters to zoom in on sounds as well as sights, to pick out a single conversation.

* subscription needed.

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin said:

So? Nu? What's your complaint about the pelosi 4 years?


I'll back Tacitus up on that one. His only point was that a Democrat running for Congress this year on an anti-Washington slogan is a bit of a stretch.

More to the point, though, you said:

You guys obsess too much on the surfaces.

We are still far better off than in 2006, when America started its road back, with the quiet-secret quasi-legal rebellion of the US Senior Officer Corps. The long process of repairing our military began...

...and after the 2008 came the long, slow repair of the US Civil Service. This matters, vastly more than the press or media can even dimly perceive.


Thanks for keeping me from completely lapsing into despair. I think it's the main reason I've been coming "here" since somewhere around 2006.

matthew said...

@ Tacitus
Thanks for voting for Feingold. Even though I disagree with him a great deal ( and I am a self-labeled liberul! ), I agree that his voice is important. Just as I was sorry to see Pete Dominici leave the Senate a few years ago (to site someone from the other side of the fence.
Horray for honest, stand-up voters!

Rob Perkins said...

I'll be voting for the R rascal from Washington for the Senate this year, under the logic that a fresh faced Republican on the national scene from *Washington* is a good influence in the R caucus, to pull them from the brink, and maybe make them relevant again.

If he marches in lockstep with the likes of Jim Bunning, he won't keep his office here.

Other than that, locally, it's democrats, democrats, democrats. The Right behaved poorly, in my opinion, when we were debating domestic partnerships in '08 or '09 or whenever that was. A law that not even the Mormon Church opposed, for crying out loud!

The only drawback to that strategy is a well-entrenched network of bureaucrat labor unions who won't negotiate in good faith about their health care benefits. At a time when every other group of wage earners is taking it in the teeth over this, or just outright out of work, these are the people crowing, "can't fire us, can't dock us, can't reduce our bennies". Meantime, they fiddle while the schools burn, because if they don't take concessions, our district will have to start furloughing and laying off teachers.

But that's still not enough to vote against Democrats I know are fiscally moderate and socially sane, against Republicans I fear are not. I say that as a very conservative registered Democrat, though, for whatever that's worth.

David Brin said...

Respect-worthy logic, Rob.

Me, If I saw a sane gopper to vote for, I would try it in a congressional race. 2 years. Remember, a gop senator may aspire UPWARD... in which case Fox becomes the master.

LarryHart said...

Rob Perkins:

At a time when every other group of wage earners is taking it in the teeth over this, or just outright out of work, these are the people crowing, "can't fire us, can't dock us, can't reduce our bennies".


I'm of two minds on this one. I understand the attitude of "You don't know what it's like in the real world" directed toward labor unions.

OTOH...

In an era when jobs are being lost and the middle class is getting squeezed out of earning opportunities because the CEO class is sucking more and more corporate value off to itself, I find it hard to begrudge the unions their hold on the benefits they HAVE managed to hang onto.

Yes, the pieces of the pie available to the American middle-class is shrinking to oblivion. That's because so much is getting eaten off at the TOP, not because workers are too lazy. The answer is not to force everyone to join the race to the bottom. Better for workers to fight back for our own rights--which will be a much, MUCH harder task once unions have been wiped out, which is the explicit goal of the Murdochians and the "U.S. Chamber", dont you think?

Robert said...

The problem is, Republicans are being forced to the Right because of their base. Moderates have been abandoning the Republican party thanks to the Shrub and actions of the Republican party during the Bush years. (If Al'Qaida hadn't flown planes into the World Trade Center and Pentagon, I have to think that Bush wouldn't have been a horrible President. He'd probably have been mediocre, and we may very well have still had the Global Financial Crisis on our hands... but the U.S. would have been a better position militarily and in terms of debt. In essence, those Afghan nuts drove the Republicans far to the Right.)

This forces even Moderates to march lockstep with the Far Right aspects of the party. People who are fairly conservative were kicked out in primaries because they were not conservative enough. Moderate Republicans who would normally negotiate better legislation with the Dems are forced not to because the party leadership threatens to support far-right candidates to oust them, even if it ultimately hurts them (as has happened in several races this year).

The solution is what Washington state and California are doing: open primaries. Everyone is on the ballot. The top two winners go on to the general election in November. Oh, you still have far-right nuts running... but you also get the moderates and they will attract a lot more of the vote. You may end up with two Republicans on the general election, or some nobody and a Democrat, or two nobodies... but the thing is, the more moderate candidate will often get elected.

Think on that: If X is Right, Y is Center, and Z is Left, then any election with candidate X and Y will likely result in Y's election because Z voters will throw in with Y. If Z and Y were in the general election, then X voters will join in with Y. They'll be voting for the "lesser of two evils" in this case, but it still attracts moderates in politics.

What gets interesting is when you have X and Z in the final election. This is where Y, the moderate voters, have to decide which they'd prefer... without a X1, Y1, or Z1 candidate to draw voters away from X and Z. While third-party candidates may claim that it ultimately disenfranchises them... it doesn't. They don't get elected under the current system. Under the Washington/California system, they have a chance of getting on the final ballot, especially as a lot more people will vote in the primary as their vote will now mean something.

You really have to wonder why the Democrats and Republicans don't get together and implement this system in more states (and on a Federal level), seeing that it is a fair and decent system that wouldn't disenfranchise either party... and would encourage more effective government candidates.

Rob H.

Ian said...

"I mean, seriously, the Heritage Foundation. Why not cite Pravda?"

I note that your rtheotrical attack doesn't actually refute a single fact I pointed out.

Half the computers on the marrket are US-made - they just aren't US assembled.

But who needs jobs like this:
http://globalfoundries.com/about_us/locations/saratoga_county/

When you COULD be growing fat pulling in two dollars a day like the Chinese.

David Brin said...

Robert, human beings are many things at once.

In some angles, sure, democrats are the white hats...

... but there are others in which they are just more members of the POLITICAL CASTE and we, the people, are the enemy. That is where it stands when it comes to political money and gerrymandering, among other things.

Someday a moderate republican governor is gonna propose at the National governors' conference a TREATY to end gerrymandering, everywhere at once, so that no one party...

...oh, who am I kidding. Maybe the Supreme Cour... oooooooh

Jumper said...

My latest conspiracy theory is that the polls are faked. This would convince the majority that they are a minority. Then, when they rig the election machines yet again, people will be less likely to squawk: they'll think they lost.

rewinn said...

"...I note that your rtheotrical attack doesn't actually refute a single fact I pointed out."

Because, regardless of the cherry-picked factoids in support, the overall claim is patently ridiculous.

===========

@Doc Brin - certainly I agree that GOTV is at this point all-important, and a fine antidote to despair, but I isn't it noteworthy that the organizational life forms currently pouring tens of millions of undisclosed dollars into elections are learning how to manipulate their environment more effectively? Whether they triumph in 2010 is not so important as the fact that they are growing and learning.

Humanity should be concerned.

David Brin said...

No, Homo Enlightenmentus needs to be concerned. Humanity reverting to its NATURAL government style? Feudalism?

Fermi Paradox explained...

===


I need some Facebook members to go and friend:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Tinkerers/159510830736055

that's
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Tinkerers
then
/159510830736055

Tony Fisk said...

Um, why?

... Oh! *That's* the comic alluded to earlier.

Rob Perkins said...

@Rob H. -- The Dems and Republicans both fought the Open Primary here tooth and nail, here. It went all the way to the Supremes before they gave up.

@Larry -- Around here unemployment has hit 12%-14%. One in eight of my friends are out of work and none of the kids can find and keep jobs even if they want them. It's in *this* climate that the unions insist on 1995-style employer-provided health plans and who sue to prevent the furloughs or layoffs the State and local governments have to go through in order to make ends meet.

Washington State can't print money like the feds, and thanks to the national climate, states can't depend on another "bailout." NOW we're in a place where my school district has to furlough teachers. Or cut their health care. Or kill the music program. Or go insolvent.

Rob Perkins said...

David, I don't think that logic applies to a GOPer from Washington State. The Seattle factor is far too influential.

Marino said...

news from the Tea party front:
banning phosphates from detergents
is a nasty evil socialist/treehugger plot...

(btw, being Italian, I still remember the serious troubles we had with phosphates in the Adriatic Sea, leading to massive algal blooming that disrupted tourism and fishing)


http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2010/oct/13/phosphate-ban-dishwash-detergent

Political observers trying to understand the conservative backlash movement in America known as the Tea Party certainly have their work cut out for them. It's a movement primarily composed of Medicare recipients who object to "government-run healthcare". Its leaders claim they're more libertarian in orientation, and yet they routinely back some of the most anti-choice politicians ever to run for such major office. One of their key leaders likes to compare himself to Martin Luther King Jr, but the issues that most reliably get Tea Partiers to hit the streets are reliably racialised to exploit their prejudiced paranoia. They are full of contradictions, often making – and then running from – position statements, and seem to be more about just being angry than listing specific grievances.

But as a long-time conservative-watcher, I think the best way to understand where reactionaries are coming from is to look at some of the smaller issues that get them all riled up. Take, for instance, the long-standing fight over phosphates in dish detergent. The parameters of this debate provide an excellent insight into the Tea Partiers, what motivates them, and why they're so paranoid.

Many dishwashing detergents use phosphates as water-softeners, but the problem with phosphates is that when they run off into the local water supply, they upset the balance of oxygen in the rivers and lakes and have the potential to kill off fish. The simple solution to this problem is simply to ban phosphates in dish soap, something numerous states have done.

It shouldn't be too controversial; the non-phosphate soaps do just as good a job at cleaning dishes, but they may not leave glasses as spot-free, which should be a small price to pay for a healthy environment. This isn't just conjecture. When I had a (relatively cheap) dishwasher in Texas, I bought non-phosphate soap and noticed no real difference. Then again, I'm not one who believes my friends investigate their wine glasses to make sure they have no water stains on them.

But for many, any price paid to keep the environment clean is too high. As soon as Spokane County in Washington banned phosphate dish detergent in response to oxygen depletion in its rivers and lakes, many residents rebelled by actually driving to Idaho to purchase the same kinds of dish detergent they'd been using before.

Marino said...

news from the Tea party front:
banning phosphates from detergents
is a nasty evil socialist/treehugger plot...

(btw, being Italian, I still remember the serious troubles we had with phosphates in the Adriatic Sea, leading to massive algal blooming that disrupted tourism and fishing)

http://tinyurl.com/24wld9o


Political observers trying to understand the conservative backlash movement in America known as the Tea Party certainly have their work cut out for them. It's a movement primarily composed of Medicare recipients who object to "government-run healthcare". Its leaders claim they're more libertarian in orientation, and yet they routinely back some of the most anti-choice politicians ever to run for such major office. One of their key leaders likes to compare himself to Martin Luther King Jr, but the issues that most reliably get Tea Partiers to hit the streets are reliably racialised to exploit their prejudiced paranoia. They are full of contradictions, often making – and then running from – position statements, and seem to be more about just being angry than listing specific grievances.

But as a long-time conservative-watcher, I think the best way to understand where reactionaries are coming from is to look at some of the smaller issues that get them all riled up. Take, for instance, the long-standing fight over phosphates in dish detergent. The parameters of this debate provide an excellent insight into the Tea Partiers, what motivates them, and why they're so paranoid.

Many dishwashing detergents use phosphates as water-softeners, but the problem with phosphates is that when they run off into the local water supply, they upset the balance of oxygen in the rivers and lakes and have the potential to kill off fish. The simple solution to this problem is simply to ban phosphates in dish soap, something numerous states have done.

It shouldn't be too controversial; the non-phosphate soaps do just as good a job at cleaning dishes, but they may not leave glasses as spot-free, which should be a small price to pay for a healthy environment. This isn't just conjecture. When I had a (relatively cheap) dishwasher in Texas, I bought non-phosphate soap and noticed no real difference. Then again, I'm not one who believes my friends investigate their wine glasses to make sure they have no water stains on them.

But for many, any price paid to keep the environment clean is too high. As soon as Spokane County in Washington banned phosphate dish detergent in response to oxygen depletion in its rivers and lakes, many residents rebelled by actually driving to Idaho to purchase the same kinds of dish detergent they'd been using before.

Marino said...

news from the Tea party front:
banning phosphates from detergents
is a nasty evil socialist/treehugger plot...

(btw, being Italian, I still remember the serious troubles we had with phosphates in the Adriatic Sea, leading to massive algal blooming that disrupted tourism and fishing)

http://tinyurl.com/24wld9o



But as a long-time conservative-watcher, I think the best way to understand where reactionaries are coming from is to look at some of the smaller issues that get them all riled up. Take, for instance, the long-standing fight over phosphates in dish detergent. The parameters of this debate provide an excellent insight into the Tea Partiers, what motivates them, and why they're so paranoid.

Many dishwashing detergents use phosphates as water-softeners, but the problem with phosphates is that when they run off into the local water supply, they upset the balance of oxygen in the rivers and lakes and have the potential to kill off fish. The simple solution to this problem is simply to ban phosphates in dish soap, something numerous states have done.



But for many, any price paid to keep the environment clean is too high. As soon as Spokane County in Washington banned phosphate dish detergent in response to oxygen depletion in its rivers and lakes, many residents rebelled by actually driving to Idaho to purchase the same kinds of dish detergent they'd been using before.

Marino said...

ooops, sorry for the double posting, the program at first didn't accept the post

LarryHart said...

Rob Perkins:

Washington State can't print money like the feds, and thanks to the national climate, states can't depend on another "bailout." NOW we're in a place where my school district has to furlough teachers. Or cut their health care. Or kill the music program. Or go insolvent.


I do understand your position. I didn't say I completely disagreed--I said I was of two minds.

Certainly, in that situation, someone has to give. My qualm is why it always has to be the worker? In the private sector, during lean times, workers and unions are told they have to give concessions so that the company can stay "competitive" and not go out of business or be "forced" to move offshore. Then, when the economy turns around and the company is making all sorts of money, the workers/unions are told that there's no such thing as cooperation in the other direction. In that sort of world we've been living in for at least 30 years, I find it hard to expect workers or unions to voluntarily give up anything.

One reason state/local governments are hurting so badly is a political climate in which "taxes" are seen as evil. Greedy workers might be one problem, but so is the fact that no one is willing to FUND local government. What you're arguing is that with government strapped for cash, the workers have to tighten their belts and work for less. But that's an argument of desperation. That's the kind of thing that inevitably leads to us "competing" for jobs with third worlders willing to work for pennies. It's the fast train to feudalism.

Understand that when I say I'm "of two minds", had you been here strongly advocating the union position, I'd probably be trying to explain to you why the money and benefits you're demanding just aren't there.

rewinn said...

"... SCI FI NOVELS about manufacturing..."

Is there a shortage of "America in Decline" novels based on economic factors? There's plenty based on exciting themes of military invasion, betrayal, Computers Taking Control, the rise of shouting crowds of fascist/socialist/big-baddist sympathizers (it really CAN happen here....), etc. but other than "Atlas Shrugged" (...not gonna touch it...) what is there?

Perhaps economics is just intrinsically a dismal science plotwise?

=========
Does any of the Star Trek canon deal with problems of manufacturing in the era of replicators? IIRC the writers dealt with the problem of wanting plots involving scarcity (e.g. Ferengi avarice) by inventing things that just couldn't be duplicated (e.g. "gold-pressed latinum") notwithstanding the fact that human brains were "transported" everyday.

Did you ever wonder by Tatoine was a desert planet replete with moisture farmers with access to spaceships capable of visiting ice comets?

====

"... what the structure of the FBI will be in 20 years. ..."

Pure speculation but ... currently the FBI, as does almost everyone else, employs individuals and forms them into teams. However there is a growing trend to subcontract, which is effectively hiring teams of unspecified individuals (yes, yes, it's more complicated than that but bear with me.) In Rainbows End Verner Vinge posited that the team approach would so permeate a world dominated by virtual reality that, in the classroom at least, you wouldn't much care if your competitor was an individual or a team - it's all an avatar that you need to out-compete, and part of the game is to assemble a better team cloaked under a single identity.

OK. Now - now to speculate - what if the FBI used such agents? On the one hand, they could be fantastically productive (for all the usual reasons), OTOH they could produce a great many plot points.

What kind of crimes could such a collective being commit and suffer?

Ilithi Dragon said...

No, Trek didn't really touch on manufacturing much... There were just replicators, industrial replicators, and there is an an assembly industry for construction of things too big to replicate whole (like starships), or that are difficult/energy-intensive to replicate, but that's about it.

rewinn said...

"... I don't think that logic applies to a GOPer from Washington State. The Seattle factor is far too influential."

Rob, with great respect, Dino Rossi uses "Seattle" as a swearword.

Did you see the Murray v. Rossi debate on C-Span Thursday? The hope that Rossi may be some sort of moderating influence is a good one but it may be overlooking the alliance between Rossi's corporatist faction and the no-nothings. The corporatists feel confident they can ride the wild horse of rightwing populism and who knows? they may be correct on that, but in a world where GOP "moderates" continue to block hundreds of noncontroversial nominations in the Senate, this is not "moderation" in the dictionary sense.

Rossi had the chance to show some form of moderation at the debate when challenged to allow that cleaning up the Hanford Reservation was a good and valid federal purpose, but since it includes "stimulus" money, he wouldn't. Condemning "stimulus" is more important than keeping radioactive waste out of the Columbia River (which, let it be noted, flows into the world ocean).

Rob Perkins said...

My qualm is why it always has to be the worker?

I'd share your concern, except that at least in my school district's case, they cut everything else rather than lay off a classroom teacher. They laid off management rather than labor, if you want to continue using that hoary

And to be fair, I have every reason to believe that our teachers' Local here negotiated in good faith. They accepted plenty of concessions.

The State workers in other State departments might have as well, except that our Governor never tried to go after those concessions. They just pushed the problems onto mandatory furlough days and some other cuts without getting at the inflationary bubble: she wouldn't let workers go and she wouldn't open negotiations to change their compensation structure, as would have been her right in a fiscal emergency.

So in a very real sense, they haven't had to give anything, which makes your question salient for the private sector but irrelevant for the public one. At least in Washington, and almost certainly also in California.

LarryHart said...

RobPerkins, I was going to add that management always seems to be invoking the Brezhev Doctrine, defined by Ronald Reagan as "What's mine is mine; what's yours is negotiable."

But then it occured to me that you'd probably perceive the unions doing exactly the same thing.

To me, the real culprit in this process is the systemic inability of labor and management to trust each other and cooperate on ANYthing. I blame whoever created a system under which labor and management (within the same company or orgainzation) are expected to operate as competitors rather than as partners.

Hank Roberts said...

In other news -- you know all those folks who point to the charts and assure us that global warming stopped in 1998?

Good (or bad, depending) news -- inflation has also clearly stopped:

http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2010/10/inflationdeflation-in-context/image002/

David Brin said...

Our union problems are mild. Yeesh, look at Greece & France.

Re phosphates in detergents, I long felt that an exception could have been made for cities that dump treated effluent right into STRONG ocean currents. Since it isn't a poison but a choking fertilizer.

Then I learned... Phosphorous is going to be our next critical crisis choke resource..

Find your nearest close race... if only for GOTV.

And check rallymao for a site near you

Ian said...

"...I note that your rtheotrical attack doesn't actually refute a single fact I pointed out."

"Because, regardless of the cherry-picked factoids in support, the overall claim is patently ridiculous."

Thank you for illustrating why I seldom bother commenting here anymore.

You represent exactly the same combination of paranoia, unearned entitlement, American exceptionialism xenophobia, irrationality and anti-intellectualism as the worst elements of the American right.

You should enjoy the resutls of the upcoming US elections since the likely Republican majority in the House will embrace your principal views on the evils of foreign trade.

Enjoy the brave new era of Ju Che that awaits you.

David Brin said...

Ian... chill.

You are welcome here.

Please do not impute sarcastic tones when you skim emails. It is a modern curse.

John Kurman said...

A quick story to remind us that most politics is schoolyard stuff.

I got into a discussion on a forum with a conservative who obviously had watched far too much Fox TV. After a few exchanges, in which I posted several URLs containing facts that demolished his assertions, he continued to parrot the usual lines.

I noticed, on another thread, that he listed his age. He was 14.

Possible existing internet rule here?

David Brin said...

I find that the obstinate selection bias effect is often penetrated by cold, hard cash.

Make it a dare and a WAGER. Defy your opponent to put actual money behind his confident assertions. With some trusted neutral sage holding the bets.

Watch how fast they backpedal from certainty!

Then you pursue.

"Well, if you are only 3/4 sure, then why are you spreading slander, in such certain terms? You should STILL be willing to bet, at 3:1 odds!

Rob Perkins said...

Meh. Someone I know facebook-posted a screed and a CNN video from a commentator who was unhappy earlier this year that Obama, according to the commentator, didn't hold public debates about health care reform, as he wanted to do and said he'd do in his campaign.

When I pointed out that he *did*, and left links to news articles about it, my comments were quietly removed.

On the brighter side, another friend of mine is voting non-Republican for the first time in his life because a) he knows the Republican running for that office, and b) he knows the Democrat. And he's not happy with the Republicans.

On a more depressing side, the *national* dems are meddling in the Washington 3rd open seat race in ways I can't stand. Nothing illegal, mind you, just the usual demagoguery.

Tony Fisk said...

I wouldn't hold your breath waiting for the political candidate whose policies tick all your boxes. Better to hold your nose and go with the one that doesn't actively kick 'em (Australians had that pleasant option a couple of months ago, and see where we've ended up! I think the only thing that's keeping the arrangement afloat is the dread of having another poll! Victoria has another of them in a month or so. Oh, fun, fun, fun!)

Meanwhile I chipped into Blog Action Day (theme: water) with this post on the varying fortunes of Melbourne's water supply.

rprerbe: the sound of a bunyip farting. The last thing a water blogger might hear hear...

Abilard said...

@Ilithi -

What about the poor Hortas, slaughtered almost to the point of extinction in the name of American, umm, I mean Federation greed? And then only to be permitted to survive because of their usefulness in service to the miners who butchered them! Shame! Shame! Your Trek Federation is but another petty oligarchic state dressed in the clothes of the enlightenment.

And I think I missed something there. Did Ian just call Rewinn a conservative? LOLOLOLOLOL Glad I browsed comments today.

Tacitus2 said...

Since I am (see above) post- political for the time being, an off topic query...

Anybody here either done freighter travel and/or the Trans Siberian railway?

Wanderlust threatening to go active again....

Tacitus2

Ilithi Dragon said...

@Abilard:

1. That was before the invention of the replicator, so mining for rare resources was still a major operation

2. It was not known that the Horta was a sentient being at the time; the Horta mother was not an obvious tool user, and had made no attempt to contact the miners and even alert them to her presence and the presence of her eggs until after the miners had stumbled on the eggs and destroyed thousands of them (for which the miners were greatly distressed once they had been informed of what they had done).

3. The Horta benefited greatly from the arrangement, with the miners now safeguarding her offspring and providing her and her offspring with nutrients, etc. that would have otherwise been scarce for them. Considering that the Horta apparently do not exist in a high level of technology (or any known tech, for that matter), the new generation of Horta would greatly benefit from their new relationship with the Federation.

4. The whole mess could have been avoided if the Horta mother had had the foresight to contact the Federation miners BEFORE they breached the egg chamber and destroyed thousands of Horta young, preferably when they first arrived, or at least when they started moving to lower levels and got closer to he egg chamber.

Tim H. said...

But mother Horta had to wait for a Vulcan willing to take xenophillia to a whole new level. Little wonder his fiance broke up.

rewinn said...

To be fair to Ian, I *was* dismissive of his post. And I should be among the last to complain when one counter-repostes with passion.

I *would* like to state for the record is that his concern about xenophobia is misplaced. Labor arbitrage tends to take advantage of national borders, so one cannot discuss its harmful effect upon labor, therefore upon civilization itself, without reference to borders.

In this elections, the foreign nationals that merit a little phobia are the citizens of Richistan, currently purchasing our election with the help of ground troops from Absurdistan.

Tony Fisk said...

Mother Horta was able to etch out 'No kill I' before a Vulcan got involved.

Robert said...

I've one small question related to recent use of GPS trackers by the Feds which don't apparently violate the rights of people: if I found a GPS tracker on my car (I have not, mind you, I'm talking hypothetically) and I destroyed the device, could I be arrested for destroying Federal property?

What if I sold it to a pawn shop? Would it be considered theft and sale of stolen goods considering the Feds put the device on [in theory] my vehicle? Or would the Feds, having placed the object on my property, actually lose rights to the device since they did not alert me to its presence?

Just some whimsical thoughts to toss out there. (Ironically enough, I'm currently trying to think of questions to send the FBI considering their procedures and policies concerning both serial killers and crimes utilizing high technology seeing I plan on using the FBI (in a non-negative light in that they're doing their job and trying to protect the public, even if the protagonists are perhaps at odds with the Feds seeing they (the protagonists) are vigilantes).

Rob H.

rewinn said...

@Tony - goodness no! The "No Kill I" message came after Spock first attempted to mindmeld *without* touching the Horta. It was of only limited effectiveness but enough to persuade the parties to attempt closer contact.

Sorry for the intermittent Trekgeekery, but this was really a fine episode (...allowing for the rather marginal special effects...). especially the bit where the miners tell Kirk that it's well enough being a high-and-mighty captain, but you can't get a starship down in the mines.

====

@Robert - interesting question.

It's quite disturbing to me that law enforcement seems to think it can plant spy devices on a car without a warrant. With a warrant - fine. But without a warrant?

I don't care how the 9th Circuit calculated a driveway is outside of the curtilege; the purpose of warrants is to put some sort of control on the executive branch and this sort of thing is outrageous. We may be inured to such invasions, but if so, that is outrageous too.

But to get to your question, it seems to me that the issue is whether the finder of the equipment has sufficient notice that the Feddies intend to retain ownership of the device after it's planted, to prevent the finder from claiming ownership under the "finders keepers" doctrine, and then reselling it. The bug is obviously not abandoned nor a gift; its very obnoxiousness makes it clear that the FBI intends to retain ownership, in the same way that the owner of a dog who wanders onto your property --- or is sent onto your property by an annoying neighbor. In this analysis, the finder may properly eject the trespasser (in the person of the gadget) and sue for damages (let us all cheer the ACLU) but not claim to own it, and therefore not to sell it.

That's just my opinion, YMMV.

Tony Fisk said...

I stand corrected on Hortas.

A sad note: Benoit Mandelbrodt has died

bemast: the action of a friendly sea monster on encountering a stricken schooner

Tim H. said...

Barbara Billingsley has passed away, the line I found memorable?, "I speak jive."

Tim H. said...

Norman Spinrad has ideas for an Obama speech:
http://normanspinradatlarge.blogspot.com/2010/10/campaign-2010-winning-speech-for.html
I like it, and please don't hold that against him ;-).

"thedily", consistent lisp.

Jonathan S. said...

Rob, did I seriously just read a description of Dino Rossi as a "fresh face"? This would be the same Dino Rossi who was a state Senator for six years, resigning to run for Governor, an office he failed to win twice? (Yes, there is some question about the first race, although if he were as wonderful a person and as perspicacious a politician as he would like us to believe, it shouldn't have been close enough to come down to a hand recount, but the second loss was much more clear.)

I also distrust Rossi because he maintains, in both his ads and his voter-pamphlet statement, that he has "a simple plan" to deal with all woes. I don't think I need to do a lot of work to convince the folks around here that simple plans rarely work to solve complex problems...

David Brin said...

"Sucker don't want no he'p. Sucker won't GET no he'p. Sheeeeeit."

-- Barbara Billingsley (What a babe.)

Rob Perkins said...

"Fresh" on the national stage, Jonathan.

The best government of my adult life was during the Clinton years with a Republican majority. The attitudes were a little different then, but my hope is for a split-faction congress, and I believe that after the campaign demagogues are done with him, Rossi needs to have a chance to do the right thing.

If he doesn't do the right thing, then I can't see how it's a net negative, in a Congress which will seat *somebody* and which, today, is not doing the right thing.

Robert said...

There are two possibilities for a split-Congress. The first is that Republicans work to pass legislature that is a balance of what conservative Democrats and the Republican party can hammer out as a deal, knowing that Obama wouldn't care to veto it, and then try to oust Obama in 2012 as ineffectual.

The second is complete and utter gridlock, including threatened government shutdowns and Republicans constantly claiming that Democrats are blocking them left and right. No pun intended. Then, claiming that Democrats are do-nothings who can't be negotiated with and are traitors to the will of the American people, they try to sweep the White House and Senate in 2012.

I'd give 70:30 odds that the latter scenario is what would play out if the Republicans get the House.

Rob H.

Rob Perkins said...

Rob H., that's the case they're basically making *now*, which is part of the reason why I don't think it'll be a net negative to move Rossi into the Senate.

Moving Murray out is important to me. The woman simply doesn't introduce bills or cosponsor legislation, according to what I've read. One of those bills was very good; she worked to increase the safety regulations around pipeline operations after a kid died in the Puget Sound area. But if you're just gonna warm a seat, I don't wan't you representing me. I'm just as annoyed at Jim Bunning, that way, because I voted for him when I lived in KY.

Robert said...

So then, here's my question: why didn't they do that when they were not in control of Congress? Why did they impede every single bit of legislature they could? Why did they play the obstruction card? Why are they only willing to play ball if they own the playing field and set the rules?

This is why I look at a Republican-owned House and feel it isn't going to work the way they're claiming. And heaven forbid if the Democrats manage to hold both House and Senate by the skin of their teeth. Then we'll likely see some truly nasty obstructionism as the Republicans rebel against the will of the majority of Americans.

Rob H.

David Brin said...

"The best government of my adult life was during the Clinton years with a Republican majority. The attitudes were a little different then, but my hope is for a split-faction congress, and I believe that after the campaign demagogues are done with him, Rossi needs to have a chance to do the right thing. "

You actually prefer the relentless and endless lynching and screeches that the Clintonites were "the most corrupt administration in US hirtory!"

(In fact, it is absolutely proved that they were the LEAST corrupt in HUMAN history.)

I agree that the VERY 1st year of the Gingrich congress, some things happened. Budgetary restraints were passed, Welfare reform... several good things. That lasted for just one year. Then the madness set in.

Robert said...

So. How will the Republicans try to impeach Obama do you think? State he's not an American citizen and toss him out for not fulfilling the requirements of the Presidency? Or claim he's a traitor who betrayed the ideals of the American People and try to throw him under a bush that way? Or even start throwing women at him and claiming he either had an affair, or is gay if he shows absolutely no interest in them?

Or will one of them take the ultimate sacrifice and take a gun to the President, assassinating him (and perhaps trying to take out the VP at the same time) as a martyr in an attempt to get the Republicans into power? (And how bad will the rioting be if they managed to pull that coup off?)

Rob H., who is being quite cynical here

Rob Perkins said...

NO, David. I do NOT *prefer that*. The relentless and endless lying and screeching going on *today* makes that disagreement look like a chess match!

You're right that it didn't last long. I still want it back. But I can't have it back unless *a different faction controls the Congress.* In one respect, duh: you can't have split faction governance without two factions.

In another, I don't think of Rossi as the very Devil Incarnate, I tire of Washingtonians who see the "R" next to his name and therefore do, and I still believe HE would have made a better governor than Gregoire, faced with a DEM State legislature. I've given a couple reasons here already.

To paraphrase you, that was 12 freeping years ago. Let it go, man! The fish we fry today are soooo much bigger.

David Brin said...

Sorry, I don't buy it.

The insanity that began in 1996 (a year after Gingrich entered as Speaker) has been getting worse and worse. They are now howling monsters, traitors and genuine enemies of the republic. No "divided government" metaphor stands up to that.

Look, there are republican governors of blue states who are still homosapiens and apparently americans. Schwarznegger, for example. His republicanism includes negotiating from a conservative position, but toward pragmatic solutions to problems.

If WA elects someone like that I will shrug, fine, except that it extends the life of a party-of-horrors that should have driven off all the decent conservatives long ago, giving them the gumption to build something new.

What IS it about conservatives that makes them so ridiculously LOYAL?

That is the essence of the Tea Party movement. "We'll give you reasons to 'come home'... by letting your scream loud enough to pretend you are "rebels" but making sure that everything you scream is standard, disciplines, fox-generated neocon cant!"

"Go ahead and scream! We'll pretend to be REALLY scared of you and "see the light!" and 'rediscover our conservative roots'... while chuckling over what utter patsies and puppets you 'populists' are... serving your oligarch masters and the Saudi owners of Fox News."

Tony Fisk said...

The strings being pulled:

Murdoch grilled over donations, phone-hacking

"We believe that it's certainly in the interest of the country and of all the shareholders... that there be a degree of, a fair amount of change in Washington."

What IS it about conservatives that makes them so ridiculously LOYAL?

I thought loyalty (ie resistance to change) was part of the (non-snarky) definition.

Applied properly, it's a much needed counterweight to the gung-ho brainstorm types who want their flying cars and universal governance.

These days? I think the root cause is panic. The future is coming so fast and dark that diving for the nearest foxhole is a natural reaction. The fauxhole makes use of this.

And business is as usual,
and ignorance is bliss,
and... STFU!!

I could be wrong.

BTW, Rob H's 'cynical' scenario #2 is an example of a ploy I've been seeing again and again: Team B accusing Team A of acting just like Team A has been doing. (Does it have a name?) I think it's a natural effect of 'strawmanning', for where does the straw come from but your own prejudices and predispositions?

Rob Perkins said...

You don't buy it. "So nu?" As you say. We'll be at loggerheads about it.

But, loyal? Good freeping grief, David. My ballot will be marked with eight dems and two republicans. I'll choose to maintain the candy tax, keep the state-run liquor board as constituted, approve the income tax, and deny the approval of certain bonds while permitting a reevaluation of how the State computes debt for the debt ceiling.

Give me a tiny bit of credit for independent thought!

Tacitus2 said...

David
I wonder...how have you divined the nature of the Tea Party movement? Attended any meetings or rallies? I do hope you do not just uncritically believe everything you see on TV. Your posts are full of noisy words about them, screeches and screams.

The real "sound" of the Tea Party might be a little different.

I have a friend. Very progressive politically. More liberal than you, I am pretty sure. For a hobby he plays accordian. This is btw something of a dying art, and he does the most amazing version of the 2001 theme!
He also has played a few Tea Party meetings. They like the old style music. They sing along more willingly and probably in better tune than when my friend plays the annual block party.
Nobody is yelling....everyone gets along. He likes 'em.
I hope I have not scared you too much, but the Tea Party might just be......us.
Tacitus2

rewinn said...

On Murray: the idea that a Senator is merely a benchwarmer because she doesn't introduce a lot of legislation is simply mistaken. Senators cast votes more than they write legislation, and Murray's been very good for Washington State, for military and veteran families in particular.

*And* she's not afraid to state, in public and on TV, that she wants DADT over, now. Rossi waffles, saying he wants to wait for another report which will conveniently come after the election.

If he lacks the guts to state a position on DADT, what makes you think he has any independence at all?

He's equally gutless on the use of stimulus funds to clean up Hanford. And he's radically anti-choice, although typically gutless in not trumpeting this.

===

I understand the desire of Tea Partiers to lay claim to being "just folks like us" but their leading candidates are racist, homophobic fabulists: Angle, Palin, O'Donnell, Miller, Palidino, Paul and so on.

Is that really YOU?

===

In good news, GOTV has creative nonpartisan efforts that should be shared and used. A few:

AIGA's GOTV posters and
Twitter "iVoted" hashtag

I hope there may be more. Surely we can all agree that a 99.44% voter turnout would be great!

Rob Perkins said...

rewinn, I'm not going to base my decision on DADT or a "radically anti-choice" position. Both issues carry the stink of demagoguery this year, filled with the rhetoric of hate. When you use the term "homophobic fabulist" you participate in that.

I don't like Murray; she can't have my vote. Get over it.

David Brin said...

Rob, I know you aren't that kind of conservative.

Tacitus, by his fruits you shall know him. These mnorons are able to convince themselves that a party that has CRUSHED the middle class in order to succor a new vampire oligarchy... is somehow on their side. And that the "elite" to loathe and despise and demonize... is the entire clade of society's smartest.

I don't give a damn if they are just folks and would be fun to have a beer with.

I am tired of having to apologize for having brains and knowing stuff. I will not ease back my contempt for a movement that openly declares that hate-propelled ignoramuses - puppeted by billionaires and sheiks - know what's right for my country.

Rob Perkins said...

David, as near as I can tell, I'm not any kind of conservative.

Tacitus2 said...

Dr. Brin,

You have a serious indignation jones goin' there.

I shan't provoke you further.

Tacitus2

Robert said...

The thing I dislike most about the current brand of Republicans and conservatives is that they have, by default, turned me liberal because my moderate conservative ideals are no longer "conservative enough." What is "conservative enough" then? Doing away with the printing press and eking out an existence on the land with hard labor while praying our overlords don't take all of our food and rape our families? I look at neoconservativism and I see neofeudalism. And I don't want that.

The Tea Party pretends to be upholden to no one. But they march to the drumbeat of the neocons and don't even realize it. And then they screech like the pod people in that horrid "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" 70s remake film when you point out that their emperor has no clothes and looks remarkably like Bush.

Rob H.

Ilithi Dragon said...

Regarding the continued 'loyalty' of people to groups, authority figures and ideas that have failed or hurt them time and again:

I suspect that in the future (assuming that we advance to a better, more enlightened future), this tendency will be a well-documented neurosis for which several well-researched psychological therapies exist to 'cure'.

As for it's origins, part of it is undoubtedly genetic, and probably finds its roots far beyond the dawn of civilization, when humans were just packs of walking howler monkeys. Subservience to the alpha would have been ingrained in proto-humans, as the alpha would beat down, drive off or kill those who did not submit to the alpha. Later, in human civilization, this would have been reinforced even further with the structure of human societies for 99% of human history, as the Doc has brought up many times before (and genetically, the reinforcement of the subservient-tendency group would have been much greater for the given timespan, because of the general separation between the dominant 'noble' bloodlines, and the subservient 'peasant' bloodlines).

So some people are genetically predisposed to be more susceptible to unquestioning subservience/loyalty to a dominant group, person or idea.

Studies of authoritarianism do indicate that genetic predisposition can only account for a small fraction of a person's chances of falling into that mindset, however. Maybe 10% or 20% of the influence towards that mindset, at most.

So the main cause is training. Most people who think that way, have been brought up to think that way, and have had their life experiences limited enough to prevent outside influences that would put a lie to a lot of their deeply-held beliefs from challenging or influencing them until the compartmentalizing walls that let people hold contradictory beliefs, etc. have been built and sufficiently reinforced to stand on their own.

People retain that loyalty/submission to those groups/authorities/ideas even when they have turned out wrong and harmful time and time again because that is how they have been brought up to think, and they lack the broad-spectrum life experiences that would crumble the foundations of the walls that have been built in their minds.

Then, of course, you have the people who are just pretending to believe it all for their own gain.

LarryHart said...

Tony Fisk:

BTW, Rob H's 'cynical' scenario #2 is an example of a ploy I've been seeing again and again: Team B accusing Team A of acting just like Team A has been doing. (Does it have a name?) I think it's a natural effect of 'strawmanning', for where does the straw come from but your own prejudices and predispositions?


I'm not sure if there's a name for it, but there should be. I've noticed for years now the Republican tendency to blame Democrats for doing things that the Dems aren't actually doing, but that they Republicans themselves WOULD do in the Democrats' shoes.

Thus we get the ridiculous (but accepted without much question) scenario of Charles Krauthammer claiming that Obama is not simply a liberal, he's a radical attempting to use his short window of opportunity to irrevocably transform the country. Even though the Democrats have self-evidently done no such thing, but Republicans did just that with the USAPATRIOT Act, tried (but failed) with privatizing Social Security, and then succeeded again with "Citizens United".

As juvenile as it sounds, the correct Democrat response to ANY accusation by Republicans is "I know you are, but what am I?"

LarryHart said...

Tacitus2:

I hope I have not scared you too much, but the Tea Party might just be......us.


Believe it or not, I don't dismiss the fears and concerns exhibited by the rank-and-file Tea Partiers. I do cringe at their suggested solutions, though. Almost everything they're afraid of will be made WORSE by putting Republicans in chagre again. In fact most of the stuff they're afraid of amped up under Republican rule in the first place. They even realize this fact to the extent that they claim retroactively to have not liked it when Bush did the same things they complain about Obama doing. And yet, the solution they advance is to put those same Republicans back into power, or to claim that THOSE Republicans weren't right wing ENOUGH, and to put even MORE rightist Republicans in power.

It's not their motives I take issue with, but the direction they're being herded into. "Keep your government hands off my Medicare" may be apocryphal, but that seems to sum up the Tea Party as it stands. Real concerns and fears leading them to violently reject any direction except one that will EXACERBATE those fears and concerns.

The original Boston Tea Party was a protest about tax favoritism toward a transnational corporation (The British East-India Company). I could so get behind a modern movement of the same type. But a pro-corporatist movement has somehow co-opted the name. More's the pity.

Ilithi Dragon said...

There is a term for it, the portraying of others as having/committing the same faults/crimes you yourself have/commit, though I can't for the life of me remember what it is.

I'm largely with Larry on this. I don't generally lend much of an ear to the TP screed, because it usually follows the form of [Valid/Semi-Valid/Reasonable concern] followed by [ridiculous/absurd/flat-out-wrong/dangerous/hypocritical solution], with a lot of [ridiculous/absurd/flat-out-wrong/anti-science concerns/claims/conspiracy theories] mixed in, along with a lot of championing of despicable characters such as Palin, Gingrich, Limbaugh, Beck, etc. This does not mean that I'm blind or deaf to their concerns, when valid or reasonable. I just usually don't listen very hard to it when it's mixed with a bunch of neocon/neofeudalist scat.

Give me a true conservative who will raise valid concerns, poke at valid, real, non-imaginary holes in existing and proposed policies and solutions, and accept scientific facts and evidence and negotiate and compromise in good faith to get things done, and I'll give them all the attention and credit they deserve. If they associate with the likes of Palin or Beck, however, that goes out the window.

rewinn said...

@Rob - "Get Over It" means "STFU" and I'm fine to leave it at that.

The term "homophobic fabulist" is precise and accurate. If it bothers you, perhaps it's not the form but the accuracy of the content.

Rob Perkins said...

No, "STFU" means "Shut the F$%^ Up" which is far more offensive and final. "Get over it" means "get over it". Specifically, it means you haven't been persuasive.

I'm listening to last nights Murray/Rossi debate at this moment, actually. I'm not impressed with either side's rhetoric.

I'm not impressed with those relatives of mine who shake their heads when they learn that I voted for Obama and wonder aloud how anyone could be a member of my church in good standing and do so. Or who parrot the "Obama is a socialist" meme. That's hate speech, whether or not it's accurate. I'd say it infuriates me, but that plays into the hate speech, and anyway I'm trying to stay calm.

Equally, I'm not impressed with "homophobic fabulist". That's hate speech, whether or not it's accurate.

Robert said...

Guys, we're a community here. Yes, passions are getting hot... but let's not insult one another. We're brethren, united by our agreement that things have gone wrong... we just disagree on what methods we should take to fix things.

Let's take a step back and not let passions rule our fingers as we write comments. And this goes for me as well. ^^;;

Rob H.

rewinn said...

On the plus side, we could do worse.

But "homophobic fabulist" is not hate speech under any reasonable definition, when applied as I did to the leading Tea Party candidates. Sharon Angle's headless bodies in the desert and Shari'a law in Texas is neither an accidental misstatement nor supported by any facts.

Rob Perkins said...

OH, that's funny. Thanks for sharing that, rewinn. :-)

Robert said...

Hmm. I normally don't read Shortpacked (it fails to keep my interest) but I do think I'll be doing a short write-up on that tonight. ^^;; (Last one before vacation and being internetless for two weeks on a mountainside, though I've guest reviews prepped for the occasion.)

Rob H.

David Brin said...

I will start the round of apologies.

Sorry I sputtered and fumed excessively.

I will say this... some of the motherhood and apple pie mantras recited by the Tea Partiers are just fine with me.

I am all in favor of the flag, for example... (though not the universal reflex to automatically hate our government, at all levels and in all ways... when my side has lost office.)

... and I am a big fan of competitive capitalism ... (which is the biggest victim of the TP's backers.)

I could go on. I am in complete agreement with many of their surface catch phrases.

Tacitus2 said...

I agree with Robert to a great extent. Not that the short term situation is screwed up, its our political system exerting a correction.

But long term our nation and the quality of its people have changed, mostly for the worse. Its technology to some extent, we have had a grim sword over our heads since Hiroshima. And it is the unprecedented ease we have enjoyed along with the ennui and sloth it has brought.

I shed few tears for the threatened democratic incumbants. I said the day before the penultimate health care vote that it was the equivalent of Pickett's
Charge, and that many of them would not return safely from it. Some were noble idealists, worthy of respect. Some craven, base folk who charged forward at the saber points of their officers.

Running through the open at a more numerous and determined opposition, who felt right was on their side, the purity of their motives was of no import.

Don't infer from this that I am some Confed wannabe, I am simply employing the most famous Lost Cause mythology our nation has.

So onward. Lets each try and improve things as we see them. For starters, regardless of philosopy---vote and encourage others.

Civility, sure. Lets strive for it. You have yet to see me in High Dudgeon (DudgeCon 3) and I will ever attempt to spare you that bracing if unhappy experience.

Tacitus2

rewinn said...

And I apologize for forgetting a little too personal.

We all here love our country and/or planet and/or reality; for the most part we merely disagree as to how best to improve it/them.

"A soft answer turneth away wrath".

"You catch more flies with honey that with vinegar ... and a *lot* more flies with b*llsh*t"

Group hug! Now: GOTV!

Tony Fisk said...

Amen! (Let's all just get along! ;-)

On that note, I had a simple thought that folk going to these little jamborees on 30/10 might like to pick up on: obtain or make up some badges with one of David's favourite quips:

I am a member of a civilisation!

It seems to be a sentiment in keeping with the occasion.

Ilithi Dragon said...

You mean like this?

Tony Fisk said...

Yep! That's a good start!

I'll leave the embellishments to you.