Sunday, February 26, 2012

Santorum Part III: The ironic winners, if he prevails

Okay, we've had a brief survey of our generation's would-be Nehemiah Scudder. Just last week's short list  of recent "Santor-isms" was enough to give any modern or compassionate or sane person the creepy heebie-jeebies. Do you doubt that I could go on and on? (See Parts One and Two)

Scary?  Sure. Can one envision the outcome, if a guy like this who wants "fire in the sky" and an end to the United States (all of it implicit in his prayed-for Book of Revelation End Times) ever gets his hands on nukes? Does he distill the terrified, future-shocked rage of those imbibing Culture War, making clear that this truly is Phase Three of the American Civil War?

(See  a much more detailed, though somewhat more partisan, litany of Rick Santorum's astonishing views: Agenda for the Dark Ages. I say "more partisan" because my complaints about Rick have very little to do with old-fashioned "left-vs-right.)

"Oh, don't worry," our sincere "moderate Republican" friends tell us.  "Romney will get the nomination. And Mitt doesn't mean all the extremist, red-meat, never compromise, worship the rich crap he has to shout, in order to appease the base and get nominated.  As soon as he clinches it - the very second that he has the nomination locked-up - Mitt will charge for the center as quick as a cat!"

Yep, that is what they are saying. And it's a measure of how deep the moderate GOP "ostriches" have to stick their heads into a pit of rationalizations, that all that sounds like a goooood thing to them.  In my last installment, I explained how they are right about this, because it fits the nominating pattern that the GOP follows perfectly. And it is still depressing as all get out.

But for the moment, let's ponder a different path. What might be some unforeseen consequences if the True Conservative were to come out on top with the GOP nomination, handing it to Honest Rick Santorum.

== There would be silver linings! ==

Well, it could offer hope to guys like me  - (moderates with a strong Adam-Smithian streak, who dream of a return to Yankee-style pragmatic politics) - that a Santorum nomination might be the long awaited Last Straw.

Oh, what if! Suppose those millions of good, decent "ostrich" conservatives are capable - at long last - of recognizing and admitting how thoroughly their once-noble movement has been hijacked by cynical oligarchs and outright crazy-people. If anything could ever achieve that miraculous psychological breakthrough, then putting Santorum at the GOP helm ought to do it. At long last.

Some are calling it the GOP's "McGovern Moment,"   but I look even farther back in time, to 1947, the year that democrats and liberals gathered the courage to separate from their own, in-house crazies. (And the left DOES contain those! In far smaller numbers now, than today's right, but  lefty-loons do exist.) I call it the Miracle of '47. You should look it up.

Oh, but will personality trump common sense yet again?  So far a single mantra has worked for conservative ostriches to keep them allied with monsters -- "Yes, my side has gone nuts, but Democrats are just as bad or worse!"  Will that crazy, fact-free chant finally fall apart? Indeed, maybe those millions will start to remember adults like Buckley and Goldwater and finally decide -- after November's trouncing -- to stand up and retake their movement. Reforging an adult conservatism that America needs, for balance.

From hard experience, I won't hold my breath.

== The real winners in a Santorum nomination? Libertarians! ==

Oh, oh, but the GOP tent holds yet another group that's exercising utter denial. I must now must turn and speak to my poor libertarian friends.

All right, your infatuation with Ron Paul has been fun.  And yes, I find him both admirable in some ways and spot-on when it comes to certain issues. But he has not been good for your movement.
Honestly. Do you expect Paul to change the GOP from within?  Or to affect at all the ongoing oligarchic putsch, combined with bedroom policing "social" hysteria?

The Paul Phenomenon only feeds a loony delusion that the GOP is somehow your "hold the nose" second-best choice. That somehow, in some twilight zone universe, the democrats are... worse?  A crazy idea if you actually list policies that might get negotiated with one major party or the other.

But here's another thing that Libertarians ought to be pondering, right now: If, by some amazing twist, Rick Santorum actually gets the Republican nomination, then this will be the year that the Libertarian Party finally gets more than 1% of the national vote!

In fact, there will be a flood of liberty-minded refugees fleeing to the LP. A tsunami the likes of which you've never seen before. Who knows? If that surge waxed high enough in the polls, the LP candidate might even get in on a debate or two! Hey, it happened for Ross Perot in 92!

Am I off base here?  Just look at how many of Ron Paul's supporters find they cannot stomach anyone else on the GOP side. "While other GOP presidential candidates have seen their fortunes wax and wane with voters, Ron Paul has enjoyed steadfast, if relatively low level, support from an obsessively loyal base of backers. But if his long-shot bid falls short, his supporters may balk at throwing their votes to a rival."  

For that reason, ironically, it seems logical that libertarians in Michigan and Arizona should right now ponder voting Santorum! Forget nostalgia for Ron Paul. That love affair was sweet but it's not gonna change anything if it leads to Romney and another 1% year for the LP. On the other hand, a GOP that finally ends the hypocrisy and confesses what it has become? A GOP that finally drives out freedom lovers?
That could transform everything. I salivate for the day when the Libertarian Party rises to replace the GOP as the main one opposing the democrats, arguing fairly and openly and sagaciously about market solutions as legitimate alternatives to state solutions.  The resulting discussions and arguments will finally contain substance!  They'll be honest. And they won't be about helping return us to feudal dark ages.

Think nationally. Think about the future of liberty-oriented politics.  Ron Paul has had his shot.  Now clear a path for Gary Johnson to actually get somewhere, in the fall.  Hold your nose one last time and vote... (heaven help us)... for Scudder.

== Late Addendum ==

I know this will crush some of my libertarian-romantic friends.  But have you noticed how - in the debates - Ron Paul never takes a swipe at Mitt Romney?  Always, always, he comes out swinging hard at whomever happens to be Romney's top rival of the moment!  This is too consistent for it simply to be explained by "Mitt and Ron are friends."

Now see this analyzed in a very very disturbing article.

Or google "Paul-Mitt Alliance". It seems, my friends, that you may have been sold out.

127 comments:

David Brin said...

RandyB see my answer to you, reiterating my challenge, in the old comments section from last posting. Please answer here in this one...

Stefan Jones said...

Off-topic, but very intersting:

Cat Valente has a guest post on Charles Stross' blog about Japan, technology, and feminism:

http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2012/02/life-with-and-without-animated.html#more

Robert said...

I've said this before and I'll say it again: I believe that Paul is positioning himself as Romney's Vice Presidential partner. He is consistently doing well in the polls, has a base that is blind in its support for him, and would create a semblance of libertarian respectability for Romney.

What's more, we have precedent for this with Bush/Cheney, with Cheney as the older partner to help "guide" the Shrub. Paul plays the part of Cheney in "guiding" Romney to libertarian principles. Naturally these will be abandoned if Romney wins the Presidency as suddenly "deficits don't matter" and the country declares war on Iran to stop it from getting nukes.

Naturally, Paul will protest these actions but it will just be words.

Or maybe I'm being cynical again...

Robert A. Howard, Tangents Webcomic Reviews

Tom said...

Is this a love affair with Libertarianism or just a wish that the opposition party be changed and the Democrats challenged from a different angle?

Libertarianism may sound wonderful in the abstract but outside of Somalia I can't think of a single Libertarian paradise on this planet.

But it would offer an interesting change in the political dialogue if, and only if, one other thing changes...the Democrats actually become willing to argue their side of the issues rather than conceding half the game before the coin-flip

RandyB said...

David,

(from previous page)
"The Fox guys claim that their raging, screeching, howling one-sided Goebbels-level one-sided propaganda machine is simply providing "balance" and the liberals started it by utterly swamping the "lamestream" with lefty propaganda. (Financed by GE, Disney etc... riiiiiiiight.)"

They don't say that. FoxNews says that their regular news (not counting the commentators) try to be not biased either way. But that does sound like something Limbaugh would have said -- except for the Goebbels bit, of course.

Sorry, I'm not doing the challenge. Without MRC.org doing my homework for me, I'd have to record all the shows and actually pay attention. You might just copy a Media Matters page to tell us who-knows-what. Then we'd wind up debating whether or not something I call bias is really bias according to you. Case in point is your belief that Rathergate minus the fake documents still had a story there worth talking about. (But the real story there was Rather's inability to admit that the docs were fakes when everybody knew it the very next day.)

BTW: GE and Disney do give a lot of money to Democrats. In 2008, they gave more to Dems than Reps. Disney has been that way for a long, long time. But that's really beside the point. I suspect it has more to do with legislative priorities (e.g. things like SOPA/PIPA) than general ideology.

This isn't to say I think the media is biased because the CEO of GE has a seat on Obama's advisory board (which, he does). I think they're biased because their reporters and editors are in the same clubs, and they see things the same way. As you've said earlier, they're all "just smart people seeing how insane your side has become."

rewinn said...

Could a Libertarian win Alaska's Electoral votes?

Murkowski beat the official GOP candidate with write-ins!. In a three-way race, a decent candidate who was actually on the ballot might find it not impossible to get the 35% of Alaska's popular vote - especially if the other two candidates are busy elsewhere. But who would be a sufficiently big name to get that 35%?

It's only distantly possible that AK's 3 votes would make Libertarians kingmakers, but they would be a hefty argument toward being taken seriously in 2016. Add to this the possibility that, given open primaries, the race for Federal Representative in districts such as several in Eastern Washington could be GOP vs Libertarian (just as the most recent race in WA-07 [Seattle] was Dem vs Green), and now we have a path to a three-party system. Younger Libertarians seem to understand the asymmetrical warfare empowered by the internet.

David Brin said...

You have got to hear this...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B5OWRRJh-PI
President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins gets a little peeved at the Teabagger interviewing him.

No question that Paul as VP would solve Romney's "libertarian" and "eager youth" problems...

...while helping to propel a rebellion by the True Redders.

If that happens I will camp out in DC till someone listens to me explain HOW TO TALK TO LIBERTARIANS! I do believe most dems are clueless about that and think there is no chasm there to exploit. But there is one.

Tom you are unfair. Just because the Randian Rothbardian wing of libertarianism is crazy, that doesn't mean there aren't VERSIONS that make perfect sense as useful participants in the general process of negotiating pragmatic modern solutions. SOMEONE has to be out there sensibly pointing out that free market solutions should always be tried first! And nurtured and nurtured till the right one is found to make state solutions temporary. That is and has to be the ideal... even though some problems will simply never find those purely market solutions. Still, that should be the goal and we need such people to remind us.


RandyB, it all boils down to you chickening out. There are solutions to every objection that you raise. For example, each of us could be limited to three hours each! (I can only stand that much Fox anyway.) Or you could go to a rightist web site and tell folks about my dare! Let THEM find the cited partisan BS on CBS and NBC for you!

I am so confident that I don't care if you unleash an army of other watchers sifting a whole week on all three networks for you while I am limited to just what I watch in TWO HOURS on FOx.

Let's pick you week and my 2 hours at random. And find some moderately conservative retired judge to be arbitrator.

This is typical. Grand sweeping assertions. Lots of anecdotes. (So freaking WHAT if the head of GE donates to Obama. ANY truly smart person who cares about the future would! That doesn't make him... or Gates or Buffett... a $%$##! socialist!)

But try to get a member of the Mad Right to actually put money on the facts? Never ever ever ever. They are willing to send us veering into civil war over claims that they are unwilling to wager a measly $100 bucks over.

David Brin said...

Let me reiterate that point. If the flaming-capitalist head of GE donates to Obama, does that make HIM a "socialist"? Or dopes it suggest that Obama is NOT a socialist?

Um duh?

David Brin said...

Question. Lots of other big bloggers have guest bloggers. SHould I?

Rob said...

I think the best answer is, "If you want to have guest bloggers, it's your blog."

Jumper said...

Two thoughts and a quibble:

Libertarianism for the rich and theocracy for the rest. I think that's okay with the Kochs.

Ron Paul's crazy half is a lot crazier than Ross Perot's crazy half. Just sayin'.

If you "nurture" free market solutions they become non-free. I know what you mean and tend to agree but it's a matter of correct terminology...

Robert said...

I found another fascinating article that basically reiterates something I've been saying for a bit: Republicans see 2012 as their "last chance" to win the White House. And ironically, the party of Conservatism may have to... change, in order to survive. The question is: will its voter base let it?

Rob H.

Tacitus2 said...

RandyB

Having taken up this sort of challenge a few times I say you are being quite sensible. They quickly devolve into splitting hairs and attempts to define terms for your debate adversary.

Stick up for your point of view, but recognize that Contrary Brin is not an effective debate format.

I could, and have in the past been, more blunt on the matter....

Tacitus

Robert said...

Dr. Brin, you are getting manic in your assertions against people showing up with Neocon-wing perspectives (you know, this whole "right-left wing" thing is feeding this aspect - the "right wing" believes their views are right because their wing is "right" - a peculiarity of English, no doubt, but there are psychological aspects to it. And don't forget, Left is considered "Sinister" in some nomenclatures, which continues the theme of "Left is Evil" and "Right is Good" - just a wee tangent there, sorry). One such bit is this constant "daring" for them to take "bets."

Dr. Brin, I respect you tremendously. You managed through intelligent discourse and statistics revealed to me that my knee-jerk reaction to the name Clinton was in fact irrational. You did so without daring me to bets and the like. You did so with intelligent and respectful conversation, which is why I enjoyed this site to begin with.

Yes, the current state of Republicans and ostriches is tragic. But that does not mean we should abandon the restraints of civil politeness and respect. Disrespect of the Other only results in the Other being the Enemy. By extending a hand in friendship time and time again can we turn these Others... into friends who accept other perspectives and perhaps, in time, change their own.

Robert A. Howard

John Kurman said...

Am I the only one that thinks Paul is more of a Scudder match than Santorum?

Robert said...

Apparently so. Why don't you expand on your reasoning as to why you feel Paul better fits that billing?

Rob H.

Tacitus2 said...

Actually Robert the terms left and right wing are pretty much arbitrary. In the French National Assembly of 1789 it just happened that the more revolutionary end of the political spectrum was seated on one side of the room and the more aristocratic, conservative members on the other.

It could have been done the other way around, and the whole "sinister" thing likely did not factor in.

Oh, I suppose you also could have intermingled the groups but subsequent events proved them to be immiscible.

Tacitus

Robert said...

A few points:

1. Tactical voting. I don't quite think it's immoral (you're free, morally as well as legally, to vote for whomever you damn well please), but I believe pretty strongly that every party should nominate its best candidate, period. In the case of the Republicans, it would be Paul, simply because the other Reps are completely unacceptable. Who the libertarians should rally behind in general is a different question.

2. Romney. Simply not to be trusted by anyone about anything. The Tea Party are right, from their perspective, to keep looking for somebody, anybody, else. The moderates should also be supporting somebody, anybody, else. In the TP case, it's Santorum, except for the earliest Tea Partiers, who are sticking with Ron Paul. For the moderates, it's Obama - let's face it.

3. Ostriches. A huge chunk of the original Republican base has already moved. They're a big chunk of the very large independent vote, which will almost certainly jump to Obama in the end.

4. Third parties. This year could be a big one for the LP, except that, when the Republicans get this bad, people abandon the third-party option, hold their noses, and vote for the Democrats, just to make sure the Republicans are trounced. FYI, in an ideal world, the Libertarians would actually be my first choice. But I'll be voting Dem for third time in a row, on the same emergency basis as the other times.

Bob Pfeiffer

Damien Sullivan said...

David, did you see the Alternet article on "the Republican brain"? Supposedly more educated Republicans believe even less in global warming than less educated ones, diverging from the scientific consensus, while more educated liberals are more open to nuclear power than less educated ones.

Also, have you seen the Do the Math blog? Seems like it might be up your alley.

--Damien (of Caltech/SPECTRE days)

John Kurman said...

Well, it's been decades since I read "Revolt in 2100", but I don't recall Scudder being very precisely described. Maybe someone can help here.

But I recall him being much more a nebulous character as just The Prophet, and I have to assume Heinlein was using a number of examples from televangelism. Think more "Face in the Crowd" Lonesome Rhodes type of character than fire-breather. Backwoods preacher to me, especially one with a theocratic agenda best kept hidden, would be kind of indicating a folksy, homespun, trustworthy, avuncular, plainspoken, low-key humorous type. Jawin' around the cracker barrel. One who knows what a crowd wants to hear, but who's actions (in this case, 12 terms in Congress) suggest a closet authoritarianism. Not to mention the whole crypto-Confederate thing. And then there's the whole fish stink of political nepotism with his son. Something ain't quite right there. I mean, they (the Rs) all creep me out, but... he really does.

Jonathan S. said...

Scudder was also mentioned in "Logic of Empire", and I think a few other stories (and wasn't there something about him in "Covenant"? Been a while since I read that one...). IIRC, he was pretty much described as the fire-and-brimstone revivalist type, with sufficient charisma to parlay that into dictatorial powers once he got elected President.

The most complete description, of course, comes from "For Us, the Living", but since that wasn't even published until recently (Heinlein came to agree with his first editor that it was an unpublishable mess) we can hardly use that as a primary source.

(As a side note, I thought one of the more interesting bits of that book was when the protagonist was having the use of the electronic scrolls explained to him; if you found a term that confused you, you'd touch it, and another book that explained it would open, while saving your place in the original. In his very first, unpublished, novel, Heinlein described hyperlinks!) :)

slautte houtputi: A gathering of Sanskrit-speaking prostitutes.

LarryHart said...

RandyB:

FoxNews says that their regular news (not counting the commentators) try to be not biased either way.


They may say that, but they're lying. That describes CNN and MSNBC more than FOX.

FOX's "news" reporters inject editorial comments like "Pepper? Isn't that a food product?" when reporting the pepper-spraying of non-violent protesters at UC-Davis.


BTW: GE and Disney do give a lot of money to Democrats. In 2008, they gave more to Dems than Reps. Disney has been that way for a long, long time. But that's really beside the point. I suspect it has more to do with legislative priorities (e.g. things like SOPA/PIPA) than general ideology.


Exactly! I'm not trying to claim the non-FOX networks are necessarily socially conservative. But it also misses the point to claim that they are "liberal". What they all are is corporatist. A network owned by GE or Disney will not necessarily be against gay marriage or contraception, but you're not going to find stories friendly to the point of view of anti-war demonstrators on a network owned by GE, or of pro-union activites on a network owned by Disney.

I suspect three reasons why it SEEMS like the media are liberal, despite the actual evidence from their actaul broadcasts.

1) A sort of nostaligic memory of the Edward R Murrow/Walter Cronkite era, when journalists really did see "Taking on the man" as part of their job. It hasn't really been that way since the mid 1980s.

2) Journalism relies on freedom of information and freedom of the press, so they will naturally be on the anti-authoritarian (hence "liberal") side of those particular issues.

3) Reality really does have a liberal bias. To be "fair" to the authoritarian/aristrocratic side of the aisle, you have to make a point of COUNTERING that bias. Anyone who simply reports the facts is necessarily making the righties look bad, so in today's irrational world, anyone who would do so is biased AGAINST conservatism.

David Brin said...

John K... the story of Nehemiah Scudder actually taking over was one that Heinlein could never actually get himself to write... because it is a bummer,

* Damien hi... do you have any contacts at Caltech Spectre still?

* Tacitus, that's just wrong, sorry. The ground rules for RandyB were simple. He could recruit as many allies as he wants, to watch a whole week on all three big networks sifting for partisan moments.

I get just TWO HOURS on Fox.

I am offering to pay him $$$ if more than ONE moment on NBC, CBS etc ranks in the top ten of partisan polemic.

Are you actually calling those ground rules unfair? The point in question is a very important one. Is Fox simply "compensating" for a huge lefty-socialist-pinko bias in ALL other networks?

Test it.

David Brin said...

Swerving now!

Jumper said "If you "nurture" free market solutions they become non-free. I know what you mean and tend to agree but it's a matter of correct terminology..."

And you miss the point, Jumper. Conservatives and Libertarians are absolutely right to worry about an increasingly powerful and meddlesome state.

If you cannot turn your head and peer in the direction that they worry about, then you have just as stiff a neck as they do, when they refuse to turn their heads to look at oligarchs!

I lived in France where their "minitel" proto-internet system was in 90% of homes and far more advanced that compuserve etc in the US... ATT wanted a billion dollar subsidy "state solution" to deliver a unitary advanced version of minitel to Americans. Do you think that boondoggle would have been better than the bill Al Gore shepherded thru Congress UNLEASHING THE INTERNET to an open market of creativity?

It would not have been better. Nor would a single state cell telephone, designed by govt committee.

No way the govt is the sole place to find answers to problems! That path is dangerous and horrible. If you poke me hard enough I will get all libertarian on you!

===

Damien Sullivan said...

David: I don't have direct contacts, though I know some more recent alumni who were involved.

As an ex-libertarian social democrat I can certainly agree with libertarians on some issues. Ending the war on drugs and the death penalty, alarm about the PATRIOT ACT, indefinite detentions, citizen assassination, more. OTOH, it should be no surprise that you can get activist liberals riled about civil liberties (getting Democratic politicians riled up is another matter.) But many liberals, rightly or wrongly, see "libertarians" as caring more about cutting taxes than protecting liberties in practice.

(Test: one candidate will end the war on drugs, the other one will end the income tax. Who gets a libertarian's vote?)

Government and markets: OTOH, I think the healthy European cell market is fueled in part by the EU deciding on GSM as a mandatory standard, SIM cards and all, so you now have competition throughout the GSM space, vs. the US basically having two GSM companies and two separately proprietary CDMA companies with their own tech monopolies. I believe Congress mandated being able to freely transfer your cell number, thereby forcing a bit more competition at that level.

In my experience, it's easier to get a liberal to grant value to markets and competition than it is to get a libertarian to grant value to such government interventions...

rewinn said...

"...guest bloggers. Should I?"

1. How do we know you don't already ;-) It's the internet; maybe your columns are subcontracted to an SF fan/engineering team in India?

2. As Willy Nelson is rumored to have said, "There are only two kinds of music: music that's good, and music that sucks." So long as the guest posts are good, and don't suck, why not?

3. One of my favorite themes in Vinge's "Rainbows End" was that team-persons are just as valid creators of work as are individual-persons; the important thing is to be honest when you are an individual or a team. So if "Contrary Brin" becomes a team effort rather than an individual effort - why not? Just be honest (...and don't suck at it.)

4. If the reason you are considering a guest blogger is to keep things going so you have time for more writing: DO IT!

5. If you don't experiment, we won't find out. You can always stop if it fails.

Tacitus2 said...

"I could, and have in the past been, more blunt on the matter...."

And choose not to be today.

Tacitus

Paul451 said...

David,
Re: Dems 1947 anti-communist moment.
The thing is, I think the Republican party already had its 1947-moment. In the late '70s. Only it was the radical right who met, made plans, worked out how to take the Republican party away from both the moderates and the traditional conservatives.

David Brin said...

It occurs to me that I rushed to possibly misinterpret Jumper's remark. It seems, in retrospect, that my response was aimed at what I THOUGHT he said and not his very different point.

My apologies... (though what I said was valid in its own right and a refreshing swerve for me, speaking up for a sane libertarianism!)

His actual point (if I am not doing it again) is that "nurturing" market solutions makes them non-market. I disagree. If don WELL, market tweaking to boost the attractiveness of private investment in certain directions, is perfectly legit.... despite the fact that it has been horribly abused in countless ways.

The biggest proposal would be to require that physical products have an end-of-life disposal plan. Ambitious, but probably how our kids will do it.

====
Tacitus, you are nursing a grudge and frankly, I don't agree that I ever treated you more than slightly irksome-ly. I dismissed your suggested "metrics of national health" that did not plummet under GOP rule. I did so for the simple reason that the rule was "unambiguous."

Your examples were very ambiguous. Sorry. But you had your say and "say" is all there is here! Say it again if you like!!!!

Just don't sulk.

LarryHart said...

Damien Sullivan:

it should be no surprise that you can get activist liberals riled about civil liberties (getting Democratic politicians riled up is another matter.) But many liberals, rightly or wrongly, see "libertarians" as caring more about cutting taxes than protecting liberties in practice.


In my college days, I thought libertarianism was very attractive, but that's because I envisioned it as championing the rights of individuals. Maybe it WAS that back then in the 1980s.

I think that these days, liberals rightly sense that the most public affirmations of "libertarianism" are in fact dog-whistle code for protecting the liberty of the wealthy and powerful from the government. Sure, there are purists who really believe that they are advocating for everybody's liberty including individuals, but in practice, if you get government off of everybody's back, what's left is the law of the jungle, where nobody BUT the rich and powerful are free at all.

Metaphorically, liberals are about protecting people from bullies so that they can go about their business without fear. 21st century libertarians are about protecting the liberty OF bullies. Or maybe more accurately...about non-interference in the natural order of things between bullies and others, which amounts to the same thing.

LarryHart said...

Tac and RandyB:

If your contention is that Dr Brin doesn't play fair, then call his bluff. Present evidence that the other major networks are as biased as FOX, and let that evidence stand on its own, regardless of whether our host personally accepts it.

Dr Brin, concerning guest bloggers:

I'd caution against too high a ratio, which would make the place lose its Brin-ness. Please don't become The Johnny Carson Show when Johnny was doing 20 or so shows a year. But an occasional fill-in when you're busy working probably isn't a bad idea.

Don't use ghost writers posing as you, though. The guest host should be clearly labeled as such.

Would you be open to any of us posters submitting guest columns? I'd be tempted to try my hand at some.

Paul451 said...

Via NextBigFuture:

Nokia is releasing a 41 megapixel cameraphone.

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2400773,00.asp

For some reason it makes me feel old.

Tacitus2 said...

Present sulk is apolitical. Stuck in a hotel room far from home, scheduled to testify in a rather unpleasant abuse case. And about to get snowed in for an extra day or two.

Having for the time being deactivated my Philosopher-Serf Tactitus mode I am in deadly serious mood.

You would not enjoy debating me under those circumstances.

Back in a bit.

Tacitus2, or for the time being, Severus2

David Brin said...

Yet another matter on Rick Santorum - his "vomit-repugnance" toward John F Kennedy's public declaration of separation of church and state. Andrew Sullivan discusses many ramifications of Santorum's disgust with this principle. Unmentioned, one of the reasons JFK gave that speech, back when some worried a Catholic president might take orders from the Pope. No one at all seems to be asking Rick: "Does this mean that's now an issue again?.

I am less afraid of those obeying the Pope than those actively praying, daily, for the coming of events described in the horrifically evil Book of Revelation.
http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2012/02/the-nausea-of-santorum.html

David Brin said...

Jiminy! Democrats in Michigan are getting calls urging them to vote for Santorum to mess up Romney. The calls are long, so that most people will hang up... but at the end they ID themselves as paid for... by the Santorum campaign!

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-57386285-503544/could-democrats-give-santorum-a-boost-in-michigan/

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162
-57386285-503544/could-democrats-
give-santorum-a-boost-in-michigan/

David Brin said...

Man! One can even picture a scenario in which this is done by Romney!

Tony Fisk said...

An interesting article on why your most carefully constructed and devastating arguments get laughed off by Uncle Oz (See son, CO2 isn't toxic, it's what you say as you exhale that's toxic!).

Clarke once commented something to the effect that, if all innovation were left to government, we wouldn't have emails and word processors but, oh my! The fountain pens we'd be using in these correspondences!!

It's good for detail and making sure all the bits of society stick together (via standards)

My sympathies Tac/Sev 2 (from someone who once spent a week snowed in at a Minnesota hotel with chickenpox. At least there was the Mayo clinic, and acyclovir had just come on the market! The weather channel was a great comfort)

'allissed thenewse' OMG that almost sounds legible! See what you attract from talking about Fox?

Tony Fisk said...

Oh come downunder, where Labor members battle for party dominance of a minority government. Rudd claims public support but no party member will work with him. Gillard controls the party but, on current polling, would lose to Kim Jong Un.*

All this was precipitated a couple of years ago by the ascension of the current Liberal leader, who didn't like emission trading/taxes, wanted to reinstate work choices (a system where the employer chooses what the employee's contract is) ... and who is also a Catholic**

It all may make sense if you try mapping the political landscape onto a moebius strip...

* a lot of this is media hype. Note that 70% is controlled by a well-known Ex-pat Australian.
** Nothing against Catholics per se... but, eeek!

Tony Fisk said...

One final link that meshes with satiablility (or 'All your lollies are belong to us!')

duncan cairncross said...

Paul Said

"Nokia is releasing a 41 megapixel cameraphone."

What is the point of a 41 megapixel camera with a lens capable of 2 megapixels resolution? - if that

I looked at this years ago - I was fed up with lugging a 35mm SLR and I though a nice digital camera would be as good - a bit of research revealed that the lens was the limiting factor - if you want SLR quality you need a big lump of glass

When the lens is the limiting factor the extra pixels are just a waste of time

Robert said...

I am starting to wonder if I need to take a half-year break from Contrary Brin. It is obvious that just as the Republican Party has moved too far to the Right for me to remain in it, Dr. Brin is moving too far to the Left for me. Though to be honest, I don't care about the liberal beliefs and the like. What I DO care about is the growing disrespect toward other people that has grown as a result of dealing with a few assholes who showed up on the site after Dr. Brin TAUNTED them by posting content he KNEW would draw them to the site.

In short, Dr. Brin, you dragged these people here with content you KNEW would cause a ruckus, and now you're reacting in a fashion that would have those assholes chortling in their colas. When I first showed up here, you were respectful and contrary. Now you're just contrary while refusing to accept that other people might still want to fight from within the Republican Party to set things straight.

I'm not Republican. I've never been an official part of the party. But I do not like what I'm seeing happening here. The environment is starting to grow toxic through your own comments and posts. Further, you ignore warnings that this is happening.

This is your website. You can say and do what you want. But this is my time. I can spend it as I want. I'm going to stick around a tiny bit longer... but if you continue on this path of disrespect and churlishness, then I'm going to spend my time elsewhere, Dr. Brin.

Rob H.

RandyB said...

David:

Again, sorry but the answer is no.

I might take up a challenge like that some time in the future but not now. It would have to be on a subject I'm more passionate about.



LarryHart:

I didn't take Tacitus2's point to mean that David doesn't play fair. A bet like this will be a major can of worms.

"2) Journalism relies on freedom of information and freedom of the press, so they will naturally be on the anti-authoritarian (hence "liberal") side of those particular issues."

Liberals are only sometimes anti-authoritarian. They can be very authoritarian when it suits them, including on freedom of speech.

And, yes, people can come up with plenty of nice-sounding reasons to believe an authoritarian government solution could be best for the people. They can even say that an authoritarian solution is sometimes needed to control authoritarian impulses of large private parties, but it's still an authoritarian solution.

Rob said...

Rob H., it's gonna be a rough year for everyone, I think. Here's to a center of sanity for us all.

Ian said...

"John K... the story of Nehemiah Scudder actually taking over was one that Heinlein could never actually get himself to write... because it is a bummer,"

Maybe soemoen else shoudl write it.

Say a successful SF writer with a keen interest in US politics and prior experience in writing books extendign series done by a decdeased giant of the field.

Jumper said...

It's true, David. I often post in a manner unclear. Sidepaths for excursion. The path was, monopoly is something the libertarian toolbelt is not well equipped to handle, and is exactly why I lost my Libertarian Party membership card. (Yes, I actually carried the card.) Good examples, the phone co.s.
[I did keep the tools from that toolbelt.]

LarryHart said...

To the guy who got me hooked on the webcomic "Quantum Vibe":

I notice today's strip has a one-off reference to a place called Gargaringrad. A nod to "American Flagg!", perhaps?

LarryHart said...

And now, completely off-topic, a subject that's near and dear to my own heart.

A quirk of the calendar (in English, anyway) is that there are exactly six months with fewer-than-seven letters in their names, and exactly six months with seven-or-more letters in their names.

Another quirk of the calendar is that the two groups are contiguous: March thru August, and September thru February, respectively.

During all the years I spent in some form of school, September was the start of a long decline, first just because summer gave way to school, and then because the weather got successively worse each month. February might not be worse than January, but it isn't much better, and in a typical Chicago year, I'm getting awfully sick of winter by this time.

March begins the turnaround where the potential for spring is in the air, and if the weather isn't great yet, you know it's getting there. The long climb to summer and the wonderfulness of summer vacation makes each month look BETTER than the one before during this period.

Thus, from a tender young age, I sort of felt a subliminal connotation that went along with the length of the name of the calendar month. "Long names bad; short names good," as it were.

And as we're just a few days away from the transition between the six consecutive months with seven-or-more letters (boo!) to the six consecutive months with fewer-than-sevel letters (yay!), I just thought I'd mark the occasion.

Sorry. Carry on.

LarryHart said...

Tacitus2:

Present sulk is apolitical. Stuck in a hotel room far from home, scheduled to testify in a rather unpleasant abuse case. And about to get snowed in for an extra day or two.


Wow! I just realized you are not talking about LAST week's snowstorm, but a new one that's going to produce rain in Chicago, but a whole new boatload of snow up in Wisconsin.

My sympathies as well. It's been a remarkably snowless winter in Chicago (though what snow we did get came in large dumps), but apparently not so much in the corridor directly east from Minneapolis.

LarryHart said...

Robert:

I'm not Republican. I've never been an official part of the party. But I do not like what I'm seeing happening here. The environment is starting to grow toxic through your own comments and posts. Further, you ignore warnings that this is happening.


Oh man, am I torn on this one (typical liberal fence-sitter, I know).

On the one hand, I see your point, and I hate the thought of driving off rational conservatives such as Tacitus, and of making liberals look bad (I consider myself liberal, NOT leftist).

On the other hand, a part of me has to think that the present level of incivility in politics is "on" the right-wing. If after months on the torture rack, I manage to get an arm free, manage to grab hold of the red hot poker, and swing for all I'm worth getting one good smack upside the torturer's eye...that does NOT make me "just as bad" as him.

LarryHart said...

Tony Fisk:

One final link that meshes with satiablility (or 'All your lollies are belong to us!')


That seems to jibe with my personal sense that the Koch brothers and company would be better off financially if they just paid higher taxes, obeyed regulations, and didn't spend billions of dollars on campaign contributions to defeat those taxes and regulations.

Their rabid and unlimited support for anti-enlightenment policies is beyond financial. It is deeply personal.

Paul451 said...

Rob H,
Re: Belatedly, the demographic panic thesis.
http://nymag.com/news/features/gop-primary-chait-2012-3/ for those that don't know what I'm talking about.

I was reading David's jokey speculation, from Santorum "vomiting" over separation of church and state, on whether that meant people should worry about papists in the White House. (Save us, Queen Elizabeth!) And I suddenly had a thought about that article...

Demographic changes (migration, education) means that traditional old white Republicans are reaching the cut-off when they can no longer win an election without appealing to Hispanics or some other minority. Hence they believe that 2012 is probably the "last chance" to win. Which is why they're doubling down on the divisive code-word-racist rhetoric to try to delay the compromise by just one more election...

...but then what? Four years later, another election which they can't win. What is it they intend to do, once in power, in order to stave off the demographic change? For these BoR believing radicals, what do they think they need to do, in just one Presidential term, to "Save America" from the liberals and socialists and coloureds? This is a group whose membership, at their moderate/public level, believes there is a conspiracy by all the climate scientists in the world to destroy the US economy, a giant conspiracy in the media, and a conspiracy to take away their guns, and who, at the extreme, believe that FEMA has secretly herded Americans into deathcamps, that Obama is a secret communist Muslim foreigner.

Remember that idea about "projection". Ie, the right believe in a giant secular conspiracy again them, liberal indoctrination in schools and the media, because it's what they do or want to do. So what would they believe is a "fair" response against what they believe is being done to them, if they genuinely believe that they have just a year or two until they lose control forever?

(itness reakti: (Biol.) Small mammal that only responds to popular fashionable people.)

Robert said...

Easy. You make life so difficult for the minorities that they leave. At the same time you open up immigration... but only for northern Europeans. Preferably British or German. Scandinavians can also apply.

Rob H.

David Brin said...

LarryHart I love the "seven letter months" riff!

Tacitus... survive! You are one of our most valuable guys. (In a community of very valuable folks!)

=======
RandyB said: "I might take up a challenge like that some time in the future but not now. It would have to be on a subject I'm more passionate about."

Fair enough Randy! And forgive me if I seemed pushy or "intense" in my challenge! My point was not to corner you into an actual bet (though the offer stands) but to get you (and others) doing a thought experiment about the silly, silly, silly notion that what Fox does is somehow "normal."

Whatever your position on classic economic-politics - left-midlle or-right - what Murdoch is doing is flat out evil. He has fomented civil war that ended the American genius at pragmatic negotiation.

But Randy, I'd love to do another challenge-dare re "liberal authoritarianism" - especially if you properly (as I do) distinguish "liberals" from "leftists."

=====
Rob H I am sorry you feel that way. Do you have specific passages you would care to quote to illustrate my "churlish" behavior? Or specific "far-left" positions to cite? I know I sometimes get over-wrought and do the former! So my asking you this is only 50% to challenge you to back it up. The other 50% is a willingness to apologize.

OTOH, I truly am interested in where you can find even a scintilla of evidence that I have "left" positions.

Damien Sullivan said...

This raises the question of how you distinguish 'liberal' and 'left'. I've found such useful myself in the past, as well as 'conservative' and 'right', but don't so much these days. And of course liberal and conservative are heavily multivalent terms.

US Europe/world
liberal social democrat
libertarian liberal
socialist libertarian
anarchist libertarian
socialist social democrat
conservative liberal [small gov't]
conservative crazy [God and race]
crazy conservative [church and king]
socialist conservative [universal health care]
anarcho-capitalist crazy

I was kind of gut-guided in the past, but I guess I'd approximate with
liberal: individual freedom, including positive freedom in US context
leftist: more socioeconomic equality, which overlaps with US liberal, but is sometimes orthogonal to basic liberty.

Carl M. said...

Hmmm, vote Santorum to help the LP candidate maybe get 1% of the vote, or support a candidate who is speaking libertarian ideas to crowds like this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o9iEtZnrb3M&feature=pla%E2%80%8Byer_embedded

Your proposal is frankly ridiculous. And yes, there are a few ridiculous LP members who put party over point of the party who might take you up on it, but most libertarians are all-in now for Paul.

Back when I was in the LP, I realized that the target milestone of most of the longterm core activists wasn't winning elections -- they knew they couldn't do so with their radical platform -- it was getting a chance to voice their ideas on national television by getting a presidential candidate in the debates.

Well, Ron Paul is getting that kind of coverage for libertarian ideas -- and how.

I would point out that the whole R3volution theme from Ron Paul's last run came from Ernie Hancock, who represents the radical fringe of the LP, a fringe which resulted in having two Arizona LPs for a time. The Rothbardian radicals love Ron Paul.

David Brin said...

Damien, there are many many ways to distinguish "liberal" from "leftists"... and any one of them will collapse with any one particular, opinionated person.

My own favorites include dealing with some of Beck'f frequent canards:

Lefiists do want to "equalized outcomes... American liberals want to emphasize finding ways to get all kids to the starting blocks at 25, ready for vigorous, creative, joyful competition.

Liberals denounce oligarchic betrayals of capitalism. They do not mind ca[italism that is open, transparent, non-conspiratorial and genuinely competitive. This makes them the true heirs of Adam Smith.

Lefties tend to have an authoritarian streak... that good things need to be imposed from above by a wise caste (of which they are members). This include wise meme control... or political correctness. This accusation by Beck & co has some basis in fact.

Liberals know that some tweaking of language usage may be necessary in transition to break bad old habits, but they are uncomfortable with meme- policing and would much rather ask neighbors to shuck bad old habits (e.g. racism, sexism by their own choice.)

They are fine with incrementalism. WHile the madmen of both left and right consider anything other than purity to be betrayal. Liberals want girls so empowered and skilled at managing their bodies that abortion almost never happens. The right considers that "almost" to be satanic and so they push policies that - in Red America - result in MORE abortions.

The screwy left would cram unnecessarily in-your-face "reforms and symbolisms" down the throats of people who have every right to avert their eyes, if they think homosexuality "yucky."

YES! America's universities are infested with pockets of crypto-marxist lefty-flake toads. Especially English, lit, soft-studies etc departments. They simmer and stew with some of the crazy stuff that Beck screeches about. And they hardly do a scintilla of harm. They despise science fiction and anything else that might satirize their pathetic nostrums. But the science departments are all immune because there, tenure is decided against actual, measurable achievement. And those are the departments that matter.

Seriously, Santorum knows the Flaky lit profs don't matter! But he's using them to discredit the OTHER side of campus. He doesn't dare attack the STEM guys openly, so he undermines them as part of a general caste of college profs. This from a guy with THREE degrees.

Is that enough? The cux is this. Beck never allows anyone on his show to demand that he poll decent, average democrats and liberals and ask: "Do you really think these things that I ascribe to liberals?"

He doesn't dare. Because he'd get punched in the nose.

David Brin said...

Carl... I agree totally that the Paul Phenomenon is solid enough that I cannot blame libertarians for sticking with him.

(Tho they do need to stay aware that their hero has feet of clay and this alliance with Romney is both blatant and unsavory.)

Nevertheless! It is completely legit to ALSO ponder the realpolitik of a Santorum GOP candidacy. We in that case aren't talking the LP rising from 1% to 1.5%.

What that would do is raise the LP from 1% to 15% or 20% or more! In fact, there's a real chance of a runaway. Not to victory, of course. But to a tsunami of new members and a real shot in 2016.

Carl M. said...

You don't understand. Half of the LP doesn't really want a tsunami of new members. They have a membership oath designed to protect against such.

I successfully forced a vote to get rid of said oath in 2006. It survived roughly 50-50. (It would take a 2/3 vote to remove.) Between that, and the fact that the majority of the pragmatists in the party are well to the right of me economically, led to my leaving about a year thereafter.

The LP is not set up to win the presidency. Running to "make a statement" at the presidential level is a recipe for civil war. (We really need to update our election system. Plurality take all stinks.)

David Brin said...

Carl I agree on all counts. But a flood of new voters circa 10% this november would suddenly get a bunch of rich/influential libertarian types suddenly thinking pragmatically about power. All would change.

Carl M. said...

Speaking of rich/influential libertarian, check out this interview with Peter Thiel.

http://www.the-american-interest.com/article.cfm?piece=1187

A sampling:

Francis Fukuyama: I’d like to begin by asking you about a point you made about there being certain liberal and conservative blind spots about America. What did you mean by that?

Peter Thiel: On the surface, one of the debates we have is that people on the Left, especially the Occupy Wall Street movement, focus on income and wealth inequality issues—the 99 percent versus the 1 percent. It’s evident that both forms of inequality have escalated at a very high rate. Probably from 1973 to today, they have gone up faster than they did in the 19th century. The rapid rise in inequality has been an issue that the Right has not been willing to engage. It tends either to say it’s not true or that it doesn’t matter. That’s a very strange blind spot. Obviously if you extrapolate an exponential function it can go a lot further. We’re now at an extreme comparable to 1913 or 1928; on a worldwide basis we’ve probably surpassed the 1913 highs and are closer to 1789 levels.

In the history of the modern world, inequality has only been ended through communist revolution, war or deflationary economic collapse. It’s a disturbing question which of these three is going to happen today, or if there’s a fourth way out....

David Brin said...

I know Thiel. He is a very bright fellow. A bit quirky but entitled to be! Having delivered superior goods and services, he is leveraging endeavors that he feels will benefit both civilization and himself.

But I do not agree about the following: "In the history of the modern world, inequality has only been ended through communist revolution, war or deflationary economic collapse."

He is basically stating that the gilded rich of 1928 were slapped down and leveled by the stock market crash and deflation. But that is not what did it, at all.

The GOP run Congress of 1930 jacked up income taxes to stratospheric levels. That - along with Hawley Smoot Tariffs - proved their economic insanity, turning a deep recession into a depression. But those high taxes did, over the next 30 years (FDR kept them) sharply level the playing field.

Result: in the 1950s, with super-high tax rates, we had both a very flat social order and extremely vibrant startup entrepreneurial capitalism. Three things that supply siders scream cannot go together! But they inarguably did go together.

Damien Sullivan said...

OTOH, the New Deal happened in the debris of a deflationary economic collapse.

David: what you say about the left is often true, though the authoritarian streak isn't universal (libertarian anarchist originally meant property-skeptical leftists! Proudhon, Bakunin, Kropotkin.) Those divisions are kind of what I used, especially after reading _Reading Lolita in Tehran_, which portrayed the Iranian Revolution as a fight between the Islamists (who won) and Marxist students equally sceptical of "bourgeois literature" though better for women, with liberals crushed in between.

OTOH these days I tend to go back to the French revolution definitions, which echo Roman populares vs. optimates, and similar fights in ancient Greece. Equality vs. privilege. Classical liberalism was 'left' when facing monarchy and aristocracy and mercantilism, wanting to tear down legal class and revenue monopolies; these days it faces social democracy, and is relatively 'right', wanting to defend inheritance of wealth.

David Brin said...

followup. Other factors helped level inequality. Mass education is one. Also, I've mentioned before that the American Founders simply seized the vast holdings of lordly absentee estate holders and distributed them. Then banned primogeniture.

RandyB said...

I assume you mean separating liberals from the far left, and that you're not talking about 19th century liberals.

I don't agree that Murdoch is pushing anything like a civil war.

None of this is particularly new with the Obama administration. There was plenty of ire aimed at President Bush. Liberals went far off the deep end when they latched on Michael Moore. Then, from the outright leftists, there was pure, red-faced hatred, including stupid Nazi-analogies, countless hangings-in-effigy, and even a movie fantasizing about Bush's assassination (just imagine the faux outrage if a conservative made one about Obama). But then before that there was what President Clinton had to contend with from conservatives. After his health care plan failed, his party lost both houses of Congress, and he was impeached, then there were conspiracy theories about Mena, the "Clinton Chronicles," conspiracy theories about Ron Brown's death and Clinton's lawyer's suicide, and probably other things that slipped my mind. Some of this is just the way politics is. But the main point is that none of this is new, and Murdoch didn't drive any of that.

I'm really not up for a challenge-dare now. Maybe in a few months. Besides, I think we both agree that there are some authoritarian instincts in conservatives as well as in liberals.

My response before was just to say that liberals are not anti-authoritarian. It's not just economics either. It is liberals who want a nanny state. A nanny state is, by definition, very authoritarian.

duncan cairncross said...

Hi David,
Speaking as a Scottish Socialist (the very worst kind)
I am in favor of equal opportunity
I am not in favor of equal outcomes
BUT I am against grossly unequal outcomes.
Somebody once said that it was easy to find somebody who's work was worth twice as much as somebody else but nearly impossible to find somebody who was six times better

There is a ratio where an outcome is grossly unfair - CEO's being paid 400 times the pay of their staff

At this level the outcomes need to be attacked as well as the opportunities

The transition from the gross inequalities of 1928 to the 1950's was partly the taxes BUT a lot of the improvement was down to the unions

I am trying to do some research on this subject but it seems to me that the problem with manufacturing jobs in the USA is much less the effects of outsourcing than the effects of killing or subverting the unions

David Brin said...

RandyB, you keep doing this! You take some lefty flakes who have little influence and calling them equivalent to Fox, which controls the thinking of 1/3 of all americans and fills their heads with relentless bilious hate, propeling not just Culture War but outright Civil War..

Michael Moore wishes he had 10% of the reach into 10% as many heads as Limbaugh alone.

And further dig this... Moore's whole schtick is about confrontation and giving his opponents their say! True, he edits in some ways unfairly and I don't especially like him! Nor do most moderate liberals. But his schtick INHERENTLY is more open-minded than the entire closed-shop rant festival at Fox.

You cannot compare anything aimed at Bush to the sending of our entire nation into the trauma of impeachment over a fib over a little hallway head! Trying to reverse the decision of an entire nation at the ballot box. Or the utterly disproved Swift Boat shit.

As for Bush... dig this... though the documents were forged, in fact, almost nobody anywhere on Planet Earth believes W got his position in the Alabama Air Guard without influence. Do YOU believe it? Really?

You claim that liberals want a nanny state. No that is leftists. You clearly did not bother reading what I posted just above here about the difference. But the fact is that if you try cramming leftist positions into the mouth of most liberals, they will punch you out. So you (and Beck) don't dare!

You keep trying for equivalence but it isn't there. Both sides have crazies.

But your side is RUN by the crazies.

David Brin said...

Duncan, clearly there is some sliding scale in which you are more "lefty" than I am. But you are motivated by the same thing. A leveled competitive playing field, not an obsessively equalizing nanny state.

Socialism that helps all children to reach age 25 ready to compete is not anti-market socialism... it is what Adam Smith wanted.

I am less eager than you though to pick some level of wealth and say "that's too much." Clearly we are heading to French Revolution levels of disparity and all the really smart rich guys are deeply concerned.

See Francis Fukayama interview Peter Thiel... neither of them with a pink bone in their body!

http://www.the-american-interest.com/article.cfm?piece=1187

That's worrisome and unjust. OTOH I deeply worry about statist "solutions" and I want to try the loosest solutions first, before ratcheting to stronger ones.

arizona medical marijuana said...

He definitely has my vote! It's time for genuine changes.

duncan cairncross said...

Hi David
Interesting discussion (Fukuyama/Theil) but I don't buy the technological slowdown
A lot of things are taking a long time - because they are hard - not because we are incompetent or being slowed down by regulations
everywhere I look I see systems that are nearly working - a couple more years and they will be making major inroads
Example
I am now in local government - we are getting more and more data on our graphical mapping systems - at present we do not know where all of our pipelines are never mind their condition and history
In a few years all of this data will be in the system - we will KNOW what is happening not just guess!
As this data base grows and inspection data is stored in a searchable way we will be able to increase the effectiveness of our re-newel work.
Our present unreliable and horrible SCADA (itself a massive improvement on its predecessor) will be telling me exactly what is going actually on at our Water Treatment plants and pump stations

I miss Concord - but it was killed when the USA refused to let it fly on the routes it was designed for - it just took 30 years to die

Thing like rocket belts and flying cars are simply not possible with current science
(As an exercise work out how long a rocket belt can hover using LOX - LH2 like the shuttle's main engines)

Cars nowadays are amazing - when I was first motoring cars lasted 4 years and 100,000 miles, tires wore out, points had to be changed, suspension had to be greased - and it still wore out!

The internet - Wikipedia - Ebooks these are the sort of things the Asimov's and Heinlein's thought would be in the 22nd or 23rd century

Technology always appears to be slow - it's only when you look back that you can see just how fast it is changing

I see a bigger problem has been the "top people" taking more than their fair share out of the system and "starving" the workers

I don't see this as requiring "statist" so much as removing the restrictions placed on the unions and probably more importantly (and this could be statist) somehow reversing the last 40 years of anti-union propaganda

Paul451 said...

Dolphins introduce themselves to each other upon greeting a new group. It starts with a self-identification call by a single member of each group, then, once returned, the others join in.

news.discovery.com/animals/dolphins-greet-each-other-120228.html

Cancer rates in Europe are falling (as a percentage of population) in spite of an ageing population.

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn21526-cancer-deaths-will-drop-in-2012.html

--
Duncan,
"(As an exercise work out how long a rocket belt can hover using LOX - LH2 like the shuttle's main engines)"

Rocket belts don't burn their fuel. They typically generate high-pressure steam from decomposing hydrogen peroxide rather than actual flame. A true rocket engine wouldn't be wearable. [Not in any way arguing against your point. Just saying.]

Re: Apparent slowing of technological change. AKA, where's my flying car.
"I see a bigger problem has been the "top people" taking more than their fair share out of the system and "starving" the workers"

Hmmm, interesting that the pace of change of technology in the early 20th century also correlates with a period is social flattening. And the technology that we point to as "progress" wasn't just developed, it was broadly available. That huge market drives the development of novel technology to become practical and widespread. Air travel wouldn't have developed as quickly without lots of people who could afford to fly for business and pleasure (and convenience). If it were limited to the top 1% it would have developed slower. If it were limited to the 0.01% (an aristocracy), it would still be pseudo-Victorian. (But bespoke and beautiful, I'm sure.) Likewise cars, fridges, vacuum cleaners, TVs, computers, phones, cellphones...

And I notice that the perception of a slowing of technological progress in everything except small consumer items (cellphones, e-readers) tends to date the decline from the late 1970's, when social equality started to fall, when growth in US GDP became more and more concentrated in the higher percentages of wealth.

So if you want a flying car, or jetpack, or holiday on the moon, that suggests you need to restore the US middle class for another 50-70 years, or hope that China (or some similar sized population of consumers) develops one.

Paul451 said...

RandyB,
"Besides, I think we both agree that there are some authoritarian instincts in conservatives as well as in liberals."

What you're doing is called "false equivalence". Ignoring the possibility that one side could be much worse than the other.

David's challenge is trying to get you to see, for example, that Fox makes more extreme biased statements more often than the other media. And that Fox makes statements that are demonstrably false more often than the other media. That doesn't mean the other media doesn't have biases, it doesn't mean they don't make mistakes. It just means that Fox is much, much, much worse. Likewise, the extreme Left say things as dumb as the extreme Right. But extremists on the right have vastly more power over the Republican party than extremists on the left have over the Democrats.

(David's tone of "attack" is, I suspect, a kind of panic-rush because conservative commenters (with a few beloved exceptions) tend to leave a spasm of comments and then never return. So if it bothers you, just say no, let the subject drop for awhile, but stick around and comment on other subjects and/or argue with the other regulars.)

Re: Bush Jr vs Obama.

Actually this is another really good example of false equivalence. You know I could find hundreds of examples of Obama being called a Socialist on Fox, by paid Fox commentators and hosts. But could you find a single example of a paid commentator or news reader on any mainstream media outlet calling Bush Jr a Nazi or a Fascist? To find examples of the Left being nuts, you have to go to the fringe media. To find examples of the Right being nuts, you turn on Fox or pick up the WSJ. That's not equivalent.

Likewise, the left considered Bush Jr to be illegitimate because of electoral trickery in Florida by Republican electoral officials, backed by Republican appointed Supreme Court justices. The right consider Obama to be illegitimate because they think he was born in Kenya and The Giant Socialist Conspiracy by the Liberal Media let him get away with The Big Lie.

That doesn't mean I agree with those lefty whiners, I'm just saying that what they were whining about actually happened. If Gore had actually won Florida, he would have been President. Analogy: I have two neighbours, one is complains the CIA is planting thoughts in his head, the other complains about a guy starting his motorbike too early in the morning. Both of them are being silly, but one is whining about something that's actually true, the other is just batshit crazy. They are not equivalent.

Tacitus2 said...

I am back, civic duty discharged. Able to run just ahead of the stormfront and sleep in my own bed. All this improves my mood notably.

So, on to the issue of media fairness.

Does anybody even watch the big three network newscasts any more? Only an older demographic I suspect, where a natural conservative bent may perceive a leftward lean. But rejoining the real world, do the sources of information that folks actually look at have a bias? And is it subtle or blatently cartoonish?

Yahoo news is one of the first things my computer brings up, mostly because I use yahoo mail for one of my accounts and yahoo is my home page. Yahoo news is mostly the highlights of AP and other news services. These are agencies that actually do have some pervasive influence, they supply the raw material for most newspaper articles, and the backbone of much internet news. So, is there a ludicrous bias to be found? No. Is there something subtle, and therefore more pervasive happening? Lets have a look see. I will put this in a second post because I have been taking some notes in Word and need to paste 'em in....
This is by the way an exercise any of you can undertake any time you wish and with whatever news service you prefer. Comparing Fox to CBS seems to me a waste of time, but you can spend your time as you wish..

Tacitus

Tacitus2 said...

29 Dec 2012 summary of Yahoo News articles with political content

Romney Limps toward GOP nomination
(extended headline “Battered and Bruised”, goes on about difficulty carrying his home state)

Stockton could become biggest city to go bankrupt
(no mention of the makeup of local government. All three state reps are Dem. Mayor and council races non partisan but Mayor endorsed by Dem. Actually she seems like a very nice person…)

Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe to retire
(Mentions in first sentence that she is R and tired of gridlock. Improved D chances of holding Senate mentioned)

Wyoming narrowly defeats measure to prepare for apocalypse.
(notes that chief sponsor is a Republican)

Obama lays out detention rules for al Queda suspects.
(neutral tone, deals with exceptions to military prosecutions)

So in a small sample we see a couple of ways in which national news can be "spun".

--"Name that party" bias. When things get ugly the party affiliation is more likely to be mentioned if it is R not D. California debt is going to get very ugly indeed soon.

--"Active versus Passive" voice bias. Romney limps. Obama lays out plans.

--"Turn over the most obscure rock" bias. You can almost always find some local pol proposing some dumbass thing. Actually post apoc plans are not totally stupid, but if you dig into the article a ways various stupid details are highlighted. One version indicated that landlocked WY wanted to consider getting an aircraft carrier. Are lower level D pols proposing dumbass things? The world may never know...

I did a quick and dirty hash up of one days news, but a longer range view would show a similar pattern I suspect.

Just a few thoughts along the road less taken..

Tacitus

LarryHart said...

RandyB:

Then, from the outright leftists, there was pure, red-faced hatred, including stupid Nazi-analogies,...


I realize that there's a "law" which says a mention of Nazism loses the argument. However, it doesn't stop the righty talkers from REGULARLY comparing President Obama to Hitler, to the point where it doesn't even have shock value any more, it's just a generally accepted fact over on their side of the aisle.

"But you guys also compared Bush to Hitler!". I know, but the only context I remember that being done was in pointing out the scary equivalences between Hitler's executive power-grab after the Reichstag fire and W's executive power grab after 9/11. There's plenty of room for debate on how closely the two are related, but if the similarity doesn't even give you pause enough to note it, then I'm sorry, but you are wearing blinders.

And the right went ballistic over that comparison, insisting not that it wasn't valid, but that it wasn't appropriate to use Hitler analogies at all. And then they turned on a dime and began using the stupidest reasons to compare Obama to Hitler ("He wants universal health care! That was invented by Bismarck in Germany!").

I'm sorry, but the two sides are not equivalent here.

Paul451 said...

Homeless women convicted of felony larceny for "stealing" free public schooling by registering her son from the address of his baby-sitter rather than her own former address, in order to get him into a better school. Two words worth repeating... homeless... and felony larceny.

http://www.alternet.org/newsandviews/article/818811/%22stealing%22_free_education_homeless_mother_gets_jail_time_for_sending_her_son_to_a_better_school_district/

She also got five years for drug dealing, so the kid's screwed anyway.

LarryHart said...

Tacitus2:

--"Name that party" bias. When things get ugly the party affiliation is more likely to be mentioned if it is R not D. California debt is going to get very ugly indeed soon.


You're assuming both parties are equally ugly, and then calling the news media "biased" because they make Republicans look uglier.

My alternate theory is that the Republicans ARE uglier. Straight reporting therefore appears to be biased against them, but the motivation isn't bias but journalism. FOX, in order TO make Republicans look better than they are has to engage in massive intentional bias, but the outcome looks "fair and balanced".

I'm not claiming with 100% certainty that this theory is true, but I'm offering it as an alternative to yours in the plausibility contest.



--"Turn over the most obscure rock" bias. You can almost always find some local pol proposing some dumbass thing. Actually post apoc plans are not totally stupid, but if you dig into the article a ways various stupid details are highlighted. One version indicated that landlocked WY wanted to consider getting an aircraft carrier. Are lower level D pols proposing dumbass things? The world may never know...


Another example where you may be right that the liberal media are covering for Democrats, but I also may be right that Republicans are reported making stupid proposals more often because they're the ones who do so.

Again, this is not a claim of infallibility on my part. Just a warning against assuming that "The world will never know..." is any kind of evidence.

Nonetheless, glad to hear you beat the weather home. You will not be happy to hear that it's going to break 50 degrees in Chicago today.

LarryHart said...

Paul451:

Homeless women convicted of felony larceny for "stealing" free public schooling by registering her son from the address of his baby-sitter rather than her own former address, in order to get him into a better school.


Y'know, the GOP could HAVE the presidency and the congress as long as enlightenment liberals could somehow take back the courts. If any one thing is responsible for the outsized balance of power on the part of the oligarchs, it's the fact that the courts no longer treat the law as a level playing field.

There may always have been "special" rules for the rich and powerful, but it was always clandestine. Lip service was paid to equality before the law. That's not the case any more. In fact it's almost the opposite. Equality is still the letter of the law, but the fix is in and everybody knows and accepts it.

Tacitus2 said...

"My alternate theory is that the Republicans ARE uglier."

Whether this is a theory under active investigation or a simple pre-judging of evidence is of course a matter entirely dependent on the intellectual curiosity of the observer.

If you begin from the premise that your political opponants are despicable it will but seldom be the case that you take seriously any evidence to the contrary.

This may have relevance to Knight Errant David's all caps challenges.

Tacitus

Tacitus2 said...

And since I am feeling chatty today..

LarryH I would not make the case that both parties are equally ugly. How would you prove it?

Consider however, my Ilini pal, that the parties may be ugly in party specific ways.

Is an individual curious enough about apocalyptic end times more likely to be a Republican? Maybe.

Is a political leader whose fief is bankrupt due to excessive public employee benefits packages more likely to be a Democrat? Yes.

Which party affiliation gets mentioned?

And which of the above as a policy matter is more likely to cause somebody to come to me with a request for a financial hand out?

We ants are expecting a parade of grasshopper at our doors in the next decade.

Tacitus

Damien Sullivan said...

If you begin from the premise that your political opponants are despicable it will but seldom be the case that you take seriously any evidence to the contrary.

But what if "they're despicable" is a conclusion based on the evidence, not a premise

And which of the above as a policy matter is more likely to cause somebody to come to me with a request for a financial hand out?

The Republican whose fief is bankrupt because of irresponsible tax cuts.

The 'ants' in the US are mostly blue states.

LarryHart said...

Tacitus2:

"My alternate theory is that the Republicans ARE uglier."

Whether this is a theory under active investigation or a simple pre-judging of evidence is of course a matter entirely dependent on the intellectual curiosity of the observer.

If you begin from the premise that your political opponants are despicable it will but seldom be the case that you take seriously any evidence to the contrary.


No, you misunderstand what I'm saying.

I'm suggesting that as an alternate theory that fits the evidence. File it under "Like any good story, it explains a lot." Now compare my theory to yours. In the face of the known facts (Yahoo News and its ilk seem to show more Republican ugliness than Democratic ugliness), which theory more plausibly fits?

I obviously have a personal bias, but I'm not claiming that that bias is justified--only putting it out there for other parties (neither yourself nor myself) to judge on its merits.

The only assertion I'm making is that you can't rule it out. You can't start from the assumption that one party CAN'T possibly be uglier than the other. One possibile explanation for the facts is that they are.

LarryHart said...

Tacitus2:

Is a political leader whose fief is bankrupt due to excessive public employee benefits packages more likely to be a Democrat? Yes.


You're beginning with a flawed assumption--that state finances are in trouble "because of" excessive employee benefits packages.

The reason Illinois is a solid blue state at the state level is because the state GOP was so discredited around the turn of the century that Blagojevich looked good in comparison in 2002, and no one (except Alan Keyes) was willing to even run for Senate against Barack Obama in 2004.

The reason the state level GOP was so discredited was because of scandals involving crony contracts with state money. Until then, for at least a decade, the governors and state houses had been controlled by Republicans.

Republican Governor George Ryan started around 1998 with a twelve billion dollar SURPLUS, and he spent ALL of that money and then some on a massive roads project called "Build Illinois". I've got nothing against roads projects, but even at the time, I knew it was a bad idea to spend ALL of your budget surplus and go into the red under the assumption that the good times of the late 1990s would last forever. Of COURSE the state budget became a problem when the economy went south and federal dollars also dried up.

You don't see the "George Ryan deficit" mentioned in the mainstream media either, for what that's worth.

Rob said...

We ants are expecting a parade of grasshopper at our doors in the next decade.

I think it's worthwhile to point out that when they arrive, they're going to look an awful lot like aging parents.

Tacitus2 said...

LarryHart

I continually question my own assumptions. Why else would I hang around here?

Illinois is an example of the dark side of bipartisanism...R and D pols appear to me to be about equally corrupt. But as I am an outside observer you are not required to consider my opinion.

As to the specific article referred to, from down a ways...

"But when the economy crashed and the construction bubble burst, Stockton was battered by foreclosures and lost income from property taxes and other fees. Multi-year labor contracts with escalating costs added to the burden, forcing officials to make deep emergency cuts to the city payroll, including its police department."

You see? I mention economic forces largely beyond their control in addition to those that it is their duty as elected officials to ride herd upon.

When you have to make cuts in vital services to, presumably, cover lucrative benefits, you as a politician have failed. Weigh the value of a low deductable insurance for a retiree versus a prolonged response time to a 911 call.

Here is an article to peruse

http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/2010/jul/15/budget_axe_falls_stockton_narcs

To quote the Mayor of Stockton:

"It's really up to our unions, our police union to come to the table to make concessions so we can save officers or rehire officers. It's all about finances," said Johnston.



Tacitus

sociotard said...

The ghost of Barry Goldwater stirs, his old memes of "insurance companies taking over functions of the FDA" are whispered, and a strange new possibility is pondered:

Facebook ID cards instead of Government ID cards

LarryHart said...

Tacitus2:

I continually question my own assumptions. Why else would I hang around here?


Fair enough. And please don't get the idea I'm attacking you personally. I'm not going to let stand assumptions I believe to be flawed, but that's "business", not "personal". And I think good debate (of a type that seems sorely lacking in professional politics) is a fun and worthwhile exercise.


Illinois is an example of the dark side of bipartisanism...R and D pols appear to me to be about equally corrupt.


To me, Illiniois serves as a warning of what happens when one party gets so unpalatable that the other can get away with whatever it feels like. After the Governor Ryan scandals, Republicans couldn't be elected dog-catcher, so Dems got to foist Blagojevich on us. The decade previous, a very similar dynamic was in play favoring the Republicans.

To me, the lesson is that what is best wished for is for your own party (whichever that may be) to be in the majority, but not so MUCH in the majority that they can run roughshod over the other side.

To quote the Mayor of Stockton:

"It's really up to our unions, our police union to come to the table to make concessions so we can save officers or rehire officers. It's all about finances," said Johnston.


If we're ever going to get to the point where unions trust management enough to make concessions "for the good of the company" in bad times, we HAVE to first recognize and make allowance for the fact that up until very recently, management has pushed the meme that we're all independent contractors and that under no circumstances do THEY have a reciprocal obligation to make concessions when the workers or the community are hurting. If trust is lacking from workers toward management, the workers aren't the ones who created that situation.

Anonymous said...

I have to laugh when all the white men here bring up demographic changes in America as if it is something to cheer about. What planet are you folks living on that you don't think the demise of your tribal power is going to have consequences for you and your children? This world is a not a liberal fantasy land, it is a rough and tribal place (ask your Israeli friends if you doubt this).

So why on earth should any young white person accept the current narrative, which is one of a future of endless decline for them, due largely to the primitive aggression of others? Do you really expect whites to passively accept their loss of power? Why should we not fight it just as primitively, on the streets, in the ballot box, on the battlefield, in the blogosophere and in the bedroom? I'm afraid you boomer liberals are in for a rude awakening when your utopian schemes unravel in the difficult years ahead, and primal Western man reawakens after his long and disastrous slumber, and hopefully in the process revitalizes and saves his failing civilization.

Jonathan S. said...

This might come as a surprise to you, o anonymous one, but some of us strive to move beyond the merely tribal. We prefer to live as members of a civilization, rather than members of a "tribe".

We don't establish dominance by peeing on each other, either.

Tony Fisk said...

Anon doesn't get it.

Young people don't see themselves as 'white'.

David Brin said...

Jeez no wonder that guy was "anonymous"! Dig it fellah... I win by converting all the kids - of all colors - to neo-western enlightenment vigor, compassionate competitiveness, future-yearning creativity and liberty-thinking. You win by... what? Restricting power in America to a specific RACE???? Guh. My way achieves victory... forever/

Paul451... you do a better job of paraphrasing me than I do! And you have heard me say repeatedly that an ability to paraphase others accurately (or at least sincerely) is the surest sign of an adult.

Tacitus says: "Name that party" bias. When things get ugly the party affiliation is more likely to be mentioned if it is R not D..."

Hm... well except for this. Remember Larry Craig? Rep. "tweet my pants" Weiner? Well funny thing. When a politician is caught in flagrante elicto, he is ALWAYS shown on Fox with a (D) next to his name. And I mean always.

Alas, Tacitus. If I chose a five minute portion of Hannity etc *randomly*(!) it would contain more bile and sputum than your entire list of questionable journalistic twinges.

Tacitus, the biggest objective test is "by his fruits you will know him." The GOP's fruit is a devastated America, misruled into war, collapse, hatred of science and civil strife.

Tacitus2 said...

Yeesh, I agree that particular Annonymous is not up to the usual standards.

My comments on media bias were solely intended to provoke some thinking. This obession with Fox and the major networks is less relevant than in the past, and will become trivial as information finds new channels.

I proposed that the news services are a foundation of the daily narrative, and that they present a subtle bias.

You may find my theory plausible or hogwash.

Why David, from your last sentence one might almost infer a degree of prejudice.

Although you would describe it as truth. Or Truth.

Even Contrary Brin is becoming polarized which is too bad.

Tacitus

RandyB said...

David,

Moore is at the left edge of the liberal mainstream but he's still within it.

He won an Academy Award. His Fahrenheit 9/11 before that would have been up for one, too, if it hadn't been broadcast before the awards. Granted, the Best Documentary award often goes to leftist fringe material, but mainstream Democrat politicians were willing to endorse his films. He also got a high-profile spot at the 2004 DNC convention, and was seated beside President Carter (who, by his own associations, might now be called fringe himself if not for the fact that he was once president). Moore is as much a part of mainstream liberals as Limbaugh is a part of the mainstream conservatives.

Both parties have problems with fringe bleedthrough, but I think Democrats have the bigger one. F911 was strongly defended, and very popular, on DailyKos -- where you run a parallel blog. Democrat politicians post there during presidential campaigns, although the Kerry campaign did have to drop them like a hot potato when Kos made the mistake of telling people how he felt.

Although it's far from certain that he did, it's not that big an issue if Bush got a National Guard slot because of connections. Both parties do it. Gore got a comfy military-journalist slot due to his connections. It would have been nicer if Bush had gone to Vietnam but we can't have everything. It is very doubtful that liberals would have been able to contain their ecstatic smugnatude if President Obama had a military record. (Had he been a Navy SEAL, so many Democrats would faint when trying to vote that McCain might have won the election.)

"Moore's whole schtick is about confrontation and giving his opponents their say!"

Limbaugh does the same thing when he plays recordings of liberals. So does Hannity, and his TV show takes them on as guests.

I get the idea that when you say FoxNews, 90% of the time you're talking about Hannity. You probably mean Bill O'Reilly 5% of the time even though I suspect he agrees with you quite a bit.

Both liberals and conservatives are nanny statists, but, again, liberals do it more. If a city wants to ban toys from Happy Meals, which party do you think runs the city? How about programs to cut smoking and salt? Maybe it really is just the leftists, but the number of ordinary liberals seems to be shrinking.

It's reasonable to want a national health care plan to force people to pay for their medical expenses. It's a nanny state when they force people to pay for contraception.

RandyB said...

Paul451,

It's probably time to reiterate that there's a difference between Fox's news programs and their talk shows. I don't dispute that Hannity is conservative. He's more overtly conservative than Larry King was liberal. Dunno about Piers Morgan, but it's worth a snicker to note that he used to work for Rupert Murdoch.

Comparing somebody to a Nazi is not the same thing as comparing them to a socialist. Perhaps it should be, but it's not. Several left-wing members of Congress are members of the Democratic Socialists of America. Obama does have links to overtly socialist groups.

Socialism is still around. If you remember when Spain pulled out of Iraq, it was because Spain's socialist party won the election.

"I'm just saying that what they were whining about actually happened."

Not really. The Bush v. Gore decision was 5 to 4 on saying the case can't go back to Florida because the deadline had passed (An Inconvenient Calendar). But their decision on the recount itself being unconstiutional (cherry picking majority democrat districts) was 7 to 2.

Crazy as the birthers are, the truth is that he really didn't release his actual birth certificate back then. His reluctance to put it out was itself worth wondering about. There were reasonable people who didn't doubt that he was born in Hawaii, but thought there may be something he didn't want people to see.

That doesn't mean I think both groups are equally crazy. They both went off the deep end in different ways. It's worth noting that National Review made a special effort to put the birthers down.

RandyB said...

LarryHart,

There were no "equivalences between Hitler's executive power-grab after the Reichstag fire and W's executive power grab after 9/11."

Congress voted on and approved the invasions of both Afghanistan and Iraq. The same with the PATRIOT Act, which President Obama was willing to extend. Elections continued on schedule, and Congress continued to fund the wars. The only new major military action Congress hadn't authorized was Obama's handling of Libya.

I've replied on the socialism charge in my previous message to Paul451.

It reminds me of how (I think) Limbaugh started using the word "regime" for the Obama administration. Chris Matthews acted shocked. It turned out that the term "Bush regime" had been used several times on his own channel, including once by Matthews himself. Limbaugh probably used the term precisely because liberals had used it for Bush. (That is, unless someone wants to say that Matthews is a leftist, not a reasonable liberal -- and I can go along with that.)

David Brin said...

Oy! Guys tell me what I did to Tacitus to make him so prickly!

In fact, Tacitus, I would be very interested in how you'd call it subjective and biased to say that W's administration was disastrous in nearly all practical terms. Heck, even the Bushite court intellectual Francis Fukayama finally came around to calling W an unmitigated disaster. Heck, all GOP candidates distance themselves from him... while hiring the same clade of consultants and dopes.

David Brin said...

RandyB said: "Moore is at the left edge of the liberal mainstream but he's still within it."

I will totally concede that point, RandyB. So? The fact that you call him similar to Limbaugh is telling. I have asserted that their noise levels and aggressiveness are similar... but Moore ARGUES! Limbaugh order people to believe outright lies and does not allow opponents anywhere near himself. You seem to think that to be a minor distinction.

It is not. It is all the difference in the world.

"Both parties have problems with fringe bleedthrough, but I think Democrats have the bigger one. F911 was strongly defended, and very popular, on DailyKos"

Now you are simply getting hilarious. I post to Kos when I want to reach to the restless natives in the Michael Moore crowd. I do it to minister to them and to regularly urge the liberals there to remember they aren't truly mad leftists. It is as radical as most democrats are willing to go...

...and still the "loose change" lefty paranoid 9/11 conspiracy nut-hatchery stories were mostly derided there. For you to compare that to the nutso-stuff that is *mainstream* in the GOP is just delusional.

"Limbaugh does the same thing when he plays recordings of liberals. So does Hannity, and his TV show takes them on as guests"

Randy, do you even listen to yourself? At all? Seriously?

Roger Kent said...

Senator Santorum has said he opposes the separation of church and state. As a Republican and as a Roman Catholic, I feel horrified and embarrassed for what he has said and what he threatens to do. I have studied world history, and I know that bad things have happened without that barrier, like religious oppression and civil war.

Right now, Mitt Romney, who I do not feel any enthusiasm for, has an enormous lead in delegates for the Republican Party Convention. He will probably get the nomination this year, instead of Santorum, God willing. Yes, I agree Santorum is a Nehemiah Scudder like figure. I hope America can avoid becoming a theocracy, but what will we do in this time of crisis?

David Brin said...

Roger, what we will do is whatever it takes to break the fever in our conservative party and restore it to some degree of adulthood and sanity. Alas, the only way to do that will be an absolutely terrific shellacking.

Paul451 said...

Tacitus2,
"And which of the above as a policy matter is more likely to cause somebody to come to me with a request for a financial hand out?"

Well, it's been noted that solidly conservative voting states have a higher welfare-received-to-taxes-paid ratio than solidly liberal voting states. It's also been noted that the US debt has climbed more rapidly (as a percentage of GDP) under Republican Presidents than under Democrats. (So either Republicans are more profligate or Democrats are better for the economy.)

And recent analysis of the stated economic plans of the top four Republican Presidential candidates suggests that, all else being equal, three out of four (Romney, Santorum and Gingrich) would put the US in deeper debt than Obama's proposed budget. (The fourth, Ron Paul's plan merely equals the outcome of the Obama budget, but since the Ron Paul plan is effectively to dismantle the US government, you have to ignore the likely failure of the economy it would cause.)

So the answer to your question is, Republican.

RandyB,
"It's probably time to reiterate that there's a difference between Fox's news programs and their talk shows."

Not really. The talk shows are let off the leash more, but the same daily talking points are sent to the news side.

"Hannity is a conservative"

No, Hannity is a radical. Just because he's right-wing doesn't mean he's conservative.

"Limbaugh does the same thing when he plays recordings of liberals."

You don't see the difference between interviewing someone and playing a recording?

Anon,

RA-HO-WA! RA-HO-WA! Idiot.

Paul451 said...

Swarm of angry robots forms a band:

http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/nstv/2012/03/swarm-of-robot-helicopters-performs-james-bond-tune.html

Sound gun silences speakers from 100 feet away, by using a psychological trick:

http://www.extremetech.com/computing/120583-new-speech-jamming-gun-hints-at-dystopian-big-brother-future

Article asks if the biggest revelation from the Wkileaks Stratfor email dump is how dumb US Intelligence spending is, and how little the US gets for its money:

http://motherboard.vice.com/2012/2/29/wikileaks-and-anonymous-join-forces-to-reveal-how-dumb-our-intelligence-is

Paul451 said...

Almost forgot, the weapon of choice for your next spaceship.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?&v=-uV1SbEuzFU

It's that sound...

Tony Fisk said...

A cool selection Paul.

I'll worry when the robots start playing the 'Terminator' theme!

The speech suppression technique has been around for a while (in fact, it was considered a factor in why people stammer!) The solution is to block your ears up. This means the 'inappropriate' speaker isn't listening to what the 'appropriate' speaker is saying, but that appears to be the current level of discourse anyway...

Dumb intelligence: who knew?

And finally, the rail gun is definitely the space naval weapon of choice (see 'Traveller'. Also a version in use as a point defence system in the B5 episode: Severed Dreams)

Tony Fisk said...

Must be the season: Aus Treasurer Wayne Swann calls it on 'Culture War':

...The vast majority of our miners accept that they have a social obligation to pay their fair share of tax on the resources Australians own.

But again, it’s that tiny 1%, or even 0.1%, who are trying to drown out the others, who are blind to the national interest, and who pour their considerable personal fortunes into advertising, armies of lobbyists, dodgy modelling and corporate and commercial manoeuvring designed to influence editorial decisions.

The latest example of this is the foray by Australia’s richest person, Gina Rinehart, into Fairfax Media, reportedly in an attempt to wield greater influence on public opinion and further her commercial interests at a time when the overwhelming economic consensus is that it’s critical to use the economic weight of the resources boom to strengthen the entire economy. Without a blush, her friend and fellow media owner John Singleton let the cat out of the bag when he told the Sydney Morning Herald that he and Rinehart had been “able to overtly and covertly attack governments … because we have people employed by us like Andrew Bolt and Alan Jones and Ray Hadley who agree with [our] thinking”.

David Brin said...

Hmmm... you heard it first... serious speculation about the circular firing quad in the GOP primaries... and a brokered convention nominating ... Jeb Bush.

see the speculations:
http://whowhatwhy.com/2012/02/29/the-jeb-scenario-can-you-say-president-bush-again/

http://whowhatwhy.com/2012/02/29/the-j
eb-scenario-can-you-say-president-bush
-again/

David Brin said...

Oh... that article then segues into a lengthy riff on the Bush Family. I find about a third of it just a bit overblown and paranoid... but the bare facts do speak volumes....

...and as "suspicious coincidences" go, they so vastly outweigh anything about Clinton.

Tony Fisk said...

...Bush Balloon juice, the Kool-Aid for the 21st century!

Damien Sullivan said...

I have trouble wrapping my mind around a brokered convention. "Hey, all you primary voters and candidates and activists, who worked hard or at least expressed your opinion -- yeah, f--- you, here's some other buy, born with a silver nomination in his mouth."

Damien Sullivan said...

guy, not buy

David Brin said...

One of many reasons a brokered convention is okay by me.

Have you seen Limbaugh's latest?

Earlier this week, Rush Limbaugh called Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke a “slut” for supporting a requirement that health insurance cover contraception. But he took the insult a step further on his radio show on Thursday, saying that women who support the requirement should post videos online. “So Miss Fluke, and the rest of you feminazis, here’s the deal. If we are going to pay for your contraceptives, and thus pay for you to have sex, we want something for it. We want you to post the videos online so we can all watch,” Limbaugh said. In a statement also released on Thursday, Fluke said, “No woman deserves to be disrespected in this manner. This language is an attack on all women, and has been used throughout history to silence our voices.”

http://www.thedailybeast.com/cheats/2012/03/01/limbaugh-advocates-should-post-sex-videos.html

http://www.thedailybeast.com/cheats/
2012/03/01/limbaugh-advocates-should
-post-sex-videos.html

RandyB said...

David,

Okay, Moore argues to someone's face, while Limbaugh plays recordings. Does he misstate their point of view more than Moore?

Limbaugh isn't an interview show. You might have a point if he had conservative guests on every week, and no liberal ones. He very rarely does guests, left or right, and he doesn't take that many callers. It's a formula that obviously gets an audience, which is really his main objective, and the critics' main objective in trying to silence him.

Although I strongly disagree that he's a liar, I am willing to concede that he's sometimes to too simplistic in his explanations. But that could be said about almost anybody in the media.

There are other places you can see conservatives argue with liberals. Hannity, O'Reilly, and Van Susteren have plenty of guests.

It's nice that the DailyKos crowd recognized Game Change for what it was but that's not the only dumb meme that's out there. It's not even the only dumb 9/11 meme.

Okay, you're doing a public service on Kos.

"Randy, do you even listen to yourself? At all? Seriously?"

Of course! Somebody has to.

BTW: Limbaugh is right on Fluke. Considering that there's math involved, I'm a bit stunned that you don't see this. Contraception is a maintenance issue, not something a reasonable person would want to *pay* the insurance company to process. What next? Make people file insurance claims for toothpaste?

It would be like having car insurance cover oil changes. It only makes insurance costs more expensive, which is what the Obama administration was pretending to care about.

RandyB said...

Paul451,

"The talk shows are let off the leash more, but the same daily talking points are sent to the news side."

Other than Larry's observation that one of them, in mid-banter, said pepper spray was a food product, I can't think of an example. (Of course, pepper spray is a food product; that may be why it can be used as a relatively safe form of non-lethal defense.)


"No, Hannity is a radical. Just because he's right-wing doesn't mean he's conservative."

Hannity's got more of the populist approach but radicals are further to the right. I think his opinions are close enough to the mainstream Republican party.


"You don't see the difference between interviewing someone and playing a recording?"

It's only a matter of degree. Moore still gets to set the stage. And, as I said, Limbaugh is just one guy. FoxNews has conversations. There's a variety of other venues.

Liberals have a variety of venues, too. They'll always have the advantage in Hollywood.

Tony Fisk said...

Maybe some feisty lass ought to come straight back at Limbaugh and take him up on it: but raise the stakes by insisting that, since *he* is paying for this, he should be on camera as well.

Either way, I'd rather not watch.

Umm, other than Damien's buy/guy eggcorn, I'm not sure what 'one of the many reasons' might be?

oneaddro licrith : arcane embalming fluid, often taken with indignohol and viagra to prolong the effect

Tony Fisk said...

RandyB, contraception is prescribed for medical conditions other than pregnancy. It's also cheaper than the potential social fallout from unwanted children.

I don't watch Limbaugh but, if that's all he does for a living, then coward is an apt description.

RandyB said...

Tony,

"contraception is prescribed for medical conditions other than pregnancy. It's also cheaper than the potential social fallout from unwanted children."

You're right. I stand corrected.

That said, the first reason sounds like a medical decision, but the second ("potential social fallout") is clearly a moral decision that should be up to those paying for the package.

It's something to do with freedom of choice.

Damien Sullivan said...

It would be like having car insurance cover oil changes. It only makes insurance costs more expensive, which is what the Obama administration was pretending to care about.

Or it'd be like getting a discount on your insurance for taking various steps to prevent big payouts by the company. Aka good businesses decisions by the insurer.

As for what Obama was "pretending" to care about, I thought he was explicitly caring about universal access to necessary care. Cost control is secondary for now.

RandyB said...

Damien,

"Or it'd be like getting a discount on your insurance for taking various steps to prevent big payouts by the company. Aka good businesses decisions by the insurer."

Yes, people like those discounts and have the right to choose that kind of plan.

Doctor-assisted suicide might reap the same type of savings.

Most of us see this as two different things, but those who see them as the same have the right to see it that way, and arrange their business accordingly.

David Brin said...

RandyB: "Okay, Moore argues to someone's face, while Limbaugh plays recordings. Does he misstate their point of view more than Moore?"

Um.... duh? Here's the test Randy. YOU go take the things that Hannity and Beck and Limbaugh claim that "liberals believe" and you try asctually asking your moderate liberal neighbors (and do not actively LOOK for lefties) ... ASK them "do you believe..." and recite what those SOBs said.

Only stand back because you'll get punched in the nose.

"Limbaugh isn't an interview show. You might have a point if he had conservative guests on every week, and no liberal ones. He very rarely does guests, left or right, and he doesn't take that many callers."

Agh! Again... duh? It is called INCANTATION! Propaganda and big big relentless lies. Same with Beck. They don't dare and they don't want em.

"here are other places you can see conservatives argue with liberals. Hannity, O'Reilly, and Van Susteren have plenty of guests.

What utter malarkey! The rare "liberal" guests that Hannity has are either set-ups, like Colmes, or people pre-vetted NOT to be his polemical match. They are set up as punching bags. The only one over there who occasionally dares to bring somebody on who is capable of a fight is O'Reilly, the sole adult in that room. If he were the extreme right of today's mass media, then we'd have a sane republic. In fact, Loony Bill is what passes for moderate out there, now.

"Liberals have a variety of venues, too. They'll always have the advantage in Hollywood."

While I agree that there are lefty fools, especially in university soft studies depts and hollywood, their denial is nothing like yours. To actually compare the left insanity vs that on the right and call them comparable.

I reiterate my wager/challenge/dare! I'll expand it. You may choose from ALL of the films of Michael Moore and I must pick from any random 5 minutes of Limbaugh or Beck. I pay you $100 is 90% of the worst lying, batshit crazy refutable outright untruths and hate-spews aren't from them.

Ian said...

"I have to laugh when all the white men here bring up demographic changes in America as if it is something to cheer about."

-Anon

How do you know the commenters n question are white?

On a different note: has anyern responded to Rush by suggesting that any men who's health insurance covers Viagra (which really doesn't have a lot of other medical applications) has to reciprocate?

Ian said...

"The GOP run Congress of 1930 jacked up income taxes to stratospheric levels. That - along with Hawley Smoot Tariffs - proved their economic insanity, turning a deep recession into a depression. But those high taxes did, over the next 30 years (FDR kept them) sharply level the playing field."

I'be osted this before and I suspect I will post it again.

The extremely high NOMINAL tax rates of the 30-60's are extremely misleading becasue they employed a much narrower definition of income.

Before the Kennedy tax reforms, virtually the only part of income that was taxed was actual cash.

So a typical high-income earner of the period would recieve half or more of their income in the form of a free apartment; free car (with driver); free country club membership; all expenses paid vacations and free private school education for the kids.

All at the employer's expense, none of it taxed.

Kennedy's tax "cuts" lowered nominal tax rates while vastly broadening the definition of taxable income.

This resulted in effective tax rates for the wealthy going UP and that rather than any supposed stimulus from lower taxes is what led to higher tax revenues.

Ian said...

"...but then what? Four years later, another election which they can't win. What is it they intend to do, once in power, in order to stave off the demographic change?"

Attract a sufficient number of conservative, religiously devout Hispanics to remain competititve.

Which makes their curent gradnstanding on illwegal immigration extremely odd.

Ian said...

"...a movie fantasizing about Bush's assassination (just imagine the faux outrage if a conservative made one about Obama)."

Have you seen the movie in question David.

I ask becasue while I have not seen it, that sounds like a misrepresenation.

As I understand it, the movie starts with a fake newsreader simply announcing bush has been assassianted then proceeds with a seris of mock interviews where in people attempt to summarize his legacy.

If they were fantasizing about bush's assassination they have have - I don't know - actually attempted to depict the assassination or simply to describe the circrumstances.

Ian said...

"This world is a not a liberal fantasy land, it is a rough and tribal place (ask your Israeli friends if you doubt this)."

By happy coinciddence I was IM-ing an Israeli friend earlier and thus was able to do as yo usuggest.

Sadly, his response was not approrpaite for publication here.

Suffice to say, he disagrees.

Strenuously.

Ian said...

Okay tiem to stop monopolizing the comments section and go to bed.

But first:

1. Not sure if this was posted previously but computer simulations suggest there are Billions (not a typo) of "nomad planets" roving the galaxy, not orbiting any star.

Fans of the author of "Heart of the Comet" can probably envisage a lot of interesting potential consequences.

http://www.space.com/14667-nomad-alien-planets-wandering-galaxy.html

2. A new possible solution to the Fermi Paradox (an this one I don't think even the Doc anticipated).

A new study suggests that a Alcubierra Drive (a theorized faster than light drive) would accumulate charged particles as it operated and discharge a vast amount of energy when it stopped. Whether the energy would discharge in all directions or simply discharge it straight ahead in the direction of flight is unclear.

Such a discharge would potentially be large enough to sterlize a nearby planet which would tend to discourage people from dropping by.

http://www.physorg.com/news/2012-03-warp-killer-downside.html

David Brin said...

Ian do not remember you posting that bit about Kennedy era tax dodges before. Very interesting. Got links? Cool dump of responses. Well done.

Now onward

David Brin said...

Ian do not remember you posting that bit about Kennedy era tax dodges before. Very interesting. Got links? Cool dump of responses. Well done.

Now onward

David Brin said...

Ian do not remember you posting that bit about Kennedy era tax dodges before. Very interesting. Got links? Cool dump of responses. Well done.

Now onward

Asis Bapi said...

I think that these days, liberals rightly sense that the most public affirmations of "libertarianism" are in fact dog-whistle code for protecting the liberty of the wealthy and powerful from the government. Sure, there are purists who really believe that they are advocating for everybody's liberty including individuals, but in practice, if you get government off of everybody's back, what's left is the law of the jungle, where nobody BUT the rich and powerful are free at all.

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