Wednesday, August 05, 2015

The Trump swivel-dance – Study them moves!

We’ll focus on Donald, the dreamguy of late-night comics, in a sec. 

But first… more mass-shooters. In just a week, we had one from the radical islamist side and one far-right SOB. And then today, late news flashes tell of yet another theater-attack, by it-could-be-either-kind. 

Of course, the impotent, aftermath hand-wringing stays the same.  Though here’s an interesting rumination how, when they are white, are almost always called “mentally ill.”  Take this passage from Salon: “We’ve created a world so topsy-turvy that seeking medical help for depression or anxiety is apparently stronger evidence of violent tendencies than going out and purchasing a weapon whose only purpose is committing acts of violence.” The author wanders -- but provokes us to think.

I do know this.  It is time to try my proposal to rename such mass killers. Ancient Greeks had the class to do it. Follow my reasoning. At long last, let's try this:  Deny killers the notoriety they seek. 

== The Trump-Swivel-Dance makes a point… and another! ==

The scenario that makes Rupert Murdoch jolt awake with night sweats must be one possibility, that he’ll lose control over the monster he wakened. It’s one thing to re-ignite the American Civil War as a political tool, riling Red America’s wrath toward all elites who aren’t oligarchs. Hey, it worked for plantation owners in 1860… for a while. If you’ve convinced 40% of the population to hate all scientists, teachers, civil servants, doctors, economists, skilled labor, law professionals -- every single meritocratic "elite" -- well, that makes it easier to restore feudal plutocracy. The last elite standing.

Rupert has the GOP political caste in his pocket, and he knows they will do as they are told. For one thing, they will give lots of lip service -- but only lip service -- to culture war issues like abortion or prayer or illegal immigration etc. When it comes to actual action, though? They focus like a laser on measures to fill the pockets of Rupert’s pals. Tax breaks and resource giveaways for the party’s owners. But just talk and talk and illusions for Red American voters. 

Think I am exaggerating? Then scan the years 2001 through 2007, when the Republican Party had an absolute lock on every lever of American power and branch of government.  They had the ability to enact anything and everything on their agenda. Now actually name the changes they implemented during those years, for all their talk?  

Yep. Just wars that benefited Cheney family companies. And resource giveaways and gifts to the rich.  Name one other thing. One thing that the preachers in red America have been demanding from their pulpits -- like crackdowns on immigration or abortion. I'm serious. I challenge you. Yet the ground troops never complain. Not yet. To date, they have been willing to accept lip service. Symbolic rants, but never any substance from a GOP that takes them for granted.

But what if those confederate ground troops ever wake up, realizing they’ve been had? That the owners of the Republican Party never, ever give them anything they actually want? Rupert must have thought he had that possibility removed by buying-off Mike Huckabee. Indeed, Preacher Huckabee is now widely known to be a fully-owned hypocrite.

== Only along comes Donald Trump... == 

... independently financed and beholden to no one -- not to Rupert or his Saudi partners, nor  to the Kochs, nor to front-man-for-China Sheldon "Macao Conduit" Adelson, nor to the Bush Clan nor to any GOP functionary – Trump is more than just the late night comedian’s beloved pal. Sure, he’s likely to self-destruct at the Fox-staged debate, or next week, or the next, as Republicans repeat 2012’s series of Bozo of the Month fads. But meanwhile, he is firing up liberals and igniting political will in the Hispanic Community as never before, propelling voter registration drives, every time he opens his mouth. 

Nor will that stop when Mr. Trump slumps back into well-deserved single digits. Because the very fact that his message was popular among GOP ground troops is not lost on those minority communities. When ultimate-nominee Jeb Bush finally steps up, rattling off fluent jokes in perfect Spanish, there will still be that odor in the room.

Of course there’s also the possibility of a Trump Third Party run… oh, pretty please? And may he also field a slate of insurrectionist congressional candidates!  But none of that matters here or now.

What matters is that no one in media will zero in upon underlying issues that are laid bare by Donald Trump. Starting with…

… the fact that the Confederacy can kiss goodbye to all claims of moral high ground. No, I'm not talking here about the execrable record of electoral cheating with fraudulent voting machines, voter suppression and Gerrymandering. I've laid out that immorality elsewhere. 

Rather, let’s talk about philandering, divorce, gambling and ties to organized crime. 

These were – once-upon-a-time – alarm bells that could be lethal to a politician. But now Mr. Trump’s popularity among the republican rank and file suggests that the true face of “Bubba” is not the Andy Griffith image foisted by Mr. Huckabee.

(Blue states that have eased their way out of the insane Drug War are, ironically, also hated by criminal mobs, who benefit from red state drug puritanism.)

No wonder abortion looms so high on the confederate agenda, allowing one paramount issue to “trump” all other morality matters, simply sweeping them off the table. "We may be leaders in divorce, STDs, teen sex, teen pregnancy, domestic violence, dropouts, gambling and drug use... but we demand women carry unwanted pregnancies, and that counterbalances the rest!"

No one else will mention it. But THAT is the lesson being demonstrated by the popularity of multiple divorcé, philanderer and gambling kingpin Donald Trump.  Those things don't matter an iota anymore, to the pulpit pounders and GOP ground troops. Morality is contingent and it does not apply to My Side.

== The stunning weirdness re immigration ==

Mr. Trump has proved agile at the backstep swivel. He had better be, with his mouth! When it comes to Hispanics, he knows he has to begin a walk-back. Slowly, in order to keep the riled-up bubbas in his camp. So how to do it? Simple. Last week he murmured some flattering things about “hardworking Hispanics” who are here legally.

“I favor legal immigration!” He proclaimed. And at-surface that may elicit a few nods from some crowds.  Sure, Legal is Good – going through channels and jumping through the nation’s lawfully legislated hoops, then getting passports, licenses, paying taxes, yeah!  Much better than floods of undocumenteds at the border. (And do bear in mind America accounts for half of the legal immigration taking place across the entire planet! So spare us sanctimony about Open Borders.)

In fact though, are you ready for an irony? Preference for LEGAL IMMIGRATION happens to be the Democrat Thing!

It’s Democrats who have always tweaked laws to allow more documented immigration, which far outweighs illegal border crossing as a factor in changing the demographic face of America. (A demographic shift that is Bubba’s deepseated trauma and resentment and underlying complaint.) Why do democrats prefer and enhance LEGAL immigration? Because documented immigrants can’t be exploited as easily. They join unions. They eventually vote, and largely for democrats. No wonder dems prefer it!

In contrast, illegals do nothing for the DP!  Which is why, in fact, Democratic Presidents are always much tougher at Border Enforcement than Republican ones are! Don’t believe that?  See it laid out here. Because in fact all of your clichés about immigration are diametrically opposite to true!  

(In fact, it is republicans who have always fostered illegal immigration, for reasons that are obvious, if you think it through.)

So, when Mr. Trump declares “I favor legal immigration!” does that make him a … democrat?  Nope.  Just an agile opportunist who hasn’t pondered deeply. In fact, any bubba who actually thought it through would – at that point – drop Donald like a live grenade.

Fortunately for the talk show hosts, that ain’t happening soon.

== Gerrymandering in decline? ==

Huzzah!  The Florida Supreme Court has ruled against the state legislature’s heinously cynical-cheating attempt to reinstate gerrymandered districts, after the citizens of that purple state decisively demanded an end to that foul and deliberately evil practice.  “The court also chastised the Republican-led legislature for its secretive measures in creating the map, which—despite repeated vows to be transparent—included private planning sessions and destruction of important documents and emails. The Court ruling states that Republican lawmakers in Florida "did in fact conspire to manipulate and influence the redistricting process."

“This was the fox guarding the henhouse. In gerrymandered states, lawmakers end up choosing their voters, rather than voters choosing their legislators," a spokesman said, adding that the ruling "sets a precedent for many states across the country who are dealing with gerrymandered districts."

And more good news? Prodded by the judiciary, Virginia’s Democratic governor, Terry McAuliffe, and Maryland’s Republican governor, Larry Hogan, are moving toward some version of redistricting reform. In both cases, that would be a blow to the good-old boys in the state capitals and Congress, and a favor to voters, whose say in elections has been subjugated to partisan interests. “Each faces a state legislature dominated by the opposing party. And each can convincingly make the argument that the timing is right to shift the responsibility of drawing electoral maps to a bipartisan or nonpartisan commission.” 

And finally....

== you guys are so-o-o-o crazy! A potpourri of insanities. ==

Seriously, this following bit is a direct question for you neo-confederates out there: do you have any memory at all?  How many times must you be proved wrong… not on ideological grounds but simply based on success at prediction, before you’ll re-evaluate? 

Take for example the stunning failure of Supply Side (‘voodoo’) Economics to deliver on one promise. A single one. Even one. Just one. Ever! Will that endless chain stand a chance, eventually, of causing you to allow into mind the mantra of all scientists: “I might have been wrong”?  (Nope. Far better to wage War on Science.)

Or how about which party is better at reducing budget deficits... every single administration? Not just once but every single time and always?  (The chart at this page demonstrates that any deficit hawk who ever votes GOP is a raving idiot.)

Um, remember the CAFE Standards that the GOP blocked for 25 years, that would have saved US consumers close to a trillion dollars in fuel costs and cut the vampire suck of OPEC?  The dems finally passed CAFE in 2009, while every single GOP congressman cried out that it would “destroy Detroit.” (Oh irony, as they then did their best to destroy the US auto industry, denying US automakers federal loans during the financial crisis?  Loans that in fact saved the industry and were nearly all repaid, on time?)   

Those gas efficiency standards are now saving consumers billions at the pump, while engendering vast improvements in car quality, making our products better for export and incidentally reducing pollution and also helping the recent liberation of America from dependence on foreign oil.  And you guys think we will forget the screeching howls you emitted in 09?  Confidently screaming that CAFÉ would end America forever?

How about just six months ago, the moans over some central American kids sneaking across the border.  End of the world! Only… the initiatives then enacted by the administration proceeded to… work!  Within a month, the news mania shifted elsewhere, as illegal border crossings resumed their steady decline, which always happens under democrats and never happens under a republican president.  See this proof.  

I could go on and on with how you fellows are almost always dead wrong… and not for left-right or ideological reasons! I’m actually rather a bit of a Smithian libertarian! I’m the one sci fi author who keynoted a Libertarian convention and also FreedomFest! 

But I also know crazy when I see it.  And any libertarian who thinks that dems are worse than goppers is completely loco. 

Indeed, dems are better than goppers… at war!  And better at achieving healthy capitalism.

No, you aren’t wrong because libertarian concepts are wrong. Nor for any “left-right” reasons.

You are wrong because you are confederates, waging civil war against your own country.  And because you blare chicken-little screeches of doom without ever, ever, ever going back later to see if any of them came true!  Never checking scientifically see if you were ever, even-slightly right in your predictions. 

And hence, no wonder you hate science so.


Tony Fisk said...

Vox's David Roberts keeps making the point that Trump is echoing *exactly* what the Right Wing base want to hear, and that mainstream political media cannot handle that as it doesn't fit their 'balanced agenda' models. (ie dismissing him as just a crazy loon doesn't explain his polling so far. Unless...)

Meanwhile, Murdoch's other little project (getting a conservative Australian government installed) has proved to be a failed putsch. Apart from dismantling the carbon tax (for now) Abbott has been unable to pass any significant legislation on the oligarch agenda, and has been quacking feebly for the last year or so. (although a rabid duck is still a rabid duck, however lame it is). I have a suspicion that Rupert's patrons have made a strategic withdrawal. Maybe they are under new management? Maybe they are content with the pyrrhic look?


Last thread, Daniel said:
"My major complaint against GoT is that it never shows any evidence (outside of the Night's Watch) of elections anywhere in Westeros. Given its size and diversity this is just not realistic."

In the last book, before he gets imp-napped by Jorah Mormont, Tyrion does encounter a city state in the throes of an electoral pre-selection battle. He is quite bemused by the machinations.

Alex Tolley said...

without ever, ever, ever going back later to see if any of them came true!

If people had memories, newspapers would long ago have stopped publishing astrology columns. (or diets, or medical :breakthroughs", or...)
The right wing pundits are no interested in truth, they just perpetuate myths that are propaganda. St. Ronnie's economic performance being one of them. Even "smart" people like traders, who you might think have money on the line if they make mistakes, adhere to money losing myths, as well documented by Krugman.

@DB - you may also be captured by the conventional wisdom of the beltway pundits that Trump will self-destruct. Despite serious "foot in moth moments", his popularity hasn't faltered, but rather increased. And what if Trumps drops out, by being bribed, enriching himself?

Douglas Fenton said...

I ran into this article yesterday in the “American Thinker” that explains Donald Trump very well. He is neither a Republican nor a Democrat but an opportunist and a businessman. To understand him you have to follow his money trail of political donations over the years and you get a big surprise. According to the Washington Post up to 2011 he has given $1.3 million to political candidates with 54% going to Democrats. He has given money to people such as Harry Reid, Rahm Emanuel, John F. Kerry, Charlie Rangel, Chuck Schumer, Teddy Kennedy and even Hillary Clinton ($100,000). He acts like a businessman in greasing the palms of both parties because what he ultimately wants is access and influence just like most businesses. He has switched parties 5 times. He has no political beliefs at all when you dig down. He is a very cynical and manipulative businessman and that’s all.

The article is here for those who are interested:

Laurent Weppe said...

"He has no political beliefs at all when you dig down"

Au contraire: he has firm political beliefs, which can be summarized as "Me First and Fuck Everyone Else".
And I daresay that here lies the secret of Trump's success: his supporters recognize his naked selfishness for what it is and intuit that Trump would handily reward his supporters at the expense of everyone else without regard for balance or fairness because he wouldn't feel the need to appear principled or upright: "I Vote for the Barbarian so I can have first dibs during the plunder that will follow his triumph"

Alex Tolley said...


UC Berkeley bioengineers develop ultra-fast method to copy DNA using light

This is very interesting as it could break the bottleneck in DNA amplification.
The PCR reaction usually takes hours, sometimes overnight to get the quantities of DNA needed for some tests - identification, quantification etc.
There are 2 approaches to this problem:
1. Speed up the process, which is what this approach takes.
2. Use methods that need a lot less DNA.

Ultimately the latter approach is the likely winner, but speeding up the process is useful as it integrates well with established techniques.

Crime labs will love the the speeding up process as it will require a lot less capital equipment and labtech time and deliver results much more quickly (e.g. DNA analysis).

If this works and becomes as cheap as traditional PCR thermocyclers, it will make experiments in labs (and classrooms) go a lot faster, allowing more effort to be expended in more samples and correct mistakes. I see it as directly analogous to my experience with computers in the early 1970's when we went from computer card programming and slow online time sharing,to on screen code editing and local processing, which vastly improved coding time.

Anonymous said...

Trump is all the evidence we need that the Grande Olde Confederate Party has completely jumped the shark. I was expecting it to happen this electoral cycle, but I could not have predicted such a spectacular end to the Fox News dream of a right wing putsch. They cannot win the general presidential election with the current demographics, no matter if it is Hillary, Bernie or Old Joe. Conservatives will not be able to retake the White House without a major retooling of the movement, and they are not known for handling change well. And now many avenues for cheating are being taken from then; gerrymandering and voter suppression. They can try to straight out rig local elections, but the liberal movement has to many tech savvy people that would crush such attempts with big data analytics.

The problem as I see it now is what will the Confederates do when it becomes obvious they are going to loose the country? Secessionist fever dreams? Probably. But so many of their major population centers are Democratic strongholds, like the ATL and Austin.

Unfortunately we already know how they will respond, because it is already happening. There will be more armed stand-offs like the Bundy Ranch brouhaha. Under-educated and unemployable white boys and men trying to regain their lost sense of masculinity and control with guns and bombs. At this point gun control is largely a moot point, there are magnitudes more firearms available to each and every Johhny Wayne Bubba Junior to rampage against whomever has offended, rejected or ignored them.

All the technology we are putting into building killer drones may become more applicable towards personal defense. I certainly would like a swarm of drones following me that can absorb or deflect a bullet and them subdue the attacker before I even have the chance to scream WTF!


Alex Tolley said...

I certainly would like a swarm of drones following me that can absorb or deflect a bullet and them subdue the attacker before I even have the chance to scream WTF!

It is just an arms race. The predator can get the same technology to attack you or your drones.

Anonymous said...

"It is just an arms race. The predator can get the same technology to attack you or your drones."

I am far less worried about Skynet trying to kill me than some meth smoking hillbilly angry at my Obama2016 t-shirt. Anyone with more tech than that would, I hope, be fully monitored by the FBI.

locumranch said...

"(T)he Confederacy can kiss goodbye to all claims of moral high ground (,) let’s talk about philandering, divorce, gambling and ties to organized crime (...) demonstrated by the popularity of multiple divorcé, philanderer and gambling kingpin Donald Trump" [DB].

Philandering & ties to organized crime were once something that the US Democrats had a monopoly on, from FDR & JFK to Clinton, excepting that the Hollywood-esque womanizing rumors perpetuated by the first two sainted (Democrat) ex-presidents are now thought smoke-screens to distract the public from disqualifying physical incapacities (as compared to Clinton's finance-based moral shortages), making Trump's peccadillos seem inconsequential by comparison.

It's also a gimmie (inevitable) that Rupert Murdoch & his oligarchs are living on borrowed time, sure to be devoured by the New Confederate monster that they whelped and 'birther-ed', as sure as Danton was 'shortened' by his frenchified peasant followers and the Saudis have fallen victim to their own brand of exported Wahhabism (BOOM, ba da boom, the latter which I predicted months ago), a fact which fails to delegitimize either the confederate impulse or (even) Trump.

Years ago, US politics ceased to be a choice between best candidates and became a choice of lesser evils, Obama being only the most recent example. This is why Trump flies so high (momentarily), being a relatively 'honest' blowhard, which can't be said for the rest of the Republican & Democratic fields in their entirety, none of which will prove acceptable to either the average red-neck dumbass or the voter of any intelligence, then --- BOOM goes the plebiscite --- and the (New) Confederacy rises, and the 'lesser evil' federalists, enlightened oligarchs & their educated pseudo-academic lapdogs will be the first placed against the wall:

Ba da boom; big bada boom; the biggest.


Paul451 said...

There may be a sudden change coming, but the opposite one to the vile wet dreams of the creep Locumranch.

In polling on social and economic issues, from drugs to banking/corporate regulation to taxes to universal healthcare/education to minimum wage to campaign funding, etc etc, when stripped of specific party/tribal identifying terms, the majority of Americans sit well to the left of the Democrats in Congress. America is a vastly more politically and economically moderate or leftist nation than its political class. (Listen to rusted-on Republicans talk about listening to self-described Socialist, Bernie Sanders, and being shocked that "even though he's a socialist" they agree with 99% of what he says. Even conservatives are to the left of many elected Democrats. The Democrat Party are a centre-Right to Right party. The Republicans are a radical far-right minority fringe party.)

Right now, even within the pseudo-gerrymandered state Electoral College system, roughly half the "electors" are now in solid or heavily leaning Blue states. Only about a third are in similarly solid/heavily Red states. In other words, in order for a Republican to win the White House, he has to win every swing state, and turn at least one Blue state Red. For a Dem to win, he/she merely has to hold on to the Blue states, and maybe turn one modest sized swing state (or two small ones).

And the trend is that more Red states are turning Purple, and more Purple states are turning Blue. It will get easier and easier to push "socialist" reforms, it will get easier for Dems to run openly on "socialist" issues. Eventually the numbers will turn enough to allow the Dems (with non-corrupt Repub support) to end gerrymandering in the House of Reps and in state legislatures once and for all. And if that happens, it changes the game forever. The mass of the US is tilted to the Left, stretching and straining against current politics. That should have resulted in gradual change over the last 20 or so years, but corruption of the political process has resulted in a country bolted to the Right against the shifting balance of the people themselves. But the linchpin that is holding them back is getting thinner and thinner, and when it breaks, the change should be dramatic.

The only real risk is the reaction of those left-over anti-social creeps like the Locumranch and Treebeard, and their political equivalents, when they realise they've truly lost. The barrier between fantasists saying "I expect this society to burn / I want this society to burn" and deciding "if I lose I'm taking as many of you with me as possible" is tissue paper thin. We already see Republican politicians happily hurting people for cynical political gain, how much damage will they be willing to cause before they are finally defeated?

Laurent Weppe said...

"when stripped of specific party/tribal identifying terms, the majority of Americans sit well to the left of the Democrats in Congress"

The USA is and has always been a nation of closeted social-democrats


"The only real risk is the reaction of those left-over anti-social creeps like the Locumranch and Treebeard"

There's another risk: having left-wing voters dissatisfied with center-left policies taking effect too slowly and/or not being leftwing enough to their taste not showing up at the polls and allowing the far-right to win by default. In fact, I daresay the US is already suffering from it, with Obama voters staying at home during the midterm elections and allowing the Sybarites' Party to hold the majority in Congress.

Paul451 said...

GoreSat (DISCOVR) animated gif of the moon passing in front of Earth. I've seen this for Saturn, Jupiter, even Mars, but I don't think I've ever seen an equivalent image for Earth/Moon before. Even the Apollo "Earthrise" images have a completely different feel.

Alex Tolley said...

@Paul451 "I expect this society to burn / I want this society to burn" and deciding "if I lose I'm taking as many of you with me as possible" is tissue paper thin. We already see Republican politicians happily hurting people for cynical political gain, how much damage will they be willing to cause before they are finally defeated?

By blocking actions to halt AGW. I can only imagine the glee at the deepening drought and wildfires in California. (If California refuses to die economically as "predicted", then the climate will do the work. This year's El Nino will have the "deniers" wasting water again by Xmas and crowing "what drought?"). Or perhaps fomenting more chaos by supporting US military action in regional hot spots like the ME, or perhaps squaring up to China in the Western Pacific? At least the China-containment plan is failing as the TTP isn't being agreed.

David Brin said...

For the most part, locum’s latest is just a cynical snarl, and not particularly un-sane. He expresses teenage sarcasm that has artistic qualities, if very little factual merit. For example, nearly all of the page-buggering, mensroom molesting perverts in Congress over the last 30 years have been Republicans. Kennedy and Clinton strayed but stayed married to their wives, while the divorce rate among republican office holders is actually much higher. No dem to my knowledge can remotely stand up to Gingrich or Trump. So… sorry son… dead wrong.

But in fact, I never claimed demo pols were spectacularly moral. I claimed that the folks who are making big deal raving screeches about morality – right wingers – are in every way at least as bad as dems and generally far worse. In other words, the accusation I make is HYPOCRISY. And that should devastate any teenager. It is the one thing for which teens feel ashamed.

Paul I actually parse locum and treebeard in different categories. Locum is genuinely unable to parse positive sum, even in theory. This angers him and he responds with strawmen and rage, but I doubt he wants to crash civilization. The other guy is a bona fide and deliberate traitor to every human trend that he hypocritically has benefited from, and without which he would at BEST be kibble.

Sojka's Call said...

Thanks for using data and facts, analyzing them, making conclusions and then coming up with recommendations. So refreshing in the seemingly emotional majority world I live in.

Most of the GOP just wants to use emotions of fear, sadness, anger and happiness to paint the entire political landscape. Then they can just forget about trying to understand anything logically and make a sensible decision. So much easier to just make someone fearful, turn that fear to anger at some target and then make us happy with their vengeful solution or hateful rhetoric.

David Brin said...

To my weekend posting!