Sunday, March 16, 2014

YOU can start a shift in U.S. politics

U.S.-POLITICS-2014You Americans out there: it's time.  The primaries are approaching, which means you and all your friends have a chance to vote in the only 2014 elections that truly matter… the ones in the spring, not the fall!  Tell everyone you know to use this one little trick and we all, as individuals, can help defeat gerrymandering… and thus help de-radicalize American politics.  YOU can  do it.  By getting all your friends to re-register using this one little trick…
== The parties are the same? ==
That is the new mantra being fed to depressed "ostrich republicans," who can tell that their party has gone insane, but are scratching for any excuse to hold on to their old loyalties… "They're all corrupt statists... so let's assume the dems are worse and hold your nose and vote GOP!"
Look, I am conservative enough to prefer a budget that's close to balanced, and libertarian enough to think government should be very tightly scrutinized and always need to satisfy a burden of proof, that its services would not be better performed by… us.  I show such trends -- toward a devolution of government activity to tech-empowered citizens -- in EXISTENCE.  Indeed, anyone who shares those desires… along with wanting a scientific, flat-and-open, just and entrepreneurial and future-looking civilization… would have to be crazy to support the current (hijacked) version of the GOP.
Deficit-declineOne graphic shows clearly how gullible are all the watchers of Fox News, who actually believe the rant that Democrats are the fiscally irresponsible big-spenders.  It starts with the Clinton era surpluses then shows how revenues initially dropped under the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy… without any "supply side" (SS) rebound.  (SS has never predicted correctly, even once.)
Watch the the spectacular (9/11/Iraq/Afghanistan) rise in spending - and in taxation (now pounding the middle class) -  under republican rule, then even steeper, after they torched the economy and revenues plunged in Bush's last two years. Then?  The chart shows federal spending almost perfectly FLAT under Obama, proving the one truth that should make any fiscal conservative vote democratic.  That the 2nd derivative of deficit is always negative under demmies and almost always positive under goppers.
Show this.  Remind your crazy uncle that we narrowly avoided a second great depression.
This is not about classic left-right issues.  It is about insanity.
== Wisdom from … Osama bin Laden? ==
Anyone -- including Buckley-Goldwater conservatives -- who believes that the currently constituted Republican Party -- the version owned by Rupert Murdoch -- with its heritage of Bushite calamity -- should ever again be trusted with anything more than a burnt match, should contemplate the following quotation from Osama bin Laden.
"All that we have to do is to send two mujahedin to the furthest point East to raise a piece of cloth on which is written al-Qaeda, in order to make the generals race there to cause America to suffer human, economic, and political losses without their achieving for it anything of note other than some benefits for their private companies.
"This is in addition to our having experience in using guerrilla warfare and the war of attrition to fight tyrannical superpowers, as we, alongside the mujahedin, bled Russia for ten years, until it went bankrupt and was forced to withdraw in defeat... So we are continuing this policy in bleeding America to the point of bankruptcy."  
Quagmire-warIt's not that Osama wasn't our enemy.  He deserved to die (note who killed him) and the Taliban who assisted him deserved to fall.  But did we have to chase him in exactly the fashion that he wanted us to?  In exactly the way that the 9/11 attacks were designed to entice? Plunging -- Russia-style -- into a futile, absurdly senseless exercise in so-called "nation-building," into a quagmire attrition of insurgency in Asia?  Didn't we learn that mistake in Vietnam?
Note that my complaint is in no way "leftist." It is as one who actually thinks rather well of Pax Americana -- compared to all other eras across all of human history. As one who believes that PA must remain a strong and calming world leader for at least another decade or two or three. One who knows many generals and admirals, most of whom (at one level or another) have expressed horror over being so badly led during the Bush years.
Frankly, I do not care if this quotation attributed to bin Laden is real or an urban legend. It blatantly expresses what the 9/11 attacks were for. And the Bushites knew this when they plunged us into trillions of dollars of waste and thirteen years of agony, leaving only two victors on the battlefield. One was Iran…. and the other group was Bush family companies like Haliburton and Bechtel.
This is not about who's a pussy.  It is about who is competent.  Who preserves the reserves and keeps readiness high. Who is smart enough to avoid blatant traps that only overcompensating small-organ twits would fall for. The kind of overcompensating twits who are the opposite of Patriots, no matter how loudly they yell "Yoo Hess Hay!"
== Return of the Feudal Pyramid ===

Treasure-islands-shaxson Treasure Islands: Tax Havens and the Men who Stole the World by Nicholas Shaxson, takes a somewhat radicalized investigative expose of how the corporate world uses tax havens to shirk paying its share of taxes. This costs the United States alone 100 billion dollars in lost revenue each year.  As you dive into this subject, the only question that keeps popping up is "am I being insufficiently radical in my anger over this?"
Now we see why the mantra of the new-right and of the hyper-libertarians is "death to all government" as a matter of fundamental principle, instead of the older movement to minimize or reform.  It must be absolute war, because only civil servants stand in the way of utter feudal oligarch. Hence civil servants must be "statist" satans… nothing less. Let's ignore that for 6000 years the enemy of freedom was oligarchic feudalism, whose rebirth is chronicled in books like this… till the lords forbid books like this altogether.
Liberal moderates can fight back by reclaiming "the first liberal" - Adam Smith - as their very own. His call for flat-open-fair-accountabble competitive markets included uplifting all children to a level playing field.  A level field whose destruction is the sole and central goal of the New Lords.

29 comments:

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin in the previous comments:

Ah Sound of Music… favorite of the Holnists in Costner's THE POSTMAN…


Ok, I didn't see the movie, so I'm curious in what sense the Holnists would have admired "Sound of Music". Did they like Captain Von Trapp, or did they like the Nazis?

LarryHart said...

Ok, I live in Illinois, and I'm considering (for the first time ever) voting in the Republican gubernatorial primary, because the Democratic candidates for governor and senator in the fall are pretty much set in stone at this point. If I vote as a Republican, it will not be to undermine the process (as Limbaugh advocated against Obama way back in aught-eight), but to try to get a Republican candidate other than the Scott-Walker-In-Training who is currently favored to win.

But in doing so, I would not be acting as Dr Brin suggests--voting in the primary of the party that holds power in the state. Illinois has been a reliably Democratic state since at least Clinton's second term. Yet I don't see much point in voting in the primary for Governor Quinn or Senator Durbin, neither of whom is truly opposed in the primaries. And in case the Republicans do mount a successful anti-status-quo counterattack the way Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan, and (to some extent) Pennsylvania did in 2010, I do see a benefit to shaping the outcome on that side of the aisle. I can get behind fiscal responsibility. I can't stomach a race to the bottom after the fashion of those neighboring states.

Dwight Williams said...

Good luck to you, Larry. Because I don't believe either of our nations can afford such a race either.

Robert said...

Here, Dr. Brin - a little something you touched briefly upon in Existence with billionaires increasingly funding scientific endeavors.

Rob H.

David Brin said...

LarryHart, Costner had a twist on the villain army, that the grunts had a human side and wanted glimpses of a sweeter time. I rather liked it.

Tacitus2 said...

Captain Von Trapp was a fairly successful U-boat commander in World War I. It does take a degree of ruthlessness to torpedo an unsuspecting ship. The Holnists might like that. Or perhaps that a military figure would go on to sire a whole bunch (10)of kids.

Tacitus

Jonathan S. said...

Here, Dr. Brin - a little something you touched briefly upon in Existence with billionaires increasingly funding scientific endeavors.

It's become common enough that the idea's even showing up in webcomics! :-)

http://www.leasticoulddo.com/comic/20140317/

Mountain Goat said...

Perhaps you are innumerate, but what your budget chart shows is revenue initially decreasing, from 2001 to roughly 2003, then rising steadily until 2008, when the bubble created by unregulated, but federally backed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac burst, and the economy went into freefall. What it further shows is steady increases in spending under Obama, despite greatly lagging revenues: hence the historically unprecedented deficits and following increases in national debt.

I know, I know: charts are hard to read, and one has to get all the way through a very demanding high school curriculum to understand them.

Tacitus2 said...

And perhaps the annoying, obstructionist, sequester creating Republican controlled House had a thing or two to do with the reduced spending. Just maybe..

Tacitus

sociotard said...

I finally picked up The Martian. I can recommend it. As Robinsonades go, it was a lot of fun. The character was kind of flat, but he was funny, and he had the kind of optimistic I-can-do-this attitude that we see too little in sci fi these days. And Chris Hadfield liked the technical accuracy in it so it has that going for it.

David Brin said...

One seldom gets to see such incredible fatuous counter-factual rationalizations as Mountain Goat just gave. Fortunately, it was in this place where you can all fill in the blanks and I can save lifespan.

Matt G said...

Mountain Goat,

You point out that revenue decreased initially after the Bush Tax Cuts went into effect, but what about spending DURING THE SAME PERIOD? That continues rising steadily, ignoring the increasing deficit. You also seem to be ignoring the fact that the economy was sinking fast during Obama's early years, urgently needing stimulus/bailout money.

Matt G said...

...Also don't forget that before Bush took office we had a surplus and were paying down the debt. That was with a Democrat president.

If Republicans are so concerned about the budget, why would a Republican president take us out of debt-paying to deficits with laws and policies that he campaigned for?

Mountain Goat said...

MY GOD!! You self important imbeciles are good for a laugh.

You say my argument is fatuous. How? OF COURSE spending went up under Bush. A lot. And we condemn him for it.

But are you incapable of seeing that the line keeps going up? By your logic, if I increase my expenses by 50% then leave them there, I am being fiscally responsible.

Are you incapable of seeing that receipts under Bush ON YOUR OWN GRAPH, THE ONE YOU POSTED, keep going despite lower tax rates, in precisely the way that anti-Keynesian, historically literate economists (propagandistically called "Supply Siders" after Keynes invented the opposite) predict?

Mon Dieu. Such vanity. Such ignorance.

I'm sure I'll be exiled again. The Sultan cannot be expected to endure such flagrant insults to his inestimable intelligence, and computer-like knowledge.

Adieu. It was only by chance I stopped by this backwater anyway.

As you were: crumbling, grovelling.

David Brin said...

Gawd, like I owe such rudeness and obduracy a clipping off my left toe's cuticle?

We get very few trolls here. One of the oldest discussion groups on the web! I guess this is to be expected, now and then.

Matt G said...

Mountain Goat wrote:

Are you incapable of seeing that receipts under Bush ON YOUR OWN GRAPH, THE ONE YOU POSTED, keep going [up] despite lower tax rates

You yourself had dismissed the revenue increase from 2003-2008 as the real-estate bubble. Are you trying to say we should seek such bubbles?


From earlier:
What it further shows is steady increases in spending under Obama, despite greatly lagging revenues

Then later:
By your logic, if I increase my expenses by 50% then leave them there, I am being fiscally responsible

In your analysis, was Obama steadily increasing spending, or was there a massive one-time increase, followed by a leveling off?

There is an argument to be made that it can be considered fiscally responsible to keep spending more-or-less even while revenue rises. The steep spending increase was the economic bailouts and (finally) putting the military spending on Iraq in the budget. Regardless of who tries to claim the high ground, the deficit has been shrinking over the last few years.


Matt G said...

My favorite bit in this play is how he wants to disown the past for the side he's defending.

If GWB was really that bad, if they really feel that way about deficits, etc., then why didn't they do something about it DURING GWB's presidency? Where was the obstructionist Congress then?

Tacitus2 said...

Early in the Bush Presidency we were fighting a war or two. Maybe not necessary. Surely not cheap. And the Democrat controlled Congress was a bit obstructionist in W's last two years.

Nothing wrong with looking at the past. But it is not always a perfect road map to the future. New challenges, new solutions.

Tacitus

Matt G said...

Tacitus2 wrote:

Nothing wrong with looking at the past. But it is not always a perfect road map to the future. New challenges, new solutions.

True, times change & people change, and this guy could have tried to explain GWB along those lines. Instead, he tried to cherry-pick whatever he thought suited his case, and even that inconsistently.

locumranch said...

After acknowledging the inequalities inherent in a flawed US economic system, only a self-deluded organizational man or a doltish optimist would ascribe 'equity' to either the pending midterm elections or the entrenched US political system when both exist to perpetuate the above-mentioned social & economic inequities.

As a society, we have been so thoroughly conditioned that the concept of ‘equity’ no longer exists for us. Instead, we have been remodeled as employees, inculcated from an early age with a respect for authority, discipline, order, cleanliness, punctuality and a willingness to accept the leadership of our employer ‘betters’ as a prerequisite for employment.

We are wage slaves, no more and no less, programmed to accept social inequality as a given, to see work as merit and virtue, to equate wealth with the wages of merit, to see unemployment as vice, to equate poverty with the wages of sin, to 'blame the victim’ for their own incapacity in the face of organized injustice and to worship the established order of employer (master) and employee (slave), holding it blameless.

Neither vote nor appeal to authority is necessary to rectify this unfortunate circumstance as we only need rise up and act out, overthrowing our employer overlords, because there is no authority greater than the employee, the ‘We The People’ whose will is Law:

"Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”.


Best

LarryHart said...

Tacitus2:

Early in the Bush Presidency we were fighting a war or two. Maybe not necessary. Surely not cheap.


And if I recall, off the books. Which means the cost of the war isn't what raised the official deficit. That was more due to the tax breaks.


And the Democrat controlled Congress was a bit obstructionist in W's last two years.


Depends on what the word "obstructionist" means. Again, I'm relying on imperfect memory, but it seems to me the Democratic congress passed numerous bills, for which W finally discovered the veto pen which hadn't been used in six years.

Passing bills the president opposes might be something, but I don't think "obstructionist" applies. That's not what the Republicans are doing to Obama. They're filibustering everything, which is quite well described by the "O" word.

LarryHart said...

locumranch's non-evil twin:

We are wage slaves, no more and no less, programmed to accept social inequality as a given, to see work as merit and virtue, to equate wealth with the wages of merit, to see unemployment as vice, to equate poverty with the wages of sin, to 'blame the victim’ for their own incapacity in the face of organized injustice and to worship the established order of employer (master) and employee (slave), holding it blameless.


I think "we" are starting to be quite disenchanted with that worldview. Some of "we" may feel powerless to stand up to the powers that be, but that's not the same thing as buying into the myth of their deserving-ness.


Neither vote nor appeal to authority is necessary to rectify this unfortunate circumstance as we only need rise up and act out, overthrowing our employer overlords, because there is no authority greater than the employee, the ‘We The People’ whose will is Law


I happen to believe that that's how the next American Revolution will go down--not through violence, but through a simple refusal to play the game any more. Jury nullification in cases involving corporate priviliges might be a good first step.

greg byshenk said...

David, your comments (along with others) are now being pubilicized:

http://www.pewinternet.org/2014/03/11/15-theses-about-the-digital-future/

David Brin said...

WIRED has published a startlingly simple and innocent and tragic theory for what happened to the Malaysian Airways jetliner. Far more logical and compelling than any other theory, among the lurid and flamboyant ones we see in the press.

http://www.wired.com/autopia/2014/03/mh370-electrical-fire/

Tacitus2 said...

I read the WIRED bit. Plausible. Sobering. And it got me thinking. If you did not give malice higher consideration due to the names of the pilots you are a better person than I. Would mechanical explanations not have been looked at sooner if it were a NorwegianAir flight crewed by guys named Sven and Lars?

Of course, we still don't know what happened.....

Tacitus

LarryHart said...

I had no idea of the pilots' names or religion.

I thought "terrorism" or "pilot suicide" because I didn't think the transponders would go dark on their own. Since this guy seems to know his stuff, and he says they'd go out without primary power, now I can say "Well, why didn't I think of that?"

LarryHart said...

This is so weird it is scary.

A few days ago, I mentioned I've been reading the 1200-page "Rise and Fall of the Third Reich" for the first time. I'm just getting to the point where Hitler marches into Austria and takes it without firing a shot. And now, it's getting hard to distinguish what I'm reading from what I'm hearing on the evening news.

Zikalify said...

If voting changed anything it would be illegal... just look at Crimea. Also politicians don't take into account whether something is feasible based on resources, only what is feasible in terms of cost. http://gizmodo.com/nasa-backed-study-says-humanity-is-pretty-much-screwed-1544660726
Also read:
http://www.thezeitgeistmovement.com/uploads/upload/file/19/The_Zeitgeist_Movement_Defined_6_by_9.pdf

David Brin said...

onward