Thursday, January 14, 2016

Conspiracies, Japan's "recession," voting fraud and other nonsense

This rather moving essay by an immigrant engineer tells of her shock - at first - over something rather simple.  She had seen American cars, houses and streets on TV and in films -- (along with hugely exaggerated violence).  But what stunned her most, apparently, was the reliability of infrastructure.  Like how smoothly citizens rely on the Postal Service, taking for granted and even maligning what she found miraculous. And libraries. And utilities and streets and all the gracious-relaxed assumptions that we hold, that stuff will just work.

"Almost every aspect of the most innovative parts of the United States, from cutting-edge medical research to its technology scene, thrives on publicly funded infrastructure. The post office is struggling these days, in some ways because of how much people rely on the web to do much of what they used to turn to the post office for. But the Internet is a testament to infrastructure, too: It exists partly because the National Science Foundation funded much of the research that makes it possible. Even some of the Internet’s biggest companies, like Google, got a start from N.S.F.-funded research.  Infrastructure is often the least-appreciated part of what makes a country strong, and what makes innovation take flight. From my spot in line at the post office, I see a country that does both well; not a country that emphasizes one at the expense of the other."

You'd expect this to resonate with me.  It is there on the pages of The Postman, how most of us would not respond to a collapse of civilization the way masses are depicted doing, in Hollywood fluff.  (Especially the latest, wretchedly-stupid, Max Max flick.) Rather, as Rebecca Solnit shows in A Paradise Built in Hell, millions of us would have one priority we would put ahead of our own lives. 

On a more mundane level, I have spoken often of the "miracle of the four-way stop sign intersection" -- how just standing there (at least in California) leaves you in awe after a short while, at the stunning ability and courtesy and blithely unaware citizenship that 99% of drivers display, with scarcely a thought.

Civilization. Preserving it. Saving it and bringing it back. Confidently defending it from those who deny it's even possible.

Let's do that, this year.

==  Conspiracy Theories – the great uniter of crazed left and right ==

Both ends of the political spectrum feature righteously angry personalities who indulge in demonization that extends into conspiracy territory.  I've elsewhere dealt with left wing fantasies, like “Loose Change” mania about the 9/11 attacks. But I spend less time there because (1) a very small number of their paranoid ravings do have some basis in fact… and (2) because the far-wingnuts of the left have almost zero influence at national or state levels of the Democratic Party, and hence no access to state power.

In sharp contrast, the litany of stunning, schizo-level conspiracies credited on the American right, by majorities of GOP voters, as well as most candidates and media pundits, is simply appalling.  From “birthers” who have never come up with even a hypothesis why Ann Dunham would have traveled (without leaving a trace) to Kenya to give birth, while her parents conspired to put a false birth announcement in the Honolulu Advertiser….  

… to ACORN, Benghazi and Planned Parenthood… all the way back to Bircher screeches about flouridation, DDT and Dwight Eisenhower being an agent of the Kremlin.  This article – while one-sided – gives an excellent run-down on a frenzied history of what, alas, is often the conservative mainstream.  

Which I deem a tragedy!  Indeed, there are versions of American conservatism that very much belong at the negotiating table of U.S. political process, as we try to find ethical and practical ways to make a better society for all.  I know some conservatives who are right-on as often as anyone I know… except for their myopia on one issue. Despite having all withdrawn in disgust from the Republican Party, most refuse to admit just how crazy the undead elephant has become.  Not one of them has admitted the obvious -- that it is time for sane conservatives to stand up and loudly rebel against the hijackers of their movement.

This article is, as I said, somewhat biased. Its excoriation of NAFTA, for example, leaves out the way NAFTA has bootstrapped Mexico toward a rapidly enlarging urban middle class, which ought to be the number one U.S. foreign policy objective, for a myriad overwhelming reasons.   (And it is working, spectacularly as the Mexican middle class rises and net immigration to the US has turned negative.)

Strangely, the very worst rightwing nut-theories are left out… e.g. the long chain of pyrotechnic campaigns against science, from “cars don’t cause smog” and “tobacco is wholesome” and "marijuana makes you go kill your loved ones,"all the way to climate denialism. That reflex - to obey oligarchs seeking short term profit - has led and will lead directly to millions upon millions of deaths.  The GOP’s deliberate sabotaging of science R&D, including banishment of Congress's own Office of Technology Assessment (OTA), can only be explained either by insanity or else outright treason.

Read it.You’ll come away stunned and appalled… and better armed to deal with your crazy uncle.

== What's actually up with Japan? ==

A book by my colleague Scott Foster – Stealth Japan - "shatters the myth that Japan is a 'basket case' that has fallen hopelessly behind in the digital world of the 21st Century and makes a strong case that Japan may in fact have created the most successful economy and society in the world today."  

By offshoring much of their production and paperwork, Japanese corporations have been able to effectively keep two sets of books. In one set, shown to the world, the nation has been in recession for two decades. Yet, Japanese citizens easily afford every toy and gadget, innovation continues and social unrest is nil. Read Scott’s fascinating revelations about Japan’s second set of books.

== Voter ID laws and other cheating ==

And now this: "A federal appeals court unanimously struck down a voter ID law in Texas, saying it violated the 1965 Voting Rights Act to discriminate against minority voters." 


Let's be clear.  I do not mind gradually ramping up voter ID requirements. The Left is wrong to oppose them in principle, over reasonable time. 
No, the test of sincerity is whether the state eases-in such laws and provides all the help voters need, in order to comply with a new, state-imposed burden. Have new voter-ID requirements been accompanied by state assistance for poor folks, women, minorities etc to get the needed ID?  Not only for voting but to help them in many other aspects of life?


The answer is... no.  Hypocritically, these states have funded ZERO $ to this.  Zero, in every single case. Not even token or figleaf efforts. 
 Funny how Republicans scream over government imposing new regulatory burdens on rich oligarchs and corperations. Goppers regularly demand appropriations for Compliance Assistance to corporations, yet fund not a penny to help poor Americans retain their vote.

This is hypocrisy of staggering dimensions. Failure to allocate compliance assistance proves their aim was never fair voting. Pure and simple, they are cheaters.  Gerrymandering cheating-lying cheaters.  See it explained hereAs for Democrats?  Their inability to parse this and ever mention compliance assistance as the smoking gun? That failure, clearly, convicts them of a different sin.  

Stupidity.

== Obama the "feckless" ==

Yep, that's the latest buzz word.  Feckless. And cowardly.  Unable even to maintain the old "socialist" malarkey with a straight face, even on Fox, they have switched to calling a wimp the guy they earlier accused of being about to black-helicopter America with Leninist martial law.

Some memes only spread through repetition. The “Obama is a wimp compared to Putin” narrative is spewed so relentlessly by Fox & comrades that is has become as accepted as breathing, not only on the right but also on the left.  Against such a tsunami of repetitive incantation-propaganda, I can only reiterate: “To be clear, the Russians themselves are not as stupid as Fox commentators. They do not ignore the devastating setback in Ukraine." 

They deem that blow to have been a hugely aggressive and successful assault on Russian interests by Barack Obama to have been vastly, vastly more significant that Putin's subsequent nibble-back of Crimea. Putin and the Russian media relentlessly portray him as anything but the wimp he is depicted in right wing American press.  They view him as the "most aggressive and successful opponent they have faced, since Reagan.”

The incredible density of our media at failing to report this is so obtuse that Obama was forced - in his recent Stat of the Union Speech - to say what should never have been necessary for a president to say.  To be the one to remind his critics that this "feckless" commander in chief killed... Osama.... bin... Laden.

And our service men and women are dying at a rate one twentieth the average during either Bush Administration.  And the readiness levels of our military units are back at Clinton era levels -- near 100% -- instead of the ZERO percent for major marine and Army units that Clinton and Obama inherited from Bushes.  Sincere conservatives would notice this stuff.

To be clear, what did the GOP do, back when they controlled every single U.S. lever of power?  From 2001 through 2007, they had locks in the White House, Congress, the bureaucracy and the Courts. So what did they do with all that power?  Did they pass immigration or health reform? (Even versions based on conservative values?) Did they balance the budget or bring entitlements under control? (Deals were on the table and ready, but Fox shrugged them aside.) 

Did they even do a thing to make abortions harder to get? Or seal the borders? Or increase aid to Israel?  None of those things.  In fact, those Congresses are documented as the laziest in the history of the republic, meeting the fewest days, holding the fewest hearings, issuing the fewest subpoenas, passing the fewest bills… despite continuing rhetoric and anger, they did nothing to decrease the size of government.

Their only assertive efforts were (1) Bushite wars that bankrupted us and (2) tax favors for the super-rich. Then more, then more for oil and coal, then more for Wall Street.

Please.  If you are a sincere conservative or libertarian, you should be meeting and conspiring to rebel against the Murdochian-Saudi hijacking of your movements.  The rise of Trump and Cruz shows that the conservative masses know something is wrong with those oligarchs and their lies. But they are being given no alternative by real adults.



70 comments:

David Brin said...

Did I ask for a sincere, moderate and intelligent American conservative to step up and show some guts? I have often disagreed with David Brooks... but he is in a feisty frame of mind. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2016/01/14/david-brookss-choice-words-on-cruz-satanic-pagan-draw-fire-and-a-little-brimstone/

Anonymous said...

What about the Tea party? There's your great conservative revolt.

David Brin said...

The tea party is an inchoate populist revolt that is still marginally under control by Fox and Limbaugh and the others who deliberately created it to destroy American politics. They are like the Junkers lords of 1930s Germany, stoking a flame they will regret. The Tea Partiers are enraged with the oligarchs... but still cling to culture war against all smartypants scientists and other knowledge castes, as their core hated enemies. If we are not careful, 1930s events are possible.

OTOH, if smart people show the tea partiers they were had... then the populism can turn into something better minds like Bernie Sanders might guide to a better 1930s style revolution. Like the populism that was harnessed among the Greatest Generation by our parents' favorite living person.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Anonymous said...

The Tea party's "core hated enemies" are anybody who wants more government spending and regulation than the levels reached at the incredibly successful 1994 compromise.

Robert said...

What I love is the utter hypocrisy of Ted Cruz and his supporters to have railed so hard against Obama and claiming he's not natural born... and then ignore the fact Cruz is a dual-citizenship Canadian-born (who failed to report loans from Goldman Sachs which he used to self-fund his election into the Senate).

Rob H.

David Brin said...

The 1994 compromise was wrought by the last quasi adult with power in the GOP... Newt Gingrich. And I say quasi because he was 50% fanatic-crazy... but capable also of wanting to actually govern and leave the country better off. Clinton leaped to negotiate and compromise with him in an anno mirabilis or miracle year... before the rising GOP lunatics punished Newt and declared that never again will any Republican be allowed to negotiate anything, ever. The Hastert rule. Named after the titular head of the GOP for many years, Speaker Dennis Hastert, now an admitted and convicted perjurer and corrupt briber and child molester. He was the top GOP official in the republic for 6 years.

Anonymous said...

Negotiation with "spending like a drunken sailor domestically, funding two wars, and trying to save the economy with massive bailouts" as a a baseline level for spending is not going to impress somebody who wants to reduce spending.

David Brin said...

Anonymous should try to anchor himself on any factual basis. Any at all. He might for example try to actually track which party changes the direction of deficit spending in which direction and which acts like drunken sailors and kills more US servicemen in futile wars.

Answer the challenges here, man: http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2014/06/so-do-outcomes-matter-more-than-rhetoric.html

You cannot. Facts are anathema to modern republicans. It is why they wage war on science and every single knowledge profession in American life. Name an exception. Name one. Even one. Just one.

Anonymous coward.

Anonymous said...

From:

http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/taxfacts/displayafact.cfm?Docid=200

U.S. tax revenue in modern dollars 2000: 2 trillion
U.S. tax revenue in modern dollars 2008: 2.5 trillion

The bush tax cuts paid for themselves. They did not pay for all of his other spending.
If the tea party candidates had actually been hypocrite and supported proposing a budget that cut spending would have exosed them.

Cryptography. Theoretical mathematics. Nuclear engineering.

David Brin said...

A complete nutter. Jibber jibber jibber wheeeeeee!

Robert said...

The irony is that we are going to have to bailout the oil industry, probably within a year. That said, the people who will need to be bailed out are the small oil companies. Hopefully any bailout package will be in the form of no-interest loans to let these small businesses survive several years of minimal or no profits so they can refinance existing loans and lower their externalities, rather than encourage big oil companies to buy out these smaller companies. Sadly, the latter will likely happen.

What's more, when the U.S. goes to bailout these shale oil companies, you will hear cries of outrage and righteous anger from the Saudis and Russia claiming the American oil industry is being protected by the U.S. government - while they ignore the fact they are doing the same for their own companies (if not outright owning their oil companies).

I must admit some curiosity as to how Obama will enact this bailout. I don't think Republicans would actually cut the throats of the oil industry, seeing they get major amounts of financing from the oil and gas companies. During an election year... saying "we will not bailout this industry" is tantamount to giving massive amounts of money to the Democrats.

Rob H.

Anonymous said...

I provided an example of supply side economics working.

I listed intellectual fields the Republicans are not "waging war" on by any standard.

Paul SB said...

Take a close look at that data (our anonymous contributor doesn't seem to be) and look for patterns. one I noticed is that you see very few times when there is a surplus. The debt was at its worst during time of war (1943 at $29.6 billion) and times of economic recession (1976 $4.1 billion) and more anomalously, the Reagan years (1983 $5.9 billion). Under the current president the debt rose to $9.3 billion in 2009, which seems kind of paltry compared to 1943. Remember that 2009 was not the best of times, it was the worst of times - the Great Recession. That deficit has been dropping down toward more normal numbers.

A problem with the Tea Party people is that, like the Republicans from which they sprung, they don't look at facts, only at the propaganda they have been taught. Like the sheep in Animal Farm, bleating a simple mantra over and over again. They cherrypick a few facts, bereft of context, because looking at the data in all their complexity does not show what they want to believe, just like the climate deniers very carefully choosing dates to show a supposed decline in global average temperatures - what's called "walking dow the up escalator." Dogmatic assertion is much more important than actual comprehension.

Smurphs said...

From the last thread, but I just couldn't let this one pass.

locumranch:

The Urban Blues have already tried to strip the Rural Reds of almost everything they value (Gender, Faith, Freedom, Family & Firearms) and a people with very little left to lose can be extremely dangerous.

There it is, right there. The Rural Reds have lost NONE of these things. We (the Urban Blues? I'm neither) have just been making some progress in defining them for ourselves. If I want to be a Trans, Satanist, Dominatrix, with three Significant Others and no guns, why the #$@&* do you care? The only "Freedom" you have lost is the freedom to tell me who to be and how to act. Actually, you never had that freedom, but you were able to make the "other" hide in the closet. We are not hiding anymore. And you can't stand it.

(Actually, a few loony people are trying to take our guns, but our laws are protecting us just fine and I lose no sleep worrying about it.)

David Brin said...

No supply side macro prediction has ever, ever, ever come close to coming true. Not once.

Anonymous said...

So supply side economics did not predict that the Bush tax cuts would increase revenue?

David Brin said...

No, because they did not. At any level, in any way shape or form. The cuts were passed as soon as Bill Clinton left office and immediately, immediately the tsunami of red ink began. I am through talking to a moron.

Jumper said...

Nobody bails out small oil companies, Robert. Even big outfits take their various hits. It's a tumultuous business; I used to work in it. It's weirdly counter-cyclical.

Kallikanzarid said...

> They deem that blow to have been a hugely aggressive and successful assault on Russian interests by Barack Obama to have been vastly, vastly more significant that Putin's subsequent nibble-back of Crimea. Putin and the Russian media relentlessly portray him as anything but the wimp he is depicted in right wing American press. They view him as the "most aggressive and successful opponent they have faced, since Reagan.”

I wouldn’t say that that they do, at least it’s more complicated than that. I generally stay the fuck away from our state-controlled media, but from what I can glean, they portray the US in general as the enemy without focusing too much on Obama, and comparing him to other US presidents is not their way of thinking, probably because the whole idea of the people electing an opposition leader who proves to be more effective than his/her predecessor is a big no-no to them. So between portraying the US as an arrogant empire, and Russia as the underdog about to make a comeback (what an original narrative!) they don’t pay to much attention to the actual personalities of the US leadership, not unless they have names that sound funny in Russian, anyway.

David Brin said...

Thank you Kallikanzarid for your perspective and you are welcome here. I have seen many quotations of Vladimir Putin and others blaming Obama directly for the Ukraine debacle. But I can easily believe there is selection bias as to which glimpses into Russian media make it to our press... I would figure it is a very very poor sampling set, so your input is appreciated.

Nevertheless, our own media is also crazy. They never, ever put the Crimea event in the context of the much larger loss of Ukraine from the Russian sphere of influence. I can see very well how Putin and the Russian media would not display such a blind spot.

Paul SB said...

Kalikanzarid,

"...they don’t pay to much attention to the actual personalities of the US leadership, not unless they have names that sound funny in Russian, anyway."

Could you give some examples, please? Some of us could use a good laugh!

Tacitus2 said...

It seems politics is omnipresent on CB these days. Ah well.

I have been out of the loop a while for reasons good and bad. FIRST robotics is great fun...but this is also the dark, post holiday season of funerals. We have had losses.

But the luxury of ignoring the mostly nonsensical antics of our would be Betters will soon bump up against the reality of actual people casting actual votes.

Firstly, fond as I am of David and as much as I respect both his principles and his passion; much of his standard screed is just that. I keep tossing out things to consider (recently some contrary views on current military preparedness and some stats that are actually not so great under the current admin) but they deflect off his adamantine surety that Republicans Be Bad. Sometimes deep into the comment section he will, aw shucks, admit that he is being over the top to make a point. Fine. But it is understandable that most of us who see the world a bit differently no longer bother to argue in detail.

Anyway, I doubt votes cast in California will decide the direction of things to come, although in this crazy season who knows. But I live in Wisconsin, a place of mixed loyalties and demographically just about at the median in many ways. My vote will carry heft and I have to consider closely what to do with it in a few months.

Trump...under no circumstances will he get my vote. If the Republican party goes down that path then the frequent talk here of it deserving its self immolation will be entirely justified. There are assorted minor candidates that are not, imho, Presidential timber. Carson for instance. Barring the fascinating prospect of a brokered Con I would guess that Rubio, Cruz, outside shot for Christie. I would give them a long and critical look. None are dummies. None are insane. None are compelling.

Of course in WI I can also cross over and instead vote in the Dem primary. I did this in 08 considering then that Obama was a better option than Clinton. I "think" I was right then and feel similarly now. Others may disagree (but recall this is just my discussion of how to cast one Badger vote) but I think she lacks principals other than a desire for power. It shows in the email business that would have my progressive friends gathering the tar and feathers were a Republican to blame for it. I write Benghazi off as ineptitude, which is hardly a gold star on her resume. I think if you flipped over the rock that is the Clinton foundation you would not be happy with what you saw under it. I also am still worried that her health is not robust.

So, could Bernie pull it off? Hmmmm. It could happen but a more likely non-Hill scenario brings in Warren somehow. I would give a sincere Progressive an honest audition too. I want to know how things get paid for is all.

And so it goes in an electoral cycle where our sources of information are regarded with disdain and where I have heard no voice yet that calls us to an inspiring future. Make the best of it in your small patch of America. I will do likewise.

Tacitus

Jumper said...

Maybe you need new progressive friends, Tacitus. For me to require executive branch people such as Sec. State to turn over emails would be ridiculous. I don't care what party politics says. Similarly if Bush distributed pallets full of money as bribes, I don't see the interest of my country's national security being served by publishing a list of the recipients.
Part of the problem on forums like this is that imprecise definitions are bandied about without intense focus on non-fuzzy meanings. This allows both sides to misunderstand each other. Case in point would be the definition of a "tax cut." It could be argued (and often is, oddly) that if revenue increased, then there obviously was no tax cut. Or one side will argue about "taxes" and neglect SS income. Or neglect capital gains tax. It can get silly.

Perhaps when we stay in our areas of expertise, this place is lots more fun and educational. I know when we do, the great links often start flying and I get a better concentrated stream of good stuff here than many other places. This includes insights into the medical field contributed by regular locumranch, and Tacitus.

Berial said...

Anonymous income 2000: 100
Anonymous income 2008: 126.68 <--Assuming you make 3% more per year (emulating the growth of the US GDP.( Second assumption: inflation was LESS than GDP, which it was)

Anonymous tax revenue in 2000: 35
Anonymous tax revenue in 2008: 36.77
Anonymous tax revenue in 2008 AT 2000 tax rates: 44.34

2000 tax rate 35%
2008 tax rate 29%

Tax revenue INCREASED!!! But ONLY because the AMOUNT to be TAXED increased. The total the country WOULD have had to work with would have been a staggering 7.57 MORE if they had kept the tax steady.

NOW do you see why everyone is basically not falling for your 'proof'? You are trying to take credit for GDP growth.

Berial said...

Sorry, I should have included the above was to the 'anonymous' guy trying to say Bush's Tax cuts 'payed for themselves'.

Anonymous said...

@Paul SB said...

Paul:

Could you explain why you should be trusted, when you don't know the difference between 10^9 and 10^12?

I see lots of English majors becoming journalists not knowing millions from billions, but I would expect more from such a large gang of SF readers clapping each other on the back.

PS, the most interesting part of the blog post is the point regarding behavior at 4 way stop signs, but I predict no social scientists will correlate such behavior in different societies to the success of those societies.

Anonymous Coward (AKA Viking)

raito said...

Let's go in order:

Way back in the before-time (to get the Mad Max reference out of the way), when Clinton was president, and the Lewinsky thing was coming out, I was on the internet. And one of the people I corresponded with was in eastern Europe. She said that a lot of people she knew were very surprised that more wasn't happening over that particular bit. Because if it had happened in her country, the tanks would have been rolling into the capital.

Try traveling to some place where the country us very poor. A place where a man uses discarded flip-flops on his hands to drag himself about, because his legs don't work because of polio. A place where communication with people more than shouting distance away isn't a priority because the people are more worried about drinking water.

Then come back to the US and complain because the ETA estimate on your package delivery was a day off.

The US is the basis for the 'first-world problem' meme.

As far as the 4-way stop goes, that's part of the reason I dislike very much the current meaning of 'diversity', and am a 'melting-pot' guy. I've seen close-up what happens when people from elsewhere do not absorb the culture (I'm speaking of traffic culture here. We're 'diverse', which apparently means that people drive like they learned to in whatever place they escaped from).

As for conspiracy theories, try Toxic Sludge is Good For You. Less about conspiracies, more about public relations. Though they appear to go hand in hand.

With regards to Japan, it does appear as though the urban areas aren't doing too badly. But their rural areas aren't faring as well at all. It appears as though the wealth isn't very even geographically.

As far as voter requirements, in Wisconsin there's been moves to make getting IDs harder, such as restricting the hours the agencies can be open. The crackpot line fed to the populace is that it 'isn't fair' for prosperous areas to be open extra hours (even though those are the areas that have the most people).

And no, Congress didn't do anything to make abortions harder to get. They didn't have to, the states were doing that themselves.

LarryHart said...

raito:

We're 'diverse', which apparently means that people drive like they learned to in whatever place they escaped from).


When my brother first moved out east, he complained that drivers in Boston routinely drive through Stop Signs in packs, rather then each car stopping for the sign. Many years later, I related that story to a coworker from New York, and he informed me (and this is apparently true) that Massachusetts law allows three cars at a time to go through a Stop Sign.

That's nothing I would have known had I driven through Boston on my own. And I'm an American.

locumranch said...


Tacitus is much more equanimous than I, especially when confronted by the optimistic, idealistic, extremist & self-deluding puerility of many of the views expressed, yet notice how he has voted with his feet & withdrawn from his socially-contracted medical responsibilities and realise, while you gibber in the streets about your new-found licentious & responsibility-free liberties, that many other conservative (aka 'socially-responsible') individuals are doing likewise & withdrawing, undermining the too-often unappreciated 'reliability of Western infrastructure'.

Unfortunately, too many metaphorical grasshoppers shirk commonplace responsibilities & fiddle while Rome burns. Their natural habitat is Big Government; they live off the labour of others (contributing very little); and they are corrupt, unapologetic & privileged. Once was, my children, there was no such thing as a Standing US Congress prior to 1933. It met only briefly on odd-numbered years, it's sole purpose being to make new law and, much like a Standing Military, a Standing Congress was thought to be an invitation to monetary favoritism & a risk to public liberty (google 'Merchants of Death & 'Military-Industrial Complex' for more info).

It is one thing, therefore, to heap praise on the 'reliability of infrastructure' provided by conservative, responsible & self-respecting lower level government functionaries (Average Janes & Joes), but it is yet another to heap (undeserved) praise on bloviating public figureheads who demand that others 'do' the actual work -- which is why I'm gonna puke if someone claims (yet again) that Obama 'killed' Osama Bin Laden.

So, dig this & dig it well:

(1) The Benefit-Cost Ratio of the US Federal Government is disproportionally LOW;

(2) It neither protects your local interests nor is it responsible for the "miracle of the four-way stop sign intersection" because both services are provided to you by conservative, responsible & self-respecting Janes & Joes; and

(3) Very rapidly, those conservative Janes & Joes have left the table after being thoroughly marginalised by a Big Government pandering to grasshopper-based specialty interests.
______

And, a quick 'Mythic Joke' in closing:

What do you call a Company that keeps two sets of books to hide its losses, spends resources it doesn't have, possesses a Public Debt in excess of 245% of its annual gross domestic product & expects to lose more than 50% of its workforce over the next 20 years?

[The correct answer is 'Japan', but both 'Bankrupt' and 'Enron' are acceptable also]
______


Best

matthew said...

Blah, blah, blah. More locumranch bullshit and bile. I'm still in quite literal disbelief that he is a doctor. Terrifying that someone so obviously mentally ill claims to practice medicine. Even more terrifying if he is telling the truth about his vocation.

Tacitus - I agree with your overall assessment of the Presidential field with one caveat - Cruz is not crazy but simply evil. His election as President is the worst outcome possible for our future. I'd vote Trump over Cruz in a heartbeat.

I frankly disbelieve the Massachusetts Stop sign story. Links to the law, please.

David Brin said...

Tacitus thanks for an intelligent and well-spoken run-down on your perspective, which - to be clear - I deem the view of a fine and decent American.

Though delusional in the weighting system that you apply to things. I tell you openly that neither Benghazi nor the email thing would have raised my ire with a republican. Just as few of us raised a stink during the Bush years about:

… the Karachi consulate attacks: three separate attacks across 2002-2006 that killed 18 people (including an American diplomat) and injured 87. Unlike Benghazi, which came as a surprise to the US ambassador, this was a case of THREE in which there was plenty of time, in between, to make corrections, which the Bush Administration finally put in place after attack #3.

Why haven’t you heard the word “Karachi!” screamed across the years? Because Dems admit that stuff happens and to some extent this is a cost of doing business in volatile regions.

Just like New Yorkers — the main targets of terror — are LEAST likely to let fear of terrorists control their lives, while Red America screeches about it nonstop, from the safety of small towns.

Oh, then there are the 2003 Riyadh Compound Bombings that kill 35, including 9 Americans. Ever heard of those?

HAve a look at how much more frequent attacks on Americans were, under Bush, than under Clinton or Obama.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_assassinations_and_acts_of_terrorism_against_Americans#2000s

As for the emails... seriously? As a New Yorker would say: "Is dat all youse got?"

Tacitus2 said...

Ah, LocumR, I'm gonna un-retire when current teaching duties are complete....

Ratio I mostly agree with you on the obstacles to voter registration. Yes, technically you can get state ID for free, but the logistics of doing so are an issue. An issue that more money will not always solve. In this it is not unlike health care access for Medicaid/ACA plans. You're good to go.....but try and find a physician who takes your plan....

I happen to believe honest conservatism can win without gerrymandering and other tricks. I have been called delusional. It might be true.

Tacitus

David Brin said...

Re 2008 I was not thrilled with either Clinton or Obama. NOW Obama is becoming the savvy, experienced and worldly leader we deserve. His greatest fault was spending his first 5 years desperately and delusionally trying to tempt any GOPpers... any at all... into violating the Hastert rule against negotiation. No Drama Obama didn't even brag... until two nights ago... about killing Osama.

But The chief difference is appointments. Democratic presidents appoint officials who want to do their jobs. NOT ONE of whom was convicted... or even indicted... and almost none even accused ... of malfeasance of office across the Bill Clinton span. The first time that ever happened. And it looks likely to be repeated. Under intense, Koch-financed scrutiny, they do their jobs.

In contrast, among the GOP candidates, only Rand Paul and Donald Trump would appoint outside the pool of Bushite factotums. Rubio, especially, is a Bush family adopted son. Oh, I admit he has an appealing personna compared to the others. Would be nice if he ever showed up in the Senate. If Obama was callow and inexperienced, Marco is almost neonatal.

But Cruz? This reincarnation-combo of Joe McCarthy and Richard Nixon and Father Coughlin appeals to you, my friend? Lordy.

No, the Republican establishment is heading for plan B. That's why they gave Nikki Haley the prime spot replying to the SOTU. They want to position someone appealing in the VP slot, who will then inherit front-runner status in 2020.

David Brin said...

"I happen to believe honest conservatism can win without gerrymandering and other tricks. I have been called delusional. "

Yes but we love you anyway and we genuinely pray that someday guys like you will pull an honest conservatism out of the ashes. I frankly believe we need it! To be honest, my long-term fear is not of Kochs and Saudis and Murdochs. I feat the leftist radicalization that their stupid, greedy, shortsightedness will inevitably spawn.

When "liberals" actually do turn "left" in anger and desperation, then we will be in a kind of danger from which only a Roosevelt might save us... and those are in short supply.

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin:

Re 2008 I was not thrilled with either Clinton or Obama


I remember you calling for a "No Senators" rule. I also remember pointing out that such a rule would have disqualified everybody who was leading in both parties' primaries at the time.

LarryHart said...

matthew:

I frankly disbelieve the Massachusetts Stop sign story. Links to the law, please.


Yes and no.

Apparently, it's not legal anymore, but was (or "may have been") in the 60s and 70s.

Then again, whether it is legal or not, enough people think it is to matter.

http://masslawlib.blogspot.com/2011/05/can-second-and-third-cars-in-line.html

raito said...

Tacitus2,

With regards to ID, I've been there, though it was decades ago. For various reasons, I did not own a copy of my birth certificate, nor did I know my SSN. The SSN got cleared up by a hardworking civil servant (high school guidance counselor) who got the information by claiming I'd forgotten it on a work permit form.

Getting a copy of my birth certificate wasn't a problem of information, but a problem of having to physically show up at a particular office while it was open, which wasn't often, and that in the state capital!. And given what I needed to know at that time to get a copy, I could have gotten copies of several people's certificates.

And knowing our state's DMV efficiency (for literally decades you had to stand in 2 different lines in the same room to do your business, because the DL computers didn't speak to the vehicle registration computers, so naturally the same person couldn't take care of both requests in one shot...), I don't doubt that it would be just as easy to circumvent the current voter ID laws.

raito said...

Geez, I forgot why I visited just then,

http://www.zdnet.com/article/apple-iphone-ban-new-york-looks-to-outlaw-sale-of-encrypted-smartphones/

Not on topic for this essay, but surely for our host's views.

LarryHart said...

Tacitus2:

Ratio I mostly agree with you on the obstacles to voter registration. Yes, technically you can get state ID for free, but the logistics of doing so are an issue. An issue that more money will not always solve.


A legitimate question: Why does the same side of the political spectrum who goes nuts at the suggestion of a national ID card simultaneously worship at the altar of a State-issued one? I'm not just asking rhetorically. I truly don't understand.


In this it is not unlike health care access for Medicaid/ACA plans. You're good to go.....but try and find a physician who takes your plan....


I think the difference is that the State is (or at least can be) adversarial toward the right to vote of individuals whose vote would go against them. In lawyerly terms, the State is a hostile witness. They should not be in a position to make it easier or harder for individuals to exercise their inalienable rights based upon their own agenda.


I happen to believe honest conservatism can win without gerrymandering and other tricks.


The problem there is that honest conservatism may not be an oxymoron, but it is, at the moment, a movement without a party. At least at the federal level, I think any honest conservatives currently in office are conservative Democrats. Depending on what scale one is grading on, President Obama or Hillary Clinton could be considered honest conservatives.

I considered myself a conservative in my college days of the 1980s (though not a fan of President Reagan). I could go for conservatism that doesn't go out of its way to remind me of the rise of the Third Reich.

Anonymous said...

I fail to see how American Conservatism is anything but Oligarchy hidden under White Supremacy. Virtually every social or economic that "responsible moderate conservatives" have ever pushed was a plot to pickpocket poor whites while yelling Nijjers!! to distract them. Supply Side Economics and States Rights are just the most egregious examples. With the rapidly approaching pace of the Singularity, I think that the only sensible choice is to radically redistribute power and wealth before the Pyramid Builders gain ownership of all the robots and live forever as gods, lording over our impoverished descendants. Within 30 to 50 years from now there will be enough wealth generated by robotics, nanotech and genetic tinkering to allow every single human being to live like a king. If that time comes and a few are bogarting all the goodies, the Powers That Be better hope they have impregnable walls around their mega-mansions, or off to the guillotines they will go.

Also: Mad Max? Fury Road was one of the best films I can remember seeing in quite awhile. Apocalyptic fiction is not inherently nihilistic; they really do tell us something about who we are and where we came from. I am a techno-optimist who is absolutely convinced that our species is destined for Great Things, but I do not think it is unreasonable to fear what evils would be laid bare if civilization were to crumble. I tell everyone that I do not expect to see "old age"; either we will have cured aging or we will all be dead from the Zombie Apocalypse.

-AtomicZeppelinMan

self replicating solar powered dirigible dude said...

Atomic Zeppelin Man wrote something that i see a lot, but i don't think it is true.
And i would be curious to see who others agree with.
There are only two futures:
1) Singularity
2) apocalypse
I think neither is likely.
I think somethings will get better and other things will get worse,but a hundred years from now people will still be born, live and die.

Anonymous said...

Uh, what? America's infrastructure is particularly over-built and somewhat lacks the necessary private tax revenue to support the extensive (and aging!) public infrastructure. Look to Iowa, whose DOT chief admitted that the system will shrink, having back during the era of easy Carbon widened and paved every which little road. They are, however, still perusing road-widenings after a 10c gas tax hike passed, possibly to yet again verify that induced demand really is a thing, or to pile up yet more evidence that American stroads remain more murderous than former, less car-centric street designs (to say nothing of better built environments, elsewhere). With any luck, future years will usher in a new generation of transportation planners who hopefully can undo some of the much-vaunted "progress" achieved by Robert Moses and ilk.

http://brucefnesmith.blogspot.com/2016/01/the-futility-of-widening.html

http://granolashotgun.com/2016/01/12/teachers-pipes-and-pavement/

... as your particle board paradises slump off towards Mallhalla ...

locumranch said...



As Kurt Vonnegut said in 'Welcome to the Monkey House', "A sane person to an insane society must appear insane", so I'd like to thank our lower-case matthew for offering such high-praise. Now & again, I have thought about disregarding empiric evidence, switching sides & joining the growing mentally-challenged majority, if only to re-embrace my lapsed humanism, believe that humans are basically honest, rational, selfless & good, and accept optimism back into my heart for even a short while.

That said, lower-case matthew exhibits great 'progressive' potential, so much so that he should more-fully develop his idea about protecting the Body Politic, possibly with some sort of Loyalty Oath, Mandatory Screening Questionnaire or something along the lines of "Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of the US Republican party?", in order to prevent all left-thinking SJWs from accidentally associating with conservative (and/or cynical) malcontents.

To Tacitus, I say, "Welcome back", as I exit stage-right for 4 to 6 weeks, in order to re-ignite my lust for life & reduce my stock portfolio before the DJIA drops yet another 13% further into the metaphorical water-closet.


Best

Paul SB said...

Dear Anonymous Viking,

I'm not exactly sure what you are on about, given that it says very clearly at the top of the table you linked to that all figures are in Billions of dollars, and I didn't type /millions/ in nay case. I'll assume you just misread something. It's the more charitable assumption I could make.

Summary of Receipts, Outlays, and Surpluses or Deficits (-)
In Current Dollars, Constant (FY 2009) Dollars, and as a Percentage of GDP: 1940-2020 (in Billions of Dollars)

LarryHart said...

locumranch:

As Kurt Vonnegut said in 'Welcome to the Monkey House', "A sane person to an insane society must appear insane", so I'd like to thank our lower-case matthew for offering such high-praise.


Remember also what Vonnegut wrote in the intro to "Mother Night":

"You are who you pretend to be, so be careful what you pretend to be."

LarryHart said...

locumranch:

...as I exit stage-right for 4 to 6 weeks


Be still, my beating heart.

David Brin said...

I honestly do not understand why I feel genuine affection for locumranch. He rails against me incessantly... though lately much less strawmanning and more just loopy illogic. For all the illogical and barely coherent , desperate ravings against a gentle-tolerant civilization that has been very good to him, I almost never get a sense of general trollishness. I have to tell you guys... I'd miss him if he weren't around.

Still, I am glad to have Tacitus back. That he tolerates me... and I tolerate Locum... are both litmus tests that Contrary Brin is a place for grownups... albeit those with thick skins.

Oh, notwithstanding L's schdenfreude, I am not panicking about the stock market. A correction was called-for and as usual, America is leading the world out of recessionAnd left-wingers are crazy not to notice the things that we do right.

Paul SB said...

Dr. Brin,

You said: "I honestly do not understand why I feel genuine affection for locumranch."

You have been dealing with him here for years, right? At a guess, I would say your sensitivity to oxytocin is > 1 standard deviation to the right of the mean, maybe as much as 2. Remember when Matt Damon's character in "The Martian" finally locks arms with his captain, ready to be reeled in and returned home? The first thing out of his mouth was to tell her how much he hated her musical tastes. Now the trapped on a barren world with nothing but disco was a running gag through the whole movie, but if it were real, the character would find himself craving disco music within a year. I had a similar experience after working for a couple years in a Mexican restaurant right after high school. For a long time I wouldn't go anywhere near the stuff, but in less than a year I started craving enchiladas. I didn't know Jacques Merde about brains at the time, but I understand it now, after a very long stint of reading (at a time when I wasn't getting much oxytocin myself, as I was on the road most of the year).

The other possibility (neurologically speaking) is that your frontal lobes are demyelinating. That happens to everyone as they age, on average dropping in a symmetrical curve after about age 30. But sharp minds that don't get too bogged down in routine and keep trying to wrap around thorny problems and difficult mental tasks show a much gentler curve. In you I would suspect the former rather than the latter. I have 17 year old students who show less lobes.

Robert said...

Dr. Brin, I thought you might find this story of interest, seeing you've been a long advocate concerning the link between lead and crime. It seems the correlation is based off of faulty data. Which means the decline in crime (outside of a slight correlation with homicides) isn't due to removing lead from gasoline.

Rob H.

David Brin said...

Paul, thanks... I think. I'd prefer to think my affection for L is more an artifact of maturity than senility, but then... um... what were we talking about? Oh yeah, must be that lead bullet dissolving in my bloodstream...

LarryHart said...

@Dr Brin:

I don't think locum is malicious. I think that, like the Tea Party, he's incredibly misguided as to exactly who his vitriol should be directed at. Willingly misguided in his case, as his rants seem to correlate nearly 100% opposite to reality. Take his missive at the bottom of the last post, substitute "liberal" for "conservative" (all synonyms included) and vice versa, and he'd be exactly spot on.

What I find personally insulting is the affected "agreements" with others on the list, which without fail lead to assertions of complete disagreement with the person in question, as if this is a clever debate tactic.

Be clear--I'm not trying to drive anyone away or ban them or censor them. But if someone wants to self-Rapture, I do plan to look at the bright side.

LarryHart said...

Paul SB:

Now the trapped on a barren world with nothing but disco was a running gag through the whole movie, but if it were real, the character would find himself craving disco music within a year. I had a similar experience after working for a couple years in a Mexican restaurant right after high school...


For me, it was Rod Stewart music from my last year in high school, 1978. I didn't particularly like that music when I first heard it, nor was I enamored of the time of my life it reminds me of. But years later, I found myself having reactions of nostalgia for that music, though for the life of me, I still can't explain why.

I used to even wonder if there was a word for "Nostalgia over music you didn't like which reminds you of a period you also didn't like."

Duncan Cairncross said...

Hi Robert
If you read that article properly you will find that they are using a very small time band

During that specific time band and different crime figures you lose the correlation

If you go for a longer time span - bingo the correlation comes back - shades of using 1998 as a baseline for global warming denial

Ioan said...

A few points about Japan, since I lived there for a while.

The first is that Japan's population has declined by > 1 million in these past 5 years. Despite this, the portion of the population above 65 was 25% in 2013 (I think?). The workforce has been declining since the 1990s. Under these conditions, even a successful economy would face recession. Japan's government is VERY resistant to immigration, despite the current Prime Minister being for it.

Another aspect of Japan's corporations is that they structurally resemble the American corporations of the 1950s and 1960s, with promotions given primarily on seniority, and their relative resistance to firing people. As a result, the private companies are often more bureaucratic than the government agencies. So they could increase their productivity by eliminating unnecessary positions.

Despite the above, 40% of their workforce are permanent temporary workers. Those workers face modern American work conditions. Right now, the workforce is still geared towards the older permanent workforce.

Paul SB said...

Lead? Silver is much more classy! And myelin is maturity, its loss is why many people turn into cranky babies in their golden years, but the active mind keeps its myelin. I suspect if we could objectively measure our lobes, you would be the winner here, in spite of your greater number of years. I've spent the last 13 in circumstances that are high stress (shrinking the hippocampus) but no amount of working it out helps. The system is impervious to improvement.

The oxytocin is another matter entirely, and to your credit. You screech sometimes, but it's not the blind hate that litters much of the rest of the blogosphere.

Larry,

I used to even wonder if there was a word for "Nostalgia over music you didn't like which reminds you of a period you also didn't like."

One day there probably will be. Language evolves, and as average intelligence goes up, more people take more interest in things like this. I point out to my students that you can find not just science magazines but magazines specifically about brains in ordinary grocery stores. Though the word might not be specific to music. I hear more and more people say things like "what's going on in his synapses" when someone does something mind-bogglingly stupid.

Rod Stewart? My last year of high school, Phil Collins was all the rage... Once in awhile I get a craving to listen to "Keep It Dark."

Kallikanzarid said...

> Could you give some examples, please? Some of us could use a good laugh!

The one I can remember right off the bat is Jen Psaki, who was in the news for (a) not knowing geography, and (b) her name sounding both like “dog” and “piss” in Russian.

Treebeard said...

LOL @ ZeppelinMan. The religious pathology of the modern progressive mind on display. Only two possibilities, Rapture or the Apocalypse? Immortality or Zombie Apocalypse in your lifetime? When in history have things ever gone like that? Take some deep breaths, go visit some ancient ruins, and consider that just maybe, you don't live at the pivotal moment of all human existence, which will radically transform our species, provided that everyone gets with your program and don't bring the Apocalypse with their retrograde ideals. That's old Aeon Puritan fanaticism, friend. As solar-powered dirigible dude said, the future is sure to be more complex, and people are sure to still be born, live, die, and delude themselves that they, too, live in the pivotal moment of human history.

Paul451 said...

Tacitus2,
"I happen to believe honest conservatism can win without gerrymandering and other tricks."

They could. And in most polls the leading conservative candidate is still ahead. Her problem is that so many of her natural base, people like you, keep voting Republican.

Hmmm...

---

But seriously, David, when you look at someone like Tacitus falling for the anti-Clinton hysteria - Benghazi! Emails! Totally unprecedented! - do you see why some of us have been so adamant that she will struggle more in the main election than someone like Sanders?

Even in a post where you talk about the trend of conspiracy-thinking amongst the Right in the US, I think you just don't see, can't conceive, how intense the hate-training has been against Clinton. And how that Clinton-hate has become so central to the tribal identity on the Right.

---

Is Locumranch finally going to join ISIL? Teh real men.

"I have to tell you guys... I'd miss him"

Use a bigger loadout.

Jumper said...

Contrarians are mostly a waste of time, as I found when I looked at the up-to-the-minute news for that 13% market drop...
Speaking of which here's a great visual on the causes of global warming suitable for skeptics (but not contrarians):
http://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2015-whats-warming-the-world/

I was thinking of "stolen valor" and my friend who was always careful to say he was a "Vietnam era veteran" because he never actually deployed in Vietnam. Then one day in a moment of moral weakness he omitted the word "era" and I called him on it. It's sad when honor fails, even for a moment. I did explain that I held him to a higher standard because he had always demonstrated that higher standard previously. I guess the moral to that is "physician, heal thyself."

On a different matter I did re-read "They Walked Like Men" by Clifford Simak, as I mentioned ordering the other day. This is one strange book on several levels. One of which is analyzing the mental state of the author. It's not a book, I think, to read in the midst of one of the worst bouts of insomnia I've ever experienced in my life, either, to the point of derangement. No. Simak the writer himself seems on the edge of something here, the DTs I am thinking. While by no means a "great" book I'll still recommend it for pure strangeness. A form of plutocracy appears, and the fear that runs through it, although it all might be read as a pulp amusement, might be an artifact of a cultural toxicity remaining from an odor of McCarthyism of the times. Or maybe that's all just me.

Paul SB said...

Kalikanzarid,
So it would be something like "Jen Piss-Dog for City Council" or "Mayor Dogpiss?" Americans have been rightly famous for their ignorance of geography for a long time. As a teacher I stopped being astounded a long time ago. The education system went to Hell in a hand basket as soon as it became a political ball court.

Treebeard,
Every age has its people who are convinced that the end is nigh, though the singularity thing is a new twist. You're right that a lot of people don't have historical perspective (as John, Paul, George & Ringo used to sing - life goes on). But just like your palm-buddy loci, you're dribbling the blame ball way down the wrong court, and obviously so, too. Aeon Puritanism is about as far from the progressive mindset as you can get, unless you follow some curve in the space/time continuum by way of Planet LSD. It isn't the lefty liberals who go on endlessly about the Rapture coming because gay marriage has been legalized, or because women are allowed to wear pants, and children aren't kept on leashes tied to the pews.

LarryHart said...

Paul451:

But seriously, David, when you look at someone like Tacitus falling for the anti-Clinton hysteria - Benghazi! Emails! Totally unprecedented! - do you see why some of us have been so adamant that she will struggle more in the main election than someone like Sanders?

Even in a post where you talk about the trend of conspiracy-thinking amongst the Right in the US, I think you just don't see, can't conceive, how intense the hate-training has been against Clinton. And how that Clinton-hate has become so central to the tribal identity on the Right.


I'm not saying you're wrong about anti-Clinton hate, but I think you underestimate the anti-Socialism that would be brought to bear against Sanders in particular (Elizabeth Warren would have been a better Sanders-like candidate in that regard).

I also think you underestimate (I keep wanting to type "misunderestimate") the countervailing pro-Clinton fervor that might not be as obvious in the primaries as it would be when it's her against a Republican. Sanders has that as well amongst his base, but his base isn't as wide as Hillary's.

True, the haters on the right will be motivated to vote against Clinton, but they were just as motivated to vote against Obama, and it ultimately didn't matter. Obama's trick was to get new Democratic voters out to the polls. Hillary will do the same.

Again, I'd personally love to see Bernie Sanders as president. But the question before us in primary season isn't "Who do you want to be President?", but "Who do you want to run against a Republican for President?" I think Hillary is unstoppable, which is why I want her as the nominee. Of course, if she loses to Sanders in the primary, that will prove my assumption wrong, so I guess the outcome of the Democratic primary is a win-win for me, no matter what.

One more factor, I'd rather not lose Bernie Sanders from the Senate.

Laurent Weppe said...

* "I'm not saying you're wrong about anti-Clinton hate, but I think you underestimate the anti-Socialism that would be brought to bear against Sanders in particular"

This reminds me of the 2007-08 primaries: the pro-Obama crowd claimed that their champion wouldn't face as much hatred and bile from the GOP than Clinton...
I suspect that the same thing will happen to Sanders if he's nominated: it's not Clinton per se who the right-wingers hate: it's the fact that she's a Democrat who slept in the White House for eight years: any and all democratic party candidate for the US presidency will face the same level of venom, because they belong to the enemy tribe, period.
In fact, if Sanders wins the nomination, I fully expect the old antisemitic tropes to go mainstream, just like Islamophobia went mainstream after the Christian-but-with-Muslims-Grandparents Obama won the nomination.

LarryHart said...

Laurent Weppe:

This reminds me of the 2007-08 primaries: the pro-Obama crowd claimed that their champion wouldn't face as much hatred and bile from the GOP than Clinton...


Remember in 2004, when candidate John Kerry was asserted to be "the most liberal member of the Senate"? And then in 2008 when that same description was applied to Hillary? Until Obama pulled ahead in the primaries, and then suddenly he was the most liberal Senator instead?

Now, something in Bernie's favor--at the debates, the Republican candidates were going on about how if Sanders is the Democratic nominee, they'll beat him in every state. They're trying to convince Democrats not to run Bernie Sanders against them, which means they probably think he'd be a formidable opponent. That reminds me of 2008 as well, a fortnight or so before Obama had the nomination locked up, when conservative columnist Fred Barnes, appearing on some tv show, started talking about how they (Republicans) would much rather run against Obama than Hillary. Sounded a lot like "Please don't throw me in the briar patch!"

Marino said...

An aside about voter registration and ID cards: seen from abroad, it looks like madness.
I mean, here in Italy (a country not famous for the efficiency of its bureaucracy) you're registered as a voter by the office of vital statistics once you come of age, and you're delivered at home a voter card stating at which polling station you'll vote, to be shown together with an ID card or driving license. The card has ten or fifteen blanks to be stamped at the polling station, so it can be used for many elections, national, local or referendums.

Voters in Italy are 50 milions, so the numbers are in the same order of magnitude of US states. The only reason for a country that made Manhattan Project and Apollo to be burdened by such awkward system is a political will to keep the unwashed herd disenfranchised...and my GOP aquaintances online label liberals and leftists as "elitists"

LarryHart said...

Marino:

...and my GOP aquaintances online label liberals and leftists as "elitists"


Almost always, when Republicans talk about what Democrats or liberals are like, they're really describing themselves. Or maybe more accurately, they're describing what they themselves would do in similar circumstances. The proper response is almost always "I know you are, but what am I?"

locumranch said...



Apologies to those
Who misapprehend intent,
For as assent weakens,
Opposition lends to strength.
To bend perspective,
Every foe, a friend.
Beloved is my enemy,
Flourishing in frame,
The eternal comedy of
Shared contradiction.

CITROCATE is part & parcel with the Cyclical History Model, for just as adversity breeds success, success breeds over-confidence, corruption & certain failure, so the weak stand tall through conflict and the mighty fall far when unopposed, and around & around it goes, from anabolic strain to catabolic ease, affecting the individual & the collective, then back again.

As Jumper read 'They walked like men', he now knows that Clifford Simak was a god who presaged the effects of Quantitive Easing, Fiat Currency & a World Economy based on STINK alone, context and 'frame of reference' being everything, and now he also knows that yesterday's DJIA has fallen 13% (12.9% to be precise) from its May 19, 2015, intraday high of 18,351 to 15,988.


Best

David Brin said...

Onward


onward

Jumper said...

I see I was wrong! The market is about what it was a few months ago. Stupid market. I have hot sauce for my hat now.

RFYork said...

David,

re:Conspiracies

Have you seen this?

http://goo.gl/fLW2Iu

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