Monday, January 25, 2016

Fear Trump? Loathe Cruz? Not as much as the GOP lords do.

== Deadly Memes, spread by hypocrites ==

The lords of the U.S. right - from the Murdoch-Saudi owners of Fox News all the way to the faux-intellects at National Review - have been desperately seeking magic bullets to bring down Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, so they can restore their till-now complete, top-down control over the GOP political caste. Hence a double barrel attack, with old guard pols, like Bob Dole, talking about Cruz’s “hateful personality.” 

As for Trump? While most of the world piles onto him as “fascist” (an accusation I tend not to believe), National Review and Fox are trying a new tactic: accusing the Donald of being “too moderate!”  

Of course that accusation would be poison to the populist volcano that the lords themselves deliberately fueled for 20+ years, exactly as the Junkers lords did in 1920s Germany, using populist, lowbrow bigotism as a weapon against leftists and liberals… till that frenzy exploded out of their control. 

Proudly ignorant of history, today’s GOP lords seem actually to believe the same hallucination -- that if they tar Trump with “too-liberal” — spreading more glue under the nostrils of their horse — that they can then tighten the reins and hold on a while longer.

It won’t work.  All they prove daily, by ignoring history, is their stupidity and unworthiness for the lordship that they seek over a re-feudalized West.  

Mind you, my own reading of Donald Trump is that, yes, if he gets the nomination he will then charge for the center as fast as he can. In which case he will need a strong ambassador to quash rebellion from the molten-hot confederacy. And that envoy would have to be Ted Cruz. ANY republican nominee will need Cruz for that role. A role - as VP running mate - that I have long asserted has always been Cruz’s one goal. 

His only goal, all along. 

== Ted Cruz: the Secret Plan ==

 I tell you this.  Actually winning the GOP nomination for president would be Ted Cruz’s second-worst nightmare! (The very worst -- of course -- is to be ignored.)

He knows that as ticket-leader he would be crushed in the general election and the confederacy left in smoldering ruins. For example, it does not bother the maddest right a bit that scientists, even Texas ones, have demolished his climate lies, time and again. But in a general election the crazy science-haters will not decide. As the GOP's presidential nominee he would drive off so many moderate voters who still care about facts that all of his dreams will collapse.

No. Ted Cruz wants caucus and primary victories, but only enough to solidify his blatantly obvious role. He has positioned himself — if trends continue — to demand the VP slot and to get it, from whoever wins the top position. (Including from the secret white-knight of the establishment: Paul Ryan. And be aware that playing a role of kingmaker, at the GOP convention, would suit Ted just fine.)

From that VP slot in 2016, win or lose in November, Cruz would confidently expect to become the Republican Party's heir apparent, either in 2020 or 2024, after four or eight years collecting political IOUs, exactly the pattern that his role model, Richard Nixon, pioneered - (with more than a touch of Joe McCarthy, whom Cruz physically resembles to an astonishing degree) - though determined that his own tools of power will be perfect, unlike Nixon's.) 

It is a cunning plan. Revealing genuine shrewdness and patience. This man is playing a long, long game.

== Rebels to save American Conservatism?

It is hilarious to reaRich Lowry, editor of the William F. Buckley's once-intellectually conservative National Review, try to explain why his magazine's "Against Trump" special edition - gathering anti-Donald rants from dozens of top republican figures - is not part of a grandly-orchestrated campaign by the GOP establishment to keep party control in their hands. The timing and uniformity are straight out of Roger Ailes's 20 year, winning playbook. Want proof what a standard Republican Mr. Lowry truly is? His repeatedly-expressed belief that shouting "No, I'm not!" is enough to make something untrue. 

Triumph of the will? Or lots of cold cash, changing hands? Do you hear that whirring sound of Bill Buckley and Barry Goldwater, spinning in their graves?  Tap that spin and we could reduce energy costs enough to fix climate change.

Are all conservative voices - other than Trump and Cruz and their beer hall fervids - controlled by the party lords? 

Well, there are some dissenters from what used to be the adult wing of the GOP. The Eisenhower family has shown some guts. And David Brooks is the conservative columnist who comes closest, from time to time, to doing what far more of them should right now, if they had cojones. That is, stand up and acknowledge that their movement has been hijacked by crazies and by foreign and domestic proto-feudalists. 

Only by rousing genuine anger at what’s been done to U.S. conservatism — denouncing those who transformed it into a know-nothing rabble waging war against science and every other caste of knowledge and skill in American life — might the once intellect-driven cause of Goldwater and Buckley and Eisenhower veer away from looming cliffs of insanity.

Alas, while Mr. Brooks tries for some stylishly militant flourishes, in calling for mainstream Republicans — state legislators and donors etc — to step up, in the end his proposal boils down to “let’s all rally behind Rubio and/or Bush.”  It lays no onus on the ruiners of the GOP who set up the current, Munich-style beer hall frenzy. Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdoch and their Saudi co-owners of a media machine whose blatant efforts to stir lobotomized populist radicalism are now coming home to roost… as the Junkers lords got more than they bargained for, in 1932 Germany.  

Here's a much harsher assessment of Mr. Brooks's call for the GOP "donor class" to step in and rescue the party from a populism they themselves created. No longer even offering a figleaf pretense that it has ever been about anything but oligarchy. 

(Nor is this "donor class" anything more than the surface. Underneath the Kochs and Murdochs etc is a flood of laundered Macao gambling money flowing to Republican candidates, a poisonous foreign influence that the U.S. political process would be better off without. And I will leave you with three guesses why Macau casinos are the most profitable in the world. Unrealistically and impossibly "profitable." You've had enough hints... and that is all that I will say about the source of that profitability.)

No, it will take more than this, Mr. Brooks, though I’ll give you credit for at least being more open and much more of a man than George F. Will, who could have ended this madness years ago, but wimped out.

== Triumph of the Won't ... and Failure of the Will == 

Of all the hypocrites who have aided and knowingly abetted the hijacking of American conservatism, none is more culpable than George F. Will, a columnist whose intelligence and wit and secure income would have equipped him to lead a counter-revolution against the ruination of the American Right… but for his craven selling-out.  

Back in the late nineties, Mr. Will clearly recognized the plain fact that metrics of U.S. national health do vastly better across democratic administrations than GOP ones, especially for conservative desiderata that range from trends in the direction of change of federal deficits, to entrepreneurship, all the way to military readiness. And regarding illegal immigration rates, which go in directions that would surprise you.

Hence, Mr. Will might have influenced his own party to emphasize rivalry vs the Democrats in innovating methods of governance that deliver equal or better quality of service, according to testable and verifiable metrics, while encouraging healthy market competition. (This approach was once championed by Barry Goldwater.)

Alas, instead of admitting that Bill Clinton was delivering the goods, and boldly suggesting that republicans be competitive in that arena - in delivering actually measurable outcomes of governance - he waffled, then followed the Fox calliope — the hypnotic, siren song of “hate all government, all the time, in principle!”  With the underlying agenda of rationalizing any excuse to benefit oligarchy.

He did this, only dragging his feet slightly, knowing full well that the Greatest Generation - our parents who defeated the Depression and Hitler and Stalin and built the great American Middle Class - would have found the nostrum both absurd and noxious.

During the G.W. Bush era, Mr. Will occasionally showed that he could see right through the madness called Straussian “neoconservatism” — a monumental lunacy that threw our mostly strong-beneficent-marshallian Pax Americana into disastrously debilitating, romantic-imperial adventures that only served the interests of a single, extremely hostile foreign power. George Will hinted repeatedly that he could see all this, but did he lead a rebellion against those bona fide monsters?  

Hinting, always hinting… he lets savvy readers in on the secret, with nods and winks, that he knows “Obamacare” was the Republicans’ own-damn-plan all along, and that it basically works, and could have been improved by a Republican Party that negotiates.  Knowing full well that the never-negotiate “Hastert Rule” is tantamount to treason, he did not defend it, but instead encouraged the mythology and mantra repeated endlessly by the remaining Republican intelligencia… that “democrats are just as bad.” 

A pretty-darned pathetic slogan for continued loyalty -- even if it were true.

Above all, George Will might have led a counter-reformation against the Murdoch-Saudi-Macau financing of American Madrassas such as Fox News, making especially clear his demurral versus their outright War on Science, a campaign of venomous hatred-of-expertise that now extends to every single smartypants clade, from teachers to medical doctors to economists, civil servants, law professionals, professors... and Will’s own craft of journalism. 

All of them now reviled by the revived confederacy.

== Putin-Worship ==

Nothing makes the craven betrayal of this articulate, polysyllabic sell-out as vivid and stark as this recent essay attacking Donald Trump for exchanging admiring-longing looks with Vladimir Putin.  

Oh, hypocrisy-to-the-hypocrite-power! It is the Fox-plus savanarolas of our sickly hijacked confederate-right who have kvelled all over Putin, for years, erecting a cult of idolatry toward the Russian leader calling him (as Forbes repeatedly gushes) by far the “most powerful man in the world.” 

Endlessly simpering at barechested images of Putin, American Talibanistas like Sean Hannity  have crooned over how America needs such a caudillo-style comandante, proclaiming that the Russian President routinely runs circles around our own "feckless" leadership. And, from time to time, George F. Will has joined the refrain of adoration odes (punctuated by “of course he’s evil,” with shrugged asides.)

Now? To blame Donald Trump for passing around the same Koolaid? Sorry boys, you spent decades and billions re-igniting the American Civil War, so do not be surprised when the memes get away from you, as they did (I'll reiterate) when the Junkers and industrialists roused similar populist hate-festivals in 1930s Germany, thinking they could keep it all under control.

Oh, about Putin? He who nibbled back the Crimea… after losing Ukraine from the Russian sphere of influence forever? Oh the Fox-hossanahs to "strongman" Putin -- and sneers at "feckless" Obama -- over Crimea, while never ever, ever mentioning the far larger western victory and Muscovian loss in Ukraine!

Any modern Russian will tell you that they do not view our current leadership as weak or impotent. Or "feckless." Vastly, vastly more important than Crimea or Syria, loss of Ukraine was a strategic debacle that they (including Putin) openly, publicly and loudly blame squarely on one guy. An aggressively potent Barack Obama.

 You know, the guy who killed Osama bin Laden and made Iran give up their bomb program and for the first time in 70 years is not giving the Saudis whatever they want. (Connect those two dots, will you?) The guy who took U.S. military readiness figures from zero percent of major Army and Marine units, at the end of the GW Bush administration, back to 100% today, as they were at the end of the Clinton Administration, while bringing death and casualty rates for U.S. service-folk back down to Clinton-era levels, as well, while supervising the most rapid technological transformation of Defense in history. That weakling?

Yeah, the "feckless" guy who (according to the Russians themselves) stole the Ukraine from them. Oh, and did I mention he killed Osama bin Laden? (Stop pretending you've forgotten that.) Yeah. That feckless one.

Mr. Will, you could have been historic. You might have helped lead a counter-reformation that saved American conservatism from such drooling insanity. Now? Sir, you will be utterly forgotten.


Duncan Cairncross said...

From the previous posting,
Golden Age of SF

Results of my survey of my library
Total of 252 Science Fiction writers
Dates of Birth
Before 1900 – 13
1900 to 1909 – 11
1910 to 1919 – 20
1920 to 1929 - 40
1930 to 1939 – 29
1940 to 1949 – 70
1950 to 1959 - 49
1960 to 1969 – 18
1 in 1970
1 in 1982

I think most SF writers have some sort of career before becoming writers so maybe 35 would be a normal age for a first reasonably well known book,

I think I’m missing a lot of writers from the 60’s and onwards
I’m from 1956 – I wonder if that is effecting things

I really don’t see the “Golden Age” (1938 to 1946)
What I do see is massive drop off dates of birth from the 60's - which kind of translates into a drop off of books by younger writers from the 90's

Is this just a change in my tastes?
Or did something more profound happen

sociotard said...

Worth Reading: Science can Quantify Risks, but it can't settle policy.

matthew said...

Slate has an interesting article today of the breakdown of Nate Silver's prediction model in the primaries regarding Trump.

I think that our host (and Nate again, to some degree) are underestimating the chances of Bernie Sanders beating Hilary Clinton in the Dem primary, and more importantly, what Sanders' success means for the long-term strength of the Dems. There is a very real possibility of the Democrats being pthe arty that fractures into two pieces instead of the Republicans as is commonly predicted. The "establishment" Dems will finish the 40-year rightward slide of the "center" of the party, and try to pick up fleeing non-insane conservatives, while the "progressive" wing of the party governs using the policies that the American people overwhelmingly support but the "establishment" Dems disdain, such as increased taxation on the rich, universal healthcare, reduced military budgets, and an emphasis on David's "best use of human capital." Sanders' rise can be seen as every bit as much an existential threat to Party Leaders as Cruz or Trump is to theirs. Frankly, Sanders' fight with party leaders may end up being more consequential to our nation in the long run.

occam;s comic said...

I think that both Trump and Sanders are drawing much of their support from the same source. Sense the 80s the elites of the United States have been following deliberate policies to take pay and benefits from people who get paid hourly wages and redistribute them to the upper ~10% (not just the 1%, although the 1% benefited the most). Union busting, neoliberal trade policies, massive legal and illegal immigration, subsidizing job killing technology and the rapid rise in the cost of higher education have all screwed over Americans who work for an hourly wage and their children.

It was a slow but steady assault on hourly wage earners, but it is clear as day now.

Robert said...

Don't discount science fiction webcomics from the list of science fiction writers. It is difficult to get into published fiction. Publishing houses are loathed to take chances that get in the way of profits, and science fiction is not a big earner. But webcomics? You can publish your own for a low upfront cost compared to self-publishing.

And what about self-publishing, both online and in print? How many science fiction authors are there among the self-publishing crowd, and among the online scifi fiction writers?

Or for that matter... science fiction short videos posted on YouTube?

There is a huge amount of science fiction out there. You just need to look somewhere beyond the bookshelves of Barnes and Noble.

Rob H.

Anonymous said...

The only intelligence in America more odious than George Will would be Bill Kristol. There was never a real opportunity for the Conservative Movement to change their ways, because their entire governing ethos is wrapped around a self-righteous sense of zero-sum gamesmanship. When they win elections, it God's own will, and a mandate to do as they see right. The first few lost election are to be seen as God's punishment for straying from the one true Faith. After that the Conservative power broker must then denigrate the system (Democracy) as having failed Supply-Side Jesus™. I do not really think most of these Dingbats really intend on secession or a right-wing putsch, but will happily go along if given the option by the more Machiavellian Conservative Billionaire Club. The American military apparatus is not dumb enough to throw in with a Confederate Coup, so the donor class of the Grande Olde Confederate Party will likely chose a combination of (even greater) electoral cheating and regional nullification to create de facto secession.
In the next few decades two things will become clearly obvious to the American public; the horrific reality of global climate change and the eventual replacement of ALL human employment by machines and software. If the Confederates have not consolidated control over every lever of political power by then, they will lose everything in the populist uprising. We truly do live in interesting times.


Laurent Weppe said...

* "As for Trump? While most of the world piles onto him as “fascist” (an accusation I tend not to believe)"

Still clinging to the delusion that fascism is a coherent ideology, aren't we?
It is not: fascism is, at its root, an attempt to use supremacism (nationalistic, ethnic, religious, cultural) to justify the desire to establish an autocracy funded via raubwirtschaft ("Make the Mexicans pay for it! Take Daesh's oil!").

Jumper said...

After a long hiatus, Black Box Voting has posted a number of new articles about their long term mission, which is educating the public about how best to create and oversee secure elections. I highly recommend spending several hours reviewing all the information available. She (Bev Harris) has her entire book online, for example, and it's packed with information. I wouldn't attempt to just look at it and then forget it. It should enable anyone to speak intelligently about what is desirable in public elections. (Just as an example, I often read various people's "great ideas" for revamped processes in elections, and their system completely leaves out the concept of "secret ballot" which we have in this country. Wheel-re-inventors are worse than useless sometimes.)

Jumper said...

For example:

damanoid trapezoid said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David Brin said...

Sorry Matthew but I think your scenario is silly. Sure, Sanders has a shot. At which point he would beg… literally … Hillary to be his running mate for the sake of a unity you don’t believe possible. And if not her then the Governor of NM Susana Martinez.

The "establishment" Dems do NOT disdain increased taxation on the rich, or universal healthcare. But they pick their battles. (Sometimes wrongly, but with an insane congress we were barely able to get Obamacare - the GOP’s own… damn… plan. You win both houses, bigtime, and you’ll see movement on those. Yes with Hill as prexy.

Slashing the military? That’s a red herring. Most dems do NOT see that as a huge priority. Not compared to a 5% increase in taxes for the rich, which would cover keeping defense strong. Or breaking up banks so they won't be too big to fail and several other Sanders priorities.

"Sanders' rise can be seen as every bit as much an existential threat to Party Leaders as Cruz or Trump is to theirs.”

You are hallucinating! What the heck are you on? Their only big concern is keeping the white house and winning back congress. And their reasons apply largely whichever of them wins.

As I have said… what matters is - in order - the Court, the executive branch appointments, Congress, and then which particular demmie sits in the oval office. And for that reason I deem the simmering ANGER spilling from some Sanders supporters to be sad and unhelpful.

In all four categories, the only thing that matters is to get the Murdoch-Saudi-Bushite-Cheney machine’s fangs and talons off of the republic. When that happens, we all — including the Republican Party — can get on the path of healing. And the difference between Sanders or Hillary in the WH, while significant, is inconsequential compared to the needs I just expressed.

Rob H I follow a few Web comix. Just haven’t had much time. Schlock Mercenary is great!

AtomicZ: The difference is that Kristol is purely evil and stupid, while Mr. Will is smart and repeatedly hints that he can see the insanity, but then deliberately chooses to suck up to it.

Laurent: No, I just don’t believe Trump is sincere in even one of his professed hatreds.

Paul451 said...

Re: Golden Era

Wouldn't publication dates for each book be more useful for era-separation than the DoB of the author? That way you can just list them up by decade.

Also, if you are charting eras, it might be useful (software willing) to try to work out a rough year-of-your-first-read. (And for bonus points, year-of-your-most-recently-read.)

Year-of-your-first-read will let you group your childhood reading list separately from your early adult, from your dotage. (And also your dot-age. When you went online a started consuming your free time with reading of a different kind.) That should bracket it by the period of your life.

You may find (as with me) that you read a lot of Golden Era SF when you were young (since it was meant for that age), moved into heavier stuff in your particularly late teens, went through phases of mostly new authors vs mostly completionism, complex to bubble-gum, as you went through different period of your life.



If anyone wants to go back through the previous thread and copypasta all the listed authors into a simple text file. Then go through and rank them by readability. From the lightest space-opera and juvie/bubblegum, through action/page-turner, to more and more complex, to the most demanding need-to-read-it-several-times-just-to-read-it-once.

Alfred Differ said...

If Trump is sincere about any of his professed hatreds, chapter 10 of Hayek's 'The Road to Serfdom' applies. Even if he isn't, my concern is that people he brings into power with him will be.

Alfred Differ said...

@Duncan: I suspect that using DOB will bias your findings by detecting the Baby Boom instead of the Golden Age. Using First Published will help a bit, First Read should help more, but I'd bet the boom will still pollute the findings.

Catfish N. Cod said...

The types of anger are completely different.... but telling.

Sanders' Berners are angry because the mismanagement has bitten them, and they see how even discussing certain possibilities -- even ones that are not, strictly speaking, leftist or socialist -- has been choked off for all their lives. Heck, in that sense I even agree with them! Even if we aren't going to do Medicare-for-all, or a universal tuition plan (to pick ideas I think disastrous and promising, respectively) it's not going to destroy the Republic for people to discuss them.

Sanders is only a threat to the portion of the national Democratic establishment that so calcified around the idea of Hillary as the Crown Princess that they can't operate without it. That leaves most of the rest of the party intact. Besides, the Democratic Party is too decentralized for the loss of the Hillary camp to be a mortal blow or even a tremendous change.

But oh the difference on the other side.

The Donald's Trumpeters are angry because they realize they've been lied to. Exactly who lied, and why, they haven't quite figured out; they feel that both parties have betrayed them -- the Democrats by serving interests they feel are aligned against them (which brings out the nativist and racist elements, but also includes class dissatisfaction) and the Republicans by the party's establishment controllers. Not all the nuances have come through, but they know they been done wrong, and they rejoice in a man able and willing to poke thumbs in eyes across the spectrum. Which is why they won't be switching candidates no matter what anyone says, and if the Donald loses the GOP nomination, they would gladly follow him into an independent run.

Cruz Controllers are angry because they want a revolution. Cruz has been courting the Tea Party from the day he walked into the Senate; now he has the Religious Right as well. They too want to overthrow the GOP establishment, but unlike Trump, they have the army to rebuild it into the economically libertarian, socially authoritarian monster that the noise machine has pretended all this time to support.

Sanders just wants to open the Overton Window back to the left, and his supporters have the anger and righteousness of opening opportunities. But they don't actually disagree with the ideas the Democratic Party has stood for; they just think they are freeing it from the chains of Wall Street and the triangulation calculations that have defined House Clinton from the beginning.

Trump and Cruz, on the other hand, are the whirlwind reaped, to mangle the prophet Hosea. The Cruz Controllers drank the Koolaid and loved it; the Trumpeters know the bitter dregs at the bottom. Both are creations of the cynicism of the GOP masterminds, of Gingrich and Limbaugh, Ailes and Rove, who for decades have used and abused their "base" and never given them economic security, just ephemeral promises of social and administrative revolution. (I partially exempt Gingrich, who actually did have a semi-sane agenda he wanted to implement... and was almost immediately devoured by the zombie army he raised to do it with.)

Either one would break and remold the GOP, one by being uncontrollable, the other by replacing the Establishment with the zealot shadow-cabinet. Either way, the days of the agenda being set by Masters of the Universe and faithfully echoed by the Voice of Murdoch would be over.

Duncan Cairncross said...

Hi Paul451

I used authors and DOB because I have 252 SF authors and somewhere about 2000 books!

Going through 252 authors and finding DOB was not too bad - I'm a mechanical engineer so I did it by hand

Going through 2000+ books is...
Cancel that it may actually be easier! - I have publication dates on each book
Lets see if I can export in a usable format

Be back later

Jumper said...

The Golden Age is from 11 to 20.

David Brin said...

Bill Moyers and Michael Winship offer a line from the movie version of the musical Cabaret. In pre-Third Reich Germany, the decadent Baron Maximilian von Heune is talking with the British writer Brian Roberts, explaining why the elite have allowed this Hitler fellow to get a jackboot in the door.

“The Nazis are just a gang of stupid hooligans, but they do serve a purpose,” he says. “Let them get rid of the Communists. Later we’ll be able to control them.”

So... someone else has noticed the parallels. Good.

Stefan Jones said...

Marvin Minsky has died.

I met him once. We were at the same banquet table at the CONTACT world building conference.

He wanted a pat of butter for his dinner roll. Rather than ask for someone to pass the dish of little butter spheres, he jammed together three or four forks to create an arc-shaped semi-rigid tool.

Which he successfully used to reach across the table to spear some butter.

Tim H. said...

The predicament of the GOP reminds me of a Dave Berg piece in MAD where a couple decides to see what a dog would do if it caught a car, they stop... and find out. Even if the GOP thought of such a metaphor, they seem to not have thought about the lack of a car wash to clean up the consequences.

Duncan Cairncross said...

Hi Paul451

When I go by publication date (not necessarily first publication date)just publication date of the book I have
2270 books

1940,s - 2
1950,s - 7
1960,s - 112
1970,s - 411
1980,s - 604
1990,s - 630
2000,s - 372
2010,s - 130

My memory is definitely NOT good enough for a year I first read it!

Still a fall off this century - but nothing like as bad as I expected

David Brin said...

Sorry. but Sanders romantics chap my hide. NOT because you love your guy, but because you are drama queening it, as if this were Eugene McCarthy vs Lyndon Johnson. Puh-leez.

As I have said… what matters is - in this order - the Court, the executive branch appointments, Congress, and then which particular demmie sits in the oval office. Watch. Sanders will support nominee Hillary or else Hillary will support nominee Sanders.

If you guys get all romantic, and go sulking off in a huff -- if/when Hillary wins the nomination -- then I will hunt you down with a stick. Al Gore won the presidency in 2000, but it was close enough in a couple places that the goppers could cheat. Why... Ralph... freaking... Nader... and his romantic dope followers. And that is why we got no action on climate change, and the Roberts Court and so on.

Hey, I am from 1968. I was 17 years old. A year - any one WEEK of which would have killed any of you callow, soft youngsters. My dad was 20 feet from Robert Kennedy when he was shot. I know what romanticism can do. And it was a poison when the Nader-ites followed its addictive allure and slew our hopes, in 2000.

I am old enough to have seen this, many times. And this romantic twaddle is bullshit. Support Sanders if you like. I am listening. But with the Court and the civil service and Congress all hanging in the balance, you should be declaring for a yellow dog, so long as that dog is not a Murdoch-Saudi controlled GOP shill.

Duncan Cairncross said...

From the outside (NZ)

Hillary looks like the "safe bet"
But with Hillary you probably won't get a "wave" and win the House

Bernie looks more risky - but you may get a surge of support that gives you the House

So safe and win small
Or risky and may win bigger

But I agree any supporters of either one that don't line up behind the Democratic winner should be smacked about the head with a two by four

locumranch said...

Triumph of the Will?? Trump of the Will is more likely.

Driving cross-country this weekend, I had the misfortune of listening to Rush Limbaugh on the radio. An odious little personality, he shares his true power with the likes of Jesse Jackson, for they see the direction that public sentiment is going, then rush to front of this parade with a baton, so they may pretend to lead.

It is true that US Conservatives are increasingly angry, and that the Republican Party is in crisis, mostly because US Conservatives have finally noticed that established Republicans are NOT conservatives who favour personal autonomy, free speech, free association, less government, an end to military adventurism or even 'family values'.

Like the US Democrats, the US Republicans favour Big Government, needless complexity, a +9 Million Word Tax Code, legislated limits on free speech, free trade & free association, corporate cronyism, wage slavery, big lies, bread and circuses.

Limbaugh has noticed (which is why he now supports Trump), and the National Review has also noticed, triggering its repudiation of the Trumpening*, the irony being that a vote for Trump (a self-serving, billionaire, oligarch) is a vote of 'No Confidence' on an increasingly duplicitous Establishment.

For, now is the winter of our discontent, soon to be followed by a Conservative Spring that will make Tahrir Square seem like an ice cream social.


*Check out Scott Adam's Blog for a more humorous take on the Donald.

Marino said...

it would be "Savonarolas" with an -o (Italian nazigrammar...)

now, it's me or is our host seeing Trump as something better than the current GOP? Seen from outside, the guy seems like the candidate in Cronenberg's The Dead Zone, and I bet that if nominated or running as independent, he will not rally to the center, but pump up the nativist/racist/knownothing message.

Re : Sanders, I agree that making viable again in US debate policies that in Europe are mainstream among even Merkel style conservatives, not socialists, is a good thing, but I concur on Realpolitik. Maybe if he'll settle as VP.

"For, now is the winter of our discontent, soon to be followed by a Conservative Spring that will make Tahrir Square seem like an ice cream social."

Do you mean, as in " raping women in the square, and electing a Nehemiah Scudder then to be ousted by military coup? " stuff to make Benedict Arnold look patriot, indeed. Major civil strife within the borders of a nuclear power is matter for nightmare. A second civil war may mean at the best a joint NATO intervention within the US with Bundeswehr Leopard tanks rolling in Washington DC and Italian Carabinieri doing constabulary role, and at its worst a Russian or Chinese attempt at destroying the US nuclear force before it's used against them by some crazy guy in power. Beware what you wish for.

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin:

Laurent: No, I just don’t believe Trump is sincere in even one of his professed hatreds.

Caveat emptor, I haven't yet caught up on all of the prolific comments here. But it sounds as if you're beginning to agree with my prediction/assessment that Donald Trump is playing a part. He's doing Colbert on steroids. And he's simply not going to break character no matter where it leads, even to the White House.

Jumper said...

The constant call for "small government" is misguided. It's an arrogation of duty, a simple unexamined bit of opaque demagoguery, and an excuse for mental and moral laziness. It's akin to tearing down a house because you're too lazy to paint and replace a couple of rotten boards, or declaring your car is worthless because it needs a tuneup. It needs to function, is the point. Size is not the issue about poor performance.

Look at all the online comments you see everywhere by people who have no real idea how government even works, what is actual history, or what debates have occurred already in our past.

Tony Fisk said...

July 2016. The crowd hushes as shadowy figures take the stage at the Republican Convention. The speakers crackle into life:

"So ya
Thought ya might like to go to the show
To feel the warm thrill of illusion
The toupee might throw

I've got some bad news for you sunshine
Don isn't well, he stayed back at the hotel

And they sent us along in a pink cummerband
And we're going to find out where you fans really stand"

Jon S. said...

Given some of the recent pronouncements, I'm beginning to wonder if the Donald might have started this whole "running for President" thing as a self-promotion method, and became terrified when it started to take off. He can't repudiate it at this point, because that would ruin the PR he was after, so he's trying to say and do ever more repugnant things in an effort to undercut his own support. And none of it is working.

In that hypothesis, Trump is every bit as frightened of the prospect of his being elected as the rest of us.

Of course, I don't really think that's what's going on - his public statements going back as far as the Trump Casino opening in Atlantic City give one the strong impression of a victim of clinical narcissism, unable to ever see himself as anything but perfect - but it does make for an interesting interpretation of his actions thus far, n'est-ce pas?

David Brin said...

Larryhart, Colbert broke character when it finally suited him, Trump would, as well. Oh, don’t get me wrong, he’d terrify me, in the White House. He’s a stupendous bully and he would feel behooved to put in practice at least 1/3 of his tea-party/BeerHall stances. But I’d still prefer him over any of the other GOPpers except Kasich. Because the rest are either screeching horrors, like Cruz, or else absolute shills who will appoint to courts and agencies anyone the Saudis tell them to.

Tony, your poetical riff is highly realistic, I believe. Paul Ryan is perhaps already practicing the stirring eulogy he will give, after Donald mysteriously vanishes. Get your hands on the old flick THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE.

Locum was in fine fettle. Wrongheaded in his simplistic dispepctic all-govt-is-always evil reflex - especially since dems are known to DE-regulate (ICC,CAB, ATT, GPS and so on)... still, much more cogently expressed, son.

A.F. Rey said...

FiveThirtyEight has an interesting piece about the book, "The Party Decides," and how it may relate to this election cycle. Nate Silver suggests that the staying power of Trump may indicate that the Republican party has become internally divided, and is in the throes of a "realignment."

occam's comic said...

I get the feeling that nobody on this site actually knows any Trump supporters, and seems that people think that they are a bunch of angry stupid racists, who don’t even know why they are angry.
So as a person who lives in the rust belt and works in an industrial setting let me provide a little insight.
Most of the Trump supporters I know are hourly wage earners. And they know that both republicans and democrats sold them out on free trade. They know they are the ones that payed the cost for Free Trade in reduced wages, benefits and opportunities. They also know that most of the benefits have gone to the wealthy and the highly educated. They blame the college educated jerks who closed the factories in the Midwest and moved them to Mexico or China. They know the workers there are low paid, abused by management and live in heavily polluted areas. And the cheap shoddy goods they can now buy doesn’t begin to make up for the loss.
They see both democrats and republicans as partners with the banksters. Clinton, Bush and Obama enabled the banksters to commit massive fraud, wreck the economy, and not just get away with it, but be rewarded for their deeds.
And as far as Obama care goes they see it as being forced to pay for crappy for profit insurance, with massive copays and hidden expense when they try to use the insurance. Just another way the wealthy and highly educated are screwing them over.
So when they see how much both republicans and democrats hate Trump, they get a kind of “enemy of my enemy” feeling. Trump may not actually make things better for them but they know traditional republicans and democrats have been actively making things worse for them.
If not Trump 2016 someone even worse in 2020. This long simmering resentment isn’t going away because it is based in the actual lives they are living.

Jon S. said...

So, like you said, razor - a bunch of angry stupid racists who don't even know why they're angry. I mean, that's what your description boils down to.

occam's comic said...

Jon S
I find it funny that someone with such obviously poor reading comprehension skills feels free to call other people stupid.

David Brin said...

Occam and Jon S you are both right, aiming spotlights at different layers or different parts of the elephant.

Sure Obamacare is inferior to Canadian Health in every way. But we could never get Canadian Health while the Fox-propelled Hastert Rule was in place. The fact is that crappy, for profit Obamacare was the GOP's own damn and all that Obbama could push through... and it is still a vast improvement.

Likewise, do many dems cozy to moguls? Sure. But to the old-fashioned degree, not the wholly-owned degree and the proof is which party WILL make moguls pay more. Maybe not as much more as Sanders and Warren want, but a lot more. And maybe not all of the money will go out of politics, but the tsunamis will.

And has anyone noticed how little difference money has made, this year? The Kochs are panicking. Jeb! just spent $40million in Iowa. That Forty freaking million dollars. He sent around free video pads in the mail... open them and instead of whistling happy birthday they offer a video ad! And he budged not even 1%

No, tell me when they wake up enough to realize that they've been riled up to hate scientists and civil servants and freaking SCHOOL TEACHERS. instead of the moguls who are raping them. Maybe then I'll sympathize. Till then, all I see is Fort Sumter and Munich. And Nuremberg

David Brin said...

Back on-topic... Nate Silver at 538 tends to be too garrulous and slow getting to the point. But his article on Why the GOP establishment can't stop Trump is still interesting. He posits several theories. Then:

"Maybe the most incredible passage of the campaign cycle comes from a recent Jonathan Martin article in The New York Times. It suggests that some Republican professionals are supporting Trump because they think he’ll lose:

" -- 'Of course, this willingness to accommodate Mr. Trump is driven in part by the fact that few among the Republican professional class believe he would win a general election. In their minds, it would be better to effectively rent the party to Mr. Trump for four months this fall, through the general election, than risk turning it over to Mr. Cruz for at least four years, as either the president or the next-in-line leader for the 2020 nomination.' --"

This nibbles at my own ideas (above) but off-target a bit. Cruz would not be next-in-line if he were a losing presidential nominee this year. Only if he were a losing VICE-presidential nominee.

LarryHart said...

r Brin:

Bill Moyers and Michael Winship offer a line from the movie version of the musical Cabaret. In pre-Third Reich Germany, the decadent Baron Maximilian von Heune is talking with the British writer Brian Roberts, explaining why the elite have allowed this Hitler fellow to get a jackboot in the door.

“The Nazis are just a gang of stupid hooligans, but they do serve a purpose,” he says. “Let them get rid of the Communists. Later we’ll be able to control them.”

So... someone else has noticed the parallels. Good.

That's what occured to me from the start of the Trump phenomenon. Not that scene, but the later one in the movie where an outdoor crowd breaks out in the song "Tomorrow Belongs To me!" As Max and whoever else it was drive past, one asks rhetorically, "Do you still think you can control them?"

Whether or not Donald Trump is personally a fascist is immaterial. He's playing a role to the hilt, and you yourself have noticed how much that role resembles the way support was whipped up by the Nazi party in early 1930s Germany.

LarryHart said...


For, now is the winter of our discontent, soon to be followed by a Conservative Spring that will make Tahrir Square seem like an ice cream social.

The South will rise again, eh?

Oh, and BTW:
Conservatives are kings of compromise.
It hurts them more to jeer than to applaud.

LarryHart said...


Now, it's me or is our host seeing Trump as something better than the current GOP? Seen from outside, the guy seems like the candidate in Cronenberg's The Dead Zone, and I bet that if nominated or running as independent, he will not rally to the center, but pump up the nativist/racist/knownothing message.

Isn't Ted Cruz more evocative of the Dead Zone guy?

LarryHart said...


"For, now is the winter of our discontent, soon to be followed by a Conservative Spring that will make Tahrir Square seem like an ice cream social."

Do you mean, as in " raping women in the square, and electing a Nehemiah Scudder then to be ousted by military coup? " stuff to make Benedict Arnold look patriot, indeed.

I think what locum means is that, after years of red state "values voters" inexplicably putting corporatist Republicans in office, they are now fed up enough to take up arms against the Democrats.

Treebeard said...

A couple of observations (sorry, no rant this time).

I think occam's comic is on the mark about Trump's appeal, even if he's just paraphrasing John Michael Greer's latest post (

Trump may be a troll, but he's so good at it that he might troll his way all the way to the White House. When your society is a circus, why not elect the best clown? All hail the trollocracy!

LarryHart said...

Jon S:

Given some of the recent pronouncements, I'm beginning to wonder if the Donald might have started this whole "running for President" thing as a self-promotion method, and became terrified when it started to take off. He can't repudiate it at this point, because that would ruin the PR he was after, so he's trying to say and do ever more repugnant things in an effort to undercut his own support. And none of it is working.

In that hypothesis, Trump is every bit as frightened of the prospect of his being elected as the rest of us.

I've thought the same thing. But I think he's also fascinated to see just how far he can go. That's why he won't "break character", come what may. But he will keep amping up the insults, just to see his popularity continue to increase. In fact, I think he's no longer surprised by it, but rather morbidly fascinated.

That latest bit about how he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and not lose support was straight out of the old tv show "The West Wing". A leader of an Arab nation who was an "ally" but might have also been behind acts of terrorism was talking to Leo McGarry, the president's chief of staff. This scene happened to be taking place in New York City, btw. And the guy comments that he understands how President Bartlet can't be too critical of him during an election cycle. And Leo snorks back something like "On the contrary, all Bartlet would have to do to guarantee is reelection is to shoot you in Times Square and then walk across to Nathan's and eat a hot dog."

Oh and appropos nothing else, does "Jon S" stand for Jon Sable, by any chance?

occam's comic said...

Sorry Dave, but the Hassert rule had nothing to do with Obama Care. Mandatory, expensive, crappy for profit insurance was passed when democrats controlled the house the senate and the white house. Now, that democrats passed the crappy republican plan doesn’t really show people that the democrats are better than the republicans does it?
And are you willing to admit that hourly wage earners have been sold down the river by both democrats and republicans alike? In the 1970’s a person working an hourly wage could support a family, own a home, go on the occasional vacation and have a pension all on one income. And their kids could go to college and pay for it by working part time as a bartender or waitress. None of that is true anymore, and it is a deliberate outcome of the “free trade” policies of both democrats and republicans.
And under Obama the rule of law doesn’t really apply to wealthy bankers.
And under Obama all the gains from the “economic recovery” has gone to the top 10%. With most of that going to the top 1%.

LarryHart said...

occam's comic:

So when they see how much both republicans and democrats hate Trump, they get a kind of “enemy of my enemy” feeling. Trump may not actually make things better for them but they know traditional republicans and democrats have been actively making things worse for them

That actually makes sense. It speaks to people who have given up any hope of things getting better for themselves, and will settle for "driving my enemies nuts" as a consolation prize. I felt that way during the 2008 banking crisis. I was actively rooting for the system to collapse, shades of locumranch. But I wasn't doing so because I thought I'd have a better life after the economy crashed. It was strictly a desire to see the ones who brought us to that precipice reap what they had sown.

Catfish N. Cod said...

Stephan, I met Dr. Minsky at a seminar once as well; he spoke well of my projects, and gave me a quirky take on them. He was one of a kind.

Larry, David, you've got it. Trumpeters are out for -- not precisely revenge, but overturn. They are by and large those who have not been doing well over the last few decades. They feel that Democrats are not representing them at all. Ironically, the last Democrat who visibly did was Bill Clinton -- but they felt betrayed by him because he also supported the aspirations of African-Americans, whom Trumpeters feel to be competitors granted unfair advantages by history. They also feel that Republicans no longer represent them, having finally wised up as having been used all this time to further the purposes of the GOP overlords. And they realize that campaign finance is the halter used to control the politicians.

So having someone who has the money to tell them to go to hell, and the personality and gumption to do so on a regular basis -- that gives them hope. Hope that something, anything, can change in their lives. They feel Obama was a false promise on that -- never mind that any attempts Obama made to help them were wiped out by the GOP. But they won't take posturing and razzle-dazzle as proof of "outsider" status anymore. Trump gives them what they want -- an angry voice that can't be silenced.

They haven't given up hope, but it almost doesn't matter if Trump can actually deliver... as long as he confounds the Establishment enough to get the America they can see out of a disastrous rut. (It's only their communities that are in that rut... but that's a large enough chunk of the country that it really matters that the rut exists.)

ElitistB said...

"but the Hassert rule had nothing to do with Obama Care. Mandatory, expensive, crappy for profit insurance was passed when democrats controlled the house the senate and the white house."
It doesn't? Do you happen to recall exactly how long the democrats controlled both houses? It is pretty interesting to actually check in to that value. First, "Both houses" doesn't mean anything if you don't have the Senate, as the Senate can kill most things. I recall thinking "2 years, and all they got was health care, and even that just barely". Then I checked.

The actual figure is less than 4 months. 2 of those were a November and December.

Yes, hourly wage earners have been sold down the river, but most of that was the past 16 years. And the Democrats didn't have all that much control during that 16 without doing the same thing that the Republicans were derided for... fillibuster fillibuster fillibuster, following their own side of the Hastert rule. They evidently weren't willing to do that.

Other things that the 1970s didn't have:
1. Much computer automation
2. Telecom technology.

So a lot of higher paying positions simply don't exist. You don't need a lot of white collar office workers when computers do it all. And you need even less when you can hire off-shore and they use telecom tech to perform the work (regardless of what you might think of the quality of it).

Since the 1970s, there have been fundamental economic shifts, and the populace doesn't appear to have kept up, and they haven't elected the government to allow it to keep up.

matthew said...

Perhaps a few of the comments here have changed your mind re: Sanders and the future of the Dems., perhaps not. You are remarkably resistant to evidence sometimes. This might be one of the times or maybe you have seen some evidence of life among the Dems that you have not shared.

Here is more non-empirical evidence for you. I live in Oregon and I see tons of political bumper stickers. Lots of Sanders, Cruz, Carson, etc. I've never seen a Clinton sticker. Nor yard signs. I know, personally, many Sanders supporters, Trump supporters, hell I even know a Jeb true believer. I don't know one person that wants Clinton to be president. Not one. No Clinton facebook posts, no defenders of the middle. None.

Sanders polls better than Clinton against Trump, Cruz, et al. And, yes, the left will mostly reign in and vote for Clinton, if she is the nominee. But she is exciting no one with her ideas or her conduct. A primary is where the market of politics happens. I'm waiting to see what the market does with this one. Sometimes the market destroys the dominant business model. I think we are watching this play out on both sides of the American political fence. You don't think so, fine. Let's see what the market does.

NoOne said...

Julia Azari at Vox has a really nice article arguing that Trump is a perfectly disjunctive candidate like Franklin Pierce, Herbert Hoover and Jimmy Carter before him. From TFA, "the disjunctive phase is typically characterized by two problems: The different factions in the [Republican] party can no longer be reconciled, and the priorities of powerful voices within the party can no longer be reconciled with the national mood and its policy imperatives."

In this view then, and in all fairness, the article DOES NOT take it this far, we have presidential epochs ending with failed disjunctive presidents.

Washington -> Quincy Adams (Founder Era)
Jackson -> Buchanan (Farming Era) (with Pierce preceding)
Lincoln -> Hoover (Industrial Era))
FDR -> Carter (New Deal/Union)
Reagan -> Trump? (Business Era)

An interesting prediction of the disjunctive presidential candidate theory is the emergence of new players like Trump who transcend the factions in the [Republican] party (in this case). It also suggests - and this is genuinely scary - that we are due for a failed disjunctive president.

raito said...

Listening to the radio yesterday, Trump actually had a cogent sound bit that's consistent with his persona over the years. Naturally, what surrounded it was bunk, but you can't have everything. He said that politics requires deals, and those who don't deal have failed as politicians. Fits with his 'Art of the Deal'. And may be what he thinks (though who he thinks the deals are with is yet to be seen). Unfortunately, it was most likely a rant against his competition.

What I was hoping for in 2008 was that the government would finance the FDIC, pay off the depositors, and let the investment banks fail. The debts they owned weren't going to go away -- someone would have bought them. Some of the rank and file would have lost their jobs, and that would have been bad. But not all of them, because the added load on the continuing concerns would have needed labor. Too big to fail is too big to exist.

Regarding the ACA, I wonder if someone has an answer for me. I can't recall a successful outcome happening from solely regulating the middleman, which I what I see the ACA doing (regulating the insurers, aside from the mandatory coverage thing). It seems as though the actual costs keep going up and up, so I can't see how regulating the insurers is going to make things affordable, other than whatever pressure the insurers, as the primary payers in the US, have. We sure wouldn't have this problem is surgeries were a dime and drugs a penny (to reduce my point).

And I'm ambivalent on the idea that the insurers get better pricing than the average joe. On the one hand, capitalism sort of requires that this sort of negotiation take place. On the other, you end up with a practical monopoly for the insurers (or is it a cartel?).

Are there any examples where regulating the middlemen while not controlling the actual costs has worked?

bigsteve said...

Lots of good post. There are overlaps and mixes between classes. I just retired from a power plant as a lab, chemical, water treatment technician. Common names were Lab Technician or Power Plant Chemist. Most people in my job in the industry are on salary. I was on hourly which was a blessing as the hours were long at all kinds of times. If I had been salary I would of brought a cot to work as I would never leave. And yes with overtime made a six figure salary higher than most salary people at my company. Both daughters salaried make much less. Now retire I live well off of a pension (investment) and Social Security (part investment and part welfare). I have saved a significant 457B account which I do not need to or want to tap (investment). Many people I worked with had side businesses, often making as much or more than from wage work. I live around people who work for wages and are in the predicament you described. I also have relatives that are in high paid professions like a dentist who don't really fit your salary class. I chose my line of work because it takes a high degree of training, experience, mental toughness and cannot be easily outsourced. I often made decisions on complex processes that affected at times million of dollars. Being hard to replace,(not irreplaceable, no one is) was why I made very good money and had high job stability. It is a bit more complicate on how we make our dough than your description. But yes I agree with your general premise that working people have been screwed over the last several generations and now are in rebellion. This time mirrors the late 19th century and early 20th century. We need a new Teddy Roosevelt and FDR.

David Brin said...

ElitistB exactly right. I had forgotten to do the Senate math. Just 4 months. In those 4 months the Dems managed to get Obamacare and 20 million Americans insured while slowing the rate of increase of medical costs and reducing the emergency room crisis. They also passed the CAFÉ auto efficiency standards after 20 + years of GOP delay, with spectacular effects. They rammed through water and air measures, got climate satellites budgeted again and wrestled with keeping the Great Recession from becoming a depression. The Consumer Finance agency may not be perfect, but it exists now, at least, with some teeth, and thanks to that Congress amending the Bushite bailouts, we actually broke even on most of the bailouts of Detroit, Fannie, Freddie and TARP.

Did Obama’s Treasury guy - Geithner? - give Goldmann Sachs a sweetheart deal? Sure, there’s plenty to be mad at! Though last month Goldmann still ponied over about $10Billion in long delayed punishments, which you’d not have gotten under a BUshite regime.

I could go on. There are many gripes and I still don’t forgive Nancy Pelosi for failing to re-establish OTA. I hope a GOP shellacking will be followed by some real business… and a negotiating table to which a chastened conservative America returns, ready to criticize and improve.

But fate preserve us from purists! The Naderites have George W. Bush and Dick Cheney and the dead in Iraq and our melting ice-caps to atone for.

Oh re: working americans? Exactly what would you have done, Occam? Cancelled globalization? The one force that is transforming BILLIONS around the world into middle class stake-holders instead of simmering mobs? A middle class Mexico is our #1 security goal. It will be our greatest accomplishment, turning Mexico into a 2nd Canada. The resulting continent will be at peace and prosperous. And NAFTA helped to achieve that.

Not one radical "we lost some jobs!" ranter ever takes that humungous accomplishment into account. And the Mexican middle class is now buying lots of our stuff. And cheap oil is returning manufacturing tothe US.

And the Saudis, who own the GOP hate cheap oil. So there you go.
NoOne… interesting, though I am suspicious of cycles of history.

Matthew, Hillary is non-romantic, of course you see no bumber stickers. We’ll all campaign for her because America has to defeat the Confederacy again.

BTW… those of you who think I am anti-Sanders? Blow it off. Stop reacting romantically. I like him. I am to the right of him but a pendulum swing in that direction could do us some good.

David Brin said...

WHy do I have reservations about Bernie? Not huge ones, but some...
I know my fellow boomers and I am not at all convinced that the "commie" card cannot be played against Bernie with some real effectiveness.

Second, I am among those few who value actual administrative experience, which Clinton did not have in 2008 but has plenty of now and Bernie has zilch. She would not have the long learning curve that Obama faced and that hurt us. And she has Bill, the best president since -- well I'd have to say Truman.

To be honest? Both she and Bernie seem a little shrill. I like em both but wish we had more choice. She scared everyone else off and for that I give Bernie real cred.

My last reason? I have hackles that Bernie is maybe 5% crazy. That's not bad odds and I'll bet on him, if he gets the nom. Heck, I am still willing to hold back and maybe even vote for him in the CA primary... though my heart belongs to Jerry Brown.

But Hillary is exactly what she seems. Warts? Yes. Any crazy at all? Zero,

Oh one more thing. Bern reminds me SO_O_O_O much of my father. That's not a BAD thing... but creeps me out.

occam's comic said...

Hi Bigsteve,
I work at a chemical plant in the mid west as a product development chemist. I work with hourly folks all the time and not one of them is stupid or racist, you remind me of them. And I agree with just about everything you wrote.

How many republicans voted for the ACA? none (unless you count joe lieberman)
The democrats had majorities in both the house and senate for two years.
they could have passed anything they wanted, they chose to enact the republican plan for mandatory, expensive, crappy, for profit health insurance.

The Neo liberal trade policies we have are not an act of god they are the choice of both republicans and democrats in government. And those policies have imposed huge costs american hourly workers.

Now Dave may say say these trade policies are great example of a positive sum game but I am not so sure. We have traded away an america in which most people could earn a decent standard of living for an america that only values the wealthy and highly educated. A world in which third world subsistence farmers became corporate wage slaves, who will also suffer the long term consequences of the environmental pollution they are being exposed to. (an example of something that is a bit positive sum in the short run (maybe?) and increasingly negative sum in the long run) So the wealthy and the highly educated have had a highly positive experience from this trade but almost everybody else??? self delusion and shitty accounting and hidden value judgements could make it seem positive sum but I am not so sure.

Dave Bowen said...

To occam's comic - Your personal observations of the thought processes of wage earning Middle Americans seem genuine and on target.

However, your point,

"None of that is true anymore, and it is a deliberate outcome of the “free trade” policies of both democrats and republicans.
And under Obama the rule of law doesn’t really apply to wealthy bankers.
And under Obama all the gains from the “economic recovery” has gone to the top 10%. With most of that going to the top 1%."

may be a bit under-informed or perhaps narrowly focused.

The root cause of the plight of the working poor can't be explained by a single factor like "free trade policies." If you want to trace the roots you have to go all the way back to the rebirth of Centralized Banking in America and the origin of the Federal Reserve Bank in the early Twentieth Century.

The consequences of this "Crime of the Century" stood revealed for all to see in our financial meltdown. The one following the sub-prime mortgage repackaging bubble pop heard 'round the world. Don't believe me? Take any bill out of your wallet. Read what it says at the top, "Federal Reserve Note." This is not a falsity or a misprint. Who controls the money supply, and why? Why doesn't the government, even the Mint, get to determine how much currency gets printed? And why on Earth can the Fed create and direct digital dollars, massively, at will, with virtually no oversight? Who Watches the Watchmen?

The rule of law has not applied to wealthy bankers for a very long time. The Federal Reserve Bank has assured that since its creation.

More significantly, the top 1% no longer matter, it's now the top .1% who control the majority of wealth in America, a concentration of inequity which has a frighteningly powerful effect on our economy.

IMO, we're approaching a societal tipping point where we must either gracelessly slide into Socialism or prepare for social disruption on a large scale. What you correctly perceive is...average Americans are truly tired of struggling just to get by, with no end in sight and no concrete reason for hope. The bread-and-circus act is wearing thin. When it becomes just about bread...all bets are off.

occam's comic said...

I am hardly a purist when it comes to voting. I voted for Obama twice and I will vote for Clinton or Sanders in the fall.

But i try to be a purist when it comes to telling the truth as i see it.

Yes if i had my way I would have stopped globalization. Instead i would have promoted a kind of regionalism, with 7 or 8 regions in the world in which the vast majority of the economic activity is with in each region. Information, technology transfer, tourism and high end luxury goods accounting for most of the inter-regional trade.

Dave Bowen said...

To occam's comic -

Globalization isn't the villain either.

It's simple human greed, and it always has been.

Wherever you go, there you are.

LarryHart said...

occam's comic:

he democrats had majorities in both the house and senate for two years.
they could have passed anything they wanted,

No, they couldn't. Because Mitch McConnell's Senate Republicans filibustered everything. I know there were a few months when, on paper, they had a 60-vote supermajority, but that's only if they could keep Joe Lieberman and Ben Nelson and some of the other yellow-dogs on board. There was never a time when the progressives could be certain of 60 votes, and without that, they could pass zilch.

they chose to enact the republican plan for mandatory, expensive, crappy, for profit health insurance.

I'm not elated about it either, but President Obama chose to work with the insurance industry instead of having them spend billions of dollars campaigning against his plan. Heck, Lieberman sided with the filibuster against Medicare-at-55, which was (as Dr Brin likes to say) his own damn plan before he was against it.

David Brin said...

It is simply absurd to blame NAFTA for having more than a marginal effect on US jobs. What it mostly did was keep jobs that would have gone to asia much much closer to home, where the rising Mexican middle class is now buying lots of US goods.

Are there sugar daddy sweeteners in all these things? Sure. But we need a big picture. TPP welds the nations of Asia into much tighter standards of Rule of Lw, including environmental and labor and IP laws. And it welds them to us... not China. These things are important. Oh and while the Dems OFFICIALLY had the Senate for 2 years, they lost their fillibuster breaker majority after just a few months.

That should not have mattered, if the GOP weren't the most tightly disciplined partisan machine in US memory. But since not a single GOP senator would dare to defy the Hastert rule, or negotiate compromises, legislation ground to a near halt.

They got a lot done, in the face of such treason.

The root cause of the plight of the working poor has many factors. Honestly? The refusal of the GOP to allow an infrastructure bill for 6 years was deliberate. They knew that the spending would be high velocity and improve the economy lickety split.

Dave Bowen, the problem is that the Rooseveltean reset of capitalism, followed by the Marshallian reset of global trade and law, were SO effective that we boomers have spent all our lives able to squint and imagine that class was a minor perturbation... that any of us might get rich, so why be jealous? Where I agree with Occam is that the Rooseveltean reset is over. 6000 years of class war via oligarchic dominance is back.

Frankly, I am glad to see that maybe half our billionaires can see what's plain as the nose on your face. That a reset NOW would leave them very very rich and happy. A resent later might be much more radical.

The stupid billionaires know nothing about 1789 or 1917 etc. They actually think today's educated and tech empowered masses will blithely sink into peasantry. They are fools to think this.

occam's comic said...

Harry Ried and the senate democrats could have changed the rules on filibusters in the first two years of the obama administration, they did a few years later.

Dave Bowen said...

D-God Brin -

"The stupid billionaires know nothing about 1789 or 1917 etc. They actually think today's educated and tech empowered masses will blithely sink into peasantry. They are fools to think this."

Could not agree more, as a grandfather of two I'm concerned about a future with a radical reset "baked in," but still see only two options, half-measured Socialism or a slow-boiling revolution.

Would you agree with the statement...It's no longer businesses or banks which are too big to fail, it's America...and our debt is being happily bought by a rising tide of young global powers...??

locumranch said...

Occam's Comic speaks the truth:

Intent on self-enrichment, the US political establishment has sold its core constituency down the river since the 1980s, leading to industrial flight, the collapse of real wages & the loss of the once diamond-shaped middle class.

Globalisation was a bill-of-goods, financed by first-world labour, benefiting only the foreign worker & the top 1% ownership caste, and NAFTA was merely the thin part of wedge.

Medicare part D was a Republican giveaway to Big Pharma that has more than doubled the consumer cost of common prescription medications; and, the Affordable Care Act was the Democratic equivalent to Big Insurance that has more than tripled the cost of private family health insurance (once the runaway deductible is factored in).

And, no, it won't be the South or (even) the Red States that 'will rise again' when the time comes, it will be the people who labour, serve, keep the lights on, transport & protect who will simply 'sleep in' rather than rise, and 'The Roads (that) Must Roll' will cease to do so & slow, unless the conservative caste is properly represented.


I like Bernie Sanders, too. He seems honest & earnest yet, like Hollywood & the Oscars, he is 'too white', not diverse enough & will most likely be destroyed by a politically-correct left which favours 'sensitivity' to the detriment of 'specificity'.

David Brin said...

Medicare Part D was the only huge entitlement passed without even a figleaf provision to finance it. Obamacare is mostly financed out of revenue provisions in the law, as is supposed to happen. It is a cludge of a law, but it mostly made things better.

And a middle class mexico is worth a lot. A lot more than the actual pain we've suffered. Mexican immigration has REVERSED!. Something the right is unable to conceive or allow into their cognitive dissonance.

atomsmith said...

Some words of pragmatism from Noam Chomsky, of all people:

...the majority of analysts still believe Clinton to be the likely presidential nominee to emerge from the Democratic primaries.

If that were to happen, Chomsky told UpFront that he would absolutely vote for Clinton over any Republican, if he lived in a swing state.

"Oh absolutely ... My vote would be against the Republican candidate," said Chomsky, who lives in Massachusetts, a safe state for the Democrats.

Mehdi Hasan interviews Noam Chomsky on UpFront [Al Jazeera]
Chomsky said there were clear differences between the two parties.

"There are enormous differences," he said. "Every Republican candidate is either a climate change denier or a sceptic who says we can't do it.

"What they are saying is, 'Let's destroy the world.' Is that worth voting against? Yeah."

Dave Bowen said...

To locumranch

You might want more scope. For about a century untrammeled greed has been digging a potential grave for American capitalism. The bills are past due. The baby boomers are not dying on schedule thanks to medical advances. The pathetically diluted "wealth effect" which fueled the delusions of the American middle class is evaporating day-by-day. Real unemployment in the U.S., counting those who have stopped trying, is far, far higher than the ludicrous 5 percent the Bureau of Labor Statistics just trotted out. To attempt to frame America's ongoing financial crisis in the light of anything recent is to try to deny the momentum of history. Political parties be damned, this is a problem for the entire country. I hope we wake up soon, the nightmare is real...the dream is gone.

LarryHart said...


it will be the people who labour, serve, keep the lights on, transport & protect who will simply 'sleep in' rather than rise,

I've been calling for that sort of "revolution" for years.

and 'The Roads (that) Must Roll' will cease to do so & slow, unless the conservative caste is properly represented.

Aaaugh, always so close to agreement, and then you have to do that "good = conservative" bit. As if "Occupy Wall St" and "Black Lives Matter" are not among the aggrieved parties.

Alfred Differ said...

I have to laugh at folks who think we should have stopped globalization. Sorry, but I have to in order to avoid preaching at them. We won the Cold War through a huge effort involving soft power. No one got nuked as a result. We built a world spanning empire filling the void left by European powers and then industrialized and traded with our allies which included just about anyone who wanted in. We weren’t always the nicest ally to have, but we muddled through AND DIDN’T NUKE ANYONE ELSE. Think about that when considering options with multiple regional powers jostling with each other for dominance. We used to do that earlier in the 20th century. It didn’t work.

Globalization was a sensible plan for an empire that was more interested in large markets than it was in large colonies. It’s very unlikely we could have taken over all of Europe’s colonies and run them the old fashioned way. American’s aren’t very willing to send their son’s to die in foreign wars and colonial empires practically require that. The next best option is large markets we can dominate… which is what we did in spades. That was possible because the US market was so dominant. Want to play? Do it our way. Sell us cheap stuff.

The 70’s weren’t such rosy years as some suggest. I remember inflation, price controls, and some of the mental numbness for people recovering from the 60’s when we used to burn our cities, assassinate leaders, and lynch people who got uppity. Sure… the dollar went farther, but there wasn’t as much to buy. I remember. If American’s of this decade had to live the way we did then, many would complain about far more than stone knives and bearskins. They still sold leaded gasoline back then!

Give me the problems of this modern world any day over the 70’s. I’ll take this crop of Confederates too. Hands down.

Alfred Differ said...

Stratfor predicts we will have to lure the Mexicans back within a generation. We might even have to pay them to come back. Boomer retirement costs replace part of our tax base with a social burden, so either taxes go up, population goes up, or obligations get abandoned.

Lovely thought, but the fact is we CAN lure our southern neighbors here... because many of them are already here and intermarried. All we have to do is not split families with a stupid wall.

Duncan Cairncross said...

I agree with everything Alfred said
Globalization saved the world
Things are better now than the 70's

The world progresses we are continually learning how to do more with less

But - "Things" could and should be a LOT better now for the American working man,
In the 70's the USA was the best place by far to be a working stiff
Now the USA is near the bottom of the league

It wasn't globalism - it was the whole Neoliberal economic package that enabled the 0.1% to make out like gangsters

As a Kiwi I am not directly effected by the US train-wreck -
BUT the USA does "lead the free world"
And a lot of our political leaders have merrily followed the USA off the cliff and severely damaged our society

David Brin said...

What Alfred said.

Pax Americana was evil... compared to startrekkian/high moral values preached incessantly by... Pax Americana and never, ever practiced by any other realm or empire. Compared to all of those, it was the greatest boon the world has ever seen.

And to DBowen, our new man of the left... a suggestion to take that dismal human history into account. There definitely is Bad Capitalism... and you yearn for No Capitalism. But there is another category.... Good-Open-Well-regulated capitalism that is flat-open-fair. The most productive wealth-generating system ever created, responsible for the fact that 90% of today's children go to school and have electric lights and hope.

Oh the spinning from Adam Smith and the Founders and FDR and all the others who got us here. That almost none of us moderns have a clue that the left and the right are both mad. And all hope lies with militantly moderate pragmatists.

David Brin said...

And Duncan is right. Class War is upon us. It needn't lead to 1789 or 1917. Or Germany 1933.

USA 1933 would bode well. A kind of revolution Bernie Sanders is talking about. But FDR had a track record at governance and when he spoke you did not hear an angry. When FDR spoke, you wanted to stand up and do things to make him proud.

David Jordan said...

Responding to the previous thread about forgotten authors...

It's inevitable that the vast majority of even "the great" authors and works will fade in time, like tears in rain. While we can rally for another generation to discover valuable pieces we fear are being lost, eventually the time will come for nearly all.

Time marches on, stories become dated, and there is only so much time to read an ever-increasing library that is the collected works of humanity, so alas many must be forgotten for the new to thrive.

But! There is hope!

Each generation has its stories, which can in the best of cases learn from and respond to the works that came before. Every story is an argument in a larger, ever-evolving conversation. Many details and specifics will be forgotten, but the conversation continues. Peers answering peers, and students continuing and correcting their teachers. Like a good parent laying the groundwork for their kids to surpass them, a good science fiction author should hope to inspire greater works uplifted from their own by tides they've helped to raise.

That's why I like to try to clearly show the process of influence and remix in my own writing, to show the conversation in process. A character draws inspiration from a work, uses it as shorthand, comments upon it, continues its thought experiment, recontextualizes or combines it with other works.

Stories have a life, and like any living thing, there comes a time for the thing itself to die, but if it has offspring, if we give these works we think have value new life by passing on their genes, modified, recombined, and adapted to the present habitat, they will continue to have new life through generations of descendants.

riverat said...

Bernie Sanders was mayor of Burlington, Vermont for 4 terms. I'm not sure I'd call that "zilch" administrative experience but compared to President it's pretty low level.

Duncan Cairncross said...

Hi Guys
I have just read
Ultrasociety - How 10,000 years of war made humans the greatest cooperators on the planet

Very impressed, I will need time to digest and do some re-reading

He talks about cooperation inside groups and competition between groups,
This is part of a
"stick all of history into a database and use it to see how well your theory matches the data"

What do you think??

Dave Bowen said...

To D-God Brin

How did I become the new man of the left? Pretty sure I said "Political parties be damned...." Partisan paralysis may be deadly, or the only thing keeping Government from acts of staggering stupidity. Either way, the constant hectoring from both sides makes my ears bleed.

Dave Bowen said...

Also to D-God Brin

I have no yearning for No Capitalism, I'm just tired of Piggy Capitalism.

Good Capitalism? Yes, some good is funneled down to the masses, our children have shoes.

Our future has been mortgaged and is being traded on the open market. Our debt is unsustainably high and rolling downhill like a giant snowball. This debt has replaced our (outmoded) GDP as a valuation. We're good for ten percent on trillions. For how long?

occam's comic said...

Sorry David,
But it is a lot more than "some lost jobs". It was a hell of a lot of job loss. and hourly workers also have the loss of pensions, decent raises, job security and good health insurance (not to mention the opportunity for their kids to go to an affordable college.) The local communities also tons of jobs related to the factory jobs that were lost.

And don't forget more than a million and a half Chinese people died from pollution and hundreds of millions of Chinese are being harmed on a daily basis by pollution.
Going to work in crappy working conditions, with oppressive management.

I guess it is easy to see this as a positive sum situation if you never have had to bare any negative consequences and only have received the benefits.

I know you like to call out monsters on the right and monsters on the left but don't forget to look in the mirror, a monster can be hiding there too.

Tim H. said...

Globalization is another good idea with a botched execution, class warfare was as much a goal as streamlining trade, if those negotiations had happened before organized labor's decline, the effects on the rust belt might not have been as traumatic. The jobs lost were at first ones ordinary people could do, followed by the associated support jobs and businesses. The Department of Defense was complacent, as long as implements of destruction already in the pipeline were not interrupted. Industrial processes were not updated to less environmentally damaging ones, merely sent to nations with more understanding authorities, not poisoning anyone we knew personally. Acknowledgement of the downsides is important, the economy is no place for fantasy.

raito said...

My wife also works in a chemical plant in the midwest (chemist and chemical engineer, also MBA), though in operations rather than R&D. And unfortunately, there's been at least one incident of what I'd call racism through stupidity there. Do I think that guy was KKK-racist? No. I think he was a northern WI redneck who wasn't quite bright enough to see his own prejudice. Now he's out of a job. And there's the occasional worker who loses his job because he's just not bright enough to follow the safety rules.

I'll also take today over the late 70's. Today, I could probably get a wage slave job if I had to. As a young man in the late 70's, there were 20 or so people interviewing for every minimum wage position. Imagine not even being able to get fast-food work for a year at a time because there were so many workers out there.

I'll partly agree that it's the implementation of globalization that wasn't ideal, and I'll further state that I doubt that less war and more stability was the goal. I think the most important export that the US has (though it's not all good by any means) is culture. Culture as in 'see how it is here, you could have that'. And that's part of what we saw happening in China. The workers had rising expectations. Wages went up. Conditions had to improve, or the workers would go elsewhere. That's at least a glimmer of light in the trade war.

One thing I've noticed in the last couple decades is that whenever I see on the TV various shows that take us into places of abject poverty, everyone seems to be wearing T-shirts. We must have hit a time in the world when even the poorest don't have to resot to making their own clothes.

Jonathan Sills said...

Well, raito, partly that's because there are actually charity organizations that ask for donations of T-shirts. They're very popular in some parts of the world, especially with slogans - having a T-shirt with English words on it is apparently a sort of low-level status symbol in parts of central Africa.

Personally, I'd hate to have to be in the '70s again because I remember what it was like to live with the seeming certainty that nuclear war would inevitably come, it was just a question of when and who'd start it.

(Or, as Queen put it:

And we who grew up tall and proud
In the shadow of the mushroom cloud...

If not having that means higher gas prices, I'll make that trade happily every single day.

Jonathan Sills said...

(Oh, by the bye, apparently when I post from the laptop I'm "Jon S." Didn't realize the discrepancy until just now. Same guy, though.)

sociotard said...

Want a harder working legislative branch? One that will even show up for work after a bad snowstorm? Elect more women, apparently.

Robert said...

Re your comments about money laundered through Macau. From a certain Democratic Republic on the other side of China? The most oligarchic place in the world - hmmm...

Bob P.

occam's comic said...

For everyone who have been commenting on things they don't like about the 70's---
threat of nuclear war, leaded gasoline, less sophisticated computers, disco ---- it does not mean those things would still be with us if we didn't screw over the American hourly wage earners with our policies of union busting and globalization.

Laurent Weppe said...

* "I just don’t believe Trump is sincere in even one of his professed hatreds."

Precisely: fascism, like all forms of supremacism, isn't a belief, it's an intent:
If I were to say "John Doe and his whole family deserve to be flayed alive in public because they all are perverse criminals", I wouldn't merely be expressing animosity toward the Does: I'd also be hinting that I would skin them if I had the power to do so with impunity. Whether I sincerely believed that the Does were criminals who genuinely deserved flaying would be irrelevant: what would matter here would be the murderous intent, not the justification

Trump's audience wants one thing: for the state to grant them preferential access to wealth and resources and protect their privileged status by suppressing -violently if need be- aspirations for equal treatment from the others: by uttering heinous lies about Mexicans/Muslims/Bogeymen-du-jour in public without even blinking, he's conveying his willingness to deliberately harm them. Whether he sincerely believes that they deserve to be harmed is irrelevant. In fact, lack of sincerity makes him even more dangerous: a genuinely hateful man can always have a change of heart and come to reject his erstwhile hate; a man who's willing to hurt people because it's expedient won't have such an epiphany.


* "“The Nazis are just a gang of stupid hooligans, but they do serve a purpose,” he says. “Let them get rid of the Communists. Later we’ll be able to control them.”"

What's an useful idiot? An useful idiot is someone who fancies him or herself as so supremely intelligent that compared to him or her, extremists are akin to easily herded cattle.


* "I get the feeling that nobody on this site actually knows any Trump supporters, and seems that people think that they are a bunch of angry stupid racists, who don’t even know why they are angry."

Trumps supporters are very similar to French Le Pens' supporters, and having lived in places filled by those, I know pretty well how they functions.

Far-rightists aren't stupid: far-rightists are cynics, who became convinced that fair leadership is impossible and that it is therefore in their interest to support the oligarchs who promise them preferential access to the scraps.
The racist rhetoric itself is a defensive maneuver: there's a hard-wired human tendency to feel less animosity toward the wrongheaded bigot (the racist uncle we still invite at the family reunions) than toward the selfish me-firster (the parasitic conman who prospers at the expanse of everybody else)


* "The stupid billionaires know nothing about 1789 or 1917 etc. They actually think today's educated and tech empowered masses will blithely sink into peasantry."

No: what they believe is that modern armament technology makes genocide so easy that soon they'll be able to bluntly tell the educated masses
"We can burn the planet down, and a world that doesn't belong to us is not worth existing, so it's either subjugation or extinction: your choice"

Dave Bowen said...

I believe the term "globalization" is a misnomer. The ending implies deliberate intent. It seems more like evolution to me.

Consider this, after substantial thought and research I can determine only three methods of conflict resolution in recorded human history:



Negotiation utilizing leverage

Naturally I may have missed an approach, but given these examples...

Words clearly don't work by themselves or the United Nations would have accomplished something meaningful.

War, uh...good God y'all, what is it good for?

"Globalization" has the potential to eventually help unify the world by making the stage for conflict resolution one which is mainly economical. Financial leverage is the form a global economy rewards most highly.

Seems like inevitable evolution to me, despite the many negative and disruptive impacts associated with such broad change.

Anyone for "Globalution?" Sounds a little off, but it may be more accurate.

David Brin said...

Duncan what such theories need is my concept of “Horizon Expansion” in which how you define the group that has your loyalty can VARY according to your socialization and your levels of fear. Many of our current US turmoils are over the fact that some want to expand our horizons of inclusion at very high speeds while others resent being nagged to include those they cannot swallow.

Mr. Bowen our debt ratios are not as bad as all that and the parts of capitalism that are still competitive are delivering a whole lot more than shoes. The oligarchic putsch is bad, but it can be reformed away. Pnic is as big a threat as anything. Also the hypnotic satisfation of screaming “the parties are the same!”

They simply are not. If one party wins big, corporations and oligarchs will lose most of their money funnels into politics and the rich will be taxed more. Um, you deem that to be “no difference?”

Occam show us reliable figures about NAFTA job losses, please. And as long as you are hurling “monster” at me, then let me point out it is nativist and bigoted to ignore the factor of a skyrocketing middle class in Mexico. Already it has reversed illegal immigration and that source of competition for US jobs. But as more mexican families become middle class they buy stuff from us.

Does it balance out? Maybe not in the short term. I am willing to compare statistics. But what is clear is this: those who conveniently write off and ignore the effect of uplifting Mexico from an open wound of bleeding poverty and resentment across a wide border, into another Canada, a middle class neighbor and customer and ally… such people are proved nativist bigots. And fools.

David Brin said...

You can keep posting here but I have a new one up.


occam's comic said...

Dave I wasn’t calling you a monster (and you know it). I was reminding Mr. CITOKATE it is easy to see something a positive sum if you get some of the benefits while simultaneously you don’t have to pay for the negative consequences. And focusing on only the Mexican middle class you conveniently ignore the devastating effect that NAFTA had on the much larger number of small, poor Mexican farmers and the long term negative consequences of the pollution that NAFTA has brought to many Mexican communities. Has NAFTA helped the Mexican wealthy and well educated, yes sure, but if all you do is count the positive and discount all the negatives, anything can be seen as a positive sum.

Jumper said...

On the myth of Senate Dem control:

locumranch said...

It's fascinating how many Status Quo whores forget that the interests of the Right & Left are naturally aligned. After all, (1) Rightwing Luddites were the original Trade Unionists, (2) the Laboring Left benefits most from restrictive (conservative) immigration law that boosts nativist worker compensation, and (3) Rightwing Fascists like Mussolini & Franco are virtually indistinguishable from the Fascist Leftwing variety like Stalin & Mao (excepting in ideology), while an overbearing 'Tyranny of the Masses' Status Quo sits in the middle and prattles on about the 'Win-Win' Positive Sum nature of screwing over statistical social outliers for majority benefit.

This is what the 'Trumpinistas' desire:

Free Speech & a reprieve from Oppressive Political Correctness; Free Association & the related right to Freely Dissociate from an Unresponsive Collective; the right to pursue Individualist Interests despite Collectivist Objections; and, a return to the Melting Pot collectivist model & a repudiation of Multiculturalism's deleterious side effects.


Jumper said...

Article on U.S. debt. Trivia question before reading (no cheating with this article, or Google) How much does China hold?

LarryHart said...

Dave Bowen:

Partisan paralysis may be deadly, or the only thing keeping Government from acts of staggering stupidity. Either way, the constant hectoring from both sides makes my ears bleed.

I understand you may disagree, but to me, this sounds like blaming Nazi Germany and Poland alike for "the constant shooting from both sides" in 1939.

I'm also sick of the partisan hectoring, but (I feel) I know which side to blame for causing it.

I can't say I've sat through hours of debates by either party, but I have dropped in on most of them. After watching the Republican debates, the Dem side is truly a breath of fresh air, irrespective of which of the candidates one prefers.

LarryHart said...

Dave Bowen (again):

Good Capitalism? Yes, some good is funneled down to the masses, our children have shoes.

Our future has been mortgaged and is being traded on the open market. Our debt is unsustainably high and rolling downhill like a giant snowball. This debt has replaced our (outmoded) GDP as a valuation. We're good for ten percent on trillions. For how long?

That's the point of a revolution, whether it be of the American or French variety. To wipe the old debts off the books and start fresh.

Of course, the debt-holders won't be happy with that idea, but a non-violent revolution partially involves getting them to understand that the paper debt they hold is a chimera that can't possibly come due to them anyway.

David Brin said...

“And focusing on only the Mexican middle class you conveniently ignore the devastating effect that NAFTA had on the much larger number of small, poor Mexican farmers and the long term negative consequences of the pollution that NAFTA has brought to many Mexican communities.”

Bull. I ignored nothing, in pointing out what YOU were ignoring, which is the elephant in the room, the utter transformation of our vital neighbor from a huge, festering sore into another Canada.

Sorry, but I was initiating a conversation about effects beyond the solipsistic one we hear endlessly about low level US jobs lost, and no mention of other effects, whatsoever… e.g the fact that the end of net Mexican immigration to the US opened other low level jobs. Yes, that comparison isn’t net favorable… for now… till you add in the huge increase in Mexican imports of US products… and the absolutely top desideratum that globalization reflex-haters always frenetically ignore -- the spectacular importance of a middle Class Mexico.

You raise environmental problems in Mexico? Fine! It’s complex and “yes, but…” can go on all day! But the solution to such problems is not poverty, which always harms the environment in other ways. The solution is enough economic advances so that a generation of mexican youth are educated and confident enough to march for the environment!

You KNOW that is the only answer. It was the answer here. Your denial that there is a rising mexican middle class is a desperate clinging to bigoted stereotypes.

Should we do more to ensure that more benefits go to bottom and middle and fewer to oligarchic lords? Um... duh? Remember who you're talkin' to.

David Brin said...

And I am done here now.



bigsteve said...

I have heard the the claim that Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal is "co-owner" of Fox News. That was mainly debunked on MSNBC. He is a very minor owner. I also found this Snopes. article.

I have stopped years ago watching Fox News. About useless for any real news. MSNBC is also opinionated TV but there is still quite a bit of real news mixed in. I depend on USA Today and New York Times news papers for a lot of my information.I also use Yahoo and Google news a lot. But all news sources are suspect and you have to be on guard.

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